Can Arsenal second string destroy Middlesbrough?

by .


How’s it going you romantic bunch?


Oh me? Ahh, all the ladies. You know how it is. Literally, like, all of them. At my door. With plans and stuff. Such a good night. Wild man, like a Leo DiCaprio beach party or something.

Anyway, more importantly…

Top of the Championship Boro come to The Grove this evening. They’re doing well. Scoring many goals, conceding very few… I think the only reason they’re not getting quite the respect they maybe deserve is because they’ve been SO out of the loop over the past few years most people had nearly forgotten them.

I’m not a fan of Boro. I used to hate playing them. Like the Wimbledon of the north. Such a boring pointless team. They capped it off by putting Southgate in charge. A massive melt of a manager if ever I did see one.

… but they’re resurgent under Karanka. The Spaniard will have thought about today. You’d imagine he’ll have been working on a plan. A devious plan like Leicester. They’ll have looked at that game with positive eyes. We’re not always too smart against teams that are on a run. I still have Blackburn and Bradford on the mind.

Tomlin is the main man there, Boro’s Santi Cazorla according to Karanka. I do love the Boro story. Karanka, a legendary name picks up the slack when the team are just off the relegation zone. He stamps his style over the club, now they’re filling the stadium versus the empty vessel it was when he started.

There’s something very brave about a manager who had it all as a player and decides to take a role like that to learn the ropes. We have a weird view of football managers, we look at the elite and brush off the guys doing great things on next to zero budget… where only great management and smart coaching can bring you to the top. Karanka is clearly a smart guy, it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up over the next few years if he continues to develop in such a positive way.

However, let’s not worry too hard. We play our game. Attack with pace and directness, defend as a team in a compact manner… there should be no problem.

Chezzer will be back between the sticks. Gabriel will start at the back, maybe with Laurent. Midfield I’d imagine will see Coq, Rosicky and Santi. Up, what are we saying? Probably Mesut, Danny and Theo?

Is that enough? It should be. But, you know, the marketing people at FA Cup towers say the cup is magic, and ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

So don’t be arrogant. If you are, and we lose, people on Twitter will say it’s your fault.

Right, enjoy the game. Follow me on @LeGrove for absolute bullet insight from inside the ground.

481 Responses to “Can Arsenal second string destroy Middlesbrough?”

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  1. Leedsgunner

    Here’s a lazy thought and I know it will probably happen but I wonder what Harry Kane’s actual transfer value would be? Despite being a Spud — he’s a top finisher — imagine Özil feeding him? 😉

  2. Leedsgunner

    Although I do remember a certain top defender moving from Tottenham to Arsenal… can you just imagine the faces of the gormless Spud masses. Their disbelief and outrage would be worth £25m on its own 😉

  3. Cesc Appeal

    Wasn’t too long ago everyone was wanking themselves silly over Berahino.

    The English media are do desperate for a ‘saviour of the national team’ they latch onto anything. I guess they think if a small country like Wales can get a Bale, we must have an English Bale rocking about somewhere.

    Soon as an English player has a month of great form they are immediately hailed as the answer to all our problems.

    When in truth that sort of short term thinking is one of our problems.

    We need to build for tomorrow but the problem is, as soon as someone looks like they might be good at 19 we do a Wilshere on them, immediately think they are the greatest things since XL Bacon Double Cheeseburgers, put them on £100k a week and refuse to criticise them.

  4. Cesc Appeal


    Is it wrong I really want to see him and the kid who played Anakin Skywalker have some sort of charity cage fight?

  5. Leedsgunner


    If Tottenham miss out on Champions League and they consequently finish below us again somebody should contact a journo to start a rumour just to wind the Spuds up and get it trending on Twitter. It would be hilarious! 😉

  6. Leedsgunner

    “Is it wrong I really want to see him and the kid who played Anakin Skywalker have some sort of charity cage fight?”

    Lol. 🙂

    Whatever floats your boat… although I rather see Natalie Portman and Taylor Swift in a mud wrestle! 😉

  7. Arsene's Nurse

    MotD 2 have just done a bit of analysis of Santi Cazorla and how great he was today. Pundit says Santi is enjoying his football and that he’s quite strong but also how he shields the ball. Then says Cazorla could play in a post box.

    Martin Keown is laughing at the post box comment.

  8. Dissenter

    I get your point about bugging up English players too early,
    However, Harry Kane is different. I started rating him when he destroyed Chelsea. He made Gary Cahill look like a pensioner. He lost his automatic Chelsea spot after that game.
    The dude is real. He has that goal scoring instinct that you can’t teach.

  9. Roaaary

    I really like the look of kramaric. To score goals for such an average team you have to be good. Also take into consideration he has played a handful of games after coming from a low quality Croatian league. He could be special and a good back up to giroud.

    This summer I can only see a DM. We’ve actually not got much need for many others. Tactics are where we are weak. These players would look so much better with proper instructions and drilling

  10. Roaaary

    Also Welbeck is dogshit. I’ve never seen a player fall over as often when he shoots!

    How can you be accurate when you’re never composed and balanced when shooting. He is bang average

  11. salparadisenyc

    Just rolled up a spliffer and watched the match again, Ozil is heading for some serious form, the Caz/Ozil understanding is really beginning to take shape. Excited to see a fully fit Sanchez in there, he seemed to be about 2/3 there today.

  12. BacaryisGod

    In the spirit of fairness, if you sin bin Keyser then you should balance things out and bin Marble Hall for the same length of time. It’ll be like a hostage exchange.

    Here to help, as always.

  13. underrated Coq

    That was a controlled, professional display. Excellent performances all-round. Special mentions to Giroud and Cazorla who were outstanding.

    Well played you Gunners 🙂

  14. Wallace


    “When in truth that sort of short term thinking is one of our problems. We need to build for tomorrow but the problem is, as soon as someone looks like they might be good at 19 we do a Wilshere on them, immediately think they are the greatest things since XL Bacon Double Cheeseburgers, put them on £100k a week and refuse to criticise them.”

    hmm, not sure about that last bit.

  15. Wallace

    Karanka took the shirt of Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who he worked with at Real Madrid, at the final whistle.

    “We spoke about how well he is here [at Arsenal],” said Karanka. “I know him from three seasons. He is an amazing player, he is happy, the team is playing well.”

    – Telegraph

  16. Thank you and goodnight

    This is Pedro s site and buy far the best Arsenal blog on the net bar none. But I thought banning of keyser was bit harsh. Me and him don’t exactly see eye to eye admittedly but he’s not a bad Chap…..sorry just saying.

  17. Thank you and goodnight

    This is Pedro s site and by far the best bar none on the net, but can’t help thinking Keyser’s ban a bit harsh. Me and him don’t exactly see eye to eye, ha ha ha, but for a raving AKB he’s not a bad chappy 😀 shame but it’s your site Pedro.

  18. Thank you and goodnight

    Pedro you do an amazing job and this site is the best site on the net bar none. Honestly I love it on here. But can’t help thinking K’s ban is a bit harsh…..even for a raving AKB. Ha ha ha. Seriously me and him don’t see eye to eye but he’s not a bad chappie….shame but your the boss pedro

  19. Emiratesstroller

    Here are some final observations about yesterday game.

    1. This is the first time that I felt that Messrs Ozil,Cazorla and Sanchez playing
    collectively together in same team seemed to play well together at the same

    2. Middlesbrough were frankly not at races for most of the game. Unlike Spurs
    and Leicester we were not subjected to physical pressing team for most of

    3. Both Cazorla and Ozil played in central midfield. Would that work against
    say Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd 3 teams whom we have still to play?
    Personally I doubt it.

    4. Szczesny played yesterday, but was virtually untested. Will he reestablish
    himself in team?

    5. The defence included three players who are currently not regulars. Would
    you keep them for weekend game? My guess is that Wenger will still play
    Mertesacker rather than Paulista, but maybe Chambers and Gibbs will be

    6. My view of Flamini does not change. I think that he is a liability every time
    he plays. Yesterday that impression was clouded by Middlesbrough’s

    7. Welbeck should most definitely start ahead of Walcott, because of his
    work ethic in team. The goals issue is not relevant because Walcott is not
    exactly prolific and there are plenty of players who can put the ball in net.
    We are not short of goals in this side with only one game against Southampt
    on where we failed to put ball in net since beginning of December. Our
    average is more than two goals per game.

    8. What the performance does reveal is that our squad/team is short probably
    of maximum of two/three class players from being a title challenging team.
    That should be the focus in summer plus diminution of our injury problem
    which impacts consistently on rest of squad.

  20. Leedsgunner

    It’s a shame we have so many players out injured… because in an ideal world it would have been good to rest our star performers like Ōzil, Cazorla and Sanchez until the Champions’ League match versus Monaco. We face Crystal Palace though and they very gave us a game — and we very narrowly beat them.

    Ideally Wilshere should be able to take over from Özil, Rosicky for Cazorla and Walcott for Sanchez… so our main three could be fresh for the first Champions League.

    With regards to the Champions’ League we have to emulate the big boys like Bayern Munich in their approach to the competition. They come and kill off the tie in the first leg, especially if it is a game away. Then in the second game the team that lost the first leg has it all to do in the second leg.

    Monaco is definitely beatable over but we need to smart about it so we don’t kill our players for the league race.

  21. Wallace


    yesterday was probably only the third or fourth time that Ozil, Cazorla & Sanchez have been on the pitch together.

  22. Leedsgunner

    Very harsh on Welbeck especially considering he’s been at the less than a season and he’s been out injured for weeks. With Özil coming into form I suspect Welbeck’s performances will lift once he gets his fitness. Remember Welbeck has already done what Giroud couldn’t do yesterday – he has a hat trick in an Arsenal shirt… 🙂