The Ox fires Arsenal to The Top of The League.‏

Arsenal produced a first half performance that we have seen so often this season. Predictably, we had a huge amount of possession against a dour Palace defence which has improved dramatically in recent weeks, so it was never going to be an easy game. A couple of chances fell to Monreal and Koscielny that were well saved by Speroni, and Pulis Palace offered next to nothing in attack. Ozil impressed me, he definitely was the orchestrator – always looking to probe what often amounted to a nine or ten men defence.

Even so the balance seemed wrong with Podolski particularly playing too deep. We did not have enough width to stretch their defence, and why oh why didn’t someone try the occasional shot? Instead we made countless triangular passes (which is Arsene’s way), but this doesn’t work against teams that park the bus. Palace’s sole intention was not to get beaten.

oxlade chamberlain v palace

Within two minutes of the start of the second half, a beautifully dinked ball over the Palace defence by Santi set The Ox up to calmly and expertly chip the ball over the hapless Palace the keeper. However as so often is the case, we took our foot off the peddle and Jerome would have equalised but for an excellent save by the ever improving Szczesny. Subs were needed and the introduction of Rosicky paid dividends within minutes with an exquisite reverse pass touched on by Giroud for The Ox to drive a low shot past Speroni. Giroud had looked tired throughout the game and I would have preferred Bendtner to come on a little earlier, although he wasn’t involved that much, he showed a few good touches.

Podolski got another valuable 72 minutes and who better to bring on than Rosicky.

We have a tough series of games coming up so conserving strength was the key,so why go all out and try add to our tally. IMO those were the right tactics today. Three points in the bag – who could ask for more.

No question that The Ox was the Man of the Match not only for the breakthrough goal but his directness to take any opportunity to shoot as well as his overall contribution to play. He is only twenty and has a big future in this squad.

Player ratings

  •   Szczesny 8.5
  •   Sagna 7
  •   Monreal 6
  •   Arteta 6
  •   Mertesacker 8
  •   Koscielny 8
  •   Cazorla 8
  •   Oxlade-Chamberlain 8.5
  •   Giroud 6
  •   Özil 8
  •   Podolski 6.5

Subs

Rosicky 7.5

Bendtner 7

Gibbs 7

Written by kelsey

 

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133 Responses to The Ox fires Arsenal to The Top of The League.‏

  1. Northbank Lew says:

    Can someone please update the charts at the right…pretty please !

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning Lew, those charts will be updated this evening after the chav/city game. Apologies for the delay – it’s good to know folks take notice of them.

  3. Rasp says:

    The Ox in the Box, burns down Palace (if only I could claim that line :? )

    Thanks for a rare treat – a Kelsey match report :) I still haven’t seen any of the game except for the goals on YouTube. I see it as an important win, not just for the points but because it heralds a step up in the Ox’s development.

    From what I’ve heard from those at the game, he was disciplined playing alongside Arteta in the first half, but was obviously given license to venture forward in the second resulting in the goals.

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You’ve got the job Kelsey. Well done :-)

    Can’t stay long, but had to read the report. Very good it is too. Thank you.

    I agree that I would have liked Ollie to come off the moment the second went in, and also about the positive impact Mozart had. We are packed with exciting midfielders, and it is they who will need to come up with the goals. And here’s the good news. They are.

    ps Have read the comments from the morning session. Peoples’ lives are often complex. It’s easy to forget. As for Arnie and his Alana links: you are sooo on the Motning Crew Executive Committee :-)

    Back later.

  5. 26may1989 says:

    Top report, kelsey, thanks.

    The game was pretty predictable in terms of each side’s approach, and it was good to see that we lifted the pace and pushed forward after half-time to get the goals we needed.

    Giroud really didn’t have a great game – I think Exile made the point that the defenders had been briefed by Pulis well, that they should back off him when he was backing into them, and allow him to fall over. But his touch with the ball was very inconsistent – there were a couple of sublime little lay-offs, but too often his touch was heavy and he gave possession away. Not that that is typical of what has been an excellent season from him.

    Walcott, Wilshere and Ramsey were missed – having them on the pitch would have seen the pace and crispness of the passing increase, and better running from deep.

    But all in all, a perfectly good performance, even if it wasn’t an especially memorable day. As has become the custom, I thought Mertesacker and Koscielny were magnificent. Anything we achieve this season will be down to those two as much as any other player.

    And now onto Death Cluster Number One…….

    Liverpool didn’t look that impressive yesterday. I’m sure the Anfield crowd will lift them on Sunday but a good defensive performance there will give us a good chance of three points.

  6. evonnee says:

    top report for top of the league club, lovely jubbly. Thanks Kels, well said. I liked yours take on Ox’s goal – ‘calmly and expertly’ taken. Wow, the boy is merely 20 years old! Can’t wait to see more and more of him

  7. LB says:

    Great stuff Kelsey

    Top of the League, what’s not to like?

    I agree that the Ox deservedly gets MOTM for simply taking that game by the scruff of the neck and shaking it until we won.

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    Not enough comments for a good write up of a solid performance. Wins wins wins, that’s all we need.

    Yet another midfielder popping up with goals when others didn’t look likely.

    Agree on ratings although think a bit harsh on Nacho, he offered a good outlet in the first half but was rarely the option chosen.

  9. arnie says:

    Lovely stuff, Kelsey. I heard the second half on 5Live, saw extended highlights on Sky, and picked up snippets of discussion on AA. Based on that, your prognosis seems spot on. Thanks a lot. :D :D :D

    First, The Ox and Poldi played further upfront in the second half, and this made a big difference. This begs the important question …. but back to that later.

    Second, and something that cannot be picked up from highlights, and I am glad you point out, the role of Ozil in the first half: “always looking to probe what often amounted to a nine or ten men defence”. I would go even further to say that Ozil and Santi picked up all loose stuff in the midfield in the first, and perhaps Santi and The Ox did the same in the second. Fighting for loose scraps and harassing the opposition out of possession is an important function of the midfield. To my greatest pleasure, I am finding Ozil take an increasing interest in this area of the game. This is a fantastic sign!!

    And now back to the question. Why, pray why, do we defend so deep? Why do we start defending deep against the likes of Pulis’ Palace? Our strength lies in the midfield. Should we not try and play further up the field? I leave you with these brief thoughts. :D :D :D

  10. IanRealGunner says:

    It was good to see Chamakh get a good reception when he came off

  11. LB says:

    Yes, I thought that as well Ian.

  12. arnie says:

    Yes, Ian and LB, good point. :D :D

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    Thank you Kelsey, great report.

    It was one of those games where I had little doubt that we would eventually make the break through and score, as I felt we had the discipline and Palace did not have the staying power.

    It was a brilliant piece of strategy to let the Ox out of the midfield Box as it totally bemused the Palace defense and his run to the left went completely unchallenged. I was also very impressed with the personal discipline he displayed in the first half by staying in the box.

    A well earned three points and deservedly back to the top of the league. – although a place many begrudge as having – but who gives a damn, certainly not me.

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    I was impressed by Chamakh it was good to see that his confidence had returned and it was also obvious that he wanted to show his capabilities to the crowd. Maybe in the form of a F. U. lot – here is a glimpse of what you are missing.

  15. LB says:

    I am not sure there were many Arsenal supporters, if any, who left the ground feeling as though we were missing out on anything that Chamakh had to offer, but nevertheless it was nice that he was treated respectfully.

  16. Charybdis1966 says:

    A late good morning to all and a big thank you to the magnificently maned Kelsey for his match report. Good points that had not occurred to me while I watched from the Clocl end lower.
    Saw Chas & co Not at the tavern pre match which was good as I fear seeing Peachy pre match will happen less and less due to granny duties 😕

    If anyone’s interested my take on the match is here. http://www.7amkickoff.com/2014/man-at-the-match-chary-the-ox-swats-palace-aside/#com-head

  17. Gooner in Exile says:

    Found it interesting that Pulis seemed to play Cham as the link man between defences and centre forward. He is probably one of the best on the ball in the Palace side which i guess shows the gulf in class between the two sides.

    Was impressed by the Palace away support even though i am not sure the Emirates stewards should be letting a man with a drum into the ground, was bloody annoying on the ears.

  18. Vinay says:

    Santi was brilliant, the one thing as ever the media doesnt give us credit is the way the goals are spread, the midfield contributing and stepping up whenever needed. 3 points, a comfortable win and a positive rumour that jack could be back for the weekend, perfect, wait, lets have a draw tonight pls,

  19. RockyLives says:

    Excellent write up Jingle Kels :)

    I’m pleased you mentioned Ozil’s work. I thought he exuded class throughout the game, but his contribution gets overlooked by some observers.

    It was nice to see the Chamster get a decent round of applause when he came off. As I mentioned yesterday, he never bad-mouthed Arsenal either when he was the permanent bench warmer for BSR or after he left for Palace. I thought he played well in that deep-lying forward link-up role and you can see him being very effective against teams who’ll dominate possession less than us.

    All the same, LB is right: he would not get in our team these days.

  20. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Well done Kelsey, that match report may just have got you the job an a permanent basis, no disrespect to other Match Reporters intended of course.

    Rocky, he didn’t get in out team all that often when he was here. :D

  21. kelsey says:

    Thank you for all the nice comments. It is quite a while since I regularly did the post match review.

    I have one concern with Flamini still suspended for another two games is that Arteta seemed to be carrying a niggle,hopefully nothing more. He has had a few recently and as one gets older these things take longer to heal.

  22. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Kelsey, according to Le Boss Arteta got a kick, but the injury hasn’t yet been fully assessed.

    I don’t think Pulis has entirely given up on the sort of intimidatory fouling so prevalent at Stoke, one or two of his mid-fielders Dikgacoi and I think Jedinak were very fortunate not to have been booked for quite blatant fouls, but obviously the ref was happy to let them get away with a ticking off. Not so in the case of Merts who was booked for a first and rather debateable foul. But that is what we have come to expect after all.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Nice work.

    Hard work but finally a comfortable 3 points.

    Some negatives – as everything is rosy, why not?

    Not happy with Monreal starting ahead of Gibbs, and if Gibbs is on the bench then he must be fit enough to play the match. Monreal is a fine back-up, possibly the best backup LB in the PL (you reading Ashley C? :-) ) but given the opposition came to park the bus our best attacking LB should have played.

    Arteta’s distribution wasn’t up to his normal level. He may be carrying a knock but if that was so why not play Tomas or even Gibbs as DM? Could be costly against better opposition.

    Giroud was hung out to dry. Every time he received the ball with his back to goal there were two giants all over him and no AFC player close enough to assist. As Kelsey points out Podolski was playing too deep.

    Apart from that – we played very well and were deserving winners. The Ozil/Cazorla partnership is starting to gel. Ox was very good second half. The CB’s immense and TPIG concentrated.

    Another clean sheet.

    I heard the expression ” Attackers win fans, defenders win titles” and we have the best in the PL.

  24. Norfolk Gooner says:

    BR, I don’t think there’s a lot to choose between Gibbs and Monreal, given the injury record of the former It’s my guess that the two of them will be rotated on a regular basis.

  25. chas says:

    Right, I’m not really here as am currently serving a suspension for using the language of the gutter. Just thought I’d thank BR for yesterday’s excellent pre-match and kelsey for his super match report.

    Here are a few links I’ve seen which may be of interest…….

  26. chas says:

  27. chas says:

  28. chas says:

    If you could make this visible, GIE, would be good…..

  29. Rasp says:

    Your suspension must be self-imposed chas? You were sorely missed by the motley motning crew :P

  30. RA says:

    We Want Chas!!

    We Want Chas!!

    We Want Chas!!

  31. RA says:

    Language of the gutter?

    We Want Effing Chas!!

    We Want Effing Chas!!

  32. RA says:

    Nice report, Kelsey, short and sweet, and amazingly accurate given you said it was written before the game. :-)

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Lovely pic of JT.

  34. RA says:

    I was quite comfortable with the boss’s explanation of the Kallstrom loan deal, and particularly after he said that it was low risk with no upfront costs.

    Then this morning I read that he would not have done the deal if he had had another two days available, but at 5 p.m. on the last day of the window he had to do it, knowing the guy was injured.

    Que? Manuel?

    Was there something lost in the translation? :-)

  35. kelsey says:

    Short and swet RA. That took me 15 minutes :)

  36. Big Raddy says:

    I like this derivation of John Thomas …. (there are many)

    John Thomas was the generic term for a liveried servant (OED) and they always “stand” in the presence of a lady :-D :-D

  37. Big Raddy says:

    A post takes me at least an hour !

  38. Rasp says:

    Redders, I’ve solved the cryptic clue as to why we signed Kallstrom …….. it’s an anagram of Troll Mask ……. spooky :roll:

  39. RA says:

    You are amazing, Rasper!

    Even after you solved the anagram I had to check it to see if you were right!! Hot diggety dog. :-)

    That was a bit like when I read one headline,today, that said ‘Wenger to send Kallstrom’s back to Russia’, which I thought was particularly apposite, and was the Arsenal equivalent of the mafia’s horses head insistence, but then when I checked, I found it was a much more prosaic ‘Wenger to send Kallstrom back to Russia’. :-)

  40. Rasp says:

    I find it quite endearing that we generally are very professional but once in a while we make a teeny faux pas. We have a very small amount of egg on our chin :lol:

  41. RA says:

    I am not sure why arnie and others have queried why we played so deep (well in arnie’s case I can – he ‘watched’ it on the radio’, but unless my eyes deceived me, we had about 73% possession throughout the match, of which about 90% was played in the Palace half.

    It is possible that the Pod became detached from the Giro, but in a loose 4:4:2 that could have been tactical (or that the Pod did not play all that well).

    Nope – I think the real problem was, as I said at the time – and still think is the case – that we got caught in a training ground mentality of keep ball, and enjoyed saturation possession by passing backwards and sideways in ever decreasing circles, (I know that is not mathematically possible – but it feels right to me) :-) and we simply forgot that the overwhelming objective was to put the ball into the onion bag.

    In the second half we introduced a burst or two of pace in the personage of our young Ox in the box, and lo and behold we were bequeathed a goal or two for our efforts.

    Watching on TV, as we all know, gives a different perspective than what is seen at the ground – although watching it on the radio is something else – and if LB or Peaches have a different opinion I would be interested to hear it. :-)

  42. RA says:

    Egg on our chinny chin chin, grandma?

    Does that have anything to do with your mention of a fox’s ass? :-)

  43. I’m going to tell you my theory (and I was there) …………

    First half

    Palace parked the bus which we expected and we couldn’t get through.

    The Ox did an exceptionally wonderful job of sticking to his role of DM alongside Arteta which we need him to be able to do in the coming games.

    Half-time

    AW reveals his plans for the second half – Alex ‘You run into space and one of the others will deliver you a fabulous ball so you’d better score cos this might only happen once.’

    Second half begins ……….

    After a couple of minutes Alex makes a bid for freedom …….. Santi finds him with a lovely ball …….. the Palace defence are completely taken by surprise because Alex is supposed to be on the half way line with Arteta. Easy peasy ………. :)

    If any of Santi or Poldi or Ozil had tried the run they would have had men on them …………..

    ………….shhhhhhh don’t tell Pool or Manure :lol:

  44. It’s fair to say that Poldi could never have made the run though :oops:

  45. This is so funny ………….

  46. Is there any chance of Abou Diaby returning to weave some magic against Liverpool as he did in the corresponding game last season? The result was a 2-0 win and we like to win 2-0. Is there any chance of the said man ever returning to the side as a fit player?… I thought not. We however have some games that we seriously need to win coming up.
    The Juggernaut that is Man. C. will maybe trounce Mourinho’s mob (pretenders that they are) go top and stay there as the “experts” expect, until they are crowned champions. My belief is that our resilience is already pissing the doubters off and should we win the crunch matches vs.’Pool, United,Chelsea and Spurs while maintaining our current form, then the title is certainly ours. City can score another 100 goals and still be left in our slipstream points wise.
    Come on you Gunners, confound the critics and win the league.

  47. Hi TC – I did read that Diaby may return but not until March sadly.

  48. LB says:

    It really raises the question of how anyone can still take Mourinho seriously.

  49. TwentyTwelve says:

    If Arsenal make it through to the next rounds of CL and FA Cup, DeathCluster2 will be twice as hard as DC1. Arsenal will need all the available players.

  50. TwentyTwelve says:

    Good point about conserving energy, kelsey. Great match review.

  51. RockyLives says:

    From the Daily Tel:

    “Manchester United outcast Anderson has warned of a summer exodus from Old Trafford after claiming several of his team-mates ‘want out’ of the club.

    “The Brazilian midfielder, who completed a loan move to Italian outfit Fiorentina during the January transfer window, is expected to make a permanent departure from United at the end of the season, seven years after arriving in a £26 million deal from Porto.”

    What stunned me about that story was not that lots of poor lickle Mancies want to run away, but that ManUre paid 26 MILLION QUID for Anderson!

    Thank Dennis for Arsene Wenger.

  52. RA says:

    Rocky

    I thought Manure paid about £6m for Anderson == for no good reason other than I thought he was worth half that, and Manu had been stiffed – but £26m – oh, my.

  53. RockyLives says:

    Maybe it’s a mistake Redders. It seems ludicrously high for a crap player.

  54. Vinay says:

    When we last won the league, Invincibles went out of all the cup competitions yet won the league without losing a game. This team may just do the same, not invincibles, yet will win the league. I dont care if we lose to bayern, pool in the fa cup but win the league, thats all that matters.
    In fact i want city and chelsea to go till the semis of the ucl and then lose, FA cup i really dont care who wins if its not us, league we win and i believe it will be our finest ever triumph for various reasons.

  55. GunnerN5 says:

    When The Ox was asked in the post-game Skysports interview if he was going to watch the big game, his reply was “Who’s playing?”

    True Gooner : )

  56. evonnee says:

    keep talking Vinay, it’s music to my ears…… :)

  57. kelsey says:

    Vinay

    I was going to do a post about us doing the treble this season

  58. evonnee says:

    calm down Kelsey, calm down

    GN5 :) excellent

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GN5
    “When The Ox was asked in the post-game Skysports interview if he was going to watch the big game, his reply was “Who’s playing?””

    So good it hurts :-)

    Also loved Peaches’ : “Alex makes a bid for freedom”

  60. RA says:

    Roxy,

    I think you are right about Anderson’s fee.

    I googled it and apparently, although it was an ‘undisclosed’ fee, it leaked out that Manyoo paid £18m up front, with up to £10m in add ons.

    Whatever – it makes me join you in saying thank Dennis for AW.
    (Although – I would not say no to a nice new expensive toy – because I am an unashamed tart!! :-)

  61. RockyLives says:

    I wouldn’t say no either Redders, but I would want that toy bought for me by Monsieur W. That way you get to unwrap an Ozil, not an Anderson or a Soldado…

  62. RA says:

    Peaches,

    Thank you for your ‘man on the spot’ revelation about Arsene’ secret instruction to the Boxy Ox. :-)

    Of course being a right old snitch – you had better avoid the Arsenal dressing room next time, or you could be shot for spying cos no one will believe you were just there to lust after a stripped down Giro!!

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA

    Did you watch the “Go Seahawks” win.
    On the radio they were saying how much beer/pizza/burgers and so on get consumed on Final Day. Some seriously impressive stats.

    Do a greater percentage of Americans watch the Superbowl Final as Englishers watch the FAC Final?

  64. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sod it, didn’t realize the time. Have to go. Enjoy whatever game is on tonight :-)

    ‘Till the morrow.

  65. RA says:

    Micky,

    The Ox’s response to the question ‘Are you going to watch the big game tomorrow night’ as GN5 said, his response was not only funny, it was genuine, which made it funnier.

    Good lad that one!! :-)

  66. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all….RA think the thing that was lost in translation was this……

    Tuesday night Rambo picks up longer injury, Flamster gets suspended.

    Conversation between AW and board:

    AW : ok we haven’t found a striker, I can cope but we do need to push a deal through now for midfield cover. We don’t need to sign anyone permanent we have plenty of cover when everyone’s fit but this is a little bottleneck we need to get over.

    Board : ok go find him

    Couple of days of negotiation and KK is the man, experienced, 6 month loan deal suits all (not a WC international so no worries about the deal).

    Friday 5pm arrives for medical

    KK : everyything will be fine, but I’ve a little pain in my back

    Medics : let’s see how bad……oh shite

    AW : what choice do we have, anyone else we can get here in next 7 hours? Oh bugger we have to sign him otherwise we have no one in, and even if he is not available now we may need him before seasons out

  67. RA says:

    Micky (who is off) :-)

    I am a New York Giants fan, from my youth, so as it was held at the Metlife stadium I was tempted to go, but …… it would be like you and I going to watch a final between Manyoo and Chelsea – and travelling at the moment is a bit of a pain for me — so I didn’t.

    It is a huge event in the US, but whisper it, I honestly think watching it on TV is a bit frustrating with all the adverts (I have become more British than I should be ;-) )

    I saw some of it with my friends, but as I cannot drink, it did not take long for the pitchers of beer to flow and everyone to become ‘jolly’ and I felt like a spare part, and slipped away! ;-)

  68. RA says:

    Perhaps you are right GIE, and that does seem possible.

  69. RA says:

    Got to go feed, Hieronymus – I mean Geronimo, and then a nice healthy Burger for me before seeing some of the game. :-)

  70. IanRealGunner says:

    Just seeing Roberto Martinez on the TV – that man needs to be Arsene’s successor. Talks a lot of sense

  71. Thanx for the info regarding Diaby Peaches. I still believe he will retire form the treatment table though. Too bad, He may not get a winners medal when we win the title. As far as taking Mourinho too seriously is concerned, I’m sure Abramovitch is already thinking of his next managerial change.

  72. RockyLives says:

    Anything happening in El Cashico?

  73. Chavs have taken the lead Rocky

  74. Kgööner says:

    Chelsea 1 up rocky. and looking to score more. Our defense is much better than City’s.

  75. Gööner In Exile says:

    1-0 Chavs Rocky…..City choking up front with no Aguero on the pitch.

    They don’t actually have that good of a defense to attack transition if YaYa is stopped from running with the ball.

    Great strike by Ivanovic for the goal.

  76. 26may1989 says:

    Chelsea are bossing it, methinks. City’s defensive game looks absolute pants.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Who would have thought Chelsea would be dominating the game? Jose clever to target the weak Dimichelis.

    Matic, Ramirez and Willian bossing the midfield.

    Be an intersting 2nd half as Chavs tire.

  78. kelsey says:

    Palace defended better than City at least in the first half yesterday :)

  79. 26may1989 says:

    Is Demichelis Pelligrini’s love child? Even when Dimichelis gets the push from central defence, a spot in the starting XI is found for him. He looks like City’s Squillaci to me. Mind you, Luiz is about as unreliable.

  80. 26may1989 says:

    Is Fernandinho more of a miss for City than Aguero?

  81. Fernandinho is a massive loss.

    Their attack usually papers over any cracks by banging in 4 or 5, but they are getting exposed by Hazard’s brilliant movement and dribbling. He is absolute quality at the moment.

    I still think Chelsea will need another goal to win and maybe even to draw.

  82. Gööner In Exile says:

    Is the Chav win good for us? Or do we prefer a draw.

    Win means we will be 2 clear of both.

    Win 13 games draw against those two and titles ours right?

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Watching MC’s central defence it makes one hope that we have tied Kos to a long and well paid contract.

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    26 I think it’s their lack of ball through midfield that is costing them so you may be right.

  85. Kgööner says:

    Chavs win. No doubt. That will keep us totl and a cushion to draw 2 games. Also end mancity’s home unbeaten run. *evil laugh* Neutral? I think not.

  86. Big Raddy says:

    Where is Rodwell? He must be better than dimichelis or nata thingy

    Maybe we could sign him

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Matic is just the player we should have signed.

  88. 26may1989 says:

    I hate him and I hate them, but respect to Mourinho and to Chelsea, top performance.

  89. 26may1989 says:

    Another thing I don’t understand is why Pelligrini stuck with two up-front, when the game was going so badly for them and when they were being destroyed in midfield. That exposed the misfiring defence and played into Chelsea’s hands. Weird.

  90. Gööner In Exile says:

    Very strange game, City seemed to want to encourage Chavs to attack to give themselves some room to play, but Chavs don’t commit men forward even when they want to score so it just took away momentum from their own attack.

    City played with none of the intensity we have seen from them over past few weeks.

    Chavs did what they do. Take their chances and defend solidly, that said Dzeko missed a good chance as did Silva twice.

    As Raddy says I hope we have Kozzer signed up long term, as City will surely look to strengthen their back line in the summer. I have heard Pellegrini described as being only interested in attacking but I think it’s just their only form of defence, if the attack misfires as it did tonight they don’t have enough to see out draws.

    I didn’t see anything from either side to be worried about tonight, we can cause them as many problems as they can cause us.

    If it were me and we are still in and around them come our games against these two I’d play within ourselves vs Chavs to get a point and go for the jugular against City.

  91. 26may1989 says:

    I wonder what the chances are of City looking to Vermaelen, to establish an all-Belgian CB pairing.

    Actually, the type of CB they need is someone bigger than Kompany but still mobile, someone like Pique.

  92. LB says:

    Pique used to play for manu don’t forget.

  93. LB says:

    GIE

    I wouldn’t be surprised for a minute if you were exactly right about the Kimmy deal.

    There is, however, one thing I can’t work out.

    Let’s say that Wenger is giving us all the facts about the deal; that’s to say, we only pay KK’s wages if and when he is fit.

    The bit that confuses me is why Spartak would allow him to go, I just can’t see the advantage to them at all.

    Any thoughts?

    Anyone?

  94. LB says:

    OK, I think I have got it.

    “We accepted to share the costs, so they will pay him for the first six weeks of his wages,” said Wenger.

    Wenger added: “I wouldn’t have signed him if we had another two or three days, but it was on Friday at 5pm.”

    Still, not sure why Spartak were happy for him to leave.

  95. 26may1989 says:

    I agree, LB, that is a mystery. Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that Kallstrom only started five of Spartak’s 14 league games so far this season, and that he may therefore have been considered to be surplus. Spartak also got rid of another (no doubt highly paid) foreigner in January, namely Aiden McGeady, so perhaps they’ve been clearing the decks, and with Kallstrom crocked, they took a view that they’d have to take a bit of a hit on his wages for a few weeks in order to shift him for the months that followed.

    Not that any of that stacks up very well from an Arsenal point of view.

  96. kelsey says:

    Morning.

    Just to continue this thought process by LB and 26may, I honestly don’t think we will ever know the truth and I am afraid it all points to AW/club making a mighty ricket on this loan deal. Just think about it. It’s too clear cut to make sense.Spartak pay the first 6 weeks then when he is deemed fit and that in itself is questionable,we are contracted to pay his wages for the rest of the loan deal. Come on when have we ever had a precise time when a player is presumed fit.
    The fact is we needed cover and with only a few days left in the window unfortunately chose the wrong option if in fact thee was an alternative low cost loan dealwhich suited AW.

  97. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah, Kelsey, what a pleasant surprise :-)

    Maelstom, who injury aside, would not get up to prem speed probably this season, proves Arsene has zero faith in Verm stepping in as emergency DM cover.

    I will never suggest it again. Unless Arteta gets injured, because of course, so is Maelstrom :-)

    Verm still for DM, then :-)

  98. MickyDidIt89 says:

    As 26 said, can’t stand Maureen, but he is quite effective :-(

  99. Big Raddy says:

    FairPlay to the Chavs, they were very good and could/should have won by more.

    So much for the Quadruple

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie,

    I do understand that yesterday you were merely trying to titillate the motning crew with what appeared to be a soft porn vid with a loose surf connection, and we thank you, but actually that Alana Blanchard is well respected. As a surfer :-)

    http://www.aspworldtour.com/surfers/womens-profiles/

  101. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And more….

  102. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches
    Just sent in a quick conversation starter just in case.

    Must dash.

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Why has that “still” pic from the Alana vid sent all the gentlemen rushing away from their laptops?

    Most odd :-)

  104. evonnee says:

    Andy Cotton DidIt – set the new world record in surfing yesterday. Why not you Micky? Too busy watching dirty vids

  105. LB says:

    Dislikeable in so many ways but that is very funny.

  106. Gööner In Exile says:

    I did a predictor before the last round of games until the end of the season.

    I got two results right (Arsenal and Everton). Everyone else down to Newcastle bar Chavs dropped points. But now my end of season predictor says all three end up on 91 points. So we either need a lot more goals…..or beat City. Think Chavs will fall away if they progress through CL stages.

  107. 26may1989 says:

    Something from Radio 4: the Metropolitan Police football team plays in the Ryman Isthmian Premier League; after 27 games, they are currently 13th, with a win-draw-loss record of 9-9-9.

    Well, I liked it……

  108. 26may1989 says:

    Exile, I think Chelsea’s game against us was a crucial moment for them, they’ve established a degree of strength and solidity since that match and I think they’ll continue in that vein for much of the season, whatever Mourinho says. They’re every bit as much a threat for us as City. But I do believe we can do it.

  109. kelsey says:

    I was just thinking the opposite 26th. We performed a lot better than City did last night against Chelsea.

    I am sure the title will be won by the team that concedes the less not scores the most.

    No one plays mind games better than Mourinho.

    City always look vunerable in defence as in fact do most of the top teams but I think Chelsea have the big game mentallity better than City.

    It all starts in ernest this weekend.If only we can avoid further injuries we are definitely in the mix.

  110. TwentyTwelve says:

    Hi GiE, 26, et al. Could this Kallstrom situation be related to insurance and liabilities somehow? Perhaps the insurers only want to take on “healthy” players? I haven’t seen anyone challenging Wenger’s statement that “we have all played with micro-fractures… you don’t even notice them.” If we can take the previous as true, then why would the club even care to make a fuss over such a small (?) thing.

  111. LB says:

    I still see City as more likely to win the League than the chavs and for that reason I am pleased that they won last night.

    The reason being that I think the chavs will draw more games than they should in the run in where as I see City as being far more clinical.

    Our future is n our own hands, we shall see.

    I am starting to wonder if it is on our best interests to win that FA Cup game?

  112. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    I have to agree with Raddy’s comment last night – we really could do with a player like Matic in our squad. He’s a beast, 6ft 4 in and puts it about – but he can play football. He got the better of Yaya on several occasions.

  113. Morning all

    Thank you Micky, we have a Rocky special for today so if yours isn’t time sensitive it will get used on another day.

  114. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB was thinking similar, do we forgo FAC and CL progression for the best chance if winning the league?

  115. TwentyTwelve says:

    Rasp, yes I was wondering the same thing during the match last night. I cannot see any of Arsenal’s midfielder (except perhaps Flamini) who can match strength with the like of Matic and Toure for the whole match. However, the quickness of Arsenal’s midfielders—take the example of Ramsey picking Toure to open the attack for Walcott’s equalizer in the City away match—might be enough.

  116. LB says:

    I am not convinced we will have too much choice over the CL.

  117. kelsey says:

    The trouble with the CL is stopping Bayern scoring in the first leg.

    I would imagine that AW will prioritise the three ompetitions.

  118. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    Gustavo, Bender or Schneiderlin would do in the summer.

    Looking at the fixtures we definitely have the harder games, but we have 8 very winnable games too. Those are the ones we MUST win, and then see where we end up.

    It’s going to be very tough. We are definitely 3rd favourites, no matter what bollix Mourinho says!

    This is where we all have said we wanted to be though, so not the time to be wimping out. Time to man up and get the job done.

    It’s not us who have to play the big boys, WE are the big boys and they have to play us! WE are top of the league!

  119. Rasp says:

    Hi guys,

    I agree, a hench midfielder (as opposed to an undisciplined dench midfielder) as an option in the squad would be a great asset. Our midfielders’ work rate and passing ability does negate the need for such a player to an extent, but even so, I think we’d love to have either Matic or Yaya Toure in our side.

  120. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    I think Yaya would get in any team in the world. Matic also looks very good but we will see how he develops.

    We definitely need to be finding a top class DM in the summer as Arteta doesn’t have long left at the level we want to be

  121. TwentyTwelve says:

    Here’s how I imagine the conversation went, a few days after the the one GiE 7:26 pm described.

    [Phone rings. Wenger answers.]

    Physio: Arsene, sorry to interrupt you at 5pm on this busy Friday afternoon. We’ve found some complications with Kim. We’ve discovered that he’s suffering from a micro-fracture in his vertebra.

    AW: A micro-fracture? We have all played with micro-fractures. You don’t even notice them. Why are you bringing this up?

    Physio: No one would contradict you, Arsene. That’s what I’ve been telling the lawyers.

    AW: Lawyers?

    Lawyer: We’re here, Arsene. The problem is with these insurance companies. They don’t want us to play Kim until he’s healed.

    AW: How long would that be?

    Physio: Could be six weeks, Arsene.

    AW: Look, ahh! We don’t need this. [Mumble] Flamini…two feet…! I must say, maybe if this came out two or three days ago, I might have been able to work out something else. Of course, it wouldn’t be as good. Let’s not forget players of that stature aren’t available for loans all the time, especially in January. As well, free.

    Lawyer: We all know you are excited about this deal, Arsene. Everyone has noticed how you grinned earlier this week. If it is any consolation, Spartak said they would pay Kim’s wages while he’s in rehab. They really want to get him off their payroll, though.

    AW: Fantastic! Let’s do it. Let’s not forget we need as well to save money. Curse those Oilers! It’s a shame we cannot use him during “Death Cluster One”—I must thank Rocky for that name—but there is still the even longer “Death Cluster Two”. I must say, the journos will have a field day, but people will see we are not completely wrong with this.

  122. kelsey says:

    Don’t worry RVP and Fabregas are both coming home :)

  123. We have a New Post …………………..

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