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Do Arsenal Stick Or Twist ?

sticktwist

A tricky hand …

The boys are off on a jaunt to Italy then.

As far as I can tell, a draw or a win puts us top of the group.  A defeat by less than a 3 goal margin leaves us runners-up if BVB win in France. I am sure there are all sorts of complicated equations but that’s the gist of it, I think.

Goodness only knows what sort of a team we will put out given that we play City early on Saturday. It could be anything between the best eleven and a shadow team. I really don’t have a clue.

Nor does anyone else, bar Arsene.

A quick scan of some blogs tells me nothing other than what some experts recommend Arsene does.

I suspect no matter what happens on the night he will have made the wrong choices. If we play a strong team and win, we should have rested key players. If we play a weakened team and lose, we should have played a stronger team.

You know how it goes.

So I think its best if we experts decide in the comments section what Arsene should do.

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145 comments on “Do Arsenal Stick Or Twist ?

  1. If Giroud’s last minute effort against Everton had sailed in, and if Marseille hadn’t conceded a late goal, then we would be seven points clear in the league and heading into the CL last 16 as group winners. And if my auntie had balls she’d be my uncle, so there’s no point playing the if game – but it is worth remembering that any current critical debate is no more, or indeed no less, valid than if those nice things had happened. In other words The Arsenal is still sailing along very happily, and don’t let anyone stop you knowing that.

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  2. An answer on the Theo and why is he being used carefully ( especially last night) question Dex.

    It may be that AW does not think TW is very good at keeping the ball. In an away game where we intended to and needed to hold the ball there are other players better equipped to do it.

    Not a dig at Theo but even after all these years he can still have his headless chicken moments

    Well alright that is a bit of a dig – but in a nice way

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  3. It was a messy game where Napoli threw everything at us because they had nothing to lose and we looked happy to play for a draw, but I thought we had control of the game up until the last 20 minutes or so. Once they got a goal and Arteta was (unfairly) sent off we were on the ropes and I wasn’t surprised that Theo wasn’t brought on, I think the priority then was to regain control and prevent Napoli from scoring again rather than for us to chase an equaliser so Ramsey and Monreal were put in to protect the flanks.

    It’s the third time we’ve had this referee, Kassai, and would you believe it we have lost every one? 4-0 v Milan, 2-0 v Braga and now 2-0 v Napoli. Mere coincidence, I’m sure…

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  4. That was the consensus Anicoll. But it doesnt maye sense to me. We needed his pace vs Cardiff a lot earlier than when he did eventually come on and again last night. Our inabiluty to keep the ball allowed Napoli to score their 2nd goal as well, so bang goes your theory!

    If he doesnt get any significant time on Saturday then I will be concerned. There were rumours of a trandfer to Monaco or somewhere else, but I laughed in their faces (Ha!), but this Theo no show is making me wonder… Hmmmmmm…. (Thats me wondering).

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  5. LeoS and all in away games too. I think he is a massive homer, so would be happy for us to get him for our 1st leg home tie.

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  6. Theo did have surgery on his stomach, he’s probably just being eased gently back into action. He’s come off the bench five times since his return and played no more than 20 minutes each time.

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  7. @Dexter
    I’d rather not see him ever again! But you might be right, the Napoli crowd was loud and the players acting desperately, looking for any advantage.

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  8. Somehow,

    I managed to forget to watch the start of the match. Indeed, I tuned in just before half time – when Sneezy teased a Napoli forward with a ‘wall pass’, which the forward headed out for a goal kick to Arsenal.

    The half time shat (chat?) was going well until Jnr Crooknapp decided to talk about an unsure WS1 (clearly, hoping he’d fk it all up in the 2nd half, I reckon).

    Watching the 2nd half – I could only believe what I saw due to the heads up about the ref. In case you don’t wanna read it, let me tell you, Kassai was the ref in our match against Braga (over there), and he was the ref in our match against Milan (also over there – 4-0, inc. offside goal and denied penalty for Ars:

    Tonight in the Group of Death. Referee Kassai we are watching you and know what to expect
    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/32976

    I struggled to see all of the 2nd half due to bad streaming, however, I saw things like Arteta’s sending off, and the bookings for Ramsey and Giroud, amongst multiple fouling from the utterly crooked Napoli.

    I watched a replay of the 1st half. The reffing so infuriated me I haven’t been able to watch the 2nd half yet (even though I’ve seen most of it already), but Uefa sent that ref along to **** us over, as he has always done. The idea was certainly to have BvB win the group, and the added bonus would be if Arsenal ended up in Eurodisney. I’ll attempt to watch the 2nd half tonight….

    Wenger feels ‘sorry’ for Naples. No mention of ultra fouling ultra bastards (or the ref, but we know what happens to Wenger if he tells the truth):

    On an unrelated note; my sister took me to a spa this morning. All time with my family and friends is “quality”, and today’s excursion was magnificent – sitting in steam rooms and saunas and ‘do not dive’ sized pool. All followed by “High Tea”, at noon. I’m so grateful. Thank you Sis. I love you.

    She won’t be reading this as she doesn’t follow football. The only match she’s been to is Charlton v Ars – when van puss scored that sensational volley. She and her family were there for Charlton. (Someone must’ve given them tickets).
    I tried telling her about all the blatent refshite that went on last night but realised she listened out of politeness, and certainly – no malice, so I changed the subject before she fell asleep, as she does when I phone her talking about Arsenal. I love her for understanding Arsenal’s one of my passions and that I can’t help it. We continued eating salmon sarnies with the crust cut off, and then moved on to gingerbread men and other norty thingy’s, for which my next diet can’t start quickly enough – washed down with tea from a see through pot. The ‘leaves’ looked like summat from the coral reef, believe me.

    I’m gonna press ‘post’ rather than read this back, as this is MY offload, and I don’t wanna consider any irrelevancy contained within. So there!

    (Assertive after the sugar rush, or what?)

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  9. Rantetta

    That was ace, thanks!

    I wish my girlfriend was as patient and pilte as your Sis with regards to Arsenal.

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  10. It will be a short recovery time for the lads till the early Saturday game. This is when we find out how mentally tough the team can be . This is when the real leaders on the team step forward and be examples to the rest. And this is also the time the true fans must up their game too and let the team wipe away any small doubts that might be creeping in. One voice. WE BELIEVE. RED&WHITE

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  11. So that is my ‘theory’ on Theo and his inactivity shot down in flames Dex.

    Lucky had my parachute with me

    Well let me in on the correct answer then

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  12. Dexter has a girlfriend now,he has no time for answering questions.

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  13. Fair point, I shall not intrude

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  14. ani

    If I could do smiley faces I wouldve put one after my bit about us not keeping the ball well. I have no idea why Theo is not being used, obviously. He is our most potent attacker and I have seen him get lambasted by so called Gooners for years. I am a bit defensive of him and want him in the side.

    George; Well, she said she was a girl, but ‘her’ feet are bigger than mine and the stubble really chafes…

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  15. Lol. Oh boy.
    Or as FRANK would say oh dear….
    COLL
    enjoyed you writeup the other day. Fine sense of humor. More please.

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  16. We shall set the standard at the etehaad

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  17. I don’t think we need be unduly concerned about young Feo, Dex and anicoll5 – Arsene always eases players back into the team after an injury and Theo did have a little set back when he first returned, then he was sick. He may not be fully recovered yet and it could be perfectly innocent – sometimes we are quick to look for a sinister explanation when it is probably nothing. Personally, I think he should not start until the manager thinks he’s ready as there are ‘fans’ out there who will be quick to start the scapegoating if he isn’t immediately up to speed. There is no such thing as playing your way back into form for some people! He usually does well against chelski, so let’s just hope he’s ready to go by then.

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  18. exacatly

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  19. exactly

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  20. I think people are missing the point. Although Marseilles eventually disappointed we came through the toughest group, beat teams when we had to, reached the KO stage, to make it 14 consecutive appearances. In the KO stage, anything can happen to any team, including us and there have been many, many surprises every year. There are no “easier draws”. Draws that look easier are often the more dangerous; there is a reason teams made it through and who the hell wants to face Arsenal, oh no they will sigh. Check the stats, teams that come through tough groups, top or runner up, frequently progress further; much depends on form and having no illusions of what it takes. It doesn’t matter who we face because to reach the QF last 8, our logical next step, we must be able to beat anyone home and away sooner or later. Roll on roll on. We are top of our league and in the 16. We deserve both. Well done Arsenal!

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  21. hunter
    i know we are not meeting drogba or rooney in the next round. all i was saying is that i never fear ronaldo in the past and present. he has his weakness which is playing against fast and pacy fullbacks. plus he never realy perform when playing against us unlike drogba and rooney. he can chase whatever record he want but not againt us or teams with good fullbacks.
    anyway you will likely see it in february when we knock them out like dortmund did.

    the only negative to theo’s game is his defending. if he wants to play regularly in this team he needs to put some shift in defence. but the game againt napoli was crying out for theo. maybe for giroud in the last five minutes. pffft… what do i know?

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  22. theo is always dangerous. has got two assist from his last two cameos and almost got a goal too. he will never be able to hold or pass the ball like anyone in the team but no one holds his kind of danger in the team or his kind of speed in europe. the only thing i think he can improve on is helping out in defence.

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  23. I suppose I will have to write something about the City game,as no one else is stepping up.

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  24. The significant midfield threat from City will always arise from Yahya. I’d like to see us fielding Flamini, Aaron, and Jack, with Mesut, Giroud and Theo in the more advanced positions. With Sagna back it will be some game.

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  25. It’s ok PG, I’ll write what you’d have written:

    “We are playing Manchester City at sometime over the weekend. Over to you.”

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  26. zimpaul
    how are we suppose to do that? 442 or the present formation?
    i like jack on the right than on the left. its like playing on the right wing has given him freedom unlike earlier in the season when he struggled on the left. the more reason i said theo needs to put in some defensive shift if he wants to play regularly in this present formation. jack is doing that very well i suppose.

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  27. ZimPaul, now that they have Silva fit again, their midfield is a lot more mobile. Threats are going to come from him feeding passes to runners and from Yaya pushing up through the middle. Then again, it will leave room for our own midfielders to attack them. Either way, it’s going to be a fascinating contest.

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  28. I hope Theo plays, not because I have any tactical reason for saying that, but because he is one of my favourite players and I still hope he will become a real Arsenal legend.

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  29. Passenal

    You have it bang on regards Theo! AW has said in his pre-match Presser that Theo is only now looking his sharpest after injury, operation and sickness. So, he may well start tomorrow, which is all good as far as I am concerned anyway.

    ZimP; I agree with your line up, it doesnt mean jack will be shifted wide left to accomodate Theo as the front 4/5 will interchange as they have done this season.

    This could mean Giroud dropping back and Theo being more central, with Jack, Mesut and Aaron taking it in turns to be the main central attack minded midfielder.

    Fluid baby!

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  30. Mesut and Jack would be fluid across central and left positions in a line-up like that, I’ve seen it before (without Theo), it’s a bit right sided but effective.

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  31. Everything seems to be set very nicely for Eastlands tomorrow.

    The timing of the game is irritating but if you take a £billion of the TV companies each season, across the PL, as well as another £750k every time we are on the box then i am afraid we will be required to fit in with the schedule from time to time. I’ve told Arsene to ensure the lads have an early night and everything will be tickety-boo.

    Sagna’s availability is a boost although I’d not be surprise to see Jenks start as he has been good in the past three games. I don’t really have any flashing insights about what will happen on the pitch. Citeh are a very capable side going forward, not quite so tight at the back. Both sides know each other very well. If my arm were twisted I expect a low scoring draw.

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  32. For those of you, like me, who would prefer burning bamboo inserted under your finger nails rather than watch Match of the Day I see Thierry is guesting this Saturday

    After his very capable wok for Sky this week it is one I shall not miss

    I suspect he will not be short of offers for a World Cup sofa slot

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  33. Overall the team have performed extremely well this season with our defense right up there with the best, even if there is an occasional lapse, and the sublime passing in midfield often leads to some scintillating breakaway attacks.

    But therein lies the rub. We are swift at counter attacking but without Theo’s pace we are not scaldingly quick, and against Shitty I think that is what we are going to need to take the pressure of the defenders, and also to give them an out ball.

    It is not for me to second guess AW but in another Universe if he asked my advice that is what I would recommend, meanwhile, back in the real world, I am sure Arsene can do very well without my pennyworth and we will see the flying Theo for at least part of the game tomorrow.

    Got to say I am a bit anxious about tomorrow’s game though.

    COYG

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  34. Anicoll,

    I tend to record MOTD and then watch the games but speed through all the yada yada.

    But thanks for the tip on Thierry, who I understand is also going to commentate for the BBC at the World Cup/

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  35. I don’t know about the rest of you, I feel confident enough about tomorrow’s games.
    Silva is not a patch on our Santi. There, I said it.
    I wished we had Diaby back to dominate Yaya but we will just pass it around him.

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  36. Would be nice to see Santi have a blinder tomorrow. He hasnt been anywhere near his imperious best this season, which bodes well for the rest of the campaign.

    Not only did I receive 2 tickets for the game tomorrow, but I also got £20 worth of drink/food vouchers to spend at the Etihad too (AKA beer tokens!).

    Classy Arsenal

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  37. Titter ye not but I read elsewhere that the Dutch skunk is out for a further 4 weeks with a thigh injury.
    Or else all the rumours about unset in the camp are true.
    In a way, he and then are irrelevant to us anymore, it’s like finding out your ex-lover who ran away, took you to the cleaners, slept around and broke you heart ending up with a drink wife beater.

    Karma bites back sometimes.

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  38. Remember the City game in pre-season?
    Ramsey, charging his way through and around the midfield.
    Chamberlain *sobs* at LW this time, as opposed to CM when he skipped pass the Tottenham newbie to score a stunning goal against Brazil earlier on in the Summer.

    A manager of MPs quality must have settled a little, seen a few horror shows on the road, know his players a little better etc. so my incredible guess is that at Away it won’t be as easy as it was in that friendly game which gave us a little glimpse of what was to follow (if you were busy melting, bawling, tearing out of your eyes in rage…chances are you might have missed that view through the Window)

    I hope that Ramsey was not niggled against Everton and will be ok to get through a tough game like this. If not I suppose someone like Tomáš Rosický could come in for the start in midfield as the second CM as another option to Flamini & Arteta. Took the old sicknote only about thirty seconds after kick off to leave Yaya on the floor during one of the games last season. Maybe I’m mistaken but it feels to me like there have been a few more TR7 shirts at the ground this season. Which is cööl.

    finsbury’s tactical preview:
    If Arsenal get eleven fit players onto the pitch, and sub of the tiring ones during the game when needed, they can win!

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  39. the traitor just back from a month out is already back to his favourite place. the treatment room for another month. now you are living to you standard.

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  40. got his latest injury while taking a corner kick. ridiculous.

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  41. Layksite
    Wenger Knows what kind of player he sold to Fergie.
    Consider it Fergie’s once-off retirement present.
    The Dutch cock is showing his normal fitness levels again, and for £240,000 a month of manure money.

    What I don’t find funny is that among the gloating Gooners now, are a lot of wankers who wanted Wenger’s scalp for selling the skunk to the scum in the first place.

    Wenger’s true plan is now beginning to make sense.
    The next mystery to be explained is why he ever bought Sylveste.

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