An honourable stalemate, onwards and upwards!

This game was touted as one of high intensity, skill and spirit. Not for the faint hearted. Potentially a fantastic even and attacking game. A game suitable for the album of memories. A fine mix of youth and experience developing under the tutelage of master craftsman Arsene Wenger, against Roberto Martinez’s self-proclaimed “real young arrogant group of players, who have got real talent.” Arsenal came into the game Top of the League, and Everton came with a mighty fine winning spree, including a victory at Old Trafford last week.

It was a fantastic game. Quite even in the end, a 1-1 stalemate. Plenty of lessons to take and to move on to the other challenges coming up. Was it a point well gained for Arsenal, or an opportunity lost? In the event, Arsenal’s lead at the top increased from 4 to 5 points this weekend. But this was due to results in the other games, where ignorable others dropped points. The lead could have been 7 points, perhaps should have been, given that this was a home game. But they came up against mighty fine opposition who fought all the way, even when they were trailing into the final 7 minutes of the game, despite the booming unison of ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ reverberating through The Home of Football, and notwithstanding the attacking threat that Arsenal posed till the last moments of the game.

Yes, it was a fantastic spectacle for the lover of the fantastic game, and a tough game for Arsenal, a game where they played second fiddle to the brash young opposition “arrogant” gang, a true rarity this season. But they led through a typically crafty goal by the Wizard of Oz-il, and even after the equaliser, could still have won, perhaps should have won, through a wonder strike from one Olivier Giroud. Alas, it was not to be. So job done, on we go, to Europe next, against Napoli, followed by the small matter of facing the exciting Man City away and Chelsea at home.

Along the way, Arsenal have earned a five point cushion at the top. Not quite a bed of roses, but a comfortable gap nevertheless. Yes, it was a tough test, and the good guys of Arsenal came second best for large parts of the game. But they fought back valiantly, created several opportunities, and showed spirit and craftsmanship in equal measure. If they have learnt their lesson, and can bounce back, this is job well done, otherwise it is work-in-progress. The verdict is still out! We will know soon.

So, how did the game go? First 35 minutes clearly belonged to the Toffees. The Everton midfield, led by the Barkley and powerful Lukaku combination proved to be quite a handful. They piled enormous pressure on the back four of Jenks-BFG-Kos-Gibbs, plus the usually infallible Arteta who did not have a particularly great game. However, credit mainly to the ever reliable Per-Kos combination, they created hardly any chances. Arsenal came back strongly in the final 5 minutes of the first half, creating two beautiful chances, but they came to nought. Tim Howard made two fantastic saves. First, he dived at the feet of Giroud to block after a fantastic Ramsey pass, and immediately after when the roles were reversed, he saved again from Ramsey’s feet when he was released by Giroud.

The second half commenced much the same way as the first. Attack upon counter-attack followed at breath-taking pace. It looked like a test of true spirit and strength of character. Who would blink first? Szczesny was seriously tested a couple of times, and he was safe if not brilliant. At the other end, Ramsey had a fantastic effort turned around the post by Howard, and Santi scuffed a header meekly into the hands to the keeper. 65 minutes down, still deadlocked, an intensely pulsating game with two teams trying to make a breakthrough, looking for a moment of inspiration, no sign of ragged legs, what a game!

But, before that, time perhaps to have a closer look at the shape and formations of the teams. Arsenal had the usual defensive formation of BFG, Kos and Gibbs, with Jenks replacing the injured Sagna. Arteta as defensive midfielder, in tow with Ramsey linking the back to the attack. Giroud the lone forward with Ozil, Wilshere and Santi manning the midfield. Everton’s attack was almost exclusively from the right side, Pienaar having a poor game in left wing, leaving Jenks with sufficient liberty to roam forward. But the potent combination of Barkley and Lukaku bossed the midfield with tireless abandon. BFG, and particularly Kos, were brilliant in defence, Gibbs was kept busy in defence, and Jenks had little defending to do.

To my mind, the main problem was in the midfield. First, Arsenal held a more defensive line, and this appeared to create a gap between defence and attack. Wilshere was largely absent, Santi was composed but not enormously creative, and Ramsey was unusually subdued except for the two brilliant exchanges with Giroud, and a good effort on goal later. Ozil was involved in almost all the moves, but played largely within himself. Giroud had to fall back quite a bit to get any piece of the action. Second, the wings did not work well. Gibbs had only limited opportunity to move forwards and Jenks was not sufficiently creative. On the Everton side, Coleman moved up the right relatively freely, with Gibbs sitting back around the edge of the box. Oviedo moved upwards as well, but Pienaar was not so effective.

Time for the endgame gambits, then! Arsene made a sensational triple substitution, bringing on Flamster, Rosicky and Theo for Rambo, Jack and Santi. Was it a sense of desperation, or was it a show of bounty on the bench. It can be argued either way. The jury is probably still out, but then it seemed to work. The fresh legs provided a moment of magic. Rosicky crossed from the left towards the right end of the box, Theo brilliantly headed the ball down towards the centre, Giroud missed but took two defenders with him, and Mesut (oh you beauty Ozil!) thumped it into the top of the net. 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Ozil celebrates v Everton

However, this moment of brilliance was to be followed by another – a sucker punch! Martinez brought on Osman for Pienaar and this created hustle on the left wing, and the wonderkid Deulofeu for Mirallas. Oviedo was now able to link up more freely on the left. Lo and behold! The attack came from the left, via Oviedo and Osman, Jenks was easily taken bypassed, cross into the box, and with the Arsenal defenders offering too much space, Deulofeu just drilled it in. Three defenders around, Gibbs the closest, Kos and Flamster watching, Per struggling to return from his travels upfront, and no one challenged! This game of sitting back and allowing space just does not work! The faithful in the Emirates silenced, and forget about the gits who had already left.

On the sideline, Arsene was livid! But too late, with only seven minutes left, but perhaps not! Arsenal went on full attack, and with seconds left, Giroud produced a moment of magic, well almost! He picked on a loose ball 30 yards out, and thumped an outrageous curler that deflated the frame of the Everton goal, but could not quite make its way through. An amazing effort! The game ended 1-1 all-square.

A fantastic game for the neutral, but not the faint hearted, an honourable result perhaps, but also perhaps a missed opportunity. Everton played a fantastic game, slightly better than Arsenal certainly in the midfield and in attack, but the good guys gave away a lead on 84 minutes! And on another day, Ollie’s final effort might have saved the day, but it did not! If only ….. , but back to that later. It is not that bad, is it? Everton are a very good side, and we are Top of the League by a good 5 points. All is well if lessons are learnt. If we bounce back against Napoli away and Man City away like we did against Dortmund, after the other shocking day at THOF, then this will be a stepping stone towards greater heights. That will be no mean feat, that will be a true test of mettle!

In a game when the true heroes were on the opposing side, I feel individual scores are not in order. There was no shocking performance, well perhaps a couple, and nobody shone out particularly well. In my view, the peak of the bunch was Kos. On towards the future!

So, this was a hard fought game, Arsenal flattered to deceive somewhat. What then are the lessons learnt? I have listed a few, in no particular order.

  1. In games like this, one could perhaps just leave the partisan self aside and admire the spirit of the game. And, what a game it was!
  2. Sitting too deep in defence does not work. Playing on the counter is perhaps a good strategy, but a higher line is essential. Certainly, it is shocking how much space the Everton front men were sometimes offered.
  3. Personally, I did not get the idea of subbing Flamster for Rambo. This looked like a defensive substitution at that time, it still does!
  4. One good bit of news is that, finally, Theo seems to be coming to his own. In that case, why oh why, did we not start with Theo? And this leads to an if only moment – if only Arsene had read Raddy’s pre-match more carefully, and not cast only a cursory glance?
  5. Absence of Sagna was key. Jenks was not bad on the day, but he is not Sagna, not yet. Everton’s left side was weak. If only, and another if only, Sagna were fit, we might have made better use of the right side, in attack and in defence.
  6. Finally, this guy Deulofeu is tasty. Young, Barca academy, quite a character as well. How about a bid next year?

Finally, we are Top of the League, and there is only one way to proceed. Onwards and upwards!

Written by arnie


86 Responses to An honourable stalemate, onwards and upwards!

  1. Manthan says:

    Hi Arnie, Very good write up I must say I was happy with draw at 75 minutes but as soon we got goal crowd went crazy i was already dreaming of 7 points clear that means if you lose next two days we are still top but my happiness barely lasted for 3 minutes and deulofeu scored the goal.. Over all draw was fair result Koss has almost kept Lukaku quiet and good support again by fans.. Deulofeu is good but he quite frustrating at times but once he will gain some experience he can be really good player and I guess Barca will keep hold of him but again getting into there first team will be challenge for him he might do what Thiago has done last summer..

  2. Räsp says:

    Excellent report arnie, thanks. You are very fair in your assessment.
    Here are some points I’d like to make:

    1. Even though our formation wasn’t great, we just weren’t on our game. Simple passes out of defence were failing to reach the target.

    2. Ramsey and Jack were both well below their recent levels

    3. Kos and Per were superb. Kos must have been giving away 2 stone and 3 inches in height to Lukaku but kept him quiet for most of the game.

    4. Barclay was deservedly MotM – he may well keep The Ox out of the world cup in Brazil.

    5. Why did Theo not play out wide when he came on? We had lacked width throughout the game and yet he positioned himself inside the fullback.

    6. Barry should have received a yellow much earlier in the game and been sent off when he received the second

    7. Everton have 4 top class loan players. I can accept players on loan from foreign leagues but allowing the likes of city and the chavs to shore up sides so they take points off their opposition is wrong. Only the super rich sides can do this – this is not financial fair play!!!!

  3. Hi guys ! Thanks Arnie, haven’t read everything yet but the bit I read was, expectingly brilliant. My only interpretation of Theo not playing the full game is that Napoli is probably going to be a counter game. They have to score 3 goals to be sure, they’re probably gonna come with everything they have. Having a full rested Theo then will be lethal ! They will have to risk everything and hopefully we can control the game because of that.
    Räsp, I agree so much with your point 7 ! Loan is a good system, if it serves it’s purpose : giving a chance to a young or struggling player you believe in. This years Everton is a masquerade for that ! I think the FA should do something, also because if a team like that qualifies for CL and then loses all it’s loanees, the team does shit the next year and has taken the spot from a more deservant squad. It would be funny to see Everton take the fourth spot from Chav though… 😀

  4. Danny says:

    I believe that if we’d played Everton last week, we would’ve beaten them easily. The fact that we’ve still not qualified for the next stage of the Champions League weighs heavily on Arsene which affects his team selection etc. Once we’re done with Napoli and through to the next round, the whole team will relax and will play better.

  5. arnie says:

    Thanks, all, keep on with the discussion!!!! Rasp, your point regarding loan players is very important and pertinent.

    Unfortunately, I have to rush to catch a flight, I will catch up with you guys probably from Frankfurt during transit, otherwise tonight sometime. Cheers. 😀 😀

  6. I was just watching the fixtures and thinking, Everton could very well be second in two weeks. If we win both games (Iknow baldy but, I don’t know, something about this year. I’m pretty sure we’re gonna win against Chelsea, and Shitty seems possible…) and with Spuds receiving Liverpool next week… Everton could very well get above them and then a draw wouldn’t look so bad, right ? And then we would have our 7 points lead.

    And just a question : can Chelsea call back Lukaku in January ? If they can they most certainly will, to crush a rival.

  7. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers, it’s not the end of the world, two points dropped and a timely wake-up call. Naples will be a great place to put that result behind us.

    Cheer yourselves up with this…

    Speakers on!

  8. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Thanks Arnie for the match report, a fine and fair summing up. I’m going to read it through again to ensure that I’ve missed nothing.

  9. LB says:

    That is a top, top match report Arnie.

  10. Manthan says:

    From starting of match I was scared of deulofeu coming on and playing cameo 😦 ;( Tough a very good point earn a very busy month is already started with a win and a draw.. There are lot of rumors about Berbatov coming to arsenal.. Is there any truth in that?

  11. LB says:

    I have calmed down a bit now and realise that although I thought the team selection was wrong Wenger will learn a lot from that game.

    We simply haven’t played enough games in which the opposition have been capable of coming on to us, Dortmund were the last and look how that turned out.

    In ways that game could work in our favour; we now have quite a few games coming up in which the opposition are capable of coming on to us and so the Everton game should work as good practice.

    The other thing is that Everton had far less pressure on them than we did, the tables will be completely reversed when we go to City for example.

  12. LB says:

    I am sure that there is a lot of truth in the fact that Berbatov’s agent would like him to come to Arsenal……..we need more speed not less.

  13. Manthan says:

    City and chelshit are 6 pointers I hope atleast we get 3 points out of these two games.. Yes Berbatov is bit slow but he is very excellent finisher I would take him for year or two 😉 BUT again its Le-Prof decision


    Fantastic Arnie

    You should be honoured Arnie. Shanghaied by the delightful peaches. Who could say no.

    I to was once shanghaied. I woke up in a seedy Soho gay club Anyway, that’s what I told the wife and police.

    Everton strangled us. it was a bit like a couple of years ago when Martinez Wigan done us at the Grove.

    From my upper tier seat what struck me was there centre backs split wide allowing Jerk Barry to drop in making a three. This allowed there full backs to push on supporting there wide men hence forcing poor old Santi and the frustrated Jack to defend.

    In addition, they squeezed the life out of Arteta with McCarthy playing in front of him and Barclay rodgering from behind.

    We couldn’t handle it in the first half, you need pace to escape that trap and we didn’t have it.

    Fair play to Martinez, but his tactical nous gives me the creeps. If you happen to see this man in the street, for your own safety I recommend not to approach him. If you inadvertently catch his eye, then look away and pretend your mad by singing the Wizard of Oz very loudly. This should distract him long enough for you to make your escape.

  15. JM says:

    1) It was a battle between the league’s two meanest defences. All square at the end was perhaps an expected result.

    2) Experiencing to Everton’s abundance in energy and full pitch pressing for almost the entire duration of the match. (15 matches: 7 draws and 1 defeat. Everton and Martinez’s mantra: If we cannot win, we shall not lose). Prepare to get a similar battle royale at Goodison Park.

    3) Ramsey is on the red zone (AW had spoken about resting him from the start; he started in 14 PL games and 5 CL games and was one of our most utilised players with Giroud, Koscielny and Gibbs but as he is our midfield energizer – he covered and ran the most miles – and he comes off worse for wear and tear). Flamini has only recovered from a minor injury and thus started from the bench instead. (Anyway he was always primed to start in Italy – familiar territory – against Napoli)

    4) Walcott is regaining his fitness, sharpness and momentum from an abdomen injury and operation/surgery as well. He also had a setback which delayed his return, thus AW was cautious with Theo on starting matches (when we still have Podolski and The Ox – our wide wingers/inside forwards sidelined)

    5) We have to do w/o Sagna against Napoli as well. He has a hamstring injury and only likely to return against Man. City (though he is 50/50 to start that match; Podolski is on a similar case)

    6) Barcelona will not sell cheap (a min release clause fee has to be activated at least, Deulofeu is tied to them till 2017). They are on a minor injury crisis now (since Messi is out till new year). They may opt to recall Deulofeu in January? Though next season, we may see the trinity of Messi-Deulofeu-Neymar spearheading Barca’s attack.

    It will be back to back away matches against Napoli in the CL (flying to and back from Italy) and then upon returning to London, some preparations and recovery time before another road trip to Man. City (at their home ground up north in Manchester). The mental fatigue for the team shall be a big ?

  16. Great write up. I really enjoyed the game. Great atmosphere apart from the whingers sitting around me.

  17. Hi gm – I’m glad you enjoyed the game. I can email you my address if you like or we can meet at your next game.

  18. If a player has been loaned for the season they can’t be recalled unless there is a clause in the deal to do that.

    I was told by a chav fan that Lukaku was loaned to Everton specifically to take points off their rivals. He obviously can’t play against his parent club but wouldn’t it be funny if they finished above the chavs.

  19. Hi Peaches. I’m not sure if I’ll be at the next game. Probably best if I send it to you. Thanks for that. I thought it was a great game. I did wait outside F.

  20. Gazza says:

    Think your point about the loan system is rubbish, sour grapes . who is to say who else Everton would have got if not those players?And if Everton make the CL whats to say Lukaku will not stay?I am quite sure Barry will stay to.
    It was a great match,Arsenal underestimated Everton(who also beat Chelsea without Lukaku)and a draw was a fair result ..

  21. Gazza
    I think you are wrong about underestimating Everton. Everyone including us know you are a very good side. Personally I hope you can keep Lukaku. He’s better off with you than with Maureen.
    It was a fair result.
    I hope you do well.

  22. Not a great idea letting off smoke bombs at the Emirates though

  23. Räsp says:

    Gazza, my point is neither rubbish nor sour grapes, show some manners if you wish to be a guest on this site.

    The point about loan players has been made many times before on here and not only in relation to Everton. Rich clubs should not be allowed to strengthen other teams in the hope that they take points off their rivals. In my opinion, players should only be loaned to teams in lower divisions.

  24. Gazza says:

    Sorry if it seemed rude ,just a bit miffed hearing the same thing.Of course having a player like Lukaku gives something ,but it was also his choice to play for us instead of warming a bench for the small team from Fulham .the .same as Barry,I am sure it was not on their mind when they joined us to take points of rivals,and could you really see Lukaku at QPR or Derby?,Anyway there where 9 other players who have been playing out of their collective skins under Robetro and improving every game.All in all a Fair report .
    Good luck in the title race,would be refreshing if you could keep it up and great if we did make the CL but would settle for Europa league or the FA cup this season..

  25. Räsp says:

    Thanks Gazza. You will read that the bloggers on this site have a lot of respect for Everton and your manager. Apart from manure and the totts getting relegated, I’d like nothing better than to see Everton finish in the top four in place of pool.

    Arsenal only spends money it has earned and as such should not be viewed as ‘unfair competition’ but a model that proves that you can succeed without buying success – and Everton are proving the same (with a little help from some players on loan 😛 )

  26. Räsp says:

    P.S. Barclay is a real talent – I hope he doesn’t end up playing for your ex-manager next season.

  27. TT says:

    I might be repeating something that everyone has already considered, but I find it surprising people are calling for more Walcott given his health situation.

    As Wenger had noted in his interview after the Hull City match, Walcott had been sick off-and-on since prior to Cardiff. By Hull City game day, he had had so little practice time that Wenger never considered starting him. To me, it would have been surprising if Walcott could recover so quickly, between Hull City on Wednesday and Everton on Sunday.

    A start for Walcott at Napoli this Wednesday seems more plausible. And as someone here noted (LB?) Walcott would be better suited to counterattack a Napoli that is forced to be offensive.

  28. 1. Arsenal
    2. Liverpool
    3. Everton
    4. Southampton
    5. Spuds
    6. Newcastle
    7. Shitty
    8. Chavs

    18. ManUre

    Now that would be a refreshing sight. I know, very unlikely (below 1), but I’d really, really, really, really, really like to see the big money titans out of CL ! It would be interesting to see how fast their sponsors would run away from them… And Spuds, just because failing on the verge of glory is far more bitter than relegation. And another year without CL despite 100 millions spent might actually lead them to relegation next season.

  29. jnyc says:

    just one of those games that can occur. I feel like we created alot more chances, and tim howard did well. That was really the difference. We should have had a lead sooner, even though we started slowly.
    i never saw delofeleus shot coming or going in.
    lastly, to disagree, i thought jaenkinson did very well, not a negative at all, more of a positive. He is certainly our best crosser, and defended well.

  30. Gooner in Exile says:

    Good afternoon all, well done Arnie, that report reflects the feelings I was going through during the game.

    As you say it was a shame that we didn’t get the winning goal, or that we couldn’t keep Everton out for the rest of the game, but as games of football go, it most of been very enjoyable for the neutral.

    I have liked Martinez as a replacement for Arsene (when he decides to leave) for quite some time, he worked wonders at Swansea, before performing miracles at Wigan, I know they eventually went down but to keep that group of players in the Premier League for so long took some doing, and to win the FA Cup last season put the icing on a very special time at the football club. Now we are seeing him work well with a talented but previously restricted group of players. And through it all he has always acted very graciously, spoken intelligently about football etc etc etc.

  31. chas says:

    Wow, that’s an all-encompassing match report, arnie.
    Great stuff.
    Job for life, I’d say. 🙂

    Here’s proof we should have won.

    ….and a little video…….

  32. 26may1989 says:

    Excellent job, Mr Arnie.

    I do think peeps are slightly overdoing the “Weren’t Everton great” thing. They had most of the possession in the first half hour, but even with post of our midfield being slow to get into the game, they did little to threaten us, our defence being absolutely solid. So much for Everton’s domination in that period.

    And then we came into the game, with some real link-up play that opened them up through the centre. Without Tim Howard (have always loved that keeper, he’s fantastic – how did the Yanks ever manage to choose between him and Friedel?), Everton would have been losing at half-time.

    Our positive game continued into the second half, with us being the better side throughout, finally yielding the goal our better play deserved. That was only for a slight positional error by the otherwise excellent Gibbs to be met with an exceptional shot, that took everyone by surprise. Credit to Deulofeu for the shot though.

    I do feel disappointed that we only drew. Not because I don’t rate Everton, far from it, but because I felt we deserved the points, even with a couple of below par performances. Like others, I would point to Kos and Merts as being our stars on the day, and Szczesny was also very good. I don’t think Arteta played as badly as others have said – he was done for pace on a couple of occasions, but with his partner, Ramsey, having a real off-day (especially with the number of times Rambo gave the ball away), I thought Arteta did well overall.

    Roberto Martinez is class: Everton is effectively his finishing school before he’s ready to be Wenger’s successor! He’s worked wonders already, but Everton have Moyes to thank for their current high position as much as they do Martinez. He inherited a strong defensively-minded side and has added some attacking quality to it in terms of playing philsophy and in the loanees he’s recruited. Watching Barkley is interesting: he was really impressive in last season’s game at the Ems, but having a more attack-minded boss really is helping the youngster develop his game.

    As for the loan system, my only problem with it is Wenger’s point, that loaned players should be available to play against their parent clubs (and contractual attempts to prevent that should be banned). Loans aren’t just acts of charity or purely for player development, they are commercial deals between clubs, with the receiving club paying a fee (sometimes several millions of £). I don’t think the system should be changed in any other way and I don’t criticise Everton or anyone else for using their resources to borrow players rather than buy them. Deploying what you have in the most effective way is a core part of succeeding. At the end of the loan periods, the borrowing club runs the risk of being quickly back to zero on the pitch, with no saleable asset off it – and in Everton’s case, with a very poor wages-to-revenue ratio already (that’s the bad bit that Moyes left), and much of their squad getting old, they have very limited scope to improve. But for now, Everton have played their cards very well, and good luck to them. Even if I think they shouldn’t have got away with a point yesterday!

    The draw does put us under more pressure for Saturday’s game – City will come at us very, very hard, we are going to have to do something special. It would have been a bit more relaxing going into the game with two more points in the bag. Not that I should whinge too much.

  33. 26
    I’d love that to be the case. Lukaku would rip the chavs to shreds

  34. We should have remote controlled crossbars that we can move from time to time. Would anyone notice?

  35. arnie says:

    Thanks a lot, everyone. I have had a brief brush through the discussion. Only 30 mins free internet in FRA, dont even know how to buy some WiFi time. A lot to take in. 19 mins left.

  36. Very well said 26, I agree.
    On the pressure, yet, I think it’s best not to go to Man City thinking “It’s ok to lose”. So maybe this draw was a blessing in disguise…

  37. arnie says:

    On loans: For me the first clinching argument was made by Bayonne Jean, I think. Everton are playing a lot of loan players. Suppose they qualify for CL, and do not manage to buy players. Buying players is not a science, as we all know. Then what happens? Second is strategic behaviour, whch may or may not be fair to teams trying to play a fair game.

    On buying Deulofeu: Yes, I like Deulofeu and am following him avidly, but I am not so particular about any specific player. My point is the following. If Arsenal and Arsene really like a player, they should go for him in a single-minded way. Let Barca quote a price, and let us negotiate. After all, we have money now. Of course we will not spend money just for the sake of doing so, like so many other clubs do, but we should be somewhat single-minded in our pursuit of players. I think we have started doing that, as the Suarez case shows. I say, more of the same not less. 😀 😀

    Only 7 mins left, let me find some other solution.

  38. arnie says:

    Sorry, my apologies, not Bayonne Jean, Benjamin Rochet. Many many apologies, Benjamin!!!! 😛

  39. arnie says:

    Chas: Love the graph. The more the numbers, the better. Bring them on!!!!!! 😀 😀

  40. arnie says:

    GM: remote controlled cross bars will be good. Ollie tried very hard to move it by the force of teh shot, but it didnt work!!!!! 😛

  41. 26may1989 says:

    Mourinho has smugly talked about how he sent Lukaku out on loan in order to damage his opponents in games like yesterday’s. But that doesn’t hide the fact he looks like a right tit for allowing the big Belgian to bunk off Chelsea duties, now that he’s got a triumverate of misfiring strikers. And if the impetus for the move came from Lukaku’s concerns about not getting enough pitch time after Eto’o’s signing, why didn’t he send Ba or Torres out on loan instead?

    Anyway, in our case it didn’t work, Lukaku was played out of the game.

    Benjamin, you’re probably right, but I am bracing myself for Saturday. It doesn’t help that City will have had 24 hours longer than us to recover from their CL away game, or that our game is meaningful, whereas theirs is pretty much a dead rubber.

    GM, remote controlled crossbars, perfect, the latest example of Arsenal being at the forefront of innovation……

  42. The Cockie Monster says:

    Top MR Barmie Arnie !. 😆

    Completely 1 million % agree with Rasp`s # 7 @ 9:56am .

  43. Bayonne Jean says:

    A cracker of a match, indeed. Arnie, thank you for bringing up the Santi soft header; that was a key turning point that’s been overlooked. Had Santi taken his time and scored using his usual repertoire instead of his head (Liverpool aside), the complexion of the match would have changed completely, in my view.

    Is anyone else wondering if Santi is still not fit, or more worringly longer term, if he’s not meshing with an Ozil-Ramsey-Wilshere axis?

    To 26 and goonermike re loans: there should be no loans of players to other sides in your group, period, even with AW’s suggestion that the loaned player be allowed to compete against his parent club. Sure, Lukaku should devour Terry and Cahill, but I could just see Abramovich asking a couple of ex-KGBers to have a sitdown with the Belgian before the match to set expectations, so to speak. He’s probably already feeding strong Spuds lasagna to Torres, Ba and Eto’o so Chavs can justify calling Lukaku back on an emergency.

  44. No problem Arnie ! God Speed !

  45. Ok, time to go to sleep here. Enjoy your evening gentlemen. See you tomorrow.

  46. chas says:

    The Arse v spuds FA cup game is at 5.15 pm on the Saturday evening #recipefortrouble

  47. chas says:

    Whoever thought this was a good idea reminds me of this chocolate santa.

  48. arnie says:

    ok, I am back now. for 2 hours. it was not really that bad I think. The hotspot seems to work well. 😀 😀

  49. LB says:

    We played one of the worse games this season, Everton, on the other hand played at their best — they still couldn’t beat us.

    And we have to suffer comments like wait until you come to Goodison — this won’t happen again, they should be afraid, very, very afraid

  50. arnie says:

    Ha ha, LB, let us remind them what happened to CL finalists BvB!!!! 😀 😀

  51. 26may1989 says:

    Am loving the row between Roy Keane and Fergie – rednose must have choked on his sherry when he heard Keane say Brian Clough was the best manager he ever had!

    I thought this was an interesting piece from The Guardian:

  52. arnie says:

    LB: Top, top comment @ 11:23AM. Agree on both counts: (a) we are not used to teams coming at us, and (b) this was good dress rehearsal for Napoli, Shitty and Chavs. 😀

  53. LB says:

    I am just about recovered from the frustration of having dropped two points; I have been consoling myself with thoughts like: our lives have been made so much easier by Martinez going to Everton rather than United.

  54. The Cockie Monster says:

    Chas…..did you have to post that picture ?…………Sniffer now knows what Santa`s bringing him !. He wont bother putting a stocking on the mantelpiece , he will just stick his arse up the chimney !. hahaha

  55. arnie says:

    26may, GiE, Rasp and many others have mentioned what a great manager Martinez is. Maybe it did not come out well in my report, but personally I have the highest regard for the man. Top top manager!!! But also a gentleman of the top order!

    However, a bit different from Arsene I think. While Arsene’s speciality is building teams from scratch, Martinez is capable of getting the best out of even an ordinary side. That is a top quality!!!!! 😀 😀

  56. dhakka09 says:

    I love you arnie but plz don’t diss Arsene’s logic behind a) getting Flamster in b) not starting Walcott. As we all now know, Theo had a setback in his return and missed practice sessions with illness before hull game. Also, Flamini introduction for a clearly tired Ramsey was a good decision at the time, even a master stroke as I was thinking when up 1-0 as we needed him then. Things didn’t go as planned but Arsene played a perfect substitution, players let him down to some extent (albeit with tiring legs so I find it hard to blame them).

    Gibbs, though, better work his buttocks off in training. Monreal is slowly creeping back into Arsene’s thoughts and Gibbs isn’t totally convincing in his defense.

    I’d take a draw vs City away (it will still be moral-boosting since they have a fortress in Etihad) but only a win vs Chavs. That sequence of result should extend out lead at the top as long as Liverpool drop points, which they will (Gerrard out injured again 😉 )

    Well, rant over for me, I guess. COYRRG 🙂

  57. arnie says:

    Terry @ 11:37am: Really love your technical analysis of the game!!!! 😀 😀 Regarding being cajoled/ encouraged/ arm-twisted by Mdm Peaches: I am not the first, and I suspect will not be the last either.

    BTW, Terry, you should do more posts for us, you know. You have such a fantastic gift of language and humour!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  58. arnie says:

    d09: 😀 😀 Because I love Arsenal passionately, I can also equally be very demanding and harsh on the team, and maybe occasionally on Arsene as well. Why not!!!!! 😀 😀 Just questioning strategy though, not intentions or goodwill!!!! Point well taken…..

  59. arnie says:

    ok, lovely time, AA-ers, have to go now to catch my next flight. Back later, quite a bit later. 😀 😀

  60. evonne says:

    arnie – what a brill post, thank you very much!

    As usual, I had no time to read all the comments so perhaps someone has already pointed out that the tasty Deulofeu is on loan from Barca, and the Catalan cheats want him back for next season. Hence, no chance of us landing him at the Ems.

    I have no idea if anybody else enjoyed the game, but I didn’t. I can only relax when we are winning comfortably, otherwise it’s all nerves and tension for me. So I have to take your word for it that it was a great game.
    Thanks once again arnie

  61. evonne says:

    ha ha ha, I am just watching a gardening program and the presenter who was talking about some plants dropped in a great line ‘and my beloved Arsenal is just around the corner’ 🙂

  62. Big Raddy says:

    arnie. This is an excellent summation of the night’s events.

    I am not sure about Martinez, he has taken over a team built by Moist with a mixture of youth and experience. Let’s see how they do at season’s end.

    Whereas Moist has been stupid enough to take a poisoned chalice. SAF knew this team was pants and needed a massive cash injection. I feel sorry for the man.

  63. Great match report, Arnie. Only disagreement was Flamini for Ramsey. Ramsey was running on empty, as well as struggling with his performance in general. Correct substitution in my opinion.

  64. Big Raddy says:

    And I think it is wrong that 4 of Everton’s players were on loan. There should be an FA rule that players can only be loaned to a club in a different division to their club.

    As to the game, Rasp has written what we both thought. I was disappointed how narrow we were playing and could not understand the reluctance to give Theo an earlier start.

    AFC MoTM. Koscielny. Once again he was magnificent.

    MotM. Barkley. Now I know what all the fuss is about

  65. dhakka09 says:

    I am getting a feeling in my loins that Theo will get a start vs City and score the first goal 😀

  66. arnie says:

    Back again, for whatever it is worth. Thanks, Evonne, Raddy and Martin. I tried to do what had to be done. Credit to everyone we got through the day without excessive negativity!!! 😀

    Dhakka: agree. Yes, I would like to see Theo start. I have a feeling he is ready. Maybe TT is right as well, Arsene is trying to protect him. But without him our shape is too narrow. But even when he was on, I think it was 26may who mentioned, he was taking an inside position. Somehow, we seem to be keen this year to shut the wings off, or at least we are not able to get the wings to work at all. Personally I view this as a problem. 😛

  67. arnie says:

    lots of regular AA-ers away all day. not taking names, but you know who you are. 😛

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie, Arnie, Arnie, Wow.

    That is some report, it really is brilliant. Special thank you as apart from the Chas clips of the Ollie Thunderbolt, I’ve seen nothing of the game.

    I love the way you both describe the game, as well as slip in a more personal interpretation of events. Thank you.

    Also, a massive thank you given how clearly busy you are. I would never ask anyone what they do for a living, but given your globetrotting extraordinaire, can I hazard a guess. You’re an Airmail Parcel?

  69. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yikes, I didn’t mention the game.

    I did catch about 15 mins on the radio at some point, and it was while Flamini was on. The commentator made the point that he felt Flamini added a much needed vocal organizational and shouty presence. True?

  70. chas says:

    Morning, just flying through.
    This seems to show Jagielka taking a whack at Giroud causing him to lose his balance. Should he have been sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity even though Ozil scored?

  71. chas says:

    Presentation to Abidal.
    Song proves he’s still a few sandwiches short of a full picnic.

  72. chas says:

  73. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Chas
    Funny clip of Song 🙂

    Napoli and City away games. Arteta AND Flamini for me in both.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Without a shadow of doubt

  75. evonne says:

    any chance we could park a bus? Napoli need to score severa, so let’s defend and take chances on counter. Not pretty, but necessary, no?

  76. evonne says:

    wow wow wow!! Have you seen that interview with Roy Keane??!! He assassinated SAF 🙂

  77. evonne says:

    i am not a troll you know 😦

  78. Big Raddy says:

    Morning evonne. No time for blogging what with being an international man of mystery.

    Thinking of which I have to write the Napoli PM but perhaps we can just use your 8.23

  79. Manthan says:

    evonne, Napoli will go for all out attack and I agree with sit back and play counter attacking football. Start Walcott and Rozza on wings Flamiini and Arteta in MF

  80. evonne says:

    thank you for talking to me Raddy 🙂

    I am sorry I didn’t meet you on Sunday, but I promise to be ready in 4 years!

    Yes, you HAVE to write the Napoli PM, match days wouldn’t be the same without your input

  81. evonne says:

    hiya Manthan! are we defensively strong enough to do that? Is Sagna back? Cannot rely on Jenks, not fair on the lad

  82. Räsp says:

    Morning all …..

    …. New post ……

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