Back in your box Spurs | Gnabry emerges as superstar | Rosicky, the golden oldie!

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There’s nothing more exciting than writing a match report so packed with smugness you can almost taste the stuff (like cinnamon). I probably won’t go into too much granular detail about the game as most of you saw it, I’ll just pick on key points in what was a very special afternoon.

The Line Up

Initial thoughts were that the line up wasn’t particularly balanced. That wasn’t a negative comment, because I was actually pleased that Arsene had clearly taken a lot of trust from the rotation at the Cardiff game… and not only that he’d taken key learnings. What I’m enjoying about this seasons Arsene is he’s taking intelligent real time decisions, rather than learned ones.

First major play was moving Theo into the middle. He saw that Podolski, a player who easily falls out of favour under Arsene, was hopeless through the middle in the last game, so rather than give him 7 cracks at the whip, he slipped Theo in who made a far bigger impact through the middle in the Cardiff match.

At the back, he played Sagna over Jenkinson because he recognised the wide threat of Spurs was too much for a player prone to switching off. He stuck with the impressive Monreal at left back. Through the middle, he made the big shout of Kos and Vermaelen. Two players who don’t quite fit together as a pairing.

The final positions were occupied by Cazorla, and Gnabry, What could the young German do in a massive game?

Midfield was Jack, Arteta and Rosicky.

I think Spurs made one change from their game at United. Bentalob? Anyway, that immediately got me excited because although we had a weaker side (compared to our strongest side, not Spurs) we’d have the fresher legs. Which as you’ll know, is usually the defining factor in game of two teams with similar quality.

The Game

I haven’t had the chance to see it back really, but my thoughts were that we pretty much controlled proceedings the whole way through the first half. I had a feeling it was going to a be a good day for us when Ade went through on goal early on. Koscielny followed him and nicked the ball away when he felt like it.

Theo actually worked really well in the central position. Now, I couldn’t work out whether we’d done some tactical work, or Theo is actually a far more intelligent footballer than we give him credit for, but he seemed to throw the Spurs back line
off key by playing quite deep. Instead of Arsenal going over the top looking for him, Theo would pick the ball up in-between the midfield and defence and run at them… looking for the long shot.

Was he trying to counter the ‘quick off the line’ Lloris?

Who knows, but he’d had a fair few shots by the time the first half had finished.

Gnabry was the star of the first half for me. I can’t remember the last time we had two pace demons in the team. But having both he and Theo in the front line made for a tough night for the Spurs backline. Gnabry is comfortable with the ball at his feet, he has excellent vision for the pass, he’s bold with his shooting and his touch is magical at times. He was at the heart of all our good play. He was running the show from wherever he picked the ball up. His link up play with Theo was superb.

… and he’s only 18.

Another man turning the wheels of business on the pitch was Thomas Rosicky. For the last three seasons he’s been one of our most important players. He’s our assister of the assist man. He drives the team forward and keeps the pace ticking over in the same way Flamini does. He seems to be really enjoying his game at the moment.

Thomas Vermaelen made a really terrible challenge on Dembele, his fellow countryman, that he didn’t apologise for… and he took a yellow. Immediately we could see Mertesacker warming up on the sidelines. We weren’t sure whether it was a tactical sub or he’d strained something… but the fear for us was he’d be targeted in the second half.

We went into half time a goal up courtesy of a great move from Gnabry who slipped Cazorla into space… the Spaniard kept his shot under the bar as he smashed across Lloris to put us one up. A tremendous goal. What a superstar Gnabry was looking!

The second half started with a change, Vermaelen went off for Mertesacker. The last thing the Spurs attack wanted to see.

Gnabry continued to impress, he dropped his shoulder, cut inside his man and threaded Theo in who could only shoot into the side netting.

Our next goal came unexpectedly. Thomas Rosicky chased down a lost cause, Danny Rose (the muppet who scored from about 30 yards against us a few seasons ago), he won it, found himself 30 yards ahead of the pack… he ran, Spurs players closing in on him, before deftly chipping Lloris.

We all lost our minds in the crowd, I nearly went over the row in front. The poor lady next to me was hugged into the melee… total carnage in the stands! If ever a man deserved a goal like that, it was Super Tom Rosicky!

Iconic Gesture

Iconic Gesture

Arsenal made some changes, we brought on Flamini (for Jack?) and Ozil entered for an injured The (he didn’t, I missed that he went off and we had ten men). As Theo went off, the Spurs fans threw coins at him (whilst on a stretcher), the England wideman gestured 2-0 at them… which incited hooligan type launches for pitch. Totally embarrassing. What’s even more pathetic is the press reaction. I think the Daily Mail ran with ‘Theo gesture sours result’… no it didn’t. If fans can collectively sing about a players mum being a slag, then they can man up and deal with friendly banter back (both ways). That goes for all fans. We piss and moan about the sterile atmosphere in grounds these days… ban players for making it lively, we might as well all go home.

Anyway, the second half was more about holding onto the result. Have you ever seen an Arsene team comfortable sitting back an absorbing pressure? The fans were comfortable too…

‘Sherwood is a Gooner’
‘He left cause you’re shiiiiittttttt’
‘We won the league, at White Hart Lane

The game played out, we took the win, and a level of reality has been restored to White Hart Lane. The emergence of a new star, the iconic gesture of Theo Walcott, an easy win and another hat tip to well thought out rotation.

Concluding Points

We’ll be seeing more of Gnabry in the second half of the season for sure. He hasn’t let us down since his first game against Schalke. He fits our style, he gives us additional pace. He’s already weighing in with decisive contributions and he’s fresh as a daisy.

Theo Through The Middle

He was brilliant yesterday, but I think we have to look at who we were playing. They allowed Theo to be that good. I don’t think many teams would give him that space normally. However, he showed great intelligence and proved he can play other styles bar hanging off the last man. I just think against Chelsea, if he was playing deep, he’d have a Ramires on him all game. If he was playing off the last man, he’d get bullied and he wouldn’t have the tools to bring other players into the game.

… but for certain games, he’s a very good option.

Rosicky

I pushed the case hard in the summer for him to have a new deal, and he’s delivering again. He’s not going to be able to play three games a week, but what he can do is pull in a performance when asked. Mourninho loves older players because they know their time is limited, so you get the most out of their work rate and the most out of their experience. We can’t keep binning experienced players. He’s been brilliant for the past three seasons. Again, yesterday, he was top notch.

Defensive Accountability

Something I’ve complained about for years is accountability as a team for defending. Though it isn’t always comfortable viewing, we’ve had plenty of games this year where we’ve been able to conserve energy by simply soaking up possession. That’s a massive step change in Arsene Wenger thinking. His approach to defence pre-Steve Bould was that the opposition can’t score without possession. That’s slowly changed to… the opposition can’t score if you’re a well oiled defensive unit as a team.

Rotation

A lot of people slammed the idea of rotation yesterday based on the 9 day break we now have coming up. This premise is caveman like in it’s logic. Spurs didn’t rest players yesterday, and you could see it. To most, it looked like they couldn’t be bothered, but if you think about their schedule, it was about being ruined. Adebayor was so far off the pace I barely recognised him. Arsenal on the other hand had players like Theo, Rosicky, Gnabry and Monreal who were all chomping at the bit.

Risking long term injury for one game because there’s a break is a stupid premise, especially if the last 3 games have seen the loss of Ramsey, Giroud and Gibbs as well as dips in form for Ozil (and injury, which I think was impact related), along with the dangerous fitness situations of key men like Per Mertesacker and Sagna.

If we’re going to win the league, or a cup, we’re going to have to do it with the full squad. Yesterday was a perfect example of fringe players coming in and slamming their stake in the ground for more playing time. In seasons past, the fringe didn’t have the attitude to beat a strong Spurs side.

Now we’re over the hurdle of Spurs. We have 9 days break. We’re then playing a woeful Villa side. A team you could argue we have beaten before we start.

For me, I’d be resting Per Mertesacker again. I’d be setting loose Gnabry and I’d probably look to rest Sagna. You don’t need your best side for every game as proven by yesterday.

Transfer Window

We need to fill some positions over the next month. I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out. People in the game think we have Morata on loan. Berbatov wasn’t in the Fulham side yesterday. There’s talk of taking Manzukic on loan. To be honest, I think this January is a pick and mix month. I’m unsure whether there’s a plan.

I think we need a centre midfielder and a striker. Ideally a right back if we know Sagna is going in the summer. We’ll see though. Wenger is always reluctant to take the leap of faith you often need to when it comes to winning trophies. The money is there, the players will be there… it’s up to us to make it happen.

Wenger’s Contract

I read somewhere he wouldn’t be getting a payrise and that his new deal would be heavily incentivised. If this is true, it’s a masterstroke from Ivan Gazidis. It’s a gentle way of reaffirming the roles of each person. Ivan takes care of the business, Arsene takes care of the trophies. Money has consistently been proven as weak motivator for success… but I think in Arsene’s case, it’s a great way of repositioning his role.

The Fans

Hopefully the Arsenal crowd are shifting opinion when it comes to the ‘library’ comment that follows us around. The Spurs fans were so quiet yesterday. Quite amazing considering there were 5k of them!

I’ve got to know the guys and girls around me this season and it feels like far more of a community than it has done in seasons past.

We sang all game, when the ball was out of play we sang at each other. Red Action had their banners our pregame. The place was buzzing compared to any ground. Fans react to what they see. What we’re seeing is the club match our ambition, we’re seeing a manager shift slowly out of his stubborn ways and we’re seeing players step up and say ‘I want my own song’… this season has been a pleasure.

Long may it continue!

See you in the comments!

375 Responses to “Back in your box Spurs | Gnabry emerges as superstar | Rosicky, the golden oldie!”

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  1. Pedro

    Rohan, because Arteta can’t play three games in a week and Flamini is very injury prone.

    Outside those two… it’s Frimpong

  2. Ash79

    I’ve criticised arsenal in recent seasons and even this season but what I saw at theEmirates yesterday was the most complete performance I have seen from the these lads yet. Every single player deserved the applause, not one let us down and kudos to them all.

    I echo Pedro’s comments earlier, we lost our minds when Rosicky scored, I think I hit the guy next to me in the jaw, whole place went mental. A real experience I will never forget. The fans deserve some credit, an entirely different vibe yesterday in the stands.

    I really can’t find fault nor do I think this is the time to do so.

    Tim Sherwood’s a goooooooner ! Fuck off you spurs.

  3. Obsessed with 3

    Your right chocc, we finished with 10 men but it really didn’t seem like it. Any word on Walcott’s injury status?

  4. Jake

    Lots of buzz around Nemanja Matic, if he came to us we’d have the best DM in the league. Not that we need it to beat that scummy lot.

  5. D.man

    We don’t need a centre mid man, we need a centre half/back and a striker.

    Zouman/Schaar

    Balotelli/Jackson/Sanabria

  6. The Flamester

    “and Ozil entered for an injured Theo.”

    Ozil didn’t come for Theo he came for Areta ….we played almost 15 minutes with 10 men.

  7. Maldivian Gooner

    Ozil came on for Arteta. When Walcott was taken off we played with a man less, with 2 substitutions already done (flamini coming on for Jack and BFG for Vermalean).

  8. SUGA3

    ‘ Fans react to what they see. What we’re seeing is the club match our ambition, we’re seeing a manager shift slowly out of his stubborn ways and we’re seeing players step up and say ‘I want my own song’… this season has been a pleasure.’

    I have been saying this all along: it is up to the players to give the crowd something to cheer about first and foremost, now that they do, the fans do their bit as well…

  9. Trigger

    Great game and always nice to beat the tiny totts! Can’t see Wenger buying a central midfielder tho pedders,jack can play deep and there’s always Diaby(can’t believe I just said that)

  10. maggie

    Great post. Only tiny query I had was Wenger making all 3 subs. Arteta wouldn’t have suffered from playing the rest of the match and Özil could have been kept as emergency only. Luckily we only had 10 minutes with 10 men. And by that time the spuds were out of the game.

  11. Rohan

    Meh, we have Ramsey, and Jack who both are best playing in the pivot. A lot of people see Chamberlain have a future in midfield as well.
    Either way, both Arteta and Flamini should never start together. Flamini isn’t really “very injury prone” either. It is a position we should address in the summer because they’ll be getting on in age, but it’s a bit unrealistic to expect us to find someone of the requisite quality right now who’ll be happy to play understudy. We should go for a real top class buy in the summer.

    A young CB is what I’d advocate if we are to buy someone who is not a striker. If Per gets injured we are fucked.

  12. Krishna

    Ozil came on for Arteta. When Theo was stretchered off, we were playing with 10 men for close to 15 mins. Makes the win all the more sweeter 🙂

  13. Vintage Gun

    ARSENAL!!! ARSENAL!!! ARSENAL!!! ARSENAL!!! GET IN LADS!!!!

    Boy did the missus get it last night (After the highlights) I exceeded expectations and gave her a full 2 rounds

  14. WengersSweeties

    Thought Theo proved he can play that central striker role, if last night was anything to go by.

    Yes, he might have trouble against a team like Chelsea under Jose, but then who wouldn’t?

    I havent seen anything to suggest he cant play that role…..

  15. Gunnershabz

    Lewandoski is off to bayern no surprised I wonder how Dortmund fans will handle it from now to end of season

  16. Pedro

    WS, in my opinion, Spurs really played an open game yesterday… he won’t get that style of play against many teams.

  17. Mr Imbuya

    I’m not convinced either that we need a central midfielder or a 4 to be more precise – at least not imminently (January). Maybe if a player like Bender becomes available in the summer we can take the chance to reduce the age in that position (considering Mikel and Mat are 29 and 31 respectively) with player who is young enough to be the future and old enough to make international-class impact right away.
    I agree Rosicky should be given 2 years contract too if that’s wht it takes to keep him – the man is as fast, tough and has as much stamina as anyone out there, never mind his offensive instincts . If there ever was a player Arsene should compromise his ‘1 year for over-30s policy’ for, it should be Tomaz.

  18. Radio Raheem

    If Bould is responsible for our defensive solidity was Pat Rice responsible for our previous weakness? Either way Wenger employed both coaches so I’d give him as much flak as I would credit for both defensive outcomes.

  19. Gunnershabz

    Rosicky will be given yearly contracts he is fit and does not play like a 33 he says his footballing age is 29

  20. Emiratesstroller

    I have covered in response to yesterday’s post many points raised by Pedro.

    1. Arsenal were superior on the pitch and the key to our success was technical
    ability and speed. Spurs were pedestrian both in midfield and defence.

    2. Gnabry is not just a player for future but today. He is a real talent and frankly any suggestion that we want to buy Reus or Draxler is ridiculous. We have now plenty of options in attacking midfield and on wing. Spending £30
    million + on such players is quite unnecessary.

    3. There has been criticism of Vermaelen. He is no longer a first team regular,
    but sits on bench or plays when one of our first choices is injured, suspended
    or needs a rest. In that role he is excellent and amongst the best in EPL and Europe.

    4. Much has been made of Spurs penalty claim. However, nothing about Monreal’s claim in similar circumstances.

    5. Walcott should not have ‘reacted’, and banter is part and parcel of game.
    Arsenal fans opened their mouths whenever Adebayor was on ball. The issue
    here is that throwing missiles [coins] is dangerous and put at risk not just the
    player but medical staff as well. The problem now is FA may sanction Walcott
    if they punish Spurs.

    6. I am in two minds about bringing in replacement striker. I don’t want club to spend silly money on transfer and wages for an average player. Finding a
    world class player in January is unlikely. The only option is a low budget short
    term loan if absolutely necessary.

    7. A more important acquisition for me is a fourth string centre back. I don’t
    want to see Sagna used in that position. If he is we would be weakened in 2
    positions in defence. The club should bring in a young talent such as Ginter
    or Schar who are likely to cost around £10-12 Million. That should be within
    our budget for this tax year/season. After all we spent over £50 million in previous two periods albeit counterbalanced by sales.

  21. Rohan

    Theo+Gnabry is probably good enough against most mid-table teams who come to the Emirates. I liked the dynamic going forward yesterday although you’d be hard pushed not to given they play Michael fucking Dawson.

    Giroud is important because he gives us so so much defensively and aerially.

    Pedro, those stats are a bit flawed by 1. he missed an entire season because of a knee injury 2. Apart from his first season I think, he was never really first choice so it’s not like he was expected to play 40 games a season when fully fit. Ambrosini the club captain was almost always preferred.

  22. Rohan

    Rather Sven Bender than Lars Bender. Latter is slightly overrated imo, and he’s not really a DM in the purest sense. More a Vidal or a more defensive Ramsey who covers a lot of ground.

    We need someone who can sit deep, and has impeccable distribution. A slightly more dynamic younger Arteta-style DM basically.

  23. Gunnershabz

    Serge gnarby proved he should start more or subs bench I can trust him there on the right against the mid table teams or less

    It’s like Man U with januzaj using him the same

  24. Samir

    Real Madrid offered Robert Lewandowski a €10m up front, a 6-year contract worth €9.5m per year, and a €14m to his agency.
    The deal would round up at €81million for Lewandowski but the player rejected picking a summer move to Bayern Munich instead…

    We had no chance with him.

  25. karaul

    we need young quick defensive midfielder. but we need that for future – in summer.

    for now we “just” need striker. and no injuries. If per gets injured young CB does not help.

    regarding DM – what are the ideal options? Bender? Matic?

  26. Rohan

    Have BvB really gained anything from making a “stance” by not getting rid of Lewandowski in the summer? They just lost 40 million euros for a player who’s probably going to be booed to the rafters everytime he steps on the pitch for the next 5 months. Surely they could’ve found a replacement. It’s just a very unsavoury situation. Feel for their fans.

  27. aaron_gooner

    Best performance since Napoli (first time around) nice to see we have another dimension than Giroud holding up the ball which has worked well for us. Cazorla was unplayable last night, best first touch in the league and doesn’t get enough credit.

  28. Gunnershabz

    Lewandoski had his eyes set on bayern for ages but Dortmund should of sold in summer like our rvp situation

  29. Charlie Boy

    Guys and Gals

    Great result yesterday and a superb team effort!

    Regarding the Villa game however, let’s not get too carried away as their intention will be to replicate the kicking they gave us at home.

    Mark my words, they will be dirty and unless we get a decent Ref, they will get away with it.

    They’ll probably think they have one over us mentally too, so we’ll have to be on our game.

  30. Rohan

    Imagine how embarrassing it would’ve been if RvP had signed a pre-contract in January to join United. Would’ve destabilized the whole team.

  31. Gunnershabz

    I think we should sign someone within this week and ready for the villa game we have 9 days till villa

    Perfect week to train and rest and sign some player

    The thing is team is great if we do sign a special player it will boost this team more

  32. Gunnershabz

    Ok atletico Madrid won last night they are top of la liga so no Diego Costa or Kobe leaving for sure it would be stupid to sell now

    Unless we offer stupid money but I don’t think wenger will take a risk

  33. Max85

    Rosicky and Sagna have to get new contracts, among our most consistent performers.

    Matuidi in the summer for me – excellent DM, tremendous work rate, and out of contract in the summer. Means we can put our funds toward Draxler and Costa (£60-70m).

    Also need another CB as we currently can’t rest both our first choicers at once which isn’t ideal if we want to compete in all comps. Would love to keep Verm, and bring in Schar from Basel.

  34. Radio Raheem

    From what I’ve read Dortmund fans are reconciled with Lewandowski’s move to Bayern. He still does the job on the pitch. I did say in the summer that Dortmund’s move was admirable from a romantic/philosophical view but daft from a purely business one. Though this is to an extent. Keeping Lewandowski might more or less guarantee them CL next season and allow then go further up in the competition, earning them tonnes in the process. Who is to say a new striker would have such an impact. Dortmund are a well run club with the financial capability to say no.

    My hunch is Mandzukic will replace Lewandowski at Dortmund.

  35. Pedro

    Radio, he wasn’t responsible because he didn’t make himself accountable.

    Pat Rice was a block on progress… Steve Bould is motivated. Has a mortgage to pay and has a reputation to carve out.

  36. karim

    How many games has TR 7 had so far ?
    There was something about giving him a 1 year extension if he was to play 25 games..
    PL games or any competition I dont know though

    My little finger tells me both Sagna and him will stay, especially after how our season is now shaping..

  37. Max85

    Also, how good does it feel to go into a defensive set piece with some degree of confidence? Remember the terror we all experienced over the years when giving away a free kick in a dangerous position, usually a better than 50:50 chance it would result in a goal.

    With Mertesacker, that’s all changed – we’ve not had a commanding lump at the back since Sol, and it really showed; while Gallas, Toure, Verm, Koz etc were all quick (helped to mitigate Wengers suicidally high line), barely any of them were over 6′. In addition the players always looked panicked and disorganised as they’d been stung so many times from set pieces and long balls.

    There were days when we conceded a set piece in injury time and you knew the result would be dropped points. No more!

  38. Rohan

    Perhaps RR, my roommate is miffed though. But he’s also a massive twat so I’ll take your word for it.

    Yeah Mandzukic is a good shout for them. Would suit their pressing game well.

  39. Gunnershabz

    The only signing that make sense if we buying big in summer is berbatov or a loan for morata

    Unless we sign Jackson Martinez get him used to premiership from now till summer get him ready for next season

  40. Bade

    Fantastic win. We really owned the game. Apart from the early Erisken chance, Spurs really weren’t up for it & we never looked under real threat, whereas looking as a real threat going forward

    Arteta showcased why he’s our leading DM & one of our pure leaders. His ability to read the game & anticipate opposition’s next move is at another level. Only Per has the same quality for me in the squad. Gibbo has great intuition as well, but those two have massive experience over Gibbo

    Rosa is simply mocking time & every thing we learned since young age. He’s becoming younger & fresher with time & it’s actually funny. In the positive manner of funny. Long may it continue

    Nacho was brilliant again. He had a horrible game against City indeed, but this is what game time gives you. You’re becoming sharper & it’s easier for you to perform your high standard form. But of course, it’s valid until you’re starting to be overplayed. So you just need the right balance between keeping the players in contention with their top form so they won’t cool down, while trying to maintain their fitness levels & avoiding to over play them

    Arsene seems to get the balance better this season than in previous ones, hence why we’re still performing at a high standard albeit we’re playing without our 2 top performers this season (Rambo & Ozil) for a couple of games now.

  41. Hitman

    We need a top notch centre mid without doubt.

    We got bullied by ManC. Arteta & Flam are too small. Lack of power in the centre always cost us against Man U & Chavs.

    We cant afford to lose any of those 3 games if we want to win the league.

  42. Radio Raheem

    Pedro

    Bould declared himself responsible? I wasn’t aware of that. I see you point of the buzz of a relative upstart vs retiring veteran. My point remains both coaches work(ed) under Wenger. If he gets the flak for past mistakes he should also get credit for current improvements. It’s like Fergus being called a great manager but he hasn’t done any on-field stuff with players for over a decade. The coaching staff were mostly responsible.

  43. kwik fit

    Hope we avoid going for Balotelli. Don’t know what all the fuss is about. Maureen certainly won’t buy him as the pair have history.
    Jackson Martinez seems to be touting his affection for Arsenal.

  44. Byo

    I agree we might need a MF to replace Diaby and spell Arteta, a CB/RB to complete our defensive pairings, and a STR to spell Giroud. But I cant see Arsene bringing in 3 new players this late into the season.

    Great game yesterday. We had power failure(in Fishersville, VA), so had to leave home for a sports bar to see the game. I was not surprised to see other gooners there.

  45. Toli83

    Spurs played 2 up front and sat really deep which mean the completely dominated the midfield. Soldado could be one of the biggest flops the league has seen.

    He’s isolated bit when he gets the ball he looks lost for them.

    Pedro, I though you would have mentioned JW10 a bit more. Not just yesterday but last few games he has been immense. Cardiff for example all went through him.

    Hopefully it can continue and we see a Ramsey esque upward surge from him.

  46. Gunnershabz

    We not signing any central midfielder, diaby will be back be like a new signing lol like wenger says

    Diaby will be motivated for himself and World Cup

    The ox will be back very soon

    The only places are forward and maybe defender

  47. Bade

    And as for my usual dose of “Keep The Sag”

    Again, yesterday he was one of the more outstanding players of ours

    All of the team performed well as a unit, but Sag amongst others rose even above that well, to being exceptional

    He’s been exceptional this season so far. Now you can always fear he plays at such a high form & consistency because he’s looking for his next move. But surely the years here have something to weigh in? I mean he’s been with us since 2006, he completes his 8th year this summer. I’m not sure we can do much better in the market than just keeping him as our leading RB

    He still has 2-3 more years to give & at that time we will be smarter to know whether Jenko is up to it or whether we need a new RB

    I can’t but think keeping him is as important as any player we’re going after this window, at any position

    Plus he can cover as our 4th CB when needed

  48. Guns of brixton

    Diaby at the world cup?? even if he went demon mode from march till june they wont take him in fear of another injury.

  49. Rhys Jaggar

    WE need a central defender, not a central midfielder. We have three central defenders and Sagna as cover. Sagna who needs a rest because he’s played a shedload of games at right back. Vermaelen is supposedly out again. We aren’t short in midfield – we now have 9 players who are good enough (Gnabry added to the previously listed 8). There’s wittering on about Zelalem too, although unless his physique is like Rooney’s was, at 16, he’s probably too young for huge contributions before next season. His time will come if he’s as good as everyone says he is.

    We need another striker too.

    So my priority list goes as follows:
    1. Central Defender.
    2. Striker.
    3. Right Back.
    4. Any 2014/15 prospect you can pick up for three and six (old money for peanuts, not code for left back and centre back).

    MY take on the game was that Eriksen didn’t take his chance early which changed the game. Spurs got through the Arsenal defence early but didn’t profit. They didn’t get any more chances like that all game.

    My second take was that Arsenal, Spurs and ITV did a deal on ‘we put in Gnabry and you put in Bentaleb’. It’s happened loads of times before, where managers agree to a fair balance of teenagers in each side. I hold my hands up if this is conspiracy theory guff, but my considered outside hunch is that is what happened. as it turned out it was a better deal for Arsenal than for Spurs.

    My third take is that Spurs would trade Champions League football for losing in round 3 of the FA Cup. They’ve still got the Europa League after all. They have plenty of injuries and a 4 way battle for 4th place.

    Arsenal should look at Everton’s 1985 season and Man Utd’s 1999 season and try and emulate those. It’s a tough ask and it may not happen, but all you need to do to make it possible is to just keep on winning football matches. The attitude of ‘Why not?’ was Howard Kendall’s approach back in the day. He didn’t promise it, he just said: ‘keep playing the way we are and it’s possible’.

    Arsenal should focus on winning every game left in January utilising as much of their squad as is possible. They should believe that they can beat Bayern in the Champions League but, if they end up getting beat by a great side, move on from that without sulking. I don’t see why they can’t win right now. It won’t be easy, it may take a bit of luck, but they shouldn’t be deferential, fearful or feel inferior. It will take every player on the pitch in both games to play to their best, it will take luck with injuries and suspensions but it’s not impossible.

  50. Dave Highbury

    Wenger doesn’t need ‘money incentive’ how insulting to a man who has given his ALL. The difference now, is the attitude of the squad – no weak minded big-heads abandoning ship or spoiling the changing room. The move that changed all this was when Wenger bought Arteta. The minute the stadium and club was secure, he timed the introduction of pod, santi, per, and the ripening of the five young brits with an Ozil cherry – TO PERFECTION. On hindsight, you’ve gotta cave in and accept the genius that is Wenger. He’s got the stadium for us, and now he’s got the squad. Our mid-field is good enuff to tempt ANY striker, so expect cups. Time for more respect for the gooners.

  51. wenker-wanger

    gnabry is going to be one hell of a player. He looks like a perfect player to plsy “in the hole” behind a striker. He is quick,mobile and makes great distance with the ball in that crucial area around the box, giving himself that extra yard to outsrip the defender and do the damage. Was so impressed with his performance. Expecting great things from him.

  52. Gunnershabz

    I can’t wait to see the ox play again he should be in full training this week coming and he must be motivated and excited to play again with ozil and the current form of the team

    Where will he play though?

    he see himself as a central player but can also play on the wings but his best performance was against Milan in centre mid the Milan team shit themselves

  53. Mr Wise

    Agree with the person here that says the MF posituon is not urgent and should be resolved over thesummer.

    The defence after striker is the main worry if we suffer a mass injury there

    Meanwhile, why are people so choked up on Draxler? The way we are salivating over Gnabry should be an indicator of what we get when AOC comes back to offer the same qualities at a higher level. This notion would be further supported if we do infact give Rosicky a new contract

    Final note, it seemed too easy yesterday. Gap in quality. To hoping this is the year.

  54. Gunnershabz

    Serge gnarby, I can see him with a similar skill set like saurez for some reason

    Luis saurez started his career on the right hand side then turn striker, I think gnarby is similar explosive in the final third and has the power and skill to take players on to create that yard of space to shoot

    I think we got a winger forward if he can work on his finishing next few years he will be dangerous

  55. Al

    I think a lot of people are forgetting about chambo playing in the middle. He has undoubtedly looked best when playing centrally and I think he will end up there.

  56. Gunnershabz

    Mr wise

    I did say we don’t need a central midfielder as we have aoc and diaby coming back am sure wenger thinking the same

    Maybe we short in defence and up front max two players we need, we do need a forward that’s for sure but depends on injuries wenger only buys in January if we short with injuries or a special deal comes along he won’t go chasing players

  57. The Poldi Prince

    The main point to come out of the day was that 442 is a shit formation.

    Noone really had a bad day and noone is mentioning fabianskis top drawer save to keep in 0-0. They score early, we probably lose.

  58. Bade

    As for Gnabry

    He really ran the show in the 1st half

    But let’s just not make him a savoir. Not just yet

    Comparing him to Suarez, even in the slightest, is just pointless for so so many reasons

    I remember the excitement when seeing the 1st few performances the OX had with us. Look how his career developed since.

    I love Serge & I think he merits a fair chance with the team. But he’s still so young & fragile, so let’s keep his feet on the ground….. He’s on the right path so don’t rush him & don’t hype him

  59. samsensible

    If we are to compete long-term we need an Arteta replacement.

    There are no world class strikers available this month so why not snap up a world class DM if one is available in January? Saves us a job in the summer.

    Not sure why people are so opposed to the idea; there isn’t only one position to recruit for if we want to win the league NEXT season.

  60. Craigy

    Great post pedders…… Fantastic game yesterday, gnarby rosicky santi were emence, theo done a great job too, the whole team did, so happy that yet again gnarby justifies his inclusion with another fantastic performance, the last few great games he bout five months ago when he scored his first goal he was fantastic, but wenger halted him for some strange reason and he didn’t feature for like 5 months, there’s no way wenger can do it this time round, he’s making an impact in every game he plays, and it goes without saying u play your best players and ones that are playing with confidence. Pedro I agree m8, the transformation in wengers mind set in to a modern day manager has been almost just as important if not just as for our rise, letting bouldy take charge of the defence is a game changer, I’ve never felt so comfortable watching arsenal soak up pressure, it’s actually a joy to watch, and I have the same amount of praise for our defensive work as I do for the attack. This team we have with the blend of attacking and defensive stability is what wins trophys, we play with belief, I’m so happy wenger has slowly but surely seen the light, thaaaaaaaank fuuuuuuck, he’s still annoying at times but he’s changing that’s all u can ask for. Has to be said the vast amount of spud fans are classless cunts, reacting like that at theo was absolutely ridiculous, Roy keane hit it in the nutshell calling them idiots, can’t folt him, I think were all aggressive fans when supporting the club we love, but I’d never dream reacting like that, classless simple as that, except if it was ruud van histelroy ha ha ha 🙂 up you gunners!!

  61. samsensible

    Jack had a good game.

    Showing glimpses of the old Jack.

    The rotational fouling he has to endure every game is getting ridiculous.

  62. samsensible

    Al, all 3 like to bomb forward. That’s a tactic that used to land us in hot water repeatedly. We have vastly improved defensively having one guy tasked with sitting behind the play.

  63. bazza

    @ Gunnershabz

    I thought the same thing about Gnabry being similar to Suarez. He’s got that same low centre of gravity, upper body strength and dynamic explosive power. Can’t remember what Spud it was, but there was a great moment yesterday when Gnabry went shoulder to shoulder and didn’t flinch or change trajectory. All at 18 years old!

  64. bazza

    @ samsensible
    I also think Jack is slowly getting there, but still looks short of pace/fitness. A lot of the fouling is brought on himself by choosing to take an extra player on rather than quickly releasing the ball if there’s an obvious pass,

  65. Gunnershabz

    Bazza

    I am not like saying he be as good but some of skill set reminds me of him if he matures in the right way we could develop very similar

    Needs to work on finishing and forward play we got a player on our hands

  66. paulie

    Is anyone else disgusted with the games shown on sky over the christmas holidays. All the major games now seem to be on bt sports which i havent got. Is this an attempt to grab more money from people. Sky has gotten so bad that Im going to grab stop subscribing. Has anybody else felt this.

  67. Charlie Boy

    @Bade

    Gnabry fragile? The young lad’s an Ox!

    Agree with ATSB too – if he’s good enough, he’s good enough! Look at how old Cesc was when he started playing regularly.

    For me, he should start at least 50% of the games left this season.

  68. Dissenter

    Danny Rose made his name with that wonder goal against us, now he’s found out that Karma’s bed is not all roses.

    Nothing like barbecuing the silly cockerels. Legrove was harmoniously euphoric yesterday. No needless arguing, Keyser did try though..

    Yup, Victory through Harmony. COYG.

  69. Keyser

    Radio Raheem – Gazidis hired Bould, another masterstroke there, Wenger’s always hated the English, but Gazidis had infiltrated Arsenal about a decade before he was asked to step in and made sure of Boulds natural progression through the ranks, it’s been well documented.

    You may ask ‘Whatthediddlyfucknowwhere’ but Gazidis wanted an inside track on Wenger, someone who he wouldn’t expect, but someone who would be willing to stab him in the back at the first chance, masterful by Ivan.

    Not called Ivan the Terrible for nothing.

  70. Dissenter

    We all need to chill out on this Serge Gnabry lovefest.
    He’s a good player no doubt but he still has to be handled right. He is still fresh and exuberant. I’m sure Wenger will continue to ease him in. Not everyone will play us as open as Spuds did.

  71. Keyser

    “Keyser did try”, no I didn’t Lol, who the hell are these people..

    Le Grove through concept, through it’s very essence can’t be harmonic, it wouldn’t be Le Grove if it was, all yesterday was, was the manic high, of a manic depressive.

    Tottenham were poor, doesn’t mean we weren’t good, just means we weren’t too stretched, we played with 10 men for the last 10-15 minutes and no-one noticed other than our own fans in the stadium who were singing “10 men, we’ve only got 10 men”

  72. Gunnershabz

    The only result pisses me off this season is we did not beat Man U and that prick rvp at old Trafford we should of pissed on them

  73. Paddywhack

    The fat bloke at WHU will be sacked tonight, not tomorrow as Paulie says. Mark my words. The weekend gets even better lol

  74. salparadisenyc

    Nice post Pedro would loved to of been at this one, back in the box indeed.
    “Sherwoods a Gooner” emanating from the Emirates must of done Levy in to no end.
    If had to prioritize our business this month it would go Striker, CB, DM, RB, although well probably stop at striker. Was convinced we’d go for a pacey winger in the vein of Reus, El Shaarway pre-injury but with Gnabry coming to the fore that seems unlikely. Although Wenger baffles at times like bringing AA23 in when when even my mother knew we needed a CB.
    Agree with Pedro their’s is no plan, A striker option is a must anything beyond its about whom if anyone of “qualiteee” is willing to move. Do think well be putting a few bids out there though but Id be surprised if we end up with more than a striker. 9 day lull perfect time to bring someone in.

  75. Inter YourGran

    Great post Pedro, the game had absolutely everything you could want from an arsenal fans perspective. A win, clean sheet, 4th round, rotation good, spurs were shit, atmosphere excellent, ikkle Theo mugging of their scum fans… Perfik!!!

    Agree with the notion that we have the midfield, form and manager to entice a really top, top striker. Depending on Theo’s injury we can wait if the right player isn’t available. If we can’t get balotelli or martinez (only really top class striker available, face it!) then Costa, suarez at 70m, cheaper martinez, cavani options would be better served in the summer.

    Gnabry and oxlade give us width options creating santi and rosicky as additional central options. Giroud’s fit again, we have bendtner a month away with podolski and Theo as alternative cente forward options.

    Ex spud berbatov or another untested kid? Nah mate. Why should we buy Volland, Ramos, Griezmann or that lump from liege when we have Akpom, Afobe, Campbell, Sanogo and Park?

    Also, agree about a central midfielder in the summer, not now. Same with regards to buying a new right back. If Sagna stays, fine, we stay as we are (Sagna, jenkinson, bellerin). If not, we can replace Sagna when he leaves.

    Flamini and Arteta are fine for now, but father time suggests a younger, bigger DM needs to come in to complement the two across 3-4 competitions next season. Pogba would be perf… outside him, bender, matuidi or gungodan.

  76. GoonerDave

    Great win.
    Walcott can play through the middle, but I’m not sure he could do it against better opposition. This shouldn’t negate the need for strengthening up front though.
    Agree with the poster who says we need a defender – we are light there and if we need Sagna to cover, can we really trust CJ at the business end of a promising season?
    Most important of all is for the players we have to remain focused and resolute.

  77. Josip Skoblar

    RIP Eusebio, the greatest Portuguese footballer of all times, and one of the best strikers ever. What a sad day.

  78. Bade

    Bazza / CB

    Please don’t be turned around by one performance. Or even a few

    I remind you that OX’s start was even more brilliant

    But when you play regularly the expectation levels of you raise, hence the pressure on you rise, also the opposition pay more attention to you,

    Football game has it’s mental barriers as well as the technical & physical ones

    It’s easy to shine once a while, but you’ll find it much harder to shine in consistent basis when all spotlights aimed at you

    This is why Arsene even said he should be more consistent before we crown him as the next big thing

    & please stop referring to Cesc. Hoe many players did persist in their early form like Cesc had? So few, not only at Arsenal, but in the game as a general

    If you look at it, OX, Jack, Rambo, went the same path. Exciting young talent that crumbled under the heavy pressure pile on him (or even worse, broken physically due to being over played)

    Most players will show their real mettle not before the age of 23, as they need time to build their game, confidence & experience

    I hope Serge in a one off & he can be our next Cesc. Doubt it though. That said, I’m certain he will be, like Ox & etc, will be an asset for us in years to come

  79. bayo

    Wenger should bring in a central defender at least as their are only 3 presently. 3 central defenders cannot play all the games in the FA, Champions league and Premier league.

  80. S Asoa

    Credit is earned where due. Bould was given a free hand in defence after a protracted and strident campaign by , particularly Grover’s and this best Arsenal Blog . We appreciate that voices of sanity were heard .
    Games against City and Chelsea demonstrated the limitations of the current squad. Against top teams victory is by converting the single chance. Profligacy is Giroud style of one victory goal and 3 missed flaying at the ball . Arsenal Desperately need a striker. To avoid being tricked out a la mourinho for Dembe Ba like in summer must sign in also Berbatov as emergency immediately .He is not exactly what we require so hunt on for the first striker.
    Wiltshire looked not fit yesterday . The substitution was good .

  81. jack

    .” Wenger is always reluctant to take the leap of faith you often need to when it comes to winning trophies. The money is there, the players will be there… it’s up to us to make it happen” its up to Arsene Pedro and if he doesn’t take the leap of faith and settles for 4th , as I think he will, will you still be supporting him. I’m not being negative, just realistic. Hope I’m proved wrong.

  82. Scott

    Atmosphere was electric yesterday always was going to be. Come on I mean who in the stadium hadn’t been drinking for 5 hours beforehand. I couldn’t wait to let them have it !!!

  83. Bade

    FA Cup fourth round draw
    Sheffield United v Norwich or Fulham
    Birmingham or Bristol Rovers or Crawley v Manchester United or Swansea
    Bournemouth or Burton v Liverpool or Oldham
    Blackburn or Manchester City v Bristol City or Watford
    Derby or Chelsea v Stoke
    Wigan or MK Dons v Crystal Palace
    Stevenage v Everton
    Arsenal v Coventry
    Rochdale v Macclesfield or Sheffield Wednesday
    Southend v Hull City
    Nottingham Forest v Ipswich or Preston
    Port Vale or Plymouth v Brighton
    Huddersfield v Charlton or Oxford
    Southampton v Yeovil
    Bolton v Cardiff
    Sunderland or Carlisle v Kiddrminister or Peterborough

    The FA makes a mockery out of their job

    Seriously, how you run a draw where 10 of the 16 aren’t closed yet?

    There are more ORs that decided game. Pathetic

  84. Tippitappi

    I saw Gnabry against West Ham Res last season where he was poor I had doubts but he was a revelation yesterday well done , give him a good contract extension before the usual suspects come sniffing around it’s not as if the club needs the money now.