Can Arsenal sustain the Improvement?

Let’s not get carried away. Two wins against very poor opposition does not mean we are going to charge up the table  – or does it? Could a week of 7 goals and a clean sheet be the portents for a massive improvement? We will find out today.

Aston Villa have had a troubled start to the season; they lack confidence, strikers, cohesion and points. What they do not lack is a very good young manager who will be using all his skills to rectify this situation. Lambert has proven he has the ability to take a club with a small budget to PL safety, I expect him to do the same at Villa, though he is banned from the touchline for this fixture thanks to being rightly upset with the officials.

I have always liked Villa; they have a noble history but went into decline 20+ years ago. To those younger fans it should be noted that, unlike us, they have won the European Cup – can anyone remember the name of their manager at the time? (without Google :-)).

Never liked their ground, set amongst motorways, scrubby parkland  and industrial estates – and the scene of that horrible night of the DB missed penalty, and a hairy Giggs goal (BR was there in ’99). But like Liverpool and Everton, Villa are a proper club.

Who is this Man? (clue: he is not Inspector Clouseau)

Villans are not happy, their team are struggling but there are signs of improvement – 2 ahead against MU, doing OK at MC before being shafted by the ref, this will not be an easy game for us. Villa have a young inexperienced squad and are heavily dependent upon Benteke to score, despite having Darren Bent and Abonglohar in the squad. What has happened to Bent? A confirmed Gooner and according to Peaches a very pleasant chap, he has cost his employers over £50m in transfer fees and yet doesn’t feature in a team desperate for goals. He could be a reasonable Chamakh replacement in January.

Stat time; We have not lost against AV for 13 games (6 dr 7 w). In 7 of the last 9 meetings there has been a goal after the 87th minute. AV have won just 2 of their last 18 home PL games. All of this bodes ill for Arsenal who love to buck the trend!

Arsenal: No Theo, some of the team looking jaded, Sagna and JW both being used too often after retuning from long-term injury, Gibbs a risk, Podolski overplayed – is JNYC right that we need some rotation? Most would say Yes, particularly as we are away at Everton mid-week. I think a little tinkering and perhaps some timely substitutions will suffice.

My Team:

I would be happy to se Gervinho if O-C his not fully recovered from his hip injury . Much will depend upon how AW sets up the midfield., he may choose to play Coquelin in place of JW.

Our recent run of form is entirely due to the good luck brought by the two hirsuite brave Englishmen presented in these pre-matches. Today’s explorer is sure to bring us victory:  Edward John Eyre (1815-1901). An English land explorer who was just a touch self-obsessed as witnessed by the names of his discoveries – Lake Eyre, the Eyre Peninsula and the Eyre River (all in South Australia) he walked through South Australia, the Nullabor plains and along the Great Bight – over 2000 miles! Eyre later became Governor of Jamaica.

Why not re-name it The Eyre-Mirates?

I foresee a tough game this evening. Villa will be keen to get their season on track and our lads have yet to play 90 fluent minutes. Our recent habit of starting very slowly needs to be addressed, so I look for fast start, an early goal and a tight defensive display.


Written by Big Raddy

177 Responses to Can Arsenal sustain the Improvement?

  1. Shard says:

    Love the match report BR. I think we might rest Jack for this one. Coquelin will probably come in. Though Ramsey might do so as well. I hope you are right about Jenkinson. He’d done nothing to deserve to be dropped, and Sagna could probably do with a breather anyway. A proper LB should also help our attack if Gibbs comes in. On current form I’d take Kos over TV right now, but I guess the armband will influence that to an extent.

    Where did the idea for having a pre match explorer/adventurer come from? Love it.

  2. Shard says:


    from the previous post’s comments.. I’m certain WBA spent a season without a sponsor in the premier league. It was the chinless one’s debut season. He scored on his debut against the Baggies in a 1-0 win.

  3. Gooner In Exile says:

    Raddy fine pre match as ever and you are right about Villa, their away fans are always very good too, and have some proper support.

    As for team selection today if Theo is fit start Sagna, but if Ox is fit and starts I’d start Jenkinson….two reasons, firstly they are mates off the pitch so have a good relationship, also Ox drifts inside and Jenkinson has greater ability and engine to maraud up and down the right flank all game long.

    Those would be the only changes, of Gibbs is fit it brings the selection headache of Koscielny/TV5 nice problem to have for Wenger but maybe we rest BFG today?

  4. kelsey says:

    As usual a lot of effort by Raddy to give us his pre match post.

    This is exactly the type of game where we often falter.

    Form points to an away win and Villa are not the sort of side to park the bus so I expect an open game.

    My main concern, as has been often seen too frequently is us falling out of the blocks for the first 15/20 minutes and that is not acceptable so let’s hope for a more positive start.

    i don’t like 5.30 games as though the players won’t care a hoot we will all get that little bit extra nervous if earlier results don’t go our way.

    I also don’t expect too many changes from the last match, though I would like to see Arshavin get a cameo even if he is off in January because on his day he can change a game.

    Shard if you say WBA also had a year without a shirt sponsor then I accept that,though it was just an unimportant bit of trivia.

  5. kelsey says:


    Wenger said yesterday that theo is out for today.

  6. I have always liked Villa, too, Big Raddy. And like you say, they’re a ‘proper’ club.
    My best mate (Bone) is a Villa fan, and I actually celebrated with him, and another mate (Chuck) that very evening when they’d won the European Cup. They wore their scarves all evening… lots of beer followed by a yummy Chinese at the ‘Nam Fong’ restaurant, just 30 yards from Banbury Cross.

    Good post. Your lineup is probably spot-on; it usually is.
    And another bloke with a big beard.

    p.s. Abonglohar is far too good for Villa; he’d do well at most of the top eight clubs.

  7. Well i got it wrong about Villa, thought the manager was Ron Saunders…. Anyway
    Great post Raddy, hope there is minimal rotation, for me play your strongest team if they are 100%, change them if they are not.

  8. GoonerB says:

    Great report Raddy. I agree a strong and quick start would be great. I would like to get villa on the back foot and sitting deeper early, rather than inviting them to close our defence and deeper midfielders down early on by messing around too much with the ball in these areas. As such I would rest BFG and Sagna and go for Jenkinson and the LK / TV CD partnership. It is a pacy back line that should cope well if we pin Villa back and they end up relying on the counter attack. I would like to see AA feature today also as he worries defenders and tends to keep them having to defend. I think lots of good movement off the ball and running off each other at pace, and attacking intent with forward passes (even if some get intercepted) much like we started to do as the game went on against Montpelier.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Real surprise about the manager who won the European Cup. A forgotten man just as Di Matteo will be in 20 years time.

    Think about it – which other British Managers have won the EC – you will probably get 90%, but the AV manager never gets a mention.

  10. kgooner says:

    the burning question indeed. Today and next mid-week result will tell us much.

    I think Santi should have a rest today. Maybe we’ll find out how strong we are without him. We owe him rejuvenation for Wednesday’s clash. I favor Arshavin coming in and the Ox coming in later/in the 2nd half. He seemed to disappear during the Montpellier game. His impact could be game changing once the opposition wears out. So for me, Gervinho 1st half, then sub’d by the OX.
    I am all for the Chavs dropping points and we’ll catch up. Up the Arse!

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Another great pre-match Raddy, it shows just how Eyre-dite you are.

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m also on Arshavin’s side and would enjoy seeing him getting a start on the left, therefore giving Podolski a rest.

  13. Red Arse says:


    I read the Post twice searching for clues as to the Villa manager pictured, without success.

    I always thought Ron Saunders was the Villa manager at the time, but after a sneaky call to someone I know in the Midlands, I learned it was Tony Barton, his assistant manager, because Saunders had walked out of his job after a row with the then owner.

    I never knew that – but then I don’t really know Saunders, and certainly had never heard of Tony Barton who died young it seems.

    Not ‘google’ but a cheat all the same!! 😀

  14. Shard says:

    RA being stumped? Who’d have thought it 🙂

  15. richie says:

    @mickey Not realizing we had a new post I replied to you on the old one so as a follow up, who couldn’t forgive Henry for the 2009 ECL final? I mean I’d forgive any team that beat SAF’s mob especially when it contained Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez. Happy days.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    I like the Arshavin option but AW clearly doesn’t.

    In the words of Toyah Wilcox “it’s a mythtery”

  17. Wombledin says:

    What improvement? So far this season were comparatively slightly worse than at the equivalent stage last season. In our next 8 games against the same or equivalent fixtures last season, we got 6 wins and 2 draws. I will be amazed if we manage to do the same this time. This squad needs a golden run starting now until 1 January, or our top four chances are over Rover.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Wombledin. Thanks for your comment

    I was writing about the last 160 minutes – not the season 🙂

  19. richie says:

    @Johnathan Saunders was their manager, surely? Although without switching to Google there was some inhouse scandle about the final, but I can’t remember what? Bloody hell it ain’t my club!
    Also like BR I hate that ground! Villa always rolled over for SAF’s boys and it holds more than one set of unhappy memory’s for me, as a Gooner.

  20. chas says:

    Top pre-match, BR.

    I haven’t been too keen on Villa in the last few years.
    I’ve found their away support aggressive and obnoxious.
    They sung about Eduardo walking like Heather Mills which is unforgivable in my book.
    Their ‘Have you won a European Cup’ song gets on my nerves, too.

    I quite like Villa Park…..reminds me a little of Highbury.
    Not as it was here, though. 🙂

  21. richie says:

    Oh I see, said the blindman, as will be obvious from the above I didn’t read anyone else’s blogs especially not RA’s. Can’t remember Tony Barton.

  22. chas says:

    So Wombledin doesn’t think beating the spuds and qualifying for the CL knockout round isn’t an improvement on the garbage we saw against Norwich, Schalke (home) and mancs?

  23. harry671 says:

    Nice one Raddy, we are faced (AW is) with the hardest task of all with football, when and when not to rotate, how many, 1, 2 or more. Does he change a winning team, have we improved or do we stick to 100% strength of whats available.

    2 away games against tough opposition, Villa having just been smashed for 5 will be smarting and EVerton are no mugs.

    We have players who have only just returned, others who have overplayed……..

    For me its about the odd change for freshness and keep the core the same, the vermaelen captaincy / gibbs returning adds an extra dimension to the decision, so all in all, Wenger has some key decisions to make. The key is defensive stability……

    For me:


    Sagna BFG Kozzer Verm

    Wilshere Coquelin Arteta

    Santi Giroud Ox

    Gervinho, Arshavin, Podolski, Jenks, Gibbs,Ramsey and Don

  24. richie says:

    Have to agree about Villa being a proper though, like The Toffee’s, The Pool and yes unfortunately Oil Money City, we all know enough about their neighbours.

  25. My first LIVE game at Villa Park: we lost 3-0.

    On the train from Banbury to Brum Don Howe got his compartment’s players to sign for me after telling some noisy fans to clear off! Thanks, Don!
    I then sat in a compartment with Jon Sammels and Frank McLintock for their autographs and a quick chat. Nice blokes!
    Bertie Mee wouldn’t sign for me as he said he was “no-one special”.
    The following season he was installed as manager.

    Two day before this game (Easter-time), Tom Walley (midfielder) and his brother Ernie (reserves coach) sat on the sofa of my parents’ (family home) drinking tea and chatting. My dad knew a (Banbury) relative of the Walley’s, and was told they were visiting him. They were very smart in their (identical) navy-blue blazers with crest, grey slacks, shiny black shoes.

    Tom Walley gave my dad and me tickets (East Stand upper) for the final home game vs Leicester. Settled in our seats well before kick-off Bertie Mee walked up the steps (coincidence?… not sure) and, seeing me again, said “hello”.

    I was 12 years old.

  26. chas says:

    Super story, Big Al.
    What were Arsenal doing travelling from Banbury?

  27. Specially for BIG RADDY…

    I was at Villa for an FA Cup semi-final vs Stoke, and Bob Wilson dived very courageously at an opponent’s feet. He was kicked (accidentally) unconscious. In those days there no substitutes, so we went down to ten men. Who put on the goalie’s jersey?

    Big Raddy, of course.

  28. @ Chas

    The team were travelling from London to Birmingham.
    Banbury is one-and-a half hours’ from London, and a further one-hour on to Birmingham. The train stopped at Banbury so I and other passengers could get on… it’s what trains do.:-)

  29. chas says:


  30. chas says:

    For some reason I thought Banbury was near the M4 !

  31. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Fantastic report BRaddy.

    And NO FEAR. I believe we have the 3 points in the bag, but just like your good self i wish for fluent football…and not just 10min patches.

    Eyre-mirates 😆 i tried not to laugh but i guess you caught me off guard.

    Ps. Beautiful place South Australia, and Lake Eyre is a sight for sore eyes. I once did the drive from OZ’s hood across the desert of WA, through SA and onto Sydney..

    Never again!

  32. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Santi is my special this week. I have him as my fantasy captain, i just cant see anyone in the villans side able to keep up with his quick feet and thinking. ( i think he has been off par in his last few and its another reason why i expect him to have a blinder!)

    3-1 to the good guys with Santi coming to town and a big improvement from the OX.. Now Arsene, UNLEASH THEM!!


  33. @ Chas

    Banbury does have a motorway around the edge of the town; don’t know if it’s the M4 though (?).
    Anyway, whether or not that’s the motorway you’re thinking of, trains aren’t allowed on motorways.

  34. richie says:

    Bent passed fit it seems.

  35. richie says:

    Banbury’s on the M40 said the blindman from earlier.

  36. glic says:

    Top stuff per usual Rads

    The picture of Villa Park by chas @ 12:13pm. I noticed three things missing from todays game and all credited to Herbert Chapman ( two definately ). First to get all three right, will get a personally signed mirror from yours truly !. hahaha

  37. Big Raddy says:

    glic Can’t tell if there are numbers but two things are obvious

  38. GunnerN5 says:

    Arry’s in at Queens Park on a 2.5 year contract.

  39. glic says:

    No numbers is correct Biggy, whats the other two obvious ones then ? 🙂

  40. Big Raddy says:

    how did we not beat Sunderland? They are awful

  41. Big Raddy says:

    A teaser …… floodlights is one ….

  42. glic says:

    Dont torment me Biggy, your working me into a frenzy ! hahaha
    and the third is……

  43. glic says:

    They had rather large buses remember !

  44. glic says:

    Have I got you stumped Biggy ? 🙂

  45. Brigham says:

    I can remember Villa winning the European Cup quite vividly and I did not even watch the game. I was at sea in the South Atlantic that day, having been sat aboard my ship in a certain bit of water called San Carlos. Very interesting air displays and fireworks all day!

    We had not long fallen out from action when we then tuned into the World Service radio to listen in. Not the greatest of games or not on the radio anyway, but glad Villa won.

    As for tonight, it will be difficult for us without doubt, it nearly always is up there. I do however predict a 3-1 to us Gooners.

    No idea who the manager was withoug looking at Google, but I thought Saunders was in charge of Villa, well he was when we sailed for the Falklands in April anyway!

  46. goonermichael says:

    Great post as usual Raddy. Wewst Brom are doing well!

  47. Big Raddy says:

    No glic. I know the answer.

    GM. Worryingly well.

  48. LB says:

    Like the post BR

    Clever start.

    The Ox was poor in the week; shame, he could have made that his own, instead, my feeling is that Wenger will try and play Gervinho on the right.

    It is not his position; he is unlikely to shine and most people will wonder how on earth can anyone ever chose the Ivorian over Podolski.

    I still maintain that Gervinho is more of a threat then Podolski down the left.

    Gibbs really should be playing LB but how is Wenger going to drop the captain? He won’t but he really should as the BFG-Koz combo is working far better than any that includes Vermealen.

  49. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    QPR 1-0 Manure.. hahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahah

  50. Big Raddy says:

    PPP. MU need to go down to get started ….

  51. RockyLives says:

    Top stuff BR
    I thought ‘Ron Saunders’ too!

    I’ve a feeling this will be a close game. Hope we prevail.

  52. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    BR, at times this season i have felt the same with our troops. Fair call?

  53. dandan says:

    Brigham I visited the Falklands a couple of years ago with among others, John Jolly the Surgeon who was in charge of the the field hospital throughout the war. Interesting place. Very nice people who are still exceptionally grateful to you and your mates for what you did for them.

  54. As you said BR they got started after going behind Manuer 2 – 1 up

  55. Gooner In Exile says:

    Bloody ell Sagna and TV5 on bench

  56. Hmmmmmmnnnnn spot the deliberate mistake in that line-up???

    No Jack but only 10 players 😉

  57. chas says:

    Girouski equals 2 players?

  58. chas says:

    1. Wojciech Szczesny
    25. Carl Jenkinson
    4. Per Mertesacker
    6. Laurent Koscielny
    28. Kieran Gibbs
    8. Mikel Arteta
    16. Aaron Ramsey
    15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    19. Santi Cazorla
    9. Lukas Podolski
    12. Olivier Giroud
    24. Vito Mannone
    3. Bacary Sagna
    5. Thomas Vermaelen
    10. Jack Wilshere
    22. Francis Coquelin
    23. Andrey Arshavin
    27. Gervinho

  59. Aaaah, I see Giroud/Podolski – very clever 🙂

  60. Big Raddy says:

    AW read Johnienyc’s post!

    Interesting team and good enough to win

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Afternoon all.
    Thanks for pre-match Raddy.
    Agree with Shard on the Explorer idea 🙂
    Very strong bench.

  62. Gonna need a nice person to think about writing a match report or player ratings for tomorrows post please ……. any offers?????

  63. Peaches!!!! HIDE…..erm doctors, mum coming to tea, dog ate my homework…..long and short i can’t do it (actually need to do some work this evening) sorry.

  64. I heard Chas has been desperate to write another report, and Micky was quite keen too I hear

  65. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just been watching players trudging off pitches around the country. Could be the day for the extra long studs.
    That or flippers!

  66. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dog ate my homework ROLF

  67. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Pig on the keyboard GiE. Not poss 🙂

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Come on you Gunnnnnnners

  69. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Come on Gunners!!!

  70. Red Arse says:

    Homework ate my dog!

  71. Gooner In Exile says:

    No one told me it was Mason….. 😦

  72. kelsey says:

    I didn’t know Zee Zee Tops son was a gooner

  73. Adrian says:

    Man we need to learn how to start games with high tempo, once again we’re stuck in our half and the back passing is happening way too often.

  74. kelsey says:

    Maybe we should play 70 minute games,same lethargic start

  75. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    back to basics. back to boring.

    where is the flair?

  76. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just lacking a bit of cohesion at times? Lost count of the amount of bad passes Giroud has made look better, the big fella is having a good game, as are BFG, Koz and Gibbs.

  77. slimgingergooner says:

    Wide men not in the game for the first 45 but Giroud’s touches have been quality. Cazorla is begging for the ball but Ramsey still has the annoying habit of having one more look around the field for a wonderball before he reluctantly plays the easy pass that was there 10 seconds ago. He really needs to learn when to move the ball on quicker, espescially when he can move it to someone like Cazorla who is capable of winning us the game.

    Not great, but I think the goal will come.

  78. Adrian says:

    Am I the only one whos looking forward to Wilshere coming on for Ramsey in the second half?

  79. kelsey says:

    Ramsey was unlucky with his shot and even if kos had scored he definitely pulled the defender back.

  80. Adrian says:

    On the contrary Ramsey was actually lucky with that shot, if you look at it in slow mo it actually took quite a deflection

  81. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Adrian. No, you are not

  82. MickyDidIt89 says:


  83. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Our biggest problem this season seems to be our play off the ball. No one is making the runs and creating angles and options for the pass. No one is hungry and on their toes. Our positioning in the box when attacking is a joke and at times our style has looked both robotic and static.. the sad thing is that we keep persisting with the wrong formation and playing players out of position..

    45min gone, it hasnt worked but we need to change something. Lets not wait for them to score or the 67min.. please! 😦

  84. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If we start moving the ball faster, and preferably forwards, I’m sure we’ll take all three points home.

  85. GunnerN5 says:

    Ramsey is a slow thinker and does not seem to have very good peripheral vision.

    He slows the game down whenever he gets the ball. I try hard to have positive thoughts about him but he always manages to convince me otherwise.

  86. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Why cant we take on just one player in the final 3rd and shoot low and hard. Its fucking raining, anything can happen. Have a go !!

  87. Gooner In Exile says:

    Podolski has been poor today

  88. kelsey says:

    who would you bring on. i would take ramsey and the ox off and bring on arshavin and wilshere

  89. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    no one stands out.. we are playing like a french B team, waiting for a mistake or gift.

  90. GunnerN5 says:

    We need the speed and guile of Andre and Jack.

  91. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Substitution due in 1 min or so

  92. slimgingergooner says:

    We look very tired.

    Why does no-one run beyond the ball anymore?

  93. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Podolski will rot on the left like AA23 😦

  94. slimgingergooner says:

    At least Gervinho tries to get to the byeline before crossing. Our delivery has been pathetic today.

  95. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    well done ramsey. more of that please

    Come on Arsenal

  96. kelsey says:

    the amount of misplaced passes by both sides is not EPL standard.

    At least the post will be short.

  97. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    cacked my daks

  98. Adrian says:

    Something is absolutely wrong with the team. One or two off games I can understand, but nowadays games like this are becoming more of a trend, toothless going forward and back passing constantly, something you’d hardly see in the previous seasons.

  99. Rasp says:

    Why do our defensive headers always go straight to the opposition?

  100. GunnerN5 says:


    The conditions ate not conducive to good football, the pitch is so saturated that the passes are not carrying.

  101. Adrian says:

    If we play like this at Everton we’ll most probably lose.

  102. Adrian says:

    Now I’ve seen it all. We’re bringing in a defensive midfielder for a striker. Shouldn’t we be gunning for a win?

  103. kelsey says:

    AW playing for the draw now. piss poor game

  104. slimgingergooner says:

    I won’t be reading much into this game. The weathers appalling and it’s after an important CL week. It’s not been great but it doesn’t mean we are shit.

  105. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:


    Blogus fartimus maximus.


  106. Adrian says:

    Piss poor, can’t believe I stayed up for this

  107. chas says:

    Utter utter garbage.
    Coquelin for Giroud. WTF is that all about?

  108. Adrian says:

    This has happened way too many times in this season alone. At least we hardly had a problem pushing forward last season, we were absolutely toothless today even with 3 great attacking minded players.

  109. kelsey says:

    The pitch was the same for both was a terrible game and a poor performance by our boys.
    When santi is not on song and Arteta is playing so deep there is no real fluidity in our game.
    A boottom three side where as good as us and where is the squad strength.our players looked knackered already at this comparitively early stage of the season.very disappointed with the performance.

  110. kgooner says:

    piss poor alright. Once again we are relying on one person. Carzola. They stifle, they have us by the balls.

  111. Shard says:

    It means we need another striker chas. Giroud was probably injured. It was a poor performance today, though oddly I thought we looked lively the first 10 mins. It was all downhill from there. It must be remembered that we created the odd chance, such as for Koscielny, but we weren’t very efficient today. AT least we held out at the back and didn’t concede a stupid goal. The conditions did not help us at all though that is no excuse.

  112. Adrian says:

    Not sure if its just a matter of lost confidence or something more than that in the team. Hardly anyone doing runs forward, to be fair to Ramsey he picked up his game a little bit in the second half. But that’s about the only few positives I can get from the game. Sort it out Wenger, you made a bottom table team look better than us.

  113. Gooner In Exile says:

    Not like we played to Girouds strengths, pretty pointless leaving him on if we are not going to deliver the ball. My ratings

    Szczesney – Solid
    Jenkinson – Good
    BFG – Good
    Koscielny – Good
    Gibbs – Good
    Arteta – Poor
    Cazorla – Poor
    Ramsey – Average
    Ox – Poor
    Pod – Very Poor (nothing to do with his position not even doing basics right)
    Giroud – Poor Bugger got nothing to go on for 90 minutes, making bad passes look good and the only one trying to encourage pace into the side by clever lay offs.

    For me it’s all about our movement in midfield we set up too high too soon so there are limited passing options for the defenders to hit, everyone is running away from the ball, surely that’s not how we play?

  114. Shard says:


    Agree completely with your ratings for the players.

  115. LB says:

    Top assessment GIE

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not having either Podolski or Giroud in the middle at the end was a very bad decision. Both would have been sensible. One essential. Neither utterly bonkers.

  117. jnyc says:

    I am not a negative fan, but these types of matches are happening much too often. I would understand the occasional slip up against weaker teams. But the season is slipping away, and we will be battling for our lives for fourth at this rate. slim, u are too forgiving. No excuse

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just thought of a positive… Jack will be fresh for Everton.

  119. LB says:

    Did anyone remember Winterburn’s comments in the week; he made many seemingly obvious points and yet I thought they were all bang on the money.

    If Arsenal do not have one of there wings working well the whole team grinds to a halt.

    I paraphrase but…………..

  120. Bryan says:

    Yet another very poor performance from our boys.
    Sadly there have been more crap games than good games from us so far this season.
    Yet again no will to want to win shown & strange substitute decisions by Wenger, I mean why do you take our only striker off the pitch with 5 mins to go when your drawing 0-0, & that brings me to my last point, yet another 0-0, we are turning back to boring boring Arsenal.
    I don’t think this is good enough & again I question Wengers motivation skills as was no difference in 2nd half.

  121. kelsey says:

    all it does is strengthen theo’s bargaining position.

  122. Reddawn says:

    Why so much time and money is spent on such a inept player like Ramsey, I will never know. I expect he will be booted out eventually. We handicap ourselves when ever we start the game with him. On a brighter note, I thought Szczesny had an excellent game.Super save kept us in the game.

  123. GunnerN5 says:

    It really was not that bad a game, the conditions brought both teams down to the same level. Our defense was very solid and gave up very few good chances to Villa.

    That said it our worst EPL start since 1994/5 – 19 seasons. although that’s not good we are STILL in ALL competitions.

    I’m of the firm belief that we will break with our miserly tradition and spend big in January.

    Enough of the negative diatribe, we do not have a divine right to win.

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And so I guess it follows that if neither wings are working then…… 😦

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Its dark, its raining, I’m not going out, and have no mates coming over. Blimey….outlook bleak.

  126. kgooner says:

    @ GIE i find it odd to say Cazorla was poor today. The guy needs a break. Lots of passes to him were desperate late passes. Its like they see him as a ‘demi-god’. “Oh darn. I’m trapped. I’ll pass the ball to Cazorla, he’ll know what to do. Sprinkle some of that magic of his” Ramsey’s thoughts. Meanwhile, Cazorla has AVilla’s all over him! This happened enough times.

    Jenks also didn’t come through with convertible crosses for Giroud to feed off, especially earlier on in the game.

  127. kelsey says:

    7 goals scored in 7 away games and only two wins against a side who have only won one home game all season.

    You can spin it anyway you like we don’t have enough good players to bring on as change these games. villa wee poor but must mention our pole’s save otherwise it would have been nil points.

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Kelsey,
    Although I partially agree, I think it helps to have the right players on the pitch, at the right times, and in the right order.

  129. Big Raddy says:

    Not happy

  130. Gooner In Exile says:

    Kgooner I call it as I saw it, and I’m not afraid to say one of the stars had a bad game, he has to do more in a game. I rarely look back but Cesc did exactly what you say Cazorla was for ed to do today, yet he always seemed to make space and time for himself on a football pitch.

    I certainly can’t see how today is to do with Ramsey I’m sure Reddawns comment is one of several million on twitter and the blogosphere but today’s result was about more than just him today but he is the boo boy so no one looks at the good work he does. He does more right than wrong but everyone has written him off as “not good enough to wear the shirt”.

    No one wants to criticise Ox but he was very poor today, very slow to break failed to make runs round teammates (specifically once with Cazorla where he ended up going round so late).

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Times like this, it would be good to be young again.
    Go out, take some drugs, get pissed, go a club, and wake up next to a complete stranger. First thought in the morning, not Arsenal, but where the hell am I, and where do I go for the nearest Full English.
    Me? I’m going to stew on it for bloody days to come 😦

  132. kgooner says:

    @GiE Ramsey was average like you said. Many will use him as a scape goat. But the midfield+forwards should take the Razzies for this today’s performance.

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh God, you’ve all got Mates!

  134. That was shite. I only saw the second half and by all accounts the first was worse. we need some more players.

  135. Wombledin says:

    The other day Wenger said in a press conference that we “play a high risk game”, ie, we try to attack more than defend. Today when we were desperate for a goal, he took off our two leading goalscorers (not counting Walcott who wasn’t unavailable today, the little guy having hurt his non existent shoulders again), to bring on his latest French kiddie love child, a defensive midfielder. Amazing stuff from our genius, risk-taking Manager.

  136. LB says:

    You lucky so and so GM, the first half was purgatory.

  137. LB says:

    “French Kiddie Love Child”

    What the fuck are you talking about Womble?

    The defensive midfielder enabled Ramsey and Arteta to push forward……….you know nothing idiot.

  138. Brigham says:

    We were utterly rubbish today. The whole game was very similar to our piss poor first half performance on Wednesday; We could not pass correctly, we lacked any speed moving forward, we defended like youngsters and worst of all, we failed to trouble their back line all game. A back line that was young and had conceded eight goals in the last few games.

    Why the flipping heck did Wenger take off Giroud? He was the only one who looked like he may have the chance to open them up. Also, how the hell did Ramsey stay on the pitch for 90 minutes, he contributed next to nothing except pass sideways as per normal.

    Unless we are mobile in the January window we will struggle to make the top four this season, we are woeful and one win over the Spuds does not make a season, in fact, all it did was paper over t he cracks we have in our squad.

    We are in dire need of some innovation and some injection of urgency in our play, because if we don’t, we are royally fucked.

  139. Rasp says:

    I didn’t see all the game but I have to agree with those who observed that we are not an attacking side when we play like that. Very little threat down the flanks and too many midfielders opting for the safe sideways or backwards pass. We needed to take a few more risks.

    Talking of risks, peaches has asked me to reiterate her pea for a match report/ player ratings for tomorrow.

  140. slimgingergooner says:


    I’m not too forgiving, I have just lowered my expectations to a level that I believe this team is at at the moment.

    We are a the 4th best team in this league and that is where I believe we will finish. We are a work in progress at the moment due to the huge amount of ins and outs at the club in the last 18 months and also the crippling injuries that have stopped any cohesion within the group.

    We haven’t played silky football for around 4 years now and only get glimpses of what we used to see week in week out.

    I believe this team will rise again under Wenger if he can get a settled squad (Theo not helping). The reality is that we can’t compete for the same quality individual players that the big boys can and therefore having a unit becomes essential. Injuries and players leaving makes this very difficult.

  141. Brigham says:

    SSG, I admire your thoughts, but for just how much longer are we going to be a team that is ‘work in progress?’ It has been five, maybe six years now that we have all been saying that, yet we have not moved on have we? We are no better now, than we were at least five years ago and do not look like winning a trophy.

    We need to invest in some class, its not hard to see, we can all see it with our own eyes and we all comment about it on this site. Why cannot Wenger see it? Sorry, but I am losing patience with this train of thought Wenger and the board currently have. I will always support Arsenal, always, but I cannot continue throwing my money onto a bonfire that does not want to stay lite and provide comfort to me.

  142. Shard says:


    Maybe you didn’t notice the announcement of the new deal yesterday? That is going to (hopefully) stop us having to sell our players to balance the books and should lead to a more settled squad. It was a poor performance today, but why does every loss at Arsenal have to become about ‘the direction of the club’? A loss is a loss. It happens. So do poor performances. There wasn’t a lack of effort today. The players tried. They just weren’t very good, and didn’t get any luck to help them gloss over that. The playing conditions didn’t help either. We do need some new players though. And get Rosicky back soon. He could have made a real difference today.

  143. Shard says:

    The internet is an insane place. It’s reached a point where more than the loss, I feel stressed about the reaction to it online.

  144. Don’t go near twitter then Shard. I’m thinking of deleting my account

  145. Shard says:

    I never go on twitter gm.. never created an account. I’m careful that way 🙂

  146. Shard
    We didn’t lose.

  147. Shard says:

    lol gm.. that damn internet is getting to me after all..

  148. Gooner In Exile says:

    Okay positives…..and some stats.

    We didn’t concede

    We defended 7 corners without conceding a goal (+1 for Zonal)

    We won the most headed duels 19/31

    On the Giroud substitution I can see the reasoning Villa were defending deeper and piling bodies Wenger figures we need to have more defence openers on the pitch at that point players who “may” burst through the lines.

    We had 12 attempts on goal, Ramsey had a third of those attempts.

    We attempted 596 passes, 323 went forward. 523 passes were successful, 266 forward passes successful.

    Aaron Ramsey attempted and completed the most passes. 72 from 80, 36 of 42 went forward. Only 10 of his 25 backward passes were in their half of the pitch.

    Santi made 65 successful passes of 77, 36 of 44 forward passes were successful. Of his 13 backward passes 7 were in their half of the pitch.

    Ramsey and Giroud created the most chances (3 each).

  149. Gooner In Exile says:

    No worries GM the FourFourTwo App is very good for stats (and its free).

  150. I’ve already written two posts following poor games this season and I’m uncomfortable writing another. GiE has put some positive stats above that someone could turn into a small post for tomorrow. Does anyone have a few minutes to do that?

  151. Gooner In Exile says:

    As a comparison ManUre passing stats today:

    Completed 582 of 653
    Forward 283 of 338

    Where we differ most (apart from chances and goals created today) is crosses.

    They found a man with 7 of 32 crosses, we managed 2 of 27. Whether that’s due to the cross quality of bodies in the box is the question, today I felt it was the delivery.

    BSR managed 1 on target from 5 efforts. (I add that to help dispel the feeling that it would be different with him).

  152. Gooner In Exile says:

    Peaches I hate you….it’ll be in Drafts. 🙂

  153. Big Raddy says:

    A point away from home, that is a positive.

    The weather was a factor, how can we play a high tempo ground passing game in a tempest?

    A clean sheet, no obvous injuries. We move on to Goodison.

    My main concern is the non-appearance of JW when we needed inspiration.

  154. slimgingergooner says:


    A team never stops being a work in progress! People remember squads that win things, but winning teams still buy and sell the next season.

    So to answer your question, when we win something we will stop becoming a work in progress. Then it all starts again! 🙂

  155. Shucks GiE ……. I didn’t know you cared 🙂

  156. Adrian says:

    No matter what I cannot fathom the reason we bring off not one but two of our leading goalscorers atm and instead bring on a defensive mid.. Never thought Wenger would have played for a draw.

    No we do not have a divine right to win every game, and credit where its due Aston Villa ran their legs out giving very little time and space to us yesterday. But that’s still not an excuse, yesterdays game was just one of the few poor games that we have seen this season – Poor going forward, slow and indecisive passing and poor delivery. Something we’d hardly seen last season even without Pod/Cazorla/Giroud. Clearly theres lots to be done on the training ground and Wenger has quite a job to do because we’re hanging by a thread here JUST to get fourth.

  157. slimgingergooner says:


    Pod was playing poorly and was replaced by Gerv who plays the same position, and Giroud had been kicked on the Achilles 10 minutes before he was replaced and the other sub options were a GK, 2 defenders and Wilshere, who if fully fit surely would’ve started, so not that much of a mystery really.

    As for ‘hanging by a thread’ we are 13 games in and are 6th with West Brom currently 3rd (they will probably finish around 8th) and Everton a point above us. All our other rivals for 4th are currently below us.

  158. Brigham says:

    @ Shard, yes I did notice the new deal and I thought woppee dooo. More money for the Denver Trouser botherer. I for one am not about to get all excited over it.

    I do not give a monkeys about bad weather, wet pitch blah, blah, blah – we were awful today end of story and if others want to take positives from it, you crack on, I cannot.

  159. Adrian says:

    And so we choose to bring in Coquelin instead? Seems pretty clear that we were all set playing for a draw there. Look teams like Man Utd, when they need to score and win they bring in attacking players like Hernandez (what a luxury) and almost always manage to get a result. If anything, then this should be a clear indication to Wenger that he needs to do business in the transfer market, particularly in the strikers section.

  160. Gooner In Exile says:

    SGG I’d forgotten about that rake down Olivier’s achilles.

  161. @Brigham Are you an old Gooner or a new one? If your a new one I sympathise with your short sighted views they are understandable.
    If however you are an old Gooner, get a grip! Because our club as you will know has never in it’s long illustrious history been as consistent as it is currently. We the Arsenal have never consistently finished in the top 4 of the league, but this is the 15th straight season when we’ve either won it came 2nd 3rd or 4th. Now agreed we haven’t won it in 8 years, but I recall not winning it in 18 years.

    We weren’t consistently finishing in the top 4 back then either. A cup we might win but the league doesn’t lie; figure it out for yourself, in the 8 years since we won it, who’s finished above us? Did any of them spend less than us? Or are they the leagues biggest spenders? We are not bad, we’ve been consistently good but others who have spent considerably more have improved against us immeasurably. Not winning trophies doesn’t make us a bad team it just simply means others who’ve spent loads more are currently better than us, but it doesn’t mean it will always be thus, because a team and players with potential can develop and improve into medal winners

  162. Shard says:


    how is it more money for the owners/board? When have they taken the club’s money except in the form of salaries and bonuses? This sort of accusation against the board is unfair. Sure, they MIGHT misuse their power. They might be using the funds to shore up the share price and then sell it off and make millions more for Kroenke. But there’s nothing in his history to suggest that is how he operates. He’s in it for the money, but that isn’t how he has a history of making money.

    The long term commercial deals were a problem. That problem will be going away soon. Also, the bullish media announcement by the club, basically is putting them in a position where they have to spend. I’m sure they are aware of that, and I think we’ll see increased spending. Remember that the Arsenal board and Arsene had no problem spending big before the stadium move. Wenger was also accused of not bringing through enough academy prospects. A long forgotten trait of his. Do you think necessity had nothing to do with his changing tack? The media has spent so long criticising every aspect of Arsenal that most people have started believing it. x years without a trophy, spend some money, greedy board. These have become catchphrases to be brought out whenever results don’t go for the club. Regardless of context.

    I am a new(ish) fan. I’ve only followed the club since 1997. I’d only known the glory years, and perhaps I didn’t appreciate it enough back then. I mean I appreciated the football, but probably not how rarely those sorts of moments come along. That team was a once in a lifetime team. We can’t expect it back. Especially when the overall scenario has changed so much. But we can get to the top again (we’ve been close a few times). The money from the deal will help. As will FFP, even if it’s going to be circumvented it’ll have some impact. I think we have the basis of a good side right now, but we need to build on it over the next two transfer windows. I think we’ll see that. Though probably to a lesser extent in January.

  163. chas says:

    Apologies for not writing a match report, peaches and Rasp (and GIE).

    If I’d have thought about that game for longer than 10 minutes after it had finished, it would have driven me insane (well more insane, at least).

    I’ve sent a couple of screen prints from the game to arsenal nuts. You’re welcome to use them if you think they’re appropriate. 🙂

  164. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well, in cold darkness of day, what I find depressing is not so much drawing away to Villa, but the poor spectacle of our football. We are dull to watch.

  165. Shard says:

    Hi Micky,

    I think yesterday the wet conditions had a lot to do with that. Though of course, we haven’t been playing proper flowing football for a while now. But that will come with time and a stable squad.

  166. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry to sound miserable Shard, but as long as we play with two out of three front players who are slower than the defenders and also cannot dribble past them, compounded by the fact that the off the ball running is terrible, to say nothing of the awful quality of our crosses, then I do not share your optimism.

  167. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I believe only Reading, Southampton and QPR would have settled for the away point and put someone like Coquelin on in place of the only striker.

  168. Shard says:

    No problem Micky. Following this schizophrenic team is hardly easy.

  169. Shard says:

    I don’t think it was to do with just settling for the point. Giroud did look in a lot of pain when he had his heel trod on. Wenger doesn’t normally go for the draw anyway. Even if he did go for it once, I won’t hold it against him.

  170. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Too right Shard 🙂
    We’ll never stop supporting Arsenal, but for the first time in ages, I won’t be going out of my way to watch the Everton game. If I’m around yes, but cancel things, no.

  171. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Come on Shard.
    One: Giroud is a faker, so who knows. Two: Coquelin was the most attacking option left on the bench?
    Nah, AW settled for the point.

  172. Shard says:

    Apart from Jack, Coquelin was the most attacking option on the bench wasn’t he? Umm.. who else was there? Sagna, Vermaelen, Mannone, Wilshere. Yeah, I think Le Coq was the only option (which says something about our squad and injuries within it being more of a problem) Also, Coquelin’s presence could theoretically allow Arteta and Cazorla to move higher up and try and make forward runs.

    Giroud a faker? Honestly I haven’t seen that. I was genuinely worried when he went down that our only striker was going to be out of action for some time.

  173. Shard says:

    You might be right Micky, though we’re unlikely to ever know. Basically, I think it’s uncharacteristic for Wenger to settle for a draw, and if he did, he must have his reasons for it. I think they were, a knock to Giroud, a careful attitude towards Wilshere, combined with gauging their value over the last 5 mins in the game against the risk of long term injury for either.

  174. Morning all

    There’s a New Post ……………

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