Blab with the Bergkampesque—Watford-Arsenal. No Ramsey, No Alexis; Ozil on the bench. Do the Gunners have enough to beat the bees?

Looks like our aged crew of defenders will anchor things at Watford tonight.

Here are your line-ups… What do you think?

Join us in the comments for the Best. Live. Arsenal. Blog.  BLAB on, BKesquers!

Arsenal (3-4-2-1) Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette.
Substitutes: Ospina, Holding, Ozil, Coquelin, Wilshere, Giroud, Walcott.

Watford (4-2-3-1) Gomes; Femenia, Mariappa, Britos, Holebas; Doucoure, Kabasele; Pereyra, Cleverley, Richarlison; Gray.
Substitutes: Karnezis, Janmaat, Wague, Capoue, Watson, Deeney, Carrillo.

Referee Neil Swarbrick.

by 17highburyterrace


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150 Responses to Blab with the Bergkampesque—Watford-Arsenal. No Ramsey, No Alexis; Ozil on the bench. Do the Gunners have enough to beat the bees?

  1. jw1 says:

    With exceptions of Xhaka and Iwobi– this could be Arsenal’s ‘best’ defensive team.


  2. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey JW… Elneny and Xhaka aren’t tacklers, but, IMO, there is more to defending than just tackling. I, of course, always enjoyed a flying intervention back in my disc days…And the threat of doing likewise when I stationed my (petite) self at middle-middle in the zone… You were more of an offensive specialist, no?…

    We’ll see how it goes today, but we’re clearly going for the clean sheet first, IMO…

  3. jw1 says:

    Over a 22yr career– you eventually become an ‘offensive specialist’. 😉
    But younger– the Houston ‘Elvis From Hell’ teams were known for tenacious man-to-man.
    And I played deep in our zone– as I had some hops too.


  4. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice!… I had some good action photos–but mostly in the horizontal direction… My disc life burned short but bright as there’s no country for (short) old men without throws… 😀 That said, I did have a throw actually named for me… A bladed inside out that (easily) got around the marker but also broke a few sets of hands unprepared to deal with a pacy pass, no matter how accurate…

    I gotta say, I don’t know too much about this current incarnation of the Watford squad… Cleverly was a Sir Alex youngster and both Gray and Pereyra are pacy and decent on the ball, maybe?…

  5. Goonereris says:

    The nerves are jangling now. Watford do have some dangerous players like Gray and Richarlison. A lot will depend on how well we keep them quiet.

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anybody else around? Kick-off is just about upon us…

  7. Goonereris says:

    We must keep possession well no support Mertesacker if he is one on one with any of their quick players. Plus, no high line today, obviously. Come on lads, let’s do this!

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey ‘eris… Indeed, there’s a lot of talk about the Brazilian (Richarlison)… My first time to watch him play, however…

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Over 100 years of experience (or at least age…) in that back line… As long as they work together, I have a lot of faith…

    Ooops, missed the first little bit of the match due to the TV channel switch… d’oh…

  10. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford look like they’re happy to try and come at us…

    A decent move led by Iwobi but Welbs and Kola can’t make much of it… Watford pushing it forward with pace when they get it…

  11. jw1 says:

    Watford does seem to have become less-recognizable, without names like Deeney, Janmaat, Capoue on the pitch.

    Have a soft-spot for Deeney– as a hustler.


  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    The BFG towers down a defensive header at the center circle… No foul as that’s what the Watford player wanted…

    We’re starting to build a bit offensively… Laca gets onto a well weighted ball but his cross is cut out. He and Iwobi try some 1-2s along the top of the box but can’t make it work. Other end, Iwobi takes a high boot to the face but the Watford player is the one down…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi stepped on the hand? Gives Lacazette time to change his boots… Should be some extra mins at the end of the half…

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, I’ve got a little sound on now as I can’t read the names of the Watford players on their shirts…

    The back line is rotating nicely…Kos pushes a dangerous looking pass easily back to Cech…

    Oooh… Bells just misses Laca’s head with a sharply hit cross…

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi is looking sharp, nipping in for some balls, pushing them forward and at the center of things…

    Watford, however, are wanting to push themselves… Richarlison gets a cross in, but the BFG cushions it calmly…

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    Both teams are giving some space in the middle of the pitch… Laca, out on the right flank, lofts one in but it’s neither strong nor accurate… He’ll probably need to be more central…The tip of the spear as it were…

  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xhaka’s really playing the quarterback role, staying back as Elneny tries to find some space further upfield…

    We’re starting to press a bit more when they’ve got the ball but not too much…

    Decent play from Dacoure who works Bellerin back then gets a cross by him. It hits a head but with no time to direct the ball towards goal…. A bit of a let off there as Watford continues in possession…

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xhaka can’t bring a cushioned pass from the BFG down and Watford are at it again…

    A fairly even match w/o any really clear cut chances after 21 minutes…

  19. jw1 says:

    I did the TV channel oops too. and am just about caught up with the DVRing.


  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nacho turned inside out by a Watford guy but BFG tidies up easily…

    Xhaka’s lofted pass is short for Laca, then, getting back, he’s spared a card on a cynical foul to stop Watford from breaking…

  21. jw1 says:

    Really like to see Welbeck make himself more available.


  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Catch up, please, J-dub… I need all the help I can get… 😀

    Both teams seem happy to allow possession in MF in favor of being well organized at the back… Probably a bit slow moving…for the neutral, at least…

  23. jw1 says:

    Seeing where I wasn’t missing much I FFed!


  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed with that, re: Welbs… He seems to really be letting Laca have all the space in the middle…

    Iwobi tries a throughball to Laca but it’s exceptionally easy to intercept… Not much in the way of penetration when we’re on the ball…

  25. jw1 says:

    Iwobi getting a lot of touches around the box– but Welbz nor Laca moving into the lanes.


  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Richarlison runs nicely and gets around Kos…Bellerin, on his bicycle, cleans up the danger…

    Elneny tries a long one… Looked deflected to me but it’s ruled to have risen up and out on its own…

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    Given all the space in MF, Iwobi (or any other creators…) probably need to push up before releasing their passes. We’re not quite adjusting to their defensive positioning…

    BFG does nicely again, holding position before toe poking it away from the Watford attacker…

    Bells poor with a giveaway… Iwobi better riding some pressure… Laca and Iwobi do a nice one two that gets the ball to Welbs in the box… Pushed out by Watford with little trouble, however…

  28. jw1 says:

    Well that possession held promise– almost the first time in 34mins.


  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi and Bells can’t make it happen on our right… Elneny cynical slowing things down by pulling on a shirt…

    That was a decent breakf with Laca at the heart of things. His lofted ball to Welbs is just a hair too high and Holebas gets his toe to it before Welbs can put it in the net…

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi shot-cross is easy for Gomes…

  31. jw1 says:

    Left-footed cross from Iwobi in the box doesn’t have the velocity to escape the GK Gomes.
    Welbz was waiting farpost.


  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Elneny, in space, can’t find Bells who was showing in the middle… We’re getting closer to a break-through but not quite finding the final ball…

  33. jw1 says:

    Watford’s closing has slowed a bit. Our possession looks less rushed.


  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford are still moving it up but their efforts aren’t troubling us…Richarlison can only weakly head a lofted one out of play…

    Corner for us, but Iwobi’s chested first touch wasn’t quite what he wanted…

    THE BFG scores from Xhaka’s corner!!!!

  35. jw1 says:

    Per. Fect.


  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just cleared a tall Watford guy, but Cleverly, marking Mert, was dwarfed…

    1-nil to the Arsenal

    Time to close up shop?…

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    Per-fect indeed… A very good delivery from Xhaka too…

  38. jw1 says:

    Want to mention the lob pass from Xhaka forward to Iwobi– that generated the corner.
    That pass was almost dead-on for Alex to chest and shoot– but the defender was tight and pushed it over the endline.


  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi does nice work on the right but overhits his cross… Laca trying hard in a crowd but it pops up easily for Gomes… Just gotta keep the balance but keep attacking…

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s true JW… Iwobi’s chest down was wider than he’d have preferred…

    Better now with Xhaka forcing a save and then Bells, chocolate foot, hit’s another good Welbeck pass wide… DW at the center of the attacks…

    Same pattern again but Xhaka’s curler is held this time by Gomes…

  41. jw1 says:

    Bellerin was so close after a nice series of unselfish passing.
    Even Xhaka’s shot from the edge of the box was well hit.
    We could easily go 2-nil before half with the injury time to be added.


  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    It sounds awfully quiet as we move into 3 mins of extra time here at the end of the half. Richarlison makes a meal of a mild Bellerin foul on a high ball. We’re well in control since the goal… A second, of course, would go down a tonic…

  43. jw1 says:

    Xhaka for the FK here?


  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    Laca draws a foul in Alexis territory… Who will take it in the Chilean’s stead?… Laca is slow getting up but hopefully it’s only something he’s learned from Giroud… 😀

  45. jw1 says:

    Elneny is good from this range too.


  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xhaka to play it as an indirect to the big guys…

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Too low…And, after DW fails to turn with the ball, Watford push it on… It ends with Cech and that should be the whistle…

    HT… Watford nil — Arsenal 1

  48. jw1 says:

    Well. We might’ve hoped Gomes to ‘Ospina’ the indirect… 😉


  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yeah, I would’ve liked to have seen Laca try the FK but maybe he was still hobbling a bit much…

    We definitely looked the better team since the goal…

    Am I the only one who thinks that set-piece goals should only count 1/2?… Kinda like in basketball. 2 from open play, one from the foul line (dead-ball)… What about a 3 pt. line at 24 yrds or thereabouts?…

    Of course, we shouldn’t ruin the traditions of the game, but you know how we ‘Mericans are about these sorts of things…

  50. allezkev says:

    Gotta luv the BFG

    That’s Arsenal’s first away league goal this season!

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    I gotta say that I don’t really understand the direct vs indirect rule…beyond knowing that Ospina screwed it up… unless he wanted to keep Chile out of the WC… 😀

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Kev… Driving tonight?…

    We don’t need too many away goals as long as the clean sheets keep coming… Or at least that’s what the Moo-Man would tell you…

  53. allezkev says:

    Yes mate, I love my work 😉

  54. Pony Eye says:

    I’d wish for more creativity going forward. For me Oxil or Wilshere for Iwobi.

  55. allezkev says:

    If circumstances allow it would be great to see Jack get a few minutes at the end of the game.

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry guys, but this will not be the best live Arsenal blog unless we get–at least–some half-time commentaries from the sharp minds of the BKesquers…

    Let’s be having ’em, eh…

    Hey Kev–I always enjoyed my driving jobs but those were a while back… Traffic in the Bay Area is nuts these days… Luckily the air (where we are today–directly across from the Golden Gate in the east bay) is good… The fires rage on to the north, however, I fear…

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, we got a few pithy comments there…

    2nd half is on…

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Decent push forward by Watford at the kickoff but the pull-back cleared easily… As is the long-throw (BFG towing again)…

    And another one is claimed by Cech… No Rory Delap for Watford, I don’t think…

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    Flag up as Watford look to keep coming…

    Arsenal finally start getting some time on the ball but clearly not pushing too many bodies forward…

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    Corner won…but Elneny’s delivery is poor…

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not too bad from Watford but Richarlison goes alone and his curler isn’t quite good enough…

  62. jw1 says:

    Sorry– work reared it’s ugly head in the form of an immediate-reply email.

    And Pony? Was your wish for ‘Oxil’ in the least bit Fruedian?


  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cleverly pushes the ball off his old teammate Welbeck but Welbs cleans up other end… We’re defending calmly but Watford should feel emboldened to keep coming forward…

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, Oxil…Now that might be a player… 😀

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not a bad break there with Iwobi leading the way. Laca can’t get the ball out to Welbs who was running the right lane that time…

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice lofted pass by the guy in my avatar (Elneny)… DW runs out of pace and goes to ground but it would have been the harshest of pens…

  67. jw1 says:

    Welbz has gone flying following the last two breaks– albeit on mostly-clean tackles/plays.


  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford given space are working us around a bit… Cech gets a fist to an awkward lofted ball but it goes out for a corner… DW down… Another few months in rehab?…

  69. Goonereris says:

    Hey guys, was distracted by some chores I had to hurriedly carry out at half time. Looking like the kind of game where we may just hold on to the one goal instead of racking up the goal tally. We look laboured this half, especially Iwobi who looks to have picked up a knock. Errors are starting to occur too with the simple passes. I feel Kolasinac may be best warned to sit back a bit more as he has been culpable with some misplaced passes.

    Overall, we are playing it professionally to ensure we get the 3 points.

  70. Goonereris says:

    Danny will have to go off with an injury again. Giroud or Ozil? If Ozil, Iwobi has to buckle up to work harder. It is Ozil.

  71. jw1 says:

    Ozil on for Welbz at 60mins


  72. Goonereris says:

    Deeny on now. More work for Mertesacker then.

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil in for DW…

    Corner is well delivered but Kos (I think) clears it… Watford come again but the linesman stops play in our favor… Kolasinac had given a beastly shove so there were some home fans hoping he was the cause of the whistle…

  74. jw1 says:

    Deeney on for Gray for Watford.
    Gotta’ keep him close. He’s one to nick one.


  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil, looking classy right away, slips Iwobi in but his angled shot forces a very good save from Gomes…

  76. Goonereris says:

    Can’t keep this up. Ozil already come on to string a beauty. Iwobi opens his body and it took only a hand from Gomez in goal to prevent a second for us.

  77. Goonereris says:

    Was going to say I can’t keep up with watching and commentary. Got to watch the game now. 😀

  78. 17highburyterrace says:

    If Ozil’s given this much space he will find a pass… Out for another corner and Elneny delivers a good one… Cleared, eventually, by the Hornets…

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    Keep trying, Eris… Like I say, “all the help I can get…”

  80. jw1 says:

    Looks like Giroud about to enter for Laca.
    Ozil needs the target.


  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil tripped but no call down the left… Giroud being readied… An extra big body makes sense to me… Esp. given these long throws… From which Watford get a corner…

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sub will be made before it’s taken…

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    And, indeed, we defend well enough, looking big in the box…

    We are absorbing only at the moment…

  84. jw1 says:

    Ozil must do better than that.


  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Finally we break with a great pass out from Kolasinac. Iwobi’s pass was behind Ozil and when he gathered his shot was too central…

    Aw crap. Bellerin fouls Richarlison… Pen Watford…

  86. 17highburyterrace says:

    Deeney to take…

  87. Goonereris says:

    What a chance for 2. And right after, Bellerin fouls Richarlison for a penalty. That’s unfair because Bellerin hardly touched him. 1-1.

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech goes the wrong way…


  89. 17highburyterrace says:

    Richarlison sold the pen. Didn’t Bellerin get the touch on the ball… Seems extremely soft if not one for the retroactive ban…

  90. 17highburyterrace says:

    20 mins to make this right…

  91. jw1 says:



  92. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kola should have won a corner but it’s out for a GK… Ozil, of course, being slated for his shot…Gomes did well to close the angle and the pass was well behind him, I thought…

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    Other end, Richarlison hits side netting…

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    Plenty of time here but we need to make it happen…

    Kos pushed down by Richarlison but this time he’s sanctioned.

    We’re having some trouble keeping the ball and relying on the whistle quite a bit…

    78th minute…

  95. jw1 says:

    Well. TBH– I felt Ozil could have feinted Gomes in one direction– and still gotten the shot off.


  96. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi dummies for Giroud whose shirt is being well tugged. No whistle there… Ref might cost us the points tonight, I fear…

  97. jw1 says:

    Shame Monreal couldn’t channel his inner-Laca there!


  98. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooh good break led by Nacho there. 14 yds out and central he tries to get the ball onto his right foot but it’s taken away. Xhaka maybe should’ve taken the wider, left-footed shot…

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    82nd minute… Balls over the top but we’re not getting on them…

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Jack Wilshere to be our final sub…

    83rd min

  101. 17highburyterrace says:

    oooh… let off after a deflected Watford shot his our upright…

  102. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford wouldn’t mind the full points either…

    Long throw defended but their good for some time-wasting… Iwobi stays on to defend (no Jack yet) and now the Brazilian (Richarlison) is gonna waste some time down injured…

    Oooh, instead, Wenger is pulling Kos for Holding… Our best defender hurt again?…

  103. 17highburyterrace says:

    This is looking bad in many, many ways… DW, Kos hurt and only a handful of minutes to rescue the points…

  104. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi looks dead on his feet as he gives it away…

    Watford, I’m afraid, look like the only winner here as an open shot sails over…

  105. 17highburyterrace says:

    2 mins plus ET is all we’ve got and we’ve got a corner…

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    Delivery is too lofted then Nacho tries a left-footer from 30 yards… Sums up our (lack of) belief?…

  107. 17highburyterrace says:

    4 mins stoppage…

    Gotta get the ball a build something…

  108. 17highburyterrace says:

    and build something… Watford having more of it in these past 10 minutes or so…

    In fact, we can’t clear their danger for our lives…

  109. If Wilshere cannot displace the useless Elneny then it is clear there is no future for him at Arsenal.
    And Arsenal’s performance today was absolutely shocking.
    This is a sign of things to come when Sanchez leaves…

  110. 17highburyterrace says:

    Watford get a 2nd… And, it’s probably deserved…

    Disaster here…

  111. jw1 says:



  112. Goonereris says:

    We were asking for that. What a shambles.

  113. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi Leon, thanks for popping round…

  114. Goonereris says:

    Sad. We did look shaky for long periods in that half. To think a United old boy.

  115. Fucking useless.
    Arsenal are fucking useless..

  116. 17highburyterrace says:

    3 points instead of 2 points gone doesn’t faze me too much… Both results are bad enough… Gotta win these matches…

  117. Goonereris says:

    Ozil will get more stick for failing to take that chance and for not doing enough to stop Richarlison having a run on Bellerin. We looked lethargic.

  118. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, why “support” them, Leon…

    Speaking of useless… No, make that fucking useless…

    FT. Bad news indeed…

  119. njk84sg says:

    Where the f*** is the offsite call?

    We were so static in attack. Iwobi off for Jack should have been the right call but the change was for a defensive one.

    And the pen should never have been given.

  120. Wenger should be in an old people’s home dribbling into his dinner not managing a top tier team.
    Welcome to the future when Sanchez leaves…
    Elneny and fucking Xhaka…

  121. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, over to TA for 8 of something…

  122. 17highburyterrace says:

    Leon, go fuck your fucking self… No respect for old folks, no respect for the greatest manager the club has ever seen… Kiss my ass…

  123. jw1 says:

    Not sure we could have fielded a slower-footed team for the last 20 minutes.
    Just could not regain possession, nor close.


  124. 17highburyterrace says:

    Look, we got hosed on a call…

    Of course we also missed a fine chance on the break… The ability to hold the ball, build some possession and make chances, however, is a worry…

  125. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, I’m gonna stick around for a moment–maybe just so I can ban Leon when he farts out his next bit of wisdom…

    Arsenal ARE in trouble… If we’re gonna use Alexis as we did today, we probably should have had Lemar in the team, I fear…

  126. njk84sg says:

    We have a similar shout for a penalty on Welbeck and it looked extremely similar to me. What is wrong with you ref? Disgrace.

    And where was our dynamic attack? We were so toothless in attack and sticking to Iwobi only makes things worse. He cannot be the one that carries the team on his shoulders.

    If there were some injury to Kos I cannot say anything on the changed sub, but the priority was to get the second goal and not to defend the point. This is the decision that everyone will be asking Wenger. And sad to say the team got this wrong.

  127. I have absolutely no respect for someone who stayed at the club for his own selfish needs. We are just stagnating under an old fool who ran out of ideas years ago.
    Have Arsenal improved ?
    Go on a little run then lose a couple and then find yourself back right where you were – every year
    Fail to sign players to strengthen the squad – every year
    If you cannot see that then fuck you – that is your problem.
    Wenger had his reign – time for a younger manager with a modern approach to come in…

  128. njk84sg says:

    Get your head strapped in Leon. Plastic fans like you should never appear here.

  129. 17highburyterrace says:

    Younger manager… Pep Guardiola… Plenty of Money to buy those players you love…

    Leon, I’ve got a team for you to support…

    Wenger is 67… How old are you Leon?… Take a fool to know one…

  130. 17highburyterrace says:

    Takes a fool, I meant…

    Or is it, takes a fucking fool… One or the other…

  131. allezkev says:

    Well that was a disaster.

  132. So in your opinion.
    To support Arsenal is to not want them to sign great players or want them to be competitive.
    To want them to compete with the best and do well is to be “plastic”.
    Its not about spending huge sums of money or having managers like Guardiola.
    Its about trying something new – change does not come with a 67 year old who has far more power than he should have.
    He stayed on because he could not walk away from it – that is not putting the welfare of the club first…

  133. jw1 says:

    That’s a dead discussion.
    One that’s convenient for someone unimaginative.
    If you don’t like the product– or have allegiance as a fan of the the club– which means the Manager too?
    Then piss off junior.


  134. Jnyc says:

    I haven’t seen the game yet. I was disappointed to see that El Neny started over Jack. People on twitter blaming Ozil for some reason. Is there any reason for that?

  135. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK… I had to drop things for a bit… I’m Actually dealing with an old person who needs a lot of care… One reason I reacted strongly to our friend Leon who pooped, er, popped, in at full time…

    JNYC–appropriately–wants to see the match before wanting to put the manager out to pasture or cursing out some of the players… (Or giving his well measured opinions…)

    For Leon and others of his ilk… If it’s ALL about the result and then ALL about blame and (cruel) characterizations of those whom you blame… Then, to repeat myself–but(t) in a slightly different manner–you can kiss Wenger’s ass when you change his diaper at the old folks home… Question: You say Wenger should walk away?…If you don’t like the Arsenal (or the man in charge or his players…) why don’t YOU walk away from it? Wenger may have “far too much power” but YOU have the power to walk away… Don’t be miserable and powerless. Use what you’ve got…

    Go on then…

  136. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m a busy fellow–and it sounds like TA is away and visiting family in his homeland too–so I can’t quite hold up the sky for those who need to do their chicken-little stuff…

    My take on the match is that we never really got going with the ball (first half) then on the break when we had the lead. It’s easy to say not. good. enough. but I think we failed to take advantage of space they were giving us (first half) and then weren’t very sharp (at all) playing it forward when we got the ball while defending. That said, that was a flop of a pen. Even if the Brazilian got the toe to the ball he kicked it well out of play AND made at least 99% of any contact that happened. I’d call it a dive but (like Leon above) I’m powerless to change the decision and the result… That one wouldn’t have been called in any home stadium, even in the way too temperate Emirate(s)… It’ll be “too close” for retrospective review, however, as they wouldn’t want to “punish” the ref. Why should they? Gooners prefer punishing our (own) manager, players, etc….

    I think it was a lack of attacking resources, esp. out of the back, if you can understand that, which hurt us badly. The “live by the sword, die by the sword” verve of an Alexis (or even a Ramsey…) might have broken things our way, but maybe not. Jack and/or Ozil from the start might’ve been good to create more chances but they’re (both, perhaps…Or just the foreigner?…) luxury players, or so I’m told…

    Ozil will take the stick for allowing Gomes to save his attempt. A moment earlier he weighted a ball–perfectly–for Iwobi but his (also on-target) shot was also saved. If Iwobi had done likewise for Mesut… two goals to the good might have been enough… but maybe Gomes deserves some credit. No, wait, can’t be giving any of that…

    Ifs and buts are the lexicon of the apologist, I know, but I prefer them to (un-testable) absolutes of the all-knowing with their should-haves and why-nots and other (reactive) sh*t…

    That said, have at it… 😀

    Please spare me, however, with the comments that can be gleaned just from looking at the scoreline… (“Didn’t want it enough,” “Wenger is an idiot or c*nt or worse,” “Players XYZ–plus ABCDEFG–is that 11?…aren’t good enough,” etc., etc., etc.) 😦

  137. njk84sg says:

    Ok.. after a night of sleep i am thinking straight again.

    The penalty call was bad, but the media did not say anything about the ref and went on a rampage on Ozil failing to score the second goal for us 2 mins before we conceded the penalty.

    Even if Rambo played instead of Elneny our performance will be the same. Our movement out of defense is so static that Watford looked a better team even with their less classy style of attack.

    So, it is a collective performance, so I can only say the team is not good enough and can do better. But not to the point of Wenger Out that many were shouting for.

    With injuries to Kos and Welbs we are now really short. With only Holding, BFG and Nacho the only centre backs for the upcoming fixture pileup, will we try to blood some of our youngsters to cover the UEL games?

  138. Pony Eye says:

    It has been analyzed statistically and shown that 3 at the back has not proved defensively better than 4 at the back, instead it has proved poorer offensively. With our defense in injury crises the smart thing for us to do its to revert to 4 at the back. Apart from the injury crises Chelsea’s form, maybe, is indicative that 3:4:3 has been decoded by EPL teams. We were unbelievably flat against Wartford.

  139. Pony Eye says:


  140. njk84sg says:

    For now i agree with you that we should revert to 4 at the back. But with who to protect the central defense?

  141. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys, did not watch any of it so no comments from me. Visited an old friend and fellow Roda JC supporter yesterday and we were checking scores of both teams. Roda scored An extra time winner – only their second of the season – and Arsenal lost around the same time. That is Football. Very disappointing result but we have to move on. Post international PL games, especially away games, often do this to the top teams.

    A shame it attracted a troll but we won’t be seeing him again.

  142. Pony Eye says:

    nil …. that’s the problem .. a central midfield capable of protecting particularly the 2 CD. Solving one problem usually creates anothet. To me, as things are to us now, the back 4 looks the better option.

  143. Pony Eye says:

    Damn the auto correct. Above addressed to njk.

  144. jw1 says:

    I’d like to send a bit of cheer eveyone’s way. And a small parcel of optimism too.
    Below, is a link to an article about a US professional baseball team; my Houston Astros.
    This team is in the midst of postseason playoffs and are advancing by winning games dramatically– and by belief in each other as a team. It’s a fine (and contagious!) thing to experience– after the natural disaster of the hurricane that Houston is (still) recovering from.

    And perhaps the best part– is these players are all really good, and really nice guys.
    Their manager is too.

    I don’t want to sound naive, nor holier-than-thou.
    But– as one who is sarcastic and cynical towards many things (like the writer of the linked article)– I have dispensed with both– in my perspectives, per the teams that I follow, in the various sports that I watch.

    Do I get frustrated with a result? Yeah. But I just can’t stay that way.
    Arsenal gave everything they had to win yesterday– but didn’t.
    And I have my own ideas as to why.

    And I come to Bergkampesque to discuss them.

    Because of the positivity, the sanity, and camaraderie– in being a fan of The Arsenal.
    There’s an importance in doing it this way.

    Anyway– I have no intention of drawing conclusions to anything in this post– but want to share how in this day and age– sports can be appreciated as just a game:

    Hope you enjoy the article.

  145. Goonereris says:

    There have been discussions around that call. Of course, Hackett is an Ex-Referee.

  146. jw1 says:

    If Keith Hackett is correct in his view– that Richarlison ‘cheated’– to help Watford win the match?

    Then the question is:
    How many games banned would be equivalent to changing the outcome of a game?
    Because as a cheater– a ‘slap on the wrist’ ban would still be worth it– to gain 3pts.

    So five games? Ten games?
    Or overturning the outcome of the game?


  147. Pony Eye says:


  148. Very few comments here post match… Hopefully nobody is “self-censoring” due to my reaction to the one fellow who came on just before full time… and my (all too cynical) match summary a bit later on Saturday. I’m both very busy AND in a bit of delicate frame of mind, so, apologies all around…

    PE has sent us a new post and I think I can edit it (doesn’t need much…) and get it out shortly. Obviously, it’s a shame that TA wasn’t able to see the match and give his thoughts–not to mention some of our other regulars. I had to attend to other matters, but, when my thoughts would stray back to the match, I also began to think about the Int’l break (something the lower clubs don’t really have to worry about) and how it can make those first matches afterwards a good deal tougher. Chelsea losing at Crystal Palace should have been a sign. If it can happen to the defending champions then why not the defending 5th placers?…

    That’s not to make excuses, and, obviously, we need to be winning these sorts of matches if we hope to compete at the top of the league. It’s still early yet, but there’s definitely a juggernaut developing on the light blue side of Manchester–and the red side is doing OK as well. Being able to go to your rivals and get a result (as we did not all that long ago at Chelsea) while blowing out the lesser teams (something we haven’t done) seems positive–for those teams. We’re much more a work in progress, but, with so many willing to throw in the towel at the first set-back, can progress actually (be allowed to) happen? JW’s article (and optimism–cheers…) shows what can happen when a team comes together. Are the ingredients in place for Arsenal to do likewise or are things (far to) frayed for even the chance of it?

    That is the question… We shall see. OK, back shortly with PE’s post…

  149. njk84sg says:

    17ht, i think the fans want a team that fights, and what they see is a lethargic performance.

    Chavs’ loss is not a lethargic one, so all the more reason for fans to grill the squad (keyword) on a very bad and lethargic day.

    Hope to have a better game on Thursday night.

  150. NEW POST…

    Pony Eye weighs in with a tactical suggestion…and some additional thoughts…

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