Arsenal-Norwich City: Match Preview, Predicted Line-up. Protests, Pundits, Players. The End MUST be Near.

For manager Arsene Wenger?  For this bitterly disappointing season?  For some Gunners and even more Gooners?  Something needs to end, but what?

We still have three matches to go and, mathematically at least, there is still plenty for which to play.

Arsenal can finish anywhere from 2nd to 6th and Norwich anywhere from 11th to 19th.   For both teams, however, it’s probably about those pesky lines in the table: The one drawn under 4th place and representing Champions League football for us and the one beneath 17th place and signifying another year in the Premiership for Norwich.  These are big fights and both teams should come into the match well motivated.

Instead, larger narratives, as usual at Arsenal, dominate, inflamed even more by pre-match comments from the manager many Gooners blame and would like to see gone. In them, Wenger said:

“We wanted to go a step higher up and win the league. It was possible, that’s why we’re frustrated. As well you know, I can understand the frustration. Nobody is more frustrated than we are. But competitionally as well, to fight, no matter what happens, master all kinds of situations and protect and go for what we can achieve…our disappointment has not to go too far. I believe that the team…some people question their character. I tell you something, this team has character and attitude. Some people who question them, I know them well, have less character than this team has. Because I saw them play and know them closely. They should not question the character of these players because they are exceptional characters. We are disappointed but we have to fight. On the other hand, when a club cannot enjoy anything anymore it is in trouble. We need not to forget that in football you can go down very quickly and come up very slowly. We have to stick together, the team played as well this season sometimes at home…we lost the championship at home against the lower teams, but we played sometimes at home in a very difficult climate. We have to realize that away from home we are championship winners. At home, against the smaller teams, we dropped the points. We are top of the league in the top teams. We want to add what is needed. This club has special values and one of the values I’ve experienced over the years is to stick together and to support the team. There is no success otherwise.

“I can understand the frustration of our fans, but as well, despite that, we want to support our team. The best chance you can give to the team is to be behind the team.” and, “There are some group of people who try to manipulate our fans and do that well. I believe apart from an agenda, a personal agenda and big ego, there’s not a lot behind it. That’s what I think, basically.”

Already, Wenger’s assertions are being challenged (Arsenal were third not first in terms of away record) and used to suggest that Wenger is blaming the home support.  To me it’s a more general commentary on the importance of support amidst the frustration and a thought that it could be different and maybe should be.  As this Norwich supporter famously–and more succinctly–suggested, all teams need a 12th man.

 

Alas, at Arsenal, in our own stadium, the manager, after his words–or at least the headlines drawn from them–have been digested, will probably need an extra security detail.

In my view, Wenger is actually quite an artist at drawing this attention towards himself and away from his players whom he hopes can play freely and not in fear of mistakes and the wrath of the crowd.  If such support has to start with the manager, then so be it.  If other elements of the fan-base can also offer a bit, all the better.  Even the protesters might warm to the lads if they perform to their capabilities and run up a nice tally. In fact, I’d look back (in hope) to a far happier home match against Norwich from a couple of seasons ago.

Unfortunately, if the team cannot offer something similar, the protests, I suspect, will only get uglier.

It was ugly enough, in my view, after the reverse fixture back in November, a day many believed represented the end of our season.  We drew 1-1 but also lost Alexis Sanchez to a hamstring injury and Santi Cazorla, although he hobbled on for most of the 2nd half, to knee damage.  The former returned in January but didn’t stem our collapse in the new year.  The latter might make his return in this one.  Santi’s absence, however, has been keenly felt as Wenger struggled to find a rear of midfield pairing to work together with the kinship and cohesion he and Francis Coquelin had found for much of calendar year 2016.    Coquelin, injured the week before the Norwich match (at West Brom), also returned to action earlier in the new year but seems a guaranteed starter only when Wenger sets out to defend as our first priority.  In this one, I think, the more attacking duo of Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey most likely get another run out.

It’s all very thick with irony as so many Gooners believed Wenger needed to buy cover for Coquelin last summer, but, in the final reckoning, it was more about cover for Cazorla, particularly when Ramsey couldn’t stay fit and Elneny (another well-rounded, run all day box-to-box type of midfielder) and our only January purchase, was eased into the squad.  The delay in his introduction, followed on by his making the position his own, adds a strong tinge of regret to the mid-field manipulations.

So too do the fitness struggles of other would-be fillips.  Jack Wilshere–another who might have filled Santi’s boots–just made his season debut last weekend at Sunderland while veterans Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta could not surmount their own injury issues for more than very brief cameos.  Mathieu Flamini filled in for Coquelin (mostly alongside Ramsey) and got us through the darkest days of winter but couldn’t sustain his best performances and has probably played his last match in an Arsenal shirt.  The biggest irony of them all is that everybody is finally fit and at least in training (even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, another who has played some in central midfield).  Who will play, who will make the bench–perhaps to be saluted by the fans or to give them a measure of hope about the squad for next season–and who will slink off into their post Arsenal careers?

Unfortunately the questions surrounding this Arsenal team go on and on.  We do have a match to play, however, and here’s the group I believe Wenger will set out–to try and get the full points in the match and as a public relations statement to the support:

 

Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Wilshere, Cazorla, Coquelin, Giroud, Campbell

That line-up which represents only one change from our last two–Welbeck in for Giroud (who looked awfully good in that earlier match vs Norwich) and the list of subs is just a guess.  It leaves out a LOT of players.  Those guys will take their seats in their suits and ties and would include Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Rosicky, Arteta, the Ox, Flamini and Callum Chambers.  Are all of those guys gone in the summer or seen only as emergency cover or ones for the future?  The fan protests are all about remaking the club–from owner to manager to players–into a more competitive unit.  For what, exactly, are they asking and how will the line-up (and subs) Wenger puts out attempt to address their demands?  Who would you play in your first eleven and who among the rest would get to wear the shirt (and be available as subs) as opposed to the suit and (all to tight) neck-tie?  Are there some you don’t even want to see–even in their street clothes?

To me, it’s all a very sad state of affairs.  Like everybody else I’m disappointed (in the extreme) that we were unable to maintain our title challenge along with our runs in the cup competitions.  That said, I don’t believe that tearing it all down (or otherwise withholding our support) is the best way forward.  Instead, I’d ask everybody–Gooner and Gunner alike–to take a realistic and coherent approach to their disappointment and ask what they can do for the cause.  I look at our squad–all healthy for the moment–and I’m not completely satisfied but I also feel it’s awfully strong and–with the right spirit and support–only a few tweaks from being able to compete on multiple fronts next season.  But that’s just one view.  What do you think?

Like Delia says, “lets be having you.”

For the match at hand–against a Norwich team sure to be desperate for a result and buoyed by the fact that they got one earlier in the season–I’m hopeful that Arsene and his players can tune out the protests and give it their very best to secure the three points and engender some hopes for the future.  If they can do their part–and other results go our way (including one which would make Leicester City the most unlikely of league champions up at Old Trafford) we could secure our Champions League spot and then dream of a result at Manchester City next weekend and 3rd place while also giving ourselves a shot at celebrating a very (very) late St. Totteringham’s day.

In other words, in my opinion and despite all the angst of being an Arsenal supporter, it’s still all to play for…

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

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55 Responses to Arsenal-Norwich City: Match Preview, Predicted Line-up. Protests, Pundits, Players. The End MUST be Near.

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Well said 17HT 😆

    All to play for and the footie will take priority.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy with that line up. Maybe Jack will start. It will please the crowd and Rambo did not say mores last week.

  3. Admir says:

    Nice preview, 17.

    Norwich have a lot to play for and that could be a problem for us. Whoever gave us a good fight this season managed to take a point or three. Their head is just above the water but Sunderland look like they could survive once again.

    They have a few dangerous players. Naismith’s signing hasn’t worked too well for them though but he has scored against us in the past. Brady knows how to put a curve in his cross which should be noted by our central defenders, presumably Per and Kos.

    I hope for a team with Welbeck in the central role, Iwobi on the left and Alexis on the right. We need an early goal in order to avoid a nervy match. Ozil can still reach Henry’s record, maybe it’s the time for him to make a goal or two for his team-mates.

    We need a victory and hope for a possible slip of City against Southampton in order to avoid imperative of victory at the Etihad.

    To give my own contribution to the cause, I will drop the “Wenger out” story until the end of the season. 🙂

    COYG!

  4. FMJ14 says:

    That’s great Admir, something that needs to happen across the gooner fandom from game 1 of a new season to the final whistle of the final match.

  5. FMJ14 says:

    Thanks for a great preview HT. Let’s all do what we can to lead for our red and white army and finish as best we can. That’s all anyone can ask of us. Then we’ll see what needs to be done afterwards 😊

  6. Pony Eye says:

    Great preview HT, still plenty to play for. Your line up looks like what we’ll get.

    I dream of this though:
    ——–Cech——–
    Bel–Per—Kos–Nach
    —-Eln———Ram—-
    Ozil—–Jack——Iwobi
    ———Alexis———

    Ozil roams and can creates from anywhere. Jack can create and blitz through defenses and Alexis, the Thief of Bagdad, can unlock parked buses.

    FMJ, with Santi for Rambo, there remains very little to do to this team ” afterwards”. 2 nos X- factors only, IMO.

  7. FMJ14 says:

    PE I like it!! I hope Alexis can be the centre forward solution.. The tracking back on the right side may be compromised but would be the same with Alexis there also.. So either way Elneny needs to handle that along with overall team awareness of turnovers. Santi for Rambo in time but not tomorrow. Sorry what do you mean by ‘2 nos X-factors’?

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Fellas…Cheers…

    TA, I’m not sure what “Rambo did not say mores” means… Is that Apple autocorrect-speak?… No wonder their stock is down…

    Admir, I hope the team can “reward” you with 9 points out of 9… If they cannot, I’ll fully expect to see you back here with the usual guff… 😀 (A bit of constructive criticism or even the funnier if less constructive bits seem within reason. I’m still using your line, “Would come in 4th in a game of chess,” to describe certain folks I know…) Thanks also for the brief report on a couple of their players. Between the Wenger quote and my own thoughts about our MF I had written enough. They looked pretty committed when we played them in Norwich so I’d expect no less at our place esp. as they are really up against it in the relegation run-in. Even if they cannot get a result they will want to give a strong performance to lead into their final three matches which are ManU and Watford at home and Everton away. Sunderland have to be favorites with Stoke away tomorrow then home matches vs Chelsea and Everton plus Watford away on the final day. Newcastle only play 3: tomorrow vs Crystal Palace, away at already relegated Aston Villa and then at home vs Spurs. My hope is that it goes down to the last day and that the Spurs match is in play…for all concerned with that lot worried about trains and platforms and gaps narrowing away to nothing…

    One at a time, of course… but we all can dream, no?

    PE, I like your line-up…A LOT… My criticisms of Alexis are pretty strong but I see no reason why he can’t play very effectively in the Giroud role while Jack and Messy do the wide and narrow bit…as in the video above. Keeping Iwobi moving wide (and central) on the other wing (as Santi is seen doing in the video) might have to wait until he either develops a left foot or a conscience…neither of which anybody seems to be concerned about (as of yet)…

    FMJ, I think, PE means Santi as a sub for Ramsey later in the match…The other stuff I cannot parse…

  9. Pony Eye says:

    FMJ,
    2no X-factors = 2 top talent purchases in summer window, 1 CD, 1 CF are all that’s needed “afterwards”. Our massive injuries, concentrated in our MF, never allowed us to appreciate what we got.

  10. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops, sorry, I should let PE speak for himself… I guess I’m the one who wouldn’t mind seeing Santi in as a sub in the match itself… 😀

  11. FMJ14 says:

    PE Yes that’s it! Spot on buddy. 🙂

  12. FMJ14 says:

    Yes HT Santi cameo, once we have a good lead would be fantastic to see. 😀

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    It should say ‘Rambo did not impress’- not sure what went wrong 🙃

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Love that line up, PE 🙂

  15. Ab says:

    Like others, I’d love to see the PE line up given a try. Its not so left field as to be impossible for Wenger to consider, and yet it seems doubtful that he would go with such a change unless forced through injury or dire performance. HT your line up seems the most plausible. I wonder about Giroud still, but Danny deserves the nod given his performances.

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    That video shows Giroud in the full flow of confidence. Alas it was pre-Alexis, and, as much as he is an inspiration with his skill and work levels I just haven’t seen quite that sort of team play since his arrival–except a few times. The FA Cup final, and the Leicester away and ManU (at home) performances this season, for me, are right up there… What do all of them have in common? Theo started as our CF… To me, Theo and Alexis just kept moving and kept the opposition from ever settling, creating those gaudy scorelines… There’s a powerful narrative that Giroud and Alexis just don’t make a good pairing… The more it’s tried, the more I (unfortunately) find myself in agreement…

    Watching those Athletico Madrid performances in the CL I see very little that Griezmann does that I don’t think Alexis could do if he were given a chance at the #9. That said, others (Admir) could be watching him a lot closer than I… It’s pie in the sky to believe we’ll pay the money (and salary) for the Griezy one (or for Ibra…) unless major funds are freed up by losing somebody like Alexis (or, far worse, but just in my opinion, Ozil…) which seems more likely a move the next manager might try…

    Anyhow, that’s getting ahead of ourselves, so here’s to a winning and at least somewhat fluent performance tomorrow. Given all the troubles surrounding the team (and the extreme pressure when your own support don’t have belief in the project…) it’s a lot easier said than done. Still some good play and a bit of luck (goals rather than near misses) and it could be an OK Saturday…

  17. njk84sg says:

    Let me make a little change. For us to roam the midfield areas without any damage done to our defensive areas, move Rambo to the right and Le Coq in his own place.

    The rest should be what the doctor ordered.

    Cheers for a good game tonight,
    JK

  18. Pony Eye says:

    njk,
    If Rambo is moved to the right (front I suppose), who does he displace?

  19. Pony Eye says:

    Am dieing to see Alexis as a CF especially against opponents parking the bus. He’s proved he is a decent goal scorer both at Barca and here from outside the striker role. Simple logic says he will score more from the center.

    He is surprisingly effective in the air, possibly matching Giroud in the number of headed goals since his arrival. Giroud is better in set piece balls, but Alexis’s timing and quickness and surprising leap makes him as effective if not more effective than Giroud from open play.

    Giroud plays very well with his back to the goal, able to use the strength of his body to hold the ball for his mates to join. Sanchez is equally good, but while Giroud’s body is static, Sanchez achieves his protection of the ball, through twists and turns. And he could additionally twist away from his marker into space which he can utilize himself (his 1st goal at West Brom) or which draws opposition defenders to him thereby leaving the vacated spaces for his mates.

    Sanchez is not really a speedster. What he has aplenty is acceleration and quick reaction. These are like custom made accessories for a crowded final third. Add his obvious hunger for goals and one cannot just see how he would not be banging in the goals.

    I won’t bother going into the fouls his mesmerizing movements would be drawing.

    Sanchez has the worst turnover record of all our midfielders, and this is principally because he is a high-risk, high-dividend player. There is only one place for such a player, furthest away from his goal and you know where that is.

    ATM, I believe he is our best man for the striker role. Can Wenger have the courage to test this out at this sensitive time? I doubt so.

  20. njk84sg says:

    PE, I will rest Ozil for Jacko.
    Ozil needs a rest.

  21. Pony Eye says:

    njk, truly Ozil should be needing a rest having started 33 games in the PL alone. Privately, though, he might be wanting to break the assist record and such do play on managers’ minds.

  22. njk84sg says:

    Another alternative is bring Jacko back to DM, Rambo and Ozil on the right and central positions, just like Santi and Ozil link up play in their own domains.

    I am not sure if Santi should be thrown to the starting lineup in expense of Jacko, but that is also a possibility.

    JK

  23. Gerry says:

    HT, I think that is one of your finest previews, at a time when one is most needed …
    and you already have one convert … well done Admir … To inspire through gritted teeth deserves the highest praise. Top, top man 😀 😀 😀

    Highlighting the full interview of what Arsene said about away games was particularly instructive as to how the press and others can manipulate his words to suit their agenda. He did not say we were top of the league in away games, just that were championship winners in the way we played. Big difference.
    I cannot see AW doing ‘a Delia’ though, as I recall, the celebrity chef was, how shall I put it, a little ‘tipsy’ at the time 😀

    I have no problem with your line up … if only I could believe it will be a reality? If so I would have made my ‘Predictor’ score the same as your highlighted one, 4-1.
    I do worry about your bench though. No cover for either FB’s is a recipe for inviting an injury strike?
    With our best attacking strike force on the field, surely one more defensive cover to protect a lead makes more sense than thinking a triple attacking change of Wilshere, Giroud, and Campbell will turn a prospective defeat into a win? To me Gibbs for Campbell, and leave Iwobi on field should we need to solidify at the back. Either that, or Santi does not make the bench?

    My nagging doubt is AW’s earlier comments on Giroud ….

    I would love to say, no matter who we play we should beat Norwich … But we do have a habit of shooting ourselves in the foot, with or without the help of our ’12th man’?
    What is it with this obsession of playing Rambo wide right, for example?
    If you want to play him and Coquelin together, then let it be in a 4-3-3, because then we can at least use our attacking FB’s with some level of security. But do we really have to be that defensive against a team in 18th position?
    A quick look at the fixtures tells me that Newcastle are the only team likely to pull away from the relegation battle. Which leaves Palace, Sam’s lot, and the team in yellow.
    If we get an early goal, preferably two, their heads will drop because they will know their fate. Pussy foot around with tippy tappy and they will gain confidence.

    Go on AW, you know it makes sense!
    Cheers,
    Gerry … with a bobble hatting 4-1 😀

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    PE 😄😄😄😄😄

    Alexis as strong in the air as Giroud made me foul the kitchen table with bits of milk soaked cornflakes hahaha. 😂

    I like to see Alsexis as CF for a lot of reasons but his strength in the air is not one. Yes he sometimes surprises everyone, but if he had to do it regularly he would be covered with ease…and injured in the process. He can play with his back to the goal, but this would invite much physical contact from the CBs which would likely lead to injuries to ankles and back. I don’t think you realise how strong Ollie is and how much dirty work he does for us. Against PTB teams, Ollie is our best option and Alexis should learn to benefit more from his presence and service.

  25. allezkev says:

    That was a really interesting post 17…

    How about Alexis, Giroud, Welbeck as our front three?
    Iwobi on the bench…

  26. retsub1 says:

    Really looking forward to today, it’s amazing how, no matter what has happened before, each game begins with a new hope (Star Wars?))

    But fellow BKers I have an Arsenal problem and need advice. A good friend of mines daughter is getting married this afternoon at 3pm. Unfortunately a relative of hers who was driving the bride to the church has pulled out at the last moment. Now it just so happens that I have a white car and have been drafted in as a late driver. Picking the bride up and taking her to Church is not a problem. But they also want me to drive the Bride and Groom to the reception. This is where it gets a little difficult. If I do the whole thing, it’s possible I may miss the kick off. So my question if I am running late would it be politically correct to leave them on the M25 and let them thumb a lift?

    COYG

  27. Gerry says:

    It’s all about priorities Retsub1 😀

  28. Pony Eye says:

    TA @ 10.07 BST,

    “Alexis v Giroud in the air” I never meant as strong. I used the word as effective which itself, I admit, is quite a heavy language. Giroud has scored 9 headed goals from August 2014 till date and Alexis 4 headed goals. Remember though that one is a tenant in the box, another a mere regular visitor.

    Giroud of course is far superior at the classical air balls, but Sanchez compensates to some extent by his quickness and audacity which he uses to convert half chances in the air. Their air strengths are technically different, and they can only be compared in terms of their effectiveness.

  29. allezkev says:

    I don’t know about demonstrations, I’m down Holloway Road and there’s a good vibe in the air. Really looking forward to the game.

    17tino, I’ll give you a break this weekend… 🙂

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    Enjoy the match allezkev!

    Here are your line-ups… Arsenal unchanged from last week…Santi on the bench, no FBs…

    Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Iwobi, Giroud

    Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Coquelin, Cazorla, Wilshere, Walcott, Welbeck

    Norwich: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, O’Neil, Brady; Hoolahan; Jerome

    Subs: Rudd (GK), Whittaker, Naismith, Mbokani, Jarvis, Dorrans, Mulumbu

  31. FMJ14 says:

    Norwich are playing very compact and push many forward on the turnover.. Welbeck and Theo must be looking to capitalise on this if they get called upon. Not sure about Ramsey in there he needs spaces to run into.. Wilshere or Cazorla would be better suited for this then again bringing more pace up front will allow our full backs to come forward a little more and create space in the middle. Well done to Norwich as well they have played to a well rehearsed game plan. They are confident about it and executing it well. I have actually been impressed with the atmosphere, and enjoyed seeing the pro Arsene banners as well. 🙂 .. The Arsenal performance is great, and didn’t deserve boos at half time, but our game is limited by Giroud up front in this one..

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anybody around?…

    Not much of a first half and we’re not finding a way through Norwich’s back line… The visitors, however, have gotten a few good chances but Cech has been up to them… The protests seemed pretty meh, but not being in the stadium it’s hard to tell…

    Something needs to change here at the break or this will be another disappointing outing…

  33. FMJ14 says:

    I’m here HT, agreed changes needed. Not so much about the quality of our play as a tactical switch needed to overcome Norwich’s game plan.

  34. Pony Eye says:

    Sterile domination

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    Mert off with a hamstring…Gabby on…

    I don’t question the effort level but we look extremely frustrated trying to get through in attack and giving Norwich a lot of space when they get the ball. At this point it’s hard to say which team looks more likely to score…

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Welbeck on for Iwobi… Plenty of boos that it isn’t Giroud…

  37. Pony Eye says:

    Ramsey should gives way for Jack, Welbz in for Giroud.

  38. FMJ14 says:

    Before the 60 minute mark.. Welbeck.. but for Iwobi.

  39. FMJ14 says:

    Walcott for Giroud later perhaps?

  40. Admir says:

    Come on, you Gunners! There is still over half an hour left!

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    WELBECK!!!!

  42. FMJ14 says:

    Yesssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. FMJ14 says:

    Great play Giroud 🙂

  44. Admir says:

    Me and Welbeck have brought the first goal of the day. 🙂 Two more to come!

  45. Admir says:

    I really can’t believe how poor English referees are. Has there been a book of special set of rules of football designed for English football?

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Coquelin for Alexis…

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gabriel late with his head and gives a FK…but it’s into the wall… Can we hang on here, please…

  48. Admir says:

    Mike Jones… Has there ever been a decent ref called Mike in English football?

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    FT, Geez…Not pretty but job done…

  50. Admir says:

    Three points are all that matters. Pressure is now on City and Tottenham.

  51. njk84sg says:

    Guys,

    Love the pressure we put against the Canaries, but we should have scored more.

    Too bad, but 3 points is long overdue and we needed those.

    Motm is definitely shared between Elneny and Ozil.

    Look how Ozil reacted against bad refereeing. That is called the worst ref we ever had. And i could go on to list out the fouls given against us that were not fouls, and those that might be penalties for us.

    Sheesh.

    And did Alexis did his hamstring again or something?

    Cheers on a well fought 3 points,
    JK

  52. Gerry says:

    Thanks for a better insight into the game than TS gave. About half way through the first half they had a discussion as to whether it was a ‘shard of light’ or a ‘shaft of light’ that appeared to shine on the Norwich ‘keeper??? That and trying to decide how big the anti-Wenger banner protest was … an estimated 20% of the fans? I will look forward to Allezkev’s view on that?

    They also gave Welbeck MOTM for his 30 minutes, which at least made sense, as he did have an impact.

    Yes, the 3 points were what was needed, but I slightly disagree that it was all that mattered. I preferred HT’s line up for all the reasons that I gave beforehand, even if it was Giro who supplied the assist. With Giroud at the head of things our tactics are all too predictable, and Norwich could set their game plan out accordingly. In fact if they had a striker who scored more than one goal in the last 28 games (or something akin to that?), then the first half might have taken a whole different perspective on things? It would be a different matter IF Giroud was in sparkling form??

    What was your take on the late counter-attack when Ramsey played a neat ball to Giroud, and with only the keeper to beat …. and he did not even go for it? According to TS, Ramsey went ballistic, and screamed at him face to face? Was Giroud off side? Did he just ‘think’ he was off side? Or was a case of his confidence being so low, he just couldn’t wait for the game to end?

    Wenger’s post match comments after the previous game, coming back to bite him I fear.

    I know from the above that taking Iwobi off seemed a strange thing to do at the time, but my guess is, as they nearly all wear these data vests, he is trying to keep him fit for the next two games. If he started to show signs of fatigue, then it was probably the right decision?

    Still onwards and upwards, as they say. Especially when Chelsea are likely to thrash Spurs on Monday night. They are a bit toothless without Ali to support Kane, so I am giving that a 3-1 to Chelsea? How much attention will ManC give to their game with Southampton I wonder, ahead of a potential CL final? Interesting afternoon ahead, as we just need Leicester to secure the title in their game an our and Week 36 will be complete? …
    Well almost …
    Cheers
    Gerry

  53. allezkev says:

    Gerry, From where I was sitting, well standing actually, we always stand, traditionalists you see, the demo was quite muted, I’d say about 1 in 15 ‘fans’ had a poster up, maybe less – Time for Change – and it actually elicited more pro – Arsenal and pro – Arsene chants.
    The 78th minute demo passed with a wimper tbh, so the media will be disappointed…

    Most of the people I spoke to were uncomfortable with airing any grievances in public, even if you want to see a change, you feel guilty because of what the man has done for the club and the respect we all hold for him.

    It was not a great game, it is worrying seeing us play with such a lack of zip, but Norwich defended well, and we mustn’t forget that they are fighting for their lives…

    Elneny for me, was superb, Ozil also, whilst Petr Cech is magnificent in goal, what a signing he has been…

    You might think I’m crazy, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Arsenal didn’t go up to the Etihad and win next weekend. It’s been tha kind of season.

  54. Gerry says:

    Thanks Kev. It kind of sounded that it might be heading for the last spot on MOTD. 😀

    I know what you mean about the dilemma regarding the manager. I stick by my view of wanting him to have a proper crack at it with enough quality that brings out the best in the talent we have in the squad … but that does not mean I remain uncritical of him.

    The media certainly hoped that the protest would have been bigger. Even the Beeb had us as non-leaguer’s as far as demonstrations go 😀

    As for the Man C game I think a lot will depend on how secure they feel regards being in the CL next season, rather than have it as an all or nothing game on Wednesday?
    A Leicester win would help in that regard too, but WHA look more of a threat given their run in? It will be harder for us if the Mancs lose today, and don’t progress in the CL?

    Getting back to AW’s position. If the fans attitude is really hurting the players ability to play well, he may well ‘fall on his sword’ as it were. And the board may listen, given the background of managerial changes due to happen (or not in the case of LVG?) at the end of the season. One in particular could have a bearing, That is the PSG vacancy? AW might like that if he wants to cut all ties should the parting turn acrimonious?
    I am not saying that is in his thoughts, but PSG might come calling?

    On the other hand, he may ask his successor to come and join him on the front bench for his final season, assuming that Bould is not a candidate? That way, the heir to the throne could have an influence on any incoming transfers who he would like to have further down the line?

    Just a brief note on that subject. Lethal strikers are not 10 a penny, so suppose we don’t get PEA, or anyone of that calibre, would a combination of Welbeck, Akpom, Alexis(if he stays), and Giroud(ditto) as Plan B be sufficient? That part of the budget could then be used to get at least one CB, if not two, as Kos’s fitness will suffer if he is asked to do too much?
    Just a thought
    Cheers,
    Gerry

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    new post new post 🙂

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