Mustafi is a Winner, Granit-Rambo boss Midfield, ALO the Dream Attack: 8 Observations

That was just the sort of game the team, the supporters and the manager needed. We were up for it from the start and never looked back. After all the years at the club, Arsene is still able to fire up the troops and get the canon to roar and roar. And let there be no doubt it, a loss against the Spuddies at home would have been devastating in more than one way.

The players got the supporters going from the start and that created a brilliant home atmosphere that was needed to play the sort of pressing, energetic football that proved simply too much for the sorry Spuds. It was about time Arsene’s Gunners beat Pochettino’s swamp dwellers; and with two goals to the good guys and a clean sheet, it was a spirit lifting performance for everyone red and white.

Eight Observations from a pivotal victory through harmony:

  1. The Mustafi-factor: Playing three at the back is very different from playing four in defence. There is no time and too much space to try and control everything that happens at the back; what is needed is three very mobile, athletic, dynamic CBs who fire-fight regularly and focus hard on eliminating the players that attack their space. Mustafi, Koz and Nacho are three such players and when we play them together we often keep clean sheets and win games. On top of this, Mustafi scored a cracker of a goal that made us all sing one-nil to the Arsenal; he is the sort of player that makes a difference in a crucial game.
  2. Mesut had another top game. I never understand why there is still doubt re Ozil’s importance for the team. His passing stats are excellent and nobody produced more assist (45 now) since he joined the PL. He is not an in-your-face player but one who always looks to add value to the team. Let’s embrace him and show him the support he deserves. And well done to the home fans who gave him a collective standing ovation.
  3. The collective mobility of ALO ALO was just too much for the Spuds. Alexis, Lacazette and Ozil pushed up high and covered sooo much space that the defenders never were at ease when playing out the ball. I loved the way they interchanged positions, and Lacazette’s assist from the right to Alexis in the middle was a great example of this. ALO has only started three times this season; let’s hope Wenger will play them more regularly from now on.
  4. Xhaka and Rambo are quietly growing into a formidable duo in midfield. The Spuds’ strength is in the centre of midfield but Granit and Aaron were on top for almost the entire game. Rambo powered forward and Xhaka supported the CBs when needed, but they played as a duo together most of the time.
  5. The full backs had mixed games. Kolasinac was relatively quiet in attack but a great support for Nacho and the other CBs in defence (especially set pieces). Bellerin had a very good attacking game with a number of key passes and almost a great assist for Lacazette. He had the pre-assist for Alexis’ goal by playing a Ozilesque pass into the box that the Frenchman pounced on.
  6. Cech was solid and oozed that vital calm behind the three dynamic, frantic CBs. Judging from yesterday’s performance, Petr is capable of playing at least a few more years for us.
  7. Iwobi looked good from the moment he entered the pitch. With two goals against Argentina in midweek, Alex is full of confidence and it showed. I think Wenger did well not to start him as he did against Man City, but as a sub he helped to keep the momentum and the ball with Arsenal.
  8. Eleven games unbeaten at home, eleven wins in fact. Let’s work on the away form and we can go from strength to strength. Keep the Faith FFGs!

By TotalArsenal


58 thoughts on “Mustafi is a Winner, Granit-Rambo boss Midfield, ALO the Dream Attack: 8 Observations

  • Excellent, TA… Even if it’s a bit too positive for my taste… You know me, always searching for the even keel… You get too close to the sun and your wings melt off, etc., etc., etc.,

    No time (nor energy) to write at the moment… I think all the early wake-up calls are catching up to me…

    Did I mention that your post is excellent? And extremely well-observed…and not just the obvious stuff… Well done…

  • Yes good stuff T A. I am also a little wary of getting too excited, but at the end of the days the boys did really well. I wouldn’t worry too much about the 2nd half it was certainly not as good as the first half. We definitely should have finished them off as we had a number of opportunities after the break. Mustafi was fantastic my man of the match and just to rub Epurs noses in it. His header was very similar to the one Harry Kane scored against us and said it was his best headed goal ever.

    Kos did indeed have a very good game, but was a little shaky for the first five minutes and could have cost us a goal early on. Rambo couldn’t stay on his feet until he changed his studs which also could also have proved costly,

    As for Ozil, as I said before he was awesome and if he put that type of effort in every week the crowd will love him death. But quite frankly he doesn’t.

    Another interesting stat I saw this morning was Spurs have only won one oft heir last 17 games against the top six!,,, power shift indeed

  • OK.
    I’m going to share one of my favorite and simple IT-guy tools for you lost-post types.
    It’s going to sound like every other note-type applet– but it’s not.
    It’s the perfect notes applet– called Memento.
    Been using it for over 10yrs.

    Found here:

    As the programmer who wrote it stated:
    “I wrote Memento after the 29th time I needed a simple app to keep little text notes on my desktop, and, as usual, found the only programs available seemed to be either crap, not free, a 7Mb download, or some combination of the above. Memento is about 345k and does pretty much everything with little desktop notes that I want it to do. The emphasis is on being convenient, unobtrusive, and easy to use. I hope you find it useful too.”

    Easy like:
    Open a new note by double-clicking the icon.
    Notes stay on top of everything on your desktop– until you want to hide it.
    Note can be saved– without saving as a file– simply hide/close it.
    Retrieve it by clicking an icon and look through a list of notes titled by your first line of text.

    My fave use for this other than hoarding info easily– is using notes to store copied links temporarily. And easily removing formatting from text by pasting a paragraph– then re-copying to paste elsewhere. It pastes as simple ASCII text.

    (I work in multiple virtual desktops simultaneously throughout the day– and Memento makes it easy for me place info in a note and retrieve it over the course of a day/days for re-use.)

    Use this and you’ll never want anything else.


  • Three very mobile CBs,quite right.but i guess we would continue to wonder how wonderful it would have been if Gabriel was part of the 3 at the back.he is quicker than Monreal by a mile…how i wish.

  • Cheers Seventeenho. I reckon it is factual rather than overly positive, but of course I could have focused more on the negatives. I always feel that a team needs luck to win or not lose a game and we had that bit of luck yesterday. Spuds had a few half chances to score the first goal but we got it from a slightly offsite header by Mustafi. But there is no doubt that we played the better football and deserved the win and that we outplayed them in all areas…. which I have reflected in the observations.

  • Cheers Retsub, effort is in the eye of the beholder; let’s leave it at that. I have many colleagues who are very good at looking busy, but I rate the few who focus on what matters and make a difference. Ozil does the latter in every single game, even though it may not look like it sometimes.

  • Franck, agreed re Gabriel fitting into our defence. However, I reckon Nacho is at the top of his game right now and one of the first players on the team sheet.

  • TA, your observations are all spot on.
    I have to hold my hands up as I wasn’t expecting Wenger to start Mustafi (Just not the manager’s style over the years, so my guess is he’s been fit for longer than was put out in the media), but he’s gone on to play a blinder and for me, the MOTM, alongside Ozil. If you ask me, the spuds had not made their plans with him in mind and it showed.
    Lacazette may not have scored a goal but his pressing and positioning caused the Spurs back 3 all sorts of trouble while he was on; I would have liked to see what Welbz would have done to them had he been given a few minutes.

    Cech looked up for it and I am pleased for him to have gotten a clean sheet from that; what with all the stats comparing his goal concession rate at Chelsea with that at our club, like it was all in the same era and under similar styles. Plus, no consideration for his age now. I’d hate to be a Spurs fan going to work this morning.

  • Nice one TA. Watching the match again, my big take away from the match was that it was Arsenal’s hard work rather than on the ball skill that enabled them to beat Spurs. In terms of individual performances:

    GK: Cech
    I think you summed up Cech contribution nicely TA. Both his shot stopping and aerial presence were excellent.

    RWB: Bellerin
    Aside from his lovely through pass to release Lacazette, Bellerin had a stinker. He failed to put any sort of defensive pressure on Ben Davis when the Spurs left wing back attacked, only had one dribble and cross for the match and recorded a poor 68% passing accuracy. Another underwhelming performance by the Spaniard. If Wenger is not going to even contemplate playing Debuchy in the right wing back role, Wenger needs bring in someone in January to compete with and a push or replace Bellerin.

    RCB: Koscielny
    Was excellent with a number of key tackles and interceptions and a whopping 11 clearances. His only negative was that he was suspect aerially at times.

    CB: Mustafi
    A solid defensive performance from the German, who made a number of vital blocks, racked up 14 clearances and won 3 aerial duels, one of which was the go ahead goal.

    LCB: Monreal
    Phenomenal defensive positioning from the Spaniard, who notched 6 interceptions for the match.

    LWB: Kolasinac
    A quiet defensive display from the Serb as Spurs largely targeted Bellerin on the opposite flank. He struggled offensively, with no dribbles or crosses and just 58% passing accuracy.

    RCM: Ramsey
    A brilliant central midfield performance from Ramsey who racked up a hugely impressive 5 tackles and 2 interceptions. Offensively he did his job very effectively with 5 accurate long range passes to create counterattacking opportunities for Arsenal’s front three. The only negative was his passing accuracy which was a poor 73%.

    LCM: Xhaka
    Like Bellerin and Kolasinac, the Swiss was a passenger in this game. His defensive positioning was okay but he was no where near proactive enough. Offensively he made some nice long range accurate passes but his passing accuracy was below the required standard at 77%.

    RAM: Ozil
    Worked hard, was accurate with his passing (81%) and managed to record an assist for Mustafi’s goal. That said, he just wasn’t proactive enough on the ball, with no dribbles, through pass attempts or shots on goal. Good hustle but much more is needed offensively from the German.

    LAM: Sanchez
    An energetic and provocative attacking performance by the Chilean with an opportunistic goal fully deserved given his 5 successful dribbles and 4 shots on goal. His passing accuracy though was again poor (68%).

    CF: Lacazette
    A difficult day for the Frenchman. A nice assist but overall he was starved of clear cut goal scoring opportunities.

  • Odds & Ends:
    Tony Pulis is considered a candidate for the Wales job following his sacking at WBA.
    Could also find work in the interim parking buses.
    (One less Jose Mourinho suck-up employed is a positive as well.)

    Emmanuel Adebayor took time out from his long-since-mediocre career to bash Tomas Rosicky and Arsene Wenger by name– and Arsenal in general.
    Despite those principals being almost solely responsible for any success he has experienced professionally. Adebayor is still nicking a living in Turkey (aka Promised Land of Scorned Arsenal Strikers).

    And finally…
    North London Is (Still) Red.
    Although, to be honest?
    Right at 12:00pm GMT on Saturday, a massive ‘Power Sh^t’ occurred in North London.
    Sp^rs grabbed it with both hands and cannot not let go.
    (WebMD states: ‘Severe butt-clenches of this nature can take a season or more to finally relax’.)



  • Cheers Waldo for your alternative take on the players. The teams allowed each other little space to pass the ball in, which explains the relatively low passsing rates. It was a battle for space control rather than ball control.

  • Well said there, TA. This was no game for the dribbles and when it is observed that Arsenal won through hard work, it goes a long way to see that it was more of the graft and less of the frills for us. Ozil focused on being efficient rather than flair. His passing accuracy, though below his usual high standards, is bound to be the best on the day (of those who had over 35 passes).

    Waldo makes a good point about the need for some competition or replacement for Bellerin, though. He seems to be playing within himself these days, under instruction, as if to avoid injuries since we know he has no direct replacement of same caliber.

  • Kev, thanks for the link confirming the story of the appointment of Sven Mislintat as Arsenal chief recruiter. Here’s hoping he pulls off some magical signings for us, as he did for Dortmund over the years.
    For long, the narrative bandied about is of a club operating without careful planning. With Per Mertesacker’s appointment, added to Mislintat’s and the fact Wenger is himself from the Alsace region of France, there seems to be a growing German influence in the club’s philosophy (another reason why I feel Ozil may stay to complement Mustafi, the in-coming Groetzke and the German speaking contingent (Xhaka, Kolasinac). The icing on the cake will be if Wenger’s replacement is German.

  • Eris, I am quite a critic of Hector in general, but I thought he played his best attacking game of the season. His preassist for the second goal was a ball of class. However, I agree that we need to strengthen in that area, and that’s why I prefer playing Rambo on the right in the tougher games.

  • I’m not sure that I’d see Gabriel as an upgrade on Monreal, to me Nacho has been Mr Consistently over the last 2/3 years either as a left-back or centre-back.
    That’s not to say Franck, that I wish that we hadn’t sold Paulista, but I suspect that that decision was both financial and to do with the balance of the 25 man squad.

    Chambers played for the U23’s last week but not at Swansea last night so is he going to play in Germany this Wednesday?

    Seems that Theo is ill, could be flu, there is a lot of it around in the UK atm.
    Giroud is likely to return for Thursday.
    The make up of the squad to Koln should make for interesting reading.

  • Kevski, agreed. Nacho has been great. the good thing about Gabriel is that he is also very mobile and energetic so good cover for the first choice CBs right now. But he was sold so we have to move on.


  • Yeah, I gotta say Total that selling Gabriel was a big surprise to me and not a transfer that I was particularly happy about.
    it’s was a weird summer, what with the ongoing rumours of Mustafi going to Inter and Chambers being sold, and then there was the Alexis, Ozil and Lemar sagas on top of the long and unnecessary Arsene contract scenario.
    It didn’t really give a great impression of a club that had a plan.

  • With the World Cup year coming, it is quite plausible that Gabriel wished to take his chances at a club that will let him play games and have visibility, as he’s getting now at Valencia. There’s a feeling this had long been agreed with the manager as he seemed happy at the FA cup final win, and did leave without rancour but rather with big smiles. You never know as Wenger has been known to do such favours for his players.

    Of course, I am speculating here….

  • Hey fellas… On the move yesterday after the big weekend so just catching up… It seems to me that most agree that TA did a very fine job with his observations–which was my initial impression as well…

    A couple of discussions seem to be emerging from the comments…

    Re: Gabriel… I too was surprised he was sold esp. if Wenger was planning to play three at the back. Selling him clears the way for Chambers and Holding which is also maybe a way to help satisfy the home-grown rule, if that’s still an issue. (I don’t follow that stuff so I don’t really know. How many English players–or otherwise home-grown players are in the Man City squad, for example?… Is there a way clubs can buy their way around those requirements?….)

    What I’m actually noticing, however, is that 3 at the back allows for even more on the ground play out of the back (and maybe less Route-One hoofing by the keeper). This, IMO, was not Gabby’s strength. He was better in the air, OK at man-marking and a very nervous looking presence when trying to coordinate the offside trap or going forward. He actually did better than I expected when he played RB a couple of times (in a back 4…) but that’s because watching his game had put my expectations down to zero…

    The other thing I notice (with playing a back three) is that the way we play out of the back often puts A LOT of pressure on the wingbacks, thus it doesn’t surprise me that their passing percentages (noted by our statistician-in-residence, Waldo…) are on the lower side. One-touching back to safety (as a defender beats down on you) or forward to break the lines is ALWAYS more difficult if half your options are removed due to the presence of the touchline.

    Overall, football, among all the games I’ve ever watched or played, seems the least amenable to statistical analysis because it’s the ultimate team game. In the end it’s not what the players do; instead, it’s all about moving the BALL into the opponent’s net…and keeping IT out of our net. The way to get that done is all about spacing and being able to visualize how to use those spaces…as a TEAM. To me, (and, with no offence intended…) English football fans are the worst–perhaps due to a history of lots of ale (or lager…) while watching (or listening) to a game played on sodden pitches–and seem overly impressed by guys who can run with the ball even if they don’t have a plan for what to do with it at the end. (Am I talking about the Ox? No, not just him…) When I first started watching I always thought, “take the ball into the space, (goddammit!)”… but then I realized that doing so meant positioning was being abandoned and the team could be very (very) exposed if there was a turnover. As such, the movement of the ball is always better than the movement of the player(s)…in my opinion… Your mileage, as they say, may (and probably will) vary…

    So, passing percentages and number of dribbles (and plenty of other stats) mean exactly nothing to me. If I get the ball to your foot but you’re under so much pressure that you can’t get it back to me or onto another teammate is the fault yours or is it mine?

    But (as always) what (the f*ck) do I know? Arsenal seem to do a lot of business and maybe even some picking of teams based on the StatDNA business/application/whatever-it-is that the club bought, which also seems part of the rift between Gazidis and AW. Doing the most cursory research (i.e. Google search, then reading some headlines…) suggests that Gabriel was bought due to his stats, but sent out due to managerial observation… I’d like to know more about all this but it’s a sunny day and I’ve got other things to do… Waldo? Anybody?…

    In fact, the more I think about it, the more I’m beginning to believe that (among the increasing number of teams using 3-at-the-back) we might have the best wingbacks. Kola is a legend in the making and Bellerin seems slowly but surely (to my eye) to be getting back towards his best.
    Their teammates learning how to use them better could be the key to jump-starting our season… Maybe…

  • 17HT–

    Your analyses distilling aspects of football are applicable– in Ultimate.
    Where on the field you turnover the disc– determines to a great degree how well your team plays defense after the turn.


  • Only in Ultimate JW?… I.e., not in football?…

    Re disc: that New York team in the early 90s with their isolation punts deep to the big guy (“Cribber,” I think…and not only in downwind situations…) changed the game… but not in a good way, I thought… Route 1 at its worst… Or at least it wasn’t good for smaller guys like me w/o the best (read: longest) throws… I did a lot of standing around marking guys who were purposely out of the play when we played (and lost) to them… It was–as you suggest, however–a good way of avoiding turnovers too close to the goal line we were defending…

    In football, sitting off the ball then bombing it forward (with passes ideally, but sending some runners as well) is how you grind out results… Just ask “successful” managers like Mourinho, Pochettino, Pulis, etc., etc… We can do likewise, as we proved on Saturday, when we’re sitting on a lead… As I suggest, above, I’m liking the new ways–or the extra man–we’re finding for playing the ball out of the back with the (still) new formation…

  • Funny you brought up NYNY– as that was exactly the team/model I had in mind.
    (I’ve played with Cribber a couple of times at Mardi Gras tourneys in Baton Rouge.)
    But you have to play some fanatical man D to make it work. NY did just that.
    They simply bet you couldn’t go length-of-field against them. Their conditioning was incredible.

    We came very close to beating NY in a February tourney in Tuscon in ’88 after their first Nationals win (a year before they rattled off their 5 straight Nationals). We had a guy that could shutdown Kenny Dobbins. Had the lead and the weather turned nasty. We had good handlers for high wind– but as soon as the disk would get into the hands of someone who wasn’t– they’d mark him mercilessly.

    In ’93 at Worlds in Madison WI– none of the Euro teams had started to play that style.
    Where at Worlds in St Andrews, Scotland in ’99 many did. Including a Swedish team that finished 2nd. The first Euro team to ever break Top 10 at Worlds.


  • Inneresting J-Dub… Here in the Bay Area (where I am visiting tonight in lovely weather…) we don’t get really big winds too often, though we did have a strong rival that was based in the shadow of the wind farms… I had a teammate once say (after an early exit at a windy tournament) that maybe we should practice when it’s windy instead of saying, “It’s too windy to practice…” 😀

    Wind in ultimate is akin to poor pitches in football, IMO. As such, playing the English way (lotsa big goal kicks, hoping to spring forward on the break…) is a natural strategy–at least in days of yore. In Spain they actually call long goal kicks “futbol Ingles…” 🙂 In England it’s more often referred to as pragmatism… It’s not quite as good, however, if you’re hoping to entertain the patrons and/or win 3 points every match…

    My view is that AW turned to 3 at the back as a pragmatic solution last spring, but that it’s now evolving into something that might be attractive as well. IMO, both Ramsey and Alexis need a lot of space to play at their best but they’re finding it with fewer forwards and MFs in the mix. Xhaka and Ozil are better at positioning and finding those guys with a variety of passes, while Lacazette seems a classic off-the-shoulder #9, and, in fact, I’d like to see him drop deeper at times and let Alexis (or Rambo) make more runs into the CF spot. In the end, it’s all about results, so, hook or crook, let’s get ’em…

    One thing that was very nice (and different) about the Totts game was scoring the first goal which worked to pull them out of their shell and into ours.

    I’ll take more of that, please…

  • 17tino, I’m out of my depth when you guys get into frisbee talk, that’s what is was, yeah???

    Maybe I’ll start chatting about the Ashes with Retsub, the benefits of leg spin and fielding at fine leg and silly point….

    Don’t worry JW I’m only joshing….

    As far as Arsene and his conversation to 3 at the back 17tino, yep, you are quite correct, I believe that it’s what we limeys call pragmatism. 🙂

  • Though Kev– Ultimate borrows many facets of its’ rules and movement from other sports. 17 will attest that spatial aspects in football and Ultimate are similar. Playing offence against a zone defence in Ultimate? Is so very close to the way Arsenal’s one-touch/triangular/possession-style operated 10-15 yrs ago. Like picking a lock. Technical and patient. Teams I played on were that. Throwing 50+ passes during a single possession to score was a badge worn proudly.

    Retired from the game completely in 2003. That following year ESPN began showing replays of PL games. Nearly all of them involving Arsenal. Couldn’t get enough. I was smitten.


  • Kev
    Ever tried trying to teach a Yank about cricket. An old boss of mine American/Japanese got invited to Lords to the Saturday against the Aussies. He didnt have a clue. Biggest problem was trying to explain what a wicket is? 3 pieces of wood? A piece of grass that takes spin? What a batsman loses when he is out. As for how many ways a batsman could lose his wicket. Don’t even go there.

    Just watched the 1989 film, which has just been released. Absolutely loved it. Nearly had me in tears. Great insight into George Graham.

  • JW, don’t they a veterans Ultimate over in the US, just to keep you ticking over?

    Retsub, I can’t wait to see 89, the reviews have been spectacular and the short previews have really got the juices flowing, I can’t wait to see it…

    I remember talking to an American in my cab Retsub and he just couldn’t get his head around playing a game for 5 whole days and it ending in a draw.
    I then amazed him by telling him that before the Civil War, that cricket was actually the national sport of the USA, and I guess in 1861 the CSA…

  • Welbeck to lead the attack in Koln this Thursday?
    Not sure if Walcott will have recovered from his illness or Giroud from his thigh strain.
    If Borisov and Red Star draw, Arsenal win the group, whatever the result in Germany.

  • A good friend of mine is a retired cab driver and he tells the greatest stories, as I am sure you do. I think it’s about time someone wrote a book. He told me a lovely story this morning. He was driving around Chelsea (his favourite patch). When he picked up a lady with her prize poodle. He dropped her off and picked up a Japanese guy, who sat there for 10 minutes or so and then asked my friend if it was his dog? Apparently they returned to the previous drop off to see this woman jiumping nup and down hysterically… and what that has to do with arsenal i have no idea.

  • Kev– yessir, there is a Masters Division. Back in the day it was simply 30+. Now?
    “The Masters Division is age restricted: Men’s Masters (33+); Mixed Masters (30+ for women, and 33+ for men); Women’s Masters (30+); Men’s Grand Masters (40+); Women’s Grand Masters (37+); and Great Grand Masters (45+ for women, and 50+ for men).”

    Played Men’s Open Division until my early-40s. Primarily a lefty– but an ambidextrous thrower.
    A near-unique combo in our game. Conventional defending meant I always had an uncontested throw. Thus my longevity with the youngsters.


  • Retsub, that was brilliant, I’ve had phones and bags left in my taxi but never a dog… 😃

    JW, some of you guys would surely make good goalkeepers?

  • Just catching up and gotta run this a.m…. but enjoying the discussion/stories above… Live blog could happen… I should know more by this evening (12 hours on)… Cheers….

  • Reading between the lines of Wenger’s presser, it seems that he’s going to pick a more experienced team, with maybe Nelson as right-wing and Debuchy at wing-back?

    Been home about 30 minutes and now listening to the cricket on the radio…
    1st Test at Brisbane and I know that both JW and 17tino will keen to know the score.

    Well chaps England are batting first and are 59 for 1….

  • OK bedtime here but I’m the opposite of Kev–early to bed, healthy, wealthy, wise…or something…

    Seems like the score is up to 121 for 1, which seems awfully good to me. In truth I know very little about cricket except that my favorite pub near Highbury was the Compton Arms which was definitely a cricket place. That’s where I met Rosie of “Go on then” fame (yelled at the telly with wine glass raised in excitement). She too enjoyed falling asleep to the Ashes on the radio–also from down under that year (Nov. 2006)…or so she told me…

    Things look promising for a Koln-Arsenal Live-blog tomorrow. Anybody know why it kicks off two hours earlier than usual? For me, the time slot is perfect ahead of my cooking duties on the big eating holiday… Anybody else planning to watch the match?…

    OK, night-night… Back in the morning…

  • 17tino, did you ever visit the Famous Cock on Highbury Corner, a typical old style boozer, always packed with Gooners on match day?

    I’ll be listening to the radio later, it’s a beautiful sunny day here in Essex so I’ll be spending my day off working in the garden, therefore 17’o I will join you for a natter later on.
    Can’t say why it’s a 6pm ko?

    Koln are bottom of our group and bottom of the Bundesliga so Arsenal should be able to deal with them efficiently, but this is Arsenal…..

  • The game is on at six because it maximises TV exposure for the PL teams. Everton is on at eight, so both games can be watched by the UK audience rather than having to pick a game…. that is my theory! :).

  • OK Kev– point taken.
    Though? Years back–when we would practice Ultimate at Rice University (here in Houston) on Sat/Sun– we had to relinquish the field to the Rice Cricket Team at 4pm. The fields are roughly the same size, though shaped differently. So– I have seen the game played (Though likely not well-played). Also, decided in order to peripherally follow banter per AUS v ENG at the Ashes in Brisbane? That I’d budget the time this morning to familiarize myself to the rules and flow of the game. I can, at the least, now look at a scorecard– and determine how well a batter has performed.

    You may joke at the expense of ‘Yanks’– no worries.
    But this Yank played Ultimate, a non-traditional sport for 22yrs– and played ‘soccer’ in the US in the ’70s. Not to mention I’m second-generation Brit– my father’s parent both born and raised near Leicester.

    So I’m not put-off by learning a sport anew– nor do I find amusing the breaks for Lunch, Tea, and Drinks. When growing up, there was tea-time when visiting the grandparent on Sundays. One lump, thank you.


  • When I played disc… Many would take breaks for a different sort of “tea,” at least as best as I can recall… 😮

    While I certainly took the (frisbee) game VERY seriously–as I probably also take this game I now watch–if you can’t make fun of it, you’re in for a very rough slog. That’s maybe why I don’t go in for the world of Gooner-Tweeting… How many ways can you say that you despise Arsenal/Wenger/Ozil/Bellerin/Mertesacker/ (Other Hated Player of the moment) and still have the characters left over to laugh at yourself about it?…

    Kev (whose gardening day–if done in daylight could only have been a few hours at this time of year…) Indeed I do know The Famous Cock… In fact, I love it so much that I like to carry one in my blue-jeans at all times… 😀

    In truth, I never set foot in the place. When I was there the routes to the new stadium were just being pioneered and there was another place on the Holloway Road (sort of across from the actual Highbury Library called “The Bailey, perhaps) that had set up for viewing the matches with many big televisions and beefy guys doing “security” work–over here we call them bouncers… That’s where I took in the games. At that time, the resale market for tickets (touts & through the club) seemed non-existent, with very few seats going unoccupied, perhaps due to the excitement surrounding the new stadium and finishing runner-up that past spring in the CL…

    Most of the time, however, I was with my son (4 years old at the time) so we liked smaller, quieter places where I could take him. People liked that he was “so well behaved” when really he was exhausted from lots of walking, tube and bus rides, and the like. Half the time, if I could find a table with a bench, he’d put his head in my lap and take a siesta. The Compton Arms (up the alley behind the Church…) was definitely a cricket bar (the owner, I think, had been a bowler of some degree of seriousness)… The last time I went back (2012?) it had gone a good deal more “Gastro” with the very attractive barmaids (waitresses?…) the most memorable element… Of course, my wife was still the best looking girl in the place… and, alas, we didn’t spot Rosie and her glass of white wine… A match like tonight’s (a relatively meaningless Euro group game) was nice to watch in a place like that…

    It was different for the league matches, of course, with the smaller places overflowing before and after as people took their pre and post match beers. At those times the Famous Cock, being literally steps from the station exit got VERY crowded… To the point, I heard, that it was also famous for the somewhat blurred line between the barroom and the loo… More Smileys…

    OK, one final coffee then on to set up the live-blog post…

  • Nice one JW, I can only follow the Test on the radio, but you can always get snippets on You Tube.

    I’ve seen all kinds of games being played in Hyde Park as I’ve driven through, many you would be familiar with, as the US embassy is nearby in Grosvenor Square and I guess that many of the staff go over the park to ball ball.

    Yes JW, afternoon tea, in a cup and saucer, very civilised. 🙂

  • Team sheet out.

    FC Koln: Horn; Mere, Maroh, Sorensen; J Horn, Jojic, Ozcan, Klunter; Guirassy, Osako, Cordoba
    Subs: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck

    Arsenal: Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding; Elneny, Coquelin, Chambers, Maitland-Niles; Wilshere, Welbeck; Giroud
    Subs: Macey, Sheaf, Willock, Nelson, Iwobi, Nketiah, Akpom

  • Phew thanks guys for discussing the kick off time. I was expecting 7.45 and was busy watching something else. Thought I would check in for today’s banter and noted the kick off. Thanks guys I would have tuned in to see them walking off the pitch.

  • Ospina
    Mertesacker (c)

  • Happy to see Chambers is back. I had thought he’ll be in the back 3 while Debuchy will be tried at wing back, but it looks like the reversal in the roles for both players. Does that mean Chambers is the back up for Bellerin?

    All we need is a point to top the group, so let’s go for the win in Germany then. 🤣

  • I guess with so many 1st team players needing game time in order to be fit for crunch time in December/January. The kids have to take the back seat for a while.

  • True. Was a large squad at season’s start– and youth players who’ve made their bids for minutes– make for a good problem to have.


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