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Arsenal Versus Leicester: The Coquelin Event Horizon

Everyone feeling a little bit happier now? A shot of league cup and North London Derby victory in the old veins has done the trick I trust? It may not have made a difference to our league position but by Jimminy the world seems a brighter place after a win doesn’t it? The league position by the by, may, as far as I’m concerned, be anything between first and twentieth at the moment. I must confess I’m one of those curious coves who doesn’t peruse the thing until the tinsel has been taken down and the old calendar put out with the recycling. The only time I’ve ever broken this rule is those few seasons where we’ve gone off like a gingered horse out of the starting gate and led the field right up to the festive season.

On those occasions I have to admit to stealing furtive and blushing glances at our standing relative to all comers. In the same way I can sometimes be caught wistfully flicking my eyes over the more fascinating profiles of young women who are more likely to offer me their seat on the bus than anything more entertaining to the lascivious imagination of a fading middle aged libido. Otherwise I simply don’t care and I simply don’t look. Can you imagine getting in a lather over the table in September? What an absolute arse you’d look come May if you set any sort of store in such irrelevancies. This is the time of year to enjoy each match in its own right – the old ‘one game at a time’ mantra was never so pertinent.

Firstly we need to get past the trailing wisps of smoke from our recent fixtures which resolutely cling to us no matter how hard we try to push forward. I refer of course to Costagate, the ramifications of which rumble on. Poor old Jose’s persecution complex is battling with both his paranoia and his bizarre, slightly creepy obsession with Arsène for dominance in his tortured psyche. The reptiles lap it up because they need something to write about and meanwhile he makes himself look ever more ridiculous.

What of our manager? As expected he remained dignified and focussed on the football. He is well aware of the form Leicester are in now and the strengths of two or three of their better players and so no matter how many Arsenal fans enjoy riding the see saw (We lose – we’re shit. We win – we’re world beaters) Arsène knows that we will need to find an exceptional performance to become the first team to puncture Leicester’s enviable record. Unbeaten in their first six matches they look a relaxed and happy side to me. I attribute this to Claudio Ranieri, the last decent man to manage at Stamford Bridge. Mr Ranieri admits his record against Arsenal is a bad one, the only time he did contrive to beat us I would happily have swapped for almost any of the other thirteen fixtures.

Since his time as Chelsea manager he has obviously not kept himself abreast of developments in London, admitting in a recent interview that he didn’t know why Arsenal haven’t won the title since he left England in 2004. Presumably no one told him about the super rich clubs who suddenly distorted the transfer market out of all recognition and the way our best players had their heads turned by ridiculous wage offers year after year. Or that all the while the club was building a stadium in the midst of a global financial collapse. Perhaps he missed those minor details.

Anyway he wasn’t being rude, he seems genuinely to respect Arsène and was gushing about our style of play so that’s all very nice isn’t it? Such a change to face an away fixture after a cup win and against a manager we can like and respect. A major improvement over the mood in the run up to our trip to Fulham last Saturday.

It’s interesting to note that the win which has so revived us and settled the collywobbles was achieved by a side which may bear little resemblance to today’s team. We are always being told the modern game is supposed to be all about squad and not first and reserve teams but there does seem to be a predictability about the line up when everyone is available. The talking point today is who will come in now that Coquelin has managed to bugger up his knee.

I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to see our captain in the role although hot shot Flamini might have genuine hopes for a recall as reward for his heroics at White Hart lane. The other choice is Chambers but it seems he’d being groomed for a centre back place. I know, I know – I don’t do line up speculation but hey, four match previews in a fortnight and I am fast running out of padding so indulge me. In any event I’m not telling you what the line up ought to be or will be. It’s just that there has been so much debate rumbling around the place ever since the end of last season over this particular near mythical part of our formation. What, people ask, lips quivering and palms sweating, will we do if Coquelin gets injured? Well today folks you are going to find out.

The Grauniad has Aaron dropping deeper to play alongside Santi and that is of course a possibility but The Welsh Wonder is more creator than destroyer and it would be a bold move indeed to face a side in their pomp without any sort of bite in our midfield, especially away from home when we can expect them to fancy themselves and come at us. Experience is surely all important, and to that end I can’t see young Calum being thrust into the role – but hey what do I know? Santi may be need to be rested and the double pivot so successful against Tottenham could be retained. It’s all guesswork, but it helps while away the hours until kick off.

One thing is certain the calamitous event so dreaded by so many has finally happened and Francis Coquelin is, gasp, injured! And you know what? It doesn’t seem quite the crisis everyone pretended it would be does it? Even with my limited grasp of the options available to the boss I’ve managed to rustle up four names to throw into the hat, any of which would be quite competent to provide a couple of weeks of cover. As long as neither Oxlade-Chamberlain nor Alexis get the job I’ll be quite content. Not only are they far more deadly up front but both have a propensity for wayward passing that I’d rather see as far away from our area as humanly possible.

Whatever the side and whatever the result I trust you will all enjoy a good hour and a half of top notch footballing entertainment. Not every sporting fixture can produce a Japan versus South Africa level of scalp raising exhilaration but we can at least anticipate a few thrills, a couple of gut wrenching moments in defence and hopefully a few goals scattered throughout the ninety minutes. I won’t be watching – it’s Likely Lads for me as I am taking me mum out for the day so if you see me say hello but don’t tell me the score will you?

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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100 comments on “Arsenal Versus Leicester: The Coquelin Event Horizon

  1. Corblimey

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  2. Whooo! Hat trick for Senor Sanchez! Get in!

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  3. but why didn’t old senile fuckwit Wenger not rest Alexis today, the AAA/WOB experts all say he is running on empty, over the red line, not match fit, etc etc etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. if anyone wants to know why Arteta got a new contract in the summer, just watch his performance today, top class

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  5. west ham losing at home to Norwich

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  6. 88 minutes Vardy with his second 2-4

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  7. 4 minutes of stoppage time to be played

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  8. Giroud makes it 5-2 to the Arsenal, we’ve got no strikers

    Liked by 2 people

  9. FT: Leicester City 2-5 Arsenal

    well worth the win,

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  10. As I said earlier,
    piece
    of
    cake.

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  11. My goodness Eddy give it a rest. We scored 5 goals up until today. Its a known fact worldwide we havent done the business in front of the net in relation to our chances created. It was bound to change of course but ignoring clear facts isn’t doing this place any favors. We haven’t played to our capabilities until today I don’t see the problem with our attack receiving a little bit of criticism. The endless investigation of these idiots opinions is tiresome. Its like watching the news. Its a fools errand

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  12. @ loomer that does not mean we do not have strikers.. just that they are not firing…

    its nice when they do fire to rub it in!

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  13. jebus, what a game! over 40 chances created and you can see why leicester score and conceed goals. Although I thought Arteta is making small steps forward I canr agree that he was top class today. He still is a little off the pace and maybe that shows in the amount of fouls he is making. It was good to see a ref that let as many 50/50 challenges go without the game getting dangerous, in fact the worst fowl in the game was vardy’s push on Kos that went unpunished. Its something refs need to be more aware of when a player has no chance of getting to the ball he pushes a player in the back to gain an advantage however its extremley dangerous play and should be rewarded with a red.
    With a win against the spuds and against the only unbeaten side in the division, both away from home surely gunners can only be happy……surely!

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  14. …as Alan Partridge would say:” time for a w*nk”!. Great stuff, amazing first half, even better second. Come on the Toon,like!

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  15. Well, that was fun. I missed Stew’s excellent preview as a preview because I woke up about 30 seconds before KO. Stupid alarm. Happy to read it now in such a good mood.

    Now I’m off out for the day to visit the daughter at college. What a glorious Saturday!

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  16. Lucky Stew, he has yet to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Do not tell Stew, that Alabama is a happy gooner!

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  18. I thought Mikel was good.
    More control for the moment he entered the fray

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  19. That’s why I said we knew that we were going to turn it around, Team Spirit. Shotta did a great piece on the statistics and trends in case you missed it. We know we have quality players. Following and indirectly giving these Arsenal don’t have options idiots even the slightest sense of validity is a fools errand. I will admit to popping around some darker places every so often but let’s not forget this is just the internet. 90% of these people would say nothing of the sort in public as they would be laughed at. Just go look at any political discussion over Facebook. People don’t act like that in real life let’s not give them too much press

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  20. That said kudos to those fighting that unwinnable fight. God knows I surely put in my shift with the End of an Era traitors. The censoring of so many of the blogs has largely lead to the extinction of the troll. A true art form IMO. Its a precarious situation no matter what side (or top) of the fence one sits. Off to enjoy some beers and footy beachside. Enjoy the rest of the weekend gentlepeople! I’ll pop in to chew some fat tomoz

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  21. Oh ffs Newcastle. Worthless don’t hand him his first win there

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  22. It very nearly was an excellent Saturday….

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  23. Bummer about Callum Wilson. That’s sickening stuff. Hope he gets back soon he has been a treat to watch

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  24. WENGER ON THE WIN, ALEXIS AND WALCOTT
    Arsène Wenger spoke to the media after his side’s 5-2 win against Leicester City on Saturday. This is what he said:

    on if that is how he wants Arsenal to play…
    I want us to score goals but I must say Leicester played well and to play a good football game there needs to be two teams. They had the stronger start, they pushed us on our back foot from the start when they scored the first goal and I must say I was concerned after that as I thought they were close to scoring a second one and it would have made it difficult. We found the resources to equalise and after that our technical quality and the pace of our strikers gave them problems and we managed to make it 2-1 before half-time. In the second half we controlled the game and looked always like we could add another one.

    on Alexis’ performance…
    He is back to his level. He won a big competition with Chile – the Copa America. I think as well mentally to adjust to the game on a mental level takes some time. I could see in training a different player in the last week or two and he has shown that today. I believe going forward he always looked dangerous.

    on if Alexis is world class…
    I think so. I think I have plenty of players that are world class. You have to understand the definition of that but overall he is a striker who is mobile and works hard for the team. When the team plays well he can score goals.

    on Ozil’s assist…
    It was classy and the little frustration I have today is that he could not score a goal or the chance he had. He is really upset because he know he needs a goal as well but the ball he gave to Alexis was fantastic.

    on the title race…
    Knowing that Tottenham has beaten Manchester City today it makes the whole league tight. Two weeks ago you had Manchester City playing West Ham at home so you would expect that they would make the difference.

    on injuries…
    Coquelin could be available for Tuesday. Today we lost Mathieu Flamini and the only one that could come back is Coquelin and Gabriel is not suspended.

    on Flamini’s injury…
    Hamstring.

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20150926/wenger-on-the-win-alexis-and-walcott#JRs8rHmTABcqobdP.99

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  25. loomer my “we’ve got no strikers” comment was just me being sarcastic, I thought that would be obvious after 3 of our strikers scored today.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Ralph Hannah ‏@paraguayralph 3h3 hours ago
    CONFIRMED via @InfostradaLive that Alexis is indeed first player ever to score hattricks in Premier League, La Liga and Serie A #VivaChile

    Liked by 1 person

  27. and its our strikers that get all the stick

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  28. Well, well, well.

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  29. PG @ 6.30pm. Exactly – masterful display. He may not be the quickest on his feet but he makes up for it with quickness up top. 10/10 for anticipation.

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  30. Hope your mum had a good day too, steww.

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  31. Thanks dkg – we had a wonderful day then I came home to a game of pure entertainment. Proper football, everything I suggested in the final paragraph this morning.
    Oh and didn’t I say both Arteta and Flamini might play? Like a bloody psychic.

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  32. Per taking the ball off the striker’s toe was defensive highlight of the day for me, a deft touch of such deftness it redefined deftness but Theo was simply astonishing today. Hold up play? Tick. Strength? Tick. Speed? Tick. Terrifying defenders? Tick. Unbelievably intelligent movement? Tick. Goal? Tick. Combining with team mates? Tick.
    Who still says he can’t play the main striker’s role? People I respect were saying it long before he’d had a run of games. Now look at him.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. I get that brother. We have key players that have played in some hotly contested tournaments. Over worked not match fit whatever you wanna call it we haven’t been up to speed. We know for a fact that we will turn it around as Shotta pointed out. We did that today. Criticism of our attack has been fair and Wenger has admitted so. We are in a great position regardless of what these dunces on the internet say

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  34. “Per taking the ball off the striker’s toe was defensive highlight of the day for me, a deft touch of such deftness it redefined deftness but Theo was simply astonishing today. Hold up play? Tick. Strength? Tick. Speed? Tick. Terrifying defenders? Tick. Unbelievably intelligent movement? Tick. Goal? Tick. Combining with team mates? Tick.
    Who still says he can’t play the main striker’s role? People I respect were saying it long before he’d had a run of games. Now look at him.”

    wow!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Josh James ‏@JoshJJames78 4h4 hours ago
    Alexis Sanchez today became the 100th different player to score a hat-trick in Arsenal history

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  36. Long may Theo continue to surprise and make me eat my words.

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  37. stew, sir, your writing is pure class. reading your comment was as good as watching Per’s tackle itself heh.

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  38. We were due to thump someone and I feel kind of bad that it had to be Leicester. I wish it had been Chelsea or Stoke.

    Once Theo makes that striker position truly his own, I expect him to score oodles and oodles of goals. If he reaches the level he had when he made his debut against Tottenham, the game where he was injured, I’d be happy.

    BFG was majestic today. The way he organizes things in front of himself is amazing. Him and Mikel have some sort of telepathic understanding which makes our defence click.

    I’m glad Alexis scored a hat trick because he was atrocious in the first half hour of the game. He was giving the ball away and was disruptive going forward. After his first goal the sharpness started to kick in and he looked a completely different player.

    Peter Cech makes us stable. I don’t remember a moment today where the goalkeeper made me feel shaky. If we build on that stability, we’ll win the title.

    Mourinho’s bus is falling apart. Going by the result against Newcastle, he has lost the dressing room the same way he did with Madrid.

    I told people a long time ago that Zouma had nothing on Chambers. Now it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that Chambers is better than Zouma and Mangala. I think Chambers is one of the best young defenders in Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Oh, and Cesc was absolute shit today. I can see why Wenger told him to fuck off.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Thought it was going to be one of those days when Ramsey was hacked down from behind, denied a penalty and Leicester scored immediately from the resultant break down but what a come back. Nice to see our three strikers striking and it seems to me you have to be either incredibly thick or mischievously agenda driven not to count Alexis as a striker. Özil and Ramsey are getting close to hitting the net too and I can see them surprising a few with their productivity in the coming weeks. We are doing what we do best: gently going about our title challenging business under the radar.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Correction: According to Squawka We created 20 chances! Yes, 20 fucking chances. Now I recognize it is Leicester who are not set up to play it tight and keep players behind the ball but that amount of chances is fecking outrageous.
    And we looked more in control when that old piece of deadwood, hopeless DM, Mikel Arteta came on. He was always there to take the ball off the defence, circulate to either side with those perfectly angled chipped passes. Who needs a destroyer when you have a sleek, well-oiled machine to open up defenses with ease.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. glad the team goes onto man u game with a confident win…
    also sad it was Leicester we beat this way, we are die a big win… nice t repeat this versus man u with a clean sheet added

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  43. shotta I don’t think we created 40 chances today, I think there was 40 shots in the game overall, 26 from Arsenal and 14 from LCFC

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  44. I stand corrected by Edddy. Went to the source.

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  45. Oh law, I helped peeps today so missed the match, but I’ve now just finished watching it. I couldn’t close my mouth during the first half.

    So many unsung heroes out there for us. Sumptuous play Arsenal. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Ahh a bit late, but have to say that was quite a match. I felt the momentum changed when Arteta came on. Top man el capitan. And the Arsenal strikers grabbed 5. Nice weekend.

    Top preview post as usual Steww. Nice shout out to the rugby lads. That Japan-South Africa match was quite something. I was watching the England-Wales this morning for about the first 20 minutes – the crowd was immense, my Aussie commentary team couldn’t stop emphasising how loud it was. Really surprised England lost it in the end, they looked dominant in the opening stages.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Just reading this now and more is the delight, thank you master Stew for such wonderful work, for instance this ; “”Whatever the side and whatever the result I trust you will all enjoy a good hour and a half of top notch footballing entertainment.”…… “….but we can at least anticipate a few thrills, a couple of gut wrenching moments in defence and hopefully a few goals scattered throughout the ninety minutes.”….absolutely spot on. On the match, if all I had seen of the whole game was just that one Ozil’s pass to assist Sanchez it would still be enough to make my day, delightful.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. I feel somewhat smug this morning…

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  49. Morning Positivistas,

    The cooing and the gurgling new Post is up

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