Bergkampesque Live-Blog. One Change for Watford (Ozil in, Coq out). New Signings

To Take a Backseat to the (Actual) Football?

Probably not, but so it goes in this modern era.  Still, having only earned one point from six in our opening two fixtures, it could be argued that winning today–alongside completing some transfer business–is critical for Arsenal’s early season.  What say you?  Please join us for breaking news and in-match commentary.  Line-ups should be out shortly…

Alexis to Lead the Line Again, But this time Ozil is in the Hole.

Team Sheets:

Arsenal team: Cech, Bellerin, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Cazorla, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis

Arsenal substitutes: Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny, Wilshere, Giroud

Watford: Gomes ; Kaboul, Prödl, Kabasele; Amrabat, Guedioura, Capoue, Behrami, Holebas; Deeney, Ighalo.

Substitutes: Pantilimon, Janmaat, Zuniga, Watson, Success, Sinclair, Pereyra.


So, Whaddayathink?

Arsenal set out a midfield heavy team with both Cazorla and Ozil in central positions.  Watford will be dangerous with Ighalo and Deeney at the sharp end of their attack.  Will Arsenal try to dominate possession and keep a spread pitch or will Theo and the Ox be used more on the counter?

Please join us in the comments today and let’s add to whatever good feeling might be had from the 99% sure signings from Spain, Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, with three points at Watford this afternoon.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

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121 Responses to Bergkampesque Live-Blog. One Change for Watford (Ozil in, Coq out). New Signings

  1. allezkev says:

    No surprises there really Total, didn’t Wenger say that Giroud was a bit short?

  2. FMJ14 says:

    Alexis sounds well up for this judging by his tweets.. He’s excited by the new signings coming in I’m sure 😀 got a feeling he will do well today with Ozil playing from the off. We do well against Watford so should be fine, but given our tendency for silly mistakes (something the u23s did over and over last night) All the more reason to keep solid and focused on a winning outcome. COYG!!

  3. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi fellas… Do you guys have the match on the telly today? I was thinking this one required a live-blog more than most with the 3 o’clock kickoff…

    FMJ, can you copy and paste those Alexis tweets?…

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Seventeenho. 🙂

    All Saturday 3pm matches are never on TV here in the UK, so thanks for setting up a live blog. I will be listening to the radio and checking in on comments made here. 🙂

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, Giroud being a bit short sounds like a Wengerism to me…. A good excuse to continue with Alexis as our CF which of course is fine with me. I had opted for Ollie in the middle as I reckon playing both Ox and Theo on the wings is not such a good idea. But as soon as Perez joins we can play Perez – Alexis – Theo/Ox and that would make me more excited. The Ox is getting another chance to shine and he better starts taking them, as Perez will likely slot into the team straightaway after the Interlull..

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi TA….I will try to do my usual commentary. IMO, it’s a different game with Ozil in there so I’m feeling pretty excited for this one. Also, as promised several days ago, you’ve got mail…

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for mail. Will read after the game.

    Yes Ozil will make a difference. Just not sure that Ox and Theo together is a good idea in terms of taking chances but love to be wrong today. 🙂

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arsenal in black (or very dark blue) with yellow, Watford in yellow with black (or very dark blue)…almost like they had it planned…

    We have kick-off…

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech gets his hands on a Watford cross but then throws too long for Theo…

  10. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis fouled wide on a long pass from Nacho…

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi FK doesn’t clear the first man…

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    We are a very small team today so set pieces don’t hold a lot of promise…

    5th minute: Watford seem content to sit off us… Bellerin passes to the wrong color but we get it back without trouble…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis dropping deep and almost finds Ozil but the latter is flagged offside as he also fails to control the pacy pass.

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    7th min: Watford GK goes all the way to Cech and we build (from the back, slowly) again…

    Theo and Bells do well and Ozil’s great pass to Alexis almost looks like a pen. Play is stopped due to Alexis grabbing his head…

  15. allezkev says:

    BBC 5Live on the radio for me Total as I’m working (as usual) and from they have said on the commentary is that we’re trying to hit Watford with pace via Walcott and long passes…

    Fingers crossed now….

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    It looks like Perez is a good set piece taker btw

  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    PEN has been given…Sorry, there… Santi to take it…

  18. allezkev says:

    Fingers uncrossed

    Viva Santiago…

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Penalty once again…. come on Santi! 1-0

  20. 17highburyterrace says:


    Kicked down the middle to the spot Gomes had vacated…

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Lot of confusion on the radio re pen or not… We are not complaining though. COYG!

    Listening to, Kev

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    We’ve got some spring now playing overloads on either side of the pitch… Watford will have to want the ball a bit more to get back into this one

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    away fans in fine singing mood which is music to my ears

  24. allezkev says:

    Ok 17tino, it seems to be working amigo…

  25. allezkev says:

    Sorry, I meant Total

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xhaka and Santi look very comfortable on an early lead. Watford are looking a bit more ready to play now, however.

    Bells loses the ball. Alexis looks extra hungry this afternoon…

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    16th minute: Holobas fails to keep a ball in and we’re in no hurry to get re-started… Watford try a long ball but it’s too long….Again, no rush to try and push up for a 2nd…

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Theo nips in and Prodl (the giant) gets yellow… Theo would’ve been gone…

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Key now to keep tempo up and focus hard on getting a second before half time

  30. allezkev says:

    According to radio, Alexis is spinning out to the left dragging Kaboul out of the middle, sounds like a very fluid system we’re playing…

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi FK is better but still cut out…

    Xhaka shows his passing range… Ozil is getting a lot of space… Watford given a throw that should have been ours deep in their territory…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kev, Alexis looks like he’s permitted to go anywhere and will cover a lot of ground for a CF. Everyone is filling the spaces and spreading the pitch nicely; players like Ox and Theo are popping up central as well as wide…

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    22nd minute: Watford’s only route is over the top thus far and an attempt to reverse fields goes out of play.

    Theo, Santi and Bells combine to win a corner.:

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Taken slowly with Kos telling Santi to take it with his left foot… I love it…

    Kos almost puts in a poorly cleared first attempt.

    Oooh….Santi puts one across the face and Theo almost scores from a very tight angle, Gomes blocking with his body….

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    Whoa…Great save from Cech down the other end and Watford are finally alive.

    Kos had missed the cross and Cech’s save was pure reflex. That’s a big one….

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    He does great instinctive saves our Petr

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bells gives away another one and Watford look lively. We push them back, however, and finally take the ball back after Xhaka is forced to clear and they put one on the roof of the net.

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Santi—wow, what a tackle…and earns the one-santi-cazorla chant…

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford are definitely back in the match now…but they retreat well with any turnover…

    30th min: Stroking it around the back without much penetration. Xhaka’s long pass is decent but into touch off Alexis… And later, trying to clear our box, Xhaka wins a foul to stop their play…

    It’s a game now, however, so a 2nd would be a very tasty treat….

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    33rd min: Alexis chasing a long ball should be given a corner but is called for a foul even though Kaboul tripped over himself…

    Ozil pushed off the ball but gets no whistle… Every call going their way since the pen, I fear…

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds like we are losing the battle in midfield at the moment

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford long throw earns a corner but it’s headed wide with Nacho jumping short defending it. A bit of a let off there…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    We’ve had a few giveaways in MF but it’s mostly about all the calls going for Watford…

    Oooh very good chance there but Alexis from a tough angle has his shot saved…

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    It was a lovely 1-2 and maybe Alexis could’ve done better getting it back to Mesut for the shot….

  45. 17highburyterrace says:

    Amarbat called for shirt pulling as he rounded Kos to get into our box…

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    39th min… Alexis and Ozil are hooking up nicely down the left today…and Gomes has to get down a couple of times to stop us.

    A Watford attack is decent but ultimately the throw is given our way. Amarbat is troubling Nacho down our left side, however…

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    GOAL… 2-nil…

    Alexis from Theo but the spun in ball had to be confirmed by the goal line technology!!!!

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    It was a great cross and a bit of a scuffed finish, but good enough…

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear Theo made a good assist

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis’ movement today has been real trouble for Watford…And don’t speak it too loudly but Theo’s been good as well.

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    There’s so much freedom of movement that it’s important some others spread the pitch. Ozil sometimes is going wide to do so but so are Theo and Santi.

    Bells had a decent chance but chooses to pass…Xhaka finds Theo with a long one and he forces another Gomes save…

    Other end, Cech steps up to stop a promising Watford break…

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Xhaka getting some fine praise as well. Sounds like we have been playing some very fine footie!! 🙂

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil header makes it 3-nil… Watford were sleeping!!!

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    3-0 fucking brilliant. A Mesut header as well!!

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cross was inch perfect from Alexis….

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s a killer…on the stroke of half-time…

  57. allezkev says:

    I just don’t think you understand…
    He’s Arsene Wengers man…
    He’s better than Zidane…
    We’ve got Mesut Ozil

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, Xhaka’s range of passes are Santi-esque…My only worry about him is that he seems to like to play at medium tempo and under total control. I’ve yet to see him really get pacy or cut down his stride to make a play, perhaps a reason he seems to foul so often. He did get fouled himself back at 1-nil to break up a Watford attack…

    Alexis, my fantasy captain today, is racking up a fine total with 2 assists and a goal….

  59. FMJ14 says:

    Yesssss!!! Alexis Sanchez Baby! HT I missed my cue for the pasting of the tweets but the evidence of his intent is firmly on the pitch today. Things starting to click into gear really nicely now. It needed a few games to get into the groove.. 😀

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Control is important in his position, 17, so that is actually music to my ears 🙂

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi FMJ, no worries… Maybe some contract extensions to complete the August business would be in order. People are so obsessed with signings that they don’t realize it’s the salaries that really matter. We need to lock down our best players more than taking punts on new ones…

    In my opinion…

    Of course, Gerry will tell us that Alexis is just having a nice match to put himself in the shop(pe?) window…

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    We are in the groove alright, FMJ 🙂

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy you made Alexis your captain, 17HT – Arsene does not give easily on a plan or player and he got rewarded for it..

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Did not hear much about the Ox… How has he played?

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    I agree TA–when on the ball Xhaka looks brilliant but he could use some Kos-esque work when it comes to executing defensive plays on the ball (tackles), I think. Actually it’s too early to tell, but at his age he’s only going to improve….

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed 17HT, early days. It is some team to play Santi, Xhaka and Ozil in midfield…. XXXcreativity!

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox hasn’t been great but that’s down to luck as much as anything. He’s been doing his part to go central and then back out wide but the ball just hasn’t come his way much. I think he had one that he lost out of play but also another that was called the wrong way. For a bit there it seemed the ref was giving all call Watford’s direction…

    3 nil seems awfully comfortable so this could be a good time to bring in Elneny for half an hour or more or Chambers and Gibbs. Giroud should probably also get some game time.

    Watford bring in another attacker, Perreira, I think…

    Kick off…

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers for Ox first half analysis 🙂

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis has given the defender kittens, says the commentator… I love it….

    He looks like he wants more as a pass to him is overhit….

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Great picture on the BBC website 🙂

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    49th minute: Theo fouled as he plays it out of our box…

    We seem pretty content to lay a bit deeper but Theo presses and forces a turnover…his cross finds nobody however. Ox might have been on it but looked on his heels….

  72. 17highburyterrace says:

    More Ox follies….a poor first touch and then he loses it in the corner…

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    I might have to take a break here to make coffee for my wife…As it is written in the bible in the book of Hebrews…Get it, he brews…


  74. allezkev says:

    I like that kit, very stylish…

    Would be good to see us keep a clean sheet and add a couple more to our score.

  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford make another change… Janmaat in for somebody…

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    He brews haha 🙂

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    WOW Bellerin dances and crosses perfectly but Ox cannot convert the goal…

    Other end, Capoue blasts one but right into Cech’s belly for the catch.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    yeah good kit, makes us look strong and determined 🙂

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Not good to give away a goal so quickly…. lack of concentration/focus?

  80. 17highburyterrace says:


    Arsenal fully on the back foot save one with a lucky header but the rebound falls nicely and Perreira converts it…

    Game back on…

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    He brews the team screws…up 😦

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yellow for Deeney on Nacho

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, wifey hasn’t gotten her coffee yet and in fact was watching…her fault still…

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Theo tries to chip Gomes after lovely play from Ozil…No dice, well over…

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis handball…Other end, Amarbat forces a good high grab from Cech…


  86. 17highburyterrace says:

    66th minute: Bellerin wins a foul…

    It’s all long balls so I think some freshening of the squad would be good…Now Nacho gets called for one which could lead to some danger. I’d get Giroud in, if only for set piece defending….

    Oooh…Bells runs a strong counter but Ox was offside at the end before a(nother) poor chip.

    We’re not holding the ball very well, Elneny please…

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    “I think the Ox chose the wrong option” how many times do we hear this. Should have been four and game done and dusted.

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech forced into a double save…We’re rocking a bit here…

  89. 17highburyterrace says:

    Jack for Ozil, Elneny for Ox….

    Excellent, I think…

  90. 17highburyterrace says:

    Still under the kosh and we give a corner…

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    Good subs it seems. Jack wide, Santi in the hole and Elneny next to Xhakakahn

  92. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech punches clear but Watford are still pushing…We need to punish them with a counter…

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    I think we could use Ollie in there to hold up the ball a bit…

    Geez, long throw and Ighalo heads over…

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not a header but a bicycle kick…Sorry…

  95. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nacho off, so the final sub might be Gibbs instead…

  96. 17highburyterrace says:

    We need some time on the ball. Indeed Gibbs is the final sub…

  97. 17highburyterrace says:

    More loose play from Bellerin on a promising move. Behrami wins a foul but Alexis stays out of Kevin Friend’s book…

  98. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yellow for Amrabat as he goes off improperly. Somebody with a Sideshow Bob haircut comes on…

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford are on the front foot and Cech has to save a weak header from a corner…

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gibbs defends well on Ighalo but still can’t get it. In the end, Ighalo’s shot is a weak one and easy for Cech…

    We still aren’t keeping the ball very well…

  101. 17highburyterrace says:

    The sideshow bob fellow is named Success… 🙂

  102. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford still pressing…Behrami booked with a late challenge on Theo…

    Better play there with Elneny at the heart of things. Bellerin ultimately called for a foul, however.

  103. 17highburyterrace says:

    Elneny wins a foul…

    86th min: We’re holding the ball a bit better but Jack, trying to find Alexis, overhits one…

  104. 17highburyterrace says:

    88th min: Santi and Alexis strut their stuff on the right…And Alexis presses and wins the ball back but fails to find Theo on the left and shoots to a catchable spot for Gomes…

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    And now Alexis does not play in Theo or Cazorla but goes for goal himself… With two assists and a goal he can get away with it though..

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    90th minute: Arsenal playing keepball and Jack gets knocked down with Holobas getting a yellow for his trouble

  107. 17highburyterrace says:

    Five minutes extra time…

  108. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice foot in by Xhaka at the top of our box….

    First Arsenal yellow goes to Jack the lad… FK goes over everybody and out for a Goal kick. Two of the five have been played….

  109. 17highburyterrace says:

    4 of the 5 have been played with Jack winning a FK deep in the corner…

  110. 17highburyterrace says:

    Full time, He’s (off to) brew…

    3-1 Arsenal

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Good win and nice to hear we controlled the game again when Elneny and Jack came on. Shame we had no shots on target in the second half but that often happens away from home with such a big lead.

  112. TotalArsenal says:

    17 HT,

    Thanks for excellent match comments which closely matched with the commentary on

  113. njk84sg says:

    Great game, pity that we took out Ozil to see out the game.

    Man of the match is of course Ozil, and Alexis a close second. We should have added more, but somehow we let them score a goal.

    Cheers on 3 points,

  114. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geez, 3 points (& 2 new signings) but only the one comment since the end of the match…And I don’t even understand it… (Why leave Ozil in?–My guess is for the fantasy points…)

    Hull were very close to keeping ManU at bay…but concede in the 92nd….

    Ah well…

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    Need to see the game now first before I can further comment. Really happy with the three points, the two signings and one half of very good football by all accounts. 🙂

  116. allezkev says:

    Thanks for the commentary 17tino, and comments from Total, you boys keep it real… 😉

  117. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Great win.. 3-1 not bad.. I hope a 4-0 resulted.. hehehe..

    This season is a wonderful TW for us.. We bring another two great players.. six in total.. although Asano can’t get his working permits yet.. pity for him
    Four in action.. one for loan and one youngster..

    I Hope Monreal get well soon..
    Maybe Wenger need to rotate more.. to keep everybody fit..
    This Season.. Back four seem to be the most challenging to solved..

  118. retsub1 says:

    Very pleased with the win. It’s dissaponting not to catch games on streams anymore, but having just watched the highlights, I am sort of glad I didn’t. That kit looks like it’s having a nuclear reaction. it was also Watford colours. WHY?.?.

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