Going for broke, but are we good enough? #Arsenal

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“Ospina is out injured. He came back from Colombia with a shoulder problem and he’s out.”

Arsenal have a long and illustrious backlog of stories relating to keepers who have a dip in form then suffer injuries. Almunia, one of the originals with a mysterious broken finger. I think there’s only been one keeper who has been genuinely dropped for being crap and that was Jens Lehmann way back when (horror show against Blackburn).

David Ospina doesn’t start because he’s average. He’s been an average keeper performing well. In our last Champions League game, he was just doing what keepers with bad technique do. Make mistakes and scare the defence.

So tomorrow evening, we’ll see the keeper who should have started all our Champions League games return between the sticks.

I totally ballsed up my reading of the fixture list yesterday. We play Bayern at home. It’s going to be a massive challenge to get anything out of the Germans. They’ve been in terrific form this season. Lewandowski has dropped into the elite zone of professional strikerdom. He’s untouchable. The game has clicked for him. Perfect awareness, balance and confidence combining to bring you the complete striker.

WE TRIED FOR HIM.

Yes we did. But he wanted Bayern. Sad for us, right? He’s the best most unfashionable striker in Europe. I’d love him in the Premier League. But he’d be worth about £100m now. So the chances of that happening are pretty low. I think his salary is pretty obscene as well.

It’s quite hard to work out how we’re going to down Bayern tomorrow. They’re just a disgustingly brilliant team. I think if anything, they’ve underachieved under Pep Guardiola. We had peak Bayern under Heycknes and there have been constant jibes at Pep and what he’s doing. Amazing really how taken for granted the league is over there.

The one thing we have going for us is that Bayern don’t get tested that often. So we have a chance to cause some problems. We can take aim at their centre backs, we have more than enough craft to unpick them. For me though, it’s more about which Bayern turn up. If it’s electric Bayern, it’s going to be a very long night.

The other challenge we face is Pep and his attention to detail. There will be a very detailed plan in place. They’ll have spent time on the training pitch replicating what we do and working out ways to defeat us. I’d imagine they’ll have a plan in place for Theo and his pace. I’d imagine they might try and prey on the overall greenness of Bellerin. They might try and agitate Per Mertesacker knowing that he’s not exactly the fastest these days.

It’ll be an intriguing encounter. It’ll give us an early doors guage of how we’ll deal with Manchester City. It’ll also give us a nice idea of how good we are compared to a super elite team.

More tomorrow!

230 Responses to “Going for broke, but are we good enough? #Arsenal”

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  1. Samesong

    It’s interesting going ahead to the Everton Match the approach they took in 10 men behind the ball when Everton had posession. Everton where unable to play. Would we be able to adopt this to contain them? Or just a completely open game?

  2. Dissenter

    Lewandowski: “‘Arsenal really need to step on the gas, otherwise it’s over.”

    Its amazing how ubiquitous American English has become. I would have expected a Pole to say “step on the accelerator”

    Anyways, we get schooled tonight and move on to domestic engagements.

  3. Wallace

    no doubting Bayern, and Lewandowski in particular, are in the zone right now, but i’ll be disappointed if we don’t give them a great game. they’re probably the best side in Europe right now, but still don’t think they’re close to Pep’s Barca side that came to the Emirates and didn’t let us touch the ball for the first 30mins.

  4. Wallace

    Dissenter

    “Its amazing how ubiquitous American English has become.”

    I think it’s what’s taught now. Most young Europeans that i meet speak it.

  5. Louis Almeida

    Wallace – yes I agree. I think that Bayern have now fully adapted to Pep’s philosophy but Barca under Pep were much scarier.

    I think we just have to play quick transition football and hope for the best. I don’t see Wenger changing the team at all. He even spoke about Kos and Mertesacker handling Lewandowski in his press conference yesterday so I think he knows the team.

  6. Logie Bear

    Been a while since I commented, work getting in the way. Sadly I can’t go tonight but maybe that’s a good thing as I was at the Olympiacos game and must have jinxed us.

    Not much has been said about the other teams in our group – we have to hope for a draw between them (which in itself is an indictment of where we find ourselves) but if one of them wins both of those head-to-heads, then surely we’re stuffed anyway (assuming we won’t beat Bayern home and away ?!?!)

  7. Samesong

    “Jack Wilshere would be ideal for a transitional game tonight.”

    Disagree totally.

    That will upset the balance of the team people are still remiscing when we beat them. Bayern are a different beast now. Jack will not be able to keep up to speed in this one. To early ask Bob if you don’t believe me.

  8. Bamford10

    Sanchez was included in the 23 player list of candidates for Ballon d’Or, but Ozil was not.

    Team Ozil is upset on Twitter, but his exclusion shouldn’t be surprising: can’t/doesn’t shoot, lacks power, and disappears too often.

    Wenger is on the manager list, though, which is laughable. His side has lost to Zagreb and Olympiakos in Europe, and he thought it wise not to sign a single outfield player in a window in which his squad needed improvements.

    Not a top manager.

  9. Paulinho

    Barcelona held possession better but were often profligate in front of goal and generally used to pass themselves into submission as well as the opposition by the hour mark. Messi especially couldn’t finish his dinner; wasting chance after chance. This is away from home btw, at home they were scary.

    This Bayern are more clinical and more of a goal threat throughout the ninety.

  10. Paulinho

    “The front 3 of Ox”

    Not sure what’s particularly exciting about him giving the ball away and making dumb decisions time and time again.

  11. daz

    We’re going to go for it tonight which will leave us exposed at the back so could result in a thrashing I hope we don’t let that kill our confidence and affect our league form, just play without fear and what will be will be just make sure we’re ready for Everton

  12. Louis Almeida

    I think the Ballon D’Or list has lost validity because all players can vote so they can sometimes be bias in their decisions. It was better when it was just Press allowed to vote. Anyway, I think the top 3 will be:

    Messi
    Ronaldo
    Neymar/Suarez

    Alexis had a very good season winning the F.A Cup and Copa America but it won’t be enough.

    Ronaldo didn’t win anything but by virtue of the amount of goals he scores, he will always be there.

  13. Highbury4ever

    All I ask for tonight : PLEASE AVOIDS THE HUMILIATION EVEN IF WE LOSE!!

    But, as often, I wonder if I ask too much from Arsenal…

  14. Bamford10

    Louis

    Given that players see one another up close and in real speed, I think they have a unique and valuable perspective on players’ quality. An argument could even be made that their view is MORE accurate than the pundit’s. And I would think that they can be just as objective as anyone else.

  15. Nasri's Mouth

    You just have to look at the voting to see that players aren’t objective when it comes to voting.

    Same with managers.

    It’s not quite Eurovision levels, but there is a lot of tactical voting for ‘mates’.

    The problem is, it’s an entirely subjective process, I doubt any of the voters actually review anything like 100% of the evidence, and because of how we view football, the results are always skewed towards attacking players.

    Ultimately though it doesn’t really matter that much. It’s a nice award, but I suspect the only person that worried about who wins it is Ronaldo’s cat

  16. Wallace

    NM

    “It’s a nice award, but I suspect the only person that worried about who wins it is Ronaldo’s cat.”

    nice.

  17. underrated Coq

    They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Guess this applies for comments re Wilshere. I mean, when was the last time he had a dominating performance playing central for Arsenal? Which is why I find all these “Wilshere would have been ideal against Bayern” comments a bit funny.

  18. Leedsgunner

    So Wenger’s on the shortlist for FIFA coach of the year huh? Who wants to bet that he will mention the fact that he was shortlisted for this award, next time his methods are questioned?

    As far as Wenger is concerned he has his reward already.

    Although, bearing in mind the reputation of FIFA at the moment, I don’t I would accept anything from FIFA just now.

  19. underrated Coq

    I don’t understand why people get these strange issues re Wenger ? Why does it bother you if he’s made the list? Lest we forget, he’s guided Arsenal to an FA Cup success last year. Pretty sure you can find managers who went potless last year on the list too.

  20. Leedsgunner

    Wilshere would have done a few of those “flatter to deceive” mazy runs, held on to the the ball too long and got tackled in the ankles again. He probably would have slammed the ground a few times, because we all know, the boy’s greatest strength is passion.

    *facepalm*

    The boy might have talent in his feet but as far as his brain is concerned, he doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes on or off the field.

    Obviously I would love him to prove me wrong, but I doubt he will be fit enough long enough to do that. As a Gooner I would be elated if he did.

    Very sad for the club really, because he should be reaching the potential that people always mention when they talk of him. In fact, more than anyone, he has been dining out on his potential since his breakout season…

  21. Nasri's Mouth

    Leedsgunner: Who wants to bet that he will mention the fact that he was shortlisted for this award, next time his methods are questioned?

    I bet he doesn’t actually.

  22. Nasri's Mouth

    Bayern won’t sit back and defend, so being able to attack quickly once we gain possession before Bayern can get themselves set will be important. It’s that transition that is one of Wilshere’s strengths.

    I think that’s why some feel he’d be good for this game

  23. Leedsgunner

    Underrated

    It doesn’t bother me, per se. I just don’t think he is very good now. Don’t get me wrong, he has his moments, and I will admit I was wrong if we win the title this season.

    I just find it a bit pathetic that Wenger always grasps for non-existent trophies to justify his methods when the going gets rough… rather than learning from his mistakes and ensuring they don’t get made again.

  24. underrated Coq

    Its not as if he’s going to win it anyway. Its not his fault that he’s been shortlisted. Scratch that, it is. He’s built himself a good reputation worldwide and as such he is always likely to make the list. Its the same with others like Ancelloti, Guardiola, Mourinho etc.

    We may think there are other coaches far more deserving but its just the way FIFA rolls, reputation plays a big role.

  25. Samesong

    Bayern won’t sit back and defend, so being able to attack quickly once we gain possession before Bayern can get themselves set will be important. It’s that transition that is one of Wilshere’s strengths.

    I think they will first half for 20 mins, and try and counter attack. Munich no we will attack them from the off.

    We need a disciplined performance today with guys behind the ball when not attacking. There’s also the pressing game but don’t think we can keep that up for whole game.

  26. Nasri's Mouth

    @Samesong

    It’ll be interesting to see how we handle it. I know people say if we try to go head to head with them we lose, but I think we’ll be start very fast and try to blitz them early on and unsettle them.

    Our pressing game isn’t as energy sapping as Klopp’s style, but if we lose that discipline we are fecked.

  27. Wallace

    Leeds

    “I just find it a bit pathetic that Wenger always grasps for non-existent trophies to justify his methods when the going gets rough…”

    does he? he gets a bit prickly when people accuse him of being naive, or suggest that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. but that’s perfectly understandable from where i’m sitting.

    In 19yrs I can rarely recall him bigging himself up by talking about all the trophies he’s won. and he has won a few.

  28. I am arsene

    What a lame, defeatist post today from pedro
    We are two points off top and playing some absolutely lovely football, scoring goals an winning games.
    Why so negative??
    No wonder he’s single

  29. underrated Coq

    ” Bayern won’t sit back and defend, so being able to attack quickly once we gain possession before Bayern can get themselves set will be important. It’s that transition that is one of Wilshere’s strengths. ”

    Maybe so, but the last time he was fit and playing, he was more of a liability than help to his team.

    Holding on to the ball too long, making pointless runs with it taking on three-four opposition players in the process and losing possession inevitably; and the worst part- instead of getting up to try and rectify his error, he would stay down and moan- leaving us at a numerical disadvantage to cope as well, as if losing possession in a dangerous area was not bad enough.

  30. I am arsene

    Silly debate over wilshire
    He’s out.
    However once he is fit and playing regularly he will dominate our midfield
    Santi and Rambo will eventually be playing second and third fiddle

  31. I am arsene

    No it isn’t
    He has had a succession of different injuries
    Mostly from bad tackles not because he is weak.
    Once he is fit
    Not if

  32. Leedsgunner

    Underrated

    Fair enough points Under.

    It’s a hoo ha about nothing really anyways… as far as I’m concerned what matters is what happens on the field.

    Wishing you the best.

  33. Nasri's Mouth

    @underrated Coq

    That’s harsh on Wilshere IMO.

    And I’m not saying I’d pick him, just that his skill set would suit this game more than other

  34. I am arsene

    Wilshire is finished
    End of story
    People like you were saying similar things about theo Rambo an coquelin in previous seasons.
    Silly comment
    It’s not black and white.
    He has far more potential than any Of our other midfielders, why would we throw that away?
    I said it about theo and I’m saying it about jack
    He will be our no1 midfielder
    That’s my belief

  35. Nasri's Mouth

    @samesong

    Yep, the way we’ve been playing recently, when we’re motivated, we create as many chances as anyone. We’ve been more clinical recently, but we need to definitely continue that

  36. afcmacca

    RED TRUTH = A JOKE OF A CREATURE

    RED TRUTH i very much doubt you are actually a real gooner

    you think everyone is blinded and you are the truth = MY ASS

    you are either a chelsea fan or a bitter old man who beats his wife or used to beat his ex wife

    LOSER

    Not even one % of a man Arsene Wenger is

  37. underrated Coq

    Leeds

    Hope I didn’t come across as condescending, that’s not what I was going for. Anyway, you should be wishing best for the team tonight, they’re gonna need it 🙂

    NM

    Tbh, I had high hopes of Wilshere but I just can’t see it anymore. Undoubtedly gifted but never fit. Even in the short spells he manages to remain fit, he doesn’t know how to make the best of his talent.

    Frustrating and pretty much the story of most of our British core.

  38. Leedsgunner

    Wallace

    What about the perennial 4th place trophy? Or the infamous 128 days at the top trophy? Or what about the “we are the best team in Europe during the calendar year” trophy a couple years back?

    Yes, Wenger has won a few, and I’m glad as any Gooner should be of our recent FA Cup successes, and I really hope we make it a hat trick this year.

    However, the true proof of the pudding is how we fare in the EPL and in the UEFA Champion’s League.

    We haven’t won the league since 2004. We have never won the Champion’s League. For a club with the resources that we have that should be a source of reflection. Wenger likes to frequently to boast about how he has consistently qualified for the Champion’s League — good fair enough, but shouldn’t the real question be why hasn’t he won it already?

    According to the CEO and the club and his own words he has total control over transfer policy, so why hasn’t he acquired the players to win the competition? Based on our consistent failure to reach even the quarter finals of the said competition in recent years, the evidence leads to the conclusion that the Champion’s League is nothing more than a glorified cash cow… apparently needed to sign the best players… except this summer, when they simply didn’t exist…

    Wenger should be very glad for Arsenal and her loyalty to him, other clubs would have fired him for a lot lot less.

    I want the best for Arsenal football club as you do, and that is why, I think in the long run we would do better to concentrate on the EPL than in Europe. I’m optimistic that, with a couple of key additions in January, we could actually win the darn thing. How sweet would that be?

    Wishing you the best.

  39. Leedsgunner

    Under

    Nah, you’re too polite for that… I just see it as a bit of friendly banter. 🙂 I hope you do too.

    I think you and I agree on most things in any case.

    Predictions? I’m going for either a dull 0-0 draw or a helter-skelter, fiery 2-2 affair… depending on who wins the individual battles.

  40. Joe

    Wallace

    Or the 18 seasons in a row in the CL trophy

    Or see how arsenal did before and after me in the CL and come back to me.

    He talks up his false trophies all day long

    Man you are a blind deluded AKB

  41. Joe

    Unfortunately Wenger will play all key players today for 90 tonight and we will be knackered for Everton on the weekend.

    You can the inevitable injuries coming to someone like Alexis or Ozil