Arsenal Barcelona. Class prevails. As usual.

Last night The Arsenal took on Barcelona, while in Germany, Munich took on Juve.

In so many ways, both on and off the pitch, football mirrors society, and what resonated so loudly last night, was how the world’s top players are all crammed into four or five sides. Rather like the wealth gap in society widening by the minute, so the footballing giants are setting themselves so far apart from the also rans.

When I say also rans, I’m still talking about massive clubs, but nevertheless, the gulf in footballing class was so evident last night in Spain.

Barcelona simply didn’t need possession, space or time. They had the absolute world classiness of Messi, Neymar and Suarez, who they can be devastating either in space, or tightly packed penalty areas. Makes no difference, the smallest of opportunities and they devour them.

Make no mistake, I’m delighted we were playing at this highest of tables, and I’m equally delighted we fielded our strongest side. You have to measure yourself against the best to determine exactly where you fall short.

The Arsenal played hard, and certainly created goalscoring opportunities, but it would have taken a freak outcome (or a “Leicester” as I shall call it) for all the cards to fall into our laps in order to beat a Barcelona.

Freak results or outcomes prove nothing. The only common denominator amongst those with successful outcomes, is work rate and desire.

Last night proved only that class counts. A Barca front line with a market value of around £200M will always require a Black Swan scale event to be beaten by a front line valued in the region of £70M.

If the same Arsenal side took to the field against Everton, while putting in the same effort, I’d expect them to win.

MickyDidIt89

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112 Responses to Arsenal Barcelona. Class prevails. As usual.

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh come on lads, life isn’t that bad, or any worse than yesterday 🙂

  2. JM says:

    Player of the Match: Luis Suárez

  3. JM says:

    (In form) Luis Suárez
    Offence:19; Defence:8; Technique:18; Power:17; Speed:18; Stamina:15
    Total:95
    Skill: EL PISTOLERO (THE GUNMAN)
    Teamstyle: Offence-type (Middle-distance Shot emphasis)

    18min: (1 assist) slips a super pass into Neymar, who finds the bottom corner.
    34min: (1 clear chance creation) flicks a pass into Messi, who is then blocked by Gabriel.
    65min: (1 goal) sensationally finds the top corner with an excellent volley, from a cross by Alves.
    75min: (1 clear chance creation) works the ball back to Rakitic following excellent work between Roberto and Messi. Rakitic fires high and wide of the target.

  4. Red Arnie says:

    Sombre thoughts, Micky. Just brilliant. 🙂

    Sad, but not disappointed!

    For the first time, El Nino actually put his foot through the ball first time, and bingo. No time to think! There must be a lesson there for all our shooters.

    Welbz was excellent. It seems we have two styles of attack, one holding-up and one pace. I am not convinced about the undisputed virtues of one over the other. But the option of the two styles must be good.

    It looks like Welbz is fast making the “speed” option his own. I am a bit surprised, pleasantly surprised. When he first came to the club, I thoughthe would be at best a short run sub for the injured ponce. But no! Where this leaves Theo is an interesting question.

    Iwobi was very good, and I thought Easter was good as well. Bodes well for the future.

    Now, on to your OILER question, Micky. For me, it is question of what we want to do. My preferance would be to try and be different. Even if that means we are “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”.

    History will judge us. History does not (usually) judge followers of the herd well.

    Bottomline. I am much more happy with the bargain El Nino, Iwobi, Welbz, Giro s of the world than a single “superstar” of 80m+ value. Now, if we could get three such and create competition among them, that might be different.

    Onwards and upwards. 🙂

  5. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Mr Didit. A good assessment with the only logical conclusion being lets go and spend £200m on attackers. Purists of the world unite 🙂

    I have to say that I rather enjoyed the way we played and think we gave a very good account of ourselves. I actually feel we can be closer to the Barca level than many think with some tweaks in how we currently do things and a couple of additions ( one of them being Gareth Bale for £80m 🙂 ).

    Not here to ruffle any feathers but we looked so much better with a quick fluid interchanging front 3, complete with Ozil in behind pulling the strings and a solid 2 man midfield base.

    I am one who believes that goal-scoring and being clinical comes from confidence and having a settled front line that play together most of the time. Get that right and goals will come and once they do it becomes a confidence thing and more goals come. Our attacking set up has been wrong for some time.

    Not scoring some of our chances last night didn’t overly vex me. I was pleased that we opened them up and worried them as much as we did and if we stick to that type of formation the goals will come and then not stop.

    p.s win every game now (which we can) and I can still see us win the title. Learn from last night Arsene is all I will say.

  6. wally says:

    I think u r spot on Mick. Barcelona have another gear we’re not even close to.
    And it’s not down to money. They’ve only spent big on Neymar and Suarez. The rest are pretty much home grown.
    The Barca style has more speed, more technique, better movement, and despite all their success they were still the hungrier side.
    How we’re ever going to bridge that gulf is beyond me at the moment. Maybe you just have to wait. Although given their long history of success that may be a very long wait indeed.

  7. JM says:

    Barcelona’s Guvnor: Javier Mascherano

  8. JM says:

    (In form) Javier Mascherano (The midfielder-defender)
    Offence:12; Defence:19; Technique:15; Power:17; Speed:16; Stamina:17
    Total:96
    Skill: The Hunting Dog
    Teamstyle: Defence-type (Individual Defence emphasis)

    3min: Ozil finds Welbeck with a little pass inside the Barcelona box, but Mascherano is across to make a smart challenge.
    26min: Welbeck leaps high to challenge for an Ozil cross, but Mascherano and Mathieu just do enough to check the striker inside the box.
    35min: Big shout for Arsenal as Iwobi goes down inside the box under a challenge from Mascherano, but the referee is not interested.
    41min: Welbeck cannot fashion a clear shot on goal this time following excellent work from Arsenal down the left. Mascherano just about did enough to put the Englishman under last-minute pressure.
    58min: Wonderful chance for Arsenal as a poor header from Mathieu sends Welbeck away inside the Barcelona box, but Mascherano is across to make a super, super challenge.

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    Ter Stegan £10m
    Mascherano £20m
    Mathieu £20m
    Alves £30m
    Alba £10m
    Rakitic £18m

    They only had 3 ‘home grown’ players last night in Messi, Busquets and Iniesta, and those are not the sort of player you get coming through the academy very often!

    I believe it is possible to compete but only if recruitment is spot on (not easy) and if your confidence is high going into games. Confidence is the x-factor in all teams and can make average players very good, and very good players average (Leicester, Chelsea).

    I like the fact Welbeck is starting the big games. That tells me Wenger would prefer to play the more fluid strikers, but I still think we can improve on 2 of the 3 positions. Maybe Welbeck can improve his own game enough to fill one of them, but we definitely need another and I’d take Morata from Juve all day if he was available.

    Let’s not also forget our team consisted of 2nd choice GK, new CB pairing, 3rd choice DM, new CM, young winger, and a CF coming back from injury, and a team with little form or confidence. Not exactly our best against their best over 2 legs.

  10. JM says:

    Starting team vs Barcelona last match:
    Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny, Gabriel, Monreal; Elneny, Flamini; Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis; Welbeck

    – Iwobi can fast-track to be a regular in the starting team; He has “the Augustine “Jay-Jay” Okocha” traits & DNA in him, and is useful alongside Özil in creativity department (Iwobi can only improve). AW trusts to start him away to Barcelona in a CL match proves his value and rise in team.

    – Elneny gets his spot as one of the starting DM/CM in the team’s engine room with his performances (vs Barcelona and whenever he has played). The other spot is between Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Flamini and Wilshere: whether the team sets up either more offensively or defensively.

  11. Shard says:

    In terms of keeping the ball, I don’t think we can ever match them. Mainly because the English league doesn’t promote or protect that style of play. So while we might be able to beat them, in terms of the overall passing routines, until we can play week in and week out without being ‘fouled’ by the opposition, our technical abilities and pattern of play can’t reach that same level.

    In terms of goalscoring. I don’t think it’s as much a chasm as the 200m vs 70m. We can score goals. We opened them up fairly regularly yesterday. Our finishing this season is well below our norm. But yes another striker would help.

    Elneny made a great case yesterday for ball playing midfielders. Ramsey isn’t that, and with Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla all out (1 always injured and 2 of them aging) we need to have more players like that in the middle. Flamini and Coquelin both gave the ball away too easily.

    Iwobi looked great because he’s good at pass and move, and has the technique to keep the ball. Like Elneny, a good case for having midfielders who can pick out a pass and don’t need to dawdle on the ball either. Actually, I think it was a very good call to play him and a must be a great experience for him.

    Theo, I have given up on I’m afraid. For a while he was a very good right winger. But now he isn’t and he’s only had two good games as a striker, one of which he went off injured in. If we sold Podolski for doing nothing but wait around to score goals, then I don’t see why we shouldn’t sell Walcott, because right now, he isn’t managing to do even that (scoring) His technique is worse than Podolski’s was, his finishing is worse (I think). All he offers is speed, and when you can’t make the right runs or control the ball then that isn’t of much use. Sorry GoonerB 🙂 . I didn’t intend to rant against Walcott. I like him. but I don’t see him as anything but a liability at this point. Maybe he’ll score a hattrick on Saturday.

  12. fatgingergooner says:

    Shard,

    I think you’ve touched on a common problem there for Arsenal and all English clubs. The PL style of play requires certain attributes or certain types of player that aren’t necessarily going to be an asset in the CL. Coquelin and Flamini giving the ball away is a perfect example. Busquets certainly doesn’t have that problem, yet in the PL Coquelin’s stamina and added bite would give him an advantage over Busquets. Then you’ve got the robust forward play of someone like Giroud. Is it that an advantage in the CL, or are you better playing the pace of Welbeck?. Maybe this is one of the reasons Wenger has held on to Giroud, as he feels the PL needs someone with a bit more power who can play 30+ games a season.

  13. Red Arnie says:

    FGG. Fair point about the fitness of Giro

  14. Red Arnie says:

    and about our giving the ball away.

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Thank you. I was satisfied with parts of our performance.

    Sanchez is a worry. How can such a wonderful player go through a number of months being crap?

    I agree with Shard about the difference in play between the PL and CL. Barca gave us space to play which PL clubs wouldn’t allow especially in midfield. They also play at a slower tempo – a Latin quick, slow, slow, quick.

    If Everton play in the same style as Barca then we will hammer them because a team has to be very special to take such risks.

  16. Red Arnie says:

    Shard. About Theo, yes, I think its a pity that there was an attempt to play him centrally. This appears to have spoilt him game completely. However, hindsight is a fantastic gift

  17. chas mobile says:

    Cheers, Micky.
    Yep, they’re better than us and would beat us 9 times out of 10 at least.

    It would be so interesting to see how they’d get on playing in the Prem. The ‘ they don’t like it up ’em’ attitude of many of the Prem teams plus little protection from our refs would leave them short of players after a couple of months.
    Could they do it on a freezing cold evening in Stoke without UEFA’s protection? I doubt it. 🙂

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Shard

    Sorry, I really can’t chat today as I’m really tied up, however, your comment about the problems faced by English Clubs was on the tip of my tongue as I launched into my opening line of “Last night The Arsenal took on Barcelona, while in Germany, Munich took on Juve”.

    A rushed job of a post this morning prevented me from expanding on that point, but I was going to tie everything in with exactly that issue.

    It is a massive topic in it’s own right.

  19. chas mobile says:

    Yep, agree with that, too, BR.
    Wenger picked a team last night with the fabled speedy, fluid attack as he realised the opposition would give us space to play in that way, confident they could match us blow for blow.
    Leicester tried it at home and regretted it.

  20. Rasp says:

    Thanks Micky, most of the responses have already been covered by others. I think we put out the right team last night and played the game in the right way. Barca are better than us but they are definitely beatable.

    I agree with Raddy and others about Alexis and hope that AW doesn’t see him as undroppable, I would have taken him off rather than Welbeck. I know he tries really hard etc but he hangs on to the ball way too long, Iwobi on the other hand keeps the ball moving and brings other players in to play.

    Elneny would be a starter in all games for the rest of the season if I was picking the team. He seems to understand the midfield role better than the other available options.

  21. fatgingergooner says:

    Look at what Atletico have managed to do in the Spanish League playing a more PL style. It just shows how difficult Barca would find it.

    The real question is how would Arsenal do in La Liga?

  22. Red Arnie says:

    FGG. Arsenal would come in third most often, fourth on the odd occassion. I think.

  23. Shard says:

    I didn’t think Alexis was poor yesterday. Poor by his standards, yes. And on one occasion his touch let him down when we might expect him to create a shooting opportunity for himself or one of his teammates.

    But I don’t think he was as bad as is being made out. Even in the Watford game, people were criticising not bringing him off, but I thought he did well second half when he came central in terms of making some space by dribbling past people and playing cross field balls. He’s finding his touch I think. It’ll come. But will it come in time for the next game?

  24. fatgingergooner says:

    Agree about Elneny, Rasp. As for Sanchez, I think I’d like to see him play through his bad form rather than being dropped. If we had better options then fair enough, but just the thought of what he can do scares the opposition. He will come good again.

    I think what the injuries and midfield partnerships have shown us this season is that there are 3 very different midfield positions (HM, CM, AM) and each requires a very specific skill-set and it is very difficult to balance. The signing of Elneny means we have sorted the CM position (Cazorla or Elneny) but we still need a HM to improve on Coquelin, and we still need Ramsey and Wilshere to figure out how they fit in the system. Is Ramsey now a RW and cover for Özil?

    If I was Wenger I’d also be looking to ship Giroud and Walcott out and buy a quick striker and a quick winger. I think having a plan B is overrated and I would rather us have a clear vision of what we want to do and stick all our eggs in that basket. Iwobi and JRA would be in my squad next season.

  25. Rasp says:

    I’m an Alexis fan FGG, but I think maybe Campbell is a better option at the moment (was he injured for last night?)

  26. Red Arnie says:

    There I disagree, FGG. I would like us to be in the market for a better holding striker than Giro.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    FGG, GB and other Giroud-deniers! 😀

    The clear vision will remain the same: a holding striker around whom two all-round mid-wingers, two flying wing-backs, a nr10 and a b2b operate to attack our opponents. Plan B is Welbeck as CF when the opponent offers us space, time and many opportunities to finally score one or two goals.

    Giroud scores 0.55 PL goals a game (12) this season and then…. Alexis, Ozil, Theo, Ox, Santi, Rambo and Campbell managed 25 between them. Buy a beast of a CF everybody keeps telling Wenger… I know what I would tell them if I was him…

  28. RockyLives says:

    Some great points here today – from Micky’s (all the evidence certainly does seem to show that the more you spend the more likely you are to win trophies) – to Shard’s observation that the Premier League, by its nature, does not allow for teams to emerge playing Barca style football.

    Chas’s comment about imagining an injury ravaged Barca playing a freezing midwinter game at Stoke says it all…. 15 minutes in and one of those Barca darlings has his leg snapped… let’s see how they play then.

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    He he he, so we’re all agreed then. We need a new striker and a new right winger. Same as last summer, then.

    And what did we get? Oh yes, someone standing geographically as far from both positions as it’s possible to be.

    An ‘effing goal keeper. Cosmic 🙄 🙂

  30. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t think there is a better holding striker than Giroud. He’s right up there with what he does, but it’s not the game to play anymore. How many of the best teams play a holding striker?

    Bayern – Lewandowski
    Juventus -Morata
    Chelsea – Costa
    City – Aguero
    Barca – Suarez
    Real – Benzema
    Dortmund – Aubemeyang

    Most if not all of these can hold the ball but are not out and out holding strikers. They all have a attribute Giroud doesn’t, enough pace and quick enough movement to get away from defenders. PSG are maybe a exception but then Ibrahimovic is an exceptional talent.

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    The only reason we have stuck with Giroud is because of that list of players. How many other strikers are there that are better than Giroud that are not on that list and are available? Maybe Cavani? Risky at the price. Maybe Sturridge? Injury prone.

    It’s not easy to find what we want and that’s why we carry on with Giroud. Not because we want to play with a holding striker, but because we can’t get what we want. That’s what I believe anyway.

  32. fatgingergooner says:

    That’s also why I believe we will see more of Welbeck at CF once he’s fully fit.

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    Campbell would be my starter on the opposite side. I just don’t see Wenger dropping Sanchez for Iwobi or Walcott at the moment. He may opt to play Welbeck left and Giroud up front I suppose but I’d prefer Welbeck through the middle if possible.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    That is an argument that I hear year after year. Every summer Wenger is supposedly looking to improve on Ollie but just cannot find mr Right. Absolute nonsense in my book. Wenger knows his career will not go on forever so if he wanted a top striker he would get one, even if it had to be one of that list. I have said this before on here, but I will say it again: Wenger really knows what a typically good CF looks like and there is no doubt in my mind that he would have gotten us one if he wanted to. Giroud, as a holding striker has been plan-A for a long time. He may change it this summer but I very much doubt it.

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    TA,

    It’s already changed. From the FA Cup Final up until Walcott got injured, Theo was starting more regularly upfront than Giroud and was playing in the bigger games. When Walcott came back from injury we needed him out wide and Giroud continued in his CF role. Now we are seeing Welbeck coming back and once again Giroud’s starting place is under threat. None of this makes me think that Giroud and a hold up striker are plan A.

    I guess we won’t be agreeing on this one! 😄

  36. Eczelo says:

    I sincerely agree with you Micky on Barca harbouring the best attacking trio in world football history. Looking at both games in Munich and Barcelona, Only one team had the fitting 2 have all class clamped into one. Seeing what Leicester is doing in EPL nobody now, how abt d oda side of Madrid (Athletico) dat is nt compared 2 us in class and quality of players. We were simply better than Barca yesterday. We lacked as always- belief and efficiency in our finishing. Was glad 2 see Hector beat yoyo Alba 4 speed and get some cross in, did hold his own against Neymar. Ok, in Munich except 4 maybe Lewy, Muller and whoelse, one on one we are nt even below them in quality. But they believed, fought and were efficient. Coman is no better than the Ox or Theo, nor is Thiago better than Ozil, neither is Lewy better than Sanchez. But Guardiola right now is better than Arsene. It’s either Arsene accepts that his team has lost belief and ability and work on improving them or he makes way 4 a hungrier coach who is not under the protection of a 20-year legacy or an unbeaten season or a new and Lucrative stadium. Arsene is and will still be the best Manager in the world football history but never the best coach unless he can start doing it. I still trust him.

  37. fatgingergooner says:

    Eczelo,

    It’s an interesting point you make. When Arsene came to the club we were in need of a manager. Somebody who could improve the structure of the club, the way we do things, the financial side of the operation, stadium etc but now that we have all those things in place, we don’t need someone to be careful with money and worry about what goes on off the field. We just need a world class coach who can make us as good as we can be. Is Arsene that man?

  38. paulista says:

    If Wenger believes a 5-2 aggregate scoreline against Barcelona is acceptable then he’s more of a fraud than i thought

  39. Red Arnie says:

    ya ya ya. how many other teams play our style? not many. precisely the point. we are The Arsenal, and we are different. 😛

  40. Red Arnie says:

    FGG. fair point though. 🙂 it is a very thin market full of lemons. not much chance of striking gold here. 😦

  41. Rasp says:

    It was 5-1 Paulista 🙂

  42. Red Arnie says:

    FGG. Just to reiterate Total’s point. “Giroud scores 0.55 PL goals a game”. How many does Welbz? Theo? Campbell? Even Alexis? hmmm. 🙂

  43. Red Arnie says:

    Rasp. brilliant. 🙂

  44. paulista says:

    Rasp

    My apologies 5-1, are you up for a vocal demonstration against the board and the manager next time you are at the Emirates…?

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    I am Paulista, so long as we can begin with:

    “Gentlemen. If you wouldn’t mind awfully, and of course in your own good time, would it be at all possible to sit down over luncheon and have a chat. Thing is, one or two of the chaps…..

    ie no shouty rude banners

  46. GoonerB says:

    Some brilliant comments. Well done Didit for enticing them all out but I think you could have taken the non purists to task a bit more 🙂

    Shard, your first point about how the EPL doesn’t allow us to develop that Barcelona style game is spot on. I have thought that for a while and I think even said it at some point.

    Shard your later comment of :

    “Theo, I have given up on I’m afraid. For a while he was a very good right winger. But now he isn’t and he’s only had two good games as a striker”

    He has only had 2 games as a striker so a 100% performance rate then Shard 🙂

    Seriously though, it is not about Walcott, it is about the mobile striker vs T.A’s holding striker. Without looking back I remember Walcott starting at WBA and the cup final last season, and this season Olympiacos at home, Leicester away and Utd at home. There may be a couple more striker starts but I can’t remember them.

    Olympiacos was a bad game for everyone, Walcott included, other than that how did we play in those other games? Seriously just look back at the games we actually played well in and look at the formations and starting players in each position…….which leads me to…..T.A 🙂 :

    “FGG, GB and other Giroud-deniers!”

    T.A your auto correct function obviously changed the word “realists” to “deniers” 🙂

    T.A, Welbeck as plan B and Giroud as plan A? I can think of a few words beginning with A that would suitably describe this 🙂 If Arsene still knows what a good striker looks like and this is Wengers master-plan then how has it been working out for us?

    Being out-scored by the Spuds, among others. Ollie has been with us 4 years and we have been building towards a so called title winning squad, due to more finances being available, for maybe 3, with the addition of top players over those last 3 years to help us achieve that. We have won 2 F.A cups, which I am happy about, but flattered to deceive in all other aspects.

    The first F.A cup we had to claw back at the death. Exciting yes, but carried out like a top side, no. The second F.A cup we played well and dominated, and what was our attacking line up that day?

    Sorry T.A, as I say I don’t come on just to ruffle feathers 🙂

  47. GoonerB says:

    p.s if you are right T.A and Arsene is continuing with his holding striker master-plan next year…..shiver shiver shiver…..

  48. Rasp says:

    Hi Paulista, I’m afraid that is not my style. The thing is, supporting the team and The Arsenal, and demonstrating against the manager and Board seem to be two conflicting approaches.

    I do have my concerns about the way things are, but I don’t see how your course of action will help. The reality is that there is no way of dislodging the owner – so let’s not waste our energy on that one, and in purely economic terms, the supporters don’t have the influence they would like to think …. all a bit sad but true.

    Now if some of our major sponsors pulled out and the value of the shares plummeted then we might see some form of action.

    But as FGG pointed out in his post 2 days ago, it’s much better to cast all that from our minds and just concentrate on trying to be the best supporters we can.

  49. fatgingergooner says:

    GB,

    From the FA Cup Final to Theo getting injured, he started 10 times upfront compared to Girouds 8.

    RA,

    We would have to look at just the games where those players start as CF to see their goals per game ratio.

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    FGG

    For goodness sake don’t call Red Arnie by his initials. Those are the domain of The American

    One has a beard and is living in Scotland
    The other doesn’t and isn’t

    🙂

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    GB
    If Arsene is continuing down that path next season, you and me Matey are off to live as prostitutes in Grimsby, so get bloody praying Sunbeam

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    FGG

    Wenger is clearly not going to play OG for all 50+ games and will, depending on the opponent, use other central attackers but OG as holding CF is clearly our main plan

  53. RA says:

    How great to see you, TA, and giving some straight forward, no nonsense comments. Love it! 🙂

    You are right about Giro being AW’s go-to man.

  54. fatgingergooner says:

    Sorry Red Arnie!

    What would your prostitute name be Micky?
    How about Davids Seemen, Shave Bald, Arse-on Member, Alloveryou Giroud, Patrick Behairy, Lee Dicksin etc etc 😄

  55. chas says:

    Fisherman’s Friend

  56. RA says:

    Darling, Micky, a noble Post and swiftly written, or not, I could find only a head-nodding agreement with it. 😀

    The fact is, one only has to ask, how do Barça come up with the gems like that forward line of theirs? Or Real Madrid with some of the most talented and expensive players in world football?

    Oops, I think there may have been a clue in the question. Money.

    Money may well be the root of all evil, but it also supplies wonderful footballers, so call me s tart, or call me Sabrina, but in this day and age, I am all for joining the spend-a-lots and buying top, top quality players. Let’s face it the skill and the wonderful entertainment on display from Barça was superlative – so colour me in for some more, please, and if it is from Arsenal all the better 🙂

    Thank you by the way for trying to prevent confusion caused by the Fat Ginger guy and Rocky, or is that Ricky, who have been making free with my avatar name when addressing someone else.

    The guys played well last night, altho I am not sure they believed in themselves, and if they had put their left foots in their left boots, and ditto their right foots – in the right boots, not in the same left foots boots – we might well have scored another couple ourselves – wouldn’t have changed the result, but would have given us something more to cheer. 🙂

    Allez les Micky puristes.

  57. fatgingergooner says:

    Blowie Barton 😂😂😂😂

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    GB 🙂

    It could well be that Wenger will depart from the HS position altogether, or he will recruit to make it work better. Look, I am roughly from the same generation as Marco van Basten and like you, and goal-addict Micky, I love top quality CFs. Van Basten was a joy to watch: technically perfect with both feet and head, great strength and good speed and a master of the perfect goal.

    But I can see why Wenger wants to use Wenger as the attacking, mobile pivot with goals coming from the nr10, b2b and especially the mid-wingers. 25 goals from those positions is for me a far bigger problem than Ollie ‘only’ scoring 0.55 goals per game.

    So the key question is how can we get more from those other positions whilst also getting more goals from the (holding) CF?

  59. Red Arnie says:

    FGG and Micky. 🙂 My apologies, Redders! 🙂

  60. RA says:

    Hiya, Total, 🙂

    So, you “can see why Wenger wants to use Wenger as the attacking, mobile pivot etc” ….. careful – you may have spent too long reading the camel wormer’s comment logic. 🙂

  61. RA says:

    Not your fault, Arnie. 🙂

  62. RA says:

    TA,

    While I agree with your general point re Giro, I also think he is a whole-hearted, decent, if old fashioned CF, who gives us a useful tool with his heading ability, both in attack and and in defence.

    The fly in the ointment is that he is so one footed that he has missed goals throughout the season by allowing the ball to roll across his body so that he can biff it with his left hoof, only to have defenders to nip in and thwart him. And there is nothing like a thwarting!! 🙂

    He is like the British Marmite — some love it (so I have been told 🙂 )whilst others hate it – I am in the middle – and if AW wanted to admit it, he too would like to replacement. [OK, I cannot speak for Arsene, but there were many rumours of failed attempts to sign this CF or that CF during last summer].

    He has my respect – and he also has pretty good goal stats really — but his flicks and flacks don’t always help his team-mates.

    That said – the whole team are on a downer, and I am not at all sure he gets the service any CF needs. [Maybe Micky in his alter ego as Mitzy Flamingo could help.] 😀

  63. akinzo says:

    Love him or hate him, Arsene Wenger is the best Manager that Arsenal has seen. His time at the club has seen Arsenal join some of football’s most cherished franchise worldwide. It is doubtful if any manager at the club or in the PL would beat his “Invincibles” in the next decades. So he is a special manager not only to the Arsenal but the PL.
    However, for how long will he live in the past? I think it will be a travesty if a manager of his renown standard cannot add more PL titles to the ones he won in the past and can’t be mentioned in same breath with managers that have CL titles on their CVs. In all truth is Mourinho a better manager than Wenger? Don’t think so. But, Mourinho has accumulated so many trophies in the modern game to pale into insignificance Wenger’s achievement. With same resources in his disposal Wenger will not only win countless titles but build teams that will be the envy of the rest of the football world for a decade at least and not the fleeting sides Mourinho usually put up.
    I want to believe Arsene too is rapidly waking up to the reality that the world would not wait for him forever, hence he has stopped living in the world that there’s is only one way to play the game. But he needs to move faster than we are currently going.
    It would take a rare season for clubs that don’t spend money, am not talking about the obscene amount that has been spent by some club to transform overnight to title winners. But, a club like Arsenal already have the foundation to be title contenders and bridge the gap between her and the best in the game. So why don’t we just identify two or three talents that would take us to the level of Bayern and Barca?
    It’s not going to cost us funds of monumental proportions to improve Arsenal unlike the Chelsea and Man City when new owners took over.
    The only difference between us and Barca yesterday was in finishing. Both sides created tons of chances but it was the more clinical one that triumphed. That means we need a striker that can don’t he job more often than the current strikers.
    We could not beat Watford because we failed to utilize the numerous chances we created, ditto against Barca. If we had been taking our chances we would not only be leading the PL but would still have been in the CL.
    I know it’s a touchy topic but when the likes of Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini depart at the end of the season, it would make more sense to have Theo Walcott be part of that train. The space should only be made available for the best talents that are available. It is time Arsenal pull her weight in the transfer market again.

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Redders, yep that is a lot of Wenger in one sentence. 🙂

    Marmite indeed. I just don’t think many fellow Gooners understand the specific job description Arsene has written for Ollie.

  65. Nice one Micky

    Sod Barcalona. Ever since we met them in 99 they have given us a good rodgering. If only we had met them back in the 70s, they would all be inside now.

    There fans are always grinning and laughing, ime sick of it. If they tried that in somewhere like Russia or Poland, they would all end up in court for the suspected crime of over enjoyment.

    There disrespectful too. With my limited Spanish and non existent lip reading skills, I could swear that whilst Arsene was berating the fourth official about our not given penalty, Enrique was asking his assistant for an opinion on purpose built wardrobes?

    There players also take drugs. Ime not talking about good drugs that you or I would take, like spliff or heroin, me talking steroids. The cheating Bastards have juiced up there players. I feel sorry for Messi. Have you noticed he always shoots low? That’s because he can’t get his balls up.

    And they have the officials in there pocket. They promise some dodgy Greek ref that by next week his thick cousin will be Greeces new Finance minister, you can forget about ever getting a penalty. You will however get a couple of wankers with brand new Olympic sized swimming pools in there back gardens.

    But ime not biter, good luck to them.

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Terry 😀

    Akinzo. I agree. Imagine Mr Wenger as the manager of the teams with the money Mourinho had. He would have won as much and left each club in a better condition. Mourinho ruins every club he signs for.

  67. chas says:

    Akinzo
    I’m liking your referring to Arsenal as ‘her’.
    I’ve never really thought of the club as having a gender like a ship or motor car. 🙂

  68. mickydidit89 says:

    If, and only if, I get to Grimsby, I shall be known as Roger The Cabin Boy.
    Obviously 🙂
    And goodnight.

  69. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well done Micky yes Barca were the better team and are the better team. More importantly look at the names that we are talking about today, the players we want to see start more regularly what have they got in common? To my mind work rate first and not believing they are superstars.

    The one thing that distinguishes for me good players from great players and great players from world class players is their work rate and desire. Add to that being prepared to let others have the glory and not shirking responsibility and you get what makes the difference.

    In several games recently (ManUre away being one) I feel we have carried too many players without the collective desire or players who seem to believe they are better players than what they are. But players like Alexis it doesn’t matter how poor his form is, he still makes his position on the pitch worth something by his work rate, even Ozil is better at tracking back than some of our “local” talent but the finger is very rarely pointed at them (Ramsey, Theo, Ox I’m pointing at you)

    As for the centre forward debate I don’t think it’s rocket science. Danny Welbeck is Arsenes preferred choice up front, before we assume anything based on appearances we have to remember the circumstances, Theo started in the cup final because Danny was injured in April for rest of the season (and the majority of this). Yes Ollie and Danny had rotated the shirt for a while after Christmas, but again we shouldn’t forget that Welbeck had been the only centre forward available from August to December and had played a hell of a lot of football in that time, so when Ollie reappeared during the season Arsene was clearly trying to use the fresher legs and give Danny some rest time. I think Dannynis currently being eased into it but if Arsene could he would play him in most games between now and end of the season.

    Theo’s pace will give us absolutely no threat in the majority of premier league games playing at centre forward, if we want to build play he cannot receive ball to feet well enough or offer us any possibility of winning headers against traditional PL centre backs. So why would Arsene start him ahead of Ollie if Ollie is 100% fit in most games? But now he has Danny and that means we have a centre forward who can win headers who can play back to goal, who will make runs behind and away from goal.

    Yes Danny will be first choice, but whilst he wasn’t available and given the players who were available Ollie was the best option. Because he could bring others in to the game, he works relentlessly tracking back deep into our half, and is pretty useful at defending set pieces too as well as scoring a good number of goals.

    Think of it like a matrix of attributes:

    Ollie:
    Play back to goal
    Receive ball to feet
    Finishing
    Aerial threat
    Aerial ball retention
    Assists
    Unselfish
    Strong

    Theo:
    Finishing
    Pace behind the defence

    Danny:

    Add both the above together

    Centre Forward should be Danny >> Ollie >> Theo there are very few occasions that I think Theo starts ahead of Ollie let alone Ollie and Danny and one of the main reasons goes back to my starting comment about work rate.

  70. JM says:

    My opinion:
    Welbeck >> Alexis >> Giroud >> Walcott for the team’s Centre Forward position.

    Preferably, with an attacking trident (Welbeck + Alexis + Iwobi) supported by Özil, until better options are available.

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    GIE. I agree with your 10.04 almost completely.

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    You weren’t kicked out of bed for snoring as well were you Erik?
    I was at 4:30
    Still, nearly finished work for the day 🙂

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, I’ve left this for two days as I didn’t want to appear cruel, but I think there’s a very ROLFWORTHY incident that needs to be shown.

    The Iwobi fake dive trip. It was very very bad wasn’t it? 🙂

    I go look clip

  74. mickydidit89 says:

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    6:34 Transplant?

  76. Big Raddy says:

    6.34. Has to be a Californian

  77. mickydidit89 says:

    Maybe the three of us are up early because we’re on diets and are plain hungry

    I started Monday (wetsuit previous weekend was definitely a very good fit), lost one pound by Tuesday, but had somehow found two by Thursday. Bloody disaster

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Erik
    Whoever it is, I reckon he’s subject to allegations at the very least

  79. Big Raddy says:

    Iwobi. Interesting vid. One angle – obvious die. Other possible penalty.

    Who knows.

    Can we have a vid of Welbz shanking his shot in the final minute vs Watford? It gets worse each time I run it through my memory.

    If he had scored we would certainly have gone on to win the FAC but he didn’t 😦

    Too early for football …. sliding animal?

  80. Big Raddy says:

    The very least – trouble is he is probably a High Court Judge.

  81. Big Raddy says:

    As is the bloke wearing the horse head

  82. Big Raddy says:

    This was how an Australian Labour politician started his speech to parliament yesterday

    “You empty-headed animal food trough wipers … I fart in your general direction.”

    Got to love those Aussies 🙂

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Yip, love the Aussies, but they’re no match for Berlusconi 🙂

  84. Micky, I hope your not suggesting that because I wear patterned clothing that women find attractive I am subject to allegations?

    If you are, be aware I have plenty of high powered friends, mostly High Court Judges I’ve met at parties.

    Iwobi didn’t dive. That Russian referee is now the only man in St Petersburg with central heating

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha
    But, it wasn’t at parties you met the judges, was it? Specialist Night Clubs more like.

  86. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’ve been on a diet too….although it was not of choice, one night of incredibly bad indigestion after Mothers Day weekend meals, (3 in total) and I’ve been virtually nil by mouth trying to recover. Extra Strong Mints for energy and mainly soup for evening meals. Oh and espresso and water but very little else.

    Knowing how badly it affected me and how painful it was its been marvellous, and this week when I needed to get a lunch I went to supermarket, and chose a plain chicken salad for lunch, no dressing no pasta…..

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    Exile
    Can you email me the Mothers Day Recipe forthwith 🙂

  88. mickydidit89 says:

    Hey, brilliant idea. Think of all the loot in Diet Books.
    Sick Pills. Genius. And I mean Get Sick Pills

  89. haha not true Micky. Everyone is welcome. The only stipulation is that you must have a live in Filipino house boy.

    GIE, it is very rare you read a comment and sense the raw sadness and confusion emanating so vividly as yours does on the unwanted diet. I congratulate you.

  90. Big Raddy says:

    Terry. You are on fine form this morning.

    Get sick pills? Probably more palatable than sticking your fingers down your throat. (a little morning pun)

  91. mickydidit89 says:

    Stop lying and attempting to throw us off the scent Transplant. It’s a Members Only establishment, and you know it

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    GiE

    I reckon that it is more wishful thinking on your part than reality re Welbeck being Wenger’s first choice CF. he scores about one goal in five games and his positioning and anticipation is also well below that of a top striker. We all love his athleticism and beaming smile but that is not enough as yet. Now that we enter the race for the PL title without any other disruptions, I reckon we will see Ollie back as CF in most if not all of the games. Welbeck will play on the wing or come on as a sub. If I am wrong re this I will come back here and it my hat. 🤓

  93. If you mean you get your private member out Micky? then your right haha

    How’s it going TA?

  94. Red Arnie says:

    Motning all. everyone in fine form, i see. 🙂

    Too early for footie, but fine comment last night GiE. 🙂

    I’m not on diet, and no intention to be. 🙂

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    The Member for Devon North is keeping his lips firmly sealed

  96. Red Arnie says:

    Picasso?

  97. Red Arnie says:

    Filipino house boy? hmmm. Fine business it seems. 🙂

  98. Gööner In Exile says:

    Micky…..
    Friday : Liver and Bacon, Steamed Jam pudding,
    Saturday : Pizza Express, Cheesecake
    Sunday : Roast dinner all trimmings, Crumble

    It was like my version of Shrove Tuesday in three days and a tad late 🙂

  99. Red Arnie says:

    No, but the face is somehow familiar.

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    All good Terenzo, off to see Arsenal at Goodison tomorrow and we are having the best weather here in Southern Scotland. How is life in the bachelor’s loft? 😳

  101. Rasp says:

    Morning all, has anyone got an offering for today?

  102. Rasp says:

    If no one steps up in the next 10 minutes I will put up a throw away post I have just decomposed 🙂

  103. Going to the Goodison game TA? Quality.

    Yeah, life is good I have fallen in love again… with myself, and its great

    It was a bit touch and go for a while, but now I realise I have so much to give to me. hahaha

  104. RA says:

    It’s all that ‘touching and going’ Terry. Make you go blind tho. 🙂

  105. Rasp says:

    Ok sod you all 🙂 …..

    ….New post …..

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Terry, it is hard to be humble! 😍

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