Mesut and Jack to Jointly Lead the Attack, Alexis CF, Laca and Danny on Wings: West Brom Preview

We know by now that we cannot defend for the life of it, whether we play with three, four or ten in defence. Luckily, our attackers had their striker-boots on and Arsenal scored one more than they conceded, and that meant three points for the red and white adventurers of North-London. Our attacking football is of the highest order at times, and long may it continue.

Whatever Wenger tries, he just is not able to get the balance right between defending solidly and attacking decisively. Four teams scored more than us but at least six teams have conceded less, and our goal difference is a miserly 12 (sixth best in the league). Fortunately, we have Mustafi back – our lucky charm – and he worked his socks off to organise the defence and even score a cool-as-you-like goal himself. Clearly we need to get more value out of the wing-backs/full backs if we want to move forward. There is also an argument to improve the balance in central midfield, but I am more than happy with the combination of Xhaka and Jack(or Aaron) as our pivot. 17HT also pointed out to us that we miss Giroud at set-pieces; the extra height and great heading ability is indeed missed.

Up-front we saw a fine, selfless performance from Lacazette and two fab goals by Alexis, who is now stepping it up, it seems (and I wonder why…). Ozil worked hard and was unlucky not to score; judging from his performances, I am confident he will sign a new contract for Arsenal. In order to do this, we need to sell Alexis asap and get a quality replacement lined-up (ideally to start in January but next season is also fine). Jack is well back and he produced a peach of a long-distance pass for the Chilean’s second goal (our third) that settled the match for us.

Tomorrow we play hapless West Brom who struggle to score (just 14 in 20 games) but do better defensively (eighth best defence and conceded just three more goals than us).

I don’t expect many changes in the line-up; in fact, it would not surprise me if we see the same eleven from Thursday’s game. Monreal is a doubt and it may be good to give Koz a rest, as we will need him against the Chavs fully fit. So if Nacho is available, I expect him to start instead of Laurent. Xhaka may get a rest too, but it is hard to predict who will play tomorrow.

I would go for the following eleven:

submit football lineup

Granit as our deepest midfielder doing the sweeping; Jack and Mesut in front of him pushing the game deep into WB’s half and dictating the game. Lacazetter and Welbeck to do the wing-play and support the full backs as much as possible. Alexis to focus on attack in the centre and come and get the ball centrally occasionally (and Laca or Danny to take the vacated space). If Granit or Nacho are not fully fit, I would replace them with Maitland Niles or Le Coq/ Koz or Chambers. All out attacking is our best chance of getting goals and it is definitely our best defence, so let’s just go out all guns blazing and win with at least one goal’s margin.

Enjoy the last game of the year, fine fellow BKers.

By TotalArsenal 

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272 Responses to Mesut and Jack to Jointly Lead the Attack, Alexis CF, Laca and Danny on Wings: West Brom Preview

  1. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, you have mail… And I wish I’d seen the new post first…though I’m quite happy you beat me to my (non-existent and probably never to have been written…) preview… thumbs (way) up…

    To me, the loss at WBA last season–even if it was followed by a draw vs Man City and a win vs West Ham, both at home–lay the foundation for our devastating loss at Crystal Palace which (effectively) ended our chances at a top 4 finish… If we can reverse what happened last season we’ll be confident for the Chelsea match and well poised for a good run at getting back to the CL… IMO, of course…

    I continue to be mystified by the desire to drop Bellerin for Debuchy, the latter of whom has been untested in the PL. Admittedly, I didn’t get to see all the League Cup matches (I think I saw all his Europa League outings) but those games seem to feature a whole lot less in terms of pace of play and quality of opponent. For some reason the pen he gave away at Koln also doesn’t seem a black mark against him, while every cross (some that are quite good, to my eye at least…) that fails to result in a goal is damning for Hector. Oh well, everybody sees the game differently, I guess. To me, stumping for Debuchy seems like a (closed-eye) prayer…at best… What (TF) do I know, however…

    A player who does seem to be increasingly up to the pace and ferocity of the PL game is Jack Wilshere. I’d protect him for the Chelsea match and go with Elneny instead, but maybe that’s just me being swayed by my own favoritism and the fact that his international teammate, Mo Salah, scored the two goals that rescued the full points for Liverpool just now…

    So, that, plus maybe the Nacho for Kos change mooted in the post, would be my preferred line-up. I’d be sticking with the 3 at the back formation, however, mostly because Mustafi is fit again and seems a good anchor back there… The MF’s have to help out, however, but I don’t want to go into that again. (I also don’t want to get too positive–nor do the research–but we have had a good slew of clean sheets, with both formations, I’m pretty sure, in the past couple of months…) I strongly agree with TA, that at set pieces (where WBA crushed us in the same fixture last season), the missing height is an issue. BFG anyone? He did well enough coming from out of nowhere in the FA cup final, but so too did Holding… Maybe one of them if Kos (or Chambers) isn’t deemed sufficient for this one…

    Finally, Alexis moving without the ball (but starting on the left) is good enough for me–as opposed to Lacazette being removed from his #9 role. The latter is excellent with back to goal hold up work (esp. for his diminutive size) and seems to choose well between trying to turn and move the ball himself and dropping it off for his teammates. If Alexis is back to giving full effort (and not just the illusion of it by chasing his own giveaways…) he’s back to being one of our finest players no matter where he’s (ostensibly) positioned, I believe.

    OK, enough said, and perhaps enough to inspire a live-blog effort for the match. If ANYBODY could spare a kind word for Bellerin (or maybe even the mildest of critiques for Jackie the golden boy) I’d be even more excited for both the game and some in-match commentary… 😀

  2. Goonereris says:

    Off topic, though. I like the look of Ndidi of Leicester; the more I look at him, the more I feel he will not only shore us up in midfield, I also feel his intelligence on the ball is Arsenalesque. He keeps things ticking over and takes back possession so frequently, it is amazing our scouts didn’t find him first. Even as a Nigerian, I never knew he had (could) become that good. All the talk is about Mahrez but I would rather look at something or an area we really do need to improve on.

  3. Goonereris says:

    Good preview post, TA. It does sound plausible we play Alexis as CF seeing as he’s starting to get a taste for the goals again. If he can wrack up another 8-10 league goals before the end of the season, it won’t be a bad return for him, given the barren (his standards) start he’s had. But, not likely to happen. Welbeck will feature more tomorrow (even Debuchy), with an eye on Chelsea, who look back to a good form from today’s outing, albeit, against a hapless Stoke City. Can’t wait for Hughes to get the sack.

  4. jw1 says:

    Like to see Wenger stick with the 343 that produced such movement up front vs Palace (an in form team). Though at times, defensively the back-3 looked more like a back-4 with Chambers 1v1 with Zaha wide on many occasions. TBH– Zaha played one of his better games I’ve seen– and I don’t lay the assist on Townsend’s goal at Calum’s feet. Chambers had his hands full– and did the job well enough.

    Hearing Wenger was reverting to a 343 vs CP– I called for Alexis to have a breakout performance. Today? A hunch that Mesut will continue his good form– scoring the goal/goals he was so close to on Thursday– setting up another.

    Jay Rodriguez has scored often enough vs Arsenal. Kanu-Robson can be a threat on the left. I’d be inclined to have Chambers go again (Kos rests in advance of Chelsea)– even in a 4-back. West Brom has been either hot or cold playing top clubs. Shipping 4 vs Chelsea, and 3 vs City– with 1-1 and 0-0 draws with Spurs and Pool. Read yesterday that West Brom is entering record-breaking territory– having gone winless in their last 18 PL matches. The 5th-longest such streak. To continue Sunday– with a ‘W’ preferably.


  5. henrychan says:

    Hi TA.. Nice early preview.
    But sorry.. I just can’t see your line up would apply.. Hehehe..

    First, Wenger won’t put Sanchez as our CF.. What’s the urgency of that.. He is playing at his best performance as our LW.. Position that’s most of the best players did..
    Ronaldo, Neymar, Hazzard, Coutinho, Insigne, Sane, Draxler, Zaha, and so on..

    Second, rather than putting Wilshere in the CAM rule.. Ozil can play much better in that position.. Or we must choose Wilshere and bench Ozil for next game against Chelsea..

    And why must put Kolasinac than AMN whom suite the 4 back better..??

    For me..the Chelsea is a more important game.. So, first team must have a good rest..
    And our second team are more than ready to take the place.. Hehehe..

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    JW… You’ve got mail too…

    That reverse fixture back in September was tighter than the 2-nil scoreline would indicate. If folks remember, we got the penalty in the 2nd half that WBA should have gotten early in the match. Mustafi was spared when Rodriguez played on and Cech finger-tip saved his fine shot and then (former Spur) Jake Livermore mishit the rebound… Give a Pulis team the first goal and we might have struggled even more…

    He’s out now but Alan Pardew has done OK since he’s taken over. He kept Liverpool to a nil-nil at Anfield, as well as getting similar results at home vs Crystal Palace (a team, we might want to admit, that isn’t so bad…) and Everton. They only lost at home by a single goal to ManU–who aren’t much fun to watch here on my telly right now. Anyhow, they aren’t scoring too many goals (just like a defense-first Pulis team) but they aren’t conceding a lot either… With Swansea’s come-from-behind win at Watford (also with a new manager), WBA are now bottom of the table. This will make the less observant Arsenal supporter put this game in the win column without even being played. Hopefully we know better and take nothing for granted… No easy matches in this league, I fear…

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the email, Seventeenho. Will try to respond soon. 🙂

    Good shout for Elneny instead of Jack or maybe Xhaka tomorrow. I reckon Debuchy deserves a chance in the first team and Hector could do with a break; happy to see him against the Chavs, though.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Will keep an eye on Ndidi, Eris. Good shout.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hehehenery, above is my preferred line-up. Whether Wenger picks it is of no interest to me.

    Alexis is not a Left Winger and I am bored with him turning in to find a shot from around the D. The whole world knows that is what he wants to do. He also loses too many balls and a lot of his passes go missing, but as a CF he could be lethal, especially with Laca and Danny working hard for him on the wings.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh and the Chavs game is not important right now. Three points v WB is what is needed first.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Milkrinho has started the sack procedure. He just loves being paid two wages… 😻

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA wrote: happy to see him (Bellerin) against the Chavs, though.

    I can almost accept that as a positive… 🙂 In the name of fair and balanced assessment, I guess I should give Debuchy credit for his fine strike to start off that 6-nil drubbing in the Europa League match… Sorry, I can’t be arsed to remember the opponent or even if I’ve got the goal correct. I’m pretty sure, I think… He might deserve a game, even if it’s just to put him in the shop window…or for folks (including me…) to remember what his game is all about…

    Also, agreed about Alexis and his preferred move in from from the left side. Additionally, he rarely rewards Kola on the overlap when he’s over there. The beast/hulk is just about as good at diagonal runs in front of the left winger but Alexis is definitely a head-down, pass-as-last-option sort of player. Lacazette is currently our highest paid player and it’s possible he could do better over there but why move him? Did he ever play in that position at Lyon?… Kolasinac is our 2nd highest paid guy so it’s tough (for me) to see his game inhibited by having Alexis in that spot…

    These are guys the future and ones we should be building our play around, IMO…

    There seems but one solution… And it will most likely come in the summer. Hopefully, the more selfish play can at least be enhanced with some good movement off the ball and (I really hope…) plenty of goals and a handful of assists for as long as we have him. He’s a great talent, no doubt, but maybe it’s the talent that has inhibited building his game so that his overall contributions truly help the teams he’s been on. Chile not in the WC and there’s likely a reason Barca were OK selling him… Maybe?…

    On the plus side, ManU have just completed their second straight home draw… Moo Money (Moo Money, Moo Money…) somebody might be bleating in just a few…

  13. AB says:

    Nice post TA and like the imagination of the line up. As you say it’s prob not what Wenger will go with but has a logic to it for all that. I will go likewise with my imagination, which won’t be the 11tomorrow either I suspect but I will apply my thinking to it.

    I like the back 3 formation and I think Chambers did pretty well and Kos needs a rest. Being optimistic that Nacho might have recovered I will take a back 3 of Chambers, Mustafi, Nacho in front of Cech. Midfield I think we need to let some folk recover a bit as well as play those vaguely in form. I’m going AMN and Elneny in the middle, Kola on the left and Bellerin on the right. It’s a fine judgement on the last. Wenger could easily rest him given he’s come in for some flak. But I think he favours selection as a show of confidence over resting. And Bellerin is central to our future plans so needs all the encouragement he can get.

    Ahead of them I’m going for Sanchez, Ozil and Danny, with Danny up front. I’m tempted to try and squeeze Theo in there instead of Ozil but we would have no creativity on that basis. But I don’t want Ozil to have to play 90 min. He is key to us (I agree TA I’m still hopeful he will stay) and we don’t need him injuring himself through overuse right now.

    We could filed a strong bench with that line up and manage th injury risk. Could we take 3 points with it? I’d like to think so.

  14. retsub1 says:

    Good post t A and as. You say T A very difficult to predict what team Wenger will put out. As long as Long as Bellerin is on the bench I don’t really care… just kidding 17HT, but I do think Debuchy should get a chance.

    WBAs options are somewhat limited, but Pardew has frustrated Wenger in the past. I think it may be tougher than some people think, but I believe we will win

    Happy New Years Guys COYG

  15. Pony Eye says:

    HT, interesting line up. I’d be glad if one of us is able to nail the elusive Wenger. But I doubt if he would choose now to move Alexis up top seeing he found his rhythm just the last match.

    He will likely rest Kosh, Bel, Wilshere who is still being managed.
    He would start Musti, Kola, Xhaka and Lacaz whom he subbed early, and of course Cech.
    Per for W Brom aerial bombardment and Debuchy to replace rested Bel. Therefore 4:2:3:1.
    Alexis for the 1st time worked well with Kola. So a repeat. Total so far 8 No.
    Add Ozil and Iwobi to make it 10 No.
    Elneny to pair Xhaka.

    Line up:

    Deb Per Musti Kola
    ——Xhaka Elneny—–

    If the match is going favourably early subbing of Lacaz and Ozil with Welbz and Wilshere.

  16. Waldo says:

    With Giroud, Ramsey and Monreal out injured, the starting 11 I’d like to see versus WBA is:

    GK: Cech
    RWB: Debuchy
    RCB: Chambers
    CB: Mustafi
    LCB: Koscielny
    LWB: Kolasinac
    RCM: Wilshere
    CDM: Coquelin
    LCM: Iwobi
    RS: Lacazette
    LS: Alexis

    With that starting line up I’d like to see Arsenal adopt a pressing defensive system drawn from a hybrid of the Bielsa and German schools. That is, have Arsenal:
    – press all the way up to the opposition goalkeeper
    – play with an advanced defensive line that helps to squeeze the field and limit space for the opponent, thereby making it easier to press
    – focus on winning the ball back as quickly as possible after it is turned over (as opposed to only pressing following certain triggers)
    – push the ball vertically down the field, predominately via one-twos, as soon as it is won, to create shooting opportunities as early as possible
    – keep both forwards in central positions the majority of the time to capitalise on quick transitions.

    Realistically, the above won’t happen but that is how I would like to see Wenger use Arsenal’s current squad.

  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey PE… It was TA who wrote the preview…

    Another stump for a back 4?… I know that’s your preferred set up but I’m not quite sure the manager–nor the squad–wants to do that much switching back and forth between formations unless injuries or early goals force us to…

    Of course, I like Elneny (in place of Chambers) in there as the extra deep-lying mid… And, Iwobi is probably a good shout as the guy who would come in for Jack the lad…

    If AW is reading this, surely he will bow to the anti (or the slightly nicer, “give a rest to”…) Bellerin ideas…

    We shall see…

  18. njk84sg says:

    TA, i for one would love to see the lineup that you put out.
    But still, Wenger Knows Best 😀

  19. allezkev says:

    Maitland-Niles, is a right footed player whose been playing left-back, so if Arsene wanted to give Hector a break and he doesn’t want to use Debuchy then how about AMN at right (wing) back?

    Yep Totalkamp, I agree, not many changes, let’s win this one first then worry about Chelsea when Chelsea comes along, it’s a slog for everyone at this stage of the season, how do you say, OGAAT…

    Henry, watching our young players in the cup games is what gives me the most pleasure in this most mixed of seasons, it reminds me of the last big group of ‘home made’ youngsters our academy produced back in the late 1980’s. Those lads all went on to become champions, so let’s ‘have a little bit of history repeating itself’ as Shirley Bassey sings…

  20. allezkev says:

    JW, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Arsene switch to the back four again after the tactical move to the three at Palace, I’m not sure if Palace have a Zaha type forward, so who knows what Arsene is thinking?

    Yep, I’d love to see us go all the way in the UEFA Cup, but there’s some quite difficult opponents out there so we’ll need a bit more luck in the next round again, that’s assuming that we do a job on the Swedes.

    Still being in four competitions is quite an achievement despite our unpredictability.

  21. Jnyc says:

    I like 17’s idea of using el neny to rest jack. I was all for playing jack finally in the league, but i would have rested him before tomorrow already. Great opportunity to do it tomorrow.

    Also 17, I was suggesting a rest only occasionally for bellerin by debuchy, but I did mention that Mathieu is an all around better player. I’m sure he wouldn’t last physically every week, let alone twice a week No future with him.. Can AMN .. nickname AMEN, play rwb or rb? Most likely a good 3rd option.

    I know you all are probably tired of my worrying about Liverpool.., since the weak start of the season, they’re looking like old Klopp style that I loved. They’re our top 4 rival,

    BUT, the way things are going, I wouldn’t put it past United or Chelsea to also have a mini collapse art some point. United is already in a bad streak, and either mourinhos or contes big mouth always can turn their players against them, potentially. Top 4 is still there for us,

    T, i saw your thoughts on ozil and Alexis, are you confident like me that Jack would in no way leave if we ask him to stay? Almost irregardless of the money. Please agree with me. The stupid media talk about him leaving Arsenal annoys TF out of me.

    Also with you about lining up Sanchez replacement. Who could it be? I think it should be a quick, improviser like Alexis, those random moments of genius, scoring almost out of context….. We need that wild card type player. Pool and city have a bunch, and we won’t have any after Sanchez. Prices will be insane, considering van dijk, mbappe, etc.., so another reason we couldn’t really afford to let people walk away for free.

  22. Pony Eye says:

    Sorry TA/HT, it was quite clear to me that it’s TA’s post. Can’t say how HT slipped in. You too must be identical twins in a certain realm that I must have accidentally tuned into. Exciting line up TA.👍

  23. Pony Eye says:

    The one thing City have over every team is that their forward players are all goal scorers. Sane, Jesus. Aguero, Sterling and De Bruyne. Sometimes these 5 start together. We have many front men who are not prolific in scoring goals. Sanchez is a goal scorer and if we have to replace him it ought to be with a good goal scorer like Nabir Fakir and the sensational youngster Leon Baily.

  24. henrychan says:

    No hard feelings my brother TA.. Hehehe..

    PE.. After yesterday derby game against Palace.. I choose Zaha for Sanchez replacement.. Very strong LW..
    He will give Lacazette a lot of goals.. Hehehe..

  25. Pony Eye says:

    Chan, Zaha is a top player whom I cannever say no to. My emphasis is however on goal scoring. We already have great providers in Ozil and Wilshere.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine further comments last night.

    J yes I reckon Jack will sign a new contract. Wenger is monitoring his fitness closely as that will determine the value of his weekly pay in the offer.

    Re Alexis’ replacement, I am hoping for a team player with a good track record in assists and goals. Team player is key though as Lacazette needs better service and needs to become our main man.

  27. allezkeva says:

    This will be the first transfer window where the club will have the input of Mislintat.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    A bit of Sven magic in the transfer window would be v nice, Kevski. 🤓

    Palace holding the money bunch quite well until now.

  29. allezkev says:

    Ah yeah, just checked, but City are getting wound up for a siege

  30. allezkev says:

    Credit to Crystal Palace, shame about the penalty…

  31. jw1 says:

    “…in a certain realm that I must have accidentally tuned into.”
    Flitting in and out of dimenses éphémère mon ami?

    Where seeing that first ‘L’ for City might have been comforting?
    The bigger-picture puzzle are the injuries to DeBruyne and Jesus.
    Pep is already online looking to shop at
    And he doesn’t want the kits. He wants the players modeling them.

    This is going to be a crazy month.


  32. jw1 says:

    And already– Alexis has been addressed by Pep (in his post-match presser)– wrapping the situation in a coy statement:
    Asked later on about transfers and Alexis again, Pep remarked: “We will have internal meetings and see what is for the best, but he is an Arsenal player and I think he will be.”

    To our advantage? The squad is accustomed to media-drama.


  33. Goonereris says:

    Our team for the game at WBA:


    Looks like Wenger has chosen to go for it, only resting Ozil. Happy to see Mertesacker on the bench though s there’s likely to be an aerial bombardment at some point in the game.

  34. Goonereris says:

    West Brom XI: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Phillips, Livermore, Barry, Brunt, Rodriguez, Robson-Kanu

    Substitutes: Nyom, Yacob, Myhill, McClean, Burke, Krychowiak, McAuley

  35. Goonereris says:

    Interesting bit of information: the club’s website has confirmed that, for the first time in nearly 40 yrs, the team will wear red shorts as part of the home kit. That will look strange though, but who cares, so long as we win it.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Ozil must be with Gazidis, singing da ting

  37. Goonereris says:

    ….or even injured. Read he has a knee injury which may see him miss the Chelsea game on 2nd January. Hope that’s not the case.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Eris, do you believe it then?

  39. retsub1 says:

    You are pretty good at getting the inside Ozil really injured? Or is he being wrapped up in cotton wool pending a tranfer. I do wonder about Alexis going to City. With Jesus and De Bruyne injured and Abu Dhabi money to splash I wonder if we should cash in? I would. They will probably go at the end of the season anyway.

  40. njk84sg says:

    Happy 2018 over here in Singapore. Less than an hour to go for Indonesia (Ko Henry)

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy NewYear, 84.

  42. Goonereris says:

    TA, If the club’s site puts up a tweet about an injury to Ozil, if “slight”, I would have to believe it.

    Retsub1, Better for us to know City will be somewhat desperate so we can bump up the fees for Alexis, if they do come in for him. I worry, though, that we will have unwittingly given them the impetus to go on and definitely win the league. You never know what effect the near escape they had at Crystal palace will have on the rest of their season. Chelsea look the most likely to take advantage of any slips by them, but you never know…..

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Guys…. Running late this morning so no Live-blog post… We’ll just have to keep up with things on this one.

    No Ozil anywhere?… Sorry, but I don’t like it. Injury? Wrapped in cotton wool for a transfer? I like neither scenario… And, he can sign his contract any old day (though I realize TA is joking there)… Like I say, I don’t like it…

    Hopefully we can break them down early (and often)… COYG!!! Go on then! Etc., etc., etc…

  44. jw1 says:

    Happy New Year JK!
    Celebrating a b-day as well here.


  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy Birthday, jw1 🎂

  46. jw1 says:

    Thanks TA– all I want today are 3pts.
    And cold beer of course!


  47. jw1 says:

    Like the new kit look actually.


  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    We have kicked off… The red shorts are bright…

  49. Goonereris says:

    We’ve kicked off to a bright start, being on the front foot from the get go.

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    We get the first corner… Alexis into the guy at the near post…

    And the 2nd, from Iwobi, is worse…

    Alexis using the whole pitch, I like, however…

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    First shot on goal belongs to WBA… No power on Rodriguez’s header and Cech holds it easily…

  52. allezkev says:

    Not heard anything Retsub, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a bid for Alexis from ManC, just a hunch mate.

    Happy Birthday JW.

    I’m listening to the radio, it’s on BBC World Service.

  53. Goonereris says:

    Rodriguez draws a save off Cech; a header from a Matt Phillips cross. Suddenly, it could start to even out, the game…. Gibbs cross is fumbled by Cech but we clear quickly.

  54. jw1 says:

    Kos a little slow on the uptake beaten to the touchline for a cross which Rodriguez heads– saved by Cech.


  55. allezkev says:

    Happy New Year 84

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh geez…. Cech drops one and now has a groin tweak… Other end, Lacazette, middle of everything has his shot deflected out…

  57. Goonereris says:

    Lacazette fires a shot at goal which is deflected for the corner.

    Now, to watch the game. Can’t keep this up. 😉😀

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good possession but very slow… Lotsa water on the pitch?

    Ooooh…Almost a mix-up but Laca can’t lift it over Foster… Commentator suggests he might’ve gone down for a pen… wow…

    Now WBA have a corner…

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    And another…

  60. jw1 says:

    Apparently, we’re not in Kansas anymore HT.


  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arsenal clear it but Mustafi got conked… We’re playing with fire giving them set pieces…

  62. allezkev says:

    Sounds like the conditions are quite bad

  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    Definitely not in Kansas, JW…

    I took a Benedryl last night and slept like a log… Still groggy, however…

    Almost a nice one-two between Laca and Alexis on the left… And more good action between Kola and Alexis but nothing from which we can shoot…

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi makes good space for himself w/back to goal but his curler to the corner is too high… Not bad setting it up but needs to put it on target, I think…

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech looks spry enough on a long-ball WBA counter…

    Alexis just overhits Bellerin… Through the air in that manner might be the antidote to the slow pitch…

  66. jw1 says:

    I’m liking where Iwobi has twice ‘posted-up’ centrally– taking passes from Sanchez– one resulting in a decent attempt at the top-right corner.


  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    We’re looking very static in attack… Jack can’t control and we lose it but get it back quickly…

    WBA look comfortable and this time it’s an attempted 1-2 between Alexis and Iwobi that sets West Brom forward… Headed over for a GK but Kola gives it back immediately…

    20 mins gone…

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    WBA are moving through the acres we’re giving them and win a corner as Mustafi heads behind a diagonal cross…

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech pushes it all the way to the other touchline… Hey, there’s Kieran Gibbs with the throw…

  70. Jnyc says:

    I would have rotated a bit. The scheduling is such a killer. Hard to get accustomed to the kit.

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    WBA having most of the ball the past several minutes while we just boot it back… Kola tackles at the end line and it’s off Phillips for a Cech goal-kick… Beats giving away another corner but WBA have it again shortly…

  72. 17highburyterrace says:

    Mustafi gets whistled near the right corner of our box… FK coming…

  73. Goonereris says:

    Well, anyone who may have harboured thoughts of an easy evening’s work-out may as well start to have a rethink on that. It may still be easy if we can get the first and keep up the pressure, though.

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Curled well over by James Brunt… Not good…

    We need to get back onto the front foot now… WBA have dominated the past 8 or 10 mins…

    And now have it again… Livermore getting a decent cross in…

    We defend it but our break ends with a Xhaka daisy cutter from distance… First shot on target maybe, but it’s simple for Foster…

  75. jw1 says:

    Would love to see Iwobi turn toward goal when receiving a pass with time.


  76. Goonereris says:

    Iwobi warms Forster’s palms and he had to parry for a corner from which nothing came for us.

  77. jw1 says:

    Forgive my prescience!


  78. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed Eris… This won’t be easy…

    Iwobi puts a strong one on target that Foster palms behind for a corner… Alexis takes it… And beats the first defender…and everyone else…out for a GK…

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kola gives as good as he gets deep in our left corner… Cross field booted ball touches nobody and gives WBA a throw and some deep penetration. Brunt curls over and out but we can’t play out of our half…

  80. jw1 says:

    Kola limping noticeably.


  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis takes a long curling run to get into their half but then absolutely zero comes of it… This will require more coffee at half-time, I fear…

    We’re lacking ideas here… Alexis’ pass from the half way line is easily cut out… As is Jack’s on the next go round…

    OK, first yellow goes to Jonny Evans…Looked just about a 50-50 but do I care?…

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    We need something better than Jack floating a square pass miles over and into touch… Back with us but Kolasinac might be done for the evening…

  83. jw1 says:

    AMN coming on for Kola.


  84. Jnyc says:

    Jack not at his sharpest so far.

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Another ball over everything as some time will be taken for AMN to replace Kola… Replay shows Gareth Barry banged knees with the Beast. He’s doing quite a hobble as he comes off…

  86. Goonereris says:

    Ainsley Maitland-Niles comes on for Kola who has been limping …

  87. jw1 says:

    Jack needs a conduit a la Ozil (or Elneny?).
    Owobi’s movement doesn’t match with Jack as well.


  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    Stroking it around on the velcro pitch but zero penetration here… Alexis touches to his right but his shot is blocked at the point… We keep it, however, and at least it’s in their half…

    Bells ball in to Laca is long and Foster gathers…

    They have some action in our end but Cech gather Phillips diagonal daisy cutter…

  89. 17highburyterrace says:

    WBA’s spell is quelled and we try again… And get a whistle which will help us keep tyhem from breaking… We’re trying some tight work to get through in the center but it’s not coming off…

    My ears are clogged and I feel like crap… The football isn’t helping I must say…

  90. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, a corner…taken short and it looks like we should have another but they say the ball went off Jack there…

  91. jw1 says:

    Jack very close to flicking through to Laca– after a series of tight 1-2s front of the 18.


  92. allezkev says:

    Just heard on the radio that since Pardew took over at West Brom that the Baggies have scored 2 goals…

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    This seems very poor to me… Alexis, static, lofts one into their box but right at a defender… Mustafi falls and gets a whistle as they counter… Neither team looks like they could score a goal even if they were given hours to do so…

  94. retsub1 says:


  95. 17highburyterrace says:

    Thank Dennis, there’s the HT whistle… Coffee and ear drops for me…

    AW’s gonna have to buck up our ideas at the break…

  96. Goonereris says:

    Half time. It’s not been our best bit of play this season but we’ve not been overly troubled even if you will think we should be doing a bit more to score.

  97. allezkev says:

    Respect to the Arsenal fans who’ve slapped it all the way up to the Hawthorns at this time of year.

  98. Goonereris says:

    It’s hard playing these games, back to back and there’s no doubt this affects the quality of the game. At this time of the season, it is not how well we play but just about the results we come up with. Feel our wing backs are being made to do more defensive than offensive work, which isn’t ideal for this formation.

    I think we need to just impose our game on them; they are home and will be nervous at some stage. If we get some more width from the wing backs, maybe that’s our route to goal. Maybe, Welbeck will be needed at some point, for Iwobi. I would like to see a switch to the right for Alexis (that will scare Gibbs a bit) to allow Welbeck come in from his preferred left side. That may disrupt Chamber’s flow with Bellerin and Iwobi, but it’s another way in for us. We just need to stay on the front foot or they start developing confidence to keep doing what they’ve been doing. We have very few options on the bench (1 already on) to change the course so, it has to be changes within the current structure.

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, ear drops are in and coffee, mostly for my lovely wife, has been made… I’m trying to get her to come and watch the match but she’s uninspired when I tell her what it’s been like…

    Missing Mesut today, I fear… If the pitch is too slow we probably need some balls over the top… which might open some space to play tight stuff through on the ground. Why can’t a corner be properly delivered?

    We also need to not let them goof one in at our end… Neither team, I don’t think, will come back from a goal done this evening…

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Some decent enough ideas there, Eris, I think… A bit like throwing darts and hoping a couple of them stick in, I fear. Maybe AW has some of his own… Time to rinse out my ear drops…

  101. 17highburyterrace says:

    2nd half on….

  102. 17highburyterrace says:

    Some stroking it around until Bells sends one in too tight for Laca… WBA are off but Kos blocks at the point…

    WBA have a FK but very deep…

    Bells heads out and we try to break… Slow motion, however… Ugh…

  103. jw1 says:

    Might take some individual brilliance today.


  104. 17highburyterrace says:

    Let’s try again…

    Plenty of the game is being played in our half…

    Lacazette, totally on his own, wins a FK near the top of the box… Alexis special coming…

  105. 17highburyterrace says:

    Into the wall but we keep it in and Mustafi’s good cross is barely over Alexis (I think)… WBA look to break but Jack gets the whistle… Xhaka’s free kick? The less said the better…

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geezus…Can’t play it out of the back and can’t boot it from there, either…

  107. Jnyc says:

    Xhaka and Wilshere look tired to me.

  108. 17highburyterrace says:

    Some possession but no penetration… Aha! There’s my copy and paste!

    AMN keeps the ball in but Alexis loses it… Chambers has to boot into touch to keep Rodriguez from getting forward on his own….

  109. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi trailing a WBA 1-2 doesn’t get whistled as the WBA guy dives… Mustafi is quick defending but we can’t clear and AMN puts it behind for a corner…

  110. Jnyc says:

    Mustafi really sacrifices his body for the team, always does. Respect.

  111. 17highburyterrace says:

    It bounces around but is booted over for a GK…

  112. jw1 says:

    Camera indicates Theo’s antennae have been pinged.


  113. 17highburyterrace says:

    WBA now on the front foot… Chambers is able to get a head to a semi-decent cross… Game’s in our half at the moment…

    Mustafi late on Robson-Kanu gives them a FK deep on our left side…

  114. 17highburyterrace says:

    Too close to Cech who punches clear but we can’t break… Brunt gets yellow for a challenge on Jack…

  115. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, we’re in their half now…

    Better there–Iwobi and Laca work the one-two but Laca’s high angled shot is stopped by Foster… Jack loses the ball over the end-line…

  116. jw1 says:

    Laca nearly– after Jack creates,


  117. Jnyc says:

    How many terrible corner kicks, free kicks, crosses of ours falling far short?. Sure signs of fatigue.

  118. 17highburyterrace says:

    WBA are back down in our end but AMN keeps it in and we try to break… We can’t but we can push it up slowly at least…

  119. allezkev says:

    Lacazette getting closer

  120. allezkev says:

    Fresh legs from the bench has to be an option

  121. 17highburyterrace says:

    ooooh… Laca almost toe pokes it home under tight pressure… Just wide of the near post…

  122. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis tries an impossible shot from a high angle and some distance… Side netting is pretty good, I guess…

  123. jw1 says:

    Just keep putting the ball on target, period.


  124. allezkev says:

    Wilshere playing his 5th game on the trot for the first time in 4 years.
    So says the radio

  125. 17highburyterrace says:

    We’re keeping the ball in their half a bit more but they still look pretty comfy defending. Alexis is active but the final ball isn’t coming off… Chambers long for Lacazette but he whiffs on one idea or another…

  126. 17highburyterrace says:

    Halfway through the 2nd period and the best I can say is that WBA might now be the happier of the two teams to take the nil-nil…

    Here they come, however…

  127. jw1 says:

    BFG readying now– in Theo’s stead.


  128. 17highburyterrace says:

    BFG getting readied?… Maybe we’re happier with the nil-nil?…

    Back into their half…

  129. allezkev says:

    Hmm, does this mean a back four?

  130. 17highburyterrace says:

    Better there with little glimpses of pressure on WBA’s back line… Jack and Alexis try some ideas for getting through but nothing quite comes off…

  131. allezkev says:

    Here we go again, on the hour, the World News, let’s hope we’re winning when I return. 🙄

  132. 17highburyterrace says:

    Still more and a Laca back-heel is just short for Alexis to get onto… Xhaka’s long left footer is blocked at the point…

    BFG for Kos (hurt?)… WBA make some changes too…

  133. jw1 says:

    On-topic theoretically– all of the slips that have just begin?
    Accuweather says dew point at Hawthornes was at 4°– currently 3° there.


  134. 17highburyterrace says:

    Keeping it in their half but that’s about it…

  135. Goonereris says:

    Mertersacker on for Koscielny. Maybe he’s suffered a knock. The wish is that it is more precautionary than anything untoward.

  136. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi long effort is very, very tame… Counts as on target, maybe?…

  137. Goonereris says:

    Welbeck coming on for Iwobi. Hopefully, we can put more physical pressure on them.

  138. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xhaka wins a whistle at the center circle…

    Final change Welbeck for Iwobi… Bundle one in for us, DW!! Pardew makes a final, defensive change…

  139. jw1 says:

    Welbz on for Owobi.


  140. 17highburyterrace says:

    DW gets a first touch but it’s near the center circle… Alexis giveaway sets WBA forward… Bellerin deflects the cross and Cech grabs it…

    WBA in our half again…

  141. Jnyc says:

    Lacazette relieved that he can’t be pulled off now.

  142. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rodriguez in masses of space shoots but Cech saves and Bells beats the WBA guy to the rebound…

    Now Laca gives them a good FK for a left footer… WBA looking more likely to break the nil-nil now…

  143. Jnyc says:

    That defensive display…. we all look so tired, not even reacting to a threat. We were lucky there.

  144. 17highburyterrace says:

    Into the wall and AMN heads back to Cech as they try to recycle…

  145. jw1 says:

    Noting we looked the more fatigued– that FK Laca gave up might have been the Rx required ATM.


  146. 17highburyterrace says:

    80th minute now… Foster sends in one from the halfway line but now we get the whistle… This game seems likely to just peter out, I fear…

  147. jw1 says:

    Calls for an ‘Alexis moment’.


  148. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bells does a double header and gets it to Jack…who gets a whistle so that we can have the ball for a bit…

    Alexis wins a FK trying to get through a very tight spot… Near the D…

  149. allezkev says:

    Steve Claridge commenting on how many fouls Wilshere receives, what he didn’t expand on was how many the referee misses/ignores…

  150. allezkev says:

    Get in

  151. Jnyc says:

    That burst from Sanchez earns a yellow and a free kick. That’s what we are going to miss, and will need to replace.

  152. 17highburyterrace says:

    84th minute, so yes, a FK goal would go down a tonic…

    YES!!! Deflected in!!!

  153. jw1 says:

    Heh, Heheh.


  154. 17highburyterrace says:

    And everybody (I think) celebrates it!!!!

  155. allezkev says:

    Alexis moment indeed JW

  156. Goonereris says:


    Maybe now, we shall see the role Mert will have to play to ensure we don’t concede….. if even for Petr Cech’s sake. 200th clean sheet loading….

  157. 17highburyterrace says:

    Replay showed it was going wide but the WBA knocked it back central…

    WBA still have life…and a corner…

  158. Jnyc says:

    Some luck, but couldn’t have happened without Nino Maravilla…
    Must be replaced, and without funds from him leaving.

  159. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good delivery but over the WBA head and cleared to Gibbs…who lofts it over the endline for Cech to take some time off the clock…

  160. Goonereris says:

    200th EPL clean sheets should I say…

    That free kick from Sanchez was not on target when it was deflected, to be fair. But, who cares, eh?

  161. allezkev says:

    Disputed goals panel.

  162. Goonereris says:

    Mike Dean has given a penalty for a ball to hand. Harsh call.

  163. allezkev says:

    Mike Dean, what more would you expect

  164. 17highburyterrace says:

    Welbs finally controls a ball and pushes it forward… His pass is behind all our runners, however…

    PENALTY… Handball off Chambers… very harsh Mike Dean… from 3 feet away?!?!

  165. Jnyc says:

    So unfair on chambers.

  166. 17highburyterrace says:

    Right through Cech…


  167. Jnyc says:

    His arm was in FRONT of his body.

  168. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech dove to his right and the kick was to the vacated area…

    Arsenal pushing but Welbeck foul is waved off by Dean…

  169. jw1 says:

    Effing theft.


  170. 17highburyterrace says:

    4 mins to stop Dean from stealing a pair of points… AW and Dean talking face to face… Dean loves the spotlight, I fear…

  171. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sanchez solo work is stopped but the K guy gets whistled and we’re off… Looking dangerous but Laca’s stand-up pass from the end line is gobbled by Foster…

    Getting very late now…

  172. jw1 says:

    Can’t recall a handball given like that this season.


  173. 17highburyterrace says:

    Next foray, Alexis tries from distance… Not to be… final 30 seconds

  174. njk84sg says:

    F*** you ref. Very soft penalty. F*** you.

  175. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s it… Super harsh pen but we gave very little, IMO… Still, a big let-down when it looked like the points were ours…

  176. jw1 says:

    Cech YK from Dean at the handshake.


  177. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gotta beat Chavs on Wednesday… Their romp yesterday + extra day rest is a worry… As is Ozil out and very little ability to work WBA’s back line…

  178. 17highburyterrace says:

    Mike Dean had been kind for us for too long since the last reaming… We were due for a skewering from the spotlight hog, I fear…

  179. retsub1 says:

    What scum you are Dean,. Look at me I can be the star of the show.

    I think we got what we deserved in the end, but if only Cech would stand still he would save quite a few of them

  180. Goonereris says:

    Petr Cech gets a yellow card for the post-match protest. Mike Dean is such a jerk of a man. Yesterday, we saw the ball come off Yoshida’s raised arm, for S’pton v United and the ref ruled it not deliberate and too close to the player. Today, a nothing ball onto the arm of Chambers at close range and he rules it a foul. What is going on with the officiating in the EPL? This result will be pivotal, in my view. That’s 2 sealed points dropped in very inexcusable circumstances (Ref error).

  181. Jnyc says:

    With no arm, that ball would have bounced off his chest.

  182. jw1 says:

    Cech post-game interview– just ripped Dean a new anal pore– in the most dignified fashion possible.


  183. 17highburyterrace says:

    Petr Cech, mic in his face, is very angry with Mike Dean… Perhaps his leadership (and anger) will kick us on… He says, that Dean wouldn’t respond to his questions… Just gave the yelllow… Needs another stint down in the Championship…

  184. henrychan says:

    Happy New Year.. Not a good new year eve.. No Gift tonight.. Hehehe.. That’s all that I can say.. God night.. Gotta sleep now.. See you next year.. 2018..

  185. jw1 says:

    Not sure the camera angle Wenger is discussing (post-game interview) was broadcast. But says that Dean did not see the play because there was a player between Dean’s line of sight and the play.


  186. Goonereris says:

    Petr Cech was fuming at the interview after the game. His view was that every time the Ref’s come into the players’ dressing room to let the players know how they will referee the game, including the issue of ball to hand or hand ball situations, yet an experienced ref like Dean appeared to guess rather than act on something he’s seen, very contrary to what they repeatedly preach. The big man couldn’t hide his disappointment especially as Dean not only ignored him, but brandished a yellow card at him like he wasn’t even there.

    Oh, and we all know he’s a Spurs fan so maybe, he’s done them a favour there.

  187. 17highburyterrace says:

    Happy New Year, Henry…and everybody else…

    That was a poor call… Wenger isn’t happy… The schedule plus as slow pitch didn’t help but we almost snuck off with the points… Seems harsher to lose them in this manner… Now we’ve got some real work in the derby on Weds, again on short rest… Ugh…

  188. Jnyc says:

    Big criticism on Wenger for not rotating. I think we would’ve been stronger and effective today with a team of second choices that had good strength and stamina. Also a shame that one sub used on koscielny … I would have started Mertesacker instead, and another sub wasted on ineffective Iwobi, who should have been one of the few rested enough to give 90.
    Take away our admittedly lucky goal, and the obviously wrong hand ball, and we were overall bad today.

  189. retsub1 says:

    Lot of speculation that Dean is a spurs supporter and he has certainly been seen celebrating Spurs goals before. But in fairness to Mr Dean his 3 sons Harry, Dele and Hugo have confirmed that’s not true.

  190. jw1 says:

    Thanks retsub.
    Much needed levity my friend. 🙂


  191. jw1 says:

    So then. Having New Years Eve for one’s birthday?
    For many years– this day was one-long-binge into tomorrow. Sometimes longer.
    Probably still could walk into just about any drinking establishment and convince almost everyone to buy my libations all night.

    Instead mrsjw1 and I will probably find a quiet place to have a good dinner, then watch some tube tonight. All the trappings of the Big-6-oh.

    Would have been nice to have taken all three points today.
    But I refuse to let a little larceny keep me from my (albeit minor) celebrations.

    If I could ask for a gift?
    It would be that each of you here at BK shed this rancorous event– and enjoy yourselves tonight as well.

    I raise my glass to Gooners everywhere.

  192. retsub1 says:

    Thanks JW1 I wish it were original but it has been used many times before. Check out Mike Dean celebrating Spurs goal v Aston Villa hmm.

    It’s Mrs Retsubs birthday today as well , sounds like she is one behind you. But as she was born in Australia I think I will claim it’s already over and have a quiet night throwing darts at a certain Mr Dean.

    Enjoy your birthday

  193. jw1 says:

    Likewise back at MrsRetsub: Happy Birthday!


  194. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy New Year fine fellow Gooners! 🍾🍺🍹🥃

  195. TotalArsenal says:

    We was robbed by the Spuds-licker! A point ain’t too bad, though.

  196. henrychan says:

    Happy Continuation Day JW1 and Mrs. Resub.. Wish You a Healthy and Happy life..

    I must agree with Jnyc.. That was a bad game..
    With that kind of playing.. Our second team can provide more energy and speed..

    Just hope they can come back stronger for Chelsea game..

  197. allezkev says:

    Happy New Year.

  198. Goonereris says:

    Happy new year, Y’all.

    Happy birthday, jw1! Hope you had a very good one. It is Jack Wilshere’s birthday January 1st. Mike Dean has obviously spoiled any elaborate celebration plans he may have had….Dean and Chelsea.

  199. Goonereris says:

    Still pained by that penalty award. Just watched it again and saw that Gibbs hasn’t even appealed for it and was only eager to see the ball over the line for the corner kick. Absurd!

  200. njk84sg says:

    Even Mr Arseblog wrote on espnfc about the ref needing the spotlight…

    Not the best way to end the year or start the year for some timezones, but still wishing JW1 and Mrs Retsub a happy belated birthday.

  201. Pony Eye says:

    Happy new year all.

    It was an awful decision by Mike Dean who happens not to be in our hands therefore we must move away from him quickly. What’s in our hands is the poor performance. Maybe the FA scheduling of the matches is a major contributor to our poor performance. I thought we would have done with more rotation. I wonder in what shape we would be in facing Chelsea who have a day extra rest to us.

    The terrible thing about congested schedules is not only reduced performance level (which would have been fine if opposing teams are under identical schedules) but increased proneness to injury. Firstly from muscular injuries, secondly from impact and other injuries arising from degraded decisions of wearied bodies and minds.

    I don’t see why PL clubs cannot push their case in counter to the uncaring TV interests.

  202. njk84sg says:

    PE, apparently the clubs are getting revenues from the TV spots, all they can so is muffled grievances which we saw a few managers saying about it.

  203. retsub1 says:

    A slightly embarrassed Mrs Retsub says thank you very much to all the kind BKers around the world who sent birthday greetings.

    I should add that any conversation in this house, normally ends with the phrase. “Not bloody football again”

  204. njk84sg says:

    Haha Retsub,

    This has nothing to do with footy.
    But it seems like you are too involved in footy until the missus disapproves of it.

  205. allezkev says:

    A belated happy birthday to Mrs Retsub.

    I’ve never met her but I imagine that she is a very kind and patient woman. 😉
    Just don’t mention the Ashes… 😀

  206. retsub1 says:

    Thanks guys.

    Kev she was only there about 6 weeks. Her Dad was in the Navy. Apparently during the cold war the Aussies didn’t have any submarines to protect themselves with,, we lent them a couple of our subs to protect themselves out. When she was born they sent them back. She hates cricket.

    NJK that’s a pretty accurate statement. Sitting here watching Brighton v Bournemouth but no doubt I will pay later.

  207. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Watching the Pool playing their second team away to Burnley.. Why didn’t us..?? Hehehe

  208. 17highburyterrace says:

    Happy New Year everybody and belated birthday wishes to Mrs. Restub and JW… For the latter, 60 is a milestone and you certainly deserved more than Mike Dean robbing you (us…) of sneaking 3 points back from the Black Country… I hope the rest of the celebrations went better.

    As for me, my sickly-ness meant there was no New Year’s Eve stuff and I actually was in bed by 8:30. The upside is that I’m feeling much better this early morning and I’m ready to get the new year off to a good start. What better way than a monster post on the BKesque? This might be the year when I (finally) realize all my (usual) resolutions: 1. Body like Jesus (well, maybe not quite that thin…) 2. Generosity of spirit, and 3. No more Mr. Nice Guy… I realize that numbers 2 and 3 might seem impossible to accomplish at the same time, but I think it’s more subtle than that. It’s possible to be generous (in spirit) while also standing up for what seems right. Maybe?…

    So, on the generosity front. Here’s to Mike Dean…who has to live with himself. That was one really, really bad penalty he gave AND he could have saved himself by taking a moment and consulting with his linesman who surely would’ve told him that it was nothing. From Dean’s angle you can almost make a case that there was light between Chambers’ elbow and his chest (i.e., not a good thing, if not quite “unnatural”) but the linesman would’ve told Dean that the elbow was still DIRECTLY in front of his chest AND that the kick was from 3-4 feet away, at most.

    Continuing with trying to be generous with Dean…I don’t think he’s a Spurs fan. He’s a goofball for sure, but these silly moves on Spurs goals don’t quite prove that he’s in their camp. For example, I know we went on to win the derby 5-2 after the dance move (his second celebration in the vid)… And surely a few more big calls against us could’ve prevented such a lopsided scoreline…no matter how bad Spurs were on the day…

    It was still a very, very bad call and it stole the two extra points out of our pockets—much as we had stolen them moments before with the fortunate deflection for our goal.

    Sorry, but it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy when it comes to our performance on the day and the direction we seem headed this season. (I’d welcome, of course, a rebuttal–from anybody–maybe TA is working on an “8 positives” post…If so, please put it up, I could use some upbeat ideas about the Arsenal…)

    Back in November, I looked at the December fixtures and they seemed quite promising, both in terms of opponents and rest periods–up until after the Boxing Day fixtures. I thought we had a good chance for full points (or at least a win and a draw, i.e., 4 pts) in our away matches at So’ton and West Ham, and maybe 7 from 9 in the home matches vs ManU, Toonies and Liverpool. After those, we had the two away trips to the teams that killed our previous season (Palace and WBA) before hosting Chavs on short rest. 3 or 4 points from those–plus a win or draw in the Chelsea game, I thought, might be a good return. Instead, with the December matches done, we’ve taken just 10 points from the 24 on offer AND we still must host Chelsea on the aforementioned short rest. I really thought we could enter the new year solidly in 4th place, up a few points on all but the silly money teams. Instead, we’re really quite lucky to be in 5th (ahead of Spurs) but (effectively, due to goal difference) 4 pts out of the CL places. We’ll have to do better in 2018, for sure, and it gets no easier facing a back-in-form Chelsea team on Wednesday. I hate to say it, but I’d snatch your hand off right now if you would offer me a draw in that one… 😦

    And that’s because of several factors. We’re just not as deep as people would think and/or hope. Injuries to Ramsey and Giroud (and now, possibly, to Kolasinac, Monreal, Koscielny and Ozil) have depleted the ranks. (Not to mention Santi, whose creativity and team-play attitude we could really use…) Mustafi and Welbeck are just coming back from injury and might not be completely match fit. People say: just plug in those guys who’ve done so well in the League and Europa Cup games, but I say no way. Those games are played against 2nd (English) teams and worse ones from the continent. Veterans like Wilshere, Walcott, Elneny, Coquelin and Debuchy have done well in a couple of those games but also faltered in some, as have the kids. You can (or at least I can…) see that fine players from that 2nd squad who are getting PL time–namely Wilshere, AMN and Chambers–have it much tougher keeping up with the added pace and the tackles that fly in (and often go unpunished by the refs) in the league games. I like ALL of them, but our pace of play–moving the ball forward and stopping teams on the break if we turn it over–is hurt by all the absences.

    Meanwhile, people are disgusted by the play of other young guys, notably Bellerin and Iwobi, players, who, I think, are more than holding their own, and look well at home with the rest of the stalwarts. i.e., guys such as Alexis, Lacazette and Xhaka. To me, in yesterday’s match, we looked just as good down the right (Bellerin’s and Iwobi’s side) as we did down the left (and Iwobi actually did some nice turning and shooting, I thought). Neither flank was very good, truth be told, but the blame game–fingers pointed at the youngsters–AND Wenger, who (folks suggest) should’ve dipped even deeper into the 2nd team and rotated ahead of the Chavs game, just doesn’t work for me. Our first 11, depleted as it is, can play three in a week, and must figure out a way to score more than they let in.

    Fact of the matter, again, just for me: is that we’re running on fumes at the moment and we’re pretty lucky to be where we’re at. (Also, longer term, it gets no easier with the league cup semis and an extra round of elims in the Europa League coming at us…) Then there’s the added misery of the winter transfer window… Rumo(u)rs about all our want-away guys on top of click-bait for players we’re never gonna buy who (somehow, or at least in the fantasy leagues and video games) would solve all our problems… Ugh…

    So, going back to my resolutions… Today, after a small breakfast and going on my first run in months–and losing a quick 25 pounds in the process–I’m gonna look in the mirror (at my Jesus-like body) and say a prayer for the Arsenal… That our injuries aren’t as bad as they seem and that we get some bounces our way and sneak full points in the derby on Wednesday. In truth, I don’t expect that we can do it–at least not on the way we’ve been playing and the fact that Chavs look back to decent form (15 points from their December matches, 14 goals scored, 3 conceded). I’ll also say another (prayer) that Arsenal can build from where we are and have an increasingly happy 2018. Hopefully, no matter how all of it goes down–the match on Wednesday–and the year as a whole–I’ll be able to look at it with both generosity of spirit and a no more Mr. Nice Guy kind of attitude. As outrageous as it seems, the body-by-Jesus, might, in the end, be my best bet… 😮

    Again, Happy New Year and big thanks to (both of…) you for reading… 😀

  209. 17highburyterrace says:

    Liverpool: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Gomez; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Can, Wijnaldum; Mané, Solanke, Lallana.

    To me, Henry, that’s a LOT better than any second team we could field at the moment…

    Sorry… 😦

  210. 17highburyterrace says:

    If Ozil’s a goner and Santi’s career is finished, Lallana would be a good pick-up… And, I’m sure many here would rather have the Ox and/or Wijnaldum in our team than Iwobi… Mane wouldn’t be the worst fillip for Al-readygone-exis, either…

    Luckily, we’ve got Wenger on the sidelines–and he hasn’t even thrown a water bottle in quite a while… (Klopp’s, thrown in celebration, rather than disgust, doesn’t bother me, in truth…)

    Still nil-nil at Burnley

  211. Goonereris says:

    Henry, other than Salah and Coutinho (who’s apparently on his way out, if Nike’s gaffe is anything to go by), that’s a good Liverpool side. West Brom isn’t an easy place to go to and we all agreed it has to be winning the “next game” for us (OGAAT ?).

    17ht, do I sense sarcasm in your take about Dean’s “connections” with the Spuds? The man has been known to make controversial decisions that directly or indirectly favour Spurs and for someone to compile a few shots of him showing emotions with Spurs scoring a goal or fluffing a chance is significant.

    I have never seen such a call made; rather, we find Refs not giving such calls, hiding under the “ball to hand” or “hands in a natural position” consideration under the rule. A penalty call is a serious one, especially when so late. If you aren’t certain, better to err on the side of caution.

    PE, we didn’t play too well and it must be giving Wenger grey hairs (as if he doesn’t have enough already) thinking about the Chelsea game on Wednesday. First, to sort out the casualties and then to raise the spirits before even considering tactics for a better performance. Still, we’ve seen undeserving performances get rewarded with last minute winners; or team scores a lone goal early and just defends successfully for the rest of the game. We deserved a break for the effort.

  212. Goonereris says:

    17ht, balanced and straight from the heart post there. I must say I am guilty of reacting before my post above, just picking up on the comment on Dean and the YouTube link as basis for my reaction. It happens. 😀

    Now, I see the context in which you’ve given Dean a pass, it becomes easier to appreciate.

    Like most, I am also worried about how we can negotiate the next few weeks and the sooner January comes and goes (with it, all the transfer speculations about our lads), the better, I think.

  213. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pool get their goal at Burnley… Mane with a turn and fire…

    Hey Eris… Thanks for reading… (!!)

    In general, I do think there’s an anti-Arsenal bias that trickles down to the refs. The teams in the capital city will always be disliked by folks from the provinces and Wenger’s efforts to modernize (modernise) the game are hated even more. IMO, Dean is an ego-maniac who loves the image of “being unafraid to make the big call.” It’s time for him to be done at the highest level. He completely mis-handled (pun intended…) that call yesterday…

    Speaking of calls… I can’t watch this Burnley match and fail to think about the call we got up there. It wasn’t nearly as bad at the one given yesterday but a draw would not have been an unfair result (in either match)…

    My big point–not so well hidden in the self-indulgence of my big post–is that Wenger is gonna need to dig deep–very deep–to get us playing better as we head into the new year. Somehow he’s got to keep the group together in a moment of unprecedented splintering (Alexis and Ozil refusing to sign and/or testing the waters, Jack, too, perhaps…) and deal with the usual slew of injuries. Fixture congestion, IMO, is a huge issue, too…

    I’m always amazed at the toxicity of the atmosphere around our club AND the incredible way AW ignores (and/or absorbs) it and somehow gets the guys to do just about their very best. The league finishes may not be the same as they were in the early aughts (when there was no Chelsea nor ManCity) but it’s still damn impressive… To me, at least…

    This time around seems–for this time of year–at least as tough as ever…

  214. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers, Eris… I thought you had read the whole thing…

    I do think that an off the radar buy or two (on the recommendation of the new guy from Dortmund) would be a boon for the support. If we think of our creative midfielders as Jack, Ozil and Santi–ALL THREE might be gone in the summer. Bringing in a couple from somewhere–even if nobody knows their names–seems just about essential…

    Some sort of speedster on the wing could also help people believe there could be life after Alexis…

    To me, this is just about as bleak as I’ve ever felt about our team at the turn of the year… Though I still have faith in the management to turn it around… Winning vs Chavs in the league on Weds would be the best way to assuage my worries. If we could do that then losing in the league cup semis with the kids (possibly by a lopsided aggregate score…) wouldn’t feel so bad…

  215. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pretty good chance for Burnley to level but Mingo was up to it… The Ox then broke nicely with the ball but passed it straight to a Burnley guy with his touch…

  216. 17highburyterrace says:

    THEY DO LEVEL IT… A pair of headers, Mingo playing the first and the second bulging the net!

  217. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ah crap… Pool win it with (just about) the final kick… or header…or a(nother) pair of them… Now we really need to win on Wednesday…


  218. Pony Eye says:

    Seems I missed some fun. Am always late to the party but always about the last to leave. My birthday wishes to Mrs Retsub and jwl.

  219. Pony Eye says:

    I feel we try to get to the top of the mountain the hardest route particularly against the smaller teams.
    Sanchez cuts in from the left to the center.
    Ozil drifts from the right to the center.
    Wilshere busts forward straight at the center. Same Ramsey.
    Lacaz stays right at the center.
    Of course we lead the league at play through the centre (32%).
    To make matters worse our play through the center is after a slow build up.
    Such slow build up allows the opposition to mass up our route.
    It seems we are for ever wanting to encore that Norwich goal of a few seasons back.
    That’s a chance in a hundred against a massed defence.
    If our attackers converge at the center it’s should be a bait for runs from the wide areas.
    Something has to gives and quickly too.

  220. Jnyc says:

    17, I agree on almost everything in your main comment. Just a couple differences:
    some of the guys you mentioned..,Walcott, el neny, debuchy, coquelin, even AMN and mertesacker.. …., I would have used all of them. All preferable to the walking dead that were jogging around the pitch against West brom. Wilshire, Xhaka, koscielny, bellerin all playing 90 mins 2 or 3 times per week lately. Id prefer Rested, motivated players, who want to get league starts, against a team that’s not much better this season than the lower league opposition we get in cup games. Not to mention injury concerns for Wilshere, koscielny. (Koscielny actually happened).

    Also disagree on Iwobi, again. He took one nice shot. But overall he’s been getting much grief from fans, and on twitter… And from me also. But for good reason… he does not produce, period. Too many back and sideways passes, and not near enough goals or assists from his position for minutes he has had. Walcott, in his absolute worst season, production per minutes played would be much better. If you ask what option instead.. I’d say Nelson, AMN, Walcott, welbeck, all ahead of Iwobi, who was subbed. So, though he was rested, couldn’t provide a full 90 anyway, possibly because he wasn’t getting the job done.

  221. Goonereris says:

    Still on Dean… Lol.

  222. Jnyc says:

    I have been warning about Liverpool for a few weeks. I hope the high energy style of play catches up to them soon, but Klopp has made a point of rotating a bit. Van Dijk is not my worry, because they have been defending better for a while now.
    Those stolen 2 points by Dean really hurt, with his beloved Tottenham having a game in hand.

  223. Jnyc says:

    Great video Eris!

    And happy New Year to all.

  224. Goonereris says:

    Jync, unless we think Wenger is a mug or poor judge of contribution of players he works with, for a whole season, there’s a reason Iwobi starts ahead of those you’ve named. We may not see it but there’s got to be a reason. Maybe because he hardly loses possession even under pressure; maybe because he knows how to block spaces (he takes up a position in the middle which forces the opposition to go wide in their own half, when they will have preferred playing through the middle); or the fact he keeps trying anyway (the only player to take shots yesterday, which threatened the WBA goal). No one knows Wenger’s reasoning but I am sure it goes beyond just the fact he is an academy graduate.

    That’s not to say I don’t think we need better or that I feel he deserves to be a starter at a club like ours. The thing is, given the form of the options we have, the manager seems to prefer him. We have to respect that.

  225. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Mr Bad Ass guy, why didn’t you put that mega comment up as a post?!

  226. Goonereris says:

    Long enough, right. 😉

  227. Goonereris says:

    All it requires is for 17ht to get that coffee pot going and he lets his fingers go…..😀

  228. 17highburyterrace says:

    Obviously J, I’m a big Wenger supporter… Or maybe I should say, I prefer not to fall into something I consider a logical fallacy: the belief that my alternate ideas–which cannot possibly be tested–would somehow (and always, as most folks state them) work better than his.

    We took a point yesterday, one we may not have gotten if we’d rotated more deeply. On the other hand, we might have taken all three. We’ll never know, of course… (Another example of the same idea…)

    I’m actually quite impressed by Iwobi (and the other much maligned player, Bellerin) as they do not hide in matches and keep trying (and trying and trying) even when their stuff isn’t coming off. Iwobi, with his back to goal–for such a young guy (and with Giroud out) allowed Lacazette an opportunity to take up other positions, I noticed. Iwobi is 21, Bellerin 22–and they seem durable. To my mind these guys are the future and they need playing time. As such, I think Wenger is doing well giving it to them even if the likes of Walcott and Welbeck and Debuchy might be more effective players–at least in cameos. Theo, and switching to a back 4, for me, would have been a good roll of the dice yesterday instead of subbing on the BFG, but then either AMN or Bellerin or Xhaka would’ve had to switch to CB. Welbeck, when he came on, had one nice run (after a bunch of futility) but then passed the ball well behind both guys running to the posts… Still, at 28, I think DW probably has more long-term upside than Theo, so, a good reason to play him. If Wenger wasn’t going to 4 at the back (as I suggest above) who else but Iwobi would he have taken out? I know the answer, but I don’t think you’d have preferred Jack taking the sub at that juncture…

    All that, as always, is just my opinion, as good as anybody else’s…

    My point in the long post is that we’re down to bare bones in terms of TRUE (PL) depth so maybe trying to work the same group (or as many as we can) for three straight matches isn’t such a bad idea. Even if the injured can come back quickly–and others don’t go down–I think we could still use the shot in the arm a buy (or three) might give us in this window. That’s what the new German fellow is there for–let’s use him. We’re now (effectively) 7 points behind Pool with the Chavs game in hand, of course, but I’m REALLY worried about that one if Ozil was truly injured (and not just Weng-ured, i.e., being rested)…

    Again, happy new year…and let’s hope the Arsenal can get in on it too…

  229. TotalArsenal says:

    I did not see any of the match as yet but listened to the radio. We can analyse it to death and bring out our personal theories about who’s should play and who is crap, which is fine with me. We ALL have our life/Arsenal scripts and there is no escaping from it, it seems. My view is it was a game too many and we suffered without das Ozil; yet we scored fortuitously and then Dean the Spud-licking machine took two points away from the mighty Red and White. Crap happens and the boys can make amends on Wednesday.

    Eight positives

    1. Four points from two festive period away games is NOT a bad return.
    2. Jack is blossoming and brings smiles to our faces
    3. Alexis is starting to score regularly again
    4. Mustafi, our lucky charm, is well back
    5. Only eight more away games to go, many very winnable
    6. We are fighting for top four and can still win three cups
    7. Maitland Niles is looking very good
    8. Lacazette will get even better in the second part of the season

    Happy New Year 🍾

  230. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ha ha… And take another couple of hundred words on top of all that… 😀

    It’s coffee plus dry weather here in the mountains that make me go for it… No snow, so no reason to get out early before it warms up. Instead, I need it to get as warm as possible so I can sweat off those pounds and get the Jesus look…

    Besides, what would I title it? “An Arsenalista’s New Year’s Resolutions?” A bit too indulgent, even by my standards…

    Still waiting for YOUR post on the 8 positives, TA… 😉

  231. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ah crap, there it is…

  232. 17highburyterrace says:

    …But not in the form of a new post… Expand please… (and bury my not-as-positive drivel)… OK, time to suit up and put on the running shoes… This will NOT be pretty… 😮

  233. TotalArsenal says:

    What is there to expand, Seventeenho? Eight truths in a nutshell 🎯😜😍

  234. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, back from my run… I survived AND I found somebody’s I-phone…

    Watch the match and give me 10 more positives–you know, for Twenty-18, or something… It won’t be so easy, I fear…

  235. jw1 says:

    A belated “Thanks!” to all the well-wishes guys.
    Today, ordered myself a B-Day gift from AmazonUK. Seems amazing I’ll have a DVD of ’89’– delivered– before 1/10 for less than $13 (£10). Hopefully be watching that next weekend!


  236. TotalArsenal says:

    I reckon we just have to accept that not every game is going to be feast or victory, but boy am I looking forward to playing the Chavs on Wednesday. 😊

  237. allezkev says:

    That’s an interesting rumour doing the rounds if it’s true (?), that is Arsenal recalling Lucas Perez from his loan at Deportivo La Corunna.
    Now that could be due to the injury sustained by Olivier Giroud, or the possible departure of Alexis Sanchez? He’s our player until around 2020 so we may as well utilise him.

    I see that reserve striker Stephy Mavididi is being recalled from Preston and being loaned out to Charlton, where he was last season. Seems that someone at the club is getting to grips with the slap dash way we loan our players out, one of the new guys perhaps?

  238. allezkev says:

    With most of our top four rivals winning, the EPL game at the Emirates tomorrow is looking a bit of a must win fixture, only trouble is Chelsea are in the midst of a good run, high in confidence and we are bang average, therefore it’s set up for an Arsenal win, it’s what we do, it’s just so Arsenal… 🙂

  239. allezkev says:

    That aside the FACup tie at Forest and League Cup at Stamford Bridge is the perfect vehicle for Arsene to rest and rotate some of our EPL squad. Maybe Perez will get a game?
    Will Theo still be an Arsenal player?

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing Willock, Nelson and the boys in those two games.

  240. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Kev… Do you have tickets to the cup matches? If so, we’ll be counting on your man at the match reports…

  241. allezkev says:

    Hi 17tino…

    Not for Nottingham Forest, but I might get a ticket for the 2nd leg against Chelsea, fingers crossed.

  242. allezkev says:

    I would imagine that there’ll be a queue of clubs looking to take some of our youngsters on loan in January, McGuane is being linked to a spell in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers, that’ll be a culture shock for the teenager!

    Personally I wouldn’t allow any of our better youngsters to leave on loan until we know how we’ve done in the cups this month.

  243. njk84sg says:

    Kev, after tomorrow’s game against the Chavs will we know what to expect in the cup matches. Definitely both sides will rotate, but the outcome should be similar.

  244. Pony Eye says:

    I particularly like Nelson. He has so much guts. It’s been identified that all greats, apart from their talents have guts in abundance. Pele at 17 was demanding that the ball be passed to him in a World Cup final!! Nearly 60 yrs lster, Neymar is bossing the world with his talent and guts. Our little Cesc was demanding the ball from Henry and co. What guts! You just know they are driven by a clear vision of what they can do.
    I see the same impulse in Reiss Nelson. Early exposure is not going to damage him. He is full of talent and guts. I wouldn’t mind seeing him pop up in our 1st team every now and then.

  245. njk84sg says:

    When i first saw Reiss Nelson playing for the u21s i thought i saw Alexis, but i realised his potential and it is good to see him playing this season. Still raw but the energy is there for all to see

  246. jw1 says:

    Wanted to follow Kev’s ‘it’s what we do’ comment with the fact that we are 3-1-1 vs Chelsea last-5– and we’ve seen them in-form before during that skein. Is indeed ‘what we do’.
    Wish Kola was healthy. Victor Moses does not like physicality. Kola gave him plenty last time out keeping that flank quiet.


  247. jw1 says:

    “Wenger charged by FA after conduct after West Brom draw.”
    By all means, let no victim go unpunished.


  248. Goonereris says:

    As expected, Arsene Wenger has been charged by the Football Association over “comments made to the referee in the aftermath of Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with West Brom on Sunday”. I am pretty sure Wenger knew this would happen as he’s courted trouble a couple of times this season already without reprimand. He must be dying for a chance to go before the FA to further make his case, I imagine.

    Good thing is he has till Friday to repond to the charge, which means he will be in the stadium for the Chelsea game, at least, for what it’s worth.

  249. Goonereris says:

    Oh, jw1 already got that. Oh well; double for our trouble I guess.

  250. jw1 says:

    Merely by minutes– with greater detail Eris.


  251. jw1 says:

    So an interesting idea brought up that I’d read elsewhere?
    Is filing a crowdfunded lawsuit against PGMO and Dean.
    Match-fixing maybe?


  252. Goonereris says:

    It would seem the manager went into the Refs’ changing room to continue his tirade on Dean. Like I said, he was asking for it. See the FA charge below:

    “Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been charged following the West Bromwich Albion game on Sunday [31/12/17].

    It is alleged his language and/or behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the game was abusive and/or improper and/or questioned the integrity of the match referee.

    He has until 6pm on Friday [05/01/18] to respond.”.

  253. Goonereris says:

    Interesting thought, jw1. I can understand the need to protect Refs for the sanctity of the game but it is disappointing that a simple decision by a Ref can cost a team, yet there is no evident consequence for the Ref’s error. Doesn’t sound right. So, not surprised if some folks are intent on testing the laws.

    I also read that a “sack/sanction Mike Dean” call is trending on twitter. Not sure how far that will go, though.

  254. retsub1 says:

    I know what Wenger did was technically wrong and he will be punished. However how can anyone in his position not complain about Dean. After all he did was tell the truth. Now Mr Wenger has rightly been accused of not seeing incidents in the past. But this time everyone in the world saw Dean for what he is. Good on you Arsene

  255. jw1 says:

    Chuba Akpom has stepped in it…

    “…Willesden Magistrates Court on Monday he was fined £9,350, with £85 costs and disqualified from driving for 17 months after admitting driving the Range Rover with more than double the legal limit of alcohol in his system.”

    So does Chuba benefit– considering Wilshere’s misdeeds? Or crucified?
    (I was always fortunate– having been the youngest of five siblings. It had all been done.)


  256. allezkev says:

    Man City 1-0 after 38 second’s….

    Spuds 1-0 at Swansea.

    Arsenal down to 6th.

  257. allezkev says:

    Llorente was offside

  258. allezkev says:


    Tony Adams went to prison for drink-driving and he’s got a statue outside the Emirates so if Chuba leaves I think it’ll be more to do with his lack of goals mate.

    He seems to have everything that you need to be an awesome striker except putting the ball in the net. Bloody shame as I thought he was the biz when he was a teenager.

  259. jw1 says:

    Noticed DeBruyne is playing.
    I can hope that City has some kind of misfortune. But KDB is just a brilliant all-rounder. Didn’t like seeing him stretchered off.


  260. TotalArsenal says:

    I am with you there, jw1, KdB is a classy player. IMO the reincarnation of Dennis.

  261. Goonereris says:

    Yeah, but after seeing him go down and hearing Pep milk it about how the Refs needed to protect his players, I was hoping to see how City coped without KDB for just 2 games. Alas! It wasn’t to be.

    To be fair I called it when I said he could be back quicker than thought because he “walked” into the dressing room, albeit assisted but two staffers. It would have been worse if he was stretchered away or left in crutches….. someone has to put the first L against them on the table.😞

  262. jw1 says:

    Was thinking just Sunday that Bielik must be on the verge.


  263. allezkev says:

    Might see Bielik get some time on the pitch at Forest along with a few other youngsters JW..?
    Probably from the bench.

    The League Cup vs Chelsea is the interesting one JW, does Arsene go with more of his EPL team in that one as they’ll have a weeks rest from today’s game or does he go with the kids?

  264. TotalArsenal says:

    Morgen BKers

    I expect Wenger to put up a strong team v Forest and the second team v Chavs. Wenger will not be bothered too much about the League Cup, but Forest away in the cup, the Forever Arsene’s Cup, is a potential banana skill and Wenger will not want to embarrass himself.

  265. TotalArsenal says:

    Eris, Guardiola is correct in challenging refereeing standards when it comes to protecting players. It is a miracle that KdB did not get inured from brutal challenges by Alli and Punchon recently.

    But yes a few games without KdB could lead to the first L for the money bunch.

  266. jw1 says:

    ESPNFC have given the 2017 TOTY Manager spot to Antonio Conte based on winning the PL and making the FA Cup final. Hat tip to Conte but no. Had he been able to motivate his side to win the double? Then, yes.

    Eight managers have won the PL. Only one had guided his team undefeated through New Years Day. Till now. Guardiola has the best talent– hands down. But the style which City play is top-shelf. That they’ve only dropped 4 points is what changes the equation for me. To put icing on the cake? City is one of only 3 PL teams still alive in 4 competitions (MC, CHE, ARS).

    Pep would get my vote as 2017 MOTY.


  267. jw1 says:

    **2017 PL TOTY and **2017 PL MOTY


  268. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well… I just lost a comment to the vagaries of the internet… Luckily, it wasn’t one of my longer ones and it mostly covered the same not-so-positive ground as some of the stuff I wrote above…

    I note, however, that not too many folks seems to be writing much about tonight’s match… Interest seems more focused on Wenger’s touchline ban (ridiculous but totally worth it for calling out the stolen points)…and the prospects for the younger players. I’m mostly with Kevin on that one, that I hope we do our loan business thoughtfully. Sorry, but I cannot get too hopeful about our kids making big jumps to meet our PL needs nor to get past Chavs in the League cup.
    (Nelson, guts nothwistanding only just turned 18–and, with our injury situation–many of the older and more experienced players, will be needed for the PL and FA Cup games…and later rounds of the Europa League–if we get there.) There was also some reporting on this round of PL matches and the doings of our rivals…none of which actually finished in our favor…

    So, with nobody getting too excited about tonight’s game, I guess people are “hopeful” about it. I am too, but I’ve also heard that hope is not a plan. Given our injuries (and praying that a couple are merely Weng-juries…) and relative form coming into this one, I’m thinking that (a) hope (and a prayer) are pretty much our best bet. I’ll also go with, “it’s football so anything can happen” and “form goes out the window” in a derby, etc., etc., etc…

    Well, that was even shorter (than the comment I lost) but at least as negative… 😦 😀

    Back nearer to game time to put up a live-blog post…

  269. TotalArsenal says:

    I reckoned we needed a battle cry, so please go to new post! 🙂

  270. AB says:

    Evening HT. A quick comment now and then hopefully back for the game later. I think you are feeling a bit ground down by all the adversity that Arsenal have been through and all the noise on the web. I know it’s a downer but you normally manage to rise above it. I hope the optimistic perspective returns soon. Perhaps once you’ve shifted your bug?

    I’m mixed in my view of tonight’s game. We could easily lose. But I’m hopeful of a performance and some effort. I was in the camp that voted for some rotation in the last game. I can’t say if it would have helped or hindered now. But we would have some fresher legs and possibly fewer injuries to boot. I felt playing Kos was reckless and pretty much guaranteed injury. And I hope we don’t do the same to Jack by starting him again tonight.

    I don’t really agree with you about our second string not being up to use in rotation for PL games. Not the experienced ones anyway. If they aren’t good enough to fit in when needed then they shouldn’t be in the squad – they aren’t there based on potential after all. Elneny, Coq and Theo all are good enough. As is Danny. Not wholesale rotation as per cup games, but one or two should have been possible. My views is we would have benefited from a couple of fresher legs as well as reduced our injury risk.

    I agree more on the kids front. Though even there I think a team can be lit up by the enthusiasm of a youngster in the 11. Though the others may have to guard for mistakes. United regularly bring players through at that age. As we used to do. But we seem more cautious these days for reasons I don’t understand.

    Back to tonight. I’m hoping we may benefit from a Wengury return. Perhaps Ozil. And also that Mert can reprise his cup final performance. I’d like Danny to start. And I’d also like to see Elneny start with Jack on the bench. I’m very comfortable with AMN on the left. And also with us persisting with Bellerin on the right. Though he too might be an injury risk if we start him again. Sanchez has been confirmed starting I believe. Laca I guess will too, though he is another risk.

    We’ve a good recent record against the Chavs. We shouldn’t talk ourselves down. I’m staying hopeful. Let’s see how we fare later.

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