A Serious Test of Mental Strength.

If, as so many pundits and even Gooners expect, we get creamed, will I be able to enjoy the excellence of Man City? This is what I woke up to think about, then I had a cup of Builder’s and reconsidered. What if we beat them?

Unlikely but not beyond the realms of imagination.

It has been both alarming and a guilty pleasure watching Guardiola prove the short-termist numbskulls wrong – he is a brilliant manager, the Arsene Wenger of recent years. Admittedly, Pep has the resources of an oil-rich country behind him as he develops a superb side. Sadly, this is the unpalatable future of football; money talks.


Given the vagaries of our defence have we any hope? Depends upon a few factors. Tactics, personnel, concentration, form and, dare I say it. luck.

Mr. Wenger says we are going to the Ethihad with the intention to attack and not PTB – good. With the current first team we do not have the defensive steel to last 90+ minutes against a team who have such a potent attack. We will see whether AW is telling the truth when we see his team selection; if Coquelin or Elneny start then we are looking to shore up our leaky defence.

If our attackers combine as they did at Goodison we can certainly score goals, especially if Ozil finds space. City’s frailties are on the flanks as their FB’s are very attacking (Walker will cause problems). Had OG played well mid-week I would have given him a start but he didn’t, did he?

Holding, BFG or, if fit, Mustafi? Has to be Holding as MC’s pace upfront could embarrass Mertesacker but as Rob played midweek, it will be our Captain.

My Team: As expected …


Kos   BFG    Monreal

Bellerin    Ramsey    Xhaka    Kolasinac


Lacazette    Sanchez

Where we can match MC is on the bench. We have International players who cannot even ride the pine for AFC.

If both sides play to their potential this will be a terrific game. I would love to have seen the current MC team play the Invincibles – we would have thrashed them. The current team seriously lacks a PV4. It turns out he is irreplaceable.

Pre-game I am excited, let’s hope I am more excited post-game 😀




90 Responses to A Serious Test of Mental Strength.

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Erik, thank you.

    I’m looking forward to this game so much more than any recent encounters, simply because there will be high quality attacking football on show.

    Another ‘ting, I’ve recently been saying how our best midfield combo is a Santi/Coq pairing, and in the absence of the poor Santi, attempted to formulate the best substitute duet. I settled on Coq Jack, but after watching both recently, have performed a complete U-turn and totally binned that idea.

    Happily, that leaves me more content with the Granit Rambo pairing. Sure Granit will perform at least one howler, but I no longer care. There are defenders and a goal keeper behind to deal with that, and watching his wand like left foot in action more than makes up for it

    Can’t wait for KO

  2. VP of Oz says:


  3. GunnerN5 says:

    Thank you, once again, Raddy,

    Like yourself and Micky I’m really excited about today’s game – and at the same time I’m scared to think about what the outcome might be. As long as we put give 10o% of our ability I will be satisfied; as we can ask no more of the players.

    City have an unenviable team – one that any club would yearn for – but only untold oil billions can buy one – which in turn makes it a little unsavory. (note a high degree of jealousy)

    Wish I could be there but I will enjoy the game anyway – too early in the morning here for a tipple especially since we have people arriving for wine and cheese this afternoon……………..but I might sneak a small dram.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    A wee dram, that seems like a plan.

    Very useful ahead of a challenge. I highly recommend an espresso coffee with a whisky prior to leaping into a black run when skiing (called a Bombadino in Italian)

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Anniversary in the Raddy family. I have just been told by Mrs. R. that a family lunch in a restaurant is the order of the day (guess who is paying!) which means I may miss the start of the game.


  6. mickydidit89 says:


    That’ll be a NO to starters and puddings then

  7. GunnerN5 says:

    Sounds like a good time to spend some time in the toilet and let out loud moans and groans, then stumble back to a seat in front of the TV and then say “Oh dear I must have eaten something really bad last night” “I hope you are alright my dear”? Then maybe she will take sympathy and suggest you should rest at home.

    Or is that just a no chance wish and hope ?

  8. chas mobile says:

    Cheers, BR.

    I’ve no idea what to expect from today’s game. I hope we can play as a team and to our abilities.

    I thought we tried to park the bus a bit at Anfield and it was an unmitigated disaster. Surely there is some middle ground where we can attack as a team without committing the whole of the light brigade over the top and yet still be solid when we don’t have the ball.

    Up The Arse.

  9. LB says:

    Superb read BR, way up there.

    I can’t see Wenger changing the line up you have up there.

    This is going to be a very high scoring game.

  10. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the PM Raddy, I’d be surprised if you haven’t got the team 100% correct … is it possible to bet on the accuracy of your teams? 🙂

    As far as today’s game is concerned, not for the first time (and certainly not the last) I haven’t got the foggiest as to ‘which’ Arsenal will turn up.

    I’m sure it’s going to be a good game, almost certainly with goals …. we only have to score more than them … how hard can that be? 🙂

  11. mickydidit89 says:


    I think it all hinges on how serious the anniversary in question is. If it’s a full on girly-serious wedding one, for example, then I reckon our Erik will have to aim higher than food poisoning

    I’d go for catching brain tumour level bad. Hard for wives to come over all “you don’t know what pain is” bullshit line 🙂

  12. LB says:

    I still blame the woeful team selection for the Anfield debacle: Oxlaide-Chamberlain on the right and Bellerin on the left against a team whose principle weapon is to attack down the flanks with Sala and Marne.

  13. mickydidit89 says:


    Over commit to attack is surely the most sensible policy today


    Cheers Raddy

    I think Arsene will make a tactical change, bringing Iwobi in for one of the front three, probably Lacazette?

    This will allow Iwobi to tuck in and crowd the midfield and also give cover to Ramsey’s bursts forward.

    With this formation and everyone playing with concentration and discipline we will win this.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  15. fred1266 says:

    Yea a real test

  16. chas mobile says:

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    Bloody hell, didn’t see that coming

    Transplant got the Iwobi for Laca bit, but four at the back!

  18. LB says:

    Good team, excellent call Arsene.

    Very surprised that there is no CB cover in the form of BFG or Holding on the bench. An injury to Koscielny would leave a gaping hole and I can’t see from where Wenger is able to fill it.


    Elneny and Monreal as the CBs……..heaven help us.

    But hay enough with the doom Koscielny is not going to get injured.



    Think we may have a few injured we don’t know about, Mertesacker must be crocked?

    Maybe still 4 at the back? The Iwobi at wing back and Kolasinac in the 3?

    Anyway, who cares. We will thrash em regardless

  20. LB says:

    Ooh and with that line up I am changing my guess from high scoring to low scoring.

  21. mickydidit89 says:

    Having gone for the solidity of Coq and Xhak, I’d have thought Laca could have started

    I fear for our goals tally, but maybe we’ll let in a few less.

    Not my way of doing things ROLF 🙂

  22. mickydidit89 says:



    I’m not as excited as I could have been. Oh well, I suppose trying to be a little more defensive my work 🙄

    Right. Come on you Gunnnnnners

  23. mickydidit89 says:

    Coq in middle of back three. Wow

    That’s for you Erik. I know you have your phone in the bog 🙂

  24. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you, Raddy, thank you everyone. Sorry knot ear. 😦

    But just to say happy with the AAA team selection. Expect 4 points from the two games.

    COYG. 🙂

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    Alright then, here’s my first half summary

    They have slightly better footballers than us. About one goal’s worth.

    Still, our freshness should win the second half

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Had my phone with and am disappointed to se Le Coq start, but one down at half-time is not a disaster. Waiting until LAcazette comes on in the 70th minute.

    Micky. 2.19 ✔️

  27. Red Arnie says:

    yes, sad, but not unexpected I suppose. all to play for.

  28. Rasp says:

    I see we’ve come out from half time half asleep … nothing changes 🙄

  29. mickydidit89 says:


  30. Big Raddy says:

    Wish I hadn’t turned on. 😦

    Just saw Cech let in yet another pen, has he ever saved one for us?

    Don’t know how the penalty came about, probably a dodgy decision again

  31. mickydidit89 says:

    Bet you wished you’d stayed for pudding now

  32. fatgingergooner says:

    Coq in middle of back 3 and our strikers on the bench. So Wenger doesn’t fancy our CB’s beyond Kos/Monreal/Mustafi or our CF’s.


  33. mickydidit89 says:

    come on Arsenal

    goal now and maybe…

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    come on

  35. Rasp says:

    Get in ……

  36. Big Raddy says:

    Oooh, I like that 😀

    Lacazette 😀 😀

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Clear offside. How can Smithy be so biased against AFC.

    Disgraceful from the officials. The penalty was suspect as well.

    Hard enough to beat MC without playing against 14 men.

    And another booking for nothing.

    Incensed of Copenhagen

  38. Aaron says:

    Do not want to see Coq in front of Xhaka ever again.
    Crappy decision but Arsenal just not clicking on tight one two’s and close control.
    Had a feeling it was going to go this way.
    Offside by a mile and Sanchez has been fouled about 20X today.

  39. Jjgsol says:

    Someone needs to teach Alan Smith the rules of the game. He was offside because half his body was behind the last defender.

  40. Big Raddy says:

    So …. the team push up in order to catch the attackers offside, which they do. Then Smith questions how the lines man can tell if the attacker is just a foot offside??

    That is what the idiot is paid for.

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    Incensed of Copenhagen 🙄

    Covers up the stench of weed I suppose

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    Well – City were obviously the better team, but we knew that going into the game but in the end it took the 12th man to beat us………….

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    Well I guess we are looking at a 3 cup season………………..

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    Chelsea v Man U – I would prefer to see Man U get stuffed……….and Chelsea can use Morinho as the stuffing.

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    I started by thinking they had better players in their positions than Iwobi, Ramsey and Coquelin

    Then it dawned on me, they have better players in every position, so what should we realistically expect

    There we go. Hey hum.

    ps do they really want Sanchez?

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    No Micky he is not the same player as he was – I feel that he has been had enough of being kicked around in the PL and would prefer to play in Europe. Just a feeling.

    By the way all we really lacked (and have done for an eternity) is the final pass – and a good helping of lady luck.

  47. mickydidit89 says:

    Can’t stomach watching Chavs and Utd, so I’ll grab a kip

  48. chas says:

  49. chas says:

    At least we’re level with Burnley

  50. chas says:

    Did Coquelin really play centre back?

  51. jjgsol says:

    It is difficult to tell from the clips if it was a penalty or not. Certainly Sterling ran in front of Monreal. The question is whether that means it was a foul when he runs into him.

    That is how attackers do it.

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh well, where are we? what do we do?
    I’m a bit lost arsenally speaking

  53. mickydidit89 says:


    “Did Coquelin really play centre back?”

    According to your picture, he did, so either had little to do or simply kept a low profile. A sort of stealth performance. You know, sub radar and shit like that

    ps not that I think he played any part in us only scoring one goal

  54. LBG says:

    It’s not difficult to tell! If that was not shoulder to shoulder, there is not such a thing!!

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    Hey LBG

    I genuinely thought Rambo’s shoulder barging their keeper into the back of his net was reasonable

    I think Nat Lofthouse did it and no-one blubbed about it

  56. fatgingergooner says:


    Here’s some points to help you understand where are Arsenal are heading:-

    We are now a cup team.

    We’ve already lost the same amount of league games as Huddersfield and Brighton (4).

    We don’t have capable CB’s so we play the likes of Elneny and Coquelin in a back 3.

    Mathieu Debuchy.

    We are so good that we like to challenge ourselves by playing Man City without any strikers on the pitch.

    We don’t understand contracts.

    We don’t like defending.

    I hope this helps.

  57. Eddie says:

    fattie – but according to Wenger we lost because Sterling dived, 3 rd goal was off side and refereeing was poor. Otherwise we were the better team. Well, according to AW.

    No wonder people dislike Arsenal, cannot even admit we lost fair and square.

  58. Eddie says:

    fattie – add to the list ‘allowed precious legs of our asset ROT, gangraned’. The whole circus is beginning to make me sick

  59. chas says:

    Amen to that

  60. chas says:

    Even the Black Scarf brigade moaning about shit officiating – what is the world coming to?

  61. Ant says:

    Wenger has since revealed that an injury to Holding and Mertesacker taking ill were the reasons for a sudden change.

    “I can explain to you that Mertesacker came into training yesterday morning, sick. That Holding had a thigh strain. That Debuchy had just come back from [being] a long-time absentee,” Wenger said after the loss to the title favourites, as quoted on Arsenal’s official site.

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    He didn’t mention Debuchy did he? Its worse than I thought!

    I’m not too worried about yesterday as it was expected. No doubt we will get a draw or a narrow defeat against Spurs aswell after the international break. Then we will go on a little run against some average teams until we play a decent side again and lose. I hope this doesn’t happen but if I was betting on it that would be the smart option.

    I dread to think what happens next season when we lose Sanchez and possibly Özil,
    and Wenger goes into the last year of his new deal (again!). It looks as though the squad needs quite a bit of work aswell without having to replace our better players.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Sorry to talk football at this early hour but I am still angry.

    I said in the PM that we required luck, I forgot to say that we also required decent officiating and there was clear bias.

    14 fouls, 6 yellows
    Dodgy penalty
    Offside goal.

    These things ruin the game for me. It is not AFC, as I thought we played well and were in the game until being shafted by Oliver.

    It is not the first time this season we have been cheated by a ref and I expect it will not be the last.

    I would also point out that we have played 3 of the top 5 away from home in our first 11 games.

    Finally (for the moment) who the hell is the diving, cheating miscreant Alan Shearer to make a comment about Mr Wenger. AW is correct in his analysis of the penalty. Hated Shearer on the pitch and like him less now.

  64. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. Ozil and Sanchez were peripheral and had almost no influence on the game.

    I like them both but think Laca and JW would have been more effective.

  65. chas mobile says:

    100% agree, BR.

    Shearer ‘s “analysis” pointed to contact between Monreal’s shin and Sterling’s calf completely ignoring that this contact was after Sterling’s feet miraculously separated in the typical spreadeagled position of the serial diver.

  66. VP of Oz says:

    fully agree BR
    It was a disgraceful display of officiating
    It ruins the game

  67. Spot on Raddy

    Never liked Oliver. Hes the kind of man of who relishes pockets to hide activity. Also, that Linesman without doubt is forced to use Voltaren Gel on his dominant hand.

    Dont mind losing fair and square but yesterday reeked of bias.

  68. RC78 says:

    I think the PK was a given – it was poor defending from all the defensive line but Monreal should know that Sterling will look for contact.

    The offside goal was a disgrace though as we were coming back strongly

    However – overall, Man City deserved a win more than us BUT we could have snatched a draw if the refs did their job properly

    Lessons learned:
    1. Our team is still struggling to defend as a unit when both Sanchez and Ozil play

    2. AW decided to play a back 5 vs City

    3. Lacazette can finish off chances provided

    4. Ramsey is better playing higher up

    5. Xhaka is frustrating but his never let go attitude is great

    6. We need at least 1 better CB

    7. We will not win the EPL this year and will struggle to be in the Top 4 so we should aim for a EL win

  69. GunnerN5 says:

    The game was plain and simple to this viewer,

    * Iffy penalty – what happened to retroactive punishment for divers? Not that it would help during the game but these cheats need to be punished!!

    * Defiant offside goal took away our chance to recover from the penalty.

    * The 12th and in this case 13th Man C men won the game.

    * Man C were, as expected, the far superior team.

    * We, unexpectedly, should have grabbed a point.

    * Arsene was spot on with his post game analysis and does no deserve the, expected, criticism.

  70. GunnerN5 says:

    Defiant no – Definite for sure.

  71. GunnerN5 says:

    Ref Watch: Arsene Wenger criticism of referees ‘grossly unfair’

    Last Updated: 06/11/17 1:04pm

    Was Arsene Wenger right to criticise the work ethic of referees? Dermot Gallagher hits back and analyses the controversial calls of the weekend in Ref Watch.

    INCIDENT: Raheem Sterling gets the wrong side of Nacho Monreal and goes down as the pair tangle together. The referee awards the penalty. Wenger accused Sterling of diving and called the awarding of the spot-kick “soft”.
    Oops! Remember you need to log in using your Sky iD to watch Premier League video
    Was City’s penalty fair?

    DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct call.

    DERMOT SAYS: Sterling is in possession of the ball and Monreal comes crashing into him. He’s barged into him – it’s an upper body challenge. You could argue he’s in on goal and Monreal hasn’t made a clear attempt to play the ball. It could have been a red card.

    INCIDENT: With the game at 2-1, David Silva breaks in behind the Arsenal defence and squares the ball across the six-yard box for Gabriel Jesus to make it 3-1 to Manchester City. Wenger again disagreed with the decision, suggesting that Silva was offside.
    Oops! Remember you need to log in using your Sky iD to watch Premier League video
    Was Silva offside?

    DERMOT’S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

    DERMOT SAYS: It’s a tight call, but it’s wrong. It’s a lapse of judgement by linesman Stuart Burt – for whatever reason, he’s lost focus. Maybe he was looking back when Silva made his run and it’s too late to see the line? Only he knows, but the video is clear. He’s offside.

    INCIDENT: Wenger says that although the physical levels of referees are good, their decisions are getting worse.

    Arsene Wenger says referee Michael Oliver got two crucial decisions wrong in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

    DERMOT’S VERDICT: Grossly unfair.

    DERMOT SAYS: One mistake doesn’t make a group lower the standards of others. I don’t like going back to my era but the biggest difference between referees back then and now, is their work ethic. That is the one thing I really applaud them for. They work harder than ever.

    In my day, I’d train Tuesday and Thursday and referee on the Saturday. I got assessed on a Thursday and my preparation on the Friday was to read the paper.

    Now, the referees are in training camps and are looking at videos, sharing their knowledge of incidents – that adds to the pot for other referees in terms of knowledge.

    You see sports psychologists going in to talk to referees. Their preparation and recuperation after matches is second to none. That is the one thing you can’t condemn them for is their attitude and work ethic.

  72. Aaron says:

    Some straight out facts:
    with oliver in charge Arsenal’s record is 3 wins out of 17 games-nuff said.
    Arsene had his hands tied with BFG sick and Holding out injured.
    Said it before and will say it again, If Cech, or any Arsenal keeper has the same starting three or four at the back, most of the time Arsenal win.
    If that equation changes, Arsene is forced to make too many changes to the team mix and hence another loss.
    Looking forward to having Mustafi, the BFG and Holding back for an winning run.
    I know the Arsenal can score goals, and will- just need some solidity to the mid and backline to balance out the equation.

  73. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Aaron I like your way of thinking but I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that with our current squad make up we do not have players of a high enough caliber to compete for either the PL or the CL . However the Europa League, League Cup and FA Cup are all within our capabilities.

    The likelihood of us being able to buy/attract the type and quality of players needed for the CL and PL is limited by the money we either can or are prepared to spend. The answer is out of our hands as fans so all we can do is remain positive and give the team our full support.

    An obvious issue with what I have said is that over 90% of the games we watch are PL related so if we are going to be unable to compete on a competitive basis then fan support and the size of crowds watching may dwindle and reduce our already inadequate income.

    Seems like a catch 22 situation.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Just made the mistake of looking around some AFC sites.

    Some fools are blaming Iwobi saying they cannot understand why Wenger doesn’t sell him.

    Others question Ramsey’s commitment and even Koscielny!

    I can readily accept that fans have different opinions but what worries me is that some of these people have the right to vote.

  75. Eddie says:

    Raddy – and what makes you think that they are all wrong and you are right?

    Just saying, not looking for a fight, God forbid 🙂

  76. fatgingergooner says:

    So far this season I’ve seen Ox at RB, Ox at LWB, Ox at RWB, Bellerin at LB, Bellerin at LWB, Kolasinac at CB, Elneny at CB, and Coquelin at CB.

    I just don’t understand why we keep conceding goals!

  77. GunnerN5 says:

    We can only see and watch are the final selections, they are made by the person that knows the logic behind them.

    That logic may include any or some of the following.

    Fitness level
    Injury status
    Opposing team
    Game strategy
    Ability to play with other selections
    Hours played
    Player attitude
    Players personal issues

    These are just a few of the reasons that pop into my head but there may well be lots more.

    How with all these potential reasons can we possibly make either past or present judgments on team selection?

    I’m not in any way being critical I’m just asking a question?

  78. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Because I am the Oracle.

    And of course you want a fight 😀 😀

  79. GunnerN5 says:

    Go on guy’s have a word fight.

  80. Eddie says:

    nope. I am not in a fighting mood. Good night boys xx

  81. GunnerN5 says:

    Have a good night Eddie.

  82. chas says:

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    7.14 Definitely needed on the Didit Estate

  84. Eddie says:

    DidIt thought that pigs would look good in his house 🙂

    Personally, Id have a cow. I like cows, they are nosey and have lovely big eyes

  85. chas mobile says:

    New post – well sort of.

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