Arsenal: Thursday Night at the Fights


Good morning all Positives far and near,

A rather teeth sucking evening I admit. I had assumed the job ‘done’ at 3-0 but fair play to the Swedes who came along to their biggest game ever and gave their best, scored two and might have nicked a third.  70 seconds of poor concentration on 22/23 minutes and there was a hint of a wobble on the pitch, and the usual hysteria off it. After a few minutes of concern however the good ship Arsenal righted itself, by half time the panic was contained and we sailed on to the draw for the Round of 16 this lunchtime. Irrespective of which team we draw in the next knockout stage last night emphasised that to be sure of progressing we need to approach every game in the ‘right’ way, with no complacency that the job is already done,  with a strong team and an experienced bench.

Of our lads Sead did well, and Ospina had a good work out before Sunday. The disappointing thing was our failure to create good chances.  I am pleased that Arsene did not remove Chambers and/or Holding after their shaky first half as we had Mustafi and Nacho on the bench and it would have been an easy switch. Both our young centre backs need to  learn and they won’t learn very much if thy are substituted after 45 minutes.

I shall just call it a forgettable game and leave it there. For the visitors a marvellous night which  they thoroughly enjoyed. Was it 4,500 of their fans in the Clock End, almost a tenth of the town’s total population !?!  Oh for the simple pleasures.


Enjoy Friday !


Comment navigation

← Older Comments

57 comments on “Arsenal: Thursday Night at the Fights

  1. problem was that you weren’t the only one to think the tie was over after the first leg, too many of the players clearly thought so too. Once again we are talking about them learning from their mistakes and approaching each game “the right way”. Some of our players seem to in the remedial class when it comes to learning from past mistakes.

    once again we have Wenger and our captain for the night, Wilshere, admitting that the team lacked the proper attitude, that they under estimated the opponents, lacked focus, lacked concentration, they felt the tie was over.
    We hear this way too often. We started with 9 full internationals and 2 u21’s, we have a cup final on Sunday, this was a great chance for some of them to force their way into the reckoning, maybe just the sub bench even, but can we really say anyone done anything like enough to make a case for inclusion on Sunday.
    Do the players feel that they are either sure to play no matter what, or feel that regardless of how they play, they won’t dislodge a regular starter. As that is what it looks like to me.

    Simple question, has Wenger actually “dropped” a player(first choice) this season, a first choice player not injured, other than when we changed formation. Has anyone been dropped for poor performance. Honestly I can’t at the moment think of it happening once this season. And yesterday was our 11th defeat in just 41 games.


  2. Great point about our young CBs Andy, I was thinking that very thing at halftime

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I think he has dropped Lacazette eddy – from a great height with the signing of PEA !!

    We don’t score enough goals. Steps had to be taken.


  4. I am a bit cautious about too much self flagellation. Not a great performance but we got through against a team who were an unknown quantity. 12 months ago, at exactly the same stage of the competition, our esteemed neighbours using an entirely first choice team messed up a similar tie against the equally anonymous Gent (or was in Genk?)

    A good thrashing builds character, but let us not overdo the whip.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Didn’t see the game but, as always, A5’s report seems to be a pretty good wrap.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happily, seeing the team news from Ed, I decided to record so to watch 6 or 7 goals after a good kip. Ho, ho. 2 minutes of the highlights was all that was needed..

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It is very confusing Andy but fortunately the internet contains some useful information:

    “Complacent Arsenal” did not go out against:

    Koninklijke Atletiek Associatie Gent
    (formed 1864! Blimey!)
    – Royal Athletic Association Ghent also known as De Buffalo’s (Buffalo? in Flanders?)

    nor did they go out against:

    Koninklijke Racing Club Genk
    (formed 1988)

    If only if “Complacent Arsenal” (three days before a cup final!) were as well managed and deeeeeeeeeeefensivley drilled as the mighty Spurs eh? Think i might need to take a drill to my own head if i hear another soul describe these pumped up diving cloggers as being a good football team. Half decent, maybe, but they ain’t got any baubles to take up the ‘good’ mantle I’m afraid…for all the self flagellators out there, the masticating podcasters, we should kindly inform them all according to the data (the record) that: Tottenham are still sh*t. Sorry.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Step up to the standard expected and remain employed @ the Arse.
    If you can’t, we will sell. End of.
    Any more of these types of performances by season’s end and we might be looking at another boatload of expunged players in the summer.
    Too many academy-trained players seem to have an EA Sports spoon-fed view of reality on the pitch. I was so disappointed.
    Only Elneny validated his wages in that first half.
    Wilshere, Bellerin, Welbeck, Chambers, Kolasinac, AMN, Holding.. were crap.
    I shall not continue.
    We have a cup final to win.
    And we have Nacho Monreal.


  9. we will sell = AW will sell…(he’s not going out like a wimp in the last year of his contract)


  10. Milan it is then !!


  11. Should be fun…. another return to the San Siro


  12. Last-16 draw in full

    Lazio v Dynamo Kiev
    RB Leipzig v Zenit St Petersburg
    Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow
    CSKA v Lyon
    Marseille v Athletic Bilbao
    Sporting Lisbon v Viktoria Plzen
    Borussia Dortmund v FC Salzburg
    Milan v Arsenal


  13. Not quite the mighty club of old when we beat them at the San Siro but a tough obstacle.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Milan on the 8th and the 2nd leg on the 15th March

    Odd still be in Europe in March !

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Odd times indeed anicoll, just woke up from a 10 year coma to see Arsenal playing on Thursdays ??…whats the word coming to?


  16. Would have been good to have Lacazette back before we faced any of the favourites .But still, I love a challenge.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. They can be quite rough – we shall need a strong referee;


  18. He got the ball but there was a ‘contact’


  19. Will Milan tear up their pitch again to slow down our attackers?

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Eduardo, thanks for calling my comments on the last last post “bollocks”.

    I thought this was a place where we were respectful towards each other whether we agree or not. I don’t mind that you have a different view to me but I don’t appreciate being slapped down in that way. Perhaps you should channel your “passion” in a less aggressive manner since no amount of ranting on an online forum is going to change anything

    Liked by 5 people

  21. “bollocks” !

    We shall have no bollocks on here to fellow members of the Positively Arsenal Club


  22. If passenal was talking bollocks, that will be a first.
    Every team, City and Barca included, pass back to the goalkeeper. Last night Holding and Chambers did it a lot, and yeas, it was likely the fear of making an error .
    So I agree with Passenal.
    Not a first btw.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Lovely clean tackle from Flamini.

    We’ll have to be wary of the Milan manager when we play them. Gattusso was one crazy MF

    Liked by 2 people

  24. You know what I don’t like? How many times I’ve read “Östersunds were fantastic, but Arsenal were abysmal”.

    Shouldn’t it be one or the other? If I were an Östersunds I’d be miffed that the best result in the club’s history happened because the other team was shit. It makes the praise sound disingenuous if it’s just setting up a dig at the bigger club.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Coyle and Benson star as Arsenal U18s thrash Brighton
    by jeorge bird

    U18 Premier League

    Arsenal 5 (Benson 48, Coyle 62 (pen), 81, Saka 74, Olowu 86) Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Onen 45)

    Arsenal U18s, inspired by Trae Coyle and Josh Benson, produced an impressive display to come from behind and beat Brighton & Hove Albion 5-1 at home in the league today.

    Having been beaten by rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League Cup last weekend, Arsenal were determined to return to winning ways.

    Coach Kwame Ampadu made four alterations to his side, with Vontae Daley-Campbell, Tobi Omole, Robbie Burton and Bukayo Saka replacing Zak Swanson, Harry Clarke, Matt Smith and Jordan McEneff.


    Daley Campbell-Olowu-Omole-Thompson




    Subs: Swanson (for Olayinka, 66), McEneff (for Saka, 79), Clarke (for Daley-Campbell, 79). Not used: Barden, M. Smith

    Arsenal sought to cause problems for Brighton in the first half, but it was the visitors who took the lead just before the break when Jayden Onen, who was released by the Gunners last year, headed the ball past Joao Virginia.

    The young Gunners showed renewed determination in the second half and soon clawed themselves level when Benson found the net.

    Thereafter, Arsenal took control of the game and they went ahead when Coyle scored from the penalty spot.

    Arsenal continued to push forwards and added further to their lead as schoolboy Bukayo Saka made it 3-1.

    Coyle then got the goal of the game with a sweet strike after being teed up by Benson and there was still time for defender Joseph Olowu to get his first goal at this level and add further gloss to the scoreline.

    The win sees Arsenal apply pressure on league leaders Chelsea, who are three points above them with a game in hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. sorry passenal if i have offended you, it was not intended, but my point about passing back to the keeper having nothing to do with the age of our CB’s, still stands, we have been doing it all season with Mustafi and Koscielny in the team. For me when we play at a slow tempo like last night our CB’s don’t have the passing options required, our midfield and forwards just do not make themselves available for the pass, and too often when they do they just pass it backwards anyway.
    Arsenal game is all about tempo and speed, and I have yet to see us play well when our tempo and passing speed is slow. Wenger has even mentioned it himself this season, that we need a high tempo to our play for it to work properly.
    Why our players so often seem unable to raise their tempo is a mystery to me, and going by AW comments after lots of games, it is to him too.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. you couldn’t make it up, Alexis is playing poorly for Man Utd, is Arsenal’s fault, as he had switched off as he waited for his move. The english journos just can’t bring themselves to be critical of Jose.


  28. birdkamp. I’ve noticed Arsenal never beat a team that plays well. Odd that?

    Liked by 6 people

  29. BK

    There is a strong pattern to our medias coverage of the Arsenal that isn’t reflected on other clubs e.g.: the mighty Tottenham Hostspur when they crashed out of the same competition against Gent, or was it Ghenk?! One or the other. I’m hoping it was the club formed in 1988 just a couple of years before the Mughty Tottenham Hotspur last one a major trophy…

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Corluka recovered from that challenge ok? To sign for ‘Arry again? (L.O.L.)

    Worst challenge I can dredge up from an AFC player from my limited and damaged memory was Diaby with his late lunge on Snjeider. Still wasn’t that high or at very fast speed, I think. Six month ligament strain recovery period I recall. His career did not completely change course, he was certainly not kicked out of his league like some other pros (plural as in many not singular) that I can mention.


  31. PG, they kind of do when we “break the hearts” of a brave team in the last minute after they’ve been camped out in front of their box and wasting time since the first whistle. But in those matches we also play badly.

    If they play like that for the rest of the season they’ll be fine, and all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. < Corluka is captain of Locamotive Moscow.
    They're still in the Europa but have Madrid next so unlikely to see them as opponents if the Arsenal get past Milan.


  33. FP, see I don’t know. Spurs are definitely darlings at the moment, there’s no doubt about that. It’s got to be about having a couple of England talents, but they get a free ride.

    But traditionally they are a club with their own derisive adjective, Spursy. That one’s used universally as well. It’s really only since Pochettino that they’ve been treated so lightly, even though they’re now Spursier than ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. BK

    That you note the difference from before and after is a reflection of what we’ve all seen.

    What this observation tells us all is that they have become media darlings. So, no one is denying that. It’s not a debate!

    If you like then you can ignore Tottenham and compare with other media darlings Liverpool, Utd, etc…

    The Arsenal are not the media darlings of the kind of media that were attacking the The Arsenal’s local MP this week till they saw a copy of a letter from his solicitor sent to a Twatter who happened to be a prominent and powerful politician.

    I for one am happy to not receive support from such creatures.

    But, for sure, I would pretend to myself that it isn’t going on. That would or just be weird but would also result in some…LOLs.


  35. < would not pretend…


  36. Anyway hope you all have a great Saturday.

    See you all on Cup final day.

    The first Wenger Guardiola final. Honours are not uneven so far (amazing for someone who doesn’t do “tactics” eh?) but this one may tip the balance one way or another.

    Exciting times!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. < sorry I'm. So vague could've summarised the above as:

    "The Arsenal are not the media darlings of the media that own the broadcasting rights."

    Not an opinion.


  38. More sinister machinations, FP! This escalated a good old moan about boring journalism and commentary tropes to something much more dangerous.

    I thought you were on about Ben Bradley and Corbyn. Ben Bradley is a shit. He can fuck off.

    I like you though. Never change.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. We can beat City on this game, we do well on these occasions, but we need the defence switched on in a big way, and yes, we do sometimes do that in big games, is this a game to play three at the back?


  40. Mandy, might indeed be a game for 3 @ the back especially if with Iwobi and Rambo not all there. Kolasinac might be needed to add more steel and overlap to complement the front 3 and allow Nacho sprinkle his dust. Even Sead is not fully fit either and with a team devoid of AL9 and Mkhi7 we are going to need to be at our spiritual best .


  41. I also missed the last game and it wasn’t even covered on the radio so can’t comment too much on what did and did not come to pass. But particularly appreciative of Andy’s write up, thanks for that.

    Safe to say, the season’s turning into a lengthy head-scratcher although if I’m honest my hopes weren’t high when we ‘failed’ to sell Sanchez last summer. Given the importance of a great ‘pre-season’, all the disruption of old players out, some new in, it’s hardly surprising things are a bit all over the place this year. Our evident inconsistency is the price we are paying for our previous, unresolved circumstances.

    It pains me to say it but Wenger’s entire era at AFC was hallmarked by an expectation (on my part) that we had a chance to beat anyone put in front of us – and that included the giants of Spain and the minnows of Scandinavia and beyond – and this season, that expectation has largely disappeared. It’s been replaced by more measured hope, which is probably a much more grown-up way to approach the game.

    On the upside, we appear to be assembling an awesome squad and next season my expectancy levels will doubtless return to the stratospheric levels of old

    And talking of upsides, my joy is hard to confine (not that I’m trying hard at all) that Sanchez’ arrival at Manure is causing as much disruption to a relatively settled squad as he achieved in his short tenure in North London.

    My anger at his Arsenal shenanigans (not to mention his sheer greed) are such that I’d say with minimum grace that he, Jose and debt-wracked Manure all deserve each other.

    And whilst we may take a little time to recover from his time with us, MU are stuck with him for years, and will have to pay circa £600k per month for the privilege.

    Couldn’t happen to a more ghastly club, could it?

    As for Sunday?

    2-0 to The Arsenal, but more in hope than expectation, if I’m brutally honest.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. A well articulated and sobering post AA, cannot disagree with any of it.
    This is a club and manager who seem to thrive on some level of stability, we haven’t had that.
    Alexis did some good things for us no doubting, and whilst none of know what happens at Colney, if a fraction of the things we have heard about his behaviour are true, then he may well have been beyond disruptive, that creates ructions if he gets away with things that other , perhaps lesser players resent. Not sure how you deal with someone like that other than get rid.
    Then, there is the sense that things will change at the club, this could be wengers last contract, a time of upheaval to say the least. Shouldn’t really affect players, but they are human, and it , by wengers admission had a negative impact last year.
    The club just have to do what they are doing, build a squad, address clear issues, and move forward the best they can, and of course have someone teach the team to defend!
    As for tomorrow, no offence to the excellent Cech, but I predict cometh the hour, cometh Ospina, penalties could play a part.

    Liked by 3 people

  43. BK
    Some could feel that an arseblagging plundit like Phillipe Auclair describing Danny Rose as one of the best FBs in Europe is sinister. Others would say comical.

    My thoughts on the matter sway towards the latter as per my previous comments. At first I didn’t feel like I was someone who should be lampooning these gibbering monkeys given my lack of knowledge and experience of professional football but when they started masticating over Danny Rose I remembered that:

    The greatest satirist in modern Britain, Steve Coogan, created his most succesful satire from the inspirational football plunditry he was observing. Alan Partdrige is a creation that is both sinister and comical. And he’s very popular! Think there’s a new series coming out soon.

    Good satire I’m sure we can agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. FP,

    *warning, Spurs praise ahead*

    I think Pochettino does appear to be a good manager. Now, that hasn’t translated into trophies, to my amusement, but he’s got a team punching above its weight in a league where wage bills tend to tally with position. He did this with SFC as well.

    Which is a preface for this: Bog-standard players can look good when they’re in functioning teams. Thinking of Bielsa actually, another guy who builds consistent but trophy-less sides.

    Imbula and Thauvin, Beausejour…and who was the Chilean right back at QPR? They were all disasters in the PL but looked really good in his teams.

    Eric Dier man. He’s fucking ordinary, but the team makes him better. Alli, even: He’s capable of moments of inspiration, but is he England quality? Barely squad level. I think it was one of many problems with Hodgson’s 2016 side. It was crammed with these players who are useful components in other systems, but not standout talents in their own right.

    I think when watching teams that are greater than the sum of their parts (cliche), it’s easy to be fooled into rating players who aren’t all that. I don’t find Auclair to be remotely insightful, so it’s no surprise he fell for it.

    This is recherche but the best pundit I know is Diego Latorre, also a former player. He works for Fox Sports in Latin America (!) and has a thing for Arsenal and AW (though he’s faltered a little this season). It’s in Spanish (I’m very cosmopolitan, you know), but he’s one of those guys that reminds you why you like football when he talks about it. There aren’t many like that over here.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. For about four years his bio read: “Wengerista, Federerista y Riquelmista”.

    I was thinking, now that’s a man after my own heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. BK

    As per my comments in recent weeks I have the strong impression that there probably are more then one or two players in the championship who are better footballers then Alli.
    Perhaps these players need to change agents!!

    Personally I wouldn’t give the credit for all those pelanty calls to the Tottenham manager. Others may choose to do so. But of course if you’ve been following the blog you’ll have read that we all acknowledge that MP is an ok manager, of an ok team. That have been outperformed in the league and the cups by the Arsenal. Who can forget the season where they “put the pressure on” and finished behind AFC. Not sure I’d point to 5th place over 6th as being of any significance but that won’t stop the likes of those out there who attempted to praise the clownish clogger Rose even after we’d all seen Rozza target this hapless clogger game after game after game. Not forgetting that Tottenham have played better football with the LB who made the Euro SF in the team as opposed to the one who wowed us all against Iceland. It’s too funny when you think about it.

    There are good English plundits. Thanks to Limestonegunners Quest for Justice (or perhaps it was just a quest for something above the level of imbecility) we can all enjoy Adrian Clarke, Arsenal Column who only recently left the blagger’s stable, there’s Michael Fox who is always interesting. If one simply ignores those who own the broadcasting rights and their sychophants and hangers on there are still some decent pundits out there worth having a listen to.

    We have no requirement to ignore our own decent pundits and ignore them like the big footy plundits and broadcasters who spent decades ignoring Andrew Jennings’ work, someone who deserves the title Journalist though his fellow pros appeared to be scared of that genteel and jovial soul.

    There’s not much wrong with laughing at and lampooning our self-inflated plundits.
    If it’s good enough for Steve Coogan and Harry Enfield then I’d suggest that we’re in good company.


  47. That Southampton squad under MP had some good players? I had that impression.
    They’ve sold a few of them but I wouldn’t complain if AFC could snag Bertrand this summer. Not the best LB in Europe haha but certainly the best English LB and unlike MP and Tottenham he has the baubles to prove it. Always been impressed when I’ve seen him play Football.

    Did Southampton follow the model set by AFC? That’s a club/squad I would enjoy comparing with The Arsenal as the squads of both have developed over the last several years, as opposed to some overspending (Sissoko, Soldado etc) underachieving overhyped diving cloggers.


  48. When Utd splurged all that Wonga on the rookie Shaw (and two other LBs at the same time!!!?????) and not the consistent Bertrand you had to laugh.

    It is: what it is.
    Each to their own but I’m not sure why anyone would pretend or choose to ignore that this stuff as per Shotta’s last article doesn’t happen in the sport. Not when it can be so funting funny!!


Comment navigation

← Older Comments

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: