Live-Blog League Cup Semifinals, First Leg: Alexis on the Bench? Can Arsenal Keep

Hope Alive for the Return Leg?

Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger battle again, but the resources at hand would seem to favor Chelsea.

Here are the teams:

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Alonso, Hazard, Morata.
Subs: Eduardo, Luiz, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Willian, Pedro, Batshuayi.

Arsenal: Ospina, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette.
Subs: Macey, Mavropanos, Mertesacker, Elneny, Nelson, Walcott, Sanchez.

Both teams make few changes from the starting 11s that played to a 2-2 draw just 10 days ago at the Emirates in Premier League action.  For Chelsea, Gary Cahill and Tiemoue Bakayoko sit, while Antonio Rudiger and Danny Drinkwater come in.  Arsenal’s changes seem more severe.  Out are Petr Cech, Mesut Ozil (and neither even make our bench) and Alexis Sanchez.  In come David Ospina, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck, three players who were part of the group that suffered the 4-2 FA Cup loss at Nottingham Forest this past Sunday.

It’s a strong enough line-up to suggest that Wenger does not want to give up on the domestic cups completely.  The same rearguard–plus Ospina in net–will need to be substantially more solid as our attack looks a good deal less potent than the one set out in the PL match.  We made plenty of chances in that one but only two that got past Thibaut Cortois who was outstanding.  At the other end, some very mixed up defending was only spared by Chelsea wastefulness in front of goal and a strong performance by Cech.  Even in our stadium, a dubious call helped the blues to one of their goals; what will we get from the whistler tonight at Stamford Bridge?

We shall see, but consider me worried.  What are your thoughts?  Please join me in the comments as I try to explain the action as it happens.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

108 Responses to Live-Blog League Cup Semifinals, First Leg: Alexis on the Bench? Can Arsenal Keep

  1. retsub1 says:

    17HT we have a video ref as well tonight

  2. jw1 says:

    Hopefully not related to anyone named Dean, nor Taylor, nor Moss.

    jw1

  3. Pony Eye says:

    Welbeck is better from the left but lacks the killer instinct. Compensates with hard work.
    Law of averages Lacaz to score.

  4. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, VAR to save the day!!

    We have kickoff!

  5. Pony Eye says:

    6 1st team players out from injury.

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    Both teams stroked it around in their own half for a bit but Morata was the first foray into either box… Side netting in the end…

  7. 17highburyterrace says:

    Jack gives it away but we get it back quickly…

    Both teams backing off rather than pressing from the front…Thus far at least…

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    A bit of goofy work at the back and plenty of misplaced passes seem to be inviting Chelsea onto the front foot… AMN steps in as two Chav players can’t decide who should go to the ball…

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    First corner goes to Arsenal, Bellerin bouncing it off Marcos Alonso…

    Very poor bouncing delivery from Xhaka… But we keep it in their half and come again,..

  10. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not much quality here in the first 10 mins with lots of misplaced passes and touches…

    Chavs have it now…

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chambers heads out a nice long ball for Chelsea’s first corner…

    Nothing from it but they’re still down at our end for a bit… Ends with Alonso losing it over the end line…

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rudiger’s ball over the top to Hazard is cut out by Mustafi and we break but it slows at Iwobi on the right and we have to regroup… Xhaka’s longer one to AMN is intercepted but we get it back and Jack pushes it through… Bells cross is defended into touch…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chavs break up our play and Cesc goes long for Morata but we defend well enough… Eventually Drinkie loses it over the end-line for a GK…

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anyone else watching tonight?

    Seems like we’re quite determined to not get caught behind as we were in the league match…

    AMN shows good pace but it takes a bunch of touches and passes back to Ospina before we’re able to get it forward…

    Lacazette does some interesting work on the left side of their box but nothing comes of it…

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi around Cesc and wins a FK when Kante scythes him down…

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xhaka takes and it’s deflected by the wall and out for a corner…

  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    Taken short to Iwobi but his cross is short and a Chelsea long pass sets Hazard going… Until Xhaka cuts him down and gets whistled…

    20 mins in and only slightly more action… No shots yet, I don’t think…

    Xhaka tries a throughball to Welbeck (who I didn’t even realize was playing out there) but he’s too slow and the defender is well positioned…

  18. Goonereris says:

    jw1 says:
    January 10, 2018 at 19:55
    Hopefully not related to anyone named Dean, nor Taylor, nor Moss.

    Well, Moss is the 4th official. Just saying (in the even if injury or some incapacitation of the Ref) …he could come on, somehow.

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    That one had potential… Jack over the top to Laca but his shot is screwed up and over and wide…

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    yes kev, its silverware yet still it is one cup too many to play for.

  21. Goonereris says:

    17ht, do you have a good link to the game? I am just listening to the audio commentary from the club site.

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chelsea’s best move of the night, Moses turning inside and shooting under no pressure but from distance and a tough angle… It’s got power and Ospina bobbles it but gets to it first… Poachers looked offside shows the replay…

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry Eris, I’m watching on television…And my stream searching skills are woeful… Good luck…

    Arsenal have a spell of possession but Jack’s attempt at a lofted throughball is intercepted… Other end, Alonso shoots… It’s poor but deflected out for a corner…

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Taken short and rebuffed but Chavs build again with Moses putting AMN on the ground and sending in a dangerous looking shot-cross. Replay shows there was a rebound back to Moses whose left footer found Ospina’s near post…

    Now we’ve got a corner, but there’s a delay as Atkinson gets some VAR instruction on a coming together between Azcuelipeta and Xhaka…

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Another woeful Xhaka delivery… but we keep possession… 30 mins gone…

    AMN follows a long cross-pitch ball well enough to win another corner off Moses…

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    This one is better but Mustafi heads well over… perhaps ticked onto his noggin by a Chelsea head… AMN does well to take a throughball off Hazard… Back with Chavs now…

  27. jw1 says:

    Eris–

    Try:
    https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/01/10/chelsea-arsenal-live-stream-watch-online-carabao-cup-league-time
    Scroll down to a link at the bottom of the article that states: Live Stream:WatchESPN

    jw1

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    That was another good Chelsea move but Fabregas’ dangerous cross finds no one but we turn it behind for a corner…

    Taken short and eventually booted over for an Ospina GK…

  29. jw1 says:

    Drinkwater should have used the sand wedge.

    jw1

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bellerin late with a tackle at mid pitch… Another VAR conference but no card for Bells…

    Jack tries a run up the left and wants a whistle… No go… Other end, Mustafi gets one in a dangerous spot for a bear hug on Morata…

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cesc pushes it square for Kante but his shot is well over…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chelsea are now getting the bulk of the possession and the game is more in our half…

    Until Iwobi pushes it on… His pass finds no one but he nips in and shoots with his toe… No trouble for Cortois but it’s a shot on target… AMN looks to have been tripped but tries to keep his feet instead of doing a Hazard and acting like he’d been shot… No call, of course…

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK.. That’s 40 minutes played and the excitement level is low…

    Arsenal doing better and gets a call wide on the left after a clash with Moses…

    Xhaka lofts it over everybody and Cortois gathers with ease…

  34. Goonereris says:

    Just heard there was an incident involving AMN being brought down and after consulting VAR (probably) Atkinson has ruled it a “no contact”. Well, there you go; VAR still run by humans.

    Sounds like both teams are evenly matched, so far.

  35. jw1 says:

    Eris–
    Replay looked ‘no contact’. As HT stated– AMN jump-skipped over the defenders lunge and couldn’t stay upright.

    jw1

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Very nice one touch from Cesc but Hazard’s touch is wide and AMN is very pacy to box off the trouble…

    Other end, chasing a lost cause over the end line, AMN goes over in spectacular fashion…

    Mustafi fouls Morata again but there’s a bit of dive to it as well… Cesc to send in the FK…

  37. Goonereris says:

    Thanks, jw1. Will do just that.

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    It’s behind off Welbeck for a corner…

    Taken short and Chavs have to rebuild… Oooh.. That was a dangerous ball but Cesc’s header is both weak and right to Ospina…

  39. jw1 says:

    Another VAR call against Mustafi by the touchline official. Morata is officially a wimp.

    jw1

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    And the half will end with Ospina catching a long diagonal to only him…

    The espresso hours are over so It’ll have to be tea to keep my eyes from going shut here… Anybody else find anything exciting to report?…

  41. jw1 says:

    Guessing that all officials are connected to the VAR?
    Or do the 2nd/3rd have to go through the referee– to the VAR?

    jw1

  42. retsub1 says:

    Much better tonight. Iwobi has got his boots back on. Well played lads keep up the good work

  43. Goonereris says:

    Got the message, jw1: ESPN Player is not currently available in your region.
    If you have an account on ESPN Player and have recently changed location, or………

    May as well let it be so as not to jinx it. 😉

  44. jw1 says:

    I’ll take another look around Eris!

    jw1

  45. Goonereris says:

    The way it’s explained, the Video Assistant referee sits at the headquarters in London with all the camera views of the incident available; from there, he advises the on-field officials via phone calls, for any decision requiring a review.

    Maybe, there is more…..

  46. jw1 says:

    Saw Atkinson point to the touchline official– then his earpiece– when explaining to Mustafi how/why he was whistled for the foul on Morata late in the half.

    jw1

  47. jw1 says:

    Eris–
    It’s all ESPN streaming-wise.
    But? If you have Google Chrome and open an ‘Incognito window’ then try that link I gave– it might work that way. You open an Incognito window by right-clicking on a ‘new tab’ at top of the browser.

    jw1

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    2nd half on and it’s all Chelsea early… A bunch of crosses in and corners and we’re extremely lucky that Christensen doesn’t score with his head… Put off by Mustafi just enough…

  49. jw1 says:

    Give Mustafi credit for covering two Chavs on that last exchange– and making the play too.

    jw1

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    Welbeck beaten out by Moses then whistled trying to get it back… Hazard passes to Jack and we have a bit of possession… Ends with DW pushed off the ball…

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chavs on the front foot but we seem to get enough toes in to stop them… Rudiger jumps on Jack’s pass and gets taken out by Xhaka…who sees yellow… FK from about 30 yds…

  52. jw1 says:

    Hoof it long if it can’t be passed out of danger. Please?

    jw1

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alonso into the wall but behind for a corner… Again taken short but we put it into touch… Chelsea build again and, despite intervening a bunch we can’t clear it from our own half…

    There was a shout for a handball on Mustafi in there…

    Chavs with another corner that looked VERY dangerous… We’re spared…

    Jack is down and getting treatment…

  54. jw1 says:

    Jack took a whack from Drinkwater attempting a cross about 90 seconds back.

    jw1

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Jack seems to be walking it off, but we shall see…

    Nothing doing but a little head tennis…

    Bellerin loses it and Morata forces a good save from Ospina… Replay shows it wasn’t too tough…

    Jack has to come off… Elneny will replace him…

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wowsa… Morata undercuts Mustafi and is allowed to play on… Ospina charges out from goal and the extreme angled shot is just wide of the near post…

  57. jw1 says:

    Appeared Drinkwater’s follow-through on the cross caught Jack on the front or top of his foot.

    jw1

  58. jw1 says:

    Ospina made a great choice to come meet Morata 12-15 yds left of goal on the byline.

    jw1

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    Getting on 15 mins into the 2nd half and we’ve not had the ball in their half at all…

    Mustafi whistled again… allowing Chavs to come at us…We send them back but they keep coming… Only one team looks likely to break the dead-lock and they’re not in red…

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    That was our best foray of the half…with some good work from DW… Ends with AMN’s cross over Welbs but easily caught by Cortois… Other end, Morata loses the ball at his feet after a decent run into the box…

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Elneny loses it into touch and Chelsea build again, Arsenal happy to defend deep… Our CBs are routinely cutting out some Chelsea long balls but we’ve got zero going forward… Chavs with maybe 80% of the possession this half?… Atkinson whistles DW…

    Laca off, Alexis on…

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cesc’s ball in is headed out to Alonso who puts it back in… Moses blasts and Mustafi’s stuck out foot sends it over for another corner…

    Christensen has an open header but blessedly puts it wide…

    Now Willian comes on for Drinkwater… Better right footed FKs would be my prediction…

  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis adds his usual knife-edge brightness but his lofted pass to Bellerin is intercepted and Chelsea are off… Hazard has chances to both shoot and pass but over-elaborates and gives it back…

    Now Chambers is down… Not good ahead of Bournemouth at the weekend, I fear…

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chelsea keep coming and look dangerous down their right… Eventually we get an offside flag to stop them…

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi does nice work to push it forward out of our half… With runners he chooses a toe shot, the less said about it the better…

  66. jw1 says:

    Iwobi made a sparkling run from the halfway line –straight to the 18yd box– and dribbled his shot to Courtois.

    jw1

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    There’s your big boot, JW… After some possession at the back… We’re actually on the ball a bit more…

    Until DW is dispossessed and Chavs come forward… A dipper from distance is pretty routine for Ospina… Willian was the shooter…

  68. jw1 says:

    Willian close with tailing righ-footed shot that Ospina handles cleanly on a dive to his left.

    jw1

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Only long balls… The latest a mile of Alexis…

    Dangerous move from Chavs but Chambers (I think) slide tackles it away… Next foray, Alonso shoots from distance, easy for Ospina…

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis is getting more involved but it’s Iwobi who sets up DW… His turn and shoot is blocked at the point, however…

    Game is getting a bit more end to end…

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    DW gets a whistle and Kante sees yellow as the game goes into the 80th minute…

    FK is lofted too long for Mustafi…

  72. jw1 says:

    Xhaka was gifted a no YC/RC by Atkinson on a poor decision vs Willian.
    And AGAIN against Morata.

    Then Kante get YC’d for tackling Welbz from behind.

    jw1

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    Some decent work on the left but it ends with Alexis’ throughball, well, not getting through to Danny…

    Holding pushes forward but only into touch…

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Long one but the Chelsea runner is caught in Cesc-sand…

    We push up and Alexis earns a FK about 30 yards out…

  75. jw1 says:

    Elneny over the top doesn’t quite reach Alexis.
    But I’d like to more attempts anyway!

    jw1

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bakayoko in, Hazard out…

    Alexis FK is taken square but Elneny’s long shot is blocked… Chavs try to break but can’t back with us as we push into the 85th min…

    And into the 86th…

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    Iwobi does OK near the top of the box then drops it for a Xhaka long shot. Never gonna happen, I fear…

    Other way, Elneny sees yellow tripping up Morata…

  78. 17highburyterrace says:

    Morata off, Batshuayi on..

    A Chelsea dive in the box goes unrewarded!!! But Chavs eventually win another corner…

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    Uh oh… VAR delay as they review the pen shout… This doesn’t bode well…

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    Play on… Another miracle!!

    From the corner, a couple of reaction headers, the final one over and out for a GK…

    Still Chelsea in our half as ET is about to be posted… +5 mins…

  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis, trying a tight circle, loses it and Chavs have it back…

    Mustafi has repulsed a lot of balls, including another which Elneny pushes back to the center circle… Still Chelsea on the attack…

    This time Alexis gets the whistle as we try to clear our half of the pitch…

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    3 of the 5 minutes played as Chavs build again… We look happy enough to just boot it back to Cortois…

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    4 of the 5 played and we’re still booting it back without too much trouble…

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Goal kick by Ospina, a master time-waster, should end it…

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    And it does… Nil-nil is a good result and our (young) back 3 should take some confidence from it…

    Nap inducing for me, however…

  86. jw1 says:

    Hey Kev?
    Glad to see there weren’t 6 goals today! Or even one.

    jw1

  87. Jnyc says:

    From Twitter: (Not me)

    Szscesny better then Cech and Ospina so we sell Szscesny 👍

    Gabriel better then Holding, Chambers and Mertesacker so we sell Gabriel 👍

    Perez better then Iwobi, Walcott and Welbeck so we get rid of Perez 👍

    Coquelin better then Elneny… it continues………

  88. jw1 says:

    J–
    Please step away from the media.
    You are standing too close to the media.
    (beepbeepbeepbeep 😉 )

    jw1

  89. Goonereris says:

    Couldn’t keep up and had to go out after a while, anyway. A scoreless draw isn’t such a bad result considering all the bad press we’ve been getting lately. Away goals don’t have a really telling effect in the Carabao cup (only relevant after extra time in 2nd leg) so what we have to do now is ensure we are ready to give them a good attacking performance by that time; hopefully, we would have sorted out all the transfer matters and have a more focused side.

    I hope Jack’s injury isn’t a bad one. His importance cannot be overstated at this time. It looks like Holding held his own this time, which is good news.

    We march on to the weekend. I will probably be airborne, in between continents for that one, though. We should smash the cherries, all considered.

  90. Goonereris says:

    Jync, so many things go into the player sale decision and anyone can put a spin to these things as they please. Steve McManaman, Suarez, recently, Coutinho are all good players sold by Liverpool. David Beckham, CR7, Jaap Stam; all greats sold by United. Need I start with Chelsea and Spurs?

    The fact is all of those players named (except maybe, Perez and that’s because he was spared too many appearances) got stick from fans and were called “useless” at some point or the other, by our fans and the media. Who can forget how many called for a “better” keeper for us when Szczesny was making errors? Or how Gabriel was slated when he plays and maybe gave away a penalty or fouls?

    If a decision is made to sell, we must not look back or regret because players usually look good when playing at a different club. Grass always greener and all that….

  91. allezkev says:

    Ok Total, we agree to disagree, again…. 😀

    I listened to the radio and it sounded quite a tight affair, I’m ok with that, a bit of defensive resilience is good just now.

    Yep JW, no goals even though I would have been happier with 1-1 rather than 0-0 as away goals count if the 2nd leg is tied at the end of extra time. So if we draw at the Emirates we’re out, penalties only come into it if it finishes 0-0.

    I’ve heard that Lacazette had been sick all day and almost didn’t play, so respect to him for putting in a shift when being Tom & Dick.

    Jack apparently has a sprained ankle, so the harbingers of doom can get back into their box.

    17tino, great work again, I’m knackered after a long shift, so I’m giving the highlights on TV a rain check and although I tried I didn’t read all your commentary, I’ll give it a go later today after a kip.

    We fight on…

  92. njk84sg says:

    Not the best result I would have liked, but still we go to the next 90 at our homeground with a must win situation.

    Anything less will spell disaster for the club.. seemed like it is worse than last season, with the questions about Wenger’s future and all. But this season we have a more or less stable squad, but one that failed badly in my point of view. It was like Chavs having a great season and suddenly the next season with the same players they just didn’t have the same spark anymore.

    Not that i hate Wenger or the team, but this is something that we cannot rest on our laurels. We have to fight to win.

  93. Jnyc says:

    Just a tweet. It’s all opinions, JW. Everyone’s opinion is valid. Most fans, and all of the media are in hindsight, and most would not have done better. But I would have. You see, thats opinion too.

    We need to be free to criticize. It’s allowed.
    I was disgusted that Perez (almost) never got any minutes with the first team last year. That one part of the tweet is enough to cause frustration alone. He is better than all those alternatives.
    You know we could have sold Alexis early, and Perez would provide goals too.
    Coquelin, not the full package, but added a lot when he played. People saying he didn’t score or assist. Got too many cards. ….. I won’t even use a tackles stat, which would be good… But he broke up hundreds of opposition Attacks, and started many counters.

    Gabriel came with a great resume, but somehow didn’t want to stay. Did Mustafi really want to leave? I hope not, because he’s a warrior. Chamberlain wanted out desperately. Do we ever ask why things are so negative? It’s not the fans fault.

    Sczezny has been great for a top team. It’s a fact.

    I was disgusted with all of last summer’s dealings, but saw the problem coming long before the summer, when players wouldn’t sign, and guess what…..
    They still haven’t.

  94. Goonereris says:

    …they still haven’t and there’s more in Ramsey and Welbz to come at the end of the season. Fact is these things will happen. From what I read, United have put extensions before Mata, Blind and one other (Young?); none has signed while Fellaini has asked to be allowed to leave. Players have this one career to make as much as possible for retirement/investments and they have agents who have to guide their every decision. As it stands, it’s more lucrative running down your contract to get huge sign on fees and salaries. Unless you play for the likes of Bayern, Barca, Madrid (even so, their stars demand big pay rises to sign extensions), you hardly find players who won’t look to run down their contracts these days.

    Szczesny is a fine keeper and would have been a proud one for us, home grown and all but he also had baggage and none of us will know how many times the manager may have had to counsel him over his repeated smoking incidents and who knows what else. He has guts and personality, so it was easy for him to clean up his act when he found himself in a foreign land mad about the game; now, to be then recruited by a Euro great as Juve will certainly bring out the best in him knowing whose shoes he has to fill. Maybe, leaving us did him more good and Wenger, maybe, knew this.

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy to park the truth, Kevski. 🙃

    So we restored some pride last night and well done the boys. When you have a spine of Ospina, Mustafi, Captain Jack and Lacazette, you have a fighting chance to get a result. I read that Chambers did v well and BBC gave him MOTM, so well done Calum. A real shame that the Ws, Walcott and Welbeck, are not delivering anymore; especially Danny should be carrying the team right now but his confidence is gone with the wind.

    Still angry about Wenger’s lack of maturity re handling the refereeing mistakes and his team selection and preparation for the FA cup game that led to such an embarrassing exit. It is clear that the management is only interested in qualifying for CL football because that is the biggest financial risk. A football club is much more than a business, though.

  96. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK fellas, I didn’t get my nap yesterday (after the match) but I’m finally rested up and ready to catch up with things…

    Regarding yesterday’s game, the less said the better, I fear, but at least the result is good enough to give us a stay (of execution) until at least Sunday morning (my time, it’s a late lunch start at Bournemouth). We definitely rode our luck last night but keeping the clean sheet will be a boost for the likes of Ospina, Holding, Chambers. (The anchor of Mustafi seemed superior to that of the BFG, I hate to say…) The big drag, of course, is that Wilshere got hurt. Hopefully it’s not a big deal and/or Ozil has just been rested (“Weng-jured”) for these cup matches and will be back for the MUCH MORE important league games coming up.

    The debate about which–if any–of the domestic cups “matter” seems in the eye of the beholder, as is (of course) everything else. I lean towards Kev’s view of things–that money drives the sport. Whether that means it “ruins” it, I’m not quite sure. Russia and Qatar hosting world cups, the various Princes, Emirs and (otherwise beholden and/or warped) billionaires taking over the big clubs and pulling the strings, I think, makes it ever harder to suspend disbelief and think that things are “fair.”

    That’s just my opinion, and, like Jnyc says, it’s all opinions…

    I just wonder why, when it comes to opinions, the trend runs sooooo steadily towards the negative. To me, it seems better to try and find something (anything…) worthwhile rather than spend all one’s energy complaining (note: I didn’t say whining, though I could’ve…) about every last hypothetical…

    Which, as Goonereris notes, is all they are… If the grass is always greener elsewhere, why not buy a ticket and go? Love Szczesny? Check out Italian football… Love Le Coq and Gabriel, go to Valencia (a city I’ve yet to explore but one that sounds very, very nice)… Want a team that will win the PL at a canter, giving it a real possibility to compete for the big eared trophy? Man, have I got a city to sell ya… (Alexis cup-tied for the CL seems at least semi-appealing given all the grief he’s put us through…) That’s what the fans of “small” clubs do… You pull for your own, go into the matches against the big clubs with nothing to lose and then pick a preferred one to win the actual trophies. If you’ve concluded that the club is in decline, why not go all the way and realize that you blew it, throwing in with a small club way back when. We’re not quite Leeds United (who also lost their FA Cup game), but one can always hope…

    Basically, from what I can gather, being a Gooner is ALWAYS going to be a misery–with each game a referendum, and each transfer window something even worse–UNTIL we either 1) win the quadruple or get knocked so far off our (not insubstantial) pedestal that people start actually feeling sorry for us.

    This season our chances for the quadruple were nil as we’d been relegated from the first tier of European football. As such, getting back to that starting point for next season–by way of a top 4 finish or winning the 2nd tier comp. (Europa League) must be the priority. In lieu of that is a more total form of relegation… How low do folks want us to go? Mid-table? Bottom half? Actually down to the Championship?…

    So, out of the FA cup (for me) is acceptable as would have been dropping from the league cup at a much earlier juncture. (Damn you, Eddy…) If we must play the matches, let’s try our best, explore the depth of the squad (Thank you, Eddy!…) and let the chips fall as they may. Do I think we’ll make the league cup final? No, no I do not. Do I think we should give it a go? Yes, yes I do. Who should we play? Well, let’s see where we are in terms of injuries and transfers and the results we’re getting in the league games. Bournemouth away, on short rest seems a tough one. Crystal Palace, at home, after nearly a full week off (i.e., no FA Cup replay in midweek) could be easier… Personally, I’m glad that after the 2nd leg vs Chelsea we have another 6 days before Swansea away, while, if they win their replay, they may have to play in the FA cup 4th round…

    But, that’s getting ahead of things. We didn’t lose last night!! Enjoy the (blissful?…) time until the next one…

  97. allezkev says:

    Well, I saw the highlights and I thought it was a damned good show by our players, Holding and Chambers did ok and the more they play, the better they’ll get (see Ainsley Maitland-Niles).
    Xhaka and Wilshere make a good duo in the middle, i noticed Jack talking to Granit during his time on the pitch, whether that was because he was skipper or was he keeping him switched on, I don’t know but Xhaka has a good game.
    Welbeck grafted and even Iwobi put in a shift even if his decision making leaves a lot to be desired.
    Include Koscielny, Ozil, Kolasinac, Giroud (?), Ramsey and Monreal into the mix for the 2nd leg and who knows?

    17tino, I’ve noticed over the years that a bad result garners more comments online than a positive result, it’s just the nature of things.
    And don’t worry, fans of other clubs can complain and moan just as much as Arsenal fans. Just listen to a phone in after Tottenham have had a couple of bad results and you’ll be amazed.

    ManU sniffing around Alexis?
    It just makes me chuckle.

  98. Jnyc says:

    Eris, please don’t give me non-star players on United as examples. If it were Pogba, degea, and Lukaku running down contracts, then it would be relevant.
    Fact is, we have 2 world class players, of high value on this team. And how well is it going? Not sure yet, but are we getting a fraction of their value financially, or nothing? And, to make things worse, will they end up at a rival? What a colossal F -up the whole thing has been. Is any of this helping the mood around the club? Be honest, and this time we can’t blame the media or the fans.

  99. jw1 says:

    Was a time, I was a moderator for a (respected) US political website (yes, they exist). There were rare occasions when there was a call to ‘bust-up a dust-up’ among regulars. Most times it would be long-term or ‘drive-by’ trolls whose intentions were clear– and methods were less than honorable. Seen and dealt with so many styles of inflammatory rhetoric, innuendo, links, images, and straight-up falsehoods– that honestly I’m surprised now when something gets under my skin.

    And that only occurs because I allow it in my personal sphere.
    Like inviting the vampire at your door into your house.

    So J– with all respect intended– I come here to BK and value yours and everyone’s opinions about this club ‘that I have come to love’. Because(!) of how much passion(!) each of us has for the shirt, the manager (for right or wrong), the players (for good or bad)– in sickness and in health… (get my drift?).

    My point (yes, finally!) is that reading/sharing a social medium– as Twitter? Is akin choosing from whatever flavor of 140-character incendiary devices (from a ready-made shelf full of them, at the corner TweetMart)– to lob into the midst of considered conversation.

    jw1

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers Kev… Since nobody was responding to my (latest… and tiresome) rant, I was thinking about using my back-channel powers to delete it… With yours–getting back to the actual match–maybe I’ll leave it up…at least a bit longer…

    Yeah, we really need the boost of at least a few of those injured guys coming back. I’m really hoping at least a couple make the bench at B-mouth…

    I agree that Xhaka is developing into a real leader on the pitch even if his work with his feet (corner deliveries, long passes, etc.) wasn’t so great last night. That said, his targets are small fellows plus a guy who is really struggling (Welbeck)…

    Iwobi is no Ozil when it comes to seeing what’s happening on the pitch, and, in fact, is a bit more like an Alexis without a (repetitive, predictable, boring…) go-to move (nor a strong foot for finishing). He’s strong (for one so young) so he can hold defenders off and turn and do some dribbling, but he also plays balls into defenders and only sometimes is first to the bounce, if you know what I mean. He’s not hiding, however, so I’m inclined to give him a break. Still–and just like Alexis–if the moves don’t come off, his play can send the opponents off on a counter all too easily…

    All the talk about Le Coq leaving makes AMN appear to have risen up the pecking order quite quickly as a utility player who might start getting more time centrally. Recovery pace (like his) can’t be taught while defensive positioning should improve–as should the pace and accuracy of final balls. There’s plenty of upside there. Critics will say: Iwobi = shite (just like Bellerin = shite) so AMN will likely come in for the same treatment soon enough–especially when it’s fantasy time–I mean, when the TW is open, and replacements with nice pedigrees can be imagined to slot in…

    Of course we only buy kids and also-rans… Speaking of… Sounds like our Greek defender will be staying with the team instead of going on loan… Cue the moans…

  101. jw1 says:

    That was timely J.

    If I can stick my 2-cents in? The only aspect about these last two years that sticks in my craw was the haphazard way Wenger’s contract unbalanced the rest of the club’s dealings.

    IMO, accepting that as the prime factor? Little, after that– can be predicated on much else.
    I see a £40M loss as the only issue regarding Alexis at present. Can you imagine how much greater the PR-and-media-sh^tstorm would have been– had we sold him to City last Summer– and THEN they get off to this kind of start to their season? (Piers Morgan’s head will have exploded daily instead of weekly!).

    IMO, the value of the club regaining a CL place is paramount to any other consideration. Don’t know if it can/will happen– but believe we have no shot without Alexis (brooding or not) or Ozil.

    We might have gotten £100M for them both. Gotten Lemar (4 goals/2 Assists in 18 Ligue 1 apps. this season) in return for £92M. And then who for the other £40M from Ox? Would it have been prudent to spend more to be marginally better than we are? Tough question.

    Or?

    I see what is going on as method. Giving Mislintat and Sanllehi as clean a slate as possible. Cutting loose everything from the moorings that will float and bring in cash. Start buying prospects to restock the youth academy ranks– and create the foundation for a revived club within 1-2 years.

    Who? Would be the players we should be paying inflated prices for this window? Difference-makers just aren’t readily available. Mahrez? Goretzka? Benzema? I don’t see us as a landing place for world-class talent– until the waters have settled.

    And I don’t see Ozil going anywhere. The only place would be United. And I don’t think Ozil wants to be in the center of that meltdown– when it comes.

    jw1

  102. jw1 says:

    This should give everyone pause…

    Valencia– are believed to have paid a fee of £12M for Coquelin, and have included a release clause of €80M in his contract.

    jw1

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    The reality is, Arsene kept Ozil and Alexis, which I was all for, and we are now struggling to make top four, nowhere near winning the PL, out of the FA cup after embarasssing ourselves, and are very unlikely to keep hold of our star players going forward. So the plan backfired. Wenger will do everything to finish in the top four and save his skin but J is right in pointing out the bigger picture (even if I don’t fully agree with him).

    Seventeenho, I have said to you before you must not suggest to Fellow Gunners to consider supporting another team. As Arsenal fans, we have a right to be critical of how the club is managed and the performances of the team and managers.

    I fully understand that you have a more positive angle towards the club and manager and that losing out on the FA cup in the first round is ok with you, but many others see it quite differently (and with good reason).

  104. 17highburyterrace says:

    Got it, TA… I will really try to avoid doing that again…

    The point I was really trying to make is that if we’re headed towards being a “small” club (rather than one trying a very different way of keeping up with the biggest ones–see JW’s post above…) we need a change in perspective. (And let me say, I’m VERY appreciative of those here who can see that, i.e, anybody who still reads my drivel…) Also, I want to give you props for expressing your feelings about the FA cup match when you saw the team sheet…instead of waiting for the result. Frankly, I thought the gamble was worth it and could have paid off. Forest played extremely well, maybe with players trying to impress during their coaching change…

    Likewise, I thought we’d come through the festive period without quite so many draws and be in better shape heading into this part of the season. Ramsey’s injury could almost have been predicted; Missing Giroud, Nacho and Kolasinac (all of whom had been adding goals and/or assists) has been tough–not to mention Ozil, who I pray is only Weng-jured and may just look at his options and re-sign with the club. He’s had some very good games, and, with his standing ovation at the NLD, even some of the ‘ardest of the fans might be (finally) realizing his value.

    I also think, with Europa League football, most Gooners believed we could get by with fewer experienced players and enjoy watching some youngsters shine in the autumn cup play. (And they did! Eddy, comes to mind, but so too Nelson, not to mention, AMN. If anything it’s been the more experienced guys–with the exception of Jack–who have disappointed.) The injuries, I fear, put paid to that notion, while the contract hold-outs, esp. Alexis, we hoped would help us do better in the league matches. My sincere hope is that taking gambles in these domestic cup matches allows (here in the past week…) for a bit of a winter break for at least a couple of guys. We’ll see when the team sheets for Bournemouth and CP come out…

    Mostly, I’ve got to agree with JW when he says, “The only aspect about these last two years that sticks in my craw was the haphazard way Wenger’s contract unbalanced the rest of the club’s dealings.” Too true, I fear, BUT, once the decision to keep him was made we won the (fecking) FA Cup AND came within a point of making the top 4(!!) If we’d dropped to 6th or 7th AND gone out of the cup AND gotten rid of Alexis and Ozil (and the Ox), maybe a new manager would have gotten some goodwill as well as some rebuilding money. The top of the market–i.e., players with agents who can shop around for the biggest money deals, would have been out of our reach. Maybe we’d unearth some gems, maybe not. Most likely those sorts of players would only become “wanted names” a few years down the road, at which point the silly money teams could wave the big money in front of them (see Coutinho in these past two windows, and maybe the likes of Salah, Kane, Dele, Alderweireld and maybe even Eriksen and Son in upcoming ones). I believe Wenger can still attract big name French talent (see Lacazette and maybe Lemar) so I think Pony Eye is dead wrong when he talks about Arsenal scrimping for pennies…and Jnyc is also off track using other words to describe AW’s spending practices then criticizing us for not selling for bigger money earlier(!!) You can’t have it both ways… In my opinion, that is…

    So, in the end, like it or not, if management (which serves at the pleasure of ownership) is not willing to get into the silly spending business, keeping Wenger–disruptions and all–seems the best route for keeping Arsenal up (or getting them back up, in terms of CL relegation/promotion). It’s an entertainment business of course, so maybe change (dropping lower, getting a new manager) would have been a better tack (results be damned…) and, of course, we can always dream that a new guy would’ve led us to the quadruple. That seems a bit wishful… Again, in my opinion.

    … which is just as good as any other… And not nearly as pithy and to the point as many…

    Apologies…

  105. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh shite… didn’t see the new post… Off over there, then…

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Seventeenho. I reckon you can copy most of this comment into the new post as a comment. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s