Mesut to start – thank funk for that.
In need of a goal, the team started really well. Wobbly had a chance to shoot immediately. Only a few minutes had gone when Bate scored – in their own net, the defenders confused – not realising that, since it was Auba crossing the ball, nobody would be in the middle.
Frustratingly the foot then came off the pedal. Either that or Bate realised that an away goal was their best chance and upped their game. One in the side netting and then one off the line cleared by Lichtsteiner. As usual Arsenal allowed the poorest of opposition good chances.
Gradually we regained superiority. Xhaka had a cracking pot shot. Just before half time and after a succession of short corners which produced diddly squat, Xhaka planted one into the perfect spot for Shirley to fool the defender and then get in front of his man, bulleting a close range header for 2-0. Superb celebration from the master carpenter!
After a bit of Keystone cop defending in the first few minutes after the break and a few heart flutters, the result was never really in doubt once that half time malaise had worn off.
Papa majestically finished off another Granit corner launched right into the mix. Shirley put the goalie off and the big Greek planted the ball into a gaping net with the back of his swede.
Auba struggled to find a goal but he could have played all night and not scored. Saving them for Southampton on Sunday, I hope. Mesut scuffed a relatively simple volley with the goal at his mercy but the three goals would have to suffice, and they did.
Job done. Relatively straightforward in the end. Bate had two decent chances to get the away goal they craved but we really should have had more to show for such dominant superiority. An OG and two headed goals from corners from 22 efforts on goal did prove enough to put us in the last 16 though.
The draw for the round of 16 is today at 12 noon GMT. There are a few teams we’d miss ideally, though we’ll have to beat some good teams if we’re going to win it, no doubt.
Cech – nowt to do … 7
Lichtsteiner – looked more like his experienced professional self against the Belarusians … 7
Mustafi – excellent header – relatively untroubled throughout and even showed some composure on the ball … 7
Koscielny – class again – hope his injury isn’t too serious … 8
Monreal – battled manfully – love his commitment to the cause … 7
Xhaka – available throughout – passing excellent – went a little anonymous when moved forward to accommodate Torreira but two assists and plenty of great work – loved how he defended Nacho from the thuggery near the end… 8
Guendouzi – enjoyed himself – he’s going to be some player if he continues progressing at this rate … 7
Ozil – class – his movement is incredible – mind you, the opposition weren’t up to much … 7
Mkhitaryan – a bit lightweight – he really should be able to shine in these sort of games … 6
Aubameyang – poor Auba – a goal was never going to come, nevertheless he competed well and came deep when nothing was fed to him in the area – the dink over the keeper near the end should have ended up in the back of the net … 7
Iwobi – always a threat, just lacked that killer final ball …7
Sokratis – he was good enough that Kos wasn’t missed and he also popped up with the decisive third … 7
Torreira – not sure why he was brought on for Matteo, contributed little of note – a run out, I suppose … 6
Suarez – late sub to give him a run also – inconclusive … 6
Emery – got the job done – picked Mesut for a game against lowly opposition and it was the right decision – lovely heartfelt goal celebrations … 8
Wagner – should go back to Huddersfield … 6
It will be fascinating what side/formation Enery picks on Sunday, and whether last night’s performance by individuals will have a bearing
I go find teams in the draw.
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)
Internazionale Milano (ITA)
Slavia Praha (CZE)
Emery back to Sevilla?
As long as we don’t get the chavs, I’ll be happy.
So, chavs it is then,
Draws that would make me want to grab the passport:
Zenit, Benfica, Salzburg, Naples, Seville
Thanks Chas, comprehensive and much that I agree with wholeheartedly. ( and no mention of your 3-0 prediction, you modest old thing!).
Minor challenges- felt Ouzi was the dynamo difference especially in the first half rather than Granit. His passes through the lines kept the momentum going. Mesut made two false passes, and “scuffed” with the outside of his good foot, a volley ( from where we were, more difficult to score than I think you thought, ALTHOUGH with his quality should have hit the target/goalkeeper). But the joy of Mesut ( and sex) is the smooth fluidity. A graceful drop of the shoulder and all the opposition and 60000 spectators all go the other way.
The most interesting comments post match for me were from Wobbly. ‘We scored three goals tonight because Mesut was playing. If I make a run, he has the ability to find me.
I would still.only rate him on the night, as a 7 like you Chas, but he lights up the night (early evening).
Roll on Sunday, when the Vines boys are in town.
After all that effort….what can I do to make me love you WordPress?
Chances are ozil was a bit rusty not have played much in recent weeks. We have seen him score harder volleys in the past.
He and the team needs a run of games.
Excellent Post Chas, and the ratings are spot on.
Iwobi tends to get a lot of criticism from some fans, whatever he does, but for me, when he gets the ball and changes gear he can look terrific — all he needs to do is calm down at the end of his run and shoot on target, or pass early, and he will become a legend in a couple of years.
Do I understand that the Vines will be on a Day Out to the Ems on Sunday? Hopefully with full details of the comestibles and bibulations partaken! 😃
Morning dog walk done, healthy museli, blueberries, raspberries and small banana consumed and kettle on for tea, now to view the papers!
And without question my ire is up immediately!
John ‘ wankers’ Cross, yes you remember, he of the ” of course, I’ve been an Arsenal man through and through all my life; yes I have my finger on the pulse of all that goes on at the Club; I have no allegiance whatsoever to Chelsea FC; and I am not doing anything illegal to Manu Petit in our spare time, he is a consenting adult!” ………..” even nine months after being appointed, Emery has still to impose an identity on this team as you still don’t know quite how they are supposed to play”
Of course you don’t, you twat, because firstly it’s still more AW’s team than his, and after all nine months is a f****** lifetime! They are supposed to play to win, and they did, so how about the odd sentence of praise, you two faced airbrain of a “Chief Footbal Writer”.
A good win against a poor team and we are through to the next round. Like the player ratings and agreed with Redders re Man of the Match. Don’t like the term Wobbly but I guess Chas you have your reasons for it. Let’s hope for a non-Russian opponent in the next round as the boys could do with easy travels. Two PL home games up next and every chance to get into the top four properly. After those games it will be less easy so let’s hope Emery can get the best out of the team.
“Iwobi tends to get a lot of criticism from some fans, whatever he does, but for me, when he gets the ball and changes gear he can look terrific — all he needs to do is calm down at the end of his run and shoot on target, or pass early, and he will become a legend in a couple of years.”
Couldn’t agree more. Wobbly really does excite when he gets the ball and presses the turbo charge button and powers away……………..the problem is that fluffs his lines far more than he should or certainly far more than a player at a club who aspire to win the league.
Running fast is the easy bit, it is all about what you do with the ball at the end that counts and that skill is not learnt, you do not acquire it over time, you are born with it.
Just ask Theo.
Thanks for the read Chas.
I really like ‘Wobbly’ as an affectionate nickname for Iwobi.
It came from the chaps who sit behind Ant and Jon. Even though their use of it was somewhat derogatory, we’ve taken ownership of it.
It sums him up perfectly. His pit-a-pat, jinking running style, his new dreads wobbling from side to side, that’s without his youthful wobbling when it comes to making the correct decision at the end of another exhilarating run.
Once he nails his finishing and execution of the final ball, he’s going to be unstoppable.
Here’s a clip to cheer you up.
p.s. I notice you didn’t object to Mustafi being called ‘Shirley’. 😆
You must love getting wound up by John Cross as it’s on the agenda every day if you buy the Mirror.
I used to follow him on Twitter before I sussed he’s a clickbait merchant famous for having ridiculous opinions, much like Robbie Savage or umpteen others. Talksport knobhead presenters are exactly the same with liking to wind us up.
My life is so much better without any of them in it.
p.s. I realise you know all this already 🙂
Can someone post full next round draw post 12 noon, as I’m leaving for weekend, so will only look, but not comment, on mobile while driving
Unlike the first game Arsenal were on the front foot most of the game and only allowed Bate a few opportunities. It was good to see our defense holding strong and scoring goals.
Two easy home games next Southampton & Bournemouth followed by two tough game Spurs away, United at home, then eight relatively straightforward games to end the season.
Arsenal vs Rennes
Get your passport out! And what about the Final in Azerbaijan?
Rennes v Arsenal
Chelsea (ENG) v Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) v Internazionale Milano (ITA)
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) v Benfica (POR)
Napoli (ITA) v Salzburg (AUT)
Valencia (ESP) v Krasnodar (RUS)
Sevilla (ESP) v Slavia Praha (CZE)
Arsenal (ENG) v Rennes (FRA)
Zenit (RUS) v Villarreal (ESP)
First team are home for first game on March 7th , away game on March 14th,
Thanks for explaining, Chas. Still feel uncomfortable about it, but at least I understand what the reason behind it is. There is a misperception that Iwobi has not got a good final ball. He has produced seven goals/assist in 1300 minutes of PL footie and that makes him our fourth best player (behind Auba, Laca and Rambo). For a 22 year old that is very good (compare him with for example the Ox at that age, and you know what I mean). I reckon he is having a fab season and will only grow further as long as we are behind him (and the manager clearly is). Such a talented player as you and others have also pointed out.
LB, comparison with Theo does not work for me. Theo could do little with the ball and needed to get it when running into space. Alex keeps the ball at his feet and gets past players with it. Theo was a decent finisher and that is what kept him getting contract extensions. Glad he is a Toffee now, though.
Rennes is a nice destination indeed. Glad we are playing home first as that may work better for us. Need to get the job done at home.
Thanks for the vid btw 🙂
Wobbly could have had twice the number of goals and assists he’s already had if only his finishing and final ball were of the same standard as the rest of his play. 🙂
Hope you are right guys, not holding my breath though.
I still go back to the Theo comparison, Wobbly holds it better than Theo I agree but it is all about what you do with it then and Wobbly doesn’t even score goals (mah, even a blind squirrel etc) His assist numbers being better than others has got more to do with the others being poor rather than the other way round in my opinion.
Again, I hope I end up with egg on my face but to me it’s all about the final use of the ball and if you think that can be learn’t at such a late age and 22 is late guys………well………..
That is mighty big IF 🙂
Ah Chas, hard to argue with that, but you are forgetting that he is only 22 and is making real progress this season. We also should bare in mind that Iwobi contributes a lot in terms of having a plan-B when we are attacking. No other player dares to attack defences with the ball at his feet like he does at Arsenal (and we need another player who can do this).
He is not the complete packages as yet but has all the potential to get there, as I reckon it is more about confidence than gaining the skills. My favourite first eleven would certainly include AI.
It’s easy to forget the Iwobi is only 22, once he perfects his final pass/shot he will become a home grown super star. His speed and dribbling abilities are stunning.
He joined Arsenal in 2004 while he was still a nipper in primary school. He is also the nephew of Jay-Jay Okocha.
I’m not forgetting he’s only 22.
He looks, acts and plays like he’s only 22. How could anyone forget!
Although I reckon Iwobi is doing well right now, I have no doubt that he will get strong competition next season. A (mid-)winger with 15-20 assists/goals per season in surely high on Emery’s shopping list.
An old fogie like me perhaps ?
Now I know that this comment is a tad premature given that he has only appeared as a sub – but I cannot see what Suarez can add to the team, he looks like a lightweight to me.
Early days, GN5. Suarez may need time to settle in and get used to PL footie. Not ideal for a loan-player.
Sorry TA, need to agree with Chas on his interpretation of your “misrepresentation” comment. Certainly, compared to Theo ( at any time in his career) Wobbly’s ( sorry) time on the ball must be three or four times that of TW, and that will undoubtedly influence the ” impression” he gives, game to game.
Remembering his youthfulness, I have another way of describing his finishing, and perhaps even more important as an “assistor”, his final ball. There is too much adrenaline pumping round his system at the crunch point. Is this youth, or genetic make up. Lets agree we hope for positive progession.
Cheers LBG. Iwobi cannot be compared to Walcott imo. Alex is an attacker who makes space with the ball and Theo needed to be launched into space with a through-ball. Theo always made me think he does not like the ball, wants to get rid of it asap. Alex loves the ball and can get past players with it; that is a rare skill nowadays. To get past players you need that adrenaline and then it is about calming down again quickly and be lethal (best example is probably Marc Overmars in Overdrive). He is not there yet, but please tell me about a fellow 22 year old PL attacker who has got it all already… I cannot think of anybody.
If you see Marc Overmars then things make a lot more sense.
I hope you are right.
The Denis Suarez thing is very interesting, as GN says it is way too early but I struggle to see what his skill set is at all.
The only straw I can clutch at is that he might be able to add something from the right or be the replacement for Ramsey, that is to say that he might be an AM and a link from the DMs (Xhaka/Guendouzi and even Torreira) to the forwards.
Okay had a quick look at other top PL teams. D Ali is 22 and has slightly more minutes between goals/assists than Iwobi. Rashford is younger and more of a CF than a winger and is clearly doing better than Iwobi this season. Leroy Sane is a bit older but is doing much better than Iwobi in terms of minutes between goals/assists, but then that is an exceptional player all round.
No comparisons at Pool or Chavs.
MOTM and Iwobi in the same sentence hmmm
Home to Rennes in between Tottenham and Man Utd is handy, no long treks to recover from.
I always want to hear from fans like Chas, Ant, LBG and LB who go to so many home games what they think of a player when watched on the pitch.
It can be quite different at times from the view from TV.
The problem is when there are very different views expressed by those who do go.
Anyway, much tho U take on board what LB says, I cannot agree that Alex is at all similar to Theo – chalk and cheese spring to mind.
Theo was, in his time, tremendously fast, and he could finish well, but lacked dribbling skill.
Alex is even faster than Theo with the ball at his feet, and his skill is amazing. He can go past not just one defender but a bunch of them trying to stop him, with his twinkling feet sending them the wrong way.
Theo could never do that.
The final ball ‘problem’ is that some of his team mates do not ‘read’ him. He lays the ball on for Lacazette or Auba, and they are caught watching him, not the ball — and makes Alex appear as he has just rolled the ball away.
The same with his shooting. Alex defers to the accredited goal scorers, and even when he is in position, rather than shooting himself he tries to give it to one of them — the result nis as mentioned in the above paragraph.
Given time, Auba, Lacca and Alex will get their act together, and we will see an increase in our ‘goals for’ stats.
Just saying! 😜
Hi TA 😀
The one to watch seems to be David Brooks of Bournemouth. Just 21 years old and already 10 goals/assist in the PL this season.
hi Redders, you were never a fan of Theo I seem to remember. I defended him for a long time but was really glad to see him leave in the end.
I understand that Suarez seems a little undercooked sometimes, buy he has had very few minutes for us since he joined on loan last month.
I will let you into a secret. When I first saw Coutinho play for ‘Pool some years ago, I thought to myself ‘what the hell did ‘Pool see in this guy?’
Small, overawed by the Premier League – unimpressive.
What a pillock I was. He just kept getting better and better the more he played and got to know his team mates. Barca were obviously impressed enough to pay an alleged €100m.
Maybe will mature into that sort of player over the remainder of the season? Who knows?
You remember well, TA.
Actually, I was thrilled when we first got Theo, and I expected a lot from him.
I saw him play for Southampton, more than once, at their ground, before he joined us, and he looked fantastically fast, and had a great shot.
The problem was, that was all he had, and Premier League teams soon sussed him out (and are still doing so now he is at Everton).
As you said, when he ran an angle and was found by another Arsenal player who could be onto the ball in a flash and if he got a sight of goal it could be very pleasing. But he did not have the skill to dribble, and either gave the ball away, or simply ran into a defender.
I never personally disliked him as he was/is a really nice guy, but his real skill level was in the league below the Premier, which is what the Toffees are finding out.
Well 49 responses to Chas’ Post and probably half of them are mine (50 with this one?) so I am going to shut up before Fred tries to run me out of Dodge.
He is a bit rough that lad. 😂
Yeah TA, Brooks looks a really interesting player.
What do you think of Wan Bisska of Crystal Palace?
All agreed, RA.
Hey Kev, not seen much of Bissaka but his defensive stats are impressive…
Altho Arsenal were drawn out of the hat first (usually the first out gets the first home leg) UEFA have reversed the tie, so the first leg is away in Rennes on the 7th March and the home tie is at the Ems on the 17th March.
Don’t book your tickets without checking. 😁
I am surprised you skirted over Manshitty quite so quickly, because although two years older, I believe they have the perfect example of who I would hope Wobbly would develop into. As a Liverpool player, Raheem Sterling was continually derided by my relatives as a poor finisher who lacked touch. I believe, by whatever means, Pep has made him into one of the most dangerous wide players of the last ten years. ( Helps of course, the quality of his mates around him). Perhaps when Dick gets in the same quality Wobbly will develop similarly.
Wasn’t sure about my facts when I put it up, but that was why I wrote Renner first.
Happy weekend AAers…….and WordPress.
And you LBG,
Don’t forget, we need photos of you three naughty Mouseketeers on your trip to the Ems!! ✌️
LBG, I looked at Sterling but he is quite a bit older than Iwobi. But yes if Alex develops further and to the level of Sterling we would all be pleased that one of our own reached that level. I do see Iwobi more like a Sane than a Sterling type btw.
Lacazette now banned for 3 games.
Out of Rennes tie completely.
For what it is worth, I believe that AI would benefit tremendously from Ozil playing regularly behind the three attackers (AI, AL, ?/Mkhi).
that is a worry, Chas. With Welbeck also unavailable, this leaves us with just Auba as our experienced striker.
As an ‘Olloway boy living in France since the mid-eighties, I thought I’d chip in with a bit of feedback as to how the draw against Rennes is being perceived in the land of the eh-hoh-hi-hon grenouilles….
First up, I haven’t been following the French league for years (too boring) so I don’t know much about the Rennes team, and looked up the Sports press here, and the online comments to get an idea.
Overall, the press are saying that they got a really tough draw but that they’re in with a good chance because Arsenal are not what we used to be.
Their fans are pumped up, happy to get a big club like us, and most of them are quite positive about their chances, mostly because of the state of our defence. They went to Betis last night and won 3-1 having drawn the first let 3-3, so they can score goals.
One press article gave to following five point reasoning as to why they will beat us:
1) We have a ‘cardboard’ defence (French expression, needing no explanation.)
2) We have a mad schedule between the spuds and Man U games, so might field a weakened team.
3) Ben arfa will be pumped up for revenge against Unai.
4) Their supporters will be ‘at home’ at the Emirates at (they say) the PSG fans were at Old Trafford against Man U.
5) Arsenal are ‘losers’ in Europe.
There ya go, a bit of insight into how the other half live..
Not quite as cocky as the PSG fans, and showing a tad more humility as to the relative sizes of their club and ours…I hope we stuff the arrogant f*ckin’ w*nkers!
Does anyone want a free ticket for Bournemouth and Rennes?
I would love to accept that offer LB – if it wasn’t for the commute.
Nice one, JML.
I suppose, to be fair, most teams fancy their chances against us these days.
Let’s stuff em!
Lol @ RA
Why he now banned for 3 games , did they make the ruling today
Fred – I had to drink that pint as you did not materialise again! And I still can’t see you in that Debuchy clip!
RA- I am happy to confirm that all 3 Vines brothers will be at the game on Sunday. LBG travels through London by train from sunny Surrey whereas Chas and I will be on the beer assortment and snacktastic, free tea and biscuits special train from Nottingham. It seems that Chas’s legendary pack up might be vegan🐂🐄🐓🐑! Photos will be provided as requested. We normally meet in the Faltering Full Back pub (or another ale house) for a few more alcoholic top ups and a snifter from the hip flask. On such occasions, my opinion of player’s performance might be a little blurry but I will always support and encourage anyone who ever plays in that famous red and white shirt.. even Xhaka, Mustafi and Lichtsteiner (however you spell it) no matter how pants they are.
I will love it if the Nigerian Messi, Douzi and Mesut are in the line up again on Sunday.
Thanks for sticking the draw up, Chas
I was fuming at the time, being stuck in roadworks heading up the M5, and getting Rennes did little to soothe me
Apart from being a worthless place to visit, we do probably have the easiest draw, but while it may be the closest to The Ems as the crow flies, it’s a bugger to get to