On paper, it should be a BIG day for Arsenal

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A total monster of a day ahead.

FA Cup Semi Final day… at a well awkward time of 1720.

Teams news is pretty much all good news. It’ll be our strongest side out there today. I doubt Wenger will be resting any key players at this time of the season, so hopefully we’re going to see Reading totally dismantled.

The score with those guys is they’ve basically lost a tonne of games. I think they’ve won one in their last ten. Zero of their last 5. They sit 18th in the Championship having conceded 64 goals.

It should be a mauling, but games like this rarely play by the rules, do they?

They don’t.

I think we’ll have far too much for them. The only issue we might have is that the super human in players creeps out on occassions like today.

Still, the players will remember both trips to Wembley, joy tinged with a ‘OMG we nearly ruined everything’ vibe.

If the players have a good plan, if they’re fresh and they’re focused, we should have this in the bag no problem!

Fingers crossed.

Have a great day! x

645 Responses to “On paper, it should be a BIG day for Arsenal”

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  1. daz

    Redspud you are clearly upset you hate arsenal hate Americans and now insulting little people what happened when you were a kid did your mom run off with an American dwarf who supported arsenal?

  2. tunnygriffboy

    Has to play Ramsey alongside Coquelin next week

    Debuchy looked so so rusty. Gibbs did as well

    Must play Welbeck and Sanchez wide. Welbeck didn’t have any service today. Spent a lot of time pulling wide into the space. Missed Bellerins pace and overlapping especially as Debuchy was very wary of getting forward

    I hope he plays Ospina in the final. Schezzer gave me kittens today. Why in the last 5 mins did he roll the ball to Ramsey on the edge of the D when he was surrounded by Reading players ?

    Think we were complacent again today. In selection and attitude. Didn’t change anything to provide any width.

    Collymore tonight. Talking about Chelsea. Players are fatigued this stage of the season. Games are not about performance only the result. Talking about Arsenal 2 minutes later. Not a good performance are gooners worried about the form of some of their back up players. What a tool !

  3. Duckster

    Arsenal = poor performance today with 3 relatively rusty defensive players coming in & win.
    Glass half empty.
    Chelsea = another poor performance at home today & win.
    Glass half full.

  4. Emiratesstroller

    This was certainly not our finest game and the way we played reminded me very much of our performances in the first half of the season.

    Too many square and intricate passes, a lack of width and pace and over reliance on Sanchez. The overall performance looked totally disjointed.

    What we learned also yesterday was that the two replacement fullbacks are not particularly match fit. Welbeck is not really a top quality finisher AND
    I am afraid that Szczesny is simply not good enough in goal to play for us.

    For sure I think that Wenger needs to review whether Messrs Szczesny,Debuchy and Gibbs are good enough for our squad. My view is that Jenkinson would be a better option than Debuchy at RB. He is younger, physically stronger and pacier.

    On a separate note yesterday’s game was the first time that I was at the new Wembley Stadium. Personally I felt that it was not a patch on Emirates certainly for comfort and accessibility.

  5. qna

    TGB: Has to play Ramsey alongside Coquelin next week

    Cazorla is still the better option. Even yesterday he was the more solid defensively. Ramsey still offered a lot to the match, I think he can come on as a sub for either Cazorla or Coq depending on how the game is going at 65mins.

    TGB: Debuchy looked so so rusty. Gibbs did as well.

    Yeah. Well Debuchy wasnt as bad as Gibbs. Did Gibbs even manage to block a single cross. I have said that Gibbs is good to keep as a squad player, but if he can’t come on and perform as a squad player then there is no point to him. I think we must sell Gibbs and bring in Gaya and have Gaya and Monreal as our LBs. That would really be strengthening and looking to the future. Hopefully Madrid are busy with other parts of the pitch considering they already spent money on a RB.

    TGB: Must play Welbeck and Sanchez wide. Welbeck didn’t have any service today. Spent a lot of time pulling wide into the space.

    Welbeck did have service today actually. He just demonstrated for the umpteenth time that he is no good centrally. You could see when Giroud came on he instantly knew how to play that role. Two of the worst CFs in the PL are Welbeck and Walcott. Keep them wide and running in behind. Anything else and your playing a man down.

    TGB: Missed Bellerins pace and overlapping especially as Debuchy was very wary of getting forward

    True. Debuchy wasnt terrible, thats a bit harsh. I think the only negative on Debuchy was that he wasnt Bellerin – who has been giving us so much pace and energy. Debuchy last night was as good as we have got out of Sagna for the last few years.

    TGB: I hope he plays Ospina in the final. Schezzer gave me kittens today. Why in the last 5 mins did he roll the ball to Ramsey on the edge of the D when he was surrounded by Reading players ?

    I know mate. What the fuck is Wenger doing to us. The cup is all we have left for the season and if he is going to play “cup keeper” in the final then you might as well give them a 1 goal head start. Please, please for the love of god, play Ospina. Schezeny must be either loaned out – so he can regain his confidence on somebody else’s watch – or sold in the summer.

  6. qna

    Emirates: For sure I think that Wenger needs to review whether Messrs Szczesny,Debuchy and Gibbs are good enough for our squad. My view is that Jenkinson would be a better option than Debuchy at RB. He is younger, physically stronger and pacier.

    Good call. A review is in order. But Jenkinson is not better than Debuchy. No way. If Welbeck is not on your list, then neither should Debuchy be, because both are first year players at the club. But Debuchy has been good in almost every game he has played for us. He wasnt terrible last night either. They didnt get in through the right very often. He also had only Welbeck to cross to and he wasnt making good runs. By the time Giroud came on, Debuchy was shot, but you cant call for his head for that, we knew he wasnt match fit.

  7. qna

    Ozil, Sanchez, Coquelin and Kos were good.

    Schezeny, Gibbs and Welbeck were very poor, as was Walcott when he came on.

    Debuchy, Gab, Mert, Ramsey, Cazorla, Giroud were decent enough. Its not easy to win an FA semi cup final, no matter who you play. Reading put in a solid, tough performance and deserve some credit.

  8. Thank you and goodnight

    Some of the papers today are criticising Chesney today. I have to agree and say in my opinion his Arsenal career should be over. Look we all know every keeper makes mistakes even the WC ones like de gea and courtious. But none make mistakes as frequently as Chesney, and those 2 I’ve mentioned that also make mistakes, well how often this season have they kept their team in the games with WC performances. As some one said on here yesterday, with over 150 odd appearances for Arsenal how many times has he saved our bacon and put in man of the match performances? Once? Twice?.
    His mistake allowed reading back into the game and allowed them to believe they could beat us. In my opinion enough is enough and he should be shown the door and replaced by either cech or begovic.

  9. mysticleaves

    Charlie Boy April 18, 2015 18:59:44
    Shearer is a first class cunt!

    Who is more of a cunt? You or him?

  10. qna

    TYAG: As some one said on here yesterday, with over 150 odd appearances for Arsenal how many times has he saved our bacon and put in man of the match performances? Once? Twice?.

    Yeah, good point. I often wonder a good way to evaluate a player is to ignore 10% of their worst performances and also 10% of their best performances and evaluate them on the middle 80%. I think if you do that, Schezeny is quite average. I think Wenger’s loyalty is part of the reason he has kept his dressing room for 18 years. But its also one of his liabilities. Schezeny and Walcott are two players that he has really invested his time and reputation on, but neither have lived up to expectation. Time to move on.

  11. Thank you and goodnight

    @Qna

    Shame really as I thought Chesney would turn out top notch. I remember being really impressed with him when he was at Brentford. But as I said yesterday it won’t be the first or the last time I’ve been wrong about a player.

  12. mysticleaves

    Qna
    Am of the opinion that Chesny aint better than Ospina. He’s full of mistakes and all that.

    But I think he got called out wrongly yesterday. Am not too sure most keepers would keep that one out. it took a (un)timely deflection off Gibbs. You must have seen that right?

  13. qna

    Mystic. It wasnt just the goal, which I think any top keeper would have manged to instinctively saved at the pace it went through him. But his decision making is still really poor and he made other errors. Gibbs was horrendous, could not block a cross and this was from pretty basic opposition.

  14. qna

    Lazy Sunday. Refreshing newsnow. Keep reading the mug Schnederlin’s name so I thought I would see if I could get a new perspective and watched his Youtube vid. Still bang average. Why in the hell are people here excited about this guy. Average skill level, nothing special at all about him. May as well keep our existing stable of donkeys Arteta and Flamini.

    Pogba’s vid was next, so I watched that. Now that is a fucking player. Why has Madrid not already bought him? After Messi and Ronaldo he has to be the best player going around doesnt he. Wonderful, wonderful player. If he comes to the PL, I will be distraught because he will lead a team to the title, a bit like Yaya did. If there is a player in the world to turn our massive cash reserves into playing assets its Pogba.

  15. Emiratesstroller

    I appreciate that FA Cup matches are always very difficult games to play even against lower division teams, but our game yesterday highlighted weaknesses in our squad which were only resolved once players like Ospina, Bellerin, Monreal, Coquelin were introduced in January and Ozil and Giroud returned from injury.

    You can argue that several of the players were not match fit, but I think that our performance yesterday had as much to do with how we played. The team lacked width, pace AND balance. Most balls were passed in middle of park where we were congested.

    Both Gibbs and Debuchy were as much to blame for the goal conceded as
    Szczesny. Both were out of position.

    One of the reasons that Arsenal have been winning consistently most of their
    games since January is that we have had a stable team. That was not the case
    yesterday. What the rotation demonstrated was that some of our squad players are not good enough.

  16. Wallace

    have only seen the highlights – surprised he rested both full backs, and not a fan of this Ramsey wide right idea. am assuming it’s compensating for Sanchez on the other flank coughing up possession so often, but with the Ox out i’d rather see Theo or Welbeck out there before Ramsey.

    top quality first goal. from Ozil’s beautiful pass to the way Sanchez finished it.

  17. qna

    Emirates. I have been arguing this point on LG for the last few weeks. Not specifically Schezeny, Debuchy and Gibbs, but our squad depth in general. Our recent form has been excellent and we have played like a quality team. But the “good” Arsenal that we have been seeing has been achieved with a relatively small squad. Our form has been as much about who hasn’t been playing as much as it has been about who has been playing. As soon as Schezeny is put in goal, you immediately feel that if the opposition can manage just one shot on target, they will probably score. You mentioned recently that we had the nucleus of a good team. I dont agree with that. We have a dozen good players and some young players with potential, but half of the squad are simply not good enough to achieve the things that the 8th biggest club in the world should be achieving. We should still be wildly swinging the axe, like we have so successfully done in the last 2 seasons. Our list still has too many players that are not good enough.

    Still to cull: Schezeny, Gibbs, Walcott, Welbeck, Arteta, Flamini, Diaby, Jenkinson, Podolski, Cambpell, Sonogo, Miachi

    Rosicky still offers quality for me, but no point in keeping him if he is not going to be used. Bellerin should be our number 1, but keep Debuchy for squad depth IMO.

    But the key is to replace with players that are already better than these guys, or with players that have already demonstrated that they can be world class if they take another short step.

  18. Nasri's Mouth

    Wallace: have only seen the highlights – surprised he rested both full backs,

    Wenger likes a combination of defensive + offensive, so I’m not too surprised that when he brought in Debuchy, he also picked Gibbs.

    Neither looked match fit though, Debuchy was unsurprisingly very rusty. Still, Bellerin has looked a little more suspect defensively recently, so I can understand why he did it, we might need a fit Debuchy back in the line-up. Assuming his hamstrings held up, that will have done him some good.

    What we do need to do is to work out how to play with Welbeck as a CF.

  19. gazzap

    the major tactical problem last night was with Ramsey playing right wing. The is currently harming the team hugely. Rambo cannot play on the wing and he looks crap out there. I’d rather have Welbeck out there. at least he will stay wide for most of the game. Ramsey was drifting into the centre all the time.
    I would bench either Ramsey or Ozil, and use as a sub going forward.

    I can’t really criticise Debuchy after he had to play 120 mins on his first game back. He looked so tired. He is a probably a better defender than Bellerin but not as good going forward.

    Szcz is a total liability, and Monreal has shown he is now way ahead of Gibbs.
    Other than Scheiderlin, I would prioritise getting a new winger and sell Walcott. How good is Gnabry anyone?

  20. Wallace

    NM

    “What we do need to do is to work out how to play with Welbeck as a CF.”

    reading reports of the game sounds like Giroud coming on made a big difference?

    re Welbeck – there have been a couple of occasions he’s linked well with Ozil, but doesn’t happen as often as it should. and i think that’s on Welbeck. if he makes better runs Ozil will find him.

  21. Dream10

    qna

    We lack depth at LB, CB, and CM. Kieran Gibbs is not improving, Gabriel is capable of making a critical error every match, struggles with heading and not comfortable in possession. Arteta, Flamini can’t cut it anymore because of age.
    Wilshere is not good enough to be a starter. Ramsey can be very good, but he is injury prone.

  22. Goondawg

    I hope he plays Ospina in the final. Schezzer gave me kittens today. Why in the last 5 mins did he roll the ball to Ramsey on the edge of the D when he was surrounded by Reading players

    THIS

    WTH was Schezney doing??? This kind of lacklustre performance summed up by rolling it out to a Ramsey, who was covering for a marauding Koscielny at CB, instantly getting pressured by two reading players. IN THE 118TH MINUTE. Thats fucking unacceptable. Ospina would never not in a million years, done such a thing., LITERALLY no keeper would.

    Schez had one shot to save, one chance and flopped it. Wasn’t even a hard one, deflection or not.

  23. Wallace

    gazzap

    i think Gnabry’s quality. powerful like the Ox, maybe not as explosive a dribbler, but scores more goals. think he’ll challenge for a first team role next season, but he’s been out so long Wenger might decide to loan him.

  24. qna

    Nasri: What we do need to do is to work out how to play with Welbeck as a CF.

    Why do we have to do this? Why can’t we just buy a player that can actually play CF. Are we so poor and miserly that we can’t do that?Welbeck couldnt play CF for United and now he can’t play it for us. Why doesnt he just sign for the FA and be a specialist CF for England. He can follow Roy Hodgson around.

    We have to own up to our mistake. Welbeck was a mistake for us. Balotelli was a mistake for Liverpool. Soldado was a mistake for Spurs. There is no shame in that. But it would be a disgrace if we held on to him out of pride. A goal scoring wide player in place of Welbeck would just raise us to another level. I am sure we could sell Welbeck and Walcott for the amount of money it would cost us for Reus. Their combined wages would also cover whatever Rues would demand as well.

  25. qna

    Dream10. Agree with you mate. I could give Wilshere another year to show his worth. He is still quite young. But if he even tries to secondhand smoke again he should be out the door. I didnt know much about Gabriel before he came here. I think he was a moneyball buy looking at his dollar value and squaka stats. A bad way to recruit IMO. He hasnt been that bad since he has come though. Some mistakes running back with the ball coming over his shoulders, but then some good tackles in the box that he didnt give away the penalty. Feel a pen is just around the corner though. Hope he doesnt try to dive in on Hazard next weekend.

  26. qna

    Dawg: Schez had one shot to save, one chance and flopped it. Wasn’t even a hard one, deflection or not.

    How many times is Wenger going to let this happen before he cuts the strings. Schezeny must have a record this year for fewest shots per goal scored.

  27. MadeToLoveMagic

    qna

    come on mate that wasnt an easy save, , you must be a bit retared or just myopic in your doom to see that ……

    took a nasty deflection,, how comes nobody on the tv even mentioned it?

  28. useroz

    Wenger won’t deal with these mistakes., till too late

    Look at Diaby…Wenger wants to give another contract.

    AFC should replace upgrade Diaby, Arteta, Flamini, Gibbs, Wilshere, Welbeck, Walcott – as many as possible, if we are ambitious.

  29. qna

    MTLM: took a nasty deflection,, how comes nobody on the tv even mentioned it?

    Because it wasnt nasty. It was mild. Maybe your just myopic in your optimism not to see it 🙂

    No need to use the R word please. The F word and C word are fine 🙂

  30. Wallace

    qna

    ” I didnt know much about Gabriel before he came here. I think he was a moneyball buy looking at his dollar value and squaka stats. A bad way to recruit IMO.”

    Wenger doesn’t buy players like this. read any interview where he’s asked about stats and he’ll say they’re useful, but only to back up an opinion formed from watching a player live.

  31. Emiratesstroller

    qna

    I don’t advocate wholesale changes to our squad, but I do want to see an improvement in its quality. My view is that we need 22 players good enough to play in 1st X1 with three or four youngsters coming through as and when an opportunity is available to play them such as League Cup.

    Goalkeeper. I agree now that Szczesny should be replaced. He makes too many basic mistakes. He may turn out to be a good goalkeeper, but not at Arsenal.

    Defence. I don’t think that we need to buy this summer either a RB or CB. However, I made point earlier that I would consider replacing Debuchy with Jenkinson in squad. He is physically stronger, quicker and younger. I do think that
    we need to review Gibbs on LB. He is injury prone and defensively suspect.

    Midfield. We have at moment too many players on our books including at least 4 who are past their best i.e. Flamini,Arteta,Diaby and Rosicky. My view
    is that we have more than enough cover in offensive department with Ozil,
    Cazorla,Ramsey and Ox. Adding one quality DMF/CMF such as Schneiderlein
    to Coquelin and Wilshire is enough, although perhaps retaining Arteta on books for one more season in an emergency.

    Forwards. We do need to add to squad one additional goalscorer whether to
    play as a striker or on wing or in combination of both. Welbeck is a good squad player because of his pace and work ethic, but unfortunately does not
    score enough goals. Walcott,Podolski,Sanogo and Campbell are not good enough. We need to bring in a QUALITY player who combines work ethic with
    goalscoring potential.

    I continue to believe that we do not need to bring in more than 3-4 new players
    this summer even if we shrink size of squad. Many of those listed are already surplus to requirements demonstrated by the number of games they play or
    even sit on bench. You do not need more than 25 registered players including
    3-4 young potentials like Gnabry and Akpom.

  32. El Tel 1

    Chesney was pathetic.

    Reading did have a 25 harder in the first half that he fell on. Shit myself as soon as the ball was struck.

    The goal was typical Chesney. Look at it again from the cross on the left side. He was flapping like a Union Jack in a strong wind.

    Sure the shot took a deflection, the commentators also mentioned this, but, he is 6’3″ turned into 3’6″ when the ball went in.

    He is outrageously average, yet HE thinks he is great.

    I said this before many times. The best keepers help win the prizes. Look at Readings keeper yesterday. Brian Clough said when he signed Peter Shilton ” he will save us 10 points every season” that was when there was 2 points for a win.

    Wenger MUST get that keeper this summer.

  33. mysticleaves

    FA cup semi finals aren’t really the stage to judge the team general performance. Its a smash and grab game.

    The underdog, more times than not, make it hard for the superior teams to play.

    That said, Gibbs was rusty. He is not a bad player. Will keep on drumming it, no matter how in the minority I am. Crosses and shots get past FB’s bodies too.

    Monreal was horrible in the Newcastle match but he wasn’t one bit slated, instead posters targeted Chambers who did better. When someone is doing good formwise, let’s not discount the people they are benching as not good

  34. Goondawg

    Nasty Deflection????

    You wot m8?

    That wasnt a nasty deflection, a nasty deflection is one which shoots off Gibbs and into the goal completely wrong footing the goalkeeper. This one had Schezney in a heap on the floor, for it to bobble over his head, with his massive goalkeeper hands feebly flapping at it. Poor!

    That Chabolalah shot from 25 yards out, that literally every top goalkeeper would be able to catch. Poor!

    The icing on the cake, was this hilarious brainfart of his, that enabled him to roll the ball out to Ramsey when he was pressured by two or three reading players, in the 118th minute when we are protecting a slender lead due to his and Gibbs lapse of concentration.

    Also the attitude on show after he let that goal in, like a shrug of his shoulders and a wide smirk as if this is a joke game against a sunday league team not the semi final of an FA cup clash. So fucking poor from him.

  35. qna

    Emirates. I agree with you on 22 plus youth. In future we should stay away from overpriced English players too.

    17 non hg – concentrate our wages and transfer kitty here

    5 hg – low wage (if possible) squad players. If we manage to bring through an Oxlaide then keep him until his wage demands outweigh his actual talent (as compared to our 17 non hg players).

  36. Cesc Appeal

    Got to say, I don’t know if there’s anyone who watches the Championship regularly, but that 22 year old CB of Readings, Hector, was outstanding I thought.

    Keown was lauding him in the Mail yesterday as their best CB and he showed it, was sharp in, strong, didn’t seem fazed by the names he was clattering into. Great display from him.

    Kind of display that might get you a big move.

  37. Wallace

    “You’ve got Liverpool and Manchester United, the two biggest clubs in this country, and the rest of them are fighting to be there over the next 20 years.”

    i bet even Liverpool fans wish Brendan Rodgers would just keep his mouth shut occasionally.

  38. useroz

    Within constraints would agree defence is sorted with opportunities to upgrade GK and LB.

    Need new injection in mid field, would rather keep Rosicky than Arteta tbh. Trade Wilshere in for a more robust and current(ie good last few years and not once 3,4 yrs ago) model.

    Similarly need new injection to striker department. Trade in what’s not optinal even Welbeck.

    So add 3, 4 and offload half doz2n will position our fight to titles nicely Any trades In kids to endulge Wenger is on top.

  39. Northbanker

    Well I was convinced we’d win 3-0 right up to the point when the equalised. Never could have seen 2-1 in a month of Sundays but all said and done it is the FA Cup which continues to defy league logic and that is the charm and splendour of that old lady.

    And – a win is a win however uncomfortably close it proved.

    I have targeted a top 3 place in EPL and retaining the Cup since Jan and still very much on.

  40. Toli83

    Arrogance from Wenger yesterday but he got away with it.

    Too many changes meant we struggled to get rhythm. Credit to Reading, fought hard.

    Main point is that Ramsey isn’t a winger. A very good player but not a winger, slows us down and doesn’t give an outlet – with a rusty Debuchy, our threat was minimal down that side most of the game.