Walcott off the Naughty Step?

Tonight Monaco will enter with trepidation into the steaming cauldron that is the Emirates on Champions League nights (a little sarcasm to start with is always good!).  Should they be worried? Of course they should – We are The Arsenal.

However, we are playing Monaco side in fine form; they have only lost once since November and are rapidly climbing Ligue 1 as well as topping their CL group. These blokes are no mugs. A team based around a solid defence – they have only conceded two goals twice this whole season, Monaco have become a dour, dull team to watch evidenced by very poor attendances.


Expect to see this parked on the pitch

Monaco as we all know is a tax-haven and are unsurprisingly backed by Russian money. The buying policy which in 2013 brought in James, Falcao, Carvalho and others (£140m+) has changed. The big money players have left, one to Real Madrid, another to the bench at Old Trafford as the club tries to bring through youth players alongside experienced but inexpensive talent. Could this be the result of FFP? A ground with an 18k capacity which averages 7k hardly generates enough money to afford Falcao let alone the rest of the squad. The new pragmatic approach both on and off the pitch seems to be working.

It will be lovely to welcome Berbatov back to London. Berbs should never have sullied himself by playing for Spurs. I wonder who has more pace, Mertesacker or Berbatov? It would be a close run thing!

So, a strong defence and workman-like midfield but little threat upfront. They have scored  just 26 goals in 25 Ligue 1 games and only 4 goals in 6 CL games. This tells me that if we score twice tonight we will be Kushti.

And it is for this reason that Walcott should start tonight. Welbz is a fine player, he brings energy and awareness but he is not as dangerous as Theo and we need goals. Quite why Walcott was benched after scoring against Villa and Leicester is baffling; has he done something similar to Szczesny and has joined him on the naughty step? Perhaps it is something to do with his contract negotiations (AW showing Walcott is no longer essential to the squad). Whatever it is we need Theo tonight – he scores goals.


In my opinion, if Theo doesn’t start tonight he will be sold in summer; we have the brilliant Ox to find a place in the team and Walcott is the obvious man to leave.

Wilshere is out but I doubt he would have started because we need to be on the front foot from the start, I would play as many attacking players as possible. Bellerin ahead of Chambers and Gibbs on the left.

My Team:


Bellerin     BFG     Koscielny    Gibbs

Coquelin     Cazorla


Walcott   Giroud    Alexis

Bench: Rosicky, TPIG, Welbz, Flamini, Monreal, Paul Easter +

I don’t do tactics but I know this-  scoring early is hugely beneficial, it forces Monaco to be less circumspect in their play which will hopefully create the spaces for Ozil to weave his magic. Alexis has gone 5 games without scoring and is hungry, Giroud is in fine scoring form. We have options.

Arsenal were delighted when the draw was made, Monaco seemed the best team we could have drawn. Tonight we will see whether our optimism was justified


written by Big Raddy


210 Responses to Walcott off the Naughty Step?

  1. chas says:

    An early pre-match, what a nice surprise, BR.
    I like the team and hope Theo can play and resurrect some form. I bet your theory about the contract negotiations has some weight.

    I think the reason Walcott was benched after Villa and Leicester was that he was poor in both games.
    Here’s his pass map against Leicester. Yep, he scored a goal, but goals don’t get you games – ask Podolski. 🙂

  2. chas says:

    Hoping to see a bit of this tonight.

  3. chas says:

  4. chas says:

  5. chas says:

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    Bravo RAddy
    Love your team and cannot wait for ko
    On mobile all day so won’t. Be commenting much and the spelling may be even worse than usual

  7. mickydidit89 says:

    Arse Gent genius as always 😀

  8. Rasp says:

    Great PM as per Raddy – thanks.

    I’ve read that Monaco have quite a few defensive injuries this evening – but their defensive record if formidable (pronounced ‘four mid ah blur’ 😛 )

    Moutinho is classy – their playmaker in midfield. We must make sure we control the midfield and keeping a clean sheet is vital (unless we win 10:1)

  9. ‘morning all, thanks BR for the usual excellent pre-match.

    I like your starting eleven, an early goal will settle the nerves and might give us few more chances as Monaco will have to come out to play a bit.

    “wonder who has more pace, Mertesacker or Berbatov? It would be a close run thing!” Or a slow jog?

    To ease the tension among AAers try this for size:-

  10. Gööner In Exile says:

    Brilliant Raddy, the podcast I just finished listening to has me now cautious about any optimism that we may have had when the draw was made.

    As you say a bit of bus parking with swift counter attacks is likely to be what we face, for that reason our fullbacks need to continue their recent habit of staying back or at least only going up one at a time and we will need he magic of Santi, Ozil and Alexis combined to find a way through a couple of well organised banks of 4 or 5 players.

    le Coq will be key to our success tonight, he needs to be first to deal with counter attacks and win us possession high up the pitch, and also stop supply of ball to the tricky Berbatov, Berbatov will be a big danger if he is allowed time on the ball and space to pick out runners.

  11. Rasp says:

    Don’t forget that Paulista can also play at RB if we want to beef up the defence …. from wiki …

    “In August 2010, Gabriel appeared in both matches of 2010 Copa do Brasil finals against Santos, but playing as a right back.”

  12. Rasp, please no more round pegs in square holes, playing Gabriel at full-back will only cause more confusion in the defence as a whole. Bellerin will be fine, he’s got the pace to get back in position, unlike Chambers, and I think he maintains the defensive shape well.

  13. RC78 says:

    Monaco is in excellent form in Champions League and Ligue 1. They do not concede goals and they are very effective in front of goals. They rely a lot on their pace on the wings (from fb to wingers) and on their counter-attacking style and set-pieces. However, they are not so pacy in the middle of the park and shall we be able to put both Toulalan and Moutinho under pressure, we might be able to cause some havoc.

    If I were Wenger, I would put this team:

    Ospina – Bellerin (:-(), BFG, Kos, Gibbs – Coquelin, Flamini – Cazorla – Wellbeck, Giroud, Sanchez

    I think that Ozil and Wallcott should be kept on the bench for now and come in as the game goes on. They have fantastic pace. We should control the midfield and that’s why I put Flamini there but he has to play in front of the back four while Coquelin should play in front of him…

  14. Big Raddy says:

    NG. Lovely vid.

    If we can draw Monaco out of their own half we will kill them with pace and incisive passing. If not tonight could be a goal-less draw

  15. Big Raddy says:

    RC. Why play two DM’s at home to a defensive team? Sure they have clever MF’s but not as good as ours and their goal record (see the post) is nothing to fear.

    I say we attack from the off.

    Another possibility would be to play 3 at the back with Paul Easter coming in and Gibbs/Monreal pushed forward into a midfield role. Won’t happen but would be interesting

  16. Rasp says:

    Morning NG, Paulista is a genuine all round defender who can play anywhere across the back – so not so much of a square peg I reckon.

  17. Rasp says:

    I’d love us to try 3:5:2 Raddy, we have the players for the system now.

    3:5:2 becomes 5:3:2 when defending

  18. Rasp says:

    Arsenal 3:5:2

    ……..Gabriel BFG Kosser

    Bellerin Coquelin/Ramsey Cazorla Ozil Monreal

    …………..Giroud Sanchez

  19. Podge says:

    Not sure I’d pick Walcott ahead of Welbeck against a very defensive side. Like you said, we can expect to see the bus parked and that tactic neutralizes Walcott. Welbeck hassling the back 4 might force a mistake that gifts us a goal and with Monacos defensive record this season 1 goal may be the difference over this tie.


    Cheers Raddy

    Ive always liked Monaco.

    The idea of captains cap, slacks, white shoes, and breaking out into a Fred Astaire dance routine as some bird sips on my Martini is very appealing

    Alas, down the Bounds Green there is not much chance of such shenanigans. You approach a bird dressed like that and mention sipping Martini, your likely to get your cork shoved down your throat.

    We should really beat these. I find tax avoiders carry a moral burden, but only if you catch them out. Otherwise they live a life of hedonistic pleasure and resolve any erection problems by been beastly to there servants.

    Thats why, just when they think they can mock the poor by gleefuly imitating a shoe shine, we should lure them out and then present them with a massive tax bill.

    in other words, be paitent, wear them down with probing attacks, and just when they get knackered, get sanchez and welbeck behind there defence and bag a couple of goals

  21. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Raddy. I would totally go for your team and agree with you about Theo, who I also feel should start mostly for the reasons you mention. I am also slightly perplexed with Wengers use of Theo recently.

    I would say more about Theo but I think he is ripe for a full on post, such is the varying opinions on him, what he brings to the table and what many perceive he doesn’t bring. I did a quick 5 minute compost on Theo a week or so back but with more time can expand it for a post (not today as I have the early signs of Man Flu creeping in). I will try and do that in the coming days.

    Reading back to the end of yesterdays post I am suspicious that Micky is pulling our leg about seeing the Stephen Hawking film. I think for those of us that have had the pleasure of meeting Micky there is something that doesn’t quite stack up. What do you think Raddy, has he really been to see that “other film” that is out at the moment? 🙂

    Off now to die in a dramatic fashion as any self respecting male should do with Man Flu.

  22. GoonerB says:

    Ah Terry, good day to you. What is the Bounds Green Mancini recipe to cure Man Flu?

  23. GoonerB, it probably revolves around a hot toddy prepared from a pint of Retsina mixed with half a pint of Ouzo, some lemon juice and a session with some hot totty. 😀


    Hi GB

    I find the power of thought usually does the trick GB. Juts tell yourself repeatedly “theres nothing wrong with me”, or if that dont work then take on the bugs head on by visualizing they are mini steve archibalds and holding some really fit bird hostage.

    Steam in there and splatter them with your Thierry Henry Ray Gun.

    Once youve battered them, make sure you have sex with the fit bird.


    i like Norfolks suggestion to. hahaha

  26. Rasp says:

    TMHT, GoonerB – are you going this evening?


    Ime going Rasp, but will be lucky to make kick off

  28. Rasp says:

    Ok, thanks TMHT – so no chance of joining the rest of us for a bevvy?

  29. Rasp says:

    What’s happened to NorthBank?


    Will try Rasp. Were you going to be?

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    GB – Here is some sound advice for women.

    Every minute in this country one man is struck down by Man-Flu. Women, all we ask is that each of you offers them a cup of tea, some kind words and your undivided attention and care. Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll beat this monstrous disease together…

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Man Flu : The Shocking Truth

    Man Flu is a crippling and debilitating disorder indiscriminately striking down male members of the human species without warning. The illness is often referred to pejoratively by female members of the species who are in fact immune from the illness as man flu is now known to exclusively attack the XY chromosome carrier. If Man Flu is kind enough not to kill the infected party it will definitely leave him weak, sick, hurting everywhere and in dire need of TLC.

    Medical professionals now also widely recognize that self diagnosis by the sufferer is the best means of identification as the symptoms of Man Flu are far more severe than the simple common cold which predominantly targets the XX chromosome holders (i.e. females). This goes some way to explain the cynicism some women display towards their male counterparts.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rasp we’ve only just got a full compliment of centre backs and now you want to risk 3 of them in one game?!?

    Although I do like the idea of 3-5-2 but fear we would leave out too many of the good’uns.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Poor GB. Man flu!!

  35. Rasp says:

    😆 GiE

    TMHT – looks like the Tollington although the FFB may be an option?

  36. chas says:

    The Tollington.
    You probably know all the boozers but if not, it’s south of Finsbury Park tube on the corner of Tollington Road and Hornsey Road. Pretty close to the stadium.


  37. chas says:

    Ah, Rasp beat me to it.
    See you outside entrance J at 7.30 if you go to the FFB, Rasp.

  38. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, we will try to join you at the Tolly – but sometimes its rammed and you can’t get in?

  39. chas says:

  40. chas says:

    Ah, I didn’t realise. Probably because we get there so early.


    Cheers lads

    Taking my youngest daughter tonight so knowing her I will be lucky to catch the 2nd half.

    Back in the 70s my old man was a regular in the Tolly and a good friend of the landlord. The old mans mistress lived in Mayton street which is just round the corner. Thats were i got my my Donald Duck and wine gum fetish.

    I loved it in there. All the regulars would give me money for sweets. In those days you could do that with out people fearing you secretly owned a raincoat

  42. chas says:

    Haha, Terry, you not only know it but have a story about it. 🙂

    I’m starting to believe that all of your stories are true. Donald Duck and wine gums. 😆

  43. GoonerB says:

    Sorry guys, I’ve been away for a bit. I tried a bit of Terry’s, Norfolk’s and GN5’s advice on overcoming the Man Flu and I have only just now managed to convince the nice attending police officers that I am a normal member of the human race and it was all some big horrible misunderstanding.

    Not going tonight unfortunately but then who in their right mind would want to meet up with Tony Cottee with Man Flu?. Enjoy those who are going.

  44. RC78 says:

    I am always for attacking footie and taking a more ambitious approach at home. I also know that in CL, it is better to keep a clean sheet at home. Monaco can be tamed but they are good defensive pack. My idea would be to put Toulalan and Moutinho under pressure from Flamini and Coquelin so as to allow our dear Santi to find spaces in between Toulalan and the CBs. Their CBs are not pacy and I really believe that Giroud will already take one out with his runs and with Santi coming in, both CBs are busy so then it is up to Wellbeck and Sanchez to beat their mean on the side… I think we should press really high for the first 20 minutes and hope to find a goal there but this Monaco team is tricky and can get you on the counter-attack especially from their fullbacks and wingers…Anyways, we need to put pressure on Moutinho and their Fullbacks and the rest will be fine. Watch out also for Bernardo Silvo in midfield – he is quite good.

  45. GoonerB says:

    BTW, brilliant Vieira anecdote Chas and excellent Man Flu clip Raddy. Very serious and hard hitting video that. I think all women should see that video to get some perspective of what a serious and potentially life altering condition it is.

  46. Hi all

    Brilliant pre-match as usual Raddy, really looking forward to the game.

    A friend has a spare ticket for tonight if anyone is interested.

  47. Eddie says:

    Raddy – nb is either drinking away the profits or has been arrested for selling illegal tickets for tonight

  48. Eddie says:

    Raddy – are you sure that Monaco conceded only 2 goals this season?? That is unbelievable and tells volumes of how they play. That’s the worst case scenario for us – we are not good outmanoeuvring buses. Oh no I am really worried now

  49. Eddie says:

    2 goals twice, right, specsavers, laters

  50. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie 🙂

    I am really looking forward to tonight and wish I could go (though we will be there in Peaches pocket)

  51. Big Raddy says:

    Shard. Time to get back to the important things in life, like AA.

    You know it makes sense.

  52. It was sad to read today that Thomas Vermaelen has suffered yet another injury and is yet to play for Barca since we flogged him last summer.

    A rather cruel article by Jonathon Liew in today’s Telegraph, suggests that if each Telegraph reader donated £250 it would be possible to buy him out of his Barca misery.

    Any chance of getting them interested in Diaby? 😀

  53. Shard says:


    I just came on for a patented BR match preview, and yours is the last comment on the blog telling me to come back. It must be our hippy connection 🙂

  54. Shard says:

    The Champions League is back!! I’m excited. I’ve tried in the past few days to find a Monaco match online but I didn’t find it so I don’t really feel informed enough to give my opinion on the starting lineup. I just feel that whoever we send out there will turn out to be winners if they keep their focus up the entire game.

    I’m not enthused by Theo. I like him, and I really want him to do well, but despite his scoring return, I don’t think he’s been good. Quite the opposite. I can see the logic in giving him another try and hoping he rediscovers some form. This might be the wrong game for him though if Monaco really do sit back and break on the counter.

    Is the Ox really back? (As you can see I’ve been out of the loop a bit) If so, this is very good news in my opinion. He can be a handful for their defense, a kind of Alexis-lite. But I see his worth more as the Ramsey type. Bringing some energy and dynamism into midfield. Not to say that he should start over Santi, who has been very very good there recently.

    About Monaco (the club) being tax exempt, I think that may not be true anymore. I think I read a few years ago that the League and Monaco had reached an agreement that AS Monaco would open their head office in mainland France so as to be subject to the same rate of taxation as every other club. That might explain the shift in their transfer policy, as much as FFP.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    Shard-enfreude – I didn’t mean to call you over the ether, just a happy co-incidence.

    Let’s try and get Kelsey to respond ….. Oommmmmmmmmm

  56. Big Raddy says:

    I would be surprised to see AW start the Ox even if he is fit.

    Despite my hopes for Gibbs I expect to see the same team as CP with Bellerin instead of Chambers

  57. Eddie says:

    I have just seen the worst case of parking in the history. Two guys trying to park a saloon car in a space big enough for a bus. You’d know they don’t drive in London!! I stood there watching and laughing until I recognised the perfect teeth!!!

  58. chas mobile says:

    Just been attacked by a thug in DMs outside Oakwood.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    chas. That sounds terrible. Was it a lezzer?

  60. chas mobile says:

    Just been accosted by a Polish traffic warden in DMs outside Oakwood.

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Nasty. Does he/she look like a dog owner?

  62. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha 🙂 I was wearing my lovely DMs, but no dogs. They didn’t recognise me 😦

  63. arnie says:

    fantastic pre-match, Raddy. 🙂

    I see where you are coming from, but to start with Theo seems too much of a risk.

    Hope to be back for the game. COYG. 🙂

  64. Big Raddy says:

    I have a dilemma. We are playing Monaco – do I drink my usual tipple of an Italian red or open a bottle of sparkling white?

    Tough one this. I will ask Mrs R.

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Her answer was ….. both!

    Could be a bit tipsy by half-time.

  66. Eddie says:

    raddy – do you have any idea how hard it is to watch nervy games cold stone sober? I hope tonight is not going to be an exciting game

  67. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. I was completely clean through the early 90’s – so yes I do and it isn’t pleasant 🙂

  68. rhyle says:

    Great right up Raddy – expecting plenty of Alexis on the ball tonight, i’ll take him bagging a couple of goals and us taking a clean sheet to the principality in a few weeks.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for feeds for tonight?

  69. rhyle says:

    Or event “great write up, Raddy”. Tired…not stupid. Honest.

  70. GoonerB says:

    Evening all again. Sounds like Raddy’s is the place to be this evening. Bulgarian table red and Asti Spumanti.

    Arnie, just a quick question. What is about starting Theo you consider a risk? Just collating information and thoughts for my possible Theo based post in the near future.

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    Great comments. Cannot wait. Team news?

  72. GoonerB says:

    Rhyle, Or even “or even great write up Raddy” 🙂

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha GB

    Funny thing is, my wife was organised to go to the flicks with a girlfriend and I assumed they were going to see Fifty Shades. Anyway, yesterday said friend pulled out with flu, so off the bench I jumped. Bloddy Stephen Hawking film 😦

    Now I hear she’s off to see Fifty Shades on Friday with some other girls. I’m expecting a long night 🙂

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Micky I got 10/11. Welbz starting not Theo.

    You had better be oiled up and ready when Mrs Didit gets home

  75. rhyle says:

    GB…I SWEAR I’m not dim!!!

  76. mickydidit89 says:

    Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla,
    Sanchez, Ozil, Welbeck, Giroud

    Ox on the bench only 😦

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Looks like Rhyle has been on the sauce early. “Tired” more like “tired and emotional”

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    🙂 Raddy

  79. rhyle says:

    Happy with that starting XI. 2-0. Alexis with both.

  80. The Cockie Monster says:

    Some scary pace in team and on bench !….probably lose but win the….100M, 200M and 4X100M relay !

    Arsenal starting XI: Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck; Giroud.
    Substitutes: Szczesny, Gabriel, Monreal, Chambers, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott

  81. rhyle says:

    Raddy…Tired and emotional?! You’ve got me…I’m fraught like a 16 year old girl who’s had her mobile phone taken off her.

    This is what happens when you have no access to the game…

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m popping over to watch it at a chum’s, and not sure he has any phone signal so could be no noise from this end

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Theo not starting means Arsene sees him as a one trick pony

    Either that, or he hates him 🙂

  84. The Cockie Monster says:

    With only 4 goals in 6 CL games and only one conceded, I expect Monaco not to park the bus…… but berth the yacht !.

  85. GoonerB says:

    Don’t worry rhyle, you can swear at me as much as you like.

    Micky my wife went the other day with some girlfriends to see that film. I called her before she was due to meet them and she told me she couldn’t be long on the phone as she was running late and still had to go home to get changed to go to it. I wasn’t too sure how to interpret that Micky. Best leave that sort of interpretation to good old Terrence. That is definitely his field of expertise.

  86. Big Raddy says:

    More ferry than yacht

  87. mickydidit89 says:


    It could be a long dull night if we don’t score early and drag ’em kicking and screaming out of their own half

  88. The Cockie Monster says:

    Well oiled and sunbathing on the deck underneath the Emirates lights, it could be tough getting on board !. We don’t need subs, we need stowaways !.

  89. mickydidit89 says:

    GB 🙂
    Yip, reckon Transplant could well be the site expert.

  90. mickydidit89 says:

    Right off to mates. Hopefully join you on mobile, but not confident.

  91. GoonerB says:

    Actually I reckon Cockie knows a thing or two about it as well

  92. Big Raddy says:

    GB. That’s right – call on Terry. Or NB. Or Cockie 😡

  93. arnie says:

    GoonerB. I agree with Chas that Theo has not hit the ball running. This is a crucial game, much rather he would not start. 60 mins will be good. 🙂

    having said that, not had a look at the lineup. quick quick. COYG. 🙂

  94. arnie says:

    come on, make the pressure count.

  95. TwentyTwelve says:

    Hi arnie. Still in USA?

    Why are they booing Berbatov?

  96. arnie says:

    yes, TT, wild and cold US MidWest. 🙂

  97. arnie says:

    come on Giro.

  98. TwentyTwelve says:

    Oh no!

  99. TwentyTwelve says:

    Please score before the half. Some heavy touches out there.

  100. fatgingergooner says:

    Dreadful so far.

    The build up is awful and so slow. Sanchez and Welbeck need to stay the hell out of the midfield and keep the width otherwise it’s too easy for them to defend.

    Ox to give some drive from midfield would be good.

  101. fatgingergooner says:

    Hopefully our worst quarter of the tie. Desperately need pace and urgency second half.

  102. Big Raddy says:

    I was really enjoying that half until Monaco scored. Monaco playing far more open than I expected and AFC playing OK but not well.

    Now we have a major problem. Nothing unsurmountable but we have to start shooting from distance because their defence is very good, Monaco proved it works

  103. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. Would you be saying that if you were not listening to a Manc slagging off our team and Ozil in particular?

  104. mickydidit89 says:

    Ox AND Mozart on
    Double thrust
    Terrible half

  105. TwentyTwelve says:

    It was looking too comfortable for the good guys until that deflected goal.

  106. rhyle says:

    Watching a ropy, flip-book style stream of the game. Need to get our foot on the gas and put a bit more speed into our play. Very pretty, but ineffective. Need to get Özil on the ball more in the final third – it’s going to take precision to breach a (credit where credit is due) well organised Monaco rear guard.

  107. GoonerB says:

    I agree fgg. Not enough quick penetration in behind them. Dare i say that is what theo brings to the table but is then accused of not tracking back enough. Also his goals to minutes played ratio is impressive and we have had some dangerous moments.

  108. Gööner In Exile says:

    Width, pace and workrate needed.

    Need to move the ball quicker, everyone getting dragged in central, the same thing I lambast Theo for. Danny needs to get out wide, Ozil I am afraid needs a rocket up his arse.

    Too bigger gap between Santi, and Coq and the attack. Santi dropping back to receive because Coq being man marked but the rest are not responding so when Santi and Coq have ball to feet they are invariably looking at the backs of their teammates twenty yards or more away and trying a million dollar pass.

  109. rhyle says:

    GB…that’s a good point – the movement of Theo could well be what helps pull this Monaco defence out of it’s shape. Wouldn’t be surprised to see come on at the (as per usual) 60 minute mark…

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Must do better 2nd half

    Come on you Gunners!

  111. fatgingergooner says:


    I agree with Neville on most of what he’s saying, but I think he’s been very harsh on Özil. I have absolutely no problem with Özil giving the ball away because most of the time he’s trying to thread a killer ball through the defence, which isn’t easy. He’s not a barnstorming type player, he’s very subtle, which I’m not sure Neville gets. He does need to play much better though.

  112. wally says:

    Why does this team play so lethargically on a regular basis?

    No passion, no energy.

    And why is it such a struggle to bring it out beyond center circle sometimes?

  113. Gööner In Exile says:


  114. fatgingergooner says:


  115. TwentyTwelve says:


  116. wally says:

    Next year.

  117. Big Raddy says:

    That the third time this season Monaco have scored twice and the first time away from home-

    What was BFG thinking?

  118. TwentyTwelve says:

    Not on same wavelength

  119. TwentyTwelve says:

    Gosh that must be like his 3rd chance. Trying too hard? Need some calmness.

  120. fatgingergooner says:

    Our worst 60 minutes of the season

  121. fatgingergooner says:

    Only Coquelin making runs and he’s our HM! No movement at all

  122. fatgingergooner says:

    Just not our night so far

  123. Big Raddy says:

    Should be 2-2. We can get back into this

    Come you you Reds –

  124. TwentyTwelve says:

    Gotta keep tight Can’t let more in.

  125. fatgingergooner says:

    Not sure what I’m watching here. Where’s the f***ing urgency?

  126. TwentyTwelve says:

    Per is hard night

  127. fatgingergooner says:

    Need a goal badly

  128. fatgingergooner says:

    Thank f*** for that!

  129. arnie says:

    OK, we can still make something of this. a lifeline.

  130. mickydidit89 says:

    God I love the ox

  131. fatgingergooner says:

    Just a joke

  132. arnie says:

    fcuk fcuk fcuk. that was a succer punch. 😦

  133. Big Raddy says:

    Hugely disappointing.

    Ozil – Dreadful. Totally anonymous. A passenger.

    Welbeck. Poor awareness and no threat.

    BFG & Kos. Perhaps their worst game as a CB pairing. The defence as a whole was awful.

    The rest average at best

  134. arnie says:

    three goals conceded in an European tie at home. says it all, really. shocking defense. 😦

    when we park the bus against the minnows in the EPL and try to play on the counter, why not the same against European opposition? Superiority complex? 😦

    Still, all to fight for. COYG.

  135. Big Raddy says:

    RC78 was right. We should have played Flamini and Coq and been more defensive, we were way, way too open

  136. fatgingergooner says:

    Absolutely dreadful. We conceded an unlucky goal, panicked, and then commited suicide. An absolute shambles shape-wise, with too many players wanting to play the final ball, but nobody wanting to be on the end of it. It wasn’t until Walcott came on that we had a runner to get on the end of balls.

  137. arnie says:

    Cannot say Walcott evoked a great deal of confidence for me. Just not the same Theo as before.

    Ox was good in the short time, I thought so was Rosicky.

  138. fatgingergooner says:

    CL done for another season. Now got to concentrate on trying to get into it again, although why we bother I don’t know as we are further away from winning it than ever based on that performance.

    Wenger reckons these are the games you want to be involved in, if that’s the case why don’t we ever play like we want to win them?

  139. arnie says:

    not all is lost, we have to score thrice away, and we can do it.

  140. GoonerB says:

    At the end of last season i said that in order to challenge at the top level we needed an upgrade on per who i feel is at best a 3rd choice cb at the top level now. We needed a world class upgrade in the arteta / flamini role and only retain one of them as back up and we needed a world class upgrade on giroud who is a reserve striker at the top level. I may be wrong but i have seen nothing over the last year as a whole, even if these players have some good games, that has changed my mind on that.

  141. Shard says:

    I am actually feeling sick. Physically sick in the stomach after seeing us concede that third goal. We conceded the 2nd in a similar manner and almost conceded another like that before. To repeat the same error a third time is unforgivable.

    I think we had a pretty good first half even if we could have done better. Until they scored. It was a slight error, but mostly we were a little unlucky to concede.

    But our game was ruined not by our defending, rather by our wasteful attack. Giroud had an absolute stinker, and the rest of our attackers seem to take their cue from him. This was what put our defense under pressure.

    That third goal probably killed us. At 2-1 (all credit Ox deserves for the goal is lost due to giving away the ball twice – once for the goal) we stood a chance. Score two there. It can be done. We saw that we had chances today but just couldn’t score. Now we need to score at least 3. Even with the best will in the world, that seems highly unlikely. Disgusted with the way we threw away the game, and just got progressively worse instead of dusting ourselves off and coming back stronger.

  142. Shard says:

    Also, what of Ospina. Would Szczesny have saved that 3rd goal? I don’t know, but I think his bigger size and reach would have helped. Maybe even on the first goal.

  143. RockyLives says:

    Just one of those nights.

  144. GoonerB says:

    Arnie, your assessment of theo is one that is often used when he is eventually thrown on in desperation when we have to force the game and the other team can control us more. I would like to know what our stats are in games theo starts as oppose to games we are struggling in or chasing when he is flung on at 65 mins plus. I genuinely dont know these figures but even so theo created a couple of very dangerous situations and got behind them.

  145. fatgingergooner says:

    At times you could throw a blanket over Özil, Cazorla and Sanchez, which meant our strikers were easy to mark. Our shape was terrible.

  146. TwentyTwelve says:

    I think the team should not have pressed so hard for the equalizer, given how the night was going. Losing 1-2 is much more managable than 1-3.

    Agree with Shard that Ospina looked small in that goal.

  147. TwentyTwelve says:

    “In a team like Arsenal I don’t think they can allow themselves to underestimate our team today but if they did then it’s up to them.” — Berbatov

    Painful, but I think, true.

  148. fatgingergooner says:

    “Chances we didn’t take and suicidal defensively”

    “With a minute to go how can you leave the whole half open?”

    Wenger sums it up pretty well.

  149. Rasp says:

    Well that was disappointing. We started well but failed to take our chances. They scored a lucky deflected goal. At 1 nil we needed to be patient, but Mertesacker had one of several moments of madness and was directly responsible for their second goal. Now all we needed was to get 1 goal back to still be in the tie. The Ox provided the magic and then the whole team lost their heads and we gifted them the third – a killer blow 😦

  150. Rasp says:

    It was embarrassing at times the ease with which they took the ball off us and ran through our defence. We definitely didn’t get the rub of the green, but what was that all about when at 2 nil down right near the end the ref told us to get on with the corner because our players were just strolling up to get in position?

  151. LB says:

    School boy football.

  152. TwentyTwelve says:

    Rasp, the word “naive” came to mind, but the same scenario has happened so many time before.

    Am dejected.

  153. Rasp says:

    It was naive, but worrying because players weren’t showing for the ball. Our confidence seems to shatter every time we concede and go behind

  154. fatgingergooner says:


    Totally agree. We went 1-0 down, half an hour in to a 180 minute contest and you’d thought there was 5 minutes left and we were going out! We panicked, heads dropped and we were more nervous than the situation called for. Where’s the calm heads saying to stay patient? If we’d got it to 1-1 its far better than losing 3-1. Our game management is a joke.

    The second and third goals were shocking.

  155. Rasp says:

    Mertesacker was captain, he needed to keep the players calm and focused but instead he was one of the worst culprits. He simply cannot commit himself to a 50/50 challenge high up the pitch. In the past he would drop back and let koscielny do the running for him. I think his mindset changed after the World Cup

  156. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m not sure we will see much of Mertersacker again after this season. I’ve got a feeling Paul Easter will be brought into the team next year and Chambers will be used as a sub. Merts is just too slow and he’s been found out while Kozzers been injured.

  157. Rasp says:

    Once again, we showed we cannot cope with being pressed.The team was well below the sum of its parts, maybe some of the parts aren’t good enough as well

  158. TwentyTwelve says:

    Walcott for Giroud at 60′: Giroud had an off night and needed to come off. However, Theo made the team even more offensive minded, and less defensively aware.

    Ox for Coq at 68′: Was Coquelin in danger of second yellow? Or was he becoming undisciplined with his forward raids? In any case, one might think Chamberlain would not be more defensive minded.

    These two substitutions, whether intended or not, made the team more attack oriented. The attackers eventually helped pulled the scoreline back to 1-2, but in their enthusiasm, right away they let it slip to 1-3.

    Wenger on the balance of the team: “It wasn’t right because we always had to attack and when we lost the ball we were exposed.”

  159. Aaron says:

    Ospina just sucked period, should have stopped all 3 goals. been saying it for awhile he is not even close to this level..at ALL!
    rest of the team just played avg. had a few chances and late goal is the one that will knock us out on away goals again. will go to Monaco and win, but still get knocked out.grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  160. Gööner In Exile says:

    Simply shocking performance there’s really no point trying to analyse what was a debacle.

    It’s not really worth singling out players because I think very few if any came out of it with any credit. Why were we so high for the second goal, why all of a sudden did we have full backs pushing forward again….I guess to give width because our attackers weren’t. but to lose 3-1 from 1-0 down at HT was ridiculous.

  161. Gööner In Exile says:

    Sod it I have time.

    Garbage at the back, garbage in the middle, garbage up front.

    No one seemingly prepared to help their teammates.

  162. mickydidit89 says:

    My God, you lot are being gentle

    That was pathetic, and where’s the blame for the Manager? As Berbatov so righly said, Monaco wanted the win more. THAT is unforgiveable.

    I’m phoning Crystals for support right now 🙂

  163. mickydidit89 says:

    Exile. Sadly, very true.

    Oh, and there was masses of space for Theo right from the whistle. Not only does he scores goals, but you wouldn’t need the idiotic combination of Welbeck and Giroud.

    Actually, I’m bored of stating the effing obvious.


  164. mickydidit89 says:

    To give a rough clue as to my line of thinking, here’s my team for the weekend

    Sanchez Akpom Theo
    ….Ros Mozart
    Mon Easter Cham Dunno

    Manager. Paul Daniels

  165. chas says:

    What an appalling waste of time, energy and money.

  166. chas says:

    Rosicky is definitely worth two starting berths

  167. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Sun is still shining, Mrs R. still beautiful and we still exit the CL at the same stage. Nothing changes.

    We will beat Everton on Sunday.

  168. fatgingergooner says:

    Just a joke of a performance.

    Like GiE said, not much point picking out individuals because all the players want hammering. Just awful finishing (worst I’ve seen from professional footballers in a long time), astonishingly dreadful defending, terrible midfield play, and very poor goalkeeping.

    I dread to think what’s going to happen to our form on the back of this.

  169. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. Nothing will happen to our form. We got hammered quite a few times last season and came back strong.

    We were rubbish and all the players, especially Giroud and Ozil, will want to show they are better than last night.

    One change I would like to see is the return of Szczesny.

  170. chas says:

    I still can’t see it as Walcott starts, everything in the garden is rosy.
    We were very comfortable until the deflected goal, not playing superbly but still creating enough to sneak a goal of our own

    The second half became a complete shambles with the team all over the place after failing to put a couple of easy ones in the net to restore parity.
    There was suddenly no defensive shape, two ridiculous counter-attacking goals we’ve seen umpteen times over the last Dennis knows how many seasons and yet with Theo on the pitch, none of that would have happened. Really?

  171. Rasp says:

    The Ox certainly made a difference when he came on, driving the play forward and attacking their box. Theo could/should have made an immediate impact but after that did’t contribute much. What I don’t get is why we never play the percentages 2:1 and everything to play for, 3:1 and our chances are slim.

  172. Catastrophic……….. the boys have propelled me i to to my worst Arsenal depression ever. It;s enough to turn me to drink.

    What the fuck happened? I’ve only seen the goals on French TV this morning. They’ve even been showing clips of the infamous Claude on Arsenal Fan TV………… on French television ha ha. He’s famous in France.

  173. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Who is saying that?

    I would have started Theo ahead of Welbz and in the few minutes he had Theo looked the more dangerous but our problems did not lie in the forwards (apart from some dreadful finishing and some bad luck).

    My biggest disappointment was Ozil. When we needed him to create and get involved he went missing. Could I be losing a bet (a smoked fish) and he is off in summer because he certainly looked like a man who didn’t care

  174. Rasp says:

    I know it’s been said many times, but we need a leader on the pitch who has the savvy to read games and steer us in the right direction.

  175. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Do we have a post – should I write a match report?

  176. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Chas

    You have my utmost sympathy as again you put in a 6 round trip.

    My thinking on Theo is more to the fact that he’s a winger, Welbeck is not.

  177. Rasp says:

    Yes please Raddy 🙂

  178. mickydidit89 says:

    And a leader off the pitch would help as well

  179. mickydidit89 says:

    The reason I’m so angry is somewhat selfish. I was sure we could beat Monaco, and give me a fabulous away trip in the next round, and that’s been taken away because the players didn’t care

  180. chas says:

    Probably no-one. 🙂
    Just me talking to myself, trying to rationalise what should be consigned to the dustbin.

  181. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all, Bad day at the office.
    Every Arsenal player on the pitch could have been hauled off and replaced, and i don’t think they would have been missed.

    Our forwards took it in turns to miss chances, the final ball was given away consistently, many times the starting ball was also given away, Players thinking it was going to be a stroll in the park, passed the ball to the other team, tricks and flicks got to be the norm, Monaco not a bad side but made to look a lot better by our pathetic play.

    At 2.0 down Wenger must have had problems with who to bring on and who to take off, as it could have been any of them. As the game went on Arsenal looked desperate, players took it on themselves to try and change the flow by holding the ball and trying to beat the whole team only to be surrounded and robbed. Defenders being caught out in advanced positions that they shouldn’t have been in in the first place.

    This was a disaster which can only be described as a team effort. as every player was guilty from goalkeeper to centre forward. I am not saying we didn’t try, as i felt at times we tried too hard, i felt the trouble most of the time is blasé passing which never had a chance of reaching its target.

    Leaving ourselves open at the back, with players breaking through with pace and our lack of pace chasing back would only result in one way. Monaco was a reasonable side but with our help they won the match very easily. Yes a bad night, the inconsistency in our present side is worrying , what team turns up nobody knows, but at home we should be doing better.

  182. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Ok. It will be short and bitter 🙂

  183. chas says:

    Ant said to me a few weeks back, “How do we tell them they can’t have the tickets when an away trip comes up that we fancy?”

    At least that ain’t gonna happen. 🙂

  184. Rasp says:

    Morning micky, I do think AW should shoulder more responsibility after that kind of performance. It’s no good him telling us how bad we were, we all saw that for ourselves.what we want to hear is what is he going to do to stop this happening in the future again

  185. Rasp says:

    I have reached the reluctant conclusion, that Ozil is not the type of player we need, we have so many others doing a similar job

  186. chas says:

    Hey, Eddie.
    Bumping into you was the highlight of the evening.
    I’m still chuckling about you berating Ant for continuing to manoeuvre the car. 🙂

  187. mickydidit89 says:


    Tell Ant I was fully prepared for that, and would have welcomed it, because I had budgeted to spend a fortune to go to Barca, Madrid or even Munich again at whatever cost

  188. mickydidit89 says:

    And what job is that Rasp? 🙂

  189. chas says:

    I can’t really afford to keep going to the games that I do, so you probably would have been ok.
    Games like last night make me question my commitment, but I know I’ll be up for it again come Sunday.
    Just bought tickets for Newcastle away on Tuesday as well. Feckin madness. 🙂

  190. Rasp says:

    We have too many play makers (conductors of the orchestra) micky, we need runners, wingers, ball winners etc

  191. fatgingergooner says:


    I agree. Against lesser sides it looks great when you have all these ball players clicking into gear (Boro at home), but it never happens against the better sides. You need a mix of different midfield types. Cazorla playing as the box to box midfielder isn’t really working as we have too many similar players. Sanchez was coming too deep due to desperation which just congested the centre of the pitch and meant we had one less runner to play a through ball to. If he would’ve stayed out wide like Theo did when he came on then imagine how much more stretched their defence would’ve been. Instead he was stood next to Özil most of the night.

  192. Eddie says:

    chas – what about the parking ticket?

  193. Eddie says:

    now, how about the booing at the end? Was it deserved this time?
    Fecking right it was. I was booing too.

  194. chas says:

    Ant shoved the parking ticket straight down the nearest drain.

  195. mickydidit89 says:

    Too right FGG

    Santi has been fabulous in the central No 10 role, so what does Einstein do? Moves him deeper to accommodate Mesut Sanchez Danny and Giroo 🙄

    I’m pretty sure some here will be expecting me to moan about Giroo, but I am not singling him out.

  196. chas says:

  197. chas says:

  198. RC78 says:

    Guyz – told you…We needed to control the midfield and that meant also on the defensive end and we just did not…Monaco are a very predictable team but my goodness, we were even more predicatable and I think that Giroud should really watch his mouth from now on because he really thinks he is top of the draw. The truth is that he is not a top striker, he is a very good one but not a top one and we could see that tonight…We were really all over the place. BFG – Bellerin = BIG TROUBLE…

    This game was just appalling and to be honest, the result is very disappointing but not surprising…Another chance goes down the drain and we have quite a good team this year but it shows that we still do not have a competitive one. We need to get a new CB like Garay and we need Lars Bender to join our rank as well

  199. chas says:

    Here’s Venables’ shorts, Rasp.

  200. fatgingergooner says:


    Let me do it then! His finishing last night was absolutely shocking. The header that flew 5 yards wide, 2 shockers with his right foot at the near post that never threatened the goal, and that dreadful slice over the bar with an open net.

    How many sides take off their main striker when they are chasing a game with 30 minutes to go? Says it all.

    Even Wenger commented on his poor performance in the presser after the game. Everyone knows how much Wenger wants to win the CL, so maybe last night will open his eyes to Girouds limitations. He’s quality for 90% of opposition, but against the big guns he just isn’t at the level (not that Monaco are a big side). He’s not going to get any better than he is now, so maybe Wenger will be on the lookout for a younger, better model.

  201. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha Chas

  202. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas 😀 out of context that must seem a pretty weird comment for you to put up 😆

  203. mickydidit89 says:

    The manager picks him

  204. chas says:

  205. fatgingergooner says:


    For now!

  206. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. Chas I was one of those that wanted Theo to start and I do feel it could make a big difference but will explain more later. No time now as a bit tied up at work. I don’t think it is any one thing in isolation though but I just feel this is one of the factors. Will wait for Raddy’s bitter post.

  207. Big Raddy says:

    There is a …..

    New Post

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