Mature Arsenal reach the summit

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Morning all – James here with a match report. The clocks have changed this morning, so I feel like I am in some kind of vortex where time no longer exists. I think it’s probably midnight in NYC, so I’d much sooner not think about what Pete is up to…thinking a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, a box of Kleenex and the works of Kevin Costner box-set – it isn’t a pretty sight.

Arsenal were posed with a tricky end to what has been a fantastic week. My concern was primarily around fatigue and fitness ahead of the game against an Everton side who were coming off a poor result last week, who would be wanting to put in an improved shift. The omens were good, with the Toffees not winning in North London for over 20 years, however they’re a side brimming with pace and power who would test our legs after chasing the ball for 70% of the Bayern game.

The pre-match debate centred on whom to play on the right of midfield in Ramsey’s absence. The obvious replacement was the Ox, who is in rotten form at the moment, but I would have favoured shifting Theo to the right with the newly bearded Adonis leading the line. Arsene did indeed give Giroud the nod, whilst Theo was rested, leaving the Ox to take the right wing slot. Resting Theo was probably a wise decision given his injury record during his time at the club – whilst he has enjoyed a sustained bout of clean health; he has been prone to knocks and strains. My view is we have a great shot at the title, but we need the stars to align for us, which really centres on the fitness of our players (and the hamstrings of Kun Aguero).

The opening 30 minutes were relatively underwhelming in comparison to our previous two outings at the Emirates, with the teaming rain a contributing factor to a lack of cohesion from either side. Inevitably it was our German maestro, Mesut Ozil, who orchestrated our opening goal. Receiving the ball on the right flank, Galloway gave him far too much time to get the perfect angle, before floating in a pinpoint cross which Giroud did well to flick past the hapless Howard (who has been a pretty rubbish keeper for quite some time).

Within 16 seconds Everton had shot themselves in the foot. From kick off they played the ball back to Jon Stones who played a one-two with Barry. Giroud did exceptionally well to knick the ball ahead of him. Alexis gathered possession on the left before being hacked down by Coleman to win a free kick. Santi – who had a really fantastic game – whipped in a sumptuous delivery, with Koscielny nicking in ahead of Howard to score Arsenal’s 900th Premier League goal. His passionate celebration exemplifies how he feels about the club that gave him his chance at the top level, with his meteoric rise from playing in Ligue 2 until he was 24 to one of the most revered centre halves in Europe a massive credit to both himself and to Arsene and the coaching staff.

With 45 seconds to half time, we conceded a hugely frustrating goal, with Oxlade the obvious culprit. Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he did what he has been doing for too long, which is playing with his head down. Instead of playing a simple pass to the unmarked Bellerin, he tried to force a shot at goal that was never on. The ball spilled to Deulofeu (who should have been sent off for about three pathetic dives). He found Barkley who had a free run at our box, save for a fairly benign attempt at a tackle from Ox before lashing a shot against Gabriel’s thigh, which took it past Cech.

Whilst Arsenal teams of yesteryear may have gone into their shells, the home side enjoyed the better of the second half, with Mesut Ozil at the heart of our most effective offensive play. A deft flick played Giroud through, whose rasping shot hit the bar. Ozil himself turned sharply to wrong foot Howard and hit the outside of the post. Howard also had to save twice at the feet of Alexis. There were of course a few pant-shitting inducing moments, namely Lukaku’s header that skimmed the top of the bar, followed by Deulofeu’s close range effort, which was smothered brilliantly by our helmeted hero. Cech is making the difference for us and on current standing, is the signing of the summer. Bravo.

There was still time for Gareth Barry to get a red card for a second bookable offence, hacking down Gibbs with around 30 seconds of the game to go. I take an unhealthy pleasure in Gibbs’ attacking furores – whenever we are narrowly leading a game with 10 minutes to go, #Gibbs@10 is released. I love it.

The final whistle brought about raucous chants of “we are top of the league” – the first time we have been able to claim that since February 2014. As it stands, we are in a fantastic position and are building up some serious momentum. If we continue this over the dreaded November, we have a mouth-watering crescendo against Man City to look forward to before Christmas.

Whilst Santi had a superb game yesterday, the best player on the pitch once again was Ozil. What a season he is having. Such has been his quality this term, Arsenal fans no longer have to defend his brilliance to rival fans – it is undisputed. Whilst it shouldn’t *matter* what the media and opposition supporters say about Ozil, it is high time that he finally gets the recognition he deserves. Pound for pound, particularly with Aguero’s injury, he is the best player in the league. Keep it up you beautiful man.

I’d like to end with a word for Jose Mourinho. He is the most odious shit-bag of a man and to see his implosion has been a hugely enjoyable side show to our on-field exploits. His increasingly creepy obsession with Arsene makes it all the more hilarious. I can’t believe he is much more than one defeat away from the sack – their next game is against Klopp’s Liverpool, so watch this space…

That’s all from me – enjoy the football today, particularly the Manchester derby which will hopefully end with many a red card, injury and point deductions.

Until next time x

Give me a follow @BeardofPires

423 Responses to “Mature Arsenal reach the summit”

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  1. WengerEagle

    It’s funny, for as good as Ronaldo is and has been, 1 League title, 1 Champions League trophy and 2 Copa Del Rey trophies in the 6 seasons that he’s been there isn’t great given how much they’ve spent on players.

    A Messi-led Barcelona in the same time frame have won 4 La Liga titles, 2 Champions League trophies and 2 Copa Del Rey trophies.

  2. STV

    Mate, that true but Barca were even better, that’s it 😉 . If you look at Real’s stats for instance in last season and Pellegrini’s season its staggering Yet they only came second best.

  3. STV

    3 of the best 4 players in the world played in that Barca team. The quality of their players were also evident from Spain’s victories between 2007-2012.

  4. WengerEagle


    Fair shout, Messi and Xavi+ Iniesta all at their peak were unstoppable regardless of how much money Real spent.

    Still remember that 5-0 demolition in El Clasico which summed up the gulf in class between the sides, Xavi was untouchable that day.

    Ancelotti’s 2013/14 side was the best Real team since the new wave of Galactico’s started in 2009 IMO, they actually looked better than Barcelona before Perez stuck his beak in.

  5. Marko

    Unsurprisingly given his 6ft 6in frame, Mertesacker has dominated his aerial duels this season, winning 80% of them,

    Vertical leap.

  6. Ces1ne

    Don’t wanna get involved in your & Bamfords ridiculous back & forth, but……………I would say it’s Per’s excellent timing/reading of the game & being 9 feet tall that are more the reasons why he wins the majority of his ariel duels… doesn’t necessarily lead to him having superior “vertical” leap.
    How nobody said Peter Crouch is less athletic than Giroud is beyond me……

  7. gnarleygeorge9

    Jürgen Flopp is a show man I’ll give him that, but like van Gaal, Maureen & the assortment of Middle Eastlands gaffers, they need upwards of £100,000,000 each handed to them to make them look good 😆

  8. STV

    Van gaal won Ucl with Ajax team and klop transformed an average Dortmund team. But Epl is very challenging and patience is very low. Maybe that’s a reason.

  9. STV

    also Kenyan Marathon runners are not very athletic because they don’t have much Pace Speed Agility and appallingly low ‘Vertical leap’ !!

  10. Dark Hei

    This AKB here finds himself agreeing with Bam.

    Yup, Giroud and BFG are not exactly the most athletic folks around. Even Giroud, though he does have a decent leap and hang, but it isn’t top notch.

    That being said, they are still effective in the roles they play. The strange thinking that suggests Carzola is too small to play as a deep lying playmaker is probably related.

    If physical attributes are all-important, we should get the Big Show to be our keeper. His shadow alone can throw strikers off.

  11. Dark Hei

    What about the match against Wednesday?

    Jeff will probably take his place on the left and Campbell on the right. I would like to see Ox played through the middle alongside Flamini.

    Only questions is which lucky youngster gets to take over Ozil’s position.

  12. daz

    “Bayern will win the Bundesliga without even taking their hands out their pockets,” Ancelotti told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “I must confess that I cannot enjoy Bayern’s games.

    “There is simply too little real competition.”

  13. Dissenter

    Wenger ought to stop talking too much about winning the championship in October.
    He didn’t do enough to strengthen the team in the summer and we will pay for it soon.

  14. Highbury4ever

    The rumour of Pep going to chelscunt is back.
    I’ll be very disappointed by him if he joins this pathetic club.

  15. Highbury4ever

    Unfortunately I agree with Dissenter…
    I don’t believe he will buy in january.

    All we can do is keep our fingers crossed.

  16. El Patron

    Even big money chelsea couldn’t get the players they wanted. Look at how Jose’s team is doing. Wenger keeps saying it was a difficult window and he couldn’t get who he wanted.

    and the one man he got in Cech is saving our bacon. cant be we happy bout that even for a day? christ.

    Oh yeah I know whats coming. I guess all you guys knew that Andre Ayew, Dimitri Payet and Jamie vardy were going to be instant hits right…. we should have bought one of them right.

    I cant with you people.

  17. Nasri's Mouth

    Wenger may very well buy in Jan…

    …or he might not.

    He has bought some important players in January before, and in other seasons he’s bought no-one in January.

    So what can we learn from this?

    Basically that anyone claiming to know that Wenger WONT or WILL buy hasn’t really got a scooby.

    Still, it might be worth nailing your colours to the mast, because there’s a 50% chance you’ll be right, and then you can tell everyone on here how you KNEW, you just KNEW what he was going to do and people will bow down to your godlike football knowledge.

    Or something like that…

  18. Louis Almeida

    I think Wenger will wait for Welbeck and Wilshere’s return in January so won’t buy offensively. I think it’d be good if he can buy a replacement for Coquelin though. That is critical in my opinion. It’s a major drop off if he gets injured. Everywhere else is still pretty strong.

    Elsewhere, I’m so happy Ozil is finally getting recognition. What a player!

  19. GoonerDave

    I think there is cause for optimism – we have beaten ManU, Bayern And Everton in quick succession. Whats more, we have won these 3 matches playing with different tactics which is refreshing.
    Our squad is in better shape now than any time in the last decade – no more Eboue, Denilson, Bendtner, Squillaci, Silvestre etc. I do think an injury to Coquelin leaves us short and that’s the one area I’d love to see us strengthen. But for the first time in years, we seem to have a squad capable of a tilt at the league.
    Watching Mourinho losing his marbles is just the cherry on top.

  20. Louis Almeida

    I was also critical of Coquelin before but he is beginning to show other facets to his game. Playing higher than Santi, showing good body feints, improved range of passing. Good development, hopefully it continues. We still need another of this ilk though. Hopefully we can get to January with a clean bill of health and then buy another. I think Wenger still likes Carvalho.

  21. I am arsene

    Wenger won’t buy back up on coquelin until summer if at all.
    With beleik coming through he won’t want to limit his chances.
    I am a fan of Wenger but sometimes he frustrates the hell out of me.
    I also feel a wide player was required this season
    More so than a midfielder or a forward
    We won’t get Better than what we have up front. Nobody is selling and nobody coming through with enough potential.
    But wide players in modern football are a much less rare commodity.
    With ox and Sanchez being our only actual wide players then recruitment is needed urgently in those areas
    Yes welbz will come back and do a job. But
    1. I see him taking off as a striker soon, once he learns to relax in front of goal
    2. He isn’t enough even if he were to stay as a wide forward. Just a good back up option

  22. Louis Almeida

    I am arsene

    Everyone has been saying that Bielik has been playing as a CB for the younger age groups? If he’s going to make it, should he not be playing some first team games? At least be on the bench? Will be interesting to see if he plays tomorrow. I would like to see what the hype is about.

  23. Nasri's Mouth

    @I am arsene

    I think we all got hung up over Bielik because we were all desperately hoping for the mythical playmaking DM to arrive, and he shows up.

    Given that he’s not been particularly involved with the 1st team, (and less than certain other youth players) and that he’s currently playing at CB for the youths, I suspect he’s still some way off featuring for the first team squad, let alone the first team.

    If the right player (in Wengers eyes) becomes available, Wenger will try to get him, Bielik or no Bielik.

  24. steve

    Of course Wenger won’t strengthen in January. Welbeck and Wilshere are both this season’s “like a new signing” excuse.

  25. Louis Almeida

    Bamford, unfortunately the Metro is not a reliable newspaper. It’s a free newspaper people pick up on the underground in London and read on the tube. There is no real substance to it.

  26. Dissenter

    I am Arsene,
    Seems you are taking over the Keyser role here, which in fine.
    Unabashed optimism for Arsene is great but how can you even bring Beilik into the picture. He’s still a child.

  27. Dissenter

    I’ve always wondered how free newspapers like Metro survive. Their free status must put them under enormous pressure to make up stories.

  28. London gunner

    We don’t need Krychowiak

    We have coquelin who since the second half of last season has been the best Dm in the league, so why spend 25 million on a reserve player?

    Surely ki at 8 million or another of his ilk is more sensible? No?

  29. Highbury4ever

    “Cech starts tomorrow.”
    Is this a joke ??
    Ospina is injured ??

    Wenger choosed Ospina for the CL, and puts Cesc tomorrow for the Capital Cup ??
    WTF ??

  30. Nasri's Mouth


    It’s all about the advertising revenue. No paper could survive on simply sales alone.

    I have no about how well the Metro is doing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s actually pretty successful because it’s rather unique circulation style.

    Their transfer rumours aren’t often made up, they’re just not very picky where they find them.

    And Krychowiak will probably leave soon.

    I’d have thought we’d have signed him in the summer if we were that interested though

  31. STV

    He is academy player yet to play a game for us rt. BTW how can Ospina be injured. He hasn’t played after the cl debacle. Arteta too had recurrence of injury. Seems like our training sessions are much harder than the match itself. So many injuries.

  32. Samesong

    Arsenal have been fined £60,000 and warned as to their future conduct after breaching The FA’s Football Agent Regulations.

    The charge was in relation to the transfer of Calum Chambers from Southampton to Arsenal on 26 July 2014.

    Authorised agent Alan Middleton has also been warned as to his future conduct and sanctioned for breaching The FA’s Football Agent Regulations in relation to the same matter.

    Mr Middleton has been fined £30,000 and suspended from all agency/intermediary activity for a period of three months.

  33. STV

    No problem Arsene will gladly give that from transfer budget. If he gets a transfer ban he might even be very happy as its a genuine excuse

  34. STV

    Why is Arteta destined to be coach. I dont kno why but I feel he’d make a crappy coach. After all we do not have many successful player coaches.

  35. warchester

    wenger won’t buy any wide players because wilshere, ramsey will have no place to go if coq/santi stays fit…In wenger’s eyes the those players are LW, RW, CDM, CM, CAM all put into one and when those players are injured which is something that happens very often we have no backups at all for a few of those positions, not only their designated one. So unless there is a surefire way of telling wilshere is not another Diaby, every season we’ll only have one fit LW/RW/CDM/CM/CAM and that basically solves Wenger’s problems, he’s paid 8m to select the only player that’s available

  36. I am arsene

    Let me clarify

    I do not advocate using bielik as understudy to coquelin. I justice eft Wenger to…..
    We can all see what competition has done for our centre forwards.
    Theo and giroud are on 11 between them and playing the best football I’ve seen from either.
    I expect hard competition to do the same for coquelin.
    If we add a wide player and a dm we are in business.
    Back line is covered, especially if jenks comes back and chambers improves.
    Dm Coq,???
    B2b- santi, Rambo, jack, ox (no requirement needed)
    Am- ozil,santi,jack
    Wide area-alexis, ox, ???, welbz
    Cf- theo,giroud, welbz

    Any significant improvement from youth players is a bonus and must be considered as their influence grows.

    Obviously we can’t second guess Wenger and my suspicion is that he will see it in his own unique way but we are so so close to being a top side. We have beaten bayern, Chelsea and United this season already.
    The confidence on display in our team is growing with each game. As is the belief.
    I’m telling you 97/98 again
    Watershed moment for us.

  37. Marko

    Fewest PL goals conceded in 2015:
    Arsenal (21)
    Man United (26)
    Man City (29)
    Southampton (30)

    Not bad considering it’s been mostly with the first or second worst athlete in the premier league. In all honesty though thedefence is of little concern these days. Probably just a question of balance in midfield from defence to attack. Probablywhy in January someone like Tielemens could be a great bit of business on top of Mane

  38. WengerEagle

    Good thing about Mert as well is that he’ll still be the same player well into his 30’s, if anything he’ll improve as he’s never relied on athleticism and his reading of the game/organisational skills can only improve with time.

    If we could improve the midfield in January we have a real chance.

    Citeh look anything but beatable lately, without Aguero and Silva they are a different team.

    Was pretty shocked how poor Yaya looked yesterday tbh, worst City player on the pitch for me. Age seems to finally be cathcing up with him.

  39. I am arsene

    Yeah and Jessica Ennis instead of giroud
    In fact I’m surprised city didn’t signe her up years ago.
    Only athletes play for city

  40. I am arsene


    Yeah. Completely agree regarding mert.
    And toure
    And citeh.
    I feel we can win the league with what we have though.
    Next season is a differ bet story but let’s be fair, he not signing anyone in January is he?
    If he does I’ll post a naked picture of Mrs I am arsene

  41. STV

    Usain bolt is the best in 4 of 7 criteria needed Speed Pace Agility Velocity. But he has no Vertical leap. Even though it’s with a pole Isimbaeba could vastly improve us with that.

  42. warchester

    just pray it’s possible for ozil, santi to stay healthy for next 2-3 months because we have absolutely no one to replace them like literally none, no CAM or skillful central mid at all not even in the juniors

  43. I am arsene


    Provided I figure out how to post a pic on here then yes. If Wenger doesn’t sign a back up midfielder in jan you’ll be subjected to Mrs I am arsene

  44. Rambo Ramsey

    City have been nothing special so far, this season. Atleast, not enough to justify all this hype surrounding them.

    Most of their impressive victories have come against the lesser teams. Yes, they beat Chelsea 3-0 but these days everyone is beating Chelsea. The two times they have faced off against teams who are playing well i.e West Ham and Spurs, they lost both, embarrassingly so against spurs.

  45. nasri's mouth


    Arteta has some good characteristics to be a manager.

    He reads the game very well, has good football ‘intelligence’. Is calm, sensible, and doesn’t get mad. He’s very good with the other players, and helps new ones to settle quickly.

    That doesn’t mean he’ll make a good manager of course, but he’s got some decent foundations unlike a lot of others

  46. Rambo Ramsey

    ” Was pretty shocked how poor Yaya looked yesterday tbh, worst City player on the pitch for me. ”

    de Bruyne wasn’t all that too. Quite a few misplaced passes and questionable decision making. Got a long way to go before he reaches Ozil’s level.

  47. WengerEagle


    Don’t agree on Fed, he’s not built like a shit brickhouse or anything (Nadal) but he’s supremely fit, he’s the only player who can play a 5 hour match without breaking a sweat or ruining his hair. 😀

    In all seriousness he’s a top athlete, never gets injured and is more powerful than he’s given credit for.

    Would be like saying that Messi isn’t a top athete despite him averaging 50+ matches at the highest level season after season.

  48. Bamford10

    The only thing lamer than an AKB’s understanding of football is his sense of humor. Good grief. We used to have some witty people here. Where have you gone, gents?

  49. WengerEagle

    Chelsea-Liverpool should be interesting on Saturday, Klopp will be under pressure to get his first BPL win and Chelsea literally can’t afford to drop anymore points.

    You’d have to think that a defeat to Liverpool at SB would be the end even for Mourinho.

  50. Louis Almeida

    13 youngsters trained today so looks like Wenger is doing mass rotation. Even Ox who is fresh was not involved in training. It’ll be good to look at the youngsters tomorrow. We could go out though. Most importantly, all our key players get a rest. Just pray something weird doesn’t happen, like Cech getting injured or suspended. Would mean Macey could play against Bayern or Tottenham!

  51. Highbury4ever

    “And Nadal’s physical playing style has more than caught up with him despite being 5 years younger than Federer.”

    LOL everybody knows that nadalito only uses water…

  52. underrated Coq


    ” Citeh look anything but beatable lately, without Aguero and Silva they are a different team. ”

    I think City are massively overhyped. I don’t think they have been any special from the rest of the teams.

    Beating Chelsea 3-0 has been their most eye-catching result so far but as every week passes, Chelsea are providing more and more proof that beating them isn’t all that impressive. Other impressive victories have come against the lesser teams like Newcastle and Bournemouth.

    The two times they have faced off against teams who are playing well i.e West Ham and Spurs, they lost both, embarrassingly so against spurs. Yesterday’s match was their third challenging game and they didn’t really showcase their superiority, did they? Think they failed to get a shot on target.

  53. STV

    Klopp havent got many right players for his pressing game. Their defense also is a weakness esp Sakho. Having said that their overall play looking better than under BR this season.

    I really hope Jose is not sacked. Would be interesting to see where he will lead this squad.

  54. Highbury4ever

    Djokovic is nothing but a f*cking robot.
    100% efficient, but an horror to watch…
    Unfortunately, he represents the futur of this sport, and that’s why I will stop watching tennis, after than Federer will have retired.

  55. STV

    Sad but true H4. The changed complexion of the game means we have more of slower fitter players trading their endless baseline exchanges. Federer has been a joy to watch, a dying breed. Many emerging players like Coric also moulded in Djokovic style. That will def be the future of tennis

  56. Bamford10


    More superficial analysis from you.

    The Spurs loss was the first time they played w/o Kompany and with the two newer CBs together. It was also the game where Yaya Toure had to leave early in the second half.

    And yesterday they simply sat back in the second half and made little to no effort to get forward. They were away from home and it was clear they were playing for the draw in the second half.

    They have more quality than we do. This is obvious to anyone with eyes.

    I’m curious: whom do you think will be the stronger team when we meet them this season? What is this view based on, exactly?

  57. DUIFG

    silva is a huge loss, the guy is instrumental, such an influential player. We realistically need either him or aguero out for most of the season for us to win, and keep coq fit!

  58. STV

    Bamford I am sorry to ask.. Why it should be about city here every day ?? Why the obsession in an Arsenal blog ? Frankly city is a boring team. Even with all their gems we are level on points with them atm and should be more than a match when we will meet them. I fancy Arsenal’s Chances.

  59. daz


    City are far to reliant on Mr glass if he’s not there they are much weaker, yes they scored 5 past bournemouth but they have more holes in their defence than one of your arguments 😉 bony really has not stepped up so we are not far off them IMO

  60. Bamford10

    Ummm, I think Underrated brought City up, yes?


    You do nothing in your posts here save harass, abuse and bully. You offer no arguments, no analysis, just foul-mouthed insults and entreaties for people to go somewhere else.

    I think I’ll ask Pedro to review your work here, as I see nothing in it save bullying and harassment.

  61. tom

    I fancy our chances against City.
    I can’t deny the talent of their squad and if you measure by price you’d say they were superior to Arsenal.
    However Arsenal are more of a team, better bonded and have shown the ability to contain high talent sides lately.
    Best defense in the EPL is another bonus when matched against City’s somewhat erratic and unrehearsed back four.
    With Ozil , Cazorla and Alexis feeding Striker de jour we can always score.
    Plus we beat them last time.

    Not a forgone conclusion but reasons to be hopeful.

  62. DUIFG

    city squad has a lot more depth in key areas than we do, icf we lose coq we are done, city have a silly amount of stregth there. think where we are better is in full backsa, sagna is pretty rough and kolorov is decent, zabaleta is now old.

    simply if aguero is fit its game over for us, our st options are awful

  63. I am arsene


    Here we go again
    Haven’t you got a lecture to be at??
    Bony is the better than our forward
    Bony is an athlete
    Bony would get Into any other side than arsenal
    Coq won’t last two weeks in our team
    Jose’s chelski are the best
    No it’s Man U
    No it’s City
    I’m off to support Real Madrid
    Morgan sniederpuss is the best MF in the prem
    Bla bla bla

    They don’t have any balance I. Their side
    Their defence is creaking now since kompany began his decline
    They have vastly inferior offensive power without aguero or dzeko or silva
    Toure is finished
    Oh but they have sterling and de bruyne so they will win the league….???
    Give it up
    Oh and pellegrini isn’t in the same league as Wenger.

  64. GoonerDave

    Don’t think theres too much between us and City at the moment, but as the season drags on we’ll both have to use our squads more – time will tell if we can sustain it. I think we stand a good chance this time because our squad seems much stronger.
    Interesting to read that Vieira is being groomed to take over from Arsene – if true, it’d seem a bit risky. Might be great, but certainly a bit of a punt.