Chelsea Preview

Tempus Fugit. Seems like yesterday  … actually it doesn’t, much talk and some action has taken place since season’s end, some good, some not so good, some still to happen. Has anyone left from the 1st team squad? Will they? Loans must be the order of the day as we try to clear the decks. We need more bodies etc etc

But today we have the little matter of a Wembley appearance, and we are good at Wembley, aren’t we? 8 wins on the bounce. Though we play for bragging rights and a Shield which isn’t really a trophy.

Unusually this is a repeat of last season’s Cup Final which was FAR more important and left Chelsea dreaming of the Double. On the day, we were so much the better team it was embarrassing and one was left to question how it was that Arsenal failed to achieve Top 4 (or even the title).

This is our 22nd appearance in the curtain raiser – a record.

Injuries abound which is worrying in a quiet International summer. Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Wilshere and Coquelin are all knacked to some extent. If I were Mr Wenger I would be giving all concerned a rest or at most a bench seat.

I am excited by the current squad; the addition of Lacarazette and the other chap have given the boost we needed, one more body in midfield will see us cushtie and title pretenders.


3-4-3 this afternoon with Holding, BFG and Monreal at the back – it worked last time


Holding    BFG   Monreal

Ox   Ramsey   Xhaka   Kolasinac

Ozil    Lacazette     Welbeck

As I have done little AFC study over the close season this team could be way off the mark but IMO it is a winning 11, particularly as we have such a strong bench.


Chelsea will be looking for Wembley revenge. Denuded by the loss of Costa (Conte must be mad to sell him) they have spent huge sums but look weaker on paper.

If you are lucky enough to be attending Wembley this afternoon, give the lads a cheer for us sad souls stuck on the sofa. The pre-kick-off rituals of Wembley are some of my finest footballing memories.

The serious business starts next week but another trophy/shield would be a great start to the campaign…

Let it be So.


76 Responses to Chelsea Preview

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy, good to have you back 🙂

    That looks like a tasty 11 you have chosen … not sure why there is a picture of Perez?

    It’s our kick start to the season so a balanced team and a hardworking performance where we play meaningful football is what I hope to see.

    I’m in the camp that thinks the transfer window should close once the season starts so that we can all relax and enjoy the football rather than dream of players we might sign … or who may leave……

  2. afcorbett says:

    Love the starting xi, very attacking and hopefully kolasinac can prove his worth against a premier league outfit

  3. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Raddy good to see you back behind the keyboard.

    Here is the latest team news from Arsenal .com

    Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield against Chelsea.

    The Arsenal manager provided updates on Mesut Ozil, Alexis, Shkodran Mustafi, Aaron Ramsey and Gabriel.

    This is what he had to say:

    on the team news…
    We have basically everyone available to choose from on Sunday and today in training we didn’t have Ozil, but he should be alright, and Ramsey, who should be alright as well. Some players are just coming back like Alexis and Mustafi, and I haven’t decided yet if I will involve them or not.

    on Ozil and Ramsey…
    Ramsey had a little muscular problem, and Ozil a a little ankle problem. They will train on Saturday.

    on Francis Coquelin…
    No, he is not available. He got injured in the Emirates Cup but we don’t think it will be too bad – two weeks.

    on Gabriel…
    He is a long-term injury but he starts to run again now.

    on Alexis…
    He is good, as you can see from training. He had a good rest, so he needs to work on his fitness but once he is in a game he is sharp. He doesn’t look like he has been away.

    on if he is over the flu…
    He is over the flu, yes. I told you it was never a problem for us.

    Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  4. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Raddy. Up against it time wise so will be quick. I feel it is a priority to keep AOC with us and to get him on a new contract. He needs to be a starting 11 player now and I would actually play him before Bellerin on the right.

    I have also always harboured a hope that he could actually become a top inside left forward as well and feel he has many similar characteristics to Sanchez but needs time in 1 position to prove it. I would like to see him played in that role in this game with him and Ozil lining up behind Lac but I don’t think AW will consider it.

  5. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal subs: Ospina, Kolasinac, Walcott, Giroud, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Willock

    Arsenal XI: Cech, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Iwobi, Lacazette

    Read more at!timeline#xzJu3icWIPZKZQUm.99

  6. GunnerN5 says:

    Looks like a strong team even without Koscielny, Ozil, Sanchez & Ramsey

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Surprised to see Ox take the LWB role and not Kolasinac, otherwise looks good.

  8. Hello everyone ……. enjoy the game

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    Xhaka been outstanding. Great ball for the goal.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Agree. Xhaka has been terrific.

    Lots to talk about post-match

  11. Ha ha ha ha ha 🙂

  12. Big Raddy says:

    We won the Shield
    We won the Shield
    We won the Shield

  13. chas says:

    Excellent to have you back, BR.

    I’m loving the ABBA format for the pens.

  14. chas says:

    We’ve now got two big Balkans.

  15. chas says:

  16. chas says:

  17. chas says:

  18. chas says:

  19. chas says:

    Last one……

  20. fatgingergooner says:

    Looking on whoscored:

    Xhaka 90 passes 81 successful 4 key 1 assist

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    Well that was all very satisfying, we played some special football and I thought that Iwobi was outstanding – but he needs a hell of a lot of shooting practice before he can become the finished article.

    Wenger has got us yet another star in Kolasiniac, I was concerned when we lost Mertesacker but Kolas performance put out all of my concerns to rest – especially with his penalty.

    It was also good to see the team play so well without our 3 “stars” Ozil, Sanchez and Ramsey and that also eases my fears that without them we would be a lesser team. However it does stand to reason that we should be a better team with them all playing.

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    Maybe this is an unfair comment but I thought that Lacavette looked a tad light weight.

  23. Gööner In Exile says:

    Interesting on Lacazette, GN5, sitting watching with my family we had same discussion, we were saying he doesn’t look that tall alongside Louis and Cahill, but then Theo replaced him and was probably an inch taller.

    So that left me wondering about the seasons line up/formation.

    Today I think we were 3-4-1-2

    I think with Alexis and Ozil we are more likely to be 3-4-3, but could equally be 3-3-3-1 or 3-3-1-3

    Up front We can play one big (Ollie/Welly) with one small (Lac/Theo) when 3-4-1-2 or go for one big two small (Alexis/Lac or Theo) with Ollie or Welly.

    The midfield formation gives options to, I don’t see Alexis as a natural wing back so Hector/Oz/Kolasnic/Nacho can all occupy those births, and depending on opposition we can use two deep lying as we did today Elneny and Xhaka, or one deep lying and free up another man in the attack for Park the bus team’s.

    Kolasiniac reminded me of Ivanovic in build and being multifunctional.

    We have too many players though, there will need to be a lot of rotation to keep everyone happy.

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    Lacazettte showed a lot of finesse and skill, I just hope that he has the strength to handle the defensive brutes/thugs in the PL. I a;so thought that Xhaka has improved vastly over his first season and is now looking like the real deal.

  25. chas says:

  26. chas says:

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Great work chas. 7.20 looks just like my Spud nephew.

  28. chas says:

    Love this photo

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all. I’m still buzzing about leaving poor ole Chelsea wondering what happened at Wembley.

    Kolasiniac really looked th part when he came on and I was pleasantly surprised at both his speed and his ball control skills.,

  30. GunnerN5 says:

    Where are you Zee?

  31. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all, I thought that was as good a performance as we could have hoped for and a good warm up for Friday.

    Like GN5, it did cross my mind that we looked OK without Ozil and Sanchez.

    Maybe Lacazette will be more of IWWW type striker. He did come deep to collect the ball but also took up good positions in the box like a proper goal poacher I thought.

    It’s clear already that AW is going to have some difficult decisions when picking his best 11. Ramsey is slowly improving but still not at the level of a couple of years ago whereas Elneny always impresses. Hos work rate is equivalent and gets on with his job more efficiently much of the time, I guess he poses less of a goal threat buit we’ve got plenty of players who can score now.

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Cahill went into the Arsenal changing room after the game to apologise to Mertesacker, and the German defender hailed the Chelsea’s defender’s gesture.

    “It’s great sportsmanship from him,” he said. “He is as well a champion, a decent fella, so I thanked him again for coming and taking care of that, it’s an accident, but it was a nice touch.”

    Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  33. chas says:

  34. Big Raddy says:

    I have been wondering why Rasp thinks Elneny is more efficient than Ramsey, something Mr Wenger clearly disagrees with. Could it be that he is so much more visible with his “big hair”?

    I thought Iwobi was extraordinarily busy until I realised I was doubling him up with Welbeck! Must be my ageing eyesight

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    Iwobi had a great start yesterday but then we stopped getting the ball to him and he faded out of the game a little.

    I like Elneny against the bigger teams as Ramsey’s first thought is always to get in the box and that can leave us open to counters at times, whereas Elneny tends to stay behind the ball. However, I would say with 3 at the back and Xhaka in midfield that Ramsey could be set for a huge goal scoring season. He gets chances and gets into great areas and eventually his shooting boots will come back.

    Just a quick mention for Coquelin who has far more ability on the ball than people give him credit for and he could be a decent partner for Xhaka aswell at times this season.

    The only worry I have in midfield is wether any of Coq, Elneny, Wilshere, Ramsey can really push on and have a ‘world class’ season.

  36. chas says:

  37. I do hate to sound ungrateful Arsene but do you think that maybe this could have occurred to you before …………. when looking at other players?

    “He is physically very strong naturally. There are players who are pumped up in the gym and players who are born strong. He is the second part”. Wenger on Kolasinac

  38. GunnerN5 says:

    I say be grateful for large mercy’s 🙂 🙂

  39. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal armed and dangerous in top-four fight

    Date published: Monday 7th August 2017 3:21

    Like that awkward moment when you realise that you fancy the same person as your ageing parent (the stare, the glance, the shame), it feels bizarre to find yourself agreeing with Glenn Hoddle.

    While Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were being questioned by Jake Humphrey about Liverpool’s chances of reaching the top four, no query was raised about neither placing Arsenal in their projected Champions League places. Just months after the Gunners had ended the season in the best form of any Premier League side, finishing just a point behind Liverpool and winning the FA Cup, their top-four chances were not even a topic for discussion.

    Then Humphrey turned to Hoddle and laughed heartily at his attempt to crowbar five clubs into his top-four predictions. Finishing behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United – according to Hoddle – would be Arsenal, assuming that they kept hold of Alexis Sanchez. That his caveat allowed for Tottenham to replace them is irrelevant; Sanchez will stay. Spurs have a stronger starting XI, but Arsenal’s ludicrous squad strength makes them perfectly placed to compete both in the Europa League and Premier League.

    Against Chelsea at Wembley, only five of their starting XI would have ranked in an XI of Arsenal’s most-picked players from last season’s ultimately disappointing league campaign. This was a side shorn of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and two members of their first-choice defence, and yet they looked far sharper than the champions. In Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi, they boasted the game’s most dynamic attacking players and yet neither would expect to start more than half of Arsenal’s Premier League fixtures this season.

    The one advantage of Arsene Wenger’s infuriating/endearing refusal to sell his fringe players is that there are a hell of a lot of fringe players, which should excuse his key men from European duty in the first half of the season. Mertesacker. Elneny. Iwobi. Welbeck. Walcott. Giroud. That is the spine of an excellent Europa League side. That alone should move them ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham and their numerically challenged squads in the race for Champions League places.

    No fool would predict a title challenge on the back of a Community Shield victory on penalties, but it would be equally foolish to assume that one season spent in the shadows of Tottenham should lead to eternal darkness. Arsenal boast quantity like no other Premier League side, and they have also added quality in Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac. While Chelsea have arguably strengthened with replacements from the transfer market, Arsenal have inarguably strengthened with a sharp, hungry striker and the already loveable unit that is Kolasinac.

    Clearly, the real strength is in the 3-4-3 system that now seems so blindingly obvious that we should all feel slightly embarrassed that we weren’t calling for its introduction years ago. Just a few competitive games into its use, it is now so ingrained that Arsenal ended the Wembley clash with two left-backs in their back three and a right-winger at left wing-back and everything still looked absolutely hunky-dory. Granit Xhaka certainly looks more comfortable in this formation, and the willingness of Lacazette to drop deep dovetailed perfectly with the exuberance of Welbeck and Iwobi. It works.

    All of which makes it bizarre that the bookmakers and the pundits still make them odds-against to finish in the top four. You need only see an Arsenal squad list, never mind watch a weakened side beat Chelsea, to see that this is a set of players capable of a far better Premier League season without the distractions of Europe’s top table. Wenger’s biggest weakness could yet prove to be Arsenal’s strength.

    Sarah Winterburn

  40. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, Arsene has always had favourite undroppable players and Ramsey is in that category I feel. I’m not saying Elneny is the answer, just that he seems to bind the play together better than Ramsey. He doesn’t dwell on possession but passes and keeps the game flowing.

  41. Gööner In Exile says:

    I think comparing Elneny and Ramsey is comparing chalk and cheese, if you want to question Wengers loyalty it would be to Coquelin, as for me Elneny Xhaka is better than Coquelin Xhaka or Coquelin Elneny when in need of two deep lying midfielders, in games where we want two attacking midfielders it’s between Ozil, Rambo, Santi and maybe Iwobi. All available I Arsene picks Santi, Ozil and sticks Rambo on right wing if he feels he needs him on the pitch (although with options in Iwobi, Welly, Theo I don’t see that happening).

    So when we play against park the bus team’s we play with the latter when we play teams who we need to be tighter at the back against (Chavs, Spuds, Pool, United, City) it’ll be a combination of Elneny and Xhaka or Xhaka and Coquelin, I prefer the flrmer because they are more composed than Coquelin in and out of possession. That’s not to say Coquelin hasn’t got a role to play, he just wouldn’t be my first choice in that situation.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hello AAers,

    Just a quick visit to wish you a happy season ahead. Great to read a BR preview and see Chas’ fine visual entertainment again. Also like GiEs midfield analysis – just add in a fit Jack to the equation, and we have fine midfield options going forward. Who is that silver tongued Zee chap/chapesse?

    Keep up the good work Peaches, Rasper, BR and the rest.

    CoyGs, UTA

  43. chas says:

  44. Rasp says:

    Hi Total, sorry I missed your comment yesterday. Yes, I’m excited about the season ahead. We have a ridiculously full and talented squad … the totts can only dream of such depth 🙂

  45. Rasp says:

    chas … excellent work … we’re all widgetised and ready to go for the new season 🙂

  46. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Lovely to start my day with a reminder that my football odyssey began in black and white, about the time Spurs last won the league 😀

  47. Big Raddy says:

    France is Bacon. 😀

    I had a friend at school whose surname was Artoe. His cruel parents gave him a first name of Thomas.

  48. GunnerN5 says:

    Just got back from Lake Erie, we took our grand children and had a barbecue on the beach.

    Not much happening with transfers – very quiet indeed. I’m looking forward to our opener and I hope we get off to a strong start.

  49. Gööner In Exile says:

    Just our luck that we assemble a good squad and The Donald starts talking about beinging fire and fury the like of which the world has never seen. What a time to be alive!!

  50. chas says:


  51. Excellent way of telling, and fastidious piece of writing to obtain facts about my presentation subject
    matter, which i am going to convey in school.

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