Not many supporters turned up for a dead rubber on a deepest, darkest Spursday in December. Those that did make the effort will have left the home of football with big smiles on their faces. A king was reborn, as Jack mastered Bate all over the pitch with breath-taking vision and razor-sharp passing for 90+ minutes. He was not one but two levels above all other players on the pitch, except for maybe Coquelin and Debuchy who also had a good game in their positions.
It is hard to tell why Wenger went for 4-3-3; whether it was to make the best from the players available or whether it was to avoid another early deadly onslaught like the one the team suffered against the Mancs, is hard to tell. And it was clear that BATE’s tactics were to replicate what MU did over the weekend. They pressed us high and aggressively at the start, but we were so much more compact and disciplined and so dealt with the pressure much better.
Playing four at the back and two defensive-minded, but quite all-round central midfielders, in Elneny and Coquelin, made us compact and solid throughout the game. Up-front we had the solid but rusty Giroud, surrounded by two frantic, energetic ‘wingers’ Theo and Welbeck. At the back, we played Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Holding and Debuchy, and all together that is not a bad set of 10 players.
The eleventh player needed to be the creative hub, the brain of the team. Jack set the tempo in attack by making himself constantly available and demanding the ball. His omnipresence, forward movement and direct passing was of Ozilesque, Cescesque, yes even Bergkampesque, beauty. He saw the next pass quicker than anybody else time and again, and boy did he deliver the ball beautifully well at many an occasion. At times, it looked like he was playing snooker with his left foot, so sharp were his balls over the ground and over the top. It has been a while since I saw a midfielder play that well for us, other than Mesut of course.
He could not have done this on his own, of course. The team worked very hard and kept a very high tempo, whilst remaining compact as much as possible. That tempo created space and options for Jack and it also created total mayhem in the BATE defence. Welbeck and Theo were well up for this and kept running at the defence, with our without the ball, which made a real difference. Our play forced mistakes by the BATE defenders, leading to giving away a penalty, a deflected ball in the box that Debuchy put away with deadly venom, and an own goal. Our attackers, especially Welbeck and Giroud, lacked composure, but it was the tempo played by the team and relentless whipping forward of the ball with breath-taking passes by Super Jack (and occasionally Coquelin), that forced the game our way.
Jack himself scored a beauty of a goal and Elneny, from a wonderfully worked Wilshere assist within the box, also produced a beauty late on. The boys were up for this and treated those that bothered to come to a game – and a ‘re-birth’ – they will not quickly forget. Consider me very jealous!
42 thoughts on “Super Jack Masters BATE all over the pitch”
17tino, regarding the attendance yesterday, I think is was clearly a combination of issues, that is the time of year, the opposition, Arsenal’s line up, apathy, a dead rubber, live on TV, the aggravation of getting to and from the stadium – Islington Council are really terrible at helping to make the occasion of a visit to the Emirates an enjoyable experience. I’m not sure that an authority in the US could get away with making it as difficult as it is in Holloway/Highbury, at one of your huge American venues!
I’m sure that Retsub could think of some other reasons, but I’d imagine that apathy is quite high on most people’s list.
Sorry to sound so negative, but it is what it is…
Great post Total, yes I saw many a play on words yesterday concerning BATE and how we should master them, but yeah, Jack was sublime, it was so enjoyable watching a fit Wilshere perform and for that matter a fit Debuchy.
I wonder if Mertesaker was held back for the Southampton game?
Cheers Kev… The “live on TV” bit, I think, tells the story… Very, very weird as American Football still (maybe?, for sure when I was younger) blacks out the game on local television if the game is not sold out. Of course, all Arsenal matches are “sold out” (and maybe they announced the attendance as 59, 999 last night–talk about taking the p*ss…) Interesting also what you’re saying about the Islington Council. A “huge” issue was brewing in “my” neighborhood when the new stadium was just opening… How to mitigate for the “desire” path across the (lower part of) Highbury Fields… Funny stuff and not what I’m used to as US stadiums (in my younger era, at least) were usually placed in industrial wastelands…
Anyhow, I agree with TA… That one last night was worth the effort–esp. if one were given a free ticket… More on the Jack-in-the-box stuff in a bit…
Yeah, I get that 17tino, also authorities in the US are more car friendly I guess than in the UK, where the extreme wing of the cyclist lobby holds sway.
Getting a train or tube to the Emirates is also a great method for anyone who thoroughly enjoys endless queuing.
On the plus side the area of Holloway Road from Highbury Corner up to Holloway Station has gone through a massive change, empty premises have been brought back to life and there is an impressive array of restaurants, bars and eateries along what was once a very run down part of the Borough. That’s more taxes for Islington Council for very little in return…
If you want to get to the Emirates by train it’s Arsenal Underground, Finsbury Park Underground/Overground or Highbury & Islington Underground/Overground.
Holloway Station despite promises from the Council and TfL prior to the stadium construction, remains closed on match days and Drayton Park Station is closed weekends, both those stations would do a huge job in reducing the problems of leaving the stadium at the end of the matches but the politicians and transport authorities don’t give a toss about the fans, so we queue, for ever and ever and ever….
Yes I reckon Mertesacker will play on Sunday. I am hoping for 4-3-3 but not necessarily expecting it. Big game against the Saints who have picked up form and tend to be hard to beat at St Mary’s. If we play with real vigour and cohesively, we should have a good chance for all three points. 🙂
But then we can all sing songs together after the match, Kev. Like ‘Are you Totnum in disguise’.. 🙂
Yes Total, a sing song is always good fun. 😉
When I went to the Spurs game I parked up about 3 miles away and walked to the Emirates.
It was good exercise but my feet didn’t half ache.
Wow… That’s interesting info, Kev… Frankly, I can’t believe that Holloway is closed on match days, though I remember how deep the tube is there, and, I guess, the pressure on the elevators could get intense… Even in my short time there you could feel the improvements along that stretch between the stations on Holloway Road even if it still had a few dark spots…and how fewer people were choosing to try and walk through the Fields and over to the stadium. Drayton Park closed on the weekends seems really silly to me, but I know less about the rail service coming in from the north…
Still trying to buy some time to talk about Jack-in… or Mastering Bate… Do I remember correctly that w*nking was one of the banned words around here?… 😉
Agree Kev, re the reasons for the low attendance being a combination of factors: TV, day of the week and dead rubber status, being the highest factors in my view. It is a large stadium too so just under 30,000 will reveal a lot of empty seats. But, viewed from the fact that White hart lane had a capacity of 25,000 (and there a great many stadia in the U.K. With smaller capacities), it was still a fairly acceptable number. Tickets were sold out though, meaning folks simply didn’t show up for any one of the reasons you listed or a combo of a few or of all. As TA stated, those who showed up had a night not to forget. Did you see some of the terraces even in the CL games, where the games were dead rubber games? Not too different, if you ask me.
Jack was imperious last night and was a breath of fresh air. He must have had a hand in at least, 3 of the goals scored. Man of the match, by a mile and the Bate players must have been wondering what they needed to do to stop him (they tried too, as he stayed down about thrice, in that game, from some crunching tackles).
But for the current form of Ozil, he would be starting the PL game on Sunday; however, with 9 games in December alone, no way he won’t play in most of these and start at least, 3 of them. Theo is another who will gave the manager something to think about. My guess remains that he was the reason we went 4-3-3 as the 3 at the back and 5 midfielders places him at a disadvantage when he has to vie for a place with Laca, Alexis, Welbeck and even Iwobi. But with that extra man in midfield giving a need for wing play, he remains high on the manager’s consideration. He just needs to be less anxious to impress; just play your normal game, Theo and you’ll make a few eat their words.
I was also impressed with Coq and Debuchy. It will please me no end if all of the youngsters we have paraded in the Europa league and league cup get a chance to make the grade. Willock looks a hard worker and is tenacious in midfield. Mainland-Niles does play better in midfield, but so did Lauren Etame-Mayer before Wenger converted him to a great full back and legendary status as an ‘invincible’. Good thing he’s willing to play and not think too much about his preferred place.
On to the St. Mary’s on Sunday, it is then.
Thinking back to late Summer when most felt there would be a mass exodus due to squad size?
In hindsight, I think, Arsene got many things right. He’s managed his ‘big squad’ well regarding rotations (some odd team selections aside). Going into the compressed holiday slate of matches– seems both well set in terms of squad health and individuals being fresh on-field. No one has been overworked (save possibly Koscielny). The level of play since Watford (excepting at Koln) has been quite high.
The club is about to embark on a schedule of 9 in 28 days:
12/10 SOTON, WHU, NEW, WHU (LCup), LIV, (5 days between) CP, WBA, CHE, NOT (FA) 1/7.
Check back with me early-January– but foresight at present shows conditions are almost optimum (Mustafi’s absence is a worry) for a stretch of good results. The 5 days off is well-placed. Even the WHU (League Cup) match– which can be staffed by those not required for LIV 3-days later.
All PL games ‘count the same’– but a win or loss with LIV and/or CHE is doubled by the Top-4 prize. So, barring injuries (*knocks wood*) I’m more confident this season than in several recent ones at this time of year.
OK, getting back into it…And, re-reading TA’s excellent (as always) post (and the comments)… I’m pleased that Gooneris also gave a nod to Theo Walcott. 😉 My point is this: we all have our favorites and we tend to see things as such…
Both players had excellent games last night but I too will give the nod to Jack…but only on the basis of his far superior hair. If you’re thinking of copying Theo’s… just shave it off, I say… 😀
But this post is about our tiny bald guy (the hairy huge one, whose picture I put up in the last post alongside Jack, had his struggles, I thought)… And, indeed, he did look a maestro out there. 4-2-1-3 (maybe?) was the formation, so the guy playing as the 1 (attacking mid) had better be good…and he was.
Was it the change in formation? Probably so, and the compactness due to the extra DM which you note seems a real thing. Elneny, I think, is our most aggressive “follower” of the play–running towards the ball to provide an outlet pass option for the man on it–which maybe helps this sense of not stranding the guys in the back too much. Though he took his goal quite well, he didn’t really stand out like Jack. Le Coq had some good passes too (and even more good tackles when BATE tried to break), but little Jack stood (head and shoulders) above the others.
Beyond the switch in formation I think the familiar pitch also played a role. It’s both faster and takes the spin of the ball better than the ones to which we travel. Something must’ve been different with the surface at Cologne because the whole team looked like poo in that one, I thought…
I also thought Jack really struggled in that match taking extra touches when first-timers looked the better option(s). Those are instant, instinctive decisions, however, so it’s hard to tell what’s better or what’s worse without the benefit of hindsight. They worked a charm last night, setting up his own (very well taken) goal and the one he assisted for Elneny when it looked like a first-time left-footed blast was there for the taking. In general, I prefer the aesthetics of those sorts of goals, i.e., the one’s that come from more complex moves (sometimes derogatorily called “walking it into the net”) but I wonder if they work as well against the better defenses with players who close down quickly. Add in the iffy (and more passive) reffing in PL play and they can be a recipe for more lost chances, not to mention injuries, always a worry with Wilshere.
So, lots of positives for young jack…and I can see some plaudits coming from those who believe Debuchy should get a shot over (woeful, out of form, already gone to Barca…) Bellerin. What about Theo? Up the pecking order (maybe even ahead of Iwobi and Welbeck and Giroud, and esp. if we need goals late on). His lack of real on the ball skills and an iffy first touch seemed mitigated last night by some scintillating pace to get on Jack’s (and others’) slide rule passes (and his own touches), very good final balls and even a bit of physicality in his play… But maybe that’s TA’s next post… No time for me at this end…
More Smileys… And, again (from the last thread…) Happy Friday…
12/10 @SOTON, @WHU, NEW, WHU (LCup), LIV, @CP, @WBA, CHE, @NOT (FA) 1/7
Agreed JW about the fixture list (thank dennis the Pool match on Xmas eve got pushed up) and our squad depth going into it… It could get more difficult in the new year if we have to play the two legs of the league cup semis and then the extra round of elims in the Europa league, though we should be able to use our full depth (young’ns too…) for those matches. Agreed also about injuries, so, sticking with the Master-BATE theme… we should all (probably) touch some wood…
Seeded: AC Milan (ITA), Arsenal (ENG), Atalanta (ITA), Athletic Club (ESP), Atletico Madrid* (ESP), Braga (POR), CSKA Moscow* (RUS), Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), Lazio (ITA), RB Leipzig* (GER), Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS), Plzen (CZE), Salzburg (AUT), Sporting CP* (POR), Villarreal (ESP), Zenit (RUS)
Unseeded: AEK Athens (GRE), Astana (KAZ), Celtic* (SCO), Crvena zvezda (SRB), Dortmund* (GER), FCSB (ROU), København (DEN), Ludogorets (BUL), Lyon (FRA), Marseille (FRA), Napoli* (ITA), Nice (FRA), Östersund (SWE), Partizan (SRB), Real Sociedad (ESP), Spartak Moscow* (RUS)
There are some good teams in there, Kev… If it were me, I’d want Sociedad or Sporting (San Sebastian and Lisbon, I think, are great towns…) but others might prefer something on the Mediterranean (Marseille, Napoli, Nice, Athens)… Celtic would be the nearest but still awfully dark in February… Astana is maybe further than New York… 😮
We cannot play a seeded team, a team from the same federation (none, as it stands) and we cannot play any qualified team from our group (Crvena zvezda); so, that leaves a wide array very good teams we can meet in the next round. I guess very few teams will be wishing they can be drawn against us which makes us strong favourites, even at this stage. A final versus Dortmund or Athletics Madrid will be ideal for the neutrals.
‘How early’ do you intend to be up for the sleep-walki… er, live-blogging Sunday?
I’m going for 5am CST.
…will be wishing they are drawn against us….***
Your appreciation for Theo is noted, Seventeenho. I loved his energy and being at it throughout the game. He added a lot to the team’s energy levels. I have had it with him, though. After years of supporting him through thick and thin, I came to see that he is not what we need. Sorry.
I like Jack for the SORT of player he is, a conductor on the pitch. And when he conducts like this, I am purring like a Cheshire Cat …
Sorry TA, I’m never “through” with an Arsenal player until he gives up the shirt… After that he’s dead to me, unless of course, it’s through retirement, or I’m really (really) fond of them… Bacary to City made me Sad (gna?) but I felt that I could understand it… Ozil back to Shalke might do the same for me… RvJ is another story entirely…
As I’ve been reflecting lately, I think our sentiment for players actually grows the less they play. Theo’s been at the club for ten years (going on 11) while Jack’s been there even longer but has played quite a bit less. Who has actually contributed more? Supporters (no quotation marks, but almost…), I hate to say, probably think about who has wasted a place in the team and kept others out. To spin a favorite Wenger-ism 180 degrees, I’d suggest that everybody thinks the other guy has the prettiest wife–except maybe Arsene (and me)… 😉
Truth be told, I think BOTH Jack and Theo could be candidates for a move out in January given that it’s a world cup year and both would likely improve the England team. A lot probably will depend on how they perform in this next month or so (or in other cup runs if they stay on)…and how loud the talk about Alexis and Ozil (for whom they might have to stand in) gets…
It’s actually not a bad topic for a post. Does having two full 11s actually work for players going for National teams spots? Now we just need someone to write it…
JW… The match kicks off at 4 am here… I tend to be an early riser but that is ridonkulous… Either 1) I party until kick-off, or 2) I just try to get to bed on the early side and set the espresso machine to kick on at maybe 3:15. (It takes 15-20 mins to warm up and is loud enough to serve as an alarm…)
Unfortunately (or fortunately, it depends on one’s outlook…) the days of #1 are behind me…
A photo of my baby…
Seventeenho, I respect your view re Theo/ him being an Arsenal shirt donner. Don’t really want to talk about Theo ( the post is really about Jack’s fantastic performance) other than to say he has a calculated commitment but not a unique talent and skill-set to get away with it.
What a beautiful baby 17tino…
My baby is the teapot.
WHU 1-0 CHE 7′
Anthony Taylor having none of Morata nor Alonso nor Zappacosta’s displays of La Liga/Serie A theatrics. Stiff breeze at Wembley giving lightweights fits.
WHU takes 3pts.
Made mention of the Hammers defensive organization vs City last week.
Looked even better today. Moyes has found buy-in from his players.
Even as Ryan Shawcross repays a neverending karmic debt?
Still to Arsenal’s detriment– today with an OG vs TOT.
Sorry once again, about the radio silence. It’s a long story involving a mad Labrador, a flight of stairs, a dining room chair and a plumber and of course me. The upshot is a fractured big toe. But you should see the other guy .. the dining room chair.. which is now a tripod and terminal. Why do I tell this sad tale? Because I had a ticket , but baled because of my wounded toe. Anyway I digress..
Great post T A and l agree about Jack. It was also good to see him holding back on some of the 50/50 tackles. Not sure he can do that in them prem though.
As for the crowd on Tuesday night. I wonder if Arsenal care that much. After all unless I am mistaken every ticket is pretty much sold, other than a few allocated to red ticket holders (is that correct Kev?)
In all the years I followed Arsenal at Highbury I never once had a season ticket. I only ever remember not getting into Highbury once during that period. I think it was against Southampton, when the clock end was completely frozen and considered to dangerous. The game was played in front of a limited capacity with brown ball. 0 -0. I think
Away from Highbury only twice, Spurs the 71 double and Luton town in the league cup
Plus the fact as Kev mentioned the transport to the Emirates is awful. I hate leaving early , but on occasions, five minutes early means getting home an hour earlier.
On the this morning they were arguing how many people would watch City and United on TV. The most viewed tv ever was the opening ceremony at the Beijing olympics (2008.). Which was around a billion, which they claim is one in 7 people in the world. Apparently they are expecting big numbers before, but crucially it all depends on China.
If this really the case,sod it, pay Alexis, Ozil etc what they want. Somebody somewhere is earning bucket loads of money out of the prem.
Sorry to hear about your wounded toe, Retsub. You missed out on a cracker!
T A I watched the game on tv and the boys have did really well. I guess the only issue
Was at the end of the day we had already won the group. Which is also why it was so much say to get tickets lol. We played well and it did numb the pain a litte. I really hope we can reproduce the type of game we had against United the other day. If so surely we should hammer Southampton tomorrow?
T A Is Captain Pugwash an Arsenal supporter?
Don’t know him, Retsub??
T A Captain Pugwash was a cartoon by a guy called Oliver Postgate i believe. you can still see the m on U tune
Captain Pugwash was captain of a ship called the Black PiG
I think the following probably got exaggerated , but his crew were supposed to be
and Roger the cabin boy
Apologies, once again Oliver Postgate was responsible for another favourite of mine, Noggin the Nog..
Is this mic hot?
There will be a live-blog… but it will be tight… back in a few…
Ok.. the lineup is out, and we have our BFG in the middle of the back 3.
Something seems off though we see the same 10 starting except for Mustafi.
OK, it’s up… Join us over there…