Ramsey or Rakitic or Both?

Are you like me – fed up of hearing how Barcelona’s forward line is the best of all-time? How we have no chance this evening? How poor Mertesacker is going to have a second fundament after the game?

Firstly, I do not agree that  the frontline of MSN are the best of all-time. I would point to the Brazil ’70 attack of Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao backed up by Gerson and Rivelino. What a shame they cannot play each other, that Brazil side would spank the Catalans.

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Best Ever?

We can win and I will tell you why. Because we are The Arsenal. That’s it. Nothing more. If Mr Wenger and Stevie B. manage to get this simple message into the heads of our lads we can and will win.

Forget tactics, forget worrying about the front 3, forget about the diving and cheating the Spanish Champs will inevitably display. When Alves hits the deck Coquelin must stand over him and laugh, pointing to the badge on his chest. When Messi cuts in from the wing and dummies his way into our penalty area, let The Helmeted Cech put his massive frame in the way and smile.

Let us recall that last time we played them over two legs Barca were forced to bribe the ref and even then needed a Bendtner blunder to win. By the way, has any player in the CL been sent off for kicking a ball away since? No they haven’t. QED.

So what if Barcelona haven’t lost for 32 games and are currently – Spanish Double winners, Champions League winners and both European Super League and World Club Champs; we are The Arsenal, and they aren’t – they don’t even have a The. It’s true, have you ever heard them called The Barcelona? No, you haven’t.

Team …

Cech

Bellerin   BFG   Koscielny   Monreal

Ramsey   Coquelin   Sanchez

Ox   Giroud   Ozil

My only concerns are Ox and Sanchez who were dreadful in their sub appearances on Saturday. Sanchez was a shadow of the player  we know him to be – Kelsey could have played as well.

As always when Barca or Real Madrid are rebuilding there are rumours of transfer targets; Ramsey is one who is often mentioned. Ramsey is a marmite player – hugely admired by his fellow players but not so by many a Gooner. To me he is the heart and soul of Mr Wenger’s team. Rakitic is the Barca equivalent. Both play similar styles allowing others to do the fancy-dan work and occasionally doing some themselves. Given their similarity I do not understand why Barcelona would be interested in Ramsey but perhaps together they could make a dynamic midfield pairing. Real Madrid would be a more likely destination but for the sake of Arsenal, I hope Ramsey stays.

More worrying is the Boy Wonder – Bellerin.  Surely a major target over the coming years. Hopefully young Hector doesn’t have Barca DNA or a Child Within.

Most important tonight is for both teams to excel and entertain the watching billions. We are unlikely to win the Big Cup but have to make an impression. We can win this leg and go to Barcelona with a lead to protect.

Last time we played them at The Emirates it was a little chap playing on the left who scored the winner for Arsenal  – could history repeat itself?

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Let it be So.

COYRRG

 

 

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167 Responses to Ramsey or Rakitic or Both?

  1. chas says:

    Excellent, BR.

    I have no expectations for tonight other than to watch world class players under floodlights at a magnificent stadium. 🙂

    The other day I found this old video of the little chap’s goal made by Pedro.

  2. RA says:

    Too much coffee, BR? 🙂

    Anyway, I like it – a stirring call to arms, to fight, to hope, to give a spectacle – better than all the corrosive defeatism so enjoyed by some.

    Long live Erik the Viking, Success to the Arsenal Bravehearts!

    So Be It. 😀

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent match preview, BR, and you are bloody right: we are The Arsenal and we are going to give them a game. And we have Wenger and he has prepared for this game, let there be no doubt about it. COYRRG!

  4. fatgingergooner says:

    Looking forward to watching some cracking football and for once we will be able to enjoy a team coming to the Emirates who’s first thought may actually be to try and score a goal. Second thought will be cheating!

    Id like to see Welbeck start tonight on the RW as he looked very bright against Hull. Id also like to see Giroud pulling out wide into space left by full backs and us playing long out of defence with the likes of Welbeck (or Theo or Ox) and Sanchez getting into central positions for flick ons and knock downs. Barca tend to leave themselves very light at the back and I think the ability of Giroud to fight for those balls could be the platform we need to launch counters. It will also turn their midfield around and stops the high press.

    I remember Guardiola saying before the Bayern game that he was surprised by our new ‘long ball’ tactics. I’d like to see something like that used tonight at times.

  5. “They don’t even have a The” 😃

    Excellent fun BigRaddy. I’m so looking forward to being there tonight, whatever happens, I love the Champions league nights.

    We have everyone fit, a position we all crossed our fingers for a couple of months ago and Welbeck as an added bonus.

    Hope we can show the world what we can do. Love The Arsenal 😃

  6. GoonerB says:

    Brilliant Churchillian post Raddy. I was fist pumping and whooping and a’ hollering as I read it the first time. Then I re-read it when the passion and heat of battle had diminished a bit and….. :

    Forget tactics and the front 3. Le Coq to stand over Alves and laugh at him as he tries to con the ref, and body cech(ing) Messi in the box…….that will be a 0-7 scoreline then with us reduced to 9 men (possibly 8) 🙂

    In all seriousness we have a very good squad to pick from and have the players in all positions to give Barca a serious game. I think now it is actually all about, if not only about, getting the right tactics and the right set-up that will see us win the day…..which we can.

    Arsene for me needs to think outside the box and look at what most nullify’s their strengths and still allows us to cause serious problems to them at their end. This game could be an embarrassment or a great triumph and I think a very thin fag paper of decision making is between those 2 possible results.

    I think if he sticks to his favourite players and his recent favoured 1st 11 line up rather than the most balanced team for Barca then it could go awry. In my opinion any lack of pace at the back will expose us and, as I expect our main weapon in hurting them and getting a foot-hold in the game being quick breaks after solid defending, any lack of pace in the front 4 will expose us. Ozil needs to be the slowest player in our front 4.

    You can probably see Raddy I am not favouring 2-3 players in your predicted line up, but it is likely to be closer to the line up than the one I would suggest, so here is hoping that I am proven wrong in my assertion. COYRRG’s

  7. Rasp says:

    Bloody marvellous Raddy, if Arsene can come up with anything half as inspiring in the dressing room before the game, we’ll be one up already 😀

    They are worried about Giroud and Cech, Sanchez (40 goals in 84 appearances for Barca) has a point to prove, in Nacho and Hector we have enough wide pace to make them think twice about committing forward too heavily.

    If we can deal with their high press, keep composed and be patient I fully expect us to enter the away leg still in with a chance to progress further.

    I don’t have a ticket tonight and I have no idea where I’ll be watching the game … there aren’t enough sofas in the world 🙂

  8. kelsey says:

    Is it possible to kick three players in the nuts simultaneously so hard that they pass out,without the ref seeing. No illustration needed chas 😉

    By the way Cech has been confirmed as Captain next season just to prepare Mert for the game tonight 😉

    I expect absolutely nothing so anything else will be a bonus.

    Chapeau BR

  9. Rasp says:

    Hi GB, “In my opinion any lack of pace at the back will expose us” ….. I assume you are aware that Gabriel has a hamstring injury therefore the BFG is a cert to start 😀

  10. Rasp says:

    Raddy, I see you have put The Ox as the wildcard in the front 3 …. really? I hope we see Danny starting alongside Giroud and Ozil even though he usually plays on the left … but perhaps he is deemed as not fully match fit?

  11. There’s no doubt Barca will dominate the ball tonight, so we need to be far more clinical than we have been for the last 2 months. If we create 5 decent chances then at least 2 need to go in. There will be times when we are hanging on and we need Cech to be at his best and a bit of luck as well. We also need to ensure we don’t do anything stupid like go down to 10 men. So many times we seem to get a man sent off early in big games. We can’t afford that tonight.

    For anyone looking for a glimmer of hope, Celtic beat Barca 2-1 with 11% possession!!! 😂😂😂😂

  12. GoonerB says:

    FGG. I agree about the striker offering himself up in the wide spaces created by their full-backs pressing on, just which one? I can answer that by countering Rasp’s 11.15 and say that I hope to see Danny start alongside Ozil, Sanchez and Walcott.

    Actually Rasp your 11.14 makes me think….maybe Walcott can play alongside Kos, then we wont be exposed for pace at the back 🙂

    I do think that Per, purely due to lack of pace, could prove our undoing against the Barca front 3. I don’t like it that he is often the last and deepest defender. The only way it works for me is if Bellerin and Monreal do the covering with balls played in behind, which means that our FB’s really can’t go forward that much and leave him exposed. can we be that disciplined though?

    The other alternative is to play the less experienced but more mobile Chambers. Personally I would be tempted just to improve the mobility and pace element in CD.

    p.s Rasp, I don’t have a ticket but will be going to the FFB with 2 friends to watch it. You are of course welcome to join us.

  13. GoonerB says:

    Sorry that was supposed to be Kos, Bellerin and Monreal doing the covering for Per. I would still be tempted by Gibbs though who is slightly quicker over the ground. I feel that when we are in moments that we have pushed our defensive line up a bit, i.e with space behind us, that Per should position himself slightly ahead of the other 3 almost like an advanced sweeper. That puts the onus on the other 3 to deal with balls in behind, so everyone knows their job.

  14. Rasp says:

    Hi GB, I didn’t know they had a big screen showing matches at the FFB?

  15. GoonerB says:

    Yes in the cavern type bit with the tables between the front of pub and the garden area. You must have walked through it a hundred times Rasp 🙂

  16. Red Arnie says:

    Raddy. Brilliant and uplifting. Thank you very much. 🙂

    Yes, we are the Arsenal, and revenge is in the air. In fact, when I left home this morning, there was a chill in the air and the light smell of gunpowder. War! 🙂

    COYG. Dont know how, dont care how, but 2-0 to the Arsenal will be good. In fact, I expect no less. 🙂

  17. Red Arnie says:

    Apols everyone, and especially GiE, haf knot bin ear. 🙂

    But I will be on the seat this evening. Where this will be is the question. At my local pub, I will be the only Gooner around. Or should I travel to Glasgow and watch the game with the Scottish Arsenal Supporters?

    Decisions! Decisions!!! hmmm.

  18. Red Arnie says:

    Agree with FGG and Rasp. Wellbeck will be my first choice tonight.

  19. GoonerB says:

    What up front instead of Giroud Arnie? 🙂

  20. Red Arnie says:

    Could be GoonerB. Who else then? Not The Ox, not Theo, not Campbell. No, wont work. 😛

  21. chas says:

    #wearredtothof

  22. chas says:

  23. Ant says:

    “My only concerns are Ox and Sanchez who were dreadful in their sub appearances on Saturday. Sanchez was a shadow of the player we know him to be – Kelsey could have played as well.”
    Classic, and I would love to see that!

  24. fatgingergooner says:

    GB,

    What I want to see is Giroud pulling the CB wide and then Welbeck (or Theo or Ox) and Sanchez running centrally in the space left behind onto any flick ons or through balls. I also think in order to beat Barca you have to be able to get behind their midfield, and Giroud holding the ball up and getting Özil into spaces will be vital for us. I understand people want to play with pace on the counter, but that only works if you are able to play through their high press, which is risky and difficult. I’d like to see us go over their high press, hold up the ball, and then play football in their half rather than our own. It’s less risky and could still give us pace on the counter if Giroud pulls wide and plays quickly into the runners and Özil. They don’t have huge CB’s so Giroud can have a lot of joy if used correctly.

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    Superb work Erik thanks
    Bloody awful looking team though 😀
    They will have 70% possession which we shall call choosing to sit deep and therefore I’d start Danny and theo with Sanchez

    GB will understand being a purist

  26. fatgingergooner says:

    GB,

    I remember us playing away at Everton and Lukaku played on Monreal all game and they caused us real problems with runners going through the middle. I would like to see us try that against their smaller left sided defence (Mascherano, Alba).

  27. GoonerB says:

    Arnie, Welbeck would be first choice for me, probably after that Theo just because I think the pace is important. I think they will try and play with a high defensive line if we let them and Danny and Theo can exploit that, but Ollie can’t.

    I feel it will play into their hands and cue lots of lofted balls out of defence to Ollie with him not able to keep possession often enough and their attack coming straight back at us. The siege type game we have seen before where we can’t get out our own half and get anywhere near their last third often enough to have any say in the game. Would love to be proved wrong of course 🙂

  28. Big Raddy says:

    What is Ant doing on the cover of True Men?

  29. Red Arnie says:

    GB. I am with FGG on this one. 🙂 But I would say, there will have to be at least two onrushing players. 🙂 But what do I know! Anyway, dont care, so long as we get a result.

  30. Red Arnie says:

    Raddy. Proving Duck a photo op! 😛

  31. GoonerB says:

    FGG, Lukaku is significantly quicker than Giroud. Also these flick ons only work if you have players close enough to him when the lofted ball reaches him otherwise he is flicking it on for one of their players to just collect and recycle the attack. What chance these players of ours he wants to flick it on for have also been helping out deep in defence and are nowhere near him.

    In order for him to hold it up till the cavalry arrive he needs to bring it down and move away from the defenders and keep possession at his feet for 2-3 seconds. IMO quick players can turn away from defenders and buy that 2-3 seconds. Slower players for me can’t buy themselves those 2-3 seconds and normally need to move possession on a lot quicker i.e with the flick ons you mention. We will have to see, it may play out differently to what I envision.

  32. Red Arnie says:

    oh dear. Proving = Providing

  33. Red Arnie says:

    GB. What you say may work. Maybe with different players, in a different state of the world.

    But this formula is about the only thing that has worked for us in recent games. That is, Giro holding up, taking away two defenders with him, and his touchdown picked up by one of the fast players rushing on. IMO. 🙂

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie
    Did I hear Mrs A on the radio this am?

  35. Red Arnie says:

    Micky. what? pressing charges against me? 🙂

  36. fatgingergooner says:

    GB,

    I understand what you are saying, but imo there are a couple of issues I have with playing Welbeck up top. Firstly, no Cazorla, which makes getting the ball into Özil and thus decent passes into our strikers very difficult and risky. If we can’t get the ball into Özil in decent positions then we have to resort to longer passes into our strikers which gives the same issues you had with Giroud (giving the ball away too often). Secondly, Barca are not exactly slow in defence, so speed alone may not be enough.

    I agree with you about Girouds pace, but you can’t question his link up and hold up play. He is more than capable of getting others into the game or winning free kicks that give us a chance to regroup.

    I want to make it clear that I only want long balls upto half way, so getting players near him shouldn’t be too difficult. Once we are in their half then we can play and use the pace of Welbeck and Sanchez in the way you want us to. I just want to try and avoid us giving them ball in our own half by trying to play through them. I also think making them turn towards their own goal as often as possible is very important in relieving pressure. If Giroud is disciplined and holds his position wide, then the defenders know they have an out ball and we can launch our own counters.

    Anyway GB, when it finishes 5-0 Barca we will both be wrong! 😔🔫

  37. GoonerB says:

    No problems Arnie that we have a difference of opinions. I know others on here feel it works as well. I actually don’t feel I have seen that much evidence that it is a working formula. I said the other day I felt it was a bit of an urban myth that we worked well with this way of playing and that in reality we lose a lot of ball possession but it is somewhat disguised by the times it comes off. I think this is further enhanced when we play a decent possession team that push a high defensive line and play a high press. We are playing the best at that style of play tonight.

    He is going with Giroud I would imagine anyway so I will give my full support and see how it pans out and how well we work it out from defence. Would love you FGG and GIE et al to be right Arnie 🙂

  38. Red Arnie says:

    Anyway, GB, let us see. COYG. 🙂

  39. Red Arnie says:

    Oi FGG, 2-0 to the good guys! 🙂

  40. Eddie says:

    i am too nervous to breathe

  41. Aaron says:

    Play the same D that has not been allowing goals of late, and pull a Leicester City, put passes up the flanks with pace on either side. Just my lousy 1 cent.
    Go Gunners!

  42. fatgingergooner says:

    Even that might not be enough RA!

    Hoping for Suarez and Busquets red cards and 4-0 to Arsenal!

  43. Eddie says:

    I have a lovely new box 🙂

  44. Eddie says:

    Very funny PM 🙂 I was ROLFing until the Ramsey and Bellerin speculation. The prospect is real and sad, but rest of the post cheered me up again 😁

    If I didn’t know any better I’d thought you were on drugs, class A

    Thanks Raddy!!

  45. Le Coq Monster says:

    Our chances ?

  46. fatgingergooner says:

    No need to be nervous Eddie. We are expected to get beat and possibly embarrassed over the 2 legs so if anything we should all be really relaxed. Let’s enjoy the spectacle and who knows, we might surprise a few people.

    COYG!

  47. Le Coq Monster says:

    I`d rather have beaten Hull last Saturday !…………………………..or Manshafter on Sunday !………………….although I can understand the excitement of seeing the worlds best players, these occasions are for savouring, hope you attendies have a great night !. 🙂

  48. Big Raddy says:

    There are very few times when I wish I were back in London but tonight is certainly one of them

    I am pig-sick that I cannot join the AA’ers for a drink and perhaps a dinner at the Turkish followed by a fantastic occasion whatever the result.

    For once, being in Peaches pocket is not enough

  49. Red Arnie says:

    OK, off to Glasgow to watch the game with the Scottish Arsenal Supporters’ Club.

    COYG. 🙂

  50. Big Raddy says:

    Another 11/11 for the PM author 😀

  51. If you like Raddy you can perch on my shoulder 😉

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

    Brilliant stuff BR

    Coyrrg

  53. kelsey says:

    1 goal in 40 games totally out of form and the Ox starts for width on the right. No room for Welbeck or Walcott, oh well, good luck lads

  54. Big Raddy says:

    FFS kelsey Get a grip. We haven’t kicked off yet!

  55. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Is it a better view than your pocket?

  56. Rasp says:

    I’m in the FFB with GoonerB, Micky, ant and duck on their way to the ground. I feel more confident as the game approaches 🙂

  57. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Have a sherbert on me

  58. fatgingergooner says:

    I actually think we’ve got a real chance of getting a good result tonight, but I just can’t see us having enough over the 2 legs.

    Can’t wait for kick off. Hopefully Ox can show why he’s an Arsenal player and why Wenger has faith in him.

  59. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy 🙂 I’ve just ordered some Thai curry with chilliest to get me in the mood 🙂

  60. Big Raddy says:

    First awful refereeing decision from the referee. Neymar falling like a ??

  61. kelsey says:

    Ramseyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  62. Big Raddy says:

    First yellow against Arsenal after only 9 minutes and Monreal’s first tackle.

  63. Rasp says:

    Great start, we’re the better team so far

  64. Eddie says:

    Raddy – view of what?

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Behave.

    would like to see us hold the ball and pass it around a little instead of continually playing on the counter

  66. Rasp says:

    Another bent ref 😦

  67. Eddie says:

    🙂 well raddy, view of the pitch is bound to be better from her shoulder 🙂

    We are the better team!
    Ox.

  68. Eddie says:

    Rasp – that’s what I was just about to type!!!!

  69. fatgingergooner says:

    Brilliant so far. Could be 2 up. Not sure about this ref!

  70. Rasp says:

    Cheating diving bastards, how can they be considered the best team in the world when they cheat like that ??

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Ref is not doing us any favours. Horrible performance so far

  72. Eddie says:

    would it be worth it winding Suarez up a bit? Ok, one of our players would lose a limb or two, but we could do them with 10 men 🙂

  73. fatgingergooner says:

    Diving bastards!

  74. Rasp says:

    This is a farce, the ref clearly has an agenda. After the stuff at FIFA how can we doubt there is underhand stuff going on?

  75. fatgingergooner says:

    Very good half. Kept our shape really well and looked the more dangerous at times. Barca like a boxer though who does nothing for 2 minutes and then turns it on for the last minute to impress the judges and steal the round. Suarez should’ve scored.

    We need to be more clinical in attacking areas. We don’t get in them enough to be wasteful.

    Maybe the media and fans have given this Barca side a little too much respect. They are special, but human.

  76. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’m not sure the ref has been too bad, we are causing our own problems where we’ve been forced to foul because we have temporarily lost shape.

    But I will say something, Barca haven’t pressed us anywhere near as much as they usually do so that when we have broken it’s not been into acres of space. They probably don’t want to make the mistake of tiring early and also they respect that we can hurt them on a break.

    We’ve made good use of it when we’ve had it at the back but they are marshalling Ozil well with Mascherano coming out from the back to help. I would replace Ox as it seems like he is struggling with Theo to give Mascherano a bigger gamble to make.

    Mainly restricting Barca to cross field diagonals is good for us. But we have to be tight to their wide men, when they do get it down and cut in our whole defence is shifting across and it’s causing empty channels on the opposite side that can easily be picked out.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Terrific half both both teams. Really enjoyable.

    Referee clearly pro-Barca which is disappointing but hardly surprising (do they bring their own?)

    Ox missing a couple of good chances and surely we will see Welbeck or Walcott in the second half.

    Ramsey and Coquelin immense as is Koscielny

  78. Eddie says:

    I thought it was hilarious that with Messi and Neymar on the pitch some 50k+ people were singing for Ollie 🙂

    Neymar’s out of this world

  79. RA says:

    Very happy with that – can’t ask for more than that and our pressing tactic at times is superb.

    Fingers crossed we can keep it up for the second half. 🙂

  80. fatgingergooner says:

    Would love to see Welbeck on for half hour. I think it’s made for him on the counter with the space we are being afforded down their left. He is more aware of those around him than Ox and Theo so we might keep the ball a bit better.

    I also thought they would press us more. We seem to be able to get to half way quite easily. Maybe they are wary with them being away from home.

  81. Rasp says:

    I’m surprised the Ox hasn’t got a fracture after seeing the slo-mo of the tackle

  82. Gööner In Exile says:

    Think Ox was a bit silly first time round I felt like he could of avoided impact, almost felt like he might be able to hurt Mascherano

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Strange to see us so defensive. It is one thing being tight at the back but we have to try and get men forward

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    Got to calm down….we are letting the crowd influence our press, over commit and we are leaving three on three and that’s a dangerous game.

  85. fatgingergooner says:

    If Giroud had gone down like Alba did then Alba is sent off.

  86. Rasp says:

    How can anyone say this ref hasn’t been got at?

  87. Big Raddy says:

    What a horrendous cheat Danny Alves is

  88. Gööner In Exile says:

    Of all the Barca players the one I still enjoy watching the most is Iniesta.

  89. Eddie says:

    some atmospeher, ey?

  90. Big Raddy says:

    Bum. We didn’t deserve that

  91. Gööner In Exile says:

    See lost our shape and got carried away…..now we’ve got it all to do.

  92. fatgingergooner says:

    Gutted. Simply more clinical than us. If we had their forwards we’d be 3 or 4 up. That’s the sort of situations we’ve had that we’ve failed to do anything with.

  93. Big Raddy says:

    Why take off OG? He was really good tonight apart from a couple of stupid misplaced passes

  94. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’m not sure we’ve had any real opportunities to run 2 on 2 or 3 on 3 and that’s what we’ve allowed them when we have got carried away must keep our shape better.

  95. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE,

    It’s no coincidence our shape went after an hour as we suddenly looked pretty tired. We had to score in order to keep confidence and energy up and we didn’t do that. Not good enough at putting our chances away and it’s been the story for 2 months.

  96. Big Raddy says:

    OH Flamini you fool.

    Two stupid mistakes and we are two down. So disappointing when we have played so well.

    I guess the difference is MSN 😭

  97. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’m pissed off with that.

    For me I felt we had the game, we’ve been in these situations before and the players need to keep their cool when the crowd is urging them on. And as soon as we over commit we are open. And there was simply no need to over commit our men forward. Barca are never going to ask Messi, Neymar and Suarez to drop that deep, so when we go forward we simply can’t ask our full backs to join in.

    I’m disappointed because I think we had a very good chance the longer we kept it 0-0 the game lasts 180 minutes and goals in the second ninety are far more valuable and worth going for than in the first ninety when we haven’t really given them a sniff for seventy minutes.

  98. Rasp says:

    We are 2 world class players off being as good as them 😦

  99. RA says:

    I am sad – it was a good effort, and two silly goals to concede – but if we are being honest they are better than we are – and Flamini proves that all too well.

    That said, we were not disgraced. Worried about the second leg tho.

  100. Big Raddy says:

    I never want to see Flamini in an Arsenal shirt again. He did well for us whilst Coquelin was injured but he has always been sub AFC standard.

    It would be a vast exaggeration to say he cost us the game but his performance was awful.

    We had blokes who tried hard but ultimately we were not as good as Barca – who is?

  101. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. If I buy the box do I have to buy the ticket?

  102. Rasp says:

    Our game plan worked for 70 minutes, I’m not sure i’d blame the crowd, the players were tiring and Barca had the better finishers when it can to it

  103. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. It was a plan. Defend deep for 70 minutes and then become more expansive for the final 20. We have dome this before and won, tonight we got caught by a brilliant forward line.

  104. fatgingergooner says:

    I think the most frustrating thing is nothing happened in that game which we didn’t predict before it. We knew we had to score when chances came up and we didn’t, they did.

    I would rest a few in the Nou Camp and concentrate on trophies we have a chance in.

    Looking forward to the United game. Should be another belter.

  105. fatgingergooner says:

    Got to agree with Rasp. Swap Ox and Giroud for Messi and Suarez and we win that game quite easily. I thought the game plan was good, we played very well from GK to Özil, but ultimately fell down trying to get the ball in the net.

    It’s nothing new. We’ve all known for a while that we need to improve on Giroud and our RW position to be a top side. Today just proved that. As usual we are very close, but until those 2 positions are sorted we are not a side capable of winning the CL. The PL on the other hand….

  106. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rasp I’m blaming the players not the crowd, you understand a crowd gets excited but as players you have to stick to your jobs and not be carried away with the moment.

    Just watch the goal, we have five men forward of the ball, Alexis, Theo, OG, Rambo and Ozil. Coquelin has a decision retreat or go forward he goes forward and takes himself out of the game now that’s 6 ahead of the ball, now BFG is left in no mans land because of the space vacated by Coq, now Koz has a decision to make follow his man Suarez or hold his ground, he chases the ball, leaving Nacho an impossible job.

    All avoidable first Coq holds and less of a problem, Koz should let Suarez go to the wing on his own, less of a problem.

    It’s these small moments that win big games you have to make the right decisions.

  107. Rasp says:

    Yes I agree with that GiE

  108. Gööner In Exile says:

    So you know why I’m peeved 😦

    Because despite all the quality they possess when we kept the ball in front of us we were doing well. And were able to break when we could and give them a couple of problems. It wasn’t like they were making us move around that much.

    I get that it’s difficult for us with players who are used to having the ball it’s understandable they want to make better use of it.

  109. Rasp says:

    Yes I get that too, as I said before, we were excellent for 70 minutes, a message should’ve gone out to the team to say nil nil draw is a good result for us keep it the same

  110. Rasp says:

    I’m still suspicious about Barcelona’s ability to keep going for so long, I can’t believe this is achieved simply by just training techniques

  111. Gööner In Exile says:

    Did you realise there is a strange new post Rasp?

  112. Aaron says:

    It is called doping and Spain (Most of the World too!) is notorious for having athletes use the juice! Just sayin’…..
    Hope Ox, Ram and Coq are ok. Really should be focusing on PL Title this year-period!

  113. Le Coq Monster says:

    Good try and Arsene obviously had to play his best team and squad available, but now I hope Arsene uses some common sense intelligence and plays a stratch team in the return to avoid any injuries ( and the so called fatigue ). Take a leaf out of Pellegrinis book, where he prioritised their CL game over the FA Cup and played a youth team against The Chavs.
    We need to prioritise The FA Cup and League. Manshafter Std played last night and will play a full team against Midgetland on Thursday and then they have us on Sunday, so no stupid excuses from us on Sunday about fatigue shit !.
    I cant believe I`m going to say this, but we also need a Spud win in the EL against Fiorentina, if they get knocked out after losing also to Palace then we can definately kiss the EPL goodbye !.
    So dont be a mug Arsene, you know it makes sense to play the stiffs against Barca !……………and dont be a mug again !….play a full team against Hull……like you should have done in the first game as that is probably our only chance of a trophy again .

  114. Le Coq Monster says:

    Look guys !….if you want to have stamina you need to do a lot of distance running and speed work outs, it`s all down to hard graft. These boys have been playing football all their lives, thay are already at the top of their skill level……..the likes of Messi aint going to get any better skill wise, they already have it, to be better at their level is just to be super fit. We were built to run, it`s in our DNA as hunters !.
    I can say this through experience and of being in a running club and a daughter who has a BA in Sports Science.
    The accountants on here dont like it when a van driver tells them about the clubs finances, so unless you are Mo Farah, dont talk to me about fitness stamina ! hahaha

  115. 1979Gunner says:

    We played fairly well and ultimately 2 mistakes cost us the game/tie. Coquelin deciding to back pass when were in the ascendency and Wenger’s decision to bring on Flamini. Neither are good enough for Arsenal.

  116. Rasp says:

    They’re blaming Mertesacker for both goals on the radio?

  117. fatgingergooner says:

    The first one he stepped up 10 yards into their half and tried to intercept a pass whivh he failed to get this leaving a huge hole for Kos to cover. The second he controlled the ball to Flamini when he could’ve possibly cleared it.

    The first was a shocker from most of the team, the 2nd was poor play from him and Flam.

    As a whole I thought we played very well for a large part of the game. I don’t see any point in blaming players as we were just beaten by better individuals.

  118. Red Arnie says:

    Sad, but proud of the boys. Good evening with the Scottish Gooners. Nice bunch.

  119. GoonerB says:

    Back late and just about to hit the land of zzzz’s. Anyway firstly it was a pleasure to catch up with the stalwart Vines bros, Mr Rasper, and my doppelgangerviewonarsenalchap the purist 🙂

    I was really quite pleased with what I saw tonight. Personally I accept that they are slightly ahead of us, but I have always maintained we are very close. As such I can accept an exiting of the ECL at their hands, if that happens to transpire. I would, however, want it to be with a follow up big showing at their place, so that they know they had experienced a really difficult tie. This would give us confidence in our current ability and also put a marker down for next season.

    The more important games are Utd and Spuds away and if we play as we did tonight we can win this EPL, which for me is more important this year.

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    FGG’s 10.05 sums it up for me.

    Received the usual Spurs p -taking emails last night so did a little research before responding …

    The only time Spurs have played Barca was 35 years ago – they lost, and they last won the FAC 25 years ago. That cheered me up 😀

  121. chas says:

    I’m not too disappointed this morning as it was more or less what we all expected.
    It was a shame we couldn’t hold our discipline when we were on top. Their goal changed the game entirely.

    My main memory of last night was the bloke behind me screaming that Giroud should have gone down when he felt Alba’s forehead on his nose ‘exactly like they would do’.
    I’m proud that we don’t behave as Barcelona do on the football field.

  122. Big Raddy says:

    chas. True. Jordi Alba and Alves were disgraceful though had it been in the penalty area I would hope OG would have flopped like Rooney

  123. chas says:

    I didn’t even realise Alba had acted as if he’d been caught by Joe Frazier in the run up to that incident.
    No replays in the ground means you miss a lot of the detail while seeing more of the overall picture.

  124. chas says:

    I know these xG models and stuff are a load of hokum….
    Though when I saw this over someone’s shoulder on the tube, I thought, ‘that pretty much describes the game I saw’.
    Neck and neck until the first goal, then tits up. 🙂

  125. Big Raddy says:

    Me too.

    Still onwards and upwards

  126. chas says:

    This is a bit harsh. 🙂

  127. chas says:

  128. chas says:

    Apparently the Hull v Arse replay cannot be on March 8th or 9th because of the Champions League games scheduled for those nights.
    Utterly absurd.

    For Tuesday March 8th the games are
    Real Madrid v Roma
    VfL Wolfsburg v KAA Gent

    Is a Hull v Arse replay going to affect those two games in any way imaginable?

    “The major problem in finding a date is UEFA’s insistence that major games do not clash with Champions League dates – which wipes out the middle of that week.
    Ignoring that edict in the past cost the English game £1million in their share of European television money when UEFA punished them in 2013.”

  129. chas says:

    Sorry, I’m boring everyone talking about football……..

  130. Eddie says:

    I couldn’t believe that Barcelona, Barca, the best team in the world could behave like they did last night. Disgusting.

    Good to know that Wenger is still 5% convinced we can make it to the next stage 🙂 I am on my way

  131. chas says:

    Eddie
    An early goal at the Camp Nou might put a pigeon among the Catalans. 🙂

  132. Eddie says:

    chas – thank you for the box, it is lovely. Oh, and the ticket 🙂

  133. chas says:

    Thank you for all the Arsenal stuff (and the infamous box). 🙂
    The lad at work will love it.

  134. chas says:

    Last one before the purists come on to dissect the performance. 🙂

    Dani Alves upon seeing someone behave with grace and honour.

  135. Eddie says:

    Good! Glad to know it is going to a good home

  136. Eddie says:

    They can dessect all they want. I thought we put on a great performance. You show me another EPL team that could stand up to the Catalans.

    And the fans were magnificent

  137. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all
    Good to see everyone
    Great evening. Football fun. Let’s be honest they will always score more than us
    I do think Ox is lucky to get a start

    Now

    CATS IN BOXES

    this IS important

  138. fatgingergooner says:

    There’s a little bit of disappointment and annoyance at the game last night, but mostly I was happy with what went on. The disappointment is only there because the level of performance was good enough to make me think that we could’ve (maybe even should’ve) won that game last night. I suppose if we’d been outplayed and lost 4-0 then I’d probably be more at ease! So it’s well done to the lads really for actually making me think for 70 minutes at least that we could’ve got a result.

    The annoyance comes from our naivety and repeating the same mistakes we’ve made before. Its getting obvious now that these errors are not going to stop whilst the personnel are the same. If we’d defended the same way for the full 90 minutes we could’ve easily come away 0-0.

    What I want to see now is for us to reproduce the same level of desire and urgency in the rest of our domestic fixtures. If we play like that more often we will walk the league and cup, but we all know that’s not how it goes!

  139. Rasp says:

    Morning all, anyone care to write a short match report for today?

  140. Eddie says:

    gorgeous Gary is furious, and rightly so. This goal was disallowed 🙂 during Valencia v chavs u19

  141. fatgingergooner says:

    I thought Wenger was very honest in his assessment of the game last night. It was good to hear him point out all the faults that we all see, espescially the ones about poor finishing and naive defending. If we don’t buy an expensive striker in the summer then I will eat my cat!!😄

  142. Eddie says:

    it could have been a different story if Wenger offered a few mills more for Suarez. Instead we have to convince ourselves that there are no right strikers for us out there

  143. fatgingergooner says:

    Eddie,

    You just don’t get those problems when you have jumpers for goalposts!

  144. kelsey says:

    Barcelona are “95% through” to the Champions League quarter-finals, says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after his side lost 2-0 to the Spanish champions.

    The Frenchman blamed his team’s finishing and naivety for the home loss in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud missed chances for the Gunners before Barca scored the opener.

    “The way we finished our chances is a problem. I felt in the final third we missed something,” said Wenger.

    “Barcelona are through 95% but we want to go there and play. We will not go there and have absolutely no chance,” he added.

    Well for 8 million punds a year I think I would have said something more appropriate.
    We were never going to match one of the best two club sides in the world yet most agreed that for 45 minutes we contained them not domnate them, there is a huge difference.

    10 years on we are further apart from Barcelona after the Final in Paris.

    Players like Mertesacker and Flamini are a liability against top sides especially those that are lightning quick on the counter attack,Barca being the prime example.We have been unlucky drawing them so often in recent years but on many occasions we have cocked up ourselves by throwing away a winning chance of topping a group.

    We now have a difficult game against United on Sunday to add insult to injury.

    Why was The Ox even started he is totally out of form with one goal in 40 games and he missed a glorious half chance.

    Giroud did his best but it is obvious if we as a club want to really move up a level he isn’t the answer nor are one or two other of our high earning players.If ever that was apparent it was last night.

    I never expected us to win but expected better from some of our players.

    I will get my coat,sorry some of you don’t want to know the truth.We may not have a chance of winning the league again for a long time so AW wave your magic wand and install some confidence in this team for Sunday.
    You also made a huge mistage Me Wenger in not fielding your strongest team against Hull especially in light of what we saw last night and your futile post match statement.

  145. Big Raddy says:

    chas. 7.41. Wish I had a cat and could try that.

    On second thoughts – No. Don’t want a cat.

  146. Eddie says:

    FGG 🙂
    Kelsey – good summary. Ox is really annoying me now. I don’t do scape goating, but he is going backwards rather than improving. How could Wenger put him in the starting XI?

  147. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Perhaps if AFC had a board which was willing to spend €300m plus on a forward line instead of a stadium we and AW could expect better

  148. Eddie says:

    good point Raddy – we, the fans “suffered” the austerity during the stadium build. Now we have a beautiful stadium and the owners have more money from more tickets sales. Genius.

    It would have probably been better for the fans if we stayed at Highbury and had proper strikers to compete in CL

  149. kelsey says:

    Raddy

    It’s my view and don’t expect everyone or anyone to agree but there are major flaws in the team, not enought fight and I have to partially blame the manager.I am not saying we must suddenly spend 100’s of millions on players but the gap between us who could still win the PL and Barca is staggering.

  150. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Totally disagree about the fight. Every player gave 100% last night.

    But do agree about the personnel.

  151. kelsey says:

    Of course the fact that all our front men are misfiring at the moment didn’t help our cause.We are failing to score in far too many games recently.

    Sorry if my comments kill the blog but please don’t tell me we were unlucky. We haven’t been playing consistently well for months.

  152. Herb's Army says:

    Morning all.

    Come on, Kelsey, you know the drill.
    When you get flippant remarks like Eddie’s 8.29 regarding how much money Arsenal fans are making SK, you know it just doesn’t hurt enough. No pain, just bury our heads until our next win, and it’s all rosy again. How many years have we watched this scenario now? What is different now, two years on from Arsene Wenger being rewarded a new contract?
    We’re in the mindset now where humbling defeats are looked upon as heroic.
    Forget that we have a similar wage-bill to Bayern Munich, we’re only a ‘Men In Black’ flash-light away from eulogising about what a wonderful visionary manager we have. I often get him mixed up with Moses, but Moses actually delivered people to the promised land.
    But who among us would turn down £8m a year to continually keep falling ‘just’ short?
    Rinse and repeat.

  153. fatgingergooner says:

    The richest club in the world play in the same league as Barcelona and are nowhere near them.

  154. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. I feel we did ok yesterday and there is a lot to be optimistic about….providing we build upon it. I actually don’t think we are miles away in personnel from challenging those top sides. There will always be 3-4 areas that can be slightly improved but for me 2 expensive players sees us win that game.

    As a purist 🙂 I feel we miss a top class goal scoring left footed wide player that can operate on the right flank and a top striker. Put Bale and Lewandowski in yesterdays line up and with that performance and we win…..simples.

    AW’s biggest test is that he has collected too many similar players and he hates to upset his players, but the reality is that he will have to let a 1-2 favourites go to accommodate the expensive players that moves us up to that level.

  155. Herb's Army says:

    FGG

    Are we looking at other club’s failings to deflect our own?
    Even if Barcelona retain the CL this year, they’re still four behind the club ‘that are nowhere near them’.
    We’re eliminated at the Round of 16 for the sixth consecutive year.
    Arsenal are not progressing or getting better.

  156. Red Arnie says:

    motning all. nice batner.

    FGG. I suppose what you mean is a top striker, not necessarily an expensive one. The most expensive players are seldom that good. And in any case, they are not the Arsenal type. 😛

    Otherwise, I agree. We need to improve on Striker and RW.

  157. fatgingergooner says:

    I disagree with you Herb. We’ve won the FA Cup twice in a row and are challenging for the title, and have some genuine world class players. That’s progress on what I’ve seen in previous seasons.

    As for other clubs failings, I couldn’t give a shit about other clubs. The point I was making was about money and how it doesn’t guarantee success.

  158. Rasp says:

    New post ….

    It’s a nothing post but you all forced me into it 😦

  159. Herb's Army says:

    We were in pole position in the title race two years ago, and hastily saved our season by scraping past Wigan and Hull at Wembley.
    As has been discussed very recently on here, the FA Cup, while nice to win, doesn’t qualify as a major trophy anymore. All it did in 2014 was mask our failure to maintain a title challenge, and provide the club with an excuse to keep Arsene Wenger on.
    Let’s see where we are in May.
    Money spent intelligently guarantees success.

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