Which team would you pick?

Written by Big Raddy

Elland Road mid-week in January, 40,000 noisy fans up for the Cup, a promising Leeds team looking to cement their reputations; the joys of the F.A. Cup 3rd round.

Being honest, we were fortunate to have the chance of this replay, the very late penalty saving Arsenal from the ignominy of an early Cup exit to a team from a lower division. Leeds outfought us at the Grove, they showed a grit  we struggled to cope with and Mr. Wenger  will consider himself fortunate to have another opportunity to progress into the 4th round. One can say that we played a second team but it remained a team packed with Internationals and expensive recruits – we had the personnel, we were at home, we should have won.

Some of the media around the game is focused upon Walcott’s “dive” admission which showed Theo to be an honest, if naive, young man. The Leeds manager Simon Grayson has called for Theo to be banned for tonight (according the the Daily Mail!). We can expect the crowd to get on Theo’s case from his first kick which will hopefully inspire him, because from the moment Theo came on as sub in the home tie we looked more dangerous.

I like Simon Grayson, he did a fine job with Blackpool, giving Holloway the basis for the team who have recently done the double over Liverpool. His work at Leeds has been nothing short of remarkable. Since Grayson’s arrival Leeds have had unremitting success, gaining promotion from Div 1 and now on the verge of a return to the Premiership, and he has done so without resorting to DirtyLeeds tactics.  Grayson’s star in is the ascendant.

We saw in the first tie how Leeds play. Based upon a very solid central defence and backed by a Schmeichel they work extremely hard. A midfield that will look to harry our skill payers into making rash and inaccurate passes, and fullbacks who have pace (I was very impressed with their right back Max Gradel). Upfront Sanchez Watt will be looking to impress Mr Wenger – but not too much. Beccchio is Leeds top scorer but may be out injured tonight.

What side will Mr Wenger play?  Who knows? Will he play a quasi- first 11 with Cesc, RvP and Theo starting or will he continue with the side that escaped at the Grove? Sagna is back and rested but AW likes to use Eboue in Cup games, and we have an important meeting with Wigan on the weekend. Will he continue with Djourou who played poorly at Upton Park  and surely needs a break? Could he risk playing Miquel? The Nik B / Chamakh combination didn’t work at all in the first game, and Nik is clearly not a right winger. Either could start  – my heart goes with Nik and my head with Chamakh. One player I would be surprised to see is Van Persie who despite having a huge impact recently should be rested and I expect Theo to come on as an impact sub should we need him.

Here’s my guess:

Chesney

Eboue  JD  Koscielny  Gibbs

Song  Denilson  Cesc Rosicky

Bendtner  Arshavin

Bench:  GK? Sagna  Nasri  Walcott  Eastmond  Miquel  Chamakh  Ramsey

This team has enough to defeat any side in the PL let alone the Championship. Should the unthinkable happen, let it be down to poor refereeing or a superb Leeds performance and not lack of application and desire.

Tonight is a tricky tie, one we could easily lose but I see us beating Dirty Leeds, disappointing 40,000 fans, and moving onto the 4th round

COYRRG

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220 Responses to Which team would you pick?

  1. Red Arse says:

    Nice read and a good start to the day. :-)

    Grayson is OK but I don’t like the way he is stirring up fans’ hatred ahead of the game. Not nice, especially as some Leeds fans have a certain reputation.

  2. bops says:

    No Song.. No win today..

  3. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, don’t know who wrote the Post, but where’s my potted history of Leeds? :-)

    If it’s you Raddy, don’t forget to mention that emporium of succulent chinese food the Jumbo Restaurant! :-)

  4. Carlito11 says:

    That pre-match is BR all over RA! I have to agree with bops that Song is the key man today and Denilson shouldn’t start given the media coverage he’s getting- would send out the wrong message unless he’s fired up by it and can show some concentration and application…

  5. Carlito11 says:

    Arshavin and Bendtner up front would be more in hope than expectation. I can see it happening but it would give me palpitations :-)

  6. Carlito11 says:

    I would love to see my namesake up front- he needs a start but it would depend on if he was out “wenching” last night or not!

  7. Red Arse says:

    London,

    Your article about Leadership yesterday was ahead of the pack. :-)

    Look at the furore Denilson’s alleged remarks about Arsenal lacking leadership has caused.

    Pinch of salt needed re the interview/translation, I think, especially as the headline comes from the Sun.

    Again, our discussion about the perils of tabloid journalism a while ago was pretty prescient!

  8. Red Arse says:

    Carlito11, morning. :-)

    I would like to see Carlos play too. His speed and finishing could make all the difference.

    AW doesn’t seem to rate him tho’, which is surprising to me in all honesty.

  9. Smith14 says:

    According to a few quotes on the Guardian it looks like Djourou might be rested. That would suggest Miquel will play. No disrespect to the lad but I would rather partner Koscielny with Song and pick a midfield 3 of Denilson, Cesc and Rosicky.

    Chamakh has been out for a bit so should be raring to go, I’d like to see Chamakh just ahead of Nasri and Arshavin.

    We need to pick a strong side tonight, then we can take people off when we’re winning. It’s much harder to expect 3 subs to come on and change a game with half hour left.

  10. Red Arse says:

    Smithy,

    I think Ignasi is definitely one for the future, but an FA Cup round straight from the Reserves is a big ask.

    I don’t know why AW hasn’t recalled Bartley from Shef Utd, but perhaps he is cup tied?

  11. Smith14 says:

    Red,

    I’d assume Bartley is cup tied, he’s been a regular for The Blades this season.

    This is the long term problem with signing another defender; the prospects for Miquel, Bartley etc (we’ve alreadyt lost Nordveidt) are reduced. You could even argue that it could restrict Koscielny.

    That said, we just need another body in the Defence. I wonder if there’s any one sitting on a european bench somewhere that we could take on loan?

  12. Red Arse says:

    Smithy,

    When AW says no one (CB) has “clicked”, I suspect it means you are right in that if he gets a stop gap CB, that could/would be a waste of time and money. If he gets a more experienced guy (say 26 year old) then real talent like Ignasi Miguel and Bartley could be fooked!

    It’s a bit of a conumdrum for him.

  13. Smith14 says:

    The other problem is that if a player is good enough to play at the level we need him too it’s unlikely that he’ll be available in the transfer window cheaply or on loan, if at all.

    I personally really like Gary Cahill but fees of £20m are ridiculous, especially when that would effectively relegate Djourou or Koscielny to 4th choice. The new CB has to be someone happy to sit on the bench or be rotated. Samba may be an option on a short deal but we have to remember that playing for Blackburn is not the same as playing for Arsenal.

  14. Carlito11 says:

    Telegraph reports NB52 “The bomber” Bentdtner wanted by Wham on loan- might tonight be his last chance to stop that happening?

  15. 26may1989 says:

    Looking forward to the match tonight, even if it is a game we didn’t need. I lived in Leeds for a few years, when LUFC were in the old Div 2, and enjoyed going to Elland Road (and even did my referee training there). Passionate, committed fans – yes, there are some dickheads amongst them, but the way the fans have continued to turn up, even with the Board-created decimation of their team and relegation down to League 1, demands respect.

    As others have pointed out, the big issue is (surprise, surprise) at the back. Djourou must be rested if he’s to have a chance of recovering his form. Personally, I’d prefer not to have Song drop back, and would go for Miquel – young players need to be blooded at some point, and often it will be when everyone else at that position is injured. But I reckon AW will go for Smith14’s approach. If he does, I’d prefer to have Ramsey in midfield than Rosicky.

    With the other areas of the pitch, I’d be happy for our big players to be picked: the next few weeks don’t include the most challenging fixtures; home to Wigan, Ipswich, Huddersfield (hopefully) and Everton.

    Re Denilson, it stings to see one of our players make unguarded comments that can be (mis)read as criticism, but to me it reads like he was being honest and wasn’t having a pop at anyone. There is an underying problem, not so much that we don’t have a single old style captain, but more that our players have a collective fragility that undermines getting the best out of their talents. United are the opposite: limited talent but buckets of organisation, attitude and determination. We all knowo we need more of that to move on. I thought this was an interesting take on Denilson’s interview: http://arsenal.theoffside.com/team-news/denilson-will-be-criticized-but-what-if-hes-right.html.

  16. Simon Grayson says:

    Ermm…Max Gradel isn’t a right back!

    Paul Connolly is our right back.

    Max is a winger/forward. He played on the left against you at your place.

    Apart from that nice article.

  17. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    You’ve summed up all the variables there I’d say Raddy. This really is a crystal ball situation. ….

    We play a strong team to ensure victory and risk injuries to key players…..

    We play the same team as before and give them a chance to redeem themselves and we could lose……

    We play a mix of better players who are rested (Sagna, AA) and quality 2nd string …. conservative(but most likely), could go either way…..

  18. Rasp says:

    Thanks Simon,

    What is the groundswell of opinion amongst Leeds supporters about tonight’s match?

  19. Simon Grayson says:

    To Red Arse..”Grayson is OK but I don’t like the way he is stirring up fans’ hatred ahead of the game”

    Its not in Grayson’s nature to do this so I expect the journos are exaggerating his quotes. He’s a decent bloke and a great manager.

    Hope you guys don’t play your best XI tonight or we’ll get a pasting. All the best.

    LEEDS

  20. 26may1989 says:

    And re Bartley, correct, he is cup-tied.

  21. Red Arse says:

    26,

    Good comment, but what caught my eye was your reference to referee training. You are a dark horse! :-)

    I did not do any ref training at Elland Road but I enjoyed a couple of good team bonding exercises there on the old paintball range.

    Fond memories of Leeds flood back with the pubs, the nightlife, paintballing and the Jumbo Restaurant! :-)

  22. Simon Grayson says:

    Rasp – simple. You play your best team then we lose.

    If you play a 2nd string we will get 11 men behind the ball and frustrate you and hit you on the break. We have some great attacking players – Snoddy, Gradel and Watt is on good form – so we may sneak a goal or two.

    The key is the first goal – if you get it then it will open us up and your lovely football will kill us. If we get it we may just hang on in there this time.

    For what it is worth I love watching Arsenal and they are by far my fave team in the Prem.

    Do any you guys rememeber the cup game in the early 80s at ER. We scored in the last min of extra time to go 1-0 up. Rix equalised 30s later when Lukic dived over a free kick. I was there and can’t believe it was nearly 30 years ago! ouch.

  23. Red Arse says:

    Morning Rasper. :-)

    How come there is no Pic in the Post today? Skiving? :-)

  24. 26may1989 says:

    I don’t think I’m the only saddo, sorry, qualified referee here – has Raddy qualified too, or is it Rasp? I’m sure it’s someone. I hope so anyway, solidarity amongst the geeks.

  25. Rasp says:

    Morning RA,

    I’m afraid I had a problem with the technology today – lost my mem stick with all the templates on :(

  26. Red Arse says:

    Simon,

    re my reference to Grayson stirring up the fans, you are right, of course, I read his alleged comments in the newspapers. Glad you think they were wrong.

    Is Ray Fell still the Leeds Supporters Chairman, do you know? I suppose not as I haven’t seen him for many years now. Top bloke! One of the best. :-)

  27. 26may1989 says:

    Simon, I remember that Rix/Lukic one, bloody appalling goalkeeping (didn’t stop us later signing Lukic twice of course….). Didn’t the usually placid Eddie Gray do his nut at Lukic for that one?

    I love Wenger, and love the fact he’s such a fair-minded guy, but I really don’t see why he consented to Sanchez Watt playing tonight. The likes of Ferguson, Redknapp and Mourinho must laugh into their glasses of pinot at decisions like that!

  28. Rasp says:

    26m

    My son is a qualified ref and so is my brother (he works for the FA) but even they can’t agree on some decisions!

  29. Red Arse says:

    Not at all Geeky, 26.

    It’s just that I had the temerity to argue a matter of principle with you some weeks ago, not knowing of your dark secret.

    As I remember, I was right, of course! :-) :-)

  30. 26may1989 says:

    Mr Arse, you are always right. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise…… :)

  31. Simon Grayson says:

    #Red Arse – Fay Fell is still going strong but he and Ken Bates have had a big falling out.

    We now have 2 supporters clubs – the old ones run by Ray and the new ones by Ken.

    Great eh?

    #26may1989 – very surprised the Prof let Watt play but he loves football and didn’t want to deny Sanchez a chance to play the beautiful game. Top Man is Wenger.

  32. Red Arse says:

    Thanx, Simon. :-)

    I had forgotten how long ago it is since I last spoke to Ray. Must do something about that.

    Forgive me for sounding provocative, but since his Chelsea (Chav) days, I have had a strong dislike of Bates, although I have to credit his business acumen.

    I did not know he had set up his own supporters club. Typical and yeuk! :-( He really is a combination Capitalist/Marxist.

  33. Red Arse says:

    26,

    You gave in way too easily! I was lying!! :-)

  34. Simon Grayson says:

    Bates is a prick but to be fair he’s got us on the up again.

    BTW – if you’re going to the game Ray Fell will be in The Peacock pub opposite the away end. His supporters club bought the pub and use it on matchdays as a meet up place.

  35. 26may1989 says:

    Simon, on the button re Wenger’s motives, I guess I’m just a little less generous! I’m glad Watt’s doing well at ER, he has talent but also was amongst a small group of our youngsters that looked in danger of developing premature Billy Big Bollocks Syndrome. Going on loan to Leeds was perfect for addressing that.

    Going back to Smith14’s comments about recruiting a CB, £20m is clearly OTT for Cahill, despite his being a quality player. But this one signing could be the making of our season and of this whole squad, so even paying those prices should be a possibility. However, I don’t see any difference in quality between Cahill and Samba, and if Samba really is available for something like £6m, fine by me (the only downside being Africa Cup of Nations duty). But we have to, have to, sign a quality CB and one who can come into the team immediately.

  36. 26may1989 says:

    Ken Bates is an utter dickhead – I saw him at close quarters when he was running the FA committee that commissioned New Wembley, something that my firm worked on, and he was as nasty a piece of work as you could want to see. And as experience showed, his ideas for the new stadium were flawed too.

    The only reason he’s not on income support is that Abramovich bailed him out on buying Chelsea, which was on the verge of going bust.

    I wish Leeds well as a club, but Bates is the fly in the ointment. The fact he’s alienated the supporters’ club and now has his “own” separate supporters’ club (who would join that??) just underlines the quality of Bates’s character.

  37. Red Arse says:

    Thanx again for the info Simon. I appreciate it.

    Unfortunately, I am not too well at the mo’ and laid up until the weekend, at least. (not supposed to be on the laptop, but as I am feeling cr*p and bored, I have smuggled it in just to bug my mate 26!).

    I know the Peaock, but did not know that LUSC had bought it. I have filed that away for future reference. Thanx again! :-)

  38. Red Arse says:

    We think alike 26. I knew him professionally too, (although indirectly). Not nice!

  39. Billboy says:

    You astonish me Big Raddy. Do you really expect to see Denilson, Bendtner, Arshavin and Eboue, all in desperate form (well, ok, some of them are always like that), given another opportunity to embarass us?
    AW must have seen how that’s been in previous games and AKB. Actually, come to think of it you are probably spot on. By the way, did Miguel play in the 10-1 defeat at Villa?

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Simon. I assumed Gradel was a right back because he was covering Gibbs, runs not Theo or Eboue. Either way he looks a fine player.

    26. I must take issue (respectfully) with your criticism of Lukic. I was one of many thousands of North Banker’s who sang “We all agree Lukic is better than Seaman” before Seamo signed for us which just goes to show that fans don’t know football :-D

    However Lukic did put in some fine performances and started the move which led to the Micky goal. Plus in over 200 games for us I cannot recall any Fabianski/Barca – type errors

  41. Red Arse says:

    I’m pretty sure I read that Ignasi did play in that game, Billboy.
    So did JET and our No.2 GK Shea. :-(

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Billboy. Who would you play?

  43. 26may1989 says:

    Billboy, Miquel didn’t play in THAT reserve game. The line-up (and it’s worth bearing it in mind, given that it includes some big names) was:

    Shea, Boateng, Brislen-Hall, Monteiro, Eastmond, Yennaris, Ozyakup (Rees), Henderson (Freeman), Emmanuel-Thomas, Aneke (Deacon) and Sunu

    Villa are good but I have no idea quite how our lot managed to lose by 9 goals with a decent line-up.

  44. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    Well done on the Post. :-)

    I agree that Lukic was a fine GK, but I seem to recall that on an Arsenal post season video I bought they unkindly showed him gratuitously handling the ball into the net, while under no pressure.

    Having maligned the poor guy, I have to admit that memory is extremely suspect, and it might have been another GK entirely. But I can’t let concrete facts or lack of them get in the way! :-)

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Anyone else think that AW saying Vermaalen is only 4-6 weeks away will be his reasoning behind not buying another CB?

    If we are to sign a player it should be a right sided DM who can cover both Sagna and Song. Must be someone out there ( Camoranesi? ) but I think it highly unlikey AW will sign anyone.

  46. 26may1989 says:

    Don’t get me wrong Raddy, I didn’t mind Lukic, he was a good keeper and a more worthy successor to Pat Jennings than George Wood. And as I recall George Graham said when he signed Seaman to replace Lukic that he thought Lukic was still very good, just that Seaman was better. But that particular error when he allowed Rix to equalise was a real howler.

  47. 26may1989 says:

    Red Arse, what happened to your avatar? Weren’t you giving it large a few weeks ago about how we all had to have avatars??! :)

  48. Big Raddy says:

    Fairplay 26. Just a knee jerk response to criticism of any Arsenal player!

    BTW – if we are to sign a CB I would urge AW to look at Simon Kjær who according to Danish press is unhappy at Wolfsburg.

  49. Red Arse says:

    BR,

    I’m sure that either you or Rasp forecast, some time ago, that TV would be out for the rest of the season.

    Even if he recovers from the op in six weeks, he will take a long time to recover his fitness, having been out since August, and so effectively his season is over, I think.

    As Smithy said earlier, AW might not buy because of the impact on upcoming players like Miguel and Bartley, both of whom have great potential.

    I do not think he will buy, but like 26 I really, really hope he does.

    That decision, to buy or not, could make or break our season. Hopefully he remembers that Johan, like RVP, does not have a good track record as regards injuries.

  50. 26may1989 says:

    All good Raddy, I often feel the same way (unless the player in question is Cashley, Adebayor or (more controversially) Edu). Another thing I liked about Lukic was his understated dignity: he may have lacked charisma but there was no crap about him; I remember reading a programme interview with him, in which he said he only listed to classical music, something that impressed the adolescent me as showing a real independence of spirit.

  51. Red Arse says:

    Avatars? Not me 26, sounds more like Micky.

    Having a big, red arsed avatar would be the end of my considerable street cred, you know! :-)

    I am, in any case, thinking of changing my tag to something more appropriate like – Thug Boy or – Smooth Bastard or even- Lawyers Delight, altho’ all other suggestions would be welcomed. :-)

  52. Carlito11 says:

    Talking of avatars- I can’t make Micky’s out- can anyone enlighten me?

  53. Red Arse says:

    I’ve been rumbled!

    Laptop is being confiscated and I have been told to rest.

    Hope to sneak back later. :-)

  54. Rasp says:

    It was me RA – you know I’m the harbinger of doom :roll:

    I also do not subscribe to the theory that the ‘hints’ coming out of Arsenal are a smokescreen to cover some covert move for a big name CB. I ask the question that several have asked before – why not take a player on loan for the rest of the season….its something we do not do … why?

  55. Carlito11 says:

    RA- don’t go changing now :-)

  56. Carlito11 says:

    Rasp- a valid question but I think it has to do with calibre and position in the league. It’s far easier to loan a struggling player from a big/ successful club to a “lesser” team than vice versa. The only on loan player I can think of at a genuine top 4 team in the last few seasons is henrik larsson.

  57. Rasp says:

    Carlito,

    Micky’s gravatar is of a rare white truffle or a brain. I conclude that he is either Hannibal Lecter or fancies himself as a bit of a gourmet :lol:

  58. Rasp says:

    Carlito,

    I’d be happy to have someone on Squillaci’s level on loan as 5th choice CB rather than waste Song in the back four. What have we got to lose when it’s a 6 month loan? It may be true that no such player is available.

  59. 26may1989 says:

    Sergio Ramos on loan while he’s getting over discovering that Ronaldo is an egotistical tosser?

  60. 26may1989 says:

    One interesting dimension about us playing Leeds is seeing Peter Schmeichel’s son in one goal and (we would like to think) his potential heir in the other.

  61. SharkeySure says:

    Afternoon all,

    I’m actualy pretty nervous about tonight. We really need to score early.

    Red – ‘Lawyers delight’ …thats brilliant !!

  62. Rasp says:

    Other suggested names for Red Arse from the book of CRS :lol:

    Emma (Freuds)
    Chalfont (St Giles)
    Nobby (Styles)

    How’s about Red Nobby?

  63. Simon Grayson says:

    I see JET has gone on loan to Cardiff (a rival to Leeds for promotion)

    Is he as good as Sanchez Watt? I see he is 6ft 3 – is he a target man then or more than that?

  64. Rasp says:

    Simon,

    Many of us would rate JET above SW. He is big and strong with quick feet and a bag of tricks. There’s a bit of Vieira in him with a dash of Diaby (the good part). He can play attacking midfield, wide right or up front. I hope the loan spell brings him on because he has been on the periphary of the squad for a couple of years now and needs to step up to the next level.

  65. 26may1989 says:

    JET is magnificent, he can play in just about any outfield position, though is probably really a box-to-box midfielder – think of Steven Gerrard with big shoulders and muscles. He has deceptively good ball control and dribbling skills and a powerful shot. He hasn’t yet stood out when he’s had a few minutes for the first team, and, as Rasp says, the next year or so will probably be make or break time for him – he seems to have the talent to be a real star but will he do it? We shall see.

    In short Simon, there’s much more about him than Sanchez Watt.

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Heres one that would fit RA. Both for his verbosity and his problems ….

    Steinbeck ( Grapes of Wrath!)

  67. Rasp says:

    Raddy,

    You’re so much more cultured than me. There I was making cheap jokes comparing Red Arse to a nasty case of piles and you liken him to a Pulitzer Prize winning author! – with a nasty case of piles :lol:

  68. SharkeySure says:

    Hola Simon,

    How’s Watt been doing for you guys..?? How have the fans taken to him..??

  69. RockyLives says:

    Good day all.
    BR’s team is fairly close to the one that went out against Ipswich. As he points out – a team perfectly capable of winning comfortably – but only if they don’t play like they did against Ipswich.

    My preferred team would be
    Chesney
    Sagna JD Kozzer Gibbs
    Song Cesc Rosicky
    Vela Chamakh Arshavin

    …although that 11 has just as much potential to go wrong as BR’s.

  70. SharkeySure says:

    Technically thats a decenbt team …on paper. But the realityof late seems to be that in Rosicky, Arsh and Vela, you have three players more likely to simply go thru the motions than actually help wion agme for us. Even more so if things go against us earlyon, ie they may assist abit if we’r eon top, but if we go behind, then you may as well sub all three immediately.

    I’m a bit harsh on Rsicky possibly, but I really have very little faith in the other two. Arshavin’s attitude is pretty poor, and Vela simply refuses to really grab any of the opportunities that come his way. At least Tomas wil try a bit.

  71. 26may1989 says:

    My prediction:

    Szczesny
    Sagna, Miquel, Koscielny, Gibbs
    Song, Wilshere
    Rosicky, Fabregas, Vela
    Chamakh
    Subs: Shea, Djourou, Denilson, Arshavin, Bendtner, Eboue, Walcott

    I.e. balancing the gamble in defence with a fairly strong midfield.

  72. RockyLives says:

    I hear you Sharkey, but I’m expecting the Arsh to burst out of his malaise any time soon. And Vela rarely shines, but that’s usually because he only ever comes on with 10 minutes to go in games where we’re chasing a goal and the opposition are packing the defence.

    26May – interesting approach, balancing a less experienced back four with more potent attacking threat – and you’re possibly right about the defence because, now I come to think about it, didn’t AW say something about resting JD?

  73. 26may1989 says:

    Rocky, he did, and if anyone needs to be rested, it’s Djourou. As Smith14 said earlier, that might lead AW to put Song back there, with Denilson coming in DM. But to me, that creates too much instability elsewhere, I’d rather go for the youngster and keep everything solid upfield.

  74. SharkeySure says:

    I’ve been waiting on Arsh too Rocky…waiting quite a while infact.

    I’ve waited thru him notplaying very well, but scoring the odd goal, and still generating assists.

    I’ve waited thru his first dip in form as the asists dried up. I’ve then waited to see him trying his hardest to turn it around. I’m now waiting for his spell of wandering around looking completely uninterested to end.

    I’ll then be waiting to see his new improved attitude and work harder approach start to get the rewards that his hard work deserves.

    He’s a class act on his day, no doubt, but I’m really tired of waiting.

    Nothing would please me more than to see him rampaging around Elland Road and causing complete mayhem tonight.

  75. SharkeySure says:

    As for Arsh tonight, I’ve just got more waiting to do til I get my answer I guess.

    If all good thnigs come to those who wait, then I’m due to see Arsh score 5 tonight !

    Maybe even save a penalty as well ;-)

  76. RockyLives says:

    Can’t argue with any of that Sharkey and, in my heart of hearts, if he does play tonight I don’t expect him to be any good.
    The only thing I would dispute is the idea that he is uninterested. To me just looks shorn of confidence, which is a different beastie.

  77. Hi all

    Anyone fancy weighing in with an offer of a match report?

  78. Carlito11 says:

    Peaches, if it’s on telly I don’t mind trying to do my first report if you’ll forgive the inevitable failings of a maiden effort

  79. Carlito11 says:

    I see it’s on ITV so I’m game :-)

  80. London says:

    Hello everyone in AA

    Good pre-match BR

    My prediction for tonight is that we are going to be surprised by the strength of the starting line up…..Wenger doesn’t do going out in the third round and certainly not to lower league opposition.

    Thus:

    ———Szczesny
    Sagna,Djourou,Koscielny,Gibbs
    —Fabregas,Song,Wilshere
    –Walcott,Chamakh,Nasri.

    The oracle has spoken lol

    Djourou oozed confidence in the home tie; he has just been a bit skittish in his back passing which I do not read as being tired requiring rest, it just means that he and Sz need to improve their communication and that will only happen if they play more.

    COYRRG

  81. Carlito11 says:

    London- given that you correctly predicted the topic of leadership in the ranks coming up today- could you tell me what the score will be so I can get down the bookies? ;-)

  82. London says:

    Nice one Carlito

    We are going to win three one ;)

  83. RockyLives says:

    London
    Your piece yesterday turned out to be very timely. Don’t tell me you’ve got an inside track as well…

  84. Carlito11 says:

    First scorer? :-D

  85. London says:

    I would go for Fabregas as first scorer.

  86. Big Raddy says:

    I go with Arshavin to be first scorer.

  87. SharkeySure says:

    Rocky – Fair do’s re Arsh and his ‘lack of interest. On reflection I do think thats just his style, he didn’t look too ‘interested’ when he smashed in 4 at Anfield either.

    I guess he’s just less emotional than most.

  88. SharkeySure says:

    Off topic,. Steve Bruce’s comments today re Bent’s transfer, seem very at odds with Peaches comments on the matter

  89. London says:

    Hey Carlito

    Good luck with the match report, my only tip would be have confidence in the impression you are left with at the end of the game.

  90. Red Arse says:

    London, :-)

    Could you have a rethink on your match score prediction, please?

    3:0 pays out 12/1

    Soon as you confirm I’ll get onto the bookies! :-)

  91. SharkeySure says:

    Hey Red, sorry to hear you’ve been a bit crook.

    Big FIL sends his best wishes as well !

  92. Big Raddy says:

    I have never understood the concept that any player doesn’t try, and that applies in particular to AA. It is the burden of players with super skills that they have periods when they are out of tune with their colleagues.

    This idea of laziness comes from a one dimensional view of a match. e.g. that Denilson is lazy because he doesn’t track back, which is clearly untrue. Sure he has shown a lack of concentration when the game has passed him by and he has reacted too slowly, but I would never accuse him of laziness.

    Unless you know better …..

  93. Red Arse says:

    Thanx Sharkey, :-) and FIL too! :-)

    First time I have ever been whisked off to hospital in an ambulance, blue light and the works.

    They did not want to listen to me prattling on about Arsenal either and threw me out after 2 days or it might have been 3. Currently being bossed about blogging and not enough resting. :-)

  94. Thanks Carlito for the offer – I accept :)

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    Afternoon all,
    Thanks for post BR. Wow, tough call this one. My feelings are that if reports are correct, then AW will rest JD. This poses an interesting one. If he does not select young Miquel, is he saying our back up CB’s are not good enough?
    If I’m correct and Ramsey is back in the fold then I think he will go:
    Chesney
    Sag Song Kos Gibbs
    Cesc JW Ramsey
    Theo Chamakh Vela

  96. mickydidit89 says:

    I was also assuming there is some truth in the Denilson “captain” story, in which case its early bath for him.

  97. SharkeySure says:

    I can;t see Ramsey starting without having had any minutes asa sub. He’s not even made it the onto bench for recent games such as Ipswich and Leeds, when I would have expected him to.

  98. mickydidit89 says:

    Hospitals are horrid. My thoughts are with you RA. Get well soon.

  99. Red Arse says:

    Hi Micky,

    Good call, but I would go for;

    Chezzer
    Eboue, Mig, Koss, Biggs
    Rosicky, Denilson, Song, Arsh
    Theo, Bendy,

  100. mickydidit89 says:

    Sharkey,
    I am doing everything to avoid selecting Rosicky. So if Ramsey is not up to it, then Miquel starts, with Song in the middle.

  101. mickydidit89 says:

    Biggs :-)
    Sorry, but imo with Den, Ros, AA and Bendy we lose.

  102. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    Did not know much about it for the first day.
    Not recommended. :-)

  103. SharkeySure says:

    Hey Radders. I’m also sure that any pro footballer couldn’t be lazy, but I do believe that a lack of interest or application can be a real problem.

    I look at Drogba playing under Big Phil (the real one, not my alter ego) he was awful, and word on the street was that he was not a fan of the Brazilian (!?)

    Along comes the Golden Goose (Hiddink) and Drogba’s back to his world beating best again. Likewise some of AdeNuff’s later performances for us.

  104. SharkeySure says:

    Lol Mickey.

    “I am doing everything to avoid selecting Rosicky” – well Ramsey it is then !!

  105. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    I have a bad feeling about this. The team I selected would not be mine, it is my prediction of AW’s. :-(

  106. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    I am not experiencing good feelings at all. I have said before, we do not function without Cesc or Nasri. I expect to see one of the two.

  107. SharkeySure says:

    I think we might neeed both tonight Mickey !!!

    I’m OK with Chamakh in for the Boy Wonder…but thats it !!

  108. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    When I heard we have got Dean as ref tonight, I am afraid I pinched your defcon 4 status.

    I don’t think it is deliberate, but he always seems to make “outrageous” decisions against us.

    Willywobbles starting early!

  109. mickydidit89 says:

    No willy wobbling at this end. All very quiet in the trouser dapartment. Not a good sign.

  110. mickydidit89 says:

    Sorry, pretty vulgar that. Yellow card.

  111. SharkeySure says:

    Yellow card rescinded, that was bloody funny !!

  112. Red Arse says:

    Sharkey has it right! :-)

  113. This lack of centre-backs is a real problem if AW is going to rest Johan. Have we actually ever seen Song play as a centre-back for us? Maybe Djourou will start. I’ve scoured the Arsenal web-site looking for centre-backs and the cupboard is pretty much bare :( :( :(

    I only want to see the team that played on Saturday so I’m having a real problem choosing another one – I come back to it lol

  114. Micky – even I’m laughing at that one :)

  115. Red Arse says:

    Peaches,

    I have seen Ignasi play in the youth team but not the Reserves. He was tall, athletic and composed and as 26May said earlier, everyone has to make their debut at some stage, this could be his day! :-)

  116. RockyLives says:

    My prediction: we win, but another CB gets crocked in the process.
    AW decides he really needs to act in the transfer window.
    Sergio Ramos joins on a 5-year £35m deal.
    Arsenal win everything, including the County Cricket Championship.

  117. London says:

    That would be great but which CB gets crocked ;)

  118. Red Arse says:

    That’s wonderful Rocky!! :-)

    Just one little item to clear up tho’, it is probably just a typo, but you did mean for £3.5m didn’t you?

    Obviously you did, £35m is our transfer budget for 5 years, of course! :-)

  119. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    I should have checked London’s query too. I assumed you meant the CB who gets the broken leg was Steve Bruce’s son? :-)

  120. Carlito11 says:

    Thanks for the tip London- I will make use of it! I’m with SS in that I think we need Cesc and Nasri but will cope with seeing MC take over at centre forward. Hopefully he’ll get a goal and get some of his early season belief back. Terrible place for a lad from Morocco on a cold January night. 3-1 Fabregas first scorer is 46/1 – I’ll buy a round on Saturday against Wigan if it comes in! Catch you all later

  121. mickydidit89 says:

    Rocky,
    For the County Cricket Championship and League Double, we will need Dennis Compton!!

  122. mickydidit89 says:

    Where are you all on saturday, The Tavern?

  123. mickydidit89 says:

    Here’s my big fear for tonight linked to a criticism of AW’s team selections. We travel and have the big guns on the bench, just in case. Lets face it, the lads were not put through it on saturday, so lets fire off with all Guns blazing.

  124. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    yes of course – £3.5m – silly me :)

  125. RockyLives says:

    Btw – I hope whatever’s ailing you is on the mend Redders – just don’t get too carried away when the fifth Arsenal goal goes in tonight :)

  126. mickydidit89 says:

    Five goals, and the nurses will be busy!

  127. Micky – did you say you were lunching with others on Saturday before the game?

  128. mickydidit89 says:

    Peaches,
    Probably grab some lunch with them. Nothing concrete yet. Only thing certain is that I am coming with my son and we will be in the Finsbury Park area by 12:30.

  129. Just wandering free …….

    I’ll see what others are doing, I think Carlito will be about ……

  130. mickydidit89 says:

    Finsbury Park is the stop for the shop!

  131. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all.

    Any team news?

  132. mickydidit89 says:

    Scanning cyberspace Irish.

  133. Irishgunner says:

    Same here MIDI nothing up yet.

  134. SharkeySure says:

    Sczcesny

    Sagna Miquel Koss Gibbs

    Denilson Ramsey

    Fabregas

    Walcott Chamakh Arshavin

    subs
    Shea Djourou Song Rosicky Bendtner Eboue Vela

    But thats according to a wind up merchant on LG. Looks about right though, bar Ramsey starting

  135. SharkeySure says:

    No Nasri. Why is he rested so much..?? Doesn’t even make the bench for these sort of games.

  136. mickydidit89 says:

    Chesney
    Sag JD Kos Gibbs
    Nasri Den Song
    Bendy Cham AA

  137. Irishgunner says:

    Nasri starts according to Henry Winter

    Szczesny: Sagna Djourou Koscielny Gibbs; Song Denilson; Bendtner Nasri Arshavin; Chamakh

  138. mickydidit89 says:

    Cesc, RvP, Jw on bench. No Ramsey.

  139. 26may1989 says:

    Official looking line-ups as follows:

    Arsenal XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Denilson, Nasri, Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin

    Arsenal Bench: Shea, Walcott, Fabregas, van Persie, Wilshere, Miquel, Eboue

    Leeds XI: Schmeichel, Connolly, Obrien, Bruce, Parker, Snodgrass, Gradel, Johnson, Howson, Watt, Paynter

    Leeds Bench: Collins, Sam, Higgs, Hughes, Bromby, Somma, McCormack

    Can’t say I’m too chuffed about it but there you go, let’s hope this lot do the business without too much fuss. And that Djourou and Kos get through the night unharmed……

  140. Bendtner Chamakh and Arshavin !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He’s going to keep on playing them until they get it right :( :( :(

  141. Irishgunner says:

    FFS my message went into spam :roll:

  142. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    This one is for ’72. COYRRR

  143. mickydidit89 says:

    Good: Nasri central. Song and Chamakh.
    Errrm’s: Bendy wide. Come on AA, find your spark.

  144. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – They’ll get it right tonight.

  145. Nasri carrying the whole ‘Theo van Nasregas’ on his shoulders but at least the other three are on the bench.

    26may – I second your hope ‘that Djourou and Kos get through the night unharmed……’

    Hi Irish if you’re still about :)

  146. Carlito11 says:

    Song is in there- with Nasri the key man. Micky/Peaches- I’ll be at the game on Sat- coming in from Holloway Rd. Normally go to Herbert Chapman or Che Guevara pubs beforehand but happy to head elsewhere

  147. mickydidit89 says:

    GG,
    You are meant to be on holiday!
    This one is for ’73. My first game. Arsenal 1 Leeds 2.

  148. RockyLives says:

    Oh dear. Cham and Bendy didn’t exact work well as a duo last time, did it? As double acts go it’s the Morecambe and Large of football.

  149. Carlito11 says:

    Rambo not even on the bench? Can’t beleive anything you read these days eh?

  150. mickydidit89 says:

    Rocky,
    More than happy with Chamakh central, but Bendy wide is just plain bad.

  151. Irishgunner says:

    Hi Peaches – its still there ha ha was just the team. I used to like being first with the news ha ha :)

    Off topic but I’m nearly crying here, Lady Gaga premiered new music an hour ago in Paris and its beat is fucking sick, and now we’ve to wait another few weeks for the song and until MAY till the album – need it now!!!

  152. I’ll bet he’s got a small tweak somewhere – AW said on Arse.com that he wouldn’t play him until he was match fit.

  153. Irishgunner says:

    Bendy and Chamakh will score a hatfull tonight.

  154. Surely it’ll be on youtube anytime soon :lol:

  155. Irishgunner says:

  156. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    MDI89

    Yep hols. The rest of the family r @ the beach already, so the tele will be turned up loud :lol:

    Gee there is a lot of traffic flow on here this morning, must be a Cup win in the air, chamone!

  157. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Irish

    “beat is fucking sick” ? Tell it to take 2 Panadol & go to bed :P

  158. Irishgunner says:

    :lol: GG9

    Feeling confident about the win tonight, come on you Gunners. I want Leeds smashed, we’ve not smashed a team in a while.

  159. charybdis1966 says:

    Evening all, hate to be the resident doomer here, but that line up is too similar to the one that only just avoided defeat at home.

    There’s only 3 changes from that team.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  160. mickydidit89 says:

    No Vela or Rosicky on the bench. They must be feeling a bit umm, err…surplus!
    Anyway, come on you Gunners.
    A nice win and safe Cesc, Theo and RvP for saturday!

  161. Irishgunner says:

    That man Nasri AGAIN

  162. Rasp says:

    Bendtner is as crap as Nasri is brilliant

  163. Irishgunner says:

    You beauty Bac – great strike

  164. Rasp says:

    Arshavin fouled twice before their goal. Appalling refereeing

  165. Big Raddy says:

    Crap ref as usual.

    Samir is so good….

  166. Rasp says:

    The ref is a disgrace……………..

    Andy Townsend is delivering one of the most biased commentaries I’ve ever heard.

  167. Carlito11 says:

    Commentary is stoopid- wish I could turn it off and just have the crowd noise. This is the performance we should have given at Ipswich. 3 cracking goals!

  168. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    We’ve got Martin Tyler & Graham Stuart here for Setanta. Martin Tyler is a legend IMHO :)

  169. Big Raddy says:

    What a great half of football, Proper cuptie.

    We should have wrapped this up after 30 mins. I fear a nervy second half

  170. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Cuptie?

    That reminds me the kettles just boiled, better get me a nice cupatea

  171. Big Raddy says:

    We have some Danish chaps who scream every time Nik touches the ball – thankfully that is not too often

  172. mickydidit89 says:

    Does Denilson do enough?

  173. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    What, talking?

  174. Carlito11 says:

    Thank you gordon strachan for being the only person on itv with a sensible thing to say!

  175. mickydidit89 says:

    GG,
    Get back out in the hot sun of yours! :-)

  176. Carlito11 says:

    Noticed Denilson talking/ gesticulating to his teammates during that first half- looked like he was trying a bit hard after his comments today but that could just be me picking up on something I haven’t noticed before

  177. mickydidit89 says:

    I think he does the basics ok, but its basic.

  178. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. As you predicted I got 8 out of 11 !

  179. Big Raddy says:

    I predict a goal for Denilson15 in this half

  180. chas says:

    nice work from biggs

  181. Big Raddy says:

    Terrible night for AA and Chamakh, both hardly featured at all

  182. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    That nice shiney motorcycle is out & about :P

  183. Irishgunner says:

    Perfect ball by Nikki B

  184. Big Raddy says:

    Now that was a proper Arsenal goal. Pace, accuracy and a fine finish

  185. Big Raddy says:

    London. That was spooky!

    Very satisfied with the result and the performance. Let’s hope for more of the same against Ipswich

  186. Carlito11 says:

    If only you’d said it would be 3-1 with the captain scoring first London! More accurate than Nostradamus though!

  187. Irishgunner says:

    Good win. Now to beat Wigan at the weekend.

  188. Big Raddy says:

    Irish. Do you have any doubts?

  189. mickydidit89 says:

    Great stuff.
    Cannot wait to see the First XI on saturday.
    Sweet dreams my lovelies.

  190. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Should have been a 1-10 scorline but who’s counting.

    Ok thats me for a while now. As Michael said, its golden sun & blue skies, complimented by white sand & blue sea are my scene now. I guess its about 10,000,000 miles away from the sludgy mud of Cornwall.

    Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!! Paradise is calling :cool:

    Go Go Gunners!

  191. 26may1989 says:

    Sorry, was watching that 20 mins delayed (kids blah blah).

    Rasp @ 8.30: Have to disagree, even before Bendtner’s sublime cross for the third I thought he had an excellent game, some tidy interplay, tracking back etc. He should have chucked himself at that chance in the first half, I’ll give you that.

    Great tie. Peter Schmeichel was MOM for me.

  192. 26may1989 says:

    Kasper, bleedin Kasper. And I haven’t even been drinking…..

  193. London says:

    Sorry about the first goal scorer Carlito.

  194. London says:

    That is cruel, you know the effect that showing pictures like that have on us here in the damp cold, gnarley.

  195. Gooner in Exile says:

    I was also watching delayed.

    Great win, even though expected, thought some of the players who have been criticised recently came out well. Rosicky starting to look like a spent force with depth to the team.

    AA was close to being back on form, at least tonight he was clearly having a go.

    Chamack also looks refreshed for the first 55 minutes or so, but definitely tired.

    Nik B put in a good shift, and I thought Denilson had a solid game.

    All in all a good nights work. Looking forward to antrip to the Grove on Saturday, let’s hope we can generate an atmosphere like Leeds did tonight.

  196. Irishgunner says:

    Big Raddy – Nope. I said we’d win tonight and we did, I say we will win at the weekend and we will.

    Fabregas, Nasri and RvP all playing well, no need to worry :)

  197. Irishgunner says:

    I thought Nikki B did fine as well. He’s not a right wing player but stuck to his position and tracked back well. Not saying he was great by any means but did a good job.

  198. Rasp says:

    Nah, cant agree about Nik. The cross for the goal was excellent otherwise he looked like he was a yard slow of pace and thought.

  199. London says:

    I agree with Rasp

    Now they are four words I don’t use often. lol

  200. London says:

    I put some player ratings in drafts, just in case, no probs if they are not used.

  201. RockyLives says:

    All in all a pretty comfy win, given it was a cup tie in a hostile stadium with a big noisy crowd and half-decent lower league opposition.

    Well done BR for 8/11.

    Well done Micky for predicting the success of BR’s prediction.

    I thought AA had his best game for a while, even though his finishing was woeful. He got another assist for the first and even did a fair bit of tracking back and (sort of) tackling.

    Bendy’s first touch, as usual, had all the delicacy of club foot, but I thought he put in a decent shift.

    Bac looked like he’d really missed his footy and had a stormer.

    Nasri, Biggs, Kozzer, Cham and JD all decent too. Chesney had hardly anything to do except pick the ball out.

    Denilson is not my favourite player but he did OK, even though he seemed to have the wrong studs in the first half and slipped at least four times – two of which led to dangerous possession for them. He’s a frustrating player but he kept things ticking.

    Song was immense (as usual).

    Fab and RvP just looked pure class when they came on. You could see the Leeds heads dip slightly when they came off the bench.

    A happy evening!

  202. 26may1989 says:

    London and Rasp, I honestly think you’re missing something re NB’s game tonight. For once, his link up play was good and he played in others for chances – nothing came of them but that didn’t take away from NB’s role. Plus he tracked back to cover Sagna. He’s a frustrating player but for me, he, along with Sagna, Kos and Djourou, were the players to catch the eye.

  203. Gooner in Exile says:

    After a shaky game against WHam JD was out to prove a point tonight, him and Kozzer held up to the task well, ably accompanied by Sagna and Gibbs.

    One moment typified the squad mood right now and that was Clichy’s block near the death followed by some gee’ing up of players around him. Haven’t seen fighting spirit like that for a while.

    Am I getting too excited? Probably but I really think the tide is turning with this team.

  204. RockyLives says:

    GiE
    I noticed that Clichy moment too. There are, at the very least, encouraging signs.

  205. RockyLives says:

    One final thought. Chamakh was unlucky not to get on the score sheet – but that Schmeichel save from his header will surely be a contender for Save of the Season.

  206. mickydidit89 says:

    Mornning all,
    Always feels good to wake up after a win. I do think some people were a little generous with their comments. AA, Chamakh and Bendy are very much the second string front row, and in no way pose competiton to Nasri, RvP and Theo. You do need serious competition for places. However, to put some positive spin on things, we know both AA and Chamakh are better than that and it is unfair on Bendy when he is so obviously played out of position.
    On a really extra positive note we really do have some very brightly shining stars this season. Nasri has become genuinely world class (joining Cesc and Robin) and Sagna is developing into a very classy RB.
    I am terrified we are running Kos and JD into the ground.

  207. mickydidit89 says:

    Gnarley,
    After you buggered off to the beach earlier, we all sniffed around on google earth, and low and behold, we zoomed in on your beech. In the name of all that is holy, fluorescent green speedo’s is far from a good look!

  208. mickydidit89 says:

    BR,
    200+ comments!

  209. Carlito11 says:

    Hi micky- think I find myself on agreement with you again- I’ll be interested in whether London and I agree on the player ratings. A happy morning :-)

  210. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Carlito,
    Understand from Peaches you might be at the Wigan game. Hope to make it to see you all for a drink, but this time I am coming with my son which may change things. I will be meeting up with friends I am sitting with, and I suspect my son will want to spend as much time as possible in and around the ground/shop. Would be very good to meet you. It is his day, as it is a reward for passing a piano grade, so his call.

  211. mickydidit89 says:

    Blimey, sounds like he is spoilt, but not the case. As a little Gooner, I would take him anyway, but don’t tell him that!

  212. Carlito11 says:

    Hi Micky,
    I’d be up for meeting- not always easy logistically as there are four of us coming from different directions. I’ve got an email from Peaches with an address for you but not sure whether yours is the gmail or hotmail one? Let me know and I’ll get in touch with contact details…

  213. Carlito11 says:

    All gooners are spoilt Micky- the trick is understanding how lucky we are :-)

  214. mickydidit89 says:

    Carlito,
    Very true. :-)
    hotmail.
    Off now.

  215. London says:

    “fluorescent green speedo’s”

    You truly have a great sense of humour Micky.

    Morning all.

  216. Morning all

    There’s New Post with two lots of player ratings

  217. Radarwarner – Darf Polizei Gerät vernichten…

    Das Blogthema inspieriert mich, würdest Du evtl. näher erläutern, wie man zu noch mehr Hintergrundinformationen zu dem Thema gelangen kann?…

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