Give Us An A: An Arsenal Alterative Alphabet

May 22, 2014

Throughout the Dog Days of summer, between the euphoria of Cup Final day and the Big Kick-Off for 2014/15, Arsenal Arsenal will be taking its own idiosyncratic amble through the dictionary.

For each letter of the alphabet we will offer up some suggestions for entries that can ultimately go in the Arsenal Alternative Dictionary (available during the pre-Christmas weeks at all branches of Wasterstones or to download direct to Swindle).

Today we start with the letter ‘A’. The numerate among you will quickly have deduced that – with one letter per day – there will be 26 “alternative alphabet” Posts throughout the summer, which should help swallow up a chunk of the silly season. If only Arsenal Arsenal was published in Russian we would be able to fill up even more days, there being 33 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet.

This will be an occasional series, appearing on those days when there is nothing better to write anout.

Naturally you are encouraged to suggest your own entries in Comments.

So let’s get going…

A IS FOR…

Anfield ‘89

Like 1066 and 1945, the year 1989 will be remembered through the ages as one in which great things happened. Specifically it was on May 26th of that year that our lads, managed by Gorgeous George Graham, went to Anfield for the last game of the season needing to win by 2-0 to clinch the First Division title. No-one gave us a chance and even – at 0-1 in Arsenal’s favour, with the clock ticking down and Steve McMahon running round the pitch giving everyone the finger, few thought we would do it. But cometh the hour, cometh the Micky Thomas… bursting through the midfield… it was all up for grabs – and grab it we did. Probably the most remarkable, unbelievable, spectacular moment in my 44 years of supporting Arsenal.

Arsenal Stadium Mystery

How many other teams can say they’ve had a film based on them? Made in 1939, the film focused on a murder mystery at the stadium. Strangely, our neighbours down the Seven Sisters Road have not yet cottoned onto the idea of entering the movie business, even though they seem baffled every May about who murdered their season…

Arsenal

I love the word ‘arsenal’. A place where munitions are made seems such a brilliant word for a football club to share. In our case the Arsenal in question was the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, South-East London (and a mere hand grenade throw from where I was born). The Royal Arsenal provided the hardware for our troops to defend the nation from the late 17th Century up until its closure in 1994, reaching its peak size during the First World War. And, as you all know, our team started out as the works team for the establishment.

Al Qaeda

While the West lives in fear of more terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Al Qaeda, only the Arsenal stands secure as a place that will never be touched by the terrorists. Rumour has it that Osama Bin Laden was a regular on the terraces when he lived in London in the 1990s. He even bought an Ian Wright shirt for his son Abdullah. His time as a gooner led to him getting his own song: “Osama, woah-woah, Osama, woah-waoh, he’s hiding in Kabul, he loves the Arsenul“.

Armstrong

Players won’t normally get a look-in in this alternative Arsenal alphabet (they belong in the official alphabet), but little Geordie Armstrong, the flying winger of our 1971 Double side, gets a mention because his picture was the avatar for our dear, departed fellow blogger Dandan, who now supports from the great North Bank in the sky.

Avenell Road

I’ve been to Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington and to Fifth Avenue, New York. I’ve got drunk on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and I have walked down the Champs Elysees in Paris. But there is no finer street in all the world than Avenell Road, N5.

Right, that’s half a dozen to get the ball rolling.

Now, over to you…

RockyLives


Arsène and Arsenal’s biggest mistake.

May 8, 2014

Our season went up in smoke on January 4th when Theo Walcott was stretchered off during our 2-0 Cup win over That Lot.

Regular readers of the site will know that I am no fan of that continental Total Football nonsense. For me, it’s an outdated throw back to the dope smoking hippy days, and has its home in the Coffee Bars of Holland.

What I mean is this. I get interchangeability and flexibility, but I firmly believe in specialists.

As far as I’m concerned, the moment Theo went off, there was only one course of action. Oxlade becomes his immediate and permanent replacement for every game, with Serge as his back up.

However, what happened was that Arsène did use Ox out wide, but not always. On occasion, he was to be found playing a more central role.

Early yesterday morning, both Arnie and Goonerkam made the excellent point about how different roles for players is part of their development and education. I do agree, and have always said that I believe Ox will ultimately end up more centrally, however, needs must, and the Team should come first.

The loss of Theo left a massive tactical void, that ONLY The Ox could fill. This was not the time for Arsène to muck about. Ox’s development was actually hampered this term in my book, as he did not have the consistent runs in any one position to develop key understandings, as much of our beautiful football is played in small triangles, and telepathic understanding only comes with continuity. Thus, Ox was less effective than he should have been.

Ox played central, so it came as no surprise to me that when shunted back out right, he became unsure, or perhaps simply unused to, his role. He drifted central leaving us lacking the vital pressure release valve.

Thus, to my mind, the biggest loss to our season was not the loss of Aaron, or even Theo, but rather not playing The Ox there as first choice every available game following the tragedy of January 4th.

Written by MickyDidIt89


In praise of Arsène Wenger but give him the funds to challenge

May 3, 2014

Morning Gooner’s

While reading Arnie’s post the other day, about other clubs Managers, I left a comment Praising Arsene Wenger. Now although I don’t go back on what I said, I believe I should clarify a few things. When I wrote why I like Wenger and why I feel he should stay, it may have given the impression that I am a happy Gooner. Now I am content with him, but that does not mean that I don’t expect expect him to try and do better in the future.

Arsenal supporters expect the team to be up there with the best in the league, and granted Wenger has managed to do that. But all supporters want to see us go that step further, and by that I don’t mean third. This season we headed the league to Christmas, yes the lead went from one to another, but that was because of television fixtures, but realistically we were the leading team.

Many Arsenal fans enjoyed the feeling of that position, and many myself included, also felt we had a chance, sadly that came undone by injuries, but it also brought home to me, the deficiencies our squad had.

Theo Walcott’s injury, left us with absolutely no pace up front. That was a major blow. Aaron Ramsey one player who broke through defences also went out, which left us toothless. Oliver Giroud did his best, but he had to hold the ball up, and had to wait for reinforcements, although Oliver is a tough nut to crack, he certainly lacks the Theo pace.

Jack Wilshere compounded our misery even more, and Koscielny’s short injury added to a depleted team. Our chance went right there, why? Because we didn’t have the same talent as back up. Our record signing also joined the walking wounded, so what were we left with? Our penetrating midfield out, our best through ball passer out, our fastest winger forward out, and our best central defender out.

Holes every where, and the talent on the bench was not up to the replacement standard. Oxlade Chamberlain, Serge Gnabry and Ya Ya Sanogo are players for the future, they just weren’t ready for a season of first team football. Had everybody stayed fit, we could have used all of these players sparingly, but we had to push them forward because we had too.

Wenger in all fairness has had to work on what seems a shoestring budget, he couldn’t have foreseen so many main players going out injured, so had to rely on these youngsters. Inexperienced, they had to take on some of the best teams in the league, if not the world, and all picked up injuries for their thanks.

Not many teams could have handled the amount of injuries that we had, and still have, with some players missing the end of the season. We took a few bad hidings that supporters are not used to seeing. Bad feeling crept in, accusations that the manager had not spent in the winter window, and how if he had brought five or six players in both windows, would have won us the league.

Unhappy supporters who’s pride had been hurt, can be very hurtful, when their Spud and Manc mates take the pee. But when they see the season out, and see what we have achieved, even with all the problems we have had, must see that this season is slightly better than last.

I have a lot of time for Wenger, but I would urge him to go to the board and say to them, I am only human you know, I need help and I need funds, we cannot keep buying kids, we have to have more Ozil’s, and we need them now, before the talent we have at the moment get itchy feet.

Wenger knows as we do, that sponsorship money has come in, yes we still have big debts, but we also have fans by the thousands, that deserve top players. They have had the big defeats, and now they want us to inflict them. Its time for our board to find the funds, as Wenger is needing that help now. We may not win the league next season but at least give us the chance.

Wenger if he signs, has 2 years left, give him the dammed money.

Written by Steve Palmer


Newcastle: Pardew’s Return

April 28, 2014

Thanks to an unusually efficient Everton defensive display leading to a Southampton victory, if we win the next two home games the tricky trip to Norwich becomes irrelevant – what more could one want from an exciting weekends football?

Our season has been interesting from start to finish and with some good fortune, decent refereeing and the lads not titting about it can end on a high. Three wins and my summer holiday will be even better.

It starts tonight.

Newcastle have been “on the beach” since Xmas. – fans of the  Magpies must be fuming. They have lost their last 5 games and taken just 13 points from a possible 51. Mr Wenger’s nemesis has once again shown himself to be a total knob of a manager having flattered to deceive early in the season. Given the array of talent at his disposal even Tim but Dim Sherwood could have done better – even I could.

Just look at their squad – Cisse, Remy, Debuchy and Ben Arfa would probably get a place at THOF.  Sissoko is quality as are Gouffran and Collocini and then there is Tiote – Newcastle’s Flamini. Ameobi is better than Sanogo and Bendtner and  Krul is a fine keeper, plus they have some good youngsters coming through – so why are they struggling and unlikely to finish in the top 10?

Because Newcastle have an awful manager whose main ability is to look good in a suit (oh, and he does have good hair!). Can you imagine the media response to Mr Wenger head butting a player? The owner’s decision to grant Pardew an 8 year contract (until 2020) has proven to be a costly mistake. They just cannot afford to get rid of him.

Unknown-1

Another tonight please OG

Add into the mix an owner who is “unpredictable” and the brilliant Newcastle fans are getting poor return for their ticket price.

It is a shame because if Mr Wenger had Pardew’s squad I think they would be challenging for 5/6th with MU, Everton and the Neanderthals – instead they are 23 points behind Everton.

I like Newcastle. The Toon Army are passionate fans who love their football; they have a rich history and it is awful to see their club ruined by Johnny-Come-Lately’s. But tonight I fervently wish them to go home with further reason to detest the management.

Arsenal. We have a strong squad of players to choose from – just Gibbs and the long-term injured are unavailable. The return of Ozil and Ramsey is a massive boost for the run in and I believe they will push us into the CL spot.

Mr Wenger’s unusual problem is selection. Poldi or Santi, Arteta or Flamini etc?

My Team:

a v n

Might be a little light in defence but we are at home and really need to win, so I would attack from the first minute, retain possession and be very attentive of the counter attack. Newcastle have pace and power upfront and will be confident that Arsenal will push too many men forward. Plus potential summer target, Remy will be making a huge effort to show he is the man we need.

We have finally got a decent subs bench  (still lacking a game changer). If Ox is fit, I would love to see him get 30 minutes against a tiring Newcastle defence.

Newcastle Upon Tyne was first settled by the Romans in 2 century  A.D. Named Pons Aelius after the family name of Emperor Hadrian (the chap who built the wall). When the Romans left in 410 it became an Anglo-Saxon town and was called Monkchester. Then came those pesky Vikings who smashed the town and not long after a castle was built (around 1088) which became known as Novum Castellum or New Castle.  Throughout the Middle Ages this fortress was England’s northern border against raids from the Scots.

There is little doubt that with Pardew back on the touchline Newcastle will be looking to end their awful run of form, as such, this will be another tough and nervy evening. Or … we could score early, get another before half time and then coast the second half.

Which would you prefer?

 written by Big Raddy

 


Wembley Domination

April 13, 2014

Having just woken up at 8am having arrived home at 1:30 am this is going to be a quickie. Getting the train home last night with intoxicated Norwich fans singing “we’re shit and we’re going down” certainly adds some perspective to a day out at Wembley where yes we didn’t play well but also resulted in a return trip and another day out for those lucky enough to be there.

I have seen some criticism of the fans “celebrating like we won the cup” it’s hard to be in Wembley and not feel like that, and with the allocation of tickets for the final likely to be a third of what we had yesterday it is unlikely those who were there yesterday will have a chance of being back for the final itself.

We filled the Green Man pub at 1pm and we filled the ground more than two thirds. Waning support? Not in evidence here. The atmosphere at kick off was full of passion and hope.

Unfortunately as we failed to make the most of early possession the songs turned to frustration and worse very quickly, I’d say the split was 50:50 in terms of those preferring to man than support.

At half time we went in 0-0 with little of note being created for either side.

The second half continued in a similar vein until Monreal got pushed off the ball, Vermaelen didn’t want to commit to a last gasp tackle and BFG stuck out a long leg to bring down the Wigan forward. This actually stirred the crowd into action and we sang in defiance up until the penalty went in and Gibbs replaced Monreal.

That was actually the turning point to our performance Gibbs was prepared to get past Podolski where Monreal hadn’t bothered either because he knew he didn’t have the legs to get back to recover ground that Podolski wouldn’t.

A while later after Rosler went to three centre backs Arsene changed it again, unleashing Giroud and removing the disappointing Podolski and switching to 4-4-2.

That was probably the decisive change we played the percentages more and after a few more close shaves we finally breached the Wigan defence, Oxhitting the ball into the ground and finding BFG at the far post who headed home. I was waiting for the flag to go up thankfully it didn’t.

BFG celebrates

We couldn’t breach it again in the remaining minutes or in extra time and we went to penalties.

Fabianski the hero

Fabianski channelling the spirit of Arsenal keepers of the past stopped the first two Wigan penalties. Whilst Arteta and Kallstrom dispatched with ease. The next two Wigan penalties, were scored which meant after Giroud had scored with the nanananaaaaas ringing in his ears it was left to Santi to send Arsenal back to Wembley and the fans into ecstasy.

Written by Gooner in Exile


The end is nigh. Nine Premier League games remaining. What are we after?

March 19, 2014

I cast my mind back to the final stretch last season, and we were in a battle for Top Four. For the sake of this discussion, I’d like to put aside the hunt for Trophies, and delve deeper into what there is to look forward to.

Following the loss to Spurs a year ago, momentous events followed. Principally, was the cementing of the partnership between Mertesacker and Koscielny. This was in tandem with a new found restraint from our Full Backs who proceeded to show more discipline.

What was laid in those final nine games, were the foundations of a new defensive stability that continued to serve us so well into this seasons’ campaign.

Apart from the sunny Spring time fixtures, the meeting up with chums and the inevitable excitement that any game of football brings, I wonder what little gems lie in wait.

Injuries present opportunities, and the largest recipient this season has been The Ox. He has benefited from injuries to both Aaron as well as Theo. Might the remaining fixtures see him finding a definitive starting position for next season? Talking of definitive positions, we have the Jack issue.

Looking across the midfield, I still wonder who is the No 10 of choice. I understand there is a fluidity in this area, but with all the injuries to key players, I certainly don’t know how my First XI would line up. I have a feeling we will begin to see the real Mesut emerge as the midfield pivot around which all that is good orbits.

I can also see Gnabry getting more playing time, and have a gut feeling he is one of those players that will rise to the top very quickly. Remember the Aaron of last season, and we see how certain players can suddenly blossom.

Like the pairing of Kos and Mert, it can be an unforeseen partnership that emerges, and this can happen in small couplings anywhere on the pitch, which is why I see a possibility of this between Mesut and Serge.

Now, how about some dark horses. Kellstrom and Diaby, who peaches informs us is at altitude not skiing. With Aaron returning, how will the midfield set up?

With some mouthwatering encounters around the corner, there remains much fun to be had. Who knows where we end up, but I reckon, as with last season, there are surprises in store outside of the results themselves.

Prior to the Spurs game and the wonderful blast of a goal from Mr T. Rosicky, I would have liked to see a couple of long rangers, but another one or two wouldn’t hurt. Oh, and is there any chance a genuinely quality free kick specialist might emerge in the mould of Noddy Talbot? That would be long overdue and a real bonus.

The one thing I’d like to see more than anything over the remaining fixtures would be a new found venom from the true fans towards the early leavers. A mass mocking, naming and shaming, a Faceoff Campaign, anything. Some suggestions on how to deal with this, my biggest beef, and a real solution would leave my season ending on an even higher note.

Written by MickyDidIt


Just two minutes of Magic and Mozart Composes another beauty.

March 17, 2014

North London Derbies are always that little bit special and with the tightest race for years as to who will eventually become Champions, together with the implosion of United and the resurgence of Liverpool and of course not forgetting the two big mega bucks clubs, this was a game we just had to win.

Within under two minutes the ever enthusiastic Oxlade Chamberlain set up Rosicky to what can only be described as a wonder goal, if not our best long range shot of the season.

We were ecstatic and yet not for the first time, instead of taking advantage of the early lead, we handed possession to Spurs and apart from Oxlade Chamberlain missing a sitter or passing to Podolski we retreated further and further back and left Giroud as a lone attacker. For the rest of the match he was largely nullified except on the few occasions he was brought into play.

Alex v spuds

This is a dramatic change of tactics by Wenger as we have been always an attacking team with neat fluid passes which more often or not produced pleasing football to the eye and invariably some spectacular goals. A better team may well have punished us. Spurs huffed and puffed had 60% of the possession but in all honestly only mustered one or two half chances

It’s a dangerous tactic to employ especially with practically the whole game to play after the early lead. Having said that Mertesacker and Koscielny were outstanding, is there a finer defensive partnership in the League ?

kos per and olly

We have several players still out and perhaps the after effects of the Bayern game took the edge from our overall performance but the need for support for Giroud with a world class striker really became apparent in this game.

Three points in the bag though. I wouldn’t say we won ugly and we certainly weren’t at our best but a massive improvement is needed next weekend against what I consider our hardest game in the run in, or so my crystal balls tell me :)

I have to give Rosicky Man of the match purely for the reason that his goal won us the game. Koscielny a close second and The Ox for his never ending drive and directness always looking for goal.

Finally a word on Szczesny. Allowing for the fact he had missed the last two games and made a fairly straightforward save, twice in a minute he dropped a cross, once he was fouled but on the other occasion he got lucky and if you look carefully was flapping and nearly brought Adebayor down, which could have resulted in a penalty. He is by no means the finished article and I still maintain he needs competition for his place.

Players after spud victory

Written by kelsey


What do you think of Tottenham?

March 16, 2014

Easy answer to that question :-D

Thing is, as my nephew keeps telling me – Spurs are having a very good season (by their standards) – and that should they win today they will be just 3 points behind with us facing a death cluster. My reply  ….  Always in our Shadow.

Kaboul gets sent off for a dubious red giving away a penalty – his card is rescinded. Koscielny does the same – banned for a game. FA bias? As if!

Injuries could have some effect upon the result. Spurs are without Dawson which is a huge blow to the Arsenal. The man is hapless and a secret agent paid by Mr Gazidis. So far he has done well, let us wish him a speedy recovery.

Spurs have looked Up North for inspiration as they attempt (yet again) to break into the Top 4. They could have based their plans upon Man City or Liverpool and develop an attacking , fluent style of football. They didn’t. They chose to “ape” the playing style of Stoke! With £100m to spend they bought Orcs.

The skilful Lamela, who is Spurs record signing, hasn’t had a sniff of the first team, instead they have 7 players over 6 ft. all of whom are trained in the Dark Arts.  The long-suffering Spurs fans put all their faith in a 21 y.o Dane because he is the only one who can use the ball on the ground. Take out Eriksen’s free-kicks and there isn’t much else in terms of ball skills.

Unknown

Adebayor. When he plays against other teams he really amuses me in his haplessness, unfortunately he seems to excel against us and we must hope he will have a quiet game today.

Having been thrashed by a fine Benfica team they will be refreshed today. I can only assume they played with today’s match in mind because Spurs were pants.

Tim Sherwood: Can you imagine such a knob as our manager? The man has passion – I will give him that, and a huge desire for Spurs to do well. My wife has the same and also has the same level of team management experience. How could Levi give this fellow the job? Was it a money-saving exercise? That said, Sherwood’s record is no better or worse than previous Spurs managers because you could employ Noddy or one of the Teletubbies as Spurs manager and they would do just as well.

Arsenal: I am saddened that Ozil will not have another chance to silence his critics today, instead we have another opportunity to show just how deep the squad is (or isn’t). A midfield of Ox, Santi, Flamini, Rosicky and Arteta is still strong and the decision to load the squad with mid-fielders has proven to be sensible. In the past when we lost, for example, Cesc, we were at a loss, now we have options.

At this point can we all laugh at Chelsea!! :-D

Monreal will be a key player today as Spurs will probably look to hit on the break through the pace of Lemon and Ade. The midfield battle will be just that, Spurs have monsters and they like to “put it about”, if Sandro plays the match-up with Flamini will be exciting.

This is a day for The Ox. He plays well, we win. For this reason I expect Sherwood to tell his team to target our young maestro, expect to see rotational fouling – which has become the norm – and we must hope for a strong and fair referee. In recent times we have suffered from homer after homer; watch the BM game and see dreadfully biased refereeing. Watch the Stoke game – see JW get horribly kicked throughout the first 30 minutes and then see a highly dubious penalty given by yet another homer ref. It must be so frustrating for Mr. Wenger.

My Team:

sp v a

I hope we shall see the wing play of Gnabry at some point or the power of Podolski

Tottenham: Regular readers will be used to my rambling on the origins of the city in which we play. To find the origins of Tottenham we have to go back to the 11thC. This was the time of the Battle of Hastings and King Canute and Harald. A Royal edict was written which proclaimed  that London (Londinium) was becoming unhealthy thanks to the cramped living conditions in the city. Under this Decree  the Nightmen had to take their wares to an area of flatland by the River Lea. A Nightmen’s job was to clean the streets of the night’s “refuse” which was thrown out the windows into the streets. This unpleasant mess was taken by barge down the river and over time the excrement and rotting vegetation developed into a slimy ooze. The area was avoided by sane people and yet there were some drooling, bewildered unfortunates who made this stinking morass their home. Originally known as Shittingham it was re-named Tottenham during the late 19th century.

Big game today – always is. Take 3 points today and we close the gap at the top.

Let it be so….

COYRRG

Written by BigRaddy


Entertaining and Vital Arsenal Cup Win

February 17, 2014

I would not have been alone in having at least one eyebrow out of line after seeing the Team Sheet.

Liverpool were always going to field a strong side as they have no mid week European Games, and we all knew Arsene would have to make one or two changes. Talk about “who would be a Manager?”. Without doubt the biggest shock was the inclusion of Yaya Sanogo. I had thought Ollie would be rested, and this would have led to the inclusion of Nic, or the slim possibility of Lucas through the middle. When the Team was announced, all I could say about Yaya’s inclusion was that the Manager sees the Lads in training.

Poldi goal v Liverpool

This was a very big match indeed. We had to restore some belief and confidence, try and progress in this Tournament as well as leaving eleven men standing, fit and ready to meet the challenge coming from Bavaria in a few short days’ time.

I won’t dwell on the details of the game as you all saw it for yourselves. Certainly though, the returning Flamini helped to stabilize the defensive side of our midfield. The defence itself had a superb day with Fabianski producing a MOTM performance. The other two stand-in’s at the back, Jenks and Monreal, showed discipline and spirit.

Further up the field, Mesut was back to his best and orchestrated events in a way only he can with sublime timing and awareness.

For me, like many I suspect, Podolski is a total enigma. However, he is a goalscorer, and since the tragic loss of Theo and Aaron, these qualities are in short supply. He delivered.

Sanogo. Ok, I missed twenty minutes of the first half, and about ten of the second, but I really liked what I saw. Very impressive indeed, His performance highlighted the interchangeability of our squad, and this reflects on what is done on the training ground. It was very hard to believe that he had not played alongside Pod, Mesut and Ox on a regular basis.

Finally, The Ox. Always said he would be an Arsenal Great, and he will. Love everything about him, and his post match interview revealed his modest, mature and intelligent nature. A true professional with all the talent required to make it to the very top.

The Ox v Liverpool

A few short words on Liverpool. I really like the way they play the game. It was an enthralling and highly entertaining game, and it requires two teams to achieve this. Their “Three S’s Attack” is superbly mobile and fluid, and a joy to watch. I realize Suarez divides opinion, but as a footballer, he is terrific. I think we all know the Ox challenge was a clear penalty, but I think we also understand that had the victim been any other player, it would have been given. Never a clearer case of “What goes around”.

Overall, a memorable Cup game, a vital win for The Gunners, and we come away in great shape for Bayern. Back on track.

My MOTM: By a country mile, Arsene. That was some selection and tactical performance. Well played Sir.

Written by MickyDidIt89


The Ox fires Arsenal to The Top of The League.‏

February 3, 2014

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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