I woke up yesterday morning thinking I was remarkably calm considering we have a European Final on Wednesday. This morning I awoke with a nervous energy not felt for many a moon. The hours until kick off going to be very long. I have bought a 9 pack of Tuborg Green (we Danes are hard drinkers and 6 packs are rare!) and a couple of bottles of a cheeky Italian Dolcetto to make the time go faster and numb my pre-match nerves.
Baku is awash with intrepid Gooners, people who have sacrificed much to support their team. Can the Arsenal give them the victory they deserve?
My first emotion when we made the Final against the Shed Boys was a cloud of negativity – “Chelsea are too good”, “Hazard’s last game”, Chavs have more experience and Big Game players” etc etc. I am sure many of you will have shared those thoughts. But I find today I am far more positive – this is a winnable game. All we need to do is perform as we did earlier in the season when we annihilated the Chavs at the Emirates. That’s all.
Can we? Of course we can.
Now I know there is many a slip twixt cup and lip and Arsenal have royally effed up many big games in recent time (Brighton/Palace etc etc) but Emery Knows 😀
The media are expecting a Chelsea win and the betting odds are against us but how can anyone gamble against a side with our front two? They are special and above all they are winners.
Do you think Mr Emery will pick Mesut to start? I don’t know either. I dither, changing my mind on a hourly basis. Had Mhki been available then No, but given his absence Yes, I would start Ozil. However by the time I finish writing this PM, I may well have changed my opinion.
Cech or Leno? We had a poll and Leno won but we all know Cech will start. The man has been great for AFC. I recall when he signed how excited I was that we had a safe and secure GK after the two flaky Poles (both of whom have developed in top GK’s). I wish him well in his final game.
And what of Iwobi? Will Mr E. choose a more defensive model and leave Alex on the bench?
Who is sure to start? Cech, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Xhaka, PEA and Laca. The rest remain in doubt, even Nacho.
If we play 3 at the back then, given his recent form, I would trust Mustafi but Nacho is so reliable and so experienced.
Could AMN start? We will need pace to counter Hazard, Willian, Pedro etc.
And in midfield, will Douzi be picked ahead of Terrier? I hope not though a midfield of Xhaka, Terrier, Douzi and Kolasinac is quite likely.
Mustafi Kos Sokratis
AMN Terrier Xhaka Kolasinac
My concern with this side is the reliance upon AMN and Wardrobe to get forward thereby allowing space behind for fast counter attack by the excellent Chelsea wide players. As always, midfield discipline must be maintained.
For Chelsea, well mostly I don’t care but I will be very upset if OG scores. Very. Hopefully Kante will be injured as he is a wonderful player.
VAR will be used tonight; much discussed, I believe VAR assists the game though some decisions remain open to interpretation. Referee is Rocchi, an Italian with much experience, we must hope he hasn’t been gifted a house or two by Chelsea’s owner
Last night I was over in Malmo Sweden alongside West Ham Bob watching another Malmo victory. He sat on the fence but hoped for an AFC win. Like many his head says Chelsea but his heart is Gooner. For us it is simple – Death or Glory. If we are to lose I do not want to look at any AFC player and think they could have worked harder – mistakes will be made, they are human, but to win tonight will require 100% effort and concentration.
A European Final as the final game is way beyond my season expectation. Win or lose the team have had a successful campaign but how wonderful would it be to lift the trophy?
Come on boys, you can do it.
Where are you all hiding, it’s not time to go behind the sofa yet.
Come on out wherever you are!!
Well done Raddy, I’m also feeling positive this morning, my son is driving us to the pub today so I can drink to my livers content.
I would be overjoyed if we finish the season off with a resounding bang – it will help to kick start 2019/20.
Safe journey GN5. We will be with you in your pocket
A nine pack and two bottles of wine – sounds good for starters Raddy, but what will you drink in the second half?
3-1 to the super reds.
Feeling very positive. Would prefer Nacho in left wing back position BUT, not possible without another CB.
Arsenal MUST double up on any Chelsea player who receives the ball wide in our half. Arsenal MUST press Jorginho and Kovacic high up and never allow them free time on the ball. Arsenal MUST cover near post runs from Giroud, never let him get between with noone actually challenging. Arsenal MUST take their chances, especially in first half hour.
Come on you Gunners. What’s required is straightforward. DO IT AND MAKE IS HAPPY!!
Mustafi over monreal
I say NO too that
Fred. It is just my opinion, let’s see what UE decides
Mustafi….never again, Fred!
Thank you, Raddy. out of the woodwork, and nervous. Anxious anticipation. We can, cant we?
Great pre-match BR – sums up all the issues.
I have a smidgen of a wisp of an idea that Dick will go with a back 4 (which we had when we beat the Chavs in the league earlier this season).
Right now I’m excited, anxious and just wishing the clock would speed up.
Going to be a cracker!
The Arsenal can rise to the occasion and get this done.
Coming home at 11am West coast today to watch this game.
Emery has proven he can get the connections correct, today is one of those days.
Look forward to hearing more than a couple of hissing sounds from the ball coming off the feet or heads of Laca, Auba and others into the net, all the while scoring more than the other side.
Lets go RED.
Good post, yeah, I’ve been calm up till the last half an hour, now the butterflies are fluttering.
Biggest game for years in terms of the clubs development under Emery and the new regime.
Oh dayum!! So nervous, yet so excited! Did I feel like this, 13 years ago? You bet I did!!
Maybe Fosters will help… 😀
We love you Arsenal, we do…. ohhh Arsenal, we love you!! COYG
Cheers BR for a fine preview. The only goal OG will score is an OG 😉
Quite like the line up but reckon we will go 4-2-3-1 and start with Iwobi. COTA!
The only worry is injuries as we have very little quality on the bench tonight. Prediction…2-0 to the good guys.
A Post of gentle wit and wisdom, BR, thank you, and my only reservation is that you have come straight out and said the game is winnable.
Me? I am lying low, and not telling anyone that I think Hazard will slice and dice the Arsenal defence, and serve us up as a meaty fricassee only Su could love. 😜
Nope. When or if we win, I will emerge and insouciantly reveal that I always knew the outcome, and aim a laconically patronising sigh at all those who doubted the team. Huh.
No one needs to know I am a lying, mealy m o u t h ed t o s s p o t ——- no, no, what am I saying? I am undone – my doneness has unravelled ……. I was only putting a play into practice that the Big Rocky Rocket taught me ……. blame him — or Su — no, no, blame the Rocket, he will never know!! 😩
Seu, Use, —- oh, bugger —- your name is so difficult to type – I just have to revert to the abbreviated format — Su — sheesh, that’s a relief.
I need some clarification, for Fred, you understand — you said — “So nervous, yet so excited! Did I feel like this, 13 years ago?” —– well, that was only 15 years ago, so, should you be quaffing the amber nectar like a thirsty camel? 😎
Podolski tweeted that London is and will always be red… Oh I miss him & that left foot of his (oh and that gorgeous face 😉)
Not long now…. more & more nervous by the minute!! 🤪
Just 90 minutes to k.o. Getting nervous despite being well into my first bottle of red
Yeah, yeah, Us, enough of that — go no further — Podolski was famous/infamous for his wig.
Why is that not on your list of ‘missed’ things? Hmmm?
Beers and wine in copious quantities……IN.
A couple of decent sports bars here (recent development in this neck of the woods) but out of town and a bit far to walk to.(or should I say ‘back from’) That’s what you get living in a small French town. Could risk the bicycle and home by the country lanes….but f*ck that for a lark! (ridiculously windy here in La Drôme….my Arsenal roses are being blown about like crazy, but still holding strong, hopefully a good omen..)
I’m going 3-1 to the @RSE.
On the tactics (not my speciality), expecting a pre-emptive, emptive and re-emptive strike showdown from the two coaches, and that Emery will outdo Sarri in this.
Giroud will be their Trump card (no Donald references ‘ere, unless Mustafi ‘Ducks’)
Our strike force will be too strong for them.
BR, have the Git-fiddle tuned in Open G ready for a simultaneous blast of Honky Tonk from Denmark and France if it goes to extra time. (FF’Ssake, no penalties….as you’ll have to learn ‘Down down’ in 5 minutes!!!)
Aww just saw Ramsey’s message to the team… am absolutely gutted he can’t play tonight.. so cruel…. sheesh all these messages & clips from former players (plus the fosters) is making me really emosh!!
RA.. I need to quaff 😂 bottoms up!!
Podolski’s wig? Damn, I must have missed that, was too busy looking elsewhere 😏
Now that’s the team we wanted
My team was 10/11. Monreal instead of Mustafi.
Welbz on the bench!
Kante playing, surprise, surprise!
Where u guess watching the game
So, Cech starts… well, I hope his last game for us, is much better than his first was!!
Saka, that little beast, is on the bench..
Kante starts for Chelsea 😦
Fred. Danish TV
Well, Chelsea have tried their hardest all week with the mind games!
Hey Total, I’m not sure about not having enough quality on the bench, we have quality but it lacks experience.
Not sure about having two goalkeepers on the bench?
Ex players who care.
injured duo Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding ave travelled to offer moral support.
Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere – both released on free transfers by the north London outfit during last summer’s transfer window have also spoken out ahead of the Europa League final.
Cazorla, who was in the Arsenal teams which won back-to-back FA Cups in 2014 and 2015, took to Instagram and sent a special message to his former teammates ahead of the big game.
Wilshere replied by saying: “If you were playing, it’s game over already magician.”
Wilshere then had a personal message of his own.
The Wilsheres are ready to cheer The Arsenal on tonight! 👊
5:35 PM – May 29, 2019
4,422 people are talking about this
The messages of support don’t stop there with Wojciech Szczesny, Sol Campbell, Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Poldolski and Johan Djourou all getting in touch.
💬 “You absolutely have what it takes to win the trophy. I am sure that you will make all the Arsenal fans proud. Come on you Gunners!”
🤘 A matchday message from Super Tom!
12:10 PM – May 29, 2019
Come on Gunners! Let’s give everything tonight in Baku to win the Europa League ! You guys deserve it ! London is and will always be red 💪🏻👊🏻😉💣 #GunnerForLife #COYG #Poldi #Gunners 🔴⚪️ @Arsenal
2:30 PM – May 29, 2019
“With determination and belief, everything is possible. I just want to wish you good luck for the game tomorrow. Let’s get the cup and bring it home!”
💛 @JohanDjourou showing the badge some love ahead of the #UELfinal
8:53 PM – May 28, 2019
It’s Mesut time………………..oooh to be.
LB.. love it!! 👍
Giroud v Cech the wrong way round 😦
I think that is a solid lineup.
Let’s take this game by the scruff.
On the sofa. COYG. 🙂
Right where’s the audio option for no commentary just crowd.
Surely it’s about time?
May the best team win, and that is … us! 🙂
For anyone that doesn’t know:
BT Sports are showing the final live on their You-Tube channel, free of charge for everyone. Well done to them.
Like a bit of Jonas Blue… I’d love to be there…
Is first game was agaist Chelsea in community shield
Fred… yes I’ve just worked that out.. I stupidly thought it was against West Ham! D’oh!!!
This is a tight game.
Had a few good looks and chavs one too.
AMN playing very well.
Cech made a good save after a poor clear, so that is positive.
Feel that someone on our team is going to get on the end of one off those crosses yet.
Xhaka.. oh, if only….
Not the most exciting of halves. Feels like a practice game.
We need to get Auba into the game and Ozil firing.
VAR gets it wrong. sad!
Oh it just had to be….. 😡
The Arsenal deserve that after that crappy run by haZard for 30 yards untouched.
Come on team, shift the damn engine into a higher gear.
Yea that whm was a disaster
Behind the sofa, it is 😫😢
Well that’s my night well & truly screwed then…
Doesn’t really matter but, there was a blatant foul on AMN that led directly to the Chavs’ second goal
Dang, do the Arsenal ever give a hard foul-ever..FFS
It is so obvious sometimes, they players just do not seem to ever time a foul correctly to stop a break, a run, a cross…sheesh
Didn’t think I’d end up turning a final off. Must’ve been given sleeping pills at half time. Dreadful.
Oh man, I stay home for 1st time in 25 years to watch a game and the team rolls over.
No trophy, no CL, and the spuds with the possibility of winning the CL with an avg team.
Makes me really question our upper level penny pinchers, and hopelessness of being an Arsenal fan for the next decade.
We have been awful tonight. Is it nerves? I love Ozil but I think we have a hologram of him on the pitch.
So much for being positive (for a change)… every bloody time, my hopes are dashed!! Getting thrashed by a poor Chelsea team, already in the CL… big Oli bangs in one.. I’m so gutted… oh well at least Cech can go & celebrate with them after.. and photobomb all he likes! 😔😖😭😢😡🤬 oh just let Hazard run riot & go & score another GOTS…
Åll season the defence have let us down. 4 conceded already this evening.
Root and branch clear out in summer
The Arsenal suck-plain and simple, and while we are at it show Emery the door.
Yet another season in the EL… no money in the kitty… I’m not even sure we could give our defenders away…. another shopping spree of free over 35 year olds looming…. is it any wonder I’m so pi**ed off….. oh the joys of being a gooner, hey?
#gutted…. now where are those tissues 😔
Didn’t take our chances in the first half and didnt bother turning up for the second.
Said it before but totally fed up of watching Özil walking off with a sulk on his face after contributing nothing to a game. Hope he buggers off in the summer.
Oh we all know what’s going to happen on Saturday now, don’t we??
BR, you can’t pin it on one player. Collectively shocking performance.
As irksome as Giroud’s involvement in 3 of the goals, is that everytime a blue shirt had the ball tonight he had at least one option if not two options of players attempting to find space.
Can we say the same of those in red and white, quite simply no. Too many times pass given with defender up their arse and the player who passed it went on some pre ordained run without thinking about his mate he just gave the ball to. Basic football skill/knowledge.
So let’s do a seasons review.
Still shit defensively, but now no fun to watch going forward.
And whilst people are talking about root and branch clear outs lets have a look at Giroud please.
A man criticised relentlessly whilst fans admired shinier toys. We got shinier toys, while he got quickly snapped up by Chelsea and became Hazard’s favourite foil.
The most underrated centre forward in the Premier League if not Europe. Always gives 100% has a great football brain, and gets on with the game. We wanted more…….
At least Willock looked good when he came on.
Well, that was shite. First 15 minutes of the second half was nothing short of disgraceful really. One consolation was Willock and Iwobi who did well from the bench. Another consolation is that we don’t have to watch ourselves being embarrassed in the CL next year as let’s face it, we are nowhere near ready for that. Disappointed.
Oh man, that was embarrassing… just when you think we couldn’t get any worse… This sure as hell will take some getting over…of all the times to capitulate… ouch, that really hurt
Time we started a mass fan campaign against the owners? Without investment we’re only going to slip further behind. Next season we may well be battling to win a EL place in the last few games of the season.
After a good first half, the second half was simply shocking.
However, was that not par for the course for most of the season?
I can see that it is downhill all the way from now.
We don’t have the money to buy the really good players and our tactics are not even good enough to beat the weaker teams.
I think that we should be grateful for the good years and now settle down for a decade or so of mediocrity.
Well that was painful.
yes, painful. Iwobi’s strike was nice. and Giro rolled back his years pretty well. sad that we had to release him.
all else …. doom
Not even a body full of alcohol eases the pain of that second half.
That was a total cluster. Another final in Europe and another Arsenal no show. Ozil is a joke at 300 k plus a week.
The odd thing is I would’ve probably been delighted with 5th and a EL final at the beginning of the season. My expectations were very low after last year. I think the real frustration comes from the manner of defeat, that we should really have finished top 4 but threw it away, and mostly from the fact that a lot of our previous problems still seem to be present and we haven’t seen enough of an improvement in those areas under Emery. Given that they were our most obvious problems under Wenger, you would’ve thought that the defensive implosions and the terrible away form would be improving by now but it just hasn’t happened. Maybe it will take a real overhaul of playing staff before those 2 areas are at an acceptable level.
With that disastrous match on Saturday looming… I am now thinking of heading out into the unknown, as far away from civilisation as possible… never to hear of the spuds ever again…. maybe even swim off into the Atlantic or Pacific, to find Wilson (from Castaway 😂)
Would you rather our squad next season or Chelsea’s without Hazard?
FGG – depends whether Laca and Auba stick around. At least one of them will be off I’d imagine.
What is the point of positivity with this AW remnant of a team?
This result would normally be a signal for me to retreat into my shell and say nothing as I stew, but I am so angry, I ask AAers to make allowances for my rant.
Who deserves their wage tonight. Three players at most for me. Cech, Iwobi and Willock.
Giroud scores as I predicted and two things are immediately missing. Discipline and Desire. Chelski have no problem recognising that and take more than full advantage. Where iare Xhaka and Torreira at that point? Anywhere but where the ball is. Stretched, unable to pick up runners, leaving a slow Sokratis and Kos to scamper aimlessly trying to keep tabs on two at most, occasionally three Chelsea attackers. Kolasinac is a waste of space if he cannot cross the ball before his effort is cut out by a quicker thinking/faster defender. Nacho has the desire but no longer the ability to play at this level. Ainsley is not a fullback or wing back really.
Did Mesut play tonight? Where was the closing down ( orchestrated of course by Ramsey the last time we played this mob), from Laca, Aubang and Ozil. Chances made not taken, no idea how to take control in midfield
or defence, particularly following a goal against, consequently an embarrassment. An embarrassment to the players on the pitch (and how many REALLY care? They will set off for their summer hols with tens of thousands of pounds in their pockets and be really ashamed – that’s irony, by the way). An embarrassment for those that managed to get to a godforesaken venue for a hundredth of what the players earn in a week. An embarrassment for a Club with a great tradition and history that have been shamed tonight.
Sorry, my heartfelt belief!
When my brothers suggested we may be many
years off a return to success ( I would be happy with effort, commitment, desire), I poo pooed the thought. I have always thought 3/4 windows, but the reality of that is hard to take at the moment!
Some good, sensible comments tonight, especially by GiE (re Giroud and shiny toys) and jjgsol. We have a good team of players but we did not play as one, and whether you like it or not, you have to look at Unai for this. Of course the usual suspects will come out and say we need to spend much more, but the BoD need to think carefully about whether to continue with Emery or cut their losses. The nightmare scenario of losing more good players this summer, not being able to find quality yet affordable players and Emery getting the boot before Christmas is becoming stronger and stronger. I am more than happy with the money the BoD put up for new players but less so with the way the money has been used and the manager they have picked. Emery is not the right man but it is not yet too late to let him go and find a better manager.
Was tonight as bad as the City league cup defeat? I’d say 2nd half, yes…
Sod’s law tonight! All this hoo-ha surrounding Cech (should he or shouldn’t he) even though he shipped 4, some people are saying he was MOTM…. someone on another blog called Pedro a headless chicken, so of course he had to score! Giroud (like many others, before him) had to come back & haunt us! Iwobi gets slated, so he just had to score!! And lastly, Hazard – well, he does what he always does against us (like many others!!)
Now… do I renew my membership?? 😳
This was never going to be turned around within 12 months so I think it’s only right that Emery is given another season to see if he can improve the side. However, if I was the board I would be keeping a close eye on the Allegri situation. I think he would be an upgrade and the timing is perfect if the club decide to move on from Unai. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t UE in the dugout next season though.
Our 2nd half performance was utterly woeful. Our midfield was being overrun and we lost our shape. That in turn left our back three exposed and unable to cope. Ozil was once again useless, he did nothing all night and look his best when he went off. Great strike from Iwobi, at least he and Willock tried to force something, sadly lacking with Abu who for me was awful all game. Unlike TA, I am not happy with our BOD, they are cheapskates and not putting up the money to strengthen were we need it most.
Next season will be no differennt IMHO, we will pull off the odd result, but ultimately, will fall short once again. Same old, same old I am afraid.
FGG, I honestly am not the kind of guy who does not want to give managers a proper chance to impose themselves, but I just do not see any structural lines of (gradual) improvement in the way he sets up the team and makes us play. We still cannot defend and we still have not resolved how to play in midfield (and Wenger did not get this right anymore either). It also hurts that we still cannot get the best out of Ozil who is so isolated up-front if we don’t play a proper B2B to support him. But what worried me most tonight was the lack of cohesion and belief in the team; you just felt that despite the decent start we lacked conviction and focus and we paid badly for it once one of my favourite ex-Gunners ever scored the first goal.
I like your suggestion of Allegri btw.
TA, thing is, we never looked liked scoring that first half, despite our pressure. Kolacisnac cannot cross a cheque, he had several good chances, as he has had all season but fails to deliver the sort of ball needed. Think back to how effective the likes of Sansom, Winterburn, Cole and even Clichy were in that position?
I was really disappointed with our overall performance tonight and in particular up front, where I thought we created very little. Chelsea took control 2nd half and dominated us all over.
What will 40m buy, I wonder…
Time for sleep (no doubt I’ll have nightmares about Hazard slicing & dicing our defence, once again)
For some reason this hurting more than CL loss
LBG, I can’t disagree, I also thought it was notable that Willock replaced Ozil, and almost scored, in fact he should have scored, but at least he had the desire to get into the box.
Fred – CL loss was a heroic effort where we played with 10 men for most of the match. Gutting and disappointing, yes, but not embarrassing.
This was a clueless capitulation that was presaged by our performances in the last quarter of the PL season.
B600, I know what you mean. We needed a bit of luck to get that first goal but we lacked it and the rest is history.
Sue, I hope that Kolasinac will enter your dream instead of the creepy Hazard. 😉
Does the unknown have room for 2
Nah they ent going know where
Hope ozil goes he has 2 great striker and just can’t supply them
TA did u watch the interview with 2 guys from the board they said they are very happy with emeryp
You know u will be renewing sue lol
Wait this is the second final we have lost in 2 years yikes
I kind of agree with TA, Emery came in with a dossier on our squad and told the board how he would improve every player. Well have we seen any evidence of that?
Secondly he was appointed by the new management team and IG. Two have left, one who was responsible for some of our biggest spending over last two windows.
Since 2014 the board has allowed spending without seeing much return, in the last five seasons I think we have a net spend of close to £175m, and for at least two of those the decisions were being made by that management team. In 17/18 we spent £100m on Laca and PEA, in the same year we sold Ox, Theo, Giroud, Szczesny, Gibbs and couple of others to balance the books, and we swapped Sanchez for Mikhi. 2 of those players signed were choices of ex Dortmund Mislintat. Without the sales we would be pushing a much higher net spend. And we replaced players of similar ages, there was no plan to bring in younger hungrier players.
They may be questioning the wisdom of spending more, after not really seeing the benefits of the spending so far.
In fact in the same time we have spent that £175m Spuds have net spend of £28m. Whilst Pochettino May be nagging the board for more money to spend.
So Emery was a Gazidis pick, Gazidis isn’t there anymore. I haven’t seen enough from Emery and I think it’s telling that Gazidis having pulled off his coup to remove AW control of transfers in the two seasons before his departure and eventually unseat AW soon disappeared.
Be careful what you wish for. I’ve said since the day AW left that we should be looking for a manager that could tweak and bring through youngsters, Emery struggled with big personalities at PSG it appears same is true now. He either needs to sell and restart gradually with youngsters and we accept we may go down the league before coming back.
Or we get a manager who is prepared to do that.
Trying to hang on to coattails of those above us while we spend bus and pieces to make up the running repairs to an ageing squad is no way to continue.
NEW exceedingly brief POST
If anyone wants to come up with something decent then send it in to Nuts and maybe BR will have time to publish it,
Failing that just let rip in the comments.