Cautious approach doesn’t pay dividends. The verdict.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

“Overall, we could have won it – it was a game of few chances. Our defensive focus was extreme as we conceded so many goals on Saturday.

“In the end, either side could have won 1-0. Manchester United are a good team, so when you go forward they can catch you.

“It is important to recover physically and prepare for the next game as we want to stay in the FA Cup. The title race is absolutely open for many teams.”

I don’t usually start a post with a comment by our manager but I got the feeling that not to lose was the priority last night.

Games between these sides in the last twenty years always had that bit of extra ferocity but overall this was a tame affair.

The game started and within a minute Arteta had an Anfield moment and gave RVP a gilt edge chance which he fluffed and then the game started to even out with misplaced passes by both teams and then we saw a glimpse of magic from Wilshere,threading his way into the box which on another occasion might have been a goal.

Neither team went gung – ho and all in all it was a tame first half.

We certainly started the second half with more momentum but not for the first time on many occasions we took that extra short intricate pass and the move broke down.

Giroud had two or three chances to work de Gea but the nearest we came to scoring was a header from Koscielny which was headed off the line by Valencia. Santi upped his game and at least was trying to test de Gea which he did twice but the keeper was equal to it and in a rare breakaway Szczesny produced a wonderful save from RVP yet for most of the game we were as predictable as ever,and that concerns me, as one can watch the game and nearly always know what the next move will be.

Often stated but where is Plan B? Subbing players like for like doesn’t work against the better teams especially with a squad lacking depth, but there were a few positives for me.

Ozil really showed his class and was forever looking to probe United’s defence but where was the support?

Koscielny was a rock yet again and Szczesny showed how much he has improved.

Gibbs, every time for me, has to play as opposed to Monreal.

Many will argue that an in form Ramsey and Walcott would have made a difference especially against ageing defenders such as Vidic and Ferdinand, but we can only play with the players available.

There is no point in criticising various players though I have said that if Giroud is meant to lead the line and lay the ball off, all well and good, but then he must have support instead of repeatedly being isolated.

Verdict : Two points dropped which may have a significant bearing to the run in as the gap between the top five narrows.

Written by kelsey


148 Responses to Cautious approach doesn’t pay dividends. The verdict.

  1. kelsey says:

    Don’t all rush at once to disagree with me 😉

  2. fatgingergooner says:


    I would say we’ve definitely improved our consistency against the lower teams and the squad is much better than it has been for some time. Defensively we are a totally different animal and we have seen glimpses of really good attacking football when everyone is fit.

    However, we still seem to be incapable of putting in big performances when it matters (the Liverpool game was inexcusable), the increased defensive stability still seems to lessen our attacking threat, and we still have struggles with injuries and squad depth in certain positions.

    Overall, if we finish the season without dramatic collapse then I think we’ve definitely progressed and will be even better next year with a couple of new signings to help with squad depth.

  3. chas says:

    Nailed it, kelsey, thanks a lot.
    Though I disagree with Giroud’s 4.5. He deserved 5 at least.

  4. Moose says:

    Michael Owen was actually spot on last night, without pace in the team we are being squeezed by the opposition leaving Ozil no space between the lines to operate. Where was Gnabry? why didnt the Ox come on a lot sooner? 0-0 at home against Chelsea and Utd are not great results considering we invariably lose away to them

  5. fatgingergooner says:


    Fair assessment. I think the players will have got a lot from getting a clean sheet, but the lack of attacking threat is a worry.

    Özil was good but he just had no forward runners to pass to. We desperately need pace in the side but we don’t really have any. I wouldn’t say any of our attacking players are electric.
    If that is the case then we have to find a different way of breaking down teams, and against Palace it was by having runners from deep (Ox).

    We didn’t really see anyone go beyond Giroud and it’s not the first time that’s happened in a big game. Chelsea was similar. It’s no coincidence that in both games we failed to score but also kept a clean sheet.

    The players in midfield have to be able to take risks against the bigger sides. Fear of losing a goal totally disrupts our attacking flow.

    This is why I believe we desperately need a midfield enforcer in the summer who the other attacking midfielders can trust to cover them if they go forward beyond the striker. Arteta and Flamini are not that man.

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well played Kelsey. Thank you.

    Couldn’t agree more about the attack, runs and speed. More than anything, we’re not capitalizing on the vision of Ozil, which is frustrating.

    Ollie was shackled by Vidic, so the two players kind of cancelled each other out. So, Kelsey, back to your Plan B.

    Shame we couldn’t have swapped one big ‘un for a little ‘un and gone around and between their CB’s.

    Oh, silly me, we could have 🙂

  7. Danny says:

    We got 3rd time lucky against RVP.
    The first time he played against us Vermaelen passed to him and he scored.
    The 2nd time Sagna passed to him and then fouled him for a penalty.
    Last night Arteta gave it to him but this time he messed it up. He should’ve used his shoulder……

  8. chas says:

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Some thought Theo might present a reasonable Plan A/B option to Ollie as a striker. I know I did.

    So please, could someone with a big footbally forehead, or a long strokeable footbally beard, tell me why The Ox wouldn’t be the ideal substitute for that idea.

    Fast, acceleration, scores goals, two footed and dare I say, would make more intelligent runs than Theo. Ask Mesut about my idea.

    This is the last time I mention this you will be delighted to hear 🙂

  10. Morning all

    Thank you kelsey for the report.

    It was reassuring not to concede but Ozil was working really hard to create chances that no-one was trying to get on the end of. Cazorla had very little space, he was able to trick his way out of tight marking a couple of times and had de Gea been slack he would have scored.

    There was no running …….. Sagna must really miss Theo because he’s having to run up and down the line and whoever is supposed to be playing in front of him isn’t doing any of the overlap play that he and Theo do.

    It will be interesting to see whether when Flamini gets back in the side we’re able to play differently.

    I think The Ox should should have been given more time ……..

    We definitely should have beaten this mank side but not losing is a positive.

  11. micky – I agree that The Ox should be used as a Theo clone, shall we mount a campaign 😉

  12. chas says:

  13. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Changed my mind, it’s not the last time.

    Cast your mind back to Pool and what happened there. Do they rely on a big ‘un to knock them down? No, they do not.

  14. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t think we need to change anything. With the players we have fit it’s not really an option anyway.

    Sounds obvious but the lads just need to play better! It will also help that we play poorer sides next in the PL.

  15. chas says:

    “whoever is supposed to be playing in front of him” 🙂
    We were trying to work out where Ozil, Santi and Rosicky were playing too.

  16. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Peaches. Been too long.

    My Ox Club is not about using him as a clone for Wide Theo, but Central Theo. Drop Ollie is specifically what I’m saying.

    Barca played with a little ‘un in there, so why not.

    Are you still in?

  17. Motning all, thank you for coming up with some informative post match thoughts Kelsey, much appreciated.

    I feel slightly disappointed not to be able ot put away another norehern team of mid table cloggers but the nightmare scenario of losing to the Cutch Dunt’s team was avoided.

    After the trauma of letting in 5 goals against the ‘dippers you can understand the caution yet some of the subs, or lack therof, were hard to explain.

    Chas- I think the caption to rockin Rosicky’s pic shows that Arsenal as a club have severed all ties with van judas and he’ll never be welcomed back in any form. Too right too, what a vile scummer he is.

    In some small way I hope my prematch did whip up some of the requisite hostility to the vile ex-Feyernoord player and up until the last 5 minutes the crowd got behind the team and squared up to ManUre nicely.

    I suspect we may now prioritise the FA cup as it looks like our best chance of a trophy.

  18. MickyDidIt89 says:


    A bloke has just moved into our Parish, and it has a Motorhead t-shirt. What do I do?

    Will it speak English?

  19. Mdi89, I would suggest greeting him with “You know I’m born to lose,and gambling’s for fools,But that’s the way I like it baby,I don’t wanna live forever,And don’t forget the joker!” and then he will be your best mate, if that is your plan.

    If you want to avoid him I would wear a “i heart Beiber” t-shirt.

  20. micky – maybe The Ox could work as CF but at the moment we’re missing Theo’s pace to get beyond defenders and scare them and The Ox can do that job so I would put him on the wing. Sorry.

    chas 🙂 did they know what position they were playing d’you think?

  21. chas says:

    I don’t think they had a clue, to be honest.

  22. ……. and if we drop Olly then Nik loses his place on the bench 😉

  23. fatgingergooner says:

    At least our fixture list is now on a par with everyone else.

    The top 4 teams all have to play 4 games against the other top 7 in the league.

  24. They needed me down on the touchline shouting at them, they definitely couldn’t hear my instructions from up in the north bank 😉

  25. So what exactly was Vidic doing here that’s legal?????

  26. chas says:

    “Break his leg”

  27. Even Valencia is thinking ‘that’s a penalty’

  28. chas says:

    “shove it where the sun don’t shine, percy”

  29. chas says:

    Clattenberg was looking in his make-up mirror at the time, checking his hair and missed the incident.

  30. RC78 says:

    We are back to the usual trend of comments:

    – We badly miss Ramsey and Walcott
    – Ozil needs at least two players that can make runs around him in order to show his best side
    – Giroud needs a lot of open chances to score. The non-recruitment of a quality back-up striker that can make runs and finish off moves is going to cost us many points
    – Ox needs to start games
    – Arteta is really below par
    – Rosicky should start games until Ramsey comes back
    – Cazorla is our best offensive weapon at the moment
    – Szecesny is having a good season and shows that he has progressed quickly
    – Gibbs is more reliable than Monreal
    – Liverpool is back in the title race and Tottenham is closing in as well
    – Utd is out of the Top 3 race but can make it top 4 as RVP and Rooney are back

    Now that we know this, what should Wenger do to mount a credible title challenge until the very last day?

    – Hope that Ramsey gets back in the line-up quickly
    – Mix things up offensively

    Szecesny – Sagna, BFG, Kos, Gibbs – Rosicky (until Ramsey is back), Flamini, Wilshere – Ozil, Ox, Cazorla (or Ox, Podi, Cazorla)

    Both Ox and Cazorla can make good runs and this would give some freedom to Ozil. Otherwise, kick Ozil out of the starting XI and replace him by Podolski. Podolski actually has a good goal per game ratio so why not field him from the start!

  31. chas says:

    Vidic was neknominated to do a superman impression while grasping a Frenchman’s swollen thigh.

  32. arnie says:

    Thank you, Kelsey, that just about sums it up. Hit teh nail on the head!! 😀 😀 😀

    Truth be told, this performance was largely disappointing. But where it hurts most is because most of us fans have a vision of Arsenal playing an attractive attacking game. We do not expect the team to play like Stoke, no offence meant, or the “boring boring Arsenal” of the old days.

    But our focus this year has been on defence, which some of us attribute to Bouldie’s influence. And we are successful, relatively, playing this way. So I can understand why Le Boss may not want to change style in a hurry.

  33. chas says:

    It’s simple what we need to do now.
    Win a few fecking games. 🙂

  34. RC78 says:

    I really think that we should field weaker teams in the Cup and CL. We have no chance in the CL and shall we invest our best players in the Cup? I think not…Let us target the EPL and we need our best players for the EPL. This is the closest the EPL has been in years and will be in many years…We have a very tough schedule in the EPL so let s just focus on winning this one title. We do not have a big enough squad to compete on all fronts.

    Cup Game: Fabianski – Jenkinson, Kos, Vermaelen, Monreal – Arteta, Geladion, Haydn – Gnabry, Sanogo, Akpom

    CL: Szecesny – Sagna, Kos, Per, Gibbs – Arteta, Rosicky, Monreal – Gnabry, Giroud, Ozil

    EPL: Szecesny – Sagna,Kos, Per, Gibbs – Ramsey, Flamini, Wilshere – Ox, Podolski, Cazorla

  35. arnie says:

    I dont know about you guys, but one thing I learnt yesterday: playing Rosicky on the right wing seems to be a waste of space.

    Regarding Micky’s pet idea of The Ox as CF. I think it will be tried out at some point. And then we will know the verdict, not clear to me at the moment. Arsene will rotate positions for The Ox as part of his development.

    I have felt for a while and I felt this yesterday as well. For the defence as first point of attack style that we play, we need fast players who can move up with or without the ball. Jack is all right in this role, but his positional sense appears to be developing slowly. Yes, he makes a lot of passes, but most of these are lateral or backwards. I have a feeling The Ox may be our best bet for teh moment in this role. That is, until Rambo returns.

  36. whisperingwhippersnapper says:

    learnt two things yesterday evening

    1) we have the quality just not the mental fortitude to win the title

    2) Michael Owen is an annoying twat

  37. chas says:

    Akpom is at Brentford
    Is Geladion Gedion Zelalem?

    Some on twitter are saying we should go all out for the FA Cup now as our season has gone down the gary glitter.

    Right, enough bollix from me.

  38. arnie says:

    RC78 @ 11:13: No, not for me. We have a very good chance of being in the top 4, but our chances of winning the FA Cup would be no less than the chances os winning the League. Champions League is for the champions, and it is a great honour to play there. We should fight hard to defeat Bayern. If we can, no reason why we should not be upbeat about winning CL. If we cannot, it is only two games. 😀 😀

  39. RC78 says:

    I thought that Akpom was back with us – no?
    Sorry about Geladion…lol – I meant Gedion Zelalem
    FA Cup would be a good trophy but come on, I would rather have the EPL 🙂

  40. RC78 says:

    Arnie – I would feel the same in usual circumstances but to be honest, we just should not waste the opportunity to win the EPL this year. This is the closest we have been in a few years and I cannot see Chelsea and City weakening the next years and they will always purchase top quality players to strengthen so this year is a bit odd because they have some dips in some games so we should really make sure we take advantage of that this year because next year, I can see Chelsea and City really romping the EPL apart. As you see, my CL team is not weak at all 🙂 As for the FA Cup, it would be good but as AW says, the only trophy that really counts is the EPL and I agree with him.

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Very close, but here’s the solution (when Ramsey back)

    ..Mesut Ox Santi
    …..Ramsey Rosicky
    Gibbs Kos Mert Bac

  42. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I could have added a 🙂

  43. Good report, Kelsey. The loss of Ramsey and Walcott is huge. A large percentage of our goals has gone out of the window.

    Got to get on with it, and keep supporting the team.

  44. lars says:

    Koscielny rock we’ll see how rock like he is when we face the big boys next week.

  45. fatgingergooner says:

    Had we won the league games then maybe we could’ve rested in the cup, but with confidence low and revenge against Liverpool a possibility then I think we have to field our strongest side just to get back on track.

  46. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers, thanks to Kelsey for balanced review. Certainly more restrained than I could have written after watching last night’s performance.

    Someone asked earlier if we had progressed. Last night we were playing at home to the worst Man U team for twenty years or more and we couldn’t score a goal to save our lives!!

    Giroud has a great attitude but he is most certainly not a top striker. I counted at least five really good scoring opportunities that he totally wasted.

    I see Kelsey didn’t include any player ratings so I’m just going to rate the best and worse, Szczesny 10 out of 10, on the stregnth of that brilliant and vital late save from some Dutch bloke, and Giroud 0 out of 10 for the five missed chances.

    The season’s not over, we still have twelve Premiership matches to go and at least three more games in the FA Cup and Champions League, but we are suffering from the failure to sign a striker in the last two transfer windows, I am totally discounting both Bendtner and Sanogo as I doubt if either will make any sort of significant contribution between now and May.

  47. kelsey says:

    Thanks for the comments but we have to face facts we have no Walcott for the season and Ramsey will miss what is on paper the hardest part of the season for us.
    The improvement in defence has been detremental to our attack and so many players are being forced deeper and deeper that when we launch a counter attack (which used to be our forte)we are lucky if just Giroud is in the position to possibly receive the ball.

    As I indicated earlier,we are too predictable for many teams and with a small squad it is not easy to ask players to keep changing formation when attacking.

    We haven’t got time to experiment but don’t laugh a 4-4-2 with Giroud and Bedtner might work on the odd occasion. Bedtner is a far better header of the ball and more direct if we are going to keep launching high balls into the box.

  48. kelsey says:


    I said the same thing about Giroud last night and many disagreed with me.

    He definitely had at least two clear chances to score and I think the crowd love him for his work effort,strength and his back to goal of shielding the ball, but we need him to improve goals against chances or to play him as a shield to a top striker,but that’s for another season.

  49. lars says:

    About time you all apologised as i have been proven right once again regarding the flat track bullies.
    I’ll say it now next season will be more of the same under blind Wenger.

  50. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Hi Kelsey, I usually try to look at our performances in the cold light of day, by which time I’ve either cooled down or come down from cloud nine. On this occasion, though, I am still seething at Giroud’s missed chances. As I said at 11.50, he has a great attitude but that doesn’t make him a great striker.

    It’s the old, old problem, no Plan B and nothing much on the bench.

    Thank you Lars and farewell.

  51. TwentyTwelve says:

    Thanks for an enjoyable read, kelsey. It’s good that you are doing match reviews again.

    To me, guaranteeing a draw was the needed medicine. After each routs this year, the next match was against a big club: Chelsea, and ManU (even though ManU are not that good this year). Imagine the furor Arsenal and Wenger would have faced, if in going for a win, they ended up losing (remember Dortmund home). The team needs to build confidence back up, and a loss to ManU would have done the reverse.

    I think the two Dortmund matches taught Arsenal long-remembered lessons. Dortmund home: don’t naively throw away the match in pursuit of a win. Dortmund away: Arsenal can win while playing conservatively for the most part and unleashing periods of aggression. Unfortunately the 2nd lesson didn’t quite come off last night, but looking at the replays again, there were very good chances.

  52. Norfolk Gooner says:

    TT, “Imagine the furor Arsenal and Wenger would have faced, if in going for a win, they ended up losing”. Imagine the delight if in going for the win, we had won!!

  53. Bryan says:

    In my opinion we bottled it yet again!
    If this is our response to getting hammered, it is worrying

    Seems common with this team, that every time a big game comes along we show fear that translates to bad control & poor passing.
    The tempo was far too slow, we have certain players in midfield that only seem capable of passing sideways or backwards.
    Agreed Gibbs should play every game, I do not rate Monreal at all, in fact I think we need replace him.
    Wenger’s substitutions are questionable again, firstly I thought Rosicky was one of the better players, there were a couple of CM’s having very poor games but at least one of them (Jack) was always wanting the ball & not hiding.
    Secondly surely it was worth throwing on Podolski & even Bendtner for last 10 mins
    It showed our failure in the transfer window yet again as it was clear we needed to get a striker & a speedy winger in Jan, if we were to make a true assault at winning this league.
    I am now actually concerned about getting a CL place with the run we have & our lack of self belief when it comes to playing the top teams.

    It was a truly awful performance & not good enough

  54. RC78 says:

    At the end of the day, we are lacking four viable back-up options:

    – An holding midfielder/enforcer (When Flamini is out, Arteta cannot hold this role)
    – A box-to-box midfielder with scoring abilities (Wilshere is not there yet and somehow at our suprise, Ramsey turned into one over the summer but he is injured so we have no back-up)
    – A pacey winger that has the ability to stretch defences
    – A striker that is pacey and can make runs behind the defenders and can finish off movements, especially at the first post (Giroud and Bendtner are not that kind of players and neither is Sanogo. Podolski could be but he does not have the pace)

    We are hence very predictable UNLESS we play three very quick players up front like Ozil, Ox, Santi but then Ozil and Santi MUST defend like dogs as well…which, especially for Ozil, will be tough…

  55. RC78 says:

    I am 100% with you Bryan…We are too thin offensively and only one dimensional..With the stretch of games until the Everton game, I am very worried especially seeing the resurgence of Liverpool and Tottenham…

  56. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    I really prefer reading your type of recap on a game vs a blow by blow description of events. I am also happy not to see individual ratings and thoughts on each players performance – they are always very subjective.

    We all see a game in a very different light, personally I anticipated a draw so I was not disappointed.

    Both teams had to gain back a modicum of respect and team confidence after their last games which. to me, meant them playing a defensive game in order not to lose vs going all out to win – no surprise at all.

    In the end a good point gained.

    The booing at the end was embarrassing, disappointing and shameful. Very sad………………..

  57. fatgingergooner says:

    Let’s not forget the 24 games before the last 2, in which we topped the league for the most part and beat the majority of sides with our ‘predictable’ and ‘easily found out’ play.

    It’s been a tough week, but how many of our players put in more than a 6/10 performance in the last 2 games? Only a handful.

    The answer to our problems is not formation changes or players playing out of position.

    It’s simply that the players need to play better!

  58. Bryan says:

    Sorry but I disagree with you GunnerN5 the performance was embarrassing, disappointing & shameful, not the booing

  59. arnie says:

    Bryan: I agree with you only to a limited extent. Booing is sometimes great. Booing BSR and Shrek yesterday was actually brilliant. 😛

  60. kelsey says:

    We are predictable in many games mainly because our squad is stretched to the limit and AW won’t dramatically change the way we attack.

    FGG yes we have had a good run but all the teams that we have played that really matter we have been found out bar perhaps Liverpool at home.

    How we couldn’t do better in the January window really baffles me. I understand from reading respected journalists that there was no lack of effort but not for the first time we fell short of valuation.

  61. Bryan says:

    I’ve never been one for this “predictable” or “we have only got plan B” because I think when you play high tempo passing football & you get a move right it is un-defendable.
    There have been many a game that we have kept at it, even when it wasn’t going our way but we ended up scoring the goal we needed, I actually rate us for that.
    But I think the thing is we don’t have a striker that is clinical & going to burry those half chances as has been mentioned we all love Giroud for his team play & hard work but he had 2 headed chances & a glorious chance that he didn’t connect with to score & he didn’t.

    I personally thought they got what there performance merited with the booing & have no problem with the supporters who pay over the odds voicing their discontent


    Thanks Kelsey. Excellent post which presents a clinical analysis allowing readers to debate the game as to how they saw it, not the writers. Top stuff

    GN5 @ 12.46 echoes my thoughts exactly.

    Been at the game last night and hearing the boos left a bad taste in my mouth

    At first I was perplexed. Had I cracked again, and in reality was playing cowboys and Indians with Beryl in unit 27? And when were they going to serve supper, ime bloody starving?

    But no. I was at the game alright, and after shuffling out thought to myself “what a bunch of undeserving fools”

    I have decided to give bloging a break, and from now on I will watch matches with an ear piece so I can drown out the rubbish at games.. Barry Manilow is a good choice.

  63. kelsey says:

    But Bryan

    We aren’t playing high tempo passing football as we did,for a number of reasons as stated by others on here.
    If anything take our last few games.We break on the counter attack with say Sagna and there are no options and then the ball is either sent sideways or backwards and even back to the keeper.Why bacause our midfield is being pushed back further,but having said that Walcott is a big miss to make these quick breaks forward.

  64. RA says:

    Hi Kels,

    A really first rate Post, and the only thing I could add to your summary is that AW needs to consult/read the ‘experts’ comments on all the blogs (and there are hundreds (?) of them) and then we would win everything. 🙂

    Well, I guess we all do that at times, that is what blogs are for, after all, but thank goodness AW doesn’t listen!

    Now if only he would call me for advice …………. 🙂

  65. fatgingergooner says:


    The only change from when we beat Liverpool at home to the side last night was Ramsey for Wilshere.

    Yes, maybe we could’ve added a player in January, but I didn’t see many players move that would’ve got in our side last night or against Liverpool.

  66. GunnerN5 says:

    Booing of any players is totally unacceptable and in my mind can only be thought of as disgraceful, childish behavior.

    Our team remain in contention for the PL title and we are still contenders for both the CL and FA Cups. This is the time to be 110% supportive of our team and we should not be acting like petulant children. Frankly it sickens me……………

  67. RC78 says:

    I agree that we should not boo our team but we have the right to be concerned and disappointed.

  68. fatgingergooner says:


    It’s been 1 win in 4, the panic button has been well and truly pressed by the the usual trigger-happy fans.

  69. GunnerN5 says:


    While I do not completely disagree with you I would phrase it differently.

    Maybe – Although we have no rights I’m disappointed and concerned about our current results.

  70. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG, Yes current form is most concerning, lets hope AW and the team can turn it around on Sunday. Surely lightning cannot strike twice for Liverpool.

  71. Vinay says:

    Someone here said kick Ozil out!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow may there never be a day like that ever, he was terrific yesterday, the mancs had 2 players him the whole game and even then the way he wriggles past them was mesmeric.

    Jack was poor, he needs to keep it simple, he is doing what ramsey tried doing previously, trying to be exceptional. Aaron learnt it to keep simple and the results are there for everyone to see.Jack needs to stick to basics and stop expecting a foul everytime anyone touches him, nope jack not happening.

    Kos was terrific and so Per, why were they so poor against pool is beyond me, even though they had a plan and more so pace.
    2 points dropped but all is not lost, win games against sunderland, stoke, everton and we just may be in the front again, remember its not just about winning the big games its more so about making sure of winning the smaller ones,

    FA cup on sunday, play poldi nick and drop jack to play rozza and flamini in the midfield.

  72. RC78 says:

    Ozil had a decent game yesterday but it was not a match-winning performance nor a performance that can be qualified as decisive. Yes he did dribbled pass Mancunians easily but at the end of the day, he did not manage to score or assist and I don’t think he shot on target either…

  73. RA says:

    I have read somewhere (not sure where it was now) that the boo-ing actually came from disaffected Manyoo fans who wanted them to attack at the end of the game when their players simply retained the ball and had settled for a draw.

    GN5 is right that boo-ing seems instinctively wrong to me when aimed at the team that you support, as distinct from the opposition when they are cheating or for a manifestly poor performance from a referee.

    But life is complex, and so too with expressions of dissatisfaction, of which boo-ing, or in other cultures, whistling, is aimed, not necessarily at the players, but at incompetent coaches or administrators or club owners.

    For example, I would have a lot of sympathy with Cardiff or Hull fans for boo-ing, as they have had their proud clubs messed with by owners who know nothing about football, or the culture of the fans who have supported their clubs for generations, but have, without consultation, decided to change the traditional colours the team wear, or change the team name or interfere with the selection of the team over the manager’s head.

    Boo-ing is not for me, but I would not want to stand in judgement on fans who are incensed with their clubs being ‘destroyed’ by parvenu owners — but that hardly applies to Arsenal, and reeks of ‘spoilt child’ syndrome.


  74. JWP says:

    Booing has been going on in football for the last 100 years and im sure will continue for the next 100 years. Its fans who pay their money giving feed back not only to the players but also in some cases the Board/club/manager. It comes with the Territory so i really wouldnt get upset by it. Are paying fans not allowed to voice their opinion? Do we live in a world where we must agree with everything the club/managers/players do ? If we were all the same and kept the same views life and football would be very boring and dull !! Change can be very good sometimes ???

  75. Bryan says:

    Booing is fair enough after the last 2 performances from this team & if were honest we know we have not been playing well for a while now but we have still managed to get results.
    It is no more childish than singing rude songs or giving opposition players grief so lost on those comments.

    We couldn’t play high tempo last night as the players showed to much fear & struggled to pass & control the ball.
    Poor Rosicky seemed to be the only player trying to speed it up but sadly no others responded & Wenger decided to take him off later.

    I do not accept that we could not of got a couple of players in to give us a boost & help us challenge whether they were signed or were on loan& feel it is about time we got a new recruits to deal with transfers as we seem to make hard work of every single one we do.

    The panic button is being pushed as we can not beat the top teams & show fear when we play them & as we play mostly all top teams until the end of March it is a serious problem

  76. RA says:

    Bryan @ 12:39

    You made some valid points in the above comment and although I do not agree with all of it, I would have to agree many others have also raised similar reservations.

    Then you risk all credibility by your final sentence;

    “It was a truly awful performance & not good enough.”

    That is nonsense and you need to keep a sense of proportion.
    Last night’s result was disappointing, and Wenger has admitted that, among other things, nerves, following on from the Liverpool debacle, got the better of a lot of the players, but ‘truly awful’ – be serious.

  77. GunnerN5 says:


    It seems we have similar thoughts on the booing issue but you have a knack of expressing your thoughts in a far clearer and more agreeable manner.

    My views are rarely mainstream and I don’t expect others to agree with them.

    While I agree the blogs are for folks to express their views, which I accept, I still have no time for the ranting, raving “experts” who know everything – after the fact.

  78. Bryan says:

    Credibility! you are joking
    I was bored last night, bored! for me it was a truly awful performance, I can not help that I feel like that but I expect a lot better & know the players can do a lot better but they have got to learn to play without fear because that is what holds us back so much.

  79. RA says:

    Well said, GN5. 🙂

    These self styled ‘experts’ come and go.

    I suppose they must look down their noses at stupid, ignorant people, like me, who happily admit to not knowing how to manage a Premiership team like they do. 🙂

  80. evonne says:

    Good report Kelsey, thank you. I agree that both Koscielny and Szczesny were excellent, and Gibbs is quickly becoming a star. I said he has lovely legs which Chas corrected as ‘quick feet’, same thing really

    I noticed that during the game we had ‘clusters’ of our players together, no spread whatsoever. Alex changed that a bit, but we do miss Theo and Ramsey, no doubt about it.

    Thanks for the report, I am off to eat me sausage roll

  81. Bryan says:

    We all know best that’s what makes football & talking football so great.

    Except for in my case I’m right 😉

  82. RA says:

    You are right, Bryan, I have to agree, you have no credibility with the ultimate sentence in your 12:39.

    And, no, I am not joking.

  83. RA says:


    I have already said that you raised what are valid points in your 12:39, and my disagreement referred to your final sentence.

    Everyone wants different things from a blog, of course, and it is true that if people did not have divided opinions it would indeed be boring, so, you have as much right as anyone else to express your opinions, but if other disagree with you, that is alright too.

  84. Bryan says:

    Funnily enough RA I haven’t come on here for credibility, my ego doesn’t need stroking that much 🙂 but I find your comment hard to understand.
    Was it a good performance, was it a bad performance or was it an awful performance?

    Ok maybe I went over the top with “truly awful performance” but it was awful, its no coincidence why its been called a bore draw & let down on TV & radio.

  85. fatgingergooner says:

    In a way the cup games could be a blessing.

    2 matches to correct what went wrong over the previous 180 minutes and to get ourselves revved up for the remaining 12 matches of the season.

    1 point behind the leaders is a great position to be in. Our fixture list is no better or worse than anyone else’s, and I count at least 8 very winnable games in the run-in.

    Over and out from me. I’m off to talk to the only person i know who’s opinion is 100% fact, my 8 week old son! 🙂

  86. jnyc says:

    Micky, I also agree about using the ox as you say. Unfortunately, not a great time to experiment, I might try it anyway, and that just shows how desperate we feel about the striker situation. I like Ollie, but he isn’t good enough for our aspirations.
    Not to be negative, but one point from a weak United this year is disappointing.

  87. RA says:


    I guess these things do often come down to the use of language, and in your comment @ 12:39 you carried me along with the points you raised and summed it up in a sentence that did not seem to match what had been said.

    You are a relative newbie on AA and we will eventually get to know each other’s blogging styles better, so that I will not think ‘what the hell has ‘credibility’ got to do with ‘ego stroking’ and simply take what you say at face value.

    Perhaps we should get back to football if Ieave you with this little bon mot;

    “I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”.

    Works two ways, I guess. 🙂

  88. RA says:

    Tend to agree with that, jnyc.

    OG puts in a tremendous amount of work, and if we had someone, a natural striker which Ollie is not, who could capitalise on his flicked headers and little penalty area dinks, that would change my perception of him.

    Don’t tell Micky, who would tell you I am talking rot! 🙂

  89. Bryan says:

    Haha yes I agree RA I just didn’t think the right word was credibility & I don’t quite get it 😀 but am very aware I also talk my own gobbledy goop language (so my Portuguese girlfriend often tells me) & I guess it takes getting used too 😀

  90. GunnerN5 says:


    RA, has a wonderful way with words and writes precisely what he means to say.

    On the other side of the coin you and I are not as clear, with you being at one end of the spectrum of views and me at the other end – it’s more than possible that there is some middle ground.

    We all have a mutual love for our club, and without meaning to be offensive I have a real hard time coming to grips with views that are the polar opposite of my own.

  91. RA says:


    I did not answer your question about last night’s game, so here goes.

    After the battering we took against the ‘Pool on Saturday, I thought a point in a game where we did not concede a goal was fair enough.

    Was it a disappointing performance? Yes, it was.

    At the risk of becoming boring, because I have raised this many a time, I think that the lack of pace in the midfield and in the forwards was manifested in the entirely predictable and stereotyped way we played convoluted passes which went nowhere fast, and the apparent reluctance of other players to move to get themselves into positions to receive the ball or to run into the angles.

    If you look at a recording, you will see that players are frequently stationary, just watching others pass the ball with no outlet, and eventually losing it because they were not making themselves available.

    That’s enough really.

    So, a good point in the circumstances, but a disappointing performance, and the lack of substitutions, other than the Ox, did not make sense, when we wanted to win. Another striker, Mr Wenger?

    But I would not argue with the boss, not because he is infallible, but I do not know what other factors may have influenced his decisions, perhaps because I am not an expert. 🙂

  92. Bryan says:


    That is fine & I take no offence, after all as you have pointed out we all have love for the club & have its best interests at heart but we all have different views just like every other subject in life.

    At the end of the day if we win something we will all be very happy
    cos I’m fed up of being the only club on the planet that has not won a trophy for 9 years <<<<<<< that was sarcasm aimed at bloody media by the way 😉

  93. Bryan says:

    That’s is fair enough RA
    The only thing I will add is that I am kind of fed up with the excuses,
    as in after the “Liverpool massacre”,
    this poor Man U team are more than beatable.
    What happened before the Man U game at OT, the Everton & Chelsea game at emirates, all games that we didn’t turn up for.
    Gibbs said before Liverpool game “its a big chance for us to make a statement”………….we failed miserably
    Wenger said we will bounce back against Man UTD & show our fight,
    again I think we failed.

    fatgingergooner is right that the cup games are a blessing but of course only if we get some good results to gain confidence, if as sadly I expect, Liverpool beat us we are looking at the usual collapse

  94. Norfolk Gooner says:

    How do we treat the next two matches? Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

    Yes it would be great to beat the ‘pool and take a lead into the second leg at the Alianz Arena but would that be at the expense of our Premiership ambitions? Or should we play a weakened team in the FA Cup and concentrate on the Champions League? Knowing that we have three winnable games against Sunderland home, Stoke away and Swansea home in the Premiership to follow.

    If we beat Liverpool, the Swansea game will be postponed as the Cup quarter final will be played that weekend.

    We then play Bayern, Tottenham and Chelse away and Man City home between the 11th and 29th March and may still have to fit in the re-arranged Swansea game.

    I’m glad it’s not my decision to make.

  95. Shard says:

    Well I’m as disappointed as any by the result, and while the performance wasn’t that great, it has to be viewed in context. We’ve just played ManU twice at very inconvenient times. That’s no excuse. Like I said, it’s just context.

    It’s been said before that we are missing Ramsey and Walcott. That we’re missing a ‘clinical striker’. To me, that doesn’t matter. It is what it is. This team are doing much better than any doubters would have even remotely suggested at the start of the season, and despite being proven wrong consistently, they keep peddling their line of ‘season over’ after every setback. Yes we aren’t favourites to win, but realistically, would we ever be? When there are billions being sunk at the other clubs, to compete is hardly failure. The complaint was ‘we don’t compete’ (Even though I thought we did) This is what competition is like. Only some fans don’t seem to have the spine to take it.

    I wouldn’t say I ‘enjoyed’ the game, but it was certainly gripping. I was nervous watching it because I could tell the players were nervous, and the crowd did nothing in the first half to raise the decibels (at least that was how it appeared on TV) With the exception of a period of 15 minutes in the second half, we might as well have been playing in a neutral venue in front of neutral fans. And the boos at the end were ridiculous, but such things pass. Not 6 months ago was the (fixed) villa game where people were shouting ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ at Wenger. Some people are still doing that of course, but I put that down to an inability to change an opinion once formed, or at least a lag in response to stimuli – Not that the match was very stimulating.

  96. Shard says:


    I think there will be changes made. Giroud looked very tired yesterday and will probably be given a rest. Ox and Poldi can expect some more game time maybe. But there is no way we should be throwing the towel in in any competition. We all want the club to compete for prizes and this is what that entails. Are we too stretched across the squad? I don’t think so. Apart from at the striker position, and maybe that Ramsey is irreplaceable (except by Diaby, who is irreparable)

  97. evonne says:

    we’ve got another gold!!! My girl Justyna Kowalczyk won gold for cross country skiing with a broken foot!!!

  98. MickyDidIt89 says:


    “We’ve” got another gold.

    I think you just failed the Norman Tebbit Test 🙂

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Don’t like this comment one bit 😦

    February 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm
    “I have decided to give bloging a break”

    Anyone got his home address? 🙂

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Also, given the dreadful support I’ve received for my “Ox to the Top” campaign, I think it would be very unfair if Kelsey got away with this dreadful idea:
    “don’t laugh a 4-4-2 with Giroud and Bendtner”

    Kelsey, my dear, have you gone completely mad. I think living in Wimbledon must have sent you back in time to Wmbledon FC circa 1987 🙂

  101. RA says:

    Hi Shard, 🙂

    A fine comment, and it has made me think, yet again, how well your avatar name suits you, ‘a piece of rock with sharp edges’. 🙂

    I found myself pretty much in agreement with the meat of everything you wrote.

    Have you got a new Civil Service title yet? Something like;

    The Third Clerk to the Assistant Deputy Assistant of the Shadow Undersecretary of the Parliamentary Shadow Non-Executive of the Whole of india.

    I know you love a good title!! 🙂

  102. RA says:


    So, cross country skiing with a broken foot. Do they all have to have their right foot broken or can they choose?

    I bet ‘your’ girl was the only contestant in that one! 🙂

  103. RA says:


    I was more concerned with Terry’s comment;

    ‘Had I cracked one off, again, and in reality was playing doctors and nurse with Beryl in unit 27?’

    No wonder all the fans at the Ems thought Arsenal were having a stinker!! 🙂

  104. kelsey says:


    Is this a new event

    .” cross country skiing with a broken foot”

    and how many took part 🙂

  105. RockyLives says:

    Nice report Kelsey

    Onwards and upwards now. I expect us to dump ‘Pool out of the cup then get a draw or win versus Munich…

    Then we’ll slip back into our EPL groove and the good times will roll.

    I’m feeling much more optimistic today 😀

  106. kelsey says:

    That is what I call a real optimist RL 🙂

  107. RA says:

    What have you been drinking, Rocky?

    Kelsey, @ 4:39, it’s perfectly OK for you to paraphrase my 4:27.

  108. leoalco says:

    What really pisses me off is the cautious/extreme fear approach that is used against M. Utd. If we don’t get to beat them now, then when it’d be???

  109. evonne says:

    Micky – not sure about where you are in the sticks, but in London Polish is officially the second language 🙂 In the Tintagel Castle all the employees are from PR too.

    As for you Kels and RA – none of your golden boys would stay on the pitch if he had a broken foot, let alone win gold in cross country skiing in soaring temperatures.

  110. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I surf with a broken foot. Am I back in?

  111. evonne says:

    yes, you are a brave lad Micky! Every time we had a corner yesterday, Chas would repeat your mantra ‘We never score from corners’ and we didn’t.

    The difference between the teams yesterday was that Manyoo could defend knowing that all they need is a half a chance and one of their arseholes will put it away. Whereas our lads have to create endless chances against defending teams knowing that 3 chances are normally not enough. We need a striker!!!

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “all they need is a half a chance and one of their arseholes will put it away”

    That’s the spirit ha ha 🙂 🙂

  113. Norfolk Gooner says:


    Post e mailed.

  114. davidoqueary says:

    OI don’t ‘tink it was a penalty, not fer me!

  115. Vinay says:

    Me to think we will beat both pool and bayern in the next 2 games, dont know why but instincts say so and hope they turn out to be true.
    We need to play poldi these 2 games, i dont care what happens but he needs to play, why doesnt wenger play him is beyond understanding, he needs to play, what are we paying him for then? london sight seeing? instagram pics? twitter updates?

  116. Thank you NG

    We’re going to need a post for Saturday if anyone fancies having a go.

  117. Gööner In Exile says:

    Kelsey top stuff and a fair summation of events.

    The defeat at a Liverpool clearly affected the way we played last night. I do have to admit that I get annoyed by this “top class striker” being the difference stuff….United had two on the pitch last night according to the media and they scored….none.

    They play with BSR as the end point to a move whereas I think that Giroud is used as the penultimate point in ours. Wenger has set up the side and is asking OG to play in a way that gets our best players and finishers on the ball in dangerous areas, the midfield, even when Ozil got to the bye line last night he didn’t still it to the near post, he cut back to the on running midfielder.

    Kind of wish Santi hadn’t shot at the end, look at the run Ox and Giroud are making, he could have played in Ox who would have had choice to shot or square it to OG, but that’s being supercritical expecting him to spot that pass.

  118. Gööner In Exile says:

    Quality isn’t great on this but a little compilation of Aaron Ramsey keeping it “simple” this season:

    Point being Jack doesn’t need to keep it simple he needs to keep doing the same things til he plays back in to form, just like Rambo did, Wenger keeps playing him the same reason that he kept playing Rambo, they do as they are asked they play without fear of the consequences.

    Too often last night players took three/ four touches and looked two three times before playing a pass, because in the back of their minds they’re thinking about giving the ball away. See it pass it move, simple game football, we just need to find the confidence to do it like we were earlier in the season.

  119. Gööner In Exile says:

  120. Gööner In Exile says:

    As no one else is chatting I’m going back through the comments and this struck a chord

    “JWP says:
    February 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm (Edit)
    Booing has been going on in football for the last 100 years and im sure will continue for the next 100 years. Its fans who pay their money giving feed back not only to the players but also in some cases the Board/club/manager. It comes with the Territory so i really wouldnt get upset by it. Are paying fans not allowed to voice their opinion?”

    By that same measure we shouldn’t be upset when those players walk away and proceed to criticise the fans.

    I don’t think I will ever find myself enraged enough to boo my own team. And I’ll always clap them off if I feel they have tried their all. Maybe I’m more relaxed in my attitude, maybe my enjoyment of life doesn’t depend on an Arsenal result, and I don’t think any amount of money I was charged gives me the right to boo. Because whenever I walk through the turnstile I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen.

  121. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    I have never booed in going or watching Arsenal in nearly 60 years, yes the occasional groan or two during a match and when younger screaming my head off with delight at many games.
    Football has changed so much in my lifetime and when I first started watching our boys we were in the middle of a 17 year barren run,so in some ways it is easier to handle when things go pear shaped.

    Reading through various blogs and articles the majority of fans believe in Wenger they just want him to tweak his thoughts and game plan more than he does,but that is easier said than done.

    I will await NG’s Friday round up but at the back of y mind I am thinking of the team we will put out on Sunday against a rampant Liverpool who haven’t got CL football to consider.

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Kelsey

    Couple of issues with booing.

    First, it is indiscrimminent. I mean against Utd, who were they booing. Not Szczesny or Ozil I wouldn’t have thought, or was it Utd, maybe Wenger’s hair cut.

    Second, from a personal point of view, it makes me feel stupid and about 6 years old. Try it. Purse your lips into the “ooo” sound, and you just look daft.

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    On Liverpool. The FAC is always a saturday, which means they have no mid week fixtures. Chavs, Oilers and ourselves all have CL. Interestingly, Pool have City at home on the last day.

  124. chas says:

    All he needs to do now is purse his lips into that ‘oooooo’ sound.
    Look at AVB’s face. 🙂

  125. chas says:

  126. kelsey says:

    Sanogo starts on Sunday.

  127. chas says:

    Is that the pre-match?

  128. chas says:

  129. chas says:

  130. chas says:

    Anyone short of a last minute Valentine’s Day present?

  131. chas says:

    Maybe Arsenal fans got the wrong end of the stick when RedAction suggested we turn the Emirates into a hostile atmosphere?

  132. Gööner In Exile says:

    This is very true:

  133. Gööner In Exile says:

  134. Gööner In Exile says:

  135. kelsey says:

    What happens if you are tea total

    By the way GIE could you sling your swingometer 🙂

  136. chas says:

  137. arnie says:

    Motning all. Great stuff all. Chas in good form. GiE as cheerful as a Gooner can possibly be this week. Kelsey in upbeat mood, following his Report Review for the ManUre game with a one-liner Pre Post post for the Liverpool game. Micky trying out booing exercises!!!! Nice morning. 😀 😀 😀

  138. evonne says:

    GiE – 5 mins before the KO half the seats were still empty. 5 mins after the KO and the fans started to arrive. Poor man in front of ‘my’ seat goes up and down like a flipping yoyo letting the latecomers in. The old man goes mad, Chas laughs and puts crisps on his seat.

  139. arnie says:

    On booing. I enjoy booing opposition players with a history, like BSR on Weds. Dont care how childish I may look doing this. I think fans should divert all their anger on the opposition during a game.

    Incidentally I also use a lot of swear words when watching footie. On Weds, there were a lot of kids around where we were sitting. Every time half a swear word escaped, I received a sharp nudge of the elbow from the missus. Very distracting. 😀 😀

  140. arnie says:

    ha ha ha, love that Evonne. 😀 😀 😀

  141. evonne says:

    hi arnie, shame we didn’t have more time to chat before the game. I bet Rasp had deserts and coffee, and the rest. after all he was in no hurry

  142. arnie says:

    yes, thats right Evonne. Initially I thought you were coming to the restaurant as well. Plus it is partly Chas and co’s fault. 😦 We were in the King’s Head at 4PM. Anyway, next time. 😀 😀 😀

  143. arnie says:

    No desserts, but service in Yildiz took quite a bit of time. 😦

  144. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……

    ……New post …….

  145. RC78 says:

    It is still a mystery why Wenger did not sign Rémy or Menez in the transfer window…

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