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Arsenal vs Leicester: Winter Is Coming

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This is it. Arsenal’s most important game of the season, or at least the most pivotal in Unai Emery’s tenure as the head coach.
Good day everybody. Arsenal is at the King Power Stadium this evening to play against Premier League high-flyers Leicester City.
It’s been a tale of fire and ice for these two sides this campaign. Under Brendan Rodgers the Foxes started with back-to-back draws, but got progressively better since. After 11 games they got the league’s best defense, conceded a mere eight goals, and only Man City has scored more than their 27. The Gunners kicked off with two wins in two, then we lost our way recording just two wins in our last nine league games. The last few weeks has been a real struggle as it appear to be such a toil to create or score from open play. We also unable to hold on to leads, drawing our last four games in all competitions from winning positions.
The mood around the club is not particularly great and it is unlikely that a win will even improve that. Defeat will certainly make Emery’s position untenable with a fanbase that now knows they just need to make a loud enough noise.
He will be well aware that he’s at a crucial juncture and if he got any hopes of getting the fans back onside, he has to get out of his comfort zone and deliver, because if we go to the international break nine points off of top-four, we risk being dragged out of that race.
Bear with me: last season about this time we were 3rd on the log, two points off the leaders and in the midst of a 22-game unbeaten run. There was a real buzz around the club as many cheered: “we got our Arsenal back”. There were concerns, which were ignored, then December arrived and things went awry. Now we’re in a worse off position and once again winter is coming; with fixtures congested and unforgiving as ever. Woe is me.
I honestly think this inter-break is something we all need right now. So much has happened these last few week, or not, as far as results are concerned. The issues with Granit Xhaka being stripped of the captaincy, the “friction” between Emery and Mesut Özil and with games coming thick and fast the players and coaching staff hardly had time to catch a breath.
The management team and coaching staff could use the two weeks to sit down and take stock of our season thus far and assess where it is they intend this team to go; with clear thought. There should also be enough honesty, assuming Emery stays on, to say that we do support you but the existing way of doing things is not helping to get the best out of a very talented squad, something has to change if we want to finish inside the top-four.
During tough times you can’t just shrug your shoulders in the hope that things will sort itself out.
Rodgers is doing a fine job up at Leicester and his side is 3rd on the log for a reason. On Arsenal’s last two trips to the KP we got beaten with an aggregate score of 6-1, and no doubt they must feel confident of inflicting even more issues on Emery.
Team News
Dani Ceballos is the only injury concern and Emery said Xhaka is unavailable. Hector Bellerin, who was rested midweek, could be in line for a league start.
Prediction
Phew! How do I even say this? Nine out of ten times when 3rd play 5th you’d usually favour the team higher on the table, and I suppose today shouldn’t be any different. Compared to the Gunners… the Foxes are just on another level defensively and in attack. However, I don’t think they will have it all their way because there are a lot of pride in this Arsenal side and it could be a good game. May the better team over the 90 minutes win. COYG
— @LaboGoon

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56 comments on “Arsenal vs Leicester: Winter Is Coming

  1. Morning everyone, morning Labo, many thanks as always for a great intro. Hope we Arsenal fans get to enjoy the game, and that we can chalk up a win. COYG!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Big game. But even if we lose badly I think Emery is safe. Don Raul will not wat to acknowledge the mistake he made in pushing for him rather than Ivan’s prefered man, Mikel Arteta

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Leicester is always a strange one usually we do quite well there, even in their league winning season we give them a spanking. It Unai however has struggled against them but I still think this one is difficult to call.
    I like Brendon and they do seem to be one of the teams of the moment but we are the most unpredictable sides in the league and even ARSENAL fans have no idea how we are going to play maybe you could even include the players in that as well at the moment.
    On paper we have a great squad but that’s not how football works and at the moment we look fragile and we’ll boring.
    Today I m pinning my hopes on a something different a beam of light going through the darkness engulfing the club. I hope it’s not just wishful thinking COYG.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Labo. Really hope I am wrong, but just cannot see anything positive from this game, partly because I firmly believe some players might not be playing for him, others might want to, but not understand how to. Xhaka could be a miss, he just doesn’t trust Torriera, sadly.
    Saw his plea for patience this morning, he mentions issues he has had to deal with. Yes, he has had a lot on his plate, but some of it self inflicted. Yes, an unexpected departure of Kos, so why compound it losing another leader like Nacho? He has had things to cope with, but think that could all be part of his bad juju.
    Agree, really cannot see the club pulling the trigger whatever happens today. Raul is compromised. I believe it is quite possible he went off piste and spoke to Jose recently, but I would imagine other figures in the club rebuffed it, Jose is not a Kroenke manager, he would give them heart issues. I would imagine Allegri would also present problems, language and probably a desire to spend. These are demanding managers, and would be far more aggressive in their approach than just the odd lovelorn plea for an Nzonzi or Banega.
    Can see the club waiting until the summer, then perhaps approaching Arteta, Enrique or even Howe, or whoever Rauls agent friends recommend this time, perhaps it’s time for Sven or Capello to return to the big time!

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  5. Not sure we’ve had much joy up there aside from that great win their title year. Think I remember a draw, maybe 2? A loss with Mavro sent off early near end of Wenger’s final year. Loss last year?

    So we were doing ok, but not recently. Then going into it with our respective form this time? Eeee.

    Feel we could get absolutely creamed in middle of park. They’ve a true aggressive dm with very good legs, Ndidi, class in shape of Tielemans, plus a number who drop in there, inc Maddision and, I think, hard working Perez and other wideman, prob Barnes, as well.

    Mixed style now so can play out or go long. Good attacking full backs. Even had some fine one touch stuff for goal last week. Found themselves a real formula, in stark contrast with ourselves. Yikes.

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  6. Oh, and that’s not to mention they seem very popular again with media and pgmol alike.

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  7. I understand the nature of transitions after a legacy manager , from a very amateur observers view looking in of course, but those running Arsenal, and for that matter , Utd should hang their heads in shame at their predicaments.
    Coaching, analysis seems to have improved dramatically in recent years, one of the reasons why clubs with lesser resources can compete. Both Arsenal and Utd seem to have got this concept all wrong, living in past days when spending money, and to greater or lesser degrees, name managers could guarantee a place at the top, or near to it.
    I can see why Arsenal took a punt on an experienced manager like emery when name managers, allegedly Conte and others from Italy were reportedly asking the Earth for themselves and their entourages, and why the club may have seen a novice like Arteta as a huge gamble. But you have to know when something just isn’t going to work out, Baku, some would say earlier should have provided that moment, yet some at the club wanted to give him a new deal! Insane
    Will they gamble on Freddie or Arteta at some point? Go for a name manager like Enrique which would please Raul, or someone in between, not saying they will pick him, but keep an eye on the Bournemouth manager who may yet come into the equation if Emery lasts the season

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  8. It’s a bit strange finding Arsenal is no man’s land like this. A coach out of his depth that a large chuck of the fans either can’t wait to see the back of him, or wouldn’t give a toss if he ends up leaving. Yet our head of football relations…. its a bit like Mourinho is his Benega and if he can’t get him then we just plod along.

    I hope we win. I want us to win. Because if things starts to click with Emery, Raul or the players, I wouldn’t want us too far off the pace. Seems like a host of players’ futures at the club are dependent on whether we make top 4 end of the season or not.

    Purgatory FC

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  9. Although my boy Shard is very pessimistic in his preview at my blog, and quite rightly so btw, it must be acknowledged that Arsenal stands a chance but a very slim one. Am not totally convinced by their defenders and as Wolves proved a counter-attacking team can frustrate them. But the long term trend is clear; Leicester is trending upwards and Arsenal downwards with a long hard winter upcoming.

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  10. With all this negativity around the club I see a thrasing by Lecister today.
    Long live the WOBS.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Theres a bit about 4.28 or so that cracked me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Report – Oyegoke scores as Arsenal U18s draw with Fulham

    Rate This

    U18 Premier League

    Fulham 2 (Ablade 21, Stansfield 56) Arsenal 2 (Murphy 43 (o.g.), Oyegoke 59)

    Arsenal U18s came from behind to draw 2-2 away to league leaders Fulham today, with first-year scholar Daniel Oyegoke scoring his first goal at this level.

    With the U23s not in action, Ben Cottrell was called upon in midfield, while Oyegoke moved across to right-back, with Alex Kirk partnering Mazeed Ogungbo at the heart of the defence.

    Graczyk

    Oyegoke-Kirk-Ogungbo-Lopez

    Patino-Azeez

    Alebiosu-Cottrell-Butler Oyedeji

    Greenwood

    Subs: Matthews (for Butler-Oyedeji, 74), Cirjan (for Patino, 85). Not used: Telfer, Dennis, Plange.

    U15 goalkeeper Jamie Telfer was named amongst the substitutes as he received his first callup for the U18s.

    Fulham took the lead in the 21st minute, with Terry Ablade finding the net, but Arsenal were level before half-time as Luca Murphy inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.

    The hosts went 2-1 in front as Jay Stansfield scored, but Oyegoke’s goal ensured Arsenal got a point after he was set up by schoolboy Charlie Patino.

    It has been a difficult start to the season for Arsenal U18s, who have taken just nine points from nine games.

    Arsenal U16s, meanwhile, beat their Fulham counterparts 5-0, with Khayon Edwards, who was offered scholarship terms this week, amongst the scorers.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. cfc 2-0 up v crystal palace, they are going 9pts clear of us, and up to 2nd

    Liked by 1 person

  14. to put CFC’s 9pt advantage over us into perspective, 9pts is 3 wins, in our 11 games so far this season we have 4 wins

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  15. strange how really tight the league is so far this year, between 16th & 5th just a win and a draw. Pretty frustrating to see the points we’ve dropped. Frustrating that our squad is so damn fine. Needs a new brain. Not just a mercenary, not just someone with a prior connection to the club, but a smart mind that can unite and open up the collective intuition and get a different mentality brewing. But whose going to find that brain? Whose going to find it and employ it? Why would middle management find someone to leave them in the shadow and start running the club at the level it should be?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s a strong side we have, we really should be able to cause them problems , if it wasn’t for…..

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Unless I misread it, and really don’t think I did, (especially as they didn’t have VAR names on there), change from original ref for the game. Sure it was Atwell when looked midweek

    Atwell now listed as VAR, and Kavanagh is doing game.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. looks like a 5-2-3 formation

    Leno
    Bellerin, Chambers, Luiz, Holding, Kolasinac
    Guendouzi, Torreira
    Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang

    subs: Martinez, Sokratis, Tierney, Willock, Saka, Pepe, Martinelli

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  19. Arsenal currently 6th, we can move up above Sheffield Utd into 5th if we win or draw today.

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  20. With no Xhaka to mop up behind Guendouzi I guess the only option was to go with a back 3.

    Good team on paper, but still no plug between the midfield and front 3, unless Özil is the plug and we have a front 2.

    Unai truly is a chameleon.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. not sure why VAR did not give a penalty to LCFC for that thug by Guendouzi at that free kick, it was stupid thing for the lad to do, needless.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. even with 3 cb’s were are very open at the back and so far our midfield can’t pass to save their lives

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  23. a great flowing move ends with Lacazette missing a very good chance, there might also have been a good penalty shout for us in it too

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  24. HT: Leicester City 0-0 Arsenal

    an open game, if a bit scrappy, raining heavily. Both sides with good penalty shouts, and both teams with a few half chances.

    We are a bit open at the back despite having 3 CB’s. Midfield second best so far. Ozil has had a few good moments, Lacazette has not been sharp enough when our half chances have fell to him

    First goal could be the decider here.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Half time and we are still in it which is great. Penalty possibilities for both sides. Both have had decent chances.

    So far so good. Midfield needs to do better defensively and we lose the ball very easily.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Said last week we wouldn’t see ref bring play back- as did for late Pool winner last week- if we were given advantage on a foul and lost ball first pass.

    Didn’t think cheeky cunts would have nerve to do it in a game they’d earlier done it- brought play back after foul/advantage- for opposition though.

    Laugable. Been a bit better than most generally though.

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  27. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. just as we were having our best spell in the game we find ourselves 2-0 down, we can’t defend to save our lives

    Liked by 1 person

  29. did the co commentator just say “I wouldn’t want to be on the pitch with Ozil if I was an Arsenal player”

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  30. Not even sure I can be arsed to really blame emery for that, but suspect at most clubs with any level of ambition, that would be that, but it is likely we have at least 7 months more of this.
    This guy could drag us to 10th , or below, easily.
    Love to see how the top brass explain that if they do nothing

    Liked by 1 person

  31. FT: Leicester City 2-0 Arsenal

    not clinical up front, sterile in midfield, and open at the back, Emeryball at its best

    9pts off top 4, and we have a 0 goal difference 12 games in, we are in 6th, even behind Sheffield Utd, we have a full 4 wins in the league so far, let that sink in when you think about us being 9pts behind top 4, 9pts = 3 wins. We have only scored 16 in 12 games and let in 16. What have we sacrificed our attacking play for, its certainly not a solid defense.

    He has to go,

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Ed, I don’t know what that joker is talking about. The disrespect of Özil is too much. The cat. in the US (Kyle Martino or something) is now taking a dig saying that the Özil project is not working. These jokers annoy me when they single him out for why things are not working as if they have been working otherwise…lazy punditry. Strangely enough Graeme Le Saux started to say that Aubu puts in a shift…well it was Auba who lost the balm for the second goal and could not be bothered to run back.

    I think the goals were a bit unlucky to be honest. I think on both the balm went through someones legs.

    Mandy I blame Emery. We lost to a more cohesive team. Had Arsenal been playing the same team since the beginning of the season we would be a force. We have the better players but not the better team. It’s been said on this blog umpteen time. Unai has sabotaged the team with his over defensive/ever changing team selections.

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  33. In other words how can we expect players that have hardly played together to be in sync just so? It’s all but impossible.

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  34. CORRECTION, we actually have a minus 1 goal difference, 16 scored, 17 conceded. even in the 11/12 season where we let in 8 at utd and anther 4 at blackburn we did not have a minus goal difference after 12 games, we also had 7 wins by the 12th game, where we have 4 this season.

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  35. well paul maybe if we played the same formation each game it would be easier for players to slot into the team, formation and tactics. Its an ever changing system, without a single sign that things will or are getting better

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  36. Ed, I give credit to the players. It cannot be easy to have to defend so many shots game in game out.
    We really have no creative mids apart from Ozil do we. We once had Cesc, Hleb, Rosicky, Diaby etc. why did we let Ramsey go again?

    Would it be wrong to start our front 3 (Pepe, Auba and Laca) with Ozil, Torreira and Xhaka in the mid?

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  37. Exactly right, Ed.

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  38. Orbinho
    @Orbinho
    ·
    23m
    Arsenal have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games – 11 points from the last 30 available.

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  39. we didn’t even have a shot after the 53rd minute

    overall we had one shot on target, LCFC had 7, we had 4 off target, LCFC had 7, so 5 shots for us, 14 for them. Just another day at the office with Emeryball

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  40. Emery’s first 50 league games has yielded 1 less point than Wenger last 50 league games.

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  41. Well, it was, before they scored, somewhere between not bad and ok, or…slightly better than that? (They’re flying, we’re flailing. I don’t know)

    If I compare it to where I want us to be it was, once again, poor.

    If I compare it to where we were respectively at kick off, recent form, etc, it may have been a slight improvement. Not coughing up many chances, in game, occasional threat, decent looking defensive structure. goal. Oh oh. Another goal. Done

    But, you add it to rest of season, and further back, and we’re going nowhere. It looked likely from a few weeks back we’d be here at international break, with big gap to Chelsea and Leicester already, and no hint of capacity to close it. Here we are.

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  42. That’s two shots on target in the last two games I think, things are looking up

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  43. we had one shot on target today and one shot on target in EL game on Wednesday. Emeryball, and to think people used to complain about Wenger’s tippy tappy football.

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  44. Rich, it was an improvement to me to. All things considered I was impressed by some of the play. If we continue in this vein it will turn around. The issue is the players are strangers to each other, football wise.

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  45. So if Özil starts, Pepe can’t?

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  46. Sounds like VAR helped Spurs again

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  47. The whole thing is back to front, it seems insane that we are bottling it against this lot? As a team we dont have much of a clue. In fact we are like the scarecrow in The wizard of Oz.
    Im not into Auba as captain, hes to removed from the game to govern anything. Just my bullshit opinion.
    Leicester make themselves our rivals ( we are not theirs) and their fans humiliate us, like cocky little youngsters who know shit all. I know some of you guys like friendly neighbourhood Mr Rogers, but I dont rate him, all it shows me is how desperately poor we have become. Dead and buried with no hope of resurrection at 2-0, and with the players we have that truly embarrassing. Too me anyways.
    Its been a long time since Arsenal were this bad, this bereft of ideas and unity. For many it will be a new experience. Even for those of us who know, it its been so long that it still feels like kack.
    Chameleon? Nah, mixed up more likely, and not really knowing anymore. Maybe never did. Swapshop squad isnt working.And hasnt really ever.
    Did you expect to win? I didnt. And thats where we are. No expectations. And not a last Brian Jones slide guitar solo in sight to make it better.
    Do you recall the bloke at aftv slagging the heck out of Jonny Evans and saying he wasnt good enough for us? Well whether we like it or not Evans is laughing at us.Higher in the league, in a team thats working well together. Evans should make a vid and show them what he thinks, but hes probably got too much dignity.Which perhaps goes to show how much aftv know about football?
    So at this moment old coat- hanger shoulders was right. Nothings happening at Arsenal. In fact hes actually wrong, something is happening at Arsenal and its a poor beast that is in a state of fear and upset that cant go on much more with this thinking, foaming at the mouth as it has no idea whats going on, not created for this but other climes and attitudes and beset by devilry off the pitch, that separates and confuses.
    We are broken, humiliated and headless, limping and in the need of therapy and we are poisoned with the putrid green toxic hubris of Le Grove, aftv and all anti Arsenal outlets who started this self destructive narcissistic tendency. Thanks for all youve done to the club.
    Until we start to think in another way it cant heal. It cant get better.You dont heal by concentrating on the illness, but on how to get better. And we need to get better.

    Good idea to boo off Xhaka wasnt it. Those fans really know best as they care more. Cause and affect. Cause and affect. Simplest logic in the world, and one we still dont grasp well?

    We need to see the wizard of Oz, get a brain, and remember theres no place like home,and away, you know we belong together etc etc etc. But it all seems somewhere over the rainbow. No rainbows in winter.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Xhaka was a pile of shite today

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  49. Emery after game comments, from football.london

    on the game
    “We can be disappointed but the attitude of the players, they did the gameplan.

    “In the second half we created some chances and when they scored we lost that opportunity.”

    Emery on the table

    “We are distant from them now but we will take time to prepare and improve and take the balance in the team.

    “Manchester United and Spurs are also behind us so it is an equal competition but we have time to reduce the gap on Leicester.”

    Emery on home form

    “If we can play strong at home, I know we can play well when we play away.

    “We didn’t lose at home but today lost here because Leicester are at home and feel strong here.”

    Emery on criticism

    “I am speaking with the club to stay strong and recover. We also have young players who are growing up with us.

    “I know we are receiving criticism but I have done before and I have recovered.

    “I accept all the criticism. It is normal. Today we did one step ahead being better defensively.”

    Emery on the last month

    “We need to recover our confidence. We need to be patient with some circumstances and we are going to do that.”

    Emery on the back three

    “I think the players felt good in that system.

    “Last year we used it and we did well. It depends how we can get out best qualities and we used that system last year with a lot of good results.”

    football.london finished their report with

    Emery leaves

    Emery has left.

    sadly its not what many would hope it means

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  50. well fuck me Emery played the

    UTD and Spurs are as shit as we are so its not so bad card

    get him out before its too late

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