Live-Blogging the Europa League. Arsenal-Red Star Belgrade. Macey in Goal; Jack, Theo and Ollie in Attack

We left it late last time. What will it take tonight in North London?

Olivier Giroud’s audacious overhead kick was the difference in the reverse fixture.  Manager Arsene Wenger makes just one change to the line-up that played in Belgrade as he seeks to secure his team’s place in the next round of the tournament.  Petr Cech finally gets a rest and takes a bench seat while 23 year old Matt Macey starts between the sticks.  That is it.  Otherwise the starters are the same, as is the bench.

Here’s what it looks like:

Macey, Debuchy, Elneny, Holding, Coquelin, Willock, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Wilshere, Giroud.  Subs: Cech, Tutu, Sheaf, Dasilva, Mcguane, Akpom, Nketiah

What do you think?

Your opinion, in fact, is just as good as mine.  I’ll be trying to keep up with the action but I can always use help.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

 

105 thoughts on “Live-Blogging the Europa League. Arsenal-Red Star Belgrade. Macey in Goal; Jack, Theo and Ollie in Attack

  • How tall is Macey? He dwarfs Theo (our captain tonight?) and Rob Holding… 6′ 7″ is my guess…

  • Nice work by Nelson, Theo, Giroud and onto Willock… His run forward, however, piddles out…

    Red Star push down our end and we look a bit out of sorts clearing the ball. Macey already has had to use his head near the edge of box…

  • Red Star on the ball early here but we’re settling into a solid defensive shell while pressing the ball and forcing them back to regroup.

    They do get a throughball down our right but the cross is defended by Elneny and we’re able to break. Ends with Maitland-Niles losing it over the end-line…

  • Bad kick out by Macey but the Red Star player can’t control and Holding is able to tackle it away.

    We’re trying tricky moves to get the break going but they’re not so successful yet…

  • Better there and a strong run by Nelson. The cross is popped up but Theo’s shot is deflected out for a corner… Which is cleared…

  • Excellent J… What do you think thus far?…

    Theo down a cul-de-sac puts a knee to a Red Star man’s face… Play stopped while he tries to recover…

  • Welcome ‘Eris too…

    Giroud wins a high one and Jack looks nimble but it’s put out on the right touchline… Giroud holding his hammy but he must be OK because he shoots well but is blocked after fine work by AMN down the left…

  • Almost a goal there by Giroud from a Maitland-Niles lay-off. We’ve looked lively early on but have also given the guests some indication they will get chances too.

  • Jack doing a good job of getting rid of the ball before absorbing tackles. It’s becoming more second nature in all the games this season..

  • That was a strong move with AMN totally bamboozling his marker…

    Jack almost gets a ball to Theo but his chest down is tackled away… Other end, a Red Star man is free in our right channel but his touch is hugely too firm…

    We win a corner from Macey’s GK and a press forward, again down our left…

  • Both teams are a little loose with their touches. Jack took an easy interception and 1-2ed it with Ollie but he over-hit his touch almost as badly as the RS guy beforehand. Ollie fouled in the left channel… FK coming…

  • Game is starting to look too open for my liking but, I guess with Red star needing to win to stand any chance, it may be a good thing that we stand up to them; better still, take the initiative.

    Set piece opportunity on their right side to be taken by Theo.

  • Theo’s FK is short but out for a corner…Try again, eh…

    Much longer and higher this time but Debuchy’s header in only results in another corner, this time from the right…

  • Hi Kev…I’ll try my best given the lack of radio…

    Agreed Eris about the corner routines… Man City’s might be something to emulate… Two of their goals came from corners last night, I think…

  • Ollie giveaway but the defense swarms around the RS break with Elneny being the one to nip in and put it back with us.

    Lots of giveaways by both teams really…

  • Ollie, far less mobile than Lacazette on the weekends is coming much deeper, playing a bit of a false nine… Le Coq overhits a ball out wide to AMN…

    Giroud, wide left, hits a shot but the RS keeper saves easily.

    Another RS player down after being stomped by Elneny…

  • Back in play after we put it out for the injured guy…

    Nelson can’t control on the right…

    Better this time to set off a series of passes with more Ollie action on the far left.

    Back on the right, Nelson hits a static cross easily claimed by their keeper…

    More RS players down… Bit of a pattern here…

  • Halfway through the half and there should be some extra time with all the RS guys down. There won’t be. This is Europe, after all…

    Very stop-start this, and, I’m afraid, not too much quality on display thus far…

  • RS playing some good in and out attack but the final cross is very short and we eventually clear quite easily.

    That one was better on the break but Elneny was in the right spot to clear to the corner of the 18 yd box. RS player shoots into Row M, approximately…

  • Back with us after Le Coq tried to find Giroud with a long one…

    We’re keeping possession but going nowhere…

  • Jack does a nice turn but it ends with a RS break. The pass is late and Nelson picks it off easily…

    Debs tries a forward ball to Ollie but it’s rejected… As are other forays…

  • Interception from Le Coq but his final ball is taken away in their box… We had numbers there…

  • More possession… The stat says we’re getting 2/3 of it… Very little being made of it, unfortunately and RS look dangerous on the break… Debs has to put it behind for a corner… It’s poor and we kinda break from it…

    Back with RS now…

  • Nice nip-in by Willock who pushes it up before passing wide for Giroud… Well saved buy the onrushing keeper…

    Other end, in space, the RS player shoots well but Macey gets a much needed hand to it and tips in over and away. Corner coming…but not until the RS keeper recovers from his collision with big Ollie…

  • Wow!! That looked a sure RS goal from a poorly defended corner routine. What a save from Macey who now claims a corner from the other side…

  • …right after Giroud forced a save from their keeper.

    Very inventive set piece routine by the visitors nearly catches Macey off his line (from a deflection), but his finger tip pushes off the bar.

  • Arsenal build again but (again) at a snail’s pace…

    Better there to keep the ball in and move it from left to right with Theo snaking through nicely and getting a ball that Jack is able to move onto AMN… His kick is woeful and behind for a goal kick… I can’t figure out what he was actually trying to do there…

  • Those saves by Macey will have done his confidence a lot of good. We need to start to make the possession count and be incisive with passing. We need to be winning this by 3; not allowing them opportunities.

  • RS are able to move again down our left side, Holding looking 2nd best for pace. Again the cross is cleared by Elneny…

  • Nelson tries some fun one-touch stuff but not so accurately… Jack taken out and remains on the turf…

    There’s a good one from Elneny, well forward, but Theo can’t find anybody with a pull-back or cross. Talks to Ollie about where he wanted him…

  • Debuchy looks the most cultured of our defenders, clearing an improvised RS attack. Long ball from Le Coq can’t find Theo…

    Coq slips and RS are through but Boyake hoofs over with only Macey to beat…

  • Both teams trying to break but ours aren’t as good as theirs… Willock down now, holding the family jewels?…

  • Just had a text from my son, he says it’s the worst he’s seen this season.
    Just thought I’d share that with ya… 😐

    Cheers 17tino, it sounds like your gonna need a few cups of coffee…

  • 3 mins of extra time so at least some acknowledgement of all the players who have gone down with “injury.”

    Some sloppy giveaways in MF and the half peters out with a too long ball from RS…

    We had some good plays but Macey stopping their better chances has fortunately kept it at nil-nil…

  • The half just went by. Hopefully, we aren’t judging the quality we’ve seen with the CL games just watched. Still, we’ve not been on our game and it is hard to watch. Theo appears to be trying rather too hard. Is the arm band weighing him down. We did miss some opportunities but so did the visitors, (one a true let off after Coq stumbled on the ball) which grates. Not sure what we can s to change it from the bench but we do have Eddy! Eddy!

  • 2nd half on…

    Nice take down of a high ball by AMN but his pass is too strong for Jack…

    Back with us and Giroud shoots over from 30 yards… Is that our best idea?…

  • I actually want us to try some long shots if we can. Olivier and Wilshere both have it in them.

  • Jack and AMN try a 1-2 on the left…out for a throw…

    More possession but going nowhere…

  • Nelson, trying to find Theo, dribbles it to no one but their keeper… Makes a decent tackle on the right flank afterwards, however…

  • RS get a shot off but it’s right at Macey… Frankly, I think they look the more likely to score…

  • Yeah, J, maybe you’re right… Or maybe rounding to shoot could open some slid in balls…

    Better stuff out on the right from Theo who almost finds Elneny on a run… Nelson does some good work trying to slide the ball in and we win a corner.

    Some head tennis near their goal but RS are able to clear…

  • I was just about to write that our defenders are playing extremely high up. If we lose the ball, could be trouble.

  • We looked on the front foot for a bit but RS look at least as threatening on the break…

    Nelson trying some head down diagonal runs with the ball but RS defend them well enough… He’s pacy for sure…

  • You’re right again, J…

    Another sure goal but the RS forward whiffed the ball and was offside so it wouldn’t have counted.

  • Willock in space central can’t make up his mind as Theo tries to hold his run in behind. He shoots… Or is it a pass near the goal… Pretty poor in the end…

  • More trying to get over or through but it’s not very good stuff… Willock and Elneny working the middle, Le Coq out wide doing kinda OK and gets a ball towards Giroud who heads in for Jack. He goes down but no pen…

    Soon afterward Jack looks to force a handball off a RS player. Again no pen…

  • The handball looked the better shout, I think… We’re getting little spurts of excitement in and near their box but not much in the way of sustained pressure on the Serbian team…

  • Some RS possession with Theo chasing it around the back… You can’t really see them scoring except on a mistake from us…

    Oooh, that looked a goal from Jack after good work from AMN… Spectacular goal line clearance…

    AMN puts Ollie in but he can’t quite shape enough to put his shot on target…

  • OK, at least we’ve made a real chance… The RS clearance was at least as good as Macey’s work in the first period…

    FK from the center circle finds Giroud winning the header but he’s deemed to have climbed the defender like a ladder…

  • Jack does well in our half to send Holding on a run… Ends with an AMN giveaway… Or was it
    Willock… Who gets subbed off for Eddy…Eddy…

  • 3/4 of the match has now been played…

    Eddy’s first touch… is out for a RS throw…

  • RS make a change… Kanga out, Milic in… Thank you graphics department…

  • Yellow for Holding. Is that the first of the match. Forearm to the head puts the RS player down. More start-stop stuff. This isn’t great entertainment tonight, IMO…

  • Another RS run down our left, another cross, another clearance by Elneny. Out for a corner and they do the routine to the corner of the box. We clear, however…

  • Debuchy tries to overlap forward but Nelson can’t get the ball to him. Jack gets tackled after a turn and run and then tackles a RS player in return. Who, naturally, goes down hurt…

  • AMN tackles nicely in our half and puts a ball over to Eddie… He’s denied but keeps the ball as we regroup… Jack drives a diagonal ball but Theo’s header is wide of the far post… Not so bad really…

  • Theo can’t find Ollie but the RS break goes nowhere this time and they regroup before trying a too long ball. Back with Macey who gives it to the defenders to rebuild the possession… Not much excitement…

    Until a Wilshere drive upfield… comes to nothing more than a throw, unfortunately…

    From it we get some nice one-touch play but we can’t convert from a close in spot…

  • Great shimmy by Jack to lose two markers and break away. But the move peters out.

    Nelson just went on a merry run, finds Walcott who places it for Nketiah to shoot at the keeper. Offside though.

  • More nice penetration but Theo is judge offside before pulling back to Eddie. His shot was saved anyhow…

  • We’ve been rather lucky that Boakye has come to London leaving his shooting boots at home. What a miss there.

  • Debuchy went down and it looked a very good chance for RS… Boyake can’t find the target and it’s a let off…

    Good penetration down the left by Eddie but it dies at AMN near the corner of the box…

  • AMN needs to be decisive and quicker when he gets into there area, as he has often done tonight. He seems to hesitate about crossing first time.

  • 83rd minute now so it will have to be late heroics again… They could nick it too, however, as we’ve been vulnerable on the break all evening…

  • Jack down and everyone worried…

    Eddie crosses over everybody… Elneny’s high ball from the center is short… We need the Goldilocks ball, you know, the just-right one…

  • More RS injury time but the stretcher will not be needed…

    This is poo, really… And the clock seems slowed down, but not in a good way…

  • Sounds like Koln are winning so we’re in the next round with a draw…

    Jack holds the ball well in the center, shifts it wide for AMN who at least wins a corner…

  • Holding an inch or two too short after their keeper, mysteriously, retreated to his line. That looked promising but, alas, didn’t deliver…

  • Le Coq and AMN send us forward but Eddie can’t make it happen on the left side of the box. A Coq lofted ball finds Ollie but his header can’t find a teammate…

  • 4 mins of extra time, one of them already played… We have the ball but that is all…

  • Nelson, pacy down the right lofts a cross that Eddie heads towards Giroud… Pops out for Coq on the half volley… The less said the better about his attempt at goal…

  • Eddie clips another cross too far… Final whistle blows… We’re through thanks to Koln… Sorry for the negativity but that was not my best two hours…

    Gotta run. Looking forward to others’ post mortems…

  • With the result in Koln, the draw should be enough for us to qualify. It would have been nice to see goals though, but Red star seemed happy to keep 11 men behind the ball towards the end and try as we did, it was hard to unlock such defending.

    I’d say the boys did okay in the end. We just need to fine tune certain things to get us purring better.

  • These guys are hard to break down, so i won’t blame our guys. I guess we’re out of the group, didn’t overwork our normal 1st 11. Bonus is good practice for the youngins…. All in all , not bad.

  • We should have tricks up our sleeve to score just one, but kudos to Red Star they are tight in defense.

    Now for the first teamers to show them how to score against Citeh.

    Have yet to see the game repeat so not able to comment further.

  • Hi all..
    It’s still ok with draw.. We will still win this groups..
    After Cologne win 5-2 to Bate.. now 3 of then still have a chance to be second best..
    So they will fight each other.. hehehe..

    All we need is to win against Oily City..
    They must learn how to lose.. hahahaha..
    Don’t let them tool our biggest pride.. The Untouchable.. unbeaten.. Invisible.. hehehehe..

  • Ko Henry,

    The minyak minyak Citeh will peg us back. We need to have a strong midfield that will counter them. We have the manpower available, but Elneny played yesterday. So should we see Rambo dropping deeper than usual to move the ball upfield or should we play Ozil deeper?

  • JK.. We should play 3 midfielders + two wing back and two Strikers.. in 3-2-3-2 formation..
    Koscielny – Mertesacker – Monreal
    Bella – Kolasinac
    Xhaka – Ozil – Ramsey
    Sanchez – Lacazette..
    I can be 5-3-2 in defense or 3-5-2 in attack..

    I think the “Minyak” team will play almost the same.. 3-5-2..

    No JK.. Ramsey won’t play deeper.. not his natural style..
    Some say that we must sacrify Ozil or Xhaka to put Coquelin in.. but I don’t agree with that..
    With Mertesacker, Monreal and Kosielny we can count on them to make our backyard save.. and we still have Bellerin and Kolasinac who will cover the hole..

    I want us to attack more.. We aren’t MoU team.. who always playing deep (bus park) when against the big 6 team..
    Nothing to afraid about oily City.. We beat them several time.. and will again.. hehehehe..

  • Henrychan, nice to see some positivity from you but when you take another look at the form of the Oilers and how confidently they are playing, you would advise pragmatism. This is one of those games where you miss Cazorla for his ball retention strengths. We must do our best not to lose possession indiscriminately when we have it and of course, defend collectively.

    If we can keep them from scoring long enough and make it a war of attrition, they will baulk and we can take advantage. We could have also used the pace and incisiveness of Theo, in his pomp, but the man is still struggling with form. Pace will be important, so the front 3 of ALO should start, which means Cech’s distribution has to be precise (without Giroud or Welbeck, aimless kick-outs will only give back possession). Ordinarily, Giroud should start to provide an outlet with long balls, when we have to ease pressure; however, he just doesn’t have the speed of feet and thought for this opponent. It will be a tense 90+ minutes for gooners, for sure.

  • Hi Eris..
    I don’t think Walcott will play.. after 2 unsuccesful games.. maybe not even on bench..
    Macey, Debuchy, Elneny, Iwobi, Coquelin, Wilshere and Giroud will fill our bench.

    Eris, City can play wide and speed with Sane, DeBruyne, Silva, Fernandinho and Sterling in the middle.. and Aquero – Jesus in front..
    But they also can play Walker and Mendy to protect their gate.. hehehehe..
    Pep won’t be too over confidence to give their defence only cover by Stone, Otamendi and Kompany.. hehehehe..

    Let’s look our defenders.. In the left we have Monreal and Kolasinac.. in the right we have Bellerin and Koscielny..
    And the can’t cross easily cause we have Mertesacker in the middle..
    So, if our defenders are steady and fit, we will win the war.. hehehehe..

    And ALO++ RX.. XALOR.. ROLAX.. RAXOL or whatever you call them are in the same level with City..
    Xhaka maybe a bit lose in defence.. but he can be our secret weapon if he is on his best.. hehehehe..

    So, with our team are more fit, cause all of then have more time rest.. we will overcome the Minyak team.. Go Gunners.. VCC..

  • Ko Henry, I think we should translate the “Minyak” word for the rest of the guys here.

    “Minyak” means “Oil” in Malay and Indonesian languages. And over here in Singapore we are used to incorporating the local language (Malay) in the way we speak.

    Le Coq and Theo should play no part in the team against the Oilers. We should have thrown in Nketiah earlier in the match, and not in the 70th minute.

  • Thanks for the small language lesson, JK. “Minyak” does have a nice derogatory ring about it and suits our impression of what they are doing at City, just right.😀

    My allusion to playing Theo was based on his normal form (he scores against big teams and his pace terrifies defences); but I also admitted he was not in good form. Neither is Coquelin, or he would have been useful winning back possession. Imagine how much worse they would have been without regular Europa league soccer. If Bellerin isn’t going to be up for the tussle with Sane, we may as well pep up (see what I did there?) Debuchy for the job. He is sturdier in defending than Bells.

    OT: feel Jack should not feel too bad about not being picked by Southgate for the friendliest coming up at the break. There’s plenty of time for him to stake a claim and it is all down to his contributions to the club.

  • Happy Friday, fellas… I’m still searching for the two hours I lost yesterday… If anybody can help me find it, lemme know… Truth be told, it went faster trying to live-blog it, so here’s to you guys who make me feel (at least somewhat) like it’s not such a silly thing to be doing…

    Where’s TA? Did we lose him to the darkness in the South of Scotland? He was supposed to be getting home to Embra just in time to watch the match. My hope is that he had better things to do… (Which could have been just about anything…)

    What to say?… Without wanting to sound too negative, I still have to wonder about the benefit of playing two completely different teams, which (I pray to dennis…) are playing at two completely different levels. It takes 11 guys to make the train run and last night we never left the station. On the plus side, Red Star’s repetitive chances on the counterattack stayed out of our net. On the minus side, our patient (read: very, very slow…) build-up play, repeatedly interrupted by basic technical failures (and then their breaks up our end), didn’t net us anything. Oh well, nil-nil probably ends up being the correct result even if it might overestimate the actual quality of the match.

    Does it benefit any of those who will likely be on our bench and might get called into action on Sunday? Those fellows, I’m guessing, will be Giroud, Theo, Jack, Debuchy, Holding and Macey–Iwobi will likely complete the bench, I think–while the first 11 picks itself (see Henry’s list above). Does playing at a snail’s pace (Red Star’s countering pace would maybe rate 4 out of 10, their execution near our goal about a 1…) actually help those guys if they have to step in and play at City’s speed? I don’t think so. It probably doesn’t help our first 11 either…if that’s what they face in training…

    That’s not to say all hope is lost. Any team can beat any other team on the day, and, in fact, we won vs City (on blessed neutral ground at Wembley…) in our last meeting. Would I bet we can do it again? Maybe a pound (or five), but I feel I’m a rich man who can afford such a punt. Not rich enough to buy me a football team–for vanity (and victory, i.e., like Prince Mansour) nor for the bottom line (and the pleasure of manipulating a captive consumer base–Kroenke)… So, in the end, maybe not and I’ll keep that one (or five) pound note in my pocket. A penny saved is a penny earned, iddinit? 😀 😦

  • Eris, good point about Cech’s long kicks and distribution. I wonder if management thinks in such details. I hope so.

    I think Arsene probably enjoys a man city open style game over the Mourinho, Conte defensive stalemates in big games. I hope he has some ideas to surprise Peps players.

    I look at it this way : as good as Man city is, they are performing above even their own heads now. Basically they’ve been really hot, just like 1st 10 games last year. I think they are better than last year, just marginally.
    They have only had one tough opponent before us so far, chelsea, which was 1-0 affair.

    If we believe that we’re definitely one of the top teams in the league, we should believe we can beat them or draw.

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