Arsenal v Boro. Thoughts

Boro are one of the rare teams that conjure no emotion whatsoever in me, it’s like they do not exist, and yet I’ve just looked them up only to discover that unbelievably they’ve been around since 1889.

I imagine many Arsenal fans will glance at this fixture and offer little more than a shrug.

While I no longer harbour any hopes for top four, and am disgusted by the thought of Thursday Night Football, come match day, the same tingle of excitement greets me. Can’t help myself.

Don’t know who their manager is. Don’t know who plays for them. Don’t even know where Middlesbrough is. Don’t know which Arsenal players are fit.

Personally I’d target the Cup game at the weekend and then focus solely on the Utd and Spurs fixtures in the league. With that in mind, I suppose some momentum would be a good thing ahead of Wembley, and in any case, we’d all rather see us win every game and score as many goals as possible.

I’d like to see Iwobi and The Ox start.


121 Responses to Arsenal v Boro. Thoughts

  1. Wolfgang says:

    Underrate Boro at your peril. Wenger has failed to beat some lowly teams.His record against top sides is appaling with only one win.
    The main reason is his penchant for pass and pass and no shooting until you get to the box.
    That’s why he must pay the price like all managers who fail to challenge.

  2. Rasp says:

    Thanks Micky … like everyone else, I haven’t got a clue what to expect from our team, but I shall be watching the game, albeit it without great enthusiasm 🙄

  3. Rasp says:

    At least Sead Kolašinac looks like the type of powerful defender we should be signing … good news if true … and on a free?

  4. chas says:

    Thanks for stepping into BR’s mighty britches (that’s not right is it, RA?).

    I hope you’ve taken heed of Wolfgang’s wise words and don’t underestimate Boro.

    After all West Brom have only scored against one side in their last 7 premier league matches, so however shite Boro are, beware.

    Definitely need to win and get back into 6th place and fighting for Europa.
    More importantly, as you say, we need to regain a little confidence before next Sunday’s Semi.

  5. VP of Oz says:

    Talking of Easter lunch. My daily calorie intake needs to be around the 2200 mark. I used my food app and worked out that Easter Lunch alone came in at 4400+ calories.
    Slow cooked Lamb
    Roast Beef
    my Mums Parmigiano Reggiano Ravioli x 3
    Chicken Schnitzel
    Cous Cous Salad
    jamie olivers spinach and feta salad
    tomato and cucumber salad
    Cake and pastries

    Luckily I offset it with a run, walk, basketball and soccer


  6. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Micky.

    There is still hope for the top 4. Current form, the run in, and the pool and Utd games going against us yesterday don’t bode so well, but winning our games in hand on these 2 takes us within 3 points of both. City and Spuds are too far away. Winning games in hand on City (the closest of the other top teams) still leaves us 7 points adrift of them. We need one of our surges and a couple of big wins.

    My gut feeling is we will drop out of it this year. I may be in the minority, but if we get Europa we should embrace it as a competition to win and not dismiss it so readily. After all if Europa is what we end up with it is what we have earned and deserve, no more no less. We can go 2nd string earlier in the competition to focus attentions on the league and then play a stronger side against better opposition later in it if we progress.

    On today’s game, I would like to see us take a slight gamble and experiment on a different formation. We have tried all and sundry in our so called 4-3-3 and it just doesn’t seem to compliment our current crop of players, and probably hasn’t since before this season. We just keep chucking out names and recycling players into different positions without any combination of them coming up trumps.

    AW looks lost (and has for some time) in how to make that formation work. In reality I feel he hasn’t recruited correctly or developed the players in the right way for the formation he seemingly favours. I don’t expect him to change it but wish he would. Is it really a gamble anyway with the recent dross served up? Trying the same old same old in the hope it will suddenly work after such a long period of it not being that great is slight madness to me.

    If a new formation looked good we may have a glimmer of something exciting to see out the remainder of the season with.

  7. GoonerB says:

    On an aside I noticed Eddie recently put up a nice picture of some tulips in her garden. You want to be careful Eddie what with professional stalkers like Terry on here…..he may work out where you live 🙂 You might even get the Ants and Ducks of this world camping out on your drive with arrays of beer cans as an alternative to early morning trains 🙂

  8. chas says:

    Long John Kroenke


  9. chas says:

    Haven’t you been invited to Eddie’s house yet, GoonerB?

  10. Thank you Micky for the post.

    Monday night football is so boring when all the other results have gone against us 😦

    I’m not sure how I feel about the game tonight, obviously I’ll be watching and wanting us to win but whether we will is entirely questionable. If only half of our team turn up it would be a better turn out than last week 😉

    I just hope they’re not playing with the bloody handbrake on!!!!!

  11. GoonerB says:

    Not yet Chas, but I reckon I can find out where she lives and pop round for a cuppa, or beer 🙂

  12. Aaron says:

    New guy has blown ACL, walked on free, what does everybody think we are getting?
    As I said on another blog the Arsenal are 16-8-6, and are NOT going down to 3rd division as many of the mopers hope for under Arsene.
    Win today! Win next Saturday! Simple really.
    Chuck the 4-3-3, go to something more defensive in structure, get a gd clean sheet today, and move forward.

    And no I don’t want to have the Arsenal go into rotating losing coaches every 3-5 years and hope for a title every 20 years.

  13. Rasp says:

    You’ve got your facts wrong there Aaron .. he has an abductor problem (muscular) not an ACL. No one is suggesting we rotate coaches every 3-5 years. Your suggestion that we are trying to buy a player on the cheap because he has an ACL problem isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the current set-up 🙄

  14. Eddie says:

    GB – come over anytime

  15. Eddie says:

    micky – join the club – I haven’t got a club about Middlesborough. I think they are somewhere near Scottish border and at one point were managed by McClaren. Who cares except for Wolfgang 🙂

    I don’t even care if we win or lose, might actually watch Billions instead, at least the ginger crook has some front.

  16. Eddie says:

    chas – why are you questioning GB if he has been to my house? I have invited you over many a times and each time you refused. I know you are scared, so you tasting the ground sending GB on the reconnaissance mission?

  17. Aaron says:

    Do a bit of homework mate.
    He blew his ACL in 2014.
    “FC Schalke 04 will be without defender Sead Kolašinac for the next six months after the Bosnian-Herzegovinian international tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee.”

    That is not a player that Arsenal need- period!

    As Eddie said “20 managers in 5 years – be it.” So, yes it was suggested.

  18. Rasp says:

    No Aaron … you get your facts straight. He got over that injury 2 years ago, he currently has an abductor problem.

  19. Eddie says:

    aaron 🙂
    you are probably right, once a knee is fecked it will always be prone to injuries. Look at chas – gummy leg for 30+ years!!

  20. Eddie says:

    rasp – I think you and aaron are talking about 2 different injuries which Sead k-whatever had. As far as I’m concerned he is a risk not worth taking

  21. Rasp says:

    I don’t give a flying fuck if we sign this player or not … what we need to do, is sign strong players with strong personalities who don’t give up if they think ‘the opposition wants it more than they do’ to quote Theo Walcott

  22. Rasp says:

    Eddie,.. Robert Pires did his ACL and didn’t play too shabbily after that….

  23. Aaron says:

    Not going to argue the point, just state the facts.
    Injured August 24th, 2014. Surgery week later in September.
    200 days out without a game. That means he did not play again until Feb of 2015.
    Yes ,he is out now with abductor, but unless he is free, why bother.
    Just my lousy one cent.

  24. Rasp says:

    So you are saying I’m correct then Aaron …

    The only thing I agree with you on is that unfortunately it is entirely like this current regime to bring in a player on a free who is injury prone. Didn’t we sign Khastrom to fill in an immediate need only to find he was injured and couldn’t play for 6 weeks?

  25. Aaron says:

    I meant this guy plays for free-until proven otherwise.
    The Arsenal should never carry an injured guy for years on the payroll. The Arsenal had a whole team on the injury payroll for years.

  26. chas says:

    Kanu ad a dodgy ticka

  27. Rasp says:

    … and so did Almunia … discovered when he went to Watford …

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Copied and pasted from “About AA”

    When a discussion becomes an argument, it is time to agree to differ.

    Repeating the same point over and over again is just tedious and kills debate and drives good bloggers away …… agree to differ and move on.

  29. chas says:

  30. chas says:

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas, That image puts a lump in my throat, so many wonderful memories, I looked at it every day of my life until my parents moved us to N7.

  32. Rasp says:

    GN5 … when you have put all the hard work into setting up a website, you may be in a position to criticise others … keep your snide remarks off this site

  33. chas says:

  34. JanMan says:

    Schalke 04 have confirmed over various German sports news channels and the Kicker fussball magazine that Sead Kolasinac has not signed for Arsenal and as of yet no decision has been made on his future.
    Regardless of the result tonight or the final outcome of our league position at the end of the season, Mr. Wenger should do the right thing and step down. For sure he is our greatest manager ever and I have total respect for the man but it has nothing to do with recent results, it is all about the past eight years and the failure to recognize and correct the downfalls. We are all so concerned about a place in the top four we have lost the ability to be winners. For several years our team/squad, has not had a winning mentality, the heart or the desire for anything else than a top four placing. Unfortunately Mr. Wenger has failed the club for many years and too many loyal supporters/bloggers for what ever reason fail to admit to this fact. Mr. Wenger no longer possesses the “mojo” to take this club forward. Of course this is my opinion and not an opinion that I am forcing on any one else!

  35. Eddie says:

    rasp- Pires is a freak 🙂 Look at Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Gazza – top footballers had their career ruined by ACL. As I said before – risk not worth taking.

    We didn’t buy van Horse because he had ACL 🙂 See what I mean, can you imagine that p***k wearing our shirt. perish the thought

  36. Rasp says:

    In my opinion, that’s an excellent and fair assessment JanMan, I agree with you.

  37. Rasp says:

    Thanks Eddie 🙂 … and as I said before, I don’t give a F**** F*** if we sign him (apologies to peaches’ mum) my point is that I want us to sign strong characters who will play for the shirt and not give up when the going gets tough.

  38. JanMan says:

    Rasp. Thank you. Your comment referring to strong characters is exactly what we have lacked for many years. Even the loyal no matter what bloggers have often said over the years we are only a player or two away from the right mixture to produce a team with a winning mentality. Why has Mr. Wenger failed over the past years to ignore these type of players? Who in our team over the past several years has had the ability to give the team that kick in the pants, either on or off the field of play. We have never replaced the character of leading players, (Adams, Bould, Parlour, Viera, Petite, Sol Cambell) with the mentality to fight for the team and a win no matter what! When things go wrong to many of our over paid stars put their heads down and give up instead of rolling up their sleeves and fighting for victory no matter what the circumstances are.

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Wolfgang wins best name trophy for today

  40. mickydidit89 says:

    Apologies everyone for such a pathetic attempt to fill what Chas calls the Erik britches, although I refer to these things as filling his sandals

    I agree with GN5 about The East Stand. What a magnificent building

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    Ooops, just got down to the Rasp comments.

    You’re in a frisky mood today 🙂

  42. Rasp says:

    🙂 Micky, I’m taking the same approach as I wish to see from our players 🙂

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    That’s all I want from the slack bastards as well 🙂

  44. chas says:

    3-4-3, well slap my big cahoona burger and call me Daisy

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    Ooooooooo how exciting. The Old Dog has gone 3-4-2-1

    Now I’m excited

    GB….calm down 🙂

  46. Rasp says:

    Am I to assume he’s playing a 3:4:2:1 formation …. well rub me down with the Sporting Life

  47. mickydidit89 says:


    Who produced the team layout picture? Was it AFC

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    It’s amazing how just writing players names down in a different pattern can perk one up, but perked I am

  49. chas says:

    Yes, I just copy the photo link rather than the link to the whole tweet.

  50. JanMan says:

    Interesting team and formation! It’s almost game time so now we can all put opinions behind us and do what true supporters do and get behind the team for the 90 minutes game time. Come on the Arsenal.

  51. fatgingergooner says:

    Lot of websites showing us playing 3 at the back, but I don’t believe it until I see it. I reckon it’s:

    Gabriel Holding Kos Monreal
    Ramsey Xhaka
    Ox Özil Sanchez

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    Apart from the fact I’d have preferred Elneny for Ramsey and Danny again, do we think this line up is prep. for City or Boro or the big bright new future?

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    Keep up FGG, it was AFC that printed the picture with 3 at back

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    Interesting that our glorious Captain, Mr Walcott, has been given the heeve-ho. Don’t suppose his bright spark post match comments helped 🙂

  55. Cheers Micky

    This is important man. I don’t do Thursdays, it’s my no contact with humanity time. I watch cartoons and wildlife programmes with out that Richard Attenborough bloke.

    Arsene has rung the changes and even altered the system? Good for him. I love the guy and reallly hope he can change people’s minds and produce another great Arsenal team for the future

    If Arsene were to produce wildlife programmes instead of Richard Attenborough, I would un mute the remote control

  56. fatgingergooner says:


    In fairness I wrote that without looking at any other comments! Hope I’m wrong, but wouldn’t be shocked if it’s 4231.

  57. Oh,and Middlesborugh is a horrible place. I was once abused up there for having the body of an academic.

    Up there, If you wear tweed or look like you can answer a starter for ten you get looked at

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    We’ll watch Monreal like a hawk 🙂

    Only one thing worse than being looked at, as Oscar Wilde would say 🙂

    Ok, come on you Gunnnnnners

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, so far so good re the 3 at the back. Haven’t conceded any at all although haven’t scored many either

  60. fred1266 says:

    Mustafi is being rested?

  61. fred1266 says:

    Looking awful with the 3 at the back,

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    Are they playing on ice!?

    Is this a genuine change or mind games for the City game? Or the only way he could rest the players he wanted to rest i.e. Bellerin?

  63. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s 11 v 11 same as in recent weeks when we’ve been awful. We are struggling to get Özil and Sanchez in the game.

  64. mickydidit89 says:


    Like you said, he could have rested Bell and kept a 4
    He didn’t

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    I like it so far

  66. Rasp says:

    This is not looking too bad

  67. Rasp says:

    The man handling of Giroud in the box is ridiculous ….. what have they got to do before the ref penalises them for it???

  68. fatgingergooner says:

    Have we had a shot yet?

  69. chas says:

    The ref definitely has a tenner on Boro scoring from a free-kick.

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    Ox playing well.

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh yes

  72. fatgingergooner says:

    Chelsea seem to get Hazard and Pedro in the game with this formation but we are struggling to get any space for Özil and Sanchez. You can’t judge it on 40 minutes but just an observation. Maybe it’s Boro doing a great job.

    Oh, Sanchez is playing!

  73. chas says:

  74. Rasp says:

    I’m happy with that first half …. we need to come out for the second half wide awake and up the intensity. Holding and Gabriel playing well … against Boro’ the back 3 is working

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    Excellent to get the first
    They have to come out a bit more
    Looking good although I’d still like Elneny instead of Ramsey as our centre mid is a bit frantic
    Could do with a little more solidity

  76. chas says:

  77. chas says:

    Better view

  78. Aaron says:

    Will take the goal and lead.
    No goals conceded!
    Announcers on sKy are idiotic….
    Arsenal should get a few more as Boro press.

  79. fatgingergooner says:

    We look more solid defensively but will take a while to figure this out in an attacking sense. Will be interesting to see how much space our creative players get 2nd half. How has Ox not played more recently? We’ve been awful but he always looks dangerous and full of running.
    Gabriel finally starting to look the player Wenger hoped for. His pace and willingness to attack the ball suits this formation as he’s always got cover if it goes wrong.

  80. Rasp says:

    What was Monreal doing to let Downing get that cross in???

  81. fatgingergooner says:

    Put 10 of our defenders in and we would still conceded from crosses! Poor from our left side not closing the cross and poor from our CB’s not dealing with it.

  82. fatgingergooner says:

    I wonder if our CB’s are comfortable enough on the ball to play this? Mustafi certainly is but question marks about others.

  83. fatgingergooner says:

    Don’t think I’ve seen an Arsenal team with such little movement as this one. Formation is irrelevant if players have so little confidence that they don’t look for space and the ball.

  84. GoonerB says:

    Hi Fgg. I asked for a change in formation but this line up still confuses me on a few levels regarding its balance. The right formation needs the right players to execute it. Having said that you can have any formation you like to no effect if you can’t do the basics right.

  85. mickydidit89 says:


  86. fatgingergooner says:

    Great goal.

  87. Rasp says:

    WTF???? We’re playing at walking pace, we’ve let the tempo drop and will get punished if we’re not careful

  88. GoonerB says:

    Is it just me that needs a new pair of pants every time we defend a set piece. I can’t believe we still look so weak in those situations.

  89. mickydidit89 says:

    Great to see the players genuinely happy to win

    Me too


  90. GoonerB says:

    A welcome 3 points. Not great but not dreadful. Much work to be done and certain players and positions need to be looked at to make it work. We definitely need 3-4 good signings and likely a trim in certain positions.

  91. fatgingergooner says:

    Pleased with the win and an attempt at a new formation. Will be interested to see if it continues and how it develops if so. I’ve been asking for Wenger to adapt and make changes and hopefully this is a sign that he’s willing to do that. Maybe it’s the way forward.

    Thought Ox was excellent, our defending of crosses was poor, Sanchez and Ox created our best moments, and Ramsey was instrumental in getting us 3 points even though he didn’t contribute much for the first hour.

  92. GoonerB says:

    Kos confirming the 3-4-3. I wonder whether the 3-5-2 is a better option for us right now which would get Sanchez more central with another strike partner. I prefer Sanchez central to wide. With another strike partner he can still drop to get on the ball.

  93. Really pleased with that.

    If we can revamp the squad with a bit more pace, height, and power, then next season we can win the league.

  94. GunnerN5 says:

    “Hear Hear” Terry

  95. Hi GN5

    A lot will depend on the courage of the board. It will be a big mistake to let Arsene go so they need the guts to go against the mob and keep him.

    We need change, but the irony is that the best man to bring it is the current manager

  96. chas mobile says:

  97. chas mobile says:

  98. chas mobile says:

  99. GunnerN5 says:

    Great posts Chas – thank you.

  100. GunnerN5 says:

    Terry, both of us will go down fighting for what we already have.

  101. chas says:

    With the potential signing of Kolasinac on the cards. If we look beyond the basics of the deal, we can see that this transfer offers more than just an ability improvement on Monreal and Gibbs.
    With the heavily rumoured large squad reshuffle this summer. A potential formation change could be on the cards, as a three centre back formation is on the rise with top teams around Europe and England. Arsenal may explore the options of replicating the success seen.
    Currently, Arsenal aren’t able to operate in this system, firstly, due to a lack of wide men that are both capable of offering an offensive threat, whilst providing the defensive support required. Gibbs and Monreal do like to get forward, however they don’t carry the conviction carried by a natural midfielder or forward.. hence why they’re defenders. Similarly our current left sided options including Alexis and Iwobi wouldn’t offer the defensive stability that’s needed.
    It’s thought that Kolasinac would be able to work in the a midfield role, be capable to provide a competitive threat and strong stability. Unlike our current options. Bellerin is thought to be able to do a similar job on the right hand side.
    Secondly, Kolasinac is thought to carry a natural leadership quality, despite his age – much like Xhaka. As we’ve seen both Gibbs and Monreal take the armband, neither have truly filled the leadership role of ‘senior players’. As a teams left back/ left sided players are rarely replaced and have little competition, they play a lot of games. At 23, Kolasinac could have 5+ years in the first team. Having a natural leader is seen to be very attractive.
    If we speculate that the deal is done, as is reported. It represents an interesting shift away from player’s ability, to a player’s mentality being key criteria in player recruitment. As long term followers would’ve heard me say before, Arsenal staff are very capable of training a player’s ability with the ball, however teaching the mental side is incredibly difficult.
    Hope you liked the alternative perspective on Kolasinac. I reckon we’ll probably be seeing him in an AFC shirt next season, in what capacity? We’ll have to wait and see.

  102. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning Chas

    Have we used up all the sliders?

  103. mickydidit89 says:

    On the back of our new formation, and with City waiting for us at Wembley in just a few days’ time, I’m anticipating a very intense week of tactics bollocks

    GB, sharpen your pencil. I’m expecting great things.

    Ditto FGG and RC

    Maps, graphs, diagrams, heat maps, the works

  104. chas says:

    If there were any left we hadn’t seen, I’d be saving them up for our next defeat.

  105. mickydidit89 says:

    Nice. Tactical Slider Deployment or simply TSD in the world of counter doomage psychology

    Must dash for a while. Dash

  106. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    BR back in the house.

    Delighted to see 6.47 again. I met her in Margate selling candy floss

  107. mickydidit89 says:

    THAT is a post FGG

    Plenty of meat to get stuck in to

    And welcome back Erik

    v busy today

  108. chas says:

    New Post
    Having just seen FGG’s comment I’ve added it to the post. 🙂

  109. chas says:

    Moved it from here, too.
    Hope you don’t mind, fgg. 🙂

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