Toon dooned by a Xhaka boom

First Half

Nothing happened. Hopes (and fears) for a deluge of goals were battered on a sea of directionless football from both sides. No shots on target, virtually no shots. Duller than a day trip to Sunderland.

Second half

Another half time sub, presumably a firework or two tactically inserted and a different Arsenal emerged for the second period. The ball suddenly became an important ingredient in the footballers’ toolkit. Torreira injected an urgency and positive momentum that the first 45 had totally lacked.

Ozil and Ramsey, instead of looking like Arsenal’s equivalent of Lampard/Gerrard, started to enjoy finding each other. Every player looked hungry for the ball and keen to find space for a pass when not in possession.

Auba was fouled a few yards outside the area and it looked as though Torreira had decided he fancied a pop. Lo and behold, Granit produced a peach and Arsenal’s first goal direct from a free kick for donkeys. Beauty.

The whole red and white machine was suddenly infused with extra confidence and a second looked likely as Toon heads dropped. Mesut passed the ball into the net 10 minutes later after a blocked effort from Laca and that looked to be enough to see off the demoralised barcodes.

Arsenal, being Arsenal regardless of who the manager is, still managed to give us all kittens in the final 5 minutes of the match. First Cech had to make his first meaningful save from a free header at the back post, before an identical chance was duly despatched as injury time began. Thank Dennis there were only the three extra minutes to endure.


Guendouzi must have been perplexed seeing the Arsenal side which emerged from the tunnel after half time. It looked one he might have enjoyed playing in. That first period, on the other hand, probably made him grateful he’d been hooked.

Why did we ease off after the second goal? Was the tactic to allow the opposition to come on to us and then to pick them off on the counter? Two goals rarely seems like a convincing lead where Arsenal are concerned.

Anyway it turned out that they were enough in the final reckoning. Another away win, three points in the bag plus two home fixtures next up and things look a whole lot rosier than when we were in ‘crisis’Β  a few games ago.


Cech – more comedy on the floor from Petr’s feet. A couple of dangerous passes followed by humping it up the pitch. Strange. Had little to do with his hands, one decent stop from the header and numerous catches of overhit lofted balls into the area….6

Bellerin – acres of space behind him in the first half. Good job Shkodran is always there to cover with his lightning pace. Still think Lichtsteiner behind him makes sense. Hector is always dangerous going forward though….6

Mustafi – some good stuff in amongst some typically crazy moments….5

Sokratis – stoic and resolute from our stone faced Greek. Made several important tackles, blocks and interceptions plus he even showed a yard of pace. Settling in nicely….7

Monreal – competent without having too much to do….6

Guendouzi – seems to have lost just a touch of his earlier confidence. Though when passing backwards is your only option as it was in that appalling first half, it’s always going to be a struggle….5

Xhaka – grew into the game, usual high number of passes and a glorious peach of a dead ball which sailed into the net….7

Ramsey – completely anonymous and disinterested in the first period. Much better when the football began in the second….5

Ozil – looked especially pleased to mark his 200th appearance with a goal….6

Laca – tried hard to make an impact throughout. Didn’t have a great deal of service….6

Auba – no smiles in the first half and didn’t look comfortable on the ball before finally being withdrawn….5


Torreira – another 45 minutes for the Uruguayan. Seemed to make an immediate impact with tempo and forward movement….6

Mkhitaryan – tidy in possession without achieving much at all….5

Welbeck – one impressive break but didn’t have the balance to finish off a fine chance….5

Manager – changed things at half time which was much needed….6



43 Responses to Toon dooned by a Xhaka boom

  1. chas says:

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Good morning, and thank you, Chas

    I will continue to labour the point that I feel the balance of the side goes wonky when Mesut is asked to play right. He always, and understandably drifts central, and this congests the centre left, denying Auba the wide open spaces.

    With this in mind, the first half highlight for me was the commentator informing us that Milan are in for Ramsey.

    Let’s have no more shoehorning, and get Maitland Niles, Smith-Rowe and Iwobi back

  3. mickydidit89 says:


    Agree that we were better after oranges, and obviously this coincided with the introduction of Torreira, but did you or anyone else identify any other reasons tactically?

    As you say maybe the boss let off a firework but was that the reason?

  4. chas says:

    I’ve no idea, Micky, perhaps someone else has identified what changed.

    To tell the truth, the first half put me into a coma-like stupor and It was only Xhaka’s free kick that enabled me to re-find consciousness.

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    I think the historical excuse/line would be it’s always a bit cobweby after an international break πŸ™‚

  6. Eddie says:

    very good report, thank you

    I thought that the Philosopher was very good. He made a brilliant tackle in the second half, good old fashioned slide

    I also thought that Granit’s goal was game changing, i missed out on Torreira’s brilliance, he is too small for my failing eye sight. I take your word for it.

    Cech is a real worry, what happened to him? surely 2 or 3 years in a life of a professional shouldn’t be career ending?

  7. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha ha Eddie

    I love the idea that it’s impossible to analyse a player’s game because they are too small to see ROLF πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    Lucas: “come on boss, why aren’t you selecting me?”

    Unai: “because I couldn’t f*cking see you in training yesterday”

  9. Eddie says:

    re drones – they cannot feed or clean themselves and rely on female sisters to look after them 24×7. In Poland lazy husbands are called drones (truten). YET colonies perform much better when they have drones there. Perhaps they have wicked sense of humour?

  10. Eddie says:

    have you seen him at the Ems? Grass is up to his knees. From my seat all I could see is the red and white shirt moving around, at speed.

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    Ooo to, Ooo to be, Ooo to be a……….drone πŸ™‚

  12. Rasp says:

    Morning all, excellent report thanks chas.

    We were last on motd … quite understandably. I’m happy as long as I can see us moving on every game … a glimpse of what we’re trying to achieve …. it was the briefest of glimpses!

    What I did like was Ozil’s interview after the game where he said all the players understood what the manager wanted to achieve and they were all behind him on this … so that is my positive from this game … oh, and the 3 points πŸ™‚

  13. Rasp says:

    I’ve just noticed … we’ve scored 10 goals (1 was an OG) with 9 different scorers all equal top of the goals tally list with 1 each πŸ™„

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Thank you for the match report.

    Just watched a recording of the game, knowing the result. This allowed me to watch in comfort.

    First half The Hairy One seemed to play on the lright side of a back 3 allowing Bellerin to play further forward. This stopped what has become a simple opposition tactic of lumping the ball into the vacant RB channel.

    Second half Terreira came on, Bellerin played less offensively. When he did run forward without checking for cover was when NU scored. Two blokes entirely unmarked at the back stick – dreadful defending and something we have seen far too often.

    Ramsey was poor until we scored, then he came alive but much as I like him, he needs to be sold in January (aka Sanchez)

  15. VP of Oz says:

    yes Granit scored but he also was very instrumental in the 2nd goal.
    he seems to always be key to our scoring recently
    and thats why he keeps starting

  16. mickydidit89 says:


    You’ve given me an idea

    Ramsey, Sanchez. Straight swap? I would

  17. chas says:

    We couldn’t afford Sanchez’ Β£380k a week.

  18. chas says:

  19. chas says:

    The only thing vaguely interesting about today’s fixtures is that we’re playing Everton next Sunday.

    Perhaps Pellegrini has got his boys sorted and West Ham Bob is in for a nice surprise. Hmmmmm.

  20. Red Arnie says:

    nice work, Chas. 3 points and a healthy bit of excitement at the end. cannot complain. πŸ™‚

    Why is Torr not starting? To set the opposition in a comfort zone?

  21. Red Arnie says:

    what a wonderful poem. perfect for a lazy Sunday. πŸ™‚

  22. fred1266 says:

    Our old boy Perez acting unprofessional today, was asked to warm up and he strongly declined

  23. Red Arnie says:

    “Ooo to, Ooo to be, Ooo to be a……….drone” πŸ™‚

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Entertaining game at Everton..Theo still weak

  25. Big Raddy says:

    Ramsey for Sanchez? No

    Ramsey for Cesc? Yes.

  26. JM says:

    Ramsey for Martial?
    Ramsey for Rabiot?
    Ramsey for A.Herrera?
    Ramsey for Alderweireld!?

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    Like that

    See if you can get us a pic of the world’s biggest Double Bass. It’s a monster

    Oh, and morning

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha love the double sea bass πŸ™‚

    Do we need/have a post for today. Could have a day off if not. I’m thinking (a bit)

  29. LBG says:

    Ramsey for A Herrera…….?????????
    Dirty, piece of Manure. Would prefer RVP back…….NOT!

  30. Red Arnie says:

    Motning all.

    Raddy @6:13pm

    Sorry, NO. Not to speak ill of the dead, but the dead shall never live again. πŸ™‚

    Lovely double bass(es). πŸ™‚

  31. chas says:

    NEW (space filler) POST

  32. mickydidit89 says:


    The black and white double bass pic

    I think this was for French composer Faure. At any rate, he insisted on having something like 17 monsters for a particular piece and pretty much made things financially impossible.

    Could easily have my facts wrong on this, but the sentiment is spot on πŸ™‚

  33. chas says:

    the writing at the top of the black and white photo says “Biggest Violin” πŸ™‚

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