We got our Arsenal back.

Rapid Vienna were not very good it has to be said, Arsenal had already qualified for the knock-out stages before the start and if you, like me, expected a game something akin to a training ground kick about you were wrong. The returning home fans were treated to a determined display of high intensity football the likes of which we have not seen in a while.

The team selection made sense although there was one thing that confused me, which I will come to. Mikel was able to be a bit more relaxed in defence and play a back line who all needed a bit of game time, this included the long awaited return of Mari who played well enough, he certainly took his goal well, the problem I have is I don’t understand why we signed him?

By contrast Soares whose signing is also questioned makes complete sense to me. As much as we take relegation or the absence of it for granted it is obviously important that those who have their hands on the reigns do not.

If Bellerin gets injured and is out for the season (it has happened) we need someone who knows what they are doing to steady the ship; Soares is an insurance policy, a small hedge if you like.

Mari on the other hand is playing in the same position as the best defensive signing we have made in years. Possibly covid wasn’t anticipated and Luiz wasn’t expected to extend for another year so we would have an interchangeable back line of Gabriel, Mari and Holding? Perhaps Gabriel wasn’t expected to hit the floor running quite so well as he has? I’m not sure?

The goal keeper had to play and should have played in all of the games in this competition, if Leno gets injured this is the guy that is going to be holding us together.

Elneny and Maitland-Niles in front of the back line was I hope a trial run for a start on Sunday, although I am not holding my breath. I am working on the basis, of course, that Partey will come up short for Sunday.

There was talk before the game about Arteta playing two number tens in the form of Lacazette and Nelson, I don’t think it turned out this way, to me it was a straight forward three up front with Lacazette playing in the pocket just behind. I was deeply sceptical as I just don’t think he has the close control to carry this off; he may or may not but he has got one hell of a thunderous shot and one was unleashed early on that found the back of the net that shut sceptics like me up. I expect him to play in that role on Sunday and then we will see if this idea has legs.

And of the attack, who would have thought that a left footed winger playing on the left and a right footed winger playing on the right could be so effective? Errr, our very own GB, but apart from him I mean. Both Pepe and Nelson both put in very impressive displays.

The last bit might upset a few but I am still not impressed with Nketiah, if you want a fox in the box then he is your man but I want to see far better close control and far better hold up play before I am convinced.

An easy victory really, we are good at going forward when there is space to run into but no one in the EPL gives us that kind of freedom and without it close control is everything — Martinelli has it Saka has it and even Willian has it but the list of players who we continue to persevere with who do not is long.

I tried to finish this on an up note but I clearly failed probably because I am worried about the weekend, perhaps tonight’s determination will be carried over to Sunday naturally I hope so. COYRRG


19 Responses to We got our Arsenal back.

  1. RC78 says:

    Thanks LB for your optimism. It is always nice to read your posts and the positive ones even more 🙂

    I enjoyed seeing fans in the stand.
    I enjoyed seeing Pepe and Laca playing well and I enjoyed seeing AMN in midfield. I enjoyed seeing Mari and also Chambers back.
    I enjoyed ESR’s goal and Nelson’s assist and drive. I enjoyed Ceballos’ performance when he came on the pitch. I enjoyed Kola’s industrious performance. I enjoyed the evening and the win.

    M now looking forward to a great game on Sunday and Arteta says that Partey is back in the group as of tomorrow so let us…

  2. Sue says:

    Nice one, LB 👌
    Fantastic win – just the job ahead of Sunday.
    So many positives… the fans were incredible (Yes, you Pete!) Loved how the players applauded them before and after the game.. loved hearing the chanting (was chanting along in my living room). Was a nice touch how the stewards applauded every fan that came through the turnstiles… Gunnersaurus is back!
    4 great goals, happy Mari/CC are back…
    Partey is training with the team today, there’s a chance he could feature on Sunday!! 🥳
    Waking up with that winning/Friday feeling 😁

  3. sean vassallo says:

    It’s Rapid fucking Vienna.On Sunday will come crashing back down to earth.

  4. LBG says:

    Thanks LB
    Two number 10s, three number 10s, the main requirement is flexibility, movement, drive, belief!
    Different thing of course against a Moaninho regimented Totteringham, but unpredictability is what could surprise the mob down the road. In the meantime,
    ‘Stiffen the sinew, summon up the blood and cry Arsenal, Mari and Charlie George!’

  5. LBG says:

    Thanks for lifting the spirits!

  6. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the report LB.

    Vienna may be poor, but they were the team in front of us and it sounds like we dispatched them with real confidence.

    Sunday is a big ask for us to get anything from the game, but the joy of footy is that it’s always full of surprises.

  7. Sue says:

    Pete.. was that you with the ‘Bring back Mesut’ banner? 😂😂

  8. sheila says:

    I just LOVE AMN & I thought he was great last night, he is coming along great under Mikel , I just hope there is not more talk about letting him go. & Also would like to mention ESR who I thought was also REALLY good when he came on. I always hoped he would be the guy that replaced Ozil for us, it didn’t happen ( injuries) but last night I saw signs that he possible could grow into that role for us

  9. RA says:

    Excellent read, LB, as ever, 😁

    I find myself in total agreement with the points you made, especially the one in your penultimate paragraph.

    There was, however, an omission in your report, if I might respectively say so, and that was the astounding number of goals missed throughout the game with shots going into Row Z, or making the corner flag cower in submission, or hitting the goal post on the bum, which if they were tapped in would have doubled our score at least. Arteta was cringing every time it happened.

    But, a win is win, and made Sue chant –

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

    And we will need one of her specials to stop the cocky Spuds.

    For myself, I feel the need to plagiarise Shakespeare – with amendments – as I am struggling with yet another crap season looming over the Arsenal, and I believe the Bard may have foreseen this coming.

    If the Gunners be the food of love, play on;
    Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
    The appetite may sicken, and so die.

    That strain again! it had a dying fall:
    O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,
    That breathes upon a bank of violets,
    Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
    ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before,

    O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
    That, notwithstanding thy capacity
    Arsenal fall into abatement and low price,
    Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
    That it alone is high fantastical.

    The melody hesitates to suggest we are we doomed?

  10. Pete the Thirst says:

    Well that was a fun evening. Thankfully the rain held off during the game as I’d already got a soaking a few times earlier in the day.

    Had a Teir 2 pizza and wine pre-match at a sensible ‘business meeting’ venue not far from the ground. Although there were plenty of people around the area it wasn’t busy. On the approach to the stadium everybody had their temperature taken and it was treated with good humour. Not sure how that would work with a larger crowd as there was a hold up to get through.

    Everything in the stadium was well managed. The food areas were open in the lower tier, Only every 3 rows were available with 2 seats between each fan. Plenty of space. The empty seats were covered in plastic which acted as perfect collection points for the vast amount of rain that had fallen earlier in the day. The stewards were unusually helpful.

    I had a seat close to the goal in the North Bank and there was quite a bit of singing. Not much different to previous Europa games, which can be poorly attended. Some people were wearing masks, others not. I don’t believe it was compulsory.

    The atmosphere were a bit surreal, but it was great being able to watch a live game for the first time in 9 months.

    I thought the team were lively. Great goal from Laca. We could really do with him finding some form. The other stand out was Pepe, who looked like he enjoyed the game; AMN looked solid in midfield and Emile Smith-Rowe looked very good on the ball when he came on. Callum Chambers gives us options at the back at last.

    The players responded well to the crowd and vice versa.

    At the end everybody filed out of the stadium and off into the night with a warm glow to counter the dropping temperature.

    Hopefully things can start loosening up a bit for supporters. The virus seems to do well indoors, so in an open stadium I can’t see why a lot more fans can’t be allowed in to watch a game. On the same basis 10,000 could easily be accommodated. But that’s up to the half-wits that are running the government and policy.


  11. Pete the Thirst says:

    As much as I love Mesut, not guilty on this occasion Sue.

    Although I did bring a small banner along which I positioned behind the goal.

    I have a picture if this site allows uploads?

    ‘Sue says:
    December 4, 2020 at 8:02 am
    Pete.. was that you with the ‘Bring back Mesut’ banner? 😂😂’

  12. RA says:

    Go for it, Pete. 😁

  13. sheila says:

    Oh thanks Pete for that full & descriptive report of the night , I opted to have a ‘year off’ so have no chance of going , & I wouldn’t really want to as I have a health condition , but reading your report was LOVELY, I am fairly near the North Bank & I LOVE the singing , just wish we had some more songs for our players sometimes . Thanks again Pete. My worry now is that Spurs will have their fans in on Sunday & we won’t have any ( as far as I know) so that will be a BIG disadvantage ( as if we need any more )

  14. LB says:

    I finally get the line up and understand the idea that there could have been 3 numbers 10’s.

    We played 4231 Doh


    Soares, Mustafi, Mari, Kolasinac


    —Nelson, Lacazette, Pepe


    Can’t believe it took me so long.

  15. LB says:

    I think that gives us a clue as to the probable formation for Sunday


    Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney

    —Elneny——- Xhaka

    Willian, Lacazette, Saka


    This is what I expect not what I want.


    Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney


    Nelson, Lacazette, Saka


    And this is what I would like to see, assuming that Partey is not fit.

    Lacazette did enough to be given a start as a number 10 although ESR will probably turn out to be better suited.

  16. sheila says:

    Absolutely love your team LB fingers crossed , but I think your top one is the one we will get he jjust LOVES Willian , but he looks tired

  17. LBG says:

    Also would prefer your second team, given Partey not yet perfect, with two changes. One, you disapprove of, and one I think will be forced on Mikel by our doctors. Eddie up front and Holding for Luiz.
    Shame we are as unlikely to get our way, as it would be for Moaninho to go on all out attack.

  18. LB says:

    I feel it is a flick of a coin between Aubamayang and Nketiah as to who is contributing more as a number 9 at the moment.

  19. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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