It’s weird to be playing Chelsea in the Premier League again so soon after meeting them at the Emirates in the same competition.
Just over three weeks ago we were beaten 1-2 at home by Frank Lampard’s side. Many of us felt it was an unlucky defeat because we played well enough for long parts of the game to deserve the win.
But in giving up two goals in the last 10 minutes we also showed that old (bad) habits die hard – a fact that was in evidence again on Saturday against Sheffield United.
So how will it go in Round Two at Stamford Bridge tonight?
Chelsea’s form has been patchy to say the least and some of the shine has rubbed off of Frank Lampard’s early lustre.
Immediately before beating us in late December they lost 0-2 at home to Southampton. Since playing us they have drawn at Brighton, beaten Burnley at home and lost at Newcastle.
In other words, right now they look pretty similar to us (in fact, a bit worse as far as results go).
I’m feeling optimistic about us bringing home all three points. I recognise this sounds bonkers given the circumstances: we’re still without the suspended Aubameyang, our defenders are picking up injuries as fast as Spuds fans pick up fleas and we’re finding goals very hard to come by.
But I think our players learnt from the last meeting with the Chavs that we can outplay them if we want to; and that if we had applied ourselves a bit harder for a bit longer we would have got the three points that Auba’s first half strike deserved.
Aside from the long-term sick bed squatters we’re also without Reiss Nelson. Sokratis was suffering from “sickness” for the Sheffield match (it’s rumoured he took a wrong turn and ended up in N17 and caught something nasty from the odious miasma), but there’s a good chance he’ll be fit tonight.
This is the team I would go with and also the team I think Arteta will pick:
Maitland-Niles – Luiz – Sokratis – Saka
Torreira – Xhaka
Pepe – Lacazette – Martinelli
If Sok is still sick it will be Mustafi instead, to hopefully continue his decent work from Saturday.
We should win – goals from Pepe and Martinelli would be my guess.
My only doubt about us getting the victory is the possibility of a situation like this: one of our players is clean through on goal and the Chelsea bench responds by setting a pack of wolverines and honey badgers on him, quickly bringing him down and devouring the corpse. VAR will say “no penalty.”
Meanwhile at the other end a brisk breeze will ruffle the shirt of Tammy Abraham and the ref will point to the spot (supported by VAR) and send off the entire Arsenal defence for “looking at me a bit funny.”
Barring that, it will be Chelsea with the blues and the Arsenal feeling chipper.
Come on the Mighty Arse!
Thank you Rocky for the post.
I’m looking forward to the return encounter even though we’re still not adept at holding onto a lead …… understatement. I’m looking for more from Pepe tonight, I felt he was a bit lazy against Sheffield United and needs to work out how to get himself into space ……….. both AMN and Ozil were working hard for him in the second half but he just wasn’t moving.
Hopefully a good clean game ……. maybe some handbags from Daviid Luiz 😉
I like your article Rocky, but I am not as optimistic as you on Arsenal winning today .This is due to the fact that we can’t hold unto our lead. Worst of all we aren’t scoring many goals either .Especially with Lacazzete having forgotten how to put the ball in the net .Sure we will get the odd goal tonight but, I wonder if we can prevent the home team from scoring .So I am predicting another draw for Us. Wouldn’t be a bad result considering the circumstances .But I hope we win COYG.
Good one , Rocky
Tonight is the turning point! Not only holding on to one nil, but scoring a second! Luiz from a corner. 2-0. COYG.
Nice quickie, Rocky 👍😜
Let’s go and do something that we haven’t done since 2011 – win at the bridge!
Sod that the officials/var won’t be on our side, that it’s the worst day of the week, that we can’t hang onto a lead, that we can’t seem to score more than one goal, that we’ve drawn far too many games, that our top goalscorer is suspended…. it all appears to be against us, but sod it! Luiz to have a blinder, just like he did at the Emirates. Am backing him to score tonight! And we’ll end up with a draw, oops I mean win 😂 COYG
I seem to have a rapidly alternating bipolar optimism disorder where this game is concerned, changing from your optimistic stance to one of feeling we will struggle, all in the blink of an eye. The injury list cannot be ignored in its impact on us right now, but I feel your team is the correct one and is capable of beating Chelsea.
Lacazette will start scoring again soon, as will Pepe. If it starts tonight and Martinelli continues his form we may walk away with the 3 points. I think in addition to this the midfield 3 of Xhaka, Torreira and Ozil need to have big games.
We should now be that bit better conditioned than when we last faced them to take our high energy game under Arteta into the later stages of games. Could this be a factor that is different from the game a few weeks ago?
I will not be getting too down even if we lose this one as I have reconciled myself to not getting top 4 this season, but feel that we will finish the season much stronger and get closer to it, whatever tonight’s result. I still maintain our big focus should be the EL as we can win that and that would be an amazing end to the season and what it means to us as a backdoor route into the ECL.
Our early seasons form left us with a bit too much of a mountain to climb with top 4 aspirations. However poor form from our rivals has kept us within touching distance……but the refereeing decisions coupled with VAR in the Sheffied United and recent Chelsea games have altered the league table too much.
I don’t always like blaming decisions too much for our sufferings, and our current league position is still hugely self inflicted but, even with that taken into consideration, this time I think the decisions have altered the league positions to a point that can’t be undone or evened out.
Forget all this rubbish about decisions evening out by seasons end. That is something that is just churned out but has no scientific basis and there are too many variables in football for this to be a truism. Sometimes the officiating decisions have a more significant irreversible effect, and I believe that has now happened with us.
If we are 1-0 up on Chelsea and they are down to 10 men then I can’t see them getting back into that game as they did. The winner actually came from the guy who shouldn’t have been on the pitch anyway. Pepe had a stonewall penalty against Sheffield that should have taken us to 2-0 which should see us as winners. Those 2 games constitute 5 points lost, but that is even more significant when you realise that the Chelsea result is a 6 point swing.
Our last 5 have read DLWDD, but with correct officiating decisions that should have been DWWDW. The league table reads as follows:
Currently 10 points off which feels too much to me but if those correct decisons had happened in those 2 games and we had won, which would have been the more likely result, then Chelsea would have been on 36 and us join Utd and Wolves on 34, 2 points off 4th.
Despite the struggle to get over the line Arteta is doing a marvelous job and we will thrive under him even if right now things are a bit more difficult and painful.
Completely agree about reffing and VAR, GoonerB.
Didn’t an independent group do some research a couple of weeks back which showed we (Arsenal) had been the most negatively affected by bad VAR decisions of any team in the PL?
And that research was BEFORE the shocking not-given-penalty against Sheffield Utd.
We were very unlucky not to beat Chelsea last time. If Leno hadn’t made that howler we would probably have held on for the win.
Now the players have had three more weeks of training with Arteta, their fitness levels will be higher and they’ll know they can win.
Hence my optimism.
2-0 and a clean sheet to the good guys.
Come on Gunners Come On
Nice post Rocky and if the Blues do lose we have a great chance of winning
Lovin’ your work Rocky.
I’ve googled diseases which affect spuds:
•Common Scab (Streptomyces spp.) …
•Early blight (Alternaria solani) …
•Fusarium Dry Rot (Fusarium spp.) …
•Black Scurf and Rhizoctonia Canker (Rhizoctonia solani) …
•Pink Rot (Phytophthora erythroseptica) and Pythium Leak (Pythium spp.) …
•Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans)
I think they all apply to the lilywhites 🙂
As for tonight’s opposition and the game … ditto your thoughts.
It would be nice if the ref and VAR just treated us fairly let alone redressed the balance of injustice since Mikel took over.
Result – reverse of first game 2:1 to the Arsenal … COYRRG!!!
Your line up should look like Mikel’s.
GoonerB, I hear you. Roller coaster this season will be.
Just want to get some damn momentum and get a W. A win, a victory, our just deserts.
Feel like the team is playing better by the match. The youth has been thrown into the fire, and have been improving.
Let’s Go Gunners.
Great post – thanks 🙂
I think your line up will be the one played by Arteta.
I would play a different one though…If Sokratis is fit, I d maybe opt to:
A) play a back 3 with:
Leno – Mustafi, Sok, Luiz – AMN, Torreira, Xhaka, Saka – Pepe, Laca, Martinelli; OR
B) play in a 4312 system but push Luiz in the middle:
Leno – AMN, Mus, Sok, Saka – Guendouzi, Torreira, Luiz – Laca – Pepe, Martinelli
I think Ozil would be great as a sub in this game.
I can see us lose tonight and again in the same way…conceding a goal in the last 10-15 minutes.
Arteta’s appointment and the team’s energy/work ethics in the last few games have helped switch the mood a bit but the results are still poor albeit not helped by the ref decisions.
You jet there and back
Sue flies by witches besom
We are amazed 🙄
Anything is possible. Arteta can make silk purse out of pigs’ ears ……. and crap players.
Oi oi, cheeky!! Yes that’s to you, Mr Wichita 😝
Good evening, All, 😛
My favourite comment/commenter has to be the Camel King.
It takes a special fan to posit the existential errors in theoretical math.
Mathematicians can make errors in proofs. But it’s rarer for non-mathematicians to spot failures in theorems and say, “Forget all this rubbish about decisions evening out by seasons end. That is something that is just churned out but has no scientific basis and there are too many variables in football for this to be a truism”
Of course, mixing math with a simple proposition that states nothing beyond what is implied by any of its terms [the definition of a ‘truism’] is quite something … or wrong. 😳
Surely the recognition that a person has a besom, and can use it to fly, is akin to the said person, being acknowledged as being as good as any mere Formula 1 Grand Prix driver.
[Bows in supplication to the Besom Queen – on a par with the Camel King in my opinion!] 😜
Hope to return later to celebrate a Gunners’ win.
What are you on about as regards Sue’s besom? Remember Peaches’ mum!
@6.24 – my brain now hurts – thanks!
By the way, man from Wichita (ooh I like that – “The Man From Wichita” sounds likes a 1950s Western movie, although I know you have no time for Westerns)… anyway, did I tell you I spent a lot of time in Kansas a couple of years ago – slap bang in the middle between Wichita and Kansas City. It was very flat. With lots of farmland. With roadside billboards saying that one Kansas farmer feeds 300 Americans or some such (I remember feeling sorry for that one farmer).
See – you and GoonerB are not the only ones who can ramble…
Can’t wait for the game to start.
RA.. 😆 love it!!
1 change from Saturday… Bellerin in! COYG
Bellerin? Wow. Hope he has a blinder but I find myself thinking I’d be more comfortable with AMN… never imagined I’d ever be saying that.
He’s captain too, Rocky.
I agree Rocky, M-N has the greater physical presence
I think I am right in saying that the last time we beat Chelsea, Hector was playing, he offers more going forward but he will leave gaps, although he did maybe Arteta will change that.
At least he is playing in his right position.
Mustafi in with Sok still sick…
And he’s captain, some statement from MA
Well that makes a change – a ref booking an opposition player for the first ‘professional’ foul to break up one of our attacks
Oh very very dear
Oh dear, that’s down to Mustafi!!!!!!!!
Red card really when jorginho blatantly pulled back our players nothing
Well if we didn’t have justification to think Mustafi wasn’t good enough before, we do now. He can’t take pressure … he buckles. I feel very sorry for Luiz
I doubt Mustafi will ever play another game for us
It’s in the laws of the game Fred. The ref had no option
So Luiz now a 3 match ban. Time to go into the transfer market?
So there you go again…Nothing can change with players like Mustafi, Sokratis and Xhaka in the team. It is that simple. Chelsea had one chance until then and now with Luiz is off, the goals will flow…3-0 for Chelsea for sure.
Time for some heroics. Come on boys.
The only player that is playing well today for us is Martinelli both going forward and defending.
Ozil needs to be taken off for Guendouzi or Holding.
Having to listen to their fans singing “David Luiz, he’s one of our own” 😡
Why does it always go disastrously wrong against this bloody lot?! Sigh…..
I think I’ll be making a visit to the local donkey sanctuary tomorrow, to drop Mustafi off. I never, ever want to see him in an Arsenal shirt again.
Superb exhibition of rotational fouling on Pepe
Yea it the law of the game when it convenient to any other sizes besides Arsenal
Being pulled back is yellow for any side beside arsenal
That is such a sad comment, RC, but …… I totally agree – it is not Ozil’s fall tonite, but he is just a shadow of a once great player. 😩
The laws of the game have changed this season. As Luiz was making a genuine effort for the ball he should have been given a yellow and penalty awarded.
Imagine I felt sorry for him after watching his interview last week
Mustafi should go to the training ground tomorrow pick up his things and never ever return.
Got to be Ozil off at half time. He’s too weak in a 10 v 11
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it just a one match ban for last man sending off?
I hope that’s true Raso
Absolutely Ozil off at half time, we can’t afford to carry a player who’s not prepared to put in a shift defensively
Leno – awful in the air but decent on the line
Bello – average
Mustafi – no comment
Luiz – oh well…
Saka – trying and doing mostly fine
Xhaka – ok
Torreira – fine
Ozil – got better in the last 8 mins
Pepe – really awful today
Martinelli – Our bright star
Laca – ghost
So maybe it will be Pepe off but maybe for AMN instead of holding?
This report agrees with LBG re the last man law … but a deliberate foul can still receive a red card apparently
Leno – Bello, Mus, Xhak, Saka – AMN, Torreira, Ozil – Laca, Martinelli?
Well we’re still in it …. despite Mustafi …. there were signs in the last 15 minutes that we could score against them even with the numerical disadvantage
Seeing the penalty again, Leno should have taken out Abraham outside the box
What a stupid way to go a goal down — made worse by a red card.
We have been hit by injuries – but some of the players we have are not worthy of wearing an Arsenal shirt.
We have to take a chance on other young players rather than continuing with Mustafi, Xhaka and Ôzil — we have nothing to lose – cannot see why Arteta does not get on with that.
Come on Mikel – I would rather lose 4:0 – but also have a chance to get a draw.
The way that Mustafi tamely attempted to hit that pass back to Leno was symptomatic of the way we play balls (badly) around the penalty area.
I thought that was an Emery obsession – apparently not.
No changes. Big gamble
Ok, one positive thought occurs to me: however bad this is, we still look better than we did under Emery.
What a beauty from Martinelli.
No silliness now please lads… Xhaka – I’m talking to you.
We want MORE youth!!! 😁😁
You beauty …. now maximum effort boys
You said it Redders!
Time to sweat blood for the cause.
Listen to our fans.. 👏👏👏
That was totally Henry-like by the youngster – fabulous.
I’ve got to say that Xhaka has been fantastic at CB
Great goal to score at Stamford Bridge 😁
Laca is spent, we need fresh legs on … Eddie or even Ceballos
Looks like it will be AMN judging from the TV images.
😂 … and then it’s Holding …. Mikel is keeping us all guessing
Well it was probably too much to hope for.
No VAR review? It should at least be looked at.
OMG OMG OMG
So Holding comes in, we concede…but then Bellerin scores 🙂
Hectorrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! Get in there, captain!!!!
No need … captain fantastic scores on his return
Sorry for saying I’d rather we started with AMN, Hector 😳
Sue I put back on my tv
Mason Mount is a horrible little s-bag
I hope we re moving to a back 5 now..and that we defend pbbly
Hudson-Odoi is also quite a player…
Hector has really been performing as a captain tonight – he’s been talking all night long.
Bellerin – MOTM…. take a bow, sir 👏 what a goal!
What a brilliant performance overall.
Hail the 10 men !!!!!!!!
What a characterful performance – to come back from behind twice with 10 men… quite amazing.
This team is slowly changing under MA.
Still some problems with personnel (Mustafi) but we now have players who believe they can achieve things.
Martinelli also worth joint motm
Brilliant, brilliant fight back …… how good was Bellerin tonight? Worthy MOTM. And Xhaka at centre back ….. wow
I really think Xhaka was excellent when he moved into the defence.
Haha, nice one, Fred!!
Bloody hell, what a night… rollercoaster of emotions!!
2 excellent goals…Martinelli’s goal was worthy of winning ANY game!
Loved seeing Luiz watching on the monitor with a clenched fist!!
We’re 10th now…… Thank you, Martinelli/Bellerin….😎
Your 9:23 re: positive view of the team/game was spot on. 😁
No question we’d have lost that under Embers.
Rasper/Peaches you are correct — my least favourite player (Xhaka) did a masterful job at CB — the clue might be that he did not have to run after the opposition – the Chavs came running to him.
he could become my friend if he keeps playing like that! 😁
So …….. do I wait for LB to say he fancies writing something or do I ask for someone to write something now????
Always going to a long process to get the details correct, but attitude can be corrected immediately, and it has. Add organisation and players be used properly positionally and you have IMPROVEMENT.
Get Holding back in regularly to get that confidence back. Get the other injuries sorted and onwards and upwards. Smiling again.
The real moral strength and mental courage came after the Chavs scored their second.
We had fought so hard, got ourselves back in the game with Martinelli’s incredible goal and were giving everything to hang on. Then they scored. Most teams would have seen their heads go down at that point.
The fact ours didn’t is really encouraging. We may have turned a corner tonight.
Martinelli’s goal …… contender for goal of the season
Didn’t see game but the result says it all, proper Arsenal, commitment, spirit, over my dead body, maybe, as the saying goes, we are getting our Arsenal back?
Well done the 10 men.
Well done Mikel Arteta.
Rocky.. made me chuckle when you said Mount is a “horrible little s-bag”……well that is what I think of Azpilicueta, so to see the smile wiped from his face when Hector scored, was oh so sweet!
Make sure you see the highlights, Kev! MOTD is on tomorrow.
I will do that Sue, thanks…
You need to ask someone else, bed calls.
Hi peaches – you can use my ratings maybe?
That’s ok LB …… I’ll grab some comments and RC78’s ratings unless something turns up
Thanks RC 78 I will
Aww you’ve gotta love Hector and Lucas!!
I’m still buzzing, don’t think I’ll get much sleep tonight 😆
i wonder if hector can teach pepe that move
Wow! What heart! Great effort from the lads after a shocking start. Don’t really want to hammer Mustafi as he may have made some dreadful passes but he was also one of those 10 men that just showed so much fight to get a point.
And he assisted 😳😆
6 games before we play City away and I’ll be very interested to see how we perform. I still get the impression we have a side capable of getting up for the big matches but who struggle to show the same desire against ‘lesser’ teams. Arteta has certainly changed the attitude of the players, but there is still so much work to do if he is to get that sort of performance and fight in every game.
Xhaka really does offer us that Alexandre Song-like flexibility which is great to have. It may prolong his career if he switches to CB down the track.
I’d definitely rather Xhaka play there than Mustafi. What an absolute train wreck he is. I’ve had all the patience in the world and still thought/hoped a player was in there but damn did we get tricked when buying him. I honestly think it’s some sort of conspiracy orchestrated by Germany. How on Earth did he make it into their starting lineup?
Martinelli…what a gem!
Saka too. He has really improved in that role over the past few games.
Martinelli through the middle. Take note of the finish Pepe and believe, like we know, you can do it too.
Look at the average age of the team, less one, on the pitch at the end!
Bellerin with his left foot.
And finally, cant agree whatsoever that Mesut is a spent force. Last three games he has run almost 11kms, kept the shape, pressed, and, according to Mikel been invaluable. If people think he is going to crunch into tackles, my comparison would be it would have been like expecting the same thing of Stroller ( Gorgeous George Graham, for the youngsters!) In the 1970s.
The Song comparison is interesting! A player who was slated, not the least by my Bros, for much of his time with us. Another Ramsey, who was also almost destroyed as a “character” by many fans at different times, and now is described as our “worst decision” of the last couple of seasons.
Real journeyman in my eyes are players like Flamini who played at right back for half a season and, wherever he played, never let us down.
Xhaka, Socratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Luiz, are all full of faults and not up to the quality we require to be a top four Club. And having been controversially negative, I say we dont need them! Tierney is a class, thinking tough, future Captain left back. Holding, Mavrapanos and Saliba are the future at centre back. We have much talent that can be moulded in midfield and up front. For me one Vieira mark2 with experience and leadership, and, one extra CB with the same qualities and we will press even Liverpool in the next two seasons.
Sorry to bore again, Rocky.
Final one from me for time being.
Jor a fouling bast***,ghino, who “never misses a penalty”, scored against us home and away, despite being on the pitch to score at the Emirates when like many in both games who should/ could av seen red before……go boil your head.
Hate Chelski 10 times more than the Spuds!
Spot on, LBG 👍
I missed the game on TV but was reading commentary but saw the highlights this morning. I don’t understand how Luiz’s challenge was a sending off? At the time he brought Abraham down, Mustafi was back on the goal line… he was not the last man? Anyone explain for me?
Great to see fighting spirit though and big kudos to Arteta for not doing what most were calling for and replacing Ozil with a defender.
Excellent point seedee about Arteta deciding not to add Holding at the expense of Ozil or A N Other when down to 10 men.
For him to have that trust in the team to carry on with Xhaka back there will have given them enormous confidence. Well done Arteta
I’ve lost my internet, so I can’t publish anything at the moment …… be back soon
In 78 minutes of open play we beat Chelsea 2-1 with 10 men.
It’s a significant bonding experience for the group and will only reap dividends moving forward.
I know everyone will fulminate about Mustafi, but his contribution to our fightback last night was significant (even if it was his mistake that dropped us in the doo-doo in the first place).
Here’s a thought: what if Arteta and his coaches could iron out the psychological tic that makes Mustafi commit a howler about once every game? Would he then be an asset rather than a liability?
Well, it comes to something when Peaches has lost her coronet. That Harry is causing such a lot of problems!
I may have published a New Post …… have a look
If someone could put a comment on the new post please then I’ll know that it’s there as I’m only on my phone
Kante does a Gerrard!
Rocky it would take a refit similar to the 6 million dollar man!!
Good point, Rocky, and good morning,
I agree that Mustafi without the ‘tic’ did throw himself into defending, even taking a goolie shot for the team.
But I am not sure that coaching qualifications require a pass in psychology. Actually, I am not at all sure his ability to misjudge passes is anything more than that.
As a boy, I was required to work to earn ‘pocket money’ and was sometimes surprised that an item that seemed OK was relegated to the ‘seconds’ at a knock down price, because there was a small problem with it, and it could not be sold at the full mark up because it was unreliable.
Rather sums up our CB.