Arsenal hold off the Liverpool onslaught at the Battle of the
What are the odds on us beating the two best teams in the Premier League in just four days?
You would have got very long odds before the kick-off against Liverpool on Wednesday, but they’ll be a lot shorter now.
No question there’s a huge task ahead of El Patron and his crew of happy shipmates tonight, but – as I said in the Liverpool pre-match – it’s one game of football and anything can happen.
But let’s start with the ‘glass half empty’ approach: when we played Manchester City in the league recently the gulf between the teams was embarrassing.
We were way off the pace on our return to action after lockdown and compounded the inferiority of our players (when compared with theirs) by our time-honoured tradition of shooting ourselves in the foot courtesy of a gifted goal (thank you Luiz) followed by a gifted penalty and red card (double thank you Luiz).
Pound for pound, player for player, we have no chance tonight.
But there’s always a different way of looking at that glass of milk.
Taking the “half full” approach, we have seen a definite uptick in performances since the early setbacks against Man City and Brighton.
The Spuds result was a disappointment (and showed how difficult it is to rid ourselves of our kamikaze tendencies) but our performance was OK and we were at least as good as the noisy neighbours overall. Cut out the self-inflicted wounds and we’d have won.
The other reason for optimism is that this is the FA Cup. And the FA Cup is THE Arsenal competition. We have won it more than any other club and there is always a strong sense of destiny linking us and that trophy.
After a disappointing season you should have no doubt that our lads will be desperate to end the campaign with silverware and, more importantly, honour. Getting past Man City is the essential next step to achieving that.
We can take a lot of heart from our defensive effort against Liverpool. Yes, we rode our luck. Yes, it was like the Alamo at times (or like the Alamo would have been if the Texans had suddenly won against the odds instead of, er, being massacred by the Mexicans). But there was a focus about our back play that bodes well for tonight.
Our bigger problem might well be the lack of creativity we’ve been prone to recently. I don’t expect us to make many chances, so it’s vital that we are clinical with whatever opportunities we get.
My prediction: Arsenal to win by the odd goal after extra time. Possibly 3-2.
Here’s the line-up I think El Patron will opt for:
Bellerin – Holding – Luiz – Tierney – Soares
Xhaka – Ceballos
Saka – Lacazette – Aubameyang
I expect Arteta to switch to a back five/three (including a recall for Bellerin), but one that can become a back four when we’re in possession. Xhaka and Ceballos are automatic names these days. And Pepe will be dropped for Saka. We have to stick with Lacazette as central striker given that he has finally rediscovered his shooting boots.
We need a game with no stupid defensive blunders, 100 per cent concentration and taking whatever chances come our way.
Not a lot to ask for, right?
Altogether now: “She wore, she wore, she wore a yellow ribbon, she wore a yellow ribbon in the merry month of, er, July…”
Isn’t Soares cup-tied?
Also, your tables on the right haven’t been update for quite some time
Do yo have some kind of machine that gives you themes to work with?
Think you mean two of the best squads in the world!
Yes, Soares is cup tied, AMN for me in that spot.
Do believe our squad is up for it, and can compete in a Cup match.
$h*tTy want to win this, but there eyes are really focused on CL, as the oilers have never won it with pup-thank goodness.
Enough of them, that Win over pool can’t be underestimated and should bring the squads belief that they too can do things together if they truly play together.
Just hang around until late in the game and AFC will have the chance to move onward and upward.
Switching to a 4 at the back from a five at the back “when we are in possession” as a tactic has a built in flaw. It requires the gaining of possession. 6-4-0 worked well for Newcastle, they only lost 5 nil, one worse than Liverpool.
Seems I messed up with Soares – is he cup tied?
We will forgive the sin.
“featured for Southampton in the FA Cup before joining Arsenal in January”
Can’t wait to see if ozil is left off the roster.
Execute Mikel’s plan today to the last second.
I had a niggly feeling Ozil might even start tonight but didn’t have the courage of my convictions.
We need someone to unpick the opposition and if Mesut is on it, he can be lethal.
Not too long before we find out.
This was funny:
‘Switching to a 4 at the back from a five at the back “when we are in possession” as a tactic has a built in flaw. It requires the gaining of possession.’
Ohhh some young guns..ESR made the roster, AMN starting, no ozil…hmmm.
Here’s the team:
Mustafi – Luiz – Tierney
Bellerin – Ceballos – Xhaka – Maitland-Niles
Pepe – Lacazette – Aubameyang
So Mustafi is recalled and AMN fills the place that Soares would likely have taken if not cup tied.
I’m happy with AMN in the side – he is allegedly pushing for a move and this is his chance to be in the shop window.
I’m surprised Pepe gets the nod ahead of Saka. I hope he puts more defensive effort in than he has in his last couple of outings. Here’s hoping for a couple of free kicks just outside the right hand side of their penalty area…
Whatever happens, I feel confident that City will come off feeling they’ve been in a real game, unlike the fixture at the Etihad a few weeks ago.
No ESR, Matt Smith under 23’s captain, midfielder..
Could not figure that out as ESR has a game on Wednesday.
Great team goal!
Auba with the slick finish…
Really, really good goal.
Weird thing is we could have had three by now 😳
Bit sad to have so few regulars chatting on here for an FA Cup semi
Perhaps they’re all at the game 😁
Stop that, right now.
A very good 1st half which they grew into, minus one little mistake, but we countered with a super goal.
Mikel, keep them on point and improve them.
Team cohesion and belief is the motto for the next half.
OMG this is so scary isn’t it? Thank you Rocky for a great pre-match …… Wembley must be really weird with no supporters.
I want to remark how I’m loving our defending but I know it’s probably the kiss of death ☹️
Another solid passing goal!
AMN with some very solid defending.
Just keep focusing boys!
come on lads. Hold on. I don’t want a late one so we lose more stress years until the final whistle.
Thanks oz for your emailed post ……. I’ll make sure it’s sorted for this week.
Playing like men obsessed – thank you Arteta
Look at Mikel’s face and we’re not there to sing to them ☹️
Another team performance and Auba!
Wemberley, Wemberley, We’re the famous Arsenal and we’re going BACK to Wemberley
I just had to have another closer look at that picture up there in the headline post — so appropriate.
Didn’t watch the game because I was to scared but really happy we won it
Haha LB – we’ve come through the Alamo and Rourke’s Drift in the space of 4 days 😃
WOW!!! So happy right now! Each and every man in that pitch deserved mom, epic attitude and desire for 97minutes. What a great feeling we’re all experiencing this week!
Hello Seedee – how’s it going?
You’re right – if I was doing the match report I’d give MOTM to the entire team and El Patron
So who do we want – Chavs or Mancs?
Thanks, Rocky excellent pre-match.
Aaaaand we did it again! And this time with style. Against ‘Pool, it was on balance at times but now we just killed Citys game.
Well done Arteta! Well done Arsenal!
Gosh, I was waiting for this for such a long time. Discipline, awareness, fighting spirits (no brain farting), and Auba. I would give him anything he wants to stay. His mentality nothing like Özils so I am not afraid of falling the same trap.
Pepe was great tonight he had a hand on both goals even playing out of position.
Pffffff…. we did it
Spot on. We rode our luck against Liverpool but tonight no-one can deny we were worthy winners.
I believe ‘Pool had something like 26 attempts on goal on Wednesday night.
Tonight City had one shot on target.
Only one shot on target — incredible.
However, they did have a couple that were not on target but were still scarily close! (I’m particularly thinking of that shot from Laporte).
No worries at all. Thanks for the opportunity.
Glad AMN played and played well. My post has more ammo now 🙂
Great win. More of that, please. Maybe if we win the FA Cup we can get Auba drunk and then Arteta can pull out a contract from his jacket and sign him up.
It feels kind of surreal winning a game like that. How many times have we peppered Man United only to be hit on the counter? For once we were the other team! Feels good! Resolute defending with some luck (thank christ Sterling and Silva didn’t have their shooting boots on).
Damn, I wish we had Kevin De Bruyne. What a player he is.
Morning all, still basking in that lovely win 😁 In case anyone thought otherwise, oz gunner’s post is for a quiet day, nothing to do with the match.
Looking forward to reading post match thoughts from someone ……. LB?
I’ve done one Peaches
Brilliant Rocky 😁