This is negative – Arsenal / Villa preview

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Here we go again. I’ve been writing this LeGrove Villa preview for a few seasons now, and every year I wax lyrical about how utterly dismal we are, pick out one or two depressing/barely believable stats demonstrating our ineptitude, offer a brief, yet easily dismissed ray of hope for what would be an almighty upset, then sit back and watch us get royally spanked. Again.

The most recent of these batterings was in the FA Cup Final earlier this year, when even Arsenal’s traditional confidence wobble when faced with an elusive trophy, was nothing when presented with one of the most depressingly abject and spineless Villa performances in recent memory. And there have been many.

Of course back then we were being led by the blustering incompetence of top, top diamond geezer and all-around imposter Timmy ‘fahcking’ Sherwood. Tim had somehow managed to convince everyone that he’s a football manager, when he’s actually more like a low-rent motivational speaker, the kind that plies their trade less on the corporate circuit, and more down your local estate pub after too many pints of Carling and a few lines.

Thankfully the bumbling Aston Villa board, (played with aplomb by a couple of former Arsenal stooges clearly taking the piss), finally saw sense and went out and got a ‘real manager’, the inexperienced, yet undeniably promising Remi Garde. The poor bastard.

Most of the media seem to be billing today’s game as some sort of ‘master versus apprentice’ matchup of the impressive young Garde going head-to-head against his former coach, the wiley old Professor Wenger. My problem with that is that it suggests that this Villa team is at least in some way a representative of Garde and his apparent dynamic continental managerial style. The reality is that so far, young Remi mostly stands powerless on the sidelines, dead-eyed and ashen-faced, wondering what the hell he’s let himself in for.

Garde has yet to lead the team to victory, and for every promising 0-0 against Man City, or 1-1 against Southampton (holy shit! We can defend?!), there’s a 4-0 loss to Everton and a 3-2 against Watford. So for any minor improvement Garde has made, it’s nothing I feel can withstand the current confidence and form of this Arsenal side.

You want stats? Here’s some stats: Villa have gone a club record 14 games without a win, including 8 winless at home. We have the worst defence in the league and have tied the joint worst start to any premier league by any team ever this far into the season. We’ve also conceded 12 goals in our last three games against Arsenal, without scoring.

As for team news, our plucky young homegrown talent Jack Grealish is set to come back into the side. He was ‘suspended’ for 2 games by Garde for going out on the town and acting the arse, an episode I’m not entirely convinced wasn’t in part due to all the smoke Sherwood had previously blown up it. Scott Sinclair is always capable of showing ‘something’, and although we clearly bought the wrong Ayew brother in the summer, Jordan has probably been one of our better players this season and does carry a threat. The problem is that no one else in the team really does, other than Rudy Gestede, but that’s only if you swing decent crosses right in onto his head, which we don’t.

I guess what’s most depressing for me is that in this most crazy of seasons, with Leicester top and Chelsea hovering about the relegation zone (LOL), when every weekend features an upset and how now more than ever it if feels like there are no real nailed-on results, there is still always one – Aston Villa will not win.

So enjoy the game tomorrow and I’ll see you again in May when if Villa aren’t already relegated, it truly will be the most crazy of seasons.

607 Responses to “This is negative – Arsenal / Villa preview”

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  1. Nobody

    Looks like this season a team with 78-82 points could win the league. And I would say Arsenal are the best bet now for the league.

    Manchester City blows too hot and cold. And Arsenal are the best flat track bullies in the league. With the injured players returning and a signing or 2 we are in very good position.

  2. Cesc Appeal

    Really bad result for Spurs, little resurgences for Newcastle and Bournemouth over the past week.

    Bournemouth getting wins against Chelsea and United.

    Newcastle getting wins against Liverpool and Spurs.

  3. Relieable Sauce

    I cant see Santi being happy playing back-up next season to Ozil and a new CM, and he cant be used as 1st choice. Could well leave along with TR, MA and MF in the summer, leaving us with fewer options than we have now.

    AM – Ozil/JW
    CM – Ramsey/JW
    DM – Coq/Chambers(?TBD)

    Crowley, Bielik…?

    Got to buy top quality in CM so we get the best out of Ozil and Ramsey, and make our midfield worthy of a top European team.

    Arteta – £80k pw
    Rosicky – £80k pw
    Cazorla -£80k pw
    Flamini – £60k pw

    Not like we wont be able to afford 1 or 2 top-top quality players. I just dont think Wenger & Co are willing or able.

  4. Socrates

    “Like I said earlier, actually managing to win a game that you’re expected to win this season has to be praise-worthy. Spurs and Liverpool can attest to that.”
    … and Manchester United and City and Chelsea..

  5. jwl

    “Wenger lines his own pockets with cash and cares very little about buying proper players.”

    I agree Redtruth. I thought of Sanogo while I was writing about how GG wasn’t buying the right quality of player.

  6. Roy Keane's Beard

    Great day. Only need two players and it’s the same two we always need:

    1. A goal scoring fwd who can play up front or wide with Theo and Alexis
    2. A best MF who can dominate possession and provide decent distribution to work next to Rambo

    Players are available in jan to fill both those roles. Let’s see what aw does…

  7. Leedsgunner

    Great win albeit against bottom feeder Aston Villa. Three points is

    Where was this team when we were playing against Norwich and WBA? Amazing how the return of just one player, Walcott, has made such a difference. He’s brought the team together…

    Will we buy anyone in January?

    I don’t think so. Wenger is too emotional with his transfer policy… he wants to prove everyone wrong more than doing what is best for the team. When it’s a choice between a injury prone player over getting someone better from the outside he chooses himself.

    It’s all about him and more often not Arsenal Football Club loses out.

  8. Sam


    We actually need 3 players plus 1 or 2 loanees back, 4 in Total
    If we are serious about the tittle we shouldn’t count on longterm crocks. For me Welbeck, Wilshere, Rosicky n Arteta should be written off for this season

  9. tunnygriffboy

    Please buy cover/competition for Coquelin. Ideally would compliment Ramsey.
    Ramsey had a good game in CM, different strengths to Santi. Santi wouldn’t have scored the goal he scored today. He just needs to learn to curb his instinct in bombing forward at certain points in certain games. Hopefully he can hit somewhere like the form of 2013

    After slating Giroud, I think deservedly, after the Norwich game he has now played two good games. Congratulations on 50 goals and congratulations to Cech on the clean sheet record.

  10. tunnygriffboy

    Ramsey covered 12.37 km today, a PL record this season

    This after Olympiacos as well. Thing is he can’t do this indefinitely 3 times a week he gets fatigued and injured. JW needs to step up and give him a rest. Oh, he’s injured 🙂

    Of course Ramsey isn’t an exceptional athlete 🙂 🙂

  11. Cesc Appeal


    Very surprised at that loss, thought that would be 3 easy points for them. Good stuff though, Liverpool and Spurs drop points, means we’re stretching away from the inevitable 4th place battle so that even if our form drops off and we fall out of 1st/2nd, hopefully there will be a nice gap between us and the riff-raff.

  12. Cesc Appeal


    I’m torn, obviously I want Chelsea to win so we go into the City game on top of the pile, but part of me wants Leicester to win for the hilarity factor.

  13. Wallace

    after losing our first choice midfield to injury I was just hoping we could take advantage of a decent run of fixtures and get to January still in contention, but now, if we were to beat Man City next Monday….interesting times.

  14. London gunner

    Would love us to put a bid in for deli alli in January

    Hilarity factor/he is a very good young player

    Gheez I want a griezmann can score from either foot from long distance and can score headers to.

    Only 24 and gets better season after season

  15. Wallace

    “The closest to having a chance is Alexis. Medically, we think – my people think, he will not be ready [for Manchester City] but Alexis being Alexis, you never know.”

    – Wenger

    be nice to at least have him on the bench.

  16. Cesc Appeal


    Is he playing ST for Atletico now?

    Agree on Alli, like the look of him, good for England I think, Alli, Barkley, future of our midfield.


    Maybe, not sure, suppose Leicester could still be ahead of us by next week. But then, we are actually top I always think, Leicester won’t last the course, so we have to think of it as how much of a gap to City have we got, because that is the real title battle.

    If we beat City and head into January with breathing space, Wenger needs to spend, of the second half of his reign he’s never had a better chance than this to win the league. No excuse at all for us not being in with a shout until the very last knockings.

    The way this EPL season has turned out is bizarre. Chelsea just imploding, City, Arsenal and United all inconsistent and having their own problems arguably all being managed by past it managers as well. Interesting.

  17. London gunner


    He is having a great season

    When he isn’t scoring he is helping out with attacking play.

    He is both a threat on the counter with his pace but also great from
    Set pieces as he is a very good header of the ball with a terrific jump.

    Scored 12 and assisted 3 in 21 games and the thing is it’s not purple patch form still think he isn’t anywhere near his peak level yet as he is only 24 and seems to progress season after season.

  18. Cesc Appeal


    Wonder if Atletico will hold onto him in the summer, I suppose a good Euros showing and maybe one of the elite clubs might come in for him, as you say, has that sort of all round attacking threat. Only thing for me is his height. What is he 5ft 9?


    We shall have to see, so important we get a quality CDM/CM in January, and some fresh legs in attack I think.

  19. London gunner


    He isn’t the biggest lad, but he is abit like how Falcao was before his injury. Aka gigantic leap so always scoring headers.

    I think he’d be the second best striker in the league after aguero.

    Atletico seem to have a talent with strikers from Torres, Falcao, Costa

  20. Cesc Appeal


    Do you think he would work in our front line? Sanchez, Griezmann and then say a play maker at RM? Certain games play Walcott as well, game like today for example.


    That would be ideal, the Manchester clubs are going to change manager soon, we don’t want to be left in a situation where there’s nothing out there or we’re banking on a promising but untested manager.

  21. Cesc Appeal

    Be interesting for some games to see Ramsey, Rabiot, Wilshere, obviously the brief spells between Wilshere’s injuries, but him playing the deep distributor Ramsey the B2B energy and then Rabiot all round middle play.

    Ramsey, Rabiot, Wilshere
    Walcott, Sanchez

    Be interesting.

  22. Emiratesstroller

    Frankly the performance today against AV was not our finest particularly in the second half when we made quite a few defensive mistakes against a very poor Villa side. The team looked very tired then for half an hour. However, the good thing was that we won the game 2-0 and now sit at the top of the League.

    However, what I did see was that Walcott and Campbell had exceedingly poor
    games. Walcott in particular was virtually anonymous apart from offside
    goal at end of first half.

    Also the combination of Flamini and Ramsey were defensively very weak as
    we saw in this game and not just in second half. What is abundantly clear is
    that Wenger needs urgently recruits in New Year to cover for Coquelin and
    Cazorla particularly if they are out for any length of time.

    Noone can seriously suggest that even if Arteta and Wilshire return in January that they are going to be a solution. We have actually a very tough schedule in that month to handle.

    What I do know is that we should buy Isco if he becomes available either in January or in the Summer. Personally I would not be too concerned if he is
    Champions League Cup Tied.

    However, what Arsenal must not do is offload Ozil and/or Sanchez this summer whatever other clubs or the media have to say. These are the two players
    in our team upon which we need to build for the future.

    If we can recruit two to three top class players in the next two transfer windows then we have the makings of a very good team over next few seasons.

    On a separate matter I watched earlier today the Napoli v Roma game. Szczesny was playing in goal. He produced some excellent saves, but as usual he was
    reckless on a couple of occasions when he could have cost his team the game.

    The problem with Szczesny is not his talent or ability to make some fine saves,
    but his lack of discipline and on occasion concentration.

  23. gonsterous

    If Wenger does something stupid like recall sanogoal from loan coz he is world class I’m going to hire a hit man for wenger…

  24. Honest Bill

    I’m a bit concerned about midfield. Rambo and Flam are so open it’s not funny. We got away with it because Villa were toothless. Man City won’t be so forgiving. Flam’s defensive positioning is shocking.

  25. jwl

    What kokorin like, Cesc Appeal? Will he make a difference to our season?

    I can believe this rumour – I am pretty sure it was Darren Arsenal on twitter a few weeks ago- but some gooner said he saw two Arsenal execs getting Russian visas while he was there himself getting Russian visa.

  26. Leedsgunner

    No to Kokorin for me. The first priority has to be another CM/DCM to provide competition for Coquelin. Kokorin just feels like grabbing someone for the sake of it. If he’s so good why aren’t anyone looking for him? If Jese or Dybala is available we should go for him instead in my opinion.

  27. Dissenter

    Why is everyone against Kokorin when I’m sure most don’t know much about him.
    He’s been scouted by Arsenal for over one year. There’s got to be more about him than al the negativity here.
    He’s most likely better that Welbeck who was better received by gooners.

  28. tunnygriffboy

    He’s more in the Giroud mould in terms size, link up play and heading ability. Quicker though. Anyway thats my research from the pages and pages written about him 🙂 🙂

    I’d rather a DM to really compliment Ramsey when Coquelin is out tbh.

  29. grooveydaddy

    Agree w/ tunny.

    Central midfield has to be a priority. We got away with it against the two shittiest teams in the league, but….

  30. Cesc Appeal

    No idea on Kokorin.

    We should be able to buy a CDM as well, Kokorin is going to cost next to nothing, Wenger gets off so lightly, we expect so little of him in the market that people are worried if he signs Kokorin he will have to rest for 4 weeks from the exertion.

    No excuses for Arsenal not having a CDM/CM lined up already. If the Kokorin rumours are true then it shows how easy it is to do business early.

    You’ve got players like Rabiot asking to leave, players like Carvalho who would jump at the chance to play for us, Xhaka, a whole world of talent out there.

    As fans, we need to stop buying into the horse shit Wenger spouts about the market being impossible to navigate and that deals take years.

    Minimum for me out of January is a quality CDM/CM and then a decent forward purchase. Who knows if the league will ever be this open again. Take full advantage.

  31. tunnygriffboy


    Don’t mind Kokorin as a signing but the really important one is the CM

    Been on youtube. Kokorin numbers seem ok. What he is, like a lot of the eastern Europeans is very good technically. Good at link up play lot quicker than Giroud and good in the air

    He’s not Aguero or Sanchez. I’m ok with having him in as CF option if Wenger is going to splash really big cash on someone like Isco/Reus etc in the summer

    Need that CM ssap though.

  32. jwl

    Auclair was talking about Arsenal making an effort to sign defensive midfield other day, now we have Kokorin rumours. If Wenger finally pulls his finger out and buys players in January to fill obvious gaps, you will be able to knock me over with feather, but I really hope these rumours are true.

  33. tunnygriffboy


    Every time I get excited by the rumours. Every time I feel let down. Stupidly I come back for more

    Auclair isn’t like that mug Muzzi Ozcan or whatever his name is, he’s a serious journalist with a reputation to uphold.

    I dunno it just feels different this time. Seems to be more coming from Wenger and from the club. We’ll see.

  34. boy dio

    Arsene won’t be signing anyone lads, maybe some new wunderkid but not someone for the first team straight off the bat, unless it’s simply needed.
    Got too many youngsters that have yet to fail, still winning games despite the injuries, players finding form who no one but Arsene thought would find form.
    Give up with the transfer talk lol, or think of an imaginative summer signing.

  35. jwl


    Wenger’s decision to sign only Cech last summer was last straw for me. That was astonishing, who knows what to think about Wenger any more.

    Arsenal do need to sign new players, a few contracts end next summer, maybe Wenger start early for once.

  36. Black Hei

    Kokorin rumor is obviously a lie.

    Why sign a decent CF from a very foreign league when you have Welbeck returning in Jan?

    It is not like we are signing Benzema in Jan.

    DM is likely to be true. We are probably going for the “younger and bigger” Arteta mould.

  37. Black Hei

    As for the team, offensively we are dependent now on Walcott. His style and quality of his movement creates space for Arsenal’s technical football.

    I used to slate him so much; sorry little Theo, never thought you will turn out this good.

  38. grooveydaddy

    Why sign a broken-backed 30+ year old from a very foreign league?

    Are you really trying to second guess Wenger??

  39. boy dio

    some commenters still brooding with negativity after a standard win, +3 points, and us sitting top of the league
    come on lads, the hate for arsene can’t be so strong that it’s still the talking point of some after this week
    rather laugh at man utd and chelski losing to Bournemouth

    really pleased to see ramsey playing centrally again, now to wait for $ity where we really get to see what level the team is at in its current guise
    cant wait to see how ramzïl exploit a city side without kompany in it, or if they even can

    P.S. Ozïl is fantastic!

  40. tunnygriffboy

    Black hei

    We have Giroud, Welbeck and Alexis who can play up top. None of those can do the Giroud role. Kokorin is good technically, links very well and is good in the air. Quicker than Giroud. His goal record is ok not prolific. He would be cover for Giroud

    Walcott, Alexis and Welbeck have the ability to play wide. If Ramsey is going to play CM with Santi out that right side is up for grabs and possibly the 3 players mentioned will be used there

    It is an interesting one. If he is coming in then it’s a gooddeal money wise. Perhaps Wenger is going to splash bigon a Reus/Isco quality player in the summer

    Having said that the urgent need for me is a top CM to compliment Ramsey and rotate/play with Coquelin and cover his injury time.

  41. tunnygriffboy

    Boy dio

    Can’t see us beating City. Worry aboutt Flamini in CM and his lack of pace. Ramsey has to play more cautiously which takes away his attacking threat. If he leaves Flamini isolated we will struggle. We needed Coquelin for this one.

    Would take a draw now.

  42. Black Hei


    In the summer, I would have said yes to a CF, but I am now convinced Walcott can do the job there.

    With both Coquelin and Santi out for most of the remaining season and Arteta’s clearly iffy fitness, Wenger is likely to buy a DM this winter.

    Probably in the mould of Gabriel. Young with lots of potential but with a low profile.

  43. boy dio


    i feel city are overrated this season, get a vibe that we just need arsene to set up correctly and we can mug them like we did in the return fixture last season.
    also feel that sanchez will be a bigger miss than coq, but city are working without kompany and aguero looks softer than sturridge so it evens out imo
    we also have cech in goal so some worldly effort will be needed to beat him, that or calamitous defending which i do understand we have a knack for.
    consider me confident of getting a result, the current crop know how to win the game, they just need to execute it.

  44. underrated Coq

    Interesting couple of things re Klopp.

    He snubbed Tony Pulis handshake at the end of the game. So much for all that ‘classy gentleman’ Klopp, eh? Guess Wenger isn’t the only sore loser around.

    and his wild celebrations along with the Liverpool players after the final whistle? After scraping a point at Anfield against mighty WBA?

    I find it a bit funny the biased English media have no issues with either seeing as they made a big fuss of the same things being done by Wenger and Arsenal. Pathetic.

  45. underrated Coq

    I can’t believe quite a few people were on the Benteke bandwagon a couple years ago. Much better than Giroud, they said. He’s looked out of his depth at Liverpool playing with the likes of Milner and Henderson . Imagine how out of place he would be at Arsenal.

  46. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s be honest there is no requirement at the moment to buy a striker unless he is BETTER than what we have already got. I doubt that Korokin fulfils that requirement. At best he is probably going to be a squad player to replace Walcott up front.

    What Arsenal needs at the moment is to find someone who can play Coquelin’s role in team in his absence. Personally for all his commitment I don’t see Flamini as the solution particularly if we need to play 2 games each week.

    Chambers is also not a good enough footballer or in my view a player with
    enough pace to fulfil that role on the evidence of what I have seen in last 2 years. If he was considered by Wenger to be the solution surely he would have
    played in last 2 games against Sunderland and Aston Villa. These are amongst
    the WEAKEST SIDES in league!!!!

    Looking forward Arsenal need to start rebuilding our squad in the not to distant future. Apart from goalkeepers we have quite a few players who have hit
    their 30s in Debuchy,Mertesacker, Koscielny, Cazorla, Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky with Monreal and Giroud reaching that point next season.

    What we don’t want to find in the not too distant future is that the team is ‘running out of legs’ as well as becoming ‘injury prone’.

  47. tunnygriffboy


    A good view were saying Benteke would be a better option than Giroud. He has more pace, scores goals from out side the area etc . . . He may come good in time but I was concerned about his first touch. £32 million against Giroud £12 million.

    I could see what Klopp was trying to do to really energise the fans. He was really p.ssed off with Pulis yesterday and the style of football. Perhaps he underestimated how hard it is to win games in this league. No one really lies down and rolls over. He’s very emotional and gets proper angry. Interesting to see how he goes

    Saw a couple of stats on Giroud this morning:

    12 goals in his last 15 games
    9 goals in his last away games

    Those are seriously good figures. Didn’t really think they were that good. I slaughtered him after the Norwich game, deservedly so. Just hope he can keep it going

  48. Wallace

    I like the look of Kokorin, but kinda suspicious that it’s still only the Metro running the story. If we were to sign him you’d have to wonder about Welbeck’s prospects, both in the short and long term.

    A companion for Ramsey in the midfield still the priority for me.

  49. Ankle-biter


    ” Walcott in particular was virtually anonymous apart from offside goal at end of first half”
    Did you even watch the first half, theo was instrumental in both our goals.

  50. underrated Coq


    Not taking a dig at Klopp, more about pointing out the hypocrisy of some of the ‘unbiased’ pundits and the media.

    Yeah, that’s the surprising thing about Giroud. Even though he’s looked average over most of the last couple of months, he’s still racking up the numbers. Usually always makes the scoresheet these days which is what you can ask of your striker, really.

    Vital that we rotate him and Theo up top cause we all know how badly a tired Giroud struggles in games.

  51. tunnygriffboy


    Re Kokorin. He looks like s direct cover for Giroud. Different skill set to Theo and Welbeck. Only seen him on youtube. First impression very good technically and good in link/combination play. Much quicker than Giroud

    How serious is Welbeck injury ? How long will he be out ?

    Is he seeing the two W’s as wide men ?

    May be that he’ll get our CF sotyed and he’ll go big on an Isco/Reus calibrebplayer in the summer

    Like you I think we nerf a quality DM in to compliment Ramsey now covering Coquelin injury. He can then act as competition for le Coq going forward.

  52. tunnygriffboy

    I worry about City. Flamini in that crucial DM role. Against top opposition he lacks pace and mobility

    I love Ramsey. He had to curb his barnstorming runs in certain games or situations. He has to go when it’s on not all thetime. He neefs to support FFlamini. That is relevant for top opposition and when wr’re running down a lead closing the game down. He’s still relatively young so should improve his decisions as he gains more experience. He could also be told thid by Wenger and Orr, Kos and Flamini when on the field

  53. underrated Coq

    Just had a look at our fixtures

    We follow the Monday night game vs City with an away game against Southhampton on Saturday, the 26th. Then we have home games against Bournemouth and Newcastle on 28th of Dec and 2nd of January. Very favorable run of games over the busy Christmas period. Should be able to give a few players a breather against Bournemouth.

    If we win against City, we should really be going into the Jan window with a healthy cushion at the top of the table.

  54. Wallace


    no idea re Welbeck. it might be that he’s not close to returning, in which case Kokorin makes sense.

    cool to see Klopp unapologetic about blanking Pulis. thug life up in the midlands.

  55. Wallace

    “If we win against City, we should really be going into the Jan window with a healthy cushion at the top of the table.”

    yeah, with Newcastle & Bournemouth to follow I’d be very happy with 4pts from the City & Soton games.

  56. Emiratesstroller


    Yes I did watch Walcott’s performance.

    None disputes that Walcott can be a dangerous player because of his pace,
    but his overall contribution to most games is poor and frankly Arsenal need
    players in their team with more work ethic than he offers.

    What I saw yesterday was a team which was completely exposed, because there were not enough players working hard in second half of game. Against
    better opposition we could have lost the game.

  57. tunnygriffboy


    We have a squad that is balanced age wise. Many of our players are just hitting their peak, others are not quite there yet.

    You nerd experience in a squad as well. It’s obvious that Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini will go in the summer. I see two playrrs coming in to replace them, hopefully one in this window. This brings the age of the squad down

    We have already brought in Gabriel to cover the defence. I know Per and Kos have hit thirty but experience counts in central defence.

    In this window and the next I would expect a forward, two midfielders and a CB to come in at least. One of these will be a big buy.

    I think the age of our squad is ok. We have to have some experience . That will come from Per,Giroud, Kos and Monreal. With Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky going the average age of our squad will drop quite a bit

    Sorry forgot to mention Cech but a keeper is a bit different.

  58. Wallace


    “What I saw yesterday was a team which was completely exposed, because there were not enough players working hard in second half of game. Against
    better opposition we could have lost the game.”

    second away game in 4 days. two wins, 0 goals conceded, 5 scored.

    experience has shown over the years that teams involved in the Champions League are rarely at their best the following weekend.

  59. tunnygriffboy


    Do you not think fatigue set in in the second half ? Physically and emotionally Wednesday would have taken a lot out of them understandingly. This is also the result of so many injuries stopping any sory of rotation.

    Flamini does worry me in terms of speed and mobility. I am a huge Ramsey fan. He could play a huge role in our season particukarly attacking wise. However when he makes those fantsatic runs if we lose the ball we are susceptible to counter attack especially with Flamini at DM.

    Ramsey needs to be a bit more selective when he bursts forward. He needs to keep his position a bit more against the big guns and when we are winning and seeing out a game.

  60. gonsterous

    As bad as our injuries are, we should be thankful that our back 5 have been solid and injury free.. I’m a fan of monreal these days and with cech in goal, we don’t seem to concede stupid goals.. maybe mert is becoming more of a liability but overall he and kos have a good patnership.. so its not all gloom and doom in the arsenal team after all…

  61. Emiratesstroller


    Fatigue was obviously a problem in second half, but the situation was not helped
    by one or two players whom you know are unlikely to do a proper shift in most

    Walcott remains for me a ‘luxury’ player. His value to the squad is as an impact
    player, but with very limited value to starting eleven. As I wrote in a previous
    post he has managed an average of just six full games [80 mins plus] per season during his career at Arsenal. That is simply not good enough particularly
    when you see how much he earns.

    Ramsey is as I wrote on Friday the best British born player in our squad. The
    difficulty is to know where to play him in this team. Ideally he is a central
    attacking midfield player, but that would mean shifting Ozil to wings. Bluntly
    Ozil is a superior and ‘world class’ player.

    Flamini is an honest and intelligent player, but is just not good enough to play at this level. We need to find a replacement in January if our season is not to
    fall off the rails.

  62. Emiratesstroller


    Cannot disagree with what you wrote, but the fact is that against better opposition we could have lost games against Sunderland and Aston Villa.

    Our lack of current depth due to injuries is a problem and unlikely to be resolved even when certain players return. Let’s face it we know that players like Walcott, Wilshire,Ox and Welbeck will get injured again sooner or later.

    This is the dilemma. Do you hold onto players whom you know are going to be
    unreliable? In my view the only reason that we hold onto them is because they
    are English and Home Grown.

  63. Ankle-biter


    Again to quote you “Walcott in particular was virtually anonymous apart from offside goal at end of first half”

    I was just disaggreing with this. He did win us a penalty and he did make a crucial pass for our second goal.

  64. tunnygriffboy


    sorry but saying we would have lost to a better side is purely conjecture. We coasted that second half. We could have gone up a level if needed.

    We have won the lsdt two weekd whereas sides around us have dropped points agsinst teams they were expected to beat. We dropped points v WBA and Norwich. There is now no easy games especially away from home.

    We akso don’t know if the returning players will get injured again. It will certainly boost the squad having them back.

    I agree totally with you re Flamini. Ramsey needs a DM to compliment him. Someone with psce and mobility to covrr when he makes those important runs from deep. A quality DM is needed (£20 mill on Wanyama ? ). Ramsey could also be a bit more selective with his runs against certain opposition and at certain situations in gams.

    I disagree about Walcott. Just being on the field made defenders wary. The couldn’t play a high line and he prevented the full back going forward. He won the penalty with a great first touch and played the ball of the match to set Ozil free for the second goal
    Chris Ramsey the ex QPR manager did a nice analysis on Walcott on MOTD.

  65. Romford Ozil Pele

    Quality weekend for me. Loved seeing AJ live and good trip to see the team win at Villa Park yesterday, even if Brum is a s***hole and the team didn’t play too well.

  66. Up 4 grabs now


    Good win yesterday, coming off the back of a champions league away game.
    Would like to have seen a third goal so we could have rotated a bit.
    Why no Jeff on the bench yesterday? Why not give iwobi 10
    The ox looks shot to me, either something in his personal life is affecting him, or his form has completely deserted him.
    Can’t argue with 3 points and another clean sheet though.
    We did enough in the second half to hold villa off and got the job done.
    Watching manure, Chelsea or Leicester, the bin dippers the spuds drop points & city nearly doing the same is a great weekend. We need to enjoy it and look forward to city next Monday.
    You never know scrooge had a change of heart at xmas, maybe Wenger might too, and surprise us with some Xmas transfer presents! (I won’t hold my breath though)

  67. Emiratesstroller


    I don’t look at performance of other teams. Frankly the EPL is poor this season
    as has been demonstrated by results of other top teams over last 2 weeks.

    Arsenal have maintained a reasonable level of performance despite our long
    injury list, but that does not alter my view that without Coquelin or an equivalent player our team are fragile.

    Let’s be honest our performance in November was not particularly good and
    we dropped points against Spurs,WBA and Norwich. We should have won at
    least 2 of those games.

  68. Emiratesstroller

    tunnygriffboy and others

    My view of Walcott does not change just because he won us a penalty.

    His overall performance level in most games he plays is poor. Frankly there are much better players in the market who are more consistent, with similar pace and score more goals and would not cost us the wages we pay him. He does not offer good value for money as far as I am concerned.

  69. Romford Ozil Pele

    Main concern for me the last few games is how much space there has been in the middle. Because Flamini doesn’t trust himself physically, he ends up playing as a third CB almost. So when Ramsey pushes up and the ball gets turns over there’s a sea of space for the opposition to run into. The last couple weeks, however, has reignited my interest in Ramsey playing centrally, especially considering his relationship with MÖ but we need to find the right partner for him. Maybe Coquelin can be that when he comes back if he continues to improve but it’s absolutely imperative we do business in the CDM position in Jan. Neves/Carvalho for me. Xhaka won’t be attainable because of Wolfsburg’s CL participation. Break the bank, whatever, we’re in a good position and can’t afford it to go to waste. Ramsey is a fantastic B2B CM with great energy but he doesn’t build play well, that’s what you miss when Cazorla is absent. Games become too stretched and we lose control so if we could have a deep-lying CM that could help out, it’d go along way to solving our problems there.

    And fair play to L’Oreal, as much as I don’t like him, he’s had a good goal return thus far. And until Alexis returns, we’ll need him to continue that.

  70. Romford Ozil Pele

    Theo is limited, we all know that. I have no real ambition to see him on the wing. He can’t track back and his lack of combination play is evident. Him on the wing is part of the reason we turn the ball over lots, but fair play to him, he did as well as he could’ve yesterday.

  71. tunnygriffboy


    Think we did what we had to.
    Not only eere they physically fatigued but emotionally Wednesday would have taken a lot out of them

    Worried about City. Our options are still limited with all the injuries. Ramsey played well yesterday and I think in the future he’ll be a great player for us. Atm he lacks a bit of discipline and plays like a free spirit and is a real threat in attack for us

    He needs to curb his runs a bit against the likes of City and at certain times in games. The problem is that he is playing with Flamini which is not ideal. If Coquelin was available I’dbe hahappier. That’s why I think getting a strong, quick mobile DM is a no brainer this window, someone to compliment him. I can see Flamini and our back four being exposed with City’s pace.

    How do wr get Ramsey to be more disciplined on Monday ? Wenger/Bould can talk to him. Flamini could talk to him on the field. Finally with the experience of Per and Kos they really need to get in his ear and talk to him all game.

    Finally, we the great unwashed of Le Grove could write a nice letter/petition asking that he needsvto be more selective in his runs especially if we take the lead. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  72. Romford Ozil Pele

    Tunny, yeah the fatigue is a fair point, we put in a lot against Olympiakos so wasn’t a surprise to see us drop. But still, doesn’t excuse the problems we have centrally. Against Sunderland and Villa, we conceded a lot of chances which better teams would punish.

    Ramsey always loves to push forward and for the most part it’s ok but when we play with wingers who don’t retain well and a pointless player like Flamini, the gaps Ramsey leaves become exacerbated. We obviously need to go into the transfer market for sure, as I said above.

    Yeah I feel like we’ll struggle against City without Santi or Coq. They’d help a great deal. We might just have to play compact and hit on the break. I wouldn’t be confident taking the game to them with the absentees we have currently, we’d get screwed on the counter.

    Don’t really know what approach we’ll take. Probs just have to hope for the best because they can physically bully us in midfield. That said, City aren’t exactly setting the world alight either so who knows.

  73. tunnygriffboy


    Ramsey ran 12.37 km yesterday. The best in the league so far this season. He had 91% pass completion as well. He’s started 4 games in CM this seadon and hss had 2 goals and 2 assists in those games.

    Agree totally that ther’s too much space behind him when he goes forward and that Flamini doesn’t have the legs to do that covering role. I think that Coquelin is now able to do that role. He’s more certain of his place and more confident on the bsll ad a result

    Agree that Santi builds the play up better and had more control and better sense positionally than Aaron sometimes has. However for quick transition Ramsey is the man. No way would Santi have been in the position Ramsey was for our second goal.

  74. Romford Ozil Pele

    Tunny, when you trade a player like Cazorla for Ramsey you’ll definitely lose some stuff but you also gain some too. Cazorla is comfortable picking up the ball from CBs and dictating from deep. Ramsey doesn’t have that trait but he brings a lot of energy and more direct running from the centre. Ideally the traits you’d want RE passing will come from a deep-lying midfielder. Our best period of form in the last couple of years came with Ramsey next to a deep passer. This is not to shit on Coquelin as he’s been great but you’ve seen what Ramsey can bring to Arsenal from CM. More dynamism and it’s that base I think we should look to build around.

  75. MidwestGun

    What up? Traveling , so getting ready to hit the highway, but taking time out to watch …… us probably draw Barca.

    Ha ha.. actually I’m fine with anyone but them, to be honest,

  76. Louis Almeida

    Anyone but Barca. Not even because they’re better than us. just that we’ve played them and Bayern too much in the last 6 years. Real Madrid or Atletico is fine. Zenit?Wolfsburg even better.

  77. Cesc Appeal

    It wasn’t really game management yesterday, we gave Villa a good few decent sights of goal…better team, who knows.

    We need to get a CDM/CM, we cannot control the middle of the park any more, the space teams get there now is painfully evident.

  78. Alfie

    Yeah its a joke.

    After a while it stops being funny – you look at Blatter et al and you really need to consider that this aint random.

    Waste of time.

  79. Cesc Appeal

    Yeah lets be honest, we always go out at round of 16, doesn’t matter does it.

    Our squad isn’t good enough to get close to winning this competition.

  80. Jamie

    azed –

    Exactly. We’re just filler for the last 16. I’m happy with the box office draw. It’ll give us a chance to see Neymar, Messi, and Suarez in action.


  81. Cesc Appeal

    CDM/CM now, problem is going to be being cup tied, the space that Sunderland, Nowrich, Villa got in our middle…can you imagine Barcelona getting that?

    Bellerin leaving the flank empty so Neymar is one on one with Mert…

    Behind the sofa time.

    Time to spend some big money in January.