MkOzLa behind Auba, XhaBo to Rule Midfield: Arsenal v Stoke Preview


One of the most accurate ways to guage what is happening psychologically within the camp of one’s team is simply by looking at what is happening within oneself. I’d never spare myself in any form to get Stoke bleeding. Never ever. I want them torn into pieces in the shark infested relegation waters, never to be seen again in the Premier League. I want Ramsey to go home with his hattrick ball, and on it written …. ” We mourn not Stoke FC”. If I don’t find myself celebrating our victory over them (6th place … bah), bet your bottom dollar that I’d be over the moon watching Stoke dazed, in despair and going down, down, down.

I would field a team to demolish Stoke. CSKA Moscow is a good four days after so there is everything to gain by using the Stoke match to get our team back to our pre inter-lull heights. It’s our luck that fielding our strongest team against Stoke is completely allied to prioritizing the Europa Cup.

Of our five first teamers who played for their country on Wednesday, I would only have doubts about Koscielny for match selection tomorrow. Games will be coming thick and fast from now on and for this one I’d pencil him for a day off, then pick our strongest team.

One little other consideration. Lacazette has tasted the Premier League. I hear he has been inoculating himself in the gym against its pace and power. I would like to unleash him against CSKA Moscow so I’ll give him some minutes in this encounter for raising his match fitness. Does he get about 60 minutes or will he be used as an early substitute? Of course Auba is the first name on the sheet, meaning we’d have two strikers on the field. Is it 4:4:2 then or would Laca take the place of one of the midfielders as Steve Bould indicated he can? Has Wilshere recovered sufficiently from his minor knee injury to be involved in this match? I’d always give Wilshere a little bit more cushion. I am buzzing steely eyed. Our camp also.

I don’t want to bore myself and you with details on Stoke. I don’t give a damn about who they have fit or not. I already know that they are a very poor side, sitting 19th on the table. I also know that Auba need not worry because he’d be too fast for Ryan Shawcross.

My team to maul Stoke is :-

submit football lineupk

Kola, Eln, Wilsh, Iwobi, Welb.

Am thinking of Stoke (sadistically), am thinking of Europa, am thinking of next season. Am a Gooner for life!!

By Pony Eye.

146 thoughts on “MkOzLa behind Auba, XhaBo to Rule Midfield: Arsenal v Stoke Preview

  • Thanks for a great appetizer for the game, PE. Top battle cry and I agree with the sentiments re the Orcs. It would be fantastic if they get relegated this season. I was at the game at the proverbial hole when Aaron got his leg smashed and the crowd and the players made this happen, let there never be any doubt about it.

    I am a bit wary of the new manager, though. Lambert prepares well for these underdog confrontations and he has beaten Arsenal once or twice with Norwich through his tactical adjustments.

    I like your line up even though it is not my now preferred 5-1-2-2 (5-3-2) 🙂

    I would be tempted to keep Aaron out and play Elneny instead. We really need Rambo against the Muscovites fresh and focussed and a game against the Orcs could destabilize him.

  • Well written PE I didn’t know you were a secret Stoke fan? I think your team is nearly there, unless he is injured , I think Chambers is marginally ahead of Holding in the pecking order. I very much doubt that Laca will start, I would play Jack assuming he is fit.

  • PE–
    Well done.
    No flaws in your reasoning. Those points that aren’t primary to my view? You’ve convinced me. Agreed on Kos’ and Jack’s observing today. Your lineup– just one small tweak for me and it’s positional. Prefer Mkhi on the left. IIRC we had him out right in the second leg vs Ostersund and the PL City match– and he was hardly visible. With the exception of Watford– Mkhi’s best form and production have come from playing an inverted LW.

    This run of PL matches to end the season are the perfect time to give Holding some starts. Kos is better suited for the EL competition in front of us IMO. Kos fresher and Holding with substantial minutes seems a positive approach.


  • retsub–
    Occurs that Chambers has filled in more on the right (RCB in a 3-back, RB and RWB) than on Mustafi’s left– no?


  • Opportunity to play Chambers and Holding surely??Leaving out Mustafi would not weaken the team in my opinion.He is a very average centre back.

  • I’m with you PE, I was at the old Stoke ground when their crowd got Alan Ball and Peter Storey sent off, they really do hate us that much.

    But then I despise them with a passion and would simply love to see them on the end of an Arsenal thrashing, not least for the damage it would do to their goal difference.

    My only change to your XI PE would be positional, Lacazette in the hole, Mick on the left and Mez on the right.

    But like you PE, I’d go for a strong side so we can get back in the groove again.

    The time to rest our players is probably before and after the trip to Moscow.

    Btw, great to see our youngsters are into the final of the Dallas Cup…
    Go Arsenal….

  • For PE….

    Arsenal, through the years, have been renowned for a plausible trust on talented young players who are moulded and nurtured to stardom and alongside Barcelona’s famed LA Masia had more than made name for themselves with their continuous budding of potentials in their own distinctive way.

    Alex Iwobi and Chuba Akpom count as Nigerians who had made the jump from the Hale End to feature for the first team, all thanks to Arsene Wenger’s lucid management and the Nigerian contingent have only burgeoned in the youth ranks.

    With this piece, just a few of the Nigerian youngsters at the Emirates outfit would be brought to readers briefly.

    (1) Xavier Amaechi: Amaechi has undoubtedly been the epitome of perfection which Arsenal as a club, has been known for. Aged just 17, he has already featured three times for the club’s U23 side and has proved a handful in the U18 Youth league, scoring four in four appearances, a tally which could have been more if he has had better luck with injury this term.

    (2) Tobi Omole: The young defender has made 12 appearances for the U18s who sit second on the youth league table and his consummate performances will lead to his promotion to the U23s next term.

    (3) Folarin Balogun: 16-year old Balogun has already scored seven times in just eleven outings for the youth side while getting four further appearances for the U23s and is most certainly primed for first team action when he comes of age.

    (4) Tolaji Bola: Bola is another of Arsenal young defenders to consistently turn out for Arsenal’s U23 team, shipping in with important assists occasionally.

    (5) Arthur Okonkwo: The highly-rated goalkeeper has made remarkable progress with the Gunners youth ranks and has been invited by Arsene Wenger to train with seasoned first choice options, Peter Cech and David Ospina a couple of times in the past.

    Emmanuel Chinaza

  • Great comments all. Each has a “green shoot”. No despondency. I can even sense a “young excitement” in me as if we are about to turn a corner. I wonder if that excitement is that football is back and inter-lull is gone. Or maybe it’s due to all the big names in that line up .. Xhaka. Mkhi. Auba, Laca, Ozil, Rambo etc. Or is it that we have finally adjusted to a realistic level of expectation. Maybe a mix of all but am sure looking forward to tomorrow ……. ah, it might be my certainty that the Orcs are getting mauled tomorrow.

  • Kev,
    Am amazed at your knowledge of our Academy players. That sector is absolutely real to you and that is great. Am surprised there are so many young talented Nigerians there. I suspect there must be a measure of Kanu’s legacy here, still burning bright for many Nigerians, in it all.

  • Well, I disagree… 😀 …which I think might make for a good new “intro” line for me…

    Not really, and cheers for the preview, PE… And, I’m pretty sure you’re not too far off with the line-up. My guess is that Iwobi gets a start (instead of Laca) and that Kos most likely plays, but, if he doesn’t, I think Retsub is on it and that Chambers steps in instead of Holding. 25 mins late on for Laca would be just right ahead of the Ropy League match, with some time also for Welbeck…

    That one’s the priority, of course, and, because they’re both home matches, it’s all about a first 11 (well 9, assuming the keepers switch and because PEA up top would likely give way to DW for Thursday’s match) honing their work between the last man and the guy(s) who might net the goals. It’s all about technical superiority, outplaying the opponent while in possession and getting it back quickly (and with some menace on the break) if they dare to try and attack in our end.

    This is where, if pressed, I’d disagree with PE. Looking at what is happening with yourself (as a supporter), I think, is pretty much the exact opposite of how a football team should be properly managed. The emotions we bring to the matches, and, most notably of course, the results, seem the (very) last thing the players should indulge in. When it comes to Stoke, at home, the focus needs to be on the technical part of the football and the emotion we will always carry from Ramsey’s horror injury (and the glee to which it was greeted by the animals at the Britannia) should be put to one side. The absolute last thing we need are players tapping into that sort of emotion (it’s called hatred, btw…) and being goaded into unnecessary physical battles and possibly getting hurt ahead of the EL matches, esp., if we play as many we can of the guys who will go again on Thursday. I know that most fans demand these shows of passion, but, IMO, they are (as) wrong (as can be)… Luckily we are blessed to have a manager who is able to see this. In the long run, playing with emotion IS necessary, but it must be meted out properly… Just because YOU’VE had a half dozen pints and all YOUR emotion is focused on the game at hand, that’s not the proper way for a (modern) football team to be approaching matters… IMO… (Which, is why, btw, I’ll never make it on ArsenalFanTV…)

    Let’s face facts. We are very likely to finish 6th in the league. I’d like the highest possible points tally but the result tomorrow really only matters in terms of confidence heading into the Europa matches. If we create chance upon chance upon chance but have them stopped by their keeper playing a blinder or the woodwork finding our shots a millimeter off, I don’t mind…IF they all go in on Thursday. For me, I’ll give Stoke the edge in passion (they should have it as they could really use the points to get out of the relegation zone) but hope that we can play our technical, disciplined best and get both a performance AND a result to take confidently into the next match… Of course, then our (fans…) expectations will be (that much) higher and we’ll get nervous and fretful if we’re not up by a handful after 10 minutes…

    That’s why it’s good WE (the supporters) don’t play the matches… (And, perhaps, why it’s just a bit silly we try to manage them here on our keyboards…) Instead, I put my trust in the players (and the guys who prep them for the matches, i.e., the manager)…

    Go on then…

  • Three. I’ve only had 3 pints HT.
    Though heading out to a late-lunch for Cajun fare.
    Which naturally calls for more beer.
    OK. So probably a half-dozen all said-and-done.

    And I still like PE’s lineup with Mkhi on the left.
    So there then… 🙂


  • HT,
    As I see it, the critical thing lies on how positively a player can channel his emotions. No way he can run away from emotions.

    As for me as a fan, those little swings in emotions create the excitement that makes me a fan. I know that Buđda the Enlightened, totally free from any form of attachment would never have been a fan of any team. Purged of emotions and one has ceased to be a fan.

  • I think 17 is right, we should not be driven by hate. Having said that, they have been a very nasty bunch to our players for the last few years and the players will be fuelled by this once again tomorrow.

    Lets spank them properly and then shake hands at the end.

  • “I think 17 is right.” Ah, TA, you just made my day… 😉

    That said, it doesn’t sound as much fun as the day J-Dub is having….

    When it comes to emotion, it’s true, players, like everybody else, has ’em… And channeling them seems good, when it actually helps your play… When Ozil gives off his poor body language, to me, I see a guy who (really, really) wants to play better football. (Then he puts his head down and tries it again, which I also love…) Do we really want them to fly in with the emotion of a Roy Keane with a leg-breaker? Shawcrossing (poor) Shawcross is the last thing I would want to see. His tears, on the day, seemed as genuine as the snap in Ramsey’s fib & tib…

    Really, I’m just keen for fans to realize that it’s not a truism that a bad result means zero or poor emotion on the day… Sometimes–most times in fact–the better technical footballing side gets the good result. Also, fans–at least those in the stadium–who have NOTHING but emotion to offer, I don’t think, should be throwing stones (in glass houses…) about the emotions of those tasked with ACTUALLY kicking the ball. If fans bring negative banners, sneer until they see football at a level that is “good enough” or spend the day off doing something else “in protest” (why not give your ticket to a kid on the street?…), who (TF) are they to talk down the lack of passion in everybody not named Jack?… Oh, right, they hate bad results and need someone to blame… That’s an emotion too, I guess…

    PE, I know you’re not really on about this stuff and that I’ve taken your idea off on a tangent (sorry…)… I need to get a bit more buddha-like and leave my fan-dom behind… It’s a goal of mine, but I’m not there yet…

    Ommmmmmm….. 😉

  • HT,
    Of cause all the talk about the Orcs is a banter. The same as the Spuds. Anybody taking them too much to heart has missed the point.

    I insist however that a fan must ride with the pendulum to be a fan. For me it should be a pendulum with a small amplitude …. interplaying in a world of opposites, the yin and the yen, the pain and the pleasure.

    Assume a lotus pose underneath a Bodhi tree and after long meditation you’d be able to be free of the fandom. Good luck.

  • Total, I wasn’t trying to catch out PE, honest mate….

    But beware of what you all read today, April 1st, know what I mean? 🙂

  • PE

    Great preview… I won’t quibble on the last 1-2 players or side of field. I will note TAs comment on Lambert and tactics. I think your side is very aggressive but maybe more open field aggressive. What if in our house they just sit back, way back… There I think it’s Auba poaching and Laca in the air from precision crosses from Ozil and Mkhitaryan…

    Thus, emotions, if Stoke feels them and tries to come out and run, it could be a very long day for them. If they play tactically to their level hoping to steal a point or three, then a very boring game could result, one which relies too much on lucky breaks/bounces…

    Lastly, one player comment, again especially if emotions rule. I like Holding over Chambers for “mental toughness vs assholes” … something he’s demonstrated motivates him in past.

    PS: JW it’ll be April 2 here in NZ by the time you read this!

    Cheers and my 2p — jgc

  • Agreed jgc,
    Holding looks one that’s able to channel his inner stuff very well. The main reason though I chose him over Chambers is because Holding is more used to the left CD role (mentioned earlier by jw). If it had been Musti out and Kos in then I’d have Chambers as the right CD.

    One other thing. Modern defenders, particularly for teams that build from the back like Arsenal, must be good passers of the ball. That’s where Holding’s greatest strength as a defender lies. In this department I rate him even better than Kos.

  • I know you weren’t Kev, but I thought it was funny that you impressed PE with your knowledge of Nigerian youth players, only then to state you got all the info from a Nigerian website. 🙂

  • Seventeenho, I think your explanation of ‘passion on the pitch’ is too…. clinical. 🙂

    A team cannot just rely on technical ability and tactical instructions, there also needs to be an alchemic mixture of intensity, desire, will to win, passion, you name it. It is the oil in the machine. I agree that supporters often wrongly accuse the players of a lack of passion, but I reckon the whole relationship between supporters and players and perceived passion is a bit more complicated than you make it out. But let that not stop you to keep pointing it out! 😉

  • Total, I did chuckle when I read that piece about Zlatan, he is a larger than life personality who just says what people expect him to say, he kinda plays to the gallery. All the same I do like him and wish he’d signed for us when we could have got him many years ago – another who slipped through the net. He has this reputation that he plays up to but he has every right to be confident as he is a great player.

  • Whatever amount they (LA Galaxy, MLS) are paying Zlatan– they’re going to eventually pay him more. He is a walking, talking (and scoring) PR machine.

    At his most base, a raw, pure competitor.
    A Clydesdale among men.

    (Happy 4/1!)

  • Confirmed.

    Bel, Musti, Chambers, Monreal
    Elneny. Wilshere, Ramsey
    Ozil, Auba, Welbz.

    Subs: Macey, Kosh. Kola, Xhaka, Iwobi, Mkhi, Lacaz.

  • Kev–
    Apparently, like myself who overslept this morning, Arsenal have too.
    At halftime, I am about 20 minutes in on the DVR– and it was almost 18 minutes before Ozil had his first touch. He had to come back past Elneny at midfield to get one.

    The passing has been atrocious, though not damaging to the scoreline.
    Was trying to decide whether to fast forward to the half and pick it up again live. Then statred watching in 2x speed. At least it was entertaining to watch!


  • Retsub, I’m hearing about 35,000 attendance…

    Stoke won’t make it easy, for sure, they’re fighting for their lives, but we seem to be giving away a lot of cheap possession Retsub, makes you wonder how focused we are on this game?

  • JW, well done you for getting up mate, you are a true Arsenal fan.

    The atmosphere sounds toxic from what I can hear on the radio.

  • A spark is most def required.

    I’ll leave it to your keen and experienced ear Kev as to the atmosphere.
    But the attendance in view is about 50%– and unlike most broadcasts– I can pick out individual voices of folks in the seats– normally a din.


  • Re attendance, difficult to say, but I would have thought a few more. 57 minutes first decent shot. Rambo playing well and laca coming on now

  • I’m watching but with no sound (the exact opposite of Kev’s match day experience… And I see…

    Plenty of empty seats–35K sounds about right, I think…

    Not to be contrary, but I also think that we have good energy but a lack of quality and precision… An hour in and maybe we’re starting to get on top just a bit… (A good move ended with Stoke lucky to block an Elneny shot…) and I’m hopeful that Lacazette can be an upgrade to Welbeck… I’d get Mhki in as well… Maybe for another English fellow….

    One goal wins this one, I fear….

  • Elneny and Nacho with a pair of shots from an advance that can be described as ‘attacking’.


  • I’m not sure what to make of this other than the fact we have made so many changes and perhaps, we have unwittingly allowed the players to believe we are only focused on the Europa league. It’s been rather pedestrian for much of the first half with possession being lost by pretty much every player.

    As expected, things have quickened in the 2nd half but we still keep making errors which give them a sniff from set pieces.

  • elneny undoubtably works very hard. But creates very little, he seems to be at the centre of most moves, which may be the problem today. Good at the back, but lacks creativity. I think Rambo is our only hope today

  • 5:30 am start time for me, Kev… But I definitely contemplated watching this one on tape, so my dedication could (quite easily) be questioned…

    No sound so that my wife can keep sleeping…

    Wow, Stoke hit post and almost score from a corner…

    I hate to say this but…We need Ozil to stop playing down to the level of the others…

    And on cue, he puts PEA in but his shot is blocked… Then he crosses to Bells but Laca, in end only wins a corner…which he (Ozil) delivers beautifully but Nacho’s head across only hits Chambers on the shin and is saved…

    20 mins left and maybe Mesut can keep at it…

  • Rambo the only hope? Only if you’ve checked out on our Messy (some 3 or 4 years ago)… I’m pointing at you Retsub… (But only because I love you…)

    More dancing but not a strikers finish once Ozil lays off for Nacho…

    Mkhi and Xhaka in, Elneny and JW out…

  • I am not sure what the commentatator is on about the penalty being harsh, perhaps. Clearly, Indi has caught Ozil as he was about to connect with the ball, yet we are having a debate?

    A few must surely see the value in Xhaka. This must be the first game in which he hasn’t started and the whole team played like a bunch of strangers. We must stay strong now or this could end up a draw.

  • 17tino, I knew you was there mate, listening to the sound down on the TV makes a lot of sense.

  • Peter Crouch is on for the Orcs and the commentary has been on about his goal scoring record against us. One would expect we have a counter for that introduction. All about making it hard for him to reach the ball in comfort.

  • Mkhi and Xhaka in, Elneny and JW out…
    Speed for speed then?

    Yeah Eris– any discussion of that PEN is drivel.
    This guy is a studio talking head– and he’s barely tolerable in that role.
    I’d once even put that in writing to NBCSN a couple months back.


  • Sorry 17HT you lost me there, but if it helps I love you too. In a politically correct way of course. Suddently we are playing row nil. I thought it was a certain penalty, but on 2nd look he did get a touch .. ooh another pen

  • Sound off sounds like my winning ticket this morning… 😀

    PEA doubles the lead after a bunch of bright work… Mhki, to me, looks esp. keen…

    This finishing group, to me, looks pretty much our best 11 (except for maybe a change or 2 at the back)…

    Qutie a barge over on Laca in the box and… IT’S GIVEN…

    and HE CONVERTS… 3-nil…

  • Nice touch there. For Aubameyang to forgo a chance for the hat trick to give Laca the chance to take that penalty. 3-0! Who would have thought at the start.

  • All I’m saying, Retsub, is that (I think) we need to acknowledge the exceptional class of (one) Mesut Ozil… Which I know must be difficult if you’ve slagged him off since his early days at the club…

    Today, IMO, once Ozil got his game back to his regular level, Stoke was done…

    Just my view, of course, and surely someone will tell me, no, no, it was all Jack the lad…

  • I am not criticising the guy, but it seems every time Ospina goes for a cross he gets injured. Or is he fibbing?

  • 17HT I have never changed my opinion of Ozil, when he is good, he is very very good but when he is bad he is awful. I do believe that Ozil is a very intelligent footballer, but I do believe (wait for the flak). That he does slow the games down on occasions. There was an incident in the 2nd half when Arsenal broke really quickly. It was passed to Ozil who then spun around and slowed things down. In the old days (old git speaking). Arsenal often broke quickly and were going from one end to the other in short order.

    Rambo, Sky motm

  • Actually, Jack looked out of sorts, and Ramsey needed a squirt from the oilcan.


  • Ramsey? MoTM? For what?
    (Maybe it’s me that’s rusty?)
    How is it possible it’s not the guy with a brace?


  • Yes, at one occasion Özil slowed the game… Maybe… presumably… one occasion… 6 shot assists in the end and one golden for Auba. Slow slow slow…

  • Just different opinions jw1, but to clarify you are referring to a brace of goals? Nice touch to let Laca take the 2nd pen though.

  • Kev–
    Can’t locate that commentator’s name. He’s not a first-team choice either. He’s the guy they break to– who is in charge of regurgitating gossip on-air, off-studio. If he didn’t have a raspy/gravelly Brit accent– he’d probably be a gigolo. Really annoying twit.


  • Yessir retsub, Auba.
    Or even Ozil as MoTM.

    I’ll likely watch the match again– as I was playing catch-up. But until about 75mins there wasn’t much to credit anyone with IMO.


  • OK JW, I understand that you have quite a collection of never-has-beens as your ‘expert’ analysers on US Soccer TV, mostly Brits, and you are welcome to keep them mate as we have enough knobheads on our TV already….

  • Robbie Earle is the only one I can tolerate Kev.
    And they’ve banished him from studio for a US Soccer has-been Kyle Martino.
    Knobhead. There’s a fit.

    While Googling Martino– found he was running for President of the US Soccer Federation.
    Sent in a ‘Contact’ form on his campaign website:

    Subject: Sure. Why not?
    Message: As long as he promises to stay off my TV. Effing horrible.


  • Robbie Earle used to do midweek soccer TV in the UK and was pretty fair, considering that he comes from the Stoke area.

    I’ve never heard of Martino, JW, but ‘effing horrible’!!!
    You’re sounding almost like a cockney…. 🙂

  • Victor Moses costs Chelsea their 1-nil lead in 1st-half extra time– with a not-so-clever attempt at a clearance– leading to a goal-of-the-season-candidate blast by Erikksen.

    Chavs 1-1 Sp*rs at half.


  • Hahahaha! That settles it then, jw1. Auba man of the match; followed closely by Ozil.

    I thought Ozil was magnificent today and really deserved a goal or, at the least, an assist. He kept creating after that lethargic start by the whole team. There was a point when I thought Jack was trying to sabotage the side, getting himself easily dispossessed or misplacing passes with hungry Stoke attackers about. Chambers looks like one who needs game time.

  • I hate to say it but this Spurs side do look hungry; it would be something of a travesty if they don’t get a shot at something soon, on current form.

    On that note, the run in to the FA cup will be very interesting with 3 of the sides in the semi-final having a real need to win it. If United are beaten in the semi, the tiny tots will fancy their chances.

  • Eris–
    Honestly did not see that before I posted the Auba/Ozil recs– nor look specifically for something to confirm. Just felt there was little to distinguish anyone until 75mins+.

    Then it has to be the guy who was on a hat trick (who classily gave Laca the PEN attempt)- or the guy who pulled the strings so well. And ‘that’? Is the thing about Ozil. He can play like a savant for 15mins and make it possible to win.


  • Hi all..
    Aubameyang is my MotM.. Not only for his goals but also for his unselfish way.. He make our future more easier..
    He break the wall of competition between them.. And we all now will see both of them playing together more often.. Hehehe..

    I agree with 17ht.. Ozil is a better player after Wilshere replaced..
    Sorry to say it.. But it’s the fact..
    Playing him more width to accommodate Wilshere is a bad decision..

  • I was travelling through the snow-peaked Highlands with family when the mighty red and white were playing. saw the highlights and looked like a passionless affair for 2/3 of the game until the non-penalty (sorry that was a harsh decision by the referee) put some energy into the team. Great pen by Auba and great finish for the second, and real ‘three-musketeers-ship’ by Auba to give Lacazette the second penalty.

    Clearly, the PL has become second best to the UEFA league for us now. Let’s hope the boys put in a full, passionate shift on Thursday.

  • Henry and 17HT, you both like to pick on Jack. To most of us he is a hero but you just love to have a go/bully the ‘Caucasian’/English former youth talent that is Super-Jack. You pick on him all you like but I will be watching you! 🙂

  • Hehehe TA..
    I love LAMORE (L’Amour).. Hehehe.. And no Wilshere there.. So sorry..
    Lacazette – Aubameyang – Mhkitaryan – Ozil – Ramsey – Elneny..

    And We still don’t have his (Wilshere) sign.. It’s only couple of months till his contract expired.. We don’t know what really happened..?? But I don’t think it is Wenger’s fault.. We will see..

  • TBF TA?
    Myself, as a Caucasian/half-English former youth? 🙂
    Whose initials are also ‘JW’ coincidentally enough?
    That has an affinity for Super-Jack as well?

    Yesterday’s was Jack’s poorest outing in some time.

    Suspecting the interlull-knee-knock Gareth Southgate dismissed as insignificant– is a good portion of the cause. Not necessarily statistically, but from expectancy? Jack didn’t do the things he should have normally vs Stoke.

    Saw one such example in midfield– where Shaqiri did a tight pivot/pirouette with the ball that I would have expected Jack (defending) to have mimicked. He didn’t, or couldn’t.

    Likely, yesterday’s inclusion of Wilshere to the starting XI (where Kos was expectedly rested for CSKA)– was AW’s way of determining if Jack was going to start on Thursday. I’ll wager ‘not’ at this juncture.


  • Fair enough JW – I reckon some like to pick on Jack but then get annoyed when others pick on their favourites 🙂

    See it could easily be said that Jack plays better without Ozil walking into his space all the time. It is about perspective or script-flexibility 😀

  • Oh man, I just lost a sizable comment on yesterday’s match, including some talk about Ozil and Jack and favorites and the like…

    Ugh… I feel super-frustrated…

    Like I do when Jack breaks through the lines after running (magnificently…) onto a ball and leaving his defender dusted in his wake and even having the time to scan the pitch before taking it (in perfect stride) onto his favored left foot… Then loses it to a poor 2nd (or 3rd or always one extra…) touch… For me, the oohs and ahhs of the initial move (and the growing crowd-sense) of Arsenal menace-making, gets washed away with the frustration of the final break-down…and I feel kinda like this guy…


  • That was supposed to be a photo of Ozil with his poor (frustrated) body language… I’m still wondering why I can’t get JPEGs (to cross post) from the Google Images results… More frustration…

  • The point I was trying to make (in the long and now very lost comment) is that we were VERY poor as a team in playing the ball yesterday…for a variety of reasons (not having to do with Wilshere, IMO)… In fact, I only popped on to the in-match comments yesterday because folks were blaming stuff on “no energy,” “lack of focus” and other such things where I was seeing some real technical deficiency, mostly due to a revamped rear-guard. That boring, boring stroking it around the back type of play the likes of Cech (Szcz)–Kos–Mustafi (BFG)–Xhaka (Arteta) do (or did) has a purpose. We started the match by trying to ping balls into tight spaces… At that point guys have to improvise little flicks and turnovers happen…and we look like poo… It’s not for lack of trying… In fact, it’s maybe for trying too hard–or at least lacking patience…(And maybe just wanting that first goal too soon…)

    Ozil looked just as guilty as the rest. That changed soon enough, but, as good as he is…and the fact that he needs to be a leader of one sort or the other out there…I can’t give him MOTM for finally clicking in over the last 20 mins…

    It was pretty cool to watch, however, and I can’t blame the ref for blowing the pen call. Messy was taking over the match to the point that it looked like only a foul could stop him… 😉

    Nope… I give MOTM to the Swiss Munchkin guy who used to make a certain Gooner Lost In Cornwall (Glic) go boing… If Shaqiri actually used his teammates, Stoke might’ve won that match. Instead we are lucky that he didn’t score from that corner (70th min, I think) which served as our wake-up call…

    Back to Jack… He was on the pitch during that dominant spell that lead to the breakthrough goal so he should get credit along with all the rest… He’s not my favorite, I will admit, so I see the frustration more than the potential (see my above comment—Ughh!!…) much of which I sense has been lost in the endless injuries (compounded, I’ve always wondered, by the bow-legged running style) and the late-night (or all day long at the pool?) cigarettes. Yesterday we had some run-all-day guys (Rambo and Elneny and maybe even Welbeck) in there trying to make up for what they lack in technique. Is JW such a player?… I’m not so sure…

    He’s very good, however, AND I do believe he really does want to be a good TEAM player. (It’s likely he spoke more to his mates in yesterday’s match than Alexis did in his entire time at Arsenal, I think…) Sign da ting and be part of our team next year and (at least) go out a(n) Arsenal legend… While I’d like to see his fitness match up to the rest of our MFs, I’m not at all obsessed (as Hehehenry seems to be) about him taking Ozil’s spot in the middle. A real TEAM of MFs will be constantly creating and filling space for one another (and covering each other defensively) so starting positions matter (next to) nothing for me…

    I will say this… On a personal level I AM put off…by the hair. He married his barber’s daughter but isn’t that guy giving that haircut to nothing but scary (and ALL Caucasian) skin-head Ultra types? Is Jack really even going bald? I get it with Zidane (and Steve Bould) but I wonder if it’s the haircut thing that makes Roy Keane (who played as a skin-head but now does punditry with a full head of the stuff) so hard on our guy… As I wrote earlier in the thread, I get it why some supporters enjoy a guy who understands their culture and one who might celebrate an FA cup (won over Hull City?…) by parading with drink in hand and talking about Spurs and Sh*t, but this balding (and bitter about it) supporter thinks a (professional) distance between players and fans is just fine…

    I’ll take him all day (every day), however, over guys like (MOTM) Shaqiri who want to do it all by themselves…

    I think there was some other stuff about something or other in the lost comment but, you know, I lost it…

  • Oh yeah, AW seems to have shown his hand on playing Laca and PEA together… Looks like #14 will move out wider when the #9 takes up his spot… I like it… Auba seems a LOT more precise with his touches (esp. when it comes to angles) than Theo… Still a bit early to talk about that other #14…

    Except that I will… I doubt Henry would’ve giving up his (potential) hat-trick in similar circumstances… Not selfish enough, lacks killer instinct, blah, blah, blah… Again, any sacrifice for the team, IMO, only makes it stronger… Bodes OK for the future, maybe? Ugh… I might be forced to stick around…

  • “I will say this… On a personal level I AM put off…by the hair. He married his barber’s daughter but isn’t that guy giving that haircut to nothing but scary (and ALL Caucasian) skin-head Ultra types? Is Jack really even going bald? I get it with Zidane (and Steve Bould) but I wonder if it’s the haircut thing that makes Roy Keane (who played as a skin-head but now does punditry with a full head of the stuff) so hard on our guy… As I wrote earlier in the thread, I get it why some supporters enjoy a guy who understands their culture and one who might celebrate an FA cup (won over Hull City?…) by parading with drink in hand and talking about Spurs and Sh*t, but this balding (and bitter about it) supporter thinks a (professional) distance between players and fans is just fine…”

    In my world we do not look at the way people look but what they do, their character, their talents, etc etc.

    Jack, like Iniesta, David Silva, Wesley Sneijder, etc is a small, creative player who has learned to look after himself the hard way. No hair makes him look tougher and just a bit quicker when he strides through the oppositions’ midfields. 🙂

    Go on, Seventeenho, open up your hard to Super Jack; he isn’t that scary.

  • On an entirely different note, what’s the situation in California re a judge’s ruling that coffee causes cancer and this now needing to be advertised on packaging??!!??

  • Here is my prediction for the last four in the CL: RM, Bar, Bay, Liv. Hence I will not be watching the games, except perhaps the MC-Liv game, which with good refereeing should be a decent battle to watch.

  • Whoa… TA, picking Pool over City?… Care to make it interesting… You name the number and I’ll take that bet… How about the loser has to fly his family out for a visit…. With those stakes we might both end up watching those matches(!)…

    If you’re picking Pool in that one you (still, somehow…) must believe the results are not rigged… I wish I was there withya… 😦

    The hair stuff is a bit of a goof…and, if I weren’t so lazy myself I might go for that bald vanity look of the daily shave… Fact of the matter is that I still have enough hair that a monthly buzz does the trick… Nonetheless, I remain embittered…

    “In my world we do not look at the way people look but what they do, their character, their talents, etc etc.”

    That’s fine… And some folks might not like the trend towards “professionalism” of, er, professional athletes… In my view, the VERY best can still smoke and drink and run all day and score goals or make assists or play defense, etc., etc., etc… And, I’m SURE I could pull up an image of Jack hard at work on the training pitch or rehab center for each image of him in a club or in the pool with a fag hanging out of his mouth and a drink in his hand. When I was a very un-professional athlete (I still am, I guess, O2 nicely in my veins after a fast ski this morning…) I worked at my game(s) fairly hard…esp. considering my salary (for playing…) I was no saint but I’m sure I was living at least a bit cleaner than some of my teammates and opponents, which I felt was a real advantage. So, that would be my (personal) preference for the guys on my team. JW IS talented, but I wonder if he’s maximized that talent by way of what he’s “done.” Over time, I fail to see an improved right foot, more efficient running style or ability to give an effort at his highest level over 90+ minutes… On character, where some folks see “passion” and “desire,” I see petulance and blaming forces outside oneself… The same sorts of things that made Alexis such a “winner” and Ozil such a “loser.” Sorry… 😦

    “Go on, Seventeenho, open up your hard to Super Jack; he isn’t that scary.”

    Freudian slip there, TA?… 😀 Sorry, my flute doesn’t play there (but, like I said, even less so for super impressive individual players with maybe even worse hair…like Shaqiri)… I’ll repeat myself here. I DO believe Wilshere is a dedicated TEAM player. He will hopefully be an asset to Arsenal…or any other team that gives him a better contract…

    Sorry to be contrary here, I guess it’s kinda becoming my thing, if I can be motivated to write…

    Onto something that does bring on the flute music…

    Coffee, like all cooked food, is prone to developing carcinogens if it gets burnt… That’s why I roast my own and favor a light roast. (Dark roasts tend to mask low quality and less than fress coffee; light roasts allow for at least a bit of actually “tasting the bean” rather than “just the roast.”) Then, by extracting the glory of the (lightly roasted) bean and drinking the essence of it (I grind 18 grams of beans for 35-40g shots of espresso), I don’t need sugar nor milk nor do I get the extra acid (and a bit more caffeine) that comes with the “long brewed” methods of extraction…

    Anyhow, IF Pool lose and you come and visit, you’ll see the glory of it all… 😉 Or, you can play it safe and drink tea. (I’ve heard some strong warnings on how black tea, almost all of it coming from China is processed… Rinse first is a shot of hot water to wash the leaves and let them “bloom,” or something…)

    Anyhow, all of that sounds good…and the machine is still on… I might just have to treat myself to the (dreaded…) 3rd shot…


  • Yep, JW, that’s how I was feeling when I lost my early a.m. comment… Howdyoudothat?…

  • 17HT, I would love to take you on for that bet but I could not honour it if I lost 🙂

    The theory is that MC is the real threat to the ‘big three’ so Pool will have to deal with them, perhaps aided a bit 🙂

  • HT–
    Decided to sleuth it.
    (Browsing with Chrome) I right-clicked on the failed image placeholder you posted and clicked ‘Copy link address’ from the menu that appeared.

    Pasted the link into a text editor.
    Saw a string of Google Images bureaucracy (highlighted) that precedes ‘just’ the image address:

    What Google Images is doing is referencing an image on In essence you posted a shortcut to a link. The WordPress theme of as configured, didn’t like the Googole Images shortcut. So– by removing the text up to and including the ‘=’ (equal sign)– you get an unencumbered link to location of the Daily Mail image.

    As I’m also a WordPress designer, I recognize the inherent properties of the Twenty Ten WP theme. Spartan deployment of the theme makes for a least-complex maintenance environ. (Coming from an old-school HTML web designer? It lends to the charm of the site IMHO. Kudos, TA.)


  • TA… Just checking in… I went with tea… 😦 They say it’s the same chemical but I find that coffee makes me dream while tea (mostly just) keeps me going… And this afternoon, that’s what I need to do…

    I thought of you and your love of the highlands today when I skied a place called Hope Valley… Have you ever read any John Muir? I haven’t but I’ve been told that I should check out the (loco) Scottish fellow who brought the sheep into the High Sierra meadows (in the late 1800s) and knew that it wasn’t the thing to do…too delicate, too beautiful, too spiritual, maybe?…

    Anyhow, I’m just trying to inspire a visit… I’m pretty sure you owe me (us) one… Best of all…
    There would be no Arsenal matches (to see live at least) that might kill the good time…

    Think about it… And, I can see there’s more hope than belief when it comes to putting your hard with Pool this week…

    Enjoy your evening…

  • Cheers, JW… I’ll give it a try… Soon enough you’ll be working for Google (whose stock I bought today when it dipped below a big round number I’ll be able to remember)… And we’ll have to pay for those photos, no?

    My wife, who knows I’m anti-Apple (and can never buy Samsung due to Chelsea sponsorship…) just got me a Pixel phone… So, now I’m all in… I hope they’ll be a benevolent force when they control everything…

    –17HT sent with help from Big Brother…

  • Seventeenho,

    I don’t know anything about J Muir. Will look it up.

    With a bit of luck I will be working in the summer months, except for a week in Ardnamurchan, and in the Autumn (Fall as you call it) we will be in Andalucía. As you have lived there, I seem to remember, any tips are very welcome! 🙂

    JW1, thanks for the blog compliment, 🙂

  • ‘We’ all work for Google* HT. We’re just happy about it.
    (Frequently chuckle at the ’90s-ish notion that Microsoft ‘was’ Big Brother incarnate.)

    *Was an Orwell ‘1984’ devotee in my early teens (in the decade preceding the ’80s).
    Long before the internet and Wikipedia? Wrote a high-school paper detailing how I felt that Orwell had ripped-off Russian/Soviet-dissident Yevgeny Zamyatin’s 1921 novel ‘We’ (a story set in a dystopian future police state.).

    That English Literature teacher gave me a failing grade. Thought the idea preposterous.
    Then, come to find many years later– that several of sci-fi’s luminary writers had their own suspicions of whose stories had (ahem!) ‘borrowed’ themes from those who preceded them. Along with the expected attendant ‘tut-tutted refusals’ required from that sphere of writers.

    And ‘me too’ HT. No Apple/Macs ever.
    Another interesting tale of persecution and woe from my youth– for another time. 😦


  • When it comes to Granada, I’ll have plenty of ideas for you, TA…. Revisiting would be (very) nice… Let me know your dates, etc., when you know ’em… I’d have recommended a game at the little stadium there, but Granada CF, after several years up, are back down in La Segunda… 😦

    If all the promotion clubs stay up, this year in England will see some clubs who’ve been up for (quite) a bit heading back down… WBA is already (as good as) down, who else is heading there?… So’ton, like Stoke this yesterday, need points from us at the Grove, this next Sunday…

    I’ll have to relate that stuff to my kid (almost 16) who is in a bit of a dystopian phase of his own and “enjoyed” 1984 not too long ago… Cheers again, J-Dub…

  • Good comments guys. Was away for a week travelling, so i am glad that we broke Stoke after a difficult first half.

    After the first penalty goal we were a little more relaxed, and started to score 2 more, one from another penalty.

    I have yet to see the full match, just the highlights, so cannot comment much.

    More to come from me.

  • JK–
    Angst from minutes 1-thru-73.
    Relief and tempered-joy from minutes 74-thru-90+.
    (Never be unhappy with 3pts at Stoke. 🙂 )


  • I am no fan of Tony Pulis, but can you imagine the pleasure he would take from 3 teams he has previously managed in the prem, Stoke, WBA and Palace all being relegated at the same time. If he made the trip in the opposite direction with Middlesbrough, he might even manage a smile.

  • retsub–
    A bargain 3-for-1 swap.
    In the end? Proof Pulis is a good Championship manager.

    If CP went down? I’d still want to take a gamble on Zaha.
    So much there. If he played with quality, he could raise his game. An Ox-style winger/wingback already at the next-level IMO. In a year’s time– Holding, Kola and Zaha on the left in a 3-5-2?

    Worth considering.


  • Hi all..
    Just wondering.. Will Aubameyang allow to play after Dortmund out from this competition..??

    Jw1.. I will go for Zaha also.. Hehehe..

  • Jw1 I guess its saying Pulis is a good prem manager, i dont think he has ever been relegated. Zaha is definitely worth considering. Lots of Palace supporters in my neighbourhood, but Palace dont raise much of a threat to our boys, even when we are not playing our best. Now if we could just get Spurs relegated!!!!

  • Perhaps my indirect biases are rearing their unattractive-footie-loathing antennae?
    Knowing that Pulis and Mourinho are BFFs — goes far in my forming an opinion of both.

    Loathsome strategists.
    Wasters of talent– to make an end.

    If Middlesborough do ascend?
    Anybody know if Pulis is actually undead?
    Seemingly his strategems are,


  • Jw1, thanks for the spoiler alert.. actually it is nothing too surprising about, given that they passed the ball well and we waited for them to be tired before we scored.

    We did well and the penalties were soft, but I don’t care about whether it was soft or not.
    We were at the end of some bad refereeing before, so its’ time that we had some soft ones back.

    Welbs and Jacko had an off day, and Auba did well given the number of passes from his teammates.

  • I dunno JK… Seemed to me like our English boys played to their usual level… I will agree that we’ve gotten some nice (but very poor) calls in our direction lately… Thanks to dennis, maybe, should be offered?

    Of course, I said my piece on the Stoke match on Monday…to the point that I had to make up for the time I’d wasted the day before… :sheepish face…

    Yesterday, I *tried* to take a break and watch some CL footy at lunchtime…but I did it all wrong, missing the bicycle kick, but seeing Sevilla unable to hold out in their home leg. The former was spectacular, of course. (The latter was predictable; Bayern aren’t Moo-U, after all… 🙂 ). For me, there are some fine footballers who give off very little in the way of warmth or attractiveness. Ronaldo is one such character… I like Zidane, however, so if he can appreciate it (la bicicleta…) then why can’t I? Following on from my (latest…) critique of Jack and (the lack of..) obvious signs of working at his game, I will say that few (none?…) can match the vanity that seems to motivate Ronaldo, who (most obviously) works on his body, his running and all the rest of his skills… What’s interesting (I think, at this point…) about his rivalry with Messi, will be if one or the other persists (at their current level) deep into their 30s to maybe skew all the record comparisons in favor of one or the other… What do y’all think? C’mon football historians… Who are some of the greatest professionals who have impressed with their quality over time, i.e., their longevity at the highest level?…

    This seems better than discussing the efficacy of “anti” managers (Pulis, Moo…nobody mentioned Fat Sam…) vs more positive approaches… (I know who I’d put top of the list, but you can’t mention him on Arsenal blogs in such a light… Hint: his name starts with a W and ends with enger…) IF Pulis can get Boro up (gotta make the playoff spots first…) I’d be at least semi-impressed… Let me also say this… If Arsenal get into the fire-the-manager-every-time-we-have-a -couple-of-bad-results, we too might start enjoying seeing faces like Pulis and Fat Sam (or, at least the Moo-man) coming through our revolving door. Careful what you wish for, my (or at least somebody’s…) mama used to always say…

    Or we could talk about the line-up for the Ropy League match… or if the seats will be full…

    Over to you guys…

  • I rather talk about the Europa League, and i would like those who did not play in Stoke match to play in the coming game. Is Cech still out?

    My lineup will be:

    AMN – Kos – Mus – Kola
    Xhaka – Elneny
    Ozil – Rambo – Welbs/ Iwobi

  • I watched the second half and did not see Jack do anything that was bad or ‘at a lower level’. Nothing. He made himself available and when he got the ball, he worked hard to get himself into space as to deliver an attacking pass or combine with the attackers. In front of him movement was poor and he often had to pass sideways or backwards – both against his attacking nature – because of it.

    Now Welbeck was indeed below the expected level but to group him with Jack is not gaining much respect from me.

    As a team we lacked….. intensity and determination until the subs came on which gave the team momentum. Until then the entire team was to blame for a below par performance!

  • TA–
    As one of Jack’s regular praise-singers here?
    And not laying the entire team’s performance at Jack’s feet?
    If you’ve not watched the first half– your opinion might change.

    A thought that had occurred to me during that first half– was that watching Jack’s play? Reminded me of Elneny’s utility in feeding Jack the ball in the right spaces to foster attack. Only– Elneny was on the field at the time too– and neither seemed to be able to click with Ramsey.

    We went from 7/1 shots/on target first half– to 24/11 at fulltime. If memory serves– prior to Laca replacing Welbeck (on 60′)– we sat at 11/3. The remainder worthy of staying tuned-in.


  • Whoa… Just tuned in to the CL match and Pool are up by 2… You maybe shoulda taken that bet, TA… 😀 Of course, it’s 2 legs, but it makes the next goal really big… And POOL GET IT!!!


  • On the Jack-flak… Please recall that I was originally pointing the finger at (one, Mesut) Ozil…

    2.5 hours of football (remaining to be played between City and Pool) is a LOT… City need to get on top sooner than later, however… Jesus isn’t quite El Kun…so early in his career, at least…

    More on our (not quite fully functional) MF… For me it’s all about “spacing,”…which is a sub-set of “positioning.” All players have spots where they want to receive the ball but CREATING those places (positions) so that balls can ACTUALLY be delivered there (at the correct pace, with the correct spin, etc.) requires teamwork. I think that Ozil (and Mhki) can actually organize the spaces better with the less skilled guys (Wilshere, Rambo, Elneny) a little bit freer to find their own spot if they are fenced in by a touch-line (i.e., played in wide starting spots)… It’s interesting what Bould says about Lacazette (all round player, not just a finisher…) which hasn’t been said about a player like Welbeck…

    Like I say, I think Jack is a good team player so I don’t question his effort level… The team FINALLY started clicking after Laca came in for DW… TA, spare yourself the full first half but maybe watch the first few minutes of pinged passes that none of our MFs could control…

  • 1 of 4 halves played… Pool’s position looks VERY strong… If they can hold it (in this leg) it might mute PL celebrations at the week-end? Or City might field a VERY weakened team in their derby to focus on the return leg?…

    Nobody took up my early questions today… Maybe these?…

  • Evening gents

    That is what Liverpool can do at Anfield. We have been dealt such a half by them a few times now. But the game is not over of course, and Citeh will come out determined to get a goal or two back. Could finish 4-2.

  • TA. A quick note to say that you have mail. Just some thoughts I’d been mulling. If there’s a quiet spell on the blog it’s one to prompt some debate maybe?

  • Sad to say that we are seeing that there was indeed more to come from the Ox following his move. Maybe it isn’t sad, not for the player for sure; but poses certain questions for us. Trying to fit in too many players at the same time would be my reflection, rather than backing a small squad and praying for luck with injuries.

  • For me AOC is a player of moments, AB. He can be brilliant for a few minutes every now and again and then disappear again. A great goal though.

  • Wow, finishes 3-nil… Lucky me, no need to book my flights to Scotland… 😀

    Looking forward to your post AB…

    No doubt the Ox is a very talented guy, give him space (and limit his need to make a decision) and good (or very good) things can happen… Additionally, he might be in the Ronaldo-vanity class when it comes to his efforts at personal fitness… I wrote about it above, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion not everyone reads my comments… 😦 😀

    In the end, a footballer–to help his team–must bring skills, athleticism and the character or mentality to figure out how to elevate his team better–which is actually easier (you have to do less) on better teams… Last Summer (when Ox moved to Pool…) Arsenal had a greater need for players who can take on a more REAL responsibility. The Ox played up at Anfield and looked as lost as ever in the drubbing (as he had for most of his Arsenal career, IMO)…which is perhaps a reason that he moved on and Alexis (who didn’t move at that time) stayed…

    Looks like City coulda used the other Judas, er, turncoat, er, guy (Alexis) tonight… If Pool can get a goal in the return leg City would need 4… That’s a mountain…

  • 17ht, I read your comments, but not fully, especially regarding the Ox. He needs massive spaces like Theo does. So, if they face teams that focuses on defending, then they will not be able to play well.

    I rather focus on tonight’s match. Couldn’t care more about Alexis or The Ox.

  • Think you mean ‘less’, 84 🙂

    Seventeenho, if Pool score in Manchester, Citeh need five goals to go through, not four. They will set up to score five or even six and hope not to concede more than one or two goals. The risk of an away goal, or indeed more, on the counter will be a heavy weight on the shoulders of the Citehers…

  • Yes TA, you are right. Couldn’t care less about the ex-players.

    Citeh had lost to the Pools in the league this season and the incident on the bus scared them too. It seems that they are not all invincible, but the points gap between them and the second place team is just too big. Couldn’t see them dropping more points again.

  • We have however seen the rarer advantage of having the 1st leg at home– in England. May not be the refs our boys need to be prepared for when heading to play the 2nd leg in Moscow.

    This isn’t competitive. This is a disgrace:

    A psychological edge is worth percentage points of efficiency in-game. There is no possible way– this– did not affect City pre-match. One thing to be able to focus and prepare for the task you’re coming to do.

    Completely unexpected to have to compartmentalize this.
    Not borderline, but criminal.


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