Arsenal: Here be Dragons


@LaboGoon says …..

Good day one and all.

Arsenal host Cardiff at the Emirates Stadium in a match that will have huge implications at both ends of the Premier League table; while the Gunners hope to maintain a push for Champion League qualification, the Bluebirds are aiming to move clear of the relegation trapdoor.

When these teams met earlier this season Arsenal won 3-2 in a game, it has to be said, we hung on for large parts as Cardiff threw everything at us trying to at least take a point. I’m not too sure though if that is going to provide the away fans any comforts because the Bluebirds’ form on their travels are nothing to put on a postcard and write home about. From 11 away games they took back to the Welsh capital just 5 points, which compounded by the fact that Arsenal have won 14 of their last 17 home PL matches… can I just say I do hope they enjoy the sights and sounds of London.

Now does that mean I think the match will be cakewalk for the Gunners, not at all but I do think we will find a way to get a result even if we have to drag ourselves over the line – especially considering our home form against teams outside the top-six.

The FA Cup defeat to Manutd in front of the Emirates faithful may have knocked the wind from some of our sails, but Unai Emery always seem to put a team out that gets a result when our backs are up against the wall following a poor result. Anything but will be if the players go in with their heads elsewhere. Thus they need to be focused, not get ahead of themselves and be careful not to be caught out from a counter-attack… again. Let the Emirates crowds’ confidence carry them.

There’s no need for apprehension ahead of the game, Cardiff haven’t exactly been slaying dragons. They have lost each of the seven game against the top-six opposite thus far, conceding 25 goals in the process. In their 11 games on the road they average one goals scored every two games and two goals conceded each game.

Arsenal go in the match a bit thin at the back due to injury. So we might see young Mavropanos selected tonight – be it as a starter or the bench remain to be seen. In the few games we saw of him toward the end of last season it looks as if there’s a good defender in there that can’t wait to pop out. Mesut Özil too may get a rare start if he is part of the plans to outsmart Pep Guardiola’s Mancity team this coming weekend. The team selected tonight may give us an idea on whom will start at the Etihad.

15 PL league games left and one get the feeling each one is ‘must-win’ for the Arsenal.

Tick this one off tonight and we are still at the races for top-four. If not and we are in danger of being overtaken by Manutd and any top-four hopes out of our hands.

117 comments on “Arsenal: Here be Dragons

  1. newcastle leading city now

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to see Jenkinson back too. A player who played RB in a victory in Munich for Arsenal (i think) is not a bad player.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. burnley 2-0 up at old trafford

    Liked by 1 person

  4. FT: Arsenal 2-1 Cardiff

    a hard fought win, PEA and Lacca with our goals, not a great performance, midfield was poor in the first half, improved a little when Iwobi came on.
    Nice to see Jenkinson make his BPL comeback
    Lacazette with a fine finish for his goal, PEA the quickest AFC player to 25 league goals

    Liked by 2 people

  5. utd get an 88th minute penalty, pogba scores, 1-2

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just time for another Utd pen surely

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ends 2-2 at OT, we go 2pts clear of utd

    Liked by 1 person

  8. newcastle 2-1 man city, it seems city are intent on letting liverpool win the title

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy to win. A Dean pen! Wow.

    Like that scene between Travolta and L Jackson in Pulp Fiction : ‘well, we’d have to be talking about one charming muthafucking pig/ one clear muthafucking pen?

    Amidst disappointment last time out, Laca was very good, prob in best nick since he’s been here and sounds like has carried it on tonight with crucial goal.

    Concerned and a little depressed if Guendouzi heavily targeted and given little protection: how scummy do all those involved in that have to be? A 19 year old, for the crime of being good with a big personality and lot of bravery on ball?

    Twats. Wouldn’t care much if it didn’t bring such a big risk of injury if it keeps happening regularly.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Couple of late blows with Utd’s reprieve but would’ve gladly taken two dropped points for them at start of night.

    City….eeeee. They’re gonna bloody win it, aren’t they.

    I only started really getting into football as a kid just as their reign was ending, so have no experience of their fans gloating…but boy I’ve seen enough since to know it will be annoying

    Liked by 2 people

  11. seemingly Cardiff had 19 shots tonight

    Liked by 1 person

  12. from football.london

    Emery on the win

    The first half, if one team deserved to score maybe it was them. 0-0 was a good result for us in the first half.

    But the second half we had the opportunity to change this situation.
    We knew the match wasn’t easy because they worked well and it was not easy to find space.
    The second half we found better situations to score and win this match.

    Emery on the emotion of the match

    I think firstly respect for the situation. Our thoughts are with Sala, his family, his friends. Cardiff and Nantes.

    I was in France for two years with him. It’s difficult to prepare in this situation. It was a very emotional match.

    Emery on transfers

    If a player can come here to help us, he will come.

    The last news, I don’t know. My focus is on the match. Maybe tonight or tomorrow I will speak.

    Emery on what Suarez will bring

    We need wingers. Suarez, who I know, his qualities is this.

    Will Suarez handle the physical nature of the Premier League?

    I don’t know now. It’s a challenge for him and also to help us.

    Emery on injuries and playing returning against Man City

    I don’t know now. We need to know tomorrow in training.
    I hope some players can be with us. Ainsley, I hope [he can play].

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Unsightly but we got the essential.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Cannon Insider
    ‏ @CannonInsider
    2h2 hours ago

    Fastest Arsenal players to 25 Premier League goals:

    E. Adebayor — 62 games
    A. Sanchez — 59 games
    I. Wright — 51 games
    T. Henry — 42 games

    P-E. AUBAMEYANG — 37 games

    Liked by 1 person

  15. On the targetting of Guendouzi did we not have the same thing happen to Diaby?

    Can only see the targeting getting worse for Arsenal Furriners post Brexit, that is if the FA don’t send em all home

    Liked by 5 people

  16. Great result considering all the emotional attention Cardiff have attracted over Sala. Quite right, really sad that poor lad lost his life. Thought fate might have intervened and Cardiff might have pulled off a win especially with the defence decimated by injuries but we got the points. Looks like Pool to win the league. I’m old enough to recall a time before they won it regularly, when Leeds were in their pomp. They look like they’ll be returning to the top flight Tough game next and I wish we were facing City after a win, last night’s loss will, I fear, inspire a backlash which we’ll feel the brunt of.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. 36 hours or so of transfer window left and Arsenal are being strongly linked with Denis Suarez, deal looks very close now, Perisic, Nkunku and Carrasco and others, all on loan of course, but as far as I know BPL clubs can only loan in 2 players at any one time, so at the moment it looks like its Suarez and at most one other.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sky Italy reckon we are in talks with Carrasco.
    Cannot say I know much about him, if he wears the shirt, he deserves our backing, but just instinctively wary of any player with “Carra” anywhere in their name

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I remember Carrasco at Atletico Madrid, and he is still part of Belgium squad despite his move to China, I have always thought of him as a very inconsistent player, inclined to have some great highs, but some lows too, seen him score a few outstanding goals, but he is more of a scorer of outstanding goals, than an outstanding goalscorer, he is 25 so entering his prime. The move to China was an odd one.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Marky, I’d only been thinking of Ramsey but you’re right Diaby was also young (about 20?) when he was taken out within 6 months of joining.

    Wilshere never got much protection either as a youngster (nor after) and quite likely that was behind the first serious ankle problems.

    I’ve only seen the 30 min Sky highlights and they didn’t show any fouls on Matteo, but I know what to expect from them, and I’ve seen for myself how much teams are going after the player.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Denis Suarez has arrived in London for his medical with Arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Carrasco, like Perisic, feels a massive longshot to me.

    If it took weeks to get that Suarez loan done, it’s hard to imagine condensing that into a couple of days on what should be a more difficult deal, given player’s higher value and bigger role for their club.

    One thing : was a good article posted on here couple of weeks ago about how the prem’s version of ffp, with its rules on wage increase per year (<7), was the thing jamming us up this window, not a cash problem…but isn't paying loan wages exactly the same as wages if you buy someone permanently?

    Agent of Nkunku was quoted yesterday as saying pretty bluntly we have a problem/are unable to buy players outright mid-season. So which is it for us? Money for permanent deals or ffp restrictions on wages?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. rich yesteerday Emery said club told him it was difficult for us to buy players this month, but that there would be funds available in the summer

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Fastest to 25 and yet just not clinical, again last night an easy chance to score went begging. You have to wonder how many goals he would score if he converted more of his chances

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Ed

    That fits with it not just being an ffp wage thing at moment then.

    Ah, who knows. Supposedly latest gives us a reasonable chance with Carrasco as his club willing to sanction loan with option to buy.

    I’d be quite pleased with him and Suarez and the prospect of cash boost in summer with new commercial deals coming in.

    Twitchy about defence though for sure. When I heard Mustafi was injured last night for instance…sheesh. But just have to cross fingers our horrendous luck with injuries to defenders can now change.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. MarkyB

    Wilshere got clogged off the park so I don’t think the nationality is the problem!
    The clogging and constant hacking that we’ve seen of Wilshere, Ramsey etc over the years has been:

    anti-English/British football.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Mkhitaryan & Welbeck out makes it harder with attacking rotations when you have three games a week.

    Still the starting line up at home to Cardiff was not as dissapointing as the one at home against Huddersfield. As consistently written here in spite of the unfortunate habit in some quarters to make up what has been written here – such as the projection that only supporters of AW want to see attacking football at AFC!
    People who hold to this faith would benefit from a little chat with the Inner City Firm down at West Ham after they chased out Big Sam for boring them to sleep and going against their club’s known style of Football, even though they haven’t seen much of it on the Football pitch these past fourty years!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Matto may become a top level CM in time.
    Torreira is already a fan favourite, rough and young he’s also got plenty more to show as he develops.
    Iwobi has had luck with injuries but I don’t see the dribbling and creativity that Chamberlain produced at the same age in spite of his big injury setback, (Chambo was Southgate’s preferred No.8 last summer). So he’s still got some way to go before he truly replaces Chambo in the squad and that’s where some of these new signings might come in with Welbeck and Miki also out.

    The two young CMs unlike the veteran RB (Jenkinson has had bad injuries which ended his spell at West Ham but at least he can run!) were encouraging signings, and we can understand the confusion out there over what’s happening beyond the coach at the club at the moment as these are reasonable concerns given that Gazidas dissapered from every photo opportunity he could put himself into as seen during July and it then took six months before his vague replacements deemed us worthy of communication. Not sure how that reflects on AW or what it has to do with him! He always took the responsibility even when it wasn’t his.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I don’t blame the coach for Iwobi not showing the same potential as a Sterling or Chamberlain. (Still good!)

    But there were people who did blame the coaching last season here. For that and other stuff. Probably the very people saying others are moaning now?

    Couldn’t make it up could you?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Looks like debris has now been found from Salas plane, hopefully they can find wtf happened

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Ha, PSG massively breached UEFA’s ffp regs once, are supposedly under investigation again after the leaks (I think), have clearly been contemptuous of the rules all along…so of course UEFA are now lining up the PSG chairman for a key role in their executive committee .

    I’m not sure mixed messages covers that one

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Do you think that teams who win the league, win it, not necessarily by chasing after the title, but just for the love of playing together? To have that feeling of a unit, to have the feeling of being able to attack and score, to defend by soaking up pressure all day, to control the midfield in both directions? To want to go out every weekend and in mid week, to travel, to play. That if it starts to fall apart they club together and fill in and support. Sounds simple? Seems the hardest thing of all to get a team of 11 then a squad to do that. Its not just focus, its also enjoying being focussed.

    Sometimes the more we focus on something that seem difficult the more it seems to loom close then disappear, like we try to hard. Im not say teams to think about winning, thats the object of the game, but getting in that place where trust and understanding fit and the whole thing really works. Footballs a strange, very complex thing.
    For the teams of Klopp and Pep, how long can they hold it together, to keep functioning before bits fall off?

    Probably just stating the obvious, by the supermarket sweeps of Jan and the summer dont always mean a delicious meal, even if it keeps bellys full and minds in neutral?

    Liked by 4 people

  33. One thing I could see on the Sky highlights was that Guendouzi was taking on a sort of Matador role with the Cardiff players when deep in our half.

    Arter, a near guarantee for a yellow which should prob be a red when he plays us, kept on getting close but not close enough to hit him before Matteo laid ball off. In one highlight you could clearly see Arter turn and say something to him just after it had happened again. Fair bet it wasn’t ‘nice pass, mate’

    I was expecting a replay of some bad challenge on him, probably from Arter, having got that impression from twitter, but it never came, on the highlights.

    Think a general difference between playing here and elsewhere is that normally an opponent would have their mind on trying to win possession in those situations while in many cases here they are desperate for an opportunity to open up where they can take man and ball and leave as much as possible on man. And if they happen to commit and the ball isn’t there they’ll just carry on anyway.

    Think that tendency is turned up to maximum against us most of the time, and for some players even more than others. Don’t know why exactly. Playing style is a big factor, but probably as big is if there’s some sort of precedent and the notion takes hold a player can be wound up, or is arrogant, etc.

    Doesn’t even have to be an accurate notion, and it isn’t, really, with Guendouzi. He mostly keeps his cool with rough treatment, doesn’t go down easier than your average prem player, but it really does worry me has become a big ole target for the opposition, especially for any teams or players who score high in the cynicism stakes, which is many.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. It does seem that Xhaka in midfield is essential to the flow.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Fins

    Annoying thing with the Ox was that I felt the season he left was going to be the one where, supposing no injuries, we would really find out exactly how good he was as a player.

    Injuries disrupted progress badly over the years with us, but I also felt he struggled with confidence at times, and seemed to take things to heart a bit more than is healthy. Can’t think of another player who could look so low when things weren’t working out for him in a game.

    But…that last year, I thought he was getting past that, and while not even playing in a preferred position.

    So be it. He wanted to leave and he left.

    Numbers wise, mind, there seems surprisingly little difference with him and Iwobi. Latter’s goal record a bit better and can’t imagine a big difference with assists either (though Iwobi seems to be bit of a specialist in the old pre-assist).

    But, yeah, on pure dribbling the Ox in full flight hard to beat. Also capable of striking the ball brilliantly well. I remember an away game in Bayern when he went on a couple of amazing long runs left me thinking ‘what on earth could this guy turn out to be?’

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Barcelona have confirmed that Denis Suarez has extended his contract and joined Arsenal on loan for the rest of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. The Suarez deal includes an option to buy.

    some reports in Germany and France claiming that PSG have tried to sign Mesut Ozil but he has turned it down.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Just got in, seems a bit pointless doing a match report now?
    Sorry people.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. some reports that Eddie Nketiah is joining Augsburg on loan for rest of the season

    Liked by 1 person

  40. the Suarez announcement has now been taken down off the Barcelona website

    Liked by 1 person

  41. A player from Barca named Suarez should add a bit of bite to our MF or wing, or wherever he plays

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Arsenal Fixture News
    ‏ @AFCFixtureNews
    9h9 hours ago

    Martin Atkinson has been nominated as the referee for Sundays visit to Manchester City.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Rich
    Chambo’ assist numbers were affected by where he played, wing back, in central midfield (famously alongside Ramsey during the “1-1” (0-1) at Newcastle, an unglamorous gritty and highly satisfying victory the likes of which the Billy Big Blaggers tell their audience that they never saw till this season (that’s because they write nonsense!).
    Yep! The most obvious confidence player I’ve ever seen combined with technical issues with his game as he reccovered from that first big injury combined to slow his recovery but he had a significant input into all three fa cup winning runs, and can be proud of what he has to show for his time at the club and his contribution.

    Fair play to his agent for hoovering up the two best English footballers in their age group albeit Chambo might not quite fulfill that early potential due to his injuries, no doubting his talent though.
    Unless you are a selfless podcasters who spent years slagging off the player and now find yourself asking for direct dribble attackers/midfielders in the squad! And these people get offended when other football followers laugh at their gibberish heh!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. I’ve shared stories of how ruthless this agent was with how the youth teams carrying his two clients were managed.

    Not a fan of that.

    But I can respect their eye for a footballer.

    Simple fact is agents have a lot of power and influence in the sport. Am I still allowed to say this on PA or does it violate Faith?

    And when people see so much money they can act hungry. We can understand. It’s a lot of money.

    Which is why for many people the values and class of Arsenal Football Club in such context is something that has been important for many of us. Including non-Arsenal fans!

    John Gregory, former player and top level manager and lifelong Tottenham supporter said:

    “Arsenal represent the best in English Football”

    I hope no one is offended by the above accurate citation.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. report that Smith-Rowe is off to RB Leipzig on loan until the end of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Stat. Analysis of Aubamayang:


    Auba scored a penalty (his 2nd of the season) against Cardiff (they should have conceded 3 pens in this game) and I wanted to highlight something non-penalty oriented; his astonishing finishing. He’s had 60 non-penalty shots in League play this year and he’s scored 13 goals. That’s a finishing rate of 22% which is consistent with his finishing over the last three seasons. That’s a phenomenal finishing rate for any player but to give some context, Aguero is 11/72 (15%), Kane is 11/73 (15%), and Salah is 13/71 (18%) this season. Average finishing across all types of players and shots is about 10%. Strikers (good ones) typically start at 15% and go up from there but it’s very rare to see a player achieve 20% finishing over three seasons in three leagues. We are talking non-penalty finishing here and I’m counting goals in Premier League, Bundesliga, Champions League, and Europa League: since 2016/17, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 74 goals on 320 shots for a finishing rate of 23%!

    That number is even more wild when you see that he leads the League this year in missed big chances (17) and that over those same three seasons and same competitions, he’s missed a total of 79 big chances. I’ve been watching Auba for many years and I’ve never seen a player miss as many golden chances as he does. But as long as he’s scoring 23% who cares how many tap ins he misses?

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Hee hee. One of first big calls against Liverpool in ages- Maguire stayed on when should have been sent off as last man- and that man Maguire sticks in equaliser on half-time

    Liked by 1 person

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