Giroud Saves the Day — Again. Match Report, plus Player Ratings.

Arsene Wenger’s record of never losing a 3rd round FA Cup tie remains intact; I think the victory over Preston makes it a consistent 21 years which is pretty impressive but boy were we made to suffer for it – again. Surely we are due a game in which we score twice early, take control enabling us to get the sun loungers out, sit back, relax and pass the colourful cocktails with pretty little umbrellas around.

Well we may be due a game like that but that wasn’t how it started yesterday, no sir; we got a sneak preview of what life would be like without Ozil and Sanchez and it was not pretty; in fact, the first forty five minutes resembled a post apocalyptic waste land with aimless zombies running around in yellow shirts.

The first half was dreadful the only silver lining is that Preston failed to convert their second golden opportunity, the one where all he had to do was roll it across past Ospina for what would have been a tap in. That would have made it two nil and probably would have won them the game.


But they didn’t score a second and the mighty Arsenal came out after the break and showed once again what a great fighting spirit there is at THOF. Arsenal immediately upped the pace and upped the pressure and that paid off with Ramsey bringing us back on level terms with a powerful drive in what seemed like no time.

We huffed and puffed for another half an hour with few clear cut chances at either end before Johnny on the spot or should that be Giroud on the spot found a way to save our blushes. An excellent back heel from Perez arrived to the oncoming Giroud whose pure power found a way to get the ball past a confused goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Another exciting fight back only this time we won which just leaves me to put the cherry on the top of the cake. Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling. Welbeck returned and he could be a very, very important addition to our run in.


Ospina: Colombia’s finest always seems to give me the impression that he is weak in the air but thinking about that through the game I stated to realise that this is just an illusion as I can’t think of a time when he has let us down aerially, his shot stopping is excellent as is his distribution or it is certainly better than Cech’s anyway. 7

Maitland-Niles: I was looking forward to watching him play and he didn’t disappoint. Ok, I wasn’t expecting the air of a veteran and that certainly was not the case but his passing was extremely good and he grew in confidence as the game went on. 7

Mustafi: still shaking off the injury rust but getting back up to speed nevertheless. If we lost another midfielder he might be able to move up and play a Coquelin kind of role. 7

Gabriel: no doubting the man’s commitment, he cares about winning which is of course a good thing, also good is that he is getting game time to keep him up to speed but I expect him to return to the bench when Koscielny is fit. 7

Monreal: probably the guiltiest for the first goal and certainly the guiltiest for Preston’s golden opportunity to go two up; however, good going forward, always offering an outlet. 6

Xhaka: we got what probably was the first direct comparison with Ramsey and there was only one winner, with the Welshman head and shoulders better it makes me wonder where Granit will play if at all when one of the midfield berths has to go to someone who can defend, namely Coquelin. 6

Ramsey: Rambo missed a couple of chances that he should have converted but I view it this way: true he should have scored more but at least he was there to miss them, did you see Xhaka in those kind of positions, no you didn’t. He may have missed a couple of good chances but he did convert when we absolutely needed him to. Joint MOTM. 8

Iwobi: back to a more central role, the position he played so well in against Palace. The thing that I have thought has been holding him back is that he plays with a slightly too polite attitude; maturity was going to be the thing that changed this and we got a few glimpses of that in the form of a bit more grit. He was pushed on the side of the pitch, three weeks ago he wouldn’t have done anything but yesterday he pushed back. A very energetic and determined performance; gave the ball away a few too many times in the first half but still did enough good things to get my joint MOTM. 8

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: I thought the Ox was dreadful, poor passing, poor decision making, poor crossing, poor shooting, made one good recovery tackle in the second half behind Monreal. 4


Giroud: our matinee idol was at it again; he looked more confident than I have ever seen him; he knew he was right for that game and so it proved. But think about this, why is it that he scores more often than not late in the game? Because that is when he is most effective and this is also the reason I would still start him on the bench, let someone start the games who can cope with the way we play early on, someone with better close control and that way we might stop going behind so often. 7

Perez: Lucas Perez is a man, a grown man, an adult, a man who has been round the block and a person who can cope with tough situations, not surprising all this really when you consider that he moved to Ukraine to ply his trade and if that doesn’t put hair on your chest I don’t know what will. He is still finding his feet but he is getting better and better every game. Very unselfish in his play, love the comparison with Ljungberg. Still in the honey moon period with me and for that reason he gets a bit more favour but even so I would still start him as the number 9 ahead of Giroud. 7

An LB offering.

70 Responses to Giroud Saves the Day — Again. Match Report, plus Player Ratings.

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, LB.
    Yep, the first half was absolutely dire.
    Goals change games and we were in total control with Rambo’s goal coming so soon after the break.
    I was dreading a replay, so the sweetness of the late winner is not to be underestimated.

    What a magnificent goal celebration from Giroud as well!

  2. LB says:

    Good pics Chas

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, need to be on coffee No 2 to move from Motning Time to Football Time. Ready now.

    Thanks. I have some agrees and some disagrees.

    Agree: Iwobi. No10 is the attacking control centre of a team, and at 19 yrs old, he is mighty impressive

    Disagree: Xhaka being compared to Ramsey in terms of getting into the box. As the defensive cog in that pairing, then I’d expect him to hold his position to allow Aaron the runs.

    Perez: Agree on everything. I do get your point about him and Ollie as I guess your thinking more about the speed comparison which is undoubtedly Ollie’s failing, however, this brings me to a spanner in your works and my highlight of the day………

    Danny: He could be key to a second half of season charge and be the final piece in a front three od Sanchez, Perez and Welbeck. You can play each of them in any of the front three roles.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    LB. A masterwork. Entertaining and informative.

    Agree with almost all your ratings (they are subjective). I thought Mustafi was well below his normal standard in the first half when we were under pressure. He needed to support the inexperienced M-N and give him an outlet ball which he rarely did. Mustafi was poor at B’mouth and he was last night (IMO)

    Ox? What is happening with him? The man tries so hard but everything about his game went badly. His wing play was poor, his crossing worse and he added nothing to the defensive midfield when we wee under pressure. A 4 was generous.

    I thought Ramsey was good in the first half and improved in the second. He consistently moved the team forward. More of the same please AR.

    Great point about OG. When all are fit he is our supersub He would get into almost every other PL team and is a rich seam of goalscoring. Last night he didn’t get the service, we need wingers to get the best from him and they went missing.

    LB. You wrote the other day that Monreal was our weak link and I nodded my head at the computer screen. Last season he was good but this looks like a year too far.

    A win in a difficult fixture, 15 minutes of good football, the return of Welbeck. Enough positives to make me happy

  5. LB says:

    Hmmm good comments chaps, plenty for me to think about.

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    Two points Chas put up earlier for you late birds:

    “The 98 double team needed a replay, extra time and penalties to beat Port Vale. Oh, and the 97/98 team was 12 points behind the league leaders Man U at the end of February 1998”

  7. fatgingergooner says:

    Good stuff LB, but you could’ve saved yourself a lot of time and just wrote ‘We won. Perez back heel. Giroud late winner. Welbeck’s back.’ And that would’ve summed up the only things worth remembering from this game!

    I’d be tempted to give Ospina a run in the side as Cech not saving much at the moment and a break might do him good.
    Great to see Welbs back as he is a great impact player and possibly more if he gets fit. Not a big fan of Ramsey playing in CM as it always seems to leave us short when teams break on us so hopefully Coq or Cazorla back soon.
    Perez getting better with each game and has moved ahead of the Ox for a start.
    Ox really is starting to p*ss me off. He has all the attributes but never seems to step up when we need him. Not a good trait to have.
    Gabriel has been pretty poor since coming to Arsenal and I wouldn’t mind us scrapping him and bringing in someone else. Just doesn’t seem to be improving.
    Not surprised we keep getting linked with LB’s as Monreal is not looking quite as sharp as he has (defensively anyway) and Wenger just doesn’t seem to trust Gibbs.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    We went into the game with these chaps out injured, Walcott, Cazorla, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ozil, Koscielny. Debuchy and BFG.

    Elneny in Africa. Sanchez and Bellerin rested.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Just read that Bellerin was injured in training. 2 RB’s out and just M.N an Jens as backup. Or will be see Gabriel play RB with Kos & Mustafi in a back 3?

    Could be interesting

  10. chas says:

  11. Cheers LB

    The first half upset me. Why? Because like the Bournemouth game, the distance between our lines was appalling, like a Bloody Sunday league team.

    It doesn’t matter who you play. Chelsea, Man Utd, or Preston. If you are not compact you will struggle

    2nd half we came out and played as a unit. How many times did Preston spring on us then? My question then is, who is responsible, is it the players failing to follow instructions, been arrogant, etc, or is it Arsene, who’s philosophy of passing responsibility to players failing?

  12. As for the individual ratings, by playing in a lazy non compact way individual weakness will be exposed. This is a truism in football and life. Turn up and ignore the fundamentals, you will struggle.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers LB, plenty to agree on and some to disagree on but I have covered this before and, as Raddinsky said, player ratings and views are subjective. They reflect some of your more structural views on the team and our players, which is fair enough.

    I am delighted with the way the team turned things round in the second half and Wenger deserves tremendous credit to have achieved this, as we were total shite in the first one. I would have loved to have been there and see Giroud power that ball across defender and goalkeeper by sheer willpower and then celebrate with such passion. The relationship with the away fans is something special and the passionate thumping of his heart went right through mine and I am sure all 5700 fans there. What a player.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Are there two Terry’s?

  15. According to the Doctors, there is several Raddy.

    I am frustrated. We are potentially the best side and can go and win another League & Cup double.

    I hope Preston is the final wake up call. Play like a compact unit and this squad can achieve greatness

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Terry, I point my 10.14.

  17. Eddie says:

    thank you LB, I am well informed now, almost as if I had seen the game.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Love the GIF 10.25. Real passion

  19. LB says:

    Was Giroud Captain yesterday? I didn’t realise.

    Great comments chaps.

  20. GunnerN5 says:


    You always write a superb accounting of games and use sound reasoning in your ratings.

    While I’m in agreement about Ox’s poor play against Preston I would offer that he is a far better player when he uses his speed to cut along the goal line from the right wing. His game is muted on the left wing as he has to cut to the right and his is game is far less effective and we suffer as a team.

    Also the lack of creativity from our mid field was glaringly obvious and without it we lose our engine room – Ramsey and Xhaka are not a good combo.

  21. fatgingergooner says:


    Have you noticed how ‘Ramsey and …..’ is never a good midfield pairing!? I love Ramsey as a player, but with the way we set up with wide attacking players, attacking full backs and a number 10, it makes us very vulnerable when Ramsey plays CM.

  22. Thank you LB, I love reading your thoughts especially after a win. Another win, another last gasp goal from our HFP, without him this past few games we would be very miserable gooners indeed.

    Thank you GN5 for pointing out that The Ox was indeed playing on the left. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t carrying the ball further into the box but clearly he can’t using his left foot. Lucas and Iwobi were switching positions and it would have been nice for The Ox to have the opportunity to switch to the right at some point. Note for Arsene there 😉

    Love Danny Welbeck, he’s such a classy footballer and was unlucky not to score. Hope he can stay fit.

    As I said after the game I wasn’t impressed with Giroud and Ramsey saying that they’d underestimated the opposition!!!!!! Criminal waste of 45 minutes if you ask me but it made the game fun for the neutral.

    Another two away games coming up so I think we can expect more roller coaster rides like yesterday’s.

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG, I’m happy for Ramsey that he scored a goal and I’m hoping that it will help to rebuild his levels of confidence. At the moment he is a very poor facsimile of himself at his best.

    Peaches, I’m in full agreement with your comment on Welbeck – even given he was only on for a short period of time he still had time to show us what we have been missing – he could well give us the impetuous that we need to move up the table.

    Another point that is rarely discussed is just how badly we have missed Santi’s contribution – our mid field has sorely lacked the extra creativity that he provided.

  24. chas says:

  25. Eddie says:

    do Barca really want Dale Alli? surely he is not that good, or is he?

  26. chas says:

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. The problem with both Kane and All is that they are not good enough for Barca/Real but they are very good in the PL.

    Let’s hope foreign clubs buys them both. And Eriksen, Aldeweird and Lloris

  28. Eddie says:

    raddy – are you saying that best clubs in EPL are not as good as Barca and Real? I wouldn’t be so sure you know, City, Chavs and Pool are playing very good football now. And even Arsenal are sometimes capable of being brilliant

    Plus, bring the Catalans and the Spaniards here and let them play 2 games away in a no man’s land near the Scottish border mid November – March. No, I take that back. Ronaldo did that very well.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    You have to be joking Eddie. Just look at the results over the past 10 years. Of course Barca and RM are better.

    Could make a post.

  30. Eddie says:

    raddy – I am not joking, but I don’t watch enough of Barca and Real to have an opinion. I see them in CL matched and yes, they are fantastic, but I have no idea how do they play week in week out. I assume that they are great, but like I said – EPL is very strong this season with several teams playing top football

  31. Aaron says:


    Enjoy coming here and reading the player ratings.

    Agree with most.

    Might even just break it down into 2 halves of play with the ratings.

    Solid comeback in 2nd half.

    Ramsey did not support the D in the 1st half.

    Xhaka needs someone to pass it to, and with players moving in the wrong direction (vertically), he had no one to pass it to and then move to space.

    A perfect example of supporting your wing backs was when Perez and Bel passed it back and forth from one end of the pitch to the other. (2 games ago?)

    It has been pointed out that Arsenal were not compact enough to deal with pressing.

    Ramsey still dilly dallies on the ball to much before he: passes, shoots or dribbles. That said he scored a very good goal.

    Looking forward.

    Can’t wait for Elneny to come back.

    Put Gabriel back on the right when Bel is out or support the kid Niles better if he is to play there.

    And for goodness sake someone other than Mustafi needs to move the dang ball forward to have opposing players come at him to open space for passing lanes. Really like the way he zips the ball forward.

  32. mickydidit89 says:

    Nice. Liverpool held at home by Plymouth 🙂

    When is the draw for the next round?

  33. wally says:

    Over the last few weeks this has not looked like a team trending in the right direction. In fact the opposite. They look like a team going thru the motions.
    Not quite sure where we go from here but if it doesn’t get righted pronto we’re playing for fourth, again.

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    The draw for the FA Cup fourth round takes place on Monday ahead of Cambridge United v Leeds.

    It will be shown live on BT Sport 2 from around 7.10pm

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    wally, do you know that games last longer than 45 minutes?! Or is your attention span than ‘going through the motions’? 🙂

    Micky, I loved when somebody answers their own question. 🙂

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    It took me 33 minutes to decide I could be bothered to do something for myself, and the common good, of course

  37. Eddie says:

    wally – I think you are right. Something is broken, and I cannot work it out what.

    Let’s speculate – what if there is a changing rooms rumour that someone important is leaving? Perhaps Ozil in January? Or Sanchez in June? The rest of the crew would know what that meant – that we won’t be playing for the 4th or celebrating St Totterighams day in a feasible future

  38. Eddie says:

    Didit – you are a drone. Did you know that in a bee colony drones do nothing for themselves? Females have to feed and groom them. Their only objective in life is to shag a queen and die. Some call is selfless, I call it sex obsessed, but no matter what you call it surprisingly a healthy colony functions better with a few useless feckers about .

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Are you confusing me with Drone Erik?

  40. Big Raddy says:

    My life ambition has been to be a drone

  41. chas mobile says:

    Do you realise we’ve finished 3rd and 2nd in the last two seasons?
    Don’t let the media bollix cloud your opinion.

  42. chas mobile says:

    There are loads of tweets about Alexis pissed off about playing for fourth again.
    He hasn’t finished fourth with us to my knowledge.

  43. chas mobile says:

    Apologies for any inaccuracies, I’ve been drinking. 😅

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    No need to apologise for apparent inaccuracies, Chas…. nobody else bothers! 😂🌶🔔😜

  45. chas mobile says:

    We had some really negative f€ckers behind us yesterday and it really got my goat.

    Luckily they were still fuckin moaning on the concourse when we equalised so they missed Rambo’s strike.

    It was almost as if they weren’t entitled to celebrate the winner when it came.

    It’s so different actually going to the games.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    I can imagine, Chas. it’s hard to block out the feckers.

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    This is a report from Sky Sports – it makes interesting reading but we have no idea if it is accurate.


    Mesut Ozil wants Arsene Wenger’s future clarified before signing new Arsenal deal
    By Michael Kelleher

    Last Updated: 08/01/17 8:34pm

    Mesut Ozil maintains he is willing to sign a contract extension at Arsenal but wants clarity on Arsene Wenger’s future first.

    Both Ozil and team-mate Alexis Sanchez have 18 months remaining on their existing contracts but are stalling on signing new terms.

    Wenger is keen to tie his key attacking duo down to long-term deal deals and is adamant neither player will be sold, even if they fail to agree extensions.

    It was reported last month that both Ozil and Sanchez are seeking parity with the Premier League’s top earners before putting pen to paper on new contracts.

    Arsene Wenger dismisses reports Alexis Sanchez could leave Arsenal after appearing frustrated during the 3-3 draw at Bournemouth

    Ozil, who joined the Gunners from Real Madrid in 2013, says he is ready to commit to Arsenal if the club are willing to satisfy his demands.

    “I am very, very happy at Arsenal and have let the club know that I would be ready to sign a new contract,” Ozil said, in an interview with German magazine Kicker. “The fans want that I stay and now it is just down to the club.”

    One stumbling block in the negotiations between Ozil and the club appears to be the uncertainty surrounding Wenger’s future at the Emirates Stadium.

    The 67-year-old Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of the season and he has indicated he will not decide his future until then.

    Wenger insisted last month his stance would not disrupt Arsenal’s long-term plans but Ozil wants the situation clarified before he commits.

    Ozil said: “The club knows that I am here most of all because of Arsene Wenger. He is the one who signed me and he is the one whose trust I have. The club also knows that I want to be clear what the manager is going to [do in the future].”
    Thierry Henry says he feels it is important for Arsenal to secure Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil on new deals.

    The reluctance of Ozil and Sanchez to sign new deals at Arsenal has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks and months, with club legend Thierry Henry accusing them of “holding the club hostage” with their wage demands.

    But Ozil insists Henry does not know the full story.

    “Everyone has a right to say what they want but what they have to say doesn’t interest me,” the 28-year-old Germany international said. “Ex-players or other people who have a view don’t know what is actually being said between me and the club.

  48. GunnerN5 says:

    I was under the impression that drinking and keyboarding was illegal or as a minimum it must be against Peaches Mum’s rules.

  49. wally says:

    Games last more than 45 minutes? jfc when the farq did that happen. Nothing gets by you does it.
    But then again with that deep insight you’ve offered you’re going to tell us that the games against Everton, City, WBA, Bournemouth, and NEP were games that showed our great quality, our championship calibre?
    That’s 5 of our last 6 games we’ve looked decidedly mediocre. Of that there is no doubt.

  50. wally says:

    2nd and 3rd? Well there you go. Like we were ever in either one of those races.
    And now we’ve spent another 100mm this year to improve the team. And this is what we have to show for it? These recent matches are not what winning looks like. As of today it’s looking more like a zeppelin song than a queen song.

  51. chas says:

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Here is another insight for you Wally: going through the motions and being mediocre are two very different things; and Arsenal were doing neither consistently during that spell of games.

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all

    I’ll do a post but won’t send until 8:40 ‘ish
    Late up. School run

  54. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Just a little aside to Chas. Every morning I open my computer to see what gems you have found for us. It is a lovely start to my day, a little like getting an Xmas stocking. Thank you.

    I am going to write a short post about Wally’s concerns.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    I am aquiver with anticipation Micky.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Hear hear Raddy.

  57. LB says:

    Chas’ Christmas stocking, love it and so true.

  58. Eddie says:

    just a thought – over the years we have lost dozens of bloggers. Amongst them there was only two deluded ones – Rocky and GiE. Others were not too happy about what is going on at Arsenal (a bit like me).
    Some of them were chased away by name calling, piss taking, ganging up on them to prove your point

    Wally expressed an opinion and straight away he was attacked and ridiculed.

    I don’t like it. I wish for the good of this site that stopped. We need new views and opinions even if they differ from yours

  59. Big Raddy says:

    A sporting director at Torino says AFC have made a €60m bid for their striker Bellotti ( and excellent player). AFC say that have made no such bid.

    Who do you believe?

  60. Eddie says:

    TA – I really don’t want to fight with you, but you keep on attacking me, cheap jibes below the belt. Please stop it. your own blog failed miserably and now you want to do disservice to this site. Is it necessary?

    Diddums spells with double ‘d’, you want to insult someone, at least do it right

  61. mickydidit89 says:


    Erik, if true, that’s buggered up my post

  62. Eddie says:

    no new post yet, so an observation – Chavs had 35 shots on target last night. 35!! and only converted 4. And goodie, goodie – JT was sent off 🙂

  63. Big Raddy says:

    You two. Take it outside.

    There is a New Post

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