Back Down to Earth – Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2

After a reasonable start to the season and a couple of ballsy displays by the squad (Montpellier and City away) we had the right to start believing we had as good a chance as any of the other contenders for a title tilt. Chelsea at home….no problem….they hadn’t really had a test yet, we’d been away to the Champions and bossed them for ninety minutes, save an unfortunate occurrence at a set piece, ah defending set pieces, more about them later.

The big surprise of the day was seeing Mertesacker sitting on the bench. I advocated Koscielny and Vermaelen starting today’s game, but Arsene very rarely agrees with me. Koscielny had put in a good performance at City and Vermaelen as Captain has to start the big games if fit. However Mertesacker has not put a foot wrong this season and has every right to be annoyed at being left on the bench for the game.

With Chelsea’s new playing style (ie not lumping it up front to Drogba) it was understandable that Wenger decided on our two more mobile and pacier centre backs over the positional strength of The BFG. Torres runs across the line, and from midfield Chelsea have Mata, Hazard and Oscar all able to move at speed with and without the ball.

Arsenal lined up in our now traditional 4-3-3 formation whilst Chelsea appeared to adopt a more fluid 4-2-3-1. This made it very narrow on the pitch and swamped the midfield but the movement of the more advanced players means they pop up everywhere. From the kick off Chelsea controlled possession well, but they were not overly threatening in the opening stages, the final ball normally being picked up by a red and white shirt before getting to the real danger areas. What they did do well was press our players high up the pitch when we had possession, this resulted in hurried passes, and we seemed to lack the movement and options to get out of our half quickly. Something that up until now has been part of our success this season.

The first strike on goal was from a Luiz free kick from over 30 yards which Mannone gathered comfortably. The next two chances fell to Arsenal, Cazorla shooting over when well placed and in space on the edge of the Chelsea area, and Diaby making space for himself to produce a shot which was saved by Cech. Sadly for Abou this was to be his last meaningful contribution as he appeared to tweak his thigh on shooting.

The change took a while to make as the ball seemed to take an age to go out of play, in that time the easy decision to drop Ramsey back to midfield and put Ox on to right wing was made, but there seems to be a fault on Bouldy’s iPad app, as surely it should have a very loud alarm that says “WARNING: Oxlade Chamberlain 5ft 11 – David Luiz 6ft 2 (plus hair) you may want to reconsider”.

Very soon all Gooners in the Emirates and those watching at home were ruing the negligence of the iPad app as we all watched in horror as the Ox tried to mark up Luiz at the next set piece. The free kick had been awarded for an unnecessary foul from Vermaelen on Hazard, we were well set and there was simply no need for Vermaelen to lunge in as he did.

Mata delivered a high ball into the box, which cleared the head of Luiz and found Torres at the back post outmuscling Koscielny and hooking the ball into the net. Two set piece goals in two premier league games.

Chelsea know how to defend, they are a well organised unit, and they do not lose their shape very often. So the task of equalising was not easy, Arsenal set about finding the goal we started to control the ball further up the pitch and for longer periods. There was little goalmouth incident as Chelsea marshalled the area directly in front of the goal, and allowed us to keep putting crosses in to a crowded area where blue shirts outnumbered the red ones.

It looked like we would be going in one down until following good work on the wing the Ox produced a low cross that nutmegged Ashley Cole and found Gervinho who had lost both Terry and Luiz by standing still. The Swerve took one touch and with his second rifled it into the roof of the net as he turned, a well deserved equaliser and a fantastic strike for this seasons leading scorer.

In truth Chelsea looked a little rattled after the goal and the half time whistle came too soone as Arsenal started to dominate the play. After the break we continued as we had left off attacking and creating opportunities, both Cazorla and Ox missing the target with half chances.

To gift one set piece goal is foolish, two gift second is suicidal in this league. Vermaelen chasing back from the edge of their area (answers on a postcard as to why our centre back was on their 18 yard box in open play) bundled Torres over for another soft free kick. The delivery from Mata was vicious, Gibbs could probably have put a head on it if he hadn’t have been pushed over by Ivanovic, and Koscielny trying to stick anything he could the ball could not stop the ball going in the far post. A comedy of errors from start to finish, well at least it would be a comedy if it was happening to any other team, as its happening to us it’s a tragedy.

After Chelsea’s second we had to commit more players forward in search of the equaliser this led to Chelsea looking more threatening as they broke in numbers into open space when they regained possession, that said they didn’t create another clear chance on goal from memory.

We created the majority of the chances in the rest of the game, Podolski saw Cech palm a looping header away, Giroud saw Cech somehow get a strong enough hand to a deflected shot from Giroud, Cazorla had a very nice position to equalise but pushed his shot the wrong side of the post and finally Giroud had another chance after being played in by Cazorla, he tried to round the keeper but Chelsea were back in numbers and scoring was not easy (unless of course your the fan who likes a scapegoat then it was a yard out in the middle of the goal and there was not a defender or keeper within a mile of him and it was harder to miss than score).

So do I think we deserved a draw then? The answer to that simply is no. And the reason it’s a no is that you cannot give two dreadful goals away and say we deserved a point. Unfortunately when you give goals away you get what you deserve, and it’s been happening for too long now and for me it’s very easy to fix.

Its simply a question of where we hold the bloody line for free kicks from outside our 18 yard box. Time and time again we set our line and are pushed back by the opposition. It happened on the first one, but to a lesser extent with only Koscielny being pushed back, this was compounded by Luiz getting the wrong side of the Ox which meant that Luiz had a free jump, which also meant Mannone couldn’t come and claim the high ball.

The second goal is much worse in my opinion, the only ball that Mata can play that position and threaten the goal is the one he ended up playing, the whipped cross to the far post that the keeper can’t commit to because of runners in front of him. If we had taken our line two yards outside our 18 yard box that ball offers far less threat, be braver and hold a line five yards outside the box and it poses no threat and he wouldn’t play it. When that ball was delivered we had already retreated to our penalty spot. I know I played a much lower level of football but if anyone of my defenders even thought about entering the 18 yard box before a free kick was taken they would find themselves on the receiving end of a short sharp kick in the arse. If they held their line the free kick generally got played to between the 18 yard box and penalty spot, if they dropped within the 18 yard box the ball generally arrived just outside the 6 yard box and the only thing that results from that is danger.

The scoreline flatters Chelsea. They did not do enough in open play to win that game, the stats from Sky are below, we won every major stat apart from the important one and tackle success. We gifted that game to them today and that is what disappoints me most.

1 Goals 2
4 Shots on Target 3
10 Shots off Target 5
3 Blocked Shots 2
88.1% Passing Success 83.8%
77.4% Tackles Success 88.5%
51.4% Possession 48.6%
57.6% Territorial Advantage 42.4%
469 Total Passes 458
35 Total Crosses 15

Player Ratings:
Mannone 6 Needs to learn to organise the players in front of him, other than the goals had little to do.
Jenkinson 7 What we are coming to expect, another solid game, confident on the ball, no danger came from his side of the pitch defensively and helped out the attack with constant running and making himslef available.
Koscielny 5 Outmuscled by Torres for the goal, failed to organise the back line for the second.

Vermaelen 3 You are a Centre Back, let’s concentrate on that part of your game first before you start popping up on the opposition 18 yard box in open play. Too eager to go to ground, must take charge of the back line at set pieces.
Gibbs 7 Some good crosses and linked up well with those in front of him. Some very good tackles to win back possession.
Arteta 7 Found it difficult to find his normal passing and was left slightly exposed.
Diaby 7 Too brief an appearance
Cazorla 7 Not his best display but was still the most creative player on the pitch from either side.
Ramsey 6.5 Struggled to find his rhythm in the second half, looked like he was tiring early.
Podolski 7 some good runs early in the second half, very quiet first half, very unlucky with the looping header
Gervinho 7.5 Well taken goal, tended to drop a little too deep in the first half.
Ox 7 So young, but so much is expected of him, a lot of learning still to be done, but he always threatens, good cross for the goal
Theo 0 Didn’t see him
Giroud 7 Made himself available got into a couple of good positions, unlucky with a couple of decent efforts.

Gooner in Exile

140 Responses to Back Down to Earth – Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2

  1. evonne says:

    Good afternoon GiE, thank you for the outstanding match report. I missed your writings, so although I am delighted that ‘the bump’ is fine and dandy, I am sad you have other committments now

    Bang on, that’s exactly how I had seen the game. It was close choice, but I thought we were a tad better than the opposition, nothing to be ashamed of, good display of the beautiful game.

    The only critisism I have are the times when we clearly need a leader. I still get that impression that we are 11 players not 1 team. With Szczesny and BFG things look better, much better

  2. evonne says:

    to other AA’ers – use it or lose it. If we don’t make an effort to blog here, we will lose it, simples

  3. 26may1989 says:

    Morning all. Excellent write-up, Exile, for a disappointing result.

    It was a strange one, yesterday. Chelsea didn’t play well, they didn’t pass as well as us, they conceded 17 chances to us, they only forced one save from Mannone in open play, and won with two self-inflicted goals gifted by us.

    And yet we weren’t there either. The centre backs’ performance was woeful, in particular for the two errors – just one of those days, but many of us did say that Mertesacker was in undroppable form, and he might have made some difference. We have to be able to pick the players in form, even if that means benching the team captain. Anything else is the tail wagging the dog. That said, I appreciate that Wenger might have looked at Chelsea’s front line of Hazard, Mata, Oscar and Torres (with Moses on the bench) and thought mobility but was the theme of the day. But even then, I feel Mertesacker had to be on the pitch.

    Our passing game was ok generally, but lacked penetration in the top third. In the first half, before our frankly against-the-run-of-play goal, Mikel and Ramires looked very comfortable and relatively little got through to the defenders, still less to Cech.

    Then in the second half, we failed to continue the momentum we acquired after the equaliser. I thought it was more about poor performances on the day than tactics – Koscielny and Vermealen of course, but also Diaby while he was on the pitch, Cazorla, Podolski and most disappointingly for me, I thought the Ox was really poor, giving the ball away regularly.

    It’s not panic time, but it is a good lesson on how far we still need to go.

    Am delighted about United’s result, even if it was a big win for Spurs.

  4. rhyle says:

    Spot on with the commentary, GiE – especially with how Chelsea looked rattled after the goal. That half time whistle came 5 mins too soon!

    Ramsey…an average first half, better start to the second but ended with one of the worst 10 mins I’ve seen from him, and Gerv remains as frustrating as ever. Took his goal well but offered little in terms of quality in the final third, goal aside. Giroud should have scored. I sit right by that goal, and although he had Cech bearing down on him, he should be hitting the target. Still, not his fault we didn’t defend two set-pieces well.

    Positives? Jenks. He, for me, was both our best defender and our main attacking threat. The fact that it was his side of the pitch that the guppy-headed chelsea manager shored up by bringing on Bertrand in the 2nd half tells it’s own story! My MotM.

    Finally…the performance. Our poorest of the season in all areas was still as good as Chelsea had to offer in all but score line. We certainly had the chances to win, let alone draw, the match. Not too many…not ENOUGH…but reassuring. I imagine there’s not as many comments as usual this morning ‘cos it HURT. We did not deserve to lose that game. We should be reassured, though, that we’ve two of our title competitors and gone toe-to-toe. Bad result, bad performance – but one that showed that we’re going to be there or thereabouts this season.

  5. Fc says:

    1. Yes caz needs to shoot!. He often finds himself free for a shot on goal but instead chooses to spread it wide.

    2. I think that wild shot diaby took might have caused the injury. He stretched abit too much imo.

    3. I’m impressed with gibbos movement to the by-line when crossing in. It opens up the opposition defence more and allows for more arsenal players into the fray. Giroud

    4. Walcott is not an impact sub, he needs a few minutes on the pitch t

  6. goonermichael says:

    Fantastic match report. Who wrote it? I agree that BFG should have started but practically every blog or twitterer before the game said we needed kozzer’s mobility. Yesterday I said we were rubbish. I was a bit emotional and I’ve calmed down now. I thought our players dwelt on the ball too long at times. Either they didn’t have the options or they were being closed down well. Gervinho’s goal was fantastic. I also had a great time in the Tavern. I hate the bloody chavs though.

    I’m also happy about the mancs. It shows that in the big games they struggle without penalties. (they should have had one too) Karma’s a bitch fegiescum

  7. rhyle says:

    GM – some great points. I thought Kozzers mobility would be useful v the Chelsea attack…I’m under no illusions about how Mert struggled at times v Suarez at Anfield. One of those days defensively!

    As for dwelling on the ball…agreed. Particularly Gervinho who seems to be Bendtner like in his need to take 5 touches when 1 or 2 will do. A pace vampire – he sucked the life out of a quick counter attack yesterday…I thought he was poor but he did take his goal well.

  8. Steve Palmer says:

    Deluded & plainly wrong. Chelsea took the game to Arsenal; stifled their creative play & deservedly took 3 points. “First real test” passed with (blue) flying colours…suck it up!

  9. goonermichael says:

    Fc I agree on Walcott. Giroud isn’t either. He needs more time on the pitch. no striker scores every chance and he’s only likely to get one or two if he only plays at the end of games. I think he could have had a go before he went around Cech but then I’ve never played football so it’s easy for me to say that. he was losing his balance when he took the shot so it wasn’t “an open goal tap in” like some are making it out to be (not on here).

    Cech needs to get some credit too. He had to re-adjust himself for Podolski’s header and Giroud’s deflected shot. They both looked like great saves to me.

    We learn by our mistakes so let’s hope they work on that and not let it happen again.

  10. goonermichael says:

    Steve Palmer
    Where is it deluded?

  11. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all, a difficult report to write, I dislike being critical of any of our players, but if they let us down I have to speak my mind. In those two moments they let us down.

    Steve remind me if all the key open play chances I must have missed.

    As 26 and Evonne say we missed BFGs calm presence yesterday, Koz plays better with him than with Vermaelen

  12. goonermichael says:

    If Walcott hasn’t signed by the window I hope we ship him out quickly and get someone else in.

  13. goonermichael says:

    A great report. I couldn’t find your name on it

  14. goonermichael says:

    for all the money the chavs have spent on “creative” players they didn’t look that creative.

  15. rhyle says:

    Think Steve is commenting through the rose-tinted spectacles of 3 points and the hardly conclusive evidence provided by highlights.

  16. rhyle says:

    On another positive note…my Spuds fan mates are already kicking off. Have you ever seen anyone go from zero to hero as quickly as AVB (I have – Gary Neville…)?

    They’re now convinced that they’re the second coming of Nicholson’s double winners and they’re going to win ALL THE GAMES and ALL THE CUPS.

    Time to make your bets about who’ll finish higher…earning potential at it’s peak!

  17. goonermichael says:

    I thought the highlights showed that we could have least got a point

    i watched both series of game of thrones. i thought it was fantastic

  18. rhyle says:

    Great show, GM – hate the fact that each series is so short, especially when they only roll around every April.

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    To me, it’s really simple, we had a very poor day. against (what appears to be) the best team in the PL.

    Chelsea were very strong, they out muscled us for most of the game , including the first goal, along with strength they also have a highly skilled mid field and offence.

    At our best we could compete with them but yesterday we were way off of the mark and only showed our best after our goal and before their second goal.

    Several players put in below par performances and you just can’t afford that against the best teams.

    Even with such a poor performance it was two soft goals that beat us and we allowed them to score two goals out of three shots on goal,,,,,,

  20. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, I am in agreement with GN5, we had too many players off form yesterday – why?

    Were they intimidated by the quality of the opposition? – no it can’t be that, we outplayed city the week before.

    The balance of the team was not right. Hindsight etc etc, but Per should have played and a front 3 or Pod, Giroud and Gerv would have meant that most of our 15 crosses weren’t wasted. We didn’t get men into the box quickly enough when the ball was out wide and we were cancelled out in midfield.

  21. rhyle says:

    Not sure if “off form” is the right way off putting it. It was a very strange game. Chelsea set up similarly to Sunderland – tight lines preventing us playing through, hoping to catch us on the break (as they nearly did just before Torres fell over his own feet / the ball). Think it was a day for graft over craft, and was very surprised when Wenger took off Podolski over Gervinho…

    If Giroud had tucked away his chance at the end, or if we’d actually put someone on the post for just one of those free kicks…I don’t think we’d be viewing the performance as negatively as we have been….if “if’s” and “buts” were apples and nuts…

    Onwards, upwards. It’s not these games which cost us a title challenge…it’s losing to those in the bottom half of the table and I honestly believe that we’ve sorted that…better days to come…

  22. GunnerN5 says:


    Good teams learn from adversity and become great, poor teams shrink from adversity and fail.

    I feel we are a good team on the verge of becoming great.

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    Based on yesterdays “cameo” performance Theo showed us just how much he would be missed if he left — not much at all………..

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5, I hope you are right.

    Last year we lost the equivalent of our next game and then went on a long unbeaten run winning 7 of the next 8.

    Our upcoming fixtures are not too difficult, we should be able to remain unbeaten up to December. If we can do that I will believe in your theory. But I do feel we are one top striker short of greatness.

  25. Rasp says:

    I think it is fine for us to shop for midfielders and defenders in the Β£8-15m bracket but a top striker is going to be Β£25m

  26. goonermichael says:

    I think the wages would be more of a problem. We could have kept that Dutch twat for 200k a week

  27. Rasp says:

    I know gm, it won’t happen – just saying 😦

    The game is changing and we’ve changed our approach lately but not to that extent I’m sure

  28. goonermichael says:

    Nice to see you yesterday Rasp

    I’m off out to Oxford street. oh joy 😦

    see you all later!

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp, the only “top” teams in our next 15 games are Man U away, Spurs home, and Newcastle home – oh and Everton way is always tricky. So there are 11 very winnable games.

    Wilshere will be back along with Szczesney.

    I just hope that we will strengthen both our goalkeeping and attack during the January window.

  30. Rasp says:

    The fact is that their midfield 3 of Mata, Hazzard and Oscar moved the ball forwards more quickly and decisively than our 3 (shows what 72m euros for Hazzard and Oscar gets you) so a plan ‘B’ giving the option of playing the ball over the top to Giroud (who we know is very good at holding the ball up) may have been worth a try.

  31. Gooner In Exile says:

    I think the problem Wenger has with starting Giroud is that we tend to go longer earlier when he is on the pitch. The problem being that the players will not mix it up as the easiest option is to launch it.

    The speed of play through the middle was a concern yesterday but it wasn’t necessarily all the ball carriers fault, on at least one occasion Ramsey broke with the ball only to turn back faces with the prospect of Cole and Mikel on him plus two defenders marshalling Gerv, and Ramires also covering….we were working hard defensively and we seem to be a bit slower than we used to be to join in.

    Agree with both Rasp and GN5 on the minor difference in quality, although I personally don’t think their Β£100m midfield was that much better. That’s why in disappointed, if we’d dealt with the set pieces we could have escaped with a draw or even a win.

  32. henrychan says:

    I agree with you about Verm our captain.. too often left his position.. And unmatching with Kosc.. That’s what I’m afraid of.. and suggest Verm to take some more rest..

    Chelsea midfielders are great.. that’s why I proposed 4-5-1 formation.. and we can do it cause we have some great midfielders also.. Arshavin should be given a place..

    But the show must go on.. Still a lot of time to run for tittle.. 32 more games to go..
    Last season we lost 10 times.. but still on the third..
    If we can win more than last season.. than we can still on the race..

    Last season in October we win all the games.. Hope we will do it again.. although we must face MU.. but I still have a lot confidence in this squad..
    We will be better.. for sure..

    Go Gunners..

  33. Danny says:

    “Answers on a post card…..”
    From the 45th minute until the 51th minute we were in total control. We won a free kick just over the half way line. We’re at home, we’re going for the 2nd goal, so we should attack this free kick, hence Vermaelen goes up field, but Arteta plays the ball across the pitch, then its played back, and then visa versa until Chelsea get the ball from one of those sloppy cross field passes, Torres races away, Vermaelen now getting back fouls him etc.
    I was screaming like mad when Arteta did that….

  34. Gooner In Exile says:

    I admit Danny I hadn’t watched again to see why we were up the pitch.

  35. RockyLives says:

    Excellen report GiE.

    Watching in real time I felt the Chavs looked really dangerous with their forward movement and that we were struggling to find our mojo going forward; and that we did sort of gift them both their goals (Mata’s in particular was jammy given that it was meant as a cross).

    So it’s interesting that we had more attempts, shots etc. Certainly with a bit of luck we could have nicked a point.

    However, the stats don’t alter my view that we were second best on the day. We seemed to not be working as hard off the ball as we were against Shitty and our midfield passing triangles weren’t working out. I know Diaby didn’t do a huge amount before going off, but he, MA and Santi would have had a better chance of getting things going as the match wore on.

    Also I felt that the Ox is not really ready for this level yet. He had a poor game and while I understand he’ll only get better by playing matches, for me he is still a late entry sub unless we are against weak opposition. Coquelin would have been a better replacement for Diaby. In fairness, Ox did make a great run to set up OG’s chance.

    But all the promising signs we have noted thus year have not vanished overnight. We’ll still be too much for most teams this year. As will Chelsea.

    I didn’t see any of the Spuds game, but I reckon that by the end of the season winning at Old Toilet won’t seem as big an achievement as it does now. This is a weak, unbalanced Utd team and they will struggle this season.

  36. Nizam says:

    Watch how other teams score. Arsenal may learn a thing or two from different ways of scoring. The common thread is running and passing with the ball. When Diaby went off,their main threat of someone running at defenders with the ball and causing mayhem disappeared.

  37. Thinking more on the way both teams set up you can start to see why Chelsea had more joy through the middle compared to us.

    We had 1 v 2 in our attacking midfield and they had 3 v 2 in our defensive midfield, our wide players were allowed by Chelsea to deliver untold crosses as they back themselves to swat them away with ease.

  38. RockyLives says:

    Good observation.

    Watching in North America, the co-commentator was Steve McManaman and he made a very good point – after about 25 minutes – that we needed to use the flanks more because we were having no joy in the centre of the park.

    Unfortunately our wide men too often took the ball inside. And, in any case, we did not have someone like OG in the middle to hit crosses to.

  39. Think Rasp said earlier he would’ve started Giroud, I know Micky would’ve, but as i said earlier i think Wenger worries that we become too direct to often if we do that. Which I do understand…but that mentality would mean that Wenger will only use him as a plan B striker, surely not why we bought him?

  40. goonermichael says:
  41. evonne says:

    GiE – we already have a plan B striker warming the bench. No, Wenger is alwasy gentle with the newcomers.

    Rocky – I agree. There is no way on this earth that spuds can mantain the momentum, they are not great at all, it was Manyoo that were rubbish. AVB has already spent Β£53m, so they probably have improved from last year, but so did other top teams, especially one in North London. Ooooh, it is going to be a bumpy ride this season, possibly a bit too exciting for my heart

  42. evonne says:

    GM — FFS, that made me ill!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. evonne says:

    sorry guys, I have to put more comments, enough to know that I won’t see the whale above when I refresh the screen, how gross….

  44. evonne says:

    almost there…grrrrhhhh

  45. evonne says:

    done, thank you for your patience

  46. goonermichael says:

  47. evonne says:

    what fecking eejeets ha ha ha πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  48. goonermichael says:

    sorry evonne. It had me laughing out loud. the pictures are so bad on top of him being a fat wanker

  49. goonermichael says:

    Our ladies are champions again. 9 times in a row I think

  50. goonermichael says:

    It is funny though evonne. One girl is even carrying a football

  51. glic says:

    Wok on, Wok on, you`ll never wok on !. πŸ˜†

  52. glic says:

    According to the Met office, there`s a huge depression over Cornwall. It was nice of them not to mention me by name !.

  53. evonne says:

    Glic πŸ™‚

    GM – but another wanker has actually agreed to do the tattoo!! That’s 2 world’s biggest onanists

    I just caught a glipse of our girls, fantastic!

  54. Bayonne Jean says:

    GiE, fine dissection of the match. My own takes:

    a) Jenkinson has been the revelation of the year so far; was my MotM. Both he and Gibbs have not been an issue at all. Well done, lads!
    b) Our central defenders: like many, thought the Kos-Verm pair was better suited for this match. But that overlooks something: both Kos and Verm are prone to clangers, and Vermaelen in particular has a problem that is a major one for a defender to have, and it’s that when you get right down to it he just doesn’t defend well consistently. Mertesacker has been im-per-ious to this point and will have to be first choice in the really big matches going forward. (And for the captainship: always thought that should be Arteta).
    c) Diaby: We’ll take a good player who can always answer the bell over a great player who’s glass. We would be mocking a player on another side who injures himself for three weeks when taking a shot on goal. Time to cut losses here.
    d) In a previous post here, much was made of the need to be able to run at the opposition. Jack Wilshere can do that; we need him back in the side for that alone. So can Ox, but he’s less of the finished product, needs to be used judiciously, and is not yet the midfield threat that Jack is.
    e) Giroud needs more minutes, and needs to start. Using him as a late game change as he’s struggling will only add to the pressure; what he needs to build confidence is to grow into and across matches. He’s not a one-note front player; he has solid movement and an eye for a good pass, and needs match time.
    f) I’ll put my certified psychologist’s hat on: Ramsey seems to suffer from “anxiety induced hyperventilation” — starts to progressively wear down as a match goes on, and the mental and physical misplays grow. More suited to the late game substitute role for now.

  55. glic says:

    e va va vonne
    Aparrantly, there is a 3rd tattoo and it`s of Ca$hley Hole, can you guess where it is ? .

  56. evonne says:

    GM – that’s a man with 3 arsholes πŸ™‚

    Bayonne – a yes, b yes, c bit harsh, d yes, e defo, f no. Ramsey is doing fine, the lad is not even 22 yet and had almost 2 years gap becasue of Shawcross. I cannot see much wrong with him personally.

  57. evonne says:

    Glic – make it man with 4 arsholes πŸ™‚

  58. evonne says:

    Ian Poulter saved Europe yesterday! Top Gunner, love him

  59. barumgooner says:

    nice post, Exactly as I saw it. I thought Ramsey started brightly but looked a little lost when he moved back into the middle. TV was the worst player on the pitch but Mannone has to take blame for both goals imo. Needs to command his area better. Before the game i really thought we were going to win comfortably but to be fair Chelsea lined up well and controlled the middle The most worrying thing for me though is the fact that we win loads of corners and I haven’t seen many good ones. For all his class and ability the little fella needs to work on his corners and his shooting, both were a bit woeful in the last couple of games.

  60. evonne says:

    Barum – have you been talking to DidIt?

  61. glic says:

    Sorry , Well done with the post GIE. You guys who write a Match Report after we lose have my utmost respect. I`m terrible, If we lose, I dont watch MoTD etc, personally I dont see the point in further torture, is it just me ?.

  62. chas says:

    Excellent match report, GIE.
    Spot on for my money.
    We gifted them the game which is really annoying.

    While looking dangerous on the break, I don’t really understand where the opinion that they controlled the midfield comes from, though I might see it when I re-watch the game. Admittedly, they controlled possession at the start of the match but without threatening our goal at all. After that it was very even.

    I’m not sure Kos was outmuscled by Torres, he just made the cardinal error of not looking at the ball allowing to poke a leg out from behind. I was wondering how the team should have defended the second free-kick. The high line makes perfect sense.

    I was thinking that the defence should drop back to the place where you know the ball is going to land. At least you can then attack the ball coming forward. Running back to your own goal seems like madness. There was no chav player for yards for the 2nd goal. If someone gets a touch that deep, the GK isn’t going to stop the ball anyway unless it happens to hit him. Isn’t it better for Mannone to at least protect that far post, which he could do fairly easily?

  63. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Great stuff, and very entertaining. I especially like how you use your football experience to inform us.

    I know I should but I can’t bring myself to watch more than the MOTD highlights.

    It was clearly a mistake to drop Merts – I know I went with Kos/TV as it was the obvious selection but dropping the BFG cost us dearly.


    Thanks Exile, great write up. Cant quibble with your analysis of the game, though like Rocky i do believe Chlesea deserved the 3 ponts. Your @3.44 is fascinating. The truth is Chelsea won the tactical battle, especialy early on.

    We cant hide from the fact that Chelsea have the edge on us at the moment. They have a belief in there squad that i feel is still not present in ours. They also have a striker who has regained his confidence, we at the moment do not.

    Now for the good news. The gap between the teams is small and will be overturned very quickly. Our team is less experienced than theres and will improve immensly,.Do not underestimate this fact. Out of all the big clubs, Arsenal have the most scope (hahaha) for improvement. We also have the advantage of FFP on our side as well as the major boost of income from new sponsership deals on the horizon.

    All in all i am very happy. the last couple of games has confirmed what i thought 2 years ago, the gap beween us, City and Chelsea will narrow and will continue to do so till the point we overtake both of them.

    I can guarantee this. In 18 months time Arsenal will be top of the league and storming there way to the title, whilst playstation playing chelsea and city fans will be moaning and villyfying there club for not spending money to compete with Arsenal.

    Its just a matter of time. “The Ghosts of the 30’s are stiring”

  65. It is Raddy fault, I look at every Pre – Match on AA and decided to go with Raddy`s advise, so I dropped Merty, BFM ( big F**king mistake ).
    In Raddy We Rust !.

  66. I am still in mourning for our defeat, my trousers are at half mast around my knees. IG is looking a bit corncerned !.

  67. As I look between my legs, with trousers at half mast, I cannot but admire what a lovely shiny pair I have, right, thats enough Ivan G and Stevie B, stop this tom foolery of tying my shoe laces together !.


    Yes, that Big Radfford fellow has a lot to answer for. Leaving Mertsacker out despite the fact he is Arsenals best center back since the Great Terry Mancini. Looney, pantalooney suggestion that has cost us 3 points and exposed our butt, making John Terrys dreams of mens rears come true.

    The charges against Big Radford are as follows.

    1) Costing us 3 points
    2) Ruining Arsenes Pantaloons
    3) Making John Terrys Rear End fantasies come true.

    How do you plead sir??

  69. evonne says:

    A bit pathetic, but it’s about football and politics ,should not mix the two

  70. Evonne thats a clear dive, unless the clip was cleverly edited after the No 5 had done him.

  71. Tickets for Olympiacos, not sure whether to sit in Red Action or near 26 on the half way line.

  72. jnyc says:

    GIE, brilliant take on the match, i cant disagree with anything at all. I especially love the part about Bouldys ipad app and luiz hair. Its a shame we threw it away, and we must get a handle on set pieces, or it will 2 yrs ago all over again. I dont want to fear and hold my breath or look away for every corner, etc.

  73. jnyc says:

    And i agree with those who say Rambo best as a late sub. Its the perfect use for him now. I still like him, but lets use him in the way that helps us most.

  74. No offence 26 I went for Red Action πŸ˜€

  75. evonne says:

    yep GiE, diver and a cheat

    Our man Poulter is brilliant!!

  76. RockyLives says:

    Ryder Cup is getting very exciting!
    (apologies to the golfophobes)

  77. Rasp says:

    The bloody yanks are such poor sports, booing our players off the tee and applauding missed puts – that doesn’t happen when it’s held in Europe.

    And that stooopid ‘get in the hole’ makes me want to vomit – apart from that I’m enjoying the drama πŸ˜•

  78. RockyLives says:

    Did you see the big Arsenal flag unfurled in the crowd when Poulter was on his final hole?

  79. RockyLives says:

    Agree about the US crowd Rasp.
    Shouting “get in the bunker” and “get in the water” when the Europeans tee off.

    They’ve always behaved badly in Ryder Cups on US soil.

  80. Big Raddy says:

    Firstly, I fully accept my costly error. My mistake led to the loss of 3 points. I apologise wholeheartedly and will stop eating chocolate digestives for a month in an attempt to find redemption.

    Secondly, I can only agree with Rasp about the very shabby behavior of the American fans, it is ruining a brilliant sporting event. So much so, that I am watching with the sound off.

  81. Gooner In Exile says:

    To be fair the only tournament I’ve seen any decorum in the States is the Masters, that’s only because the crowd know the members carry sawn offs in their smart green jackets for anyone disrespecting the holy ground.

    I haven’t watched much of the Ryder Cup may have to put it on now.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    I didn’t RL. Superb.

    Poulter, Weir, Farah. Wonder if Bradley Wiggins or Andy Murray are Gooners?

  83. RockyLives says:

    If Europe retain the Cup it will be one of the great comebacks.

  84. Gooner In Exile says:

    Murray is or at least he said so during an interview on Radio 5.

  85. Big Raddy says:

    I fear we are going to fall just short but what a comeback!

  86. Big Raddy says:

    We are The People’s Team of Champions

  87. RockyLives says:

    Maybe it’s not just the Yanks.
    I just heard a chorus of “you’re gonna win f*** all” sung by the Europeans (Brits!) when Garcia just won his match.

  88. Big Raddy says:

    These guys are unbelievably skilled and have cojones of steel. Great entertainment.

  89. RockyLives says:

    Crazy close

  90. Gooner In Exile says:

    I used to get nervous if the group behind watched me tee off, these poor sods have to do it in front of huge galleries and millions on TV.

  91. Gooner In Exile says:

    Kaymer 3 shots to win the Ryder Cup.

  92. Bayonne Jean says:

    Evonne, thanks for the review of my comments. Re Ramsey: I’m fine with him as well, but it’s just that right now — particularly if he has to do as much as you have to do in midfield, his stamina seems to flag, making him less effective.

    And on Abou: a bit harsh??? How in the world can any team rely on a player who can injure himself while he’s taking a shot with no one near him?????

  93. Gooner In Exile says:


  94. Gooner In Exile says:

    Bayonne my heart bleeds for Abou, he has had to change his whole running style to compensate for the result of a Sunderland thugs assault. Lets hope we haven’t now got to wait for him to re model how he kicks it too.

    For me Ramseys head dropped as he was on the end of some groans as he gave away possession about 4 times in quick succession. Not sure if a stamina issue although his young legs could suffer at that stage of the game or whether he tries a little too hard when he makes a mistake or two and that only compounds the problem.

  95. RockyLives says:

    Good recovery second by Kaymer.

  96. Gooner In Exile says:

    Think your ahead Rocky they only just showed that

  97. Gooner In Exile says:


  98. RockyLives says:

    Great sporting drama!

  99. chas says:

    Not a sport? You’re fecking kidding me.

  100. RockyLives says:

    “you’re not singing any more” from the Euro fans.

    Clearly a few pints have been sunk πŸ™‚

  101. Big Raddy says:

    Fantastic stuff. Just fantastic.

  102. RockyLives says:

    And now Tiger misses a three footer – and Europe win outright. Top stuff.

  103. Gooner In Exile says:

    Would anyone here been able to resist singing:

    “Tiger where’s your wife, Tiger Tiger where’s your wife.”


  104. Gooner In Exile says:

    Do wonder when US will learn we stick all the big guns up first on singles day and they always leave Tiger til last when its likely not to matter.

  105. RockyLives says:

    With Tiger’s Ryder Cup record I think they leave him til last cos they hope his match won’t matter.

  106. Gooner In Exile says:

    πŸ˜€ Rocky, although I think he is one of those players that up against a big name he will raise his game.

  107. goonermichael says:

    Raddy Murray is a gooner apparently. There’s a video of him on Arsenal player at the Emirates and he seems genuine.

    I don’t watch golf but re the comments they wouldn’t know class if it sat on their face.

  108. RockyLives says:

    We’re still two points better off than we were at this point last season πŸ™‚

  109. kelsey says:

    Anyone else see the resemblance between Ian Poulter and Nicholas Bendtner.Anyway what a victory and as stated above what bad sportsmanship by the American crowd in general..

  110. oz gunner says:

    great job GiE, like Glic said top marks go to anyone who writes a piece like that after a loss. I’m still crying! Oh well off to smash some Greeks…not TMHT he’s had a tough life!

  111. oz gunner says:

    I say the more the merrier Kelsey. AA is the best blog on the net, there is no doubting that, Rasp deserves a truck load of beer, and Peaches a truck load of multi-pocketed jackets and pot plants.

    We are spoilt for choice on here in terms of posts and comments. If it were up to me the likes of TA, rocky,micky, 26, GiE, chas, BR, and more would write a post each and every day.

    Goodluck to TA, he deserves it. Top bloke

    There’s a blocking option? Surprised I didn’t get that yonks ago

  112. Gooner In Exile says:

    Oz we thought you were someone else so we let you stay, the admin have rued that day ever since πŸ˜€

  113. evonne says:

    Poulter won it for Europe!!! What a guy!!!

    Raddy – no, Wiggins is a big Pool fan, desite being a Camden lad, clearly nobody is perfect

  114. Big Raddy says:

    Oz. Well over a hundred imbeciles have got the hook. Mostly Spurs fans trolling or people who think abuse is discussion.

    Thankfully, we rarely use the FO button these days.

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The reason I’m not around is not down to sulking, just no broadband and connection only though dongle and seriously slow.
    The biggest bugger is that I really wanted to discuss the defensive side with GiE, and the role of a dominant shouty keeper.
    Judging by your post as well as your experience as a keeper, you are the man for the job.
    Chins up lads.

  116. Gooner In Exile says:

    Micky, dominant? yes, shouty? well if its calmly done yes. Personally I always preferred Seaman over Schmeichel (even when I took the red and white blinkers off).

    So for me if you want to compare the attitudes of the various keepers at the top right now, I take Friedel and Cech over Hart. Simply because they have an attitude that says “saving goals is my job”, whereas Hart always seems offended that he has had to get dirty and starts rollicking all in front of him. I always found when in my impetuous youth I took that approach, that the resultant corner found me not calm and I was on the end of a rollicking as I came to catch thin air.

  117. evonne says:

    Bayonne – it is a tough one on Diaby; it ain’t his fault he is injury prone and he is capable of brilliance. We gave R$P 7 years to get fully fit and then he pooed on us So perhaps you are right, we should sell Diaby now.

    No good deed goes unpunished or the polish version – if you have soft heart, you’d better have hard arse for kicking – R$P being the proof in the pudding

  118. evonne says:

    GiE – Czech was horrible on Saturday, time wasting, long balls to Torres, I just hate him

  119. Big Raddy says:

    Interesting GIE. Zen and the art of goalkeeping.

    Seaman would have saved the Torres shot. Although unexpected it was close to Don Vito and a with a half second’s anticipation he would have got his right (?) hand to it.

  120. Gooner In Exile says:

    Raddy probably right, Seaman had a knack of being the best goalkeeper in the league without getting dirty, his footwork and reading of strikers was impeccable.

  121. kelsey says:

    Jens came into my son’s shop on Saturday before he was off to the game. Apparently he is over here for an unspecific time helping at the training ground.

  122. evonne says:

    Does Ian Gunner Poulter’s performance and his team victory give us right to call ourselves The European Champions? I think so πŸ™‚

  123. Bandy Legged Coot says:

    Lehman is doing his coaching badges, and Arsene agreed he could study at Arsenal.

  124. Morning all

    GiE – fanatstic match report, thank you for stepping up to the plate.

    Sometimes our defeats are unjustified because events go against us in the game, on Saturday we lost Diaby early and that meant that there was something missing in mid-field.

    We were much more creative than the chavs and although we looked sluggish we definitely could have won. However if we keep giving away goals to teams and then are unable to score freely we’re not going to get very far. Bloomin obvious I know but we think Bouldy is making a difference so lets see if he earns his money this week and helps the team find themselves in better positions to defend free-kicks and corners. I don’t want to go back to thinking we’re always going to concede from a corner 😦

  125. glic says:

    That was quite exciting last night, excellent entertainment. Great to beat our American cousins at anything. Is Woods going on last the equivilent of Ronaldo taking the last penalty for Portugal ?. Still not what I call a sport though. Chas may disagree, but then again he`s got his Justin Rose tinted glasses on !. πŸ˜†

  126. Big Raddy says:

    glic. Woods/Ronaldo. Good analogy.

    As televised sporting entertainment goes, last night was as good as it gets. Heart in mouth tension.

  127. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. The answer to the corner problem was on our bench.

  128. Raddy – you know it’s all your fault, you wanted Per rested 😦

  129. glic says:

    Lets face it Raddy, the Ryder Cup, being a team game , is nothing like normal Golf . Uncomparable in my opinion, going from playing for yourself to playing for your team mates, your country. a continent etc, big difference.

  130. Now we know that AW probably reads your team selection before he makes his final decision πŸ˜€

  131. I’m gutted, not only did I miss Downton Abbey last night but also the end of the golf because I couldn’t get the tv to work 😦 I hope you all feel very sorry for me ……………..

  132. glic says:

    After losing so much over recent years, will America do a Britain ( bringing in Europe ) and join forces with Canada ?, I`ve heard their good with Ice Hockey sticks !.

  133. glic – how is the baby doing?

  134. glic says:

    Thanks for asking.
    He`s come out of High Dependency into Low Dependency and upto yesterday, he had put on 4 ounces in 5 days, at this rate, I shall take him in a Kebab next week !. πŸ™‚

  135. Rasp says:

    Morning all ….

    …. New post ……

  136. LB says:

    The bride got jilted at the alter in Downton if that helps.

  137. Nooooooooooooo!!!!! That’s terrible ……. thanks LB, I’ll have to find it and watch later.

  138. richie says:

    Brilliant summing up GIE I know IΒ΄m a day late and a dollar short but couldnΒ΄t face the blogs after our loss.

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