Kos shows Moss who’s Boss

What a bizarre game that was today. Arsenal were totally in control but just lacked that bit of sharpness to get the all important second goal and settle our nerves once and for all… But then, a totally unexpected and uncalled for red card for Granit Xhaka gave the Clarets colour back to their faces; and his rusty replacement, le Coq, clumsily gave away a penalty in extra time to cheaply offer them an opportunity to take a rare, and probably never envisaged, away-point back to Burnley.

They scored the pen, even though Cech, for once, was very close to saving it, and it looked like we dropped two very big points. Fortunately, Koscielny had other ideas and forced a penalty for ourselves from the linesman, who left Moss with no other option then to point towards the penalty spot. With just a few seconds to go Alexis produced the calmest of Panenkas – apologies for the tautology – only to burst into total extacy when he realised his wickedness had been successful. That celebration had me go all emotional, but then I am a romantic. 🙂

I thought the team was set up perfectly for this match with Xhaka and Rambo interchanging vertically constantly and bossing the midfield with ease. There was plenty of movement up-front from Ozil, Giroud, Alexis and Iwobi, and even though Burnley played very disciplined defensively, we made chances on a regular basis and played some fine football in general. Just a shame the attackers were more interested in the colours of their footwear than in their deadly shooting precision, before the game.

The Swiss hothead and Welsh duracell are slowly starting to form a fine duo in the DM pivot, but it is a real shame that they will not be playing together for a while now, after Xhaka switched off for a second to lunge forward with two stretched legs and get a straight red. Other referees would possibly have given a yellow card rather than a red as there was no malicious intention, but Xhaka should know much better by now. He comes with a reputation and Moss, who consulted the linesman to be fair, did not hesitate much before showing Granit the dominant colour of his country’s flag – and for the second time this season. Before his sending off, Xhaka had played some sublime football, dominating the midfield with flair and distributing the ball with clockwork precision. He read the game well and intercepted powerfully a few times, just a shame that he has not picked up yet that his ‘Most Wanted’ picture is on the wall in every referee’s office. Stay calm and strut your stuff, Granit, if you want to succeed in this league. Wenger has a job on his hand to train these sorts of fouls/moments of madness out of him. Maybe he should show him a video of Joey B, who was also briefly on show today…: ‘Do you want to end up like him, Granit?!!’

Mustafi scored our, and his first for the club, goal with a well placed header from an Ozil precision-rocket corner that found its way to the far, unprotected, corner and beyond the outstretched hand of Heaton. It is amazing that he has yet to lose with Arsenal, and we can only wonder what our position in the league would be right now had he not been injured during the two crucial PL away defeats in December. The spirit of Koz and Mustafi – KozMus, owners of space and time – is a joy to watch and vital for winning any silverware this season. With the cool and fearless Cech behind them, and the hard working Gabriel and Nacho working besides them, they are a defence to be proud of and believe in. Having said that, in terms of having width and attacking menace on our right side, Bellerin is the better option as FB and we missed him today.

Koz and Mustafi saved the attackers’ blushes today but I am sure they will be back to scoring ways soon. With Xhaka most likely out for four games, it is now up to Coq and Rambo to form a winning partnership in midfield. Against the Saints they will get a very tough test.

Well done the boys for winning three very big points and moving to second in the table despite all the adversity. They did the Shirt proud today.

By TotalArsenal.

This entry was posted in match review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Kos shows Moss who’s Boss

  1. Goonereris says:

    Fair match report there TA and key incidents aptly captured.
    “He comes with a reputation and Moss, who consulted the linesman to be fair, did not hesitate much before showing Granit the dominant colour of his country’s flag” you stated, which got me blaming him for his choice of national team, where he had a choice of three nations’ flags to pick from (one of which does have red as dominant colour as well). Better still, does he have any link to Sweden? Yellow seemed like the right colour for our own good there 😉

    It’s going to be a cautious midfield play for us, the next few games, as we are already short in that area, even prior to Xhaka’s impending suspension. I have not liked a Rambo-Coquelin combo or “Ram-Lin”, as you called it and will be uncomfortable against bigger teams. Ox is an option in the middle and it should give him playing time he needs. Who would have thought it, how we started the season fully loaded in the middle only to end up being short at any point in the season.

    In the end, happy for the win. I know most still won’t consider us a threat to the leading team now, but all it requires is for them to lose to Liverpool (we taking 3 points against Watford) and they will start to feel the jitters as we get to meet them right after. Win and it is suddenly down to 2 points, the gap. Can only hope because we will be playing those big teams as well, at some point.

  2. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Yes.. it was a dramatical win.. but still 3 points.. hehehe.. Burnley keeper Heaton was outstanding.. He did it again last night..

    Chelsea leading 8 points and no CL games.. A little bit unfair.. hahaha..
    But wait, 3 games ahead they will play Liverpool, Us, and Burnley.. They will lost some points there.. and I hope we don’t.. hehehe..

    Yes, Liverpool must win to maintain their hope for PL.. And Kloop will do anything for next week battle..

  3. njk84sg says:

    Fine review of the game TA. Nothing much to write in the first half as we were so good.

    It seems like the whole team is gelling quite well ahead of our big games, and though some well needed rotations are greatly needed, we should not rotate to the point that the whole team dynamics is compromised.

    Alexis up top in the last moments made the game quicker, or is it that we are just irked by the penalty against us?

    JK

  4. abiriga says:

    Thanx for that but have my worries with xhaka just like Fernandinho now going to sit four games and these are defining games in our chase for silverware just at the wrong time. So still think he is blame for the whole Wenger fracas so he has cost us alot in this game..Wenger in touchlines against Watford most likely

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Lol Eris, I prefer the blue of the Swedish flag… nothing but air in referee’s hand! CoqLin or RamCoq, which I prefer, could come good. Francis will do his job but it is Aaron who needs to continue to play disciplined. He is starting to look back to his best and fingers crossed he and Coq can last for a while. Elneny cannot come back fast enough, though.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Henry and 84

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Abiriga welcome, yes that could have been very costly and Wenger’s sending off was a consequence of Xhaka’s dismissal. But then maybe Arsene being sent off led to the pen for the foul on Kos. Sometimes emotion has to come out, even though the ref made the correct main decisions.

  8. njk84sg says:

    Wanted to write my lengthy opinion on the match until I saw Arseblog’s post.

    So, your say, Gerry.

  9. allezkev says:

    The central midfield situation is a bit of a worry, which is typical with Chelsea coming up…
    If we lose either Ramsey or Coq, then I guess we’re into the option of Oxlade-Chamberlain or Jeff in centre/mid..?

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    We have options still, Kevski. Debuchy or Mustafi could move into midfield for the defensive tasks and I am less worried about the attacking side of things, as per the options you have mentioned.

  11. allezkev says:

    Good point Total, maybe Monreal, with Gibbs at left-back…
    Hopefully it won’t come to that, but we always seem to suffer a rash of injuries prior to a vital league game…

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    True, but hopefully having Koz and Mustafi available and super attackers Ozil, Giroud, Alexis and Welbeck, and good back up too, is looking promising though. And Costa is always a skinny late away from being sent off 😉

  13. Gerry says:

    I will try not to repeat too much of what I predicted might happen before the match, even if there was a greater chance of it happening than a repeat of the scorpion kick, as Ramsey proved so nicely. 😀

    I hoped that this was the game that would be a blueprint for the sort of team we would put out against Chelsea. Sadly that was not the case. Made even worse by the red card, and subsequent ban.
    I agree with you TA, the Xhaka Ramsey pairing was getting better. For the most part it was a Xhaka left side, Ramsey right side. One forward one back. Were it breaks down is when Ramsey is forward he likes the ‘inside left’ channel, and returns to the left midfield spot. I have said before, when Xhaka is caught beyond the right side of centre circle he is uncomfortable.
    That for now is a problem they don’t have to work on.

    There was no doubt that Bellerin, in front of Gabriel, made a big difference in those final extended minutes, and that certainly could be tried again?

    Not having read anything other than the comments above, and match and post-match ones on the previous post, so I have no idea what you are talking about re Ox? But the thought of Ox alongside Ramsey in MF does node bode well.
    There is some logic in pairing Coquelin though, if he (Coq) is the more disciplined DM of the two. Probably better than Elneny, because he would duplicate what Ramsey likes to do, only taking the ball with him. Personally, I think the untried Ramsey Mustafi is a better left right pairing, Mustafi is the better ball passer if in the defensive mid possession?
    We shall see. The Xhakand Niles unit will have to wait, and is discounted in the meantime for the same reason as Elneny.

    I could mention a name on my scouting missions, who could replace both Cazorla and Ramsey in one fell swoop, but I won’t, because it is as unlikely as Ake being available .. Mind if Chelsea start splashing the cash for defenders they might be tempted, and he might be keen?
    At least when this window closes everybody should be able to remove Debuchy’s name as a possible starter?

    One thing for certain, this game was not a game to measure our chances against Chelsea. Let us hope the Southampton one does bring some fresh hope?.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Gerry, still two games to go before the Chavs and that game will stand on its own anyway. Saints next and that will be a very good test, especially in midfield where they are very strong.

  15. Gerry says:

    Ah TA , but they are without Van Dyke though.

    Yes, this will be the 3 in 8 days set. We have to be sharper up front in all three.
    Cheers,
    G

  16. Pony Eye says:

    TA, your report tells me one thing… you got good nerves. Me? I couldn’t come to a conclusion.

    Really difficult assessing our performance because Burnley conceded the midfield when we had the ball and bypassed it with long balls when they had the ball. So the fact that we looked good might be because there was very little opposition in the midfield.

    It beats me though why we don’t employ “sterile” possession when we need to e.g. when we went a man down but leading by a goal. Frustrate them with sterile possession and try to hit them only when their guards are down. Instead we appear to loose composure. Evident against both Burnley and Swansea (1st match).

    All the same our sweetest 3 pts so far this season.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Ah PE you cannot ask a dancer to become a parking instructor. To attack is in our molecule of life, to defend is not! 😀

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Pony, I was wondering why Nigeria did not make it to the finals of the ACN? By far the biggest population in Africa but not enough good football players??!??!?

  19. allezkev says:

    That’s 5 players on loan to Dutch clubs…

    Good to see Crowley get a full game…

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    birthplace of TF, Kev; no better place to learn to dance with a ball 🙂

  21. allezkev says:

    Could do with Ghana beating Egypt, next up…

    Egypt need a draw to progress…

    Arsenal need Elneny back…

  22. allezkev says:

    Ah, really Total… 😊

    Are they your Dutch team then?
    Have you visited their stadium?
    Who could you compare them with in England, you know, size of club, history etc?

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    no but they are based in the province I grew up in. I went to their ground, De Koel (the hole), a few times and have seen my boyhood team, Roda JC, win there once or twice. They are a small team that seldom or never make it into the top flight; say they are a bit like Peterborough or Carlisle.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Maybe they a bit more of a Wigan

  25. allezkev says:

    Blimey, I’ve been to Carlisle – Brunton Park…

    You ain’t selling it to me TA… 😉

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Dutch club football is dead, Kev. Clubs cannot hold on to their stars and even their promising youngsters are leaving earlier and earlier.

  27. allezkev says:

    I’m doing a late one tonight, Liverpool St Stn isn’t the most salubrious place to hang about in at this time of the morning…

    Total, that’s really sad as I’ve long admired the ‘Dutch way’ of producing technically sound and very rounded footballers…

    I spent my teens and twenties watching great great footballers like Haan, Krol the brilliant Neeskens, Jonny Rep, Van Hanigem, Rob Resinbrink, (spelling) and of course the great Cruyff, these were wonderful exponents of the Total Football we all envied on these islands at a time of the rabid long-ball of which the Arsenal often overdid, despite Bertie Mees short lived experiment around 1972-73 of a more cultured style…

    I guess the lure of money is going to turn the head of any youngster & his family…
    So the chance to develop properly at a club that gives you time to grow, will spoil many a promising young Dutch footballer…
    What’s the point of joining Chelsea, Man City or even Arsenal, if you are only going to be loaned out?
    It might be a long long time before we see another Bergkamp or Overmars or Van Bronckhost coming to the EPL…

  28. Gerry says:

    Perhaps the way to change things is to take money out of it Kev?

    One thought I have, although not thought through on the legal ramifications, would be to raise the age of contract being agreed?
    For example, you could make professional contract between players and club to 21.
    Or, put a flat wage limit on players 18 and under, and have a training only agreement. Which means players could train at the top academies, proven top by results and paid by the national associations, but the youngster could still be allowedd play for the club of their choice. Which most likely would be either their local area, or where they might get regular games, either at Youth, or Under 23 level? By retaining local are links, it might stop wealthy clubs buying their parents as a back door way of signing promising youngsters, which is built in when it comes to under age players from poorer nationalities?
    The next stage would be to grade the youngsters turning 18, and limit the number of A Grade players between 18 and 21 that any club can sign. Alongside that, introduce the idea of 4 substitutes, one of which has to be a graduate from this age group, and has to be played before the 70th minute, otherwise the 4th tactical sub cannot be used. Uefa/FA please note!
    Their may need to be a slight final clause on the latter, where under 21’s are starting on a regular level if they are over 19. They become Grade A+ players in effect, and as such, remove themselves from the requirements ofthis clause.

    The stockpiling of youngsters by bigger clubs is what stifles their progress, is as you say Kev, and every bit of a problem with Arsenal, as it it with the other wealthy clubs. Most of that is down to the rich rewards that clubs receive so that, as we see on regular basis, they are more concerned about winning than developing youngsters into top players, so even if they get promoted to the bench they never get a serious chance of playing.
    It doesn’t help when youngster get paid vast suns of money, that they think they’ve made it. The incentives have to change, at whatever level. Not simply so they get encouraged to change clubs for more money, emphasing again that they have made it to the top level …. until they find that they are squeezed out by others doing the same. It may be the survival of the fittest (or greedy agents) at work, but real talent needs a bit more than money grabbing to get the best out each players capability.

    They have a right to earn money whilst they can, given the cream will only have a shelf life of about 12 to 15 years, those below that may be a bit longer if they drop a level. So some of the pay packet should go into an independent pension scheme, rather than all going into business opportunities that are not so clever as the Flamini model? They could still do that as well, but at least their final years would be secure irrespective of what they gamble away during their playing careers.

    All this may be too much ‘Nanny State’ involvement for some, with the regulation involved, but if it helps produce top quality players at all levels, from non-league to international level, it might be worth it if it squeezes out the greedy few who are in it purely for selfish gain?

    That is my thought for to day 😀

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Kev and Gerry, it is a a long story why Dutch club football has declined so much, maybe something for a future post.

    Kev, I like those taxi feedbacks; you should do it more often. 😀🔝

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good Morning fellas… I’m a day late on this one, but I said much of what I had to say during the match and afterwards on Sunday… In happier, more local news, the snow finally stopped. Yesterday was all about the shoveling (and blowing) but today we have a 2nd day of school closures (due to roads too snow-choked and narrow for the buses) so (hopefully) the boy and I can get up to the ski slopes on the early side and lay some tracks down… It should be fun…

    Watching our match was a little less fun…until the end at least… Gerry and his “oh dears” notwithstanding, I still think playing with Giroud up top is our best shot at breaking down the parked buses. We struggled earlier in the season w/o him in there (leaving it late in many games, including the reverse fixture, and failing to get needed results in games like Leicester away and Middlesboro at home) so I’m not totally convinced that the early goals would start coming just by leaving Ollie on the bench.

    Either way, we definitely seem to have a problem breaking well organized teams down, even though, in this one at least, we dominated the MF–at least until the sending off. I agree with you, TA, that Xhaka and Ramsey moved the ball well together through those spaces but I also agree with PE that Burnley were ceding those parts of the pitch and that we could have used what he calls “sterile possession.” to help see out the match after Xhaka went off. I sometimes call that sort of football “tika-taka” but I don’t think it necessarily has to be sterile. We could use it when we have a lead but also–by pushing the tight triangles further up the pitch–to create overloads nearer the opponent’s goal and slip in some killer passes to create better goal scoring chances. Instead, maybe because our best close-control player (Santi Cazorla) is out, we seem to rely on moving the ball more as individuals and taking shots from distance or playing very pacy mid-range passes and hoping our forwards can control them (or volley them) and get them into the net. We came close but, in the end, had to rely on set pieces and penalties to get the job done. Nervy indeed…

    during the match, Gooneris noted that Alexis only seems to have faith in Ozil as a competent teammate. I concur. Too many times, if his initial touch doesn’t allow for his own move towards goal, play slows down while the Chilean tries to freeze his marker and decide his next move. If he finds Ozil he’ll give up the ball quickly and continue his on. Otherwise, oftentimes at least, he’ll wait demand a foward run (often forcing a pass) or give up the ball but remain static offering only a bit of disappointed body language suggesting little faith in his target man to do anything good with the ball.

    Of course, he had enough of that sort of faith when he chipped towards Kos’ head right at the end and it all worked out… 🙂

    I’m not sure what the answer is. Playing him at CF is the easiest call but having him buy into the idea that others could work tighter 1-2s or (those tika-taka) triangles closer to goal is another. The key is getting him to buy into the idea that his team (and his club…) are good enough and could provide a platform for greater things moving forward. In other words, sign da ting, eh…and keep working hard–individually and for the team–out there on the pitch…

    With all the other drama from the match Alexis certainly isn’t our biggest headache. With Xhaka now out I have hopes that we can work our Coq-Sey in the center of MF (starting in the FA Cup match) but both will have to dig deep to avoid lapses in concentration and maintain the proper fore-aft balance not to mention control of the ball while not over-stretching hamstrings that seem prone to twanging. We’ll also likely have to cope with AW watching the same feed as most of us far-flung Gooners see (that which SKY or NBC cameras show…) and making his half-time adjustments from those due to his impending touchline ban for all the swearing and the shoving. Less of the manager is what many Gooners crave, so here’s a chance to see if it’s really such a good thing…

    So, we got the result (barely) but at a cost… OGAAT is the only way to go but the tightrope only seems to be getting tighter…

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Seventeenho 🙂

    Love it that Ewan McGregor snubbed Piss Morgan, the misogynist, today. Total Class!!

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    good point re Alexis’ (un)willingness and ability to work with the whole team rather than just with his football twin, Mesut. Something is still not right. Having said that, we created a good number of chances and shots on target, but were just not clinical enough. Luckily, our CBs were superb in every aspect on Sunday.

  33. Gerry says:

    Let’s get it right HT, I never said ‘oh dear’ once, let alone in the plural.

    What I predicted was that if you play Giroud from the start, the opposition are fully switched on and they can mark him out of it. We don’t so much break down PTB defences, rather we wear them down.. Which, if Giroud is on the bench, he can come on and do a super sub routine against a defence that will be worn down by a pacier attack.

    If I wanted to make a point about our first half display it would be this one. It was 22 minutes before anything remotely like useful came from Giroud when the ball was played to him, and that was his knock down to Monreal. An absolute gift for the ace goal poacher, Lucas, btw? All previous contact via him led to lost possession. I am not blaming Giroud for that as it is just sharp defending … but that is what you can expect. Even Alexis would fare little better if surrounded by 3 defenders each time the ball got near him. The point is the defenders do not have to move very far to mark Giroud do they? At least with the fluid front line they would have to rethink their positioning every once in a while?

    In respect to the comments about Alexis, an who he passes to, I think some of it is down to ‘will they play the ball back to me’? It is that selfishness that goes with a striker, as he wants to be on the end of any passing routine. With Ozil, he knows he will get a fair number of returns coming his way, somewhere along the line?

    I shall be watching a bit of AFCON this evening. I find it a mixture of sublime skill, blind panic, and unfathomable choices in pass selection. Fun to watch though.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  34. allezkev says:

    Great comments Gerry, even Wenger mentioned something along the lines of youngsters getting too much too soon, which probably dilutes their hunger.
    The old days of apprentices cleaning the seniors boots, cleaning out the dressing room and doing odd jobs around the stadium ensured they kept their feet grounded.
    That would be an outdated view now a days, but it worked…

    I look forward to that post Total, it would be very interesting…

    Maybe I’ll do you a post of what it was like to listen to the 2014 cup final in my cab… 🙂

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    That would be great, Kev 😀⚽️

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Match day observations of a Gooner cabby… 😳😍

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry says:
    January 22, 2017 at 14:00
    Oh dear, no early goals

    Alternative facts, I guess… Just joshing ya, Gerry… And you make valid points (I think) about wearing teams down and Giroud (perhaps) limiting fluid interchanging of positions. In truth, I think we’re at our most fluid in that sort of way when Theo (not to mention, as I always seem to do, Santi…) is in there and encouraged to take up spaces that are left vacant. Like A-Kev, I’m remembering the FA Cup final vs Aston Villa… No Ollie until late on in that one and–as Gerry might’ve predicted–he did get the injury time goal to add some extra gloss/humiliation… 😀 Of course, such sentiments will not be well taken by those who don’t miss Theo one bit… More smileys/winkys…

    What I think Alexis and Ozil have is the quickness to get into superior give and go positions so that passes can be delivered (and often returned) with the right weight on them. In many of these “slow” first halves I actually think our players are trying to move the ball at such ferocious pace that it makes receiving passes more difficult that it should be; cushioning touches often seem out of control and subject to being taken away when defenders press. As the defenders get tired it gets easier, but maybe it also gets smoother when there’s just a bit less pace on all the passes as our own guys tire out themselves… Additionally, I think it’s hard for too many of the others to match the first touch skills of the two guys who need to sign those big money contract extensions…

    Unfortunately, with the bans coming for Xhaka and AW it gets no easier while the matches seemingly refuse to diminish in importance…

    Finally, on the subject of leagues dropping in quality and how youths come up through them and elsewhere… Over here all of that is done under the guise of education. Arsenal, at least from what I hear, offer good schooling at their academy but then, of course, you need to get yourself invited. Still, what a great thing even if players don’t “make it.”

    The money pyramid means that the biggest clubs will always poach from the smaller ones and it’s only getting worse. At some point, however, the big(ger and bigger) fees for very young players will have to cease–no matter the incredible demands of the fans for shows of ambition. Combine that with outrageous expectations surrounding manager turnover and you get situations like the money Van Gaal paid for players like Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial who are then benched or sold under the next guy. Better academies and other educational opportunities with a footballing angle surely will take over (are taking over?…) from the (more localized) club model. Even my wife’s community college has a bunch of (former) English club trainees playing for them and all they offer is a plastic pitch (currently under 8 feet of snow) and a modest indoor space and gym. It may not be glamourous (English spelling this time…) nor the best education, but it’s an inexpensive way to see the world and (maybe) get going on a university degree while still making football a big part of your life. Many of the players (men and women…) have gone on to get scholarships (or just more playing time & education) at the 4 year schools over here. Of course, our class divisions are only getting worse and worse so maybe it’s pretty easy to outplay all the rich (white) kids who grew up playing in the suburban youth leagues… Anyhow, that’s just my take on things and I may be off base as well as on the wrong continent…

  38. njk84sg says:

    As much as I want something similar with relation to the above comments for the local football scene regarding the development of youngsters, I think we have went backwards here in Singapore in the community football scene as the pay is very meagre and promising young players will want more.

    So, they rather switch to playing weekend football as they will get a stable paying job with more money to survive and still able to play what they like, with less intensity.

    Such dire state is the local scene currently, and the local FA made plans to boost by bringing better benefits for youngsters, the lesser funds we have makes playing football here not very good.

    JK

  39. Goonereris says:

    Hello, gents. Getting in on this a bit late but better late than never, eh.

    TA did ask a question about Nigeria’s AFCON non- qualification…”Pony, I was wondering why Nigeria did not make it to the finals of the ACN? By far the biggest population in Africa but not enough good football players??!??!?”.

    Nigeria is still a footballing giant in Africa but did have its troubles when the administrators decided to create some instability in the team, after Stephen Keshi was sacked (he won the AFCON for Nigeria in 2013, mind which begs the issue as to what the administrators were smoking) and Sunday Oliseh appointed in his stead. After some insignificant results and nearing failure to qualify for the Cup, Oliseh resigned claiming a lack of support, amongst other reasons. This disoriented the team as there were a raft of changes by each experimental coach. Even with all these, I would say the team competed, held its own in its qualifying group (included Egypt, Tanzania and Chad) and may have stood a chance but for the withdrawal of Chad from the tournament; Chad was a guaranteed 6 points for Nigeria, if you ask me but may have made things a bit more certain, had they remained because Nigeria finished as runners-up.

    Egypt, the group winner, qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. After Chad’s withdrawal, the runners-up could no longer qualify as one of the two runners-up with the best records, as any group(s) reduced to just three teams had only the group winner qualifying for the finals and were not considered when determining the best second-placed teams.

    Look out for Nigeria in the World Cup qualifiers. We already top our group, which includes Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon.

    Cheers.

  40. Goonereris says:

    Speaking of AW’s impending ban and fine, I read it may be for two cases of misconduct (this may be the media Tele guiding the FA, by the way) : insulting Moss and physical contact on the 4th official. Ban may be extended beyond the expected 2 games, to a 4 game stadium ban meaning he won’t be allowed to watch from the stands or enter the dressing room. That will be harsh, in my view, all considered.

  41. Pony Eye says:

    TA, there is something in your email box.

  42. Gerry says:

    Did you do a bit of sly editing of my one liner HT? I could have sworn I wrote ‘Oh oh ….’ as I thought after posting one should have been a ‘Uh’.
    No matter, as it stands, it is in a singular form, not plural. Don’t exaggerated when making your point.

    Anyway, talking of getting predictions right, the Morocco game almost followed my script. Sublime skill on the part of the Moroccan who scored the only goal. Desperate defending at both ends of the pitch, and a multiple showing of wrong options regards to passing.
    However, the Moroccan team were well drilled in the art of feiigning injuries. True ‘Oscar’ quality.
    Not only with minimal contact, but no contact at all. They were pretty good at time wasting too, right from the kick off. When I say ‘good’, I mean taking it as far as you can go without getting a warning. They could bring the EPL up to a whole new level … as if it needed any help?.

    However Serena Williams also knows how disrupt an opponent on that score … just long enough composing herself without involving a comment from the Umpire?
    Mind, somebody should advise her on her wardrobe selection. That top she wore did nothing to disguise what an enormous posterior she has these days. If anything it exaggerated it!
    It did not stop her getting to the net in quick time when she needed to. 😀
    Overall, I thought Konta was her own worst enemy. Rushing shots, creating unforced errors. Another year’s experience and she will improve her game even more.

    Just observations folks …

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for that insight, 84, very interesting. It sounds like the basic salary to tempt players to go full time is simply too low.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Erismus ⚽️⚽️

    What a ludicrous situation re Chad’s withdrawal and Nigeria losing out. If something like that would happen to the Netherlands, war would be declared. Good luck with World Cup qualification! Would love to see Iwobi stealing the show in Russia.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Have you become allergic to the Arse, Gerry? 😂🌶

    Serena is one mighty woman and sports person. You gotta admire her, especially her posterior 🙃👍

  46. Waldo says:

    What a crazy end to a match! Vital 3 points for the Gunners but if we keep turning out aimless attacking performances like that we are going to struggle to score enough goals to keep us in the title hunt. It was versus Burnley and has been in recent matches painful watching the lack of cohension between Sanchez on wing, Giroud in the centre forward role and Iwobi on the opposite wing. Between Sanchez and Iwobi not crossing the ball and Arsenal not transitioning from defence to attack quickly enough, Giroud has been deprived of clear goal scoring opportunities for weeks. Despite the big Frenchman being one of the best aerial strikers in the Premier League we are just simply not providing him with any crosses to attack. In total I counted only two instances in the match versus Burnley were Arsenal quickly transitioned the ball from defence to attack and put in early crosses for Giroud and Ramsey, who was effectively playing as a second central attacking midfielder, to attack with limited defenders around them.

    The first was on 6 minutes when an Ozil throughball (from the half way line on the left flank) went down the left wing and found Sanchez, who made a nice off the ball run down that flank to receive the pass. The Chilean quickly moved the onto his preferred right foot and put a cross in for Giroud and Ramsey to attack.

    The second instance occurred in the 47th minute when a Mustafi long ball (from roughly 30 yards from Arsenal’s goal) went down the right wing and found Ozil, who made a nice off the ball run down that flank to receive the pass. The German quickly shifted the ball onto his preferred left foot and put in a cross for Giroud and Ramsey to attack.

    That was it. Only two quick effective transitions and early crosses for the entire match. That’s not good enough.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that Arsenal become a purely counterattacking team (though recent history shows that the Premier League champions are predominately counterattacking sides). I think there are huge benefits, particularly defensively, to adopting a more possession based approach. But from an attacking perspective that possession needs to be developed with the aim of creating clear cut goal scoring chances which target the strengths of Arsenal’s goal scoring outlets.

    For Giroud and Ramsey that’s early crosses into the box. For Sanchez, Walcott and Perez that’s through balls behind the opposition’s defence.

    At the moment, Arsenal’s attacking play is without purpose, structure and consideration as to how to best create ideal scoring opportunities for Arsenal’s predominate goal scorers. That’s killing Arsenal’s attack.

    While I know there are many who believe that Arsenal’s attack should be based around their front four (or five counting Ramsey) players fluidly interchanging positions to disorganise the opposition’s defence and create goal scoring opportunities as opposed to a more structure approach where players have more defined roles, the fact is Arsenal’s attacking options are either not creative enough (Walcott), their off the ball movement isn’t good enough (Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Ox) or their finishing isn’t clinical enough (Ox, Ramsey, Iwobi, Welbeck, Ozil) for that fluid attacking approach to be realistic.

    I’m really hoping Arsenal come to the realisation that they need more structure and purpose in their attack sooner rather than later, while we are still in with a shout of winning the title this season. If not, expect more squeaky bum and disappointing matches like what we saw versus Leicester, Burnley (twice), WBA, Middlesborough, Tottenham, Man Utd, Everton, Man City and Bournemouth.

    Thank you for letting me vent TA! 😀

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Well thank you mr Pony 😀

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Waldo. Fine comment and you have a point. To me it looks like we have two styles of attack which are not merging into one… as yet. Having said that, we score significantly more than last season and are far less predictable in attack these days. Can you imagine what we could be like if the players can get more cooperative?!

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    I can see you baby, shaking’t’ass 🙂

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

  51. Goonereris says:

    Hi Gerry. Nice to see you are taking in the AFCON tournament and have made a great observation about the Moroccans’ time wasting tactics. At the risk of sounding like I have stereotyped them, one thing the North Africans or Maghreb nations are known for in football is the art of delay tactics, especially when they go one up or have to play another team in a two legged affair.

    They go down at the slightest contact, roll around a lot, harangue the officials for calls perceived as not given, their bench staff even get in on the act while the keeper is also wont to go down because of “cramps”. They will usually eat up 15 minutes of a 90 minute game and will time their antics to perfection to avoid being penalized. What most African nations do, wise to those games, is get physical, avoid conceding first and be prepared to play ball boy and medic team when they do go down (at the risk of a yellow card too). But they play some tidy football at times and we love them despite all that.

    With Cote d’ ivorie exiting so soon, that means a return for Eric Bailly to United, something Mourinho must be pleased about.

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