BFG, Cech and Giroud back to rule the airways and provide backbone?

Short Match Preview today, as 17HT and I are busy. Crystal Palace are coming to the home of football and like our previous opponents Everton, Watford and West Ham, they have FA cup footie on their mind. Palace are almost safe in the PL so a chance to make it to the FA cup final, against fellow Londoners Watford next weekend, will be featuring strongly on their minds.

Nevertheless, we have to be careful as Pardew is a wily fox who is good at team tactics and game strategy, especially, it appears, in away games against the stronger teams (on paper). He will have noticed how badly we dealt with the neanderthal approach to attacking football by the Hammers last week, and with Adebarndoor and Wickham they have two guys who could rule the airways against us once again. So time to restore some balance in defence and in the spine, and add some vital inches to the team, with the reintroduction of Cech, the BFG and Giroud.

I love Ospina but Cech is calmer and organises his CBs better. I like the dynamism of the Koz and Gabriel combo, but they lack organisational control between them and have to work far too hard to control the aerial threat of opponents when constantly put under pressure; so reintroducing the BFG makes sense to me. Welbeck is a mobile CF and his mobility and unpredictability allow others to shine, but at set pieces I prefer Ollie any time. The Frenchman is also a lot more clinical and will be hungry to start.

You could argue, why should we be so defensively minded for this game: we are the Arsenal playing at home; let’s get at them and constantly attack. But playing for the home crowd can be a nervy business, especially if and when the opposition keeps pumping balls into the box and one of those Adebarndoor or Wickham headers goes in. So a sensible approach with the aim to keep a clean sheet and score at least a goal is what we need.

A win today and a loss by the Foxes, and then an Arsenal win against West Brom midweek, would mean a reduction of the gap to ‘just’ six points. A lot to ask for but definitely not inconceivable, so let’s focus on our part and play with focus and deadliness.

My Arsenal team for today:

football formation

Alexis and Iwobi have to work hard to link up with their fellow FBs, by playing close to them in defence and tracking back constantly. But we will also need the full backs to support the mid-wingers, by providing width and penetration from the flanks. So for me, these four positions and players are key today. The rest is there to keep the spine strong and defend calmly and decisively, as well as provide the creativity and forward thrust from the centre.

Really looking forward to seeing the boys in action again, and if we can win today and follow it up with two wins in the next seven days, we might get very close to the leaders. Let’s make sure the fat lady will not be singing for a while longer, at least. 😉


By TotalArsenal

50 thoughts on “BFG, Cech and Giroud back to rule the airways and provide backbone?

  • TA,

    Nice preview, though imo you seem to be still overreacting to the West Ham game. Carrol can be unplayable in the air and anyway it was our full backs that challenged those headers with which he scored. Gabby was not culpable for either. That said, C Pal has scored 13 goals from set pieces this season, second only to Spurs with 17 goals. So Mert in the line up is a right response. Cech back is also proper, but that is not taking anything away from Ospina’s performance. Actually I rate Ospina ahead of Cech in the ability to play the ball out of defence ( important to Wenger).

    Including Giroud to bolster our defensive aerial ability would have become an overreaction to West Ham as that would disrupt our new attacking fluency which is our most vital weapon at this juncture of the campaign where the emphasis is squarely on the side of win-win.

    C Pal has not scored a single counter attack goal this season, which is comforting when we remember Per’s slow pace.

    Welbz for Giroud is my only change to your line up. Am convinced that there are many twists and turns in the coming couple of weeks and Man c is already part of that drama. COYG!

  • Neat and to the point TA, with probably both managers having one eye on changes for their midweek games?
    For us readers of the blog we can be grateful you have managed anything at all, so many thanks.

    Team discussion is what this will be about, and whilst you may be right about the team prediction, there are one or two other possibilities.
    I am not sure if it was ‘our man on the spot’ last week that reported Cech was ‘noticed stretching his calf muscle’, so any doubts and I would hope AW stick with Ospina. Especially as he could hardly be faulted for any of the goals.

    Regards combating either of the strikers you name. Personally I don’t rate either too highly, even if ‘the ex’ does like to do well against us. For me, that is more about the system employed, rather than the personnel. However, BFG might well be more adept at getting someone to man mark their most dangerous attacker running in from deep. Especially with a more mobile striker coming up midweek?

    Tinkering with the attackers is what worries me most. Welbeck, despite not having a great deal of influence last time, does help create that unpredictabie, fluid, and effective front line. We did score 3 goals last time, along with several others in previous games, so I would be loathe to change it from the start.

    I think Pardew is pretty limited with what he can do this time, because of their needs to keep both ‘Cup and PL status alive, so we should just concentrate on being as clinical as we can up front, whilst not making silly errors at the back.

    The earlier games will have already set the tone for our match, either for watching our back, or propulsion forward. Either way, a win would be very much appreciate. However, very much in the line from the film ‘Enders Game’, how we do it is also key to our well being?


  • TA, if we win both games and Leicester lose today, it would be +7, not +6 for them.

    From what I have seen from Chavs and City yesterday, we should not count on the former to help us against Spuds and Leicester till the end of the season while the latter look much, much better with Nasri, KdB and Aguero making things happen. Nasri looks even uglier than before with his hair-colour.

    Palace tried to beat Leicester a few weeks ago by peppering their box with million crosses that nobody would receive in the box. Eventually they hit the bar through our hero from the reverse fixture Delaney but that was it.

    I expect us to keep Wenger’s run against Pardew (I think the last draw for Pardew was that 0:0 in 2011-12) with a 3:0 victory.

  • Perfect counter from Leicester City – Schmeichel, Mahrez, Kante and Vardy’s finish. West Ham can’t make much out of set-pieces and they don’t have the passer in the middle to help Payet.

    Leicester are running away with the title, Spuds will end above us and Arsenal will get CL place (at best), excellent financial record and Wenger on the bench as long as he wants. I guess everyone’s getting what they want/deserve.

  • What an absolute joke the Leicester penalty was. Another case of a ref feeling guilty and making up for it

  • @TA – I do believe in magic, it’s just I don’t believe to magicians. 😉

  • Half time and we are one goal up. Playing well but not creating enough chances. Now that C Pal are a goal down they might open up and who knows ………

  • Congratulations to the boys and to Arsene for winning a point against mighty Palace at home.

    If Arsene had been a man of honour I mistakenly had taken him for, he would have resigned tonight.

    But he won’t. And I bet I will be blamed by 17 for this result. 😦

  • It beats me how Wenger still sees Walcott as a rescuer, calvary galloping to the rescue, worse when the opponent is happy to sit back.. It’s such a wild gamble. I wouldn’t sit him on the bench ahead of Campbell. If Welbz goes, Sanchez moves to the center and Campbell stays WR.

    For the rest of the season, if am to call the shots, I’d start any one of our MDF returnees ahead of the excellent but still growing Iwobi. We need to shift all attention to our rear.

  • Another rather insipid performance capped off by lazy defending and terrible keeping at the end of the game. Their scorer was given too much room and Cech should have done better.

    Another long summer it seems…

    A lot boils down to the Man City game.

    Worst case scenario – United overtake us

    Best case scenario – We finish third

    Okay scenario – We finish fourth = which equals limited spending because “we are waiting to see if we qualify for the champions league.” and a busier start to the season than we had hoped.

    All of the seasons are starting to blur together at the moment. A run of good games and “we have mental strength,” then a complete capitulation. How we ended up in this position given how we ended last season should not be a surprise to anyone.

  • Guys,

    Mental strength is one thing, able to score is another.

    We seriously need more target practises..

    If it continue like this we will say hello to the second tier european league.

    Absolutely gutted.


  • Fortunately Arsenal have a 12 goal advantage over Man Utd on goal difference, and that might make all the difference between finishing 4th or 5th, because the way we’re shipping points make our 4 point lead over ManUtd look rather less than secure…

  • Allezkev,

    Still, if we keep drawing our remaining games, we will go behind Manu**.
    Worst case senario, but still possible.


  • Five matches to go, Atletico Madrid of Diego Simeone is level on points with Barcelona of Messi, Suarez and Neymar, and in the CL semifinals.

    Five matches to go, Arsenal of The Overpaid One is fourth, 13 points behind Leicester who had been rock bottom last April.

    Mr Usmanov, if you read this, do whatever it takes to put Kroenkes (plural) and their puppet out of Arsenal for good.

  • Admir,

    Its the player changes that were a question. Why bring off our best players and put in those who are just coming back?

    Until then we have many chances, but all except one failed to find the net.

    We are looking to crack the Palace walls until the subs came. Disappointing, if you ask me.


  • That doesn’t merit eight million pounds per year, TA. If it does, then Simeone deserves 50 millions. For a start, Simeone has European trophies in his CV in less than a decade of management. Wenger has three lost finals in over 30 years. Simeone has a team that is less expensive than Arsene’s, much tougher rivals than Arsene’s and has much better results than him. Simeone is 46, Wenger is 67.

    Over the years of austerity he had been all about how Chavs and Oilers had more money than us. He didn’t take a pay-cut though. Now that Leicester and Spuds are about to end above us, he should quietly resign and go somewhere else to do his experiments.

  • @njk

    We didn’t cut their supply lines as we don’t know how to press. We leave gaps of the size of Arizona state so the opponents can go through our middle or down the flanks unchallenged. I knew we would eventually concede and I couldn’t stop praying for our second goal to come.

  • Admir, you are boring the pants of me. I don’t give a fuck about Simeone and what he has done or not has done. FYI he scraped through on penalties against nowadays Dutch minnows PSV who play an equally defensive style of football – a bit less luck and his team would have been out of the CL this year…. small margins.

    I support Arsenal and Arsene is our manager. There will be plenty of clubs who would pay Wenger 8m and more if he could qualify their club for the CL and take them to the next round every season for the next fifteen years and more. That is the hard economic reality that you always seem to forget. You and I don’t own the club but Kroenke does; we are customers but we can call ourselves supporters; the owners do not care about that, and it is unlikely to change.

    Wenger has his shortcomings and it is not inconceivable that we could improve on him, but we could also easily go down hill rapidly once he is gone. So why would Kroenke change our manager – financially the safest pair of hands in the business? It aint going to happen and you better get used to it.

  • TA and Admir, and maybe Gerry, if you have woken,

    Yes, we have to believe in Wenger, but the past few years his tactics were so predictable that other teams, like what we see on Saturday, were walking all over us. This season though, some tactics changes, but we are at status quo as the lack of leadership renewal on the field means we make the same mistakes.

    What I do not like about the current team is the lack of a real leader in the midfield domain. We have Alexis on the attacking position, Bosscielny on the defense side, but none bridges the gap between defense and attack. Le Coq is a good player, Elneny is a good player, all the midfielders are good, but they are not the ones capable of holding up a team, and maintaining the tempo between the whole team.

    Maybe Elneny can be the link or the injured Santi, and we are seriously exposed when Elneny is taken off. That was then that I told myself.. Something is going to happen.

    That is why Admir, please do not whack the manager. Sometimes he makes decisions based on what he sees, and that people can say that he made a mistake, but, that’s the way we see things. Not him.

    TA, I understand and I can say so myself that I am tired of those wengerout fans. I am not going to start another tirade against them, and those managers that are listed (directed to Admir) will not come to us as they have successful careers at their clubs.

    Admir, its not that I am against your ideas and thoughts, but sometimes we cannot be too inclined with a side. Once you step to the neutral line (I wanted to type neutron), take a step back and you will see that sometimes things are not as bad.

    Ok. You might argue that “See, the past 10 seasons we did not gain much.”
    They are due to our lengthy injury list, year on year.
    I agree that something has to be done in that aspect.

    Is that a clubs’ fault? Is that an oversight of the board? Or is that a personal thing as to the way a player plays or something?

    That is not the club’s fault. Neither it is an oversight of the board. It is down to each and every individual to ensure their lifestyle and stay healthy.

    This is open for more comments.


  • @ JK

    I actually think Arsene’s tactics have been on point. He smartened up last season against Man City. Instead of playing “kill or be killed” football we sat back, soaked up the pressure, and countered. I just think he’s been let down by the personnel. The wingers aren’t tracking back and the towards are clinical enough.

    The one thing I blame Arsene for is the missing key clinical striker. The santi loss can’t be underestimated. We lost him for half the season, haven’t had Jack (again), and Ramsey continues to suffer soft tissue injuries.

    Arsene has once again been let down by his playing group.

  • Mr Usmanov !! Admir mate You should wash your mouth out. All those constantly moaning on Wenger will be the same ones in a few years crying for the good old days. Wenger is our cruyff Shankly, ect…Wenger is coming to the end get the players to win something to give him proper send off next year. Get behind a legend. Usmanov, Dien, kronke and the rest have own motivations. In Usmanov your putting lot of faith in a gangster.

  • @li

    Is there a verdict confirmed from the higher court against Mr Usmanov that says he is a criminal?

    English core… Well, Gibbs has never learned how to use his right foot or to actually defend. Walcott has failed to learn how to wrap his foot around the ball or how to use brain in 10 years at Arsenal. Chamberlain had been sharp and looked much better when he first arrived but million injuries and five years later he has scored fewer goals than Koscielny. Wilshere should have been in the same bracket with Verratti by now but his lack of intelligence combined with nasty ankle injury will make him a new Gazza minus football achievements. Chambers could be a good one though, he has everything aside from minutes on the pitch. Welbeck is by far the best of them as Ferguson had taught him to be a winner. Nothing Wenger can’t remove from him in the next year or two.

  • Wilshere is quite obviously quality. Gazza remark very lazy, Usmanov done six years stretch already, and Admir heard it on talk sport and just types.

  • JK, I have been awake for hours 😀

    Two things: One, I cannot comment on the game as I have not seen it, or any highlights; Two, I am just amazed at the turnaround in opinion, compared to the optimism created by Pony Eye’s post. He did not have us down to win all our games, and if Spurs lose tonight we are only 3 points behind them ….
    Hence my one liner earlier.

    I listened to the match on the radio, and for an hour they made it sound like we were well in control? Of course, needing the win, the subs were a gamble. Taking off Elneny was a point I made in the previous game …. which nobody on here said much against it because it rescued a point. This time it did not pay off, and from the sound of it, we were lucky to see the game out?

    Last week there was a very entertaining match between the new Klopps and the ex-Klopps. Tough one to take for the ‘Ex-Klopps’, but their fans took it on the chin. However, it was a banner from the winners, that it contents sent a powerful message to other fans …. it read ….
    …………………. SUPPORT and BELIEVE.

    You cannot say that ‘Pool have not been through bad times ….they have.
    Despite many managerial changes, which did not improve things.
    Despite spending oodles of money, which did not improve things.

    And despite all of that, the fans, even the ones with long memories, had hope that the latest choice might be able to do something next season when he is able to set out a team he wants, in a style he wants. But for now they were prepared to go through this season with a few happy memories.
    They would not have turned on their manager when it looked like they were going to be tossed out of a European Competition like a used nappy. Three goals down, their advantage wiped away, and it looked like it might get worse? To their credit, the ‘Pool fans did what the banner asked of them ….. Supported, and BELIEVED … in their team.

    There is a childlike attitude with some Arsenal fans that seem to demand an answer to a flawed question ….. ‘Why can’t I have all the sweets in the sweet shop’?

    When you have worked out the answer to that ….


  • To be fair didnt some Pool fans lose patience with Brendan Rodgers who got them closest to the title in a very long time. I didnt see much of this belief.

  • I might entertain some contrary opinions to Wenger’s over some details, but I would never, never rant against him. Why? He’s played a critical role in placing my team, the Arsenal Football Club, on this grand podium. Anyone who does not recognize this Is devoid of any sense of history and lacks any respect for it. In the Arsenal Hall of Fame, the label ” Arsene Wenger” takes a pride of place.

    Yesterday’s match? Sanchez’s header just missed the upright. Welbz volley hit the keepers shoulder, who didn’t know anything about it. Etc, etc. On the other end, a shot from outside the box beat a world class keeper at the near post. We must learn to take some of these things on the chin.

    One of the most illogical statement making the waves is ” that we have lost our opportunity to win the championship”. Who the hell decreed that it is our opportunity. To start with, we have not made 80 pts for donkey years now, and Leicester at current rate is headed for a no mean 82 pt finish. O.K. lets accept that we lost the opportunity. Havent Man U with the mind bugling investment over the last couple of seasons also not lost the opportunity? Equally Man C and Liv? Isn’t it also not a loss of opportunity by same logic for the Toons? And what an opportunity for Chls to retain the championship crown, now so hopelessly thrown overboard. Give me some space fellows, emotions say that football is a game of the NOW and the cushion of tomorrow. The past, not just 13 seasons ago, but also just last season is long gone. Ask a Chls fan.

    And it is because of “tomorrow” that I here bother to give some opinions that might run contrary to Wenger’s. I cannot help but believe in my dream.

    1) Walcott on the bench hinders the development of players like Campbell. We’ve waited 10 yrs for Walcott and he has not even added a drop of the shoulder. We have to be brave and find a way to cut our losses there.

    2) One of the reasons why our goal conversion rate is so poor is ; Ozil is reluctant to shoot with his right foot, Welbz with his left, Sanchez with his left, Giroud with his right, Wilshire with his right …… we are talking about 40% of all the chances that come their way gone in a puff of smoke. This must enter our strategic thinking.

    3) We worry about Ospina in the air because he ain’t that tall. Do we begin to worry about Cech on the ground because he is too tall? Is Cech in head gear, the same as Cech in no head gear? Are we seeing the past instead of the present? All coming as questions.

    4) Notice that I never included Iwobi in the one-footed list. Yes, but I will close my eyes and give him out on loan to a well chosen club for one season. There are still one or two things he needs to add to his game. We can afford this, as our MF is now overflowing.

    5) Sometimes we employ the quick vertical transition, sometimes we sit deep and counter, all to good effect. However and without doubt our default style is the slow build up, with 10….15…..20 or more passes from defense to a shooting position. This gives the opposition time to put men behind the ball so that by the time we are ready to pull the trigger the box is fully configured in tiny spaces with cycles admitting only the microseconds events. Giroud needs eternity. Welbz will pay for a little more time, so he can caress the ball. Luckily that time dimension exists in Sanchez’s time zone with those little spaces his natural habitat. Logically, Sanchez’s home should be in the box whenever we are employing our default tactics of slow horizontal build up.

    6) At the heart of our slow horizontal build up, is a certain bloke, his name Mo Elneny. What a bargain!

    7) At the heart of our quick vertical transition, is another bloke, his name Santi Carzola raring to go. But imo, talk Santi, talk next season.

    Look at it this way. A loss and a draw, and we are out of the Champions League. That is as close as Man U is to us. We dare not try a switch in tactics now that time cannot forgive an error.

  • @li

    You seem to throw a word lazy too much for someone who uses one-liners.

    Usmanov was given a pardon. Hence he doesn’t have a criminal record.

    Wilshere could have been a great player but he doesn’t take a good care for himself. Hence the comparison with Gazza.

  • If you want me to explain how in unscrupulous people made lots of money doing favours in old soviet union may need a different blog. I’ll admit I was wrong, not lazy writing from admir he just has the exact same viewpoint as all click bate on newsnow. A true visionary.

  • Wilshere played another 90 minutes for the U21’s this evening, and scored a goal.
    Unfortunately Arsenal lost 2-1, Gnabry also played again, but no Rosicky…
    I wonder if we might see Tomas involved this Thursday?

  • I saw anti Wenger sentiments sprouting out on facebook and also on reputed arseblog.

    Just think of Man*** now and this is my answer.


  • Hey fellas… Anybody miss me?… Just Admir, it appears… 🙂 😦

    Busy busy with travel and birthdays but a result like Sunday’s will also make me choose to prioritize other business…even if it’s mostly just “walking the dog…”

    I’m working on a match preview for WBA but the whole situation at my football club just seems extremely sad. What do we do when our hopes and expectations are not realized? Sorry Gerry, “Support and Believe” are NOT winning this round… I would ask the committed supporter (or, maybe, the supporter who needs to be committed…) to try and take the longer view as will Kroenke and his CEO, Wenger. The less committed (or perhaps less myopic…) sorts should enjoy the other teams where they find a bit of pleasure. For Cesc, it’s Leicester (never Spurs)…For Admir, it’s maybe Atleti… for me, it’s probably a basketball team…

    I just don’t know what you can do. For Kroenke and his manager (Wenger or Bould or whomever) it’s about building the brand. Dropping out of the CL is NOT in the plan so maybe that will serve as the necessary motivation and the manager and players will come together to do what’s needed to keep us up. Two extra matches in August only add to the revenues, but it might be nice if the ManCity match is to avoid them… Ideally we’d be winning domestic trophies and doing better in Europe as we build our global (television) audience and the extras who pay for the privilege of being in the stadium would be proclaiming our glory to the heavens. As it is, it’s only gonna get emptier and emptier (like a library..) if not angrier and angrier…

    I think the club could do a smart thing by opening the doors for free for the Villa match on the final day, if not on Thursday for WBA and for the other home game vs Norwich. Thursday night scares me. Always angry Pulis will have a plan and his boys up for the next one as did always serious (and reasonably smart) Pardew. Sunderland and Norwich, both still above water in the relegation fight, will be daunting opponents with far more to play for than us–and supporters actually trying to will their teams towards victory. Thankfully the Man City match will be played in the away stadium and they may be distracted by trying to get to the CL final…

    But I’m getting ahead of myself, this is still a thread about the Palace match, which I did, in fact, get to watch.

    CP were very unadventurous but still able to win some corners and FKs which seemed worrisome. On the other hand, we looked very comfortable (and quick) stroking the ball around the back and working triangles up the pitch. The problem was making chances in the final third. Iwobi, Alexis, Ozil and Welbeck move smartly but it all gets very narrow with nobody making a substantial central target as Ollie might have. Bellerin had a very poor day with his crosses anbd Nacho wasn’t much better. Luckily the CF (Welbeck) moved wide and found the tiniest of them all for the goal on the stroke. I thought those two were the weakest up to that point so it could only bode well for more in the 2nd half, right?

    Wrong… Bold moves to change things up won’t happen in the current environment (thus no Bould in, too…) so we just kept at it without much more success as Palace came just a tiny bit out of their shell. Eventually their (far superior) patience paid off, combined with our absolute fear of making mistakes, which, of course, is a recipe for just that. Young guys (perhaps more immune to the wrath of the crowd?…) Coquelin and Gabriel defended poorly but Cech needed to save the well placed shot. After that, going back to the veterans, Rambo, Giroud and Theo made sense, but none of them was able to be the hero. Maybe at their next club(s)… In the meantime, abuse for everybody–in the stadium, on the internet… Good times and, somewhere in amongst it all, there must be something original and clever. Please copy and paste it for me, if you’ve stumbled upon it. Like I said, I’ve been busy…

    Alright then, cheers for reading… TA, the match preview should be ready soon but maybe you’re got something to post in between…

  • Shall we do the match previews earlier?

    Not much traffic for yesterday and today, so i reckon we should at least put up something to divert the attention to the better moments.

    The club is always affected by the negatives, and took a while to get back to business.

    No matter what happens, we should get behind the club and that is a true fan. For better or worse.

    I read arseblog’s post in full yesterday, and in the end there is a note.. its not the worst season ever, but its a season that is similar to those frustrating ones.


  • If I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I would simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” / 1908, Leo Tolstoy in front of his country house

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