Not beautiful, not sexy – but a critical win for Arsenal

Marseille 0 – 1 Arsenal: Match Report


Now, this was not a game for the purists of total football – for those who love sexy moves and scintillating finishes: the Arsenal of ‘old’ (at least for now). It will not go into the history books as one of Arsenal’s great CL evenings, but let’s not fool ourselves: this was a critical win for Arsenal.

Before the game, I thought about the likely consequences if we would have lost tonight. The media-scripts were, without any doubt, ready to be released by our friends from the redtops. At this brittle period of rebuilding our team, the CL qualification and subsequent group results have been the one shining light in the dark tunnel of the 2011-2012 season. A loss today and the media would have been putting their daggers into that last bit of success and dignity that Arsenal have been hanging onto this season, the Doomers would have joined them en masse, and we all would have really suffered from it. Even the biggest optimist would have struggled to keep the belief.

Yet tonight, Arsenal made an important step forward, and we should be all pleased by this. Arsenal are now top of the group and Marseille and Dortmund still have to come to the Emirates. All at once, there is reason for some renewed optimism. It was not beautiful, it was not sexy, but it was just what the doctor ordered. Games like these can lay the foundation for a turnaround of fortunes.

 

First Half

Both teams started nervously with a lack of ball control/possession and some defensive mistakes as well. It was tight in midfield and Marseille made it hard for us to dominate the game. However, after a while we started to make a number of good runs on the right-hand side, which led to some good, and some not-so-good crosses into the box. Unfortunately, the Marseille defence dealt with these easily albeit at the expense of a number of corners. From one of those corners we produced our best chance in the first half. Diawara cleared a header from Robin van Persie off the line, but we should have had a penalty, moments before that, when the same Diawara – very cunningly – had handled the ball in the air.

Marseille best chance came after 30 minutes: the occasionally impressive Remy showed some great agility to leave the BFG rooted to the ground (or should that be: anchored to the sea-floor?), and to get past Jenkinson. However, the latter was just able to stick his foot brilliantly in front of Remy’s diagonal shot at goal, and his attempt was deflected past our goal.

Just before the end of the first half,Santos did something inexplicable. Already on a yellow card, he decided to handle the ball whilst under no pressure to do so. It could have so easily been a second yellow card, and the team would have been put under immense pressure for the rest of the game. Santos, who really impressed me at the Emirates against Sunderland on Sunday, had a bit of a shocker of a first half, but luckily he improved somewhat during the second half.

Second Half

Arsenal, as so often this season, started the second half really well. Jenkinson, who had already impressed during the first half, showed great energy and determination to make a difference on the right, but was not helped by a few sloppy passes from Walcott and Rosicky at this stage. Jenkinson had to come off and Djourou replaced him. I am sure, I was not the only one to think that Marseille would now start to test the right-hand side of our defence, but just as they had not tried to put more pressure on Santos in the second half, they also refrained from targeting Djourou. The referee even helped them by giving Johan a yellow card almost straightaway, and unjustly so! It only then dawned on me that Marseille were actually aiming for a draw.

After 60 minutes, Song and Rosicky combined to play the ball to Theo just inside the box. Walcott got past the throughout-the-game very impressive N’Koulou, but his shot is too soft and too close to the goalie. Arsenal keep dominating without creating too many chances, as both Song and Arteta become stronger and stronger in the second half. Wenger changed Theo for Gervinho and straightaway there was more threat and creativity to our attacking play. Gervinho did really well to run past a few Marseille players and to play a great ball into box for Robin. Unfortunately, van Persie needed to use his right foot and his shot was stopped by the also impressive Mandada. It then looked like we were heading for a draw, which in itself would not have been a bad result for us.

But there was a final sting in the tale, and justice was done. The only team that tried to play football in the second half was rewarded for its efforts. Johan Djourou puts in an early cross and, for once, Robin van Persie is not alone in the box – Gervinho is there as well – and the Marseille defence is under pressure. Gervinho tries to control Djourou’s cross, but inadvertently (?), he produces the perfect assist for Ramsey, who also made a good run into the box. Ramsey controls the ball well with his first touch and finds time and space to coolly slot the ball, with a low, hard and placed shot, past the goalkeeper’s right-hand side. Ramsey, another one of our players who received a lot of criticism from his own fans recently, showed some great maturity at that moment in time – and just as much as Arsenal made a step forward today, he made one himself as well.

Player Ratings:

Szczesny: not much to do, but was calm and confident (which goes a long way) – 6.5

Mertesacker: read the game well defensively, but was often hesitant passing the ball going forward, and once or twice to static in the box. I still like him a lot and he is just what we need at the moment – 6.5

Koscielny: incredible, gutsy performance. He and Mertesacker compliment each other really well and over time this could become a good partnership – 7.5 Joint man of the match

Santos: gave the ball away a lot, and already on (an unjust) yellow card, he decided to handle the ball. He looked tired and slow, but also showed some glimpses of real quality –5

Jenkinson: very impressive game, defensively and especially going forward. I just loved his energy and eagerness, and in my view, he set an example to some of his colleagues tonight – 7.5 Joint man of the match

Rosicky: struggled at large parts of the game to impose himself and seemed to disappear a lot. But he does bring shape to our team and has plenty of class –6

Arteta: a solid performance, doing a lot of the hard, often unnoticed, work in front of our defence. I like this guy a lot – 7

Song: he is a bit like an old-fashioned locomotive: he seems to start games rusty, even clumsy, and slowly, but the longer the game goes on, the sharper and stronger he becomes, and at the end of the game he is just unbelievable! –7

Arshavin: not a good game. Tried to set up a few attacks but just did not work out for him on the day. Gave the ball away too many times – 5

Van Persie: worked hard for the team, but was often isolated, and surrounded by a couple of very strong CB’s. The introduction of Gervinho seemed to really make a difference for him and he almost scored at the end –7

Walcott: a couple of decent runs and crosses into the box, and some good defensive support at times, but we did not get enough from him this game – 5.5

Substitutes:

Johan Djourou – did ok after a couple of very difficult months for him, and played a good, aggressive cross into the box that led to Ramsey’s goal –6

Gervinho – brought class, aggression and incisiveness to our attacking play – 6.5

Ramsey – made a difference straightaway and a great goal to win the match – 6.5

TotalArsenal

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120 Responses to Not beautiful, not sexy – but a critical win for Arsenal

  1. Morning all

    Sorry about the pics, Rasp is making them bigger I think :(

  2. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    Throw in some sound effects and the whiff of merguez sausages and you are there. Excellent.

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Fabulous news if you are me. Just discovered Stoke game is Sunday, not Saturday, so its Match Day Live for me.

  4. evonne says:

    Total – another night for you spent writing masterpieces! Great stuff, ta

    Jenkinson was awsome, the lad is so young, he suffered pain and kept going. What a buy! Magnifico!

    And the goal, the finish, the calm of Rambo was just superb, love him all over again

  5. goonermichael says:

    Does anyone know why there was a “come on you irons” banner at Marsielle?

  6. pat says:

    You have to admit at the end of it all it was pretty sexy for a 1-0 win!

    Plenty of ammo in the confidence gun to take down the orc army from Stoke (to borrow Arsebloggers terminology) this weekend.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GM,
    I saw that. They are not that bright some of that lot :-)

  8. Rasp says:

    Thanks for a super match report TA, we deserved our victory even if only due to the fact that Marseille showed very little ambition.

    I agree with the assessment of Song starting poorly and improving as the game continues, the trouble is that for the second game in a row he coud have been sent off 2 yellows (witness the ridiculous yellow Djourou got for a brilliant tackle).

    The training staff have to pick up on this and work on it with the player. The early yellows he picks up are often due to the fact that he is not up to speed at the start of games. Send him out to warm up 20 minutes early or something but we need to find a way of getting him fired up from the start or we may be down to 10 men early.

    Kozzer alone would have been my MotM. AW’s description of him as a warrior is perfect. You have to ask the question would a fit TV be better alongside the BFG or kozzer – TV would have to go a long way to perform better then kozzer yesterday, a good problem to have and maybe the return of TV will allow the other two to rest and a rotational ssystem will be adopted according to the opposition. The BFG has been excellent the way he has been thrown in at the deep end and has really shown his class.

  9. pat says:

    a bit of light distraction on the arsenal.com – check out the “Wojciech Versus…” vid. Quite funny!!!

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    Like minds. I too have been thinking about the CB pairing, and came to the conclusion that we have the rotational option that can be deployed somewhat according to the oppostion. Sides using the Crouch type will find The BFG in the way, and the ones using the Michael Owens will find LK.

  11. pat says:

    We will have a rotational option at CB??? Wow things are turning around guys!!!

    I agree with the amount of games coming up being able to rest / rotate players is going to be good. If Jenks is out for a while do you reckon DJ is going to be the preferred RB option? Might be good way to get some of his confidence back. I imagine he will definitely line up at RB against Stoke to counter the height of Stoke.

  12. pat says:

    sorry said Stoke “too” many times there…

  13. pat says:

    BTW that vid is free to watch… this is the direct link http://player.arsenal.com/adverts/video/lightbox?videoid=1080

  14. brian says:

    I read somewhere recently that Kos was actually brought up as a right back and has only been playing at centre-back for a couple of years.Given the Sagna and potentially Jenkinson injuries I would be interested in playing Kos there with Per and TV in the middle.Might well work.

  15. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice stuff TA.

    The team is coming on very nicley. Even after all our bad results ive always remained confident we can do something special this year. Wishful thinking? No. The reasons for my confidence are many but i would just like people to imagine this team in February next year with Jack and the OX in it. Where ever we finish in the league this year we will end it as the best team. As for the Champions league, you need fortune to be on your side, but by the time the knockout stages come, we will have the qualities to win it.

  16. Red Arse says:

    Morning peeps, :-)

    A well written match report TA which we have come to expect from you.

    Undoubtedly the world is a happier, brighter place when we win – and not just because the sun is shining just like mid-summer at the mo’.

    I thought for the first time this season, that, at times, we were getting back to the old Arsenal passing and possession football which has been missing for so long.

    There were the odd gliches throughout the match and uncertain moments in defence but all in all the lads made a good fist of things and Rambo’s goal was a sweet delight! :-)

    The game swung heavily in our favour when Arshavin and Walcott were substituted and immediately the team looked a better balanced unit.

    I have voiced my views on Theo, on AA, previously, and unintentionally upset a couple of regulars who I like and respect, so I won’t do so again, other than to say he seems to be getting as frustrated with himself as some of us are getting with him.

    To be fair to Theo, most of us have suggested that he tap the ball behind the defenders and then use his speed to the greatest effect, and I saw him do this, successfully, on one occasion, but that is not enough. He is trying his heart out in my opinion — but it is just not working out.

    Kozzer and Jenks share a raw spirit and enthusiasm for the game that is terrific to behold, and I truly believe that they both love Arsenal and are prepared to put their bodies on the line for the cause!!

    Your Post has brought back a pleasant memory of a game I thought we might lose but one where we deservedly one. :-)

  17. I know Arsene Wenger has been described as myopic in the past, but surely even he can see how truly appalling Arshavin’s recent performances have been. TA’s award of a 5 rating and “not a good game” comment just goes to show what a nice bloke he is, frankly I’d say Arshavin was bloody awful and richly deserved a big fat zero.

    Congratulations to ten man Arsenal for an important and morale boosting win.

    ps My chosen starting back four may not have been correct but it was what we finished with.

  18. Red Arse says:

    On the question of the CB pairings, once TV is fit, I am not quite so sanguine as to how he should be re-introduced to the team.

    I think we can all now see the guts, determination and speed of Kozzer, which interfaces so well with the Jolly German Giant, and allows him to sweep up behind our Panzer tank like the left hand washing the right.

    So. Let’s not be too hasty in discarding Kozzer. The defence has had change after change forced on it by injury after injury. There has been so little stability because there has been a constant change of personnel — with more to come, if Jenks is going to be out for some time.

    TV will need to be nursed back, slowly, slowly (as AW would say) and perhaps he could be used to stiffen up our somewhat porous mid-field instead, and allow our current two incumbents to steady the ship.

    Forgot to say earlier, that altho’ Sing Song does some daft things, his tackling and anticipation last night was immense, and without him that scoreline could have looked very different.
    He and Kozzer were my Men of the Match! :-)

  19. Double98 says:

    “Arteta: a solid performance, doing a lot of the hard, often unnoticed, work in front of our defence. I like this guy a lot – 7″

    Not at all what i want from a creative attacking midfielder…

    he’s no gilberto silva – and he’s playing far too deep – song needs to get back and let arteta go forward

    Tomas Rosicky has been a class act in the last few games… i don’t see how he struggled… he was lively and constantly looking to go forward –

    Arteta and Rosicky’s runners arshavin and walcott were abysmal…

    I’d flog em both in January and see if i could get 15m for them…
    Their performance last night was shocking – this is Arsenal FC – if playing for them doesn’t send the blood coursing through the veins then sling your hook

    Gervinho was excellent when he came on – he was fast and threatening and did more in his cameo than Arshavin and walcott

  20. Red Arse says:

    LG,

    I am with you on claiming credit for the predicted team selection – well at the end of the match.

    I bet £10 on three horses that came nowhere but I thought the three who finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fully deserved to do so.
    Does that count? When can I collect my winnings? :-)

  21. Red Arse says:

    Hi D98, :-)

    Harsh words, but I see where you are coming from.

    The balance of the team was definitely improved by the introduction of the Gerv and Rambo.

    Oddly enough, I thought Arshavin had a great game at the week-end. It is wrong to say he is lazy, I think he tries hard enough, but his little legs just cannot generate enough speed to get back when needed, and he will keep trying those impossible ‘flicks and flacks’.
    (Of course, I reserve the right to deny all the above when he produces a piece of magic and scores a wondergoal — fickle? what me?) :-)

  22. RA,

    You can collect your winnings the next time you see a bookie riding a dead donkey.

  23. Red Arse says:

    LG,

    That’s a deal then! :-)

  24. Rasp says:

    D98 makes a good point about Arteta and there are similarities to the situation with Wilshere last season.

    Why is it that Song plays an advanced role to either of the aforementioned when they are better equipped to play higher up the pitchg and he is excellent at the DM role when he can be disciplined and stay back?

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon AA’ers, thanks for the nice words :)

    D98, what you would like Arteta to be and what he is asked to be is different at the moment. I judge him according to what I think he is asked to do, and he did a very good job last night. For me, both Song and Arteta were deployed as a double DM with some licence to go forward, if they can sort it out between them. It was the graft and discipline of Arteta and Song that made us dominate the game in the second half, and for me that will do at the moment.

  26. RockyLives says:

    Excellent report TA
    Like others, I feel you may have been a bit generous with Arshavin. His performance was a shame, because his cameo at the weekend was really promising.

    Rosicky (particularly) and Arteta both played well and were instrumental to us getting the result.

    As we entered extra time I said to the friends I was watching with “wouldn’t it be great to snatch a late winner? When was the last time we did that in a game?”

    And lo and behold, up popped Aaron to deliver on cue.

    But I still can’t remember… when was the last time we snatched a last gasp winner (as opposed to a last gasp shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot). Any idea?

  27. RockyLives says:

    One way this result was important is in how we are perceived by other teams in the EPL.

    There’s a general feeling that teams don’t fear us any more. But if we are seen to be winning away and topping our group in the CL (a competition in which most of our EPL opposition will never dream of playing) it will help reinforce the idea that the Arsenal are a bit special (in a good way :) ) and, thereby, slowly rebuild the fear factor around us.

  28. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky,

    I expect Stoke on Sunday will give us a sterner test than Marseilles. If we can come through that game in a similarly gritty manner and not panic defensively then I will believe we are firmly on our way to recovery albeit with a slight change of style.

  29. Double98 says:

    Rasp – Arshavin plays with passion and pace for russia – he was the stand out player on the pitch against Ireland last month (by a country mile) – towards the end of last season we played Man U and he was incredible winning rakes of slide tackles…
    I don’t think he either cares to / or is capable of / producing the consistency that we need.
    Right now we definitely can’t carry anyone that might turn it on for 20 seconds and score a wonder goal.

    TA – Arteta playing as a defensive wall is like putting walcott in goals – i think he is covering an indisciplined song and trying to get the ball earlier because song isn’t winning enough ground in the midfeild to buy him space. So you have arteta winning battles in midfield and suddenly rosicky is looking like teh player we bought – but then the question goes to what is song doing? – i would dispute that he provided much cover to the defense and seemed to be popping up as our most forward midfielder. Ok he was booked early and maybe this was a ploy to keep him on the pitch – but the same thing happened against sunderland.
    I have been on before criticising song and i know its not very popular but i just want a strong dm who defends the midfield – i don’t want one spending his whole match trying to thread balls through a defence or hassling centrebacks

  30. gunnern5 says:

    Good morning TA, at least here in Canada.

    I`m surprised with your rating of Rosicky, to me he was our man of the match, his energy was boundless and he was all over the field.

    Our goal was due mostly to his hard work, Marseille had an attack down their left wing and who was there to break it up – Rosicky. He made a great diagonal pass to VP who passed over to our left side, after a few passes back and forth the ball was passed over to our right wing where two Marseille defenders were waiting, however Rosicky darted between them and energetically won the ball then he passed off to Djourou who passed on to Gervinho, who appeared to mishandle the ball but it went on to Ramsey who scored.

    if Ramsey was worth 6.5 then Rosicky was worth 8.0 – he is seldom my player of choice but last night he was a stand out.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky, even more important for me is that being successful in the CL makes OUR players believe they are a bit special. At the moment only Real have done better than us in this competition. If we can combine a slowly growing self-confidence with working hard and refinding our shape/style of football, then we can make things happen – even this season. Let’s just all join the TMHT-club! :D

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    G5, for me Tomas did not control and direct the game enough. There were whole periods in which he was not involved in the game. RvP so many times asked for the ball to be played over the OM defence and I expect a player in Rosicky’s position to see that and do that. But, I could have missed a few things as watching a game and making notes for a match report can easily lead to that.

  33. Brigham says:

    goonermichael says:
    October 20, 2011 at 10:22 am
    Does anyone know why there was a “come on you irons” banner at Marsielle?

    It is all to do with there being quite a few Hammers ex-pats living there and they have taken to supporting Marseille as well.

    As for the game, a better performance overall, although Walcott and Arshavin seem to be going backwards, particularly Walcott. Jenkinson did very well and I love the way he does not hide after making a mistake, he tries hard to put it right.

    Stoke will be a sterner test on Sunday, but one I think we can come through with the right application and tenacity.

  34. gunnern5 says:

    On another note – I am not a defender of either Arshavin or Walcott but we should take into consideration that they both played against fresh defenders.
    When our fresh subs came on they looked good but were playing against tired defenders. Maybe if the roles were reversed then Walcott and Arshavin may have looked just as good.

  35. gunnern5 says:

    TA,

    I agree, It’s very tough to write a report when watching a live game and I was not being critical of your post or ratings – I was just expressing my viewpoint.

    I watch games using a PVR which allows me to pause, and reverse at any point while the game is still recording – so it takes me about 2/3 hours to watch a game.

  36. goonermichael says:

    Did anyone see Charlie Nicholas’ comments last night? I thought he was very good. He said he’d sell AA if we got 5m for him and give amachi(sic) a chance. Roy keane said he would have subbed AA after 10 minutes. I think I’d get rid of him and theo as soon as possible.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    G5, am watching the game again now. Get back to you later.

  38. Brigham says:

    I also had to laugh at Roy Keane’s comment when Adrian Childs said that us Gooners had had some hard times of late and he replied; “I have not sympathy for them” He has obviously not forgotten our ‘love’ for him during his Man Utd days! lol

  39. Double98 says:

    GoonerMichael – i saw Charlie and i’d agree with him – i think Ryo needs a chance as does Alexander John Oxlade Witherington Kincaid Chamberlain the forth… we have loads of reserves who could have done better than Arshavin last night

  40. Double98 says:

    I appreciate Roy Keanes comments –
    Hey Arsenal fans, players and management all need to stop wallowing in the mire of “look what happened”

    screw it a few players left and we still have 20 fantastic ones who should be able to destroy stoke this weekend.

    We should be able to send out a third string side that can compete with the seconds and the firsts and by extension they should be able to give the mancs a run for their money…

  41. chas says:

    Great report, TA.
    I agree with it all. :)

    I’m not sure when the last last-minute winner was, but this was certainly one of my favourites.

  42. chas says:

    Nice pic dated 18th October

    He's back

  43. Red Arse says:

    I was idly flicking thru’ NewsNow and I saw Arsene’s quote that he had no intention of selling Chamakh in January, as has been widely reported.

    AW is nothing if not loyal, but surely Chamakh’s form and lack of games for 3 or 4 months at the end of last season, as well as the beginning of this season is, to say the very least, puzzling, given the lack of games is Arsene’s choice.

    Color me puzzled!! :-)

  44. Double98 says:

    chas – no wonder vermalen is injured – why is our firts choice center back practising sideways bicycle kicks?

    We should practise winning headers and shouting at each other
    :)

  45. RockyLives says:

    Hi Rasp
    I agree – if we can come through the Stoke game with three points, we might be justified in believing that the green shoots of recovery are showing.

    I don’t expect Stoke to be any kind of easy, but we should have the class to beat them.

    One worry – I wouldn’t be surprised if they target Song to try and get him booked early. His first booking last night was entirely his own fault. He picked up the ball in the middle of our half and got turned so he was facing our goal. Instead of playing the simple – and safe – ball back to Szczesny he tried something fancy and lost possession, meaning he had to foul the guy to stop him being clear through on goal.

    He can be a great player, but sometimes his decisions are a bit daft.

  46. Fatgingergooner says:

    I think a few have already given this a mention but I thought Rosicky was excellent last night and he looks the fittest, and sharpest, I have seen him since his awful injury problems. Dare I say he looks like the player we bought all them years ago. I thought my eyes were decieving me against Sunderland when he was running past people with pace, but he did the same again last night. He appears to have hot his fitness and speed back and I am praying that he can be the player he was 5 years ago. If that is the case then he could be a star for us this season. He has had the worst run of injuries since being at Arsenal yet he doesn’t moan or whine, he just gets on with it and IMO deserves to be a stand out player for this club once again.

  47. Brigham says:

    Rocky, I totally agree with you regarding the Song synopsis. All too often he makes silly and rash challenges early doors and either gets himself booked, or ensures that the ref makes a mental note of his misdemeanours. This then all too often ends up with him getting sent off and like you, I believe Stoke will home in on him.

  48. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Well said FGG

    You can tell the guy loves playing football and he runs his heart out, what more can you ask for. When you consider that a lot of fans thought he was finished a couple of years ago, it shows the faith Arsene has in him that he still plays, and well done to the lad.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    G5, I have watched the game again. You are right in saying he had great energy and was allover the place.

    However, there was very little end-product, just a few decent forward passes and no goal-threat of him at all. For big parts of the second half he did not touch the ball: check out 47-63 minutes for example. He had a few opportunities to make a defence-splitting pass or to attack the players in front of him, but he never did.

    For his energy levels and dedication, I think, with hindsight, he deserves a bit more than a 6, but man of the match: never. He was not doing anywhere near enough what he is supposed to do in the position he was in last night. Sorry to disagree.

  50. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Crikey, I have made a note not to disagree with Inspector TA.

    A very detailed forensic examination of the recording.

    And what’s more I agree with you.
    A good, energetic and enthusiastic display and as FatG says the best he has looked since his injury, but MOTM? Nix! :-)

  51. RockyLives says:

    Wow, TA, how do you get the time? Are you a man of independent means?

  52. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, :-)

    That TA is some dude! :-)
    The only thing I have on him is he don’t got poifect English, yet.

    Yesterday he mixed up his ‘neck of the woods’ with his ‘knack of the woods’ and I’m not allowing a typo!! :-)

  53. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    Obviously my previous comment about TA is just between us.
    Don’t tell him! :-)

  54. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Ha Ha, TA & G5 crack me up. watching games over and over, pausing, slow motion etc. Fantastic stuff, and top men the pair.

  55. Gooner in Exile says:

    Afternoon all nice report TA, sums it all up nicely.

    If ever a moment proves Songs daftness at times it was when in the second half he battled back to win a ball and then in our 18yard box decided to dribble round a couple of players and lost it. So annoying.

    But I’m a happy Gooner today because we found a way to win.

  56. Double98 says:

    RA thats a real neck/knack paddy whack

  57. Gooner in Exile says:

    Someone mentioned earlier that with Koz looking good TV could be used in DM, which is of course true and a mouth watering prospect of solidity. He has a fine shot as well so joining attack from ahead of the halfway line could see him try a few more. But for me only in certain games would it be necessary.

    As for Merts I know he has said Arsenal were the team he supported and how Tony Adams was an idol when he signed for us but I didn’t believe it, remember Robbie Keane who’s dream it has always been to play for Celtic, Spuds, Dipper, Wolves……..

    But having seen Merts play it is scary how many Adams mannerisms he has about him, even as far as standing with his hand on his back elbow bent.

    On AA debate it was not going forward that worried me, although poor that happens, what is difficult to forgive is giving up when losing possession and standing still letting opponents run, I can think of at least one occasion where it caused Santos to concede a cheap cross because he was aware of an overlapping run and could not press as tightly as he should.

    To be fair Theo did the same to Jenks a couple of times too.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky, I am currently a dedicated househusband but they keep threatening me with potential job offers :) So, as long as it lasts, I ‘ll invest as much as possible of my time in watching the Arsenal.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, you keep me sharp (and that DanDan and Sharkey of course). You must agree though, Knack of the Wood sounds a bit more romantic..?! :)

  60. Shandy Gooner says:

    I must say i found Walcot very frustrating last.His crosses were ineffective and was constantly running into Defenders when ever he had the Ball.Wenger should bench Walcott for the next match as he has now become too comfortable.

    Arshavin was uselsss did not bother to get up and tackle the opposition when he found himself on his small cushions.Intead he sat there like a kid waiting for Porridge to be served.

  61. RockyLives says:

    Redders :)

  62. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    As far as excuses go — you are getting the knack of it! :-) Anyway, were you listening to my private conversation with Rocky? That’s is tres naughty!

    D98, :-)

    GIE, A word in your shell like (I’m getting better at this – tho’ I have no idea where it comes from :-) ) – I – am the ‘someone’ who mentioned TV for the mid-field — shame on you for not associating a good point with a good AA’er.

    You will need to explain your comment “even as far as standing with his hand on his back elbow bent.” Unless you have extremely long, flexible arms you would have to bend your elbow to put your arm on Tony Adam’s back!

    Typical accountant. :-) —- You, that is — not me!!

  63. Red Arse says:

    On a slightly philosophical note, I am intrigued, once again, by the variations in the numbers of AAers who thought X or Y had good games as opposed to those who disagreed.

    This was after a good win. I dread to think of the dichotomy of opinions if we had, heaven forfend, actually lost!! :-)

    An old tutor of mine once said to me over a scotch that – there is only one reality, but many perceptions, and rarely do the two meet!

    In the context of Arsenal fans watching the match, we probably all agree that the reality is Arsenal played a game and won.
    We can in all probability mutually agree that there is only one reality as to how each player performed, and yet there are so many different opinions based on each individuals perception, that it proves the point. There is only one reality and yet many perceptions.

    Resistance is futile, Captain.

    That was so much fun, I was going to suggest we have a discussion on ‘philosophy as related to the world of football’.
    Then I thought – the Rasper will moderate me — and no one would speak to me anyway — so, sod philosophy, eh? :-)

  64. Red Arse says:

    What do you mean – no one is speaking to me in any event?

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    There are many realities but you just have the one perception :)

  66. Gooner in Exile says:

    [img]http://shop.sportsworldcards.com/ekmps/shops/sportsworld/images/arsenal-tony-adams-2-proset-1990-1991-football-trading-card-20417-p.jpg[/img]

  67. Double98 says:

    TA – there is one reality but multiple reality tv shows and a complete lack of perception

  68. Gooner in Exile says:

    Ok that didn’t work here’s a link

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    GiE, I can see what you mean. They do have similar gestures and postures. Well spotted.

    D98 – so true!

  70. Red Arse says:

    There was a semi-serious point to my discourse on philosophy. :-)

    It happens on AA to a degree but much more so on certain other blogs, where a fan can take great exception to another fan disagreeing with him, or simply offering a contradictory viewpoint.

    These differences of opinion, based on each fan’s perception of events, quickly becomes extremely personal and are almost seen as a challenge to each others integrity.

    In the wider scheme of things, this can and does happen far too frequently and can end up in unacceptable violence.

    Take a guy looking at a beautiful woman and thinking “sex”.
    Take a beautiful woman looking at the guy and thinking “loser”.
    One reality – two perceptions – never to meet!

    Shrek, when will you get this simple concept? :-)

  71. gunnern5 says:

    TA.

    Seeing as you watched the recording with Rosciky in mind I will accept you opinion of his overall performance.

    But I do not agree that he should not be man of the match, without his direct involvement in the last two minutes we would not have scored the only goal he made two superb plays that led directly to the goal.

    Yes Ramsey put it in the net but without Rosicky’s work rate, right to the end, we would have to have settled for 0-0 and only 5 points and none of us would be feeling so chipper today.

    MOM – IMLTHO

  72. gunnern5 says:

    RA,

    Perception is reality in the mind of the beholder.

    So therefore we all have different viewpoints as we are different beholders.

    What a boring place blogland would be if we all agreed.

  73. Red Arse says:

    I already said that GN5. But thank you for telling me.

  74. harry says:

    Nice one Total, away on course at the moment so havent had chance to read comments…..

    For me:
    Defensively naive in the first half was replaced by a stauncher brand of defending in 2nd half. Felt like we were the more likely to score as game wore on but had settled for draw.

    Ramsey added real impetus and his ability to deliver in those moments shows that he has the talent to further his career at arsenal, the amount of criticism he has received has been a joke at times across the blogosphere.

    Rosicky is an unsung hero……..when he did lose the ball, he went after it and got it back………he is definitely improving week by week as is arteta who i think has about 2 or 3 more levels to go.

    Walcott as usually has been harshly criticised on the web.

    Thought Kozzer was a diamond and BFG is settling more each week.

    Santos needs to concentrate a bit more, up his fitness and he’ll be a great player for us.

    Overall you can see team is getting better, starting to gel. still work to do……….

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    G5, I agree that TR was involved in the goal by winning back the ball and passing it on to Djourou. Similar to the fact that we would not have been able to send rockets into space without the original invention of the hot-air balloon :)

    He worked his socks off for us yesterday and, especially in football, this is always appealing.

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, the beautiful lady could have a soft spot for losers… and he could be aware of this and act like a loser. Two perceptions different ‘reality’ –> outcome :)

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Agree with it all Harry, especially your very last paragraph. I am looking forward to reading one of your match reports again soon. As Bruce Forsyth would say: ‘you are my favourite'(match reviewer)!

  78. RockyLives says:

    Redders, TA
    But what about the theory of multiple (possibly infinite) universes? In one version of this theory every possible variation of the game will have been played somewhere, so in one universe Arshavin will have scored five and been MoTM…

  79. Fatgingergooner says:

    Merts will be a great defender for this club, arsenal fan or not. His turning circle seems to be an issue for some but it wasn’t an issue for the German managers who gave him 75 caps do it isn’t an issue for me. If its true that Bolton rejected a 15m deadline day offer for Cahill from Spuds then Merts has to be considered a bargain.
    I also believe that Kozzer will be a star for this club. He has heart and bottle and he looks like someone who wants to improve.

  80. Hi all

    First chance to make a comment, been really busy :(

    Great match report TA. I have been banging on about Kozzer for ages and I’m sure you’ve all misunderstood the attraction – they don’t have to be sexy and fit for me to appreciate them you see :roll:

    I hope Theo and AA were embarrassed that not much happened while they were on the pitch and yet when they left it we were more potent.

    That’s not strictly true as at about 85 minutes I was impressed at how well we were defending and convinced myself that a draw was a fine result on the night. I didn’t see that goal coming but some great work by Rosicky and Djourou to put Rambo (or Gervihno) in was a fantastic end to a pretty dire game.

    Rocky – you love the multiple universe theory don’t you :) …….. in one, Jenks doesn’t pick up an injury you know and so Djourou doesn’t come on and pick that great pass :lol:

  81. Hi Ginge – agree wholeheartedly about both Mert and Koz. I was impressed with Kozzers work-rate last season even though he was guilty of a few really costly blunders but watching him at the Swansea game I was really thrilled to see how he showed such grit and determination. I said then he was going to be an Arsenal Legend – I just wish he was more dishy :oops:

  82. 26may1989 says:

    Evening.

    TA, I may be late to the fray, but let me add to the plaudits: tip top report, muchos gracias.

    What’s most interesting about today’s discussion, after two straight days on AA of van Persie adulation, which might have suggested we were in danger of becoming a one-player team, is how little reference there is to the Rotterdammer. Which underlines to me what there is to admire in last night’s performance.

    I really liked it because it was a serious, sustained effort of concentration, against a side which played a really effective defensive game, giving precious few opportunities for us to have a crack at goal. We had to work hard for what we got, and we deserved it when the goal came.

    But let’s not kid ourselves: last night was great in terms of building team confidence and showing the growth of the team dynamic amongst these players. But the fact is we are lacking in attacking thrust, we still need more about us in the final third. Perhaps part of the answer lies within the squad (Gervinho, Ox, Ryo, Park) but surely a signing or two will be essential.

  83. RockyLives says:

    Peaches
    Trouble is, if there are infinite universes and all eventualities must be played out somewhere, then there will be one game where Arshavin gets taken by an escaped condor just as he’s clean through on goal…

    But I like the idea that in some alternative reality somewhere, Arsenal are always champions…

  84. RockyLives says:

    26
    Has Micky given permission for you to use his copyrighted “Thrust” argument? :)

  85. 26may1989 says:

    Shhhh, don’t tell him, he’ll never notice………..

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Peaches, yes Koz was great last night. As with Jenkinson, Arteta and Rosicky, energetic and enthusiastic players is what we all like to see, especially at this stage of rebuilding the team.

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    RL, and Tottenham always get relegated on 1 goal ‘goal-difference’, losing the last game of the season 13-0 to Arsenal ;)

  88. RockyLives says:

    TA :)

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    26 (and other AA-ers), I would always welcome new players, but who would it be for you? Who would give us that extra thrust to our way of playing? Or are you happy with our way of playing, and we only need to improve the quality of our players in the current system?

    Say you had £50m to spend and did not have to worry about salaries, which 1-2 player(s) would you want Wenger to get (realistically i.e. could become available to us / would want to move to us)?

  90. harry says:

    Total, thank you. I think i’ll be doing the home leg v Marseille as my next match report……….lets hope it involves 3 points and the group pretty much wrapped up……….

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    Harry, I hope so too. The pressure will be on us then and OM might prefer it that way. I dont think it will be easy for us.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    Hi TA

    Fair questions. I can live with us retaining the current system, though I’d prefer us to go back to a 4-4-1-1. But regardless of formations, if we can bring in an attacking midfielder like Goetze, Hazard or Martin and/or a striker such as Benzema, Rossi or Edinson Cavani.

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    26, I watched Goetze now a few times and he keeps reminding me of Nasri (the good and not-so-good). He could be ok, but I am not sure whether it would need to take a few seasons for him to really make a difference for us. Have not seen much of Hazard or Martin, so cannot comment. I like all your strikers, especially Cavani.

    I would prefer to go for an attacking midfielder with vision. I don’t think we could attract an experienced attacking midfielder / Playmaker at top-level (Sneijder or Schweinsteiger), which would be my preference. In Holland a new star is on the rise: Kevin Strootman. Also very young, still only 21, but he looks a very great prospect.

    I also like Affalay who went to Barca at the beginning of this year: he would have fitted in really well.

  94. 26may1989 says:

    Affalay is a very good call – looks a perfect Wenger signing, talented but neglected.

    I’ve been a Sneijder fan for years, from his Ajax days. But you’re right, he isn’t going to be coming our way. And, while he was out for a bit with an injury, he hasn’t exactly been pulling up trees this season.

    I can’t see Schweinsteiger or anyone else at Bayern leaving with them being on the up. Good player though.

    For a visionary midfielder, Marvin Martin could well do the business, a very talnted player. And that lad Thiago Alcantara at Barca looks great, and he may feel there are too many ahead of him for comfort. Unlikely though.

    Gourcouff would be another possibility. And form what I’ve seen from France matches, Yann M’Vila has an excellent range of pass for a DM.

    Interesting re Strootman, I didn’t know about him. Will keep an eye out.

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    26, I am off to bed now, but just have a look at the two links. The video is in dutch, but just give it 30 seconds and you can gather from the pictures and on-screen drawings what they are trying to say. Strootman is playing for Sparta, 3 years ago – only 18 years old(!), and the analyst is pointing out Strootman’s ability to play with his head lifted up and his phenomenal shooting/passing ability. He just reminds me of Fabregas when he was that young.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/talent-scout-kevin-strootman-2370778.html

    http://www.zimbio.com/Kevin+Strootman/video/J60-YGNlErD/Kevin+Strootman+Videos

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Forgot to say, you need to scroll down to the third video (the other two are also worth watching though)

  97. oz gunner says:

    @ TA great report, definently took me back to the game.
    and after your forensic dissection u’ve joined the list of AA’ers i’ll think twice about debating a point.

    @ Rocky
    i like this multiple universe theory ‘multiverse’, i’d like to think theres a universe out there that has a fully fit arsenal team, therefore winning the league. Somehow we need to get the secret from those arsenal doctors to this universe, however being 14 billion light years away we could have some problems with this!

    @ TA
    i agree rosicky’s defensive game is good. A few seasons ago he did put his hand up to play as a defensive midfielder if needed. A fair comment in games that don’t require a bigger bodied defender. Flamini wasn’t big but his workrate and energy ment he was a great defensive midfielder

  98. oz gunner says:

    @ TA
    good 50million dollar question (good idea for a post on an international break or during the windows).

    Before the season started i would of jumped at the chance to get M’vila, however with song, pong and my favourite coquelin there is no need to splash it on a defensive midfielder.

    I wouldn’t buy a defender (for the last 5 years i would of said so).

    I’d go for Affalay because he would be cheap (coming back from injury and has never had a chance to shine at barca). A few seasons ago people were shouting to get him just like they were hazard, so a similar player for a quarter the price.

    Cavani would be a very good signing, still spewing we didn’t get suarez so i’d try and pinch him. To save money though i’d probably grab drogba as i still think he has something to offer, PL experience, and a moster when given the chance.

    If i had any left over i’d grab a defender just incase of mass injury and go for hummels from BD as he is a great defender (on barcas radar if im not mistaken).

  99. oz gunner says:

    Stoke:
    more than 50 % of Stoke’s goal are resulted from Delap’s assists from throw ins.

    The orcs of stoke
    Average height: 183cm

    Shawcross- 6’3
    Huth- 6’3
    Higginbotham- 6’1
    K. Jones- 6’2
    Fuller- 6’3
    Wilson- 6’2
    Whitehead- 6’0
    Walters- 6’0
    Crouch- 6’6
    Upson- 6’1
    Woodgate- 6’0
    Jerome- 6’1

    Obviously not all of these players will play in the starting lineup but with delaps throws, pennants crossing and begovics kicks (whenever there is a free-kick beyond half way) speak danger.

    Arsenals giant slayers:
    Panzer tank: 6’6
    Kozza: 6’1
    Santos: 5’11
    Song: 6’0
    Djourou: 6’4
    Szczesny: 6’5 (will have to play another cracking game and be alert to every high ball, including players trying to crowd him away from the ball)
    MC: 6’2
    AA: 5’7

    Assuming RVP will be rested for MC, as 3 games in a week for RVP may be too much to handle.
    So once again we will be sweating bullets everytime there is a set piece or a throw. Jones and fuller have been handfuls in the past, as has huth. However Crouch will no doubt be starting (seeing him vs BFG is going to be the battle of the giant sticks), with jones coming on as a sub.

    No doubt the stoke fans will do their usual disgraceful antics of booing ramsey everytime he touches the ball and cheering shawcross everytime he does!

  100. Gooner in Exile says:

    Oz that is a perfect summation of the Neanderthals from Stoke.

    I think in Arteta, Santos, Jenkinson and Gerv we are less likely to be physically intimated. The whole squad needs to be told to keep discipline though if it gets a rough.

    Really think we should get “My My Aaron Ramsey” going, I have a second verse especially for Stokes visit:

    My My Aaron Ramsey
    My My Aaron Ramsey
    We can see your leg is back in one piece
    Now you’ll score goals and you’ll lead us to victory.

    Die Die Ryan Shawcross
    Die Die Ryan Shawcross
    We can see through your crocodile tears
    Now do me a favour f*** off and never comeback

  101. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just saw news on Jenks (3 weeks with hyper extension of the knee).

    When will this end?

  102. Morning all

    We have a great post coming your way from Rocky today but we don’t yet have a post for tomorrow.

    I’ll be along again later to have another nag …………….

  103. evonne says:

    GiE – number 1 tune for this month! Die, die Ryan Shawcross :) You are such nice, young lad, bless you

    Hi Oz – I was reading your comments at 3am today and almost replied, but decided to go back to bed, sorry. Your stats are very interesting. I didn’t know that Stoke mob are so tall, hm, tricky set pieces ahead of us. I am sure I have read somewhere that Delap was not allowed to use the towel anymore, some breach of rules, is that true?

  104. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    That is the best sing-a-long song I have seen suggested!

    What a talent you are – Singer; Song writer; GK; Accountant. :-)

  105. evonne – are you around to do a special job for us at 9.30 today? I’ve scheduled the post to publish itself but need someone to say New Post on this one ……………………..

  106. evonne says:

    Peaches – probably, trying to get doctor’s appointement, will let you know in 10

  107. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    I have just sung it through, and to make it roll off the tongue a bit better, I would like to collaborate with you and suggest two additions.

    My My Aaron Ramsey
    My My Aaron Ramsey
    We can see your leg is back in one piece
    Now you’ll score goals and you’ll lead us to victory.

    Die Die Ryan Shawcross
    Die Die Ryan Shawcross
    We can see ‘right’ through your crocodile tears
    Now do ‘us’ (me) a favour f*** off and never comeback

    Anyone saying I am just amending it for a share of the royalties — is spot on!! :-)

  108. evonne says:

    Peaches – ok, will do xx

  109. evonne says:

    Red Arse – you chancer! soz, but all credit goes to GiE

    I think I will go on all Arsenal blogs today and publish this little beauty hoping that it will be sung this weekend

  110. Red Arse says:

    Too late, Girls ——

    NEW POST, NEW POST, READ IT WITH YOUR SLICE OF TOAST!

    NEW POST, NEW POST WE’VE GOT ROCKY, WE CAN BOAST!

    Oh, OK — better wait for Evonne, I guess. :-)

  111. Red Arse says:

    Morning Evonne, :-)

    Now remember — we want a SPECIAL announcement. None of the boring old “NEW POST – NOW SOD OFF” that we get from the Rasper. :-)

    I will be watching!!

  112. Thanks evonne

    Red Arse – next time I’ll choose you, now behave :)

  113. evonne says:

    Red Arse – i love it when you go all bananas :)

  114. RA the second verse was a work in progress but I have sent it to Twittersphere as was, even did a little pic:

  115. evonne says:

    GiE – class!!

  116. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    Just seen the twitter word pic and it looks ace.

    It would be great if it takes off!! :-)

    Peacher, putting me in charge of the “NEW POST DARLINGS!” would be like putting a rooster in with the hens.
    Or did I mean a fox in with the chickens? :-)

  117. Red Arse says:

    Evonne,

    I have often been told I am bananas! I hang out with some like minded guys — there’s a bunch of us. :-)

  118. evonne says:

    Red Arse – and that includes me, no doubt? Thank you :)

  119. evonne says:

    Yoohoo!! Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen!!
    I proudly present you with your one and only RockyLives!!!

    NEW POST

    and altogether – We will, we will rock you! Rock you!

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