Arsenal swagger to the top of the league? Player Ratings.

There has never been a lot to like about the Arsenal — Stoke fixture: nothing glamorous, no excited anticipation; we receive untold amounts of criticism if we lose and next to no praise if we win. Stoke is miserable place in the middle of nowhere with a horrible manager, a bunch of knuckle draggers for a team and the thickest of supporters who sing the most stupid song about some bint called Delilah, best thing to do is beat them convincingly and send them back up the motorway suitably humbled to make pots or whatever they do up there.

1949 Hollywood screen goddess, Hedy Lamarr stars in "Samson and Delilah" directed by Cecil B. De Mille.

It was a convincing performance, wasn’t it? There is a whole new level of determination emanating from this group of players; a will to win that I haven’t seen in I don’t know how long.

Sanchez and Özil, our two super stars, head and shoulders above the rest, are showing the way; there is so much enthusiasm from them, so much desire to win I ask myself what is going on behind the scenes that we are unaware of?

We all know that there are in contract negotiations taking place in an attempt to keep them at the club, so if you were the manager and the chief negotiator who I assume is Gazidis what would you do?

I have read here and there in, I must admit, not the most sophisticated of publications, demands from ex Arsenal players that Wenger should spend everything it takes to keep Özil and Sanchez at the club. This kind of talk baffles me; beyond Wenger making it clear to the board that he wants them to stay at the club he has no more involvement at all. He doesn’t decide what the club can and can’t afford.

If this were me I would decide how far I want to push the boat out with these two and the club, as we all expect, is going to be slashing about in the middle of the Atlantic with these two and then having decided on a figure I would make the offer to them on the basis that we win the league this season. They both want to stay at the club but they both understandably want to be paid the correct value for their labour so the figure I imagine that has been put to them is no doubt eye watering but there is a clever little incentive attached.

Not convinced, fair enough, but those two are showing no signs of players who want to leave, that I am sure you agree on. It seems more than likely that offers have been put to their agents for them to consider but what I would do is say this amount that I am sure would be the GDP of a small country is dependent on us winning the league. A solution will of course be found if we don’t win the league but the players and the agents know that it is a done deal if they do bring that kind of glory to the club.

granit-xhaka-stoke-e1481392582938

OK, you try and find something to talk about after an Arsenal – Stoke game…….Arsenal brushed Stoke aside to swagger to the top of the league with three goals coming firstly from Walcott who deftly steered Bellerin’s pin point cross past their helpless keeper to bring us back on terms; the second and probably the best came from Oxlaide-Chamberlain’s growing works of art, his cross was a thing of beauty but Ozil’s exquisite looping header was a master piece. The cherry on the cake came from Iwobi, who after Sanchez had been up ended in the most agricultural of ways, continued to drive into the box before steering the ball past the Stoke keeper – well yeah, but now what do you write?

mesut

Player ratings.

Cech: outstanding as ever, less hoofs up the field and more calm playing out to our team, a far better idea Petr, instead of increasing the chances of us losing possession we are guaranteed to retain it, simples. 8

Easter: he was getting better and better playing in his adopted position of right back, Rasp made a good point a couple of weeks ago, when he stopped trying to be a wing back and just played as an additional CB he found his feet. It was of course very useful that he was completely up to speed to fill in for Mustafi. Hector came on taking up his usual berth; I think it took Wonder Boy less than ten minutes to help bring us back on terms. 7

Mustafi: Easter did perfectly well when he replaced our lucky charm (we have never lost when he has played) but we also got a clear comparison and as good as Easter is he ain’t no Mustafi, we can only hope the second best German we have will not be out for too long. 7

Koscielny: masterful, did everything and more that we would want from our captain. 8

Monreal: rested in the week but made to sit on the bench while Gibbs put in a five star performance reminding the Spaniard that he better keep on his toes if he wants to keep his starting spot; which, to be fair he did. 7

Xhaka: I have said this before but I am going to say it again: this man has had a talking to; he is not the same player who arrived and played in such a gung ho way. A much more calm thoughtful performance and clearly so much more room for improvement. 7

Coquelin: another one who was rested in the week who came back in and put in a top performance, very impressed, if Özil wasn’t in such commanding form Francis would have been my man of the match. 8

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: and yet another one who was rested in the week and hit the ground running; there really is a fantastic little battle going on between him and Iwobi for that spot out on the left, it’s hard to tell right now who is ahead, although as the Ox is starting it must be him. 7

Özil: the German genius ran the show again; man the match and a rare headed goal to boot. 9

Sanchez: is there another centre forward in the world who while the team are in full flow attack can come back and take up positions in the centre circle and not a person bats an eye lid or moans one bit; when you think about it that really is quite amazing. Another excellent performance, hopefully he was taken off for cautionary reasons and will be available for Tuesday against Everton. 8

Walcott: what is it about having someone on the bench, who scored a hat trick in the week, breathing down your neck, ready to take your place at a moment’s notice that brings out the determination to do whatever it takes to keep your place? Well that is what Perez did to Walcott. Theo made a very good start to the season as we all know but has fallen back a bit over the last couple of weeks but then dropped to the bench his replacement scoring for fun looks like it scared Theo back to his determined best and his very important goal should not be forgotten. 8

Wenger: he really is deploying the troops well, resting where necessary and creating competition where needed. I am hoping that the resting part bodes well over the manic Christmas period that we are about to embark on. It is this energy sapping month that takes its toll on all teams and Chelsea are no exception, they have a small squad and one injury to Costa and it is bye bye league; his absence should be enough to get us over the line in May, although, a bolt of lightning to Hazard wouldn’t go a miss. 9

theo

An LB offering.

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158 Responses to Arsenal swagger to the top of the league? Player Ratings.

  1. LB says:

    If anyone feels inspired please add some pics.

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Brilliant LB, thank you very much.

    All nails hit squarely on the head. Just one detail I’d like to add.

    The Iwobi goal. The moment about the build up which best characterizes what I like so much about Iwobi. His touch and speed of thought when he so quickly flicked the ball forwards to Sanchez to get the move going.

    It was so instinctive and in a blur he was off goal bound hungry to latch onto any leftovers, which of course came when Sanchez was upended and there was Alex racing on.

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    One other thing before I move to pure gloat.

    The effect of Ozil and Sanchez. We know about the work rate that is infectious but it’s the side effects of their quality. Ox and Iwobi will improve dramatically as a result of playing alongside these guys and it’s showing.

    However much talent or ability you have in any walk of life, you are so much more likely to reach your potential when working alongside a true master.

  4. mickydidit89 says:

    Good morning picture master

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    I go read book and let people catch up

  6. LB says:

    Great pics. I might have to change the description of Delilah

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Really enjoyable read whilst I watch the Indians thrash England in the cricket 😦

    Loved the first para especially ” send them back up the motorway suitably humbled to make pots or whatever they do up there”

    Any chance of sending Delilah by Amazon Prime?

  8. Big Raddy says:

    What of the penalty decision? I am still fuming.

  9. VP of Oz says:

    Great post LB.
    I loved the result overnight.
    and I thought Coquelin at times was phenomenal. His speed to cover back or rushing forward to intercept. Incredible.

    I was so inspired, I went for 2 runs today as I felt energised. We are on top and it feels great.

    on an aside – my daughters new boyfriend does not follow EPL (he’s an AFL man) but when he does follow the EPL he supports the Spuds. My daughter told him what I thought of the Spuds. He now supports Arsenal and he was happy to hear that his new team was on top today. I like the kid, he knows his priorities…

  10. chas says:

    Haha, morning boys and girls.

    Excellent report and ratings, LB.

    I was just noticing how Kos and Mesut get one line because of the pure, top-drawer nature of their performances.

    The fact that others are improving their own level of performance so that they can play with Mesut and Alexis is a joy to behold.

    Thank Dennis, Lee Mason’s appalling penalty award didn’t influence the result of the game.
    He partly redeemed himself with his ‘play on’ for the 3rd goal but it was still a performance of some ineptitude.

    We didn’t see many Stoke fans at all, so the day wasn’t spoilt in that respect. We did get asked by a young Finnish couple for directions to the Stadium, a pub and a decent place to eat at Finsbury Park. Hope they liked the fish from the Quality Fish Bar and their pint in the Twelve Pins. 🙂

  11. Eddie says:

    absolutely brilliant 🙂 I enjoyed reading it, of course, but I bet you enjoyed writing it, it shows!

    I love your theory about the carrot in contract negotiations, you might be right – Sanchez and Ozil are best duo I have seen in N5. ooooh, I have to rethink that one, are they really better than DB and TH? no, probably not.

    Anyway, like you said, we must keep them, money is irrelevant as far as I am concerned. GDP of a large country is fine by me 🙂

    I slightly disagree about Xhaka I don’t like him. He is not a small Spaniard and will never be as good as them. I am glad you gave him lovest score of the lot, I would deduct another point for the penalty.

    Very enjoyable read, I think I will go now and read again

  12. Big Raddy says:

    Good to see you got swagger into the headline

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Danish TV did a piece on Ozil’s goal. It highlighted the Orc who pretended to hurt his leg in our penalty area. He lay on the pitch for a couple of decades whilst receiving treatment from a possee of Orc doctors, surgeons, experts in Post traumatic stress, injury lawyers and stretcher bearers.

    When this Orc eventually got up, play had started and the ball was in the centre circle. He darted upfield in a vain attempt to get back into his position which was man marking Mesut. He failed, Mesut scored.

    Schadenfreud

  14. fatgingergooner says:

    What’s not to like about Xhaka?

    He has the fire and left foot of Petit, and the positioning and game management of Gilberto. He’s a Gilbertit (pronounced jil-bare-tee) or a Peterto (sounds best with an Irish accent!)! Joking aside though, what he also has in common with these 2 is that he plays in a way that compliments his midfield partner and improves their game. Vieira was so good because he knew he could rely on Gilberto or Petit to cover him when he went rampaging. Coquelin is starting to benefit from that too and it’s no coincidence his performance has improved playing next to Xhaka.

    I think he’s going to be a very important player for us.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Lovely post, LB and fine player ratings. I thought Nacho deserves an extra point for his vital block against Arnoutovic when already 1-0 down. That was excellent reading of the game and very forceful. Also felt Xhaka played very well and the combination with Le Coq is looking better and better.

    Did anybody else get annoyed with MOTD analysers Murphy and Wrighty? They only focused on two players – Xhaka’s discipline and Ox’s lack of game time – and both rubbish points and totally suggestive.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    BR 😄😄

    FGG Fully agreed

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    FGG

    Superb, and delightfully, I believe you are 100% correct. Very good partnership in the making going on before our eyes

  18. Red Arnie says:

    lovely stuff, LB, 🙂 but where is Iwobi? 😦

    anyway, in my book, Iwobi gets 8.5, exactly the same as Lee Mason. Any other day, Mason would be MoTM, but yesterday, Iwobi was just as good, and Ozil and Wenger were slightly better. 🙂

    That made the difference. 🙂

    Nice comments, Micky. 🙂

  19. Rasp says:

    Morning all, excellent swaggering LB 🙂

    This squad (it’s more than the 11 in the team) are thankfully still under the radar of the pundits, but us lucky Gooners are beginning to see something special developing …….. are we witnessing the birth of the Convincibles? 🙂

    The team has learnt how to play with Alexis up front in place of Giroud, and now it it’s learning how to play with Xhaka in for Cazorla … and its working pretty well.

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Hopefully Maureen can actually do something useful today

  21. VP of Oz says:

    Last time Chelsea were sitting on totl, West Brom beat them 3:0

    >MON, 18 MAY 2015PREMIER LEAGUE
    >Berahino (9′ minutes, 47′ minutes pen), Brunt (60′ minutes)
    >FT 3-0
    >HT 1-0
    >Fàbregas (Dismissed at 29′ minutes)

    Hopefully history repeats tonight

  22. Lovely stuff LB think the biggest improvement in the squad is the willingness of most of them to play for each other rather than the next contract/club.

    Look at Ozil and Alexis and the reason I think they remind us of DB10 and TH14 is that they look to play the best ball for the team before the one that brings personal glory.

    Once everyone plays like that you have a very strong side/squad.

    On the Wright on Ox thing I think that’s due to his reaction at being subbed, Murphy was right his injury record suggests he should be rested where possible as does Rambo’s that we can rotate them both in and out without too much detriment to the squad is a good thing.

    Finally on Ozil and Alexis new contracts, surely there is more need to break the bank if we don’t win the league? Thinking from a boards perspective, if we win league this season the monkey is off Arsene’s and the boards back, leave them one season left, make an offer, if it’s Arsenes last season then maybe they won’t fit new managers plans. If we’ve broken bank what then?

    I’m all for us keeping at least one of them hopefully both, but surely we have to also factor in Alexis’s age and the way he plays, can he keep that up for three/four more seasons after 2018 when he turns 30? Ozil is more the DB10 so we know there’s longer shelf life.

  23. Gööner In Exile says:

    Also I’m sure once Ox sat down he probably realised that with a game away to Everton on Tuesday night he is probably guaranteed a start, unlike those currently playing in roatation who completed 90 minutes.

  24. Rasp says:

    I agree, it seems that The Ox and Iwobi are both in contention for the same slot in the team. Iwobi was first pick earlier in the season and it looks like Oxo is now getting top billing. He is improving every game and deserves his chance, he needs to continue to gain composure and everything else will follow.

  25. fred1266 says:

    Gabriel was solid at CB yesterday very good to see him improving

  26. Gööner In Exile says:

    Not sure I like the words “it’s a bad one” and the phrase “at least three weeks”…..that to me says more like see you late January…..

    On the positive side Paul Easter at least comes into a fully functioning and first choice remaining back three, and hopefully BFG doesn’t take long to get match fit….he is the next best CB ball at feet and passing to midfield.

  27. Rasp says:

    I agree GiE. Gabriel grew in stature when he played on through injury when deputising for Bell/Jenks and seems to have more confidence now.

  28. fred1266 says:

    Any news on jenkinson’s injury

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    It’s mental I think Fred….

  30. wally says:

    The team looks good. Moving the ball quickly, good tempo. Much more confident in our defending. What’s not to like. Let’s hope gabriel has also grown if mustafi is out for long. Everywhere else looks to have plenty of depth.

    Don’t drop points to teams we shouldn’t. Don’t lose to the big boys and beat them when the opportunity presents itself.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    I can see BFG starting at City. I trust the big man and possibly Aguero will still be out.

  32. Big Raddy says:

    MU/Totts an enjoyable game and the best result.

    Come on you Hammers.

  33. chas says:

  34. fred1266 says:

    OK

    Correct me if am wrong but to me he didn’t look that bad when he played

  35. LB says:

    BR

    How is it possible that Aguero might play. I think that is the implication?

  36. LB says:

    That first goal looks amazing when seen like that on its own.

  37. chas says:

    Aguero banned until New Years Eve

  38. chas says:

    Spuds, dippers and citeh dropping points has to be a good weekend for us. 🙂

  39. chas says:

    Doesn’t it just, LB. 🙂

    I think everyone touches the ball except Kos.
    The pass from Sanchez to Hector is just brilliant.
    I had no idea there were that many passes in the build up.

  40. chas says:

  41. chas says:

  42. chas says:

  43. chas says:

  44. chas says:

    Apparently Charlie Adam stamped on Alexis in the build up for our third goal.
    The dilemma is that if he gets a ban, he might miss games against the chavs and the dippers.

  45. Aaron says:

    Eddie,
    Stoked to have Granit.
    Plays with verve and can split the diamond lanes.

    Great day for Gunners as almost all dropped points.
    May costA tweak a hammy soon.

  46. chas mobile says:

  47. fred1266 says:

    Shame t only mistake WBA made they were punished

  48. Big Raddy says:

    Arsenal FC ‏@FFArsenal 22h22 hours ago

    Mark Hughes came to the Emirates with 5 different clubs.. played 10, lost 10.

    This makes excellent reading.

  49. Eddie says:

    cheers aaron! I am hearing it from all different sides about Xhaka, but somehow I don’t like him as a player. I know, I know, I KNOW that most of you here and even Harold Webb think it was never a penalty, but I still didn’t like Xhaka behaving like that. A great player doesn’t have to play dirty.

  50. chas says:

    The thing is, he didn’t behave like anything – certainly not dirty.
    There was no pre-meditation, just a coming together of two players challenging for the same ball.

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    Brief evening all. Excellent weekend’s results.

    3 behind Chavs. That all? 🙂

    Let’s face it. We’ve done November, while they’ve won their last 9 league games on the trot. Well, that is not going to last is it. Meanwhile, we get better and better.

    Could be running away with title soon 🙂

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

    Any future implosion is on you Micky!

  53. chas says:

    This made me laugh……..

  54. chas says:

  55. chas says:

  56. chas says:

    The draw is at 11am GMT

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    Whos the club over there in group h, and what time draw, and morning

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    🙂

    Ok, Part 2. Benfica, Bayern, Lever, RM, Porto, ?

  59. chas mobile says:

    Sevilla

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Seville

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    I tried on both 🙂

    Are you and Ant tempted by any of the poss away fixtures?

  62. chas mobile says:

    All of them, but probably couldn’t afford it.

    There are new procedures for giving details of those travelling like passport numbers etc, but I’d imagine we can sort that out.
    Presuming we can buy tickets in completely different names, that is.

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Details eh? Ok, let’s get that bit out of the way now.

    Didit. M. Major, OBE, VC, O’levels Scripture and Latin (Grades D and E), Honorary Member Order of the Knight of the Truffle and Wines of Alba. Male. Origin: unknown.

  64. Eddie says:

    conservative if not far right believes, secretary at the Wiff Waff club.

  65. Eddie says:

    do you know what chas – do a selfie and post it here. Selfie of you jumping and moving elbows like Xhaka did. If you are telling me it was not a deliberate elbow in the face, then I have nothing else to say to you.

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Looks as though Eddie will not be speaking to chas for a little while 😀

    Additions to Micky’s CV. Serving member of GB Veteran Surfers, Director of Plimsoll Brothers, and Founder of the Blind Drivers Association.

  67. Eddie says:

    not a little while. Ever.

    who do we want to draw? Not Barca please, pretty please. I know I would be a terrific game, but I’d rather have a shitty game and a win. Very low standards 🙂

  68. Eddie says:

    right now chas is jumping up and down his house throwing his elbows around like a loon with his camera in the selfie mode 🙂

    Give up chas, not effing possible

  69. chas mobile says:

    Eddie
    Was he booked?
    No.
    Even Mason knew it was accidental.
    Ergo
    Case closed.

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    Hoping for anyone other than Real or Bayern to give us a decent chance of QF’s. I’m convinced we will get one of them though. Even if we did I think we could still get through.

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Anyone but Real or BM. Not because of fear of losing but I would like some variation.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Oooh, we have an “Ergo”. Top quality blogging

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning AAers 😀

    I reckon finishing first gives us privileges and I expect UEFA to draw us a nice one: one of the two Portuguese clubs most likely.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    TA. Lovely work. Some positivity.

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Some Andalusian winter sun, on the other hand, would be very welcome too ⚽️😍

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Raddy, are back in cool Copenhagen?

  77. Big Raddy says:

    TA. Yes, and it is beautiful cloudless winter day. Just perfect for a long cycle up the coast.

    Back later to discover our CL opponents.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds great, Raddy. You know how to enjoy life.

    It’s bloody Bayern again ffs. Had we finished second it would haven Barca… just no escape it seems. Ah well, we are much stronger this year… ✨

  79. fatgingergooner says:

    Bayern don’t look as scary as they have the last few years but still not an ideal draw. No point getting to later stages though if we can’t beat the likes of Bayern. I’d rather test ourselves early and if we win then we can win it all, if we lose then less interruption to PL season.

  80. Eddie says:

    ergo nothing. Do a selfie with the elbow xhaka style. I just had a chat in the woods with other football fans. Surprise surprise they all said Xhaka was lucky not be sent off. They also said that it is nice to meet a decent, honest Gunner. Ha!

  81. Eddie says:

    Fattie – that’s because of Ancelloti, we know him and we know we can beat him. We didn’t when he was with Chavs, but we are much stronger now.

    Plus, BM are a very aging team with many players into their 30s.

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    Bayern. Bollocks. Been there. Wanted a change. So many good draws on offer in Spain and Portugal. Damn.

    Off to see rest of draw.

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Ours is the tastiest.

    Sevilla v Leicester

    PSG v Barcelona

    Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid

    Porto v Juventus

    Bayern Munich v Arsenal

    Benfica v Borussia Dortmund

    Real Madrid v Napoli

    Manchester City v Monaco

  84. LB says:

    Well, we are just going to have to beat them this time. We will need Mustafi though to make sure we avoid another 5-1 thrashing at their place.

  85. fatgingergooner says:

    A very informed friend tells me the players Look like they are struggling to get used to the deeper back line, narrower forwards and less pressing that Ancelotti is asking of them.

    They are definitely beatable over the 2 games, but we need to give ourselves a chance going into the 2nd leg.

  86. LB says:

    Arsenal team when we lost 5-1. We are a very different beast now.

    Cech
    Debuchy
    Mertesacker
    Gabriel
    Monreal
    Coquelin
    Cazorla
    Campbell
    Özil
    Sánchez
    Giroud

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    FGG
    I take from your comment first leg is at home. I think that’s a good thing

  88. Eddie says:

    thanks micky! you are the second honest Gunner

  89. chas mobile says:

    Eddie
    Makes a change from the usual fights you have in the woods. ☺
    Peaches said Cuffley was full of spuds. They’re hardly likely to say anything else, are they?
    Anyway, case closed as I said earlier. Not even a booking. 🐓🐔🐣🐤🐥

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    First away than home, Micky

  91. chas mobile says:

  92. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh well TA, that suits us better as well then 🙂

  93. mickydidit89 says:

    HA HA HA

  94. mickydidit89 says:

    Thinking of which

    Arsenal V Bayern Munich
    Totnum V Gent

    ROLF LAMOW 🙂

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    Definitely head to elbow and Allen should have had a yellow for simulation 😀

    If we can field these Gunners we could be pulling down those Lederhosen:

    Cech
    Bel Mus Koz Nacho
    -Das Coq – Rambo-
    Welbeck – Ozil- Perez
    ———- Alexis ———

    Theo, Xhaka, Cazorla, Giroud etc on bench

  96. Rasp says:

    Oh well, it was always going to be Bayern … we will just have to beat them. A controlled 1;1 at their place and 2:1 back at the Ems will see us through 🙂

    Eddie, I don’t know why you’re on such a mission over the penalty, but you are in a minority of 1 on here. The elbow was accidental, the player just ran into Xhaka looking to go down = no pen. You can tell by the reaction of the Stoke players that they weren’t expecting a pen. The stamp on Alexis on the other hand should have been a straight red card and a 3 match suspension. Charlie Adam is a really nasty piece of work.

  97. Big Raddy says:

    Bum. If it had been in Octoberfest the visit could have been fun. As it is …

  98. mickydidit89 says:

    Rasp

    I’ve watched the incident many times. The elbow definitely moves outwards after Granit turns

    The only question is: was that intentional or was it just the way his elbow moved

    It is NOT 100% clear cut.

    For that reason alone, the ref can’t give a red

    However, where the ref able to get into the Granit brain, then it’s a straight red all day long 🙂

  99. mickydidit89 says:

    were the ref 🙄

  100. mickydidit89 says:

    Octoberfest Fest Erik???

    It’d be heaving with Yanks, Kiwis Soth Efricans and Aussies!

    Really disappointed with the draw. An away Arsenal trip to the Incontinent is way overdue. I really wanted Madrid and The Bernabau

  101. Eddie says:

    rasp – I am not sure why on the mission either 🙂 🙂

    maybe because what Xhaka did was filthy, dirty, premeditated blow to the opponent’s head and I hate seeing that in football.

    I am not the most gifted sportsperson there, but not an invalid either. How can anybody suggest that it was accidental is beyond me. No way that was a natural jump/turn.

    Plus, a blow with an elbow is much more powerful than the one with a fist. I have witnessed a man collapsing and being taken to a hospital after being hit on the head with an elbow.

    Now I am finished. No more about it. Being biased is one thing, being dishonest another.

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    What should Xhaka have done with his elbow? Someone, after a bad first touch, is about to run into your back and you brace yourself, narturally raising your elbow for balance and protection. Allen, not taller than a sheep, runs into the elbow and goes down like a 🦃 turkey…

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    My comment is for Micky btw ⚽️😀

  104. TotalArsenal says:

    Love the preassist by Alexis for the first goal: surrounded by four(!) players he finds an Ozilesque throughball to Bellerin and the Orcs look on in disbelief 😳😳😳😳

  105. chas mobile says:

    You have to remember that everything looks far worse in slow motion.
    At full speed even Lee ‘thick as two short planks’ could see it was accidental.
    Shame others can’t.
    🐏🐑🐐🐄🐼🐧

  106. mickydidit89 says:

    TA
    The question remains, did Granit intentionally raise his elbow to sheep head height?
    Only he knows

  107. TotalArsenal says:

    The elbow is there but it is not hitting out at, it is all natural movement and self protection. Allen goes down like he just walked into a barn door and the ref thinks “ha, that was easy, pen against Wenger Hehehehe”….

    1. Bad first touch by Allen
    2. 50/50 duel to be won, collision about to happen
    3. Allen walks into Xhaka’s slightly and naturally outstretched elbow
    4. Not a free kick
    5. Shaun of The valleys should be booked for simulation

  108. mickydidit89 says:

    Look, before I continue, let me be clear
    Two of my all time favourite football moments include the Cantona kung fu kick and the Paul Davis right hook. Ok, now that’s out of the way…

    I don’t like Joe Allen

    You say: it is all natural movement….is it?
    And…Xhaka’s slightly and naturally outstretched elbow…was it natural?

    As I said, only Granit knows. My money says he knew what he was doing. Bravo. Got away with it (no red card). However, had Granit got a red card, I’d like to have thought Allen wouldn’t have got up quite so quickly 🙂

    (we’re scraping the barrel for talkies aren’t we 🙂 )

  109. Eddie says:

    my all time favourite football moments include Cantona Kung Fu kick and Zizi’s head butt at the world cup

    Xhaka KNEW exactly what he was doing. And all of those here defending him would have had kittens it that happened to one of our players and the oppo didn’t get a red card, we lost the game and had no football for 3 more days. There would be no end of the filthy, dirty Orcs.

  110. fred1266 says:

    Remember at the stadium of the season we were getting a few penalty calls now all of a sudden we getting a whole lot called against us

  111. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, what else can we argue about, as that wasn’t the highest quality argy bargy 🙂

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. I am both biased and honest (I resent you questioning either) and it wasn’t a penalty.

    But enough of this. The idiot Mason thought it was and they scored an undeserved goal. End of.

    Will the FA retrospectively punish Adam for the stamp?

  113. Big Raddy says:

    Any chance we can see the Cantona kick? It remains one of my favourite events on a football field. No wonder the Macs love him.

  114. Eddie says:

    there you are raddy

    not a sly nasty little stab in the back, which I hate. Love Eric

  115. mickydidit89 says:

    He should have been a Gunner. Such a waste.

  116. chas says:

    It was not a deliberate elbow and I refuse to allow the last thing said on the matter be that Granit is deliberately violent.

    I expect that crap from Danny Murphy or Alan Shearer, but it was clear it was only a coming together of two blokes going for the same ball.

    There, let that be an end to it.

  117. mickydidit89 says:

    Erik’s already had the very last say on the matter

    When’s my turn? 🙂

  118. mickydidit89 says:

    Some are making out that what Granit allegedly did was a bad thing 🙂

  119. mickydidit89 says:

    Am I the first to get the word allegedly in?

  120. chas says:

    Looking at the Paul Davis incident again, I doubt you’ll like it much.

    Cockerill had obviously said something bad but the punch is from the side and completely unexpected, so it’s not surprising the jaw was broken quite seriously.

  121. mickydidit89 says:

    Beginning to understand why this morning my viola teacher described me as “very challenging” 🙂

  122. chas says:

    I’ve had the last word.
    Granit is Innocent.

  123. chas says:

    allegedly very challenging

  124. chas says:

  125. mickydidit89 says:

    She definitely didn’t say allegedly. She can be quite firm. The little celt

  126. VP of Oz says:

    My kids play basketball as well. There is a deliberate strategy in every game by each team/players to “draw a foul”. Body’s clash regularly as it is a very physical game. The penalty decision in this context is very much of the “drawing a foul”. The actual contact was no different to what I see in every game my 12 year old daughter plays. If we saw a player writhing on the floor like that we would look over at their parents and suggest their girl play in Serie A.

  127. VP of Oz says:

    I was at the game when Fred (a Brazilian A-League player) elbowed the opposing player in the throat as per attached clip. Fred played futsal with me years later and I asked him about the incident. He told me that the player ran into his elbow…

  128. mickydidit89 says:

    Yip VP, no doubt whatsoever the Fred elbow was also completely unintentional 🙂

    Would you like the last word on the Granit “allegations”?

    Then, if you could think of a new and exciting topic we could flog to death, it would be appreciated 🙂

  129. GunnerN5 says:

    Hate to elbow in but it sounds like you may need a break……………

  130. VP of Oz says:

    Lol, I’m too busy playing online chess to think up a new topic

  131. VP of Oz says:

    btw…
    if anyone wants to play me in a game of chess, download the free app ChessByPost and look up opponent VilimPod
    Alternatively if you want to challenge me in a weekly step challenge through Garmin Connect, then just connect to VilimPod

    35 degrees today and I’m off to help supervise my 12yr old daughters class in a big bike ride…

  132. GunnerN5 says:

    VP.

    -2c degrees here and about 5″ of snow on the ground with more snow forecast every day for the next 6 days.

    But it will ease up in April 2017 😦 😦 😦

  133. GunnerN5 says:

    Very comparable results with Bayern.

    BM W10, D3, L1, GF34, GA 9, Pts33

    AFC W10, D4, L1, GF36, GA15, Pts34

    I’m looking forward to the games and playing the 2nd game at home should give us a small advantage. Knocking at one of the big clubs will also give our players a huge lift in confidence and cause other teams to be concerned about playing against us.

  134. mickydidit89 says:

    Damn and phew
    Damn: will miss first half tonight probably
    Phew: City is Sunday, not Saturday

    Two tough away games.

    A winter themed slider?

  135. Gööner In Exile says:

    Nein nein

  136. mickydidit89 says:

    Funnily enough Exile, I had a text from a German work colleague yesterday

    Ja Ja

    Arrogant bastards as opposed to us doom bastards 🙂

  137. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Great that we can have a heated debate without it turning into name calling. Not like the old days of AA when chaps got banned for such things.

    VP. Definitely not deliberate 😀

    Micky, There will be a new subject to chat about when I have written it. Any ideas for a title?

  138. Eddie says:

    gutten morgen. horrible language, horrible people, horrible fixture.
    IrishGunner booked her flight and accommodation for the 2nd leg; all she needs now is a ticket 🙂 🙂

  139. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘Sex and drugs and Granit Xhaka’

    ‘Toffees to face the Elbow Toughies!’

    😀⚽️

  140. Eddie says:

    3 points in a bag of Toffies

  141. mickydidit89 says:

    Yes Erik. Easy

    “No more face elbows please Granit”

    That was the last word 🙂

  142. Eddie says:

    micky – it is so rude and arrogant to say ‘I just had the last word on the subject, the rest of – shtum!’

    Xhaka will cost us points, watch it. Years ago I had similar argument about Santos? Everyone was raving about him, but I am so clever that could see clearly he was shit. And I was right, of course. End of discussion.

  143. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie
    You may have noticed how I am always right. We’re really quite similar.
    So clearly a red card 🙂

  144. Eddie says:

    it was! Xhaka got away with it, this time.
    Granit Xhaka Characteristics
    + Strengths

    Passing
    Very Strong

    Aerial Duels
    Strong

    Tackling
    Strong

    Ball interception
    Strong

    -Weaknesses

    Discipline
    Very Weak

    in 10 games – 1 red, 2 yellow and 1 lucky escape. I rest my case.

  145. Big Raddy says:

    I have become besotted by Delilah (see above). Hedy Lamarr. What a looker!

  146. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie

    The best one could argue is that it was open to interpretation
    So, had it been Mother Theresa (lesbian) I’d have said innocent. Granit? Guilty all day, every day.
    Trying to get the last word in before Erik pushes the button 🙂

  147. Big Raddy says:

    Granit is a Gooner, he is top quality and we needed some steel in the side. Now we have it. Be happy.

    Can we please move on?

  148. mickydidit89 says:

    Hey Erik
    I bet your study is plastered with posters 🙂

  149. Big Raddy says:

    Didn’t manage it, did you Micky? 😀

  150. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. If you met Mrs Raddy you would know how laughable that is. She is the Style Police Chief of Staff.

  151. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

  152. TotalArsenal says:

    Granit is a Gunner so you better make a runner

  153. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha now I have the last word on it

  154. mickydidit89 says:

    guilty 🙂

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