61 Comments

The Biggest Game Of The Season Is Slavia Prague, Blimey!

Tonight we play Slavia Prague in what has become a massive tie for the club, manager and players. Quite simply, it’s our season and a big part of next season too. All of our eggs are in the Europa league cup now, seriously, ALL OF THEM!

We sit 10th in the PL with little or no prospect of getting European football through the league position, we are out of both domestic cups, so no way in through them either. We are playing in the last chance saloon with a piano that is very much out of tune. However you look at it, it’s a desperate situation for a club like Arsenal. Or should I say “for a club like Arsenal used to be”?

Winning the competition, very much a second rate competition, in itself is not that important, I mean seriously, it’s a competition for losers and second rate clubs, but it comes with qualification for the Champions League, and that’s a massive prize, far bigger than the trophy itself. The financial benefits of the Champions League are huge, and even if we get dumped out after the group stages, we might have the losers cup again to see us with something to play for come to the end of next season. The owners will be desperate for the cash windfall. Also fans will cling to the hope that with Champions League qualification the club will be in the transfer market for Champions League players.

On top of the cash bonus, people think that we will be able to attract better players because they want Champions League football. I believe they do, but I don’t think qualification through the Europa will do the trick. Players will look at our league position and conclude that future participation is a long shot.

That we find ourselves with all the eggs in this second rate basket is a worry, to say the least, but it’s where we are and we have to try to win it.

Fail to win this competition and we can safely say the season has been an unmitigated disaster. We started of as the 8th placed team and now we are 10th, the squad is ageing and we are depending on loan players to start games. What a mess.

Anyway, to the game itself.

Let’s be honest, we should be thinking Slavia Prague is a formality. Suddenly though, I’m reading blogs and tweets that tell us what a difficult opponent they are. Well they might be, but it’s not because they are good, it’s because we might be awful. Another Liverpool like performance and the Dog & Duck could be difficult opponents.

KT is out for 4-6 weeks, this is a disaster but not as big a disaster as us being so reliant on a left back that it becomes a disaster when he’s injured, again.

Also missing will be David Liuz, like him or not, that too is a big miss for us,

Good news however is that Xhaka, ESR and Saka should all be fit and Odegaard’s knock seems manageable.

Again, I have no idea who Arteta will pick and what our tactics, if any, will be. Well I hope for his sake he gets it right for a change, because failure might see him chased out of Dodge, if not now then when the fans return to the stadium.

I’m sorry that a game against Slavia Prague is such a massive event, but this is what it has come to.

#Wengerout they said!

Enjoy the game and stay safe. We might win at a canter and have a week of celebration?

Pedantic George

Comment navigation

← Older Comments

61 comments on “The Biggest Game Of The Season Is Slavia Prague, Blimey!

  1. On tonight’s game it’s great to see the magic three back and I think we will win even though we have shown some pretty poor performances domestically and in Europe.
    Prague have shown some great resilience against Rangers but more importantly against Leicester and I can’t see any result finishing the tie tonight.
    Apart from the magic three I would imagine Hector will come back in with Cedric on the left and hopefully Mari to replace Gabriel.
    Captain Granite and Thomas will Anchor midfield with ESR and Saka coming back at number 10 and wide right respectively.
    The other two positions are guesswork really, does Mikel continue with Auba on the left and Laca up front or any of the combinations using Martinelli, Pepe or Willian this is assuming MO doesn’t make it or he doesn’t go blindside with Eddie or/and Reiss.
    This will show whether Mikel will pick on form or continue to pick and fail with reputation.
    As I always say whatever the team COYG.

    Like

  2. Swansea have announced a one week boycott of social media in response to their lack of action on line abuse.
    I really hope ARSENAL return to the class history of the club and away from the recent PR disasters and immediately join Swansea in their honourable stand.

    Like

  3. So many people continue to be convinced that ESR is in the foremost of Arteta’s plans and that he is a shoo-in, when fit.

    My view, which I have expressed many times on this and other blogs, is that that is simply not the case.

    Having finally come to the conclusion that he needs some creativity in the team, he has loaned MO and I think that is likely to be enough for Arteta. ESR is nothing more than an occasional choice, most likely from the bench, but nothing more.

    I dare say that this game is too important to Arteta for him to lose control over what happens on the pitch so one maverick will be enough for him.

    I would also be surprised if he drops Auba, so with him on the left, there is no space for ESR anyway.

    On the other hand, Arteta may have a brainstorm and throw caution to the wind in the hope of getting a resounding win. which would boost confidence all round.

    Should that happen, one can expect Arteta to be a nervous wreck by the end of the game, as players do what they think best not what he wants.

    Like

  4. The roller coaster season is being served at us by Arteta and Arsenal. It was pretty much on the cards since Wenger was hounded out of the club prematurely.
    The onus is on the blood thirsty bloggers and their idiot followers who thought any modern manager will bring us the League title. Now they must b ashamed of themselves and should say sorry to boss Wenger and us for the mistake of their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They will never admit that, the “trust the process” that is rolled out every week is the “in transition” excuse they will use for several seasons for each new manager forgetting that Arsene transitioned several teams over the 22 years he was successful at the club and was never anywhere near tenth or serving up the staying in our own half shit we witnessed against a poor Liverpool side.

    Like

  6. Team news
    Leno, Hector, Bob, Gabriel, Cedric, Granite, Thomas, ESR, Willian, Saka, Laca,

    Like

  7. Lopez and Azeez among those on a bench which includes Auba

    Like

  8. Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Smith Rowe, Willian, Lacazette.

    Subs: Ryan, Hein, Lopez, Elneny, Ceballos, Azeez, Nelson, Pepe, Nketiah, Martinelli, Aubameyang

    Like

  9. SLAVIA PRAGUEl: Kolar, Bah, Holes, Zima, Boril, Hromada, Oscar, Stanciu, Provod, Olayinka, Sima.

    Subs: Kovar, Stejskal, Tecl, Kuchta, Sevcik, Traore, Masopust, Lingr, Visinsky

    Like

  10. HT: 0-0

    we are the better of the two teams without getting a real good effort on goal

    Like

  11. leno just made a bigger save than their keeper has had to make all game

    what is Arteta waiting for, why not bring on Martinelli or Aubameyang or even both of them, Willian and Lacazette are adding nothing to our play

    Like

  12. lacazette one on one with the keeper after taking the ball off their defender on the half way line, but he hits the post with his shot, not good enough

    Like

  13. over the bar from lacca six yards out on the stretch

    Like

  14. lacca and willian look slow and unfit

    Like

  15. willian off, martinelli on, about bloody time

    Like

  16. Partey’s passing is way off world class!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Aubameyang, Pepe and Elneny on, Saka, Lacazette and Partey off

    Like

  18. poor effort from PEA six yards out

    Like

  19. martinelli drive tipped over but it was probably going over anyway

    Like

  20. pepeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 1-0

    Like

  21. 94th minute and its 1-1, what a shower of utter shit, couldn’t even hold on for a few minutes of stoppage time

    Like

  22. FT: 1-1

    Arteta is a gobshite

    Like

  23. Think that Gabriel had every chance to get that away. Dilliied and dallied: predictable corner, even more predictable goal.

    Like

  24. Shambles, if our season ends in the EL quarter finals to Slavia, that cannot be a good look for Arteta.
    Picked the wrong side and took too long to change anything.
    Firmly back in the pre Xmas funk
    Those who run this club , I hope they realise what they have done, even if they might not care

    Like

  25. Dan Critchlow
    @afcDW
    ·
    3m
    0-0 would’ve been frustrating, but fine. 1-0 would’ve been a good result. 1-1, knowing we now have to go to their ground and score, is an awful result with the chances we had.

    Like

  26. We did miss some absolute sitters. Think we have hit the woodwork more than the net this season!
    But still pathetic to concede that way

    Like

  27. I’m sure he is probably better than he has shown thus far, but think Thomas Partey is the most hilariously bad player I have seen in an Arsenal shirt since that Brzillian fullback we used to have.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. afcstuff
    @afcstuff
    ·
    16m
    Arsenal have now not kept a clean sheet in any competition since the 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United on 30 January – a run stretching 14 matches

    Like

  29. so we have to score in the second leg if we are to have any chance of going through,

    Like

  30. Agree, I was saying to my lads 0-0 would be a good result just before we scored.
    The goal conceded is definitely Mikel’s fault, yes Gabriel fucked about and he was an accident waiting to happen all night, yes Pepe was scared of the ball and flinched like a three year old girl (sorry to all three year old girls) yes Cedric lost his marker and yes Leno didn’t stand up at the far post and again showed he has Hart type lettuce hands.
    All that considered on three occasions after we scored they played the ball long and we were nearly caught out. This is basic game management with just minutes to go we were playing far to high up the pitch and at the same time not putting pressure on the ball allowing the long ball to be played.
    I don’t understand how Gabriel is preferred over Mari but once he’s in the team needs to be set up properly to protect him, he is a good old fashion stopper but his distribution and decision making is so bad he’s dangerous.
    The days of us getting great performances in Europe with youth players are such a long way off it seems like centuries ago.
    We still stand every chance of winning this competition because the standard is very low but we really don’t deserve it.
    I don’t understand playing ESR more to the left with Willian leaving Laca isolated as soon as he was more central in the traditional number 10 position in the second half we immediately looked more dangerous.
    Tonights game again gave us more to worry about than to be optimistic about but fortunately we play the blades at the weekend and their awful so at least have a relitively easy game before traveling to Prague.
    One last thought, if I was Eddie sitting on the bench each week seeing Laca, Auba and sometimes Pepe missing golden opportunities and not getting a chance I would be seriously considering my future.

    Like

  31. Arteta on Whether he waited too late for subs

    Well we made them when we believed it was the right time to do it. Whether we should do it before or not who knows.

    Like

  32. well Ian if Eddie does not leave this summer I will be shocked, he has no future here if Arteta is boss, which I expect he will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. was there infighting between our players after the game, Arteta was asked about it in his presser

    Like

  34. this time next week we can trust in the process again when we go through on away goals, it will be an Arteta masterclass, him turning around the tie, more progress

    Like

  35. Did anyone really believe that we could win this cup anyway?

    Like

  36. we had 2 shots on target

    Like

  37. Arteta: “I think the players did absolutely everything. We were much more aggressive today and ambitious to play the game we wanted to play and we created so many chances, but we didn’t put them away.”

    Like

  38. does anyone know which game Arteta was talking about

    Like

  39. Mikel Arteta cut a frustrated figure as he faced the media following our 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague on Thursday night.

    Our manager had seen his side dominate the game, create some clear chances and, after scoring a late goal, surrender that advantage by conceding a last-gasp equaliser.

    Afterwards, Arteta discussed the performance, the team’s mentality, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and more. Read on for a full transcript:

    on the performance…
    What was missing is that when you create big chances in Europe, you have to take them. I think we merited much more than the result that we got. When we made the most difficult thing, which was to score the first goal and just wait for the last four or five minutes and manage the game much better than we did, we failed to do that and then we gave them the opportunity in the corner and they scored the goal to tie the match and [put us] in a different position. Looking back to what happened on the pitch, it’s not what we expect.

    on whether he expected more from the players…
    I think the players stepped in and have absolutely everything. It’s a really difficult opponent to play against with the amount of individual duels and man-to-man situations they create and we managed that really well in certain moments. We were much more aggressive today, and ambitious to play the game we wanted to play and we created some big chances.

    on believing we can still go through…
    I totally believe we can go there and win the match, or I wouldn’t be sitting here. The mindset has to be to go there and score goals and win the game, because we need to score if we want to go through.

    on the decision to leave Auba on the bench…
    It was a big decision to leave some players out but we decided to play the team who had the best chance at the start of the game, and as well have some key players there to change the game when we need it. I think when they came on they had a real impact, which was very necessary in this competition and they did what we expected them to do.

    on whether he should have made the changes earlier…
    Well we made them when we believed it was the right time to do it, and when they changed their set up and we believed we could hurt them and not earlier. Whether should have done it before then, who knows?

    on whether the team switched off for the equaliser…
    I don’t think they switched off. We made a decision playing the ball into an area where we got trapped and from there we conceded the corner. But apart from that I don’t think it’s the case.

    on it now being an old fashioned one-off cup tie…
    It’s a good point, I think psychologically to go there at 1-0 is completely different to the 1-1. Now we know that we have to go there and win the game and we have to score goals. We cannot play any games, we have to go there with the determination to be an attacking team and hurt them.

    on alterations between the players after the equaliser and the final whistle…
    I don’t know, I haven’t seen that, sorry.

    on it being a heated debate between Granit, Rob and Cedric and if he likes that…
    It’s good that they talk. If we can do it before it happens, that’s even better.

    on whether Auba understood why he didn’t start…
    Well I cannot talk with everybody individually ever week, but we try to be transparent and communicate with the players as clearly as possible for them to understood the role that they have in the game. When he came on, he showed the right attitude and the right commitment.

    on Martin Odegaard’s absence and how bad that situation is…
    We don’t know, he wasn’t able to play today and he will be out I think for the next game or two. But we don’t know yet.

    on whether he’s worked out why we keep surrendering leads…
    Well, I think it’s very different what happened to Spurs and us tonight. They went with four strikers in the last few minutes and were really direct, being really incisive and they made it hard for us. But I said that we played one or two balls into areas that we should not play in the last, final minutes and that’s probably one of the situations for why we ended up conceding a goal. But after conceding the corner, they have to score from that corner, so then something has to happen.

    on if he has concerns over his team’s mentality…
    With my team’s mentality? No, I don’t have any concerns.

    Copyright 2021 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Like

  40. so Arteta suggesting that odegaard will miss both the Sheffield Utd game and the second leg in Prague, with an injury he picked up on International duty, so that begs the question, why the hell was he selected v Liverpool

    Like

  41. every time I watch AFC now and see Arteta shouting instructions non stop at the players, I really want one of our players to do what a GAA player I knew did once in a game in my area, every time he got the ball the manager was shouting at him “kick it kick it kick it” and eventually the guy just had enough of it, and when he got the ball near the dug out with the manager again shouting “kick it kick it kick it” he turned to the sideline, passed the ball to the manager and said “kick it yourself”, that ended the nonsense from the manager.

    On the same topic, one of the best GAA managers of all time, Tyrone’s Mickey Hart, was once asked how he stayed so silent on the sidelines, rarely shouting at players, when so many managers in the game shout so often at their players and he said that in his view if he needed to be shouting instructions all the time at the players, then he had not done his job in training and pre match. He also said that in his experience constant shouting at players only hinders the players, makes them doubt themselves. That the only things management should be shouting at a player is well done and the like when a player does something very well, or if their is some tactical or positional switch you want them to make, otherwise let them at it, trust them, don’t cloud their thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Deja Vu. That was what so annoyed me yesterday evening. I’d seen it all before. Not jsut the drery play and the squandering of chances, but the bit right at the end – and in the same competition and same ground too. One year on from blowing it against Olympiacos we did the same thing – and for the same pathetic and unprofessional reasons.
    When Pepe scored minutes before the end the players celebrated as if the game was won, just as they did last year. How different it is when players score a goal that potentially marks the start of a comeback. Then you see the goalscorer rush to the net, pick the ball up, return it to the centre circle, usher his team mates back to their positons. The message is clear: there is a job to be done, we can still win this lads. Where or where is that resolve when it is a question of seeing out the game for the last five minutes? Does it not occur to them that the other side might be redoubling their efforts? Much is made of the role (or the absence) of the on-field captain, but if ever there is a time to remind players that the job is not done until the final whistle goes then it is right after a goal.
    And its not just an Arteta thing either: we did much the same when Aaron Ramsey scored the winner in the Hull Cup Final, almost blowing it when we should have been bttening down the hatches. Take a fresh guard when you reach 50 is an old cricketing adage, but my goodness we coudl have done with that last night.

    Like

  43. but foreverheady Arteta has sorted out the defense, has he not

    Like

  44. so David Ornstein says Arteta is safe cos he is in the middle of all decisions that have been made regarding contracts, sales and signings at the club, he is embedded in every decision. Its Arteta or bust, maybe it will be both. Ornstein also said a lot of transfers needs to be done in the summer.

    as someone put it today, is Arteta sticking to the likes of Willian just him trying to prove to everyone he is right and everyone else is wrong and Willian is in fact playing great.

    Like

  45. As I wrote a week ago just as with Emery the knowledgable blagging frauds are months behind the fan base here. And we never saw such turns with the old gaffer.

    Arteta is sniffing fumes and when the owners are done with him he’ll be replaced with another gimp. Whilst blaggers write about how much they admire Vinai!!! You couldn’t make it up to eh? The owners’ PR is poor and transparent.

    The utter fraudulence of the Arsenal blogger is unparalleled in modern football. Even ArseneWenger had to rely on Pat Rice when he took over a struggling mid table team with a shite defensive record.

    Yet none of these frauds have been able to call out the structure which saw off Freddie, Jens or any experienced coach with a half decent rep to leave a complete rookie in charge of the Arsenal. On his own. In any craft you cannot take shortcuts that lack the skill, otherwise you just end up with a rushed amount of shite that is: shite. This is simple stuff.

    Like

  46. I reckon that another manager, at another club, with our supposed status, who went through a run of games that we have this session, with so many abysmal performances, would have already picked up his P45.

    I suspect that the powers that be are terrified at the prospect of sacking a manager and looking for another and will leave him be under the context of giving him time and “trusting the process” whatever that is, so they should not look like what they actually are, total incompetents.

    In the meantime, the players’ confidence plummets, as the only talk of a solution rests in selling all the players we have and buying in new ones.

    The assumption that anyone out there has the money to pay for our rejects or is interested in doing so, or there are any half-decent players to be bought at a sensible price, is another manifestation of cloud cuckoo land that so many fans, and it seems the powers that be at the club, inhabit.

    I think we have now seen how the great defensive midfielder that so many fans were raving about, Partey, is as genuine as a £9 note.

    Add him to Rynassun, Willian, Cellabos, Cedric and the current incarnation of Auba, we see hardly anything that would give anyone confidence that the club’s supposed massive incursion into the transfer market in the summer, will result in anything beneficial.

    This mess is getting bigger and bigger by the day.

    Like

  47. It is a weird one Ed as during Wenger final seasons it did look like the players needed direction on the pitch so maybe misguidedly
    I was impressed by Arteta’s involvement in games. However I totally get what you mean now.
    What is going on with Auba? when he came in he played as we would expect as we saw last season but how come. It can’t point to a happy together squad these decisions must have repercussions.
    Once again it was xhaka that was so angry at the final whistle at the defending that also can’t lead to harmony when mistakes keep happening.
    The most upsetting thing is that they get the corner and you just know they are going to score against us. Yes I was furious but not surprised in the least.

    Like

  48. Given that ownership, I’m starting to think that the only way out of this is to get Arsène back in, either to pick the next manager or to provide ongoing counsel to Arteta.

    Like

  49. As you know I agree with all of you the commentators described the game as torturous whereas we used to be described as beautiful our club was once described as class whereas we are far to often a laughing stock.
    However having said that the Kronkes are not going anywhere soon, Vinai is not going anywhere soon, Edu is not going anywhere soon and actually as much we don’t like it Mikel is not going anywhere any time soon.
    The lucky thing is about the Europa League is the standard is so low we should still realistically hit the final at least.
    Win that and just like the cup season last year it’s a good “transformational” season.
    We also know that preseason is for every football fan from every club a reset with new hope for the new season with new players to watch and last year’s form out the window, just ask Liverpool fans.
    So as much as I have disagreed with most or if not all of everything Mikel has decided upon in reality I know that until next season all my moaning won’t have a definitive ending until at the earliest Christmas next season although we will probably know after ten games.
    There is a chance that after the reset the “process” might have started to work especially with a couple of deductions and a couple of additions (and yes writing this I’m not hopeful) so maybe we should stop noticing the obvious and try and think of a good October later in the year
    Yeah I know your all spitting your teas and coffees out but unfortunately I let ARSENAL effect my life and I just don’t want to spend the next eight months getting upset so for the next week at least I am going to try and be positive and pray Mikel doesn’t piss on my parade.
    Please don’t judge me.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. well ian we have to remember supporting AFC or any football team is not actually very important in the bigger scheme of things, its something we want to get fun from, sadly the football served up under Arteta has rarely been fun

    Like

Comment navigation

← Older Comments

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: