“We blew Napoli away” …….

I have to apologise. In the build-up to our second Champions’ League group game, I said Napoli would “be our toughest opponent in the season so far”. I had expected a real challenge would be presented by a team that has dropped just two points in six Serie A games to date, plus had impressively beaten Borussia Dortmund in their first CL game. They were a settled team that had been thriving under a new and familiar manager, and with a high quality replacement for the striker they had lost to PSG. This would be a true test of our resurgent team. Wouldn’t it?

No, it wouldn’t. Napoli didn’t turn up. They were utterly woeful in defence, naïve and disorganised beyond belief. And in midfield they completely failed to impose themselves. I can’t really comment on how they did up front, so little did we see of Pandev. Napolistas might point to the absence of their Argentine new boy, Gonzalo Higuain, as justification for their lame performance, but important as Higuain must be to his new side, that doesn’t explain or excuse the frankly pathetic, gutless and brainless performance from the Italians. They have other players of quality, like Inler and Hamsik, but the only players in camouflage kit (yuck) who came close to earning their corn were Insigne and Reina. You might think I’m going over the top, but I honestly cannot recall any visiting opponent underperforming in a CL game against us, and we’ve played some decidedly ordinary teams down the years.

Ok, enough of slating our oppo.

Arsenal were excellent on the night, though the limitations of what faced them makes it harder to determine just how good we really were last night. However, as the cliché has it, you can only beat the team that is in front of you.

In truth, we blew Napoli away in the first half hour of the match, arguably in the first 15 minutes. We played with speed of passing and thought, fantastic movement, cohesion, calmness and confidence. Wenger brought the recovered Rosicky back in, playing in attacking midfield alongside Ramsey and Özil, in front of a solid pairing of Arteta and Flamini. Wilshere and Gnabry were left on the bench.

If that selection looked conservative and cautious, the truth quickly showed that the opposite was true. From the off, we saw the ball being pinged around with consummate ease. The intelligence and understanding between the players was a pleasure to take in.

And then in the seventh minute, the breakthrough. And not just any old breakthrough; this was the moment, after some majestic interplay on the right flank between Giroud and Ramsey, Özil received a perfect cut-back cross from Ramsey on the edge of the penalty area. Özil opened out his body and placed the ball with precision into the corner of the net, with Reina flailing to get to the ball. This was it, the moment our new diamond went one better than provide an assist, this was the talented German’s first goal in the red and white.

Ozil scores v napoli

After the goal, Arsenal continued to dominate Napoli, who just couldn’t get the ball. The Arsenal midfield ran rings around them.

Seven minutes after scoring this goal, Napoli’s left-back had a throw-in near his corner flag but stupidly didn’t launch the ball up the line, and instead threw it infield to his centre-back, despite the presence of several Arsenal markers. Flamini got in front of the man he was marking and nipped the ball away from him, nudging it to Giroud, who immediately laid it off to Özil, who quickly got to the byline and put in a short, low cross to Giroud, who typically had run towards the front post. The players tracking back were too slow to do anything about it, and big Olly did the easy bit and put the ball in the net. From the moment Napoli took that throw-in to the moment the ball hit the net was eight seconds. And to think, we used to be accused on lacking a cutting edge.

team v napoli

We could have scored more goals, but quite rightly, Arsenal played within themselves for the remainder of the game. Having scored two goals, the onus was on Napoli to force the pace, and show Arsenal that further effort was required. The Italians didn’t, and almost all their efforts on goal were high and/or wide shots from distance. Szczesny must have been disappointed not to be tested but outfield, Arsenal contented themselves with probing for further openings without busting a gut and without giving up their shape.

It was impressive to watch Arsenal play with discipline for the remainder of the game, denying Napoli any chance of reducing the deficit. Özil, Ramsey, Giroud and Rosicky continued to dominate the top third, with quick movements and passes, and further chances were created. Arteta and Flamini similarly dominated the middle third. Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna and Gibbs held their positions very well and afforded their opponents no gaps to exploit. Szczesny was denied the chance to play, so dominant was the Arsenal performance in front of him. When Napoli tried to press the ball when Arsenal defenders were in possession, a few passes sliced through their ranks and we emerged on the attack again.

Arsenal may not have scored any further goals, but they remained in control for the remainder of the game. Reina made a very good close save from Koscielny in the second half, but that was a detail. With Benitez failing to stir his players into life for the second half, the outcome of the match was clear from very early on.

Some might say Arsenal were so dominant that they should have scored more than two goals. There might be something in that, but it also feels a little churlish to criticise. With an epic first half performance, Arsenal took control of the match and challenged Napoli to show them why more effort was required. Napoli couldn’t rise to that challenge, and couldn’t undermine the shape and confidence of their opponents, so there was little need of urgency in the remainder of the game.

And, it was great to hear the positivity, the unity of the crowd was a pleasure to behold, as if the months of fractious division had never happened. And it was great to hear chants of “We’re the North Bank/Clock End/East Stand” – we are truly beginning to grow into this stadium.

So, six points in the bag already, we couldn’t have wanted it to go any better than this. One more win in the remaining four games and we will likely get through. It would be nice to get our business in the Group of Death done early though.

Were you watching Suàrez, Rooney, Higuain and van Persie?


Szczesny: 8. The Pole in goal did everything asked of him well, especially in dealing with high balls put into the box. The fact that he wasn’t asked to do much wasn’t his fault.

Sagna: 8. His link-up play was excellent, and much of our attacking play came on the right flank.

Mertesacker: 8. Not tested fully but his performance was nonetheless exemplary.

Koscielny: 8. It is great to see Kos rediscover his mojo – the panicky efforts of a few weeks ago have gone, to be replaced by unpretentious calm.

Gibbs: 7. Didn’t do much wrong, perhaps there were one or two misplaced passes, but Kieran had a good night.

Flamini: 7. Probably the only Arsenal player whose technical limitations were apparent, but his energy was valuable. And without his interception, Özil would not have had the ball to set up Giroud.

Arteta: 8. Marshalled the centre of the pitch well, and with the Flamster, completely dominated Napoli’s midfield trio.

Ramsey: 10 (but not MOTM). Simply magnificent. The energy and intelligence of an in-form Rambo is a beautiful thing to see. On another night, he’d have walked away with a hat-trick.

Özil: 10. Oh…. My….. God….. Just how good is this guy? Answer: really very good. Thank you, Florentino Perez, you are a gent and a scholar. And a fool. Silky skills, incision, vision, awareness, Özil has the lot. I particularly liked watching how he can sense a defender closing in behind him, and then shift the balance of his body so as to move effortlessly into the space the over-eager defender has just vacated. Nice. (And yes, that should be read in the voice of the jazz guy in The Fast Show.) Perhaps it’s no accident that Özil was able to impose himself most effectively in a game against an Italian side. I feel sure he will reach these standards in domestic games too, once he has the measure of our game.

Rosicky: 7.5. Tom misplaced a few passes but still slotted into the passing game brilliantly. Perhaps should have done better with a chance he had early in the second half.

Giroud: 8. Copy and paste from previous reports: great link-up play, great lay-offs, great movement to score his goal and great effort.

And the subs:

Wilshere: 7. Once again, Jack was played out of position, on the left, where he was efficient without being incisive.

Monreal: Had too little time to make a mark.

Written by 26may89

130 Responses to “We blew Napoli away” …….

  1. Norfolk Gooner says:

    What a performance!!

    I sincerely believe that the first twenty minutes was the best period of play that I have ever seen from an Arsenal side in sixty three years of supporting The Gunners.

    Scintillating passing done with precision and pace. Movement on and off the ball was mesmerising. Two superbly crafted and executed goals.

    I doubt if there is a team on the planet that could have lived with Arsenal during that fantastic spell.

    Napoli were completely stunned and demoralised, they just did not know what hit them and from then on the rest of the match was a walk in the park.

    I’m so glad that I recorded the game, I’m going to watch it over and over again.

  2. Bïg Räddy says:

    26. Brilliant read on a bright sunny Copenhagen morning (where the Nordic light is almost blinding).

    Your assessment of Napoli fits exactly with mine – they were pants. Both goals were scored by exposing the dire left back, the bias of the team in the first half was tilted almost entirely to the right.

    Evidence of AW and his scouts tactical nous. Rarely do we see their work so clearly.

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    My apologies to 26, in my drooling euphoria I forgot to acknowledge your excellent match report and failed to say good morning all you happy Gooners.

    The fans vocal support was something to be proud of, yet the last five minutes of play revealed large numbers of empty seats, how could anybody leave without waiting to salute the team at the end of the game. It’s like being invited to a friend’s home for dinner and getting up and leaving as soon as the sweet course has been served without thanking your host.

  4. Rasp says:

    Morning all, thanks 26m, I’d give our boys slightly more credit for making Napoli look so ordinary, our football was breath-taking and they were chasing shadows. After the start they’ve had in their domestic campaign, they must have thought they’d entered a different universe when faced with our movement and passing ….. OK maybe a little over the top but there was so much to celebrate about the performance.

    All our attacking threat did come down the right but Gibbs had no orthodox left sided midfielder playing in front of him as Ramsey had been moved to the left (and still managed a terrific performance).

    Obviously Ozil is pure class but Ollie was magnificent and held the ball up often surrounded by defenders and still managed to find a team mate ….. but for me, special mention has to go to Sagna who was back to his best. Some of his crossing was still poor, but then it was always so, but in every other aspect it was the old Sagna we saw.

  5. chas says:

    Cheers, 26.
    A fair and dispassionate assessment of a highly professional performance.
    Mine would have been a bit more……..

    A very good reason why I can’t write match reports.

    We were saying (well Ant was!) that the Italians don’t travel so well.
    (especially to The Arsenal – hahahaha)

  6. gunnerpete says:

    Yet another wonderful night at the ‘Big EM’ …hope that pillock who writes for the ‘ANR blog has the guts to praise Arsene and the lads today.’

  7. chas says:

    “Before thinking about Ballon d’Or, before being part of the top 10 players in the world, I first have to be in top 10 forwards in England.”
    Olivier Giroud.

  8. chas says:

    All of those pillocks will be saying it’s only their moaning which led to our upturn.
    Let’s face it, they won’t turn around and say they all talk out of their a*ses, will they?

  9. chas says:

  10. Morning all, thanks to my learned friend 5*2+4*3+2*2 for the report.

    Well the 2014-15 season is panning out really well isn’t it Shard,heh heh ?

    To explain the weakness of the Napoli’s performance was watching some post match punditry and Ralph Honigstein pointed out that the Napoli plan was to sit back initially, absorb pressure and then hit us on the counter. Sadly(for the Eye-ties) the two quick goals we scored put paid to that plan and the team/manager had no plan B to counteract this unexpected turn of events.

    I’m glad we played within ourselves in the second half to keep something in the tank for West Brom on Saturday. Win that game and we go into the next Nationalism break sitting pretty on the top of the table.

  11. chas says:

    West Brom is Sunday……..
    ……..and I’m going.

  12. Rasp says:

    We’re gonna have to start calling you CHAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS 😛

  13. Hands up if you enjoyed that

  14. Jamie says:

    Now I am starting to think we might really end our trophy drought with at least one trophy….. That said I want us to win the champions league, beating Madrid or Barca 7-0 in the final and win the league by February.

  15. Norfolk Gooner says:

    GM, I put my hand up and my mouse flew over my and out of the window. 😀

  16. Norfolk Gooner says:

    over my shoulder and…

  17. I have to disagree with the post. We made them look stupid by our quality and Wenger’s tactics. we limited them to long range shots. i thought Rosicky looked very rusty and some of his passes were short. That’s the bes I’ve seen us play for a while. Giroud’s contribution to the first goal was fantastic. loved his hold up and flick from the outside of his boot.

  18. I’m getting a bit too used to winning.

  19. dhakka09 says:

    Norfolk: over my shoulder and……..Ozil standing outside your window kicked the mouse right back in the window making it lie perfectly upright on your mouse-pad again 😉

  20. dhakka09 says:

    I can’t remember being this excited in recent years. Even Wenger looked so giddy with excitement, he knows he is onto something special here.

  21. 26may1989 says:

    Hello there. Thanks for the responses, and apologies for the imperfections in the report – the truth is I had a few post-match jars at The Lamb, which may have affected my writing!

    It was wonderful last night, so good to see everything coming together on the pitch and in the stands. But I do stick by my criticisms of Napoli – we may be on a high right now, but they made less of an impression than far less talented sides we’ve faced this season.

    But nothing should take away from adulation of our increasingly wonderful side, a team that grows and grows in confidence, and which even the sourest of critics is being forced to accept has something special about it. Where is Stewart Robson, by the way?

  22. Evönne says:

    I have had the official match report from 26m and unofficial from Peaches, and I need help – can someone wipe that silly grin from my face?

    Both match reports exquisite, thank you 26m and Peaches!

    A question for you – without knowing what we know now about Herr Ozil, place yourselves back in August and imagine – we bid for Rooney, Suarez, Torrez, Higuain and Ozil. All bids accepted and we have to chose only one of them. Whom would you chose?

    I’d go for Suarez because I am not a genius like AW.


    Morning all

    Thanks for the report 26. Written in a logical and cool way, top man.

    We were scintillating in that first half, great movement, technique and passion. Second half we showed the other side that has crept into our game, a maturity and defensive balance that secures the result.

    Really looking forward to playing the Manchester clubs and Chelsea. if our current game can get the better of them on a one on one then we will win the league.

    Either way I am not to fussed. I am reminded of a quote from a hero of mine “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring.

  24. Gööner In Exile says:

    A fair report 26, although feels like you are just trying a bit too hard to temper expectations.

    I loved the performance yesterday, was sitting around a good bunch of people all intent on enjoying the game.

    The events at Piebury Corner marred agood night looking at some pictures the Daily Mail have published photos of some of their fans in ground, and I will say that the pictures are a different image painted to what I saw, they have photographed the conductors with faces contorted and angry, from where I sat they just looked like the leaders of the singing, I’m sure I look quite angry when singing “who are ya” etc.

  25. Terry
    The ghosts are positively flying all over the place

  26. The Cockie Monster says:

    Further ahead than I expected us to be at this point and any loss soon will be mighty painfull !. I too have a quote from a hero of mine………my great great uncle Cockie Monster……..” This is not the end of a cookie. It is not even the end of the beginning of a cookie. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning of the cookies. “………I have no fcuking idea what it means…..just try and stay calm and…………bring me some fcuking cookieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss ! Om nom nom nom

  27. chas says:

    You’d look angry and frightening stood waiting for a bus.

  28. chas says:

    Seriously, I know what you are saying about the photos.
    Not like the press to be pushing for an angle, is it?

    Their supporter-led singing was weird. I’m not sure if that many of them were watching the game. They were too busy watching the song leader for what came next. It was as if the team and their efforts on the pitch were superfluous to the night’s entertainment. As a consequence, it didn’t seem like effective support for their team but more like a day out at a mafia rally.

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    😀 Chas only if someone told me I couldn’t smoke whilst waiting 😀

  30. kelsey says:

    In a lifetime of supporting Arsenal there a few games that will always stay in the memory and last night especially in the first half,was one of them.Most probably the best we have seen of Arsenal at The Emirates.

    Everything has already been said yet I wonder how much more Santi will bring to the team.We are literally spoiled for choice in midfield and as each game goes by we seem more confident as a unit, quicker to the ball and I honestly feel there is still a 20% improvement yet to come.

    Benitez and the whole Napoli team literally didn’t know what had hit them and I got the feeling towards the end that the manager couldn’t wait for the final whistle.

    European nights are special and those who attended should be applauded for their fantastic supportand Wenger and the team silencing many a critic. Early days still,but we look genuinely a quality side.

  31. Gööner In Exile says:

    Certainly the ones at the front were not watching…..strange that stewards allowed them to stand in front of the barrier, wonder what would be said if we asked for a few Arsenal fans to do the same.

  32. GoonerB says:

    Great report 26May and I agree that it was a mix of how good we were but also how badly they started. I think we caught them cold with our early brilliance and by the time they had realised they better buck their ideas up it was too late. I expect a more difficult proposition at their place and feel, when that game arrives, that we should approach it as if we are playing a different and new side to the one we blew away last night.

    I too was really happy to see that we can change the pace and balance of the game at will from a fast paced slick attacking style to a compact slow the game down and stifle them style with quick counter-attacking when able. I feel this ability is very important to winning major silverware. Can we now discard the tag of being a team with no plan B that only knows one way to play?

    The thing that really impressed me was the constant change of position of players. At any given time Ramsey or Ozil could be found centrally or on either flank. The understanding between the players to achieve this is very satisfying. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Chezzer up front and Ollie in goal such was the fluidity of movement and changing shape in attack. I feel it could simplify Raddy’s pre-match line ups. Just write down 11 names in random formation and then have a multitude of arrows going in all directions.

  33. r0blucci says:

    Cracking post 26may.

    The most impressive thing about the game is that how do Arsene change a team that were doing so well to another level? He answered that magnificently. Arteta and a rusty Mozart took our passing game to another level.

    You cant even mark anyone out of the game. Ozil scored from the left and gave an assist from the right. How are you gonna defend that?

    Its frightening to think that Wilshere and Rosicky is still on way to be fit and Cazorla, Poldi, Chambo and Walcott is still out injured.

    The hilarious thing is that few weeks ago people think that Ozil is a luxury signing and what we really need is a Fellaini type DM.

  34. N5Artillery says:

    I think our recent form can be summed up as
    IntenseTriangular Fluidity.
    Intense – the level intensity and hence concentration that has been brought to all games through a combination of youth, international team experience and pan European experience combined with some British Steel.

    Triangular – what was noticeable about last night was how many passing options the man with the ball had. Also that as the apex, he wasn’t the highest up the field. Instead the man with the ball was often the middle or behind his passing options. Forward! as I am so fond of shouting when watching at the Football Factory in NYC.

    Fluidity – unlike previous years our players have adjusted to the pace of the game needed in England (Mertesacker, Giroud, Ramsey – back to full fitness, Rosicky back to fitness) or are used to playing for a team that expects this intensity (Ozil). It was noticeable that whenever anyone passed the ball they then took up a new position at pace to offer a new angle. When I was at school my teacher always used to say “it’s a simple game, you kick the ball, then you move”. In the past we have been guilty of kicking the ball and admiring it as it wended its way to the recipient.

    By the way the highlight of last night’s game was not the goals, nor the passing. If you look at Ozil at about 35 minutes there is a shot of him gesturing to those players behind him to move up, not with impatience, not with frustration but with the surety of a man who knows he is in the right place. If that isn’t the sign of a man who has found his home, I don’t know what is.

  35. Bïg Räddy says:

    N5. Good point about how at home Ozil seems.

    Another point is what has happened to the clamour for an onfield leader? We have them all over the pitch when we are winning

  36. ärnie says:

    Fantastic report, 26may, and despite the “post-match jars”. Measured, scholarly, objective and tempering expectations? Was there a better night in recent memory to be a Gunner? I think not.

    Group of Death? What Death? It was Arsenal that were deadly on the day. Yes, yes, only the first couple of games, much more to do. And we do not wish to be second in the group as well. We can think about all that later. This was a night for the Arsenal manager, the players, and all the fans who took a lot of flak for a very long time. Thank you, Arsenal and Arsene. And, most importantly, thank you fans for making the environment in teh ground so special. It must have been a fantastic feeling being in the Ems last night. But even for those who followed on stream/tele/radio, the fantastic chants, the singing and the support came through loud and clear. Ah, what a fantastic experience!

    On the match itself, the highlight for me was teh first goal. Came very early, very much unlike Arsenal of late. Özil took most of the headlines, first goal, yes, and a fantastic goal as well. Ramsey took whatever remained of the credit for a fantastic run down the right flank and wonderful cross through to Özil. But, what did not receive that much attention was the fantastic hold up play from Giroud, and the delectable flick to Ramsey. It was a real treat.

    Just for that little piece of skill, plus the second goal, in addition to having an all round great game on the night, I would give Giroud a 9. This, 26may, is my only small quibble with your report.

    The other rare treat was scoring early, and twice, and hence Arsenal could show the contained side of their game that we do not usually get to see. And it was a fantastic privilege.

    Everyone has said so, but worth repeating again: the fans were fantastic.

    It just remains for the also-rans (ManUre and Shitty) to put in poor performances today, to make this a fantastic CL week. With more to come!!!!

    Raddy: very good point about “exposing the dire left back”. I wondered why the shape upfront was what it was last night, this must have been strategic!

  37. LB says:

    Excellent report 26

    It was a pleasure to meet you last night.

  38. bc says:

    Arsenal vs Napoli 2-0 Highlights!!

  39. Evönne says:

    Micky – did you get over Ramsey’s goal yet?
    watch this now:

  40. Red Arse says:

    It will come as no surprise, 26, to learn that I enjoyed your Post.

    I concur with all you said, including the ratings!

    One slight quibble, which you have addressed already when answering others, is that your view appears to be that Naples’ performance flattered us & made us look as excellent as we did.

    My view is the exact opposite, namely that our excellence last night made a very good Napoli (see this seasons league performances & first C/L game) look very average.

    It’s all in the interpretation, I suppose, but I am conscious of allowing malcontents to say that we are very average & it was only a rubbish Napoli that made us look good.

    Apologies if my comment seems a little non-sequitur (ish) but my iPhone has to bear some of the responsibility, it has a mind of its own! lol

  41. The Cockie Monster says:

    Not only do BT provide me with humongous amounts of free cookies, but also free BT Sport and I have watched a few of our CL opponents over the last few weeks and let me tell you BD and Nipples are far from average teams and have looked mighty impressive. We must have been awesome to make The Nipples look so stiff !.

  42. LB says:

    “I honestly feel there is still a 20% improvement yet to come.”

    I have been thinking this but have not been able to articulate it. This captures my thoughts one sentence.

  43. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Do you ever sleep, 26?

    Thank you for a superb report, although I am very much in the “didn’t give them a chance” camp. We’ve all see a great Barca side make domestic Champions look third rate, and that is precisely what we did last night.

    It was “game over” by the time they recovered from their punch drunken state, and this new mature Arsenal team knew exactly how to play it from that point onwards.

    I’ll be watching the first half again this evening.

  44. evonne says:

    do you guys ever listen to that lovely radio station called TalkSport? They seemed to be all gunners there, cannot praise our team enough 🙂

    There was a plastic supporter saying that Giroud is good, but not great. They bit the head of him, telling of his performance last night!!

    and, no paper reported that chavs won 4:0, who cares?

  45. Bïg Räddy says:

    evonne. If we lose to WBA, Talkshite will be back to being anti-AW, anti-AFC focussed.

    Thanks to AFC being the biggest club in London with the most supporters it will always be so.

  46. Bïg Räddy says:

    BTW how is it that no-one in the media has commented on the RVP-less MU losing both PL games and not scoring from open play without him?

    One man team.

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas organizes awayday tickets for Himself and Ant to go to WBA

    Chas organizes awayday tickets for Moi und BR to go to Dortmund

    Legend 🙂

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Love the BFG Vid. Superb 🙂

  49. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie what about TR7’s run to the near post in the move for the opening goal, another silent assist.

    This is the most pleasing aspect to me, the way people are prepared to sacrifice their personal glory for the collective glory, I guess they do it because a run to nowhere today will be repeated by the scorer tomorrow and present them with the chance.

    We discussed big Oli pre match, I said that I don’t think RvP would have made the run in Marseille that allowed Ramsey to score, it’s subjective yes but I think we sometimes see that desire to be the hero/goalscorer in Theo’s movement and demands. He will certainly need to step up that side of his game.

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oooo, now we have “silent assists”. How exciting. Another widget?

    Mind you, we all know what we demand, don’t we? All together now..

    We want The Swingometer
    We want The Swingometer
    We want The Swingometer

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I was with some mates after the game and discussing Theo. Super Sub appeared to be the feeling

    We have quality horses-for-courses which is just fantastic.

  52. MickyDidIt89 says:


    “I just wanted our opponent to make it a proper contest”

    You are going to be disappointed then. Those are going to get harder to find 🙂

  53. chas says:

    My pleasure, Micky. Got any accommodation yet?

    Liam wants the swingometer………

  54. Gööner In Exile says:

    So Theo is a super sub? And Santi?

    To be honest at this moment my first choice 5 in midfield (everyone fit) is:


    Those three can just go wherever they are required, this doesn’t work with Theo up front, it doesn’t work with a Suarez type either, it works off a hold up man, that man is Olivier.

  55. chas says:

    Shaktar v Gollum United in the hope of seeing bsr humiliated or
    Light blue oilers v Bayern to see how good the Germans are?

    Neither are that appealing.
    In the words of M.Wenger, “If you eat caviar every day it’s difficult to return to sausages.” 🙂

  56. chas says:

    Before last night I never would have picked Arteta and Flamini together.
    Now it seems damn sensible to have the double pivot base to allow the Renaissance Movement to exploit the blank canvas to the full.

  57. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Santi starts. Every time. We all went with your line up. So, no Theo.

    You call me “prawn sandwich” for wanting a hotel, then use terms like “Renaissance Movement to exploit the blank canvas”

  58. chas says:

    I’ve no idea if this is true but it seemed to me that most of Ollie’s excellent hold-up work was in the second half.
    In the first half a Suarez type may have benefitted from the Neapolitans having their a*ses burned in such spectacular style. Maybe?

  59. chas says:

    I didn’t call you prawn sandwich, it was lobster thermidor.

  60. chas says:

    I just saw someone on twitter happy because Ryanair were moving their Thursday late return flights to Friday morning, giving them an extra night in Dortmund. 🙂

  61. chas says:

    Theo will have his uses.
    How good will it be that we can pick from 4 or 5 permutations and still have our ‘best’ line-up?

    First XI pick itself?
    Nah, not any more.

  62. chas says:

    Right off to buy something to accompany the football. 🙂

  63. evonne says:

    Shrek ill, not even on the bench tonight
    Poor United, the wheels are really coming off 🙂

  64. MickyDidIt89 says:

    My flights are all over the place. At this rate I’m going for a week!


  65. RockyLives says:

    Splendid 26, although I slightly err on the side of us being so good we made Napoli look poor… but a note of caution is always welcome.

    Fail to take 3pts from WBA and the critics will be out in force again.

  66. evonne says:

    is the Manu game on the telly tonight?

  67. chas says:

  68. chas says:

    SS4, Evonne

  69. ärnie says:

    GiE: almost missed your 6:22. Fully agree. We focus much less on the hold-ups and the blank runs. The blank runs create all the space. And it looks beautiful as well. 3 or 4 players streaming into the box for Arsenal, and trying to find gaps between defenders. Defenders running around like headless chicken. Find the guy who has lost the marker. Fantastic!!!!

    What matters is the team and the love of being part of a fantastic team that is playing (or at least is trying to play) a great game!!! I do not want selfish individualists in there, without taking names!

  70. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Notes of caution” should always be banned after a night like that.
    Even your Chum was in unusually upbeat mode, and I’m not talking about Coronas x ? at The Che 🙂

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well put arnie.

    The movement, watched from on high, really was a thing of beauty.

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Final comment of the day.

    Something within still makes me think this is all a dream.

    We really did splash out £42M and bring Ozil to THOF didn’t we?

  73. Bïg Räddy says:

    Oi come back…..

    Watch MC or MU? Tough decision

    Or FCK getting hammered in Madrid. Definitely not that– don’t want to watch the Apeboy

  74. chas says:

  75. bc says:

    Arsenal vs Napoli 2-0 video highlights! Watch amazing Ozil goal!

  76. chas says:

  77. chas says:

    You’ve already plugged your site once today.


    Whilst watching last nights game did any one else feel the shudder of what Arsene and the Club are developing here?

    There was moments watching that first half that the hairs on my considerably hirsuite body knew no bounds. Indeed, if there was a German holiday maker around i could have carved a proffesion as a towel.

    The scope for improvement is hugh. To beat an old drum, the most important thing is to keep the squad together and purchase players as the iceing on the cake. Then, leave Arsene to do his magic.

    Yes, the future is so bright we all need shades, and in my case, the avoidance of those who need to dry themselves off.

  79. chas says:

    Loving the human towel and am placing all my faith in hugh.


    chas hahaha, yes, “in hugh we trust”

  81. Bïg Räddy says:

    Terry on top form again.

    Absolutely correct – the potential is hugh

  82. chas says:

  83. chas says:

  84. chas says:

  85. Bïg Räddy says:

    Very pleased I chose the MC game. In Gary Neville’s words “they are being dismantled” 😀

  86. evonne says:

    shocking! It has to be Peligrini’s fault. He has absolutely awesome players that cannot play

  87. evonne says:

    shekhtar v manyoo 1 all

  88. evonne says:

    oo la la, getting hot in mancunia

  89. Bïg Räddy says:

    2 London teams last night = 6 points

    2 Mancs tonight = 1 point

  90. chas says:

    Best apostrophe of the night.

  91. chas says:

  92. chas says:

    Just remember, cautious optimism everyone.

  93. 26may1989 says:

    According to The Guardian, it was “Man City 3-1 Bayern Munich” (http://www.theguardian.com/football).

    Wishful thinking???

  94. 26may1989 says:

    Shucks, they’ve just corrected it.

  95. Gööner In Exile says:

    Turns out Gollum was right they don’t have the 5/6 great players needed.

    Remember all those pundits that said Arsenal needed a goalkeeper……..why did no one say the same of Hart, remember when we played them pre season he made a couple of shocking decisions….he hasn’t stopped making them. I think he should have done better with first and third goals even the second was poor as he sold himself (like De Gea did against West Brom). And there were other moments where he looked lost in the area. And he is the best English keeper! Remember when English keepers were the best in the world? We had three or four at a time who could hold the number one shirt for the national team.

    Shilton, Clemence, Woods.
    Shilton, Woods, Seaman
    Seaman, Martyn

    Then what happened?

  96. Gööner In Exile says:

    A friend of mine remarked on twitter that Hart was better when he had dandruff


    hahaha GIE that dandruff joke is hillarious.

    I post on another website called “The Bald Truth” On there is a guy whose handle is “Dandruff For All” hahaha

  98. arnie says:

    GiE at 10:05. Fantastic

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “cautious optimism”

    Borrrring. Milk it I say 🙂

    Losing 1-3 at home. ROLD LAMOW

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ROLFFFFF clearly makes more sense 😦

  101. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, bored:

    We want The Swingometer and Silent Assist Widgit
    We want The Swingometer and Silent Assist Widgit
    We want The Swingometer and Silent Assist Widgit

    And when do we want them

    Now, now, now

  102. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning All,

    Cautious optimism 😀

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    It’s not a smiling face matter Raddy 😦 🙂

  104. evonne says:

    Shitty were poor last night, Hart with healthy hair especially, but Bayern were VERY good. That Pep is a great manager. Many thought that Barca players made him look good, he proved/is proving them wrong.

    Why didn’t Shitty and red Manc get him instead of Golum and Peligrini????

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Where would you rather work Evonne, Munich or Manchester?

  106. Bïg Räddy says:

    So you say Didit.

    Even the troll has shut-up. If we beat WBA we will be TOTL for another two weeks, then we have Norwich at home followed by Palace away. Both winnable.

    Which takes us to Oct 29th and the Chavs.

    Remember the Goats are Stirring

  107. chas says:

    My ‘cautious optimism’ comment was due to a twatter conversation I had last night.
    It included a link to this article “The Danger Of The Positive Knee-Jerk”

    Kipling was quoted.

    “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same”

    I always think this is great advice when you get stuffed i.e. your reaction should be cool, calm and rational rather than rushing for the razor blades.
    But when it comes to the situation of it’s you doing the stuffing, the best reaction, I find, is to run around the local park naked screaming ‘I love beelzeebub’. Anyone agree? 🙂

  108. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Masterpiece of a report 2×13, just a shame that I’ve not read it sooner

  109. Bïg Räddy says:

    chas. Agree with every cell in my ageing body

  110. Gööner In Exile says:

    Answer to that is simple Evonne the players/squad.

    Guardiola could go to Bayern who were already playing great football, already had a pressing system, so he could go and improve it slightly. Before the game last night Sourness and Popknapp were questioning why Guardiola would not play the worlds best right back as right back. After the game they were explaining why it was such a great move.

    And then Sourness said he was worried because Shitty had the best group of footballers in England and they were played off the park. The man seems to believe that you only need attackers. City’s squad is quite scary when you look at the front line and their options….but they can’t play 8 forwards, and when you start to look closely at their defensive midfield, full backs and centre backs the squad doesn’t look quite so good. The reason they got turned over was because they didn’t have the ability to move the ball through to the players who could do the damage, because their centre backs are not comfortable enough in possession.

  111. evonne says:

    Micky – Manchester any day. Cannot stand Bavarians
    Are you saying that the Mancs wanted Pep and he turned them down? So why was he learning English in New York? Chelsea? Surely not

  112. chas says:

    The purple-conked Gorbalian wouldn’t want to be overshadowed by his successor: that’s why he chose Gollum.

  113. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas simply put you have to enjoy both in equal measure, it’s easier to enjoy a winning team, but we can still have a laugh when we lose, the black humour comes out. If we can’t be happy when we are talking and supporting Arsenal, you have to question why we bother.

  114. evonne says:

    cheers GiE. I am still surprised Pep didn’t land in UK. Pity for EPL, perhaps blessing for AFC 🙂 Every cloud….

  115. Gööner In Exile says:

    Apparently PurpleNose has given his backing to Gollum. MoyesIn campaign will not last long now 😦

    Just read that article on 365 I think they are right to an extent, but they seem to be excluding emotion.

    Lovely comment on Everton beneath though referring to Fellaini:

    “Likewise the signing of Gareth Barry has been key to giving the forward players more freedom to express themselves as they know where Barry will be, unlike the more talented but wandering soul we sold to Man Utd.”

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I walked into that one 🙂

    The moment I hit “post comment”, I knew you’d answer Manchester!

  117. LB says:

    Interesting observation GIE @ 7.38

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Totally agree about City. Remove Yaya and/or Company and the whole thing goes tits up

  119. chas says:

    It seems to me that if you enjoy both in equal measure your happiness graph would more or less be represented by a flat line which holds no appeal at all.
    What I was trying to say was don’t let adversity drag you too low, but celebrate the highs with all your vigour. Make the most of the current situation and don’t allow ‘cautious optimism’ to take the joy out of it.

  120. MickyDidIt89 says:


    GiE has a graph for every occasion, and they are all the same. Utterly incomprehensible 🙂

  121. chas says:

    ‘How much I need a fag’ graph.

  122. dhakka09 says:

    This video moves me every-time I watch it (watching it now 🙂 ) If you haven’t seen it yet, you must. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVFkMD9eDC0

  123. chas says:

  124. evonne says:

    Yes Micky 🙂

  125. Bïg Räddy says:

    D09 Thanks. Not seen vid before. made for an enjoyable 30 mins

  126. Morning all

    There’s a New Post ………………….

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