Staring down the barrel ……. Are you feeling lucky Punk?

Why Oh Why can’t we ever have a fully fit first team when we play Chelsea? I am convinced that had we Cesc, Vermælen, Van Persie and Theo fully fit and firing on all cylinders we would win this fixture, without them there lies some doubt.

I believe that if the 4 missing players could each play 30+ games a season we would win the League. We have a brilliant first 11 (bar the GK!!) but  taking out our best defender, best forwards, and the best midfielder in the world is putting enormous pressure upon our capabilities of challenging Chelsea for the title. It would on any team.

Apart from the blip last weekend and that silly overtime goal at TSOL we have played very well this season. Fantastic, high scoring wins against admittedly moderate opposition should have given us great confidence going to the Bridge, but those two games have left a major doubt over the team, and Chelsea away is not the best place to go when confidence is not 100%.

Then there is the goalkeeping issue. I am guessing that Fabianski will play and I wish him (or Almunia) the very best of good fortune, however  ….. oh, I am so bored with this whole GK scandal. Let’s just use some of the shedloads of profits on a decent keeper in January and be done with it.

So where is the hope that we can get a result? It lies within the blessed feet of Arshavin and Nasri, and the combined strength of sinew and muscle of our defence. We all know the strengths of Chelsea’s attack, they have power and pace and have undone our defence too often for comfort. However, we have a shiny, new pair of CB’s who will be desperate to show they can be the equal of Drogba and Anelka (who in a just world would be wearing an Arsenal shirt).

Even without Cesc (and there remains hope he will play) our midfields cancel each other out. Missing Lampard, Chelsea look bereft of inspiration, relying on the lung bursting energy of Essien and the power of their forwards to create goal scoring opportunities. Whereas we have a wealth of creative players who are learning to stand up to the battle. I would start Wilshere who looks a special player; there are few creative MF’s who have his appetite for the physical side of football.

My main concern is Malouda.  He can win the game single handedly, and it will require vigilance from our midfielders to protect our full backs.  We have to defend as a team and not allow the vast open spaces that led to previous Chelsea goals, Song in particular will have to curb his attacking instincts.

My team (can I keep my 100% record?)


Sagna Squid Kos Clichy

Denilson Song Nasri JW

Cham  AA

Chelsea’s record of over 100 goals last season was phenomenal and a testament to their attacking resolve. They are a fantastic side and definitely the best PL team since the Invincibles. The work done by Ancelloti has been of the highest calibre – to take a succesful but dull, mechanical team and turn them into entertainers was superb. Let’s hope they are one season wonders!

To go to last season’s Double winners and leave with 3 points is a big ask, but We are The Arsenal and We are the Best ….



100 Responses to Staring down the barrel ……. Are you feeling lucky Punk?

  1. Morning all

    Six hours and counting ……..

  2. andy Bash says:

    You seem to forget that we are also without key players Lampard,Benayoun,Kalou & Bosingwa.

    I am married to a lifelong Arsenal supporter & have always admired the club & the way they play the game. I do however get frustrated with some of the fans who seem to have a blinkered view of the club. All clubs suffer injuries (yes as bad as arsenals).

    Instead of making excuses be realistic you our a Goalkeeper & 2 experienced players from being title challengers (1 defender 1 midfielder)

    Years ago I used to play the game how many Chelsea players would get into the Arsenal 1st 11 and the answer was not very many. Now it is reversed & in my opinion only Fabregas would get into the Chelsea 11.

    That could be your problem not your injuries

  3. Mayank says:

    What about VP, Arsh, Verm and Sagna?

    Anyway an equivalent injury list would have Drogba, Lampard and JT out besides replaceable players like Kalou.

  4. Farty Foulke says:

    I reckon the Drog still has a few bullets left in his Magnum to use against Arsenal. Should be a good game though.

  5. Rasp says:


    Your injury list is nothing compared to Arsenal’s. The entire spine of the team is missing. We are without our best Gk, best defender, best midfielder and best striker. Having said all that, we should have enough strength in the squad to give your lot a good game.

    As far as the number of Arsenal players that would get into the Chelski side – you are viewing that through blue tinted specs (understandable from any supporter). Don’t forget our expenditure on players has been a fraction of yours over the last 5 years. We have more creative midfielders and players with pure brilliance that can turn a game. I suggest you watch out for Arshavin today as it may just be one of his special performances.

  6. Statics says:

    kalou, benayoun and bosingwa is not an absolute 1st teamers.. if u lost drogba, terry, malouda (and cech) then the injury will be equal..

  7. andy bash says:

    A fit Bosingwa would be in the first 11 over ivanovic. Walcott would probably not be in your 11.

    I am just making a point that you cant keep blaming injuries. Last Christmas we had Terry,Essien,Cech Lampard Cole & drogba out at the same time & it was hard but it’s a squad game and the players that came in did ok.

    I dont want to be anti Arsenal, you are a great club with good players just stop moaning & get on with it. I hope you have a good season & finish 2nd

  8. I think this is going to be a big game for Chamakh too, he’s strong and committed, I’m hoping he won’t be shy today.

  9. GunnerPete says:

    Andy Bash you are as deluded as my Chelski brother mate. And you have very right to be! TO compare Kalou,Benayoun and Bossingwa plus Lampard to losing from our small squad the likes of Robin Van Percie, Theo, Vermaelen, Bentner, Cesc, Gibbs, Diaby, Almunia, all of which would be playing in this match , is a bit sad even for a blue.
    I also think that if we ever play Chelski and Manure AGAIN with a full team we would play them both off the park but as the records show we have not played either with our first eleven for over 3 years????In fact we dont even ever start a season with our first eleven any more..why I dont know?

    Lets hope for a good game and no Chelski home decisions …just football.

  10. Rasp says:


    We are the most fouled team in the Premiership. Last season we came top of the fair play table. We get kicked more than any other side because other teams are allowed to get away with it – apparently it is a feature of English football that physicality is valued over technique, and that is why our national team is so poor. Jack Wilshere has been systematically targetted in the same way as Cesc this season. Don’t insult our intelligence by trying to state that facts are not facts.

  11. GunnerPete says:

    Andy…out of your team I would only take….Chech,and Essien. The rest you can keep sunshine.

    Keep telling yourself that losing 4 superstars from £280 million worth of 30 suprstars is the same as losing eight (yes 8) for on average 3 months a years from a squad as cheap and small as ours is not delusional but very worryingly a brain with one way vision.

  12. Andy – I think you should put your wife on …..

  13. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great post, and I hope that is the team. As far as injuries are concerned, I no longer account for RVP. His situation is simply that bad.
    Throughout last season and during the summers’ transfer window, many Arsenalists highlighted the needs for a GK, at least one CB and in some cases, a DM. One of my principal concerns over the past few seasons was that we lack a twenty goal-a-season man. AW pointed out in his interview how it is important we lead the mini league of the Big Three if we are to win the league. Fair point. Last season it was played 4, lost 4. The goal difference in those games, 2-10, highlighted the need for defensive reinforcements and we have gone some way to addressing those needs. However, it is no coincidence that we have not competed with Utd and Chelsea since the days of Henry ie a world class striker. To me, the difference between world class and a striker who may get twenty in his league, is the ability to do it in the big games. I happen to believe that Chamakh may be the man we have been waiting for, although it will take a little time.
    As I remember, AA a some good chances to put us ahead at home to Utd. Moments like that change games and seasons. We all love our frustrating little Russian, but it is my guess that we would have been more competitive over a whole season with a Bellamy. Sounds horrible, I know.
    We must score more in the big games. My positive bit is this. We will score today from a header and a penalty.
    You may detect a lack of gaiety in my tone today. That is because I am in a deeply sober mood. Not something that sits comfortably. I think we need to hope that AW’s team selection does not leave the chosen ones with a defeatist feeling before a ball is booted in anger. Selecting the Nasris and Wilsheres will, to my mind, send the lads out into battle believing the manager has faith in us taking the game to Chelsea and coming away with points. We must not be beaten before 16:00.

  14. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Maybe you are all getting yourselves into a pre-match less sober mood than myself!

  15. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky,

    Excellent comment. Colin Montgomerie is a fool for announcing that he has written a losers speech for the Ryder Cup. We must take to the pitch believing we can win, but also completely focused on the number one objective – not conceding.

  16. Red Arse says:

    Andy Bash,

    I don’t find your comments particularly outrageous, for, what it’s worth.

    We are naturally disappointed to meet Chelsea without our full first team squad being available.

    That is not an excuse, because I think we will beat you today, it’s more of a lament at the persistent injuries we get from some of the neanderthal clubs we play.

    As to which player would get into what team, well that’s pointlessly subjective but a bit of harmless fun if anyone wants to engage in it.

    Can I return your comment and wish you well; we will finish top and if you finish 2nd that would be fine by me. 🙂

  17. London says:

    All Hail The Mighty Michael Essien.

    He can do lung busting runs from box to box, this is not a criticism of you BR I am, as you know, an admirer of your posts but this creeping admiration, not just here but all over the blogshphere, of all things Chelsea is getting a little tedious to put it mildly.

    Let’s hope Song doesn’t venture too far forward!

    This is getting on my nerves as well mostly because it totally misses the point of what is trying to be achieved. Of the three midfielders that play every week one is usually more attack minded than the other two like Fàbregas normally or Wilshere in the week: one of those will sit in front of two others lets say Song and Denilson, when we are attacking one of those will move forward to aid the attack while the other covers. This worked well in the week as most should have noticed but it fell down against West Brom because Diaby failed to cover Song when the game lent itself to him moving forward. This is not Song’s fault so stop trying to blame him; we play a fluid midfield as much as a fluid front line .

    One of the biggest load of rubbish I heard this week was the comparison with Claude Makalele and how he always stayed back! Yes he did the reason being, he was crap going forward; he would never have been able to score the goal against Bolton that Song did.

    Alex Song is four years younger than the chav Ghanaian, if he continues to improve at the rate he is doing now I see no reason why he will not be the best in the world for his position.

    So fuck Essien, and fuck Chelsea, go Alex Song, lead the midfield charge against the West London scum and do us proud.

  18. 🙂 London – get down to that Stamford Bridge dressing room – your team needs you xx

  19. London says:

    Unleash hell boys.

    Hi peaches x

  20. Rasp says:


    You’re definitely writing the match report when we win 😆

  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi London,
    I was one of the Song-stay-put voters, however, it is in a way because I agree with you. I too believe that Song could become genuinely world class, as a DM.
    Also agree with Peaches about releasing you into the dressing room. I would take it a bit further. Feed London with nothing but raw meat for three days before a big game, then starve the creature completely for 24 hours befoe kick off. Only then, unleash the beast into the dressing room.

  22. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A header. A penalty. Three points and back to N5.

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What is it about strikers. They cut their hair and lose their power. Adebeyor, Torres and now Tevez. City look very poor. Sol on the other hand, looks like a master craftsman at work.

  24. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, back around four.

  25. SharkeySure says:

    Can only see an Arsenal win today.

    Back at Ht/ft


    12th anniversary today, and I’m expecting a nice present from the boys !!!

  26. barumgooner says:

    Oh no. Starting with Diaby.. If he turns up we win, if he strolls around half asleep we lose. Lets hope he gives us one of his good games

  27. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, shove up.
    Diaby..he might, he might not. Come on Arsenal.

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Same as last year. Cole Drogba.

  29. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Two to get. Come on.

  30. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Happy Anniversary Sharkey.
    Present on its way. Should arrive during next 45 mins.

  31. SharkeySure says:

    Well said Micky..I second that.

    We’ve done very well so far…..prob better than most expected.

    How on earth has Kozzer not scored ??

    I’d rather see JET on than Denilson if Diaby cannot continue.

    Malouda and Essien…dirty pair of bastards !! Straight reds of course, if we do anything similar.

    Back at FT….celebrating a roaring come back !!

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Married in a “Double” year. Same here! Luckily I ensured it was not on Cup Final day. Was caught by the future Mrs MickyDidIt89 on the blower to the FA asking for the date though. Only sensible.
    We are playing very well. I mentioned earlier on here about world class strikers making the difference. Don’t panic. I also said we would get a headed goal and a pen. Forgot to mention that it would be converted!
    Here we go.

  33. kelsey says:

    For 5 minutes I thought diaby was going to turn up,but then….
    Overall I am surprised how eell we have played though Song needs to stay back.Would like to see chamakh get a bit more involved himself, maybe he lacks confidence.
    Not over yet by any means….hold on.

  34. Rasp says:

    Song is playing higher up the pitch, generally in advance of Wilshere.

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:


  36. Oh dear, lots of possession, lots of really good play by our boys, a couple of pens we could’ve got but in the end we didn’t score and they did – very sad, a draw would have been fairest result.

  37. Redordead says:

    Why are our players laughing and joking with the Chelsea players after losing should they not be showing disappointment ??

  38. kelsey says:

    Never rally expected us to win but in the main a good performance, and the score flattered chelsea.

    Kos, yet again responsible for the free kick that let to the winner.

    This tippy tappy football drives me mad at times,but with the players we have got can’t see the tactics changing much .

    Who was your man of the match for us ? i haven’t really got one.

  39. Statics says:

    did anyone noticed that fabianski really have a blinder today?!! we could lose by a higher margin if not because of him..

  40. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Very true. Difference from last season was that you cannot say we were out-muscled. Just lack the clinical edge. Hey, if the return is after the window, we may have Torres. Long haired version, of course!

  41. Redordead says:

    Motm Wilshire.

  42. Statics says:

    Motm fabianski

  43. MickyDidIt89 says:

    There are ten breaks on. In the blue corner you have Drogba and Anelka and in the red you have Chamakh and Arshavin. My money says the Blues would win 6-4. To me that is the difference between the teams, which incidently, is alot less than last season. Put RVP in the Red corner, and I’m not so sure!

  44. Micky – much as I would love to have Torres he’ll just add to our injury woes – long hair or not.

    That was much easier to watch than either of the games against them last season I thought or maybe I was already in a bad mood and so it couldn’t get any worse.

    Thats why I think a draw would have been a fair result – we played football and could’ve picked them off, we had our chances and didn’t take them.

    My MOTM Nasri

  45. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am now thinking about the roast pork, crackling and apple sauce I have just missed out on!

  46. Actually Anelka was really sloppy today and could’ve had 2 himself.

  47. And Arsene agrees with me that it was an easier game to watch than last season 🙂

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah but Peaches,
    I am sure there is someone, somewhere with plastic shoes and a side parting who could create an “injury sync chip” that we could cunningly insert into long haired Torres and RVP, so that they cleverly rotate.

  49. London says:

    I am not sure any Arsenal player played badly in the same way I don’t think that any one player was particularly better than the others.

  50. London says:

    Hi Statics

    You make a good point: apart from that embarrassing moment in the first few minutes Fabianski did play well.

  51. London says:

    You may also see why some of us kept faith with RVP when that little debate was going on a couple of weeks ago about how Chamakh has made him redundant.

  52. Cesc and RvP would’ve torn them apart today – they’re not that good, they’re strong and very organised but we play much better football.

    At least we looked strong and organised aswell today – in flashes.

    Why was The Squid captain???????? Where’s the hierachy, very strange decision that ………..

  53. London says:

    By the way all I have got for tomorrow is a four letter expletive.

  54. SharkeySure says:

    I thought most ou in a good shift today, and we deffo deserved at least a draw from that.

    To lweave a gap in the wall in the way that Arshavin did, without Fabianski screaming blue murder was tantamount to suicide. Also we had Chamakh and JET in the middle of the wall, when its a no brainer to have your taller players at each end!

    Arshavin is very annoying to watch, and I’m strugging to see any contribution to Arsenal’s future that Vela can make to Arsenal’s future, other than a transfer fee.

    Song had some iffy moments, but overall was very very efective in breaking up play.

  55. I reckoned that might be the case London, I’ll check in with the overseas reporter and hopefully he’ll fancy writing something.

  56. Rasp says:

    Then there will be no post tomorrow

  57. SharkeySure says:

    I thought Arsene’s tactics were spot on today, playing Diaby high up the pitch to stifle Mikel was a bit of a masterstroke.

  58. kelsey says:

    We miss Fabregas big time.

    Why was nasri out on the wing all the time and when we were central on edge of the penalty area what do we do, we send it out to the wing yet again.
    My son went to the game, and he just got back and said what we really knew that we don’t have the height in attack to trouble a team like chelsea, and he said Nasri was well below bar.

    3 wins from 7 is not ideal.

  59. kelsey says:

    and another thing,why was vela introduced with 3 minutes left ?

    I just read on another blog that “it was a practise ground strike” by Alex, come on, when they work they are unstopable.

    Good point raised earlier that some of our players were laughing as they left the field.

    I have to say that I now think diaby and vela have no future at the club, and i like talking to myself, as i get loads of practise.

  60. London says:

    I thought Song was more guilty than anyone else for not doing his job properly in the wall besides that if he wasn’t playing I think they may have had another one of their six nil wins.

  61. London says:

    I thought Jack had a good game; his passes always found their man.

  62. kelsey says:

    agreed, Song is not the force we thought he would be.Hopefully it,s only tempory.

  63. London says:

    Hi Sharkey

    Good point about the tactics, I am not sure, even with hind sight, I could have thought of a better line up.

  64. kelsey says:

    I have been anadvocate of keeping jack in the side and he is an immense talent who is getting better.We also miss vermaelen to steady the defence IMO

  65. London says:


    Everyone has always been happy for Jack to be in the team the only concern some of us had was over his ability to handle so many games on the trot, I must admit I underestimated him; again today, his pass completion ratio must be very impressive. The person who was sloppy was Arshavin maybe the stats will show differently but the Russian seemed to loose possesion more that usual.

  66. RockyLives says:

    Time to accentuate the positive. They won because of two great goals while we fluffed several good chances. Our performance was far from perfect but we competed with them every inch of the way. Had it been a draw no-one would have quibbled.
    This was certainly not a ‘men against boys’ game. And 7 points behind at this stage of the season? So what? There’s a long, long way to go yet.

  67. London says:

    I just had a quick look around the other sites…..I wish I hadn’t bothered…Song is the devil on one and we are beyond reproach on the other.

  68. London says:

    Well done Rocky……run with it.

  69. rockylives says:

    Well, Song was neither hero nor devil, but I thought he had an OK game.

  70. rockylives says:

    Peaches – I can do the report if there’s an absence of volunteers.

  71. London says:


    Are you sure you read my comment properly? Song was immense; if he wasn’t there I reckon we would have lost six nil.

    The man was the star of the show; he broke up play always found his man and drove the team forward.

  72. London says:

    Rocky there is a dearth of volunteers.

  73. London says:

    I didn’t realise that Squillaci was captain, it must be something to with him being, age wise, the senior player.

  74. Carlito11 says:

    We played our hearts out but had too many out. We needed them to be off their game today and it didn’t happen even slightly

  75. dandan says:

    Thought we fought hard and didnt have much luck, Chammy got his head to a lot of stuff which would have gone to waste last season Chelskys first goal was opportunist and went in off the post and there second a gem, if they are on target there is nothing to be done.
    Goalie played well, so a break for injuries to heal and then with luck onwards and upwards.

  76. London says:

    Yeah I think you have got it about right there Carlito.

  77. London says:

    Hi Dandan

    Always good to hear your uplifting voice.

  78. Big Raddy says:

    I just returned home and watched a replay. It went as I expected it to. Had Cesc and RvP started, we would have won.

    Finishing was the difference between the sides, we should have been 2 up before they scored.

    We will beat them at THOF.

  79. London says:

    And your uplifting voice as well BR

  80. London says:

    And for what it is worth I agree with your view about the differnce between the two sides.

  81. London says:

    I’ve hogged this enough, see y’all.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    And I agree Fab2 played very well. Perhaps he could have been better positioned and balanced for the first but it was a fine finish.

    Everyone played well but no-one was outstanding.

    My MOTM. Fabianski or Song.

    When TV comes back we should get him to try an “Alex”. He’s got the power.

  83. Thankyou rocky – that would be wonderful

  84. barumgooner says:

    Hello all. Well Diaby did turn up and looked pretty good, I think AW has realised at last that just coz hes tall and leggy he aint no Vieira. Much mors suitable position for him. I am the only one who thinks Clichy had a great game ? Squid was poor for me and AA kindof lost interest as he seems to but overall we played well without ever really being threatening….AND well done to flappy, very good game apart from the strange juggling act early on.

  85. barumgooner says:

    I know some will say its an excuse but you have to remember we were missing our best defender midfielder and centre forward today.

  86. SharkeySure says:

    London, so so true re Song keeping the score down !!!

    He was powerful, immense, imaginative in his passing, and whilst he had some iffy moments, he really did drive us forward the whole game.

    Physically he was a beast.

    Some blogs really are just full of mantra spouting wankers. Song constantly broke up their play. They complain when its nen agabnst boys, then complain again when gives away fouls for being over physical.

    How long have we wanted someone strong enough to wrestle Drogba AND WIN !! We now have someone who can do that and ALSO play good football.

    God bless Alex Song, his effort and his thou shalt not pass attitude. He was up for every single battle today.

  87. SharkeySure says:

    Barum, spot on re Arshy ‘losing interest’. Shame cos he started pretty well.

    Someone queried wot his passing stats would be. Whatever they are, they surely ill not reflect the sheer casualness with which he surrenders possesion on the few occasions that he does it. ie sloppily miscontrolling simple balls, crazy backheels, or those ultra losse passes that really make him look like he couldn’t give a flying toss.

    Mercural magician on his day…but how good he be with the attitude of a Cesc or a TV.

    I love Kozzers attitude today, even the Squid’s, who had the odd dodgy moment.

  88. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh, its all sunk in now. Could have been different, but some fine performances from manager and players alike. Maybe could have stopped first goal, but only maybe and as for the free kick, well I suppose Song could have put his face in the way, but then he would have been out injured for…I dunno, ever probably. Still, we will beat the fat bastards at the Emirates.
    Want to feel a bit better? One word. Liverpool.
    Nite anyone.

  89. SharkeySure says:

    Micky I’m just about Song’s biggest fan…but I think he has to stand strong there, duck his head down a bit if he must, but fading away to the side was a bit poor on his part. If Arshavin is linking arms with Song, as my 9yr old is told to do…then it just doesn’t happen !!

    But all credit to Song, as London said, he was the main reason why today was not men against boys.

  90. Oh no, now there’s no football for 2 weeks 😦 😦 😦

    Gonna need lots of posts to keep us going so all contributions will be welcome – send ’em in

  91. SharkeySure says:

    Ok had aread up from the top now.

    Great post Radders..although why no ‘history’ on Chelsea and its humble origins..??

    Micky – “we would have been more competitive over a whole season with a Bellamy. Sounds horrible, I know”

    Horrible yes, but oh so true !!!!

    London 12.58 Top quality that !!

    Nite all…lol, as its clearly just me here on mi todd.

  92. SharkeySure says:

    Oops…apologies Peaches

  93. No worries Sharkey – I’m just keeping an eye out – nite nite

  94. London says:


    Sums it up the best for me “Everyone played well but no-one was outstanding.”

  95. London says:

    Liverpool 1 Blackpool 2

    Best I could do to try and brighten this morning up.

  96. Rasp says:

    Morning London,

    We showed the chavs how to play beautiful passing/possession football and they showed us how to win games. Alex’s brutal fee kick was the only occasion when I felt they simply overpowered us. I look forward to the rematch at ThoF and a full Arsenal first team.

  97. London says:

    Morning Rasp

    Yeah, I wouldn’t disagree with that, it’s unusual to loose a game when everyone played reasonably well. Even with hindsight I can’t think of a better set of tactics we could have employed.

  98. Rasp says:

    You’re probably right London. I can conclude that there is not much to choose between Fab2 and Almunia.

  99. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  100. […] Staring Down the Barrel ……. Are You Feeling Lucky Punk? […]

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