The Champions taken down at the Etihad

Here are a few AAers’ comments………………….

Rocky said

Santi was simply amazing. As AW said in his post-match comments, he is so effective in getting us out of trouble when we’re under pressure. If any of our defenders can get the ball to him, he just starts tap dancing and defence is turned into offence…

Big performance from Le Coq as well. Wasn’t it Gary Neville who said after the Stoke win that if we went up against City relying on the likes of Bellerin and Coquelin we’d be in big trouble? Well, sorry Gary, you may be flavour of the month when it comes to football punditry, but you got that one wrong.

And big hat-tip to LB, who posted this before the game:

“Remember at the beginning of the season when we looked at the squad with its shiny new signings and thought — wow!

That excitement has dimmed by the fact that it has taken and still is taking a lot longer for that squad to gel to the potential that we all expected.

Well, it changes today.

We are capable of fielding a team every bit as good if not better than City and they are under far more pressure than we are.

Big day, big game, big result.”

Shard said

We witnessed a veritable miracle today. Mike Dean actually awarding Arsenal a penalty. Who would have thunk it? Except Raddy under the influence of some psychotropics obviously.

That obviously helped us, and we were very very good almost throughout. Cazorla definitely Motm, and I loved the vine of him dancing after Groud scored.

All 4 defenders did well too, ably protected by Coquelin, who now that he is playing well, will inevitably run off at the end of the season by running down his contract. He still has some way to go in improving his passing and vision, but he can still learn. I hope he’s given an extension.

Sanchez and Ox’s dribbles didn’t really come off as usual, but there was no lack of effort from them, and Giroud as well. As you can see, I think everyone did well, and it feels good to be able to say that.

FGG said

We were absolutely fantastic for the whole 90 minutes. Reminded me of the Dortmund game at the Ems where we defended as a unit and broke at pace. That first goal is so important to how we play and once again it showed.

Cazorla was quality again and Sanchez never stops. The 4 at the back were excellent as well.

Player Ratings

Ospina – Didn’t have a lot to do except appreciate the away fans Ossssssssspiiiiiina-ing his name every time he kicked the ball………8

Mertesacker – Even had time for a little feint and drag back. Sometimes row Z is where it belongs……8

Koscielny – The Boss. He oozes class……9

Monreal – Another excellent performance from the much-maligned Spaniard……8

Bellerin –  Hector seems to be growing in confidence with each game. Nineteen years old – what a prospect ….9

Coquelin – Aggressive, disciplined and effective….9

Oxlade-Chamberlain – Worked his cashews off. ….8

Cazorla – Santi was said to be surplus to requirements both in the summer and at the start of the season. How little we know….9

Ramsey  – Aaron took his responsibilities very seriously yesterday. Only in that period just after half time did he lose focus and get caught too far ahead of the ball …..8

Giroud – Defended from the front and scored the crucial second…..

Sanchez – No goal or assist from the Chilean wizard, he must have been pants!……8


Rosicky – Unlucky to lose his place to Ramsey, but very effective in possession when he came on for a tiring Ox ….8

Flamini and Gibbs – Neither on for long enough for a rating, though the Flamster should have lifted the ball over Kompany’s big toe for Giroud to score a simple 3rd goal

Cobbled together by chas


144 Responses to The Champions taken down at the Etihad

  1. Hello all,

    Yesterday game had a lot of talk about change of tactics from usual style of play . We sat back and defended. And when we had the ball it was all about pace and movement. Tactics aside yesterday’ s win was all about hardwork and desire and I am proud of the boys. I believe there is a lot of hardwork being put in by manager, staff and players. Look at how built ozil is now in comparison when he first came in. I strongly believe that a new style of play is dawning.

  2. Rasp says:

    Great bit of cobbling – thanks chas 🙂

    It is a rare thing to watch a game when we’ve had 35% possession and not have one negative observation – but it was a nigh on faultless performance. A great team performance with a midfield that ticked all the boxes … fantastic game.

    It’s ironic that Arsene praised Santi for being two footed and chas has posted a clip showing an exquisite pass by Rosicky with the outside of his right foot 😆

  3. Rasp says:

    BTW, I want to see a few more performances, but Coquelin could be our man in front of the back four. He certainly has the hunger and will continue to improve with a run of games.

  4. Eddie says:

    why is Santi only ??

  5. kelsey says:

    Thanks chas.

    I think Ospina should be given a lot more credit than many have given him. It was his first away game at a difficult ground and though he didn’t have much to do which is sometimes a lot harder as concentration levels have to go up a notch,to me he seemed much more authoritive than our number one. He has perfected the art of punching a ball , away from danger and his distribution is carefully thought out.

    My only beef is that why has it taken so long for AW to change his tactics against the so called bigger boys, and that was Bellerin,Le Coq and Monreal in the side, not necessarilly first team choices..

    How some pundits liken our display to Stoke, amazes me, but the boys were hungry and as I said yesterday really seemed up for it. Being a class class, no DVD will be issued.

  6. eldergooner says:

    Marvelous , marvelous , marvelous performance – not least because I was able to “get into the ribs” of several shitty fans who had been giving me some stick in the lead up to the game and fully expected to be doing it afterwards.
    Santi for me gets 11. What a display – but it feels wrong to single out anyone as that was a terrific team performance. I have lately been amongst Arsenes doubters so I beg forgiveness from whatever “power” takes care of those things !!
    What a difference that has made to my day.

  7. RA says:

    Well done, Chas, good cobbling, as Rasper said! 🙂

  8. RA says:

    Reading the papers illicitly at the supermarket this morning, I was taken by the fact that there were mainly decent reviews of the game, but that some put it down to Citeh’s poor performance.

    Nothing new there, I suppose, but that is the reaction when we win, countered by the other one that we were ”lucky’ if the score was closer. Then I can’t say I care much either way – just count the points.

  9. RA says:

    Two other matters that I have touched upon previously, is that almost everyone, ex-players, commentators, fans, journalists etc have said or written that Arsenal’s performance was the best they have seen us play for a long time (years?) because we adopted a 4 : 1 : 4 : 1 formation and held our concentration and discipline while defending.

    No! Said Arsene, we have always played that way! What?? 🙂

    The other thing was that the Sky commentators unanimously declared that it was a foul deserving a penalty {possibly a soft one?} and this was echoed by Thierry, Neville and Fungus Face in the studio.

    No! Said the motley collection of MoTD pundits, the ref was ‘conned’ and they agreed with Pellegrini that Nacho had dived.

    The papers are also split between those claiming it was a pen and those saying it was a ‘brush’ from Kompany and not a pen.

    I fear that technology would not save us from disputes when so called ‘professional, ex-players’, pundits and sports journalists cannot agree on something that seemed so straightforward.

    I am, at long last, beginning to realise that these disputes are all part and parcel of the ‘after-game’ discourse, and that if technology was introduced that could prove to be infallible, it would ruin the pleasure of so many who love to chew on a ‘contentious’ bone.

    Anyway, it was a penalty – so tough! Three points to us. 🙂

  10. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Chas, you do cobble better than anyone else on here.

    I am delighted with the win and more so the nature in which we achieved it. Being able to play this way effectively, in those certain games, is what is needed in the modern game to win the EPL. Like Shard said we should not adopt those tactics for every game but games like this do require them. It is also the type of performance that will see you more likely triumph in 2 legged tough ECL ties.

    I have a couple of observations. Firstly I agree to some degree that some aspects of our squad needed time to gel and develop but I really can’t put this performance down to that as the main factor. I think we mainly just did what many fans and most pundits have been screaming about for ages, which is to alter our tactics to the game and the team we are facing. I think that performance has been in there for some time but we (or maybe more likely AW) have just refused to use it. In that I agree with Kelsey’s views but it is certainly a case of better late than never for me.

    How many times have we talked about the FB’s not taking a consistently high line against better teams, to the point they are playing like wingers with acres of space behind them to exploit. How often have we talked about a better DM screen in these games and then to break with purpose and pace when the opportunity arises. One disciplined holding midfielder (Le Coq) and one DM partner who primarily screens the back 4 ( Ramsey) but has licence to help in attack at the right moments.

    It is not as if our FB’s didn’t get forward they just chose the right moments to do it rather than sit in a permanently high position. It is not as if Ramsey didn’t get forwards at times but he didn’t sit permanently high either and primarily concentrated on working hard to protect the back 4, in an away fixture, against a team with some of the worlds most dangerous players.

    IMO people like elder don’t need to make any apologies as if they were wrong and the manager right all along. I have noticed a few bloggers taking the line of apology and “what do I know”. If anything I think they were right all along and it is just that the club have now come around to your way of thinking instead.

    I am not being negative as I am delighted and I truly believe that if we can play this way effectively in certain games then we have the makings of EPL champions, although maybe this season we are playing too much catch up.

    One other observation touched upon is what Le Coq’s form means to us. Firstly the club should work hard to get him to sign a new contract. Beyond that I still see the need for another specialist powerful DM but would look at this addition at the expense of Flamini and Arteta. Both great servants but it is time to move forwards. What Le Coq’s performances have maybe done is alter the type of DM we now need.

    If we put up a list of all the ones we are most associated with, and that we like the look of, and looked at each of them in terms of their style, strength, and weaknesses as a DM, then it may be that certain ones formerly favoured are not the right one now. I know I have my thoughts on that and Le Coq’s showings have slightly altered the type of player I would want.

  11. fatgingergooner says:

    For me, this isn’t the start of a good run of form. 10 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw in our last 13 games says we are already on a good run of form.

    Hopefully though this will be the start of a good run of quality performances. 3 clean sheets and 7 goals in 3 games tells me we are starting to click into gear as a team and the balance is finally starting to look right.

  12. GoonerB says:

    RA, my view is that the contact was there but minimal and our South American crisp delicacy made more of it. The thing is that Kompany made the deliberate movement to block him off and so gave the ref the opportunity to give it. He tried to impede Nacho. The fact that he only impeded him marginally in the end is not really relevant as Kompany should not have attempted any illegal blocking of Nacho anyway.

    I think the ref saw the deliberate movement of Kompany to block in his peripheral vision but couldn’t have fully judged how much contact. Maybe he just thought ” I know he tried to block off illegally so I will give it anyway”. The other thing with this is that you don’t get a penalty unless you go down. There are times where a player has just managed to keep their feet but had the chance of a shot at goal ruined by the illegal contact. Still a foul and still a penalty but the ref’s only give them if the player hits the ground, and then everyone moans about how said player could have kept their feet completely missing the point IMO.

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    If Kompany had stepped all the way across Nacho and obstructed him, would it have potentially been a free kick?

    The fact Kompany was too slow to move all the way across allowed Nacho to go down as though tripped, rather than bouncing off Kompany as though obstructed.

    Small margins.

  14. RedMJ says:

    Awesome. Teamwork teamwork teamwork. That is what team spirit and hard work looks like when put in the blender with a generous twist of talent and thoughtful direction.

  15. David Stewart says:

    I don’t think there can be any genuine arguement that it was not a penalty and it must have broke poor Mike Dean’s heart to award it.

  16. Shard says:

    Chas schumacher!

    By the way, who was the singer in the photo? I have no idea, and yet he seemed oddly familiar. Weird.

    On the penalty incident, I don’t think it was in any way, soft or unlucky. If anything, I thought that rather than dive, Monreal was trying to avoid the contact, but was caught in midair by Kompany, making his fall seem more exaggerated.

    As for the point about video eliminating the controversy. No it won’t. It never has been about that. It will, however, allow the referee, to look at an incident again, and make the decision that in his mind is correct. ie. He would have the best chance of making the correct decision. The result should be that some obvious errors will be eliminated.

  17. Rasp says:

    I don’t know why we’re even having this penalty debate – except for the muppets on motd!

    Kompany moved across Nacho to prevent him getting to the ball, he was successful and there was contact = a clear penalty.

  18. Rasp says:

    Pellegrini was just displaying typical manager’s deflection tactics = see Maureen for a master of the dark art.

  19. Shard says:

    Agreed Rasp. Arseblog made a great point that Kompany’s reputation seems to protect him from criticism, since it was a very stupid thing to do and something others would be slaughtered for.

    My guess is he thought he could get away with that kind of jump into Monreal because of Mike Dean’s record of refusing to give Arsenal penalties.

  20. Shard says:

    At no point does Monreal move towards Kompany. He in fact moves to his left to try and avoid getting blocked off, except Kompany jumps into him. Clear penalty.

  21. Shard says:

    The Villareal CB Gabriel Paulista has said he is in discussions with Arsenal about a move.

    Not having watched La Liga, I know nothing about him, and oddly enough, an own goal excepted, I can’t find any videos of him since his time in Spain from August 2013.(maybe chas can help with that)

    But I saw a 20 min video of him in Brazil and he seems very much like Koscielny. Trying to win the ball agressively, has good recovery speed. Likes getting forward, but also plays long passes given some time. All in all, I hope this happens, since a Koscielny backup is exactly what we need.

  22. jnyc says:

    Im with Shard on the penalty. Also keep in mind….. nacho and olivier were working a beautiful give and go that was going to perfection, and monreal would have been alone in the box wide open with the ball in front of Hart.

    If u watch it again, see how it was developing, the box was completely openwhere monreal was going.. and why kompany was forced to do that..

    Kompany wasnt being petulant. He was hoping that he’d get away with it. Because he saw what was coming, a great goal scoring opportunity, the first of the match.
    Kompany has always respected Arsenal, we usually play them tight in the past few years, and he knows it.

  23. chas says:

    I’ve had a look for some Paulista Villareal footage and only found the same as you.

  24. RockyLives says:

    Nice cobblers Chas 🙂

    One of the reasons Le Coq has been working out better than Flamini in the DM midfield role is, I think, because he actually is a DM. He likes to sit in front of the back four, organise the players around him and snuff out attacks.

    Flamini, on the other hand, is more of a defensively-minded box-to-box midfielder. During his previous spell at Arsenal, in a team that included Fabregas and Hleb, he was regularly in the attacking end of the pitch exchanging give-and-gos. He has always liked to put in a tackle, but he doesn’t (naturally) have the inclination to just sit and protect the defence (as Gilberto used to).

    Coquelin has done really well so far, given that his Arsenal career was effectively over until our midfield injury crisis. Let’s hope he can keep up this level of commitment, concentration and skill.

    I’m not fully convinced yet that he is “the answer” – but a few more performances like yesterday’s and it’ll be hard not to draw that conclusion.

  25. Gööner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all nice cobbling Chas.

    I have one point to make about this apparent new found system to use in the big games.

    We played a very similar way against both Chelsea and Liverpool away but did not get the result, yesterday we got the result could easily have gone the same way as the other two games and no pundit would be saying “see we told Arsene how to do it”.

    The difference between the three performances was yesterday we were better at keeping the ball when we did lose it, even though we were not tear arsing up pitch we were moving the ball in triangles and giving the defence chance to reshape.

    Key to that was Santi, Sanchez, Ox, Giroud and Rambo, and yes on occasion they gave the ball away but mainly we had already gained fifty yards of territory back.

    Sitting watching with my Dad he was bemoaning Arsene not taking Rambo off because he was clearly cream crackered, but as I said if Rambo went and sat alongside Coq for the next twenty minutes he could make it through the game. For me yesterday Rambo did a few too many lung busting runs when it wasn’t really necessary.

    Did Monreal get the nod over Gibbs because he can be trusted to sit back more? Coq also vs Flamini for the same reason.

    I thought Gibbs and Flamster had been brought on to provide a bit more defensive solidity but twice Flamini was in possession on the edge of their area.

    Santi was pure class for 90 minutes…..when everyone’s fully fit how do you keep them all happy?

  26. RockyLives says:

    GiE: “The difference between the three performances was yesterday we were better at keeping the ball when we did lose it,”

    I think you’re right – that was a key factor. Our passing – including a lot of one-touch passing when we were under pressure – was markedly better yesterday.

    Something to do with having more of our best players fit and available, maybe?

  27. RA says:

    Hi Rocky, 🙂

    I think Le Coq did well yesterday, and I was mighty impressed with his efforts and his constant urging of the team, especially immediately after the first goal pointing his ‘dextra and sinistra digit’ at his temples.

    That said, I think the Flamster, if he had been picked ahead of him in the team, (unlikely as he had just returned from injury) would, I think, have done just as well.

    Why? Well, I am with the majority (all?) of the pundits in that we definitely played with a different defensive strategy from our norm, and the clear lines of the 4,1,4,1 set up stood out like veins on a body builder’s arm.

    Flamster sitting between the two ‘4s’ would have shielded and supported the defence, and been supported by them in turn, as well as linking the defensive ‘4’ and the midfield ‘4’.

    In the previous four years Le Coq has been on loan with various teams and in none of them was he too successful, and I think he was heading for the exit this summer.

    The injury problem has given him his chance, as you said, and I hope he makes the best of it, especially as jnyc has remained us, he came thru our youth system.

    Rumour is that Arsene is going to offer him an extension, and he would be good cover, but personally I would hope for someone like Vieira or Gilberto with a bigger physique and height to be brought in.

  28. RA says:

    remained = reminded —— blame bloody Apple! 🙂

    [And it does not like basic anglicised Latin, either]

  29. Aaron says:

    Well a couple points here.
    1st cities possession; 70% but 35% of that was in their own half!
    Let them have it, Komp or Demar are not scoring from there.
    2nd Coq can pass through small channels miles better than Flam, and when he intercepted, read, blocked, tackled or headed away, if he came away with possession it was moved forward to the right place, person or space!
    What a great team victory!

  30. RockyLives says:

    Hello Redders 🙂

    You might be right (i.e. that had the Flamster played yesterday, in the system and approach we adopted, he would have done just as well).

    But I can’t shake the feeling that he wouldn’t have done as well.

    The only problem is, I can’t muster any arguments to support my theory, so you’ll just have to accept that I’m right 🙂

  31. Gööner In Exile says:

    Aaron I reckon you’re right about Coqs passing, but it could it also be that others recognise his inexperience and work harder to give him an option?

    Rocky you highlighted a major typo in my comment. Obviously I meant we were better at keeping the ball when we got it. But yes those triangles were very pretty and we had the confidence to use our options rather than force long ball upfield. And actually Girouds presence also helped, Kompany couldn’t afford to come into midfield to help pressure the ball as he likes to because they would be wary that if a ball was played up to him he could give DeMicheles problems.

  32. RockyLives says:

    Didn’t even notice the typo GiE – I got your meaning loud and clear.

  33. That was a great result, we had a plan and stuck to it. I’m not sure who’s plan it was but it worked.

    In a post-match interview when asked about the change in style of play, Ramsey said words to the effect that “We decided we had been too open in previous games, we kept the game tighter and everyone worked at it”.

    Now, whether that was Wenger’s plan or the players, we just don’t know. Until we are told otherwise Wernger must take the plaudits.

  34. RA says:

    Rocky, O.K. 🙂

  35. RA says:

    Norfolk the Tartar,

    It has to be Monsieur Wenger — after all he said there was no change in the way Arsenal played – we have always defended like that. 🙂

    Cannot quite figure out if Arsene was just being coy, in his comment, or did not want to give pleasure to those who are claiming (elsewhere) that it was their chivying of him that had made him change to Plan B.

    Or perhaps Rambo has the right of it — the lads were not listening to him before, and had just worked it out for themselves that defending was not such a bad idea.

    Who cares? It worked. 🙂

    [I understand that no one is reporting in sick or injured, even those with cracked lips from laughing, as they fear you might demand AW jettison them without mercy!]

  36. RA says:

    Umm — sorry, Rocky, I was going to let it ride, but I was not meaning that the Flamster was the solution to the defensive midfield position, as I think his day is coming to and end.

    No, I was hanging my hat on Le Coq being retained as cover and AW bringing in a more robust physical specimen as the point man.

    You will have to trust me on this — tho’ heaven knows why? 😀

  37. RA, you have the sauce to call me a Tarter! 😀

    Whoever thought up the tactics, they worked.

    By not all bombing forward, our front players had more room to work in, and as more City players stayed forward, there were less of them to defend.

    Mike Dean is in danger of becoming an Arsenal favourite. If he had given Kompany a second yellow for his awful challenge on Alexis, I’d have added him to my Christmas card list.

  38. RA, Le Coq is playing his heart out at the moment, either to earn a new lucrative contract or to attract offers from other teams. I don’t think he will take kindly to providing back-up to the new beast Wenger is in the process of signing.

  39. RockyLives says:

    I always trust you Redders 🙂

  40. RA says:


    We signed another youngster today, 17 y.o. 6′ 3″ Kris Da Craça who is a defender, and along with the other two 16 and 17 y.o youngsters allegedly signed recently who were around 6′ 2″ it seems that the day of the little guy is coming to an end at Arsenal. 🙂

    I hope that Coq keeps his position in the team, but a Coq lacking a few inches must be at risk of rejection! 🙂

  41. chas says:


    I’m hoping the Schumacher reference was about speed and nothing else. 🙂
    Here’s the answer to the photo question (I realise how difficult it was – as you say, you know what you know).


    Cheers chas

    What a great result

    I completely agree with GIE. I usually find that men with thighs bigger than an average mans torso are a bit thick, but Exile bucks the trend. What do you think chas?

    As GIE said, the tactics are not new. We would have beaten Chelsea away to, but the difference was City are clean whilst Chelsea stop counter attacks by fouling and obstructing all the runners.

    Ime glad the Wenger baiters are forced to have a week off. I dont mind people having a dig at Arsene, but they dont even do it properly.

    Wenger, the Babylonians hubris was there downfall. Once the City of Babylon was the centre of the world. Now its full of bespectacled German tourists.

    Moses led the Isralites to the promised land Wenger, but knew when to quit. He is now remembered as the greatest manager of all time, whilst you will be recalled as the man who escaped the mob by parting the red sea dressed only in your Y Fronts.

    It is easier for a camel to pass through the thread of a needle than it is for two bombing full backs to keep a clean sheet. Take heed Wenger, this thread is smaller then the one on your zipper coat, but according to my wife, large enough to pass my apendage

    And Peter did say “I do not know this man”. And the time will pass when Bould will declare. “It had nothing to with me, it was all that arrogant twats fault. I just carried the cones”.

    Goliaths confidence was his undoing Wenger. Your David is the man in the mirror. Beware Wenger, Michael Jackson staring back at you leads to insanity.

    I might go over to Le Grove and confuse them. hahaha

  43. chas says:

    GIE has got legs like a sparrow, that’s why he knows his onions.

    I was just looking at the chav and city games stats wise and there is a remarkable similarity. Chelsea scored two goals at crucial times just as we did yesterday. They let us have more possession but in less dangerous areas. They had 4 bookings and if Cahill had been sent off as he should have been who knows what might have happened.

    I completely agree about the headless chicken full backs, Terry. 🙂

  44. chas says:

    In this illustration, the Citeh lad half blocks Santi as he sets off on his run. At Chelsea Oscar would have finished the job meaning Giroud had no-one to pass to on the left.

  45. chas says:

  46. chas says:

    Santi’s lickle dance synched up to the action.

  47. chas says:

  48. chas says:

    7:08 in moderation

  49. Shard says:


    The schumacher reference was partly to speed, but also to your cobbling skills.

    I have never seen that fat bloke before.

    I completely agree about Chelsea playing the cheating/fouling game more, and it is for this reason that I am not ready to give Mike Dean any credit. City simply didn’t play the sort of kicking game that Dean normally allows against us. We’ll see how he does when he gets us against someone who is prepared to kick us off the park. As it is, he gave us 3 yellow cards for 5 fouls. Only Koscielny’s was a sure yellow.. He did however give us a (deserved) penalty. His first since September 2008.

  50. RA says:

    What seems to have escaped the attention of the Arsenal tifosi, is that Kompany could and should have been sent off for the dreadful tackle perpetrated on Sanchez, and I suppose he only got away with it and avoided another yellow card and resultant the long walk, because Giro was busy scoring at the other side of the area.

    Just letting you know Komp – I have my eye on you!!

  51. chas says:

  52. chas says:

    Ah, don’t worry about the 7:08 as someone else tweeting the same thing doesn’t go into moderation!!!!!! 🙂

  53. chas says:

    Oh, cobblers.
    Far too clever for me. 🙂

  54. RA says:


    That vid stops before what I thought was the best bit of that effort.

    Santi lost the ball eventually after that dribble, and he literally dived after it to try and regain possession, and instead got a face full of ball and it went out for a throw in to Citeh.

    It must have hurt like buggery – but he was determined not to show it – and he didn’t. 🙂 Good man!

  55. fatgingergooner says:

    Regarding the tactics, if Wenger takes the blame when we lose, then it’s only right he gets the praise when we win.

    I liked the fact we defended deep yesterday. It’s exactly what Chelsea have done to us for the last few years under Mourinho. It restricts space and forces teams to pass side to side. If we can do that in all the big games the we will get a lot more results than we have in the past.

  56. LB says:

    I think this idea that Arsenal played a new system is bollocks.

    If City had scored a lucky goal in the first five minutes it would have forced us to come out which could have led to them scoring a hat full; and as a result this blog would have been full today of Black Scarf types telling us Wenger will never change.

  57. LB says:

    Hands all those who have been practising Santi’s dance?

  58. chas says:

    Supposing City had scored a penalty after 23 minutes, would we have been able to carry on defending deep?
    Chelsea’s pen at the Bridge came after 27 minutes. That’s bound to affect how you approach the rest of the game.

  59. LB says:

    I love that dance.

  60. chas says:

    We overlapped but I agree completely.
    Performance assessments are all results based.

  61. chas says:

    Someone on twitter said they bet Santi does the same dance when his wife suggests an early night.

  62. chas says:


  63. Gööner In Exile says:

    Oooooh another thing, I can’t remember a physio coming on to the pitch once yesterday, which kind of backs up the theory about the way the two teams played.


    The Kos/Merts axis is back, Coq added aggression, Ospina bought a serenity you get with a women thats not your wife, and everybody had faith in each other

    We must also remember that this win was against the club that a few years back took near on half our team

    Slowly but surely we are coming back

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  65. fatgingergooner says:

    Chas, of course not. The first goal is vital to how the game goes.

    Having said that, they’ve just shown a clip on sky of our 6-3 defeat last year against City and it was scary! 6 men in front of the ball and Silva running directly at our defence. That was when the score was 1-1!

    Also noted was how we set up 4-4-1-1 with Özil behind Giroud. This time it was 4-1-4-1 with Coq behind the midfield. Due to injury or not, there was definitely a difference in mentality yesterday.

  66. Shard says:

    The 4-1-4-1 was used in the first few matches of the season and everyone seemed to think it was a terrible move. Today it is considered a masterclass. My, aren’t fans fickle 🙂

    I think I said a few weeks ago that despite our results being worse than last season, I think we’re actually progressing into being a different kind of side. I pointed to the use of 4-1-4-1 early in the season as proof of the kind of formation that Wenger wanted his team to play, and why the DM position in that is crucial and can’t just be filled by anybody. Especially in the CL where games are more technical and positioning and understanding is more important than size. Coquelin’s doing well, but I’m with RA. I’d keep him (as a Flamini replacement) and also sign another midfielder, who will be Arteta’s replacement. Though I think both Arteta and Rosicky, despite their age should stay in the squad for 1 or 2 years.

  67. Shard says:

    BY the way, I was waiting for the Bielik transfer to be announced today as Wenger had already said he will sign for us once his medical is done. Is there another signing we are waiting to complete so the groans of ‘only a 17 year old! Wenger you cheapskate!’ are nipped in the bud?

  68. chas says:

    yep last season we were utter garbage away from home in the big games. Far too open.

  69. fatgingergooner says:

    There was an issue with the 4-1-4-1 in certain games earlier in the season where it seemed the midfield 4 all felt like they were AM and played too high. Yesterday was totally different as they all did their defensive jobs brilliantly.

    I like the width it gives us in midfield and the protection it gives the full backs, espescially when you have players like Sanchez rather than Özil playing LW.

  70. Shard says:


    There was definitely an issue. But why wouldn’t there be with a new system? My point wasn’t that it worked as well, but that it wouldn’t have worked so well yesterday, and players wouldn’t have executed their roles the way they did, if we hadn’t gone through those growing pains earlier in the season.

    Where Ozil fits in this side is a problem. But a very nice problem to have. There will be games where we will not be playing on the counter, and will instead be trying to break down a defense. For example, while watching the game against Southampton, I kept wishing Ozil were fit because I think he would have been just the guy to get us a breakthrough.

    Also, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Ozil’s workrate. I think he doesn’t really understand defending very well, especially in a new team and a newer system. He’ll get better and will be invaluable for us when he finally gets to play with Theo, Alexis, Ox, and Welbeck.

  71. RA says:


    The 4:1:4:1 system is hardly new, you are right. Carragher and Neville showed how different the application of the system has been when comparing last year’s 6:3 loss at Citeh with this year’s win.

    Last year, the temptation for individuals to break out from the 4:1:4:1 system led to spaces being created for Silva that led to their goals.

    This year, in similar situations, the midfield refused to be drawn out and bypassed, and chose instead to maintain the team shape, and clearly were determined to play the way the Boss wanted them to.

    Every possible tactical setup has been tried by all clubs at one time or another over the years, but as with everything in life, it is the dedicated application work that is put into it that makes things work, or not.

  72. RA says:


    I meant to include you in my earlier comment as we have pretty much said the same thing regarding certain players forgetting their defensive duties and haring out trying to attack at the wrong time.

  73. RA says:

    ‘earlier in the season’ 😳

  74. fatgingergooner says:

    It will be interesting to see where Özil and Walcott fit into the side as Ox is having the breakthrough season we all wanted to see. He’s been excellent recently. You do need a squad these days though so it’s not really an issue.

    What I would like to see is Özil used purely in a central role from now on. It’s where he operates best and if he can find that link with Sanchez then it could be amazing to watch.

    If we played 1-8-1 we’d still have quality midfielders on the bench!

  75. fatgingergooner says:


    I don’t know about you but I was shocked when they were showing clips of the 6-3 last season. I never noticed at the time just how open we left ourselves.

  76. Gööner In Exile says:

    This always comes back to whether the players take responsibility or not for the way the game develops in front of them and actually whether they did what they were asked.

    One things for sure you’d be hard pressed to question zonal marking at set pieces given we conceded none from how many corners and free kicks?

  77. fatgingergooner says:

    I see Pulis still knows how to drive a bus.

    His idea of football is embarrassing. Horrible little turd.

    Still, he knows how to keep teams in the league, so fair play to him for that.

    Everton look woeful at the moment. Absolutely no confidence and the crowd were not happy. Such a contrast from last season.

  78. arnie says:

    Lovely cobbling, Chas 🙂 I like the style.

    and apols knot bin ear. 😦

    everything that I might have wanted to say has already bin said. for whatever its worth, here is a recap.

    1. It was not only Neville, but others (fans) have said as well. we will be crucified if we take two kiddos to Shitty. hmmm.

    2. New formation? sorry, not for me. we have bin trying this for a while. it clicked yesterday. I hope this is because the team is gelling. But likely it is because we were not kicked out of the ground. We shall see.

    3. Arsene takes the brick bats, he deserves the praise as well.

    Onwards and upwards. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  79. arnie says:

    a bit late in the day, but lest we forget …

  80. wally says:

    Actually GIE if you go back and look at it we were playing man for a change.

  81. arnie says:

  82. arnie says:

  83. Morning ladies

    Paulista looks like an old fashioned centre-half/sweeper. He looks a bit like Keown here:

  84. Notice the similarities: Deep eye sockets, strong nose, mouth shape and ears are the same…. Centre back enforcer DNA 🙂

    Problem though, if Paulista is on Wengers radar, there could be problems with a work visa?

  85. oh dear, I’m doing a mickydidit here, early morning chat with myself 🙂

  86. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Some fine vids yesterday.

    Do we need another Spaniard – can’t we have a German? Sad that there is no decent English young CB in the offing

  87. Morning Raddy

    Paulista is Brazilian

  88. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Superb job both in post and comments. Really great vids/jifs/vines. Also agree with your comment on how performance assessments are all results based to a degree

    I say degree, because against City, we were good in all departments.

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A Lincolnshire NB? 🙂

  90. Big Raddy says:

    We have had a few …. Edu, Silva, Silvinho, Denilson, Baptista, Eduardo. Any more?

    I’ll take him

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Er, have we actually signed that bloke and if so, what the heck is it?

  92. Big Raddy says:

    I would have NB down as a chipolata 🙂

  93. ha ha micky, I’ve just changed it agian. But wasn’t a Lincolnshire, it was spanish 🙂

  94. Funny Raddy……….. 🙂

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Always been slightly surprised you opt for the Spanish Chorizo when you live in the land of the superb Saucison Sec

  96. He’s got scary eyes…. that’s enough.

  97. oh I like the saucisson sec, but I’ve developed a taste for spicy chorizo, And remember, I live in the south, spanish and Italian food has a big influence here.

  98. Big Raddy says:

    Didit. You have post.

  99. Big Raddy says:

    The saucisson sec is a thing of beauty – never tried a chorizo. Are there different breeds?

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    How do you say bread?

    Queen’s style French (if the bloody reupblicans could bother to have one 🙂 ) ie through the nose, or deep south prevencal style like ping

  101. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mmm, more pang really 🙂

  102. All different types Raddy… pre cooked and dry, spicy, large and small. Some you have to grill, great on a bbq.

  103. chas says:

  104. ha ha Micky, that is how it’s pronounced, Pangggh

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That’s shocking Chas 🙂

    The difference between schoolboy French and Provencale, is like the difference between Queens English and Glaswegian 🙂

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just thinking aloud, but Keown is better looking than Paulista

    There’s a first

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “pre cooked” chorizo!!????/

    Air dried, like saucisson or the Italian salami

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    school run, then work, and a raddy email

  109. Yes micky, it is cured nd can be bought sliced similar to salami……… bugger, j’ai feng maintenant 🙂

  110. chas says:

    Beware bad language…….

  111. Eddie says:

    nay, we want pretty boy Dybala. The red mancs want ugly Paulista. We have standards, you know

  112. Big Raddy says:

    NB. Then eat some peng washed down with a corffee kort

  113. It’s alright Raddy, got some chorizo and camembert, washed down with a Cotes du Rhone 🙂

  114. One of the things I hate about French language is the gender thingy, a baguette is feminine but pain (bread) is masculine. Drives me fecking crazy 🙂

  115. Eddie says:

    I like the gender thingy and object to unisex toilets.

    Realistically though, looking at our fixtures for the rest of the season I cannot see any difficult games. Could we win all of them?

  116. You would Eddie 😀

  117. Spuds and Man U away are the only real difficult fixtures, but if we play as against City then no problems 🙂

  118. Eddie says:

    nb – we have gender in Polish language too. And look how sexist is the world – most parts of the body are female, yet the brain is male. All kitchen appliances are female, but the telly, car and computer are male.

    ok, so let’s say we draw against the neighbours and Mu, other than that – victories

  119. And that’s how it should be Eddie… but in French, La Verge is feminine, work that one out? 🙂

  120. I forsee a good second half to the season, could possibly get second place. Would be too much to ask to over take the Chavs

  121. Eddie says:

    la verge is female, ha ha ha that is funny 🙂

    terrible night at the goodison park last night, the team were booed of the pitch. They were awarded a penalty and Mirallas insisted on taking it. He missed. What happened to Everton and the lovely Roberto?

  122. Eddie says:

    nb – so when you are (well not you personally of course) abuse someone calling them ‘you pr**k’ or ‘dickhead’ do you use the female penis word?

  123. Pulis doing what he is good at, WBA won’t be relegated this season

  124. No Eddie, in France such an insult doesn’t really exist. Connard is the strongest form of insult here or ‘con’

  125. Rasp says:

    Morning ……. anyone got a post for today? ………

  126. oops, Rasp is here, better stop talking about La Verge 🙂

  127. Shard says:


    I could have something if you still need it.

  128. kelsey says:

    Can’t wait 🙂

  129. Shard says:

    Haha.. Kelsey. It might disappoint you because it is nothing contentious. Micky will love it. It involves transfer bollix and mentions Cavani 🙂

  130. Shard says:

    Sent to nuts.

  131. Rasp says:

    Great, thank you Shard, please proceed 🙂

  132. Rasp says:

    …. New Post ……….

  133. Shubham says:

    Friends, Please update the tables. Looks better after each win…

  134. Namita Chittoria

    The Champions taken down at the Etihad | Arsenal Arsenal

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