A Fantastic Awful Game

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Well this is a difficult write. The absolute joy of winning ,with ten men, after being twice a goal behind, has to be tempered by how awful we were for almost 70 minutes.

Until AMN was sent off it had been an even game, with both sides being equally poor. We appeared to have the edge in attack, but Villa looked to be more in control of the midfield. Once again we left spaces between our defenders and the midfield and didn’t keep the ball well enough when in possession.

Xhaka was playing some great balls into the final 3rd, but blotted his copy book with a stupid booking , he also looked to be the one midfielder to be dashing back to cover the defence, but being captain, perhaps he should have been better positioned and demanded that Dani and Matteo were also keeping a better shape. I thought both of the young lads were having stinkers,especially Dani who slowed down play as a matter of course. Until Joe and Lucas  came on ,our midfield unit just didn’t work. There is of course an argument that when they did come on, Villa sat back and allowed us time and space in the midfield, that made us look better. Who knows, but look better we did. Especially Guendouzi who transformed into a real driving force in the latter stages.

The players deserve full credit for the result, it was achieved became of their spirit and skill. But it somewhat masks the clear problems we had. Why, one must ask, do they need to perform a miracle to get a win at home against Villa?

Aubameyang is simply wonderful, in that he gave the penalty to Pepe, who looked in dire need of a goal. That is true team spirit. We owe him a lot this season, and it’s only game 6.

So I’m very happy that we won, but once again there are more questions than answers.

Ozil just has to play, not playing his is an act of self harm.

Also, there was some real cheating going on today, trying to get players sent off, Papa, I’m looking at you. I hate that sort of nonsense when it’s done to us, and I hate to see us do it.

Right, goodnight and COYG.

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74 comments on “A Fantastic Awful Game

  1. I see many gooners saying the second yellow to AMN was a disgrace, now I’m no friend of Jon Moss, he is so out of shape its impossible for him to be fit to ref in the PGMOL, and he was never that good in the first place, but those double d’s make it impossible for him. But from the one and only angle I seen of the AMN sliding tackle, he endangered an opponent, he also had one foot high with studs up, for me a certain yellow. Now if there is a camera angle that shows this not to be the case, then I’m willing to be convinced, but just like the Sokratis ball to shoulder penalty shout for Villa, it will take a different camera angle to make me change my mind on that one too, as only replays I seen showed it to be his shoulder that got hit by the ball, so no penalty.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. so Xhaka was booed today, amazing that he is being blamed for the poor football we played

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lacazette was wearing a Mesul Ozil baseball cap at today’s game.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations to Saka who became the third youngest player to start for AFC after the F Word and Walcott.


  5. Not really sure what to make of that. Firstly, have to commend our players for that comeback with 10 men.
    But I do wonder if Chambers and co extracted a very large nail from a box with Emerys name on it, for now at least. Had we lost that, he surely would have faced some very difficult questions at Colney, instead, we now look in quite a healthy position, at least at first glance anyway, as the rest of the also rans implode, or at least lose in Chelsea’s case.
    Might even mark a turning point, I suspect for the manager, it will need to.
    But It was spirit and ultimately quality that won us through, highly doubt coaching or managerial organisation played any part at all.
    What a striker we have, just hope UE provides the conditions for him to extend.
    Ozil, Villa at home, got me?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. George we may not have any teenage phenoms at the moment though Saka is at the least exciting but Aubamayang’s scoring record for Arsenal has been and is phenomenal.

    As others have highlighted not the perfect player, the odd huge miss. but that makes his efforts and attitude all the more positive for me and wow what a statistic he has carved into the turf at Arsenal.

    He’s a great player.
    Smiles a lot too. Doesn’t dive. Top class.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. fins is that saka age stat BPL only, as several others have started younger in other competitions including the old First Division

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ainsley’s foot came up after he had cleared the ball which was momentum and a result of the players coming together. The problem when the ball is left spinning between two players is it’s 50/50 both are likely to get hurt and trying to work out who’s the victim and who’s the agresser is very difficult.
    I think it’s a case of a rule being brought in for a very good reason but refs not applying it for the reason it was brought in. Having said that bookings are there to calm players down so both players should have been told to calm down and in this situation it’s normally with a booking. The issue no one’s talking about is the first booking and the strange way refs decide between talking to players and booking players.
    So although I wouldn’t criticize Moss for the sending off once again there were plenty of other decisions he had a mare with and had another terrible game. It difficult to see how much longer they can wheel him out before they literally have to wheel him out.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Eds

    Xhaka will get the brickbats as you note, his occasionally sticky feet make him an easy target, but it is BBC MOTM Guendouzi who’s been involved in three goals for the oppon Mrs in the last three league matches.

    As discussed with Mills in the previous thread I like the player. But now the Blaggers have started to discuss the vacume in midfield they’ll focus on Xhaka who was probably chugging after his midweek efforts and not on the inexperienced kid who is being overplayed (in spite of his rest midweek).

    Willock made his breakthrough two years ago under the previous coach in the Europa league.
    And was then underused relative to the raw rookie Guendouzi last year. Which means there’s a hierarchy there for Emery of Guendouzi over Willock which Ieads to a one paced midfield alongside Xhaka, although they are different they are the most like for like CMs in that they are both one paced and playing them alongside each other only exacerbates this.

    Maybe Emery doesn’t think he needs a midfield, just some lads to bomb it up the touchline? hope for the best?


  10. well fins on Guendouzi, its laughable that on the goal today he is being excused with things like “but did anyone tell him a player was running in behind him”, what the fuck, his man ran in behind him and somehow people have made that Xhaka’s fault for not remotely controlling Guendouzi into being awake to the situation.

    I said earlier about the Sokratis penalty claim that if I seen a different angle that showed it was not his shoulder then I was open to changing my view of it, well I’ve seen it and I don’t know how VAR did not give it, penalty all day every day,

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m happy for the win, but that was harder than it needed to be at home against a newly promoted team. First half we we terrible, Villa out passed us and created more shots on target. Saka was the one bright spot early on. At 2 – 1 down it looked like the players abandoned whatever bullshit game plan had been hampering them earlier, remembered that they are better than the opposition and just went for it. Luckily it was Villa and not a better team because we are not a good team at the moment. Too many personnel changes too quickly and no clear identity. Individual quality will only take us so far, so at some point soon the manager needs to get the team playing like a coherent unit.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. leno’s comments that the improved second half showing was down to a “we’re behind so we’ve nothing to lose by going for it” attitude is another slight on the micro management style of Emery

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned

    so was AMN reckless in that incident today


  14. question about AMN suspension, as it was two yellows I assume its a one game ban, is that ban for CC game midweek or is it in BPL v Man Utd next weekend


  15. Ed, about the AMN second incident where the 2nd yellow was given, the angle I saw on a replay on DAZN clearly shows him kicking the ball before the opponent gets there and his follow through strikes the sole of the AV player. That guy made a meal of it and well we know the rest. Other than allowing the opponent to get that ball or arriving sooner there is not much AMN could have done.

    I don’t know how Socrates did not get called for handball, happy he didn’t but that seemed a sure pelanty!

    Speaking of Socrates, I hope someone has a chat with him about the act he put on with Wesley. Not a fine moment.

    As for the match, many of you captured well what happened. To me it was a shitshow once again until the players started playing and forcing the issue. For me both our goals second half were fortunate, Mings ( whom I was impressed by ) screwed up his header, full marks to Chambers on pouncing on this opportunity. As for Auba’s goal, good shot towards the net and had Grealish not wimped out and moved out from the path of the ball, who knows what happens.

    As for Emery, sitting Özil after saying he was rested is BS. What is he saving him for ? The Mickey Mouse cup on Tuesday?

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Eduardo. It seems like you have not read my comment properly on the previous post and unnecessarily advising me for not following Arsenal over the last 15 months.

    I am comparing what I remember of Emery before Arsenal to the one we are seeing now. It doesn’t seem to me that he is a defensive coach because otherwise our defense should have improved.

    It looks to me, at least, more like he is being asked to do something that he is not really very good at and seems a bit lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Regarding the Ozil situation, it of course is a mystery why he isn’t playing more. On another blog there was a theory that maybe he is under depression beginning with the German team issue.

    Probably why he keeps having minor illnesses or his head is not right according to the manager.

    Surely this is speculation since we don’t really know any inside news, and it does seem a little far out, but not unreasonable I feel.


  18. I dont buy the nonsense that Özil is suffering from depression. Those saying that only do to “justify” his continuous marginilisation.

    I agree with most that while a memorable come-from-behind victory it was down to the kamikaze like chasing down a result rather then Emery, because clearly the “gameplan” didn’t help us one hoot in the first half.

    To me it look like these players took the decision to rather play for themselves than the coach as dug deep for that win. Even Emery was just sat down in his seat.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. * Özil played with a broad smile om his face all of the pre-season games he was part of.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. chkmiaot

    I call nonsense on that Ozil depression stuff being the reason he doesn’t play. Ozil had a torrid time over a photo, disowned by his own country and even by his high school team. He called out the racism in the federation and his teammates (with the exception of Boateng) all said he didn’t know what he was talking about.

    What was Ozil’s reaction? To cut short his holiday and come early for pre-season training and matches. The season started well enough, and then he ran the show against Leicester. Following which he was increasingly cut out from the team. Then was recalled to save Emery’s bacon following a 1-0 loss to BATE and a Bergkamp quote causing outrage. By the end of the season, he was publicly humiliating Ozil by playing Suarez ahead of him and subbing him for Willock in the EL final.

    STILL, this pre season started with Ozil giving his all, and us playing through the middle in the friendlies. Then the attack on Ozil and Sead happened, and since then, the coach had no words of sympathy for Ozil beyond the reluctant, the club is doing everything and the pretentious, I am firstly happy as a person. His actions have belied any words of support or even about rest. Ozil was very good last week. And his reward is to be dropped again, and again humiliated. If there’s any depression it’s due to Arsenal and Emery’s actions. I say this very carefully and precisely. Fuck them. Fuck Emery and fuck those at Arsenal who are willing to destroy the career and reputation of a player who saw us through our fallow period, stayed loyal and gets the culture of the club. Only to ‘save’ some money, when in fact they’ve done the opposite. Or is it simply to destroy the culture of the club?

    Liked by 4 people

  21. I would label myself a critic of Guendouzi but I can also admit I was impressed with his 2nd half performance and I think what we witnessed is why Arsenal signed him to begin with.

    That performance give credence to opinion that Emery is shackling these players to follow his strict instruction instead of playing to their strengths.

    I see many on twatter saying “Emery deserve 100% credit” for the turnaround with “masterclass tactics” and “genius” subs – they do lay it on quite thick. That was more of a ‘perhaps playing Saka so soon’ after Frankfurt wasn’t the smartest idea – now I’m left thinking that playing the kid 3 games in 5 days is as bad if he makes the team tomorrow night, if he doesn’t then was it really worth the risk when he could’ve been fresh?

    Credit to the players for their “not today bitches” attitude as they tossed aside the “gameplan” to show the world and coach that they’re much better than that shitshow that happened prior.

    I suspect they were happy last night but they also knew they got out of jail and will be asking tough questions of some of the methods used.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Shard

    It’s sabotage. As in a deliberate process.

    And it’s nasty too, anyone doubting the bigotry from many Blaggers and broadcasters towards Ozil in an era when all players are remarking on the rise in bigotry being openly expressed is in denial. And that is frankly their problem and not ours!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It is sabotage for sure. Who or what is Raul Sanllehi, is being answered. Not sure what the bloggers say about Ozil. I don’t really pay attention to them anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. chkmiaot I think you are mistaking what I’m saying about Emery, he is not a defensive coach, as you say if he was out defense would have been sorted by now, I’m saying he is a negative coach, its a safety first approach, its worry about the opponents, and if he was an attacking and proactive coach we would be way better in our attacking play, and our midfield play, for God’s sake he has Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, Pepe, Ceballos, and young guns like Nelson, Willock and Saka to choose from, and we are being outplayed by newly promoted sides, bottom 3 sides, teams that just avoided relegation last season, Joselite. I’ve seen nothing from Emery to suggest he knows how to get the best out of our attacking players.
    Just like last season, its only when we are behind and as Leno said yesterday, “we had nothing to lose, so we went for it”, is it that we see wave after wave of attacking football.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. fins you are spot on about the blaggers on Ozil, one of the blaggers who is part of the wecareforyoutoclickourblogs mob only yesterday tweeted that the only reason many gooners are not blasting Ozil is cos of his religion, yes that is the stage its at now. If you are not anti Ozil, and can not agree he is finished, then its cos you are either his religion or are afraid to say it in fear of upsetting muslims. Its a fucking disgrace.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. JB
    One day a motd pundit will acknowledge that tactics / systems are a thing and games aren’t just won by desire

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I wonder if the sabotage and therefore masochism of not playing Ö all comes down to UE’s own need to be an authoritarian, his will is the only will? This is the most mistaken thing the world over. And its all based in fear.
    UE in this case felt insecure and wanted to stamp his authority over Arsenal, once we reached the Xmas period last year we saw what it really was, and we are still in that period. Scraping by.

    Of course Ö has had a terrible time, his relationship with the National Mannschaft is/was much more complex that what seems to be going on, it goes way beyond the false barriers that we think constitute the game.
    Plus who knows how he was really affected by the bullshit in London pre season? Scenes like that can be really disturbing.
    However, another manager who recognises what he has and see the bigger picture. Ö is easily replaceable, although he seems to think so. Arsenal is the bigger picture, and always will be, that goes to Montana, and the owners and us too.

    Ö seems and easy target for peoples blame when he doesnt give them what they want.(customer bullshit rising) This seems to be some kind of trait world over.I see Chris Ware getting many damning reviews for not being the perfect writer in the way the reviewers want. What a load of kack. The worlds relative, he has his place and does his thing. Most people dont realise how lucky we are to have such a talent like that and exploring his take on the world. This whole customer shit doesnt relate to sport or culture ffs.

    Same with Mesut. I couldnt actually believe when the man came to us. And now hes on the bench, starting behind much lesser talent (imo).
    Driving him out for what reason? Is he really that much of a trouble maker? Last seasons team didnt think so and they called for him back.
    Lets face it much of the game yesterday was an orrible experience, yes it was a great feeling to come back and win. But Moss had his rose -tinted on for the pen at the end, and we scraped by again. How many of us had our heads hanging for most of the game.
    It seems our placing in the league, owes as much to our rivals making a horses arse of things?
    Anyway onto the mighty Forest next. Mesuts on the bench.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Forgive me for this, but all this talk reminded me of this, which I wrote some several years ago

    The Özil Effect

    Throughout the summer we heard calls for a marquee signing, and a suggestion that Arsenal under Wenger could not only not compete at the high end of the transfer market but actively didn’t want to do so. Some fans suggested that was because Wenger and the Board were trying to fleece the loyal supporters in order to feather their own nests, whilst others maintained that the reason was a dithering ‘out of touchness’ with the realities of modern life. It seemed fashionable at the time for the media to portray The Arsenal as a once great club whose stubbornness and old-world values would confine them to forever play second fiddle to the truly great and lavishly funded new era mega clubs. The views of some fans were even less charitable.
    And then came Özil, and for a while everything changed. He was the greatest midfielder in the world, Madrid were mad to sell him, The Arsenal were back, he was the signing of the summer. All these sentiments and more were expressed with varying degrees of sincerity and politeness on TV and in the papers while the Twitter world was awash with pride and envy. All through the Autumn a newly confident Arsenal eased the ball about the park, with Özil’s orchestrations seeing an inexorable rise to the top of the table and Champions League qualification. The memories glow and linger: the ball plucked from mid-air and delivered on a plate to Giroud; the first time drive and assist to destroy Napoli; the brace against Norwich; the telepathic combination with Ramsey before passing the ball into the Tigers net, and always, always vision and grace, even when juggling gum. The Arsenal had found their man, and although clearly not genuine title contenders, they were at least able to provide a different narrative for the press and compelling evidence that despite the inexplicable stumblings of the heavyweights, the Premier League was the best in the world.
    And all of this was fine for the vested interests (so ably served by their punditry puppets) in October and November, because although top of the league, Arsenal could not win the title. They needed a striker (despite Giroud’s top form), their defence was still vulnerable (but it took an example several seasons’ old to illustrate this), there was no back up to Giroud (but step forward Lord Bendtner), Wenger doesn’t do tactics (oh really?), December’s run of fixtures would see them slip (almost but not quite, and if it hadn’t been for schedules and prehistoric refereeing, then not at all). So here we are, on January the whatever, and still The Arsenal are one point clear at top, having played everybody at least once, just like all the other clubs. And does this make everyone happy? Are the League Bosses pleased? Are the TV companies delighted? Are all the Arsenal fans ecstatic? Strangely – indeed bizarrely – it would seem very much not.
    So now cue the most insidious whispers of all: Özil is not the player everyone thought he was. He is lazy. He goes missing. He was only good because of Ronaldo. He doesn’t tackle back. He isn’t really cut out for the hardest league in the world. He is another Arsenal pretty boy. He wasn’t worth the money, because he isn’t a match winner. And do you know what, people who have played and watched football all their lives (and some who have played at the very highest level) choose to believe these vile slanders. And because they pass on these ideas, so to do all the young Twitter warriors, and, no doubt in time, so will some of the supporters, who will inexplicably start to doubt and to jeer and possibly to create an atmosphere where one of the greatest players of all time loses confidence and decides that playing for The Arsenal isn’t such the great idea it seemed back in October. And that will be job done for those who can’t bear the thought that success might be honestly earned and planned for, for those whose snouts are firmly in the oil fuelled slush bucket, for those who for their own strange reasons want to see a change of managerial regime at The Emirates. It is called misinformation and as Orwell predicted, whole sections of the media are devoted to saying the opposite of the truth. I leave you to guess at the reasons for this.
    But these lies can and must be resisted. Believe me, Özil is one of the all-time greats. He does something that very few can do, for he takes the opposition out of the game. Good players look as if they are everywhere and create the impression that their side are playing 12 against 11. Great players make it seem like 11 against 10, for their vision reduces defences as surely as if a red card has been issued. Özil is a space maker and a game changer. He makes good team mates into great ones: great ones into legends. He is unique, and he is ours. Bother to look at him properly and you will see what Arsene saw, but what Jose only glimpsed. Savour every moment, shout his name out loud, defend him against the doubters and above all be proud. He is very, very special, and if you can’t see that you either don’t know your football or you have sold your soul.
    And perhaps most importantly, my daughter Katy, all 10 years old of her, wanted an Özil away kit for Christmas more than anything – and I seriously wouldn’t recommend getting on the wrong side of her….”

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Going to rein in my views on Xhaka. Would hate to be part of an internet mob, and it’s pointless going after one player when there isn’t any recognisable system. On the flip-side, a cohesive team will make almost every player look good. That’s how prime AW was able keep AFC so consistent while shedding stars every summer.

    I will say I don’t like it when people slaughter Xhaka for speed, like it counts for anything in central midfield. There’s a basic level of athleticism needed to play at the top level of course, but, provided they’re at an acceptable physical level, if a CM is off the pace 95% of it is down to what’s going on in his/her brain. Sorry haters, that’s just science.

    Actually “speed” as a concept is sort of vague. The lower leagues are littered with lightning quick footballers (take Daniel James) with no timing or ability to combine. Mertesacker was the slowest AFC player I’ve seen over 10 yards, after late-era Bould maybe, but was rarely out-paced.

    LFC are praised all the time for their speed, when really it’s tempo and cohesion.


  30. Disagree on speed science birdkamp. Course it matters. Situations arise on pitch where speed determines whether you can get there or not. At running/sprinting but also moving feet/legs to manipulate ball.

    Cleverness, experience, skill and mental sharpness can obviously go an awful long way in compensating for any vulnerability, but even more important are the characteristics- physical, technical, etc- of your teammates, and finally the way you set up.

    Few examples. John Terry looked toast at Chelsea when playing a high line and without much cover: change of manager and style and he looked very good again, rarely exposed, as they added another title.

    Pirlo. Milan somehow believed he was on the wane enough to sell to Juve. Cue spectacular renaissance. as they always made sure he had at least two other cm’s with good legs around him (I’m guessing Milan may still have been using him in a two), to cover vulnerabilities and let wonderful strengths come to fore. Italy did same.


  31. “Fuck them. Fuck Emery and fuck those at Arsenal who are willing to destroy the career and reputation of a player who saw us through our fallow period, stayed loyal and gets the culture of the club.” I am 100% with you on this Shard.

    I was pissed off watching the game from the start as we have been deliberately hampered, hamstrung and as you say sabotaged by our own coach from his arrival on day one. Not playing your best team is to me sabotage.
    I am watching my team more pissed off than ever cause the coach wants to play power fooking games.
    The stats will probably show that we win more games with Ozil than lose, and we def create more chances with him on the pitch. Seeing as no fooking defensive strategy is working for this excuse of a coach, how about trying to maintain and improve our attack? How would you do that? I know lets start by drop our most creative player that the MSN are celebrating Kevin De Bryune breaking his assist record recently to play a 17 yr old kid.
    I like Saka think he should have been incorporated into the team last year when he was having a really hot season for the U23 and U18’s (when we were crying out for wingers having let our other 2 really good prospects (Smith Rowe and Nelson)join Champion League and Europa League teams), but this Ozil episode has confirmed and slammed the door shut on emery for me.
    I want him gone and gone yesterday, irrelevant of the result yesterday or future results. The guy has shown to me he has not got the interests of Arsenal in his thoughts, or you would play your best team!
    I am not advocating for Mouriniho, I think the guy is Anti football but how has Mr Anti Football got the best out of Ozil at Real Madrid and our 2 bit coach struggles is beyond me.
    Who is this 2 bit coach dropping Ozil for? first for Iwobi, then for Suarez and now for Saka, this is some BS really! Play your best team FFS!

    Thinking of giving it a rest for a while, what’s the point if what is supposed to be a leisurely past time activity played by multi-millionaires does not give you any satisfaction, just annoys the hell out of you. Rugby worldcup for the next few weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Rich, I must have been too vague, because I’m not for one moment suggesting that it doesn’t matter (though I would say that it matters a lot less in the middle of the pitch).

    I wanted to say that talking about speed alone is useless, to the point where it would be better to talk about the mental qualities that put that speed to use, or, to get even more pretentious, to find German-style compound nouns (!) to express them together.

    Like peak Theo was undoubtedly fast, but by around 2011 that pace was thrown into relief by the angle and timing of his runs. So just calling him “fast” diminishes him. Gueye and Kante are pretty quick over short distances, but it’s their radar that makes them great ball-winners.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I would say Bouldy was quicker than Adams and obviously the manager should know the strengths and weaknesses of CBs and play accordingly. I would say there have been many players over the years who have compensated very well with knowledge of the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Bobby Moore probably one of the greatest at that.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Fair enough Birdkamp.

    Talking of Gueye, intrigued that PSG went for him and Herrera same summer. Similar players in body type- light, mobile, nippy, good acceleration, stamina- and playing style, both experts at interceptions, hassling opponents.

    Didn’t see their win over Real but watched first half of their game at weekend and think those two might work well for them. Maybe taken a bit of inspiration from Pool in sacrificing flair for industry, workrate and physical qualities * in centre mid to firm up team and give solid platform for creators ahead, though they do have the superb talent Verrati in there as well for passing, vision and the like.

    *qualify that with of course they are high level technical players also


  36. Physical attributes in mid brings back to mind Costa Rica at 2014 World Cup. They had a young madman at dm who was probably very limited with ball, relatively speaking, and seemed to be there purely to charge around at speed after and into people.

    Plan could have come a cropper as his challenges were wild and strict refereeing could have seen him in trouble a few times, but didn’t happen and he played important role in their success in that tournament.

    Thought I may have been witnessing something new tactically, as he was a ’60 minute charger’ and seemed to be played with idea in mind of completely emptying tank by then before going off. Thought it might be copied (by Pulis types)

    Tejeda was name. Seems he’s now out of favour, at 27, and after getting his big move after World Cup is now back home in Costa Rica. A gamble that worked within confines of short tournament but not sustainable.


  37. Reckon we’re guaranteed to see one of young strikers start tomorrow then?

    Playing Aubameyang would be berserk, so I’m assuming he’ll not be there at all.

    Can’t see us opting for Reiss or Pepe central either so one of Balogun or John-Jules in. Would expect it to be latter.

    Reiss should start, unless something really gone wrong there, Willock, too. I’m for giving Hector and Tierney another u23 run out, so Bola seems to have real chance of playing.

    Burton another interesting one as he did excellently pre-season, form good for u23’s, so can see him playing.

    Willock, Burton; Ozil, Nelson, Smith Rowe; John Jules?

    Bola, Holding, Mustafi, Chambers?


  38. Rich, check out the video of Gueye’s game against Real Madrid, if it hasn’t been taken down. It’s astonishing. You’d expect PSG to be more of a team this season for that extra intensity in the middle.

    On Herrera, I remember him being so much more cultured in the Bielsa days before he got to Man United. Actually, the same applies to Anderson, and also Lucas Leiva at Liverpool. You feel that if AW had got hold of those players they might have ended up more rounded.


  39. birdkamp,

    Watched highlights. Very impressive. Scout’s honour, he caught my eye before first moving to England, when he put in an extremely eye-catching performance against PSG.

    Think I assumed when his Villa move didn’t work out, or at least he couldn’t prevent them being awful and getting relegated, probably not as good as I’d thought that day.

    On Bielsa influence, if he stay with Leeds another year or two, reckon a few of their youngsters will benefit immensely. Small, energetic, tenacious but with quality midfielder Shackleton really looks part to me.

    Think we should be watching them, and not just cos Eddie is there. Bielsa might be shaping a few players who can go on to great things.


  40. Forrest are a good side so it’s going to be difficult picking a team that is experienced enough to carry the youngsters through but not made up of to many returning from I jury without game time.
    Should be another great game for the neutral if not for our hearts.


  41. rich and ian might we see this team

    Chambers Mustafi Holding Saka
    Willock, Torreira
    Smith-Rowe Ozil Nelson


  42. Balogun, John-Jules and Bola train with Arsenal first-team pre-Nottingham Forest

    1 Vote

    Arsenal trained today ahead of tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup tie at home to Nottingham Forest, with five players from outside the first-team in attendance.

    Bukayo Saka, who started against Aston Villa in the Premier League yesterday, trained along with Tyreece John-Jules and Robbie Burton, who were both involved with the first-team in pre-season.

    In addition, Folarin Balogun and Tolaji Bola, who have yet to be called up at senior level, were involved in the session.

    Striker Balogun has been prolific for the U23s so far this season, while Bola could be an option at left-back if Sead Kolasinac is rested.

    Rob Holding could make his first senior appearance of the season, while Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Konstantinos Mavropanos, who are all closing on a return to action, also trained, but it isn’t clear if they will be fit to feature.

    Aside from Saka, none of the players who started against Villa trained, but Emiliano Martinez, Calum Chambers, Joe Willock, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Ozil, Gabriel Martinelli and Reiss Nelson, who were on the bench, all trained.

    In addition, Shkodran Mustafi, Emile Smith Rowe and Matt Macey were left out of the squad against Villa but could be involved in some capacity against Forest.

    Alexandre Lacazette is still injured, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is suspended.

    With regards to young players, Zech Medley appears to be injured again, with James Olayinka not called up.

    Possible team: Martinez; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Bola; Torreira, Willock; Nelson, Ozil, Saka; Martinelli.

    Subs: Macey, Mavropanos Tierney, Smith Rowe, Burton, John-Jules, Balogun.


  43. the Arsenal.com injury update was interesting in the fact that of Holding, Lacazette, Mavropanos, Tierney and Bellerin, only with Holding did they say “available for selection”


  44. Completely off topic?
    So we all have a rough idea that the quantum world inside us is one big space that we cant comprehend or find the end point.
    So now we come to us. If we drew on an A2 piece of paper our solar system, the size of the planets world be microscopic. So then we see the relative size of planets and earth soon becomes invisible, as does the sun due to the size of the other giants, massive planets and stars almost beyond our comprehension.
    Then we see the area visible to us from earth is like putting a light bulb on Pluto. Pluto being what is considered the size of the universe, that we cannot see. And then the light bulb would be the area we can see. But the area we can see is so vast, the distances are mind boggling.
    So we see two forces, maybe not with origin (?) or direct forms are working in the universe, destruction and creation. These swap around as does our conception of positive and negative, which is horrible, frightening and perplexing. And I think deep down, unless you’re sociopathic most of us are unnerved by that.
    What frighten me about humanity is the masochistic, and the destructive. This goes against understanding what happening, and Im not a utopianist but that many terrible things can be avoided, and I see so much destruction in peoples lives that is for a bigger picture that does affect everyone, but isnt what it claims to be: the non plus ultra.
    And we are only here for a second in the grand scheme of things. Does that mean we have to live in our own shit?
    Outside of organised competitions who is the best when all is relative? Most of the hierarchies we see are based on shallow, simple psychotic thinking. I wrote the above to show that bottom of the league makes the top of the league, you cant have one without the other, they arent separate..
    All well and good in a comp, but outside of that its horseshit. We seem too stuck in centuries past and bad thinking and not really understand or trying to understand what the nature of reality is, and from there understanding that any sort of authoritarianism is detrimental to society, any elitism creates more problems.They are just plain lies, or not whats going on. But we have that kack drilled into us from birth.

    To me this is where Arsenal are at the moment. Small view, masochistic, working with destruction where it isnt needed.
    Did we need to go backwards to go forwards, when we are always going onwards, even though time doesn’t really go forwards or onwards, this is a misrepresentation of time. But time is movement. But does time exist? How can we measure time when there is no movement, we become the time itself. So anywhere with no time means no movement which means no observation?
    But lets take it that times linear or history is at this moment: why did the employers of AFC hire a man to destroy fluid, intuitive football, when we see from Livercrutches and City that thats the only way to succeed? The imposition on the club is way beyond the consequences of the narcissism involved here. We are going off in a strange orbit that is not in harmony with itself?Surely they saw the mans record before at previous clubs, at the interviews? Was it only to get back in the CL and then say see ya later guy? Why not skip the whole process and just build on what everyone did before?

    Anyway I havent a clue really, but feel like Ive been sold a load of kack in my life, whats real (ha! what a joke!) whats cool, whose the best, whose the worst, whose uncool. And now watching incoherent football, when we could be playing with the stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Ed, I think it would be mad to play Saka in this game after the minutes and travelling his already done, especially out of position. I think Keiran will start and Hector will be on the bench. If Keiran doesn’t make the first eleven then I think it will be Bola in there.


  46. left back is not really out of position for him, he plays there for england youth and used to be left back for our u16’s


  47. As a full qualified and vastly experienced UEFA ‘A’ coach, I would like to make the following observations.

    I have watched Arsenal over the past 10/12 years with a particular interest in the tactical and technical aspects of their game.

    Despite some poor performances and awful results, the teams Wenger coached were extremely impressive.

    I have severe doubts about Emery’s approach, and fail to see any consistent style or improvement in any aspect of their play.

    Having tired of watching putrid displays, I decided to watch Man City in the hope of gaining some pleasure from my outlay.

    It appears to me that Arsenal and City both try to play in a similar fashion………pass and move football. Even the playing systems used are basically the same.

    Unfortunately, that is where the comparison ends.

    Although City are consistent in their efforts to play out from the back, they set up slightly differently to Arsenal……having 3 designated outlets in 2 CH’s and 1 DMF, the decisions made by players on and off the ball are normally excellent (at times they come unstuck but are NEVER deterred ). In Rodri (where was the renown Arsenal scouting system in the close season) they have a tactically aware DMF able to pass they ball very well, his positional play is outstanding).

    Arsenal try to play from the back they rely on Xhaka, who quite frankly, is not up to the responsibility demanded of this role. Matteo has also been used, but the opposition are well aware that he dwells on the ball too long and too often, therefore they press with 2 players (what a awful position to lose the ball). He has been making this basic error from the start of last season.

    Most goals conceded this season have come from situations with Arsenal in composed possession. Not altogether the fault of ‘defending’.

    Whereas City play 1 DMF and 2 AMF, Arsenal use 1 DMF (they do not have a capable player for this role) and 2 MF who’s actual role cannot be defined, adding to tactical confusion.

    There is no comparison between the two teams in this area of play.

    As an attacking force Arsenal should be close to City, not the case, as yet again it is down to movement off the ball and decision making. City have wonderful attacking players….so do Arsenal, but there is a massive contrast in how they play (forget the money involved as it has little to do with it).

    Finally, there is also a contrast on the counter attack, City break at incredible speed from deep positions, and often have 6 players trying to get in advance of the ball. Tell me Arsenal play with the same desire, and I will not believe you.

    Many of the tactics Arsenal are using are not far from being right, in my view some of the players are unsuited to the demands made on them, and even worse the manager seems to lack the knowledge and understanding to get what he wants out of them.


  48. Have seen Saka play left back for Eng u17’s handful of times. Did ok at defending but didn’t look natural at it. Spent a lot of time in attacking 3rd where, as you’d expect, looked damn good.

    I’m hoping bench at most for him tonight. mainly because some youngsters would really like to see play- Reiss has to start, surely and, given he’s not featured with u23’s Martinelli must need some gametime. With Smith-Rowe surely due a start don’t think can start them all.

    Gotta be honest League cup’s only real importance to me early stages is to give youngsters and fringe players a chance, and main disappointment if exit is we lose more games they can play in.

    I’d give Bola a chance. Has mostly done well with u23’s for couple of seasons now though hit hard by number of injuries.


  49. seemingly it will be from these 19 that our 18 man squad will come from tonight


    More or less

    10 give or take academy


    Tolaji bola

    Smith rowe



  50. Miguel Azeez(17) has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal, the club he has been at since the age of five


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