A serious win – Arsenal 6 Coventry 1

On Sunday, we faced a side called City that played in sky-blue. And last night, it happened again. Except the City from Coventry is very different to the one from Manchester in one key respect: Sheikh Mansour did not decide to take his country’s cash to the Midlands.

Coventry City were once a proud and persistent member of the top division, ranking only behind Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton for their unbroken run at the top. They managed a couple of sixth place finishes and an FA Cup that every Arsenal fan loved seeing them lift, when they beat Spurs 3-2 in 1987. All of that seems a long time ago now. While the coaching staff includes some familiar faces from Coventry’s happier days, like Richard Shaw and Steve Ogrizovic, Coventry provided pretty weak opposition yesterday.

That being the case, it was a little underwhelming to see our team of youngsters and older guys with something to prove fail to get to grips with Coventry in the first half. Santos aside, no-one played badly, but there was little evidence of dominance against an honest but ordinary lower division opponent, which has a league record of W0, D3, L5 this season and lies joint bottom of League One.

The only moment of satisfaction in the first half was seeing Olivier Giroud break his duck. It was clear from his expression that it was a relief for him too. Once again, he had been given precious little service in terms of viable opportunities to score, before Arshavin and Coquelin combined with first-time passes to send the ball through for Giroud to go one-on-one with the Coventry keeper. Giroud took his chance with a deft chip.

Yennaris (surprisingly playing in central midfield), Oxlade-Chamberlain and Coquelin began to assert themselves before the end of the first half. Arshavin (who was finally being played in his proper position, as a number 10) and Walcott were both pretty low-key in the first half, but stepped things up in the second half. Whereas crosses and through balls were generally over-hit or inaccurate in the first half, the ball was knocked around with more confidence and more effect in the second half, with openings being created against a pedestrian defence.

Giroud was given a chance to get a second, when the referee harshly punished Coventry by awarding us a penalty when Arshavin appeared to have run into a defender more than been bundled over. But before Giroud could take the penalty, there was an amusing interlude, when two streakers got onto the pitch. For one horrendous moment, it seemed the first one was going to go traditional and manage to get all his clothes off, but he had to make do with running around the pitch in boxers and socks. Our stewards tried to look nonchalant about it all, you could almost see them say “Really? You want me to run after him? Bloody hell….” But in the end, the intruders were nabbed and Giroud was allowed to take his penalty. Which he promptly missed.

A second goal came not long after, when Oxlade-Chamberlain cut in from the left, exchanged passes with Arshavin and then sent a powerful shot towards the top right-hand corner and it flew past the keeper’s flailing hand. In truth, the keeper should have saved it, but it was powerfully hit, and the ball’s path may have deviated slightly.

The Chelsea match substitutions were made on the 72nd minute, when Giroud, Coquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain came off for Gnabry, Chamakh and Frimpong, a folk hero who was welcomed back with gusto.

Arshavin had become increasingly influential through the game, and managed to get his first goal for Arsenal in almost a year to make it 3-0. The little Russian quickly controlled a clever chipped cross from Giroud, who had received the ball from Yennaris, and despatched a little half-volley into the goal. Ten minutes later, after Djourou had failed to convert a good chance from a corner, the very tidy Nico Yennaris played a beautifully weighted ball for Walcott to run onto – it was perfect for Theo; the ball in front of him, the centre-backs behind him. The Wannabe Striker had been gagging for a goal, and had been hogging the ball at times when he should have passed the ball. This time, however, in his optimum position, he sent the ball past the keeper and into the far corner. 4-0.

Then Coventry had their moment. Their captain, Carl Baker, had been the only Sky Blue suggesting he had had something to offer creatively, and on 79th minute he sent across an absolutely beautiful cross from the right-hand side. Carl Jenkinson would have been proud of it. It took out the defenders and gave Damian Martinez no chance, with Callum Ball doing the easy bit by converting to give the Coventry fans something to celebrate. If Giroud had been given more service like that since he joined us, I feel sure he would have more than one goal to his name.

A minute later, Serge Gnabry was played in by Arshavin. The young German went for a shot, which hit a defender and went for a corner. Arshavin and Yennaris exchanged passes form the short corner before Arsahvin sent over a pin-point cross, which the always impressive and smooth Ignassi Miquel headed back inside the near post for his first goal for the club. 5-1.

And the best goal of the night was the last one. Theo picked the ball up around the centre circle with a lovely first touch, went past a defender on the outside (yes, he really did), cut back in and across the defender, and once he reached the penalty box, he sent a curling shot inside the far post for 6-1. In truth, he had more time than he would usually get, with the Coventry defenders visibly tiring, but it was a lovely one-man goal nonetheless.

All in all, it was a fun evening. There were good performances from Yennaris, Coquelin, and Miquel; good first team debuts for Martinez, Angha (a centre-back playing at right-back) and Gnabry; a return from injury for Frimpong; good run-outs for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin, Djourou and Walcott; a goal for Giroud; and no injuries before the weekend. Chamakh was anonymous for most of his 20 minutes. The only really bad performance was from Santos, who looked way off the pace, and whose use of the ball was distinctly un-Brazilian. But hopefully, he was blowing away some cobwebs, he can play a lot better.

And next up is an away trip to Brian McDermott’s Reading.

More significantly, there is Saturday’s game against the suddenly creative Chelsea. Last night’s game does not tell us much about how well placed we will be for that game, but it can’t hurt to have just won 6-1.

Here are my ratings for the evening’s performances:

Martinez: 7

Angha: 7

Djourou: 7

Miquel: 8

Santos: 4

Yennaris: 8

Coquelin: 7

Walcott: 7

Arshavin: 8 MOTM

Oxlade-Chamberlain: 8

Giroud: 7

Frimpong: 7

Chamakh: 6

Gnabry: 7

Written by 26may1989

And this match report from LB who was also at the game

Goal Fest at the Emirates

Arsenal cruised past Coventry on an entertaining night to secure our place in the forth round of the League Cup. Fifty eight thousand people turned up for this third round tie, incredible when you think of what a drab fixture this looks at first sight. Of that number, forty five thousand were Arsenal supporters; it was great to see so many fathers having a chance to take their young sons or daughters, more and more a rarity nowadays which is obviously a great shame.

When we whoop the opposition so convincingly I feel comfortable speaking well of the opposition fans and it has to be said that Coventry turned up in numbers, eighteen thousand to be exact. No doubt many a father took his son or daughter regaling stories as they made their way down of the day when they beat Arsenal 3-0 on the opening day of the season all that time ago. It was after all their cup final and they played a huge part in making the atmosphere as good as it was.

The team selection made sense; giving the captaincy to Djourou was inspired, I am sure it is not easy keeping someone as talented as he happy playing the role of forth choice CB. Wenger included three players who needed to prove something: Giroud, Arshavin and Thierry Walcott, these three drove the show forward. The Ox has nothing to prove so does not fit into that category; he just played for fun and was a joy to watch.

The back line was as expected apart from the inclusion of Anger who I am afraid was poor. Santos came to life in the second half leaving only Miguel who was my man of the match. I should explain how I make my choice of MOTM, on Sunday for example The BFG was described as “imperious” (Chas) I agree, but I expect that from him, what I didn’t expect was Ramsey to raise his game as much as he did and because of that I would have given the MOTM to him. Against Coventry Arshavin ran the show he shone above all else, but once again I expect that from him, it was only Coventry after all but Miquel played over and above what I expected, scoring a well placed header to boot.

If I had one little complaint I think Wenger was a bit too cautious playing Coquelin and Yannaris, both defensive minded players, in front of the back line. I would have preferred to see Eisfeld who is more attack minded rather than Yannaris who was average on the night, a description far less glowing than the reports he receives when he plays right back.

Arsenal were in charge from the outset, the only surprise was that it took so long to get off the mark, half chances fell here and there until Coquelin stabbed the ball past the Coventry back line for Giroud to run onto with his left foot; the conditions were so perfect that the rarest of rare orchids would have flowered and unsurprisingly Giroud chipped the goal keeper and a huge black monkey leapt off his back as he turned to celebrate his first goal for Arsenal not long before the break.

Wenger was obviously taking this game seriously by his team selection but I am sure he would have liked a cushion as quick as possible so that he could get key players off ready for Saturday. The opportunity to put some distance came when Arshavin was brought down in the box and the referee correctly awarded us a penalty. The Ox ran to pick up the ball and then protectively went to the spot in hope of taking it himself only to be met by Giroud who pulled rank or something like that and insisted on taking it.
Goal number two looked a certainty but the conditions were not right, orchids did not flower and Giroud missed, the monkey that had flown off was only circling and came flying down to resume his place on the Frenchman’s back. Giroud mopped for the rest of the game.

This minor irritation was quickly put behind us as the Ox showed everyone how to do it, launching an exocet of a shot that flew past the Coventry keeper to make it 2-0. Arshavin scored the third with a sublime take and tap in. This opened the flood gates and even Thierry Walcott scored a brace.

This all bodes well for the next round in which we play Reading on the last day of October

Written by LB

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124 Responses to A serious win – Arsenal 6 Coventry 1

  1. chas says:

    Great reports, boys.

    Thanks to 26,
    for the Coventry cross that was just about up to Corporal Jenkinson’s standards. Haha.

    Thanks to LB,
    for the flying, circling monkey. :)

  2. Morning all, two very fine and contrasting reports from last night which make absorbing reading.

    I would like to add that the first steward who tried to catch the streakers did himself a mischief when he slid forward to try and trip up the miscreant. His resulting slide on his right knee and subsequent “capsizing” was hilarious.

    A bit annoying that the delay probably contributed to Giro fluffing the penno.

    Still, another home game and another 6-1.
    You guys are right, we let one in, Wenger out, bring in Uzmanov, sack the board, we want our club back, Giro is the new Vela(‘cos of his chipped goal) – relegation looms.

  3. Fabulous reports fellas.
    11 changes from sunday, talk about squad depth wow.
    I hope this signals that Arshavin is going to be integral to the first team now, he really can be a serious deputy for Santis role should Arsene rotate.
    Exciting.

  4. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all, two match reports with equal amounts of comedy and insight.

    Interesting how two people can see the same game differently (particularly in player performances).

    Having watched a few of the U21 matches on Arsenal Player it looks like Yennaris is being lined up as a centre midfielder, although the fact that he has another string to his bow at right back provides him more opportunity to progress in to the first team squad proper. When I saw him live in Norwich for the Reseves his passing surprised me, as he was a lot more comfortable than I had given him credit for in the senior games he played last term.

    Good to hear Arshavin was firing and that Miquel continues to impress, we have a real asset there (if his Barca DNA has been deleted).

  5. kelsey says:

    Morning all and thank you for two excellent reports and I now get a much better picture of the game.
    I was restricted to updates on Radio 5 live which were either infrequent or the connection broke down whilst the main commentary was The Carlisle v Spurs game, and the commentators kept saying how wonderful the new Spurs signing were.
    Every time they switched to our game there were sniggers and every single goal was greeted with next to no acclaim. e.g.over to The enirates.” Ox makes it three nil ”
    Arshavin seemed to be an in joke between the pundits and there was no credit given to Theo as they said Coventry were a poor side and he proved nothing by scoring.

    it would be nice to see the goals on here (chas :) )

  6. So the Verminator is back in the squad for the chavscum game but Chesney is still 2-3 weeks away from a return and Jack plays for the stiffs on Monday.

    It’ll be cool if JT is confirmed as being banned for that game though; should demoralise the siberian gansgter’s homeboys nicely.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wow, brilliant. Two superb reports, thanks 26 and LB.
    I’ll be back to comment porperly a little later. It will also be easier once I’ve stopped Rolfing over LB’s earlier:
    He posts when he wants
    He posts when he wants
    He’s AA’s LB and he posts when he wants.

  8. 26may1989 says:

    Morning all.

    Interesting contrast of views between LB and me on Angha’s performance. I thought, for an 18-year old playing out of position and on debut, he did pretty well. But his crosses were poor, and he did get caughth out of position once, so I can see why LB might have taken a different view.

    I also really liked the way Coquelin and Yannaris combined. Coq is developing into a fine player, and showed plenty of confidence yesterday. But Yennaris playing in the middle was a revelation. It’d be interesting to see whether he could do well against more demanding oppo.

    Did anyone see the highlights of Liverpool’s game vs West Brom? I thought Pool’s youngsters looked really good. With such a shallow first team squad, they should be blooding some of them in PL games.

  9. Both fine match reports. I definitely couldn’t do one.

  10. Red Arse says:

    Well done with the match reports.

    I think the Rasper and Chazzer gave an assist for the Giroud goal to Arshavin, but I am pretty sure the last touch came from Yennaris as he slid in to guide Arshavin’s initial pass to OG.

    His second assist for Theo’s first goal was a finely judged example of how to do it.

    Seeing Theo’s goals and the precise way he put them away, even tho against a fairly poor team last night, reminded me of the way he used to play in his teens. Excellent!
    Hopefully he will sign his contract and produce some more like that.

  11. evonne says:

    Marvellous reports, they make up for not being able to see the game. Thank you gentelmen

  12. rhyle says:

    Good stuff 26 & LB…was enjoyable watching the highlights last night, some quality goals.

    Thought it was a half decent pen from Giroud (although a good height, it was v. near the post and at least on target) and a very good save from the keeper rather than him missing it.

    Why did you mark Santos a 4? Stands out against the other marks afforded the team yesterday, interested to get your thoughts! Understand that he was blowing off cobwebs, as you say, but LB says he picked up in the second half. Always a big step to give less than a 5 to a player!

  13. Two fabulous match reports by Gooners who know their football! :) :)

    If you ask me, it is rather crowded at the zenith of match reporting and long may it continue! :)

  14. LB says:

    Santos: 4

    This makes sense to me, I realise I said that he picked up in the second half and I stand by that because if he hadn’t I think 26 would have been right to have only given him a 3.

    As for Yannaris, I have gone through my mind again how I felt about his performance and I still have the same view: average, taking into consideration that that was the first time he had played in the mid-field the description of average is no bad thing to me.

    Thanks for that read 26, I really enjoyed it.

  15. Red Arse says:

    26M,

    Not being at the game, I am more than happy to accept your match player ratings. But like Rhyle, it would be interesting to hear your reasons for scoring Santos pretty low.

    From watching the vid, I must say Santos was more noticeable by his absence rather than mucking up when he got the ball.
    My impression was that the game rather passed him by, and I found that surprising.

    Was it the system we played, or his positional play do you think?

  16. skyranger says:

    Totally agree with your reading of last night . An enjoyable evening. Found myself hoping Thierry does stay. His finishing is way better than the forehead!

  17. Oh dear, Santos gets a 12 month driving ban.

  18. 26may1989 says:

    Santos: bearing in mind the opposition, and the fact that he’s a decent quality, experienced left back, (until recently, he was being picked for Brazil ahead of Marcello), I thought Santos’s performance last night was very poor. The most striking things for me were his lack of pace on the night and the frequency of possession being needlessly given up. He looked knackered from early on, which likely reflects a lack of match fitness which can be overomce. While he’s been at Arsenal, he’s had an amazing rate of winning aerial challenges, but even on those he was missing out last night. His positional play wasn’t the worst bit, but then he wasn’t exactly being put under extreme pressure.

    It’s possible I was too harsh on him, since once a view has been established of a player’s performance, that view sometimes persists even after it should. But I stick by my assessment – to my eye, he was poor.

    On scoring marks, it’s all so subjective; what justifies a 4 to one person won’t to another; so I wouldn’t worry too much about the precise number.

    @Red Arse: I agree re seeing Theo slot those shots away – when he has the time, he’s clinical. But the assist for the Giroud goal should go to Coquelin, he was the one that played the ball through. And the assist for Theo’s first was Yennaris’s – lovely weight on that pass.

  19. Rasp says:

    Thanks to 26m and LB for their effervescent match reports.

    I only saw the brief highlights of the game later on TV, but kept up with the live BBC text commentary.

    I am very pleased that AA has shown he still has a thirst for football and his heart is with Arsenal …. and after seeing Theo’s 2nd goal which was truly Henryesque, I’d really like him to sign a new contract . pllleeeaaaasseee

  20. rhyle says:

    26…cheers for the response and it all makes sense! Don’t get me wrong here, I wasn’t at the game and have no idea how he played, just interested as to what it was about his performance in a 6-1 win that led to a less than average score. Not criticising at all…just curious.

    Santos’ fitness has been a recurrent problem since day1…he’s come across as not being shy around a pie…and inconsistent is the politest word I have for his defensive capabilities at times, but he’s always come across as putting in a shift (maybe because he’s blowing out of his backside by minute 5!). Surprised that he was showing a lack of pace, too…not something that he’s often lacked.

    As far as “persistent view” of a players performance…I’m having the same thing with Gibbs. Noticed he keeps on getting pulled into the centre when defending, allowing wingers to exploit space on our left, now I’m looking for it and it probably takes more of a spot as to what I’m looking for from him as to negate some of the positive work he does. It’s tough being completely objective, subjective opinion will always creep in, so I completely understand that.

    On top of all that, he’s just been banned from driving for a year. A 4 from 26 and a years ban. It’s been a bad 24 hours.

  21. Rhyle, I think only getting 4 out of 10 from my learned friend will hurt him more than the driving ban.

  22. Rasp says:

    Incidentally, Giroud’s penalty was well struck, hard and low and would probably have resulted in a goal 7 times out of 10.

    The keeper got lucky and guessed right, making a good save – so I wouldn’t express it as ‘Giroud missed a penalty’, rather ‘Giroud’s penalty was saved’ ….. or am I being picky?

  23. Raspers, I tend to agree with you, “missing a penalty” to me implies missing the target area, i.e. the goal. As it was on target Giro therefore didn’t miss the penalty.

  24. Red Arse says:

    Thanx for the clarification, 26, that is a disappointing analysis as I was rather hoping he would make a dynamic attacking midfielder, rather than a defensively poor left back. :-(

    From the Arse.com vid I could not make out exactly who had the final pass to OG for the assist, not that it matters much, because Oxo, Yennaris and Le Coq all look very similar from a fleeting glimpse on a grainy vid, and all were wearing yellow boots.

    Le Coq it is then. Over to you Rasper/Chas. :-)

  25. Hi Rhyle :)

    I have also noticed that Gibbs tends to stay to close to his CB and leaving a lot of space on the left. But I reckon this is done on purpose: it makes our defensive very tight in the middle and with the speed of Koz, Gibbs or TV the space on the left can be blocked-off just in time. As a result we have seen many last ditch tackles by those players. It does make me nervous though, but I am convinced it is part of Arsenal’s defensive tactics.

  26. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    I think you are agreeing with Rhyle’s earlier statement that OG’s penalty was not bad, and that credit should be given to their GK.

  27. LB says:

    I didn’t notice Yannaris’ pass to Theo……….hmmmmm, must look at it again.

  28. Rasp says:

    Thanks RA, I am embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t read Rhyle’s comment – apologies to him :oops:

  29. Rasp says:

    Chas – you and I are getting widget stick again!

    From now on, your version wil be the only one I take notice of :P

  30. Red Arse says:

    Rhyle,

    This is becoming a concern to me that we seem to have similar views on certain subjects! :-)

    I have ‘waxed eloquent’ :-) for more than 18 months about Gibbs’ tendency to follow the ball into our penalty area, regardless of who is standing out on the bye line.

    But let’s see. The pitch is 100 metres wide, at max, and if we were to position our 4 defenders equally across the pitch with say the right back tackling a winger out by the line, the next 3 players would be 25 metres apart (I know that does not take into account other forwards – but for the sake of discussion), that would leave Gibbs 25 meters from the left bye line.

    Recently I have heard that Bouldie believes in a similar tactic to George Graham, and if that is true, it means that he wants our defenders to imagine they are tied to each other by a length of rope. If the right side defender goes to the right, they all go to the right and vice versa.

    Hence in the above example, if the oppo winger has the ball on our right bye line, Jenkinson and all the other defenders would move that way.

    Therefore, if the oppo right winger was hugging our left flank, without the ball, it can make Gibbs look a plonker if the winger facing Corporal Jenks quickly switches the ball from his wing to the other side to their untended winger.

    The reverse of that is also true.

    Which makes me think that Gibbs and the others are playing to an agreed tactic, even if it looks a bit disorganized at times.

    But then, what do I know? :-)

  31. Red Arse says:

    Rasper, :-)

    I did not intend to berate you or our Vid King re the assists, it was difficult to see on the Arse Player, (I thought it was Yennaris) and 26M has clarified it for us that it was in fact Le Coq and not Arshavin — mind you he is a lawyer!! :-)

  32. chas says:

    It’s more trouble than it’s worth, Rasp.

    Goalscorer – Assister

    Giroud – Coquelin
    The Ox – Arshavin
    Arshavin – Giroud
    Walcott – Yennaris
    Miquel – Arshavin
    Walcott – Frimpong

    If No Assist is changed to Frimpong, it’s up-to-date and entirely correct. :)

  33. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, you’re a star, I can’t update until this evening and then we’ll both be perfect :)

  34. The Ox’s goal was my favourite on the night

  35. Red Arse says:

    You will be pleased to learn that I am off.

    I have also been having a chat with TA following his excellent post match report on Bergkampesque (very much worth a read) and am exhausted, as well as exhausting you guys!! :-)

  36. Rasp says:

    I don’t get it when ‘experts/pundits’ say that Arsenal are looking good so far but we don’t have the same depth of squad as the other top 3?

    I’d say we definitely have more depth than manu, at least as much as the chavs and maybe only slightly less than city – but we make up for that with a better team spirit.

  37. Rasp
    As someone said yesterday I think it’s good if they ignore us or treat us as underdogs. The press are a bunch of dickheads with very few exceptions and lately the BBC have become more and more pro mancscum.

  38. Rasp says:

    Good point gm, although if we beat the chavs on saturday they will all probably go over the top in the other direction.

    I am more comfortable when we’re the underdogs – and we should be portrayed as underdogs when you consider the spending power we are up against.

  39. rhyle says:

    We should be considered as underdogs on a squad basis. On a first XI, especially with a fully fit Sagna in the side.

    I do think we suffer on a squad comparison v City / Chelsea…by certainly not Utd who I think have been following a downward trajectory in terms of player / squad quality for 3 years! The day Fergie walks is the day that club falls to pieces. If he’d walked 5 years ago as was the plan (I may be wrong about the timing…not the first time, won’t be the last!) someone may have been able to walk in and sort it out…think it’ll be a case of shutting the door after the horse has bolted for whomever replaces him.

    They’ve got an awful lot quality, older players (including one they’ve just paid a fortune for) who are going to be past their best / retired in the next couple of years and the players coming through…with a couple of exceptions…do not look up to the job of replacing them. As the Chinese brilliantly put it…it looks like they’ll be “living in interesting times”…

  40. rhyle says:

    baws…should read “On a first XI basis, especially with a fully fit Sagna in the side, we’ll be as good as, if not better than, anyone..”

  41. Norfolk Gooner says:

    “But in the end, the intruders were nabbed and Giroud was allowed to take his penalty. Which he promptly missed”. Oh really! I thought the ‘keeper pulled off a decent save.

  42. Hi NG :)

    I guess it is all a bit of semantics here. Giroud did not miss the ball, neither did his shot miss the target but he definitely missed the opportunity to score. Maybe ‘Which he promptly wasted’ would have been better, but what does it matter.

    The keeper went the right way, but the save was relatively comfortably as the ball was not enough towards the corner and at a perfect height to be saved, but hopefully, GK-expert GiE will give us his insight at some point today! :)

  43. RockyLives says:

    Very nice to get two great first hand reports: thanks chaps.

    It was interesting how AW was bogging up the Russian earlier in the week. I wonder if the little fella might have a chance of working his way back into the first team squad?

  44. LB says:

    NG

    You really must have a go at writing a match report one of these days, I for one would look forward to reading it. How about volunteering for Saturday’s game?

  45. 26may1989 says:

    OK, hands up, I deliberately left in that sentence, “Which he promptly missed”, because it scanned better and I thought was a tinsy bit amusing. I know it was a bit naughty on account of the shot being on target. Apols!

    That said, I don’t think the penalty was that great. It required a reasonable save but once the keeper was going the right way, it wasn’t that tough to reach, being both at a nice height and not having been hit very hard. I also like penalty takers who can give the kepper the eyes, and send him the wrong way.

    So, I’d accept it wasn’t the worst penalty, but it also wasn’t the most spectacular save.

  46. 26may1989 says:

    Love the points about squad depth, which started with Jonathan’s comment at 10.04am.

    The suggestion that we don’t have a deep squad is, in my opinion, lazy, and is based on a lack of familiarity with some of the players and assumptions that don’t take account of our seemingly endless stream of long-term injuries. In fact, we have a great squad.

    The only area of the squad I would accept is thin is up front, and that is a real worry for me, because, while we’ll share the goals around much more this season, I think there will come a point this season when we suffer for not having a forward with the ability to turn a game with a bit of magic. I like Giroud but he’s not that man, and neither of Gervinho or Walcott is either. Perhaps Podolski can do it, but I doubt it.

    In every other department, I think we are incredibly well served. We certainly have a defensive unit that is superior to United’s, and I’d say even Chelsea’s and City’s. In central midfield, it’s streets ahead of United and is, I think, slightly better than Chelsea and City. Chelsea have more depth in attacking midfield, and United and City are at least as strong as us. And in goal, as a group, they are as good as anyone, perhaps except Spurs (apols Kelsey!).

    But the lack of options up front is the one I think could come back to haunt us later this season.

  47. 26may1989 says:

    Fantastic comment from rhyle at 12.33pm re Santos: “he’s come across as not being shy around a pie”. :)

  48. charybdis1966 says:

    So the chav scum skipper gets a four game ban and £220k fine only ? Does this mean London get’s to keep his posing pouch/flat cap ?

  49. GunnerN5 says:

    26M;

    While I’m thrilled at the start to our season in all three competitions, I remain reserved about our chances of silverware.

    Our two lop sided victories have come against very poor opposition – I hear the voices saying “you can only play what’s in front of you” but the reality is that they were defensively inept teams.

    I said previously, and agree with 26M, that although we have depth in both defence and mid-field we are very thin up front and I would add that we are paper thin in goal.

    Our first choice squad is as good as any other team but if we suffer from injuries up front or in goal we will quickly become average.

    All of this is not to dismiss our good start to the season but just to tone down the euphoria a little – after all it’s only 7 games into a 55/60 game season.

  50. RockyLives says:

    Is he out for Sunday then?

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal Holdings plc Results for the year ended 31 May 2012
    RESULTS CONFIRM ARSENAL STRONGLY PLACED TO MEET UEFA’S NEW FINANCIAL RULES

    Group turnover was £243.0 million (2011 – £255.7 million). Reduction was due to the expected lower level of property sales activity.
    Revenues from football increased to £235.3 million (2011 – £225.4 million) with Commercial activities contributing £5.6 million of this growth.
    Operating profit (before exceptional costs, depreciation and player trading) in the football business was £32.3 million (2011 – £45.8 million) with revenue gains outweighed by increased wage costs.
    Profit from player trading of £26.0 million (2011 – loss of £14.6 million) with gains from a number of significant player sales, including Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, partially offset by higher amortisation charges.
    Low key year for property business with an operating profit of £2.2 million (2011 – £12.6 million) as Highbury Square project draws to a satisfactory close.
    Group profit before tax was £36.6 million (2011 – £14.8 million).
    Cash and bank balances amounted to £153.6 million (2011 – £160.2 million) at the balance sheet date and as a result the overall level of Group net debt was stable at £98.9 million (2011 – £97.8 million).

    Commenting on the results for the year, Peter Hill-Wood, non-executive Chairman, said:
    “We have invested in the team and in the Club’s infrastructure as a whole and this will continue. UEFA’s new financial regulations have added a further emphasis to the need for a sound financial model. That is why our activities to increase revenue are important. Increased revenues allow us to continue to be competitive and to keep pace with the ever present cost pressures in the game.”

    Ivan Gazidis, Chief Executive, said:
    “Clubs, fans and other stakeholders in the game are demanding a more rational financial approach and this reinforces our conviction that our Club is strongly placed to succeed over the long term. We have qualified for the Champions League for the 15th season in a row whilst off the pitch we have a business strategy and infrastructure that is helping us to grow our revenues. This revenue growth will provide sustainable funds for future investment in the team whilst keeping within the UEFA Financial Fair Play requirements. We can and will forge our own path to success.”

    Chairman’s Statement
    I am pleased to open my report to shareholders by confirming that the Group has delivered another healthy set of full year results. As I have said before, this is important as it maintains the platform from which the Club can continue to build and succeed on the pitch.
    Everyone on the Board is firmly committed to our self-financing approach and it is one we will continue to pursue. We remain convinced it is in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club in both the short and long-term and that has to be our primary concern. UEFA’s new financial regulations have added a further emphasis to the need for a sound financial model. We have great unity and solidity around the Board table and this resolve and team spirit is present throughout the Club and has contributed to delivering fifteen consecutive seasons of Champions League football; a rare achievement and one of which we should all be very proud.
    As you will read elsewhere in this report, despite a tough economic back-drop, we have grown our football revenues. This is pleasing because growth is an essential target for the Group if we are to continue to compete at the top of the game here in England and in Europe.
    Turning to the past season, which marked our 125th anniversary, the team produced a terrific run of form from the autumn onwards to achieve third place in the Premier League and secure Champions League football for the 2012/13 season. The arrival of some experienced players brought additional resolve to the side and helped offset the disappointing loss of Jack Wilshere who missed the entire season through injury. Robin van Persie led the side superbly, scoring 30 Premier League goals, and while we made the difficult decision to transfer him, we wish him well in the future.
    We saw Wojciech Szczesny establish himself as our first-choice goalkeeper and were excited by the youthful exuberance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In keeping with our long tradition of encouraging young talent, we also saw Aaron Ramsey return successfully after injury and welcomed Carl Jenkinson, Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong into the first team squad.
    Whilst youth was very much to the fore we were delighted to welcome back an old friend in the shape of Thierry Henry. It was great to see him back in the Arsenal colours, delighting us all with that goal against Leeds United in the FA Cup. It was a special moment.
    Ironically Thierry had been with us just a few weeks earlier when we unveiled tribute statues to him, Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman as part of our 125th anniversary celebrations.
    Our Champions League run ended in the Round of 16 in a dramatic match against AC Milan. 4-0 down from the first leg, the team almost pulled off a remarkable comeback in a thrilling night at the Emirates Stadium, eventually losing out 4-3 on aggregate. We went out of the FA Cup in the fifth round away at Sunderland and at the quarter final stage of the Carling Cup, when a young team lost narrowly at home to Manchester City.
    Everything remained very tense in the Premier League with important victories at home to Tottenham and Newcastle which remain vivid in the memory. Ultimately third place was secured with victory at West Bromwich Albion on the final day of the season.
    That final day victory also marked the retirement of Pat Rice after 44 years’ service to the Club as a player and coach. His contribution over those years has been immense and he will always be part of the fabric of this Club. We wish him a relaxing and happy retirement.
    Away from the football you will read in the following pages that we have reported a profit before tax of £36.6 million (2011 – £14.8 million).
    We have invested further in the team and in the Club’s infrastructure as a whole and this will continue. That is why our activities to increase revenue are important. Increased revenues allow us to continue to be competitive and to keep pace with the ever present cost pressures in the game.
    I am pleased at the progress being made on our commercial agenda. New partners have joined the Arsenal family and I am confident we will see further commercial growth over the next few years. Arsenal has a name and fan-base which extends around the world and which represents an attractive proposition to both our existing and potential new business partners.
    Another important feature of the year was the launch of the Arsenal Foundation. This is a fundraising and grant-making organisation which will help to grow the reach and impact of the many and varied community and charitable programmes which the Club supports. In addition, we enjoyed a successful first year of our global partnership with Save the Children.
    Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank our loyal fans. Your strength of support grew through the season and was an important factor in securing our position in the Champions League. I know the vast majority of you are proud about how we run the Club and how we play under Arsène Wenger’s guidance. I thank you for your continued support.
    I also thank my fellow directors, our management team and entire staff for all their hard work and dedication over the last year. We stuck together as a team on and off the pitch and were stronger for it. I also fully recognise the support and contribution from our commercial partners.
    I look forward to welcoming you all again to Emirates Stadium over the course of the new season.

    P D Hill-Wood
    Chairman
    27 September 2012

  52. charybdis1966 says:

    He will be available to play against us Mr Rock, unless he decides to accept the charges – which he won’t as he has maintained his “innocence” throughout.

    Funny how the foreign Suarez gets an 8 game ban for racist abuse and the english John Terry gets a 4 game ban for the same offence.

  53. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for that Gn5. If some other sport (F1, horse racing, NBA) was the current fad of the petro-rich we would be out in front of everyone else in football.

    Just checked the BBC website re Captain Chav Scumbag. He won’t start his ban before Sunday unless he confirms he is not going to appeal. With us on the horizon I am sure that even if does not appeal (and I don’t expect him to), the club won’t let him make that known until after the weekend.

    Still, he should get an interesting reception if he plays :)

  54. GunnerN5 says:

    I only posted a small part of Arsenal’s financial report.

    If you want to read the entire report it’s on Arsenal.com

  55. charybdis1966 says:

    Mr Rock, on the assumption that Captain Chavscum does play lets get these chants going for Saturday :

    “You know what you are, you know what you aaaa-re, John Terry – you know what you are!”

    “One Anton Ferdinand, there’s only one Anton Ferdinand, one Anton Feeerdi-nand!”

  56. Big Raddy says:

    Great stuff for all those who were not at the game. Thank you both.

    It was interesting listening to the Arsenal player if only to hear the decline in the quality of radio commentary. It was almost impossible to know where the ball was on the pitch.

    I accept that this is a skill the commentators have not been trained in but they were rubbish….. why not get in Jonathan Pearce, who at one time was superb.

  57. evonne says:

    Rocky darling – if you read the statement, could i ask you to be a sweetie and summarise it? I cannot concentrate for its duration

  58. evonne says:

    I’ve just read about Terry’s ban. He’s finished, that will never go away; he will finish his career branded a racist. Any future TV, management prospects have probably been wiped out.
    Not that I feel sorry for him, just saying

  59. chas says:

    The chavs game is on Saturday 12.45 kick off, Rocky. :)

  60. RockyLives says:

    Chas
    Excellent – he definitely won’t play on Sunday then :)

  61. RockyLives says:

    evonne
    I’ve got a job to do – you lazy so-and-so :)

  62. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Two great reports….many thanks

    Circling monkeys ….lol

  63. RockyLives says:

    But just for you evonne :D

    In summary:
    Turnover: Up
    Profits: Up
    Property Sales: Down (a bit)
    Commerical Revenue: Up
    Prospects: Up

  64. What time are we geting to the Tavern on Saturday?

  65. Nice. I’m looking forward to it.

    Terry only got 4 matches as it was one offence. Suarez had several.

    I think he should have got the death penalty.

  66. chas says:

  67. evonne says:

    Rocky :) :) thank you!!! Great summary and that’s all I need to know

  68. evonne says:

    GM – don’t worry, if he loses/does not appeal the repercussions of the charge will stay with him for the rest of his life; the brilliant career is truly over with a bad aftertaste

    Mind you, a statue of Zizi has been unvailed in Paris, showing him headbutting the Italian. I don’t understand it – why chose the lowest point of his career??

    So perhaps with time there will be an obelisk for Terry with a KKK hood on?

  69. Arsenal Gent is definitely the most original and funny Arsenal account on twitter.

  70. evonne
    Zizi’s headbutt was the best way to bow out of his career. I love him for that. He should have nutted him on the bridge of his nose though really.

    I hope terry ends up skint.

  71. evonne says:

    GM !!! you are terrible!!!! Did you see “A 21st centuary portrait’? I love that film, well, and everything else about Zizi

  72. Big Raddy says:

    What a lovely man Miquel seems. Somewhat different to an English CB in the news.

    As to JT. The death penalty is too good for him as he would almost certainly miss

  73. VCC says:

    GM 5:22. You crack me up. The deaf penalty……lmfao
    I think you hate him as much as I hate ManUre.

  74. Funnily enough VCC I hate him a lot less than I hate the mancsum.

  75. evonne says:

    made me cry a bit again

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening.
    Ox is very quickly becomming my all time Top Gunner.

  77. evonne says:

    wrong tense DidIt

  78. GunnerN5 says:

    From Arsenal .com.

    ………………………………………………………………………………..

    Team news: Vermaelen, Sagna and Szczesny

    Thomas Vermaelen is available again for selection. Apart from that, I think from last Sunday at Man City and from Wednesday night we have only good news because everyone should be available for Saturday’s game.

    On returning players

    We have Sagna who is back in full training, we have Wilshere and Frimpong back in full training, but of course they will not be available for Saturday.

    We have still Szczesny injured, Fabianski injured, but the others should be alright. Tomas Rosicky is two weeks away, he is not far away. Szczesny is two to three weeks away.

    [Thursday, September

  79. chas says:

    This one is for rejoicing not crying.
    Doesn’t Theo look odd?

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal

  80. chas says:

    Missing his mate, maybe.
    Still I think he’ll have a great season for us.

  81. Rasp says:

    Evening all, chasRasp stats up-to-date

  82. evonne says:

    Ch – cannot see th flick, just 2 dots floating :(

    Rasp and Chas – the new widgets look great, excellent work

  83. evonne says:

    all we need now is ‘Mind the Gap’ table, could turn sour though…no, it couldn’t

  84. What with having my house demolished and all I’ve completely forgotten that I have a spare ticket for Saturday ……

    .It’s in Block 106 row 13 FV £82. If anyone is interested email me to

    arsenalnuts@live.co.uk

    Block 106 is one of the corners of the North Bank, great seat

  85. evonne says:

    sorry Peaches, no guts for big games

  86. I know, that’s why I didn’t offer you first :)

  87. johnnie nyc says:

    im happy Miquel getting some attention..i was impressed with his little time helping us last season, at cb and fb..and saw some nice skills going forward too.. I was not worried about selling Bartley, because with the quality we have in defense, i thought there is only so much room, and i dont wanna lose Ignassi. I hope having 2 successful spaniards will also encourage him to appreciate Arsenal.

  88. slimgingergooner says:

    Coach and tickets booked for Swansea at the Emirates! Cannot wait.

    Is Terry definately out for Saturday? Apparently Lamps and Sturridge are also struggling.

    Anyone noticed that Pardew has signed and 8 year contract!? If 5 year ones are useless then can’t see 8 being any different.

  89. RockyLives says:

    Slim
    It will be useful for Pardew if they fire him in a year’s time – he’ll make a shitload in his pay-off.

  90. RockyLives says:

    Johnnie
    Good comment about Miquel. If JD wants to play more footy (which he will next year if the Swiss have a chance of making the World Cup) I suspect we’ll let him go and promote IM to 4th choice CB.

  91. johnnie nyc says:

    sounds like a good plan Rocky

  92. oz gunner says:

    great double pre-match. good reading for those who haven’t seen the game yet.

    top tweet by Arsenal gent! But who wouldn’t want him to play? With him in the team the chances of him falling over increase 10-fold!

  93. Gooner In Exile says:

    When I find myself in times of trouble
    Arsene Wenger came to me speaking words of wisdom
    Diaby Diaby
    Diaby Diaby Diaby Diaby He knocked out John Terry Diaby Diaby

    Tune of “Let it Be” courtesy of Tuesday Club Podcast

  94. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Should be the National Anthem

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m joining Evonne in Camp Kleenex after reading Peaches has a spare, and I simply cannot go.
    “My Only Arsenal” may well “Make me happy when Skies Are Blue”, but when its pissing with rain and I cannot go a game, they make me very sad indeed.

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Oz. Thanks for the Mumford’s new album recommendation. Great morning music.

  97. Big Raddy says:

    Morning Didit. I have to go to some god deserted peat bog somewhere in the wilds of Sjælland to check out some Viking remains with my class, so no possibility of watching the game.

    “The bloody thing has been there for a thousand years , why do we have to go on match day?” I asked the lecturer. His blank-faced response led me to the conclusion he is a closet Manc.

  98. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    Have to say, you did make a very strong case. Crazy Professors and their priorities. :-)

  99. chas says:

    That Viking Ring Fortress does look particularly interesting though.

  100. chas says:

    Fair point.

  101. evonne says:

    I went to the Chelsea game, some yob caused a lot of trouble, didn’t see any of the game, but was told the only goal came from Arteta’s penalty. I hope you guys have better things to do at night, I’m just a sad, sad case

  102. chas says:

    What Chelsea game? Arteta penalty?

  103. rhyle says:

    Has evonne been dreaming the future again? I’ll take it if she has…yob excepted, of course!

  104. evonne says:

    tomorrow’s game! it was a nightmare!!

  105. evonne says:

    rhyle :) i am already petrified

  106. chas says:

    Why don’t you go, Evonne?
    LIverpool away was just as big a game and that went ok, didn’t it? With train fares etc, I bet you paid a lot more, too.

    And remember, GM’s going, he’s a lucky charm.

    p.s. as Rhyle says, how can it have been a nightmare if Arteta scored the only goal? :)

  107. Big Raddy says:

    I would take a 1-0 win. Perhaps the FA will just give us the points in light of Evonne’s dream. Save all the huff and puff and the sending of f of ObiOneMikel

  108. chas says:

    I was just thinking about the excitement of not knowing what’s going to happen before a football game.

    If we could fast forward time and it would now be 2.45pm tomorrow and Arsenal had won 1-0, would you you take it?

    Likewise, jump forward to May at the end of our 2nd Invincibles season.

    There’s no point if you don’t get to experience each and every moment of the journey, is there?

  109. Here here chas, there’d be no point without the journey :)

    D’you want to come evonne?

  110. Rasp says:

    Come on evonne, the team needs you ;)

  111. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ObiOneMikel ROLF.
    I’m with Raddy. Chas, off to the bog you go if you’re so interested.

  112. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……..

    …. New post ……..

  113. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Two good write ups there….many thanks

    2*13….I think I have a problem with this line – “Arshavin (who was finally being played in his proper position, as a number 10)”

    For me Arshavin has always had talent, but has been embarrassingly guilty of not applying it. The abjectness(?) of some of his performances are surely not related to the position that he is playing.

    He’s looked fine playing from a wider position both for us and his country when he’s put the effort in. Its about him, not what position he plays…imho.

    I won’t even comment on his weight going up and down….oops

  114. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    You did that on purpose Rasp !!

  115. Rasp says:

    Apologies SS, the new post always goes up at 9:30 :)

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