Özil purrs as Arsenal bag their first 3 points

by & filed under Match report.

Courtesy of @the_cros

Courtesy of @the_cros

Happy Monday boys and girls – James here with a match report and general guff to lighten, or spoil, your morning.

By the grace of God (there isn’t one) I managed to get a ticket for the game. I’m quite fond of Selhurst Park, particularly the outdoor section where you can go for a puff of lovely, tobacco-ey goodness. Whilst the ground is fairly characterful, it is tainted by the appalling views when you’re set further back. This is the case with a lot of ‘older’ grounds, but it felt particularly apparent yesterday. Unfortunately I was all but two rows from the very back of the away section, with play on the far side of the pitch of flurry of feet and not much else.

In terms of team news, the inclusion of Alexis will have certainly provided a fillip to both the travelling supporters and the squad; whilst Bellerin’s return at the expense of Debuchy was also significant, with the Catalan’s far superior technique essential in building momentum down the right – something we struggled with in our previous outing. Hector’s pace against the likes of Bolasie and Zaha would also prove to be an asset. Some were surprised at Oxlade’s exclusion after his sprightly performance last week; however I felt his effervescence would be utilized best when running at tired legs. Perhaps his demotion was a reminder that for all his good offensive work, his performance at West Ham was punctuated by erring too long on the edge of his own box – a trait that he needs to abolish, quickly. (more…)

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Mobility is king for #Arsenal in #CPFC game today 🔶🔷

by & filed under News Review.


I was having a read around the papers yesterday. Hilarious to catch up on the Jose / Eva story. His storming out of the press conference. So petulant, especially as he had to come back. Nice storm out Jose.

What I find amusing about this is how out of control he is. He used to own the narrative. But he’s not anymore. The poor treatment of two of his inner circle was a sign of cracks. That sort of behaviour, when you’re a club of Chelsea’s reputation is totally unacceptable in the eyes of the people.

1) Because loyal people shouldn’t be hung out to dry for doing their job

2) being hung out to dry because you didn’t identify systemic cheating is an unacceptable yarn to spin to the press

Anyway, my point wasn’t to rehash Jose retreating. My point was that one of the pieces that came out of the press conferences is one of the points I battled with last season. One of those points that makes you bang your head against the table because it’s such a dim ask.

‘If rotating players is so important, how does Jose get away with not doing it?’

It was a mystery for a bit. Jose bulldozed the start of the season and barely changed his starting 11. Last year he used the least players. Now, this looked super human for a bit. But with great work load, ALWAYS comes great fatigue. Unless you’re on one of those cheeky American trainer brand bootcamps.

Jose did give players strategically placed holidays during the season. But actually, what happened, was in the run up to the close of the season, his players looked ruined.

The up-shoot of all this is apparently, his players still aren’t back to their best because they’re tired. So the club are now looking at how they can work this through.

“We were tired towards the end of last season and the team had problems. We went for a slower start – a short pre-season, with only three matches before the Community Shield – and we knew that the start is not going to be the same kind of start that we had last year.

“Clearly we know what we are doing. Clearly some bodies didn’t react as well as we expected. We are not at the top of our game. The normal tendency is, week after week, to improve.”

So there we have it. Turns out rotating your squad is a good idea, even if you’re Jose.

Just before we leave the Chelsea soap opera, these comments from football’s biggest spender made me feel better.

“You can say ‘Why didn’t we do our business before the start of the pre-season?’ like we did last year but it’s not because we don’t want to, it’s because it’s not possible,”

If he is struggling with player signings, then it’s fair to say that signing players has been a problem for all this year. I still think we missed out on a major opportunity with Schneiderlin. Part of me wonders if Madrid’s fear of FFP has slowed down the process. They are the first time buyers. They normally pump £100m somewhere that kick starts a domino effect. Not this year. They’ve barely signed anyone and apparently they can’t. So no one has bought anyone. Crazy, considering all the money that is now in the game.

Onto Arsenal. Interesting bits about Danny WELBZ who left with a bruised bone 3 weeks ago, now he’s out for three weeks with a weird injury. The manager then went on to praise the health of Alexis.

“I am a bit worried about him coming back too quickly. But on the other hand I knew before the start that once he is here, he would be difficult to stop.”

Does make you fear for Danny. The lad is always broken. My concern with Wenger’s comment on Sanchez is it sounds like he’s letting Alexis make the calls on his fitness. I love that we have a player with that drive. What I don’t love is the idea of him breaking himself because let’s be honest, Wenger doesn’t need much of an excuse to overplay his faves.

Missing today is Danny and Jack. But back in the game, Bellerin… who no one in Bilbao seems to be aware of. PLUS. The main man. Alexis Sanchez.

So how are we lining up?

Sanchez Giroud Chambo


Ramsey Coquelin

Monreal Mertesacker Kos Debuchy


I kind of feel that in these physical games, we should be bringing Rambo into the middle of the park. He has the legs to get around the pitch, you just gotta cross your fingers and hope he plays for the team, not his move to Barca. I think Giroud gets the nod over Theo if we have him flanked by Sanchez and Chambo. At least we have some pace off the bench if need be. We need a big game from the back 5. We need to see solid communication and the calmness you expect from a brilliant defence.

We need to take three points. No excuses.

Finally, more Mourinho comments. But these comments capture why the Premier League is the most compelling league in the world and why it’s the most competitive.

“You can go to Germany, how many teams can really react against Bayern Munich, how many teams are powerful enough to react against Bayern Munich’s dominance? They’ve won three in a row and probably are going to win it for the fourth time. In France, how many teams can react against Paris St-Germain’s power?

“Here, Man City won [in 2014] and Chelsea was not happy, Man United was not happy, Arsenal was not happy and Liverpool was not happy. Chelsea – Diego Costa, Fàbregas, Courtois. Arsenal – Alexis Sánchez, Özil. This season Chelsea are champions; Liverpool and Man United bought. Arsenal, Petr Cech. People react. Man City, the first thing they did in the summer was Sterling. Here and in the Champions League people react. It’s more difficult to be champions.”

Have a great day and enjoy the match!

Oh no, don’t just yet. Apparently the United signing of Pedro is being held up because of the noise around Van Gaal and his terrible treatment of players. Look, I know I said the United house of cards would fall last season, this season, it’s happening for sure. You can’t bully a team to the title. You also can’t lose that many good players. Fingers crossed!