4-2-1-3: Coq/Elneny, Ozil in Hole, Danny, Lacazette and Nelson Attack. Preferred Line-up v Forest

Hard to determine who will play v Forest tomorrow. We start this year’s FA Cup competition with a difficult away fixture, and we are the (all time) Cup champions, so the line up will be need to be strong as not to go out in the first round.

At the back I expect a start for Ospina, Holding and Chambers. Who will play in the middle of defence? Either Mustafi again or Elneny.

In midfield, I expect Maitland to play again on the left, Debuchy on the right and Coquelin and Willock or Elneny in the middle.

In attack, we should see Welbeck and Walcott on the wings and possibly Lacazette in the centre. Maybe Nelson will start instead of Lacazette with Theo or Danny moving central. Possibly Ozil will get another game

I would start with the following eleven:

————————- Ospina—————————-

Debuchy — Chambers – Holding – Maitland

—————— Coq —- Elneny———————

———————– Ozil ——————————-

Nelson ———— Lacazette ————- Welbeck

Yep 4-2-1-3: solid at the back, strong and disciplined in the middle; Mesut in the attacking middle to create space and opportunities for the attackers. Theo on the bench as our speed weapon if required. I don’t think Wenger will go exactly for this formation but there is no fun in predicting his preferred lineup for tomorrow’s important FA Cup game.


By TotalArsenal


235 thoughts on “4-2-1-3: Coq/Elneny, Ozil in Hole, Danny, Lacazette and Nelson Attack. Preferred Line-up v Forest

  • Considering how some of the championship sides we’ve seen so far have given premier league sides a game, Wenger will have to put out a strong enough team that will have a balanced mix of experience and youth, for the rotation we have to deal with. With so many defensive injuries, we will have to trust the squad a bit too and give responsibility to some otherwise, shy players.

    I like your predicted squad but think Mertesacker is due a game while Ozil needs the rest, as do Xhaka (injured) and Jack. My predicted team, playing in a 4-2-3-1, will look something like this: Ospina; Debuchy, Chambers, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles; Coquelin, Elneny, Willock; Iwobi, Welbeck, Walcott.

    Holding, Lacazette, Nelson and Bellerin the main men to be on the bench. Theo will need to be put in the shop window along with Debuchy, who I hear is being eyed by Pardew at WBA.

  • Looks like Norwich have earned a replay aga8nst Chelsea at the bridge. Top 6 rivals must be glad to know that. 😉

  • How many of you Gooners out there know that Arsenal wear red shirts because of Nottingham Forest…

    When Dial Square/Royal Arsenal was in its infancy, we had financial issues, as usual, and as Maurice Bates, an ex-Forest player was a munitions worker and half-back in our club as it took its baby steps. He wrote to his old club Nottingham Forest, who kindly donated a team strip and some footballs.
    So thank you Nottingham Forest.

  • Some of our fringe players need some exercise, so I guess we’ll see Debuchy, Coquelin, Walcott, Elneny, Mertesacker (?), Ospina, Welbeck, Akpom (?), with a sprinkling of kids and with Chelsea in mind…

  • Eris, Mesut did not play against West Brom and won’t play midweek, so that xpect him to play.

    Had forgotten about Iwobi. Would be tempted to play him on Wednesday and have him on bench tomorrow.

  • Wasn’t quick enough, so– one last carryover bit of snarkiness from the previous post–

    “No English referees at the WC, Kev?! Didn’t know that…. wow!”
    Unless you are gracious enough to consider Mark Clattenberg. 😉


  • Eris–
    Chavs fielded a fairly strong side too vs Norwich.
    A particularly interesting period in front of us. With Spurs, Pool and United– realistically targeting the same silverware? Spurs must win anything (before the band breaks up!). Pool need something (to show for their spend). United taking nothing would be a regression (but likely explosive!).

    Quite a bit of pressure on those clubs.


  • Coutinho to Barca for £142M.

    Firmino accused of racial abuse during Everton match, with a ban possible.
    Per the Independent: “(Referee Bobby) Madley’s report will be scrutinised by the FA’s off-pitch disciplinary department — dubbed their integrity team.” (Try NOT chuckling after reading that.)


  • Hi all..
    TA.. Wenger will take this game seriously.. Especially after Chelsea draw..
    We are the best in this tournament.. And we still have a week rest after tonight game.. So I think we will play our first team.

    If there any change.. Not more than three..
    We need to play 4-3-3.. And we need to play Sanchez.. For him to have a show.. To raise his price.. Hehehe..

    Sanchez – Lacazette – Walcott
    Elneny – Wilshere – Xhaka
    Niles – Merte – Mustafi – Bell

    That’s my team.. Go Gunners..

  • Hey, Kev. I did read about the role Nottingham forrest played in our club’s (choice of) red shirts. Very interesting tale. It’s a club whose past is steeped in great history too. We should thank them…
    Expect their fans to sing about how they’ve won the European cup (twice) while we have not, though.

    jw1, Mark Clattenburg can’t be considered because he had resigned from the English FA before being picked for the World Cup. 😜

  • Wenger’s priority must be a return to the CL via the PL. Never bank on a cup competition (via Europa). His 1st team have just come out of a very hectic Xmas schedule. Wenger will rotate.

    I expect him to line up his best B Team and keep his big attacking guns on the bench … just in case.

    My line up prediction:


    Subs: Macey, Chambers, Dasilva, Willock, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacaz,

    Forest are 14th on the Championship Table. They are a good possession team but with a defense that leaks goals.

  • I won’t be seeing the start of the game today as I would be in Church then. Hopefully, I get to see the closing bits of the 2nd half with the good guys up by 2 goals and going on to add one more in the closing minutes, for the win. COYG!

  • Take the smartphone Eris! 🙂
    (Follow the live blog and say ‘Amen’ often!)


  • Hey guys… Busy, busy Sunday with an event I’m sort of hosting (with family)… Still, the serious Gooner is pretty good at blocking out his match times…as best as possible…and, I’ve done my fair share of the prep work and the game comes early enough in the day…

    Thanks TA for the match preview. This one seems a very tough one to guess for the first 11. My hunch would be that guys like Theo, DW and Iwobi have to start across the front (only 1/3 of TA’s picks) then maybe Coq and Elneny in the middle (same as our leader is picking) but then a back 5 featuring Nelson, Debuchy, Mert, Holding and AMN, with Ospina in goal. That defense isn’t too far off in terms of personnel. It’s a different formation, of course. I think the manager want will stick with his back 3 (5). As I suggest, this one seems like throwing darts…

    Equally, I really know nothing about Nottingham Forest–though it brings up all the usual stuff about Robin Hood and stealing from the rich, etc., etc. I think there’s a film out there about Clough and his European triumphs that I probably should hunt down and see, right?… Fact of the matter is that I’m far less attuned to the history of English football than I ought to be… Not to mention what’s going on in the division below us. My guess, however, is that this will not be an easy one–we struggled last year at Preston, didn’t we?–but that Wenger is more circumspect than most managers at conveying the need to perform at full bore under these sorts of circumstances. Is he still perfect in 3rd round matches or am I pulling that one from some wrong part of my brain?

    Final question: Should I put up a live-blog post when the line-ups come out?…

  • HT–

    If the front line consists of those you selected?
    Might rather see:
    Danny — Theo — Iwobi (in Ozil role).


  • Watching Shrewsbury vs WHU. 0-0 at 55′.
    The keeper knows his stadium at this time of day and is wearing a ballcap to shield his eyes.
    Shrews were playing briefly with 10 as a player,Sadler, came off to have a flow of blood down his face stanched.


  • Hey J-Dub… If it’s just the two of us then I’m too lazy to put up a new post, I think…

    Here’s the line-up… I only missed the one (Willock instead of Le Coq)… That is a VERY young bench we’ve got…

    Ospina, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding, Nelson, Willock, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Iwobi, Welbeck. Subs: Chambers, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom, Da Silva, Macey, Nketiah, Osei-Tutu.

  • Sunny weather in the West Midlands (Shrewsbury–almost in Wales)… Are you still in deep freeze down in Houston?… Only a bit of rain where the ski resorts are…

  • Just out of the freeze a couple of days.
    I know it’s cold when the dog only wants out once or twice a day.


  • It’s NEVER that cold for our dog, but she’s a bit loco (or, more correctly, loca…) Too cold for me sometimes, but not this year… Actually, I’m down in the Bay Area today… Where things look misty as day takes over from night…

    Funny scene as a bloodied West Ham guy needs new shorts so is spending time standing in his underwear…

  • Whatchutalkingabout JW? It’s a back 3 with Deb-BFG-Holding and Nelson and AMN as the wingbacks… No need for Elneny across the back line, I don’t think. He and Willock should play central and ahead of the CBs… Theo up top, Iwobi right, Welbeck left for the attacking line? We’ll see, though I never trust what they put up on the telly, of course…

  • Lotta’ thin skin in that game so it seems.
    Hoping Shrewsbury can find a goal. Would like to see West Ham fit against the PL clubs.

    Also this morning, finding humor in NBC not locating a channel in their quiver to show Spurs.


  • No apology req’d HT. I stared at that XI several times– and whiffed every time I looked. 🙄


  • The game is on FoxSports down here at my folks’ house but they only have FS1… Maybe on FS2? Nope, just looked it up… It’s good to be a big team, I guess…

  • Hafta’ act like a big club first.
    On the AFC site there’s a page with Int’l channels and US time zones.
    Not so on the THFC site. Would think playing at Wembley might make a difference– but, alas.


  • I really enjoy the run-up to matches with clubs in other divisions. Even the media is on better behavior than usual. Arsene always seem to reach out to the local papers and fans.
    Looks packed to the rafters at City Ground!


  • …Including AW and his mates (up there in the stands)…

    Armand Traore–former Gunner and Michael Mancienne (former Chelsea player) are the only names I recognize…

    Looks chilly enough in the forest…

  • Kick-off! Who is that team in blue?…

    Looks like Welbeck is playing the #9 role… Willock chasing from near the front, early on…

  • First corner won by Theo…though it looked like he could’ve kept the ball alive…

    Good delivery but cleared…

    I can’t quite figure out our positions… And it looks like the team is struggling as well… Confused looking thus far playing it out of the back…

  • Forest was pressing from the whistle to little effect.
    That bit of adrenaline has worn off.


  • Nelson’s on the left wing ahead of AMN? Iwobi in the hole (free role or #10)?…

    Oh Theo… I’m pretty sure he was trying to shoot there…

  • Beautiful backheel from Welbz to start the attack– left with Theo needing to replace a divot from the cross.


  • Iwobi looks bright early on… Though his quick shot from distance was blocked by a defender’s head…

  • A bit of threat there from Forest… And they have a corner… but can’t clear our first man…

    Are you on delay again, JW?

    Just about 11:15 now…

  • Debuchy with an agressive run to the final third– ends with a cross that Welbz heads out.


  • Willock with a sharp pass that was cut out on it’s way to a diagonally running Theo.


  • Maybe this is something for another post but I think we’re playing a weirdish, unbalanced sort of formation these days… Theo perhaps in the Bellerin spot today…

  • Ospina called into action on a Forest break… Covered his angles but the shot still forces a corner…

  • Forest close. Ospina with a hand save diving right.
    Debuchy too far upfield leaving Per and Holding by their lonesome– with AMN backtracking.


  • Cleared but a punch is required on the next ball in and now Elneny has put out another one for a corner… Taken short and they earn a FK from out wide…

  • And there’s the goal… Sorry, but Ospina needs to get in front of the runner there… Too easy…

  • AMN shoulda dived there… (Outside the box near where Nelson fell down…) The old guy’s just a bit too honest…

  • The kids are alright… Or at least fired up after the goal… Nelson had a good run out of the back and now Willock tries a 360…

  • Had the tackle not been so good AMN would have found himself free at 20yds.
    Nice move.


  • I’m a bit distracted as my wife and kid are now in the room and–every now and then–watching the match… It took her a bit to realize that we were in the blue…

    Iwobi over after some bouncy balls… Nelson keeping his feet might not have been the “smart” play there…

  • MUCH BETTER by Ospina to save a good chance…and another… Though we need my girlfriend (lineswoman) to use her flag there…

  • Iwobi needs to find the target…Or miss the defender when he shoots…

    Nice tackle by AMN as Forest broke again and almost turned the ball back inside…

  • Alot of good decisions around the box– but MF is being caught too high.
    Lot’s of space for Forest to run with the ball.

    AMN makes another fine tackle to halt an open field run.


  • Welbeck flagged off after being smothered by their keeper on the shot…

    Replay shows the BFG in quicksand on the earlier Forest chance that Ospina saved with his hand…

  • Elneny looks like his awareness has been set at ‘Low’. Willock needs to plant himself deeper.


  • Yeah, the next goal could go either way…and seems sure to come… Arsenal are pushing hard for a 2nd but leaving lots of space in behind…

    Debs does a nice move to get into the box but then has it taken…

  • Theo, not known for his left foot, does pretty well but his pull-back only finds a defender…

  • Iwobi playing sharp. Puts a ball diagonally to Walcott– that Theo has blocked.


  • Nelson shoots weakly but hopes to claim that it was a deflection… Neither Moss nor the replay will concur…

  • Better there from Elneny on the turn to put Nelson and Iwobi together for some box work… Broken up, however…

  • Ospina tested again from wide on our right… Not much recovery pace in the back line today, I fear… Ospina saved well but the rebound went to a scary spot… Or to the safety of the BFG, hard to say…

  • A need shown for some pace deeper. Either AMN or Willock need to be where they can run down a break.


  • Sweet control and Volley by Forest after a dangerous cross is only partially cleared…


  • Lichaj has scored again– chesting down a short clearance and toe-loops a shot upper-left– Ospina no chance.

    2-1 Forest.


  • Elneny and Holding will likely take the blame there but it was very nice skill IMO… We’re gonna need some better ideas at the tea talk… AMN from 40 is a nice thought but not really a plan…

  • Is it just me who has no faith in Welbeck…as he fails to keep one in on the left touch-line?…

  • OK, halftime… Gotta make some coffees… Who is this Lichaj fellow?… Seems a good combo of size and skill, I think… Back in a bit…

  • Forest RB Lichaj (pronounced lee-hi) an American product– has looked every bit the CF in the 1st half.


  • What the f*** was that? We should be attacking but we passed the ball in our half most of the time. Revert to a back 4 and sub iut Welbs and Iwobi.


  • Wifi in the woods here is weak so no moving pictures for me. What a crap line up though; only miracle can save us now it seems… 😠

  • Would like to see a shift up front.
    Danny out left– Theo center– Nelson RW.
    Iwobi in the hole.

    There’s enough good things happening in attack– but today– trust Theo’s finishing in front of goal more than Welbz. Iwobi has been quite good– I think he could generate the chances. Welbz needs to be in a spot where he can use his energy in space.


  • Our game is too reactive ie we raise or lower our game to the level of the opposition.

  • We need to get Mertersacker off ASAP. Sadly he just to slow these days. Have faith T A. We have played a lot worse than this.. Theo is the man in the 2nd half

  • JK… I always thought that passing was a form of attack… Maybe you’re suggesting more Route 1… Hard to tell…

    I think we can rescue this but we need to tighten up in MF… Our 3 CBs are looking slooooow… Then again, a couple of them contributed to our goal…

    I dunno, TA, given our injuries and the need for some sort of winter break, I don’t mind the rotation… Give the kids a chance and if we’re dumped from the domestic cups, I’m OK…

  • Where’s Le Coq today? Injured, or needed to anchor things in the league cup…

    Nelson just pushed off the ball trying to get around a guy in their box…

  • Must admit I have little faith in these eleven together, Retsub. I wonder how many goals these players have between them? Seriously, what was Arsene thinking?

  • Retsub… Indeed the BFG looks awfully slow… Still quick enough to score on the rebound, however… He’ll be coaching this team (or part of it, at least…) soon enough…

    oooh awfully slow there again but positioning works too..

  • retsub–
    I’ll agree in general. Though had the back-3 been given any help from Elneny or Willock?
    Per wouldn’t have been left so exposed. Both goals were scored by the RB close to goal.
    (And Per did give us the goal.)


  • I think, TA, that Wenger gets so much stick WHEN he keeps winning FA Cups that he feels the fans have come around to his old chestnut about 4th being a trophy… Only ways back to the CL are top 4 and the Europa tournament…

  • Listening in the radio no? Debuchy isn’t playing as a CB is he? I agree I’d like to see Theo given more shooting opportunity if he is playing out wide. He’s more of a natural finisher than Danny. But Danny at least has some height to target. I’m struggling to get much of a picture of this on the radio.

  • Tough on AMN as our left wingback when he hardly trusts his left foot and always wants the pull-back onto his right…

    Debs sends in a decent looking cross but it proves to be Bellerin-esque and caught easily by the keeper… He tries again but is haunted by the spectre of Hector (i.e., easily cut out by the defender)…

    This time AMN’s pull back works but the cross is over everybody…

  • Lost the plot?… It’s the “supporters” who’ve lost the plot… FA cup is not enough, as I’ve been told a million times…

  • Nelson down again (just outside the box) buy not called… Forest guy holds off Holding but it is given… Holding argues and has to listen to a lecture to avoid yellow…

    We can still do this but we need a new group of kids out there… Ours are getting tired, I fear…

  • Forest’s MF Brererton throws himself to the ground on Holding’s persistent contact for a FK– shortly after AMN was clipped in the box without fanfare.

    Holding expresses his displeasure with Jon Moss– as he took a backheel to the crotch from Brererton. Moss goes all-schoolmaster on Holding for better part of a minute.


  • Pretty decent FK from Theo but over DW’s head and into safe hands… From there Holding just puts off a Forest runner who might’ve scored a third from the cross…

  • Still think we will be ok Traore didn’t become a good player suddenly. We will be ok.

  • Sorry, TA… Gonna have to agree to disagree… We have to give some rest to our first 11… Though I personally would’ve played the contract hold-outs, you know, just to show them who’s the boss…

    Pen given…

  • jw1 says:
    January 7, 2018 at 14:42
    Take the smartphone Eris! 🙂
    (Follow the live blog and say ‘Amen’ often!)

    Hehehehe, jw1. Far be it from me to indulge in such deception in the house of the Lord.

    Unfortunately, the result does surprise me and yet I am not shocked looking at the line up and bench, plus the fact it is Moss who’s the referee. Now, a penalty against us.

  • Some real urgency or maybe just a last gasp… No way this group is gonna pull 2 goals back I don’t think…

  • Not sure we can come back from this one. Wenger took a major gamble with the team he’s put out, seeing as he is not even in the dugout, himself. To be fair, from the few minutes I came on to catch, the forrest defence has been physical on the likes of Nelson with the ref ignoring the shouts.

    We have nothing on the bench to change this. Coq must be injured for him not to be in the squad. Nelson needs to be crossing quicker….going to be a shock result of the round, unless…

  • Marking the end of some careers for me this one. Mert we know of already and surely confirmed by the sound of things here. But Theo and Danny must have huge questions hanging over them from this. We’ve had the possssion. But only one shot on target so far.

  • I feel bad for the traveling support… I’ve been there (or at least in Sheffield…) and it’s a bit sad that AW’s record for the 3rd round is ending… Still, I think playing the 2nd 11 was the right move… They’ll have another go in mid-week… Hopefully they can do better…

  • Eddy (or was it Welbs?) smothered by the keeper… That looked a real chance…

  • ‘Eris, re: Nelson and calls… Fool me once… might be what Moss is thinking… The FK for our goal looked mighty divey to me…

  • Eddy comes on and already worked the keeper…..more than Welbeck and Theo have done. Why are they hiding, Welbz and Theo? They should be taking this game by the scruff..

  • 17ht, oh well, I didn’t see that though. Just judging from the aspects I have seen.

  • I agree with kev about Welbs and Theo… I don’t think they’re hiding, however… Their games require better service (and maybe better luck) to get them goals… Eddy could be a Lacazette in the making… just needs another few (or half dozen, like Laca himself…) years to get there…

    There’s Welbs trying… but losing out…

  • It’s going to be a tough one to fight back from. With the likes of Iwobi entrusted with defensive midfield and Theo on and Holding with an attitude.

  • Eddy tries a header in close vs the keeper… He’s shorter than Jack, I think… Their keeper and defenders have been good tonight… And quick to get going on the break as well…

  • Is this Holding and attitude line something from the commentators?… No sound for me on this one…

  • Theo balloons a FK…

    BUT WELBECK pokes in after stripping the keeper…


  • Welbz with another ‘not clean’ goal. 3-2
    Replay shows had the Forest GK not got fingertips on Welbz shot it likely would have gone wide.


  • 17ht, I haven’t seen much of the game. Maybe, I should be given latitude to say it with what I have seen. Holding allowed the Forrest striker’s display to get to him and did complain to the ref; he has gone on to stick out a foot in his box for the penalty against us. That’s how I see it.

    We can’t afford to let them back in now. No sloppiness, please.

  • Hey AB… Sorry, I think I mistook you for Kev the cabbie…

    AW gives Jens an earful about timewasting by Forest…

    Holding well-positioned there to stop a Forest break…

  • Sure Eris, no problem… If you see attitude, you see attitude…

    Oh man… That cross from AMN had everybody befuddled… and worried… close…

  • Hi HT. a replay would be fine for me. Another run out for the kids. They need all they can get looking at this performance. But I’d back them at home in a rematch. But another pen now sounds like game really over.

  • NOT GOOD… Debs gives a pen after Mert is played like a traffic cone…

  • John Moss is another one of those refs. Debuchy has won the ball. And you just know the commentators are enjoying this.

  • I don’t know how you can see it that way, Eris… Looked stonewall to me… Gotta let the striker take his shot, I think… The angle was gonna be tough…

  • Drama. The linesman wasn’t sure that it was a double hit as the right foot of the player has slipped. It was a double kick and tha5 penalty kick should have been retaken.

  • Pen taker slipped on the spot… Sorry, but I don’t know the rule there…

    Regardless, 4-2…

  • Replay show and commentators state a double-hit.
    Moss goes with the ‘popular call’ these days.


  • I guess I don’t have my rose tints on… Both pens looked pretty solid to me…

  • Well, it is the magic of the FA cup. If we had game changers on the bench, we would have won this game. No way Sánchez or Lacazette will come on in this half and the Forrest players won’t be shaky. Poor form, the manager for the selection. Thinking Chelsea in midweek, maybe.

    Now, the Ref reduces the hosts to 10, as if to show his fair officiating. Nonsense.

  • Moss gives a FK our way despite the Forest guy winning the ball… Seems the right call to me and then Mert uses the height he still possesses but Forest win the 2nd ball…

  • We may have had some crap decisions. But hard to take comfort in that really. We shouldn’t be dependent on such factors in a game like this. We’ve shipped 4 and Ospina has saved us more.

  • Only 4 minutes given as added time, for all that drama? Shocker. Maybe TA was right. The Refs are on a war path.

    17ht, that was not a penalty by Debuchy. He got the ball and that’s the factor which counts in these situations.

  • I meant the penalties themselves, JW, not how they were taken… If the pen was ruled two-footed would it have to be retaken?…

  • I guess I need to just shut up… To me, Debs got as much leg as ball… That’s gonna be called unless you’ve bought the ref a new car, night with a prostitute, shares in your oil company or airline, etc., etc…

    FT… Have at it…

    At least the same group (but maybe with Le Coq?) get another go in mid-week, I’d bet…

  • We need a CB (or 3) who are somewhere between the ages of 21 and 33… If VVD costs 75 million, I can’t see too many we’ll be wanting to buy… Hopefully Mustafi stays healthy and Nacho comes back soon…

  • Cannot remember darker days in the Wenger era. This was utterly predictable with this line up, and having nothing on the bench for the FA cup was unforgivable. Feck this.

  • I like that PE (calling the chavs Fulham…)

    My hunch is (just about) this 11 on Weds but maybe some back-from-injury guys (Rambo, Giroud, Nacho, Le Coq?…) on the bench, maybe?…

  • I don’t think it’s possible tto tell if he double hit the penslty, but it shouldn’t have been a pen in the first place. How can the ref only give 4 minutes injury absolute joke.

    Terrible team selection agreed, but we still should have had enough. Mertesacker, to old, but Holding, iwobi, Theo were pretty awful and some of the others werent much better,

    Any poor supporters who travelled to Nottingham should get their money back

  • Agree to disagree is about all I’ve got… We’re only 15-16 deep at the moment… Gotta get healthy (and rested and out of these domestic cups)… Works for me, but I can see why it bothers others… Sorry again…

    Busy, busy but I hope to be settled when the next one rolls around…


  • The kids got a chance– only a couple are ready or near. The elders are pretty much done.
    This month? We need to buy a CB with PL experience. A MF with pace– or a RB/WB to spell Kola and allow AMN’s move to MF. Nelson needs Theo’s minutes.


  • I have to be honest, I have No problem with the team arsene put out. The fa cup, now more than ever is not a priority. It was nice winning a few recently, but Our team is in serious transition, and in danger of becoming much less relevant. The fa cup will not help in ANY way. It can’t be a priority.

    Getting in top 4 will help us attract talent, and maybe our next manager. Winning Europa could be nice, and I’d try hard on that one but will be very difficult. What happens in this window and this summer will tell which direction this club is going.

    The dark days I worry about, if they come, will be because of some stupid personnel and financial decisions in the past couple years (that I’ve been complaining about) … and also because this team under achieved in the league the past 3 years while having Sanchez, Ozil, and what I thought should have been enough to get us one title. Either we estimated the quality of our talent as this team was constituted wrongly,,,, or we under achieved. One or the other must be true.

    I’ve felt this way for a while, and it has nothing to do with today’s result.

    A window of opportunity to win the league may have closed on us for the near future, and I now regret that Arsene stayed, and we didn’t go hard after Klopp or even Pep.

  • That defense …..and we sold Gabriel and kept Walcott, Elneny, Coq, Mert ………

  • Penalty shouldn’t have been retaken – it should have been an indirect free-kick for us.

    Ospina – a decent back-up, more of a shot-stopper than a commanding goalkeeper. Should be sold next summer as we have Martinez and Macey.

    Debuchy – he’s off next summer.

    Mert – he’s retiring.

    Holding – needs a loan. He’s been awful this season and needs at least six months to get away from the ill atmosphere at the Emirates.

    Nelson – needs a run in the attacking areas. Wenger has been wasting his talent on the WB.

    AMN – needs a run in the central midfield.

    Elneny – extremely average, incapable of defending, not giving enough forward.

    Willock – he’s still young.

    Iwobi – needs to change his approach. He has to improve or he risks to become another Ox.

    Walcott – finished as a player, hopefully there is a(nother) club stupid enough to buy him.

    Welbeck – with his knees gone, selling him would be a good piece of business.

    Akpom – he will never become a player for Top 6 side. It never works for him. Nottingham Forest might be his level.

    Nketiah – has talent but he is still too young.

    Sadly, we’ll need ten years to recover from Wenger’s decisions in the last five years. Once he leaves, there will be even worse state than Ferguson had left at Man Utd. No world-class players, not enough appeal nor money to buy ones, nothing… There is some symbolic in the fact our defeat to Forest has been a final revelation about it as Forest had reached stars before falling painfully to the ground under Brian Clough, the manager who didn’t accept laws of the nature either.

  • Just watching the recorded version of the bits I didn’t see and it looked very unintelligent defending for their 1st goal. Usually, the rest of the defence determines its line, for a set piece, from the defensive wall’s positioning. To see our defence line stand off in front of the line with the wall, instead of behind it, should have raised alarm bells for the lead defender or the keeper. But, no one picked up the lone Forrest striker who lurked, well positioned along the trajectory of the walll, thus being played onside.

    Ospina should have put himself in position to intercept a possible cross to him; or call the attention of the defenders to the possible danger. That was embarrassing defending.

  • (I’d intended to ask BK to post a lengthy piece laying out in detail where the club sits (over Christmas)– but a 7-day bout with the flu laid me low. Circumstances have since shifted– so I look to make it ready at season’s end. Seems a better time. More evidence by then too.)

    The transitional period you describe is just that.
    What’s coming off-field? Mislintat and Sanllehi need to start with the cleanest slate possible.
    Moves this TW won’t satisfy. Band-aids. Possibly cashing on Alexis. Jettisoning players, still paying wages (expecting it to continue this summer). Finding/buying prospects (like Bramhall and Mavropanos) at a higher clip.

    IMO, Arsenal’s use of StatDNA is still in an evolving phase. It’ll be another 1-2 years before the data and available athletes parallel the club’s reboot in earnest. Then it comes down to who is interpreting the data.

    Taking a wild shot-in-the-dark as to Wenger’s successor? Mikel Arteta.


  • Eris–
    Thanks for that. The writer is a season ticket holder– whose point about Dean’s integrity– seems similar to virginity. Hard to impugn it if it’s long been gone.


  • Belfast Telegraph:
    “Mike Dean admits mistake in awarding West Brom penalty, says referees’ chief.”

    So the 2pts Mr Riley– they are going to be awarded?
    Or Dean suspended?
    Or Wenger’s ban lifted?

    Thought not.


  • 1st Nottingham Forest goal, our defending was shambolic, we had 5 players marking space while the guy who scored moved into a gap, totally unimpeded by our clueless and poorly coached defenders who spectated while he headed past a flapping Ospina.

    2nd Nottingham Forest goal, watch Elneny’s non-challenge, he could have blocked the shot but for some unfathomable reason stopped and watched the guy shoot.

    3rd Nottingham Forest goal, more disorganisation and panic in our defence leading to Holdings rash challenge.

    4th Nottingham Forest goal, again our defence and midfield wide open, no discipline, nobody organising, everybody playing some kind of jazz football, free thinking and all over the place.
    Yes the pen should have been disallowed and Arsenal awarded a free kick, but the referee was just a normal useless English ref. Even the red card was wrong, it wasn’t a yellow then red, it was a straight red for serious foul play, but wtf, the whole day was a circus.

    Mertesaker looked awful and I’m a fan, but he really shouldn’t play for us anymore.
    Walcott, just sell him.
    Debuchy, keep him till the summer then give him a free.
    Elneny, sell him next summer.
    Ospina is going in the summer anyway, but maybe I’d seriously think about bringing in Cech for the Chelsea game.

    No excuses, that line up properly motivated and self-motivated should have been good enough to win that cup tie. It was a performance symptomatic of this current squad of players and the coaching staff, simply not good enough with no reason to think that it’s going to improve on a regular basis any time soon.

  • The club has lacked bravery in decisions. Say the Alexis/Ozil issue. Within a short duration of time the club should have accepted their wage demand or sell them for good money.

    We are again dilly dallying with Wilshere’s issue. We seem to be taking advantage of his loyalty to the club. That’s mean. Wilshere will wake up one morning and irrevocably reset his mind. Then suddenly the club will become aware of another huge mess.

    We keep players like Walcott on a huge salary and so far he has played only 50 min of PL football this season. Maybe we are unreasonably expecting somebody to make a £50M bid for him. Basic in business is to know when to cut one’s loss.

    Our business model seems to be based on thrift and more thrift! The pennies matter!

  • Kev,
    Good observations on the goals we conceded. I’ll add to the 2nd goal. Even more criminal than Elneny’s (who actually rushed to close down but stopped short instead of putting his body on the line) was Iwobi’s. When the ball was headed out Iwobi had as much chance as the Forest player to go for the ball. But he just stood there in a kind of stupor, watched as the Forest man controlled the ball and lobbed it into the net. That drama brings to naught whatever other contribution he might have made on that field. It was criminal and cannot be forgiven.

  • Can’t comment a lot..
    Just a bit confused about the lineup..
    Maybe.. EPL Carabao Cup.. Now become our most priority.. Hope we will have a good game away to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday..

  • Yesterday might have given us an indication of how much Wilshere had been holding that B Team together. They collapsed without him.

  • Chan, Wenger should be smart enough to know that he now has to go for it. Otherwise things might turn very toxic.

  • PE, for a while i agreed with you last night on Wenger leaving the club.

    After a while i started asking why were we playing back to the defense for long periods for quite a few games this season, when we should be the ones pushing forward. Lack of Wilshere surely cost us last night, and to be fair we left really big gaps between midfield and defense for Notts Forest to spank us.

    We should have learnt the mistake a couple of games ago, but we kept on making the same mistake in between defense and midfield. Its our players that should go.

  • njk, I haven’t put down anywhere about Wenger leaving the club. Not that I absolve him about the murky state of things but just for keeping the records straight. Without doubt there is lack of decisiveness in the way the club is handling matters.

    We need to field a strong team for Wednesday. A good performance is non negotiable.

  • A lot of people got it wrong. We did not play with a back 3. We played Mert and Holdn as our CD and Deb and Niles as our full backs. Eln and Willock as our CM. Our defensive problem was that our FBs and CMders were positionally hardly interested in defending. That’s footballing suicide.

  • Pony Eye says:
    January 8, 2018 at 05:18
    Chan, Wenger should be smart enough to know that he now has to go for it. Otherwise things might turn very toxic.

    I was referring to this PE. Apparently the 7 words “he now has to go for it” has a few meanings. “Get the team moving”, “quit” or “Dive right in to get the result”.

    For the lack of protecting the defense, I blame Iwobi.

  • njk, “dive in to get the results” is the closest to what I meant. In other words no more wholesome changes away from the best 11 particularly at periods like now of a poor run of results.

  • Yeah i agree with you PE.

    Our best player is Debuchy, with his crosses, but the rest were not good enough, like what Per said. He himself was turned inside out so many times by 18year olds, who had more hunger than the whole of our lads last night.

    Our first 11 is still better than the rest

  • Yes PE, I did notice Iwobi as well and yes you are right, but he never puts in a challenge, he will always close down an opponent in possession but never tackle, so I didn’t expect him to tbh., but Elneny if he’d continued he could have easily got a block in, not sure why he stopped, was he waiting for someone else to take responsibility, who knows?!

    I only saw the MotD highlights and they can be misleading, I thought that Welbeck took his goal really well, Nketiah and Akpom added some urgency, Walcott seemed to play as if he is on the point of leaving and doesn’t want to get injured, so no surprise there, although clubs who might be interested in him and watching him, might not have been too impressed…

    The naively of the defence on the first goal is what struck me, nobody seemed switched on, nobody went with the runner and stayed touch tight, it was a free header, it was the kind of goal that I used to see in Sunday League ‘pub team’ football, it was so bad.

  • You do not have to compromise your attacking ideals by taking defence serious.
    Coaching and organising a defence is not a crime…
    Defenders need to be constantly drilled so that they do things instinctively, playing off the cuff for attacking midfielders and forwards is fine, you can give them freedom, but your defence should be disciplined, well that’s what I think.

  • Kev–
    I can’t recall seeing Willock in our third much at all. Elneny was not his usual energetic self.

    Yesterday, defensively? Comes down to Per. Once a fine director of those around him– his strength, superior positional awareness, is no longer. I have no doubt that Mertesacker will be a great asset in a director’s role. But playing him any further diminishes what he’s given the club on pitch. The FA Cup in May was his true last hurrah(!).

    I was once the aging guy playing with the kids. When your decisions or performance become questionable? Those counting on you lose their confidence and focus too.


  • Anyone watching Brighton v Palace? The ground is half empty and Palace And Brighton are supposed to be hated enemies. I called my friend who is a Brighton season ticket holder and he told me that Palace fans were so vile last time they played them (stewards taken to hospital, fireworks thrown at Brighton supporters etc). That the vast majority of Brighton supporters have boycotted the game, but not as an organised boycott, but individually. I thought the game had outgrown this type of thing.

  • Our season has gone really bad. Why did we keep Sanchez & Ozil? We are actually worse off and his attitude is all evident that he does not care about the jersey anymore. Any employer must not keep someone who wants to join another company. Selling Sanchez to City was the best deal for us because City is already very strong without Sanchez so his addition was not going to change much. Why do we still have Walcott, Debuchy, Welbeck, Jenkinson, Chambers, Elneny, Xhaka, Ospina And Cech in our team. These players are good but not to win the league for us. NO. We sell & loan the wrong players. Maybe the coach knows more & better. Why did we sell Gibbs, Gabriel , & Szczesny? Really I don’t understand why we sold such key players. Why did we load out Campbell & Perez? There are players who will jump at the opportunity to play for us and who are much better than what we have now e.g. William Carvalho, Mahrez, Goretzka, Andre Ayew, & these players are much better than what we have on the bench. Wenger has been good to us but age is making him make very bad decisions or is it the choice of assistant coach. We need better players and better transfer activity. The coach changed the formation to accomodate an ageing defense and to reduce the negative effects of a lack of a better DM. On the list below all the players not currently playing for the Arsenal could have been signed if we wanted to.

    Imagine an Arsenal team with these players:
    1. Szczesny
    2. Martinez
    3. Bellerin
    4. Maitland – Niles
    5. Gibbs
    6. Kolasinac
    7. Koscielny
    8. Gabriel
    9. Koulibaly
    10. Mustaffi
    11. Carvalho
    12. Rabiot
    13. Coquelin
    14. Goretzka
    15. Reine – Adelaide
    16. Ramsey
    17. Wilshire
    18. Mahrez
    19. Andre Ayew
    20. Lacazette
    21. Giroud
    22. Campbell
    23. Perez
    24. Lemar
    25. Holding

  • Listening to the radio now. So sick of hearing Alexis transfer speculation. We all knew it was going to be like this. Problems in the dressing room. Transfer rumors. But our management couldn’t figure this out. Anyone here who wanted to keep them though they refused to sign, was just supporting Wengers decision.

    Idiotic to be in this situation. Should have sold him and Ozil on the first day of the summer transfer window. That last day of the window was a huge embarrassment also. I have been blaming the whole organization, but let’s be honest, it’s down to Arsene.

  • J–
    Times when 90% of media are useless. And times 100% of media is useless. Presently, the latter. No purpose being ginned-up by conflict– made larger for profit.


  • With the FACup gone and a few weeks to go before the UEFA Cup starts again plus Conte certain to pick a full strength Chelsea team I think that Arsene has no choice but to pick as strong a team as he can for tomorrows League Cup s/f…

  • We play Wed, Sun and the following Sat. Our 1st team can handle the schedule easily. So no reason why we can’t field our strongest side tomorrow.

  • Slight smirk finding in this snippet posted on Sky Sports:

    Before leaving for Arsenal, former Barcelona director of football Raul Sanllehi put everything in place for Philippe Coutinho to join the Catalan side in January. (Mundo Deportivo)


  • So.. No posting about Carabao Cup against Chelsea..??
    It will be a hard night.. 3AM in the morning.. And no live.. Hiks 3x..
    Any link..??

  • It will seem the Carabao cup isn’t popular with the TV companies; or is it the sponsors’ problem?

    I expect us to put out a strong team (reason we rested the 1st team last Sunday. No concerns for me, here. It will be a typical London derby; both sides will go for it and our unreliable defending will let them in too many times for comfort, but we will go back at the other end to get the goals that will make a second leg another even affair. It will be nice to get to the final, another date at Wembley, though.

  • I will have to listen to the game only, I don’t think it’s on tv here.

    I think Liverpool did amazing business with coutinho. I don’t think he’s special, though he may fit in well with Barcelona. I think they would have done better with Ozil personally. Also they could have saved 100 mil, as well as have a much better player.

    I understand having that silly money allowed them to use silly money on van dijk. But things are way out of hand now. Pogba was overpriced, but almost understandable. Lukaku and Morata also far too much, and that was before neymar and mbappe.

    We need a strong manager going forward to force the club to use resources to compete… not to those crazy levels, but we have a lot more than we use. Just to stay in the fight, and not back to bargain hunting.

  • On another note, it looks like we have not had any reprieve from the injury list; no one (Ramsey, Giroud, Koscielny, Kolasinac and Monreal) has recovered in time for this game. Xhaka and Mustafi were always short term anyway. It must be giving the manager sleepless nights having to play Holding, Chambers and Maitland-Niles (he’s been good enough, though, but certainly not for every game?) in crucial games.

    Also, Coquelin looks on his way out (a shock, if you ask me); with Debuchy and Walcott also touted for exits. Alexis Sanchez, we all agree will leave; FairPlay to him for not throwing tantrums yet, despite what the media will have us all believe. Hopefully, we get good replacements for those we need to replace.

  • Carabao is a 5th level trophy after champs lge, premier lge, Europa, fa cup. Too many competitions. I’d like to drop carabao and get replays out of fa cup. Would be good.

  • Eris, Alexis will be really hard to replace. If Ozil goes, he will be almost impossible to replace, but I think only Jack can do that.
    I still can’t, Or don’t want to believe Jack would leave.

  • But the prospect of losing valuable players for well below market value or free is angering me to no end.

  • Lots to catch up on here… Which maybe I can do in a new post before kick-off… If Simba is chiming in, things MUST be bad… 😀 😦

    J(nyc)… The match seems to be on ESPN2 for me, kick-off at noon, Pacific time… And, I agree, getting out of these domestic cups seems OK (for me, at least)… As I’ve been trying to stress, we’re just not very deep right now. Hopefully a signing or three, plus players back from injury so we can get up for top 4 in the league and/or rotate just a bit during the Europa League–at least in the early rounds seems the best path forward (again, IMO)… If worse comes to worst, trying to use the Moo-route back to CL football might give some late season excitement. As such, I’d give the 2nd team another run out today… With the sky falling in our part of London already, however, it seems that even Wenger doesn’t have the cajones for such an approach… Dennis forbid if we do go with a (more or less) first team and lose–or lose more players to injury)…

    As I said in my turning of the year rant, we’re not in great shape. Still, I never quite understand how one bad result brings out all the Arsenal-are-a-shambles (as a club, for years and years, etc., etc.) comments. If that’s true, why not say it BEFORE the match(es)?…

  • Hate to be a profit of doom, but if all the injuries, transfers etc prove to be correct, I think there is a good chance we will get a good hiding tonight.

  • retsub–

    Last 4 outings vs Chelsea– a rout was predicted. Two wins, two draws. Twice for silverware.
    Hope the tradition continues today.


  • Jw1 yep me to. But we haveNt got much of a defence to put out tonight. I really hope I am wrong, but Chambers and Holding are so nervous and error prone at the moment

  • HT–
    “Still, I never quite understand how one bad result…”
    Clickbait + groupthink + confirmation bias = potentbadvibemojo.

    Nobody realized ‘Idiocracy’ would become a documentary.


  • Evening gents and (hiding) ladies

    Not sure what to think and how to feel about tonight’s game after Sunday’s debacle. Wenger’s selection and game preparation approach clearly did not work and now we have to avoid another humiliation. Is he tempted to plan a strong team which would mean including first team players, or will he dare to play youngsters and fringers as he should do for the Micky Mouse Cup (but clearly not for the FA Cup, which should always be respected)…? Feck knows what we can expect tonight.

  • Found it not the best of signs, when you arrive early for a party– where your host answers the door swearing; and asking if you brought a fire extinguisher… 🙂


  • Lol, @jw1!

    Team sheet indicates that there’s something the manager isn’t telling us about the fitness state of his players. We have Chambers on for Mertesacker in a back 3 while Alexis and Ozil aren’t starting. So, Welbeck and Iwobi come in for both. We have out there, a relatively weaker team, to be honest. Chelsea midfield of Kante, Drinkwater, Bakayoko and Cesc must be licking their lips.

  • Interesting that you should call it the Micky Mouse Cup, TA.
    To me it’s still a trophy, not the most important but still a trophy.
    But why is it the least important?
    Is it because of the money you earn from winning it?
    The Champions League is the behemoth that it is because of the millions you earn.
    But it’s still just the European Cup with a load more dough.

    I used to enjoy the Cup Winners Cup, but money destroyed it.
    Money is just eating up our game.

  • Chelsea:
    Courtois, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Moses, Drinkwater, kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Hara, Morata..subs: Eduardo, David Luiz, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Willian, Pedro, Batshuayi

    Ospina, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette..subs Macey, Mavropanos, Mertesacker, Nelson, Elneny, Walcott, Alexis

  • Arsenal: Ospina, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles, Welbeck, Iwobi, Lacazette

    Subs: Macey, Mavropanos, Mertesacker, Nelson, Elneny, Walcott, Sanchez

  • Ozil is reportedly suffering from the same knee problem which saw him miss games in the past, while Alexis on the bench only has to do with his impending departure. Unless Holding, Iwobi and Welbeck decide to raise their game, we are in for a tough day. Hopefully, the likes of Jack and Mertesacker can remind them all what it means.

    Let’s do this, lads!

  • I won’t be watching live, but will follow on the relevant Apps. Interesting to see the new boy in the match day squad, so soon after it was stated he was going out on loan.

  • Kev–
    With 4 CL places? Until 2005-06 (and Abramovich) — Arsenal had a standing reservation.
    In 2009-10 (and Mansour) the seats at the table became just 1 or 2 spots. That’s really where the tide turned against the club. The plan agreed upon in 1999 to build and payoff Emirates stadium– was kneecapped by foreign funding of mid-table and yoyo clubs.

    Firmly feel that Wenger and the Board (since/with Kroenke) have had to change financial strategies– probably twice. And another change in operations that may or may not not have panned-out– or– possibly just slower than expected in doing so.

    But? Like you, I also see silverware as the goal– independent of magnitude.
    Pretty sure City want ALL of them.


  • They are using the replay cameras so hopefully those cheating bar stewards won’t get away with anything this time


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