Our Midfield Crises is Over: Arsenal ROX again!!!

Ever since Santi Carzola’s injury Arsenal’s performance has dipped considerably. That dip is traceable to a more labored and less efficient progression of the ball from the back to the forward areas. Wenger prefers the 4:2:3:1 formation and so the job of progressing the ball is on the two players in front of the back four. The pairing of Coquelin and Carzola looked ordained in heaven. They complimented each other perfectly, Coquelin the destroyer, Carzola the transitionist. And what a ball transitionist Carzola is. Unsurpassed in spatial awareness, Santi is the best skilled in the team. Completely two footed, and at home in small spaces as well as the large spaces, the crown of his assets is a wonderful eye for the well weighted pass. Added to these he gives to the team something very unique. Coquelin plays better with him, Ozil too, Monreal, Giroud, the team. Had Carzola not been injured we would have been singing a different song today. I must mention, he is such an affable person also.

When injury hit our Santi, there were no loud groans from any quarters. After all, for the double pivot positions we still had Coquelin, Xhaka, Elneny, and Ramsey to choose from and anyway, Santi, we thought, was to be sidelined for a mere couple of weeks only. By the time of his injury Xhaka was still a bit of an unknown quantity though his Bundesliga reputation had convinced us that he was the ultimate destroyer with an incredible range of passes. In other words that he was Coquelin and Santi rolled into the perfect one. That belief helped put us at easy with Santi’s injury. Soon after, Wenger hinted that Xhaka is more of a box to box. Candidly most queried if Wenger was out of his mind. Anyway the juggling began. Coquelin/Xhaka. Xhaka/Elneny. Xhaka/Ramsey, Elneny/Coquelin  ………. until the the whole 4 combination 2 were tested out, over and over again, yet the Cocazola formula remaine elusive and we couldn’t rediscover our early season form. Thanks to further injuries it soon became 5 combination 2 when Oxlade was also drafted into the midfield. Some combinations were better than others, but all lagged the Cocazola combo.

Bayern overran our midfield (one of the juggled combos) and trashed us 5-1 at the Allianz Arena. At thr return leg we abandoned the combination 2 opting for a combination 3 of Ox/Xhaka/Rambo in our midfield. For 53 minutes, before we went one man down, our midfield dominated the almighty Bayern Munich’s midfield. We deployed in a 4:1:2:3 formation. The 1 was Xhaka shielding the back 4 and creating from deep. The 2 were Ramsey and the Ox. The set up suited Ramsey to the tee. With his incredible engine he motored relentlessly up and down creating overload when upfield, this time, without  us being undermined defensively as Xhaka and the Ox patrolled the spaces. Then there was the Ox, arguably, as at this moment, the biggest thing in our squad if his tender age is factored in. I hope he is given a bumper new deal at once because the world have taken notice. He defended with pace and power. He sprayed passes. He left the “Warrior” Aturo Vidal for dead equaling the Champions Leaguue record of 10 dribbles in a match. He cut through the Bayern midfield, not once, not twice, like a knife through butter, with the ball at his feet. He raged, his eyes spitting fire when the referee blew unfairly for a foul against him. He was our man of the match.

What a midfield trio. Alchemy it can be called: Rambo, Oxlade, Xhaka (ROX) combo is gold. The magic of Cocazola was resurrected in that game. With only about 10 weeks to go this season, Wenger should stick with them as his middle 3, in as many matches as is feasible so they can gel more with themselves and with the team. We already have a settled back five. We should make this combo our settled middle three. All the numbers in the front three are good, Walcott, Ozil, Welbeck, Perez, Giroud, Iwobi, and of course Sanchez. I-T…I-S…G-A-M-E…O-N!!!  Manchester City at home just had a goalless draw against Stoke. Expect plenty more twists and turns on this home stretch. A gooner never says die.

By Pony Eye.

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80 Responses to Our Midfield Crises is Over: Arsenal ROX again!!!

  1. Pony Eye says:

    TA, I love the ROX. Is its core made of Granite?

  2. Pony Eye says:

    To bring it into sharper relief, the midfield the ROX combo dominated comprised of Thiago Alcantara. Aturo Vidal, and Xavi Alonso. Phew!

  3. njk84sg says:

    When I saw the lineup, it was quite a shock as Wenger finally saw the use to put 3 to plug the hole. When it became 2, our mistakes were more as the space was more evident and we shipped more goals.

    So, we should stick to 3 in front of the back 4.

  4. Pony Eye says:

    Yes, Arsenal are very poor without the ball. It is therefore important that they do their best to deny the opposìtion the ball. That means emphasizing the midfield. This becomes even more important as we have full backs who are more or less wing backs.

  5. allezkev says:

    Just watched Wengers pre-match press conference and it looks like Welbeck and Iwobi are out of tomorrow’s game with illness. Also Ozil still isn’t 100%…

  6. retsub1 says:

    P E nice thoughts. I hope you are correct, elthrr way I don’t think we will learn much playing Lincoln.

    I like your ROX idea, but am not convinced yet it will be the answer for the following reasons

    1 Rambo, my favourite player, but he is only 75per cent of the player he was a couple of years back. Let’s hope his form continues to improve.

    2. The Ox, one of the few success stories of recent games, but it’s still early days

    3. Xhaka. I may be in the minority but he hasn’t convinced me yet

    Don’t want to sound a miserable old sod, but the morale in the camp must be pretty low. Somehow we need to find some belief and inner strength. Let’s hope ROX Is the catalyst

  7. Pony Eye says:

    retsub, you are quite right looking at it from the sum of the 3. But when you look at it from the output of that ROX combo the magic number appears. A living evidence is that they dominated Alcantara, Vidal and Alonso. There isnt a better midfield anywhere. But you are again right … the sample is too too small for a water tight conclusion. Ours is to believe and hope.

  8. njk84sg says:

    Retsub1, Rambo is one that thrives on playing. If he is fit, that is.

    Ox has to play centrally. Right or left wings are not options.

    Xhaka can only be improved defensively through awareness and intelligent tackling.

    What I do when I play football is look at the ball and forget everything around me. Just get the ball back. I know that can lead to cruel tackles and injuries to the opponent, but having a sense of where the ball is means a lot as a footballer.

    So, starting from tonight, we should see us playing more balls from the back via the midfield. Let’s start Perez on the wings, Alexis upfront, Jeff on the wings and Ox in the hole.

    AMN should be one of the DM players.

  9. Pony Eye says:

    For the Lincoln game it is desperately important that we do not loose. Absolutely not necessary introducing fringe playerd as there is no congestion of fixtures atm and the times too toxic for humouring anybody. Playing fringe players also distracts us from the job of crystalizing our first eleven which has been one of the reasons for the incosistencies in performance.

    Our ROX midfield was good in our last game and they worked particularly well with Walcott. But the ROX combo if used again puts Ozil out of the #10 role. Imo, Ozil has bern flat there so he moves WL and Alexis leads the line.

    The line up I’d love to see:

    ————Ospina———-
    Bel—Musti—Kos—Nacho
    Ramb—-Xhaka—-Oxlade
    Theo—–Alexis—–Ozil.

    R-ambo causing box overload without the ball.
    O-x running at defence with the ball.
    X-haka pinging the forward balls.

  10. Pony Eye says:

    Lincoln is determined to play their game. They want to have fun. They would do their best to stretch the game and we wouldn’t mind at all. However, in the unlikely event that they play deep and narrow, Ozil and Walcott would switch positions so as to bring the full backs into more offensive use.

  11. Waldo says:

    Nice write up PE. It was great to see Wenger finally attempt to deploy 3 CDMs. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the combination of players correct:

    – Ramsey’s positional discipline for a CDM was terrible and he repeatedly refused to track back which exposed Arsenal’s defence. In the end his average positioning had him playing alongside Giroud as a centre forward rather than a CDM. That’s not good enough. His advanced positioning also meant that his transitional play was virtually non existent.
    – Xhaka’s positional discipline was great and his transitional play via his long range passes to Walcott was probably as good as it could have been given the non existent off the ball movement of Giroud and Alexis and the lack of any sort of discernible attacking strategy supporting: the selection of a front three of Alexis, Giroud and Walcott; and how the midfield was to transition the ball to them. That said, Xhaka wasn’t and is not good enough defensively for Arsenal to rely on him as it’s primary tackling CDM.
    – Ox’s transitional play (both in terms of long range passes and forward dribbles) was fantastic. Positionally though, Ox, like Ramsey (though not to the same extreme) was far too advanced for a CDM and that exposed Arsenal’s defence.

    So for me, in so far as Arsenal’s midfield is concerned, Arsenal need to:
    – persist with deploying three CDMs
    – deploy Coquelin as the primary tackling CDM, who forces turnovers and then quickly released the ball to the LCDM or RCDM for them to transition it forward
    – shift Xhaka to the LCDM role, at the expense of Ramsey
    – persist with Ox at the RCDM role but work with to improve his positioning and the timing and frequency of his forward dribbles.

    If Arsenal can deploy that combination of Ox (RCDM), Coquelin (CDM), Xhaka (LCDM) as often as feasibly possible for the remainder of the season that should be enough of a patchwork for Arsenal to challenge for a top four finish. Then in the offseason Arsenal can actively pursue purchasing a more accomplished tackling CDM to replace / challenge Coquelin (e.g. Gonalons) and add some depth to support/challenge Ox and Xhaka.

  12. Pony Eye says:

    Waldo, your analysis withstands good scrutiny. The margins in the argument are quite fine. Rambo as part of a 3 midfield can be seen as Rambo at #10 but biased towards including a slightly deeper midfield role which his engine can accommodate. I.e. a slightly deeper #10 with all the box play.

    Again you are right about Xhaka being a lot poorer that Le Coq in defending. But this defensive deficit incurred by playing Xhaka instead of le Coq is more than compensated for by our defending through greater possession. Denying the opponent the ball is a valid form of defending. There is no doubt that Xhaka isn’t what we needed (a destroyer cum transitionist). As it is the ROX is reconfiguring our midfield with 3 box to box players. Not first time necessity has opened a door for us.

  13. Pony Eye says:

    Better to say midfield of one deep lying playmaker and two BtB.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Lovely, passionate post about the ROX, PE. They played very well indeed, but then there was nothing to lose and we could play Xhaka deep and Rambo and Ox in the Xavi and Iniesta positions. As soon as Xhaka had to replace Koz, it went all horribly wrong. But of course the idiotic referee is fully to blame for that.

    Happy to see the ROX play today again, even if I have reservations about the defencsive discipline of Rambo and Ox. CoyGs!

    It looks like Seventeenho is not writing the preview btw.

  15. retsub1 says:

    T A you make a good point about today’s games. Lincoln have made it clear they will be aggressive, going as far as saying they will crunch Alexis. I watched the Burnley game and they are not afraid to get stuck in. They have a centre forward (Rhead) who wouldn’t look out of place in a Sunday park side. So we need tough players (coquelin Zhaka). But not players who get booked regularly (Coquekin, Zhaka). Work that one out.

    Lincoln will not be a pushover, they have already knocked out Ipswich, Brighton and Burnley

    Anyone who can predict the side today will have my respect

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Retsub and agreed. I reckon we will play with a high tempo in and around their box and crush them technically. The refereeing will be key….. and the atmosphere in Ashburton Grove 😳👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  17. allezkev says:

    I’m going to the game today, so I’ll report back on the atmosphere around the ground, any Wenger demonstrations either positive or negative…

    Of course the media will rock up in the hope of an upset, but I expect us to go through today although it could be a bit tense especially early in the game…

    I couldn’t watch any highlights from Bayern until this morning, I know it’s been done to death, but my thoughts on the briefest of brief highlights are, Walcott, definite penalty, Giroud should have scored with header that cleared the bar, that could have been 3-0. Lewandowski offside, but it was a pen to them, afterwards our defending was shocking, Xhaka dived in like a lunatic before Bayerns 3rd goal, he is gonna cost us big time in a big match I fear.

    Anyway, up for the cup…

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Kev, enjoy the game. Time to bounce back baby! 😀💥💥💥

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Predicted line up

    Ospina
    Bel Mus Koz Gibbs
    —–Xhaka—–
    –Ox —-Rambo–
    Theo——-Perez
    —–Ollie——

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Alexis to polish shoes on the bench…. with a smile!

  21. retsub1 says:

    I reckon the atmosphere for the first 20 minutes or so will be great. 9000 Lincoln supporters will be making a of noise and the noisy sections at the Emirates will do their best to respond. despite all that has gone on, most Gooners will be expecting a relatively easy Arsenal win and i believe the vast majority will put Wenger feelings aside for a while. if it goes half an hour without a goal or even worse Lincoln get one, it could turn ugly. I don’t see us losing, but I have a horrible feeling it will be a lot closer than many people imagine,

  22. allezkev says:

    Cheers Total…

    I’d imagine that Lincoln would have done a lot of work on corners and free kicks, you know, putting the ball into the mixer…
    I don’t think they are blessed with a lot of pace so for that reason I’d go with Mertesaker for his height, organisation skills and leadership at the back, alongside Holding who with his Bolton background won’t be too precious about mixing it and being physical in a classic English game with a tosser as the referee, Andrew Taylor…

    We can’t afford to fanny about in this game, to stand around and admire how technically proficient we are, we need to compete…
    I’d have Giroud start as well as much for his height and physicality both offensively and defensively…

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    I think you are right, Retsubster.

    Kev, maybe one of Mertesacker or Holdng should/ will start, but surely not both? Good point about added height.

  24. retsub1 says:

    Kev
    don’t know if you have seen any Lincoln highlights, but keep an eye (actually you can’t miss him) on their centre forward Matt Rhead. He’s a big boy and probably plays for the dog and duck on Hackney marshes on a Sunday. If he scores the winner, they will shut the Emirates down. suspect he may come in for some flack from the home fans.

    enjoy the game

  25. allezkev says:

    Total, I respect your view, as always, but if Holding and Mertesaker cannot do a job on a non-league team, then we may as well take up cheese making… 😉

    Retsub, yeah, I’ve heard all about their centre forward, built like an American fridge-freezer who turns on a dustbin lid, we have to respect them but I don’t think we should fear them…

    All I fear is the referee, he is a serial cheat….

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, dont underestimate the psychological impact of selecting the back up CBs for this game, especially with some of the home crowd looking for trouble.

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yeah, sorry, no match preview from me this time… I think folks must be rather tired of my grim outlook… All I’d be saying is that (IMO) it’s the definition of a no-win situation. Instead, I’ll look forward to AKev’s man-at-the-match report, while praying that we get through with a measure of appearing worthy. Even if we do (and truth be told I predict we will struggle and very likely lose or draw…) it will all be dismissed due to the level of the competition.

    As for PE’s upbeat post… I like it even if I think it’s a bit over-stated. (Sorry…) Ox might’ve looked pretty good with those dribbles forward but only because Bayern chose to cover his passing options and let him make those runs. In the end, of course, they (all) came to nothing even if it was nice how they got the crowd excited… IMO, all the MFs looked better playing against a team (Bayern) that was committed to keeping their shape rather than pressing the ball. None of them (Rambo, Ox, Xhaka) have shown me the technical ability to really shine when under pressure, esp. when receiving the ball with their backs towards the opponent’s goal. They’re all capable of doing both good and bad things but I feel (as a group) they’re a good distance from representing a real solution. In fact, boring as it is, I’d probably opt for a different ROX: Rambo (B2B), Ozil (#10) and Xhaka (DM. The Ox has been doing better and is full of talent but also makes far too many mistakes and poor decisions for my taste… Again, sorry…

    For me, Xhaka plays the most conservatively (i.e. the best) in the deeper lying spot but has a long (long) way to go in understanding the big (big) difference in the way the game is refereed in England. Relative to a player like Kante, he’s not the finished product and also fails to impress with his running, preferring to do it with his passing instead. I don’t think, however, that he’s a total waste of money as some have suggested.

    Finally, PE is spot on that we really miss Santi (Cazorla, not Carzola…) even if a lot of observers prefer the more physical types over the little guy and thought we’d get along fine without him. I also think that Le Coq, as much as he’s struggled in the last month, will still get plenty of chances from AW, a manager who doesn’t give up on his players quite as quickly as the fans might…

    So, once more, apologies for my bad attitude… Hopefully it gets better with today’s match…

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arsenal Line-up:

    Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Walcott, Alexis, Giroud. Substitutes: Martinez, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Iwobi, Ozil, Lucas

    That’s a very strong line-up with none of the younger guys included (even Iwobi is only on the bench…) No Ospina in the squad (injured or ill?) so Cech starts… On the other hand, PE will see another outing for his ROX MF… 😀

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nobody around watching the match?…

    Half an hour in and their fat (and bald) striker has taken a few blows (and wasted some time)…

    Arsenal have had some good chances but Rambo struck his first timer wide and Theo’s great volley was matched by an even better save… The best chance of all was Lincoln’s but Cech was able to get his hand up to save it…

    Ox has been subbed off with a muscle issue…Ozil booed by his own fans (but not too lustily) coming on for him..

  30. retsub1 says:

    We are all sitting stunned 17ht. In fairness Lincoln are working hard

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    THEO!!!! From Gibbs after Giroud also got in a nice position with it… Set up by a couple of nice wide balls from Ozil to freeze the Lincoln City defenders…

    First goal wins, we hope…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rambo blasts into row z with what might have been a knock-out blow…

    Replay shows Theo’s shot was headed towards the keeper but was deflected into the empty part of the net….

  33. retsub1 says:

    Stupid commentarees saying Theo was lucky to get a deflection. Crikey his shot must have gone through about 16 legs. It would have been a miracle if it hadn’t deflected

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Half-time…

    If it ends a draw it goes to extra time and pens?…

    Ramsey works hard but has sooooo many loose touches (and final balls)… Alexis doesn’t work as hard (any longer, at least for his current club, maybe…) but also plays a lot of final balls to the opponent… Theo is trying too but maybe had his better shots saved than the one that went in. Giroud, big as he is, doesn’t win the physical challenges but did stay calm to find Gibbs with the pre-assist for the goal…

    It’s pretty much our best team out there and it’s been quite a struggle… Taking a lead in was essential, however, and credit to Lincoln for their effort and organization. it’s far from over, I fear…

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arsenal look better in this half…Lincoln perhaps getting tired?…

    Giroud’s nice shot was saved but Theo’s chipped ball to Gibbs got headed over when it looked easier to score…

    We’re on the front foot but still just a one-goal game…

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    There it is… through GIROUD…

    Very nice heads up play by Ozil on one side, Theo in the middle (after Giroud’s whiff) then Bellerin on the right squaring for Ollie who had the goal at his mercy…

    2-nil and we should keep going…

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    More good play with Mustafi well forward but Bellerin putting the shot wide from a central position…

    3-nil through an own-goal from Gibbs’ pullback…

    We’re going to Wembley, I fear….

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xhaka with his yellow card comes out for Le Coq…

    Gibbs now has two assists which is maybe why he has been assaulted a couple of times by Lincoln players…

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Final sub for Arsenal… Lucas for Giroud…

    Lincoln sub out the guy who might be BOTH fatter and balder than I am…Still almost half an hour to go…

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    4-nil through Alexis… The Lincoln player whiffed what should have been an easy tackle leaving Alexis all day to pick a corner and curl it in…

    We’d been toying with them beforehand but lacking the end-product…

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil–helping out in deep defense absolutely bundles over a Lincoln player, maybe showing his passion for the English game…

    5-nil as Ramsey walks in a ball chipped over from Alexis after jinking this way and that…

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Soooo…. We’ve matched the scoreline we made earlier in the cup at Southampton…but with a much stronger first 11 (and subs) and against a much weaker (or at least “lower”) team… Again, it’s a “can’t win” situation but it sure beats losing, I think…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    Divey there by Lucas…Alexis, however, was definitely chopped down just outside the box but then hits his FK off the cross-bar…Rambo shot deflected out for a corner. Earlier he had a free header but chose to pass with it rather than put it in the net. Showboating, I fear…

    Theo comes close with a shot cross and then a wide shot from the top from the resulting corner…

    Still (only) 5-nil…

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    No extra time given…

    In the end it was kinda like our match against Bayern but we didn’t even allow them the (first half) goal…

    West Brom away in a week should be more akin to a battle amongst equals…

    Have a nice weekend…

  45. Pony Eye says:

    We seemed too tensed up first half but I feel the introduction of Ozil, possibly his calmness, helped the team regain their composure. That’s part of the more intangible ways Ozil helps the team. I saw this game as an exercise in rehabilitating our psychology.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Good second half and good to see Ozil back. He made all the difference. We kept ROX though, just a different ‘O’! 😍⚽

  47. njk84sg says:

    We should view this game as non competitive. The space given by Lincoln City is so huge that you will think that we have done well, but the thing is that they were weak defensively, to the extent that Rambo was able to walk the ball in, which you cannot see it in a league game.

    Ozil is slowly back to his form, exchanging passes with Alexis, and Alexis passed well to his teammates.

    Kos and Gibbs did well, and Gibbs offered us a defensive and attacking option as well.

    You can see a little hairy moments in Mustafi, but overall he had the support of either Rambo or Xhaka, so he is still ok.

    Le Coq was only put on after we had the tie sewn up. In reality, he wasn’t sharp at all, and gave away unnecessary fouls. Xhaka was just a little better in that sense.

    So, to Wembley we come. We are assured of at least a premiere league team, so we need to play better. ROX is rocking.

    JK

  48. Waldo says:

    A much needed victory for Arsenal vs Lincoln. Couple of observations from the match.

    1. Arsenal reverted back to a 4231 formation, with Ramsey initially occupying the number 10 role and Ox and Xhaka the two CDMs. When Ox went off after 25 mins Ramsey dropped into one of the CDM roles with Ozil, who came on from Ox taking up the number 10 position. Ramsey’s efforts to track back was once again poor and I was disappointed that Arsenal didn’t persist with a 433 setup as I think that system better accommodates the strengths and weaknesses of Arsenal’s squad.

    2. Mustafa, Gibbs, Xhaka and Coquelin (when he came on at the hour mark) were a lot more aggressive defensively than in recent months. That really helped Arsenal to dominate. Bellerin, Ramsey and Koscielny underwhelmed in that regard and need to do better.

    3. I thought Arsenal really tried to get crosses into Giroud (28 attempts) which was positive. That said, the quality of delivery was poor (only 3 accurate crosses). I attribute that to Arsenal’s holding onto possession for too long in the build up play.

    4. While Ramsey’s off the ball movement was good, his efficiency in front of goal was terrible. I really like Ramsey but he desperately needs to work on his defensive positioning and finishing.

    5. While all of them ultimately got on the scoresheet, it was another incoherent collective performance by Walcott, Giroud and Alexis. Giroud’s positioning on the penalty spot (waiting for crosses) seemed to block Walcott’s off the ball runs from the right wing into the penalty box. On top of that both Walcott and Giroud appeared to block Alexis’ shooting lane when he cut in from the left wing and attempted a shot from outside of the box. It’s a very odd combination of players to select as their individual strengths and styles of play don’t seem to at all compliment one another.

    Overall Gibbs was probably my man of the match. Nice and aggressive both defensively and offensively. While his crossing accuracy needs to improve he certainly tried hard to provide Giroud with the service he needs to thrive as Arsenal’s CF.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Waldo. Not much to agree with I am afraid, but fresh points of view are always welcome here.

  50. allezkev says:

    Going to the ground yesterday with my friends, I was not aware of any demonstrations nor did I see AFTV doing any pre-match interviews, there was actually a carnival atmosphere brought about mostly by the Lincoln City fans and in fairness yesterday was probably more about the unbelievable journey that club had made to the Quarter-Finals.
    Although every Arsenal fan I spoke to opined that they felt it was time for Arsene to move on, nobody wanted it done in an unseemly way, I guess they want those in charge at the club to actually be decisive.

    The atmosphere inside the ground was normal, in fact most fans were chatting about Wembley and the semi-finals and discussing the Bayern games, as a few I spoke to had also gone to Bavaria as well for the 1st leg.
    There was no anger towards Arsene, just a sadness that his tenure was drawing to a close.
    In fact at the end of the game about three rows behind us a couple of fans held up au revoir type signs and the general feeling towards them wasn’t positive.
    Most Arsenal fans don’t want to see these kinds of things out in the open even if they agree with the sentiments.

    Most of you will have seen the game and other can describe it better than me, so I’ll leave the game to one side.

    Our next home game is Man City, I believe, the pressure will be back on and things might be a tad more tense.
    But for me, yesterday was very enjoyable and the general vibe around the ground was very good and positive..

  51. njk84sg says:

    Nice one from Millwall. Almost broke Wanyama’s leg.

    Lots of holes in the Millwall defense, and it is too easy for the spuds.

    I agree with you Kev, that the general feeling is not of those plastic fans. Wenger has seen more downs than ups this season, which we have seen less before due to the whole team gelling.

    We should play 3 in front of the defense instead of 2, and we should do it every game. Next up is away to WBA, and we need to be more ruthless in front of goal.

  52. allezkev says:

    84, I’m hearing that Harry Kane could be out for the rest of the season, which is handy as we have to play them at their building site and probably in the FACup and Kane always saves his best for us…

  53. njk84sg says:

    Yep Kev. Watched that crunching tackle. Apparently that tackle made him out of balance and he twisted his ankle.

    It seems like I am itching for the whole first team of spuds to get injured for the rest of the season.. which is nice.

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers Kev for the at-the-match report…though it would also be good to hear what you thought of the game itself…

    Sorry JK, Rooting for injuries doesn’t sit well with me… Just my opinion, as always, however…

  55. retsub1 says:

    17ht. Not sure if a British versus American thing or just a case of you being more sporting than most people. I am convinced the vast majority of UK based fans will be absolutely delighted that Kane is injured. Whilst I wouldn,t want anyone to sustain a serious injury anything that gives us an edge is very welcome. A minor coach accident where the whole Spurs team suffered sprained ankles would Christmas come early in my book.

    That said, I do love to see sporting moments. I remember when David Seaman dived at Robbie Fowlers feet and missed him. Fowler put his hands up to the ref and assured him it wasn’t a penalty. The ref gave it anyway and fowler hit a weak penalty which Seaman saved but some other Scouser smashed it home.
    In also remember Paula Di Casio refusing to shoot at an empty net when the keeper was injured

  56. allezkev says:

    17tino, if I’m brutally honest, it was like watching a friendly game, especially the 2nd 45 where Arsenal were camped in the Lincoln half.

    I and almost every other Arsenal fan, were completely relaxed, the game definitely lacked an edge because of the chasm between both teams.
    Lincoln did very well in the 1st half and didn’t look out of place, but Walcotts goal, coming as late as it did, probably knocked the stuffing out of them, from then on its was like Arnhem, a bridge too far for the non-leaguers..

    The 2nd half was shooting practice, but I was pleased that our players showed Lincoln respect and although our dominance should have seen us get 8, 9 or 10 goals, I was glad we didn’t humiliate Lincoln, they didn’t deserve that…

    I thought that Walcott played well as did Bellerin who was like a winger most of the time, Gibbs did ok and Alexis, but in truth it was a stroll in the park…

    Man City and West Brom will be far more problematic.
    Poor results there and the pressure will be back on, big time…

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just a personal thing, I think… Americans, if anything, seem more ruthless about such things, IMO. My take on it is that when it comes to competition you should want to test yourself against the best and w/o excuses… But, like I say, that’s just me and we probably need all the help we can get against anybody we’ll be facing at Wembley… With Wenger still hanging on we’re more than ever in one game at a time territory so we just have to take them as they come… It’s a funny thing to consider but if the supporters (or that part of them who want their satisfaction now…) got their wish, Steve Bould (probably) wouldn’t need to win each (and every) match…

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    The previous comment was for retsub… Kev and I were “simulposting,” it seems…

    Cheers for the match report… Lincoln had that one good chance in the first period but that was the only test for Cech. It would have been a different feeling in the stadium if it had gone in, I bet. For me, we instantly looked more dangerous when Ozil came on for the Ox and that FK he placed right on the far post seemed to put the cat amongst the pigeons, as they say. After his introduction the game seemed a lot less open (or end to end), IMO…

    In the end, it was very one sided but, like you say, our guys handled the situation with class…

  59. retsub1 says:

    Not Sure if any of you guys are watching the Chelsea v United game, but it’s very entertaining. Herrera got sent off for two yellows and we just nearly had a punch up between the chosen one and his successor .

  60. retsub1 says:

    This is where it may get interesting. Down to 10 men Mourinho will try all sorts of cynical tricks to stay in the game, including trying to get Chelsea players sent off. It’s not always nice to watch, i believe that’s why Chelsea were so successful under Mourinho. If this was the current Arsenal team it would fold. Whereas Arsenal teams in the past were much stronger

  61. retsub1 says:

    17ht. As you know I have followed Arsenal for many years. Steve Bould was a great player for Arsenal , but since he retired don’t think I have ever heard him speak (probably not his fault). But if you asked me if he would make a good manager I would have no idea wharsorver. Ask me about others Thierry Henry etc I would have plenty to say, but Bouldy nothing…..

  62. allezkev says:

    I’m listening to the game on the radio Retsub, it’s sounds a very competitive match.

    I wonder if the League Cup will be enough if the Mancs finish outside of the top four?

  63. retsub1 says:

    Tojo has kicked bits out of everyone on the pitch. Costs has got the hump and just git booked.

  64. retsub1 says:

    Room that is

  65. retsub1 says:

    Aghhhhhh spell checker. Rojo .

  66. allezkev says:

    Rojo should have had three or four red cards this season…
    Xhaka would have been off in the blink of an eye if he’d done the fouls Rojo has got away with…

    Bye bye Jose

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey retsub… I am watching the game but missed the first 10-15 mins of the 2nd half,including Kante’s goal…

    Indeed, you’ve watched Arsenal longer than I but I think it’s an overly broad statement to make about going down to 10… It’s one thing when we lose Koscielny, by far our best defender and another thing when United lose Hererra. I see it as more akin to when we lost Coquelin at WHL in the NLD last season but went on to score late and draw… That said, we need more leaders on the team who can help us regroup when adversity strikes. In my view it’s very tough when our best player (Alexis) goes even deeper into his individual game when the breaks haven’t gone our way. Of all the Bayern goals, the dribble across the top of the box that he lost seemed the most egregious. He’s showing his desire to work hard but the lack of trust in his teammates is also on display. Of course, he was much better vs Lincoln… 😀

    Again, maybe I’m overly sporting (as you say…), but I cannot condone the cheating Mourinho seems to encourage. He’s the one who bought Diego Costa who is throwing himself to the ground whenever he’s not throwing cheeky elbows. Finally he gets a yellow for a lunge… If he had gotten one (or more) for simulation they’d both be down to 10 men… For awhile there it seemed like the refs were giving those cards but very rarely these days. It took a good goal at the end, but Barcelona should be ashamed of the way they “beat” PSG. I guess it’s all “part of the game” but I don’t like and I’m glad Arsenal are not overly floppy–not that we’d get the calls even if we were…

    Chavs go through. Semis are the best 4 teams in the league (assuming we can get results in our games-in-hand)…

    Oh crap…gotta go pick up my boy… Draw is coming shortly?…

  68. allezkev says:

    Hobson’s choice in the draw

  69. allezkev says:

    Man City, I’ll take that…

  70. retsub1 says:

    Kev was about to say you got your wish, then I realised the. BBC I player is running around 30 seconds slow.

    City would have been my choice

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    Man City is probably a good draw as they’re the only non-London team… Of course, for it to be a home match for us there will have to be a protest or two… 😀

  72. allezkev says:

    Retsub 🙂

    The reason I hoped for Man City is that I couldn’t stomach losing to the other two at Wembley… 😕
    If we get through and face Tottenham in the final, I think I’ll get a plane to Alaska and spend a couple weeks out on the Klondike without my mobile…
    I’m not sure my nerves could take it…

  73. njk84sg says:

    Not sure why I see so many getting Citeh. With Kane out it is a no trainer for us to get spud, but I think Citeh is ok if we play ROX and hope for a good ref.

  74. retsub1 says:

    Kev
    totally agree. I think I could just about survive losing to Chelsea, probably because I am used to it. If we lose in the final to Spurs I am going to ask to make a guest appearance on the Alaskan Bush People tv show for a month or two.

    I still get grief about that Gazza free kick at Wembley. Because they have had such crap teams their supporters have evolved with better memory banks,

    My favourite retort is Spurs have only won the League (the old first division) once , but we have won it twice….. At White Hart Lane

  75. retsub1 says:

    Speaking of Alaska, someone asked me the other day, if you lived in the coldest place in the world and could choose to be any animal i wanted to be, which animal would I choose?

    I decided a Polar Bear would be a good choice. He said that was a good choice, but he said he would prefer to be a little Otter boom boom

  76. allezkev says:

    It’s the way you tell ’em, Retsub…

    I see that Boro Primorac is set to move to Turkey to manage a club there.
    Is that a clue as to what Arsene has planned?

  77. retsub1 says:

    Thanks Kev was beginning to wonder if I had killed the site. No more bad jokes from me

  78. njk84sg says:

    I think the media is predicting an exodus bcos of the impending end of tenure for Wenger.

    The story might have a twist.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    I have little time and Seventeenho is looking for his inclination, but still, there is a new post.

    Love and hugs, TA 🙂

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