Can Arsenal keep Naples & Higuain at Bay?

Every Arsenal game is something to cherish but every so often one comes along which brings a spring to the step – tonight is such a game. A stylish Italian team, 2nd and unbeaten in Serie A with a new and highly successful manager, a €35m player whom we tried desperately to sign but who chose (understandably) to follow the money, and at home on an Autumn evening.  Jumping Jehosiphat, I wish I was going.

Before I go into meltdown about the quality of Napoli it should be recalled that …. Yes, they beat Borussia Dortmund (which was magnificent) but we won away at the team who beat them in the CL Final – and I guess that is our running flush to their four of a kind.

Where to start? Mr Wenger much admires many of this Napoli team; starting with a dwarf named Insigne. The little fellow impressed at the Emirates in summer leading to paper talk linking us with him (AW said “we know a lot about him,” which translates into “we tried to sign him”). Smaller than Jack Wilshere, he stands 5´4″ in his boots but has real creative talent, Hamsik is their Ozil with the highest number of assists. But it is  Higuian who will attract today’s attention. Will the Boards reluctance to match Napoli’s bid come back to bite us? We shall see but I am quite happy with our own centre forward.

Benitez has had a flying start to his Napoli career. After a torrid but successful season at the ingrate Chavs he has found a club willing to back him financially and it is great to see such a decent man flourish. I wish him well apart from the two AFC games.

Unknown

“If you throw the game The Godfather will give you back your family”

Will Benitez set his team out to play on the counter-attack, after all it is the way he played with both Liverpool and Chelsea and, come to think of it, during his disastrous time at Inter Milan. So, I guess the answer is , Yes. Parcheggiare il autobus? Unlikely but not impossible.

How will we play tonight?

In recent times Arsenal have been more comfortable allowing the opposition more possession. This could be tactical in which case what has changed? Is it that the purchase of Ozil’s remarkable passing ability allows us to be more potent on the counter? Or is it that the team has learned to sit back and take a breather when not on the ball? With the plethora of games it would be understandable that we do not play at breakneck speed for 90 minutes.

Rosicky is back in the squad which is great news given the injuries to Pod, Theo and Ox. I hope he starts tonight but it may be a game too early, in which case Gnabry will get a third start in a week.

My Team:

001CL1

I love that we can win games with just one out and out forward – it must be Mr Wenger’s dream.

The bench is starting to regain some strength and I expect to see Nik B get a run tonight should we be tied at 70 minutes. The Monreal solution works well as we look more secure in the final minutes with him on the pitch.

Given that Napoli are unbeaten in Serie A , BD are top and unbeaten in Bundesliga, Arsenal top of the PL and Marseilles just a point behind the leaders of Ligue 1, Group F is without doubt the best group in the CL –  on form probably the best and hardest in CL history. There are often 3 good teams but never 4 with such quality. If we get through it will be a major achievement.

An exciting game in prospect.

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

184 Responses to Can Arsenal keep Naples & Higuain at Bay?

  1. Sav from Australia says:

    Goodness that was a good write up. Captures the mood exactly. Cheers Raddy!

  2. GoonerB says:

    Nice one Raddy. It is difficult to see how this game will unfold tactically. Napoli seem to prefer to be a counter-attacking team, but then recently that has also been our preferred modus operandi. We will likely have to take the game to them to some degree but need show some caution in this and be aware of how they are just waiting to hit us quickly if we surrender possession with too many men committed forwards.

    Counter-attacking teams often compact the space centrally so we may find it difficult to disect them through the middle. I feel a good old British approach to getting dangerous balls in from wide for the attacking players to run onto could be the way to open them up. So for this we need tricky players out wide who can deliver good balls, and Ozil and Rosicky tick the box.

    We also need another player who can get into the box in support of Giroud to attack balls coming in. Ramsey is the man in scoring form so he gets the nod as more a number 10 for me in this game, with Flamini and Jack holding slightly deeper. Ozil admittedly prefers the central role but needs must, and some games you just have to do what the team needs to help get the win, so I hope to see him delivering pin-point balls from out wide for Ollie and Rambo and generally giving their full-back a torrid time.

    In short Raddy, I agree with your line up.

  3. LB says:

    It’s getting exciting.

  4. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    Well done again BR, another in a river of consistantly excellent pre-match posts.

    The one quibble I have is with the headline, I would rather it read “Can Napoli cope with Arsenal and Ramsey” .

    The team’s confidence is high, Rosicky’s return adds another dimension to the mid-field and Ramsey’s goal-scoring form eases the pressure a little on Giroud who could profit from a touch more composure in front of goal.

    I’m looking for, no! I’m expecting an improvement on the 2 – 2 Emirates Cup result back in August.

    C’mon The Glorious Gunners!!!

  5. ärnie says:

    Fantastic as always, Raddy. I like the looks of the team. Ozil in a right wing position, which I think is more natural for him. Rosicky back, which is a big plus. Notwithstanding our victories we have struggled a bit in the past couple of weeks to get behind the back four. I think your suggested formation can work. But who knows what Mr Wenger will do. I hope, unlike the last couple of matches, Giroud will not have to fall too far back to get a piece of the action!

    On the defense, all fine in general. But I would be more happy with Flamster/ Arteta taking a more defensive MF position.

    On with the show!

  6. chas says:

    Excellent, BR.

    Just imagine if it was Viktoria Plzen or Austria Vienna we’d drawn from pot 4.
    Such a cracking fixture tonight and a true test for a team growing in confidence.
    Up the Arse.

  7. 26may1989 says:

    Big game tonight, and a big prematch from Denmark was just what the doctor ordered!

    Napoli will be just as confident as we are, and will be our toughtest opponent in the season so far, in fact the toughest we’ve faced in any competition since we went to Munich in March.

    We usually talk about winning the home games in the CL group stage and then getting a couple of points on the road. With this group of four strong and in-form sides, it’ll be different, the home games will be just as tough to win as the away games. We just need to aim at getting ten points banked as quickly as possible.

    Am getting excited about it already……

  8. chas says:

  9. GoonerB says:

    I am not sure the majical 10 points will be the number required in this group. I think there could be a lot of cancelling each other out and it goes to the wire. we may see 2 teams qualify from this group with some of the lowest points in CL history.

  10. 26may1989 says:

    You’re probably right GB, but I’m still thinking about ten points on the basis that I want to avoid a cardiac-arrest-inducing group stage….

  11. 26may1989 says:

    Did Mourinho know that Lukaku had scored two goals before he had his press conference strop?

    Sending Lukaku out on loan wasn’t really the smartest move in Mourinho’s career.

  12. chas says:

    I think the press conference was quite a bit earlier in the day, 26.

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Spoilsport!

  14. JanMan says:

    Thanks Big Raddy, very nice post. However, I expect to see Gnabry keep his place and Rosicky to come on some time from the bench. I think tonight will be a very tight game indeed but I am hoping that Arsenal will win by the odd goal. Slowly but surely our injured players are returning and if we can just keep going like we have been doing we can only get stronger as the quality on the bench improves.

  15. chas says:

    Haha, sorry, I thought it was a genuine question.

  16. Junior says:

    N wenger we trust, and what we expect 2 day s hapiness

  17. Gööner In Exile says:

    Marvellous pre match Raddy…..got me in the mood for my two hour stint without nicotine on the train down to the Smoke.

    See those who are going at the Turkish and the Tavern (hopefully) see you all on the other side.

  18. Bïg Räddy says:

    Most of the AA’ers are going to the game – lucky blighters!

    Could be a lonely, nervous night here in the AA Tavern.

  19. RockyLives says:

    I’ll be there with you BR 🙂

    Fine pre-match Sir.

    I think our ceding possession pre-dates Ozil.

    After our defeat at the Spuds in Spring we seemed to decide that instead of winning the possession and losing the game we should try the opposite.

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great work and thank you, Raddy.

    The Didit has landed, and is in the Borough of Islington.

    Enjoy the game all.

    Rocky, will meet OMC after the game, as I’m staying in town tonight.

  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooops

    Looking forward to seeing Chas, Ant, Peaches, Rasp, Exile and 26.

    Raddy,
    Still trying to find a hotel in Dortmund 😦

  22. Rasp says:

    Great PM Raddy, I really like the subtle way Ozil has affected the way we feel about possession of the ball. Interestingly, Ramsey said in his post match interview at the weekend that the team weren’t worried to cede possession to the opposition as it gave us the opportunity to hit them on the break – and we certainly have the personnel for the swift counter now.

    It would be a major vote of confidence if AW started with Gnabry in place of Rosicky, but I reckon you’re right and the more experienced player will start.

    A draw tonight wouldn’t be a disaster but I’m expecting a tight game and for us to nick it by the odd goal.

    Looking forward to meeting up with my AA chums for a PM kebab in a couple of hours 🙂

  23. Rasp says:

    Incidentally, just to harp back to a debate from month’s ago (sorry 🙄 ) I think we can now all see from what both AW and Higuain have said that we were genuinely interested in signing him.

  24. dhakka09 says:

    Your insightful post has served nicely to set up the mood, BR.

    I think, Arsene has a trick up his sleeve for this game. Napoli are a traditional counter-attacking team and though they’ve recently learnt to keep football more from Benitez, they naturally feel more comfortable in counter-attacking. Arsenal, on the other hand, are renowned for its possession football and Arsene’s refusal to change his ways to negate opposition strengths. But if we were to look closely to our start of the season, we have, at times, changed our playing ways from possession side to being a counter-attacking side.

    Arsene knows that Benitez’s real strength is counter-attack. He knows that Napoli has the strategy to hurt us and we might play straight to their hand if we were to play possession-footy.

    Which brings us back to the plan-B. Let’s put it this way, Arsenal are excellent in playing possession based game and Napoli are excellent in counter-attacking game, so on that regard, there’s no clear advantage to either side. However, Arsenal are more better at counter-attacking than Napoli are are possession-footy. Keeping this in mind, Arsenal may as well willingly cede most of the ball to Napoli for sterile possession while ready to sting them in counter. That’s what I’d like to see Arsene do and I have a suspicion that he has thought about it too 🙂

  25. Evönne says:

    This is sheer luxury this PM thingy! I no longer have to surf the NN reading about the state of our team on the matchday, or to find out about the opposition. No I don’t, because I know that Hr Raddy has already done all that. And, done it better than I ever could.

    So a big thank you BR! Present in your mail box 🙂

    I have one complaint though – I wish you did a little bit less of the ‘best CL group’ . Now I am really, REALLY worried. I didn’t realize that both Milan and Marseilles were doing so well, I was sure that we with 4 Germans and the German team full of foreigners will go through. I am not so sure now.

  26. Bïg Räddy says:

    D09. Ah, the infamous double-bluff theory first expounded by Darius the Great (or was is Sun Tzu in The Art of War?)

    I prefer the Scottish/Viking approach of hit them hard where it hurts and without warning.

  27. Bïg Räddy says:

    evonne. Fear not. One day at a Time 😀

  28. Evönne says:

    dhakka – I think I asked you before, but still don’t know – are you the capital of Bangladesh or Da Hacker?

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    In Tavern……where are the lightweights?

  30. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thoughts on the game? Napoli will come to frustrate…..they will happily take a point away from home, as anyone does in CL, if they can nick a winner with a counter attack even better.

    For us three home wins and we are singing in to the knockouts. But equally the away win at Marseille puts us up against the curve, a point tonight wouldn’t be a disaster.

  31. dandan says:

    Enjoy your your pre match meal guys, but be careful if the Didit is there, the devious fellow will creep round and pay the bill while you are not looking, if you are not careful.
    I am taking my brother and his wife out for dinner tonight, his remission is confirmed today and he has been sent back home with a clean bill of health, god bless the NHS,
    So sky on record and watch it when I return later, no doubt another 3 points in the CL potty chase will be ours. Even Rasp will be smiling 🙂

  32. Evönne says:

    GiE – 3 hours before the game???!!! Pisshead 🙂 I think they are having a PM kebab, I am texting Peaches you are in the Tavern

  33. dhakka09 says:

    Big Raddy –> fair enuff, we all have our preferences, I like trick-of-the-eye-disappearance-of-rabbit 😉

    Evonne –> neither, it’s a playful wording on my last/family name, Dhakal; and also what some of my friends call me by.

  34. Evönne says:

    ok, spoke to Peaches, they are going to be in the restaurant at 17:45, the Yilderz? next door me thinks
    Enjoy the game xx

  35. Evönne says:

    dhakka – > ok, now I know 🙂

  36. JanMan says:

    How on earth can the FA ignore further action against Torres? He stuck his thumb nail in the guys face, it could also be considered as an attempt to gauge the eye. What is the difference here between this incident and the Suarez biting issue?
    Oh well, come on Arsenal, do us proud tonight!

  37. ärnie says:

    yoo hoo hoo, 1 hour to go, rushing out from work now. Unlucky AA-ers not in the ground, will join you on AA in 1 hour.

  38. Bïg Räddy says:

    Higuian out for tonight. Pandev in.

    Don’t know if that is good!

  39. Evönne says:

    It is great Raddy! I just checked him – he is 30 and his goal scoring average is 5-6 per season! Rubbish!!

  40. Bïg Räddy says:

    & JW on the bench with Arteta and Flamini both starting. Interesting

  41. GoonerB says:

    Enjoy the game all. I am a bit envious of the Tavern via Turkish gang. Sounds splendid. By my estimation that hardcore GIE could be standing on tables singing by then. I have a vision of him attempting a John Sergeant style strictly come dancing routine with Peaches….

  42. Evönne says:

    GoonerB – are you mad??? Have you ever met GiE?
    He is like a bear, about 6’4″, long hair and a posture to match it

  43. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    “Sav from Australia says:
    October 1, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Goodness that was a good write up. Captures the mood exactly. Cheers Raddy!”

    Coming in late means I can just copy and paste someone else’s praise for the Randy’s pre match instead of thinking up my own superlatives 🙂

  44. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Oops, quick thanks to Sav ! Cheers

  45. Bïg Räddy says:

    Evening SS. Couldn’t get to the game?

  46. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Pandev’s a bit of a rugged bruiser, who’s best days are surely behind him. Been around for ages without ever setting even his home town alight…let alone the world !!

    *Sharkey prays he hasn’t just jinxed us*

    As I write this Ian WWW describes Pandev as top top quality. Thats all I needed to hear….Pandev’s awful then.

    I do remember Pandev for his lack of mobility

  47. Irishgunner says:

    Let do this – COME ON ARSENAL

  48. Evönne says:

    jeeezus, who the feck is that tattooed mohican?

    One day at a time Raddy? It is the evenings that I am worried about

  49. Irishgunner says:

    Hope this isn’t true but Italian fans are hardly known for being anything other than idiots

  50. Evönne says:

    Hamsik

  51. Bïg Räddy says:

    17 years!! Seems just a few weeks

  52. arnie says:

    superb

  53. Evönne says:

    could NOT be more perfect 🙂 what a goal

  54. Irishgunner says:

    Class, sheer class – great play by Giroud, lovely ball by Ramsey and Ozil makes it look simple.

  55. arnie says:

    what a move, what a finish!!!!!!

  56. Big Raddy says:

    What a finish. Brilliant start

    COYRRG

  57. fatgingergooner says:

    Wünderbar!

    That is sexy!

  58. TT says:

    Hope the captain will have a good evening.

  59. arnie says:

    another one, Giroud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. arnie says:

    Rambo assist, fantastic!!!!!!

  61. Irishgunner says:

    Ozil masterclass

  62. Irishgunner says:

    Wengerball is back

  63. arnie says:

    Poor defending, good for us! Fantastic assist, Giroud, simple and class!!!!! 2-0 to the good guys

  64. Evönne says:

    GB – I think I will have a dance on the table !!!

  65. Big Raddy says:

    42m? Cheap at the price. The main is magic

  66. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t think Cazorla is injured, I just think Wenger feels he’s cheating if he plays Özil, Rambo, Rosicky and Cazorla together!

  67. arnie says:

    fantastic, great fun!!!!!

  68. Irishgunner says:
  69. arnie says:

    great noise from the fans as well!!! seems to be a great atmosphere

  70. Evönne says:

    that’d be our peaches, arnie

  71. arnie says:

    Lot of joy from the right wing!!!!

  72. arnie says:

    yes, that’s right, Evonne. They must be having great fun

  73. arnie says:

    Lovely watching the way Flamster negotiated with the ref!!!!

  74. Big Raddy says:

    My stream from LOF is completely crap.

    Anyone have something better?

  75. arnie says:

    Great turn Ramsey, but could not control the return pass from Ozil. Right flank again!!!

  76. Hi sheep here 2-0 giro and Ózil keep it up

  77. Rambo score tonight he set up the first my face book icon is now Arron Ramsey drives them Swansea fans nuts

  78. I been called a wanker , fair point

  79. arnie says:

    great songs and chants, great fun, how is the dance on the table, Evonne?

  80. Big Raddy says:

    Not missing Theo on the right 🙂

  81. arnie says:

    Sheep, Ramsey has been superb so far tonight, even better than the last couple of weeks, everytime he has touched the ball so far has been class!!!!

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Terrible looking man Hamsik. Reminds me of an Avatar

  83. arnie says:

    Raddy: Nothing from the left, though. Rosicky more central, fighting for the ball with Flamster, I dont understand the shape.

    But rihjt flank fantastic, Rambo, Ozil, Sagna really bossing things

  84. Irishgunner says:

    Hearing North Bank/Clock End being sang again – we’re a happy bunch these days 🙂

  85. arnie says:

    Sounds like a great atmosphere!!!!!! Yes, one happy bunch…. and why not!!!! great times ….

  86. Big Raddy says:

    Arnie Who cares – we are playing some magical football.

    All our left sided attackers are out, w hen Santi and Pod return we will have more balance

  87. arnie says:

    Thats half the job done, superb performance, Rambo superb, Ozil, Giroud, Sagna all fantastic

    BFG and co competent in defense, Szcz not tested

    Left flank, Gibbs feeling a bit lonely

  88. I’m Ramsey biggest fan I own a arsenal top with Ramsey on the back and I live in Swansea.
    I felt sorry for him Sunday the boo boys give him loads of shit .
    But he scored it it hurts down here
    Sheep

  89. arnie says:

    Good point, Raddy. Does not matter today, but on another day, we may need Rosicky to be more to the left. Fantastic as is today

  90. Big Raddy says:

    I am enjoying a very pleasant Barbera D’Asti. Our f.irst half has made it even better.

    Ōzil and Ramsey are becoming an unstoppable force

  91. arnie says:

    And I am enjoying a “9.71 Menthol tobacco and sugared almonds” (http://www.smws.co.uk/whisky/9.71_Menthol_tobacco_and_sugared_almonds.html). Fantastic as well. what fun!!!!!

  92. IanRealGunner says:

    That Ozil is overrated. And David Moyes is definitely the right man for the job at Man U!!!

  93. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Hey Randy, my LOF was a bit sticky on my family laptop, but better on my ‘work’ one. Had them sat side by side connected to same router !

  94. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    What a half of football that was !!

    Ozils finish…..oh dear. He made it look so easy he was almost taking the p*ss.

    Ramsey….whats new to say.

  95. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Special mention to Le Boss.

    How do you change a team that was doing so well…and take them up a level..?? Incredible really

    Oh yeah, and for signing Flamini….ON A FREE !!!!! Lol

  96. See u all tomorrow I’m of I’m on call for Jose Maurine
    Sheep

  97. Evönne says:

    if there is any truth in that nasty rumour that Ozil wanted to go to United, then I’d say that he is thanking Allah for not listening to the little boy inside him

  98. Evönne says:

    yes Irish, TalkShite radio will have to find a new victim. Please let it be United

  99. arnie says:

    Giroud almost got it thru to Ramsey

  100. arnie says:

    Agree, Evonne ……

  101. Big Raddy says:

    We are walking around now. Not good for my blood pressure but I guess we are looking to play on the counter

  102. Evönne says:

    it’s not the game Raddy that’s bad for your blood pressure, it’s all the wine that you are drinking 🙂

  103. gus says:

    I’m loving hearing the old clock end north bank chant back!

  104. Big Raddy says:

    Evonne. I tell myself redwine is good for the BP

  105. Evönne says:

    🙂 it probably is 🙂

  106. arnie says:

    good composed performance … last 10 mins now … weathered the attcks when required …. pretty good

  107. Big Raddy says:

    Monreal for Ozil please.

  108. arnie says:

    second half, we were waiting for the counter … but Npoli did not attack in force … strange

  109. arnie says:

    its OK, Raddy, all under control … I hope we keep the clean sheet though

  110. arnie says:

    you have your wish, Raddy, Monreal on but for Ramsey

  111. arnie says:

    Very mature performance in the second half, keeping control, retaining possession, not quite what we are used to seeing, but very good … very impressive … job well done

  112. arnie says:

    Better from the left as well, after Wishere came on for Rosicky

  113. Big Raddy says:

    Easy

    Hope WBA on Saturday play as poorly as Napoli. They were very disappointing and showed no ambition in the second half. Poor.

    Every Arsenal player was good tonight. Difficult to name a MoM but Ozil was a class apart

  114. arnie says:

    Clean sheet as well.. Yes, agree on Ozil as MoM, but really a team performance

  115. arnie says:

    Dortmund 3 – 0 Marseille

  116. arnie says:

    Unfortunately Celtic lost to Barca, after a dodgy red card

  117. Jamie says:

    Gunners. Gunners. Gunners…………… I love these boys sooooo much right now

    DISCLAIMER: no homosexual undertones.

  118. arnie says:

    ha ha ha, Jamie, glad you added the PS

  119. JanMan says:

    What a brilliant team performance and two brilliant goals! Again Özil shows that he is masterclass. His arrival has lifted the entire team and each and everyone of them has lifted their game. Outstanding performance from all of the boys.

  120. Big Raddy says:

    AW likes our Wizard “He was amazing”

  121. Irishgunner says:

    I love how much Wenger enjoyed Ozil’s goal

  122. r0blucci says:

    There’s only one Mesut Özil,
    There’s only one Mesut Özil,
    And we’re walking along,
    Singing a song,
    Walking in an Özil wonderland.

  123. r0blucci says:

    P.I.M.P. ‏@PoznanInMyPants 1m

    My advice to any Arsenal player. Don’t get injured. You might not get back in.

  124. RockyLives says:

    Great stuff. So nice to see the spirits so high all round, from the Boss to the players to the crowd.

    Two cracking good goals and we could easily have had a couple more with a bit of luck.

    The way we restricted them to long range shots was very pleasing.

    BR
    Sorry I didn’t join you in the lounge – I was running late and ended up watching the game on a half hour delay.

  125. RockyLives says:

    How are you Rob?

  126. r0blucci says:

    Adding Rosicky and Arteta to the team has taken our passing game to another level. And still Santi to come back. Incredible.

  127. RockyLives says:

    Is it true that we weren’t the main match on ITV in England?

    If so, that’s a shocking decision.

  128. Bïg Räddy says:

    RL. No problem.

    Rob. Who gets dropped for Santi? And where does Podolski play?

    Luxury problems but I cannot wait to see Ramsey, Santi & Ozil play triangles

  129. LB says:

    Just back,

    Swansea were better than that lot.

    What was all the fuss about, group of death, puh.

    It was absolutely fantastic there tonight, the first time since we have been at the Emirates did we get a real full blooded We’re the North Bank, we’re the Clock End, for a good fifteen minutes. One Arsene Wenger was back. Oh happy days.

    And Giroud was MOTM not doubt about it, much better than Ozil and he was good, but tonight was Ollie’s night.

    And, and, I went for a Turkish with the gang which was a great way to start a superb evening all round.

    As I mentioned, I am unable to write report tonight so if anyone is in the mood, don’t be shy.

  130. Bïg Räddy says:

    RL- to see a shocking decision check out the Milan penalty, and in the 92nd minute.

    Could Berlusconi still have some influence? It smacks of a rolex and a couple of hookers

  131. r0blucci says:

    Hi Rocky, its 5 am in the morning here and I still couldnt sleep. This Arsenal team will makes me very sleepy today.

    I hate them. 🙂

    Jokes aside, I heard before the game that this one will be our first big test of the season. I dont know how many more games will people realize that this Arsenal is the real deal.

  132. dhakka09 says:

    Hey Y’all. Superb, superb, superb performance from the gunners; the first half was a Getman build Rolls Royce with Welsh engine, absolutely stunning. The sexiest half of football Arsenal have played this season. And the decibel level of chant by crowd was fantastic too; hearing NaNaNaNa Giroud chant rocking the whole stadium on my stream, I almost welled up (I’m no softie, of all the melodramatic movies ever, only King-Kong ending has almost had me welled up; Arsenal are diff. kettle of fish though)

    If first half was a re-affirmation of how sexy Wengerball could be, second was all about how solid we are defensively when we desire to close up shop at the back. A professional performance throughout by our boys.

    I know it’s early days but if we keep playing at this level, I don’t see many teams in Europe able to cope with us. Who knows? Maybe Wenger will get to update his CV pretty soon afterall. Let’s bask in the collective sunshine of a warm Arsenal day 🙂

  133. LB says:

    If Santi was fit tonight Flamini would have been on the bench.

    Arteta is getting back to his fitting best.

  134. arnie says:

    well said, Rob, and I am convinced Europe is our perfect stage. Yes, EPL on the side will be good, but this team is perfect for the CL. For the first time as well. Early days, but still, excellent vibes!!!!

  135. arnie says:

    great stuff, dhakka …. “German build Rolls Royce with Welsh engine”

  136. dhakka09 says:

    LB- Arteta’s head-injury looked a bit more serious than I’d have liked though. Maybe a week’s rest would do him good. We don’t need to rush him back anyway since Flamster is in fire too.

  137. Bïg Räddy says:

    LB. I am not so sure. Flamini has an energy which lifts the team in a different way to Arteta.

    Perhaps we can play with 13 men

  138. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Randy, yes its true re ITV showing Celtic over Arsenal. They’ve just done the same on the ITV news.

    That first half was truly incredible, and as someone else said it was up to Napoli to make a game of it second half. I’m sure they were wary of our counter attacking prowess, not to mention leaving to much space for Ozil and the Welsh Messi

  139. dhakka09 says:

    ty arnie (blushing)

  140. arnie says:

    It seems Marseille were shocking. Dortmund were very good, perhaps not rilliant

  141. Bïg Räddy says:

    If we can beat Marseilles at home I think we will go through. 9 points should be enough – though of course we will get 18

  142. TT says:

    Wow! And Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain still to come. If they all click together, it will simply be amazing.

  143. Gööner In Exile says:

    Goosebumps when Özil scored that peach, more goosebumps when North Bank/Clock End reverberated.

    That might be my best night at the Emirates.

    Great seeing everyone in Yildizand talking like we know better than Arsene 😀

    The team sheet was met by purrs of delight around the table and rightly so.

  144. arnie says:

    Raddy: We need to top the group, remember 2 years back? We will top the group, dont worry. Group of Death? Deadly Arsenal will do fine!!!!

  145. arnie says:

    GiE: Lucky you!!!! grrrr….

    Yes, we could feel the energy in the ground even from the telecast

  146. Hi all

    I’m home from a brilliant night at the Emirates. The football was just the most stunning that I’ve seen for a while, it wrapped me in a warm embrace and when the North Bank around me began to sing I was in football heaven. No wonder AW is grinning from ear to ear, what’s not to enjoy.

    A pre-match dinner with Micky, LB, 26, GiE and Rasp was the perfect way to start the evening. The only downside was that I couldn’t persuade any of them to write a report for tomorrow. So if anyone wants to step up and send me a post that would be fabulous 😉

  147. jnyc says:

    I know its late – just have to say, some peeps here called it perfectly. Great observations. I think it was the tightest half of football ive seen from any team this season. Almost telepathic passing, with two players rosicky and arteta who are just back into the action.
    to the others worried who will play when we are more fit– dont worry- we have alot of guys who need some rest — per and ramsey especially.
    id go with jenks rb and sagna cb this weekend at least. I really am noting as others have that olivier looks tired after 70 mins lately, and we must protect ramseys fitness also. Our mvp,
    and remember — i called it in week 2 here-
    ( i will continue to remind you 🙂 )Ramsey for pl player of the year. I am sticking with it. He will have the respect of every coach and player in the league because of the way he works.

  148. 26may has offered to write a post for tomorrow 🙂

    Nite all

  149. arnie says:

    Peaches: A daunting task to write the report, particularly after such a fantastic game, and after celebratory single malt as well. But I will give it a try. Will probably have to pilfer some material from my unpublished post sent to you on Sunday!

  150. arnie says:

    sorry, I was late. never mind. savior, 26may!!!!

  151. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What a night !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ist half. Speechless.

    As GiE said “The team sheet was met by purrs of delight around the table”. LB even fell off his chair when Exile read out the team sheet. I think Ozil, Rambo and Rosicky was simply too much for him

    Great also to meet up with Chas, Ant and JC. Then, me other Mates in another pub afterwards.

    Fantastic night. Throw Santi in, and Transplant’s Goats will be more than just stirring. It’ll mean clean pants all around 🙂

    Bring on anyone. Nite.

  152. RockyLives says:

    Nice Micky

    Did you see OMC?

  153. Just home, lots of people asking me how good Özil’s goal was, I think my struggling for words was enough to send them scurrying home looking for highlights.

  154. Clever but of man management by Arsene tonight too, Rambo hasn’t been subbed until tonight on 88 minutes Rambo got to hear how much the fans are enjoying his performances this season.

    The run TR7 makes creates the space for Özil to score took two defenders to the near post and Ramsey did well to ignore that and wait for Özil.

    First time seeing Özil in the flesh…..he is special….one of those players who has his own timepiece…..everything else continues to move quickly but he always seems to have time to choose the right option.

  155. Also I still hear fans asking for a better striker than OG, he has 23 goals from 43 starts and 14 sub appearances for us, that really is not bad

  156. Btw LB I disagree on your suggestion that Flamini would’ve been on the bench had Santi been fit, I think Rosicky would miss out.

    I can see us starting Flamini and Arteta together quite a few times (especially when playing the big boys) and picking three from six in front, the 6 being Santi, Özil, Ramsey, Theo, Jack and Ox. If the assumption is the 3 needs to be capable of going wide and staying central, and that ball movement and retention amongst the three is priority I think Theo May be the man missing out.

  157. tim says:

    Another crap night at the football.
    Only 2-0.

  158. chas says:

    Morgen.

  159. chas says:

  160. chas says:

    Is that Mertesacker at the back? Seems like a big lad!
    Mesut Ozil celebrates his goal

  161. chas says:

  162. chas says:

  163. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning All,

    Was it that AFC were so good last night or that Napoli were poor? Probably both.

  164. chas says:

  165. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morgen Meinen Freunders and Tim 🙂

  166. chas says:

    Where’s Cockie?

  167. Bïg Räddy says:

    Micky. Did you get my texts?

  168. The Cockie Monster says:

    I see tim has escaped again !. Obviously the TRT ( Trollvestite Rectum Therapy ) needs to be rectified !. The next session shall include a 4″ diameter clear Perspex tube and Nibbles my pet rodent !. Here Nibbles come to Cockie !.

  169. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    He was here at 6:35. That, or a Mate of his 🙂

    Raddy, yes. Will call you and Chas in 10 minutes or so.

  170. Evönne says:

    nutters, the lot of you 🙂

    So Ozil loves us too, how fantastic is that???

    Higuain and van Judas – ha ha ha ha and ROLF ROLF ROLF 🙂
    Would they to play with such a team? Who wouldn’t

  171. Chas says:

    I’m at the dentist. Tickets bought. Hope no problems. Phone off.

  172. Rasp says:

    Morning all, I’ve run out of superlatives to describe that first half performance …. no team in the world would have been able to keep up with us in that first 45 minutes. The second half was fine and we still could have had a couple more goals. There was one brilliant through ball from Ramsey that deserved a goal but Jack didn’t make the run.

    Sad to hear the Italian fans were up to their usual thuggery and attacked Arsenal fans … what will UEFA do …. Sweet FA

    Great to see LB, GiE, 26m, Micky, chas and the gang and peaches before the game, the perfect start to a perfect evening.

  173. Evönne says:

    Per:
    Jetzt bin ich ziemlich platt nach dem 4. Spiel in 10 Tagen – aber auch stolz und happy! War ein wichtiger Sieg heute Abend.

    und happy 🙂

  174. Morning all

    Happy happy happy ……….. just sorting pics for the post …..

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