Semi-Final beckons. Can we? Will we?

4-1 up, it can’t go wrong, can it? Given the results over the past two days anything can happen and with Mustafi in his current form we have to be concerned.

It may be unfair to spotlight one player in what has been an awful season for us at the back (43 PL goals conceded so far) but Mustafi’s inconsistencies are hardly of benefit to the confidence of the others. Take the S’ton game, both goals came directly from his shilly-shallying (now there’s a word!).

So what should we do? Drop him for Chambers? Probably not. Should AW select a team to PTB or play a normal attacking game? Will he include Elneny as an extra defender in place of the attacking Miki or give Iwobi a run? My guess is he will err on the side of caution.

We saw that CSKA Moskva are limited in their defensive abilities themselves with us carving out chance after chance at the Emirates. I expect us to score and then the tie is done but what if we don’t? Can the team keep a pacy Russian attack at bay? It is questionable.

My Team:


Koscielny   Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey    Elneny    Kolasinac

Ozil      Welbeck


Jack has to be benched in a match of importance and with his form at such a low ebb. Kolasinac is the better defender and more likely to add some steel.

The first half of the home tie (which thanks to Chas and Peaches I was able to attend), was the best we have played in many a moon, the ingenuity, pace and sheer verve of the performance gave rise to hopes that next season could be so much better.

I expect CSKA to be very aggressive in an attempt to unseat our brave boys; they will have to start fast and stop our passing through midfield. Ramsey etc will need shin and calf and ankle pads. A strong, unbiased referee, please.

Concede early and the nerves will kick in, score early and the tie is over. I know what we all want.


56 Responses to Semi-Final beckons. Can we? Will we?

  1. VP of Oz says:


  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Our brave boys….ugh..cough..ok Erik 🙂

    Look here yer big hairy plastic viking, that aside, I thank you for the post.

    I share your concerns over Mustafi. When on top of his game, he can be excellent, but he’s so mentally weak and fragile, that like you i worry

    Your XI is what I reckon as well, just I’d shift it to a back four

  3. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Raddy, thanks for yet another P-M.

    With so many spotty defensive displays this season I’m feeling somewhat nervous. The team confidence is as suspect as our defending and if we go a goal down it will be put to the test.

    But as you say if we score first then all should be well in Arsenal land.

  4. LB says:

    The child in me always feels slightly disappointed when I can’t see anything in your team selection that I would expect AW to do differently.
    Although, that said, of course, as soon as you feel certain of the team that AW is going to pick he goes off on a tangent.

    Thanks for the read as ever BR, always appreciated.

  5. fred1266 says:

    so chas and peaches allowed you to attend the game lucky bastard

  6. chas says:

    Excellent PM, BR, cheers.

    I like your team.
    Maybe Iwobi for Welbeck to add to the midfield, though I like the idea of us scoring first.
    I’d be amazed if we don’t score given the tea-strainer-like qualities of the CSKA defence.
    And similarly amazed if we keep a clean sheet.

    I’m going for 0-0. 🙂

  7. LB says:

    Ooooh, Iwobi for Welbeck…………..clever.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Given Welbz amazing run of goal-scoring form I would give him the shirt.

    Bet you a seal flipper that it is not 0-0

  9. Rasp says:

    Great work, thanks Raddy.

    We need to find the best combination of players in this competition, so tonight is another opportunity. With only Athletico to fear, we should use every game in the EL up till then (who am I kidding 😆 ) to find 11 players who have good understanding and can function as a team.

    I feel we will score and put this tie to bed.

    Mustafi is a world cup winner and a seasoned international, his errors are mainly in judgement … that shouldn’t be happening at this stage in his career. We never really found out why he was up for transfer 2 seasons ago.

    I’d play Iwobi for Welbeck. I’m pleased Welbs got his 2 goals, but only one was a clean strike (and that with his head). Iwobi takes defenders on and weaves into the box, Welbs doesn’t have the close control to do that.

  10. RA says:

    Nice one, BR.

    I’m not sure I know where to get a seal flipper, or for that matter any seals that might be prepared to part with one for a modest price — but fortunately I agree with you — I cannot see the game finishing 0:0 either, rather more like 10:10.

    Actually 10:10 would suit Micky’s penchant for all out attack — and to hell with defence — which is is why he has been such an ardent Arsenal fan — and that score would also suit the rest of us as that means we would go through handsomely.

    [I did not know you were a hirsute plastic Viking (see 10:57) but Micky knows best — do you have a recycling problem?] 😀

  11. RA says:

    Welly hits the ball like a golfer shanking his shot to the green — maybe he needs his eyes to be tested? Or his feet?

  12. JM says:

    We will have a Bundesliga official, Felix Zwayer, to referee this 2nd leg tie. So we should expect a German league style of refereeing.

    Without Auba and Mkhi, Lacazette and Ramsey will share most of our starting team’s goal scoring load. So whom between Welbeck and Iwobi is the next better player at finding himself in a goal scoring opportunity should start.

    Without Xhaka, Elneny shall be doing more a defensive “holding” role, while Wilshere (should he start as well) will be the link-man in midfield and the other creative outlet besides Ozil in the starting lineup.

    Alternatively, Iwobi (the creative midfield link-man role) could partner both Ramsey and Elneny in midfield, while Ozil, Welbeck and Lacazette start up front.

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Lazio are a very good team and be tough to beat over two legs.

    Hope we draw Leipzig or Marseilles

    Not that I am assuming a victory tonight 😦 🙂

  14. chas says:

  15. chas says:

    Jack in for the Beast

  16. Big Raddy says:

    I wish him well but am disappointed.

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, to be honest, I know bugger all about Lazio ….. but you’re right, the Italian teams seem to have their tails up this year

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    I did know the KO time. Just late
    Budge up

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    love a counter attack

    proper cavalry charge stuff

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    what the heck has happened to Elneny

    Not only does he appear to have found the forwards gear, but he’s been possessed. Like it

  21. mickydidit89 says:

    Good game but we’re lacking the exquisite forward interplay

    Get that to click just once and it’s all over

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Our midfield went missing for the last 20 mins of the half, JW really struggling. The last 5 mins we were playing hoofball with no-one upfront 😦

    Kos showing why he is and has been our best defender for the last 5 seasons.

    Get JW off and bring on The Beast to add some steel because as it stands this could be a very very long second half.

  23. mickydidit89 says:

    Beast for Jack. Good shout

    Be moving onto the girly chocolates second half, Erik. Sorry 🙂

  24. mickydidit89 says:

    That’s a good point, Mr commentator, what’s happened to our young Tory?

  25. VP of Oz says:

    the russians are coming
    damn it

  26. fatgingergooner says:

    Why the fuck have we gone 3 at the back and just allowed them to dominate in midfield!?

    Absolutely stupid. If we are going 3 at the back then we can’t have Ramsey/Wilshere in front.

  27. fatgingergooner says:

    Elneny back in midfield now thank Christ. That 10 minute tactical farce has just cost us a goal.

  28. fatgingergooner says:

    Lacazette a bit of a passenger so far. Maybe an extra midfield body would be good and bring him off.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Every time we get an opportunity to counter attack CSKA foul the player with the ball.

    Come of ref, sort it out.

    Other than that we are playing poorly, without cohesion, spirit or nous

  30. Big Raddy says:

    Chambers substitution. 3 at the back. Let’s hope it works

  31. Eddie says:

    lovely from Elneny and Danz

  32. mickydidit89 says:

    bloody superb danny

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    What. A. Goal.

    Take a bow Danny and Elneny

  34. Eddie says:

    thank feck for that, I was beginning to hate my own team

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    superb evenings work

  36. Eddie says:

    and all home teams win on the night again

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Ramsey has become so important to this team. Elneny had a fine game as well.

    Our unbeaten run continues

  38. fatgingergooner says:

    Elneny has been a different player these last 3 months. Excellent tonight and starting to create things as well. We could’ve done with another one of him in midfield tonight.

    Good to get the late goal and not lose the game.

    Job done.

  39. fatgingergooner says:

    Marseille or Salzburg in the semi’s please!

  40. mickydidit89 says:

    Lazio out
    6-5 agg

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Mozart or Gene Hackman

  42. mickydidit89 says:


  43. Big Raddy says:

    After all that tension a nightcap is called for then a peaceful night’s sleep.

    In the morrow.

  44. mickydidit89 says:

    Danny MOTM



  45. Gööner In Exile says:

    Its fun to read prematch and comments after the event to see how wildly optimistic we all are, and in many cases like Mustafi absolutely bob on.

    As everyone else I like Elneny a lot, he puts in a shift, but can pass the ball too.

    Felt sorry for him on first goal, watch him do doggies while Hector switches off and turns back on ball doing nothing. Mustafi also poor.

    Has been our issue for weeks though, we have a lot of players out of form, and they are still getting picked and making others look bad.

  46. LB says:

    Can I take my red and white tinted glasses off now?

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    Coming on late (only 5:53) here. Mom was ME closely followed by DW whose move and shot for the first goal were simply sublime. Unfortunately our Jack got pushed around and had another bad game on the pitch – and that upsets me as I really wanted him to succeed.

  48. GunnerN5 says:


    One of the main things that concerns me about Petr are his clearances/goal kicks as the large majority of them go to the opposition. I would have given him a 4/5 as it was his two rebounds that put us in such a precarious position – cruel maybe but still my observation.

    It would be great if GIE gave us his opinion as he can give us a keepers perspective,

  49. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 first goal can’t fault Cech impressive save, not helped.

    Second goal I think he should do better and push away but ball moved on him late, towards him, should probably have tried to hold it but no keepers seem to do that anymore.

    As for his kicking I know what you mean but if he has no one to give the ball feet then he can only punt, and with Welly being the only chance of winning a 50:50 header I think it’s hard to blame him for us losing possession.

  50. mickydidit89 says:


    You keep the Jack performance scorecard ready to copy/paste before the game has even kicked off, don’t you 🙂

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    Semi draw at either 11 or 12. One CL, other EL obviously. This means a semi-final draw involving four balls will take an hour.

    How very European 🙂

  52. chas says:


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