Schalke: Speke’s Fighting Spirit

Schalke. An enchanting name, like a lover’s whisper on a hot summer night.

To be honest,  I know next to nothing about Schalke and from yesterday’s lack of response it seems none of you do either. Yes, we know that they beat Borussia Dortmund last weekend and that they finished 3rd in the Bundesliga last season ( a season in which we beat their  current Champions) but apart from Huntelaaar , their players, history and town are unknown. So following some research here is a short resume:

Managed by  Huub Stevens, Schalke play their home games in the 62k capacity Veltins Arena (Veltins is a brewer). They have over 100k members. The last time they won the Bundesliga was in Black and White (1957). Schalke have won the UEFA Cup (1997), twice won the Inter-Toto and in 2011 reached the CL semi-Final only to be knocked out by MU, who happily got hammered in the final. They have some fine players including a wunderkid – Draxler, a couple of old Arsenal targets, Metzelder, recently returned from Real Madrid  and Affelay, who is on loan from Barca. A player to watch (should he be fit) is Lewis Holtby, a young MF who has represented Germany at all levels despite having an English father. Schalke  (like BD) have a very fervent support – it is unlikely The Emirates will be quiet tonight.

No, not Chelsea …. Schalke Fans

Reports say that Schalke beat BD by playing on the break – this is not especially good news for Arsenal. That said, they are averaging two goals a game and clearly have attacking intent.

Podolski who knows a thing or two about German football states that Schalke will be our toughest opposition in the group. They rarely lose at home so tonight we must maximize our home advantage.

Arsenal go into the game under pressure to perform. We were pants at Carrow Rd and the team has taken a media battering. They deserved it. I don’t go along with those who say the team lacked effort or passion, what they lacked was team work, cohesion, inspiration and luck. Norwich’s goal was lucky –  a fellow takes a pot shot from 35 yards, the ball swerves unexpectedly, Don Vito is surprised. Holt who should be offside is onside because Santos isn’t concentrating, BFG couldn’t get back because he was doing his job of taking out the defence and we went 1-0 down. Norwich got lucky. But, there was no excuse for the total lack of inspiration in the next 70 minutes and tonight we must see a return to form or the knives will be out.

Let us look at the possible forward combinations. We have a choice of Pod, Gerv and Giroud. Podolski has a minor injury and in ideal circumstances would be rested, but can we go into the game with just OG and The Swerve upfront? We could if we had a potent midfield ….. but we don’t. Could Chamakh make a comeback?  No –  that isn’t a joke! And what of Arshavin who will surely get some pitch time tonight?

Rosicky, Sagna, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Diaby, Szczesny, Gibbs and Koscielny. That is some team and every one is injured. – 9 top players out which  may be part of the reason for Norwich.

My Team:

Which is exactly the same team that started at Norwich. Apart from Coquelin or Arshavin there are few alternatives. There is a possibility that Koscielny will be fit but I wouldn’t start him ahead of TV and BFG.

Enough of football and onto Raddy’s current interest which is those intrepid English explorers. Today’s great man is John Speke seen looking lovely and tidy in a portrait below ….

John Hanning Speke

Speke discovered the source of the Nile which had been a mystery for over 2000 years, he called it Lake Victoria (known by locals as Nyanza Ukerewa). To cross through Central Africa in those days was a major undertaking with over 80% of the explorers dying from illness or attack, it took not only great courage but lots of money – Speke had both. Speke fought in the British Army in India, he explored the Himalayas and even tried to climb Everest. He died in a shooting accident in 1864.

Would a man who was captured by Somalian tribesmen and stabbed several times before freeing himself and his friends go belly-up because of a crap result at Norwich? Would he hell, and neither will The Arsenal.

3 points tonight and we are almost assured a place in the next round. You know it will not be easy, it isn’t the Arsenal Way but ….. Victoria Concordia Crescit

Written by Big Raddy

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287 Responses to Schalke: Speke’s Fighting Spirit

  1. kelsey says:

    I just wrote this Raddy

    Before the new post comes up I have only ever been to a few away grounds outside of england.
    In the late sixties I worked as an apprentice designer for christian dior in Krefeld and lived for a year in gelsenkirchen.
    it was then mainly a coal mining are and if you wore a white shirt to work it was black by the evening.
    I went to Schalke’s old ground and saw a pre season frendly against chelsea. I reckon i was one of about 5 englishmen in the crowd.
    Gelsenkirchen has changed tremendously since then and has good access to Dusseldorf and Koln.

    this will be a hard game tonight and we are already limited with first teamers as options on the bench. As i said yesterday i would play the same team as at norwich as they have hopefully all had a kick up the arsenal.

  2. Red Arse says:

    And I just wrote this Raddy, in response to Kelsey’s ‘just wrote this’!! :-)

    @9:32

    Kelsey,

    You are trying to lure me into a comment just as Rasper calls; NEW POST.

    Very cunning.

  3. evonne says:

    Morning Raddy, nice way to start a day :)

  4. Red Arse says:

    Big Raddy,

    An informative, well researched article, especially about Mr Speke.

    For a minute you threw me because I lived just outside Düsseldorf for about 4 years as a kid. (It’s probably why I know very little of any particular country – never in one place for long — father’s job! :-) )

    For the life of me I could not place Schalke, until the penny dropped after Kelsey’s earlier comment, that it is not in itself a town, but I suppose it is probably more of a suburb of Gelsenkirchen.

    Between you both you are educating me! Thank you. :-)

  5. Rasp says:

    Wonderfully eccentric and entertaining pre match Raddy …… “Would a man who was captured by Somalian tribesmen and stabbed several times before freeing himself and his friends go belly-up because of a crap result at Norwich? Would he hell” … I love it :lol:

    I have to say your assessment of the Schalke players to watch fills me with trepidation. How much longer can we keep playing a less than fully fit Podolski? If we’re not careful, the required 1 or 2 match rest may worsen to 2 months out as has been the case with other players in the past.

  6. chas says:

    Haha, nice one, BR.
    I wonder if everyone who reads this whispers “Schalke” out loud while imagining a hot, summer’s night.
    Perhaps it should be ‘Schalke?’ :)

    The info about John Hanning Speke immediately set me off on a careering train of thought about the African Queen, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.
    Let’s hope we can sink the German battleship with our cunningly hidden, home-made torpedoes.

  7. Pete The First says:

    Schalke……

    Sounds more like a car part to me.

    ‘Pass me the jack, I need to tighten the Schalke up’

  8. chas says:

    Who ever tightened anything with a jack? :)

  9. glic says:

    Morning all
    Thank you Raddy. This on paper looks a tough game for us. After being seduced by the fresh Norfolk air, we are back to smoggy fix of London. Lets do it !.
    Reading an earlier comment from kelsey saying he doesn`t think Manclunge are a great team, so if they`re not great, they must be just an average one !. Sorry kelsey, you should have gone to Spectsavers !. As much as I hate them ( but not as much as gm and chary ), they have to be respected. Like you, I think we will do well to get CL spot this season. I can guarantee they will. Last season they came within seconds of making it number 20, they got 89 points , one point behind our total in `04, they had a GD of 56 against ours of 47. I think that makes them a decent side to put it mildly !.
    Oh , and they have added 2 quality players since !. I would take being as average as them anyday !.
    Justifying your comment would be interesting, hahaha

  10. glic says:

    kelsey, to save youselve getting cramped fingers trying to write a long winded justification, just write , ” I cant “. hahaha

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Raddy, thanks for an excellent pre-match. :)

    It is going to be a tough, but also very good game tonight. Other than our family and closest friends, this is what we live for and these are the sort of nights we long for during the long summer breaks. Football of the highest order: Bring it on baby! :)

    Pete the First – I am with you, it sounds like a car part! :lol:

  12. kelsey says:

    Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, is the official name red arse, they are basd in gelsenkirchen.

    GLIC,
    i am talking about this season. As i said to go behind 8 out of 12 times this season is not the united of old. I just think when it comes to a kick up the backside plus additional minutes added on :) SAF has the upperhand on Wenger and nearly always has had.

  13. richie says:

    @Kelsey from 6:33 yesterday your statement that the old chestnut of ELP players being too expensive doesn’t ring true anymore still has me shaking my head a day later. Would you care to hazard (not eden) a guess on how much a British Vermaelen or Kosh would cost? Or how about what it would cost if we had bought Carzorla from another club in the EPL? As its a fav of yours Another keeper of “Boychecks” age and abilities? We got Arteta (who should have come to us years ago) cheap because he wanted to come and as he wasn’t in a passing team his talents weren’t appreciated. If we sell on the players we’ve bought in you know only Oilers or the massively endebted will be able to afford to bid for them. I know we’d all love to be able to buy battle hardened ready to roll EPL players but the realities are thet usually cost double a continental.

  14. Red Arse says:

    Chas, I think BR meant “grab hold of my wrench women, that’ll tighten your schalke”. :-)

    Pete has the right idea — just got the wrong tool! :-)

  15. glic says:

    What are you trying to say kelsey ?…….Saint Fergy bribes Refferees to gain extra playing time minutes ! how dare you ! hahaha

  16. glic says:

    I`ve just looked out beyond my mirror to the window and wow, there are some amazing autumnal colours on my landscape. Nearly as gorgeous as the rugged terrain in the mirror ! . hahaha

  17. Red Arse says:

    I agree with you Glicster.

    To suggest that fine fellow Ferguson would ever hold up outsized time pieces to intimidate the ref, and then finish him off (am I allowed to say that?) by opening his gob and showing him his masticated chewing gum, with the inference clearly being that could be the ref’s goolies!

    No, no, Kelsey, he would never do that more than once a game!! :-)

  18. Red Arse says:

    Glic,

    You be careful with that mirror, if you capture a glimpse of Terry’s telescope in the magnifying side, you will be struck dumb with envy!! :-)

  19. Great pre match as always raddy

    I loved the picture yesterday chas. my wife thinks it’s brilliant.

    kelsey
    I’ve watched 7 episodes of storage wars back to back before and I’ve done it with Pawn stars too!

  20. glic says:

    hahaha Redders, I think I`ll look through the wrong end of my binoculars, so to keep Stretch as far away as possible !.
    Do you think his favourite line from any film is, ” Up Periscope ” ! hahaha

  21. kelsey says:

    I got you on twitter nnow GM.

  22. evonne says:

    why or why did I read the whole article :( there is me thinking that Schalke are pushovers and they’ll be our punchbag tonight, happy to take our frustration. And now you are telling me that they are a decent team. Sorry Raddy, that’s not what I wanted to hear

  23. kelsey says:

    richie,

    I didn’t say that i said

    “This old chestnut tht players from the PL are too expensive to buy, is not always the case.”

    i think you have somewhat twisted my words.and are a bit patronising towards me. but no worries.

    i am adamant that we should havebought a mentor for our pole in Goal, we will see who is right at the end of the season.

  24. glic says:

    Dont worry e va va vonne, join me in a night behind the sofa ! hahaha

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A very brief visit to say thanks as always Raddy. Very entertaining read.
    I’m afraid that team scares the life out of me. Pod is not right, I don’t like Gerv down the right, and we need more forward oomph than Ramsey offers.
    Naturally, I’d go 3-5-2:
    ……….Vito
    …Kos Mert Verm
    Jenk Art Santi Jck Santo
    …….Ollie Gerv

    but it won’t happen, so:
    ………..Vito
    Jenk Mert Verm Sant
    ….Art Santi Jack
    AA Ollie Gerv
    .
    Off again sadly.

  26. Morning all, thanks for an entertaining and whimsical pre match Big Dandy.

    It will be a tough game and the team will need us, the home support, to be fully behind them. Looking forward to seeing the AA crew at the Tavern tonight.

    Someone mentioned Twitter earlier, I’m going to try and tweet some pics tonight, they’ll be over at @charybdis1966. I could always do with more followers. :)

  27. evonne says:

    Glic :)
    I am not even joking, I was going to have an easy day today. Now I am scared out of my wits (very few). I couldn’t take another Norwich, please Dennis do something

    in case some of you missed out on Freddie’s interviewhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19719628

  28. Big Raddy. An enchanting name, Signals the coming of another excellent match preview with an educational twist.

    Rasps trepidation is followed immediately by my own.
    Their current form, confidence and danger players aside, Wenger in the stands once again is going to be a massive handicap against a very capable side.

    We can at least comfort ourselves that a really poor showing isn’t often followed by another.
    But then again i did dream last night of another Vito howler!

  29. Good post except for…

    Norwich’s goal was lucky.
    You make your own luck in football. No pot shot = no goal.

    a fellow takes a pot shot.
    No pot shot = no goal.

    the ball swerves unexpectedly.
    Balls have been swerving since the introduction of swervy balls (and swervy balls have been around since Vito began his career).

    Don Vito is surprised.
    He shouldn’t have been surprised (see “swervy balls”, above).

    Holt who should be offside is onside because Santos isn’t concentrating.
    Correct.

    BFG couldn’t get back because he was doing his job…
    ?

    Norwich got lucky.
    You make your own luck in football.

    9 top players out which may be part of the reason for Norwich.
    Even with 9 top players out, the lineup was strong enough to take a minimum of 1 point. Expect the same lineup tonight, bar possibly Arshavin to replace Podolski (if Pod is still a little bit injured).

    And yes everyone, I know Big Raddy likes a bit of humour in his posts, so I’ll finish with – “yellow smiley face with winking eye”.

  30. richie says:

    @Kelsey I’m very sorry if you felt I was patronising that wasn’t my intention – but your statement that “the old chestnut players from the PL are too expensive to buy is not always the case” is exactly what I was referring to! When are players from the PL not too expensive to buy? O.k we got Arteta (Who I said should’ve come to us years ago and expressed an interest in doing exactly that) cheaply because none too many saw what he was capable of when placed in a passing team, but Miguel apart on any given day we can’t afford tried and tested PL players? They are way to pricey for us.

  31. richie says:

    @ Evonne Re “Shalke no fear” They are not only decent they play well.
    Played 8
    Won 5
    Drawn 2
    Lost 1
    scored 17
    conceded 8
    GD +8

  32. GoonerB says:

    Big Raddy. This is one of 2 blogs I post on so apologies if anyone has seen me mention this elsewhere. You are right about the line up and the limited options assuming AW sticks to the 4-3-3 system. I don’t for one minute think he will entertain a different system but I for one believe we need to be able to switch to a different system when required. The problem with the 4-3-3 is that it is also a 4-5-1 when defending, and the main problem on Saturday was that it remained a 4-5-1 even when we had possession. We did not switch quickly enough when in possession from one to the other. Santi was playing too deep with far to much space between him and Giroud, and Podolski and Gervinho were more often too wide and deep, also too far from Giroud. That left Giroud isolated and we had no quick cutting edge to our link up play in the final third. by the time Santi, Podolski and Gervinho had moved in to support Giroud the moment had gone and Norwich had seen any danger coming a mile off. We are a team that relies on catching the opposition by surprise before they can see the danger. Whether Norwich forced that on us or it was more to do with us not getting it right for me was not so important. What was important was that it wasn’t working and we needed a change of system to correct the issues, but it never came.

    I think AW is stuck in his mind with only this system and for me that inability to change and adapt causes us problems. Tonight as you say we have limited options with the 4-3-3 and may end up playing the same line up with a semi-fit Podolski. What if, however, he switched to a 3-5-2. The BFG plays centrally with TV to his left and LK to his right. I think both Ramsey and Gervinho looked off key so I would put them on the bench with the semi-fit Podolski. They can come on if required later on. I would then play a deeper 2 of Arteta and Coquelin with Santi in front of them. To the sides you have Santos and Jenkinson. The main strength is that it allows you to play 2 strikers, one up top and one in the hole. For me I would go with AA playing off Giroud. With AA there you will always have someone closer to Giroud so he is not isolated and my feeling is that AA will also draw Santi regularly up near him in a more attacking central role. these 2 can then work together and orchestrate our attacks, looking for the right times to play in overlapping wing backs and to get up in support of Giroud when he is holding the ball up and quickly looking for a supporting attacking team mate to feed it too. I know this system has its weaknesses also but all systems do. If you play 4-4-2 you can be overun by a 5 man midfield. If you play 4-5-1 you can look impotent in attack with the one up top isolated. The 3-5-2 obviously leaves space behind the wing backs. This is less a problem on the right where Jenkinson has a great engine and pace. On the left it would be more a problem with santos who does not have this engine or pace. I would however be confident in TV getting across quickly to cover this area when required leaving the BFG to hold in the centre with LK alongside him. I think the positives it would bring us in addressing what went wrong with the 4-3-3 on Saturday would outweigh any disadvantages. Also IMO what happened on Saturday was not a one off as AW and others would have you believe. We had games last year with this system that played out almost the same with RVP being left isolated with no support up front. Anyway just food for thought.

  33. mickydidit89 says:

    GoonerB
    My mobile devoce says you are a genius :-(

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    Holtby is a classy player and could cause us problems. They have a good front 4 and are capable of scoring goals.

    Should be an entertaining game.

  35. GoonerB says:

    Why the sad smiley Mickey. Does that mean you agreed or are laying some sarcasm on me?

  36. Rasp says:

    Very interesting points GoonerB. Several of us on AA have been calling for a 3:5:2 (yes, Micky in particular). SAF changed from his diamond formation last night when it wasn’t working.

    If I have one criticism of AW is that he is far too rigid in his approach to games. I can really only detect one system by which we play and we don’t seem to adapt that system when injuries deny us the players to make it work.

  37. Rasp says:

    GoonerB, Micky has been expounding the virues of 3:5:2 for months now – hence the sad face.

  38. chas says:

    GoonerB,
    You’ve sold it to me. We definitely needed someone to link the midfield and forwards on Saturday. Santi was too deep.

    Micky loves 3-5-2, he probably just typed the wrong shaped bracket. :)

  39. chas says:

    Ah, maybe that’s a better explanation, Rasp.

  40. Rasp says:

    Was anyone else listening to the guy on TS this morning from some Manc newspaper talking about the BSR transfer? He claims that BSR was expecting to go to city and it was only their lack of overt enthusiasm that allowed manure to come in and become the new club of BSR’s childhood dreams :?

  41. chas says:

    Whose lack of overt enthusiasm, Rasp? I’m confused.

  42. Rasp says:

    Man city’s chas. The inference that deals had been offered if not done from the new year was the part I found the most disturbing.

  43. chas says:

    Have you missed out “wanted to stay at Arsenal”

  44. chas says:

    Ah, you’ve missed out “wanted to go to Citeh”. :)

  45. chas says:

    Either way he was going to double his money.
    Playing so well for us would seem to have had other driving motives.

  46. What time are you getting to the Tavern tonjght Raspers ?

  47. Rasp says:

    Sorry chas, my typing skills let me down, I’ve amended the comment – yes ‘was expecting to go to city’

  48. Rasp says:

    Hi chary, sadly I’m not going tonight, lack of a ticket and funds being the main reason. Peaches will be there and I’m hoping to go on Saturday so hopefully will see you and others then

  49. glic says:

    That missing link between midfield and forwards is called Dennis !.
    Now if we could revert back to some of the older religions, well they had more than one Dennis, so maybe we could go get another one !.
    PS
    I dont want a simple remark of , theres only one Dennis !. hahaha

  50. VCC says:

    Rasp. Are you putting a widget up for guys who are attending the Tavern prior to the QPR game?

  51. Rasp says:

    Will do VCC, shall I put you down on it? :)

  52. Rasp says:

    glic we are right out of Dennis’, but we do have Saint Cathorla – the head of the Cathorlic church, he should be able to conduct the sermon.

  53. VCC says:

    Luckily, thanks to that lovely man chas (lol) I have two tickets and will be there with my Son. I can’t wait, I’m excited already. I get like this as I like to take in the hole day and evening. Looking forward to meeting a few new guys since I first went to the Tavern and met Peaches and your good self. I won’t be staying for too long as he and myself like walking around the stadium, and we have to visit our stone outside the gunnery.

  54. Rasp says:

    Great stuff VCC, look forward to seeing you on Saturday. I’ll put the widget after tonight’s game.

  55. What? It just won’t be the same without you there Raspers. I’m aiming for 6.30-6.45 ish.

  56. Afternoon all, just popping in to ask for volunteers to write the match report for tomorrow.

    I’ll be back later to nag you some more ;)

  57. glic says:

    Nice one Rasp :)

    VCC
    You will be down on Widget as : VCC and son, whereas I will be down as : glic, mirror and son ! hahaha

  58. GoonerB says:

    Don’t worry guys I wouldn’t have been upset even if Mickey was pulling my leg but I am glad he and I are in agreement. Good on yer Mickey.

  59. VCC says:

    GLiC. Sounds like a group.

    A little tip GLiC, if it’s cold on Saturday I suggest you wear some trousers this time.

  60. richie says:

    I don’t think BSR wanted Oily Citeh. Too much competion to be the number 1 striker Aguero Balotelli Tevez Dzeco. At Manu’er he was guaranteed playing time and I think he was offered to lead the line with Rooney behind and a lump of dosh of course lets not forget the lump of dosh. Next up lets call a spade a shovel the stats tell us Manu’er are the team most likely to win the prem. For BSR it ticked a few boxes he pleased his family they wanted to stay in London but I s’pose he could sell them on Manchester. He got a massive pay rise (far more than we could offer) and out of all the English clubs the most chance of a medal. He’s ticking off the years remember counting down. I was hoping against hope we’d finished above Manu’er this year so I could call him a mug in May.

  61. Rasp says:

    Cheers GoonerB.

    Here’s a question. We hear all the time about managers bringing in players to fit into their preferred system, but injuries can destroy that plan. If the manager sticks to it, he ends up using players out of their most effective position and the system can fail. Shouldn’t a canny manager adapt the system to get the best out of the players available and also to counteract any strenghts or capitalise on any weaknesses of the opposition?

  62. mickydidit89 says:

    GoonerB
    Meant to have been a smiley
    I had posted my usual 3 5 2 nag moments before your comment
    Why am I the only pne the play JW
    He was fit enough for the bench on saturday

  63. JM says:

    2 pointers:

    (1) With no natural wide players available, I am inclined to play the team in 3-4-1-2: (Djourou/Koscielny^^+Mertesacker+Vermaelen)-(Jenkinson+Cazorla**+Arteta+Santos)-(Arshavin)-(Podolski+Gervinho)

    ^^ Depending on Koscielny being 100% fit.

    Schalke plays 4-2-3-1 for most of their games. Need to negate their (3) players (Holtby, Farfan, Afelley/Barnetta) behind Huntelaar, force them into a congested middle pitch while our WBs (Santos & Jenkinson) attack their FBs directly.
    Also, I would expect if Papadopoulos is fit, he would partner Matip at CBs, while Huub Stevens could opt for their more defensive minded captain, Howedes* (rather than an attack minded Uchida), @ RB to counter either Podolski/Gervinho, should we proceed with Arsene’s default 4-3-3(Defensive) formation.

    * Howedes is rated among top defenders playing @RB this season (currently) with an average rating of 7.7/10.
    ** Likewise, we have Cazorla who is rated among the top midfielders playing @CM/AM this season (currently) with an average rating of 8.1/10.
    (Both sources from http://www.whoscored.com) -> Check All-Star Team 2012/2013 statistics page.

    Also in our (3-4), I go for a CM pairing of Arteta & Cazorla, supported by our WBs/WMs. Arteta to counter the threat of Holtby (Coquelin might be overwhelmed if he plays DM from the start). Also Cazorla is a better transition-type (Speed of thought , can bring ball forward with a good dribble and does not waste possession easily) player than Ramsey in the box-to-box mould (after Wilshere, Diaby & Arteta himself). The creative fulcrum to be handed to Arshavin (at least for the 1st half), with Ramsey/Gnabry/Coquelin to come in later accordingly to the situation on hand.
    Schalke plays with double-defensive pivot in Neustadter & Hoger/Jones so whoever plays AM would be closely policed.

    Giroud, Ramsey & Gnabry/Coquelin to be ready to sub-in during game.

    (2) Our team need to seek up avenues to advance either on the left or right flanks, since the middle should be a huge pile-up of technical & tactical players in a battlefield. Since Santos is not up to full match fitness, Jenkinson (with his high energy levels) shall have to bomb up & down the right flank with support from Cazorla/Arshavin & either one of Podolski or Gervinho to attack Schalke’s left flank (push the more attack-minded Fuchs back and trouble their backline from there)

    ================================================
    Footnote:

    Arsene shall complete his touchline ban after this match so SB shall be i/c.

  64. chas says:

    Micky,
    He played the full 90 on Monday for the U21s.

  65. chas says:

    Does anyone know what position Gnabry played in the 4-3-3 on Saturday in his brief debut?

  66. chas says:

    I’m off in a bit.
    I’ll see chary and peaches in the Tavern if going.

  67. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    Jack is unlikely to feature tonight, as he played a full 90 minutes (I think) for the U21s on Monday, as did PingPong and Eisfeld who are also unlikely to be on the bench for tonight.

    3:5:2? More likely to be 4:3:2:1 with the Gerv upfront.

    We will see! :-)

  68. glic says:

    VCC
    It will be, If I bring more than one mirror !
    Terry`s going to bring his Kaleidoscope, so it looks like we are training for the Olympic Synchronised Drinking event !.
    I hear it`s going to be bloody cold again, like the last time I was at the Tavern ( I`m shaking now thinking about that last time ), but I wont wrap up as I like to wear some colours, so I`ll be shivering again .

  69. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chas, :-)

    It looked to me like Gnabry played in the Ox position, on the right of midfield.

    Thing is by the time he came on the team’s positional play looked all over the place, so who knows for sure?

  70. Red Arse says:

    Just been over to look at our old mate, Wigan Gooner’s site [WiganGooner oddly enough] :-) to see what he is up to.

    He has written an excellent Post which marries in beautifully with Raddy’s here on AA. Worth a read! :-)

  71. Yes see you later Chas.

    No Tavern widget tonight ‘cos Raspers is not going ? Booo !! :(

  72. RockyLives says:

    BR
    What a fantastic opening line to a pre-match Post! Only on AA!

    And the rest of the piece is just as good.

    Speke is a great choice – and his story is a fascinating one. I hope in a future pre-match you will use his colleague and nemesis, Sir Richard Burton (also a Beardsman of the highest order). Speke’s “shooting accident” happened the day before the two men – now bitter rivals – were due to debate their competing claims for having discovered the source of the Nile before the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Bath.

    Even though Speke was right about the source (and Burton was wrong), Speke knew he would lose the debate because Burton was a much more accomplished speaker and debater. There is much speculation that the “shooting accident” was suicide.

    Back to the footy…
    Personally, I’m glad that Schalke are a good side. It’s just what we need after Saturday and I am fully confident of a win.

  73. RockyLives says:

    Excellent tactical comments from Gooner B and JM

    It does seem to make sense – it would be lovely to hear AW’s reasons for why he sticks so rigidly with his preferred formation.

  74. Rasp says:

    JM @ 2:13 – a great analysis of the threat posed by our opposition …. how do you know so much about them?

    I’d quite like to slip you in place of AW tonight as your plan has given me confidence that if we have the right plan, we can nullify their threat whilst increasing our own. I take it you are a coach or involved in football in some capacity?

  75. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, sorry I hadn’t refreshed and read your comment before I posted mine.

  76. kelsey says:

    I think AW has got this fixation that becuse Henry started on the wing all attackers have to start there :)

  77. Rasp says:

    On another note, I am concerned that Ramsey is becoming ‘Denilsonized’ – not only in the perception of him by the fans but in his style of play.

    I have seen Ramsey put in fantastic performances for Arsenal and Wales. The thing that concerns me (and you may say this is true of all players) is that he plays well when things are going our way, but when we’re on the back foot his game seems to suffer badly and the more pressure we’re under, the worse he gets.

    The eventual hope of any Gerard-type midfielder is that they can pick up a game by the scruff of the neck and drive play on.

    Ramsey is too young for such expectation, but I fear that if Jack has a successful return, his pitch time will reduce (maybe also due to Coquelin’s involvement) and he may move on in a year or so.

  78. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, :-)

    GoonerB wrote an interesting comment, which was almost a Post in itself.

    I forgot to say that I saw a fantastic piece by Wigan Gooner written for Arsenal.com on the Norwich game. Slap bang on the front page too.

    If you have not seen it, you are in for a treat!! :-)

  79. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Redders
    I’ll check it out.

  80. JM says:

    @Rasp,
    The initials JM could stand for both {J}ose {M}ourinho & the exceptional {J}uan {M}ata, in football terms. (If you would believe)

    I read up on football in general as much as I can and took interest in looking up on Arsenal’s match-day opponents.

    My personal view on our best 11 players on class, form, & combination plays read:
    GK: Szczesny
    DF: Sagna/Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
    MF: Arteta, Wilshere/Diaby, Cazorla
    FW: Podolski, Gervinho

    Thus, the origins of 3-4-1-2 came about with fielding our better players that we have in the team. (This may change in the future as players improve, leave, arrive at the club)

    Categorising the 1st team midfielders into 3 groups (in tune with the 4-3-3 line-up):

    Holding midfielder (CM/DM): Arteta, Coquelin, Frimpong
    Box-to-Box midfielder (CM/DM/AM): Wilshere, Diaby, (Arteta)
    Advanced midfielder (CM/AM) who could also function as a false midfielder out wide right/left (which we have seen them did so during matches actually): Cazorla, Rosicky, Ramsey, AoC, Arshavin

    For this match, reading Arsene, he would play safe though (4-3-3 defensive):

    Could see his directions of dropping Giroud and pushing Ramsey as the false midfielder wide on right and Coquelin coming in @ holding CM. That would leave Arteta playing the box-to-box CM, supporting Cazorla in the creative department. Podolski & Gervinho to take turns playing between LW & CF for fluidity .
    Backline remains the same: Jenkinson-Mertesacker-Vermaelen-Santos.

    And Schalke should line-up 4231 and possibly play quite similar as Chelsea did the last round against us (i.e. a mirror image).

    Schalke (Unnerstall, Howedes/Uchida, Papadopoulos/Howedes, Matip, Fuchs, Jones/Hoger, Neustadter, Farfan, Holtby, Barnetta/Afellay, Huntelaar)

    Chelsea (Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Torres)

  81. Red Arse says:

    Crikey, JM, :-)

    That is brilliant! Really loved reading that. Excellento my friend!

  82. Hi all

    The sun has just broken through my gloomy Hertfordshire sky, in time for me to have to decide what warm attire is necessary for tonight :(

    Great pre-match Raddy, I’m looking forward to a gung-ho performance tonight, a return to the ‘we’re gonna score one more than you’ approach. I hope Steve Bould has his loud voice available as I want to see him shouting on the touch-line.

    You know what’s coming next ………………

  83. ……. it would be really helpful if someone that is watching the game on tv could offer to write the match report ………

  84. Rasp says:

    Great stuff JM, you’ve left two high quality comments that could just as easily be headline posts.

    Do you fancy submitting some of your ideas on tactics/field positions etc as an article we can publish on the site? I’m pretty sure it would go down very well and stimulate lively debate.

  85. jnyc says:

    Good preview Raddy. A win would be good to take pressure off for CL. I say if pod or anyone is not really fit, let them rest.

  86. evonne says:

    some very interesting technical comments today. However, one thing that I have learnt from last Saturday’s defeat is not to drink from the new Arsenal mugs, they are clearly jinx

  87. glic says:

    Try a Spud Mug e va va vonne, thats if you can stand of one of the ugly f**kers . Thats the problem with being punched in the face instead of slapped on the bottom when born !.

  88. VCC says:

    Red Arse. I cannot find that article by Wigan Gooner. Can you guide me please?

  89. Red Arse says:

    Hi VCC,

    The easiest way to get to where you are going :-) is to Google “Arsenal FC” the Official Website.

    When you get the first page of the site, click on enter.

    Drop down to the list of news items you will see “talking heads”.

    When you click on that, there are two items, one from exArsenal player Stephen Hughes and one from Wigan Gooner, both about the Norwich game.

    Hope that helps. :-)

  90. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you for the generous comments.

    I have to say that the nearer we get to kick-off the more negative I am becoming. This could be a response to the bubble bursting weekend or a lack of alcohol in the bloodstream – the unforgivable happened last night, I ran out of wine! And as I am in exam week spirits were not an option

    I can’t find the article either

  91. RockyLives says:

    Chin up Big Radish!
    We’ll be fine :)
    Spirit of Speke and all that.

  92. VCC says:

    Cheers Red Arse.

  93. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    You could only believe every single word that John Hanning Speke told you. Look at him…an picture of total and complete credibility. Not just cos his pics in B&W or due to the beard…although they both help

  94. VCC says:

    Nice one Total.

  95. Big Raddy says:

    RL- That is what I needed a reminder of where I come from. You can take the North Londoner out of N. London but ….

    All I need now is that amazing picture of St Paul’s during the Blitz :-)

  96. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Oh yeah the footie match tonight…I knew my last comment overlooked something

    A liitle nervous but quietly confident. As much as I like Giroud…I feel he makes way tonight for a returm of the fluid front three.

    Its a tough one though..cos are you better off with a strong focal point for your attacks…or the confuse them and bemuse them approach of a fluid trio who whilst being harder to pick up…can also lose themselves in their intricacies.

    Fingers crossed that we start well tonight

  97. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Oh and thanks for the quality PM Randy..even if reading about Schalke’s danger men has left me feeling a little nervous

  98. Big Raddy says:

    SS. Its is a very contemporary picture, don’t you think? He could be a member of the Fleetfoxes (a modern pop combo)

  99. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    There ya go Randy….

  100. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    In fact that last pic was the following mornings ‘hangover’

    Here’s the pic from ‘a pretty rough night on the town’ :

  101. Big Raddy says:

    SS. That’s the fella. Brilliant pic and according to the photographer wasn’t touched up. That is exactly what he saw.

    Better stop before I get too jingoistic

  102. Red Arse says:

    I’ve found the answer to my pre-match nerves.

    I have eighteen bottles of whiskey safely stowed away until my health improved, but the doc said that’s no good and I had to pour them away. Each and every bottle had to go down the sink, or else. I said I would and this afternoon I proceeded with this unpleasant task.

    I withdrew the cork from the first bottle and poured the contents down the sink with the exception of one glass, which I drank. Well, you know??

    I then withdrew the cork from the second bottle and did likewise with it, with the exception of another glass, which I drank.

    I then withdrew the cork from the third bottle and poured the whiskey down the sink which I drank.

    I pulled the cork from the fourth bottle down the sink and poured the bottle down the glass, which I drank.

    I pulled the bottle from the cork of the next and drank one sink out of it, and threw the rest down the glass.

    I pulled the sink out of the next glass and poured the cork down the bottle. Then I corked the sink with the glass, bottled the drink and drank the pour.

    When I had everything emptied, I steadied the house with one hand, counted the glasses, corks, bottles, and sinks with the other, which were twenty-nine, and as the houses came by I counted them again, and finally I had all the houses in one bottle, which I drank.

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkles peep I am.

    I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and who me is, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get and the Arsenal nerves drink a win. thash all.

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Brilliant RA
    ROLF LAMOW

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Really hoping Arsene surprises us with the line up.
    Thanks for info earlier on Jack. So, I have to rethink my set up.
    Coquelin in for JW.

  105. FrothingInarticulateLoon says:

    Hey Randy, FIL here. I’ve a question about the bombing that left St P’s standing so true and tall.

    Is it true that both Kelsey and DanDan helped with the tidy up the next morning..??

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Does Gnabry front The Fine Young Canibals?

  107. kelsey says:

    John Cross ‏@johncrossmirror ( he is usually on the button)

    Wenger to make changes v Schalke. Giroud set to be dropped, Gerv up top, Coquelin in, Ramsey on right. Big test for #afc, great home record

    Coquelin back in midfield means Arteta likely gets a more offensive role, which should improve our ability to control the game and should benefit Gervinho and Podolski.

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    FIL
    Yes, they got all pensioners onto the clean up :-)

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooops, tin hat on :-(

  110. kelsey says:

    Dropping giroud will lead to another arshavin scenario.Maybe Wenger has seen enough and he will buy that striker in january and offload giroud and chamakh. I have read a few reports that this is not just another story.

  111. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Kelsey,
    Cannot see the point of Ramsey on the right. Surely with Arteta and Coquelin in the side, AA would be a better bet.

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Maybe Giroud has been dropped for going off “injured” twice on saturday.

  113. LB says:

    Can’t see Arshavin playing, I’m sure the club will want to preserve his CL eligibility, more attractive to a potential buyer that way.

  114. LB says:

    Can’t see Wenger selling Giroud but I can see him selling Chamakh, Arshavin and Bendtner which will make way for a new striker.

  115. LB says:

    All of my comments are going to start with can’t see from now on.

  116. Big Raddy says:

    FIL. Kelsey wasn’t in the area that night – he was looking for talent in Hampstead.

    I cannot see us starting Ramsey, Coq and Arteta – we will have no width at all.

  117. Big Raddy says:

    Can’t see why not LB

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Really hope we dont Raddy.
    Nice out of the box thinking there LB.

  119. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry to read you lost your sight LB: what happened?

  120. evonne says:

    go to specsavers LB

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, off for some pre-match preps.
    Back for line up and moan.

  122. Big Raddy says:

    I’ll join you Micky. Back when prepped …..

  123. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thank Dennis I didn’t get a ticket just leaving Cambridge, haven’t had time to read the Raddy prematch :(

    Hopefully make it home in time.

    Enjoy the game….anyone seen AFC1 plane?

  124. glic says:

    I`ve got good money on someone saying ; “Fuchs Sake”, if Fuchs scores for Schalke & Vac !.

  125. evonne says:

    Micky and Raddy – what prematch preps? Full kit and replica ball? Or sofa moved strategically away from the wall giving ample space to hide?

  126. glic says:

    Close Raddy, Le Coq instead of Le Canoe !.

  127. RockyLives says:

    Peaches
    Sorry – I can’t do the report because I’m probably only going to be able to catch the second half (and we’ll be 5-0 up by then :) )

    I’m sure some other noble individual will volunteer.

  128. kelsey says:

    Arsenal: Mannone, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arteta, Podolski, Cazorla, Gervinho. Subs: Shea, Koscielny, Giroud, Djourou, Arshavin, Chamakh, Gnabry.

  129. kelsey says:

    Raddy you were wrong :)

  130. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    LB. 6.30 I can’t see how thats going to work. You’re just going to write/talk about things you heard at the game,,??

  131. RockyLives says:

    Chamakh on the bench!

    I feel a Peroni coming on Rasp…

  132. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Blimey, with that midfield, and if I were The Hun, I would be thinking….stop Cazorla..stop Arsenal.
    “Right, shut up DidIt, you miserable git. Go and get something positive to say!”

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ROLF Rocky
    And along the same lines with regards to my bet with Raddy, I should feel good that my striker is also on the bench :-)

  134. evonne says:

    oh, it is not on TV :( What is that SS4??

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Do you have Bitscores (aka liveonlinefooty) Evonne?
    If not, down the boozer for you

  136. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right. Massive positive hat on.
    Come on you Gunnnnners

  137. evonne says:

    got bitscores, but cannot find that SS4

  138. oz gunner says:

    game time ladies and gents! thanks for the fine read as always BR.

    Nervous about the game but it’ll still be 2-1 to the good guys

  139. Big Raddy says:

    COYRRG.

    Prove me wrong AW – pretty please

  140. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nooooooo rubbish stream connection thing

  141. oz gunner says:

    sure is BR, that vermaelen yellow was a joke

  142. kelsey says:

    I would swop gervinho and podolski over and put lehmann in goal.

  143. Big Raddy says:

    Once again we are showing nothing upfront

  144. kelsey says:

    One can’t keep Santos in this side, he can’t get back and defend.mayby if vermaelen isn’t injured he goes to left back and kos replaces vermaelen

  145. kelsey says:

    I didn’t realise AW isn’t allowed in the dressing room at half time, so what is the plan lads.
    gervinho in or off ?

  146. MickyDidIt89 says:

    3-5-2 Kelsey :-)

  147. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Something has to change or we will lose this.

  148. Brigham says:

    Nothing up front and we look as bad as at Norwich. Santos is having mare tonight and cannot get back, being caught out of position too many times. Schalke look pacy up front and the more likely to open the scoring.

  149. oz gunner says:

    not sure kelsey, he seems a bit isolated. Santos playing leaves podolski/arteta having to defend more which is a waste. need to see more from ramsey

  150. Big Raddy says:

    Rare that two attacking teams have not caused either GK to make a save. Not a shot, not a header….

    Podolski is way off the pace and needs a rest. I would like to see Cazorla further forward as we have no width at all.

    I do not understand what the point of playing both Ramsey and Coquelin is. Neither of them is working as a creative or defensive force. Coquelin in particular needs to get out left and assist the over-worked Santos who is really struggling. The idiot co-cmmentator just blames Santos but perhaps should ask why he is facing a 2 on 1 every time Schalke come down their right.

    Gervinho is no CF and tonight looks out of his depth.

    BR would ….. Replace Coquelin with Koscielny and push Santos forward. Bring on Giroud for Podolski

  151. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I think we are playing 4-4-2 with the front two on the left and the right midfielder in the middle and..and..err…I really don’t know

  152. kelsey says:

    Gervinho is so frustrating.Santi is class and Pers is doing a good job. I thought Schallke would be more potent. Yes Raddy we need a striker.

  153. Brigham says:

    Not a bad call that BR and it would probably be the change to make right now as Kos would shore up the defence and we could benefit from Santos probing forward as he likes to do. Gervinho is totally out of his depth up there and offering nothing.

  154. kelsey says:

    Santi had a shot,got deflected. What i don’t like is a huge groan from the crowd when any of the players makes a howler and you can feel the nerves behind Vito’s goal.

  155. oz gunner says:

    we have 1 out on the left, and the other on the bench. swap pod with gerv or bring on giroud

  156. RockyLives says:

    OK
    Caught the last 10 mins of the first half.
    According to the commentators here we looked decent for the first half hour. Tailed off when I started watching :(

    But it’s all OK. Three-nil to the Good Guys.

    BR
    “The idiot co-commentator just blames Santos but perhaps should ask why he is facing a 2 on 1 every time Schalke come down their right” – Top comment. Pod’s injury appears to be limiting his mobility so he’s not supporting Santos as much as we would normally expect.

    I would like to see us step up our pressing when they have the ball at the back.

    Santi looks lively tonight – and he’ll be our route to victory.

  157. oz gunner says:

    got to love arteta. up ends someone and just walks off everytime haha

  158. Big Raddy says:

    Mertesacker had an outstanding half. Love the BFG

  159. RockyLives says:

    But that was a bad Santos’ moment BR!

  160. oz gunner says:

    rarely see the viper lose a 1 on 1, lucky there

  161. Big Raddy says:

    Where the **** is Coquelin? Santos is getting roasted by Farfan.

    Double up on him man, it is elementary

  162. RockyLives says:

    Pod seems to have lost a yard of pace.

  163. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Speaking of idiot co-commentators, the one here in Canadia, just after Mert had made three great blocks, said “I definitely think Vermaelen and Koscielny are Arsenal’s best centre back pairing.”

  164. Big Raddy says:

    RL. We have the same imbecile. I guess it is one of the disadvantages of ex-patism

  165. Big Raddy says:

    Have Schalke got more players than us?

  166. kelsey says:

    The only difference between this performance and norwich is that only half the team are playing shite.

  167. Big Raddy says:

    Time to get Pod off, he just isn’t contributing.

  168. Brigham says:

    Why is no-one busting a gut to get in the penalty area when Gerv made that break? All sat back watiing for a pull back as per normal. Ferking frustrates me no end.

  169. kelsey says:

    How long is bould cgoing to wait to make a change

  170. Big Raddy says:

    Brigham. Only one who is getting in the box is Ramsey,

  171. Brigham says:

    True BR. Is the Pod still on the pitch or did I miss something when I went for a wee break?

  172. RockyLives says:

    Brigham
    I noticed that too.
    Whenever Schalke break they have three or four in the box.

  173. RockyLives says:

    Still think we’ll win.

  174. RockyLives says:

    Bollocks.
    Still think we’ll win.

  175. twitter is getting so bitch. fucking drama queens. My sky has gone off and the stream is rubbish.

  176. Brigham says:

    It has been coming!

  177. Big Raddy says:

    It’s been coming. We had 3 chances to clear the ball and didn’t.

    Quite frankly, Schalke have been a class apart.

  178. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Not missing much

  179. Rasp says:

    Ok so we’re a goal down – any chance we could play with a sense of urgency now .. pretend we’re man utd perhaps?

  180. We’ve been a bit rubbish. I can’t watch now. No sky and no stream

  181. Rasp says:

    Steve Bould’s obviously learned the timing of his subs from AW, he’s left it too late

  182. RockyLives says:

    Not learned Rasp – instructed.

  183. Big Raddy says:

    FFS. Why not Chamakh?

  184. Brigham says:

    Rasp, we are a goal down, but could been two in reality. Another insipid performance tonight and no better than last Saturday. We look toothless upfront and woeful at the back at times. Schalke have been by bar the better team.

  185. kelsey says:

    Please don’t tell me we have a quality squad in strength.

  186. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Cos Rasp’s desperate to win a Peroni off me and has somehow blackmailed Arsene into never playing Chamakh again.

  187. Rasp says:

    Why do we have to wait to go a goal down before we play with some purpose?

  188. RockyLives says:

    That’s how you hit teams.
    Well played Schalke.

  189. Rasp says:

    Raddy, because Chamakh is the least deserving striker ever to wear an Arsenal shirt

  190. RockyLives says:

    I’m less sure that we’ll win now.

  191. Rasp says:

    2 down …. the AGM will be a happy affair tomorrow

  192. Brigham says:

    Awful defending once again! Sorry, but are going backwards again.

  193. Big Raddy says:

    Fairplay to Schalke they gave us a hammering.

    Let us hope that both Ox and Theo are back for the away leg.

  194. RockyLives says:

    I’m not clever enough to know what’s wrong with us at the moment. But something is.

  195. Brigham says:

    They have just shown the stats and not one shot on target from us. No knee jerk from me, but that is farking poor at home and we all know it.

  196. slimgingergooner says:

    Toothless, no tempo and totally inept defending. Very poor performance.

  197. Rasp says:

    Theo’s leaving, Gnabry has been our best player since he came on

  198. Brigham says:

    Norwich was bad, but this is even worse. No fight, no pace and no fecking idea.

  199. Adrian says:

    What a terrible performance at HOME. I know the injury list is long, but if this game and the previous one doesn’t highlight the need for an out and out finisher, I don’t know what will.

  200. Adrian says:

    Imagine what a Theo or Ox would do right now, sigh.

  201. Big Raddy says:

    AW did not prove me wrong. Tp play without a recognized CF or winger at home and to pack the midfield was asking for problems.

    Especially after a toothless display at Norwich.

  202. kelsey says:

    Bould to take over. You must be joking.

    I feel sorry for jenkinson he gave his best. Goodnight.

  203. RockyLives says:

    Ah well…

    My confidence was misplaced. Everyone else’s fears were well founded.

    We’re a bit adrift at the moment but AW will put it right.

  204. Big Raddy says:

    That’s it for me. I have a big day tomorrow.

    And goodnight from Big Raddy as well.

  205. Brigham says:

    Ship minus Rudder equals that performance. I thought I had seen some poor performances in the past, some recently, but tonight truly takes the biscuit.

    Fair play to Schalke, they fully deserved their win and well played to them.

    Wenger and board – wake up and smell the coffee quick!

  206. Rasp says:

    If you want a top striker you have to pay top dollar. If you go for cheap you get Chamakh

  207. That was depressing (what I saw of it) the tossers on twitter were more depressing. I’m beginning to lose interest to be honest. I just collected my members pack and I can’t be bothered to open it. We need a change somewhere.

  208. Rasp says:

    If anyone wants a grain of comfort, it may not be a bad thing to come second as several of the top teams have stuttered, Real may also come second for instance.

  209. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    I wish I’d watched one of the other games. Maybe BD vs RM…Ajax vs the Tramps…looks like there was some really good games on tonight

    Nowt else to say really

  210. slimgingergooner says:

    Fuming. They were an average European team and we created absolutely nothing.

    For about the 5th season in a row, the closing down we show for the first half a dozen games has totally disappeared. Why can we not sustain it? We had no urgency and no tempo.

    Totally disgusted by that performance. Not good enough.

  211. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Only good news for me was that Stan was there to watch.
    Suggest a day of videos :-(

  212. If we come third we might have a chance of the channel 5 cup Rasp

  213. Brigham says:

    Rasp, another one or two performances like that (and that is not impossible) and we will not even finish second in the group. Tonight was totally inept, no other word for it, we got pulled all over the place tonight by what in reality is an average side.

  214. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Brigham,
    I hate to say this, but I think not qualifying for the second round is the very least of our problems.
    I’m afraid its goodnight from a very miserable me.
    Goodnight my fellow Gunners.

  215. slimgingergooner says:

    Why and when did it become such a bloody chore to watch this team play! No enjoyment tonight whatsoever.

    The quicker Jack and Bacary get back the better. Time for Wenger to pull his socks up.

    Venting over……..for now!

  216. Brigham says:

    MD89, cannot argue with that thought buddy.

  217. Gooner In Exile says:

    Underestimating Norwich as a group of players is one thing, having the same apparent lack of respect for a team that is flying high in the Bundesliga is a bit negligent to say the least.

    Poor display again, Santos’slack of game time exposed as is the fact that Podokski is carrying a knock, nowhere near the energy of earlier in the season.

    I along with many others were complimenting the new experienced look to the side, but we’ve gone from spring chickens to old men very quickly.

    One of the things that crossed my mind watching Rambo bust a gut to make the box and support Gervinho was he, Jenkinson and Vermaelen were quite possibly the only players on the pitch with the engine and legs to do it.

    Another nothing display I’m afraid. By the way I fully expect another UEFA ban for Wenger the camera cut to him as he covered his mouth talking to Gazidis as Gazidis fumbled for the phone in his pocket and clearly started texting.

  218. slimgingergooner says:

    So much for the response to the Norwich performance! If anything we were worse.

    Kelsey

    i said your post the other day was a bit premature. I was wrong. Based on the last 2 performances you were right to be worried.

  219. We should have sold walcott and replaced him in the summer

  220. kgooner says:

    caught the dortmund real game. I envy the resilience of those talented young players. They held RM till the end. We need to borrow a leaf.

  221. At least I can watch shitty get spanked.

  222. Gooner In Exile says:

    Someone’s looking for positives on Twitter:

  223. Gooner In Exile says:

    Ok looking forward this is my Arsenal dream team of the future:

    …………………………..Szczesny………………………
    Jenkinson……????????……Miquel………..Gibbs
    ………………..Aneke………….Wilshere………………
    ………………….Oxlade-Chamberlain………………..
    Gnabry…………………Akpom………………..Bellerin

  224. LB says:

    GIE

    I didn’t get the feeling that we showed a lack of respect to Shalke I came away with the feeling that we lacked the collective ability to win the game. It’s a bit like asking a 100m runner to run it two seconds than he has ever done, he can’t, even if he wanted to.

  225. LB says:

    I thought the two Spaniards gave their all once again. They must be frustrated with the mediocre that plays in front of them.

  226. RockyLives says:

    LB
    That’s my view too.
    We weren’t complacent or any of that nonsense, we just couldn’t get our game together.

  227. Why didn’t we play Giroud?

  228. Neamman says:

    Injuries left us short. It would have been good to have Thgeo or Ox to run at them. But another toothless performance.

  229. Gooner In Exile says:

    Without a doubt 4-3-3 does not look like it will work for us this season, well with the current setup.

    I think i might try something a bit different on Saturday:

    …….Arteta…….Coquelin…….
    Gnabry……Cazorla……..Ox (if fit)
    ……………..Pod……………..

    The thing I can’t get my head round is against Liverpool i was full of the praise for the fact that whenever a player had the ball he had options around him, in both tonights game and Norwich on Saturday the player spent too much time surrounded by blue shirts with zero support.

  230. Rasp says:

    I’m worried our 2 Spaniards will burn themselves out. I thought Coquelin had a good game, Ramsey was OKish, but Gervinho just couldn’t get past his man tonight – unlike Gnabry who immediately got behind their fullbacks.

  231. Rasp says:

    It is clear that we played the wrong system tonight with the personnel available. We touched on this earlier today we are far too inflexible in our approach and fail to play to the strengths of our players at times..

  232. We’ll have Jack back soon Rasp. I just watched highlights of City’s game. they could have scored four themselves. We created nothing.

  233. Rasp says:

    Can anyone think of anything to write for tomorrow. We need a post, but it doesn’t have to be about tonight’s game.

  234. Rasp says:

    I know gm, that is what is depressing, we just weren’t good enough as a team despite having talented individuals. GiE is correct, the system didn’t work and players were isolated when in possession of the ball. It’s like we lost faith in our style of play.

  235. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp just put up a picture of a white flag……then the headline can be:

    “24 hour whinge fest and toy throwing (Peaches Mum look away now)”

  236. VCC says:

    Gm 10:30. Cos he’s pants

  237. I’m giving up twitter

  238. I disagree VCC. But I can’t be bothered. I’m giving this up as well tonight.

    see you all later

  239. Gooner In Exile says:

    Made me laugh

  240. Maybe I’ll just republish my post from Sunday …….. :(

    That was pants although Coquelin did impress me again and Gnabry was full of energy and attacking spirit for ………. 5 minutes!!!!

    When it’s going so badly why do we still have to wait until the 73rd minute before there’s a substitution??????

  241. oz gunner says:

    don’t know what to say tbh, very insipid performance. Says a lot about a team when a 17yr old and jenks have been our brightest lights in our last two performances.

    @ GiE

    that last CB spot can be filled by Boateng

  242. JM says:

    @Red Arse, Rasp,

    Thanks & it seemed Arsene did really change his line-up for the match (Ramsey in for Giroud). Which is unfortunate for the team as Cazorla @AM was marked out by Schalke’s 2 defensive pivot. After that, we lacked a cutting edge in attack, although the statistics were very even between the 2 teams at the end.
    The difference is that they have a better poacher in Huntelaar and also better combination-play between Farfan-Afellay-Huntelaar at the end when it matters.

    IF the team & Arsene is still persistent with a 4-3-3 setup, we shall have to have a major tweak in the advanced midfielder (CM/AM) & either of the right or left flank personnel -> mirroring that of Bayern Munich’s formation. (They currently sit on top of Bundesliga with a 8-0-0 record, scoring 26 times while conceding only 2 goals).

    GK: Neuer
    RB: Lahm, CB: Boateng & Dante, LB: Badstuber
    CM: Gustavo/Martinez & Schweinsteiger, AM: Kroos
    RW: Muller, LW: Ribery, CF: Mandzukic

    If the above, only Muller & Mandzukic are forwards/strikers, while Ribery plays as the wide/false midfielder, Kroos plays better in AM than on the flanks. Badstuber was primarily a CB, but he can play in LB (as could Dante) when Alaba was still injured.

    Against Schalke, we could have used for example:
    GK: Mannone
    RB: Jenkinson, CB: Djourou & Mertesacker, LB: Vermaelen
    CM: Coquelin & Arteta, AM: Ramsey
    RW: Cazorla, LW: Podolski/Gervinho, CF: Giroud

    Cazorla~Ribery; Giroud~Mandzukic, Podolski/Gervinho~Muller, Arteta~Schweinsteiger, Ramsey~Kroos, Coquelin~Gustavo/Martinez & so on …..

    That said, I would still prefer we used a 3-4-1-2 setup (with our better first 11 players)

    ==================================================
    PS: Other than being a {J}ose {M}ourinho & a {J}uan {M}ata, perhaps you could add a {J}orge {M}endes to the list as well.

  243. oz gunner says:

    great comment JM

  244. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,
    I think GiE’s suggestion of : ““24 hour whinge fest and toy throwing (Peaches Mum look away now)”” has legs.
    No charges shall be levelled against individual comments, and name changing is not only allowed, but to be encouraged.
    A real “get it off your chest day”.

  245. MickyDidIt89 says:

    As I said last night, best thing was Stan being there. He will have heard the atmoshere, seen empty seats, and thought “Yeeha”

  246. Gooner In Exile says:

    AGM will be fun today won’t it?

    Arsene will have to attend, question is why? Very rare that a non board member would be put in front of the shareholders at any other PLC.

    And the AGM will probably cause lots of negative press as a man with 1 share and no control places questions about the way the team is managed…batten down the hatches our club will be under fire today.

  247. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    I think you were there last night. One question, how full was Club?
    Or anyone else who was there upper tier.

  248. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    Don’t you think Stan will be slightly worried?
    He must be thinking that no CL, less sponsorship, less matchday revenue (by a huge amount methinks in corporate) and the sustainable model goes out of the window, after all, the fixed cost of debt remains and the variable of running costs must be fairly fixed as well.

  249. oz gunner says:

    Morning Micky, good idea having a tantrum post:

    I’ll start it off

    or if you want some variation to your tantrum:

  250. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oz :-)

  251. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thanks for the glimpse into my future Oz :D

  252. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That’s pretty soon isn’t it GiE. Dec 23 did you say?

  253. oz gunner says:

    haha no worries GiE, fun times ahead. Mrs GiE will have to deal with two tantrums after an Arsenal loss.

  254. Gooner In Exile says:

    That’s the expected Micky…now I’m faced with a dilemma though.

    After I told my Dad I was getting married my Uncle on receipt of the news said:

    “Good, why shouldn’t he suffer like the rest of us”

    Now I find myself posed with a similar question regarding football fandom, I can force my first born to support and follow football on a similar basis. But do I want to set my greatest love up for the biggest disappointments of their life?

    Maybe I’ll just let them support Norwich, if you have little expectation and go for the fun I’m sure it’ll be far healthier :)

  255. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    I do look at my Torquay, Exeter and Argyle supporting chums and sometimes think…Mmmm

  256. oz gunner says:

    that’s too soft GiE, you lay the law down and you lay it down early!
    Otherwise it’s Arsenal bootcamp for him/her!

    Also by the time your child can understand the game we will be dominating all comers!

  257. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oz,
    We are all buggered. That’s it, Gunnerdom Forever, but GiE Minimus has local options. When I lived in London, I could slip quietly away from a doomer of a match and be with non-footbally mates within 30 mins. Now, I have a four and half hour journey to dwell on things.

  258. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arsenal got Sausaged

  259. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey,
    I agree that last night was not about the injuries as such. Our best strikers were available after all.
    Tactically it was a bloody shambles.

  260. kelsey says:

    You can do better than that micky :)

  261. oz gunner says:

    Too true Micky, we do need a break every now and then.

    @ Kelsey

    Always love your comments (just caught up on older posts and enjoyed your Monday post, thank you).

    I agree with a lot of your comment (not so that it’ll be the worst season), our attackers looked very isolated last night. Countless times Gerv was running forward but all you could see were Schalke defenders.

    My biggest annoyance at the moment is Diaby and Gibbs. Time after time after time we see these glimpses of what they can be, but then when they leave us licking our lips at the thought of what they can become…they get injured. GiE was on to something on Monday when he said our medical team and training needs to be scrutinized. We are bloody Arsenal for christ sake but you’d think we had the medical facilities of a division 3 team.

    It surely cannot be luck because it happens far too often and for season upon season. We’d have won trophies and Arsene would be getting the respect he deserves if it was sorted out.

    My Aussie rules football team brought in a new director of medical services and is considered one of the best muscle experts in Australia. We had one of the poorest injury records season after season and this bloke comes in and we had 1 soft tissue injury all season. Yes he cost a lot to bring in but for a long season of intense running and hard hits it is worth it. WE NEED BETTER!!!!

  262. Morning all

    What shall we do then? We don’t have a match report although kelsey’s comment could be a post!!!

    kelsey – it would be a shame to lose your rant with a another post so can I be ckeeky and take it off to use today?

  263. kelsey says:

    Sure you can peaches :)

  264. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey,
    My biggest single worry is qualification for next years’ CL, in other words coming 4th. I do not believe we have the business model of Tottenham, Newcastle and so on, to be sustainable without the revenue that CL football brings.
    Do I think we are going to get 4th? No.

  265. kelsey says:

    I think my last post…reality check has now been emphasised

  266. kelsey says:

    Micky I agree the bubble will finally burst. just wait until after AGM for usmanov to use these two defeats to his advantage. the shite will hit the fan.

    Bould’s post match interview was limp.he still partly blamed the two week international break. (you can add that as well peaches if you want)

  267. Totally agree with you there Kelsey.
    Not very Arsenal this side and its tactics.
    I was bored with us, and embarrassed all at once.
    See Gervinho’s dive, cringeworthy, desperate awful.
    See Santos lost in the headlights, it was like immature lions toying with their prey.
    Ramsey does try hard at least, he’s all over the place but he seems to have forgotten how to pass.
    Podolski should not be on the wing, through the middle or not at all.
    When was the last time we had a left & right side forwards without pace and trickery? It doesn’t work with this personnel.
    I really hope that is the last time i see Gervinho as CF.

  268. Kelsey,
    nice to see your Gravatar, you need to upload it on to your Twitter egg! Don’t worry i will help you LOL

  269. Ok, thanks kelsey.

    Sorry all, I’ve taken kelsey’s earlier comment off to use as a post today.

    Hi Jonathan – nice to see you here :)

  270. LB says:

    There is a bit of a match report in drafts if you need something, no probs if not, I will just post it in comments.

  271. Hi Peaches
    i’m always here, Lurking about :-)
    Don’t always comment though.

  272. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey,
    My view is that there are four games left for the current set up.
    QPR, Utd, Fulham and Spurs. If at the end of that we are out of the race for 4th, I think Arsene will walk/go. He would see a Club outside the CL with even further reduced transfer funds, and I don’t think he would have the stomach/time/energy to effectively rebuild a Club.

  273. evonne says:

    phew, after a really bad night a bright morning – Shitty lost 3:1 :) now, that made me feel better

  274. Fantastic LB, thank you, do you mind if we change the title?

  275. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches,
    What to: SAUSAGED :-)

  276. evonne says:

    may I suggest “The Wheels Came Off Last Night”

  277. LB says:

    Peaches, not at all but can you put it at the end.

  278. LB says:

    That’s can you put my present tilte at the end.

  279. slimgingergooner says:

    Can anyone remember a time when Arsene has actually made this 4-3-3 work correctly for long periods?

    We have had issues at LW with Arshavin being deployed there for 18 months even though he didn’t track back and was naturally an AM/CF. He has been replaced with Podolski who has the work rate that was missing but doesn’t get into the forward positions enough to support a lonely striker.

    We have has similar issues at RW where we have tried to mould a young striker into a RW with some success but to a point where the player wants out!

    Our CB positions were a shambles for a couple of seasons, being filled by the likes of Squillaci or untested defenders like Kozzer and Djourou.

    Our LB has been another problem area with Gibbs constantly injured, Clichy badly out of form at times and Santos now looking lost.

    GK positions have been filled by Almunia, Mannone, Fabianski and Szscesny. Not exactly a who’s who of Arsenal legends though that maybe a bit harsh on the current number 1 who does look a great prospect. But the fact he is only still a prospect speaks quite loudly.

    And as for the Strikers, we have had 1 success in the last 5 or 6 years with RvP playing brilliantly for 18 months before pissing off to United! Eduardo, Chamakh and Giroud have all been hit n miss at best although again, I still believe Giroud could become a good player for us.

    The only success we have had has been in midfield with players like Song, Wilshire, Fabregas, Arteta, Cazorla etc and RB with Sagna and now Jenks. All the other positions have been filled with inconsistency and unbelievable amounts of injuries.

    I feel, as many have already said, that its time for a tactical rethink. Wengers philosophy of ‘if we play well then we don’t need to worry about the opposition’ is all very good WHEN we are on form and injury free, but how often has that been the case? The tactics fall to pieces when we don’t quite click into gear or we have too many personnel not at the level of the first XI. We MUST have a Plan B for when things aren’t going to plan and we MUST start to take opposition tactics and players into consideration when playing better teams.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that Arsene needs to find it soon, otherwise a tough AGM will be the least of his and our worries.

  280. Rasp says:

    Hi LB, we’ve worked it into the title.

    kelsey, we’re going to use LB’s post, do you want your comment to be put back on when the new post is published so it doesn’t get lost?

  281. Rasp says:

    Hi sgg, that is a great comment, can you re-submit it on the new post (coming shortly) – otherwise we can do it for you

  282. chas says:

    Micky,
    I didn’t notice club being more empty than normal. There were small gaps all over.
    Except in the Schalke section, of course.

    For some reason, I was over this defeat before I got back to Arsenal tube station. Maybe Saturday had lowered my expectations to such a point where there was no more misery to be had.

    Who’s looking forward to QPR? :)

  283. evonne says:

    Chas – I’d rather have a sex change than watch another game like that

  284. Rasp says:

    OK, everyone, load the ammo and give it both barrels……..

    ….. New post …….

  285. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    I’ve got something ahead to lower my expectations. In ten minutes I set off for two days in The Birmingham, whatever that is!
    Anyhow, you can expect even worse spelling than usual from me as I comment from my mobile device on the train.
    .
    LB,
    Does the post start with “Can’t” :-)

    Bye for now.

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