It is time to gun down some Wolves…

Two five month old gray wolf pups sleeping... - The world of wolves | Sleeping  wolf, Wolf pup, Sleepy animals

The transfer window ended last night with a lot of players moving away from AFC, most notably older players that played in the Bundesliga who saw their contract terminated (Ozil, Mustafi and Sok) as well as some of our younger players eager to get some playing time in the EPL (Willok, AMN) or a solid league abroad (Saliba). Overall, some people think that the window was successful as we also landed Ryan and Odegaard but we did not manage to get a left-footed left back but then again, we have Cedric to deputize for Tierney…

So our squad has now been trimmed down and for tomorrow, some players remain missing like Tierney and potentially Aubameyang. Saka is a doubt but he may play and Laca seem to be ok. Saiss, Nouri and Jimenez are notably missing for Wolves.

Wolves are not an easy team to manoeuvre but I expect Arteta to set the team up in the 4231 formation of late but I think he will give a start to Pepe, Willian as well as Nketiah. Mostly to manage Saka’s injury, Partey and Martinelli’s physical sharpness, Laca and Auba to be on the safe side.

Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Cedric – El Neny, Xhaka – Pepe, ESR, Willian – Nketiah

Arteta would then have plenty of ammunitions on the bench in case the starting XI struggles to create or defend. This game will be tight and I expect teams to press but I don’t expect the teams to take any risks. This is a game to remain focused especially on set-pieces and a game where both teams will try to break counter-attacks with cynical fouls.

I would be happy if we snatched a 0-1 victory but I could also see the game end in low scoring draw.

Our key men for tomorrow are Leno, Luiz, Cedric, Xhaka, Pepe and Nketiah. If these guys are having a good game, we have a decent chance. If they lose their defensive focus and counter-attacking abilities, we can be in for a narrow but stinging defeat…

COYG! And best of luck to AMN and Willok with their new clubs!


65 Responses to It is time to gun down some Wolves…

  1. HENRY ODWAR says:

    I dont think we shall benefit from the misfiring nkeitiah

  2. RA says:

    A well thought out Post, RC, with only one little query from me. 😜

    I do not think we have ever been a team to commit ‘cynical fouls’, unlike so many other teams who seem to have ‘professionally’ taught team members who are adept in the naughty arts.

    I read in the paper recently that apparently Mourhino was unhappy that the Spuds did not get enough penalties, and showed the team how to do it.

    Cannot see any Arsenal coach resorting to that.

  3. LB says:

    I am amazed that Nelson didn’t go out on loan.

  4. RockyLives says:

    Thanks RC

    Very good summary.

    I hope Saka is fit enough to play. He makes a real difference (especially with ESR in the side).

    It’s a shame if KT is still not available, but the club are absolutely correct not to take risks with him.

    I also agree with Redders that we have always been a bit rubbish at the ‘dark arts’ of stopping opponents’ breakaways with cynical fouls. Everyone else seems to do it to us.

  5. LB says:

    This may not go down well but Pires was the Prince………

  6. LB says:

    The Mystery of Reiss Nelson?

  7. Pete the Thirst says:

    I reckon the best tactic this evening will be to get David Luiz to headbutt their best players. They haven’t been the same since he took out Jiminez.

  8. RC78 says:

    Pete…I like your cynism 😛

    Regarding cynical fouls, I was happy to see Laca and Pepe revert to them against Utd and to be fair, Laca does a few of them during a game and if Pepe follows suit, there is hope he can be a good player for us 🙂

    As for RN, I am sure that Arteta kept him for a good reason and same with Balogun.

    Leno, Ryan, Runnarsson
    Bellerin, Cedric, Holding, Luiz, Gabriel, Mari, Tierney
    El Neny, Xhaka, Partey, Ceballos
    Saka, Pepe, RN, ESR, Odegaard, Martinelli, Willian
    Laca, Auba, Nketiah, Balogun

    Obviously, we are missing a deputy Left Back but otherwise, all positions are covered.

    When summer comes, we will still have to manage all our loanees’ return including Guendouzi and Torreira. Let us see how it goes.

  9. Sue says:

    Apparently we enquired about Junior Firpo. Lopez has been training with the first team..

    Very pleased with the window – we’re.saving a fortune in wages!! Slowly and surely we’re heading in the right direction. Hopefully cancelling contracts and watching players walk out for nowt will be few and far between now!
    Can’t wait for the summer window 😄

    Thank you, RC. I’m hoping to see Auba later. I’m going for 2-1 to us! COYG

  10. LB says:

    My punt at Mikel’s starting 11


    Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Cedric

    ———–Partey, Xhaka


    Saka, Aubamayang, Martinelli.

    We are starting to get competition issues for the front three places which is a good thing.

  11. RockyLives says:

    I’ll go with most of your team LB, but I would start with Laca as the striker and start Auba on the left.

    KT is definitely out and there are late assessments on Saka, Ceballos and Mari.

  12. RockyLives says:

    There are three and a half days between tonight’s game and our match with Villa on Saturday lunchtime and then a full week off before we face Leeds the following Saturday, so ‘overplaying’ should not be too much an issue.

  13. LB says:


    My team would start with Laca but for some reason I think that Arteta will start with Auba.

  14. RockyLives says:

    You may be right LB.

  15. Aaron says:

    Many questions:
    Does Mikel start Mari?
    What happens if Cedric gets hurt?
    Sue answered that nicely with Lopez, as we loaned out Zech.

    Can Laca start?
    Should Ode start in place of ESR?
    Can Partey not gas out?
    Who would be the substitute for him? El Neny?
    Will Balo make the bench?
    Should Martinelli start in the middle? Auba surely can’t.

    By the way Rocky, an enjoyable read about Xhaka for sure…

    Let’s just take it to the Wolves and do what we need to do.

  16. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky

    Our strongest line up has Saka, ESR, Auba and Laca in it so if available all those 4 should start the next 2 games to try and get 6 valuable points.

    I do however stand by my assertion that the EL is our priority so the time to rest jey players is fir the Benfica double tie. Unfortunately those ties are 3 days apart from the City and Leicester games but I would still prioritise Benfica and go all out for 6 points in the next 2 PL games.

  17. LB says:

    It would be a first Rocky………

  18. LB says:

    It’s interesting the questions Aaron raises, a few weeks ago it seemed clear what our first team was but quite a few others have stepped up giving rise to said questions. All good though.

  19. Sue says:

    I know this won’t be of interest to anyone.. but I saw a photo of Odegaard’s calves!! Woah!! He’ll definitely give Grealish a run for his money!

  20. Sue says:

    Saka’s back and starts! Auba on the bench 🙂 COYG

  21. Sue says:

    Arsenal XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Cedric, Partey, Xhaka, Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka, Lacazette.

    Subs: Runarsson, Gabriel, Chambers, Elneny, Ceballos, Odegaard, Willian, Martinelli, Aubameyang. #WOLARS

  22. LB says:

    Oh well, I got Leno right again……………

  23. LB says:

    Good team though, it will be interesting to see if Pepe kicks on.

  24. RockyLives says:

    Same starting 11 as for the ManU game except that we have Saka instead of Martinelli.

  25. RC78 says:

    I wonder if Pepe will play on the right or the left

  26. RC78 says:

    I expect him to play on the right tonight and Saka to support with marking Traore on the left

  27. GoonerB says:

    RC, I must apologise, I thanked Rocky for the post but niw realise it is your fine work. Thanks all the same.

  28. Rasp says:

    Partey is different class so far … this is the player we needed … and there’s more to come

  29. Aaron says:

    Pepe w right foot!

  30. RC78 says:

    Good goal Pepe! Showed resilience and skills!

  31. RC78 says:

    I hope we keep the lead until half time. We are the better team so far

  32. Aaron says:

    No way that is red, other guys leg hit Luiz…

  33. GoonerB says:

    No way is that a Red card. That is so bloody corrupt

  34. RC78 says:

    This is BS

  35. RC78 says:

    It s not a foul, it s not a PK and it s not a red card. It s messed up

  36. GoonerB says:

    Luiz doesn’t try and grab him, just one leg catching the other. You could argue the penalty but that’s it

  37. Aaron says:

    Let me see, Oliver ref, Xhaka could have career ruined by fernandez, no card, Luiz accidently trips on guys leg, RED.

  38. Aaron says:

    What is vaR for?
    vaR is $h*tE!!

  39. Rasp says:

    Surely every defender has it drummed into them that it is far better to concede a goal, than go down to 10 men and concede a penalty. The guy kicked Luiz’s knee as he was running … but Luiz was too close and should have let him go rather than risk a pen.

  40. Sue says:

    I don’t believe it!! Roly-poly Moss on var, probably too busy eating a big mac!!

  41. Aaron says:

    Stand corrected: John Moss. even worse…

    Won’t go into this now, but we have all seen the data on red cards and ref’s go against us.
    Corruption to the max.

    Sometimes I seriously ask myself why do I even bother to watch…

  42. Gio349 says:

    It’s again a bad decision against Arsenal. Shameful from the Refs. Moss is the worst. I am disgusted.

  43. RC78 says:

    So the rule applied is super harsh. Had Luiz made an attempt to play the ball, it would have been a yellow….

  44. RC78 says:

    So check this out…Since making his PremierLeague debut for Arsenal in August 2019, David Luiz has received more red cards (3) and conceded more penalties (6) than any other player in the competition.

    Although tonight, it was extremely unfortunate

    I think it was our best half of football this season, m gutted at the last minute

  45. Aaron says:

    Well, that is that. Good afternoon folks…

    Mikel, don’t chase the game, sub out Partey, ESR and Saka if you know what is good for AFC…

  46. GoonerB says:

    You know what, there seems to be some unwritten rule that it’s not the done thing to demand an investigation into decision making bias, almost as if it is not ethically correct. Why?

    At some point a club needs to start making these bastards squirm by making a public example of them and make a public, not private, demand that the consistency of decisions by certain refs and towards certain clubs be looked at.

    If I were Arsenal I really would look at that Luiz decision and how it fits with other similar decisions and how it fits with decisions made recently by that ref and Moss, and make it a public enquiry. It’s long overdue that the officials in this country are held more accountable

  47. LB says:

    From the sublime to the ridiculous

  48. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well we certainly rediscovered the self destruct button!?!?!

    Two absolutely idiotic decisions by two players, both of whom have gone a long way to regaining the fans confidence in them.

    Luiz would have been better off sliding for the ball than the crafty run behind, at least if he’d made an attempt on the ball he may not have been red carded.

    Leno….well I just don’t know what is going through his head there.

  49. RockyLives says:

    But it will make getting a point all the sweeter 😀

  50. Gööner In Exile says:

    I see I may be against fellow Gooners for my take on Luiz, but he has previous, it’s the kind of thing he has been doing for years, just now we have VAR, so ref gives it or VAR does, The red card rule was rewritten to allow players to get away with a yellow if they were clearly making an attempt at the ball. He wasn’t so it’s red if it’s a foul.

  51. GoonerB says:

    GIE, seriously, am I really looking at it through such rose tinted spectacles?

    You think both were deserved straight reds and both players were idiotic while I dint think either are reds.

    Leno had his arm down into his side and was beaten by the bounce if the ball. He tried to play it off his body without lifting his arm. Luiz makes no attempt at a challenge or grab at the player and is just running back.

    I need to see both again in highlights because I cant see either as straight reds. Will hold my hands up if I see it different after replays

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

    GB, Leno knows it was red he didn’t wait for VAR, he clearly fisted it out once the bounce did him, the idiocy is being there in the first place, the ball has been skidding and holding for the last thirty minutes in the conditions so you don’t commit yourself there.

    Luiz for me is totally purposeful and a red once the fouls is given….this was the rule change:

    “However, players committing accidental fouls that deny a goalscoring chance will now be cautioned instead.

    But deliberate fouls will still incur a red card.

    Those include holding, pulling or pushing, not playing the ball, serious foul play, violent conduct or deliberate handball in order to deny a goalscoring opportunity.”

    Not playing the ball gets him the red regardless of intention or not. I happen to think he meant it and it’s a foul anywhere else on the pitch. He also knew look at his eyes when he is sat on the floor he knows he f***ed up.

  53. seedeee says:

    Well I don’t know about gunning down some wolves, we loaded the gun, pulled it out the holster and turned it in ourselves.

    One match to sweep under the carpet and hide away – never to be discussed again for fear of embarrassment and naivety

  54. RC78 says:

    It is amazing because our first 45 mins were the best this season. Simply amazing…

  55. RC78 says:

    First 45 mins:
    Leno – 6
    Bellerin – 6
    Holding – 7
    Luiz – 6 (and then nothing…)
    Cedric – 7
    Partey – 7
    Xhaka – 7
    Saka – 8
    ESR – 6.5
    Pepe – 7.5
    Laca – 7.5

    45+1 min onwards:
    Leno – 2
    Bellerin – 5
    Holding – 7
    Gabriel – 6
    Cedric – 6
    Partey – 6
    Xhaka – 6
    Saka – 6
    ESR – 6
    Pepe – 6, Auba – 6
    Laca – 6

    Definitely a self-sabotage game during which we outclassed Wolves for 45 mins, could have been 2 or 3 goals up BUT there you go…we lose…such a frustrating game.

  56. GoonerB says:

    I’m sorry GIE but at the moment I’ll stick to this all looking very iffy. I will look at it again in detail if I can, but even beyond the refs taking the absolute most extreme decision that the letter of the law allowes them to, do we really feel that these 2 decisions have any consistency with other similar decisions and other decisions the 2 decision makers in this game made?

    Just seen them briefly both again and I’m not even sure how much contact Luiz made. It doesn’t look any more than when Saka went down in the 1st half. Leno isn’t fisting it out, he is trying to pull his arm into his body when he realises the ball skids off the surface more than anticipated.

    No defender would get a straight red for that. You may correct me but is it a different rule for the GK?

  57. RockyLives says:

    Just one of those nights.

    To be honest, when we went down to nine men I just wish we’d really gone for it…

    …and got a couple more sent off.

  58. RockyLives says:


    Spot on 😀

  59. RockyLives says:

    My son says the whole thing was a Mustafi tribute from the lads.

  60. Sue says:

    I honestly can’t believe how that panned out.. we were cruising!! So disappointed, not sure in who more – Luiz, Leno, Moss or Pawson…

  61. Sue says:

  62. GoonerB says:

    To be fair I’ve disagreed the other way around before when I have felt decisions against us that have infuriated others have actually been justified. Just a matter of opinion and I respect the opposite views but those 2 decisions just felt wrong on a very troubling level to me.

  63. Gööner In Exile says:

    GB I think you are being very generous to Leno. Goal scoring opportunity because it’s an open goal, the only question was whether Traore was going to make the ball, and I think it’s very clearly yes given Traore’s speed. As I say my frustration with Leno there was with his positioning and coming out in the first place. Rule 1 do not rush out towards a bouncing/high ball. It’s far too easy for players to lift it other you in a one on one or you’ll get done by the bounce. It wasn’t a desperate situation requiring him to run out he was just on the edge of his box and too close to the defenders, should have gone back towards goal.

    I understand your trouble with the Luiz one, and perhaps it’s in the letter of the law that the debate lay, I didn’t watch the half time but it would appear Walton gave his opinion, which Rio translated after the match to, “if Luiz had smashed through him trying to get the ball he would still be on the pitch” 😀

    Which is kind of what I was getting at above Luiz since his arrival has been caught out by VAR trying to practise the dark arts, it’s also why Sokratis became a liability, all hands which just can’t happen in the modern game.

    I think for us it’s difficult to swallow because Fernandez deserved at least a yellow for the stamp down Xhaka’s Achilles on the weekend.

  64. GoonerB says:

    I will need to look at it again GIE in terms of how close Traore is, his proximity to the goal (it wasnt in a central area directly in front of goal), and where other more centrally positioned Arsenal players were as potential cover.

    I get your tactical frustration with Leno making a bad decision, but making a bad decision should not be a reason for a straight red. All other factors need to come into play like the ones mentioned above but also whether intention was there to use his hand or whether he is actually trying to pull his hand in to his body and is the victim of an unusual bounce having already committed himself to the interception

    Last, but by no means least, is how these straight reds compare with recent precedents, and likely ones to come, in Lenos case not just with GK’s but with any defensive player in a similar situation.

    Both the straight reds, for me, look like they will not hold up under scrutiny to many other similar circumstances with other players and clubs this season, which would suggest extreme bias.

  65. RC78 says:

    New post

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