Arsenal: No end product


Good morning Positives,

It is always disappointing to go out of a Cup competition at the quarter final stage. To lose to the neighbours, at home, and with our opponents clearly, in my view, a step ahead of us for most of the contest is particularly galling. The evening started brightly. That our talismanic referee Jonny Moss was in charge augured well before kick off. I think both sides played the best teams they had available. Attacking wise AFC and TH bristled with quality. Unfortunately our injury list left us under-equipped in defensive personnel compared to the visitors.

The outcome of the evening pivoted on a handful of key moments.

It was a far more even opening that the NLD at the start of the month. However, as then, we could/should have been at least one goal ahead by the twelfth minute but two good chances were not converted. Totties were evidently keen to exploit our high-press and perceived defensive fragility and, as if by malign magic, a stumble by Sokratis created an opportunity for Son to fire them into the lead. One shot, one goal.

We did not however panic and commendably snapped back into the game. We controlled the ball and territory. The Totties looked deadly on the break. From that point on in the first half, and much of the second half, we huffed and we puffed to recover an equaliser. To their credit, and far more successfully than three weeks ago, Tottenham threw their bodies in and hustled and bustled us backwards and sideways. We struck the posts, we skied shots, we won corners but each was stoutly defended. The longer the game went on the less likely it looked we would score. Our usual second-half-rush fizzled out.

The impact of a poor second goal clearly made the steep hill we needed to climb to get back into the game that much more vertical, but  it was a night when it looked to me we  were unlikely to get a single goal. In respect of the circumstances of he second goal I presume, indeed I hope, there is a great deal of shouting, pointing and angry words this morning at Colney. It was fucking ridiculous.

As was the plastic bottle.

A strange factoid though; Paulo Gazzaniga is the first Spurs goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet away at Arsenal in any competition since November 1998, when Espen Baardsen did so at Highbury. Espen Baardsen eh ?

Anyway, the last time we lost two games in a row was August. Our first game after those losses to Citeh and Chels we played against the claret and blue clad ‘Ammers, on Saturday at home,  who we beat comfortably. After that we went 22 games unbeaten. We play Burnley on Saturday. You can probably see where I am going here.

And finally, as it is almost holiday time enjoy the big feller cavorting with his fans before last night’s contest. DuzaPSSW0Ags811-1.jpg



26 comments on “Arsenal: No end product

  1. our finishing last night, just like at the weekend was poor, real good chances have to be taken in tight games.
    I think for me the most disappointing thing about last night was that we had no response, when it went 2-0 there was still 30 minutes to play, but we had nothing, no urgency, no energy, no cunning, no one to step up with a piece of brilliance, we seemed to just plod along and accept the defeat, there was none of the throw the kitchen sink at them kind of late charge.
    Last season the malcontents would have said the manager had lost the players, and had no plan B. But its a new guy and its “for tactical reasons” is enough to keep everything rosy in the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. in less than two weeks time Cech, Ramsey, Monreal and Welbeck, and I think Lichtsteiner too, can sign pre contract agreements with foreign clubs to move to them on a Bosman frees in the summer. The new regime feels very much like the old regime.


  3. a little rumor that Ramsey’s agent was at London Colney earlier this week, could mean talks are back on, or it could mean rambo might be leaving in January. I do hope its that talks have resumed


  4. I hope they do eddy. If they do then then unlike the “old regime” we won’t have to put up with six months of uninformed speculation in mainstream and on social media about “will he/won’t he?? ” sign a contract.


  5. “a little rumour”

    What did I just say HAHAHAAHa ?!!?


  6. Many thanks to anicoll5 for the anicoll5 Emirates rodeo round up.
    Wasnt much of a yee har game, but, we havent sunk that low yet, despite the trick of our minds giving it the big John Laurie.
    Look how the mind wants to know about Mesut, and cant find out, so it searches in all sorts of crevices to make a equation.

    Gunnersaurus is positive, as from the meeting with his positive friends above shows. Got to keep positive!

    Thanks again.



  7. well when I say little rumor, its fairly reliable that his agent was at London Colney this week, what for is the unknown.


  8. At least I met Gunnersaurus… there’s always a positive.

    Having said that, through the game, I certainly felt that at half time they 1-0 score line could easily have been either way and we were not as poor as many around me were suggesting.

    League cup… only remember the finalists last year because we were one of them ..Onward to Saturday

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It might not look like it , but my bottom lip is the size of a banana with biting it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Very good summary; especially helpful for those only having a radio to hand for the game.

    Having gone so long undefeated only to lose to lowly Southampton seems to have shrouded the team in a kind of sporting hangover one often sees after an interlull.

    It’s almost as if they didn’t want the extra two games in January …

    Can’t bring myself to cry over the Carabou (or whatever it’s called this year), our focus has to be PL and EL and in these our injuries and ‘players out of favour’ tally continues to grow, somewhat alarmingly.

    The conventional wisdom holds there are few players of note available in January but we just have to hope this year proves the exception. Playing Xhaka in defence has evidently opened up the dam in midfield and we need to be able to get away from robbing Paul to pay Mary (or however that phrase goes).

    Ozil’s absence continues to concern; how ironic it would be if it turns out HE is available for purchase in January?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How about a Ramsey-Eric Bailly type swop deal with United? Hell they can have Ozil on loan too as long as they pay all or most of his wages.


  12. At half time and for the opening 15 of the second half it looked more likely we would get the next goal Steve. We switched off for a moment and were then firmly punished. Even your big green mate could have got closer to Alli or put in some sort of challenge on Kane to thwart the Tottie second strike.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Not sure what will turn up with Ozil at the moment David. Conceivably a move in January but it seems more likely to Europe, Inter or even back to Madrid, than another PL club.


  14. Quite right;


  15. Anicol

    That personnel- Xhaka in defence, Kos just back- you reckon or a problem with system which allowed goal like their 2nd?

    Expertly executed but eeurgh.

    As often just a nasty blur in the match when it happens and I tend not to watch replays straight after. (Mind is elsewhere, cursing).

    But the replays afterwards: just a ball lofted over the two deeper mids, Kane pulls short and ball sticks with him as often does, time to turn, Xhaka comes but can’t get there; then it’s Kos vs Alli in acres of space, advantage attacker, with Kos maybe not totally sure where Alli is, or the ball makes it look that way. Good ball and he’s clean through with Kos nowhere near him.

    Is that just how we play, and at 1-0 down it’s a race against time for us to get our goal before they nail a break? Would some super Van Dijkian athletes in defence be more likely to stop it?

    I dunno. Not the end of the world, performance or result, and I guess not unique to be susceptible to killer 2nd on break when pushing for an equaliser, but that vulnerability to one pass behind is something I struggle to accept.

    In general, though maybe it’s just recent games looming large, we seem to have problem with fast attacking players who can dribble : Son twice and bloody Redmond as well.

    Might be ok with Burnley on that front.


  16. Excellent and measured as usual ANic. Thanks for that.

    As Rich said on previous thread, nothing nice about the losing feeling after an unbeaten four month run – so yeah.

    Two games now that our the infamous second half performances didn’t bail us out of whatever we couldn’t get going in the first half. Think it goes without saying that we have to nib that in the bud.

    Özil’s absence due to “tactical reasons” is an interesting one because neither Burnley nor Brighton in our next two are less physical than the likes of most PL sides. I’m a bit worried concerned too that whatever Xhaka and Torreira have build are being undone by practically breaking their pairing up.

    Does Gendouzi, Iwobi and Mkhi really bring more to the party than Ramsey and Öz because the three of them hardly gets any rest. With Danny and Rob already out, we are spreading ourselves very thin using Ramsey and Özil sparingly.

    If I didn’t read it on the beeb I wouldn’t even knew VAR was in use last night. I do wonder how much Sian Massey-Ellis being on on VAR duty played on Jonny Moss’ mind in his blatant refusal to refer incidents to her when during the Liverpool vs Spurs game last season he was in discussion with people he had no business being in discussions with to make sure he left no stone upturned to ensure the “correct” decisions were being made.

    Anyhow, lemme go search for pics to see if there’s any sign of life of the Greek kid… who suddenly looks like a very important signing.


  17. If we had managed to get the equaliser Rich during the opening 15 minutes of the 2nd half I think the Totties would have crumbled Rich. Ifs and buts etc ….

    What I did not understand on the Alli goal was a) the extraordinary distance that Kosc was from the Spurs player when he collected the ball from Kane, the Frenchman was not in touch with the game at all, and b) where was everyone else ?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. anicol

    Yeah. not sure what a defender in Kos situation should be doing there. Presumably it’s watching Alli from moment it’s clear Kane will be bringing ball down, and trying to position himself for race when ball comes. Expect that’s hard, and attacker has big edge as they are running forward.

    That’s sort of my issue though. If it can be nigh on impossible to stop someone in that situation, what to make of it when it’s so predictable that sort of situation is likely to arise?

    Not sure where Socrates was but both Torreira and Guendouzi probably where they are meant to be in build up- ahead of half way line- and missing wing backs probably where they are meant to be,too, high up pitch.

    I’ve always been same though, with difficulty accepting what an acceptable level of defensive risk is for us as an attack-minded team (on a big but not the biggest budget).


  19. On the defending thing, made a big impression on me in last year’s CL final the way 2 or 3 situations opened up where Madrid were short of numbers at back and only full pelt sprints from Ramos and Varane and perfectly timed last-ditch defending saved day.

    The juicing is probably a real help with that but my main takeaway was that team who won historic three CL’s in a row were set up in a way that meant the two centre back’s needed to be very fast, sharp and top,top quality. Previously they’d had Pepe who was the same.

    The other main one to look at is City. Ominously, to make Pep’s way successful they paid enormous sums- 50 mill apiece- for two powerhouse athletes at full back, a hefty fee-25- for a reserve, then 50 and 60 mill young powerful centre backs on top of the 35 mill one already there, Kompany, and the 45 million dud. Yikes.

    Attacking, top end football arguably places an even bigger emphasis on getting first rate athletic defenders, who can also play, than it does getting in top attackers.

    A more defensive or defend and counter style paradoxically may not place such huge demands on having great individual defenders.


  20. I’d forgotten Bellerin was injured too. That’s a big blow as he has been magnificent this season. How careless of the new regime to lose so many defenders. Almost as if this playing it out from the back makes them vulnerable.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. All goes to show how good Xhaka is, in MF anyway


  22. The physical demands placed on wingbacks is well above that of the good old style full back. They have to be a combination of tricky winger, resolute defender and tactically switched on for 95 minutes. Brains and brawn. Hector is getting there, Nacho had it and Sead is developing too. Not sure about Stephan as a tricky winger though – old dogs etc.


  23. How many games have arsenal won without xhaka in the middle with torreira since both of them established their partnership. It seems it’s more important than any other things that xhaka is brought back into the middle alongside torreira.
    Again this new regime with all the good they might have done,really messed things up with the defense in the summer.to think that holding became our best defender says a lot. Why did they loan chambers out? He is better than Socrates at least in the air which has become our weak point this season.


  24. I think the club lent Chambers out because they had just signed the experienced Sokratis, had Mustafi, fancied Holding was a better prospect in central defence, and anticipated Mavropanos would return to fitness in September although the youngster suffered a second and more serious injury that month Layks. With Kosc due back in late Autumn it did not seem to me Callum would get much football.

    I do not see why the club “messed things up” therefore.

    I am not really sure Chambers had ever made a case for a starting centre back role at the Ems. When he arrived at Fulham he could not get a game and it is only since being moved to midfield he has been playing regular football at Craven Cottage.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. As a general point I don’t think the defensive problems at AFC necessarily down to personnel and if we brought player X or did not lend out player Y our defensive frailty would evaporate. We have good defenders and, on occasions, they have shown themselves as capable of parking the bus and grinding out a result as the most dour of our opponents. There are however too many instances of the same players turning into a collective quivering mass of indecisive jelly with even the most experience of them making simple and entirely avoidable errors.

    Liked by 1 person

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