Can Wenger teach tactics? Swansea preview.

What a strange season it has been and who can predict how it will end? Could we win the FA Cup? Why not, we have done it before and what is more, the last time was in Wales following a drawn game which must be a good portent.

We haven’t done very well against Swansea this season, have we? If ever there was proof of Rasp’s opinion that The Arsenal are not as good as the individual components of the team, those two games are it …. how many of the Swansea first team would get into AW’s starting eleven? Probably none, yet they outplay us because they have a better team ethic. Why should this be? Answers on a postcard to Emirates Stadium…..

That said, tonight is an opportunity to dampen the rising negativity with a handsome win. There are injuries (of course) but nothing too serious and we have our secret weapon back, you know the chap, that lanky fellow who looks like PV4, has some of his silky skills and vision but is as fragile as a €30 champagne glass (I didn’t mean to break it darling, it slipped out of my hand) and who tackles like blancmange. Diaby will start and will have a stormer.

The defence know about Michu, they know not to give him space. The midfield know they have to battle and work non-stop to compete with Swansea’s work ethic and the attack know movement and pace are the best way to unpick a quality Swansea defence.

We have all the weapons needed to win tonight but the over-riding and currently missing quality is teamwork. Victory Through Harmony, please.

Runners and Riders:

001a

Perhaps Ramsey will start ahead of the mighty Vassiriki Abou as he gave a very good cameo performance on Sunday, but AW loves the big man and will be desperate to give him pitch time. The only other question is whether AW will rest players ahead of the Chelsea game. Given that Dean is to referee at the Bridge, and that the FA Cup is our only realistic chance of silverware, I hope he plays his first choice 11.

The Laudrup as AW successor narrative will continue; here in Copenhagen the talk is of Laudrup returning to Real Madrid when Mourinho leaves at season’s end. I doubt this because he has yet to actually win anything as a manager. Laudrup has potential but you need more to take on the RM job. However, I can see him at Arsenal who require a  young manager committed to playing attacking football with a proper team ethic – much like Swansea.

A freezing day lends itself to warm weather explorers: William John Wills (1834-1861). Wills alongside Robert O’Hara Burke (1821-1861) became the first people to walk across Australia (South to North). The expedition took almost two years and was fraught with difficulties, they got lost, ran out of supplies  became ill, and on the return journey were saved by aborigines. Unfortunately (!), one of the expedition shot and injured an aborigine who then abandoned them. From that time their fate was sealed and both men died of  exhaustion and thiamin poisoning. Wills was just 27.

Such was the fame of the Burke & Wills expedition that both stamps and coins have been issued commemorating their adventure.

Unknown

The Full Set sported by Brave Men

We can and should win tonight. I will be looking for some tactical awareness from Mr Wenger’s team. This is an important match. A trip to the South Coast awaits.

Midweek night games in deep mid-winter are the best and I envy those lucky enough to attend. Shout us to Victory.

COYRRG

Big Raddy

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274 Responses to Can Wenger teach tactics? Swansea preview.

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy :P

    You have put your finger on the crux of tonight’s game. We’ve played the swans twice and failed to beat them. Michu has scored 3 goals against us in those games. Its OK just to focus on your own play when you have players of the calibre of the Invincibles, but our current squad need to focus on denying the opposition as much as trying to score. The manager has to break out of that bubble he’s living in and get real. You don’t lose games if you don’t concede goals.

  2. LB says:

    We are due a barn storming win.

    COYRRG

  3. If that’s the case LB, I’d better dry my thermals and be there to cheer my team on. If only the rest of my life was that simple :(

  4. I’m confident we’ll get a result tonight. I was confident Sunday too. At some point this team will click may as well be tonight. Don’t forget it’s an early kick off 7:30. What time is everyone going to the Tavern?

  5. Morning all and thanks for your classy PM as ever, Big & Randy.

    My answer to the question you raise is “He could do, but he doesn’t”

    Looking at the duo of the day I can’t believe the guy on the right is less than 27 – talk about old-looking before your time.

    I reckon the stadium will be 3/4’s full at best today due to a variety of factors; perhaps our thermals-clad Peachy can have a butchers to confirm this at kick off.

  6. LB says:

    The attack has been blamed for our average performances this season and at other times the defence has been blamed for the same thing but for me the problem lays in the midfield.

    Once upon a time, many games ago, in the early part of this season Cazorla, the most talented player at the club had some help in the form of Diaby.

    Since then the Spaniard has had to work with the more defence minded Wilshere, it has been slow and ineffectual. On Sunday, for ten minutes, we saw Diaby and Cazorla take the game to City in the same way they did so effectively at Eastlands earlier in the season.

    Tonight, we should see a continuation of that potent attacking combination in full flow. They: Cazorla and Diaby bolster the attack while Wilshere adds to the defence.

    The result should be the barn storming win that I predict.

  7. Rasp says:

    Morning LB, I agree that paradoxically, the midfield where we believe we have the most talented players is the the area that is failing. The individual errors are borne of uncertainty because it appears to me that the players are either not comfortable in the system or do not understand what is being expected of them.

    Has Gibbs been told to defend first when we play strong opposition? Has Podolski been told to cover his full back? Have the central defenders been told to hold a high line when they are up against pacey strikers? Obviously no-one except the players and trainers know the answers to those questions, but from what we see on the pitch, it doesn’t look like it and that’s why we’ve been failing as a team.

  8. Manthan says:

    Hi Gm,
    We should Play Theo and flanks and OG in the middle for dis game…. Theo has become a bit selfish in recent games…..

  9. 26may1989 says:

    Great performance from Raddy, as ever.

    I agree with LB that our midfield has been the source of problems, when the reverse should be true. I don’t look at Jack, or his compatibility with Cazorla, as the cause – to me, the distance between the deep-lying midfielders and the attacking quartet has been too great too often. Formations aren’t everything but I really do think having Cazorla so far up the pitch, with wingers outside him, is a luxury we can’t afford. With four midfielders, they’d be able to play higher up the pitch, reducing those distances. But hey, what do I know??!

    I also agree with Rasp at 10.06am, though I wouldn’t say Wenger is living in a bubble, I’m sure he’s accutely aware of the reality of our situation. Too many people put too much store by what he says or doesn’t say in public.

    Arsenal 2 Swansea 1.

  10. On a side issue, I had to laugh about the Tesco chap coming in TV to apologise for the horse meat that got in to their beef burgers.

    I really can’t see why the eating of a horse is any more disgusting than eating a cow. I think the French like horse meat…quick, anyone seen Nasri since Sunday ? :)

  11. Bryan says:

    Morning all
    I would expect a reaction in normal circumstances to Sundays humbling to Man city but sadly this seasons team do not seem to react like I would expect.
    On several occasions I’ have expected reactions after awful showings & we have been just as poor.
    I can not be confident of us winning tonight because I really don’t know what team will turn up.
    If they are all committed, focused & avoid the constant stupid mistakes we should win.
    When Swansea equalised late at there place the first thing I thought was oh no, I’ve got to go & watch another bore fest at the emirates, sad but true. Hope we play well & entertain & win but I am really losing faith with this bunch of players

  12. Manthan says:

    I totally agree with Rasp this season we had leaked most of the goal due individual mistakes and zonal marking. . .

  13. LB says:

    Rasp

    I might be able to turn my answer into a post, so I will leave it for now.

  14. LB says:

    GM’s 10.17 is such a tease.

  15. 26may1989 says:

    Chary, as well as the Tescos burgers I’ve probably eaten down the years, I’ve eaten horse-meat in France and Cuba openly acknowed to be equine. And nice it was too. Brit carnivores are sentimental buggers, I can’t see what’s any more wrong with horse-meat over other forms.

  16. Manthan says:

    Ramsey had good game agaisnt citeh and dis should prove AW dat he is not a winger he is MF…. Wenger always try to play players out of position But I think that impact our game Now for eg BSR scores more often In Manure… Reason is Ferguson play wingers in wing unlike arsenal wer striker are converted to winger. .. Wingers can feed and better delivery from wide to the middle then striker…

  17. Rasp says:

    Excellent LB, I look forward to reading it.

  18. That’s the incongruity of it 26, the Koreans eat dog meat yet other carnivores are repulsed by that.

    Still it’s a complex issue, but watching the “Every little helps” chap squirm when grilked(!) on the burgers made me smile, a rare occurrence indeed.

    Bryan, I know exactly what you mean, there have been enough “kicks up the arse’s” for our players and yet the lesson’s don’t seem to have been learnt.

    Most top teams inflict a backlash on their next opponents following a humiliating result, that does not seem to be the case for us.

  19. Bryan says:

    charybdis1966

    Yes exactly, never known a team this one :-(

  20. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

    Nice pre-match, BR.

    It’ll be pointless looking to see how many empty seats there are at kick off as half the attendees turn up 10 minutes later. Twenty five minutes into the first half is a good point to measure, just before the half time exodus for overpriced horse burgers.

  21. Big Raddy says:

    Bryan. Inconsistency is what happens when we don’t play as a team but as individuals. If a couple have a bad game but the others work hard for each other the effect is not so damning.

    Manthan. I agree with you that OG should play tonight, but I would also like to see Ox, so Theo goes central or onto the bench

  22. Albie says:

    this bunch are not motivated enough to win anything at the moment. time for new management, pep, is a good choice. wenger should move upstairs, he has had his go. how long do you want to lag behind the likes of the Manchester clubs and others? even if you have 200 million or so to spend!

  23. Manthan says:

    Albie,
    If we have money then why we are not spending for the right player… Morning I saw the news where wenger was quoting we had got a good squad and no new addition is required…..

  24. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    ‘From Arsenal.com

    ………………………………………………………………………………….

    We are working hard to find what we want’

    By Chris Harris

    Arsène Wenger knows exactly how he wants to improve his squad and says the Club is “working very hard” to make it happen.

    The Arsenal manager has been linked with a number of players during the January transfer window but has yet to make any signings.

    Theo Walcott’s future has been the subject of much scrutiny but Wenger is hopeful of agreeing a new deal with the England international before turning his attention to other matters.

    “We are working very hard,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.

    “First of all we want to sort out the injuries we have, and we are trying very hard to close the deal with Walcott. Once we have done that, we will certainly do something else. At the moment I cannot tell you more.

    “It has become more difficult [to buy players in January] for one simple reason: we have a good squad. I know we swim against the stream a bit because people don’t believe that. I say we have a very good squad.

    “But we have some improvements to make and we know exactly where. In January it is difficult to find the players that are really better and can give something special to the squad. The number is right, we have a good balance and we are working very hard to find what we want.”

  26. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all very quick comment…..

    Here’s hoping for a win….George has Gooner apparel to sport tonight and he was unwilling to arrive during the first encounter with Swans in the FA Cup. So he deprived me the opportunity of seeing it.

    Rasp just a quick comment on Gibbs…he led our team in interceptions Sunday by a country mile. So it is apparent he plays a high risk strategy of nicking the ball early, he has the pace to do it but because of Pods unsurprising defensive lack he often leaves too much to do if he fails.

    On Jack he was most fouled on Sunday also by a country mile, one wonders how effective he would be if the opposition were penalised correctly….could be a post in that (I’ll try and conjure something).

  27. Manthan says:

    Gunner5,
    I don’t know on what they are working but thing i know is we are loosing all our targets yet again it look like MVIla going to QPR and Zaha will choose MANURE eventough he is a gooner……

  28. Agreed Arthur Mullard’s LG – 15-30 minutes into the match is probably a truer indicator of actual attendance.

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    Thank you for the post BR.

    I believe that we will win today, the team showed great spirit in the 2nd half against Man C and I hope that will continue today,

    Easy to say – but we need to get a rip roaring start to the game and cause them to panic, I recognize that man marking is not our game but it’s a fool who would leave Michu alone as he has proven how deadly he can be………..

  30. Gooner In Exile says:

    In order to give Santi the rest he probably needs and also to test Theo’s “I’ll play wherever te boss wants me if the game calls for it” stance. How about we go for a bit of mix and match:

    ……………Jack…….Diaby………….
    …………………..Ox…………………..
    Theo………………………………Pod
    …………………Giroud………………

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    Manthan,

    You are talking about paper targets, we have no idea who AW is targeting.

  32. Bryan says:

    New additions are essential if you ask me as well as adding hopefully better players, they also boost morale within the team.
    For me there is something not right at the club, as player for player, we do not have as bad a team as the performances have suggested.
    Bad organisation, bad tactics, no leader, no will to win, I don’t know what it is but please, something has got to change

  33. GoonerB says:

    You are right LB about GM’s tease. Could you put us out of our misery GM and elaborate if you know more.

    Great post Raddy. I always thought the chap Stuart was the first to complete North to South in Australia hence the Stuart highway. maybe he came after those 2 but lived to complete the journey. Are you able to shed light on that Raddy?

    The question on Wenger and his tactical abilities is one that I and many of us have concerns about. The solutions we all come up with may of course not be correct because we will never get the chance to try them so we can never really know. It could turn out that Arsene is doing the best with what he has and all the options we suggest wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference, but I don’t think I fully believe that. I still scratch my head about some of the decisions such as where he has often played Ramsey and Gervinho, so I do have question marks over his tactical abilities. I have often thought that AW’s great strength is in developing and nurturing a team over time that, when fully developed, will fit perfectly into his preferred system without having to pay much attention to tactics or what the opposition is doing. The problem for me is when the squad is not fully developed to that high and finished technical level that it looks unbalanced and ineffective, but AW doesn’t really like to have to make contingency plans (tactical changes) to accomodate this situation or look at the strengths and weaknesses of any team we are facing, so he seems to plug away stubbornly with the 1 system.

    I agree with LB and Rasp about problems in our midfield but can’t fully agree with LB about Jack. This reference about him as a defensive midfielder I think downplays his abilities and what he can offer going forward. I see him in a more advanced midfield position as he develops further over the next 2-3 years in a similar vein to Cesc who started out playing deeper with few goals in his game but as he progressed started to become a more offensive midfielder with goals in his game. For me the big problem is in the balance of midfielders and it stems from what I believe is Arsene’s over liking for a specific type of midfielder. I don’t actually see any of Wilshere, Arteta or Diaby, (and obviously not Cazorla), as defensive midfielders, not in the true sense. I believe there are games when 3 of these 4 can play together and it will work, but I also believe there are games when we need what I would class as a true defensive midfielder and play that player with 2 of the above 4. In these games this DM should release the other 2 CM’s from the majority of their defensive duties so that they can focus on trying to open up the opposition higher up the pitch. I feel that a true DM could offer say 40% more defensive cover than any of the above 4 and in certain games what happens currently is that it requires 2 of our midfielders to do the job that 1 high quality true DM could do mostly alone. That often means that Jack for instance ends up playing too deep alongside either Arteta or Diaby. I might be wrong but that is just how I see it.

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    Bryan,

    It may well be down to leadership, gone are the days of our big, loud, physical captains like Adams and Vieira. RVP is the only effective leader since that pair.

    AW believes that on the field you have 11 leaders, I don’t disagree with that philosophy but at least 1 of the 11 needs to have pointed toes on his boots.

  35. Red Arse says:

    Well done BR, and despite the sad demise of the explorers they opened up Australia, and look what a brilliant country it is now! :-)

    Of course they could have just buttered up the aborigines and asked them nicely how they could get from South to North, or whatever.

    Important game tonight, as you say, and despite all the gloom and doom recently, I am looking forward to it tonight just as eagerly as ever! :-)

  36. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

    Loadsamoney

    http://bit.ly/RX8xls

  37. Anyone else concerned by the fact that the thing holding up new arrivals, Theo’s contract, has still not been resolved and we are now in the 3rd week of January, a month crammed with important games, with no further progress ?

    Arthur Mullard’s LG – like it; perhaps we could have Gazidis as Stavros. “Good evenings peeps!” ?

  38. Red Arse says:

    I believe there are two main types of goals conceded this season, from an unscientific observation.

    The first is caused by the unrefined zonal marking system we practise in the penalty area (which makes Kozzers silly arms around the waist tackle an anomaly, and an oddity). This has led to a number of soft goals caused by the (I thought he was your responsibility Per — Eff off, he was in your zone, Mildred).

    Second, by playing ‘a high line’, once the opposition has won the ball, (Jenks falling over, Gibbs’s missed tackle, etc) our whole midfield and defence is too easily outpaced.

    On one occasion, to his credit, Rosicky came charging back like the US 7th Cavalry, to try and stop Michu who had broken away after a pass had split our midfield and slow turning defence, only to stop running just as he reached him! weird.

    You may have guessed that I am not in favour of either the zonal marking system or the high defensive line, with the players we have available.

  39. Red Arse says:

    Hi GN5, :-)

    You can breathe a sigh of relieve, because I thought I might ask you if you had the stats on the ‘zonal’ and ‘break away goals’ analysis to support my point, expressed above, but I thought that would be a bit mean ……………………. and anyway, you might have told me to sod off!! :D

  40. GoonerB says:

    Albie @11.17. Your question as to how long do we want to lag behind the Manchester and other clubs is valid but reading between the lines it suggests that we have it within our power to be sitting alongside them as equals and through basic mis-management are not. I would not disagree with that to a degree. The question is when did the resources become available to us and Arsene to be able to compete with them on an even field? Was it 4 years ago, 2 years ago or are we only just entering that time now? I would be interested to hear at what point it was that you felt the club began to underperform.

    Manthan, I am in full agreement that the squad needs something and will be disappointed if we don’t strengthen in what I personally consider the most critical transfer window for us of the last few seasons. I don’t believe this sentiment that we have a complete squad. I wouldn’t, however, suggest we get too worked up every time someone we may have been linked with goes somewhere else. The likely explanation is that we weren’t seriously interested in them anyway. Zaha sounds like a good young unpolished talent but how many gooners would throw their arms in the air if we bought him and say “Great another unproven youngster”? Also Remy has been touted as a potential top striker for some years now but, to the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t got terrific stats in an easier league. How many would have pointed that out if we had bought him. We will have to judge at the end of January. If we don’t get anyone then AW needs to show us in the 2nd half of the season, that he was correct in not doing so and that this squad was better than we thought.

    GN5 these suggestions that our priority is to sort out Walcott and our injuries first and only then will we look at what we need to do are a little irksome to me, and are probably red rag to a bull for many other fans. To suggest an institution of this size can only deal with Walcott and transfers at seperate times, rather than do both simultaneously, is a bit ludicrous. Also is it not the clubs job to get injured players back at all times of the season? Why the inference that it is of a greater priority in the January transfer window than at any other time of the season?

  41. LB says:

    GIE

    The principal difference I see between us is that you talk wistfully about what Jack might turn into in the future I am talking about what he offers now.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    RA;

    I would never be that discourteous – at least not to you.

    The season our goals against per game are 1.14 our worst in the PL
    was last year at 1.29 our best was .45 in 1998/9 when we finished 2nd.

    Our goals for per game has hardly varied this season it’s 1.9 – our best was in 2004/5 at 2.29 and we finished 2nd.

    Goals against is the more obvious issue but we cannot place all our emphasis on defence as we still need to score around 2 per game to be successful.

  43. Bryan says:

    GoonerB
    I couldn’t agree with you more, your last paragraph to GN5 is exactly what I was thinking.
    For a club of our stature, sorting out contracts & injuries , while also attempting to buy players should be second nature, it is utter bullshit to say different.
    Hopefully it is just a smoke screen & we are about to announce some fantastic new signings soon

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    GoonerB,

    It most likely means that the clubs transfer target/priority will vary based on whether TW stays or goes- I don’t find that to be so ludicrous – in fact I find it to be sensible..

  45. Jeanette Kliger says:

    As interesting as it is to look ahead to tonight’s match, I would prefer to look back to the start of the season and ask you now to consider why things have taken the course they have. After all, we started off really well, not letting in any goals and Steve Bould was hailed as the defensive Messiah. Suddenly, no BFG… and things changed dramatically for the worse. Who instigated the change?
    Is AW really so vain that he is unable to tolerate other people being given kudos or is it just a coincidence? Why does he never stop playing people out of position? Is he so determined to prove that he is right and everyone else wrong that he will sacrifice even the fourth place “trophy”.
    Even if all this is true, what can any of us do but sit by and watch?
    Does anyone have a new magic hat?

  46. GoonerB says:

    LB, Was your 12.07 aimed at me and not GIE. It was me that was debating your earlier point on Jack with a different view. To elaborate anyway, I feel Jack already offers a huge amount now but will likely get even better. I feel he is already at a point where he shouldn’t be restricted solely to DM as he offers much going forward particularly with those bursts of pace past opposition players and would like to see him running more at opposition’s CD. I do concede that he will still become a more consistent and polished performer than he is already.

  47. Bryan says:

    GunnerN5
    surely we can be looking at other postions to TW’s, a DM for a star ;-)

  48. Bryan says:

    for a start grrr typo’s

  49. Gooner In Exile says:

    LB I actually believe he is capable of it now, if Cesc was still here I’d make you right, and with Santi we have an option of either but I think we have an option of now once we’ve had a getting to know you phase.

  50. GoonerB says:

    You may be right GN5 and it is something I have considered myself. I still think it is a dangerous game we are playing in waiting til Theo is resolved. I think my annoyance is in actually putting out these statements even if it is describing a sensible approach. They do bother me a little bit, but it bothers me more that you know how other fans will react to that type of statement and so should the club and Arsene. It is inviting unnecessary fan anger which is the last thing they need so not saying it would have been more sensible to me.

  51. Bryan says:

    I have aways said that the Arsenal board & also judging by some of Wenger’s comments treat us fans with utter contempt

  52. GunnerN5 says:

    Maybe AW has been brushing up on his Lincoln knowledge.

    ‘…………………………………………………………………………………

    “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln

  53. Jeanette Kliger says:

    I prefer Lincoln’s slogan, “This too shall pass”!

  54. 26may1989 says:

    Sorry to lay it on a bit thick but I think I’ve found a new AA hero. GoonerB’s post at 11.31 is excellent, but his 11.57 is even better.

    Even while reluctantly and recently having come to the view that we need a new manager, I, along with others, have been banging our heads against walls in drawing attention to the fact that every success and failure since 2004 needs to be seen through the prism of having no available money. My reading of events is that the refinancing and accelerated payment of debt in May 2010 was the point when we were no longer burdened, and where we could start to enjoy the benefits of higher revenues. No doubt, it’s not a case of flicking a switch, things like the wages policy (put in place in the earlier years in order to defend our squad) have to be worked through in order to get back to a more conventional, meritocratic system. But I do think the last two years is the time when Wenger became more accountable for our position relative to those at the top.

    It’s not going well now, and the reasons for that are, in my opinion, complex, and can only partly be put at the manager’s door. But we are trapped, we need to change the fundamentals of the situation in order to move on.

    Thanks again GoonerB, your comments are much appreciated.

  55. GoonerB says:

    Thank-you too 26May. Flattery will get you everywhere. Off for a while, will be back later. Have a good day AA’ers.

  56. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    Your stats re goals for and against, comparing our successful seasons against the present, are illuminating and concerning in their own right.

    On another matter, I share your view that AW’s comment re Theo’s contract negotiations being concluded first, is probably an indication that if he signs an extension, there will be no further signing in the forwards area, this January, whereas if he does not, then we might need to replace him, as you said, and go after (say) Lopez or young Zaha or whoever.

    As usual tho’, the communication appears to be a non sequitur, without that rider, [excluding the names, of course] and perhaps it might have been better not to have said it at all.

    Then I would have complained about not being told anything I suppose!! :P

  57. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

    The Arsenal players rush to see the new signings arrive.

    Thomas Vermaelen, Lukas Podolski, Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker

    Oh

    Theo Walcott of Arsenal

    Double Oh

    Abou Diaby walks into Emirates Stadium

    If we sign anyone, LB will eat his last remaining codpiece.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    MC have resources so far beyond AFC it is comparable to us and Barnet.

    Do you think they would swap Mancini for AW? Should we?

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Jeanette. I have a magic hat. (and No, you can’t)

  60. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    AW definitely needs to subscribe to the Lincoln quote –

    “tis better to say nothing than………………”

    Although I don’t think AW is a fool, and much to the consternation of others I hope that he renews his contract for another 4 years.

  61. 26may1989 says:

    Mancini’s a crap manager, on so many levels. City should have won the league a year earlier and comfortably, not in the last minute of the season. They should be completely dominating English football and at the top of the Champions’ League hierarchy, yet are way behind the much poorer United and keep falling at the first in the CL. They even got knocked out of the Europa League quickly, when relegated to that.

    Mancini’s “successes” at City depend on having enormous quantities of cash – after spending more than anyone has in history, he keeps on saying he needs more.

    And he behaves like a spoilt 6-year old.

  62. Big Raddy says:

    26 .Good hair though…

  63. 26may1989 says:

    Oh ok then, the preening twerp has a good mane!

    He was a great player, Sampdoria being the Italian team I like. A bit like David O’Leary, when he became a manager, he turned out to be a tool.

  64. GunnerN5 says:

    Today’s game is not being shown live here in Canada but is being shown on a delay 2.5 hours after the game has ended, so I will turn off all media and turn my attention to a sudoku puzzle.

    A Toronto newspaper (Globe and Mail) has a sudoku that has the numbers 1-9 and the letters A-G so, 16 squares of a combination of numbers and letters. Some of them are pure mind benders – each day of the week they increase the difficulty level – the Sunday version is the highest level and I’ve only completed one in two years.

  65. Mancini with a harpo marx perm. It would suit him

  66. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

  67. Rasp says:

    Thanks to goonerB and 26may for the clarity and common sense of their comments.

  68. Rasp says:

    I love that Marx bros clip :lol:

  69. LB says:

    Appologies GIE

    I did, as GoonerB says, get you muddled up.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    I love the Marx Bros. Pure genius

  71. LB says:

    GoonerB

    “(I) can’t fully agree with LB about Jack. This reference about him as a defensive midfielder I think downplays his abilities and what he can offer going forward.”

    Show me where I say Wilshere is a defensive midfielder?

    This is the main reason why I rarely reply to your marathon comments, you read things into my comments that I simply do not say.

    You seem to make the assumption that I am some how down playing Wilshere by pointing to his ability to defend. Nothing could be further from the truth. I view the ability to defend very highly.

    As for comparing him to Fabregas; well, having seen every game that Cesc played for Arsenal I cannot agree at all. The Catalan, never, at any point in his career, had a defensive game in his locker.

    So for me, to say that one day Wilshere will become more of an attacking midfielder is like saying one day Cesc will become a good defensive midfielder.

    By the way have you noticed how I set this out in an easy to grasp way?

  72. I see Twitchy/Melty face is up to old tricks of buying in superstar’s on inflated wages,(Remy to QPR confirmed) good job the owners have loadsamoney so he can’t “Pompey” them.

  73. Danny says:

    I see people writing about an early kick off for this evening’s match but to me the match is starting at the “proper” time for a week day match.
    I guess I’m still living in the past…….like having all matches starting at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon etc

  74. RockyLives says:

    Nice one BR

    Hadn’t heard of those two explorers. Interesting story.

    Like many, I don’t really know what to expect tonight. If we click we could win comfortably. If we don’t… well, we all know how that goes.

    The Wilshere discussion is interesting. Clearly he has good attributes both from an attacking and a defensive point of view. I like him going forward because his movement is always progressive and dynamic.

    Once upon a time I imagined him maturing into a Cesc type player. Now, however, he seems more like a Rosicky type (but with added defensive tenacity). That ‘spin off the opponent and drive into dangerous territory’ move is common to both players and is exciting to watch.

  75. RockyLives says:

    Danny :)
    That is a very good point.
    So many, many games I went to at Highbury for a 7.30 kick off.

  76. Bryan says:

    Funny I prefer 8pm kick offs in the week, it at least gives you a bit of time to get there after work ;-)

  77. Maybe the earlier kick-off is incase it goes to extra time and penal ties !.

  78. Bryan says:

    Oh don’t even let me compensate that haha

  79. 26may1989 says:

    Going back to yesterday’s excellent Rock-fest, here’s a really superb article by Paul Wilson in today’s Guardian, under the headline “What if Jack Wilshere had broken a leg? Would City have appealed then?”

    ****************************

    Can anyone possibly say that – considering the rule book – Mike Dean made ‘an obvious error’ in sending off Vincent Kompany for the tackle on Jack Wilshere?

    Everyone likes to see a referee in the wrong, especially one who wears boots with lime green soles and pops his eyes like Jasper Carrott as he theatrically waves his red card and gestures towards the tunnel, but you can’t help feeling Mike Dean deserved a little more support from his employers over his interpretation of Vincent Kompany’s tackle on Jack Wilshere and that a can of worms has been opened by the overturning of the dismissal by an independent FA commission.

    Fair enough. Kompany did seem harshly treated at the time and it is probably true to say that had Dean overlooked the incident and allowed play to continue there would have been no howls of protest. The ball was won, after all, the Arsenal player was not injured, so maybe in one sense an injustice has been corrected. If the referee overreacted, he has now been brought back into line.

    But did Dean overreact? More to the point, did he make “an obvious error”, which is considered the only grounds on which the commission could overturn his decision? If so, what was this obvious error?

    The groundswell of opinion is that Dean thought Kompany guilty of a two-footed lunge, and punished him accordingly, whereas replays were able to prove that the Manchester City captain had lunged with only one foot and was therefore on solid ground.

    That suggests the law says one foot good, two feet bad, when it says no such thing. The law actually says that lunges are the problem, not the number of feet in the air, and suggests that players who leave the ground are taking a risk. So you can see Dean’s dilemma.

    Despite the chorus of defenders bemoaning the fact that the art of tackling is dead and ball winning is being legislated out of the game, Kompany’s was not the sort of tackle to be held up to youngsters as an example of how to challenge for the ball. He failed to stay on his feet, for a start, he definitely lunged, and although on this occasion he won the ball cleanly, a defender of that size flying through the air with studs raised is bound to make the referee wonder whether he is fully in control or guilty of using excessive force. All it would take is for Kompany to mistime that tackle by a few inches, or Wilshere to shift his standing foot at the last moment, and you are looking at a potential leg-breaker.

    Here is what the rule book actually says, the guideline referees must try and remember in the heat of the moment: “Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind, using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”

    Here is the real conundrum. No one actually thinks Kompany was guilty of serious foul play. There was no intention to injure an opponent, every care was taken to play the ball and not the man, and practically everyone in the world agrees it would have been a travesty had he been forced to miss three matches for a challenge that was basically hard but fair. Yet reading the law as set out above, can it really be said that Dean got it completely wrong? Did he make an obvious error? At least you can see where the referee was coming from, and though Kompany’s case was strengthened by the fact that he caused no injury, burly defenders leaving the ground with their full weight behind their raised studs have snapped ankles and led to overheated debates on the safety of the game in the past.

    Here’s another question. Supposing Kompany had made the same tackle and caught Wilshere on the ankle, perhaps due to the latter moving the ball or his foot at the last second, as sometimes happens. Wilshere is only just back from injury, and if he had departed on a stretcher with the prospect of being out for another few months, with Arsène Wenger muttering in the background about dangerous play and not getting enough protection from referees, would City have bothered to appeal the official’s decision to send him off? Of course they wouldn’t.

    They would have held up their hands and said sorry. But if referees are going to give players protection from flying studs and dangerously overcommitted challenges, they have to assess the tackle itself, not wait and check on the outcome. Certain types of tackle are potentially dangerous, and they don’t all look like the classic, two-footed, long-jump-landing lunge of beloved memory. There are all sorts of shades in between, and referees are supposed to take into account the amount of force used, which often comes down to the size and weight of the player, and the amount of control exerted.

    If Dean was in the wrong, so was Kompany, who has picked up a few cautions in this manner and probably needs to stay on his feet for longer. It may be regrettable that full-blooded commitment as well as contact is being forced out of the game, but there was no real need for Kompany to dive in as he did, and you don’t see Barcelona defenders doing it. The game moves on, refereeing interpretations change, and clever defenders adapt.

    This observer thought a yellow card and a warning would have covered the situation adequately, but this observer happened to think the same thing about the Laurent Koscielny incident earlier in the same match. This observer is not a referee. If he were, he would have deemed a penalty and a booking sufficient punishment for that amount of stupidity.

    The letter of the law might have deemed it a clear goalscoring opportunity, though as Edin Dzeko went on to miss that other clear goalscoring opportunity – the penalty – it seems a moot point, to say the least.

  80. Danny says:

    @RockyLives
    Me too. As a kid I went to every mid week match from 1970 until 1978 and to all the England internationals at Wembley as well, even though except for Alan Ball and maybe Peter Storey, there were no Arsenal players in the England team that I can remember. The matches would be over by 9:10 and I’d be in bed by 10!

  81. I cant watch videos on wordpress and some other sites any more. I gave to go to you tube to watch them

  82. Great post Raddy. I’d have Michu in the team ahead of Walcott though. Both those explorers look older than 27.

  83. Bryan says:

    26May

    Good article that you found

    “This observer thought a yellow card and a warning would have covered the situation adequately, but this observer happened to think the same thing about the Laurent Koscielny incident earlier in the same match. This observer is not a referee. If he were, he would have deemed a penalty and a booking sufficient punishment for that amount of stupidity.”

    Exactly what I said yesterday, I just don’t understand why a pen & yellow card aren’t punishment enough in these situations as surely keeping 11 v 11 on the pitch has got to be important. If outside the area, well then of course they have to be sent off, as only a freekick can be given

  84. 26may1989 says:

    You and me both, Bryan.

  85. Red Arse says:

    26M,

    A very good pastiche of the FA’s guidelines! :-)

    The only omission, if such it was, concerned to the change to the rule which meant the deletion of an important catch all word.

    The rule originally stipulated that for an appeal to succeed, the referee must have made a ‘serious and obvious error’.

    Removing “serious” took matters into the unprovable definition of ‘obvious’, which in English can mean different shades of the same thing, with ‘self evident’ or ‘manifest’ being the most appropriate synonym, but what the rule leaves open is who decides which it is.

    You say foul — I say horsemeat!

    OK then, who has the most money?? :D

  86. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was mandatory but it seems to depend on the ref.

  87. 26may1989 says:

    Apparently, Bayern have confirmed Pep Guardiola will be their manager next year.

  88. jnyc says:

    Alot of talk about jack, where he plays, about kompanys tackle– all i have to say is im thankful he wasnt hurt, and after all that work on Sunday, i think he really is being overplayed already. I think Santi is also needing some rest. Use ramsey coquelin, ox in mf if neccessary. Arteta is finally getting some rest. Forced

  89. Red Arse says:

    I think life is complicated enough for referees without the same basic foul being treated differently inside the box than if it was committed outside the box.

    Not that I wish to argue with anyone, but the rule relies on whether or not there was a clear goal scoring opportunity, where ever the foul originated. Seems reasonable to me.

    If Kompany had fouled an Arsenal player in their penalty area in the same way, by giving him a sexy, sexy love hug and spooning him to the ground, I would be screaming for a penalty, and for the sexy beast perpetrator to be red carded.

    And I bet so would you guys!! :-)

  90. GoonerB says:

    LB @2.06, thank-you for your easy to grasp reply. I have re-read your earlier comment and you are right you do not say quote unquote that Wilshere is a defensive midfielder. You say initially that Wilshere is a defence minded midfielder and the combination of him and Cazorla doesn’t work as well offensively as Cazorla and Diaby. You also say the latter 2 bolster the attack while Wilshere adds to the defence. I was not looking to quote you directly but was more reading into what I thought was the inference of what you said.

    Adding it together I read you saying that “Wilshere is a defence minded midfielder who adds to the defence but doesn’t work as well in the offensive part of the midfield with Cazorla where it becomes slow and ineffectual” as meaning that you primarily saw Wilshere as a defensive midfielder. I know you didn’t quote directly that Wilshere is a defensive midfielder but I think it is easy to see why I felt you were in another way saying that.

    If I have mis-interpreted what you were saying then you have my apologies. I wasn’t looking to criticise your opinion or distort it in any way, and my only aim was to debate what I felt was an interesting tactical topic area that you brought up that I felt we may have had slightly differing views on. It is actually one of the things I enjoy about this site, to hear different and opposing views from other bloggers. In actual fact in discussing some aspects in the past I have been known to change my opinion to the alternative view of another blogger. I would, as such, be interested to hear what type of midfielder you see Wilshere as currently and in the future, purely for my own interest and not to belittle any opinion you may have.

    On the subject of my Marathon posts, I am well aware of my propensity towards the written equivalent of verbal diaorhea, and am fully accepting of being the butt of any jokes about it. It is just that I have so much important knowledge to impart (smiley face). You can obviously choose to ignore me LB but that would put you in a similar bracket to Mrs GoonerB (another smiley face). Anyway I better stop typing before it becomes another marathon…..ooops too late.

    By the way I haven’t wanted to admit it for fear of ridicule but I genuinely don’t know how to add smiley faces. I am likely the only one on here who doesn’t know how to do it. My job keeps me largely away from P.C’s so I am not very savvy in this department. Can someone tell me how to do them.

  91. 26may1989 says:

    RA, “pastiche”? Pah! I say to you!! :)

  92. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Afternoon aa
    Pep is off to Bayern at the end of the season I was hoping pep may fancy a move to England like Arsenal.
    Different challenge for him , but Germany I was shocked but that’s his choice
    Predication

    Arsenal 2. Swansea 1.
    Much love
    Sheep Hagger™

  93. 26may1989 says:

    For those who have no idea what GM is on about now: http://www.banburypostiche.co.uk/.
    :)

  94. 26may1989 says:

    @Sheep: I’d like Pep at the Arse too, but perhaps this is good news in the longer term: a year, maybe two for the young man to drink lots of lager, while we get our current problems sorted and Le Prof eases himself out of the chair. The young Turk (ok, Catalan) would then take the reins in N5 and, having cut his teeth at some lower level outfits in Spain and Bavaria, realise his treasured dream of becoming Arsenal manager……..

  95. 26, I’m giggling at the prospect of :

    1. Bayern poaching Barca players as it was their dream to play for Gaurdiola, not some unknown Bulgarian goat herder who somehow blagged his way into the position of assistant coach under Pep and

    2. Chavs crying ‘cos they thought they would be rid of the fat spansih waiter by the end of the season and

    3. Camel Shaggers FC fans who believed the Sun who assured them Pep was on hi sway to replace Mankini.

    Messi to Bayern ? You he(a)rd it here first.

  96. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Pep has signed a 3 year deal starting in July.
    Unless he gets sacked before that we go no chance of him for a few years yet.
    My other choice and I know this will ruffle a few feathers is Jose Maurino I like him and rumour is he will leave RM this summer but I fink he will go to the Chavs.

  97. Bryan says:

    Red at 4.07

    I could not dissagree with you more, I think it is very simple to have those in pen to outside pen interpretations, for example at the moment, you see fouls given for challenges that are very soft outside the area but when it happens inside the area, more than often they are not given.
    Also & this is my biggest problem with the sending off rule in pen area, most times when a player trys to go round a goal keeper & the keeper brings them down, the keeper is making a genuine attempt to get the ball, I do not think the Keeper should then be sent off, hence the team having to bring on there reserve keeper & then play with 10 men & have conceded a penalty.
    I think its an awful rule

  98. LB says:

    Is there a more over hyped manager in this world than Guardiola? Well, if there is I don’t know about him.

    If anyone on this site had inherited the squad he did at Barcelona we would have won the CL

    I was really hoping the Guardiola would come to the EPL and tried to build a team then we could really have judged just how good he is.

    Annoyingly Bayern will probably suit him, from the little I know I think they have a similar financial system as Barcelona.

  99. Hear, hear London, Geoffrey Boycott’s mum could have managed the Barca squad he inherited.

    Still the Chavs, of both the northern and southern species, made cow (or should I say “horse”) eyes at him and got rejected.

    Ha ha ha.

  100. Bryan says:

    I know what you mean LB, any of us could manage Barcalona.
    For me he is unproven until he does something elsewhere, although I do like him & was hoping he would succeed Mr wenger ;-)

  101. Bryan says:

    Haha Chary, I think we think alike maybe it has something to do with being born in 1966, thats assuming that you were too ;-)

  102. Hi all

    Looking for a volunteer please to write somethiing about the match for the post tomorrow ……… any offers???????

  103. Red Arse says:

    Bryan,

    I did not say I disagreed with you regarding the rule being ‘overkill’, a yellow and a penalty for Kozzer would have been fair and equitable.

    In fact, it might lead to referees giving more penalties in similar circumstances because shirt pulling by John Terry, Vidic and Co, is often ignored at the moment.

    I was making the point that having the same rule, as of now, but interpreting it dependent on where it occurs just makes the task of referees even more difficult, and they would be even more inclined to let things go for fear of the backlash.

    If you do not agree with me, that is fine, I am only expressing an opinion, and it might well change by tea time — just ask 26M. :D

  104. Yup Bryan, I am a 46 year older….great minds :)

  105. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Can’t help u peaches sorry,
    I’m watching the game in a pub in Swansea,people get in the way and its busy.
    Plus I am having a few pints, I’m unable to type after a few pints.
    Much Love.
    Sheep

  106. Red Arse says:

    GoonerB,

    I like your posted comments.

    Sometimes when you are getting into the nitty gritty, it takes a while to develop your theme. So what – that is what makes it all the more interesting!

    Your comments certainly do not qualify as ‘verbal diarrhoea’, that unsavoury term applies to someone who writes either a short comment or a long one that is crap! :-)

  107. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    You are more ancient than me — just! :-)

  108. Bryan says:

    haha sorry red, I misunderstood you but of course you have your right to yours views………….even if they are wrong ;-)

  109. Bryan says:

    Yep Chary, could of done without mentioning the actual age lol

  110. Bryan says:

    well better leave if I’m gonna manage to get to game & sink a pint before, Lets hope we play well for a change & win for the first time in 2013 :-)

  111. Merseforever says:

    Anyone else serious concerned that Jack will pick up another injury soon. Got kicked all over the park on Sunday and has played so many matches since he came back. Arsene said he would ease him in initially. He’s completely changed his tack. I’m of the opinion that Jack picked up his first injury because Arsene overplayed him due to lack of squad options in 2010-11. If the same thing happens, leaving all of his other perceived (or real) inadequacies aside, it would be truly unforgivable, to drive our future captain into the ground twice and potentially threaten his career.

    I would rather we lost a few matches through his absence and keep Jack healthy and fit.

  112. If I leave for the Tavern soon will anyone be there?

    I’m glad we’re not getting pep. I think he’s unproven. I’m glad the chavs aren’t going to wreck his reputation too.

  113. He says he’s going to rest him soon Merse. Maybe he’s going to bring someone in. I doubt he’ll play against West Ham

  114. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Redders. The reason it takes me a while to develop my theme is because I have no idea what I want to say when I start. My intended theme normally Dawns on me after 10 minutes of finger poking the keyboard (smiley face).

    I wasn’t kidding, I really am an imbecile and don’t know how to do smiley faces. Please someone tell me.

    Peaches, I should be able to help out with a match report. I too am at the pub tonight but will be getting back sharpish so should be able to do a bit tonight and complete first thing am. It may not be a long one though, but that is probably more a relief to you all than anything (smiley face). Slightly gutted as I was just offered a ticket for tonight but am tied up with kiddie commitments til close to kick off.

  115. GoonerB says:

    Merse, I am with you on concerns over Jack. As well as balancing the side out it is one of the reasons that I want another more pure DM brought in. It would allow us to rotate Jack, Santi, Diaby, Arteta and Rosicky more in the more attacking CM roles.

  116. GoonerB says:

    I also agree with those that had reservations about Guardiola. It is difficult to really know what kind of manager he is from managing that Barca team in its prime. He may turn out to be great though.

  117. jnyc says:

    RA, i agree that yellow and a penalty would have been enough, and with the rest of your thinking about shirt pulling and stuff. I think they can save the red cards for more violent or dangerous takedowns.

  118. LB says:

    By the way, for anyone going to the match tonight, be careful, it is a very old fashioned 7.30 kick off.

  119. kelsey says:

    Thanks for the pre match Raddy.

    Wrap up warm to those of you going. Imagine 30 + years ago the game would have been off without undersoil heating.

    I bet you Arshavin features ;)

  120. GunnerN5 says:

    Assumimg we duplicate the results of our first game with the teams we still have to play we will end up with 65 points.

    The average points it has taken to secure 4th place in PL history has been 68, in the past 7 seasons the lowest has been 67, the highest ever was 76 and the lowest was 60.

    Just saying…………..

  121. GoonerB says:

    Evening Kelsey. The use of Arshavin has been a n enigma to me. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe you feel he has been under utilised this season, and that is a sentiment I would agree with. He seems to have been frozen out, so while I have wanted to see him more this season I am not too sure that bringing him in now is for the best. The F.A cup likely represents our most realistic chance of silverware and I would have to question how committed AA will now be to the club.

  122. Red Arse says:

    GoonerB,

    just for you! :-)

    Smileys:

    smile = :-)) :-)

    lol = :lol:) :lol:

    biggrin = :D) :D

    redface = :oops:) :oops:

    sad = :() :(

    cry = :c) :c

    — You need to type : – ) without spaces between them.
    — You need to leave a space before and after the : – )

    In the above list, I had to put an extra bracket ) after the symbols or they would all have become smileys. You must leave them out when you are typing.

    Hope it works! :P

  123. Big Raddy says:

    All depends upon how much weight AW puts on winning tonight’s game.

    If he starts with Arshavin and Ramsey in place of JW & Pod it would be no surprise. Nor to see Coquelin on at sometime.

    We had undersoil heating 30 years ago – it was put in during the 1964 season.

  124. Red Arse says:

    Damn!

    I left to big a gap with the last bracket )

    Here goes again!!

    smile = (:))

    lol = (:lol:)

    biggrin = (:D)

    redface = (:oops:)

    sad = (:()

    cry = (:c

    This time I have left brackets front and back.

    Just experiment!! :D

  125. GoonerB says:

    Good stats GunnerN5. I spoke with a spud on Saturday morning, (don’t crucify me), and said that we had to date played many of the harder games and many away also. With the games against Citeh, Chelski and Liverpool coming I felt that if we got say 6 points from those and were still not far behind them that we would be in a good position. He agreed as he said they have a bad February schedule. Unfortunately that run of games hasn’t started so well but I can still see us getting more points from here than we have done in the first half of the season. I have a feeling it may take more than 68 to get 4th this year though.

  126. GoonerB says:

    Thanks redders (:))

  127. GoonerB says:

    Ah, I have nailed it now.

  128. GunnerN5 says:

    GoonerB

    That’s ok, I peeled a few spuds last night, and tonight they will be mashed – but most of all I like it when we roast them!

  129. ArsenalForever says:

    Good luck to those of you heading to the game tonight, I hope you come back with a pleasant match report. I wont be able to catch the game tonight :-(

    On the subject of Guardiola, I’ve followed spanish football since the mid-90’s and I think we do have to give him some credit… He had no prior managerial experience, and was considered a huge risk at the time of his appointment. He also made the big decision to sell Ronaldinho and build the team around Messi, as well as implementing their pressing game further up the field. Look at Messi’s stats before Guardiola was appointed and you will see the vast improvement. Will be interesting to see how he does at Bayern though.

  130. GunnerN5 says:

    TEAM NEWS: Wenger makes three changes for cup

    Arsène Wenger has made three changes to his side for this evening’s FA Cup third-round replay against Swansea City at Emirates Stadium.

    With Laurent Koscielny suspended following his red card against Manchester City, Per Mertesacker has been restored to the starting XI to partner Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the defence.

    Francis Coquelin comes in to bolster the midfield in place of Lukas Podolski, with Olivier Giroud starting up front in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    Both Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain drop to the bench, where they will be joined by Andrey Arshavin.

    Team in full: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Coquelin, Wilshere, Diaby, Cazorla, Walcott

  131. GunnerN5 says:

    Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Santos, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin, Podolski

  132. kelsey says:

    Diaby !!!!!!!!!

  133. kelsey says:

    you forgot Giroud or did you think we only play with 10 men GN5 :)

  134. GunnerN5 says:

    Oops, I cut and pasted and cut him off……….

  135. GunnerN5 says:

    Yep Diaby, I guees that AW feels he should maximize his time on the pitch – while he’s stil fit, who knows when he might break down again – and for how long!.

  136. GunnerN5 says:

    Gotta go now – I will be watching the game on delay in 2.45 hours.

  137. Big Raddy says:

    Bit of a training game so far.

    Come on lads try shooting.

  138. Gooner In Exile says:

    So this 4-4-2 with no width? I like it…

    Lets call it the diamond formation

  139. Big Raddy says:

    Please stop Walcott taking free kicks.

  140. Gooner In Exile says:

    Coquelin playing like someone who wants a first team shirt

  141. Big Raddy says:

    In the post I said I envied those attending. Minus 4 and a dull game …. maybe I was wrong :-)

  142. oz gunner says:

    lets hope he can keep it GiE, stuff the ‘beast’ DM, we have him ready and waiting. International from under 17s -21s, he has the quality, drive and tenacity to make it!

  143. oz gunner says:

    at a boy jack. Love seeing him in this position

  144. Gooner In Exile says:

    God I love watching Jack Wilshere with the ball at his feet!

  145. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t understand our tactics.

    What is the attacking formation? Where is Theo playing?

    If 4-4-2, it isn’t working as yet

  146. Gooner In Exile says:

    What does ESPN stand for?

    Endless Sterotypical Pundits Network?

    Wankers!!!

  147. oz gunner says:

    i think it’s:

    4-2-the rest

  148. Adrian says:

    Might impressed with Coquelin, not so much on Cazorla though. Unusually quiet for a player of his caliber. A small shout out to Kyle Bartley too who is playing pretty decently for Swansea so far.

  149. Rasp says:

    We are looking very average I’m afraid :(

  150. Gooner In Exile says:

    If anything it’s a diamond 4-4-2 Raddy, looks like it maybe free flowing as we’ve seen for a while.

  151. Adrian says:

    Mighty*

  152. oz gunner says:

    yep, the typical “why do arsenal have to always try and score the perfect goal?”
    “Arsenal tend to pass too much”

    enough to drive a man bonkers

  153. Rasp says:

    The chavs and mancs have both scored

  154. Adrian says:

    Noo Vermaelean!

  155. oz gunner says:

    agreed Adrian.

    bloody vorm!!

  156. Gooner In Exile says:

    Shame he had to leave Adrian.

  157. Big Raddy says:

    Positives of the half:

    No injuries.
    Szczesny not made a save
    JW getting better and better.
    Coquelin developing.

    Negatives:

    Slow build-up
    Diaby needs to press up
    Theo
    OG
    BFG lacking confidence

  158. Adrian says:

    Chavs scored another pretty decent goal..

  159. Big Raddy says:

    Bartley looks the best CB on the pitch

  160. oz gunner says:

    perhaps bartley was just a loan deal and we all go it wrong? :)

  161. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening all
    Never have I enjoyed a first half on-line more, what with me new sattelite broadband . Massive Smiley.
    Jack reminds me of Chippy as he glides past players.
    Ooops, thanks Raddy for the usual standard pm. High. Very high.
    Come on you Gunnnnnners

  162. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Pleased to have you back on board

  163. oz gunner says:

    Theo…for 100k a week definitely needs to sink those chances.

    I think i’m more scared seeing michu on the bench than i would be seeing ronaldo or iniesta

  164. oz gunner says:

    nooooooooooooooooooooo

  165. Big Raddy says:

    Unlucky but Walcott should have scored

  166. Rasp says:

    We still need someone to write a match report ………

  167. oz gunner says:

    theo!!! come on

  168. Adrian says:

    How many chances did Walcott miss today?!

  169. oz gunner says:

    off the line again, it’s like they are playing with 3 keepers!

  170. oz gunner says:

    YES! jack the lad!!!!!!!

  171. goonerjake says:

    JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKK

  172. Adrian says:

    Wilshere!!! What a game hes had today, absolutely amazing player.

  173. Gooner In Exile says:

    I know LB is probably at the game, but I hope he thought of me when Jack scored :)

  174. kgooner says:

    Well deserved Jack. MOTM. today i thought we played ok. Glimpses of resilience.

  175. goonerjake says:

    CHELSEA 2 SOUTHAMPTON 2 Could be a great night, through to the forth round and chelski dropping points in the league.

  176. Adrian says:

    Well deserved victory, we were on top of Seansea the entire game with the sole exception of making the most of our chances. Could have been easily 3-0. Wilshere fantastic once again, MOTM for sure. Feels so good to show Swansea whos the better team playing the passing style.

  177. Big Raddy says:

    2nd game running where we have looked a different side after the break.

    Could it be AW’s motivational half time talks?

  178. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We’re gonna win the cup,
    we’re gonna win the cup
    And now you……..
    Great win. Happy. Much to talk about the formation, and all of it good and encouraging I think.
    Rasp
    I think GonnerB volunteerd earlier.
    Its an early night for this shattered bunny.
    Nite Happy Gunners :-)

  179. Rasp says:

    I don’t think we have a volunteer :(

  180. Gooner In Exile says:

    I liked our line up tonight …..

  181. Big Raddy says:

    Rsp. GoonerB volunteered 5.18

  182. Red Arse says:

    A great goal by our brilliant attacking midfielder!

  183. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. I did as well but I really want to see Ox get some starts

  184. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy,

    There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
    Where lived a country boy named GoonerB. Goode

  185. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Very good 2nd half from the good guys. After Sun, I said I would actually have to think about a Messi – Wilshere swap if offered one.

    As good as he was on Sun, he upped it a few notches tonight. Mesmerising from start to finish. I actually thought he’d run out of steam a bit, not long before he scored.

  186. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Well played Le Cow as well, bright and assertive throughout.

    I thought Giroud had a mixed first half (night?) but kept at his task, and worked hard with good moments,

  187. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    I missed the earlier debate re waiting for Walcott to sign before we hit the transfer market. At what point does a ckub of our stature say – theres the ‘da ting’ and theres ‘da exit’. Pick one today.

    Its truly incredible that we are seemingly being held to tansomo by a player regularly capable of the sort of ‘performance’ that we have seen again tonight. He was just as bad in the first game, and on both occasions he has simply not contributed to our spells of domination.

    I just don’t understand whats happening anymore..??

  188. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    *Le Coq* and *to ransom*

    Typinsons…. lol

  189. LB says:

    OK

    So what smart arse said Wilshere couldn’t play attacking midfield and wouldn’t score. Lol

  190. LB says:

    GIE

    I did think of you when JW scored, I also thought I am going to pay for this tomorrow. Lol.

  191. Gooner In Exile says:

    Haha LB lucky you didn’t volunteer to eat any clothing :)

  192. LB says:

    GIE

    Phew that was a close thing, it was bloody cold out there tonight and I needed all the clothing I had.

    Night, night.

  193. Gooner In Exile says:

    Don’t doubt the upper tier was a chilly place to be tonight LB….night

    Raddy I too want Ox to start a few, and Le Coq on tonight’s eager display. Agree with Sharkey on Giroud, his work and willingness make him a starter for me, and he has a rocket shot when given the chance.

  194. Hi all – GoonerB has offered a match report for tomorrow :)

    Say thank you everyone :lol:

  195. I see you already know :D

  196. VeraCruz says:

    For some time it looked like one of those games we dominate just to take a sucker punch. I have to say I am impressed with coquelin and have always enjoyed watching him play maybe we do have arteta’s deputy after all, cazorla was by his standards silent, Wilshire is something else. The whole team today played in a way, it seemed calm but still with intent, closing down quickly not giving space ( despite a couple of worries but you always get those in a game) it looked like the way we were playing at the start of the season, there was more discipline. Walcott really needs to take a long hard look in the mirror, I am one of those that has always defended him but all this circus is making me start to regret, still I m hoping he will see the light at some point. I hope aswell that diaby stays away well clear of injuries, it did seem to me that we started to play not so good since newsstands injured last time, he brings a link between attack and defence we can’t seem to replicate when he’s injured. I would have liked to see jenkinson play I think he deserves a game now and then.
    Is it just me or it seems like goalkeepers and defenders seem to get inspired against us? And luck aswell seems to just evade, it could have been easily 3-0.
    One thing that did upset me was the commentary by half time, the way they were speaking it seemed like they were all over us outplaying us in every department.
    All in all good victory and hope that we continue improving.

  197. I really enjoyed that. First half was frustrating but apart from Bartley hitting the bar we didn’t give them chances. Jack was MOTM but Gibbs played really well. I like Le Coq too. There is a massive rumour on Twitter that we’ve bid £30M for someone.

    I thought my toes were going to drop off. Why didn’t they install under terrace heating when they built the stadium?

  198. 26may1989 says:

    Evening all, just back in from a freezing night at Ashburton Grove. Before I look at others’ views, just a few quick comments before the highlights come on telly:

    1. My MOTM: Francis Coquelin – why does anyone think we need to sign a DM when we have this guy as cover?

    2. Excellent attacking performance from our DM, Jack Wilshere ( :) ). And I don’t really mean for scoring the goal (and what a nice finish it was) – he was playing the Santi position and linked play up very nicely indeed.

    3. Nice performance generally, though Diaby still looks a long, long way from being useful.

    OK, back after the highlights.

  199. VeraCruz says:

    One last thing, I honestly think bHartley should have been givena better chance at arsenal I have always rated him and today I was impressed with him. Anyway if he was let go maybe it was for the best and there were good reasons for it but Bartley always seemed to me like one of those that could make the jump to the first team

  200. Gooner In Exile says:

    I thought so too Vera, but maybe there just are a few too many between him and first team and he wanted to play first team football?

  201. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    This is just the beggining. Our young players will mature and the club will soon make bids of over 20 million for the likes of Cavani etc.

    This has always been the plan. Keep the faith and you will be rewarded.

  202. Gooner In Exile says:

    Lol TMHT….grasp any good result :)

    Although I do think the crop of youngsters we have acquired are some of the best in the PL, the question is can we keep them together long enough to do something special.

    Someone put a very good tweet up earlier :

  203. 26may1989 says:

    OK, am up to speed now.

    I honestly felt pretty calm all the way through the game about how it would turn out, it seemed virtually from the first minute that we would win. Yes, we weren’t great in the attacking third in the first half, but that aside we completely dominated Swansea. What was missing was fixed in the second half, and it felt obvious that we would get at least one goal. I know we scored very late, but it still felt to me like that was always going to happen.

    Giroud put in another great shift, he may not be right for the first team every week, but he is a great man to have in the squad. Gibbs and Sagna were also good.

    I really like Swansea – with a diluted starting line-up, they may have run out of puff in this game and not been able to resist a more-or-less full strength Arsenal, but they are such a well organised outfit. Players we’ve seen at other clubs and who’ve seemed fairly average suddenly look really good.

    Vorm is a top keeper, he’s bound to be playing for a major side in two or three years. And it was lovely to see Kyle Bartley do well. He may not have got a chance with us, but he took his gamble moving to a less fashionable club and Wenger allowed him to do that, when he probably could have kept him as 5th/6th choice CB for a while longer.

    I wasn’t really interested in the idea of Michael Laudrup as Wenger’s successor, and I know Swansea’s success is down to much more than him, but I’m warming to the idea. Maybe, just maybe he’s the one….

    Lovely to see the Chavs throw it away tonight, something that will help us on Sunday.

  204. 26may1989 says:

    Shock, horror, Phil Dowd refuses to give a penalty against United at Old Trafford…..

  205. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahaha, yes GiE, i will take what i can.

    But i do believe what i say. The Club has reached a new stage. The first step is to tie up all our young players, with only Theo left to sort out. The next stage is then to go in big on the transfer market and procure world class talent. People might be surprised in the next couple of weeks to see who Arsenal are trying to get and how much they are prepared to pay.

    Hold on to your Wigs.

  206. 26may1989 says:

    Oh for christ’s sake, precisely the same situation at the other end and Dowd gives the penalty to United. I’m no conspiracy theorist but this really is rubbish from the referees. At least Shrek missed it….

  207. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Terry. I may not have the same degree of faith you do, but it is fair to remember that Wenger said in December that he thought the transfer window would be very slow at first. And for us and others, that has proved to be precisely right.

  208. 26may1989 says:

    BTW, watching the ITV highlights, I wonder if Jack could fairly be called the new Gordon Strachan?

  209. RockyLives says:

    What a good night at the Ems!

    We actually put in a decent performance (particularly second half) even though there was a time – about 5 mins before Jack’s goal – when I reckoned it was the sort of game that almost guaranteed a 0-1 loss to a breakaway goal.

    Fair play the lads for keeping going and getting the win.

    Excellent games from:
    Jack
    Gibbo
    Santi (2nd half)
    Coq (especially 2nd half)
    Diaby (ditto)

    Decent effort from:
    Theo
    OG (just needs to learn to aim either side of the keeper rather than straight at).
    Bac
    Rest of the defence.

  210. 26may1989 says:

    Oh Rocky, I completely forgot you were in town! I wanted to meet you at The Tavern but couldn’t get away from work in time to have a prematch drink. Next time!

  211. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thats true 26. I havent joined in on of the transfer debate because i am not into speculation on purchases/ However,after the commercial deal tie up i have always believed we will aim to firstly keep our young talent and then go and spend big.

    The Club is trying to procure world class talent. I feel Zaha and Cavani are the men Arsene wants (could be completely wrong, despite my letters he never tells me anything) and we will go in all guns blazing to get them. We might miss out, but the serious intent will be there .

  212. RockyLives says:

    LB
    Well played :D

    As someone who has had to swallow a few words from time to time I like your style.

  213. RockyLives says:

    26
    I couldn’t make the Tavern tonight.

    Tight schedule.

    Shame, I would really liked to have met some new AA-ers – you, GM, GoonerB…

  214. The font says:

    Le coq is absolute quality vision tenacity stamina and skill. all he needs now is experience

  215. 26may1989 says:

    Terry: If we sign Cavani, I may have to do something utterly, childishly stupid. That would just make my decade.

    Zaha? Well, despite all the chat, he isn’t a United player, so who knows? Wenger could do to Ferguson what he did when he got Ramsey. Just saw the very short highlights of Palace’s defeat to the Orcs – Zaha looked notches above the Stoke defence. He earned two penalties, though the dipstick of a referee said one of them was a dive.

  216. Cavani seems to be the rumour on twitter

  217. 26may1989 says:

    Rocky, you’re in Toronto, right? I ask because my firm is about to merge and we’ll soon have offices across Canada as a result, so a visit to TO may come up soon. One way or another, would love to put a face to the name one day! Happy return travelling.

  218. Wenger had a problem with his zip again. Surely he must have another coat

  219. VeraCruz says:

    I m not too much into transfer rumours but cavani would be incredible, zaha and miyaichi ( who by the way I think would gain more if he came back to the club) could replace Theo if he does insist in being um grande imbecil, i m actually more interested now on how things are progressing with sagna.

  220. Gooner In Exile says:

    There are rumours abound on twitter that we have bid £30m for a player……needless to say I don’t believe it.

  221. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

    Great to see GM in the Tavern.
    All is right with the world, for tonight at least.
    GM you are welcome to the dippers ticket.

  222. great to see you too chas. I’ll take you up on that. thanks

  223. GIE
    It was started by Geoff Arsenal. A lot of people are sceptical though.

  224. I can’t watch you tube videos unless I watch them on you tube. I’m downloading flash player see if that works

  225. VeraCruz says:

    Giroud’s flicks and way he puts the ball on a plate for others is incredible, real class, he is really underrated, pundits saying he has failed to convince well he has convinced me. With time he will grow even more into the role and the team, my favorite is the one he set up for podolski against Montpellier can’t never be tired of watching it

  226. slime says:

    Gotze? Left Wing? Hope so…..

  227. Gooner in Exile says:

    WTF is wrong with the BBC.

    BBC Headline :

    “FA Cup: Arsenal, Man United Limp into the next round”

    Underneath the picture of Jack celebrating it says:

    “Jack Wilshere saved Arsenal’s blushes with a late strike”

    What blushes? We outplayed a side for 90 minutes and we apparently limped into the next round?

    The stats are weighted so far to Arsenal i just don’t see how this is limping. Maybe a headline like “Arsenal Leave it Late”, and a caption of “Jack Wilshere cements Arsenals domination” would be a little more palatable.

  228. The bbc are another one of fergies bitches

  229. oz gunner says:

    An arsenal win, coquelin playing good, rumours of a big signing, and LB eating his sofa…happy days!!!

    @ Slim

    If we sign Goetze I think I’ll cry tears of joy for a week. Him, jack and ox running around would be pure poetry in motion!

    I’d take Lewandowski over Cavani though

  230. oz gunner says:

    Good to see Aliadere is making a good fist of it scoring 7 in 17 for lorient. Shame he was always injured, so much so he made BSR look like a picture of good health

  231. sube says:

    Should we sign Wallcot after we again saw one of his “great” performances last night….

  232. kelsey says:

    What a great way to wake up having fallen asleep whilst listening to the game to find Jack nailed it and today is my birthday :)

  233. Big Raddy says:

    Happy Birthday Kelsey.

    Wishing you a year filled with treasure, adventure and silverware

  234. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Happy Birthday Kelsey.
    My money says Arthur will find you a suitable Birthday Tube Vid.
    Over to The Master.

  235. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Every day is Silverwear Day in Camp Kelsey. Check out his pic :-)

  236. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sube
    I agree that the Walcott thing worries me. Sign him up at top wack, and he’s unsellable.
    Last night I scored him:
    2 “Sign da Tings” to 4 “Don’t Sign da Tings”

  237. MickyDidIt89 says:

    26
    Agree and disagree.
    Agree: Giroud should be first team squad, not first choice CF.
    Disagree: Likening Jack to that thistle arsed scottish weasel Strachan is plain nasty.

  238. Big Raddy says:

    What about that other ginger fellow …. Scholes

    Re; Walcott. I agreed with the analysts last night. He was in the right position to score and last night was a bit unlucky. Two shots cleared off the line, one very close and a header off the post (though kelsey could have scored that one).

    On another night he would have had a hatrick.

  239. oz gunner says:

    Morning all

    Happy birthday Kelsey. I hope you get one of these for your birthday

    @ Micky 6.18

    haha that’s a good rating system!

  240. Gooner In Exile says:

    Raddy for big money doesn’t he need to be scoring at least one of those?

    Burley annoyed me on ESPN last night:

    “Do they always have to score the perfect goal?”

    Er no Craig we don’t, you said that after Cazorla chose not to shoot when being charged down by two defenders a yard away, he chose the right option slid it under them to the space left behind but Theo stopped his run.

    “See what can happen if you shoot from distance”

    We can Craig, but again Jack made the right decision, defenders a long way away from him, and could see all the goal.

    Actually one of the differences between those two events for us is if Jack had decided to pass Giroud was still running goalwards, after his lay off and spin. Whereas Theo bought Santis shot dummy with the rest of the Swansea defence.

  241. oz gunner says:

    It was very frustrating GiE, i find the espn games the hardest to tolerate. Making comments like that when last night was one of our most selfish games. Countless times players were in better positions but the player with the ball chose to shoot instead.

    It’s just tired rhetoric used over and over again. 2 seasons ago perhaps, not now

  242. Red Arse says:

    Good Morning, Pimples! :-)

  243. Gooner In Exile says:

    Happy Birthday Kelsey.

  244. Morning all

    Happy Birthday kelsey ;)

  245. I’m working on my daughter’s mac, can someone tell me how to open another tab please

  246. Red Arse says:

    Morning and Happy Birthday, Kelsey!!!! :-)

    What are you hoping to get as a prezzie?

    A new syrup to give Terry a run for his fig might be a possibility?? :-)

  247. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, Peaches, I am Mac illiterate.

  248. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Morning all
    Hey birthday Kelsey
    Ps is that a wig .

  249. oz gunner says:

    @ Peaches

    ‘Command + T’ on your keyboard

    or

    File>new tab

  250. Gooner In Exile says:

    Or the little plus sign on the top right of the address bar (assuming she is on latest version of OSX)

  251. oz gunner says:

    If you go to this image peaches and follow the instruction it should change it so it appears every time in the safari web browser

    Sincerely,

    your friendly neighbourhood arsenal fan

  252. evonne says:

    morning peaches!! your daughters mac??

  253. kelsey says:

    Thanks all for the good wishes :)

    I join an exclusive crowd born on this day:

    Mohammed Ali, Vidaal Sasoon (GM),Paul Young and Al Capone, but I have the most hair :)

  254. Kelsey has plenty of Silverhair already

  255. evonne says:

    hi Kelsey, I wish you that your team wins every game from now on xxx

  256. oz gunner says:

    It’s also Betty White’s Kelsey, is she your sister because i can see the resemblance!

    Also Michelle Obama, Jim Carey, The voice of Darth Vader: James Earl jones, and Benjamin Franklin

    You’re in good company

  257. Rasp says:

    Many Happy Returns kelsey :P

  258. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

    Happy Birthday, Oh majestic-haired one.

    http://twitpic.com/bvwn7n/full

  259. arthur mullard's left gonad says:
  260. Red Arse says:

    Arthur,

    Have you seen Chas around? :-)

  261. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

    Kelsey’s family turn up for the party.

  262. arthur mullard's left gonad says:

    Kelsey’s family turn up for the party..

  263. Cracked it …….

    New Post ……………

  264. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I
    am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why
    I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS problems?
    Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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