Bergkampesque Live Blog. Arsenal-Liverpool. 11 Changes–or is it None?–Wenger’s First 11 are Set for Revenge

Time to Stop the Klopp!!

Not much time to set up the live-blog here–and why not give Pony Eye’s preview as much time as we can?…

Here are the teams.

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

Liverpool (4-3-3) Mignolet; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Robertson; Can, Henderson, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Solanke.

Referee Martin Atkinson.

This is a big one in the battle for Champions League football.  Arsene Wenger has two full elevens at his disposal and this group is the same that started vs Newcastle.  It’s also a completely changed group from the one that beat West Ham in the league cup on Thursday.  Both matches finished 1-nil, and, tonight, a similar result, while not quite making amends for the deadline eve debacle at Anfield in August, would be just fine by me.

Come on you Gunners!!!

Gooners, please join me in the comments for some live-blog fun… Don’t be shy…

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

221 thoughts on “Bergkampesque Live Blog. Arsenal-Liverpool. 11 Changes–or is it None?–Wenger’s First 11 are Set for Revenge

  • OK, barely got that in before kickoff which I thought was 15 mins later than it was… Noon stuck in my mind, not 11:45…

  • Mostly Pool with the early possession but we look fairly comfortable defending…

    Jack does better passing to his left on the second counter but Alexis’ shot is blocked at the point… FK from deep on the left coming…

  • Very poor… Was he actually trying to shoot that? Bells pace wins a corner…

  • Anybody around? Still over at the preview post? The pace of the match maybe makes people need to focus a bit more…

    AMN pacy but doesn’t get the whistle while Pool are gifted a corner kick… Easily claimed by Cech but his outlet pass is over everyone…

    Kos does likewise (too long) breaking up the next Pool push…

  • That was better, Ozil running the show. Bellerin gets in a good spot for a cross but it’s cut out before it can reach a shooter… F*king Hector… Get him off the pitch!!!

  • Since it’s just me, I probably don’t need to say that I’m being sarcastic…

    Looks like Henderson has yanked a hamstring… Time for the Ox?

  • Henderson off injured for Milner. We have handled the start well and how cool has Maitland-Niles been?
    Back to the game now.

  • Nope, it’ll be Milner… So much for Ox moving to Pool so he could play central (or be a starter)… Liverpool is just a nicer place to live, I guess…

    Bellerin likely deserves some stick for that one… Cech gathers easily after a deflection…

  • Ref’s calling it tight… Unless you’re an unknown kid with 3 names (AMN)…

    Coutinho tries one from distance… Finishes inside the corner post…

    Pool still with the bulk of possession, Arsenal happy to sit and try to hit quickly…

  • Bit of danger there with Iwobi chasing the play… Kos puts the cross behind for a corner… Which Cech eventually claims…

  • At this time, we look to be standing off them; a bit too conscious of how dangerous they can be. We will need to take control a bit more. Bellerin is going to be important for this one. He must be on top of his game today.

  • OK, I got my two main men, Eris and J-dub, helping me out… Excellent…

    Kos loses it near the center circle but Bellerin nips it into touch…

  • So much to do today and I’ve still got some running about tomorrow, so it’s impossible to fully catch up, too much reading to do, anyway it’s BBC5Live radio for me.
    Not surprised at all to see AMN starting after Kolasinac played vs West Ham.

    Alexis & Xhaka, both a caution away from a ban.
    Now who wants Christmas off?

  • I still cannot fathom the depth of your criticism of Bellerin, Eris… You need to look at that play from the Toonie game I mentioned… All Jesus, er Jack, not the hated one…

    Bells tried and almost got to a hopeless case in this one…Loses it, however, so still shit, I guess…

    Pool playing in our half but I like things thus far…

    Giveaway from Alexis notwithstanding…

    Whoever talked about Pool tiring I’d agree with… They’re putting out a lot of energy but not making too much headway in these first 20 mins…

  • Evening HT. I will be with you intermittently. AMN doing well by the sound so far. We aren’t playing great as a team though. What’s missing HT? Our front players don’t seem featuring much.

  • Cech is being called upon… First at the near post and then with a punch from the resulting corner… All routine thus far but always a worry for us punters…

    Jack pushed off scanning the pitch buy gets the whistle…

    Alexis, very static thus far, finally gets into the box with a slow developing 1-2 with Lacazette. The backheel from the latter doesn’t quite come off and Mingolet intervenes…

    OOoooh… Good chance Liverpool… AMN outjumped but Firmino’s header goes wide… That’s a let off…

  • There’s the goal… Coutinho gets the fortunate bounce off Kos…

    1-Nil Liverpool…

  • 0-1! Liverpool have deserved that, if we are to be honest.

    I have not seen an away side have this much possession at our home as this. Let’s see if that wakes us up.

  • Niles errs in judgement in MF allowing Salah to be 1v1 with Koscielny.
    Salah’s carom off Kos bounds right to Coutinho heading-in front of goal. Cech with no chance.


  • Hi AB… Long time…

    We’ve definitely been playing on the break so bad bounces down our end can go in… That one fell perfectly for Coutinho…

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but Alexis playing so statically is not going to work out in the longer term…

    Xhaka gives one away but gets it back… Jack does the opposite and Pool come again…

  • I am not sure how we concede so early in games. We need to sort out that problem. Iwobi has been too speculative with the quick passes. Problem now is we will start to bomb forward and become easy to pick off. Are Liverpool this much better than we are? I doubt it. We are all nerves 8 think. May turn out to be a game of two halves.

  • Giveaway by Alexis sets them our way again but we get it back… We need to test their defensive shell w/o getting caught out a 2nd time…

  • Jack with the heavy touch this time, then Iwobi… Gotta string two together if we hope to play our way back into this game… If we can’t do that we’ll probably need a pump it and pray style… Also called route one football or el futbol Ingles…

    Firminho, looking like Alexis of old, curls one but it’s over the far post… Another let off after crap defending by Bellerin…

  • Central midfield looks light again. I don’t like this set up. It’s not going to protect our CBs. I like the individual players but the combination isn’t good. I’d much rather a 343 with the squad available.

  • Lovren, in quicksand, can’t get on the end of a well placed ball from the FK… bit of a let off there…

  • Totally with you on Sanchez HT. Should have sold in August when we had the offer. It’s not the money it’s the negative attitude in the squad. It’s toxic. And I don’t get why he still starts. I’d rather have Danny busting a gut out there than a sulky Sanchez.

  • A goal down and already the cameras are going to try and get some sulk footage of our #7…

    Ozil’s FK looks good but catches a head and out for a corner…

  • Hopefully Sanchez will prove me wrong with a hat trick now….. I won’t be holding my breath though.

  • Tough call on Jack there but he was late to the ball… Mane sold it well, however…

  • Some desperate play just to keep it going in our half… Gotta agree with you AB… With Mustafi passed fit, the 3 at the back appeals to me… It’s a lot of pressure on the youngsters tonight…

  • Jack does better there but Atkinson won’t give a whistle for serial fouling on Ozil… Lacazette tries to cross but it only bounces around…

  • radio 5 live always give commentary which sounds pretty down on arsenal. Doesn’t make for happy listening though when we are down in a game. The impression given is we really haven’t turned up to put an effort in.

    Sounds like a very lucky let off there for us.

  • An equalizer before the half would be a tonic… And Jack has a ball kicked right to him… Almost plays Laca in but there’s no room for a first touch and then a blast…

    WOW… Cech stops a sure Liverpool 2nd after Kos slips…

  • More trouble but another let-off as Salah can’t convert Mane’s square pass…

  • We’re struggling to get to half time… Turnovers by first Xhaka then Iwobi are keeping us pinned back…

  • Bellerin rides a tackle and we try to make something happen but Ozil’s ball (to Jack I think) finds a defender instead…

    Half-time and a major re-grouping seems in order…

  • Loud boos clear on ththe radio. Still in the game. Wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought we would be really at them from the start. But not it seems. It was our finishing that I was concerned about tonight, not our effort levels.

  • Hi Chaps. Not sure this will be popular but Bellerin tonight is a complete waste of space. This is the sort of games when Koscielny decides he has an injury so as not to be embarrassed any more. I don’t like saying this, but based on this performance Liverpool are light years ahead of us.

    And the positives Jack Wilshire

  • I feel for the radio guys… Turn it off, I say. Over here we’ve got Lee Dixon who I was leaning towards silencing early on… After the goal, it was a no-brainer… Even if we all see different things (I’m pointing at you, Eris…) we all have the same pair of eyes…

    Mine are telling me that we should have gone with 3 at the back (and maybe now we might as our early goals against are happening no matter what the formation). Mustafi would be my preference over any Jack or Iwobi or Alexis–at least if he’s not going to move until he gets the ball… That said, everybody–except maybe Cech–are having a struggle. It’s a team game, however, so if one falters there’s always a ripple effect…

  • No one is moving to receive a pass. Chemistry is nonexistent in MF.
    Don’t recall many 1-2s.


  • There has to be a serious half time talk here and some changes in either formation or personnel. We’ve been sloppy with passing and are getting by passed in midfield making it hard for us to get service up to the hard working Lacazette and Alexis. I don’t care what is said about his attitude or his heart not in it, but he keeps putt8ng in the effort, albeit cutting in or giving a misplaced pass here and there.

    I am thinking Iwobi off for another midfielder, say Coq, to steady things a bit and give an extra outlet for the defence. Then we can consider Welbeck on for Alexis or Jack, late on. Jack hasn’t done himself any favours in this game as he has not stamped his authority on the game. I think we were over-prepared for the threat of Liverpool forwards so much that the boys are self conscious, causing nerves at the Emirates.

    I don’t know but we just cannot lose this game. Liverpool are not as good as we are making them look. Could easily have been 2-0 but since they didn’t get it, we need to make them rue it. Christmas is going to be dreary if we lose this game.

  • This season, Arsenal has One of the worse arsenal teams ever, In terms of squad dept and quality of players.

  • 17ht, to be fair, I never made known any preferences, whether 3 or 4 at the back; I will prefer Mustafi to Monreal in a 2 CB formation but maybe the manager felt a start in such a game will be too soon. Maybe we will revert to 3 at the back, who knows?

  • Indeed Retsub… That’s not at all what I’m seeing… Bellerin (for me) wins tackles–and not all are on plays he’s set up with his own heavy touches (a la Jack)… It’s tough on the young guys not used to the pace of Liverpool’s press. I include the Baby Jesus, er, Young Jack (even if he’s 25). AMN and Iwobi are struggling the most while Bellerin does better but can’t be considered young (at 22) since he’s been around forever…

    When static we’ve got zero to go to and, frankly, I don’t know how Lacazette and Ozil can take it having to play with (that other golden child) Alexis just standing there wanting the ball (then giving it away)… though it could be argued that Xhaka is doing a bit of the same…

    No Giroud and Theo won’t get a sniff so this group’s gotta pull it together…and quick…

  • And so, Mustafi comes on for Monreal. Was it tactical or has Monreal pulled something?

  • Liverpool are bumping Arsenal when a pass is received. Making it impossible to continue with any flow as the touch can’t be controlled– either losing possession or having to retrieve the ball.


  • Nacho came off?…

    Crazy Jack wins a FK over static Milner…

    We’re playing in their half at least…

  • I don’t agree with the terminal views of what happens if we lose this game. The only dire consequence will be the agonising by gooners that ensues on the web. We will be 4 points out of the top 4 with half a season to play. Let’s keep that in perspective. But Wenger has to motivate the squad. I’m not sure what the issue is. But it’s there and it needs dealing with. He’s done it many times before of course. But only last year left it too late. I believe our squad is better than Liverpool’s. but we simply aren’t performing.

  • Wow. Nacho (aside from Cech, HT)– was the only player I didn’t have an issue with 1st half.


  • Lacazette fighting but can’t slip a pull-back through to Iwobi…

    Pool break on our corner (as per PE’s preview) but Cech is down quick enough to Salah’s shot…

    OOoooh… Iwobi, nicking the ball off Coutinho, almost scores an OG…

  • Nobody will have noticed but that’s Jack getting turned inside out and failing to track Salah… Mustafi didn’t think he had a left foot…but he did…

  • Wait a minute… Have we brought one back?

    Bellerin to Alexis…

    Why yes, yes we have…

  • Alexis gets between two defenders to head in our 1st after going 2 down to a Mo Salah goal which only got in because it nicked off Mustafi’s leg. 1-2!

  • Mesut… Be like the others… Just blast it…

    The lob didn’t work out… Pool looking a bit stunned by the quick goal…

  • What a strike by Xhaka! Sheer power beat Minolet there. 2-2!

    What is it about this fixture?

  • Big dip on it, but Mingolet has to do better there…

    I’ll take it and it’s a 35 minute game now…

  • Lacazette is rather tidy with them back-heels… And Ozil quite calm with the finish… I like it… More please…

  • You didn’t take my advice about turning them off AB?… Who needs commentary when there’s actual football?…

  • That was too easy (or too close) for Xhaka who can’t get the first timer on target from the top of the box…

  • Number four was just possible.
    Xhaka not enough time to get his left foot set on a pull back from alexis.


  • Good response from Arsenal, 3 – 2 to Arsenal. My first sub will be Coquelin for Iwobi, our midfield is very very weak, especially the defensive side of the midfield. Then wait to see what plays out.

  • Xhaka–off his feet = always dangerous… Was he given a card for that one?…

    Lacazette less tidy with the back but Salah can’t head down the cross from the ensuing Pool counter-attack…

  • This season, Arsenal has One of the worse arsenal teams ever, In terms of squad dept and quality of players.

    Good response from Arsenal, 3 – 2 to Arsenal. My first sub will be Coquelin for Iwobi, our midfield is very very weak, especially the defensive side of the midfield. Then wait to see what plays out.

    ^^^^ Which one is you, steve?…

    End to end now… Bellerin almost gets Laca to put in our 4th… His pace at the other end saves their counter (from our corner)… I Hate you, Hector…

  • Pool counters off the corner and we are lucky to intercept with a too hard pass back to Cech who must clear to the touchline.


  • Thanks J-dub for the card info on Xhaka… There’s a LOT going on here… Also for the update on Jack doing something good… Just because I missed it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen… 😉

  • Great save from Cech but Firmino’s blast still bounces in…

    Even again… 😦

  • *sigh* 3-3Cech almost makes a great save. The ball deflect into the air bounds once and into the goal.


  • 3-3! Cech gets a hand on the shot by Firminho but it wasn’t strong enough. It all started after a slip by Alexis, rather inauspiciously, and we may just slip back to early minutes mediocrity again.

  • I won’t mention whose header started that break… (Hint: it wasn’t Xhaka’s to clear their corner…)

    They’ve got another corner now…

  • Yeah, the goal has given Pool new life and deflated us…

    A promising give and go between Lacazette and Alexis falters… Now AMN does well and wins a whistle…

    BOTH Bellerin and Jack are a bit off and Pool get the whistle… Damn kids…

  • Henry, other than the early minutes misplaced passing, Iwobi has been strong and a handful on that right side.

  • Alexis all the way back into the corner harasses Mane until he gives up the ball to MF.


  • Geez Henry… I thought Iwobi’s done his part hauling us back into the match…

    Welbeck getting ready but Bellerin takes the throw so not quite yet…

    Alexis, defending Mane and Pool are forced back to regroup…

    We get the ball and come forward, Bellerin blasting and Mingolet pushing it over for a corner…

    Henry gets his wish… Iwobi off, Welbeck on…

  • I like the way Niles has handled this game with maturity, defensively, He is so confident, though He is not confident enough going forward in this game, which I understand.

  • This could go either way at this point and Atkinson will have to do a job… Tired players tend to fall over more than fresh ones, I fear…

  • Mignolet horribly out of position on the corner– saved by a whistle as the ball fell to Alexis’ feet.


  • Indeed steve… AMN seems FAR more mature than your previous comments…especially the first one…

  • Sorry guys, I really don’t mean to be the comment police… Just trying to welcome the new guy…

  • Jack nips in nicely there as Wijnaldum (I think) got caught between strides…

    Pool keep coming at us but we clear and Lacazette tries to turn but is first pulled then hammered down…

    Looks like the Ox is gonna get his chance…

    Alexis almost sneaks a cheeky shot by not-so-sure hands at the near post…

  • Eris, the curse of the OX… IMO, is something we lived with for so long… It would be the ultimate irony if it did us in now…

  • Niles gets the better of Salah trying to outfox him in box– and gets a goal kick as result.


  • Xhaka plays just enough positional defense to thwart Salah from turning in the box and firing– goes just wide.


  • What can Theo bring in the few minutes we have left? We shall see then. For me, that kills our momentum.

  • Has Bells done anything to your liking today, Eris?… If he has, I haven’t seen any mention of it, I always appreciate the balance…

    Just now, I think he may have gotten away with deflecting a shot onto side netting… Though most will see him merely trailing another play and giving away a chance…

    Oh Geez, here comes another of the highly hated… Theo f**king Walcott…

  • 4 mins ET…

    Theo did something good?… In the name of balance, I’ll take it…

  • Two mins played and both teams look like they’ll settle for the point…

    Oooh… The curse looked promising for a second… AMN recovers but gives up a corner…

  • Ozil screws a tough one out of play and that will surely be that…

    Good point or bad?

  • 3-3, it sounded entertaining from the radio and I guess that’s important.
    What it says about both clubs as far as CL places are concerned, I really can’t say?
    But Burnley are really in the mix.

  • Good game for the neutrals. We’ve had a first half that was out of character when we play at home but it was a very strong fight back to get back into the game. For the life of me, I never thought I’d see the day Liverpool will come to this ground to dominate us as they did in the 1st half.

    A lot to take away from this game.

  • Can’t complain about that in the end. Not exactly cha,pionship winning performances. But then neither team is in any danger of threatening that. No midfield defence is my sense. But I need to watch it rather than judge from the radio.

  • jw1, I feel my nerves were tingling like never before. Not sure if that’s good for my health, which means Arsenal may be the death of me (kidding, of course).

    It was a very unfortunate slip by Sanchez to give them that run for their equalizer.

  • Sorry Eris, 17ht.. Can’t comment now.. Gotta sleep.. A little.. 4.40 here in Indonesia.. See you..

  • Cheers, Henrychan.

    You’re right, jw1. I recall two slips in particular that proved costly. Their 2nd goal and the equalizer. Then there was that slip by Koscielny, which nearly resulted in a goal.

    I think we showed them too much respect at the start and that gave them the impetus to play with some confidence. The moment we went at them aggressively, they lost composure. The race for top 4 is going to be a tough one this season, methinks. But, let’s wait till the knock out stages of the cups (CL included) commence and see how it affects our rivals.

  • You know you saw it.
    Five minutes of lightning strikes in a snow-globe.

    Exceptional response after going down 2-nil.


  • @17highburyterrace, am a fan that talks about reality and face it, am not a delusional fan. Face it, the club is doing badly at all fronts, except the pockets of the owners.
    Arsenal did not qualify for the champions league, we all thought that they will go into the market and buy quality players to make sure they build a team that can win the league and also qualify for the champions league, but no, they rather deplete the squad.
    Are you happy with the way the club is being handled? Fans like you are the reason why the owners and the board don’t care about us, because you are so weak. I wish Arsenal fans will protest by not buying tickets. It is crazy how they mess with our hearts.

  • 17ht, I failed to see the sarcasm in some of your posts up there.

    Bellerin had a so-so game and used his pace (I picked him for the game today because of pace, if you read from the last thread) to good effect, defensively at times. He also had a couple of crosses in the 2nd half. I still think he’s too lightweight and can improve on some of his anticipation. There you go. All I want is for my 1st choice right back to be better than he’s been doing. Theo added little. There was no reason for that change when it happened. He should have come on with about 10 minutes to go when we had spaces to run into, late in the game.

    I am a fair guy. I only had good things to say about Bellerin last season, but he looks to have regressed and the reason is because he has no competition.

  • Hey guys, I had to take a call… Sorry about that, but at least they waited until the game is over…

    Scanning back over the comments, I’ll start with the last one…

    Steve wrote: “Are you happy with the way the club is being handled? Fans like you are the reason why the owners and the board don’t care about us, because you are so weak.”

    I’m hoping that English is not your primary language, because that’s not a very nice way of phrasing things, I don’t think…

    Regardless, I actually AM (overall) happy with how the club is being handled. If me–or my “weakness” is responsible for how badly the club is doing (“at all fronts”) you, my friend, need to crawl through your computer screen and come and KISS MY ARSE…

    Sorry for the all caps… That was wrong… I meant, go and fecking feck yourself… No, that’s not right, either (mostly because this is Arsenal so you gotta use the Arse)… How about, go on and stick your fecking idiot head up your Arse… OK, that feels about right…

    😀 😦

  • Hey, fair play to you there Eris about comments re: Bellerin and Theo… For me, they’re being singled out in an overly severe manner this season and I’d just like the better writers to approach the situation with a more balanced eye… Sorry if I missed other more positive comments about Hector…

    The same goes for my rhetoric about Jack (and even more-so about Alexis)… I can definitely see the positives in both of them but have wearied of hearing the (seemingly) endless narratives about Awesome Alexis (vs Woeful Ozil) and Just gotta play Jack and we’ll win everything…so, I probably go out of my way just a bit (too much) to see how they can also hurt our effort. In the end, it’s a team sport so we win and we lose together–often due to a lucky bounce or a blown call (or both)… The more nuanced writers (I like to hope) can actually ferret out what’s what and not just point a finger one way or the other…

    OK, time to leave MY easy chair (I call it “the office”…) and I also like to say (this is for JW…) that there’s no such thing as an easy chair… Watching sports (and caring about it) is not for the faint at heart…

  • Though TBH, a home theater chair HT. And I was entertained.
    Underwhelmed, then enthralled, felt misfortune, then anxious over 2 hours.

    Felt a very similar game to the opener vs Leicester.
    Just wishing we’d gotten the last one today.


  • Good morning guys, or good night for most,

    We should have won the game but the defending for both teams were atrocious.
    More of a case of needing the defenders to work better but instead they did badly.

    Will watch the highlights beforr commenting further

  • Media coverage is all on Liverpool collapse. No credit given to ‘cohones’ to get ourselves back into the game. I believe man city are a fine petro-team outside of that, we can match the rest! I think when Wilshire plays we look like THE Arsenal. Too much respect has been paid to the opposition on occasion leaving us unable to embrace our strengths. We have an excellent team, we need to start games with belief.

  • FrannyClive, agreed with you when you said the media is all on Liverpool and their “broken” defence. Our defence is broken too, but they have gone quiet about it, as they had gone 2-0 up before we make a comeback to draw 2-2 and then 3-2 before drawing 3-3.

    We should not play Wilshere with Xhaka. We should play Le Coq or Elneny with Wilshere, and that will help protect the back 4 to a greater extent, so that when we attack we do not find our midfield empty.

  • JK–

    For just a moment, about an hour or so before the start? I thought we would want Coquelin in the XI to help with Pool’s nimble front four– as he did vs City. But that thought was fleeting– and felt that Xhaka’s passing would widen the field. That is was necessary to match Pool’s firepower.

    Then probably from mid-point 1st-half until the break? Felt Elneny’s 1-2 ability with Jack might be the answer to an unsynchronized MF. Start of the 2nd half– the passing was better as Iwobi and Ozil started to link with Jack and Granit more readily.

    But let me also add that Wilshere twice tracked all the way back– once to the end line, once to within about 10yds of goal to successfully thwart counter attacks. Neither break occurred due to any error on Jack’s part.

    All that said? While a 3-2 win might have occurred had Cech’s hand-save been more deflected than solid– on Firmino’s levelling blast from 12yds.

    Also of the view– that 3-3 is a very good result considering we might have been down 3-nil before half– had Firmino and Mane not shot barely over twice, If someone had offerred me a point– no questions asked down 2-nil? I’ll take that point.


  • So many things to say. I’m going to pick JUST 1 right now.

    Iwobi… Why is he starting for arsenal fc? I’d prefer Nelson. Or AMN in midfield with kola at lb. The man has been given plenty of game time in the past 2 years, and still has almost no effect on games, unless he’s playing an international match.
    They were squeezing so far up, and we had no threat over the top… Theo would’ve been more productive with his pace and agressiveness..
    How many safe sideways and back passes could you count from Iwobi? And it’s not just today’s game, it’s the norm. Don’t even mention an assist to Xhaka. Just don’t.

    Oxlade is better than Iwobi
    Theo is better than Iwobi
    Henrychan is better than Iwobi.

    Liverpool have a few players I’d start over iwobi.
    Man city have about 5.
    Yet Iwobi starts for Arsenal.
    As a brilliant man might tweet-
    Sad !

  • JW1,

    Agreed with your comments.
    Jacko is not like Rambo, who will forget about his defensive duties and go on a rampage up front, leaving the defence to the rest of the team.
    Jacko helps by coming back and defend, and on that point I am unable to disagree.

    The point is that without the DM help our defence just crumbles to oblivion. I may be a little harsh here, but the thing is the team is nothing without everyone helping each other out.

    And 17ht, please do not get mad at me over this :0

  • I feel you Jnyc, I really do.

    I am also a Iwobi-out supporter. No more playing Iwobi in big matches please. He just cannot defend and make plenty of incisive passes to save his head.

  • If I had to pick one thing I would be bothered to talk about, it would have been either the Mustafi impact, the five minutes resurrection, Ozil’s bergkampesque chip, Jack’s fitness, Bellerin’s cross for our first, Lacazette’s team play and Brazilian assist, etc, etc. Picking on a young player is indeed… sad.

    If you cannot take joy from turning a nightmare of a game round like Arsenal, our boys, did, then you got to ask yourself, what’s the point in me watching them? You can do better than that, Johnnie.

  • An entertaining match for the neutral but as an Arsenal fan it was a match that again demonstrated Arsenal’s inability to defend deep in their own half and reinforced that Arsenal’s attacking approach is only effective when the opposition is willing to commit players in attack and expose themselves defensively.

    In terms of individual performances:

    GK: Cech
    While he made a poor attempt to save Liverpool’s third goal, overall it was a solid performance from Cech.

    RWB: Bellerin
    It was a much more aggressive defensive performance from Bellerin, with a number of tackles. That said, his defensive positioning was poor and he wasn’t able to contain Mane who beat him via the dribble on a number of occasions. Offensively, he showed little in terms of dribbling and while he recorded an assist from a nice cross, he failed to cross the ball enough throughout the match.

    RCB: Kosicelny
    A passive defensive performance by Koscielny. While he had a number of vital interceptions, he wasn’t aggressive enough in his approach to nullify the influence of Coutinho. That said, he was again Arsenal’s most no nonsense defender in terms of clearances and successful aerial duels.

    LCB: Monreal
    Monreal’s worst defensive performance of the season. He wasn’t aggressive in his defending, his positional play was poor and he frequently got beaten by Firmino. A victim of Wenger’s decision to get Arsenal to defend deep in their own half, which they evidently can’t and haven’t been able to do so for many many years.

    LB: Maitland Niles
    A relatively solid defensive performance by Ainsley. While he ultimately wasn’t able to contain the dangerous Salah, he did make a number of tackles and interceptions. Offensively he was very poor with no attempts to transition the ball via the dribble and no attempted crosses. Baffles the hell out of me how Ainsley is being selected to play completely out of position at left fullback when the impressive and natural left fullback Kolasinac sits on the bench. Poor team selection.

    RCM: Xhaka
    An okay tackling performance by Xhaka but his defensive positioning left a lot to be desired. Offensively, his transitional passing was okay with a couple of accurate long range passes, though his passing accuracy (77%) was below the required standard and he didn’t offer anything in terms of forward dribbles. Nice to see him get a goal for his initiative. Who dares wins.

    LCM: Wilshere
    A solid defensive performance from Wilshere both in terms of his tackling and positional play. Offensively, his transitional efforts were very good with a number of excellent dribbles and long range passes. His 78% passing accuracy was below his usual standard.

    RCAM: Iwobi
    A poor performance from Iwobi, who showed no real attacking initiative, made no forward dribbles, had no attempts on goal and failed to attempt any through passes. His 67% passing accuracy was also poor.

    CAM: Ozil
    Another underwhelming performance from Ozil. Apart from his well taken goal and 83% passing accuracy, he showed limited attacking intent with no dribbles or attempted through passes.

    LCAM: Sanchez
    A poor performance from Sanchez. Apart from a couple of attempts on goal, he had no forward dribbles or attempted through passes. His passing accuracy hit a new low at 60%.

    CF: Lacazette
    Another difficult match for Lacazette. He had a brilliant assist for Ozil’s goal but apart from that he was staved of clear cut goal scoring opportunities as the likes of Bellerin, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis and Maitland Niles failed to create for him.

    Overall it was a poor performance from Arsenal with their shortcomings likely to be concealed by the 5-10 minute burst which yielded 3 goals.

    Tactically the team is a mess at the moment. Wenger’s attacking blueprint of playing 8 attacking players and monopolising possession of the ball in the opponent’s half in an effort to capitalise on disorganisation in the opponent’s defensive setup is not and has not enabled the team to regularly create clear cut goal scoring opportunities. Similarly Wenger’s defensive strategy, which encompasses the team’s 2 central defenders effectively being required to assume the defensive responsibility for the entire team, repeatedly fails.

    Despite these repeated shortcomings, I don’t see Wenger resorting to any fundamental tactical changes as he hasn’t for the last 10 years.

    One can always hope.

  • Hi all.. A short response..
    Still lack of sleep.. Hehehe..
    So.. I’m not the one who feel Iwobi is out of his form last night.. Thanks Jnyc and JK.. Hehehe

    I still think Iwobi a great deal for us.. A star to be.. But last night I maybe see a bit different game than Eris and 17ht did.. For me he just under performance.. Look how Sanchez so frustrated by him..
    Just wishing Walcott playing more time there.. Maybe we will get a better result.

    Xhaka and Bellerin on the other hand had a better performance than last few games..
    They almost give us victory.. Hehehe..

  • I would like to think I have a reasonably balanced view of my team. I don’t hate anyone and l am a bit of a Theo fan, when he is playing well. But last night we were bloody awful. Bellerin and Zhaka were dreadful in the first half, although they both improved in the 2nd half. I fully expected us to wake up after we went 2 -0 down was we often do. However I was fully expecting us to then get caught on the break and go 3-1 down. Did I enjoy it? only for those 5 minutes,. To coin a phrase great for the neutral.

    Lastly when we went 3 – 2 up we still continued to throw the kitchen sink at them. No surprise when one of the best counter attacking teams in the prem caught us on the break. Sorry Mr Wenger surely that is down to you?

  • I guess we see things differently regarding player performances, relative to the alternatives we have to go with. Iwobi had a shaky start, as did the whole team, if we are being honest. He misplaced a couple of passes and was wary of going forward at times, perhaps under instruction. But when he took possession of the ball, he was one of only a few that didn’t lose it to a tackle or wrong touch. He was always being hassled physically by the Robertson kid and Can, so he always had to first fend off his markers, take control and find a pass. When the whole team went forward, he came to life. I enjoyed his contributions, considering how even older heads in the team froze in the face of the “Fab 4” narrative we all had to endure (as did the players). There is a reason the manager picks him for certain games.

    Retsub1, maybe you should scrutinize action leading to Liverpool’s 3rd goal again and you’ll find it wasn’t a purely counter-attacking move because we had enough numbers back and should have prevented the goal had each man picked up every opposition player in view. Firminho was inexplicably left free when we had a bunch of guys blocking an anticipated pass to another player. Again, it was rather fortuitous for them because of a slip by Sanchez who had control of the ball and the situation; as he slipped, Salah retrieved and ran some 25 yards before a sequence of passing found Firminho with our defenders and Xhaka only attempting a late block.

    We move on to the next game. Top 4 looks like it will be a war of attrition.

  • Liverpool’s first goal, Koscielny left exposed, he seemed to have it covered but Salah’s attempted low cross takes a wicked deflection, loops into the air and Coutinho has a fairly simple job of heading it home. Luck?

    Liverpool’s second goal, our defence again left totally exposed, Koscielny again up against Salah whose shot would have been covered by Cech, but the slight deflection off of Laurent (again) took it around our goalkeepers frantic dive and into the net. More luck?

    Liverpool’s third goal, our defence left totally exposed again, wide open, Firmino just blasted it but somehow Cech got a good hand to it, it could have gone anywhere and on most days it would have gone out for a corner, but it was a night of crazy goals and it looped agonisingly into the net. Even more luck?

    All the Arsenal goals were great finishes, no defections etc, poor defending by Liverpool yes, but well taken by our players. Just saying

  • It might just be me, but I still see a Petr Cech as a top goalkeeper, he made a string of saves to keep it 1-0 up to half-time and I’d certainly not swap him for the Liverpool goalkeeper!

    There’s no doubt that we need a top deputy for him, but there’s other areas of the team in more need of attention than the goalkeeper.
    How we defend or not as the case maybe, is far more of an issue than Petr Cech imo.

  • The biggest problem we have with the back 4, apart from no DM, is that our full backs play like wing backs. The 1st 2 goals we conceded had our LFB caught upfield (am not blaming him being inexperienced and playing out of position).

    For the back 4, I’d prefer to see our more conservative full backs i.e. Nacho and Deb. To me, the greatest thrill in football is winning. A team is not likely to be winning much if it concedes much. Jogo Bonito died in Spain in 1982.

  • Agree with Kev there, RE our keeper. He did well and played with determination, irrespective of that 3rd goal.

    By the way, it came off Mustafi (not Koscielny) fir their 2nd.

  • Spot on about the goals, Kevski. Every pool goal had an element of luck; our first and third were clean goals. The second one was a weak hand of the goallie.

    Wenger made tactical adjustments for this game and that’s all I wanted. Okay the players were uncomfortable and showed too much respect in the beginning, but we did not give them space to counter attack and played compact. Clearly, we are missing balance in the team and Wenger keeps needing to tinker, but we are in a good position to finish third this season and that is relatively good.

  • Spot-on Kev per Cech– IMO as well.
    The reaction on Firmino’s unobstructed shot from center at 17yds– with Cech moving forward off his line at approx 7yds– was no less than stellar. That ball was saved. Flying maybe 15ft into the air and dropping with almost no inertia behind Cech– falling a foot in front of the goal line– and bounding into the net with almost no force. A goal– was probably the least probable result from the physics involved.


  • T, I said I only had time to choose 1 grievance. I am not blaming any 1 disappointing result just on Iwobi. But he’s not good enough.

  • I noticed the exact same thing as Kev when I watched the goals again last night with my wife…all three took bounces that helped them get into our net. On the flip-side, it could be argued that Xhaka’s blast, as well struck as it was, should most certainly have been kept out by Mingolet. Still, that’s 2-nil… 😀 Finally, for their 3rd, Alexis headed the ball to exactly no one and then slipped. I’m not sure why he’s getting a free pass on that one…I agree (with TA) that it wasn’t a counter-attack, just a complete giveaway (we actually were clearing a corner and trying to break ourselves…) then a couple of passes and a well-hit shot. Still, Wenger gets the blame for us getting caught on the counter?…

    Anyhow, I’m just getting so sick and tired (I was gonna say disgusted…) by the need to point fingers at certain players (and the manager) while some players seem completely immune to criticism. I probably overcompensate by noting flaws in play as I see them (by the super-heroes) but that gives me no particular pleasure. As I said yesterday, it’s a team game, so why can’t we see it as such–and maybe even salute the way our team pulled itself up from the depths? I guess that’s just not the way the internet works. In the cold light of day (this morning), it only leaves me with a bad (bad) taste in my mouth and makes me want to turn away from (the bulk of) my fellow “supporters.” And, here on BKesque we definitely lean more towards the positive!

    So, that’s my plan. I’m sure it’ll be a passing thing, but I gotta go with my feelings as I feel them, right?

  • Maybe it’s a generational thing 17tino, but I don’t do Twitter (have an account that I never use) or Facebook, but from what I hear, there’s some quite, how can I say, interesting contributors on both of those platforms, where Arsenal are concerned.
    I’m not knocking those platforms but I’m sure glad that I avoid them as I could get myself into some quite intensive debates I’m sure and frankly I’d much rather make myself a cup of tea and have a slice of toast. In my slippers of course. 🙂

    Ever since I’ve been a football fan 17tino, sorry, an Arsenal fan, got it right, I’ve had my favourites and I’ve also had players that I’ve not been as keen on. I think that the vast majority of fans fall into that category.
    Therefore I like and have always liked Jack Wilshere for example, but I’ve not been as keen on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both English you see, but it’s just a thing of personal choice.

    I always liked Gilles Grimaldi and Sylvan Wiltord despite both taking imo unfair criticism, again it was just a personal choice, but I never warmed to Samir Nasri or Nicklaus Bendtner.

  • 17HT here are my views on

    it seems to me and unless we al look at this team through rose tinted glasses we are wrong. Yes it’s true what Kev noted about the goals, but I don’t think anyone can argue that, Liverpool were streets ahead of us at half time and had it been three or four nil at half time I don’t think anyone could have complained.

    If aa player plays well I will be the first to praise him and if he plays rubbish I will say so’s not a case of picking on certain players. It’s my opinion ehich
    I wii
    L continue to voice my opinion as long as T A allows me to on this site. I do firmly believe that the commentators had it right when they said that neither Arsenal or Liverpool will ever win anything as long as we continue to play kamikaze football.

    And finally unless we get some muscle in central midfield we will continue to be bullied

  • Retsub, I too heard the commentator say that at the end and it really got me annoyed that he compared the clubs like that. Three FACup wins in four years against sweet FA. What a dick!

  • Agreed with TA.

    If we played better defensive footy we would have conceded one or 2 less goals. But for Liv they were just absurd. The keeper would not have made the cut even if he had 4 world class defenders in front of hin.

  • So to compare us with Liv is like comparing Toyota with Mercedes-Benz. Nothing to compare there.

    And we are the Mercedes-Benz in defense and Toyota in attack. Would like both to be Mercedes-Benz though…

  • And being a fan of our very own Little Mozart, I am sad that he had retired. Not the best news you will receive on a Sunday morning but he had been the best all rounded player along with the likes of Santi and Jacko.

  • I have a little more time to answer you now T.
    Overall, my feeling from the Liverpool match is disappointment.

    They beat us up earlier in the season, we should have devised a game plan to deal with their dynamism. MAYBE hold them to 1 goal at best, so not a clean sheet, but close. They made us look like children in a park in the 1st half. And we are vying with them for top 4.

    We are clearly not as good as the Arsenal team that played Klopps Dortmund so well over the years. At least those were close, even if we didn’t win.
    So, are we a better or worse team today? Feels like a club in decline.

    Let’s be honest, they lost their discipline when they got the lead. Pretty obvious from how our goals occurred. The Mignolet error on Xhaka was a gift. Every keeper in the league parries that away with TWO hands.

    And excuse me for not getting excited by getting 1 point from possible 6 off Liverpool this season.

    Remember Ozils celebration when he scored on Friday? Imagine how he felt when Liverpool scored again. Star players are leaving soon. Which stars will want to come ?

  • Cheers Johnnie, Arsene had a plan to deal with the Liverpool threat but it did not pay off. Any team in the league will find Liverpool a tough opponent, and so did we, but we overcame them and could have won it in the end. To say they lost their ‘discipline’ is of course true but we did that to them and the boys were awesome. I take pride and pleasure in that.

  • I am watching the full game and AMN did well, Jacko was brilliant and Iwobi tried to create something but his wavelength with his teammates were just nonexistent.

    There is a gameplan, agreed with you Jnyc, but Iwobi just did not have the footballing brains. I might be wrong TA, but he just bring the whole team down with his misplaced passes.

  • I hate to say this but everyone is saying that there is no comparison us and Liverpool. If we are talking about league titles I believe they have won 18 to our 13. European trophies… don’t even go there. The only place we have proved superior is the F A cup.
    The only comparison I can see is we both have decent attacks and can’t defend leads. Swansea who are bottom of the table have only conceded 3 more than us.

    Without wanting to cause any offence, was I proud of them against United when we played great and lost.. yes Very

    Was I proud on Friday.. For about 10 minutes. Then again I thought Bellerin, Xhaka and Iwobi were so poor on Friday I would have had them off at half time. In the second half for the first time Bellerin put a decent cross in and Xhaka put a decent shot at goal in. So what do I know?

  • Liv is an exceptional team going forward. They even had Manc on the ropes who were lucky to get the 1st goal against the run of play. Soon after Liv lost Mane to a red card. Naively they kept attacking 10v11 and in the 2nd half City crushed them.

    It’s difficult for any team to go toe to toe in the 1st half against Liv.. They put in so much in the 1st half that invariable they drop in intensity in the second half.This is the blueprint of our match against them. After we took the lead we were caught between going for the jugular or defending our lead. Never a good place to find yourself in. They equalized and the two sides became too scared to loose the contest. Not just the two teams but also the two sets of fans were relieved when the final whistle was blown.

    Our passing success rate was down, thanks to their intense pressing. But then theirs was also down. So we harmed them too.Yes they missed some good scoring chances but if it was the other way round all the noise would be about our profligacy in front of goal. Let’s pat ourselves on the back, tweak a number of things and move on.

  • That is a historic comparison, Retsub, which is not what the commentator was doing. We have been winning silverware recently beating all the top teams on the way. Pool are stuck and have won nothing recently. To be fair, we are stuck too in terms of winning the league, but then that goes for more or less all teams, especially IF Guardiola signs an extension to his contract. Possibly the best manager with biggest funds equals PL titles, I fear.

  • Iwobi has had a lot of flack. I believe many are going overboard in their critisism of him. I’d say he had a poor game on Friday. I’d also say he is woeful defensively. But I’d never say he hasn’t got a footballing brain or that he he’s not a good passer of the ball. I’m fact I’d say he is one of our best in-between the line passer and he is so good at shielding and going pass players with the ball. Going forward he only needs to acquire more composure in and around the box.

    To me it’s never only a question of removing a player but also of naming his replacement.. For his role on Friday his replacement can only be from Welbeck (who to me is poor on the right side), Walcott whom we’ve waited on for nearly 11yrs or Nelso (great promises, yet untested)

    Chunk Iwobi him out, but first say who is to be brought in.

  • Retsub wrote:

    what do I know?

    Hey! That’s my line!!! 😉 😀

    Merry X-mas to all BKers… Enjoy the holiday!

  • Njk,not sure I’d choose Walcott over Iwobi, at least not when we play PTB teams which form the majority of our games.

    All the same am shocked that defensively Iwobi has not improved one jot since he got promoted to the 1st team. It’s so naive sprinting all the time trying to press opposition always some 15/20 yds away from him. That expends his energy uselessly. The trick is when the opposition gets the ball one immediately gets close to a possible recipient of a pass or blocks a passing lane. This is so basic one wonders if he is not being instructed at all.

    If he cannot tackle, which he cannot, he should at least endeavour to get goal side of his man to delay him so as to give our team the extra seconds to organize their defensive shape. Again this is basic and where is the instruction.

    All said, with the ball he is quite good but even here needs an improvement in and around the box. The hope is that he is only 21yrs old.

  • Look at how frustrated both Ozil and Alexis were when the passes to and from Iwobi were always off.

    I was equally frustrated with Alexis but at least he passes just a tad better and cared to defend.

  • Against PTB teams i would move AMN to midfield and pair him with Jacko.

    Both of then are players that runs at defences and will do well against PTB teams.

  • Merry and Happy Christmas to all my friends at Bergkampesque 🌲🎄

    Have a great time on your own or family and get yourself ready for 19 more PL games and many a Cup game.

  • njk,
    This stat will shock you.. Not including our back line players Iwobi’s pass success rate at 87.3 % is only bettered by Elneny’s at 92.2%. That’s from Whoscored. In other words, of our attacking players his passing record is the best. You’d probably never trust your eyes again.

  • Further shock, njk,
    Iwobi ties in 1st place with Sanchez and Ramsey in through ball @ 0.3 ThrB/game.

  • For key passes, Ozil tops the chart with 3.4Kp/G followed by Alexis at 2.8Kp. Iwobi is 3rd on the list at 1.5 and Ramsey 4th at 1.3.

  • For unsuccessful touches he is at 1.7/game, better than Sanchez at 3.4, Ramsey at 2.1, Lacaz at 1.8 but worse than Ozil at 1.5.

    He is dispossessed 1.3 times per game, same as Rambo and Lacaz, better than Alexis at a 2.3, but below Ozil 1.2, Welbz at 1.0 . The CM and defenders are disposed less.

    In dribbles
    1st Jack at 2 per game
    2nd Alexis at 1.9
    3rd Iwobi at 1.5
    4th Rambo at 1.3
    5th Niles at 1.3
    6th Lacaz at 1.2
    7th Ozil at 1.1

    All these show that Iwobi’s attacking numbers justify his place in the team. Am not holding brief for his defensive numbers.

  • Hi.. Merry Christmas all..
    Wish you all Peace, Joy and Merry life..

    PE.. Just asking.. The statistics were for the Friday’s game or the whole games..??
    Cause I’m talking about the Pool’s game..
    And I think Iwobi and Monreal are the worst in that game.

  • PE, brilliant way to counter by putting the stats up, and Iwobi had much better games before to put up a brilliant set of stats.

    This isn’t the actual stats of Friday’s game, no. But it will show that he had been better and Friday is not that stat. If we played Theo it will be better but maybe Theo will not have that greater threat or incisiveness, but his passing accuracy will be better and Liv defence is so weak that with greater teamwork we would have scored more.

  • Chan,

    The stats are the season’s stat. Just to show it’s not right to give him that much stick because of a bad day in the office. Some asked that he never be played again, that he be sent on loan etc.

    We have a history of initially getting over excited about our emerging young ones only to turn mercilessly against them while they are still at a delicate phase.

    All said, I have that uncomfortable feeling that our technical crew are not teaching him even the basics of midfield defending ; awareness, positioning, getting goal side on your man etc. If he grows defensively he’d become a great asset.

  • PE, thanks for the stats, even if season long stats; the intention here is to show that he is deserving of his place in the side and is entitled to a not so good day in the office. The flak he’s getting for the Liverpool game is unjustified because the entire team froze in that 1st half while they struggled to cope with the press of the opposition. In the process, Iwobi rushed his decision/passes, anticipating team mates’ movements (which never came), resulting in the initial spate of inaccurate passes. After that, he came alive and did as much as the next man. In hindsight, I will start him again for that game over any of the alternatives we have (Welbeck and Theo – how it is even suggested that Theo will offer more in that game is beyond me, if we are being honest).

    I also worry about the instructions Iwobi is getting regarding the defensive side of his game, particularly the art of getting goal side of his man; I feel he shirks that side of his responsibility and merely goes through the motions, as he avoids putting in the tackle. He prefers defending from the front where you are least likely to be at fault for goals against your side. Improve on these and he’s on his way to fulfilling his potential.

  • Eris, if you look at how Ozil and Alexis worked in the first half versus how Iwobi played with the rest, by watching the full game again, you will see our frustration.

    Yes, he had some good moments in the game, but if you watch the whole game again (via you will realise that in the second half we do not pass much to him. Alot of our attacks bypasses him entirely.

    I understand where you guys were coming from in a bigger picture, but it is the small technicalities that define the game.

  • Well I had a really nice Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, that was topped off by watching 89, the recently released film about Arsenal winning the league title in 1988-89.

    I would advise everyone on here, especially if they’re recent converts to ‘the Arse’ to watch this film, because gives you a glimpse into what this club is all about, why the fans are so passionate and what it means to wear the Arsenal shirt.

    It was like being there again, the music, the fashions, Liverpool winning everything, Arsenal triumphing in adversity, it’s the story of any Gooners life because we all follow a club that just loves to put us through the wringer. And it still does…

  • No links Henry, I got the DVD for Christmas.
    Do you have a film channel in your neck of the woods?
    I saw it off of Virgin movies tbh.

  • Hey fellas! It is match day yet it all seems so quiet on here; Christmas hangover or is it just the blues?

    The manager is set to match Sir Alex Ferguson’s record of 810 premier league games in charge and will certainly break it versus WBA on Sunday. Let’s hope the boys let him enjoy the day with a resounding win.

  • It was Aaron Ramsey’s 27th birthday, 2days ago. Belated birthday greetings to the big man, even as he recuperates from injury. Surely, he’s looking back at his career and hoping for some major/notable achievement in the next 3 years, to crown his career as it enters it’s closing phases; what are the chances he considers a move to another club if Arsenal doesn’t offer prospects of a major trophy(its) or a good contract extension? These are the stages when players’ minds start playing tricks on them…..

    Okay; just thought to put those out there for possible rumination. 👍🏽

  • Hey ‘Eris… I have both an X-mas hangover AND the blues… To me, as seems to happen more and more these days, the atmosphere surrounding our club seems too toxic… At least for my health, which feels a little shaky at the moment. We had some guests over the holidays and I think I may have caught the virus one of them seemed to be carrying…

    The Ramsey thing is interesting… He’s turning 27 while (not so young) Jack turns 26 on Monday (He’s a new year’s baby!) Given that neither of them have been so successful in terms of total output (injuries have hurt both, Jack more than Rambo, Shaw-crossed legs notwithstanding…) I probably wouldn’t offer them the keys to the kingdom if I were in management, sadly… or maybe not. Try as might, I just can’t get myself to rate them all that highly…

    In my view, Wenger’s longevity (and success, at least in terms of CL football) has created a conundrum. He needs these getting-older players to stick around if he wants top 4 finishes which might help attract a new generation of stars. But then, having older “stars” blocking your path to playing time might not seem so attractive, even with the CL footy… A new manager would likely jettison some or most of the older players (or at least those with any market value) and get some slack from the fans for some lower finishes while bringing in new players he likes and trying to rebuild. Change, I hate to say, probably sells just as well as success… And we probably NEED change (and some slack from the fans…) to actually improve…

    Probably we try to keep what we have and see what happens…

    I just don’t see much happening in January. What do you say?…

  • Hey, TA (and ‘Eris)…

    I’m working on a match preview–in my more “traditional” vein than the shorties I put up for the live-blogs…

    One more espresso and it should be good to go… Maybe you (TA) can keep your powder dry or add your ideas in the comments…

  • Excellent! I’m sure your ideas will get to the heart of the matter much more quickly than my 1000+ words…which are now out in the form of a…


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