Arsenal: Examination taken and passed


Dzǎo-anh Positivistas,

Sky and BT often blather on about the “superior quality/best in the world etc” of the Premier League with no apparent justification but in terms of entertainment that was a great contest last night. Congratulations to both teams and both managers for putting on a spectacle that gripped from the first whistle to the final seconds. Action packed, end-to-end. You name the cliché, this game had it. Technically the football was probably no better than 7/10 but whatever the game lacked in precision it made up for in sweat and a mutual desperation to finish ahead. Even the foul weather added to the drama !

Of the players in old gold picking out names from such an intense match is difficult, but I shall try. There may still be one or two out their purporting a knowledge of football who have their doubts about Joel Campbell but last night he stamped his excellence on the game with two beautifully weighted and directed passes for the opening and third goals. When Joel was not the creator he was tirelessly working, tracking, running, tackling and putting himself about. I get the impression he is a lot “tougher” than two months ago, much, much harder to knock off the ball, much quicker back on his feet. His combination with young Hector has flowered in recent weeks, and last night they presented with an unstoppable combination on our right flank.

The second name out of the hat must be Olivier Giroud. To lead the line against two large centre backs away from home is no easy task. The Frenchman had to content himself with scraps in the opening, but from those meagre pickings he made a tasty meal for first Aaron, then provided the deftest of flicks to leave the Liverpool keeper embarrassed as we pulled back level for the second time. Olivier’s goal in the 53rd minute was the pick of the night, and could be one of the best he ever scores in his career. Perfectly engineered movement to turn, to strike the ball and to place the shot into the far corner. Magnifique young man.

Olivier at Anfield

Of the home side I thought they were a credit to their club which are words that I could not have uttered on the evidence of their feeble Premier League form and watched them crumple at Vicarage Road a few weeks back. Firmino finally provided a clue as to why he cost almost £30 million in the Summer and while Henderson is the Nissan Micra equivalent to Mesut’s Mercedes Benz the Englishmen ploughed up and down all night to some effect.

What is perhaps baffling is Klopp’s reliance on Simon Mignolet who I thought should have done much better with two of our goals. And his cack-handedness is hardly a one off is it? The Belgian has made error after error in games for the Merseyside club ever since his arrival. In a world where league tables based upon snatches of data dominate could anyone direct me to the one which lists goalkeepers graded on points costing errors ? Mignolet would surely have dominated that unwanted competition season after season. By way of cross reference to the Liverpool keeping puzzle I checked Pepe Reina’s age. He is younger than Petr Cech. Nice one Brendan.

Overall a fair result, a point apiece on a night when had either side lost it would have been a cruel ending for such endeavour.

A test for our title credentials last night which we passed, another to come.

Onwards to the Potteries on Sunday and I am sure we are expecting another rollicking ( I think that is the word I am looking for ?) contest at the hands and probably the gloves of Sparky’s men.

Enjoy your Thursday.






120 comments on “Arsenal: Examination taken and passed

  1. Andy, Certainly a few comments about Dean at SJP on Untold, but no specific articles.
    Undoubtedly a few ref issues this week to say the least.
    Did notice Anthony Taylor warning that Jacob was walking a very tight line against Chelsea, the West Brom player was promptly substituted. Could be deemed a sensible piece of refereeing, but hardly read anything about it in the media…..maybe looking in the wrong places, but remember Lee Mason absolutely slated when he did the same with Coq against Palace last Aug….again I thought sensible as long as no leg breakers involved.
    May possibly be a ref review of the game yesterday coming up on UA, will be interested to see it, I thought the ref yesterday was not too bad, but others think very differently.
    The ref previews on UA are getting pretty uncanny….but a constant theme….rotational fouling allowed, and to repeat my last post, no penalties for Arsenal!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Agree Finsbury. Football is lagging behind, and I have never heard a convincing arguement as to why

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find Webb’s comments on the decisions during the games on BT illuminating – he mostly agrees with the decisions but where an error crops up he says so. The best thing is he can explain why decisions were made, including the wrong ones.

    If the officials were a little more willing to discuss their decisions they might get an easier ride.

    Mind you what would we have to talk about ?!??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The old “it adds spice to the game” defence? Clean bowled! Three splintered stumps up in the air!

    There’s no need to watch out for Dean.
    Because he’s very predictable in his, um, his considerations. Or interpretations. Game management is the in term I think. For quite a few years now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alas that croacking crow is no Dickie Bird.

    I wouldn’t insult the good and the great by even attempting to infer that he belongs to the same type of profession.


  6. < croaking


  7. Arsene Wenger “You want competition for places, that’s the only way players improve, I am a firm believer in this principle but you have to credit players like Olivier because he does not have a direct competitor but he improves every year if you look at Giroud, every year he has improved, with critics in France and England and he just gets on with his job but this does not mean I will overlook one of my players for someone who is valued to be £50m by the media “

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The times is reporting that Coquelin, Wilshere and Welbeck are back in first team training ahead of schedule

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Daley ‏@DaleyAFC 2h2 hours ago
    Obviously the song for #Elneny should be Let It Be by The Beatles. Bloody Watch Me Whip.


  10. Marca are reporting that Valencia and Villarreal are also now under investigation by FIFA for the same violations that Real and Atletico got transfer bans for.


  11. Wenger: “Welbeck is two to three weeks away and I am confident I will not find a better player than Welbeck on the market.”

    Liked by 1 person


    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match at Stoke City:

    on the team news…
    From Liverpool we have no injuries, so that’s good news.

    on whether Elneny will play…
    Elneny is available for selection, I haven’t decided yet [whether I will play him]. I have to see how everyone has recovered. Elneny is a possibility to be in the squad for Sunday.

    on Alexis…
    Alexis I would say has a 60:40 chance to be available and be back in the squad. He has two decisive days – Friday and Saturday. He is fit, he has worked very hard and the decision we have to take is whether to take a gamble or not on his injury.

    on Rosicky…
    Tomas needs first to have a game somewhere. We hope for maybe an under-21 game or at least a bit more training with the first team.

    Copyright 2016 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/20160115/team-news-alexis-rosicky-and-elneny#cAziJxxXGjOSQoz7.99

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Personally I always like it when Wenger gets behind a player whose been injured,he manages to instill a good feeling of self belief. As a player Danny must be chuffed to hear that kind of statement from your boss, if you been injured an out for a while its gives the old self esteem a booting, and instant expectations
    Heres to him coming out of the stalls and finding his passion for scoring straight away.
    Sanchez slowly coming back also, I bet hes itching like an itch to getting back on that pitch and smack in some magical goals again.Barca watch aht.
    The real icing on the cake will be after stuffing 5 – up the orcs, to then see King Mesut give Chelsea a good razzing tis time to give CFC a good beating too, the game earlier in the season was a farce,except it wasnt funny.
    Hope ye Positivists are doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Elneny to Arsenal, a transfer 8 months in the making, also Elneny had been doing fitness work with AFC strength and conditioning coach Sam Smith for 10 days before the deal was completed.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wenger’s comments about Wele are really gonna piss off the Twitts.
    £5m for Elneny is superb value (we hope). Suggestions he’ll be on £3.4m a year.

    Arsene can save the war-chest for the clearance sales after Euro 2016 when everyone is in the shop window and Real can’t buy.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Eddy’s link suggests the fee was significantly higher.
    If he’s worth it – he’s worth it.


  17. Arsenal U18’s play Swansea U18’s away in the FA Youth Cup this evening
    Arsenal Under-18 starting XI: Keto, Sheaf, Robinson, McGuane, Bielik, M.Bola, Reine-Adelaide, Bennacer, Malen, Mavididi, Willock
    substitutes: Phillips, Nelson, Eyoma, Da Graca, Mourgos

    due to injuries we once again start with a midfielder and winger in the fullback roles, and Bielik continues at CB, starting to look like that might be his positon in the future, lots of talented players not even in the squad, such as Dasilva, Fortune, Dragomir and Nketiah, showing that we have a strong squad, Nkeitiah is our top scorer in the U18 league with 11 goals, but Malen and Mavididi are ahead of him in the pecking order.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Swansea Under-18 starting XI: Thomas, Cooper, Quigley, Evans, Rodon, Jefferies, Lewis, Dyson, Cullen, James, Edwards
    substitutes: Davies, Treacy, Jones, Evans, Griffiths


  19. on an evening that our U18’s play in the FA Youth Cup it might bee worth mentioning that we should caution over judging just how far in the game any of the players will go, anyone remember the fuss among the AAA/WOB about 3 years ago when the very highly rated Alban Bunjaku left Arsenal for Seville, with the lad claiming he should be in the AFC first team, and many web warriors agreeing, well he failed to make an impact in Spain, and came back to England in 2014 to join Derby County, and again having failed to make an impact, he has been released by mutual consent.


  20. Bielik is captain of the youth team tonight, and he along with Reine-Adelaide and Bennacer have played for the first team this season, Chris Willock has been an unused sub

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 32s32 seconds ago
    Sheaf’s corner finds Malen at the back post unmarked and the striker makes no mistake from a few yards out! 1-0 (24) #AFCU18


  22. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 17s18 seconds ago
    Goal for @Arsenal Under-21s! Reine-Adelaide is the scorer! 2-0 (25) #AFCU18

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Jeeeeeefffffff!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. not too sure elneny costs as much as £10m+ being reported. if he’d cost that much, there wouldnt have been any issue with his work permit as the new work permit rule states that as long as a player is £10m, he’s authomatically qualified. but in neny’s case, it wasnt so.


  25. reports that one time England superstar Andros Townsend is joining Newcastle from spurs for £12M


  26. layksite that is what the rumors are, that to get over his initial work permit refusal Arsenal upped the fee, so as that he would get a work permit. some have it that its a total fee of £10M, including any add ons.


  27. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 1m1 minute ago
    Cullen flicks home Lewis’ cross past the outstretched Keto to pull one back for the hosts 2-1 (35) #AFCU18


  28. jeff is a gem! another gift from arsene to the arsenal.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. a Brentford player refuses to play v Burnley in this evening game, seemingly he would have played against any other side, but for as of yet unexplained reasons he would not play v Burnley.

    A statement on the matter from Brentdord FC
    The Club has issued a statement ahead of tonight’s Sky Bet Championship match with Burnley at Griffin Park.
    James Tarkowski will be the subject of internal disciplinary action after telling Head Coach Dean Smith that he did not wish to play against Burnley in tonight’s Sky Bet Championship match.
    Following discussions with Smith, Tarkowski declared himself unavailable for the fixture despite being selected in the starting line-up. As a result of these actions, he will be disciplined by the club.
    Any resulting sanction will remain confidential and the Club will make no further comment on potential punishment.
    Tarkowski has been the subject of transfer bids during the current January Transfer Window but none have matched the Club’s valuation of the player. In fact, all recent bids have been substantially lower than one that was rejected last year.

    Read more at http://www.brentfordfc.co.uk/news/article/club-statement-james-tarkowski-15.01.16-2903724.aspx#6uArpQjx5dj5Mlze.99

    Liked by 1 person

  30. edu
    that is totally unarsenal or unarsene. pay more than a player is worth just to get a work permit?


  31. Arsenal down to ten men as Robinson is given a straight red card 2-1 (44), a Swansea player was booked in the same incident.


  32. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 39s39 seconds ago
    HALF-TIME: Swansea City Under-18s 1-2 @Arsenal Under-18s #AFCU18


  33. Well, well

    After Ramsay and then Debuchy, we have the local press in Staffordshire , building up the tension!

    Shawcross, the innocent.

    Marko Arnautovic, scotfree.


    Liked by 1 person

  34. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 1m1 minute ago
    Goal for @Arsenal Under-18s! Mavididi restores the young Gunners’ two-goal advantage, poking home from close range 3-1 (84) #AFCU18

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 17s17 seconds ago
    The players return to the pitch to see out the rest of the match after Thomas had required medical attention 3-1 (84)


  36. Come on the kids!!


  37. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 41s41 seconds ago
    There will be 10 minutes of added time… 3-1 (90) #AFCU18


  38. Congratulations to the youth team on their 3-1 win onward and upwards


  39. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 1m1 minute ago
    Full time: Swansea Under-18s 1-3 @Arsenal Under-18s #AFCU18

    a hard fought win for the youths, having to play the entire second half a man down made it a backs to the wall performance,


  40. from jeorge bird

    Rate This

    FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

    Swansea City 1 Arsenal 3 (Malen, Reine-Adelaide, Mavididi)

    Screen shot 2016-01-15 at 20.58.01
    Arsenal survived a scare away to Swansea City this evening as they progressed to the Fifth Round of the FA Youth Cup despite playing the entire second half with ten men.

    The young Gunners established a two goal lead after Donyell Malen and Jeff Reine-Adelaide found the net in quick succession midway through the first half. However, Swansea reduced the deficit and Arsenal then found themselves at a numerical disadvantage when Tyrell Robinson was dismissed.

    Arsenal were required to produce some doughty defending in the second period, but they eventually added to their tally through Stephy Mavididi and will now face Coventry City or Charlton Athletic away in the next round.

    Arsenal ran out 5-2 victors when these sides met in the league just six days ago but none of the players who started for the young Gunners in that game were involved from the outset on this occasion.

    Kaylen Hinds and Chiori Johnson missed out through injury, with Reine-Adelaide, Ismael Bennacer, Chris Willock, Krystian Bielik and Ben Sheaf all named in a strong starting line-up.


    Sheaf-Bielik-M. Bola-Robinson


    Reine Adelaide-Mavididi-C. Willock


    Subs: Da Graca (for Malen, 46), Nelson (for Sheaf, 64), Mourgos (for C. Willock, 90+7)

    Not used: Phillips, Eyoma.

    For all the talent in Arsenal’s ranks it was Swansea who started the brighter of the two sides, with Robinson having to make an important intervention to cut out the danger in the early stages.

    Arsenal goalkeeper Hugo Keto then had to be alert to make a good save to deny Liam Edwards.

    Arsenal struggled to muster any sort of attacking momentum in the opening exchanges, with neither side helped by the weather conditions and a less than perfect playing surface.

    Swansea continued to dominate, with Ben Sheaf having to clear under pressure and Keto forced into another save after Bielik was dispossessed.

    Matters looked rather difficult for Arsenal at this point, but two quick-fire goals put the young Gunners in the ascendancy and ultimately dictated the outcome of the game.

    Firstly, Sheaf’s accurately delivered corner was turned in by Malen from close range, with the prodigious Dutch forward wheeling away in delight after scoring his ninth goal of the campaign in all competitions.

    Shortly after the restart the ball was in the back of the net again, and this time Reine-Adelaide was the scorer, with the Frenchman bursting downfield before finishing adroitly to make it 2-0.

    Mavididi then dragged a shot wide of the post as Arsenal sought to rubberstamp their lead.

    However, Swansea provided a reminder of their own attributes when Liam Cullen finished well past Keto to reduce the deficit.

    Sheaf came close to extending Arsenal’s advantage but their lead suddenly became rather less secure when Robinson received a straight red card for his involvement in an off the ball confrontation.

    Arsenal went into the break with their lead still intact, but Robinson’s dismissal gave them much to think about prior to the second-half.

    Centre-back Kristopher Da Graca replaced Malen at the start of the second half as Arsenal were forced into a reshuffle as a consequence of Robinson being sent off.

    Swansea looked to take advantage of the confusion in the Arsenal back-line, but Cullen could only shoot over the crossbar.

    Arsenal, perhaps as was to be expected given the circumstances, had much defensive work to attend to early in the second half, with Bielik making an important interception.

    Da Graca, who featured in the victory over West Bromwich Albion in the previous round, was then called into action as he made a vital clearance.

    There were some frantic moments for Arsenal, with Da Graca missing his kick and Keto having to gather the danger in one instance.

    Arsenal attempted to swing the momentum back in their favour by introducing Reiss Nelson, but Swansea continued to create chances with regularity, with centre-back Joe Rodon heading over.

    For much of the second half Swansea seemed far more likely to score the next goal, but ultimately it was Arsenal who would find the net through Mavididi in the 84th minute and confirm their place in the next round of the competition.

    There were ten minutes of additional time after Swansea goalkeeper Lewis Thomas required medical attention, with an outfield player having to go in goal as the Welsh side had used all of their substitutions.


  41. “Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin all took part in training on Friday, and although not currently match-fit, each are expected to be ready for the first team at some point throughout February.”



  42. Double Canister: Welcome Elbusquets.

    I thought the same thing. Tall, can pass and runs for ages.


  43. isn’t it odd that with all the ITK around none of them knew anything about Charlie Austin joining southampton,

    wait till the WOB/AAA find out about that deal, they will link it to Wenger’s “I will not find better than Welbeck on the market” comments, there will be outrage.


  44. Interesting factoid I spotted in the paper this morning

    “No team that has ever successfully won the PL title has lost that season at the Britannia”

    No pressure then


  45. Jebus A5, are you trying to scare us. In future anyone finding negative factoids please keep them a secret I’m not very good at handling pressure.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Arsenal U18’s beat Leicester City U18’s 3-1 today.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. the U16 game was a 4-0 win to Arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

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