Theo the Panther, Iwobi the Polar Bear, Alexis the Pack of Woles: Arsenal are Full of Deadly Animals

Two games, 3-0 and 2-0 to the Arsenal, five goals, clean sheet and mesmerizing football for two times 45 minutes. It is good to be a Gunner this week! 🙂

We expected it to be hard to break the Swiss defence down, and previous Basel games on British soil proved very hard for our PL colleagues. We were warned. So what is the best thing to do: bamboozle – or bambasel – them with high pressure, run around the emmental holes  like crazy killer animals and pounce as soon as possible.

Arsenal’s first half against Basel was as good as football gets. We could have scored five in that half alone, but two was still a fine reward for the attacking football we unleashed on the Basel players. Just as against the Chavs, the job was done after 45 minutes, and Arsenal once again put on the handbrake in the second half to see out the game and spare our opponents. This may sound easier than it was, as it still requires discipline and concentration. The fact that we were able to see out the two last games with such composure and maturity is also very welcome.

Eight Positives from Arsenal v Basel:

  1. Theo the panther: Walcott loves space to hunt down his pray and pounce instinctively on any opportunity that comes his way. Theo does not overthink things and sometimes this shows but often he is victorious as a result of it. His second goal was a typical Theo finish: beautifully executed. But his first goal was even better: as a desperate panther he pounced on Alexis’ fine cross and left the Swiss defence for melted, fondue-ready Gruyere. What a fine brace by the reborn one;
  2. Alexis the pack of wolves ‘in one’: flipping heck I love this Alexis even more than the previous seasons’ one. What an engine this guy has, and what a desire to play football, enjoying the dirty work as much as the lofty stuff. Desperately unlucky not to score himself but he won the game for us with two selfless and clever assists. Burnley are you hearing that sound of howling wolves coming your way?!
  3. Ozil the enabling chameleon: Mezut is just so adaptive and flexible, always aiming to add maximum attacking value to the team whatever it requires. He still does not have an assist this season, yet we score about 2.5 goals per game now – wow. He has two PL goals already, though, after missing the first few games and could have had one or two more on Wednesday. The link up play with his fellow attackers is such a joy to watch and more is still to come.
  4. Iwobi the polar bear: Alex is fast when he attacks and already has an artic cool head when it comes to decision making. He also has stamina to run and run  between the defence and attack lines, and sniffs out danger with his footie nose. A really good team serving performance on Wednesday and looking a bit better after the Cheese than during the weekend. Monreal appreciated it;
  5. Xhaka the black bear: you don’t mess with Granit. He protects the forest behind him and will pounce on you if you leave him any space. A very disciplined performance based around his excellent positioning and presence on the pitch – gave his fellow countrymen no chance.
  6. Santi the puffin: Is there a more colourful and joy-inducing animal on the British shores? Cazorla brings joy and creativity to the team with a constant and positive energy and a fabulous ability to spot and pounce on openings. What a well spotted pre-assist for our first goal.
  7. Ospina, Koz and Mustafi the triangle of doom gorillas: they did not have too much to do, but every time they had to get involved they formed a triangle of morale sapping doom. They are fast, they are hard (but fair), they don’t give up till you are well outside their domain, and if you do not get the hint you will come to regret it. A vey mature and focussed performance.
  8. Bellerin and Monreal the hyena-leopards: is there one animal that sums up our fantastic full backs? For me they have the never give up attitude of the hyena and speed and pounce of the leopard. The final part of the hunt still needs improving a bit as we need more key passes and assists from them, but they are vital animals within our team.

By TotalArsenal

37 thoughts on “Theo the Panther, Iwobi the Polar Bear, Alexis the Pack of Woles: Arsenal are Full of Deadly Animals

  • I thought that we will concede against Basel, but we are so strong in all areas that they were reduced to rabbits facing 11 black giant bears.

    We should have scored more, but I feel that they have done well to keep the scoreline at 2-0.

    I watched the first half replay, and felt that Basel is not a bad team. They are quick on the break, and should have converted a couple of chances, had we not pressured them so much.

    We should keep Ooossspina playing in the CL, as we have 2 really good keepers.

    I will watch the second half tonight. Thanks 17ht for recommending the first half.

    TA, please churn out the match preview for Burnley, and I hope that we burn them down this Sunday.


  • The animal kingdom! Tell you something TA, I wouldn’t want to run into any of those packs!

    Our scintilating form is beginning to look more and more like our property. Not borrowed or rented for a match or two.

    If we are able to keep it up, past the interlull, past Swansea , I’d put my good money down that the crown is ours.

    The bookmakers are hurriedly rewriting their odds. I want to catch them before they know what hit them.

  • Ah! The 80’s …. Anarchy and all that …
    ‘His mother bought him a synthesiser / Got the Human League in to advise her / Now he’s making lots of noise / Playing along with the art school boys” – The Undertones

    Come on, stop showing your age TA

    Anyway, nice positives. I think 7 could have had this added, ‘ and Osina, with the reflexes of a Chameleon’s tongue’ . I only say this because I too, failed to give him a mention 😀

    Yes, it is looking good. As PE said, it is ‘Brand Arsenal’, not a cheap copy. It is the sort of football that brings the confidence into any game. If a side has a weakness, then our attack will find it?

    But, will the injury curse strike us down once more? This is where the rotation during October that I spoke of on the back end of the previous post, will really need to be managed. If only for us to find a Plan B should we need one?

    Meanwhile, at least until Sunday, we can bask in some memories of these latest results.


  • Well Arsenal 2016 are definitely playing along with the art school boys hehehe

    I do mention Ospina, Gerry, but like the addition of the chameleon’s tongue 🙂

  • Nice piece in the Daily Mail, by Martin Keown on Arsene Wengers 20 years…

    Thought that I’d tuned into VH1 by mistake….

    Total, are you by any chance an old New Romantic…? 😉

  • I love these analogies form the world of nature! My personal favourite is Santi as a puffin, as someone who is of 50 percent Scots I am now forever going to see a puffin when watching the Arsenal 🙂

    We do hunt in packs now, with the hunger, the single-mindedness and the natural teamwork of a pack. What I think we have again, like the classic Wenger teams of the 90s, is a team where we can look at players and we know exactly what their role is, and where the team has a style and identity of it’s own. No more “Barcelona-light”, and it is wonderful to have moved on from that path to where we are now a team with our own unique threats and a solidity to back it up.

    I reckon a punt on the Arsenal at 10 to 1 odds is pretty good business considering that there are only four consistently good teams in the premier league. But out of Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal, only one is good at both attacking and defending, and that to me equals first place in the league for the mighty Arsenal. COYRRG!

  • Brilliant T A make every word count!

    Surprised you didn’t include Van Persie the snake and the slimy twins Nasri and Cole.

    Ps agree with your selection

  • In your briefest of previews TA , you don’t say as to whom might be dropped for Giroud?

    I tease!

    Nah, I am not expecting any changes either. However, I think this is the team to break down PTB teams … at least in the first half? I’d guess this is how they will go about this game too. Pass and move quickly, and avoid injuries. As long as Alexis does not run himself into the ground, Giroud and Perez , and Ox or Elneny as the subs, depending on the score?

    I may have to settle for the audio link from the ‘Player, or watch it ‘as live’ in the early hours of the morning.

    Either way, I am expecting a win, just don’t want it to come at any price?
    Talking of that, I saw on J.Bird’s site that someone had tweeted that Coquelin was back in training?
    I hope so.

  • Aww.. No match preview. I was hoping for one more substantial than that. 🙂

    Guess my infrequent visits don’t deserve better service 😛

    Some reports that Maitland-Niles (who I will now just call Niles, like on his shirt) and Reine Adelaide (what’s it with all these hyphenated names?) have both travelled with the first team.

    I expect some rotation. Not sure who. But that Walcott and Iwobi were taken off midweek, I’d expect them to start. Perhaps Elneny will get a game for Santi. (Or Ozil with Santi moving up) and Perez to start up front.

    Wenger had said in his press conference that Giroud is unavailable with injury (gives him a real intl break)

    My guess.
    Bellerin Mustafi Kos Gibbs
    Xhaka Elneny
    Walcott Santi Iwobi

    Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Monreal, Niles, Ox, Ozil, Alexis

  • Yes Gerry. Coquelin can be seen in the trainings pictures on the official site. I’ve left him out as a matter of abundant caution, but perhaps there’s a place on the bench for him, and the two youngsters have only travelled as a fallback option in case he doesn’t make it through the pre match warm ups.

  • Teams are out…No changes for us…

    Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Cazorla, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez. Subs: Gibbs, Gabriel, Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Holding, Reine-Adelaide, Elneny.

    Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Hendrick, Marney, Defour, Boyd, Vokes. Subs: Flanagan, Kightly, Bamford, Robinson, Tarkowski, Arfield, O’Neill.

    Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

  • From the Guardian:

    No striker on the bench for Arsenal today. They do not have an abundance of options if plan A doesn’t go to plan. Lucas misses out today with a slight knee injury.

  • Thanks for the info 17ht.

    But yikes. So that’s Lucas Perez out with a knee problem, Giroud out with a tie injury, and Akpom out with a back injury. Injury crisis?

  • If we can’t get an advantage from City lost it will be so stupid.. So I think Xhaka or Cazorla must shoot several time.. to break the parking bus..
    And I think Ox must come to replace Iwobi..

  • Elneny and Ox to replace Xhaka and Iwobi.. Hope something fresh make a difference..

  • Yes.. we did it.. Ozil, Walcott, Ox and Koscielny.. Victory in a very last minute.. Bravo.. VCC..

  • Blimey! Skin of the teeth stuff. But no complaints. Every team needs a little luck at times. It should be a lesson for us for next time though – we won’t have it every game.

  • Scrappiest of wins, I thought that we did well, but Burnley parked the bus so well that we could not penetrate, and they played fantastic footy.

    The goal came when the Burnley players were thinking that they got a point and turned off, and it seems that we did it so late, that it reminded me or Leicester match last season.

    We are now one point behind spuds in third place, and 2 points off Citeh. So, nail biting 20th Wenger anniversary, and we were so close to a draw.

    Cheers on 3 points nonetheless.


  • A game that was tailor made for Giroud. Tough away game after a midweek CL night. We kept our concentration up on defense and right till the final whistle, and got a winner at the end, with WALCOTT winning the header for the knockdown.

    Perhaps a little lucky, but we deserved that luck. I’m flummoxed that people online seem to think we had a terrible first half. I thought we played well enough without being electric.

  • No.. it’s not lucky.. It’s a late goal.. hehehe.. Sanchez was so unlucky.. Our men keep believing and fighting till the end.. So proud of them.. Go Gunners..

  • Wow. Can’t say it was an epic. Not a big golf fan, but the Ryder cup is red hot st the moment.

  • I turned the to straight over at the final whistle. Assuming it was handball, wasnt Kos offside?

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