Too Sexy for our Shirts: Man City Preview

“Right,” said Fred, let’s be having you.

The faltering champions are coming to town and it’s time for Freddie Ljungberg’s Arsenal to stand up and be counted.

Who thinks we’re going to beat Man City today at the Emirates?

…and answer came there none.

You lily-livered bunch of chicken-poop surrender monkeys.

Of course we’re going to win. It’s way beyond time we all got out of this defeatist funk we’ve been in for months.

Here’s why I think we will prevail this afternoon:

  • Slowly, slowly you can see our confidence returning. Players who had lost faith in Unai Emery are starting to believe again.
  • I get the sense Freddie and Big Per are beginning to earn the respect and trust of the squad.
  • Our young players are turning in quality performances on a regular basis and that is bound to have a motivating effect on the senior pros. It also makes them an excellent asset off the bench.
  • We tend to perform better against top teams than against strugglers whom we are expected to dispatch easily.
  • Man City are watching the title slip away from them and their own confidence is in question.
  • Aguero will miss the game through injury and David Silva is a doubt.

I can hear the objections that have no doubt formed in the minds of many of you:

“But, but, performances…”

“But, but, injuries…”

“But, but, players are not good enough…”

“But, but, defending like the Royal Society for the Blind’s second team…”

I’m not going to argue with you, certainly on performances. We still look shaky and unconvincing, but something quite significant has happened since Emery left. We have started rescuing games from losing positions rather than throwing away games from winning positions.

The win against West Ham after being 0-1 down; the point salvaged against Standard Liege after falling 0-2 behind… these betoken a team that is starting to believe it can force results.

And how better to continue that progress than by beating the reigning champions? I reckon our lads are going to be well up for it.

Although City are without Aguero, we have our own injury problems. Tierney needs surgery on a dislocated shoulder (that young man has Debuchy levels of bad luck), Ceballos, Holding Bellerin and Xhaka are all ruled out.  The good news is that Pepe, who was a doubt, is expected to be available. I expect him to outshine Raheem Sterling today.

Here’s my predicted starting line-up.


Maitland-Niles – Chambers – Luiz – Kolasinac

Torreira – Guendouzi


Pepe – Aubameyang – Martinelli

If we play without fear we have the ability to really trouble the City defence.  We know how good they are going forward so there’s no point trying to sit back and soak up pressure.

Let’s go at them.

Let’s be proud of wearing the shirt.

Let’s play sexy football.

Let’s leave the field with a 3-2 win for the Mighty Arse.

Ready, Freddie… GO!




95 Responses to Too Sexy for our Shirts: Man City Preview

  1. Brlliant Rocky, just brilliant …… and super positive. Really looking forward to the game, hoping that the team can stir themselves from the first minute. I shall be there singing 🙂

  2. LB says:

    Ohhh, I started reading and thought this is good, who wrote this, and then I had to take a speak peak and found out that the Rock Star was back in town, great read, really enjoyable and what’s more I agree with the sentiment completely.

    There are tiny green shoots of hope appearing, I expect to loose today, that’s ok with me, we have not improved that much, all I want from today is a change to the midfield, a different way of doing things and with Xhaka out we might just get it at long last.

    Put Luiz in front of the back line, just do it Freddie, just do it.

  3. Rasp says:

    Brilliant Rocky, Ready, Freddie … GO! … love it 🙂

    I am expecting us to surprise the bookies and the pundits and put in a battling performance. We drew due to two lucky deflected goals during the week and still finished top of the group so confidence should be growing.

    The burden of expectation is lifted. Saka and Pepe can be a real handful, let’s hope we can play without fear as you say. I’m not even sure I’d take a draw right now .. let’s win and make a statement.

  4. JOURNALIST says:


  5. LBG says:

    Good stuff Rocky
    At risk of repetition, put Luiz alongside Ouzi and a “holding” Torreira, in front of back four including Mavrapanos. Play Aubang and Martinelli close together and bring Pepe on as substitute at sixty to scare the shitty out of Manshitty.
    COYG, make us smile.

  6. Sue says:

    What a superb post!! 👍 Although I have Right Said Fred in my head now 😄

    Thank you, Rocky… after reading that, I’m feeling rather optimistic… be feeling even more so, if KDB and Ederson tweak a hammy in the warm up 😜
    Under Freddie, we’ve conceded the first goal in every game, I expect that to continue today, but…. I actually believe we will score 2 or more goals!! Their defence hasn’t been great, since losing Laporte, so it could finish 5-5 😀
    Arteta returns…. COYG

  7. RC78 says:

    We need to pla
    – Auba, Laca, Pepe, Martinelli from the start -> City s full backs need to be kept on their toes and Aub-Laca will annoy their central defense
    – Luiz or Chambers as DM next to Douzi
    – Defense, we don t have many options…because of all the injuries and the lack of quality…so

    Leno – AMN, Chambers, Sok, Kola – Pepe, Douzi, Luiz, Martinelli – Laca, Auba

    It s gonna come down to our ability to defend and to play direct footie. This is a game for players to show they can compete. If we want more bodies in the middle, then bring in Torreira and take either Martinelli or Pepe out.

  8. RC78 says:

    Thanks for a great and uplifting post by the way 🙂

  9. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Obviously we’re not going to be fancied to win today by the bookies and most pundits.

    But I have a feeling this group of players is ready to put in a performance. After all the disappointments and criticism they’re ready for some redemption.

    Red Fred Redemption, you might say. (That will only make sense to gamers like my son).

  10. RockyLives says:

    I would love to see Luiz played as a DM, but I don’t think Fred is going to go for it. Let’s see.

  11. RC78 says:

    I am hopeful that either Chambers or Luiz will play in DM. The big questions for our team will be on:

    1. Who will play along the DM?
    2. Will Torreira start?
    3. Will Ozil start?
    4. Will Pepe start?
    5. Will Laca start?
    6, Which formation will Freddie opt for?

    The following players will start for sure:
    Leno, AMN, Chambers, Luiz, Kola, Martinelli, Auba

    4 spots left…and the names will depend on the formation…

  12. LB says:

    “Auba, Laca, Pepe, Martinelli from the start” (RC)

    This is brilliant in its outrageousness.

    Never going to happen.

  13. fred1266 says:

    Piccadilly now RC any place in particular

  14. RC78 says:

    Walk around PC, Soho and China Town – really fun area.
    If you want a good view, I think there is a cafe at Waterstones with a great view.

    If you manage to get to Leicester square, Trafalgar square is very close by.

    Museum wise, you are not far from the National Gallery and the National Portraits Gallery. If you are a fan of musical, head towards the Theatre district nearby and if you want to shop, walk to Regent street.

  15. RC78 says:

    @LB – let us see. I am hoping to see them all start, put some pressure on City’s defense.

  16. RC78 says:

    There is a great Honey cake (if you like them) at coffee shop called L’ETO nearby Soho. Actually all their cakes are good.

  17. LB says:

    This is partly what I expect and partly what I hope for. Freddie seems to like width up front which Auba and Laca do not give us


    AMN, Chambers, Socratis, Kol




    Guendouzi might be the long term future, but the future to me is 6 o’clock.

  18. allezkev says:

    Great post Rocky, I hope we’re brave today and go for it.
    A score draw for me but hopefully another improvement in performance.

  19. fred1266 says:

    Ok will try cakes, only going to get max 2 this time when I went lenotre I got 4

  20. RockyLives says:

    I’m most encouraged by the fact that Pepe seems to have found his mojo. I love the way he is prepared to take on the defenders time after time and his confidence is growing in the last few appearances.

    He’s due a MoTM performance.

  21. fred1266 says:

    Yea didn’t realise the places are so close cause I know I have been to Trafalgar already isn’t that were MM stores is

  22. RockyLives says:

    Perhaps unfairly I have a bit of a downer on Torreira, so I hope that if Luiz or Chambers is played as a DM it will be Gwen alongside them.

    I remember some games when Torreira first joined us where I was impressed with him, so he clearly has the potential to do it. But since then I have been waiting and waiting for him to have a really dominant game.

    I know some of the problem may be with the way he has been asked to play, but I also dislike the way he gets brushed off the ball so easily.

    Being small doesn’t automatically mean a player can’t fulfil a physical role (think David Batty, Dennis Wise, Didier Deschamps, Billy Bremner) but Torreira just doesn’t seem as robust as those players were.

  23. LBG says:

    He gets brushed off the ball when he is playing too far forward.
    “Cut the pass out, make the tackle, short pass to Luiz or Ouzi. Your job is to work exclusively in a twenty yard circle directly in front of centre backs, who will remind you if you are straying.”

  24. JM says:

    My starting team:

    Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Sokratis, Kolašinac; Luiz, Torriera, Özil/Guendouzi*; Pépé, Aubameyang(c), Martinelli


    Emiliano, Mustafi/Mavropanos, Willock, Guendouzi/Özil*, Nelson, Saka, Lacazette

    *Either Özil or Guendouzi playing at the advanced playmaker role, where Ljungberg shall need to decide at the start who can give that more of an extra chance to win and not lose this match.

    Luiz (the closest to being our hybrid “regista+volante”) and Torreira (“carrilero” role) in the DM/CM pairing, will give us a better balance, well, even at the very least better communication (in Spanish), which can come handy in calling out/making split second decisions while the football is being played at speed.

  25. RA says:

    Well, that’s a fine howdy doody (the Toffees have scored – Yaay) !!

  26. RA says:

    Well, back to my fine howdy doodies then.

    Rock of Ages, you know I love you, and your rendering of all those “but, but. but, buts” is an excellent reproductions of the sounds emitted by my Moped struggling to get me from A to Somewhere, on a cold day!! 😜

    On the other hand, if that is a cruel reference to my stutter I will have to whup yo ass — well that would be the case if I had a stutter, so maybe I might have to reluctantly give you the benefit of the doubt.

    The rest of the sophisticated analysis contained in your classy pre-Match is …… classy.

  27. RC78 says:

    Leno – AMN, Chambs, Sok, Kola – Douzi, Torreira – Ozil – Pepe, Auba, Martinelli

    I think FL is gambling in defense and midfield but let s hope he gambles pays off. With this team, I can only see us being bullied in the first half

  28. Rasp says:

    Excellent team from Freddie … he must be listening to us …

  29. Rasp says:

    Congratulations … 11/11 for Rocky …. let’s hope he’s as accurate with the result 🙂 COYRRG

  30. Sue says:

    That is as good as can be… now come on – sexy football at the double!! 💪

  31. Aaron says:

    Super positive post.

    Line up changed a bit. Left hand side is again not a strong one.
    Pepe, if truly healthy can cause serious damage and just need Auba to do what he is best at and poke them goals in.

    No Luiz, but Kola and Sok. Raul better get a left back in January or just promote Medley.

    Arsenal for the win on the from the front.

  32. GoonerB says:

    Thx Rocky, in a hurry to get back and watch so will chat more later. 2 things I want to see even if we lose is that we are not overrun in midfield and that Freddie is making the right decisions so that it diesnt happen and that we play quicker and more forwards

  33. Rasp says:

    Really???? 2 minutes? Who was at fault – I’m at work ….

  34. Sue says:

    Jesus Christ!! I thought we’d concede first.. but didn’t think it’d be that early on!!!!

  35. Aaron says:

    Seriously, does the team ever take a profession f’n foul?

    Marinelli was grabbed on previous attempt to just slow him up enough to allow other $h*tTy players to recover, then their guy runs 15 meters unscathed.
    AMATEUR defending!

  36. Sue says:

    Oh wonderful…… smh…… my optimism has left the building…..

  37. RockyLives says:

    Relax – I said we’d win 3-2

  38. RockyLives says:

    You’re all going to feel different when we get it back to 1-2

  39. Aaron says:

    Just go get some defenders for the left, my goodness.

  40. Sue says:

    And Jamie Carragher commentating 😩😳😠

  41. Sue says:

    Now Kola is injured….goes from bad to worse!!

  42. RockyLives says:

    Ok – a 4-3 win then. Come on lads!

  43. Sue says:

    Game over!! I’m not sure I want to watch anymore…. painful!!

  44. Sue says:

    An absolute masterclass from KDB… how i wish we had him!!

  45. RC78 says:

    Told you guys…

  46. LB says:

    Torreira and Guendouzi

    So, so, so predictable………..

  47. VP of Oz says:

    Kol looking around and Leno telling Kol to defend his man as Stirling taps in for the 2nd goal. That sums up the defence.

    Professional foul on Kol stopping our attack, reducing us to 10 players and they score their 3rd goal. That sums up the oppositions ruthlessness and determination to win at all costs.

    But I do think we are playing relatively well but lack balance and cohesion in parts.
    Great post Rocky.

  48. RockyLives says:

    Let’s take the positives where we can: I’m loving Martinelli’s effort.

  49. Aaron says:

    Feel for Guen, too young to be in that role, takes way too much time on the ball, too many touches, and not quick enough to know where he wants to pass or needs to pass the ball instinctively.

  50. Aaron says:

    Continental divide in coaching and players.
    Enjoy seeing the youngsters playing quick passing and moving futbol.
    $h*tTy have been coached to perfection on stopping counters and threats on goal!

  51. RockyLives says:


    You’re right there. Their use of the ‘dark arts’ to break up our moves is actually quite impressive. We look very naive by comparison.

    Second half is really just a training ground exercise for City.

  52. RockyLives says:

    Notwithstanding my pre-game optimism, this was never going to be an easy game and you have to give credit to City (and KDB in particular) for the quality of their finishing.

    It’s important not to overreact.

  53. RockyLives says:

    ESR looking good too.

  54. Sue says:


  55. VP of Oz says:

    Onwards and upwards

  56. Oh well ……. it was Man City and they are rather good (we used to play like that, everyone must’ve hated us) onwards and upwards

  57. Gööner In Exile says:

    Can we extract Martinelli’s blood and fins out what it is he eats, drinks, how he lives his life, his choice of girl/boyfriend and car choice and make every other player in the squad do the same. Failing that just make the kid Captain or get him to give team talks or sports psychology to everyone else. Whatever drives him he has more than anyone else, just like West Ham the only red shirt that didn’t stop, or lose hope and kept trying to do the right things and kept working.

    We are not operating as a team, or anywhere close to it.

    Why is it when we attack and the defence breaks it down are there no red shirts coming in behind to support and help keep the ball. Why when City have the ball is there only one player st a time even thinking about pressing it while everyone else allows their man to drop off them and be an easy option. Flip that around to City at 3-0 up attacks were still being supported by a second wave waiting to be responsible to get the ball back after a tackle, and when we had the ball even in the 85th minute there are two three black shirts pressing.

    Having said that we came out of the blocks second half quite lively but after 15 minutes seemed to tire again, are we that unfit? Are the players that unprofessional.

    Look I didn’t expect to beat Man City, but there is very little professional pride in evidence on the pitch, and the ones who need to show it most the experienced pros, PEA, Sokratis, Ozil just don’t. They are being embarrassed by Martinelli, and saved by Leno the only other player who comes out with any credit.

    But when you bench players like Laca who works so hard it sets a dangerous precedent.

    Fire sale now. Put every player over 25 on the market, get a new manager quick and get a shopping list quick once he has had a chance to look at the youngsters. Then give them the opportunity to work hard without bad eggs who will bring them down.

  58. I feel sure that, against another team, having Martinelli, ESR, Saka, Pepe and Willock on the pitch would have got a better result. The youngsters know how to play with the ball.

  59. I met Fred by the way, wearing his Merci Arsene shirt ……. very nice to meet you Fred, sorry we couldn’t score for you.

  60. RC78 says:

    To be honest, I think FL got the team selection wrong and the players keep on showing their individual and squad limits…

    Leno was our best player
    I dare say Torreira-Ozil our worse

  61. fatgingergooner says:

    The youngsters deserve credit for their effort, but they were playing against a City side that were 3-0 up and in 1st gear, so I won’t get too excited. We’ve been saying it for a while now, but the main issue within the playing squad atm is the ‘experienced’ players. They are an embarrassment. Özil, Sokratis, Luiz, Xhaka and Mustafi are just not good enough, but more importantly, just don’t put in the effort required. They are joke tbh and no other team that considers themselves a ‘big’ team would have any of these guys near their squads. Get rid, and if Laca and Auba want out too then add them to the list. A rebuild is required with players who actually give a shit. Martinelli makes them look pathetic with his effort and application. His effort should be the standard, not the exception.

  62. RC78 says:

    Chambers was also ok

  63. Sue says:

    Will be having nightmares all week, about facing Big Dunc and Iwobi popping up with the winner!! 😖
    Sokratis is suspended and Kolasinac looking likely to miss it… oo-er!! 😣

  64. GoonerB says:

    Again thanks for the post Rocky. I hadn’t properly read it earlier but now have (post match) and it is a real good-un……so good that I even feel optimistic right now after the game 🙂

    I wonder if Arteta spent the 2nd half focusing on what City were doing………. or let his mind wander to thinking how he could improve Arsenal?

    To be fair to Freddie he has taken on something pretty dire here. I really hope we can retain Freddie at the club, even if someone else comes in. Personally I think the bigger test for Freddies credentials are the next 4 games.

    City, if they played at their potential, would always be a bad game to judge Freddie on at this stage, but the next 4 games, despite being tricky, are all far more winnable. Chelsea and Utd….not easy, but a better benchmark to see what Freddie has about him.

    We could pick holes in all the 3 goals, but then you can always find fault somewhere once you assess it in replay. I think it is better to look at goals that were down to a common or consistent fault which is more important.

    The first goal, I almost think you can just say kudos to City. The second and third had some consistent poor hallmarks. In both of those goals, Guendouzi positioned himself poorly. He is a great young player but still not 1st 11 at the top level. He should still play a lot of games, but shouldn’t be a 1st choice player right now and should still be earmarked as that in another 1-2 seasons. Definitely a keeper though.

    We also saw our defence backing off again, and not press the ball, and allowing them to progress to our box, on goal 2, and again I thought AMN was too casual in getting back on goal 2, and he turned on the afterburners when it was too late.

    I have always been a big AMN fan for his raw qualities but he has approached the time when this needs to be translated into consistent senior performances. He looks to me like he switches off in the game and that his mental focus lets him down, but also part of me feels he has all the raw materials necessary but needs some specialist coaching. Also he will not make it as a midfielder at the highest level but if he could improve his 1-1 defending and his focus and concentration he could still make a top full-back. Someone needs to be getting into his head.

    What to make of Ozils reaction on going off. It had Granit Xhaka hallmarks about it. I always wanted to see the best of him at Arsenal but it has never quite worked out and you just wonder if the EPL doesn’t quite suit him.

    Compare him to De-Bruyne, as a like for like creative CM. In one sense Ozil is the greater player with the greater C.V, but in another you feel De-Bruyne just suits the EPL more. That makes me think of oury own De-Bruyne….ESR. He may not have set the world alight just yet, but watch the style of his play, and it is very much like KDB’s. If he can have an injury free period then forget loaning him out. Just stick him into that ACM role and let him develop. Ozil is the past so prioritise the future.

    I am with GIE in terms of a fire sale. There are a lot of iffy rumours surrounding our club. We have Ozil just possibly collecting the money, Auba probably wanting somewhere else, and quite possibly Bellerin as well to that effect. Torreira and his family haven’t settled here apparently. Too many potentially non committed major players.

    We really need to forget about the names and get on with quality players who want to be here. The focus should be on creating the right environment for ESR, WIllock, Douzi, Martinelli, Saka, Nelson, e.t.c. Experience should be found and brought in as well, but it feels like there has been an infectious poison has been circulating among certain senior players at this club for too long and they need to be quarantined for the good health of the future.

  65. LBG says:

    Absolutely ridiculous to blame Torreira and Ouzi trying to stem an unstoppable tide. All three goal were about noone in the back four accurately closing and blocking
    Most on this site were urging Pepe, Martinelli, Aubang and Ozil should all be playing. This means with one direct pass four players are bypassed, and Torreira and Ouzi are left to face the tidal wave ( and not just City, Wolves, Watford et al) and try to protect four rank defenders who are all backing off and not challenging or even blocking.
    We now require 442 to be played as the system with two only, close together forwards and four disciplined positionally, and big hearted and confident across the midfield.
    Ozil does not influence, Pepe is not ready, Aubang, when/if he makes a run is never found.

  66. RC78 says:

    I felt that we really missed the hassling of Lacazette upfront and an extra body in the middle… Meanwhile Mourinho is racking up points with Spurs and closing the gap for 4th spot

  67. LB says:

    It was Torreira and Guendouzi’s job to stem the tidal wave — the only waving they did was when City glided past leaving the back four to try and deal with the inevitable.

    Just to be clear, my moan is not aimed at those two personally, it is at the system; we needed someone who understood the concept of defending to sit in front of the back four to try and deal with the inevitable. That never happened, we lost

  68. fred1266 says:

    Nice to meet you too peaches

  69. My question is …… why don’t any of them understand about defending?

  70. Did you manage to enjoy any of it Fred?

  71. RC78 says:

    What is baffling is that the new coaching staff does not seem to making it a priority to become harder to beat…Given our form, play like Allardice teams or older Chelsea teams –

  72. LBG says:

    Because the system is wrong, “their job” is totally unrealistic, ( and worse has destroyed the player that was Torreira and will result in him leaving at Christmas and has equally corrupted and put back in his development, Guendouzi)……..and the blame, as it was with Emery and continues with Fred, lies firmly and squarely with the management.

  73. jjgsol says:

    One cannot simply blame Ozil for the lack of firepower upfront as he needs the support of the midfield and to get the ball in order to do what he does best.

    In the first half he had some of that but most of our better attacks were then cut short by the constant fouling that they were allowed to get away with.

    Freddie took a risk by playing only 2 in midfield and that came unstuck in the first minute when they score.

    RC78. The problem is there is no new coaching staff. Its Freddie and Mertesaker and that is it.

    The shambles here is led by the hierarchy that are incapable of looking further than the ends of their noses.

    There was no forward planning when they got rid of Wenger.

    They hung on too long to Emery and then removed him when it is was far too late.

    They are now looking for the cheap option again and in the meantime, the players, who clearly try their best are devoid of confidence.

    In truth, they were not bad today, but against Man$ity were outclassed and out fouled.

    Had the ref taken proper control of the match and stopped the fouling, we may have given a better show of ourselves.

  74. GoonerB says:

    I think it is a little bit of everything that is wrong but with some bits being more wrong than others.

    Some of it requires an upgrade in quality but much of it is coaching related. However, even a top coach will require a bit of time to change a club that has so many bad faults, so guess that Freddie is no different to a more recognised coach in this sense.

    I suppose this is why a call to youth with a fresh blank sheet, and the excision of the negative, is potentially the way forwards. Maybe a call to a youthful manager is also required as well. Maybe it could still be Freddie and the nostalgia in me hopes it will work.

    I do think though that Freddie may need to be brave in culling certain players and taking that chance on the youth more, and also he probably needs to try and do something a bit different to Emery, otherwise the comparisons begin.

  75. fred1266 says:

    Yea I did second half sitting next to aunt and lbg lol

  76. fred1266 says:

    Did we defend like this under arsene

  77. GoonerB says:

    Jjigsol, I agree that the hierarchy need a serious look at. I really dont think they have too long to convince the fans that they are prepared to act like the owners (and board) that are trying to match and / or surpass our traditional rivals.

    It doesnt have to all be 100% perfect immediately but any area where they seem to lack ambition from now on may and should result in a rather nasty fallout.

    The only thing I would say is that the problems we currently see are some 5-6 years in the making, so I personally feel that they held on too long with Wenger as well as Emery and the succession planning was poor in both cases

  78. fred1266 says:

    Freddie said in an interview he wish he could have bring in his own staff but they not allowing him to do so

  79. Gööner In Exile says:

    RC78, either that or the players simply are not good enough? Or the coaching of Emery football went so deep that it takes a long time to turn round. I think the most depressing moment for me was when ESR received ball in final third albeit facing away from goal and out wide, his pass went all the way back to defence. He had time to look up, time to go sideways taking a small risk, and no one harrying him from behind.

    I have not seen enough of him to make judgement, but from what I’ve read in the past that seemed to be against any natural instinct.

    It is the same with the defence surely the natural instinct is to go to the man with the ball, where is the sense in dropping to beyond the 18 yard box before pressing the ball? I get its easier to play a pass in behind but surely if teammates are dropping back that’s a safer option than a free shot?

    If we are to continue as we are with Directors of Football dictating recruitment policy then it has to be them appointing the manager who has the same methodology or will coach the players in the way they dictate. That’s how Watford work and why they can continually change manager with very little disturbance. But should we be looking at them for what we want to be? I said on Teitter to peaches earlier that our current squad reminds me of Liverpool in the 90s the name of the club brought many to its door and dealing with their new circumstances of non challengers they easily recruited the likes of Ruddock, Dicks, Collymore, Stewart, Clough, Saunders and added them to their emerging talents like Fowler and Owen but achieved very little.

    I fear our star could fall further.

  80. RC78 says:

    I am annoyed because

    1. There are some players in the squad that may not be the best but they give their all and Lacazette is clearly one of them and…Luiz as well so for me, these two should have started to begin with;
    2. If you know that Torreira-Douzi is usually a bit light, then you cannot play Ozil in front of them or you play Pepe and Martinelli on the same line as a flat 44-1-1 OR you play with 3 in the middle of the park…
    3. Some players really need to be moved on, including Sok who clearly has lost his ways and maybe Ozil (and I really like Ozil but as we discussed earlier this year, I d rather have kept Mkhy than Ozil…)
    4. Mourinho is racking up points with Spuds!

    I hope we appoint someone (at least until the end of the season) before X-mas. It is very important to do so.

    Everton; Bournemouth, Chelsea and Utd. If we get 4 points I will be happy 😦 It is shocking…

    The only bright side is that Leno is having a good spell recently and that Martinelli is doing really well. I think Freddie has a chance to shake things up vs Everton and Bournemouth and maybe try to solidify the team or at least bring some energy into it. If needed play the Medley, Saka, Martinelli from the start…It does not matter at this stage – we want to see effort and personality.a

  81. RC78 says:

    At least, I have some solace with PSG…Neymar is slowly getting back to his best, Mbappe is almost there as well and the team has found good balance in a 442 system

  82. LBG says:

    ” Against natural instincts” perfectly sums up our current situation, GiE.
    And the reason the downward spiral may well continue is “unlearning” requires not only a forceful but ruthless coach, but also new, strong, talented and equally forceful players added to the squad to replace the dross.
    Not only is that manager not available but the money required will not be made available.
    Very depressing situation for me.

  83. fred1266 says:

    Thought they played 4222

  84. LB says:

    I agree LGB, Torreira and Guendouzi’s job is unrealistic, neither is naturally defensively minded and neither is suited to shielding the back four.

    That is my whole point which I say repeatedly above — David Luiz should be playing in front of the back four

  85. LBG says:

    Torreira was absolutely and completely defensively minded!!!!

  86. LB says:

    Torreira is more defensively minded than Guendouzi but far less than Luiz although the Uruguayan is obviously more attack minded.

    So Torreira and Luiz sitting in front of the back line would have offered more defensive cover and as Torreira started out an attacker in his career he could, as he did, try and help the attack when we predictably went behind.

    Torreira’s height restricts his ability to augment the defence aerially as well as a taller player.

    I like Torreira but a pure DM he ain’t and there are so many games he has now played in that prove that beyond any doubt at all.

  87. RockyLives says:

    Disappointing, but I’m not buying that our players are all completely crap.

    Many of these same players have thrilled us with their performances in the past and – let’s be honest – most of us felt pretty positive after the summer transfer business.

    I see people wanting to offload Aubameyang and Lacazette now and I think they’re lost their marbles.

    This is purely and simply an issue of confidence. If it were down to me (haha) I would set out to make us hard to beat – I would have us play like those teams who used to come to our place and park the bus.

    Only when we have ground out some ugly 1-0 and 2-1 wins and rebuilt a bit of confidence can we start to think about a more expansive style of play.

    Obviously our ill-timed crop of defensive injuries doesn’t help, but for the next games I would look at something like:

    AMN-Chambers-Sokratis (no alternative)-Saka/Kola
    Torreira -Xhaka-Guendouzi

  88. Sue says:

    What a start to the week… a dark, damp, dull Monday morning… yet another 3 points dropped, 6 home games without a win now, it should be us in the quarter final tomorrow, plummeting down the table faster than a ride on summet plummet!! While we watch our rivals flying high 😔
    Wow, forward on 15 years from being invincible and look at the mess we’re in…who’d have thought it?? Unbelievable…

    At least it’s nearly Christmas! Oh wait… how many games?!! 😖

  89. Sue says:

    I know, Fred.. I wasn’t at all happy seeing that duck ☹

  90. RockyLives says:

    Fred & Sue (sounds like a sitcom)

    I saw Kola’s “duck” and, while I think in his case it may well have been a duck, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. The same happened with Xhaka earlier in the season.

    Here’s my take. When the ball is blasted towards you, you have a microsecond to react. No player, and I mean NO player, deliberately stands still to let the ball smack them full in the face.

    Instead they instinctively dip their head forward to try and meet the ball with their forehead. This can look like they’re ducking, but that isn’t necessarily so.

    Just putting the case for the defence (literally and metaphorically).

  91. Sue says:

    Yes, Rocky, and he doesn’t want to damage those good looks, hey?!! 😄

  92. Fred – can I nick your comment for today’s post?

  93. VP of Oz says:

    whenever I hear about greek defenders I think of 1994 world cup
    Greece Played 3 games, lost 3
    Goals For: 0
    Goals Against: 10
    Goal Difference: -10

    I have little confidence in them

  94. Morning all

    There’s a New Post …………..

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