Match report …..Viva Ramsey!

I make no apologies for saying that I dislike Stoke City. Hardly an original view from an Arsenal fan, but about the only thing I can think that commends them is the time spent in the Potteries by the great Lee Dixon and Steve Bould, before they found their way to the home of football.

That is not nearly enough to outweigh my resentment for the wilfully reckless maiming of the then teenage Aaron Ramsey, and especially the way in which the Stoke fans revelled in that incident in the years since, even baiting the young victim. Stoke’s destructive fear of real football, shown up most effectively by Swansea’s success in combining financial caution with quality football, only underlines why Stoke are a club to wish bad things for. True, Mark Hughes has brought a reintroduction of football at Stoke, but I’m not one to forgive and forget.

Arsenal came to the game on an excellent run: one defeat and two draws in 18 competitive games, two defeats and three draws in 20 PL games, a defence that has got into the habit of almost never conceding more than one goal in a game etc etc. The game was always going to be significant for two things: the Ramsey factor, given the opposition and the Welshman’s form this year; and the home debut of the refined and expensive talent that is Mesut Özil. And on both counts, things went well.

Ramsey v stoke

In the fifth minute, Jack Wilshere’s run at the Stoke defence drew a foul from the busted flush that is Charlie Adam in a perfect area. Adam’s incompetence put Özil in a position to line up a good shot on goal, one that Begovic didn’t handle well, pushing it out in front of goal and into the path of the boy wonder, Aaron Ramsey. Watching him able to lord it over the Stoke fans in his celebrations was exquisite. And that was reflected in the chants of the Arsenal fans, who loved ramming it down the Stoke fans’ throats.

We continued to control the game pretty much throughout the first half, but against the run of play Stoke produced their one moment of quality when Gibbs ceded possession on the flank and the ball broke to Steven N’Zonzi. His floated diagonal ball was perfectly weighted and was despatched early enough to deny the defence a chance to set themselves properly. When Arnautović met the ball first time, he was unlucky to hit the post, but it ricocheted into the path of one of those hardworking American players, Geoff Cameron, whose shot was carefully placed beyond Szczesny’s reach.

Sanity was restored before halftime, once again from a dead ball. The Stoke centre backs, Robert Huth and lovely Ryan Shawcross, players unable to do their jobs without cheating, were so intent on manhandling Giroud and Koscielny in the build-up that Stoke neglected to cover Mertesacker. The BFG was easily able to evade the cover assigned to him, and looped Özil’s perfect corner to the back post. With Koscielny running interference to confuse Begovic, the ball dropped into the net. Hey presto, 2-1 up.

Mert celebrates with Rambo and Ozil

The tempo dropped in the second half, which was perhaps unsurprising after the team’s wonderful efforts in Marseille. But fortunately for us, we weren’t facing a side that had the ability to exploit that. Jones was largely isolated and when Hughes subbed him, for some reason he passed over Peter Crouch, and preferred to put Mark Walters up front, which was an odd decision. But, without another goal, we remained vulnerable. That goal arrived from yet another dead ball, a free kick that was once again won by Wilshere driving at the Stoke defence, who were only able to terminate Jack’s run by taking him out. This wasn’t shooting territory for Özil but he floated a ball across the penalty area, where the goal machine that is Bacary Sagna was able to outjump his two opponents and loop a header over Begovic and into the far corner.

Sagna celebrates

And so it was that we were returned to the top of the early season league table. With Man United’s embarrassing capitulation to City, we are already five points clear of van Persie’s team, but the other good sides are clustered together. It was a shame to see Spurs win in injury time, but I do enjoy seeing the two North London clubs at the top, with the good guys in poll position.

We will see much, much better performances from Mesut Özil than yesterday’s, but, even while he’s adapting to a new team and a new league, he was able to provide three assists. It was a quiet, efficient win yesterday, but, even beyond winning three points in a game against a disliked opponent, there were numerous positive aspects for us: Arteta’s return to the fray, Gnabry’s energetic and fearless performance (which meant we were able to cope without Walcott), the solidity of the defence (after the frayed edges shown against Sunderland), selfless hard-work from Giroud and Flamini and a good performance from Wilshere. But the greatest satisfaction came from seeing Ramsey score and play well against our bêtes noires. Viva Ramsey!

Written by 26may

Player ratings by LB

Szezcney: I have never played goalkeeper and because of that I have never professed to know too much about that position but every part of me shouts that this keeper is the real deal; another good game. 8

Sagna: definitely one of his better games, back to where he plays best with the BFG next to him. Patrolled the line well and scored a goal to boot. 8

Mertasacker: Captain on the day, steered the ship from the back with calmness and authority. 8

Koscielny: these two CBs remind me of Adams and Bould, the BFG being the former. On the rare occasions that Adams didn’t play you got to see the actual ability of Bould and realised then just how good Adams made Bould look. Laurent had a perfectly good game but a BFG he is not. (yet) 7

Gibbs: Ramsey may rightfully be the player who has received all the accolades for being the most improved player this season but there is no doubt that the second most improved is Kieran Gibbs; that said, yesterday was not one of his better days. In the first half he was a bit too slack at times. 6

Ramsey: how is it possible to praise him anymore, he was by some distance the best player on the pitch for the first 45 minutes, scoring yet another goal, and celebrating in front of the Stoke fans. He faded a tad in the second half which is the reason I have not given him the MOTM but still another great day at the office. 8

Flamini: after watching him three times on TV I was close to concluding that our second most important signing was no more than a 2013 version of Giles Grimandi: a jobbing utility player; well, yesterday I saw him in the flesh for the first time and realised I was wrong. His passing, his positioning, his tackling were superb; none of them world class; but, a bit like his career path; he really knows how to make the most out of the limited ability that he has. A very impressive game and a worthy MOTM. 9

Wilshere: one step forward, two steps back; he was not at his best yesterday, I got the feeling that he was filling in because others were injured, had Rosicky or Cazorla been fit, Jack would have certainly been on the bench; still, what he lacked in fitness he made up for in a determination. 7

Gnabry: I was going to tear into the young German but having read a few comments from some of the more esteemed regulars on here, arguing that he is not a winger, maybe I should hold fire. Nevertheless, he was poor in the first half, he slowed the play down almost every time he got the ball, when a simple pass was possible he tried to show off. It is, of course, early days, but this is a match report on yesterday’s game and yesterday, in my opinion, he was not very good. 5

Giroud: his passing is improving, his control is improving and his positioning is improving, he always works like a Trojan and yesterday was no exception. 8

Ozil: Three assists on his home debut. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I went with my Mrs who asked when he ran close to us to take a corner: why are they all standing and clapping before he has even taken the kick, to which I replied — for just being. 8

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96 Responses to Match report …..Viva Ramsey!

  1. chas says:

    Super summation, 26.

    I particularly liked ‘the goal machine that is Bacary Sagna’

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27453474@N02/9875677224/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    I honestly thought Gnabry did very little that was flashy and, on the contrary, worked his Stuttgartian arsch off for the team.

  2. Bïg Räddy says:

    A double whammy from 26 & LB. We are truly blessed.

    I seem to be the only one who thought Wilshire had a good game. He played further forward than usual and found space to run at the defence. Despite receiving his usual kicking JW influenced the play far more than Özil … IMÖ

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    A very fair summary 26, maybe a bit harsh on Gnabry though, he was starting his first Premiership game, in front of nearly 60,000 fans and on live television, all that while playing out of position as a right winger. It took him a while to settle and was initially tempted to wander too far away from the wing. He did enough, particularly in the second half, to show he has the ability and strength to cope at this level, a couple of good shots on goal shows he has an eye for the net.

  4. i was actually impressed with Gnabry – he wanted the ball all the time, didnt hide and even after his assault by Huth he didnt disappear. A sign of a good young player for me is someone that wants to be involved and he looked good considering the short notice he would have got to be starting the game.

  5. Norfolk Gooner says:

    BR, Wilshere’s role is changing, with Flamini covering the back four Jack is able to get forward a bit more and does have a lesser responsibility for defending. I also think he is very conscious of his ankle and the possible effects of all the tackles he is taking.

  6. Norfolk Gooner says:

    All moose, mooses? look depressed TDP so at least you are not in a minority. :D

  7. Epicurean says:

    So happy for Rambo. Totally agree about Flamini aswell, he helps me relax like Arteta did last season :D A quick mention for Ryo, I thought given his start this season he had a good run out. To me Jack looks too eager, he is awesome, would just like to see him relax and smile a bit more XD

  8. Rasp says:

    Lovely report 26m and interesting ratings LB.

    Flamini has been a revelation to me, I hadn’t expected him to be such a leader on the pitch as well as having a fantastic engine and more than a little ‘spite’ in his play.

    I like Gnabry, he seems to be very similar to The Ox in his style and ability. He is not a winger and shouldn’t be considered as a stand in for Theo. Unfortunately Ryo hasn’t really impressed so I hope Theo returns quickly as we’ll need his threat against the better teams and he gives Ozil a better outlet for the through pass.

  9. Rasp says:

    I agree the player ratings (subjective view by LB) were a little harsh on Jack. He is definitely some way off his best, but it was his surging runs that won us the free kicks for two of the goals – so he’s a very good assister to the assists :)

  10. Shärd says:

    On Mark Hughes getting Stoke to play football, that’s probably down to the owner, but even so, I have no doubt Stoke would have resorted to type against a clearly superior team like Arsenal, if the referee had allowed it. Dean yesterday was generally fair (which shows he can be a decent referee when he wants to be) and so Stoke couldn’t resort to just kicking Arsenal, like Anthony Villa did. Before the game I had a feeling Dean will play fair because the PGMO have been receiving some publicity since Halsey’s revelation about requesting favours from Ferguson, and publicity is one thing they don’t like. Even Webb gave Rooney a yellow card!!

    Sagna’s header was brilliant, even if he was lucky that it looped over the keeper into goal. I really hope we can get a new contract for him sorted because he has the sort of attitude that we need in the squad.

    First Vermalen, and now Arteta, both back in action without much fanfare, and that is a testament to how well the team has done even without players of that importance. Hopefully Walcott won’t be out for too long, because although Gnabry grew into the game, I don’t think we can rely upon him for any length of time as a genuine threat. He’s a talent though. Even Miyaichi looked sharper coming off the bench.

    Who among our youth will we see in the League Cup? I’d venture Miyaichi and perhaps Eisfeld will get a go. As will Gnabry. We might even see Bendtner and perhaps the return of Park (he can play on the left flank)

  11. Rasp says:

    Incidentally, there is another pronunciation issue with Gnabry … the commentator on Sky emphasised the G = ‘gurnabry’, I had assumed it was silent = ‘nabry’ – can anyone tell me the correct pronunciation?

  12. 26may1989 says:

    Morning all.

    Thanks to LB for the ratings. Yesterday’s was an interesting type of match, the sort of unflashy game where there could easily be very different interpretations of individual performances. For example, I thought Wilshere, Ramsey and Giroud were all more significant than Flamini, and I also liked the work that Gnabry put in, but I can see why LB and others saw things differently.

    On the Gnabry subject, the thing I really liked about him was his appetite to receive the ball and run with it. It was also good to see that he wasn’t afraid to tell his much more experienced colleagues where they needed to be when he was covering back. He wasn’t obnoxious about it, he was just doing what any footballer, at any level, should do, and make sure that there is proper communication. His performance may not have been perfect, but he was willing to try stuff, a quality that will help him develop very quikcly. I can see him making further PL appearances this season.

    It was also good to see that Piers Morgan didn’t even recognise the name of Gnabry. Just shows how much of a real fan he is.

  13. Shärd says:

    One other thing. Why is Stewart Robson (or is it Stuart? Can I say C*** Robson instead?) still employed by broadcasting networks. He adds nothing to the game except his moanings about Arsenal. He was constantly suggesting that Mark Hughes has legitimate cause to be angry at Mike Dean because Dean was favouring Arsenal, such as when Wilshere ‘went down too easy’ after being kicked. He took real pleasure in Stoke’s goal, and any praise for Arsenal was grudging at best. It really took a lot of effort to ignore his voice and watch the game.

    Michael Owen was funny though. In his post Manchester derby interview he was asked what he thought City did to dominate the match, he really had no idea. He just motored on about desire and intensity, but you could see he was struggling to say anything meaningful.

    Honestly, the quality of commentating/presenting in English football is among the worst.

  14. Had says:

    Nice review !
    I just have to disagree regarding Gnabry.
    I do agree he was holding on the ball too long during the first half.
    But after the half time, he completely changed his play and made some really good passes / runs, probably Arsene told him the way.
    He was very solid (a bit like The Ox) and at 18 that’s pretty positive.
    He will perform for game against WBA and I’m sure he will do well

  15. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, I believe in his native Germany, the G in Gnabry’s name is silent. At least that’s what Raphael Honigstein said. But I have no idea whether that’s true in the Ivory Coast, where presumably the name originates.

  16. ärnie says:

    Marvellous, 26may (and LB). Should generate a lot of discussion.

    More later, but a quick reaffirm for the moment. I loved Gnabry, whatever the pronunciation. Young “kid”, good skills, strong in built and mentality, hungry for more, can hold the ball well, accurate passing, even a few (albeit feeble) attempts to shoot. I did not think he slowed things down, but was holding the ball for other players to join in the fun, but yes, he did leave Sagna with perhaps a bit too much to do in the first half. But I thought, that was his remit, he was probably given some liberty to roam inwards. Second half, we operate more from the left wing and was more effective. Academy as well. On the whole, a pretty competent debut. I particularly like the way he squared up to Huth, receiving a good old-fashioned mauling in the process (should have been a card), but picked himself up straightaway. Thats the attitude!

    And Raddy, putting finishing touches on yesterday’s post, and I loved “just to ram it up Moist”. ha ha ha. I have a feeling this will be a good day on AA.

  17. Sai says:

    Well summed up 26may. But I go with Raddy regarding Player of the match. Your words themselves suggests it was Wilshire’s runs that won us the Freekicks. He was a livewire yesterday.

    Ramsey has a relatively quiet second half.

    GIE, it was indeed three assists for Ozil, including the first one.

  18. ärnie says:

    Yesterday, there was no discussion on MOTD on teh Arsenal game, despite the fact that we were Top of the Table!!! Disrespect, rank disrespect and disdain. Any news on 606, where one Ian Wright was holding fort?

  19. jnyc says:

    Good report 26. LB, i thought for a first match Gnabry was not bad, and he definitely tried to help out on defence also.
    i thought Mertesacker was excellent all match. Even without the goal, he was my motm.

  20. A black German hitler will be turning in his grave

  21. 26may1989 says:

    Oh I get it now, a black German – Hitler will be turning in his grave. I was trying to work out who this black German Hitler was….

    Reminds me of the T shirt slogan:

    “Let’s eat Grandma
    Let’s eat, Grandma
    Commas save lives”

    http://www.signals.com/signals/Wall-Decor_3SA/View-All-Wall-Decor_3SB/Item_s-Commas-Save-Lives-Plaque_HN3291.html

  22. LB says:

    Thanks for that 26

    By the way did you go to the game or did you catch it on TV?

  23. LB says:

    Finally I get it.

    You had me going there Sheep.

  24. chas says:

    Well played, LB, for generating some discussion about Gnabry’s performance with your carefully engineered ratings. :)
    I’ve just taken the hook out of my mouth.

  25. 26may1989 says:

    No worries, LB, a team effort and all that.

    I went to the game (hobbling, am still on crutches after my knee op) and, with the usual disdain from Mrs 26, watched the game again on TV last night.

  26. chas says:

    Haha, a black German hitler had me fooled, too.

  27. LB says:

    I can understand why people might think I was a bit harsh on Gnabry but Wilshere?

    I talk about his lack of fitness as a possible reason for him not firing on all four cylinders but then go on to sing his praises for still putting in a determined performance.

  28. ärnie says:

    Ha ha, chas, well done! I doubt whether I will still be able to pronounce the name properly, but this helps!

  29. 26may1989 says:

    LB, the only bit of your comment re Wilshere that I disagreed with was the “one step forward, two steps back” part. His performance wasn’t perfect but then, as you say, he isn’t 100% fit (which is public record), and he’s been asked to play in a position that isn’t his natural one. His contribution yesterday wasn’t insignificant, in particular winning two free kicks from which we scored, but he can and will play better than he did yesterday.

  30. LB says:

    I watched the first half again on TV late last night and thought Gnabry was perfectly OK.

    But I purposely didn’t change the view that I left the ground with as I think it is important to write based on the live game, opposed to what is seen on TV.

    I realise it can’t always be like that but if it can, I think it should be.

  31. IanRealGunner says:

    Arnie,

    Ian Wright was quality on 606 – get it on the BBC podcast. For the many who though he was a naysayer, I think he showed how happy he was with the current situation.

  32. ärnie says:

    Ian:

    Fantastic, thanks a lot indeed.

  33. kelsey says:

    I always thought we would win yesterday as the team is bonding, confidence should be high, yet no one could have envisaged our three goals.it wasn’t a great performance and the lads tired in the last twenty minutes yet I can’t remember more than a couple of decent moves by Stoke and we got the three points.

    I bet most of you were still uncertain of the result at 2-1 and the crowd were pretty quiet which was a shame.
    I don’t think there was one outstanding player they all did a reasonably good job.

    As far as WBA are concerned we should rest every available player as this competition is not needed this year as we can’t afford any more injuries as to me any of six sides could win the league. Win or lose, it won’t detract from our main goal and will be a good fitness test for those returning from injury,a few kids a chance and a sprinkling of first teamers.

    Disturbing news about Walcott,mixed reports but hopefully it isn’t serious.

    On a side note I heard last night that Madrid’s bank made it an obligation that if they bought Bale RM had to sell one of their players and that was arranged two weeks before the Bale transfer was announced .I therefore believe that Ozil wasn’t directly on our list but as things panned out it could be a blessing in disguise.

  34. arsenalswe says:

    Flamini is realy good. Very underrated.

  35. LB says:

    There has been a lot of talk on the subject of Gnabry not being a winger but does anyone know what position he does play?

  36. chas says:

    “with the usual disdain from Mrs 26″

    Can some partner of an Arsenal loonie explain to me what they think they might achieve by tutting and generally being disdainful of their other half’s N5 obsession?

    They must know by now that their Gooner obsessive will indulge in classic Arsenal junkie behaviour, with the need to mainline some red and white at regular intervals. In actual fact, the more derision is shown, the more a wedge will be driven between the two. Give it up. Get involved or ignore it. It’s simple.

    You never know, if you desist, it might be your lucky night (if we’ve won that is) :)

    Disclaimer – the above probably explains why I am happily single.

  37. chas says:

    LB,
    Just had a quick look.
    His position is Midfield or Winger according to various sources. He is listed in the ‘strikers’ rather than ‘midfield’ section on Arsenal.com.
    He was a promising sprinter when younger (you can see how powerful he is). Sprinters are often played as wingers in their early careers at least.

    Having looked at this video his best position would appear to be as part of a front rather than middle three but he does look versatile.

  38. LB says:

    The more observant might have noticed that I took Mrs LB with me yesterday.

    She worked out a long time ago that the best policy is: if you can’t beat him join him.

    25 years happily together.

  39. LB says:

    Chas

    He is playing wide left against the Chavs…..interesting.

  40. JanMan says:

    26may. Great post. Thank you. I know I should not do this but if you all want a good laugh there is a clown called Gambon over on LeGrove talking all kinds of shite about Mr. Wenger and how TH14 accused him of being inept and tactically incapable in TH14′s autobiography. This guy Gambon is quiete an act!

    Anyone speculating the team line up for the Carling Cup on Wednesday?

  41. JanMan says:

    LB. According to the below link from the German Transfer.de, he plays the right side of midfield.

    http://www.transfermarkt.de/de/serge-gnabry/profil/spieler_159471.html

  42. Shärd says:

    Ok.. All you accountant types.. Get busy!! The club’s financial results are out :)

    RA.. If this doesn’t draw you out, nothing will.

  43. Bïg Räddy says:

    Janman. Having read the Henry biography – it isn’t an autobiography – TH14 did not give a single interview to the writer – there is no mention of AW being tactically naive. The writer (Auclair) may well have written his opinion but it certainly wasn’t TH’s.

    The book is a good read partly because Auclair does not like TH which allows him an unusual viewpoint – most biographies being written by sycophants.

    As to my WBA line-up. Wait and see!

  44. Shärd says:

    Henry dance! (Reacting to a defender using his backside to obstruct him)

  45. JanMan says:

    Hi BR. I have the book also. i know that Henry (or anyone else) did not make any such statements. That is why I mentioned this fool Gambon on LG.

    Looking forward to your predicted team line up for Wednesday.

  46. Bïg Räddy says:

    Janman. I and a few on here were on LG at the start and used enjoy the site. Gambon plus others are the reason I stopped

    However, LG serves a purpose, and that is without LG idiots like Gambon would be on here :-D

  47. Bïg Räddy says:

    Shard. Very funny, as is the music

  48. Shärd says:

    BR

    There was another ‘proper’ version with the commentary and replays, but I thought this one was more fun. :)

  49. JanMan says:

    BR: Good comment. Now I know there is a purpose for LG after all. :-)

  50. dandan says:

    Henry Winter ‏@henrywinter 1m
    #afc: ‘With Ozil we’ve made a significant statement. When Arsene decides time right to invest again, board will be delighted to support him’
    Collapse Reply Retweet Favorite More

  51. 26may1989 says:

    Interesting to see Jamie Carragher’s point that Arsenal need to prove themselves in the big matches this season before we can really consider ourselves to be contenders. Quite right too.

    Many say that this year’s title will be decided in the big head-to-head games. I take that to mean matches between City, Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and us. We (like City, Liverpool and Everton) have only played and won one big match so far, and Spurs have lost their only one. But more interestingly, Man U (one point from three big matches) could be said have already to have seriously handicapped the defence of their title by throwing away eight points in matches with direct rivals. And Chelsea’s one point from two games isn’t too clever either.

  52. GoonerB says:

    I couldn’t get on the site yesterday so I am here to congratulate not just 26May and LB for their fine combined post match report, but also belatedly Raddy for his fine pre-match report.

    We beat Stoke by scoring like Stoke….. Brilliant, although I will give credit where it is due and say that I was more impressed with Stoke this time around where they at least tried to get the ball down and play the round ball version of the game.

    I am also dead happy this morning but with some cautionary notes. We may be 5 points clear of Utd but we haven’t played Liverpool, Chelsea or City yet as they have. I think we have a couple of back to back tough ones coming up and those plus the Swansea game will show us more about our title credentials. I will enjoy where we are for the moment at least anyway.

  53. Bïg Räddy says:

    26. Not when a team loses at home to supposedly weaker opposition like AV, S’ton, Everton and Cardiff.

    But I get the 6 pointer thing.

  54. Bïg Räddy says:

    GB. True but I have learned to live one day at a time :-)

    A point was raised yesterday about the Emirates fans supporting Gnabry and booing Shitecross, I would also like to highlight how the fans affect a player ….

    I assume that when on the pitch the players are so focussed on their game that the noise from the stands is just that – noise, but Ramsey’s response to the Stoke fans (see pic above) shows that they do indeed listen. Aaron’s reaction was a highlight of the game

  55. kelsey says:

    26May

    The fact is that we can’t gauge the results so far this season as one could say that as Stoke drew with City and then we beat Stoke and City thrashed United and so on, you get my drift.
    Our record against the other top 5 is the acid test,which wasn’t very good these past two seasons.
    IMO at the moment City and Chelsea have the deepest strength in squad and though I strongly believe we can give anyone a beating our downfall could be injuries, yet if we can get away with that and stay in the mix until January we certainly would be top three candidates if not better.

  56. Bïg Räddy says:

    kelsey. Hope all is good.

    I think we have a very strong squad apart from one obvious area. I do not think that either Pod nor Theo are good enough alternatives should OG get injured.

    As to any expectation, well I haven’t any. At the moment there are 6 teams who look as though they can win the title and all apart from MU have a strong back-up team.

    The failure of MU to sign a creative player will cause them major problems.

    What really annoys me is that Spurs have joined the party and AVB has bought well over the summer.

  57. kelsey says:

    Thanks for asking Raddy but shall we say not perfect by any means.

    it might need a miracle but bendtner might be the short term solution,but I am not holding my breath.
    he might actually be the only natural alternative we have and definitely has the experience but if he really puts his ego aside,trains hard and gets the chance he will put himself in the shop window yet again,but he has no long term future at Arsenal.

  58. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Kelsey

    You’re right of course, we can’t judge much based on the first five rounds of games. But I do think United have already created a problem for themselves by not winning one of the six-pointer games they’ve played already. Plenty of time for them to recover, and plenty of opportunity for the rest of us to screw up.

    I also agree that City are the favourites this year (I still can’t believe they’ve only won one title since the money arrived, and even that one they almost threw away). But I don’t think I would agree that Chelsea are on the same level as City in terms of depth. Their AM options are excellent, but that aside, there are problems and gaps in each department.

  59. Nice to see chas yesterday. Peaches where were you? :(
    I went to the pins after the game with my son and had a bit too much. He had to help me on to the escalator and I was fast asleep by 6:30. I’m useless with beer

  60. Great write up. I too thought you were a bit harsh on Gnabry. He is great on the ball but he held on to it a bit long in the first half. I think he may have been nervous of giving the ball away.

    A woman behind me was going on and on about Gnabry. She had no idea though.

    It’s funny talking about the pronunciation of Gnabry. One thing it isn’t is ganarby which is what quite a few people are saying.

  61. I’m great at clearing this place :(

  62. Hi gm, sorry I missed the pre-match drink, I just ran out of time and couldn’t get there :(

    I thought Gnabry was impressive considering he couldn’t have expected to play. He was good on the ball and often came away with it when I thought he wouldn’t. He wasn’t influential as he seemed to need to think before passing but I’m sure he’ll do better next time.

    I sit in the North Bank and we hardly saw any play in the second half which I put down to the team being tired and handing possession to Stoke. Surely that shows how confident they have become to allow Stoke to play and not be worried, as supporters I think there was a period of angst before the third goal went in but after that it fine :lol:

  63. evonne says:

    thank you LB26m – great team work guys,sincere congrats! I still cannot get over the fact the Ozil was involved in all 3 goals from set pieces. That is revolution at the Ems. But Ramsey, Ramsey, that Ramsey boy – I am speachless, he is by far our best player at the mo.

    I am so excited, cannot wait for the next game and that;s not like me, the normally nervous and scared wimp. I feel brave now :) Come on you Gunners!!

    hello GM, glad you enjoyed the game, shame about the escalators. Never mind the woman behind you; most of us women aren’t experts on footy, as opposed to our worse halves, but it doesn’t stop us enjoying the game, and that’s what matters, no?

  64. Great match report from the workers co-operative of London and M’lud 26. Just to add confirmation of why we hate Stoke I just remembered I heard the Stoke orcs loudly boo-ing Rambo as he was collecting his Player of the Month award before kick off yesterday.

    Total and utter scum.

    Sorry you couldn’t make it to the Tavern yesterday Peachy, Chary junior was asking where you were.

  65. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks 26 & LB

    I had a great day yesterday. My daughter realy enjoyed the atmosphere and emotion of the game.

    She felt Thiery Henry had a great match, but couldnt understand why Steve Bould wasnt playing, reasoning that he looked the type that would go on the pitch and hit there players with a rubber cosh. Thats my girl.

    What i liked about our performance was the growing maturity and defensive shape of the side. Our seats were west upper so i could see the whole pitch without moving my head. What struck me was the narrowness and discipline of the team when we didnt have the ball. It was excellent.

    The maturity is evident from a realisation that we no longer need to dominate possesion to win a game. It was almost like, right, now we are going to defend and hit you on the break. I liked it.

    This team is growing really fast, and a lot of our young boys are now looking like men.

    Come May, I predict a 14th title for The Arsenal and will neither take no for an answer or debate the matter. hahaha

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  66. chas says:

    Bendy looking in the zone. :)

  67. chas says:

    I suppose the wavering is understandable………

  68. weedonald says:

    We keep on going on about individual players…..blah,blah,blah but nobody seems to get it….the team chemistry is far more than any individual player, no matter how well or poorly they play or what talent they have or don’t. Flamini is not the most talented of individuals when we compare him to Ozil or Cazorla BUT he is devoted, firm in the tackle, vocal and supportive and a true Arsenal Gunner, regardless of his past history and we are the better for it.
    Would Ramsey be scoring like he is if he didn’t get supported by the 2-3 other midfielders who pass to him? Would Ozil be such a beast if he didn’t get the support of his colleagues? Would Szcesny make such great saves if he didn’t have confidence in his back 4 and the reciprocal support of his defenders (ie: Gibbs saving off the line against Sunderland!!!)….and so on?
    This entire team is like a giant cake, it has all the right ingredients now and the chef (Mr.Arsene) is baking up quite a desert but this couldn’t happen if we had players like Gallas, Adebayor and Nasri, whose egos never permitted them to solidify the team spirit but rather divided the dressingroom apparently.
    We beat the Spuds, not because we had better players but because we had a better team unity and willingness to work for victory and each other…..that is our 12th man and long may it continue..

  69. Gööner In Exile says:

    “for just being.”

    “the goal machine that is Bacary Sagna”

    These two lines have me a lot of laughs this morning, sorry I haven’t been round to comment earlier…..solid report and ratings, whilst I may disagree with Flamster for MotM I recognise it could be a performance more evident from being in ground, certainly gives options in the heart of midfield.

    The only other rating I disagree with is young Gnabry I thought he showed promise, I know where LB is coming from if all players are marked to an equal standard. He appears to be stronger on his left foot judging by the way he cut in to shoot on occasion, an interesting option if we want to switch flanks more readily.

    For me we were screaming out for Arteta a bit earlier I think between him, Flamini and Rambo we could have got a bit better possession further up the pitch and hold the ball better which became harder as the legs tired.

  70. Hi Chary. It was nice seeing you too. It’ a bit of a haze now.

    Great comment weedonanld

  71. Gööner In Exile says:

    By the way final thing i’d like to say about the game…..Rambo giving the shhhh to the Orcs was fun but the best moment hasn’t been mentioned.

    Özil gets the ball, squares up his man, hardly moving dropped his shoulder twice (left then right) the Orc bought both and was so off balance Özil sprinted away with the Orc dazed and confused. Earned a large gasp from the crowd, last time we had player who could do that from a standing start? Henry?

  72. Gööner In Exile says:

    Weedonald agree on the team spirit, but we do have better players than Spuds ;)

  73. Gööner In Exile says:

    Shard in answer to your query on Accounts and only because you asked, they look healthy enough.

    One thing that is interesting is the Matchday revenue, in 2012 it accounted for 40% of club turnover, 2013 33%, this will fall further this season with mega broadcasting deal. Be interesting to do a historical look back.

  74. arnie says:

    GiE: I was listening earlier to yesterday’s 606. A comment was made about ManUre’s Annual Report. Apparently the lenders have pulled the plug and mandated no new expenses on players and staff unless absolutely essential. Dont believe it, but nevertheless worth checking what their finances are like.

    There was also a comment about RM earlier, that banks mandated that they had to sell a player if they went ahead with the Bale transfer.

    Given the state of finances all around, even the biggest clubs, Arsenal have been brilliant!!!!

  75. dhakka09 says:

    Lol; interesting discussions on the comment board and I’d riding the band-wagon :p on this case. G-nabry did his part in the match pretty well considering he was thrown into the deep end just before the match having no idea he was going to start. Worth 1 point more taking his score to 6 :D

  76. dhakka09 says:

    To give an example of the hypocrisy surrounding some news-source that want nothing more than stir up controversy and getting more hits on their website; I just noticed in NewsNow that Daily Star has posted an article with headline “Kieren Gibbs is working through the pain in hope for Arsenal victory” It’s worth noting the adjacent headline of another site Sports-Mole which (surprise, surprise) doesn’t seem to seek enflammatory headlines as “Kieren Gibbs: I feel fantastic physically.” After close inspection of the content which is similar/same in both cases, it just leaves me disgusted at the blatant misleading headline by Daily Star. I know this horse has been flogged many times before and is probably already dead, but just want to repeat that let’s not put our faith on what we read (unless it’s Arsenal Arsenal :) ) and react on behalf of the tabloids who have their own agenda.

  77. kelsey says:

    The question of assists is an interesting one.

    Ozil had 3 assists in the game against Stoke,but how is a free kick saved by the keeper an assist? How is a corner an assist, it a cross played into a vague area hoping somebody gets on the end of ? A through ball, defence splitting pass or perfect square ball, that’s an assist isn’t it. We’ve gone statistics mad!! :)

    Oh good morning.

  78. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey

    An “assist” is a “pass”

    Assist is New Labour speak for “we all get a prize here” :-)

    And Morning to you.

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks very much 26 and LB.

    Exactly as I didn’t see it :-)

  80. chas says:

    Documenting “assists” came in with the advent of fantasy football so that more points could be allocated other than those for the goalscorer.

    Free-kicks which force the keeper into a save which, in effect, create a scoring chance for the player following in are counted for obvious reasons. Likewise with any shots which make the keeper parry into a dangerous area.
    Corners delivered over the first defender, out of the goalie’s reach and giving the attacking team’s players a good chance of getting on the end of them are also worthy of some praise, don’t you think? (I thought you’d know this more than anybody, Micky, with the amount of whingeing you do at our corners, according to Evonne anyway) :)
    Free kicks likewise.

    Move with the times, lads. Sometimes it’s like an episode of Grumpy Old Men on here. :lol:

  81. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Love the players names pronunciation debate

    Grrrnarby or Narby
    Cathorla or Cazzzorla
    Barcelona or Barthelona
    Thierry or Terry :-)

    “When in Rome” or “When in London” (and I’m not referring to getting up close and personal with LB here).

  82. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas :-)

    Thing is, I’m a closet massive fan of the “pass” which is an “assist”.

    I’d even have a “Pass of the week didgit” just above my “Git of the week” didgit :-)

  83. chas says:

    Micky,
    I was thinking of suggesting a crucial pass widget to Rasp, but thought better of it.
    Ramsey’s pass to Walcott against Fenerbahce being an obvious example.

    Here’s some more for kelsey to enjoy.

  84. LB says:

    Ozil should have got four assists. An extra one for just having the good sense to want to come and play at the home of football.

  85. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    “Crucial”. Nice.
    Would TH have scored so many without the quality of “crucial passes” from DB?
    Would we have won the league in May 2014 without the quality of “crucial passes” from Santi and Mesut?

  86. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning All,

    Aren’t all passes crucial?

  87. kelsey says:

    I was only saying ….. :)

  88. kelsey says:

    Leyton Orient, now there’s a team on the roll.

  89. arnie says:

    Micky: Your “when in London” idea is fantastic …… Can cut the other way, though. For example Jack (Wilshere) as Yack, and so on …..

  90. Evönne says:

    One team in London
    There’s only one team in London
    One team in London
    There’s only one team in London

    That’s a new song for you Kelsey boy to learn :)

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    arnie
    I’m heaving with brilliant ideas.
    Problem is, I’m the only one who agrees :-)

  92. Morning all

    ……………..New Post ………………….

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