Courage, Cohesion and Confidence.

Our turn.

So far in the semi-finals the team which lost the first leg won the tie. These are not good omens nor is our away form.

No … stop this Raddy,. Get a Grip. Negativity breeds negativity. As Mr. Python says “Always look on the bright side of life.”


If we score one Valencia have to score 5 to win (4 for pens), if we score two Valencia have to score 6. So, what should Emery do? In my opinion, he should stack the midfield and attack from the first whistle.

The Mestella is a hostile stadium for the away teams. Valencia’s home record is very good particularly in defence, they have conceded just 11 goals in 18 La Liga games. Not so dusty upfront with 21 goals scored (to compare, at home we have scored 42 and conceded 16 in the same number of matches – away from home we have conceded 34 😱)

Valencia were poor at the Emirates. We conceded a stupid set piece goal which puts the tie at risk but otherwise Arsenal were comprehensively the better team The Frenchman, Gameiro, looked quality and on both wings we looked vulnerable.

This week we have seen other fine sides collapse in the second half which should be a clear lesson. The best team does not always win, sometimes it is luck and strength of character. We need both.

Do we have strength of character? Looking at the last few weeks the answer has to be No but tonight is different. We are two games away from Glory and no-one will remember the pisspoor performances if we get to Baku.

If Ramsey, Hector, Holding and Welbz were available I would be mega-confident, they aren’t. So who gets to start?

Cech in goal – I wouldn’t pick him but Unai is loyal to his players. Kos and the Greek Bloke. Does he start Monreal or Mustafi to complete the Back 3 Mustafi has been better in the last few games – always the butt of the Gooner’s ire (usually well-deserved) one must also recognise when he plays well. Monreal always giving his all, I would play Mustafi


Kola will surely start but would you pick AMN

The midfield is much harder to predict. I would not play Douzi but he is a favourite of UE and startedd in the home leg. Nor would I start either Ozil or Mhki who are not in good form, but if we don’t start one of them, who supplies the ammunition to our front two?

I don’t know and have to trust that UE does.

IMO if Xhaka and Terrier play well we will win.

And what of the bench? Do we have anyone riding the pine who gives you confidence that they can either shore up a crumbling defence or give us attacking impetus? You know the answer.

Courage, Cohesion and Confidence will get the Arsenal to Baku because we already have the skill and talent. It will be a battle and in the words of a true Englishman …

“The games afoot, Follow your spirit and upon this charge, Cry “God for Unai, England and Saint Charlie George.”



116 Responses to Courage, Cohesion and Confidence.

  1. LBG says:

    Fred, the Alan Smith post was last week!!
    Thanks for your rousing speech.
    As I said in yesterday’s post, I think if there is any destiny for Arsenal this year, l hope it is for Petr Cech.
    Why is Mav not playing in the middle of Sokratis and Kos? Wide wingers will be where the danger comes from. Last chance for Mesut for me, to set up the strikers for a goal each.
    Half full for a change from me, but in a leaky plastic glass!!

  2. RA says:

    A creditable post, BR, thank you.

    I only wish I shared your assessment of Xhaka.

    I guess he and terrier are the best option for now, as we are so devoid of alternatives, but a slow moving Xhaka, a missed tackle and his volatile temperament possibly leading to a red card, and we would be cooked, just like the goose.

    Hopefully, Valencia who are nothing special will make mistakes and let us through, rather like Ajax did last night for Spurs.

    Who can say?

  3. Sue says:

    I can’t even imagine what it will be like if everything goes Pete Tong tonight…..
    Come on Arsenal, we’re on the verge of a European final… we must show up & perform!!

  4. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Raddy

    We have all been having some recent discussions about why we are where we are and why Spurs and Pool are where they are. I have certainly put some of my thoughts out there and even Terry asked on the last post have have we got to this point.

    However, I feel further analysis and discussion on all those matters are for after the season finishes for us because we have a team to support right now. I am sure I speak for everyone in desperately hoping we can finish with that cup so lets bin all negative thoughts for a while.

    We have probably been the most yoyo club this season in terms of extreme differences from one performance to the next, but looking on the positive side, despite some really awful performances, there have also been some really good performances and normally against the better teams.

    This may bode well and maybe the 2 legged ties and one of cup games suit us more and set our mentality better. You could almost say we have history of this with the last 2 F.A cup wins in pulling out performances against the run of general form. I will take those positive thoughts into tonight, and Dennis willing the final.

    I agree Raddy that we should go for them and not try and protect the lead too much. Invite them onto us and let them keep us pinned back while they recycle attack after attack and the crowd will get right up for it. Give them a couple of early scares and / or nick a goal and we can quieten them, and it will not seem as intimidating then.

    My back 3 from right to left is Kos, Soc and Monreal with Xhaka and Torreira sitting in front. AMN and Koli as the wing backs, and our normal 2 up top. If anything I would look towards Xhaka and Torreira to protect more in this game to allow the wing backs more freedom to get forwards and link up and supply our front 2.

    That leaves the 1 place which would normally go to Ozil or Ramsey. Micki is also a possibility but who is best in an away fixture in an intimidating atmosphere. What skill set would help us best to remain attacking but solid.

    I would throw a slight left field suggestion in and try Iwobi. He works hard in his defensive duties and can aid Torreira and Xhaka more than Ozil will, but is also an excellent ball carrier at pace through midfield. That extra CM body for them to have to get past but with an ability to bring it forward quickly at pace through the CM with the WB’s and 2 forwards going with him and providing options and movement.

    I saw him play that role in pre-season and he did just that. He looked far more superior playing centrally and slightly deeper, then bursting forwards at pace when opportunity arose, than he has ever done as a wide player. I have always felt we could get more out of him with a tweak in position and with Ramsey off, and Ozil being very hit and miss, we might have a good longer term solution as well as it possibly being a better option for us tonight.

  5. VP says:

    this is Europa, welcome to Emery land

  6. GunnerN5 says:

    Thank you Raddy for a well balanced assessment of today’s game.

    It is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season and every Arsenal fan will be wondering what team is going to show up. Liverpool and Spurs completely Ajax and Barcelona – they simply ran them off of their feet. It would appear that the premier League teams are playing at a higher level of energy and desire than our European counterparts.

    We can only hope that Arsenal display the same desire and raw courage………………?

    Mkhitaryan shows the least desire of any player and it would set the wrong tone if he started,

  7. GunnerN5 says:

    Correction to my 12:31

    Liverpool and Spurs completely OVERWHELMED Ajax……………..

  8. GunnerN5 says:

    The 2019/20 transfer window opens at midnight BST on Thursday May 16th, and close’s at 5pm BST on Thursday August 8th with the first game of the 2019-20.

    Will we have a summer of guessing or will Arsenal move quickly?

  9. fred1266 says:

    Interesting thought in playing Iwobi central ozil and mkhitaryan so bad I guess Iwobi probably can’t do any worse

  10. Mike says:

    I think if we score 1, they need 3 for pens. If we score 2, they need 5. I’m still throwing up over yesterday’s result.

  11. LB says:

    Thanks for making the effort BR, always appreciated.

  12. allezkev says:

    Liverpool and Tottenham overcame Barcelona and Ajax by their enormous work rate, effort, energy and determination, along with a lot of skill.
    They basically ran their opponents to a standstill, but they had nothing to lose as they were going out, it was sh*t or bust, they rolled the dice and won…

    Our situation is different, it’s Valencia who need to roll the dice and the question is do they have in their tank what the Scousers and Spuds had? I hope not…

    A tense, nervy, 2-2 draw in a stadium where Arsenal teams never perform and a bit of pay back for the pain that club has inflicted on me and Arsenal since 1980…

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    The way the footballing Gods have aligned this week suggests we are going out tonight. My head, however, thinks we have enough to score at least once against what looked a shabby Valencia defence and put this game to bed. I don’t expect to win tonight (2-1 defeat or 2-2 draw maybe), but I think we can get through.

    There is still a chance that we win the EL this season whilst Spurs lose a CL Final. What a fantastic end to the season that would be!!! C’mon Arsenal, make it so!

  14. fatgingergooner says:

    Also, isn’t it far more exciting to be in with a chance of European glory than just getting knocked out of the CL in the last 16 and scraping 4th in the Pl so we can do it all over again next year?

    I much prefer this sort of end to the season than any of those boring ones where top 4 was our ‘trophy’.

    Earning the CL by winning the EL would be fantastic and even if we fail, we might actually have a good chance of winning it next year.

  15. fatgingergooner says:

    Sok Kos Mon
    AMN Torr Geun Xhak Kola
    Laca Auba

    Would be my team.

  16. John Mathews legend says:

    Quiet in ‘ere today….
    In the words of a true Englishman, the great J.Mathews, poet, amateur footballer and sporter of a fine moustache:
    ” This sense of foreboding bodes ne’er well, whither thine abode, er…..everybodie.”
    We’ll do ’em.

  17. Sue says:

    At least we’re not wearing that gross green kit (having said that, at this stage, I don’t think it really matters which one we wear, as we’ve been poor in all 3!!)
    Come on Arsenal.. I don’t want to be watching from behind the sofa or through my fingers! For once this week (or even month) it’d be nice to watch a decent game of football and to actually win!! I’ve been so gutted all week.. be nice to be happy for a change COYG 🙏

  18. chas says:

    Thanks, BR.

    One more chance for the boys to show what they’re made of.

    Let’s hope it’s more True Grit than The Quiet Man…..

    ….. a goal for us might prevent it becoming The Alamo.

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    Over the past month the team have created a sense of doom, surrounding away games. They even managed to create the same sense of doom in our final game of the season.

    We deserve better and so do the club so lets just “wish and hope’ that the players pull themselves together, play with desire and pride, show us that they have some fire in their bellies and end the season on a high note.

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    They even managed to create the same sense of doom in our final HOME game of the season

  21. chas says:

  22. Sue says:

    That’s as good as it gets COYG

  23. Big Raddy says:

    FGG got 10/11. Pleased to see Ozil start.

    Chas. 6.31 Always good to see a few references to Big Leggy.

  24. fred1266 says:

    Chas has jumped the shark hopefully that a good sign

  25. LBG says:

    Coquelin playing against us. Typical

  26. LB says:

    I am in La Rioja, guess what I am doing?

  27. LBG says:

    Both fullbacks must not attack at the same time.
    Mesut’s time to shine!

  28. Big Raddy says:

    I’m in La Valpolicella

  29. Big Raddy says:

    This is torture. 10 mins and we haven’t touched the ball

  30. Sue says:

    Oh great

  31. Big Raddy says:

    LBG. What was that about the two full backs?

    Both get forward and Valencia score on the counter.


  32. LBG says:

    Sokratis defending!! Pub quality.

  33. LBG says:

    Why Raddy can we see it and professional footballers can’t. No brains.

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    Woeful start. We really are thick as a team of players. Getting caught with too many players forward in the first 10 minutes of an away game you’re leading 3-1.

    That’ll do though. Thank Wenger we have 2 quality strikers

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Get in. What a finish fromPEA.

    Game on

  36. LBG says:

    Route one football. That will do!

  37. Sue says:

    That was beautiful, Auba 👊

  38. LBG says:

    Some to sit on Coquelin please. Anybody on the bench making clear observations.

  39. LBG says:

    Someone. Mesut, you’ll do.

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    Lacazette would get in our side as a HM player or CB. He’d get in as a RWB the way AMN has started tonight!!!

    I really don’t understand the inclusion of Özil tonight from a tactical point of view. We could’ve started 3 CM players slightly wider and helped the wing backs more to cover these overlaps. They are killing us out wide. With Özil playing we can’t do that and we are getting caught down the sides. If it was 0-0 I’d understand but with a 3-1 lead I don’t get it.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    AMN is getting roasted. He needs help. We really miss Hector.

  42. fatgingergooner says:

    Hector would be struggling just as much BR. He has no help over there. Gaya and Guedes are good players.

  43. LBG says:

    Understand what you are saying re AM-N, but if your defender is having a hard time, double up in front of him. Support, help, intelligent TEAM play.

  44. Big Raddy says:

    LBG. Auba was listening

  45. LBG says:

    That’s where Mesut should be – edge of 18 yard box.

  46. fatgingergooner says:


    That’s my point about the formation. With an extra midfield player he would have help but instead we’ve gone for an extra attacking player in Özil. It’s a brave call.

  47. LBG says:

    Oh for some speed from a CB!

  48. fatgingergooner says:

    Wow! Great move.

    Absolutely love Lacazette. What a player he is.

  49. fatgingergooner says:

    A very shaky 10 minutes followed by an excellent 35 minutes. The goal really settled us and we’ve looked in control. Let’s just hope we don’t come out sluggish 2nd half as 1 more goal for them and suddenly extra time looks a real possibility. So far so good though.

  50. LBG says:

    Mesut needs to get involved or he will be subbed.

  51. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. 8.48. Perfectl summation

  52. LBG says:

    Another goal required early on will kill them off………but dont let them score on the break.

  53. Gööner In Exile says:

    I am really worried at how easy we are being beaten by a ball over the top, big pitch they know how to use it, no need to try and condense play, stay deep and take that threat out of the game, we don’t need to score goals we need not to concede, a task made much simpler by not committing men up and down pitch.

    If Ozil, PEA and Laca can’t conjure up something between them so be it, we don’t need to chase.

  54. fatgingergooner says:


    Chelsea 1-1 aswell!!!

  55. LBG says:

    Thank you.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    I love Laca. What a brilliant goal.

  57. Sue says:

    Absolutely brilliant Laca 👍

  58. LBG says:

    Perry Groves ” Surely, even Arsenal……..

  59. fatgingergooner says:

    Another Frankfurt goal would make me very happy!!!

  60. fatgingergooner says:

    Just need to switch on for next 10 minutes and keep it at 2-2

  61. LBG says:

    Kolasinac defending, my God.

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    Not sure what Cech did on that goal either. That was a poor one to concede all round.

  63. fatgingergooner says:

    We’ve switched off here. Another Valencia goal and this gets messy.

  64. fred1266 says:

    Hmm mkhitaryan not sure how I feel about that substitution

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Two very poor defences

  66. LBG says:

    Granit Xhaka, block the shot you bellend.

  67. fatgingergooner says:


  68. fatgingergooner says:

    AMN take a bow. PEA take a …….somersault!

  69. LBG says:

    “Aubameyang, Aubameyang, Aubameyang”
    Dick is a Europa League jedi, says Perry.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    Baku here we come.

  71. VP says:

    I am sure Emery promised the board a Europa cup.
    His focus is on Europa.
    I do believe his poor league form expecially away games is all about tuning the team to peak for Europa games
    He is the master in Europa

  72. RA says:

    Bloody hell — 3 : 6 on aggregate.

    No one could have believed that before the game —- WOW

  73. LBG says:

    Play A M-N in midfield, Dick, next season, please.

  74. RA says:


    I think you can come out from behind the sofa!! 😳

  75. Aaron says:

    Arsenal, the team that can sometimes this year

  76. fatgingergooner says:

    De-light-ed! We may be shocking in defence but we have some real weapons up top. If we can bolster the back line and tighten up the midfield we could be half decent.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Valencia fans leaving with 20 mins to go 🙂

  78. VP says:

    awesome hatrick

  79. Big Raddy says:

    PEA!!! 😮

  80. fatgingergooner says:

    Auba and Laca just unplayable. If they do that in the final then the opposition won’t matter! Watching the Chelsea game now though. Looks like extra time.

  81. Sue says:

    What a night! What a game!
    Thank you Auba & Laca – superb 👌
    This week has ended on a high 👍
    Who said we can’t win away 😄
    We’re going to Baku, get in there!!
    Big shout out to the fans (very vocal tonight 😉)
    Buzzing…absolutely buzzing! Thank you AFC

  82. LBG says:

    The equaliser, against the run of play, was the decisive moment.

  83. fatgingergooner says:

    Who do we want in the final? I guess avoiding Hazard is a good. Come on Frankfurt!

  84. fatgingergooner says:


    The last minute goal at home was the key moment. Gave us just enough breathing space to even allow for a shocking first 10 minutes. We were never behind in the tie once it went 1-1 at the Emirates. Great performance tonight from our frontmen and they carried us to the final.

  85. Gööner In Exile says:

    Definitely preferred the second half performance 🙂

    Now come on Frankfurt

  86. fatgingergooner says:

    Do away goals count in extra time?

  87. fatgingergooner says:

    It ok I’ve googled it! Come on Frankfurt, one goal should do it!!!

  88. fatgingergooner says:

    Chelsea clinging on. 2 cleared off the line in extra time.

  89. fatgingergooner says:

    Rumour has it that a really angry Danny Welbeck went into the Arsenal dressing room at half time and gave Auba and Lacazette a bollocking. That’s why they were so good 2nd half.

  90. LBG says:

    Agree to a point, but a second goal from Valencia in first 20 mins, and I believe we might have genuinely buckled!

  91. fatgingergooner says:


    Fortunately we have 2 top class strikers to get us out of those situations!

  92. fatgingergooner says:

    Pens! Nervous and it’s not even my team!!! 😂

  93. fatgingergooner says:

    Chelsea it is! Let’s hope we put in a performance like we did at the Emirates. Can’t wait!

  94. Sue says:

    It had to be Chelsea 😬 oh well we’ll think about that another day!

    Ooh to
    Ooh to be
    Ooh to be a gooner ❤

  95. fatgingergooner says:

    Trust us to get to a European Final in the same season that Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs get to a European Final!!! 🙄 Typical Arsenal! 😂

  96. fatgingergooner says:

    I wonder what the odds were for 2 all-English finals after the 1st leg results!?

  97. GunnerN5 says:


  98. RockyLives says:

    I was at Wembley when we beat the Chavs to take the FA Cup in 2017. We can do it again Baku the USSR (as was).

  99. RockyLives says:

    Silly question, but given the final is not until May 29, is Ramsey definitely ruled out?

  100. fatgingergooner says:

    No doubt UEFA will decide to move our Europa League Final to a different location because Chelsea are playing at the same time, meaning we miss the game and forfeit the match. 🙄😄

  101. fatgingergooner says:


    Apparently it’s more like mid-June he would return but you never know. I just hope the side we put out tonight are all fit for the final and that Hazard, Azpilicueta, Kepa, Pedro, Higuain, Loftus-Cheek and Willian are injured. Seems a reasonable request.

  102. Sue says:

    RockyLives.. Ramsey’s injury was worse than they first thought, I think it said he’d be out for 2 months…

  103. fatgingergooner says:

    I’d fancy our front 2 up against Azpilicueta, Christiansen, Luiz. It’s just wether we can keep Hazard quiet st the other end. The first goal will be vital.

  104. fatgingergooner says:

    If Arsenal and Liverpool win it will be one of the greatest ends to a season for the club. However, if Spurs and Chelsea win we may aswell fold!!! 😂

  105. allezkev says:

    Mario Kempes, Ruben Ayala, John Carew, your boys took one hell of a beating…

    I’ve waited a long time to stuff that lot and it was delicious…

  106. GoonerB says:

    Well done to the boys today.

    I was at that cup final as well Rocky. Think I might have spotted you. Rather large chap in a moose-skin gilet?

    I wasn’t too sure who I wanted to playin the final. Probably Frankfurt as Emery seems to have the measure of European opposition better than the EPL teams. Will probably be a 50-50 game. Not much to choose between the keepers and defence. I give them the edge in midfield and us the edge up front. The key will be in minimising our weak areas and maximising our strong areas.

  107. fred1266 says:

    Where Baku is

  108. allezkev says:


  109. fred1266 says:


    Anyone heard attending

  110. chas says:

  111. chas says:


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