QPR Report and Player Ratings: Context Is All

There were more than a few “Phews” at the final whistle yesterday.

After two defeats during which we had displayed the cutting edge of a doughnut, a victory was essential to help steady the Good Ship Arsenal.

And a victory we got, but not one that was easy on the ticker.

At one point the TV cameras focused on an old boy in his 90s who has been following Arsenal since the 1920s. I remember thinking that games like the one we were watching were likely to finish the poor old fellow off.

Mind you, given some of the dire, trophy-less periods he has lived through I doubt whether he gets as hot under the collar about our current travails as some of the younger supporters (which in his case means everyone apart from Dandan).

The big news before kick-off was that Arsenal’s saviour had returned: Jack Wilshere starting a first team game for the first time in 17 months. Bacary Sagna also returned after his own absence: hard on young Carl Jenkinson perhaps, but there’s no harm in the lad getting a break after deputising very well so far this season.

Up front, Arsene Wenger took the revolutionary option of starting with an orthodox striker – Olivier Giroud – supported by Cazorla, with Podolski on the left and Ramsey taking the right-sided midfield role he performed so well against the champions a few weeks ago.

Andre Santos continued at left back, prompting long queues at the crappers before kick-off.

The opposition, managed by the unlikeable Mark Hughes, were bottom of the table despite having spent freely, assembling a squad littered with decent players.

QPR are also a big, physical team, proving that “Hughes the Elbow” did not abandon his fondness for the darker footballing arts after hanging up his boots.

As far as I could tell from watching on the box, the stadium atmosphere at kick off was supportive, but apprehensive. We all remember how nasty things got when the wheels came off at the start of last season, and you could tell the fans were nervous of the disharmony that might be waiting to rear its head if we were to suffer a third consecutive defeat.

Rather than a blow-by-blow report, I want to offer an overview of the game.

I felt we started well and immediately looked to have more positive intent than against Norwich last weekend. Cazorla was busy, finding space between the Rangers’ midfield and defence, Podolski was threatening at every opportunity and Wilshere’s quick feet and direct running were a sight for sore eyes (and I don’t know about you, but after Norwich and Schalke my eyes were as sore as Nasri’s splintered arse).

Hopefully one effect of Wilshere’s presence this season will be to take some of the pressure off Cazorla.

Opposition teams have quickly got wise to the dangers posed to them by Santi and he is usually closely marked now. The way we are playing at the moment you feel that if Santi is stopped, so are Arsenal.

But with Wilshere showing the sort of touches, skill and vision he displayed yesterday it’s not going to be so easy for other teams to nullify us and the prospect is mouthwatering.

To QPR’s credit they did not set out to Queens Park the bus (or at least not as much as most other teams we play at The Emirates). They had two up front and were prepared to try and get forward in a systematic way rather than just booting it up to Zamora.

We could have gone ahead early on, when a flicked header from Ramsey looped just onto the crossbar rather than just beneath it. My recollection is that Sagna crossed the ball in that incident – if so it was just one of several good crosses Mr Reliable made on his return. Incidentally, Sagna showed no signs of rustiness, which is quite remarkable after such a long lay off.

We had a few long range shots on target, a couple of which were spilled by Cesar in the QPR goal. None of the spillages fell to an Arsenal boot which, depending on your perspective, is either because we were unlucky or we did not get enough men in the box.

As the first half wore on and we failed to create any gilt-edged opportunities, the level of apprehension seemed to grow. The stadium was pretty quiet (although I accept that the television coverage does not always give an accurate indication of sound levels) and the players looked tense.

At half time it was hard to feel completely confident that we would come away with all three points and the second half continued in the same vein.

The turning point was a piece of petulance by the visitors’ centre back Stephane Mbia. Fouled by Vermaelen out by the right touchline, the Cameroonian lashed out a boot and was rightly shown red.

There were about 15 minutes to go and we had been gradually building up the pressure even before the sending off. But with QPR down to 10 we were really able to turn the screw.

A succession of chances followed – the best of them falling to Santi Cazorla who blasted over from inside the penalty area when he should at least have hit the target.

Cesar made some fine saves in the Rangers goal – the best of them from a deflected clearance off a QPR defender.

We finally got our reward in the 83rd minute. Giroud – who had a really good game leading the line – was able to win a great header in the box despite being under pressure from two defenders. Cesar parried it, but the ball found Arteta in the six yard box. His header hit the crossbar, bounced back into the six yard box and finally squirted (via Ramsey) to Arteta again, who poked it home. There was an argument for offside which may be justified but would have been difficult to call in the melee that led to the goal.

As we all anxiously willed the clock to tick faster, the team very nearly shot itself in the foot. Twice QPR found great positions to equalise. First Granero pulled a shot wide, then Mackie bundled through three challenges only to find Vito Mannone standing strong to make the block.

Finally the whistle went and the collective sigh of relief must have been audible in West London.

How to view this performance is all about context. If we were coming off the back of a string of good results, we would see it as a professional job: a game in which we were not quite in our best fluid form, but did enough to take all three points.

But after the two recent defeats (and, more particularly, the paucity of chances created in those games), this will be viewed by many as another dodgy outing in which we were lucky to come away with a win.

It’s worth noting, however, that we had 70% possession to QPR’s 30%, and we had 21 attempts on goal (11 on target) compared with QPR’s four (three on target).

Those stats should provide some measure of reassurance and certainly give the lie to Mark Hughes’s ridiculous claim that Rangers controlled the game until the sending off. But a man clinging to his job by the skin of his elbows is liable to say anything.

For me there were many pluses: that we ground out the result; that Jack is Back and looking every bit the player we remember him to be; that Bac is Back and in fine form; and that we have made the first step on the road to recovery.

Player ratings

Mannone: not a lot to do but made a vital stop in the dying minutes. His kicking was mostly very good. 7

Sagna: excellent performance by Bac. I don’t recall him being exposed defensively once all game and he got forward and made several fine crosses. 8.5

Mertesacker: solid outing; some good interceptions and headers and the usual composure when distributing from the back. 7

Vermaelen: unspectacular but did his defensive job well – exactly the sort of performance he needs as he gets his form back together. 7

Santos: after his struggles in the last two games Andre did better, but was still exposed a couple of times. However, he is getting a run of games and will improve. 6

Arteta: I’m running out of superlatives for Miki. Outstanding defensive duties and control of the ball. 8.5 (MoTM)

Wilshere: very encouraging return for Jack. His control, passing and running with the ball were all in evidence. If he stays fit he will make a big difference to our season. 8

Ramsey: when he plays wide right he is certainly no winger, but he kept the dangerous Taarabt quiet and did a lot of good work and got the assist for Arteta’s goal. I wish he had a better left foot because he sometimes gets himself into trouble by having to make wide turns on his right. 7

Podolski: he seemed to be hanging back more than usual to help protect Santos, but also looked lively when getting forward. Not his best game but you always feel he’s capable of popping up with a goal. 7

Cazorla: always busy and dangerous. He is surprisingly hard to barge off the ball for such a small guy. Should have done better with his shot when it was still 0-0. 8

Giroud: I really like this player: QPR are a big strong team but he more than held his own, moved their centre backs around a lot and brought others into the game. His fine header led to our goal. We need to be patient with Olivier because he will come good for us. 8

Subs

Walcott: looked as if he could threaten, without actually doing a great deal.

Gervinho: had a couple of typical runs (ie, tricksy runs with no end product) before picking up an injury and being substituted himself.

Arshavin: made the cross that led to the goal – a player who should, perhaps, be getting more pitch time.

RockyLives

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167 Responses to QPR Report and Player Ratings: Context Is All

  1. dandan says:

    Morning Rocky have not read your article yet but thought you might find this interesting.

    From Today’s times.

    Trigger-happy Gooners should hold fire

    Arsenal have lost two games in a row and are now in full-blown crisis, with their seven-year trophy drought showing no signs of abating
    Rod Liddle Published: 28 October 2012
    Recommend (3) Comment (0) Print
    Olivier Giroud has already been the subject of Arsenal fans’ ire (Stephen Pond)
    WHERE do you think Arsenal will finish in the league this season? For most neutrals this is a very boring question indeed because the range of possibilities — if the question is answered seriously, rather than warped by spite or wishful thinking — is so narrow.

    Few people would reckon they’ll finish below fifth. Few would reckon they’ll finish above fourth. So, fourth or fifth then. Neither Spurs nor Newcastle United look quite as irresistible as they did last year and Liverpool are still a work in progress, or stasis, one of the two.

    So Arsenal’s path to a Champions League berth is probably a little easier this season, with only Everton looking likely to put a spanner in the works. The Gunners are tucked away in ninth (at time of writing) and performing with customary adequacy in the Champions League. So how do we explain the seething turmoil which accompanied last week’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders at the Emirates? The punters were furious; beside themselves with outrage. Angry at the manager Arsène Wenger and even more so at the majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

    It’s a full-blown crisis. And why? Because they lost two games in a row, I think. Nothing more than that. Most clubs have fans who start to moan only when they’ve lost about six on the trot. As Wenger put it while trying to instil a degree of unity and realism among the disaffected hordes: “If everybody is devastated when we finish third in the league, I promise you I will not be here when you finish fifteenth some day.”

    So, two games in a row lost during which the Arsenal players did indeed look toothless and anodyne. This happens. It will happen to all of the top three before this season is over. The Arsenal supporters, though, believe that their side deserves better and they point to graver harbingers of doom than two consecutive defeats. Arsenal have recorded the fewest shots on target of any Premier League side this season, they will tell you — which is true. They need a striker to replace Van Persie, of course — Olivier Giroud does not quite do it, still less Gervinho. Wenger has £35m to flash around in January, ample to rectify this particular problem. And, incidentally, Arsenal have scored more goals by this point of the season without Van Persie than they did by this point last season with him. So, they need bolstering up front. With the exception of the top three, which team doesn’t?

    The deeper worry is this, though. Arsenal, as their fans will keep telling you, have not won a trophy for seven years. Further, it looks as if a gap has developed between the top three clubs and the Gunners, one exacerbated by Wenger’s famous refusal to spend lots of money. To add to which, the team lost at home in the Champions League and may find qualification from the group stage a tad difficult.

    Let’s take this last point first. Yes; British clubs in general are not gliding through their groups with quite the ease we have come to expect. My suspicion is that the Premier League has fallen in quality over the last two or three years when compared to the Bundesliga and Serie A, not to mention La Liga. The Russians are coming up fast, too. Chelsea’s feats last season may have been an anomaly; I reckon we will not see English clubs crowding the semi-finals of the Champions League for a good few years to come. Arsenal’s travails are simply part of a wider mini-malaise affecting the English game, even if this does not placate their angry supporters.

    Is there a gap, then, between Arsenal and the top three sides — the two Manchesters and Chelsea? I do not quite see it. Certainly it is nothing that one new player couldn’t help to put right. It is certainly nothing like the gap that has developed between the top three and, say, Liverpool or Aston Villa.

    Chelsea this season have been consistent and bought well during the summer. But I have seen nothing from Manchester United or Manchester City to strike the fear of God into a Gunner. Sir Alex Ferguson may well feel, as he said on Friday, that he believes the top three have broken away from the rest. But this might be a manifestation of that very complacency with which his side take to the field every week and immediately concede a couple of goals. United, I think, are due a clobbering one day soon. The lesson from last term was that if anything the gap between the top clubs and the rest has narrowed a little in recent years.

    So, you Gooners: there’s no crisis. You’re missing one, maybe two players at worst. And even without them you can hold your own towards the top of the table. You want trophies? Yes, we all do — and you are still better placed than at least 16 teams in the top division to win one of them. If Arsenal are stuttering a little at the moment, much of it can be put down to confidence. As supporters, you know how to put that right.

  2. Can’t disagree at all with your assessment, Rocky Lives.
    Except the commentator noted the old boy’s as 100 years old.

    I myself noted that a lot of QPR’s attacking was aimed at Santos’ flank, unsurprisingly, and that he was AWOL far too many times. Thankfully the Rangers forwards were continually caught offside when running into the space Santos had left for them.

    Sorry to ‘kick a man when he’s down’ but he left me totally unimpressed yet again.

    What I did notice when checking the end of yesterday’s post was a rather astute comment made by your good self:
    “QPR have a lot of players with stupid hair”. You don’t miss a trick, do you…

  3. Bradster says:

    Perfect analysis. Pointed out the good and bad points without derogatory comments about players.
    Nice opportunity to give the fringe and youngsters a chance and rest the starting 11 against Reading.

  4. slimgingergooner says:

    Agree with everything apart from Mannones 7. Had nothing to do all game then won us the points in the end with the free kick save and the late one on one block.

  5. Fab report as always Rocky
    And thanks DanDan for sharing that piece from The Times, I too was starting to think crisis, not because of the losses but because of no chances being created, yesterday i was delighted to see change and the familiar 20+ chances and an opposition GK acting like superman for the day.
    I think we may surprise a few people at old trafford but i really hope Gibbs makes it back in time, we need him.
    Yesterday i was maybe a little harsh with my ratings i only scored Sagna a 6 but maybe thats because i expect so much and he did what he always does, i just thought he gave a couple of silly fouls away when we didn’t need the pressure.
    Anyway i’m please we looked more our familiar selves yesterday, and i’m over the moon that Jack is back.
    LOL at Hughs saying they controlled the game.
    & double LOL at Hanson who said that QPR deserved a point.

  6. Rasp says:

    Morning all, thanks for stepping in Rocky and producing such a well reasoned report.

    I think it was a good victory when taking into context the previous 2 games and the effect injuries are still having on our choice of line up.

    We fielded the ‘slowest’ team I can remember under AW. We had no pace in the final third. Neither Ramsey or Podolski are really wingers and as a result they struggle to get behind fullbacks, therefore the service to the ever hard working Giroud was poor.

    Cazorla is still a little out of sorts and reminded me a bit of Arsh when he was struggling with the clever ficks that don’t come off.

    Everything changed when Theo and Gerv came on. We had more width, real pace and were much more threatening in attack. The unfortunate injury to Gerv was actually a blessing in disguise as my little Russian friend came on and did what others couldn’t, he jinked past the fullback and produced a perfectly weighted and directed cross that resulted in the goal.

    chas if you’re reading – does the assist go to Giroud or Arsh?

  7. Rasp
    Good points about width & speed. It totally changed things, i guess it says it all about Theo’s January movements when Ramsey starts as RSFW instead of he.

  8. chas, if you’re reading – did you freeze your tits off?

  9. Giroud or Ramsey Rasp

    Great post. I watched the game on FF last night 5 times albeit while I was working on my PC. We looked much better than the last 2 games.

    Great report BTW.

  10. Arsenal 26 says:

    I don’t think I remember Ramsey throwing in any crosses at all throughout the game while Walcott came on and instantly threw on a peach of a cross towards the end. Therefore walcott being labelled as looking the part but not up to it is very surprising to me. Ramsey is ineffective at best in the RW position, he hardly crosses or manages to get the left back. Pace is not his biggest asset too.

    Santos should learn when to stop pushing forward so much and improve his positioning as Podolski had to constantly track back to cover for him. This is a huge waste of his finishing talents and if we wanted an extra defender we wouldn’t have gotten a German striker with over a 100 caps.

  11. glic says:

    Thank you Rocky
    It was great to see some AAers at the Tavern. They are all a lovely fine bunch . The sad thing is, not having more time to spend chatting and getting to know everyone better, it`s all a bit rushed, for example, I said hello to Gooner B ( did anyone think he looked a bit like Tony Cottee ? ), but didn`t get any time to have chat, the time goes so quickly, I wish I could get up for every game and spend some quality time with you all, it`s my only regret living this far away !.
    As for the match. I thought we played quite well , which sort of goes with the match stats. Oooh Jack, I think Jack is just ” Super Quality “, call me deluded, but if he was playing for a top euro` team, we wouldn`t stand a chance of buying him, £40m easy. When they get it together, him and Santi will be magical. I know Rocky say`s other teams will think, stop Santi and you stop Arsenal, well, they will have to stop two magicians, not so easy. I dont get Santos though, he is the weak link. If Gibbs is still to be injured, then either play Sagna at LB (as Rasp suggested) or stick Verm there with Koz coming into the middle, Manu are bound to try and exploit this area in the next league game and to me, it is a concern. I cant say what I think our best team is, but if it was me, there would be two fast wingers, not Pod and Ramsey playing out wide, I dont get that, but then again, I`m no coach !. Main thing is we won and I`m a happy gooner !. :)

  12. Morning all,

    @Rasp, the assist goes to Ramsey. Im 100% on that.

    Well, thanks Rocky for top notch match report. I agree with all of bar one thing. As much as i hate to do this i would have to take a point away from Santi (who is nit-picking?).. We both watched and commented at the same time as he missed the sitter.. Gobsmacked i was and i suppose again as you suggest we should look at that sitter in context.. Had we drawn the game it would have been a major talking point and in my eyes was just as big a miss as Bendtners against Farca but hey ho, we won and for me thats all that matters, and as you rightly point out we have made our first step to recovery..

    Even Wenger suggested post match that had we drawn we would be in trouble, a loss, well that would have constituted a crisis! Im glad he recognised that in his own way acknowledged to the fans that we are not on par at the moment. Keep the faith i say, onwards and where we belong..

    @GiE, great comment re playing our best 11 players and then finding the formation to suit them rather than vice versa.. And particularly like your suggested starting players in a 3-4-3..

    @Micky, there you go, i hand in the same team and line up as GiE submitted although you could start with Pod at the top of the spear and use the Ox tucking in and cutting through the 16yard box.

  13. LB says:

    Top drawer match report as ever Rocky.

    I wish I had thought of this one:

    “As we all anxiously willed the clock to tick faster.”

    So true.

  14. GoonerB says:

    Well done Rocky. I think you sum it up well. A win is a win even if it wasn’t always pretty, and it is a relief after the last 2 games. Hopefully we can kick on from here. Was great to catch up with some of you guys at the tavern yesterday and I will definitely be seeking you out again for a light ale or 2 when I next venture down.

    Every player put in a shift yesterday, so I can’t fault any player on their commitment to the cause. I differ on one point where I actually remember thinking that QPR did come and park the bu, and thought that was reflected in the possession stats. It is still a problem we haven’t discovered a decent solution too, and until we show teams that they are wasting their time sitting deep and overloading their penalty area with their players, then teams like QPR will continue to come to the Emirates and play this way. I wasn’t always looking at their set-up during the game so I will stand corrected but I remember looking at it a couple of times when we had possession and seeing everyone but Zamora behind the ball. I couldn’t find much to give them credit for and I felt the few chances they had were down to our own sloppiness and not anything they did particularly well.

    Obviously the big positive was the return of Jack. We are probably not even seeing him back to his full best yet, and if that is the case it makes you realise just how good he really is, and what we have been missing. Strong in the tackle, and it was great to see those trademark bursts of acceleration through or past opposition midfielders, taking them out of the game in those moments and keeping us driving forwards. We definitely look to have more forward penetration with him,and less of the sideways and backwards style we sometimes lapse into. I also think he brings greater control to the midfield and the plus side of this was that it seemed to release Santi so that he could more often adopt an advanced position between their midfield and defence. This allowed us quick forward release passes from deeper midfield that quickly plays many of their players out of the game at those moments. Santi, as we know, has that classic instant control and when he receives the ball here he is able to turn and drive at their defence before they can re-organise. This is when I feel Arsenal are at their best, when we can catch teams unawares through quick incisive passing that is of the forward penetrative type. Santi had this type of game at Anfield where we looked so good. On that day it was Diaby with Arteta that brought the deeper midfield control that released Santi into those more dangerous positions. It will be a nice problem to have if Diaby and Wilshere are both fully fit. I would still go for Wilshere as I think he is more consistent in this type of midfield control while Diaby is excellent at it one game but seems to have certain games where it doesn’t quite seem to be working. He seems to get caught on the ball more in his bad games and doesn’t exert the same control but it will great to have those options.

    On the slightly more negative aspects I feel that we just don’t do seeing out the game well. With them at 10 men and us on top there is no way they should have had those chances near the end. We look like a team that would be better served pinning them back in this instance, a kind of the best form of defence is attack”. When we stop this we seem to start playing more slowly and more complacently and frequently play the ball back where forward options were available. It invited them into our third of the pitch rather than keeping them down their end. I have seen us do this before and I just wish we wouldn’t.

    I also felt the starting 11 lacked pace up top and wide and, despite individually liking all our starting 11 players, I still don’t feel we have discovered our best combinations with our attacking players. Podolski was the quickest of our starting forward trio but even with him I would describe his pace as decent but not terrific. I thought we looked more dangerous when Walcott came on. I know there are some that aren’t sure about Walcott but when he plays it seems to unsettle the opposition and almost seems to force them into a different approach. Other players seem to play better when Walcott is on the pitch and even if he isn’t doing anything individually brilliant himself, it seems to be a classic case of him bringing out the best in others or that he provides them with more space and gaps to operate in. It makes me more nervous about his contract situation and if he goes I think we could be losing a potent weapon that IMO seems to gel the team more.

    I thought we looked even more dangerous still when AA was introduced and I think we have so far under-utilised him this season. I was impressed with him playing as a number 10 in pre-season games and I would like to see him introduced more and earlier in games where we are struggling to open teams up, even if it is on the left of a forward 3. He has some weaknesses to his game but he definitely makes us less predictable and poses opposition defences a different problem. I hope Walcott and AA give Wenger food for thought when we go to Old Trafford as I don’t think yesterdays starting 11 will work there. I think it will be too predictable and slow in the final third to cause them problems and just effort and putting in a good shift will not be quite enough, and I would like to see one or both of AA and Walcott start at OT.

    On a final note I was a bit sad that some fans around me got on Gervinho’s back the minute he was entering the pitch. Whatever I feel about a players ability once they have pulled on the famous shirt and are out there, as long as they are trying, they will have my support. I will become as frustrated as the next fan if they are having a stinker and consistently wasting good opportunities but that will be if it is consistently happening after some time, and not before they have even touched the ball. If a player is not working out in a particular game that is for the manager to address and if he doesn’t then IMO it is more his failing rather than the player. Ramsey can get the same reactions at times and yesterday I was frustrated that when there was an opportunity to go past a full-back he often had to stop and turn and play the ball back instead. He lacks pace and is not really a winger, not his fault. He was told to play there and I didn’t detect any lack of effort on his part.

    Anyway, the rot is, at least temporarily, stopped. I hope we kick on from here and I really hope that AW goes to OT and uses what he has in the squad to line up with a more adventurous, pacy and attacking line up. Sorry guys another long post. Family matters today so again not going to be consistently on line but will try and check back when I can. COYG’s

  15. GoonerB says:

    Tony Cottee Glic. My daughter and her 2 friends were watching strictly when I got back yesterday and they both had me down as Sid Owen. I don’t mind who you compare me too as long as they are devastatingly handsome.

  16. On Santos starting- “prompting long queues at the crapper, before kick off”. :lol:

    One other thing Rocky, whether on Tv or not i re-watched a recording of the game.. In the 53rd minute onwards for a while you could literally bhear a pin drop at the Em’s. No one made a sound not even the away support, if any? But as you rightly pointed out it was tense!

    At the moment we have the fangs but lack Venom and it is us that keep our opponents in the game, we dont get beaten, if we lose we lose to ourselves, and we the fans know that.

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi again,

    gm@ 10:58, Giroud or Ramsey? sorry I don’t understand. Giroud in the middle if we’ve got proper wingers who can cross the ball (= not Ramsey), but I don’t see Giroud and Ramsey as interchangeable.

    Unfortunately Ramsey is competing with all the other central midfielders, and is likely to be 6th choice. He cannot beat defenders playing out wide. Wingers are a special breed and we may not play a system that requires orthodox wingers, but if we don, Giroud will never be a prolific goalscorer.

  18. Rasp I was talking about the assist

  19. Gooner In Exile says:

    Cracking write up Rocky with some funny one liners (“queueing for the crappers” gets my vote as best of the lot).

    A win is a win is a win.

    Having just listened to the Tuesday Club podcast, pre AGM and post Schalke/Norwich the thing that was said many times was “it used to be fun to go to football”, Kelsey has recently opined similarly, as have others. I think I need a clarification of fun, is it not only about results because we fans have made it about the results.

    Stoke fans appear to have fun at the Britannia, but I’m not sure many who complain of the lack of fun would want to see that football each week.

    We complain about entertainment being less important than results, then we complain when it’s not entertaining and we get a result.

    DanDan thanks for the Times article very interesting stuff, and a positive reality check for some fans.

  20. Rhyle says:

    Solid enough performance – usual complaint of feck all idea once we get anywhere near the box. If we get a decent ball in the box too often there’s no one there to finish, and if we get someone in there to finish too often the ball in is rubbish…

    Agree with your assessment of the game – thought Arteta was outstanding, especially in the second half when he was the driving force behind all of our forward play. One of the best performances this season, up with there with Podolski against Liverpool.

    By the by…anyone have any idea why Wenger keeps pulling Podolski off of the pitch at the 70 min mark?

    Thought it was another dominant display by the BFG as well – did not lose one battle all game. Has to retain his place, he was an 8 for me and ran MA8 close for MOTM.

    Good read as always, Rocky…enjoy your day of rest all!

  21. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rhyle apparently he is carrying an ankle injury, my guess is anything over the 60-70 minute mark and I guess the pain killers wear off (whatever the ankle injury is I assume its not seriously affecting the rest of his movement)

  22. Rasp says:

    Oops, sorry gm, now I understand :oops:

  23. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks Rocky

    A patchy performance to say the least. I agree with Rasp about the lack of width and that when Theo and Gerv came on it changed the game. I was surprised that Arsene started with Pod and Ramsey wide. He must have his reasons, but it was QPR at home for christs sake not Barca away.

    Great to see Jack back. The boy just oozes class. Arsenal and England captain very soon i think.

    Lovely to see some AAers at the Tavern. GoonerB was there, though ime surprised he managed to make it considering in the morning he was busy writing a 25,000 word comment on AA. Upon leaving i gave Peaches a kiss making Rasp very jealous. So i gave him one too. hahaha.

  24. richie says:

    @TM You surely can’t be “the TM” originally Terry Sealy born in 42 in Camden town bought as Frankie Mc replacement in 74? I mean if you’ve had a hair transplant at 70 full power to you! Next question this bunch of AA’ers get together in Blackstock Rd for the match? Bloody hell I’ll have to walk round the corner if thats the case?

  25. Gooner In Exile says:

    Cracking first half at Goodison

  26. Gooner In Exile says:

    Richie every game you will find Chas in the Arsenal Tavern, the question is only how many of the rest of us make it there

  27. richie says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but before the game I was becoming P’ed off with all the pressure being heaped on “Jack”; like Jack was the answer to all our woes. Well after yesterdays comeback he might well be! What a great 62mins he put in, it didn’t look like he’d been out for 16 months. What a welcome return “Just like a new signing” he says mischievously!
    No we weren’t at our imperious best yesterday but can you imagine if that had been SAF’s Manu’er on the way winning the league? The Journo’s and pundits both Sky & Motd would’ve been falling over themselves to say the Champions always find a way to win. Well yesterday despite all the difficulties we faced we found a way to grab the much needed 3 points. And yes the crowd wasn’t in good voice until the final whistle. To say the ground was filled with nervous tension is the understatement of the season thus far. Never mind RL’s get quip that Santos’s inclusion cased queues at the crapper every Gooner present was wearing Tenna Lady Specials and if they weren’t they should’ve been. We were all collectively crapping ourselves. For me many positives apart from Jack, Giro led the line well and must continue. Arteta what’s left to say?
    Miguel Jack & Santi once they get used to playing together? Let’s hope the boys can build on yesterday, but more let’s hope Gibbs gets back in time for OT!

  28. I went out to get some smokes at 0-0 come back and it’s 2-2

  29. VCC says:

    Fine post Rocky, but then, when did you do a bad one, sometime never.

    My deepest thanks to Chas for supplying two of the best seats in the ground for my Son and I.

    Here is my humble run down of the days play.

    Manone, saved two points twice, late on. Wenger owes him a beer or three.

    Sad to see Jenkinson dropped but Sagna was his usual top drawer.

    Santos, another unconvincing display.

    Mert and Verm, no dramas, job done.

    Ramsey, very one paced.

    Podolski, quality player, but needs a rest.

    Jack, simply welcome back.

    Cazorla, must be frustrated with his team mates these past few games

    Arteta, MOTM.

    Giroud, tried hard, plenty of running off the ball and gave some nice lays offs. Insufficient supply and support, unfortunately.

    First half very poor and laborious.

    Second half only came to life when Walcott came on, he made all the difference, you could sence the nervousness within the QPR defence.

    My thanks also to Peaches, Rasp and Co, for running a great site which has enabled me to meet some smashing like minded people. I had the honour of meeting GLiC,Terry and GunnerB for the first time. Only problem being, there is never enough time to spend chatting with fellow gooners on match day as there is always plenty of things to fit in, especially as one dosnt get to see many live games any more.

    My hat is off to all you guys, a wonderful day was had by yours truly.

  30. richie says:

    Well for me when I’m in London Blackstock Rd is a 5 min walk away. If I’ve not got a ticket I usually watch the game at the Crusoe Highbury quadrant again 5mins from the Tavern.

  31. Adrian says:

    The atmosphere at Goodison park was without a doubt the best and liveliest this season.

  32. GoonerB says:

    Good to see you yesterday Terry. Next time I am down hopefully there will be more time to chat. I started that post 2 weeks ago by the way as I didn’t want to be late to the game.

    Adrian, were you at the Tavern yesterday?

  33. We now have the best defence in the league it’s official :)

  34. God I hate that dutch bastard

  35. Adrian says:

    Well well Rvp does it again. I forgot how it was like to have him in the team.

  36. Adrian says:

    Nope unfortunately no.

  37. harry671 says:

    Great write as always Rocky and Dandan many thanks for that write up from the times, it was ridicolous that crisis was been mentioned at all. And I agree that we are not that far from the top, we lack consistency, a regular scorer and just a bit more confidence…..

    Great to see Bac return, thought he was excellent, as much as I have warmed to Jenks this season, he isnt at the standard of Sagna.

    I agree with your comment about Mikel as well, he has been amazing since he come to us, absolute quality.

  38. GoonerB says:

    2-0. I hate it too GM. I hate having to admit that we actually do really miss him but I think we would likely be 6 points better off already this season had he still been with us. I like Giroud but we still need another striker IMO, even if Walcott stays. Maybe there is a post in there somewhere to look at the candidates.

  39. If he was playing for us we’d be above the team he went to that’s for sure

  40. Southampton have one back.

  41. glic says:

    No reason yet to change my mind, that selling that traitor was a mistake ! . :(

  42. Agreed on that GM. Soton have pegged one back against Soton..

    I cant see Chelski not scoring at home, than again they have the clean sheet specialist in Torres.. Still this is one game we need Manure to win, cos the season is a marathon not a sprint and if we can finish 3rd from 17th last term, we sure as hell can win the league from 5th :-)

  43. Soton v Soton….PPP the dumbass

    I meant Soton pegged one against pond life.. i blame the heineken

  44. glic says:

    gm
    Southampton have one back !, are they playing 1-1-9 ?. Thats what I call attack minded !. hahaha

  45. clever! how are we Mr mirror man? :-)

  46. we didn’t really have a choice glic. I’m only watching this pussfest in case he gets his leg broken

  47. :lol: thats my excuse too

  48. Adrian says:

    Man utd’s wingers along with their high tempo pressing game are tearing Chelsea apart, if we are to win next week we’ll definitely need to play with an equally high pace and tempo. Definitely hope Walcott and the ox are fully fit and will be played next week. Either one of them to start and definitely not Ramsey on the RW while the other could come on for Pod.

  49. glic says:

    Fine Princie baby ! :)

  50. evonne says:

    so do I GM, but I’d rather united won today
    BTW GM, I was admiring your latest creations last night, blimey you are one talented boy

  51. I hope Gibbs is fit next weekend

  52. Adrian, the thing is that manure wont and Dont play like that against us. They are more than happy to give us 89% posession and rape us on the counter.. They rarely if ever press against us.. Food for thought for Wenger..

  53. Thank you evonne. They took ages.

  54. I’d rather a draw personally

  55. evonne says:

    Rocky – great post. I am glad you appreciated Sagna, he is amazing.
    I was robbed today :( yes, I am looking for sympathy

  56. I think the chavs will score 4 or 5

  57. evonne says:

    GM – I bet they did. I showed them to my almost-ex saying, look at those fabulous hair does. He sniggered ‘ Fabulous? You’d look ridiculous with hair like that’ :) Did you win anything?

  58. evonne says:

    GM – they will, they should be 3:2 up by now.

  59. Manure are very lucky that half time is approaching, i think Chelski have them covered, and all Fergie will do is bring on an ageing giggs and scholes which wont work.. Too much class in this chelski midfield and they will over run manure.. in my opinion they are the bench mark, theyre defence is questionable with Luis but in attack theyre as good as anybody….again just an opinion and we should of had a draw against them..

  60. Adrian says:

    What a freekick by Mata, he really is one heck of a player.

  61. GoonerB says:

    Hello again Glic. Sorry I didn’t have so much time to chat yesterday. Have you got any pictures of Tony Cotee, I can’t remember what he looked like (apart from me).

  62. It wasn’t a competition evonne. One of my stylist won the UK part of the competition so was representing the UK but she didn’t win. She did well to get to the World final though.

  63. Sorry that sounds confusing. There was a competition but my work was for the show that went with the competition :)

  64. kelsey says:

    I feel sick watching RVP score again.he really is world class and seems to suddenly be injury free.We are trying to compare giroud or podolski to his finishing. Players like RVP do not grow on trees.

  65. Such a relief to get the 3 points yesterday…. And why not feel like we played sh*t and got 3 points? United do it every week! Was so pleased to see Sagna back yesterday, with the greatest respect to jenkinson… You could see what a top class right back is when you see Bacary playing….just pray the boy signs a contract. Excellent to see jack back playing well…. There’s been two positions which have lead to our recent two shocking defeats and performances; LB and RW…. Posolski can not express himself as he is constantly covering Santos who is not direct or fast enough… We need gibbs back.. AND QUICKLY! Secondly not all will agree with me but I genuinely feel Ramsey is not good enough and never has been good enough to be an Arsenal player…. No pace….No strength….Not enough assists and not enough goals. Anyone remember him against milan away and wigan at home last season? When our backs against the wall Ramsey and Walcott tend to dissapear. Need the OX back and a solid attacking scoring winger (if theo dosnt sign) not hugely optimistic for united away but would love us to keep a clean sheet…if we do then we could nick it as defensively they are the worst they have been for many a year. #COYG.

  66. Me too Kelsey. I’ll only feel better when I see him on a stretcher.

  67. evonne says:

    Me too Kelsey and GM. I want him hurt badly, really badly.

    GM – I see, you are too Big for competitions now. I am not surprised, objects of beauty. Do the models wash them off after the show? Sht couldn’t get into a car with the high of your creation :) stunning

  68. glic says:

    Hi GoonerB
    If you google Tony Cottee and click onto images, you`ll have hundreds to choose from. Obviously, you are much younger !. hahaha

  69. They are mostly hairpieces that I take off evonne.

    GET IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. I hate manu dirty scumbags

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Splendid.
    Now for the mass brawl :-)

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rocky,
    Absolutely superb report, and a massive thank you from me, as you do more than enough for us lazy slobs.

  73. GoonerB says:

    Just done it and looked in the mirror Glic. Maybe you are onto something. The younger comment will get you a pint next time.

  74. Manure are one defender injury away from disaster, i hope its today..

    Cmon Obi one kinobi Mikel do your stuff

  75. kelsey says:

    I second that comment from Micky.

  76. evonne says:

    speak for yourself Micky, i am busy walking 4 black dogs, GM is creating objects of art and Kelsey wrote 2 posts lately

  77. Adrian says:

    ITS SETTLED. Man utd has bought a new ref. Joke if a ref.

  78. If chelski get out of this is will better their win on Farca.. they hav too many attackers out of the 9 on the pitch

  79. Anyone still believe it’s not corrupt?

  80. Adrian says:

    Chelsea has every right to be angry and wuestion the Ref and the fourth official. Absolutely unbelievable blunders from the fourth official and ref. Once again, ref comes to the rescue for Man utd.

  81. i lost faith in the muppets at the top a long long time ago..

  82. glic says:

    I said this along time ago and still nothing has been done about it, until we get our own reffereeing academy, we cannot compete with the likes of Manu !.

  83. CheekyRico was offside..BENT BENT AND ALOT WAS SPENT THE REF HES BENT

  84. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Busy walking dogs :-)
    Assuming we go and win next weekend, then this is the right result.
    Straws?

  85. evonne says:

    Webb became too obvious and probably reached the end of his contract with ManU

    Ca$hley’s contract is up for renewal sthis summer. So, they either sell him in January, give him a long contract that he wants or he walks for free in May.

    Would we have him back? I would, still the best CB in this country, never injured, fit (and thick) and hard working

  86. glic says:

    GoonerB
    Be carefull, untill now, TMHT has looked lovingly at kelsey`s fine barnet, with aspirations of owning it !. I noticed Terry giving your barnet some admiring glances, basically he was sizing it up and you live a lot closer than kelsy !. hahaha

  87. Adrian says:

    If I was Di Matteo I’d just run onto the field and give the ref a piece of my mind. He totally screwed the whole game up, you have to feel for the chelsea fans, everythings going against them. Gonna be some pretty interesting headlines tomorrow, no idea how the ref is going to get out of this one.

    Oh by the way, just watch how this ref goes from not refereeing a Man Utd game for over a year to refereeing their games week in week out.

  88. evonne says:

    are you walking your pigs?

  89. glic says:

    Someone walking some Policemen ?

  90. Adrian says:

    IS THE SCUM FINALLY INJURED?

  91. evonne says:

    ooohhh, this looks promising, he is holding his leg

  92. evonne says:

    No Glic, DidIt juniors asked for a labrador, so Micky bought them 2 pigs, obviously

  93. The chances of us winning are so slim next week.

  94. I swear if i see TV5 hug or any other of our players hug Vanpussy next wk im gonna be pissed.. I wanna see Viera like actions on the pitch from our captain!!

  95. That’s the 2nd match the officials have won them and we’ve only had 9. I think they’ll be champions.

  96. evonne says:

    depends who’s the ref GM

  97. Start it up in the tunnel, so they fear us..

  98. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I will comfort myself with the thought of 40 odd thousand Chavs having a miserable sunday.

  99. It doesn’t matter who the ref is evonne. It happens too much. It makes me sick. that dutch piece of shit knew and that’s one of the reasons he went there.

  100. Adrian says:

    The least Clattenburg could do is to issue a public apology and admit that he screwed up big time along with the 4th official. And he should get demoted at least temporarily. I don’t see any other way that he could get away with this scot free. Once again, refs to the rescue for the scums. It was almost certain that Chelsea would win it and even with 10 men they were still the favourites and totally outplayed Man utd. But it was an impossible task with 9 men. Gotta feel for the chavs.

  101. Adrian says:

    By the way, Evans has got to be the luckiest defender on the planet. Almost scores an own goal by hitting the post because he can’t clear to save his life.
    Commits a blatant foul on Torres but Torress gets sent off. Imagine his amusement when he waited anxiously for the ref’s decision – yellow or perhaps red – only to watch the guy that he fouled get sent off.

  102. LB says:

    Adrian

    I agree with everything apart from: “gotta fell for the chavs”

  103. evonne says:

    Did Adrian say that? Adrian!!! Feel sorry for noone out there, especially the Champions of Europe

  104. Adrian says:

    pic.twitter.com/H1jNg7Qp

  105. Adrian says:

    Yes, Man Utd winning was more beneficial to us as it reduced the gap between us and the Chavs, But as a neutral football fan, that game was a joke. It started really well with a high tempo and was intense and even nail biting at times. Everything went well and Chelsea was the side that seemed more likely to win it till stupid decisions made by the officials ruined a really exciting game.

    Just imagine if the same thing happens to us next week, I’d be enraged.

  106. Chelsea cant break our invincibles record and i dont think any team in Britain ever will :-D But the old lady are sitting on 48 games undefeated :-( Who said match-fixing? ???

  107. Ol lady- Juventus.. Bendtners rehab centre/team

  108. kelsey says:

    and they play each other again on Wednesday. might be lots of changes but the intensity will be great (for us)

  109. 26may1989 says:

    Nice write up Rocky.

    It wasn’t pretty or slick yesterday, but we won and deservedly so. With Chamberlain, Szczesny, Fabianski, Rosicky, Diaby and Gibbs all injured, and Sagna, Walcott and Wilshere coming back from injuries, it’d always be difficult, but we have lost our mojo in a big way. The cohesion we saw in the first ten games of the season has evaporated, and these guys need to work bloody hard to get it all going again. It’ll take time to get back to the early levels, but yesterday marked the beginning of the process of rebuilding confidence and form.

    Sagna was superb yesterday, playing at a higher level than he had in the games before his injury. He’s obviously been taking crossing lessons from Jenkinson…..

    I thought Ramsey was fine yesterday – he isn’t a proper winger, and he wasn’t put in that position to play that role. His header onto the bar was a very smart effort, knowing where the keeper was and what it would need to get past him. And he contributed well across the pitch.

    Giroud once again showed how much of a team player he is. He may not have what it takes to be the new Henry, Adebayor or van Persie, but he is a quality player nonetheless.

    Walcott was good coming off the bench. If we did lose him, we’d be much, much weaker for it.

    Santos – what a mystery he is. It would be easy if he were plain rubbish (a new Stepanovs), but he isn’t. In one-on-ones, he is excellent, and he rarely loses a tackle or defensive header. Plus he does contribute up front. But his positional play is shocking, bizarrely so on occasion. You know something’s amiss when a goalkeeper with hardly any experience is berating a Brazil-capped player for vacating his position. And he gets caught in possession uncomfortably frequently.

    As for next week, had it been the Arsenal of September, I’d be really optimistic. But it isn’t, and facing van Persie and Rooney while we’re in such fragile state is going to be tough. The Dutchman in particular continues to play in epic form. It sticks in the throat, but we do miss his abilities, even if his departure has created a greater sense of squad unity.

  110. Gooner In Exile says:

    26 maybe Sagna played like that because he knows he has competition and if early season nods towards a summer exit are true he needs to play to guarantee another top club wants him.

    Thinking on about the players that left demanding the club being in better talent and they’d stay, I assume they wouldn’t have minded sacrificing 20% of their salary to be spent on a top name.

  111. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone – sorry I can’t be around much today (very busy day).

    Lots of good observations about the game and about how we move forward.

    In a weird way it’s good that we’re playing a top team next week. Any kind of positive result against ManUre will really help reinforce the early season confidence.

  112. glic says:

    I am having a new sofa built for next Saturday. It will have extra sound proofing and be lead lined so I cant see anything with my x-ray vision ( by the way, there was some weird underwear being worn at the Tavern by some and some with none on at all ! hahaha ).
    I dont want to see or hear the Referees name being called out, with him waving to the cheering Mancs !.

  113. 26may1989 says:

    You’re a cynical man, Exile. :)

    I’m sure a move is a possibility in Sagna’s mind, he probably was genuinely shaken by the sales of Song and van Persie, and may want to see how the season pans out. But on the pitch, I think he’s just a pro, and yesterday looked to have rediscovered what makes him a top quality RB.

    As for players sacrificing their own wages, not much hope of that! A player’s wage packet is more precious to him than the holy book is to the most god-fearing preacher in the baptist belt. Forking out is what others do, not players…..

  114. chas says:

    Rocky,
    Flippin excellent match report.
    Something a quarter as good would have taken me 4 times as long.

    Rasp,
    The assist is for Ramsey just as I replied to peaches at 6pm yesterday evening and in my updated assists email this morning. :)

    Big Al,
    Tits not as badly frozen as I was expecting.
    Would probably still have enjoyed watching the game more if I was watching in a bar on Koh Pha Ngan (one of my favourite trips of all time).

    GIE,
    You’ll get me a bad reputation saying I’m always in the pub.

    VCC,
    You couldn’t have been more welcome to the seats.
    I bet you enjoyed celebrating the late goal.
    Pleased you had such a good day. :)

  115. VCC says:

    Cheers Chas…..we did indeed have a great day and evening. Smashing seats.

    A big thank you from my Son too.

  116. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas….you are always in the pub, except when you’ve just been in the pub and are walking to the game.

    The best games for pre match meet ups are 5:30 Saturday games or 4pm Sundays, also probably best chance of getting ticket as people can watch at home. The late kick off means you can get to the pub with a good hour and a half and more of drinking time to spare.

    Looking forward to watching Clattenbergs display later, seems the diving crackdown has gotten to the refs, a proliferation of yellow cards over the weekend. Twitter seems to think he should be relegated from the EPL for a few weeks. He is one of the refs who thinks he is as important as the game, his haircut suggests he wants to be one of the players rather than a ref.

    Wasn’t impressed with Pulis’s comments on MotD yesterday praising his boy Wilkinson for getting straight up after that tackle, my thought was he was lucky he could get up.

  117. 26may1989 says:

    Got to admit, Exile, when I saw the “highlights” of Stoke 0 Sunderland 0 were about to come on, I switched off MOTD. But now that I know there might be ammunition against Pulis, I’ll go back to it.

    Clattenberg got the big calls wrong today, and I’m not a fan of his, but it’s easy to be harsh. He should have sent Torres off in the first half for his de Jong-style challenge, and he probably was wrong to book him for diving in the second half, because that was a marginal call. But both decisions, while wrong, weren’t bananas. I’m all for having a go at referees when they really screw up, but big a game as today’s was, and big a call as it was to book Torres for diving, relegating him off EPL games doesn’t look right to me. Not that that would be very fashionable with the Twitterati.

  118. Gooner In Exile says:

    As I said I haven’t seen the decisions, twitter (incl ex pros) were at him for the decisions.

    I think fans of all clubs see the United bias (even friends who follow United were admitting as much).

    As for Pulis, his lad Wilkinson was on the receiving end of a horrible challenge from Gardner, Wilkinson was hating down left wing, poked it past incoming Gardner and hacked him with little attempt to play the ball, Wilkinson flew three the air, rolled over got up and shook Gardners hand which Pulis thinks should be applauded….” That’s how football should be played” kind of attitude, and for me that tackle is fine if Gardner is trying to get the ball, but he never is in a million years so its a bad challenge without any regard for the opponents safety, committed by a player sent out to stop the opposition at all costs. There were some pretty dreadful challenges in the game and a fair few could have been red rather than yellow. And this is my problem with the diving debate going too far, a few players will ruin football for the rest as refs are in two minds as to whether its a dive or a foul so will act leniently on the defender. Clattenberg is just a victim of the current media hobbyhorse. Elbowing, studs high challenges and Suarez dragging studs down the back of Distin’s Achilles (as forwards accidentally do when they are trying to nick the ball according to Brendan Rodgers) are far worse crimes.

  119. Rhyle says:

    I’ve been married for nearly 9 years, and my wife is still a constant source of both surprise and pride…quote of the night, watching MOTD:

    “Who’s the monkey with a mohican?”

    Gareth Bale, honey…it’s Gareth Bale…

  120. richie says:

    @Kelsey@4:53 No your right players like RvP don’t grow on trees they develope under the Arsene bush then spring forward to bloom at Arsenal fc only to turn into a dirty rotten knot weed ( a Japanese back stabber of a weed) force through a transfer to our biggest rivals so they can get “loads a money” and pevade the premier garden, but eventually (weed killer=injuries return) they sliver back under the stone from whence they came only to be thought of whenever something rotten to the core arrives and shows its true colours.

  121. richie says:

    Everyone knows brown envelopes stuffed with crisp new notes arrive under the doors of ref’s in Europe, why is it we never even get an investigation here in blighty? Can anyone say without a shadow of a doubt that old red nose ain’t ever bought a title with the ref’s help? I know I couldn’t vouch for him any more than I could Jimmy savile.

  122. jnyc says:

    Fair assessment Rocky. You hit the right notes. I hope we move positive from here. Big challenge coming. A real test for those of us who say we are better team than United. Maybe if we didnt let them have player of the year. even if he doesnt perform great against us, he has made them soooo much better already.

  123. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    looking at the league table I see we have conceded the least amount of goals despite a sometimes shaky defence.6 conceded,City and Chelsea 9, and United unbelievably 13.

    Is that down to Bould or a better understanding between the defence even though we have had enforced changes or is it that the midfield is tracking back more but that invariably leads to the fact that we don’t break in numbers and therefore miss many opportunities to score.
    Hopefully it is a question of getting the balance right.

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Damn, damn, damn!
    I’ve been up and working for the past hour, and had just decided to place my first comment, which would have been:
    “Good Morning Kelsey” :-)

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey,
    I think that stat rather glosses over the reality.
    We are in 7th place in the “goals for” column. Convert the six against Southampton into two, and we would be 13th.
    So, in short, I think you are spot, however I think its more to do with the attack tracking back rather than the midfield.
    Playing Ramsey on the right blunts our attack, but also, Podolski’s tracking back certainly helps the defensive side, but we lose out on the key quality of our most clinical finisher.

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Anyone here (Kelsey still about?) with access to the inner sanctum?
    Do they have a post for today, as I have a theory :-)

  127. kelsey says:

    I am Mickey, I think Rasp was one in drafts which is right up my street.

    We didn’t buy Podolski to spend more time in is own half, or did we ?

  128. kelsey says:

    I was being diplomatic when I said midfield as I don’t really know who is our attack foce

  129. VCC says:

    Just been told Howard Webb is the referee against the scum this week end. Now there’s a surprise.

  130. evonne says:

    VCC – as long as Webb is not against us on Saturday

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just penned one Kelsey, and I’ll send it in anyway.
    VCC,
    Bet you enjoyed those seats. I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of the Chas generocity before, and they are superb.

  132. evonne says:

    richie @12:14 – no disrespect darling, but I don’t believe your theory. The refs might be biased, but not bribed, cannot be

  133. evonne says:

    yeah Micky, but VCC was not sitting next to me, so it wasn’t that great :) We must go again

  134. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I was hoping that you would keep that to yourself Evonne. A queue will be forming as we speak :-)
    And you are right, we must.

  135. evonne says:

    and Micky – Reading is tomorrow, not Wednesday as we thought
    Chavs made an official complaint against Clatterburg :)

  136. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    Ah okay. Changed my mind on that one. Send out the reserves, as we need a new revolutionary formation to surprise Utd, and this needs to be kept under wraps.

  137. chas says:

    Just one Citeh defeat away from Invincibles Day. :)

    I love the symmetry of Mikel and Olivier in this photo.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27453474@N02/8127993877/in/photostream/lightbox/

  138. chas says:

    It’s Bobby’s birthday.

  139. Big Raddy says:

    Chas. What a brilliant start to the week.

  140. chas says:

    On the League Projection widget it’s got us down for 14 points for season 2011/12 after 8 games, but we only had 10.
    So instead of -2 gain/loss we should have been on +2.
    Or am I reading it wrong?

  141. chas says:

    What a season that was, BR.
    I think I even preferred it to 2004.

  142. chas says:

    Perhaps that could be an idea for a post, “My Favourite Season”.

    GN5 could do 1947/8.
    …….and Kelsey 1930/31. :)

  143. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    ROLF

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thinking of age, how fit and alert did that Centurian on saturday look? To think that he would have been at his hard core prime drinking years during the Chapman era!

  145. VCC says:

    Hi Micky…..we had a fantastic day, those seats. Must rank as one of the best in the house.

    Evonne….I was sitting next to my Son, so that was fine…..but next time you can sit on my lap. Rolf.

  146. haohaohaohtc says:

    JW made the difference. His support for Arteta is critical to get the ball moved forward. In the last two defeats, the team were relying on Arteta to move the ball forward, but he got out-numbered and pushed down. That’s the reason we couldn’t turn possession in to chances/threats.

    Giroud should get 8.5 for that tackle. And it shouldn’t be yellow card.

  147. MickyDidIt89 says:

    VCC,
    That’s where she sits when we go. We keep the nibbles on the spare seat, so I suggest you bugger off and make your own arrangements :-)

  148. chas says:
  149. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mind you VCC, I’ve just noted your little dog pic, which may well give you an edge. Mmmm, thinks…that needs to be trumped and pronto.

  150. kelsey says:

    Chas nearly right but you got the two of us the wrong way round and dandan is neare to GN5 than I am ;)

  151. chas says:

    Micky,
    Have you got a shirt for the pigs?

  152. chas says:

    Kelsey,
    The joke wouldn’t have worked if I’d tried to get it factually correct and besides how could a man who’d seen Herbert Chapman win a title still have that much hair! :)

  153. VCC says:

    Micky….my LITTLE dog is a ten year old Boxer named George, he is a big Gooner, and hardly small (lol)

  154. VCC says:

    Morning Chas n Kelsey. Nice feeling this morning, winning gooners again. Big test this week end. I see Howard Webb is going to officiate, that’s a goal down before we start. What’s your prediction guys?

  155. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……

    …. New post ……

  156. MickyDidIt89 says:

    VCC,
    Do stop banging on about your dog. Its a pathetic and transparent effort and trying to slither your way into Evonne’s affections.
    Chas,
    Cracking idea about the pigs in a shirt. They won’t like it one bit, but at some point, we all need to suffer for our art, and they are no exception.

  157. Big Raddy says:

    Do you think Bobby had a nose job?

  158. Luke says:

    I’ve written some thoughts on Arsenal’s defence and attack so far this season at http://shootsyscores.blogspot.co.uk/ some of which relate to issues raised in this post. Any feedback/comments would be much appreciated.

  159. Hi there, just was alert to your blog thru Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate if you happen to continue this in future. Numerous other people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

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