The Team Bus Was Late And So Were We

The line-up was greeted on twitter with a general meh and a ‘where’s the attacking fluency going to come from’? Flamini and Arteta were both picked along with Ozil and Cazorla. Where is the balance in that selection?

From the off, Southampton dominated possession and chances. Arsenal players were falling over. Fair enough the team coach was late but surely there was enough time to sort the correct studs. Early on, Nacho was caught with the ball in our own penalty area and Szczesny came to the rescue. After 20 minutes a superb tackle by the BFG was penalised by Lee Mason and Southampton scored after a Shaw cross (not sure I like the conjunction of those two words) was headed in by Fonte who looked to have shoved Monreal in the back. Szczesny could have done better on his near post. Dreadful all round.

More Southampton possession eventually resulted in a real gift for the home side but the chance was spurned with Szczesny closing the Saints player down. The TV company put up some stats, 7-0 to Southampton. We hadn’t turned up yet. A few minutes before half time Koscielny saved us yet again with a last ditch block when 2-0 looked a certainty.

Kos then had our only effort on goal from a corner and Boruc was lucky it bounced off his massive frame when it could have gone anywhere. Lee Mason refused to book Fonte after a shocking WWF bodycheck on Nacho just before the first 45 was up..

Half time and what a shocking performance it had been. Disjointed, clumsy and lacking in virtually any team interplay.

The second half began with the team looking as though it had had a rocket up its collective derriere. Immediately we created a chance and in the blink of an eye and a Sagna cross, Giroud had managed to pirouette the ball into the Southampton net.

saints1

Suddenly Arsenal looked as if they might be the top of the table side that had come to St Mary’s for 3 points. Mesut pulled the ball back across the edge of the area and Cazorla sliced it, with the precision of Nigella using a credit card, beyond Boruc’s right hand. Two one up and the away supporters wondered what they had been worrying about at half time.

saints2

In our recent defensive performances, one of the changes from recent seasons had been that we hadn’t conceded just after scoring ourselves. Well, unfortunately, we slipped back into old habits and immediately let Southampton back into the game from a hopeful long punt up field. The ball was not dealt with by Sagna and he allowed a cross towards an unguarded penalty spot and we were back level.

Just 5 minutes without giving them a lifeline, that was all we needed and I’m convinced we’d have gone on to win.

Ozil went on a scintillating run 10 minutes later and his deflected shot bounced off the bar with Porky beaten. Much of our good attacking play ended up at the feet of poor old Nacho who had a real stinker. His wildly shanked effort when clean through in the 72nd minute a case in point.

saints3

Flamini was sent off with the sort of challenge that even I knew merited a red card. What part about two footed challenges not being allowed does Mathieu not understand. He landed with both feet on the ball but could have caused serious damage if it had been on an ankle.

Our football suffered no noticeable degradation when down to ten men, which was, perhaps an indictment of the initial team selection. Santi looked mightily relieved when Gibbs was brought on in his place. He had been battered all game with no protection from the referee at all. Last night would have made him wish he was still in Spain.

We hung on for a point with no real scares in the 6 minutes of injury time. It would be difficult to say we deserved the 3 points, especially after such a shocking first half display, so maybe it was a point won rather than 2 lost. The pouring rain and a front 6 that looked like 3 pairs of two rather than any sort of cohesive attacking unit must give us all food for thought.

Anyway, upwards and onwards and on to Palace on Sunday.

Ratings

Szczesny– A couple of good saves, a dodgy punch, poor positioning for the first goal and a boot in the crown jewels……7

Mertesacker – Firefighting for much of the game, some timely interceptions and up to his usual standard of commitment……7

Koscielny – Some excellent blocks, tackles and all round competence from Laurent……8

Sagna – Played well apart from their equaliser. Superb assist for Giroud’s goal….7

Monreal – Struggled throughout the game. Weak defensively, weak in attack. I wish Gibbs had been playing…..5

Flamini – Lacked his usual bite in midfield. If he plays with Arteta, I’m not sure if he knows whether to stick or bust. Did neither and the sending off could have cost us …..5

Arteta – Mikel looked rusty and a bit slow on his return from injury but gets some leeway because of that …….6

Ozil – Looked disinterested in the first half when it was lashing it down. Showed some class in the second half …..7

Giroud – Tried hard with no support for the first 45 but struggled to hold the ball up and bring others into the game. Improved in the second…..6

Cazorla – Santi must be bruised to pieces after that. I’m still not sure if Cazorla and Ozil works. …..7

Gnabry – Not Serge’s finest performance in an Arsenal shirt. Made several poor decisions about when to pass. Maybe should have been taken off at half time…..5

Subs

Chamberlain – Looked lively……..6

Podolski and Gibbs weren’t on long enough to rate.

Lee Mason – one of those refs who thinks Arsenal don’t deserve free kicks unless someone has been chopped in half……….2

Written by chas

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138 Responses to The Team Bus Was Late And So Were We

  1. Morning all

    LB and kelsey – please re-post your match reports on here for further discussion.

    LB – sorry, you could have had the slot, you only needed to say :(

    I hate disappointing my match reporters :(

  2. Rasp says:

    That’s bang on the money chas. We bottled it collectively. I think the most important point you make was the fact that we conceded a very poor goal so soon after going in front (against the general run of play). The ‘new Arsenal’ we have been seeing would not have been so profligate. Even our CB’s on top form cannot be expected to keep a clean sheet when the rest of the side are not defending well or even managing to keep possession with any fluency.

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Top marks for getting poor old Nigella into a Match Report.

    Excellent, thank you Chas.

    Gnabry offered no Theoesque threat down the right, which meant that Shaw didn’t have to bother defending, which in turn, gave our right side a nightmare. I cannot explain away the first half. As Rasp said, they’d be warm soon enough, so then what?

    However much one blames the Arteta Flamini pairing for a lack of coordination between defence and attack, it still doesn’t explain how no-one could string two passes together.

    Bad day at the office, as well as in the commute to work :-(

    I say, get Alonso and a German :-)

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Can I also thank LB for his match report.

    I understand there was a cock-up, meaning two of you launched, with the best of intentions, into doing excellent work for our benefit.

    So, hats to the pair of you :-)

  5. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, I think the loss of Theo may be pivotal. Agreed he is not great at defending, but he forces opponents to defend and therefore reduces their attacking ability.

    Some reports are suggesting that Ramsey’s setback may not be as bad as the reported 6 weeks, although it is a recurrence of the thigh problem that has sidelined him so far. We may have tried to rush him back and now have to be more cautious.

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh, and Kelsey, but he’s unique. He nearly always does a MR. Law unto himself that one :-)

  7. Rasp says:

    Here’s a conspiracy theory for LB……

    In the same week as AW bigs up Podolski for his deadly shooting ability, he leaves it to near on 90 minutes to bring him onto the pitch.

    He praises the player, and pisses him off ……. could there be any truth to the theory that we would offer Podolski as part of the Draxler deal? They are hovering just outside a CL position at the moment and would want to replace Draxler’s goalscoring abilty.

  8. 26may1989 says:

    Well done, Chas, good write-up for a disappointing performance. The Saints certainly deserved a point, especially given how many important players they had missing. But we had too many players who just had a bad night. It was a game where we really missed the likes of Walcott, Ramsey and Rosicky.

    Can’t say I saw much wrong with our starting selection though. Arteta and Flamini have played together seven or eight times this season, and have done well most of the time. That said, last night was the third time one of them has been sent off when they’ve both started. And Flamini’s red last night was a very poor one, how a pro of his experience can make that kind of mistake is beyond me.

    It was great to see the team lift itself after the break, but just so disappointing to see the defence pulled out of shape by a simple high ball down the line, that the otherwise very good Sagna didn’t deal with, causing Mertesacker to be pulled across, making the space for Lallana.

    Good as Southampton have been this season, we have to look on the result as two points lost. That puts even more pressure on the games against the big teams.

  9. Podolski shouldve started for me. If we are going to play 2 DM’s then there is no better opportunity to play Pod left and Cazorla and Ozil interchanging at centre and right. The only thing i can think is that Arsene saw Shaw as a threat and decided we needed a proper RW on the pitch.

    Anyway, some periods of games are just impossible to analyse and are better forgotten about. It was a bad first half all round.

    What i would add is that the way the team came out in the 2nd half was excellent and it shows the strength in the dressing room right now. Just a shame we ruined it with a couple of moments of poor discipline from the defense and Flamini.

  10. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, in terms of the decision on Podolski, I just think Wenger didn’t trust the players on the pitch sufficiently to be able to keep Southampton out – we weren’t playing well enough to be able to take an attacking risk. Had Flamini not screwed up with the red card, perhaps Poldi would have been brought on a few minutes earlier but the main point seemed to be our fragility.

  11. Rasp says:

    Morning 26m, I get your point. But I am at a loss to see why we set up with 2 DM’s in a game that AW saw as a must for 3 points.

    OK, we were probably hoping to let them tire and not to concede, but when we were being so comprehensively outplayed, we needed to find a way of pegging them back rather than encouraging them to run through our fragmented midfield.

    There is a reason why we are top and they are mid table – they concede too many goals. We only had one meaningful attempt on goal in the first half.

  12. TwentyTwelve says:

    While I never liked the Arteta-Flamini pairing much, with Arteta coming back from injury, the pairing might have been intended to help take some pressure off Arteta. I think early on in the season, the same pairing occured. This coincided with Arteta coming back from another long injury.

    FGG, you made a good point about Podolski assists. Thanks.

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, we’ve won plenty of games with the FlamTeta combo. We were playing badly last night, Southampton were playing well, and without options on the bench like Ramsey, Wilshere and Rosicky, any of whom could have provided more incision than Arteta or Flamini without undermining our defensive play too much, I don’t see too many options for Wenger. Before the game, I’m sure he would’ve said he would have wanted to bring on Poldi earlier but the performance had to be taken into account, and sometimes it’s better to accept one point than risk going home with none.

    To me, it was just a night of poor individual performances and a lack of cohesion. The players have generally played a lot better than that this season, and I remain optimistic that we will see better next time out (we need to), but being realistic, the result (aggravated by Flamini getting a four-game ban) is a blow.

  14. Rasp says:

    Thanks 26m, I think the problem is that setting up defensively didn’t work. I agree we were playing badly – but isn’t it OK to ask why rather than just accept? A bad day at the office by most of the players (if you agree with the ratings) is statistically unlikely – so what went wrong?

    The logical conclusion is that Southampton are a better side than Arsenal (they had plenty of injury problems) …. is anyone happy with that idea? The league table says differently.

  15. kelsey says:

    I would like to add a few observations .(re posted from earlier)

    One can make as many excuses as one likes but over 90 minutes we were for the most part outplayed.
    Yet again a slow sluggish start,misplaced passes, the team as a whole looked lethargic and quite honestly we were lucky to be only 1-0 down at half time against a very good Saints team who made us look quite ordinary.
    The warning signs have been there for weeks especially the failure to clear the ball out of our own penalty box by choosing the wrong option.
    Unfair to critisize Gnabry as others with much more experience were just as bad, mainly Arteta.
    Overall if you have just two key players out injured the squad has little options to change a game against a team that played as well as the oppo did tonight.
    Yes it was foolish of Flamini especially in a non dangerous area.
    I thought Giroud gave 100% a real work horse and a neat goal.
    This wasn’t a team performance just a sprinkling of individual moments, especially Ozil’s solo run which so nearly produced a goal.
    Szsney did make some fine saves but also looked extremely nervous on occasions ans one could blame him for the opening goal and also at 2-2 before Flamini got sent off he seemed to dither endlessly where to kick the ball because we weren’t organised very well and the options to him were limited to start an attack as the balance of the side was all wrong.
    The Pod coming on at the death was a strange one.
    A point gained or two thrown away ?

    I honestly think that there maybe some credence in the delay but nevertheless they are professional footballers who should be primed to perfection and there is absolutely no excuse for some of the poor play last night
    .
    arnie, one can offer suggestions of players that may well be beneficial in strengthening our squad, until one is blue in the face but we all know how AW works.

    How many times since AW arrived has anyone got a prediction of a signing right,, let alone the appointment od AW himself, yet we hear so often of players that nearly joined.
    I wonder what is really going on in AW’s head re Podolski. Anyone got any suggestions.

    I wager there will be activity before 11.00p.m. on Friday, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised that any or all deals are already done.

  16. kelsey says:

    I think another point well worth discussing is the frequent phrase by AW “that he is nearing the red light zone” or words to that effect.

    I am convinced that many of our players are playing when they shouldn’t be purely because we don’t have adequate replacements for them and therefore when they get injured again the recovery time is that much longer. Ramsey is a typical case and Wilshere also to an extent.
    We shouldn’t be top of the league and everyone praying that Giroud doesn’t get injured when the only other options are possibly Bedtner,Park or even Sanogo.
    Many of our youth recently where expected to step up but none have and either aren’t ready yet or have been moved on.

    At the beginning of the season my expectations weren’t that high and it is remarkable how well we have done and the Ozil signing lifted the squad but we have had a far too many squeaky time games recently and it needs addressing.

  17. LB says:

    Chas

    Well there goes your future excuse of not being very good at writing match reports. That was superb and the Nigella line:

    “With the precision of Nigella using a credit card”

    Come onnnn, you have been holding out on us all this time.

    It was nice of you to suggest that they put my post up there as well but I am glad they didn’t, there was no need, yours does the job perfectly.

  18. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, of course it’s right to ask, I wouldn’t dream of getting in the way of you! But I don’t see the fact that Southampton were for much of the game the better team last night as evidence that they are the better team in general. We had a bad night, they had a good one, I don’t see it as being any more than that.

    Can’t say I’m eye to eye with you on the idea that it would be statistically unlikely for all or most of our players to be playing badly at the same time. Players playing well often bring each other’s performances up, and likewise, they often bring each other down. I think most or all of the players playing badly in a single match is eminently possible, and happens to all teams at different times.

    If we’re looking for someone to blame, I generally prefer to look at those on the pitch, they are the ones who actually have to run around and kick the inflated bladder about. The manager and the coaches need to prepare the players, select the team and make decisions about subs. We know from previous experience that last night’s starting XI was perfectly capable of doing a whole lot better than it did (even with a truncated warm-up, though I’m with Kelsey in saying that that probably did have an impact). Wenger and Bould seemed to have done the business at half time, in terms of focusing the players on the job at hand, but Southampton were able to keep at least some of their momentum going and got the draw their performance deserved. As for subs, as I’ve said, given the performances and the players that were absent, I don’t see that there were too many options.

  19. LB says:

    Kelsey

    Hopefully you will see the humour in this, it certainly is written with polite intent, anyway here goes: the “Red Zone” is a time that people enter when they are close to exhaustion; the “Red Light Zone” is a place that men go to find prostitutes and the “Red Lantern” is a place where you can get good Chinese food.
    Imagine one of those smiley face things here.

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey LB

    Apparently that git Saatchi has promised to cage fight some other git to sort out a feud. Being that I’m in the “you be nasty to Nigella, and I’ll smash yer face in” camp, I’m up for it.

    If I get a front row brace, are you on for it as well? :-)

  21. 26may1989 says:

    Actually LB, having missed out yesterday (I was at a Burns Night do….), I went back and read the comments that were posted during and after the match, and I felt pretty lucky to be able to read not one, but two match reports. Thanks for your one.

    It was a very good Address to a Haggis last night though…..

  22. kelsey says:

    Quite right LB, my mistake as I was still thinking about Raddy knocking on all those doors in Soho :)

    Here’s a theory (I hope I am wrong) Draxler to us and Podolski the other way plus cash)

  23. Big Raddy says:

    It seems odd to be discussing LB’s post and not have it so …… here is another fine piece of journalism to add to Chas’s excellent post this morning:-

    LB:

    That was a very, very tough game.

    If you were one of those people who fell into the trap of thinking this was going to be a relatively easy game due to Southampton’s board upheavals, the loss of two key players through injury and a further key player missing from an internal ban due to a punch up on their training ground put your hand up? You can’t see me right now but I am sitting behind a key board in front of a computer screen with my hand in the air.

    Well, just how wrong were we?

    Sometimes as Arsenal supporters we are really made to suffer. I watched it in the Twelve Pins pub in Finsbury Park and I was still shaking by the time I got home from the nerve raking experience I put myself through in the name of entertainment.

    Did we drop two points or did we get away with a draw?

    With hindsight, it is plain that there was a lot wrong with the line up. We were far too defensive there was no link between Flamini and Arteta and the attack. Wilshere would have been better, there I said it; although, Rosicky would have been even better.

    Wenger’s attempt to bring through Gnabry got found out tonight, the young man was out of his depth; he was unable to contribute which put unnecessary pressure on the others. In a nut shell it was like playing with 10 men.

    This also had the down side of allowing Shaw to rampage down their left; he didn’t need to worry what was going on behind his back because nothing was.

    Arteta was as rusty as an old bucket and I am afraid to say that with his pace plummeting we got our first glimpse of what the end of his career is going to look like.

    As for Flamini, I said recently that I would not want him to be given a new contract to which many people jumped to his defence by saying: give him another year while we find a replacement – wrong, you missed the point, a replacement should be found before his current contract runs out.

    Back to the game: we were given a lesson in how to press, how to pass, how to defend; we were out Arsenaled almost to the point of embarrassment.

    The commentator mentioned during the first half that Arsenal had arrived late due to traffic problems – late, bloody late? They were so late in arriving that worried posters were put up during the break:

    ———MISSING
    Giroud, Cazorla and Ozil.
    Have you seen these players?
    If so please contact Arsene Wenger Immediately.

    Thank goodness they were eventually found because we were on the ropes.

    The second half started differently, there were eleven men wearing red and white shirts, I know, I counted them; and this, unsurprisingly, made all the difference. Arsenal set about redressing the deficit which fortunately didn’t take too long.

    Just when the Giroud doubters, yes me again, were starting to think less than positive things about that particular Frenchman up he pops to shut us up. I usually argue that tricks and flicks don’t make up for good close control but if you score like that – bring them on.

    One-one, game on, time for the coup de grace, or so we thought. Arsenal went ahead with a fine goal from our diminutive Spaniard Santiago Cazorla. The pub when wild, aging men sang the name of the 28 year old until their voices were hoarse – guilty again.

    The euphoria, as you know lasted, less than five minutes, Southampton’s heads had dropped but this equalising goal lifted them higher than before and we spent the remaining half of the game fire fighting. Remaining half: that’s to say until Flaimini decided to get himself sent off for what was the most stupid two footed tackle I have ever seen.

    We did have a couple of chances with Ozil and Monreal but in the end with really only ten men we were fortunate to get a draw.

    Recently we have played badly and we have won, this couldn’t continue, last night we were worse and we got a draw. We need to start playing to the full collective capability of this group of players and fast.

  24. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. So why are they called “French Polishers”?

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    Nice one Chas and a “tasty” comment about Nigella.

    Here’s a potential statistic – If Chelsea beat West Ham 2-1 today then we will have identical records of W16, D4, L3, GF45, GA21, Pts 52. and remember we drew 0-0 against them.

    What is the tie breaker to determine who takes the top spot – surely it cannot simply be alphabetic?

  26. RA says:

    Good Morning, guys.

    First off; As I did not see the game I was relying on Twitter to learn what was going on, and the desperate tone of the tweets, culminating in an unexpected and disappointing spanking from S’hampton, even though we drew was a bit of a blow.

    On reading your Match Report, Duck, I was enthralled by your gift of clarity and humour and things did not seem so dire, even though you were reporting the same unpalatable facts as the tweeters.
    Excellent Chas. Another string to your bow, and all that with a stop start flow. :-)

    I then had the luxury of reading another, very differently styled, Match Report from LB and again I was very taken with its quality and the writing which resonates with committed Arsenal fans in the way a newspaper journalist cannot match.

    Perhaps you could alternate your reports (or double up again) in the future, because win or lose they make the games really come alive for those of us unable to be at the stadium or to see them on TV.
    [Well at least for those of us living in the 'wilds' and cut off from appropriate communications.]

    And then there is, of course, Kelsey’s idiosyncratic, elongated comments that give a completely alternative take on events. :-)

    Thanks fellers. :-)

  27. Rasp says:

    26m @ 11:29, thanks again. I guess if we’re looking for reasons then your point about us not having many options on the bench is crucial.

    Having 2 or 3 key players missing at this point in the season is about what you’d expect with most teams, so we’re about par on that front. The depth of our squad is better than most had anticipated at the start of the season and yet it was found wanting yesterday.

    I was delighted (not in a spiteful way) with the players we moved on last summer and with the purchase of Ozil as opposed to a bunch of totnum level punts (not a spelling mistake!), but I think it looks likely that to win the EPL you have to have the best part of 2 full teams who can compete at a higher level – and this may be our failing.

    I’m not saying there is anything we can do about this at the moment except to keep going with our policy of only buying quality and reinforcing the squad in that way as well as bringing through young talent.

  28. arnie says:

    Lovely report, Chas. A great pleasure. :D :D :D

    A dreadful day in office, starting off with arriving late, that only had one silver lining. Got out of jail, somehow. I dont know how, but somehow!!!!

    I will pick up just two snippets from what is an excellent, and honest, report.

    First: “Flamini and Arteta were both picked along with Ozil and Cazorla. Where is the balance in that selection?” We had commented on this all day yesterday. Nothing more to say. Just dreadful. Chas sums it up brilliantly: “Our football suffered no noticeable degradation when down to ten men, which was, perhaps an indictment of the initial team selection.”

    Second: “I’m still not sure if Cazorla and Ozil works.” In my view, it can work, but only if we shed our overly defensive formation, and if our right wing works. On the day, we failed on both counts. I do not want to cast the blame exclusively on a certain young German guy, but let me quote Micky nevertheless: “Gnabry offered no Theoesque threat down the right”.

    Third: Pray, why do we defend so deep? Despite playing both Arteta and Flamini together, why should we allow free access right to our box? Why should Sagna and Monreal have to defend from within the box. I am not a tactical guy. I just dont understand.

    Moreover, we are not that good in this job. Our strength is central defence and midfield. We should play to our strengths. Against Coventry, we reached the conclusion that we were allowing the mice to play a little bit. Lessons should have been learnt. They were not. Hopefully, they will be now.

    Positives? Well, first, not a great shame to draw against Saints away from home. In this form, Saints should also shave a few points off our competitors.

    Second, and as I said before, we now know our defensive frailties. Hopefully, lessons have been learnt.

    Third, and I am serious, for the first time in many games, I saw Ozil challenging for the ball in midfield. This I view as a positive. It is OK to play nifty delicate touches, but the job of a midfielder is also to challenge for the ball in 50-50 situations, and to challenge opposition midfielders when they have possession. Perhaps it is the fear of losing your feet to mercenaries. But this style of football simply does not work in the EPL. This is why the urgency that Ozil showed, particularly in the second half, and despite one Lee Mason being in attendance, I think is positive news.

    A small nitpick. Not sure about a 7 for our beloved Szcz. :D Anyway, as Chas says: “upwards and onwards”. :D :D :D Let us hope for some ROLF moments tonight.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Ozil’s second half performance was eye catching as he finally took responsibility for driving AFC forward.

    His balance is super-human

  30. Norfolk Gooner says:

    G’day AAers, very busy today, just booked a holiday to Borneo and I’m trying to get insurance, not very easy for a 71 year old with heart problems.

    The heart problems were exacebated by the way Arsenal played last night, which was reminscent of the way they played for most of the game against Coventry. Shabby!

    We were lucky indeed to get away with a point, Giroud was credited with a goal but I doubt his flick was intentional and in all honesty Cazorla’s “shot” was scuffed and barely trickled over the line.

    What got into Flamini I just don’t know! Reckless and stupid! Is that a three match ban? If so he’s really let the team down as we go into a very busy and vital period which will certainly define our season.

    At the risk of being asked “well which one are you then?” I’m not happy. :D

  31. Rasp says:

    Hi NG, actually it’s a 4 match ban because he has ‘previous’

  32. Rasp says:

    According to one report, Cazorla picked up an injury yesterday and will be out for a while …. does anyone have any info on this?

  33. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp, That’s even worse! AAAARGH! …..Call the crash team!! Charge to 200″ CLEAR!……OK!……..We’ve got a pulse!

  34. arnie says:

    Forgot to say earlier, lovely report LB, and some fantastic points, Kelsey. Cannot really disagree. :D

    Fingers crossed for some ROLF moments tonight. :D

  35. chas says:

    Cheers, all.

  36. RA says:

    Ssscchhhh!! The AA mice are sleeping – only opening their eyes a smidgeon to take a surreptitious peek at the latest transfer bollix, before curling up like dirty great hibernating marsupials or entering a deep torpor as befits their wont! :-)

  37. RA says:

    We need a bloody big cat!! :-)

  38. RA says:

    Rasper,

    Are you sure that was a mouse? It looks comatose, the way I imagine Chas after the first 15 pints!! :-)

  39. chas says:

    Do you think this chap thinks before he tweets?

  40. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GN5

    This comment reminds me of how unfair life is; “What is the tie breaker to determine who takes the top spot – surely it cannot simply be alphabetic?”

    I think it’s only right and proper. In the real world I operate under an alias, and my name begins with “B”. This means that throughout my childhood I had to sit at the front next to Archibald, while Zebedee, Zacary and all the other bad ‘uns got to sit at the back and flick our ears when Sir was looking away.

    Back shortly. Have we signed anyone? :-)

  41. chas says:
  42. chas says:
  43. Bayonne Jean says:

    Seems like both of our Spaniards’ poorer performances occur when they encounter (overly) physical situations and matchups, as was most apparent in the first half. While yes it would be proper if the rules were more strictly enforced, both Monreal and Santi have to realize that that’s the way thingstend to go in this league, particularly on the road, and need to get on with it and play through it.

    Further: Ozil’s run in the second half was fantastic, but I felt that he had Giroud wide open to his right with a square ball that could have put this fixture in the W column. Anyone else see it that way?

    Lastly, thought OG had a really solid game in spite of not getting any decent cooperation from his mates. And why AW took him off for the last eight minutes or so when you’re down to ten men and you need your best headers on to preserve the point was puzzling.

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening Chums

    Chas
    That soundcloud thing is brilliant. Loved the Dick Law and more so that there are Gunners out there who spend there time and energy so wisely.

    Then, when I thought it was all over, you get the crowd noise from the Jack goal and even better, when they showed the replays in the stadium. Wish I could save that somewhere.

  45. evonne says:

    thanks for the match report Chas. I am glad you didn’t crack too many jokes – it wasn’t funny. I am only now beginning to calm down after yesterday’s huge disappointment.

    I can not understand why the team underperform on the night. Mind you, the tale tale signs have been there for a while, we scraped a few results lately; it couldn’t possibly last, and yesterday we were exposed. I don’t buy into late bus, no warm up, poor weather, no sorry, they are just excuses. We were poor and Southampton were very good, end of. Lucky to get a point.

    Sadly, I don’t think we will be top of the league this season again.

    Thanks Chas and LB, for 2 excellent reports

  46. JanMan says:

    I think Kelsey’s 11:05 post pretty well sums it all up and I have to agree with him. In my opinion something is not right, this is not the first game where it has taken us forever to get going, in fact we could have been 3-0 down at half time! The balance of the team was not right, most of the players just did not show up until the second half. Even when we did take control we pretty will sat back and allowed them the equalizer almost unchallenged. I really have to ask Wenger, what is the problem with his tactical substitutions? How on earth could he leave Poldi on the bench? I believe Poldi is a match winner and to bring him on for the last couple of minutes is really a joke. I guess at the end of the day we can be happy to come away with a point but from Wenger on down, it was all wrong in this game. As for the bus being late, so what? They had ample time on the field to warm up so no excuses! Hopefully this is a wake up call but Wenger and the entire team need a swift kick up the “arsenal”

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ll amuse myself then.

    Transfer talk.

    Blaise Matuidi from PSG. Made a phone call apparently. They’ve just got Cabaye, so maybe.

    Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton. Arsene has “looked” at him. Good start I reckon :-)

    Right, who else:
    And finally, we’re “eyeing” some Dutch defender bloke.

    I reckon “looking” carries more weight than “eyeing”.

    Still think Alonso is a good idea. Is he busy at the moment?

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Evonne and JanMan

    Agree it was a rubbish day at the office, but really that’s all it was. We have to put things right at the weekend, and hopefully we’ll get one or two bodies on board by Friday.

  49. arnie says:

    I have still not calmed down, despite all efforts from AAers. Thank you, Chas, Micky, et al. I think a ROLF moment or two today evening will do the trick. :D :D

  50. evonne says:

    poor Micky, forever deluded :) Yes, we will probably win this weekend, but that might be it for a while. Sorry DidIt, you may as well go surfing

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie

    Many possibilities for a hearty ROLF at the Lane tonight. Draw good, even a Spud win good, and then again a 0-7 City win wouldn’t be without a giggle :-)

    Evonne
    I shall surf AND watch our new signings blossom :-)

  52. dandan says:

    NG if you are struggling try this they give me yearly cover and I share your problems…..http://www.allcleartravel.co.uk/cgi-bin/lansaweb?procfun+msdweb01+msdw009+alc+eng&gclid=CKe7y7mFpLwCFSEHwwod71YAxQ

  53. kelsey says:

    RE Santi…haven’t heard anymore news but in commentary they said he banged his head on concrete at the edge of the pitch and was subbed a few minutes later.

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually Evonne, it’s surfing tomorrow. Wind goes round to an Easterly, which is the very best for us down here. Wetsuit is on the aga as we speak :-)

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    dandan
    Saw the NG comment. I would have thought travel companies would welcome with open arms someone going to Borneo with a dodgy ticker at 71. Good chance they’ll have a spare seat all paid for the return journey. :-)

  56. evonne says:

    nutter :) you will get arthritis

    We won’t sign anybody ready to play in Feb. Perhaps a couple of prospects for the distant future, but no immediate remedy.
    Please don’t get me wrong, I think we are doing extremely well and much better than we did last season. But unfortunately for us other teams are doing even better. The goals have moved this year and not fault of our own, we are not closer to winning the league than we were last year. Go on then, assassinate me if you wish

  57. dandan says:

    Been there Micky, all that part of the world is very scenic, then you think of the guys who fought there and your backside goes Half a crown threepenny bit. :-) (that will confuse a few.)

  58. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We are doing better :-)

    Why would surfing give me arthritis?

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    dandan

    One of my brothers spent a year or so in Brunei on the jungle warfare course.

    He lost weight :-)

  60. dandan says:

    Rather him than me Micky. H e must be a tough cookie. Does he wear a wetsuit too. Great for the Humidity :-)

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha
    On that course, you are wet permanently for eight months. Ooo, and covered in leeches :-(

  62. MickyDidIt89 says:

    or are they leaches? Dunno

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right. Time to strap on the nosebag.

    Night all and enjoy the game if you’re watching. Should be a good match.

  64. evonne says:

    that useless Adebayor still cannot score

  65. dandan says:

    Skybet slash odds of Julian Draxler joining Arsenal to 1/8

  66. IanRealGunner says:

    City getting all the decisions again

  67. 26may1989 says:

    As ever, when we want Spurs to do something, they cave: now 3-0 to City, with Danny Rose having been sent off. Whammers holding out vs Chelsea though…..

  68. 26may1989 says:

    3-1…

  69. chas says:
  70. chas says:
  71. TwentyTwelve says:

    I’m beginning to dislike these Northern Oilers bullies very much. Gotta give it to them though; they have the killer instinct Arsenal lack. Handbrake? Threw them out a while ago.

  72. fatgingergooner says:

    Glad our London colleagues did us a favour. Up the Hammers!

    Our point looks a lot better than Chelsea’s.

  73. chas says:

    Hahahaha. 38 shots……

  74. 26may1989 says:

    Absolutely right, FGG! Fat Sam trumps Mourinho……

    We’re going to have to do the business against City, that’s becoming clearer.

  75. 26may1989 says:

    38 shots and they didn’t score???! Bloody hell.

  76. fatgingergooner says:

    Chas,

    Typical boring Mourinho. Keep it tight at the back and try and nick one on the break…..38 times!!! :)

  77. chas says:
  78. chas says:

    Hahaha, fgg.
    It must have been like the Alamo.

  79. chas says:

    I might actually take a look at MOTD at 22.35.
    Or at least after they stop masturbating over the 610 million oilers.

  80. chas says:
  81. chas says:
  82. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all, a good read Chas, thanks for adding meat to the bones of the radio commentary I listened too.

    There’s a few things I’ve been meaning to get off my chest when reading since last night:

    1) Suggestion that arriving late should not be an excuse and that we should have planned to arrive 2-3 hours before the game.

    Ok firstly if we arrived half hour before kick off they have to change, warm up, get on the pitch and get going. In my view the player most likely to suffer from a short warm up is the keeper. Most of the outfield players do warm up and stretching work, keepers get hands on the ball in the conditions and also time to assess their footwork etc, and I attribute the first goal to that lack of prep time (I know keepers union ).

    Secondly on the planning to arrive 2-3 hours before kick off…..does no one read anything about modern footballers? Their pre match meal time would be planned by nutritionists, they would have planned to have meal around 2-3 hours before the game, and be leaving hotel/restaurant to arrive at the ground in good time. Wenger is a fastidious timekeeper and planner of these things, my guess is weather played havoc with traffic and sent plans haywire. We often hear of delayed kick offs as fans have not been able to get to the ground why could Mason not extend the courtesy to us last night?

    2) Podolski.

    I like the lad, nothing absolutely nothing about his demeanour, interviews twitter presence suggests that he is unhappy. He is pretty much a certainty to go to the Workd Cup Low has already stated as much.

    Secondly does anyone know if he is fit enough to play two 90 minute games in 4 days? He is being nursed back in it would seem.

    3) 2-3 players out is expected, so we should be able to cope or strengthen.

    But we haven’t got 2-3 players out, we are 4 players out, Theo, Jack, Rambo, Rosicky with Arteta, Ox, Pod returning from injury in the mix. Doesn’t leave us with a huge amount of options. And only one team could cope with that many key injuries, and that me the team who has lost another £51m last season despite a world record sponsorship deal. So let’s just get over it and realise we can’t compete in that way so we will always have to rely on some luck in timings of injuries.

    The bench and starting XI looks a lot stronger with those four in the mix.

    4) there is one player responsible for the red card and that is Flamini

    5) Freak results happen in the PL all the time, So’ton held City to a draw at St Mary’s, Spuds won at St Mary’s, Spuds lost at home to a West Ham, West Ham draw with Chavs at the bus stop. Are West Ham better than Spuds and as good as Chavs.

    6) Refs…I’m actually more surprised more wasn’t made of Masons performance last night, against Shitty a lot of comments were blaming the result on the ref , yet we have away every goal, and the ref only impacted us in equalising from a position we had got ourselves in to. Mason gifted a free kick as Chas mentions which led to So’ton’s first goal. My drive home tonight all I have heard about is Spuds shouldn’t be 2-0 down and reduced to 10 men because it was a clean tackle, I also heard that Spuds had a perfectly good goal rules out….,same linesman giving both decisions, corrupt? I hope not but it starts to get harder to ignore. And if I find out it was the sane ref telling a City players to go see their fans because “they had to pay £63 to be there” I think serious questions should be asked.

  83. Gööner In Exile says:

    Oh just to make a final point 38 shots 0 goals…….do people begin to see why shouting shoooooooooot is maybe not the best coaching advice?

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rant over :)

  85. Oooooh Mourihno rattled, what fun ……… 38 shots!!!!!!!!! :lol:

    ……….and spuds thrashed …… of course they were :lol: ;)

  86. LB says:

    Chavs drop points and Aguero has a suspected hamstring problem………could be worse.

  87. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE,

    Agree with all of that!

    Wenger must go to bed dreaming of a league where FFP works properly.

    Oh well, i suppose we wouldn’t be able to enjoy Mourinho moaning about West Ham if that was the case! How can he ever talk about teams setting up for a draw! Tosser.

  88. ……… and those slimy scummers got thrashed LB :)

  89. GiE – are you saying that only Szczesny would be affected by lack of warm up?

  90. fatgingergooner says:

    What’s even more amusing is that Mourinho and Allardyce will be swapping bus parking notes in the car park ready for City v Chelsea next week! :)

  91. Gööner In Exile says:

    Peaches I’m saying Szczesny would be most affected so am letting him off the poor footwork for the goal :) I think everyone else would have been slower starting too. Lets not forget players have run downs and massages pre kick off, racing around to gets strappings on etc etc. very unsettling.

    I think Jose has been hoisted this evening….remember his comments after the 0-0 at Emirates. “Boring? For me boring is being unable to score at home”.

    And apparently Chav fans all moaning about Hammers tactics tonight….did they close their eyes for the entire CL final?

  92. On a footnote to our team against Southampton our bench was goalkeeper, three defenders, two forwards/strikers and only one midfielder. In particular not only was Wilshere absent with an injury which is not expected to be a problem for next Sunday but also Rosicky did not figure at all. Were we concentrating too much on not losing even before the kick-off? Certainly the draw is no worse than our result last season. So are we being sensibly realistic or are we over cautious?

  93. Hi Chris

    I’m glad you managed to get onto the blog.

    I hope you’re wrong about the team feeling the pressure and not wanting to lose. We’re not going to win games if we don’t try to and that’s the bottom line for me.

  94. arnie says:

    ha ha ha ha….. feel much better now. :D :D :D A wastage of effort shouting for Spuds though :sad:

    We are in mourning today, so I will not trouble you all too much. The TT poll bollix will arrive tomorrow morning. You have been warned ……… :D :D :D

  95. Gooner in Exile says:

    Chris think the absence of Rosicky was also injury related since his busted nose. Surely he would be on the bench if available?

    Or maybe there were injury concerns elsewhere in the squad and hence the number of subs.

    Personally for me it makes sense to have a right back, centre back and left back on the bench as they can all come on and do a job in their actual positions with little need to reorganise. Then as long as you have game changers in the other three the bench looks balanced.

  96. Rasp says:

    OK GiE, obviously your 10 :11 referred to some of my comments. I stand by the view that we don’t have any more players out than the average and probably better than our own standards over the last 3 years.

    Podolski may not be fully fit but he played a lot more than 6 minutes against Coventry so I don’t accept that as an argument as to why he was brought on with so little time to go.

    I do think the late arrival would have had a detrimental effect due to the lack of a proper warm up, but not for 45 minutes.

    This was not a freak result viewed in the context of recent games. We’ve been off the boil for a while and have just managed to wing games – last night we didn’t get away with it.

    Otherwise I agree with you :lol:

  97. arnie says:

    Good stuff, Rasp and GiE. :D :D :D I can see Rasp feeling much more cheery now. :D

  98. 26may1989 says:

    Very nice comment/rant, Mr Exile – all that was missing are a few inclusions of “Just as 26 said”…. :) :) :)

    Not that I had the insight on the keepers’ particular need to warm up but now that I’ve read it, I can definitely see what you mean.

    As for Spurs/City, the Spurs goal was correctly ruled out but City should not have been given a penalty for number 2 and Rose shouldn’t have been sent off.They are the best side but City sure are getting a lot of help from the officials.

  99. arnie says:

    oh dear, 26, errors of omission!!!!!! I should go back and read your comments as well. Stayed mostly away from AA today. :razz:

  100. 26may1989 says:

    You probably shouldn’t arnie, you’ll be annoyed……. :)

  101. arnie says:

    Have to say I take your points, 26. Dont agree fully, but we celebrate the diversity, dont we? :D

    You celebrated Burns night yesterday, lucky you! I should have done the same. On second thoughts, no, deep down I actually relished the suffering as well. A good old fashioned b**locking!!!!! :D :D :D

  102. kelsey says:

    We are not exactly doing badly but one can’t compete with City and Chelsea who have two first choice teams.Will City win the title as a goal machine or will the more cautious approach by Chelsea prevail (forget last night that was a small blip)

    The real race is for third and forth and I expect many twists and turns yet to come.
    We have a horrendous run of fixtures after Sunday and too many injuries for my liking.
    Its feasable City could win all 4 trophies is that really good for football ?
    I would just like to see an improvement on recent performances.Win lose or draw if the lads give their best we can’t ask for more.

  103. kelsey says:

    Not good news about Ramsey “out indefinitely” then add Wilshere not being 100% fiy, Walcott (no like for like replacement) Flamini out for 4 games at exactly the wrong time and suddenly we are limited for choice just when we need as many fit as possible.

    By the way whare is Diaby :)

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Motning All

    If you like your forwards to be 6’1″ two footed, dribbly, shooty, assisty, direct and passy then in a young Ronaldo kind of way this one ain’t bad.

    Look out for the skill at 1:53. I think he and Mesut are going to be bezzie mates.

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahoy Kelsey

    Up early. Hair trouble?

  106. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Where is Diaby? Who knows what a multi-millionaire young man who is apparently even more stupid than Bendtner does every day?

    I would like to know.

    My guess is he is forced to go to re-hab for a few hours a week and the rest is spent shopping

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Raddy,

    I’ve been a bit pushed for time, and as a result hurtling through comments. Never got to the bottom of your fascination with brothels. Anything you’d like to discuss Man to Man?

  108. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Yes I would which is why I consulted kelsey but the hairy one refused to get involved ;-)

    Are you surfing today.

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, to change tack slightly, and there’s no individual finger pointing intended here, but do I detect a shift in the victim culture from Utd get all the breaks from officials to City do now?

    In other words, everybody loves anyone who isn’t Arsenal?

  110. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes, yes, yes I am surfing.

    Been up since 4am. Work will be done and dusted by 10am.

    Obviously have to double check once it’s light, but looking brilliant. The cold Easterly winds are bad for people who don’t wear thick enough jumpers, but great for Surfers facing Westwards and the Atlantic.

    Still haven’t worked out why Evonne thinks Surfing will give me Arthritis.

  111. Big Raddy says:

    What do Poles know about surfing – as much as Danes !

    I have heard that some surfers suffer from horrific big toe injuries which result in them having to ear very ugly shoes., but this could be just tittle-tattle.

    BTW I am laughing at Tottenham :-D :-D

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha Ha :-)

    Actually, an very unusually, I’m completely injury free. Probably correct that later when I hit my head on a rock :-)

    Agree on Spuds. Silver lining. So much better that City put 5 past them rather than sneak it 1-0. Did many leave early :-)

  113. Big Raddy says:

    Of course they did. And they even had the gall to complain about the refereeing in an attempt to camouflage their ineptitude.

    Starting to get light ….. more offing snow to clear.

  114. Big Raddy says:

    Why don’t surfers wear helmets? Head and neck injuries seem commonplace.

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    It’s hard enough to move in a thick winter wetsuit as it is, really don’t need even more clobber. Mind you, me Missis just appeared and I told her I was off surfing. All she said was “you still haven’t done your Will that you said you were going to do”. I take that as a vote of no confidence. That, or she can’t wait to cash in :-)

    I’m amazed there aren’t surfers in Denmark what with their love of the salty breezes

  116. Gööner In Exile says:

    Micky for me there is a difference between the decisions being given.

    United used to get them because SAF was preparing a hair dryer and a strongly worded missive to the Referees Association and FA to make sure the offending Refs next game was Carlisle on a very cold Wednesday evening.

    City are getting run of decisions, however having seen Rose’s challenge on Dzeko I would be screaming for a penalty too. R5 presenters said he got the ball but didn’t describe the tackle (From behind and a bit scissory) it would be a free kick anywhere else on the pitch so yes it was a penalty.

  117. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Exile

    Take your point, but certainly can’t comment on last night’s as didn’t see it.
    It does seem to me that there’s an assumption that officials are bent, or “persuaded”, and it is always levelled at teams who are above us.

    My view is that we need to score more goals :-)

  118. kelsey says:

    Micky is into rubber and Raddy is a Soho street crawler…not much to add :)

  119. kelsey says:

    Back to football and the rumours gather.
    If Draxler is a done deal he is injured and CL cup tied,so wouldn’t be available to play for at least a month,would AW buy him with a get out clause now with so many huge fixtures imminent. Maybe but not AW’s style. I see we are also looking at this guy from Milan a CF and surely we need a DM, winger and CF.
    Then i read the italian Job we got and has never played maybe off and Fab is out of contract this Summer.Sagna has still not been officially tied down to a new deal and as I said yesterday has Podolski really got a future in Wenger’s eyes or is he another Arshavin. Just because AW says he has the hardest shot in the squad doesn’t mean he won’t sell him or offer him in part exchange.
    To put so much expectancy on The Ox and Gnabry now is IMO unfair.
    Rosicky should be back but there is no doubt we are missing the Ramsey of two months ago, and what about Vermaelen, all gone quiet.
    We know Walcott is out for the season and he definitely brought something to the table.
    If only we didn’t have this extremely difficult congestion of games with next to no time to rest starting in 10 days time.
    Hopefully there is a buzz of activity going on and we get some positive news by tomorrow night.
    We can mock at Spurs and United and Liverpool and even Everton but they all will have a say as to where we finish this season.

  120. kelsey says:

    Would you like Sunday’s match report now ;)

  121. Gooner in Exile says:
    Team P W D L Pts Home Games
    Manchester City 7 6 0 1 18 5
    Chelsea 7 3 3 1 12 3
    Liverpool 7 3 1 3 10 2
    Everton 7 2 3 2 9 3
    Arsenal 6 2 2 2 8 4
    Tottenham Hotspur 8 1 3 4 6 4
    Manchester United 8 1 2 5 5 4
  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Back from school run and it’s a solo from Kelsey :-)

    Mmm, where be Chas? Evonne is sulking as she only sings when we’re winning, and Arnie is probably driving through snow and ice via a mountain

  123. kelsey says:

    Exactly my point GIE

  124. evonnee says:

    you are right Micky, i am a sore loser

  125. Gööner In Exile says:

    :)

    Our record against the rest is very very good though

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Ha Evoneeeeee

    Hoped that would arouse you :-)

  127. evonnee says:

    I am getting truly annoyed, I wrote a long comment and bloody dogs have to have their gobs on the keyboard editing what I type, ridiculous

    Very, very good comment Kelsey!

    I said before that I cannot see Wenger buying a ready to unleash player. Prospects are good and prove what a great visionary Wenger is, but are not what we need now to beef up the team. It is a bit like ordering a fine rare fillet when you are hungry and could do with a well done rump steak.

    But I have been wrong before, let’s hope that’s the case again

  128. evonnee says:

    not sure where the extra ‘e’ came from, dogs probably, but I like it

    Rasp – where is a picture of the most beautiful baby girl Gunner?

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne

    Quite right. Fillet Steak is girly and tastes nothing like as good as a rump. While you can doom, I definately have you down in my AA Fighters Book :-)

  130. Rasp says:

    Morning evonne – no one has sent me a picture?

    Morning Kelsey – do we know much about Draxler’s injury or is this just one of those convenient injuries a player gets when he wants to leave a club?

  131. Rasp says:

    Bad news that manure are showing an interest in Draxler. I think we buy him now or maybe not at all.

  132. Rasp says:

    Last of my trio …… I think we will make a signing before the window closes – just maybe not the one we are expecting

  133. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……

    …… New post …….

    …… New author ……..

  134. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Rasp

    Surely Draxler would rather play with Mesut than Fatso or Brave, and also rather be managed by AW than Moyes, and also rather live in London that Manchester

  135. That is a good tip particularly to those new
    to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info…
    Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

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