Arsenal vs Standard Liège





Good day one and all.

Arsenal are back at the Emirates for their second Europa League group fixture; hosting Belgian side Standard Liège.

We kicked our campaign off with a win away in Germany a fortnight ago, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0. With Unai Emery methods currently taking tense and, well, fair criticism, the Gunners almost inconspicuously put together an unbeaten run of six-matches (all competitions), that includes three wins in our last four. With just one defeat in nine matches all season, you would be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about.

Now, I don’t know anything about our opponents, however, a quick trawl of their recent results infer they might not be pushovers. They sit one point behind Belgian First Division leaders Club Brugge, and come into this match on the back of three wins in their last four games (D1) – all competitions. A decent run that include 10 goals for and only two against. So could there be a suggestion they have a “press” Emery might think we need to negate? Yikes!

It’s a short turnaround following Monday night’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United, so we’ll likely see a Gunners side with quite a few changes. Making this another opportunity for the youngsters and fringe players to impress, after proper performances against Frankfurt (EL) and Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. 18 years-old Gabriel Martinelli did better than expected making his first Arsenal start vs Forest, scoring two goals, so one can imagine he must be excited at the possibility of getting his first European start. Hector Bellerín and Kieran Tierney must also be itching getting another run as they continue their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.

Whether Mesut Özil, who was “rested” against Frankfurt, get a start, is anybody’s guess at this point. Because just as it seems that him and Emery are getting past their domestic issues… it seems not.

One player that could certainly benefit having a crack at the visitors is our record signing Nicolas Pepe. He has struggled to find his feet so far in the league, so starting in a match away from the PGMOL game management variant shouldn’t be the worst idea.

Many argue that Arsenal doesn’t play like a side that has developed much from last season, but optimism levels are a little higher in the Cup competitions and playing in front of the Emirates faithful always gives the boys a bit extra. Standard have started their European run with a win, so while their priorities may be with their domestic league back in Belgium, a win tonight will leave them in a good position to advance to the knockout stages.

This is only the third meeting between these two sides, with the Gunners winning both the previous two back in 2009.

With group F top place up for grabs this got the makings of a spicy encounter. However, I’m predicting a cagey start to the match with the Emirates crowd cheering the homeboys over the line.


Labo @LaboGoon

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64 comments on “Arsenal vs Standard Liège

  1. fins-I cant see him going over there, they wouldnt want him, they watch the DVDs of us! But then the patterns in history show similarities, so who knows?

    Thing is how long can it survive, for me the piece missing from your list, is the dull as dishwater ,for the football itself born from those elements you list?
    I wonder the longer it goes on the more resistance they might get? Its been well over thirty years since we’ve seen such boring Arsenal play ( some wag will resurrect that old moniker again soon).
    Corporate identities seem ever to be limited.Cash and power for them, and we get short changed financially and entertainment wise?
    Its sad to see Arsenal behind things…its got to the point where I expect us to struggle against Bournemouth, I realise they are never a push over, but this is the third chance this season alone that we have a chance to really move up into the top three, and I expect that we might not. Of course my expectations are based on the past not on whats happening, but this is all coming closer to one year on( the Soton game), and that doesnt mean anything, we could win 5-0 tomorrow, but its that feeling thats creeping into games.
    Im starting to always look at point lost as well as gained so far. Oh brother! How did that happen…we all now how.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “they wouldnt want him”

    “well over thirty years since we’ve seen
    boring Arsenal play”

    And that’s with arguably the fastest scoring striker in the club’s history, given the overall quality of opponents these days arguably the best striker in the club’s history.

    I admit my emotions about Aubamayang are bittersweet as Sven & Arsene’s last signing has been keeping Raul’s puppet in the job.

    Oh yeah Mills. Lest we forget:

    Emery’s style of Football is Shit without A Stick.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. fins- great points as always (esp about Auba-how long will he last?), I want to keep writing: lol! to your posts etc as they are so brilliant but know that this is a sad and ridiculous situation that Emery and his middle management have created that you highlight.
    I dread to think that Mesut might leave bitterly ( looks like it will) and feel sad to think how many of the great players who have left also feel bitter and fucked off with this bullshit. Transition to what?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mills what surprised me was that in spite of the steaming PR being dumped all over the ether in support of Emery and the “I really like Raul”™ trickle down effect fan club was how quickly much of the fan base turned on Emery in only his first season.

    I am grateful that posterity will record this happening before his cowardly recall of Ozil and Rambo last year, as in, to be clear, his critics were able to highlight last winter that his ostracism of these players would prove to be as effective as his ability to coach a football team to pass the ball out from the back. A farce!

    The Arsenal support turned on Emery quicker then the Hammers fan on Big Sam and the Liverpool fans with Hodgson. For me this is significant history even if Billy The Big Blagger can’t report on it as they depend on their handouts from Big Daddy Raul Montana and Uncle Josh Kranke (he once hosted a fanous UK TV show with his own uncle!)

    Alas both these two coaches are actually better coaches then Emery!
    Big Sam would not ignore players like Ozil or Rambo if they were already signed up to his team, we know tried to bully younger players like Morrison to sign up to his favoured agents but he was always happy to accommodate senior creative players like Okocha etc. Holy fuck, it’s that bad I’d bite your hand off of you offered me Big Sam nevermind Rodgers!!!



  5. Mills this was all predictable after Ozil and his agent outfoxed Grand Daddy Raul at the start of the Summer.

    Koscielny walked out. Monreal too. Quotes and signposts from Sven and Ramsey have been made and left for all to see.

    In spite of copious support from the Blaggers and the media Emery had already lost the fans support. Last March! The final was the final nail in his support from the fans how he kept his job only Raul knows!

    Significantly: He lost the fans support quicker then any of the examples from other clubs we can refer to. That’s incredible! An achievement. Of sorts!!

    Let’s see what happens.

    I hope our pain doesn’t last as long as the pain did for the fans of Blackpool.


  6. fins-LOL! re Big Sam.I would loathe to see him at AFC but youre right about him playing players like Ö and Rambo.
    In all honesty I probably dont have such an awareness of the larger Arsenal world, and have been really insular for a year or so about whats going on outside of here and a few other outlets, to sense what people think of Emery.
    I think if it all got to the size of dislike that was against AW I think he would be off, and I dont sense anything like that at the moment, but I cant back that up with fact or figure, so my opinion is pretty worthless. But for what its worth like you and many others Ive had enough of it all.
    A few really poor results and I think things would turn against him pretty badly? Trouble is I dont want any bad results..plus whoever comes in next is still going to have to deal with Tony Montana and the Krankies.
    Its 5 to 5 and its krackerjackshitboringfootballwithnoÖ!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. the media driven frenzy against AW was always a driven frenzy.

    There were only wider calls in 2016 outside of the mentally challenged minority who were baying for half a decade before then with copious support from the media (friends of the Kronke’s? As Shotta outlined in his Brutus article?) – only after AW was left with Flamini to cover for Cazorla and Rambo in midfield did the lack of support for the coach exceed tjat loud minority led by the same PR consultants trying their best to cover the current stink. Coincidence? Or a hostile corporate take over?

    Either way, I’ll repeat with hopefully the better explanation above: the quick drop in support for Emery by more then a minority (as in the average AFC fan who doesn’t rely upon Blaggers for their identity) was surprising and in the end for me at least given then noise from he Blaggers in support of their man readsuring.

    Their man is Raul not Emery! They support the non-Football person in this Football story which in itself is fascinating or revealing depending upon your perspective

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Unlucky LCFC

    The shot count in the end was heavily in the Home team’s favour.
    The rest of the stats show the reader that at the least they had a midfield on the pitch.

    Lucky them.

    Perhaps Emery will appreciate what a midfield in football is after another dozen transfer windows? Fingers crossed?


  9. Mills I was not kidding about Big Sam.

    Watching the other teams in the league (not inc. Freddie’s second eleven hehe in the Europa) there about 15 odd coaches and their teams in the PL that I’d prefer to watch over Emery’s.


  10. Im sure SA could play the lads in a better way than they are at the moment, but I dont want him at AFC too mid table for me.


  11. Transcript: Emery on Bournemouth, defence and VAR
    05 Oct 2019

    Unai Emery will be looking to continue the good vibe around Emirates Stadium from Thursday night when Bournemouth arrive on Sunday afternoon.

    The Cherries come into the game just one point behind us, having collected 11 points from the opening seven games of the season.

    Ahead of the return of Premier League action, Emery sat down in front of the cameras – and this is what he said:

    on any injuries from Thursday…
    Good afternoon, it’s a very short time to know how we are going to be with the players on Sunday. Tomorrow’s training is going to be very important because some players who played yesterday will be tired. But above all, at the beginning it’s only Lacazette who is continuing away from the team. I am waiting on the other players to be ready.

    on Bellerin, Tierney and Holding…
    They are three different circumstances with the injuries and with the timings. But really now they are very close for us, the closest is maybe Rob Holding. He has played two matches with us and also for the under-23s. And Kieran Tierney is the same. I think Hector Bellerin needs more time to be 100 per cent, but I think all the minutes he played yesterday were very good to achieve a rhythm and above all confidence to play when we need him in future.

    on starting slowly…
    Really it’s very difficult to play for 90 minutes with the same rhythm, with the same control and with the same possession that we want. And also to achieve a very good position on the pitch to perform the best pressing against the opposition. But yesterday I think we did that for a lot of minutes. We started with a very, very strong pace, with and without the ball, and we scored three goals in the first 20 minutes. But really we were consistent over the 90 minutes. We only scored one goal in the second half, but in the last 15 minutes we had a lot of chances to score and we pushed a lot. That spirit is good and also because we were players who didn’t play on Monday, so they were fresh, But above all I want to prepare each player to be ready for every match. If we are going to play three matches in a week, I want him in his mind to be ready for all three matches. All through the season, with a lot of important matches, it was important yesterday to add players to our spirit and our confidence with them.

    on our defensive troubles…
    In the beginning of the season we were worried about that, but I think we are progressively getting better and in the last few matches we had some important clean sheets. In the last match against Manchester United we conceded only one goal, and I think we are improving. I want us to be a competitive team defensively and offensively, but above all, the first characteristic for us is to be offensive, to have the ball and control the matches. But it’s about balance and we also need to be strong defensively. Defensively we want to keep more of the ball and be further away from our goal and pushing them. We can achieve something progressively better, as we’ve been showing in the last matches.

    on whether he regrets not signing another defender…
    We signed David Luiz, an experienced player in the Premier League, and we have also an experienced player in Sokratis. Calum Chambers came back to us after his season with Fulham, and we also had Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin to come back from their injuries. We also signed Kieran Tierney. We did all we can and I’m very happy with them. We now have more possibilities and I think as a team we are more competitive with more players and more options. We are going to play a lot of matches and defensively now we have the players we wanted in the summer.

    on the negative reaction to Xhaka being named captain outside of the club…
    I spoke about that. The vote gives me this information and the teammates decided that vote gives him confidence. Now the big thing is that we are going to work individually and collectively to be strong, and to show our supporters our way and how we can be strong with every player and our captains. I have big confidence and trust in every player, the captain and not the captain, because I think now in the dressing room we have a very big spirit.

    on whether we have a better chance to finish in the top four this season…
    Our challenge in the season is to play for the opportunity to win titles. The mentality is to go to the Champions League next year, but we spoke about that one day in the dressing room and now we are working and improving our things to be stronger for the next matches. I think we are improving that, but we need more. Last year we finished outside the top four, but we were closer to them. This year we want to achieve one step more ahead.

    on being here 16 months and if the squad is where he expected it to be now…
    We’re this year also changing some or more players than the last years made here. We need some adaptation with those players and to do that squad with a strong mentality and also with the combinations with those players to achieve that confidence to progress with them. But really, I am happy above all in the last matches, with those news players and with the ideas and the style we can take and we can get to be stronger in our matches. That is our work and every day for me is one challenge to analyse our team after each match, look at how we can improve for every game, for Sunday against Bournemouth with that difficulty and really, to be consistent and progressively getting better for each match.

    on saying that other people deserve to be in the team before Mesut does – and if Mesut accepts it and will fight for his place…
    We are a squad of 26 players. 23 outfield players and three goalkeepers – we are 26. I think we are getting better at being a competitive team with different solutions, different options in the squad in each position and really, every player is working well. Sometimes I decide on one player or another player but always thinking on how we can be better in each match.

    on if we have to beat teams like Bournemouth in order to improve on last season…
    Bournemouth is not now a surprise. They are working very well, last year they played very well and I have a lot of respect for them because they deserve it. Really, for Sunday, we are now with 12 points and they are with 11 points, only one point difference and this is important. It’s a key moment against a team that are at the moment closer to us and fighting for the same position, to see how we can impose ourselves, how we can respond and how we can show our stronger moments against them. But we are with a big respect for them because they are working well, they are a very offensive team, they have good individuals and I think their coach also is improving, he has experience and he is a very good coach.

    on VAR on Monday night working well and showing its benefits to us…
    VAR is very important and it’s positive for us, for the referees and for football. I think here we are starting this season to use it and it needs some time for adaptation between the VAR and us, but I think it is going to be clearly positive for us.


  12. Choudhury has now injured 3 opponents with wild challenges in last 8-10 games.

    Don’t think Salah one is too bad, but if it is he’ll be catching heat for it this time.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. for me Emery is more a mini bus than a coach

    Liked by 1 person

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