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. Cesc Appeal

    Alfie

    Maybe. Everything in sport gets bent when there’s enough money involved.

    I would love us to have a go at Barcelona, their front three are obviously out of this world, but their defence is far from special.

    Why do we always head into a season with such a precariously balanced squad…so frustrating. The idea of Flamini and Mert having to shut down this Barcelona team. F**k.

  2. Cesc Appeal

    When you think though, yeah over the last good few years we’ve got Munich and Barcelona a lot, but even when we did get reprieves in the draw, drawing Milan and Monaco, we still fucked up.

  3. Cesc Appeal

    Messir, Suarez, Neymar, Giroud, Walcott, so many elite level attackers on the same field… 🙂

    #WengerDon’tHalfTalkSomeShit

  4. Ankle-biter

    Last year we all wanted Monaco, got them and still fucked it up. Maybe change of fortunes this time around against a team we all feared. Who knows

  5. tunnygriffboy

    Cesc

    I think we’d be competive with most of the sides bar Barca. Every fucking time. Not saying we’d beat them but we could give it a go

    We so so need that quality DM. Fuck the CL lol Really go for the league and hope City take eye off ball in PL

  6. DM

    As typical as the draw is, I’m not gonna complain seeing as last year we got the dream draw (for once) and managed to bugger it up all the same. Yes the huge likelihood is we exit at this stage, but on the plus side if we do somehow manage to beat them then we can beat anyone!

  7. Ben D

    Ridiculous….what are the odds? Well, when we got an easy draw last year, we still flunked it.

    At least, we will be up for it this time even if we lose.

  8. daz

    Well you have to face them at some point so might as well be straight away, we get knocked out and focus on the league or by some miracle we beat them and go on with a massive amount of confidence

  9. Romford Ozil Pele

    Silver lining is getting to what Neymar live for the first time. He’s gonna tear Hector a new one though lol

  10. Jamie

    Wenger after the Olympiacos game:

    “Look, maybe we will get little bit lucky this year.”

    Asshole. Try mitigating against relying on ‘luck’ by investing in your playing squad when you’re flush with cash.

  11. Cesc Appeal

    Tunny

    I don’t think so, we bottle it in the last 16, we’ve had it tough, been even when we’ve had it easy, like Monaco, or easier, like Milan…we’ve still fallen apart.

  12. MidwestGun

    Thing is tho, everytime we got knocked out of something, everyone says look now we can concentrate on the Premier League….actually I kind of hate that.

    Putting all your bets on one race that we never go all out to win in the first place. Oh well…. guess I can’t be too surprised since. .. I already said the odds of us getting Barca was 95% haha.

  13. Cesc Appeal

    ‘They have the best 3 players in the world playing for them. It’s not funny.’

    Just lucky they all came through their academy, Messi, Suarez, Neymar, because its impossible to find top quality available in the transfer market.

    Makes it even weirder they bought this summer, I mean, how did they find ‘available quality’ to improve what they already had? Just doesn’t make sense.

  14. DM

    Who remembers playing Barcelona in 2011 when RvP got sent off for kicking the ball after the whistle had gone when he couldn’t bloody hear the thing?!

    I remain utterly convinced that we would’ve won that game if he stayed on the pitch. There was one chance late on that JW managed to craft and if only we had Robin still on the pitch he 100% would’ve converted it. We would’ve lost 3-2 on the night but won the tie on away goals with an aggregate of 4-4.

    Let’s get REVENGE.

  15. Jamie

    Cesc –

    Fair analysis, but you’re missing the key ingredient:

    How do you improve on Giroud? Only with Danny Welbeck, but he has a little knee niggle.

  16. Romford Ozil Pele

    Lol Jack will be back to put in performance of the season. Or he’ll get injured again before that game.

    The Barca game will be all about the counter though. Özil, Alexis and Theo will be vital

  17. Cesc Appeal

    Yeah, Wilshere, do you remember that performance you gave 5 years ago?

    Remember, when you played football…that again please.

  18. Emiratesstroller

    Frankly I think that playing Barcelona in January/beginning of February is best possible draw.

    Let’s face it getting to round of 16 after our poor start in the pool rounds was
    the optimum of our expectation this season and from my perspective we should focus now on EPL and win that title.

    If by some miracle we get through this round then at least we know that we have beaten one of the best two teams in the Champions League.

    Realistically there were going to be no easy games to play apart from maybe
    Wolfsburg or Zenith St Petersburg and frankly I would not want to play in
    Russia in the middle of Winter

    What I do know is that Wenger needs now to focus on sorting out the DMF,
    because we cannot go into games against Barcelona with Flamini. That would
    be absolute torture.

  19. Paulinho

    Will be another match where pre-match Wenger talks about two great teams playing each other, how both like to attack etc, and then when the game comes we get the lube and bend over as usual. At least in terms of possession.

  20. Romford Ozil Pele

    Lol the funny thing about Arsenal is that if by some miracle we beat Barca we’ll lose to Zenit in the next round anyway.

  21. Dissenter

    We were never going to win the CL anyway so enjoy the ride.
    At least we avoided Spursnight football and we’ll have more time to pursue the league.

  22. gonsterous

    People here complaining that Its rigged.. lol.. maybe if we could finish top for once in the group stages we could have an easier draw… But throw that out the window !!

  23. Dissenter

    Barcelona also have Arda Turan coming in January when their ban ends.

    They will absolutely decimate us in the middle.
    The good thing is we know how to bounce back from trashing quickly.

    Lets face the fact, Barca are the most likely winners so it won’t be a shame to lose to this Barca team.

  24. Dissenter

    gonsterous,
    “People here complaining that Its rigged.. lol.. maybe if we could finish top for once in the group stages we could have an easier draw… But throw that out the window !!”

    Chelsea finished top of their group and still got PSG.
    We could have finished on top and still got Juventus.

    Finishing on top of the group doesn’t mean much

  25. Cesc Appeal

    Ramsey, New CDM, Wilshere
    —————-Ozil
    ——-Walcott, Sanchez

    That’s how we have to go against Barcelona and just hope that Ramsey and Wilshere play a disciplined, high energy game.

    If we’re playing Flamini/Arteta in those games we’ve lost before we go out there, leaving so much space at the minute, Iniesta, Rakitic, Turan, Messi any of them will get in that pocket and just dictate.

  26. Nasri's Mouth

    Oh well, there’s always next season…

    …where we’ll get Barcelona in the group stage, and Bayern in the first knockout round

  27. Bamford10

    A lame draw on every level. Not an interesting clash, and we have no chance of advancing.

    However, I think a discussion of which would be the best XI/formation might be interesting.

    Clearly we sit deep and counter, but three questions:
    1. do we do so in a 4-4-2 or in a 4-3-3?
    2. do we replace Flamini with Jack so as to maximize midfield/passing quality?
    3. does Jack start?

  28. Steveyg87

    Of the younger generation of gooners, arshavins goal vs barca is probably the memory that sticks out the most.. what we wouldn’t do for another night like that, we have the chance, lets give it a go

  29. MidwestGun

    Gonsterous –
    True.. but reality was we weren’t gonna beat Bayern twice anyhow. So we were always gonna finish second in the group most likely. Plus seriously it can not be randam. .. we get Barca or Bayern or both every season. Haha. ………. whatever. I’m actually already over it. .. ….Sad but true.

  30. Steveyg87

    “I remain utterly convinced that we would’ve won that game if he stayed on the pitch. There was one chance late on that JW managed to craft and if only we had Robin still on the pitch he 100% would’ve converted it. We would’ve lost 3-2 on the night but won the tie on away goals with an aggregate of 4-4.

    Let’s get REVENGE.”

    Bendtner missed a sitter at the end, who could forget?

  31. Nasri's Mouth

    Well at least we should have a better chance than this lot:

    FC BarcelonaVerified account
    ‏@FCBarcelona
    Arsenal starting ine-up: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Diaby, Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky, Bendtner. #FCBlive

    8:29 PM – 6 Apr 2010

  32. gambon

    Haha, goodbye Champs League yet again!

    You may want to read my prediction post from last week aimed at Wallace……all seems to be pretty spot on.

  33. Brooklyn

    Cesc, lol

    No wide players when playing against possession based teams like Barca and Bayern…Want to get shredded??? Maybe if we had 3 CM with unrelentness defensive work rate….We will need new defensive mid, that’s for sure…Carvalho for me, No Neves, not even Busquets…Carvalho is new Martinez for me…Strength, good passer, height, can bulldoze press discipline…

  34. Brooklyn

    But Cesc,
    If we were to be efficient in attack then it will be high scoring thriller, we will have chances but will suerly concede 5+ games in two legs

  35. gonsterous

    Dm

    Bro, sorry Im only as good as my vocabulary … Saw nothing else wrong.. this Is why they told me to go to school.. but I didnt listen..

  36. daz

    Gambon

    It’s fitting that you chose the specialist in failure vid as your hero is about to fail so hard that his career at the top could be over ha ha

  37. Nasri's Mouth

    ‘more stronger’ is grammatically messy at best, if used like this:

    Team A is more stronger than team B

    However if ‘more’ is being used to indicate multiples, than it kinda works

    So there are more (a higher number) stronger (better) teams in the group of 1st place finishers, and therefore there are less weaker teams in the group of 1st place finishers

  38. DM

    Gonsterous

    As Bamford has said, it is either “much stronger” or “much more strong”, with the former generally used. It is never “much more stronger”. Think about it – the “er” at the end of “stronger” already implies the “more”, so to say “more stronger” would be redundant.

  39. Bamford10

    Daz

    Yes, but even if that is the case, it still proves the truth of Mourinho’s jibe: Wenger knows how to fail better than Mourinho. After all, if you’re going to fail in the league, it’s better to fail but still finish in the top four.

    Wenger is excellent at this — a specialist at it, in fact. 😉

  40. DM

    Nasri’s Mouth

    ‘fraid not. In your first example, “Team A is more stronger than Team B”, this is not simply messy but just plain wrong. Literally, wrong.

    In your second example, “So there are more (a higher number) stronger (better) teams in the group of 1st place finishers, and therefore there are less weaker teams in the group of 1st place finishers”, this would also be poor grammar. It would have to be “There are more *of the* stronger teams…”, whereby the “of the” fixes the structure of the sentence (or, of course, you could make it simpler by saying “There are a greater number…”), and in the second half of the sentence the word “less” is incorrect, as it should be “fewer”, which would fix that.

    So it would be “There are more of the stronger teams in the group of 1st place finishers and, therefore, there are fewer weaker teams…”.

    And having said all this, it would still make more sense to simply use “strong” and “weak”, rather than “stronger” and “weaker”.

  41. gazzap

    As group winners, Barca will get to be at home second. we’re basically fucked but it’ll be fun watching the games anyway. Good to be knocked out by the best team as opposed a team like Monaco anyway,

  42. DM

    Nasri’s Mouth

    In fact, looking over what I’ve written, the second half where I’ve written “fewer weaker teams…” should also say “fewer OF THE weaker teams…”.

  43. DUIFG

    As group winners, Barca will get to be at home second. we’re basically fucked but it’ll be fun watching the games anyway. Good to be knocked out by the best team as opposed a team like Monaco anyway,

    hells bells, this will be a horrible spectacle.

    Very true , we fuck up good ties like monaco anyway so it makes little differance

  44. DUIFG

    Arsenal starting ine-up: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Diaby, Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky, Bendtner.

    waw thats fucking average

  45. vicky

    Perhaps the law of probability does not work when it comes to Arsenal drawing Barcelona.

    I don’t know whether Wenger will be happy or sad with this draw. From his point of view, nobody would blame him if we yet again exited in the round of 16. Imagine losing to Wolfsburg or Zenit in the round of 16.

    I hope Wenger does not fall prey to “two teams which play attacking football” propaganda. In La Liga, Barca lose to teams which park the bus and counter-attack. Barca, although brilliant, are susceptible to counter-attack and often get frustrated if the opposition park the bus. That’s the only way we can beat them and I sincerely hope Arsene employs the same tactics. There is no chance of us outplaying them.

  46. gonsterous

    Bamford, Dm, nasris mouth

    Thanx guys.. I pride myself in my English and you guys helped me improve it.. glad to know we learn more than just football here 🙂

  47. Bamford10

    DM

    Nicely explained, and I agree you’d be better off just using “strong,” as in all of the below:

    – There are more strong swimmers in this heat than in that one.
    – There are more strong students in this class than in that one.
    – There are more strong teams in this group than in that one.

  48. Marko

    I honestly don’t get people getting worked up about something that takes place late February early March. We’ve got so many important games before then to worry about. All that draw means is we get knocked out a round earlier rather than later. No embarrassment getting beaten by the best front 3 arguably of all time. Anyway again nothing’s changed the need to bring in 2/3 players in January who can make a difference hasn’t changed.

  49. gazzap

    UEFA just need a separate pot with Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Barcelona in it! But obviously Barca and Bayern wouldn’t be allowed to play each other until the final.

  50. DM

    Gonsterous

    Pleasure! I have no problem with people using slang and quickhand, etc., seeing as these are comments on a blog, not articles in a newspaper, but some things (“more stronger”, “would of”, etc.) need correcting 😀 Thanks for taking it well and not calling me a grammar nazi like I’m sure others might have!

    Bamford

    Agreed. Using “strong” instead of “stronger” avoids complications. But if they insist on using “stronger” than it really has to be “more of the stronger teams”, it cannot be “more stronger teams”.

    This was fun! Lol

  51. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    I think so, solid and then explosive counter pace, Giroud late on to give them something different to think about, who knows, might even have Welbeck to throw on as well…

    Bamford

    I’m really not sure, because of the cup tied situation, I mean I would buy anyway even if we can only use them in the EPL. Did Sporting Lisbon take part in the UCL, does playing in the Europa League tie you for the UCL?

    The only thing I know is, if Flamini is CDM we might as well just pack it in before the first whistle, Barcelona will have so much time and space to dictate play in the centre our defence will be bombarded non-stop.

  52. DUIFG

    The only thing I know is, if Flamini is CDM we might as well just pack it in before the first whistle, Barcelona will have so much time and space to dictate play in the centre our defence will be bombarded non-stop.

    flamini is probably coming out in cold sweats already!

  53. Relieable Sauce

    Not a bad run of fixtures really if we had a decent squad, but 20 games in 3 months is too much for this current squad to deal with, especially in CM.

    21/12 – MC a
    26/12 – Southampton a
    28/12 – Bournemouth h
    2/1 – Newcastle h
    9/1 – Sunderland h
    13/1 – Liverpool – a
    17/1 – Stoke a
    24/1 – Chelsea h
    30/1 – FAC 4th rnd
    2/2 – Southampton h
    6/2 – Bornemouth a
    13/2 – Leicester a
    20/2 – FAC 5th rnd
    23/2 – Barca h
    27/2 – MU a
    1/3 – Swansea h
    5/3 – Spurs a
    12/3 – WBA/Q finals FAC
    16/3 – Barca a
    19/3 – Everton a

  54. vicky

    Reliable

    I would not mind Arsenal bowing out of the FA cup. We have won it twice in a row. Lose to Barca and we will have only the league to focus on. That’s the best case scenario for us.

  55. Marko

    That’s the thing people freaking out about Flamini playing against Barca as our DM let’s just wait and see what squad we have come February. Honestly does no one any good freaking out about Barca when we’ve City next week, plenty of league and FA Cup games before then on top of a much needed transfer window. Now will Wenger use the window to get prepared for Barcelona? Absolutely not but as long as he uses it to address the injuries and give us as good a chance to compete in the second half of the season for the league then I’ll have no complaints. Thing is who knows what that fucker is thinking every time a transfer window opens

  56. Emiratesstroller

    What else do we learn from this draw?

    If Arsenal are going to be successful at CL level then Wenger needs to start investing properly in our team and buy some better players and spend more than
    £11 million as he did in summer..

    As I suggest previously at least we can now concentrate on the EPL and perhaps try and win FA Cup for third time in consecutive seasons.

  57. gonsterous

    Dm

    I’m kind of a grammar Nazi myself, just not as extreme.. all you did was help so there was no need to get angry at all 🙂

  58. Bob

    No injuries players bought in January, 4-5-1
    Cech
    Bell gab Kos monreal
    Wellbeck Ramsey ozil coq Sanchez
    Theo (giroud of the bench at 69min)

  59. Sam

    Well that was real worl, start preparation to beat barca now
    Buy new players n prepare defensive players to stop messi n have Neymar in the pocket, kick the cheating twats off the park

    In dopey Wenger’s world he’ll wait till we get humiliated then blame tiredness n injuries

  60. Bob

    Team to play barca no if no injuries/players bought in January: 4-5-1
    Cech
    Bell gab Kos monre
    Wellbeck Ramsey ozil coq Sanchez
    Theo ( giroud on if req on 69″)
    Strongest 11 imo that we can play against technically the best team in the world.

  61. Sam

    DM

    Pato still in my shopping list since summer Lol!
    And he’s not CL cuptied
    Forget Benzema, he already played this season

  62. Relieable Sauce

    Vicky

    Yeah I agree, play the fringe players in the FAC and avoid a beating by Barca, make a couple of signings and focus on the league.

    Marko

    Well spotted. Not too worried by the fixture/result though. Looks like consistancy will be the main factor in winning the league and there doesnt look to be much between the two teams atm.

  63. Romford Ozil Pele

    In a one-off game we could definitely win. Over two legs though their class will show. Ah well, at least I get to see my two favs on the pitch at the same time (Özil, Neymar).

  64. DM

    Sam

    Pato doesn’t do it for me. He was highly rated maybe 5 years ago and it just never really happened for him on any major scale. Reus would be great, but very unlikely. More likely is Mahrez, if anyone.

    Benzema? No thanks. Wasn’t too keen on him before the whole sex-tape scandal, to be honest. Much, much less so now. No way we would bid for a player who could potentially be looking at jail time!

  65. Marko

    Carvalho/Lars Bender and Tielemens and someone like Mane in January could be perfect.
    Carvalho/Bender-Tielemens
    Ramsey-Ozil-Sanchez/Mane
    Theo/Sanchez
    Could have good balance to it

  66. Uwot?

    Vickey et al…the prob is not so much that it’s barca again but that we have a tactically inept manager who will try & go toe to toe with them over two legs regardless of who the personnel are.thats the problem……..

  67. WengerEagle

    Marko

    Do you watch the Belgian league mate?

    It’s just I keep hearing Tieleman’s name pop up but I’ve never seen him outside the UCL.

    Was never crazy impressed by him if I’m honest.

  68. Romford Ozil Pele

    Yeah Carvalho isn’t cup-tied, he could play. Neves is though from what I’ve read, looks like he’s almost impossible to sign, aka John Stones.

  69. Cesc Appeal

    I really hate Barcelona, with a real intensity. Would absolutely love us to put one over of them and rub the tears off of Messi’s face and lick them off my fingers in front of him telling him how delicious they taste and that he’s got about two seasons before he starts to get all porky and podgy and that his tattoos look shit.

    There you go, there’s an insight into my thinking.

  70. DUIFG

    Not feeling the 50m John Stones hype tbh

    if david luiz is 50m then pretty much it looks decent value, really good looking player. still some room to develop obv but ye looks class on the ball, good size as well

  71. Cesc Appeal

    That English premium on Stones, we’re never going to get anywhere with our national team with the ridiculous over inflation of talent.

    Kane has a decent season, £55 Million value, Stones, £40-50 Million, Luke Shaw moved for £2 Million less than Sanchez.

    Then you look at wages, Wilshere on £100 000 a week, Walcott £140 000. Need to get this under control.

    I always think how many players for other nationals teams play in different leagues, then you look at us, every single one is EPL. Because our talent isn’t good enough and European teams know the financial burden isn’t worth the quality.

  72. Romford Ozil Pele

    John Stones is a sick footballer. Obviously at 20 he’s not the finished article but he reminds me of a young Rio. You can see why Chelsea were willing to break the bank. Even nicer to see Everton stand firm. With clubs getting increasingly richer due to new TV deals the PL is only gonna become more competitive. A few seasons back Everton would’ve sold him. Now with the likes of Stones, Barkley, Delofeu, Lukaku etc, building a good young team with no need to beam it up.

  73. DUIFG

    Needless to say people were slating lukaku going for 28M, how good value does that look now? Whoever gets stones iis sorting their defence out for 15 years, its like 3 mil a year, makes sense

  74. Brooklyn

    Stones will be great, ball playing CB, 6’2 too….has room for improvement but is already quality….Carvalho in january and Stones next year will do nicely…both good for our style of play in Europe and have that physicality for PL too.

  75. Leedsgunner

    BBC reporting that we have Barca in the next round… oh well, maybe it’s time to remind Wilshere about THAT game in Barca if he’s fit enough to play… we need all our players to turn up with their “A” game in the first leg not just the last leg.

  76. Dan T

    Redtruth
    December 14, 2015 12:57:30

    “Yes, Wenger has turned a once great club Arsenal into the Auxerre of Europe.”

    Aren’t Auxerre the Auxerre of Europe?

  77. Kane

    Not sure about you, but for me, I really am not fussed about the Champions League this season.

    As soon as the groups were drawn, and we had Bayern, the best we could hope for was to finish 2nd and get a lucky last 16 draw….

    We finished 2nd (bit ropey but we got there) and then get the best team in Europe in the last 16.

    Not sure what more we could have done this year….save beating Bayern to top spot, which is not a realistic demand to make.

    The confidence of still being in the comp (at least until March) should give the team confidence in the league and if we can beat City next week we will be top of the league, 4 points clear of the team in 2nd, which at this stage of the season is more than any of us though was achievable.

    We can always expect more – but give me 1st in the prem and a fully fit squad going into Feb / March and I’ll happily take that.

  78. Joe

    I guess Girotd will auditioning for barca as Wenger thinks he is one of the best strikers in the world.

    I’m sure Barca will be keeping a close eye on him

  79. Joe

    Kane

    If Wenger had bought properly this summer, why couldn’t we beat Bayern to top spot??

    Wenger has brought on such a defeatist attitude among the supporters.

  80. WengerEagle

    I don’t hate Barca, hard to hate a team that has spoiled us football fans rotten for so many years.

    Hate Real Madrid if anyone in Spain.

    Btw, anyone been watching Atletico this season?

    Something pretty special going on over there. Simeone has got them back to challenging at the same pace as in 2013/14.

  81. daz

    Dan T
    December 14, 2015 14:39:06

    Redtruth
    December 14, 2015 12:57:30

    “Yes, Wenger has turned a once great club Arsenal into the Auxerre of Europe.”

    Aren’t Auxerre the Auxerre of Europe?

    Geography isn’t one of reds strong points he only knows his way from his moms kitchen down into the basement

  82. Up 4 grabs now

    Not the most ideal draw, but at least we might have a near fit squad and maybe a new signing by mid February?

    deportivo, Valencia, leverkusen, villovense,Roma, athletico bilbao, all have drawn with barca,and Seville beat them,and celta vigo have smashed them 4-1.
    If we keep it tight like we did with bayern, and don’t go gung ho, anything’s possible?

  83. Brooklyn

    LOL DUIFG,
    Check Lukaku’s record this season, one goal against Liverpool among top teams and no goal in 4 other matches against top teams….28 mil looking good my ass….still good prospect tho and may improve…..Now he is worth 20 mil and 28-35 will be decent price because of English teams being stronger financially….if continental teams(and not petro dollars team Juve maybe or Wolfsburg or Dortmund) come in for him they won’t submit bid of a penny more then 30 mil Euros for him….However shit Giroud is both are 20 mil pounds player at most and no need to get your pant wet over Lukaku….

    But, he is quicker and younger then Giroud and will likely be better suited for us and we have lots of cash and incase no better options are available then 35 mil for him may not be bad investment….but he is no more then 20 mil player and 28 mil by everton for him doesn’t look even remotely good for them…

  84. Jamie

    I really like Carvalho. It’s a massive gamble to expect him to hit the ground running, but he looks strong and technically sound for a young central midfielder. There’s definitely room for him to improve.

    I also really rate Stones at CB. Only 21! That said, 40m is crazy money for any CB who isn’t the finished article. Unfortunately, the precedent for paying the English players’ premium has already been set.

  85. Leedsgunner

    If Bellerin has a good game, expect the Barca PR machine to go into overdrive and talk about how his Barca’s DNA needs to be woken up. I for one hope our club tells them where to go. I wonder if Tommy V will play against us… is he even fit?

  86. DUIFG

    suarez scares me the most tbh, hes just a killer, you cant give the guy a sniff, kos has bossed messi once or twice, bar the outrageous time he scored 4 we have dealt with his sort of.

    you literally cant turn you back on suarez for a second though

  87. Nasri's Mouth

    If your benchmarks are Luiz going for £40m+ and Mangala going for £32m then Stones is definitely worth £40m+, whatever his nationality.
    Defenders that have that ability with the ball are so rare, and it can be so important to the team when you have CBs who can play out from the back.
    And at 21 he’s already showing great maturity for his age. He could be a ‘complete’ player

  88. Kane

    Joe, I am not defeatist… I am realistic… Bayern are a European powerhouse, a team who have reached 3 ECL finals in the last 5 years (winning it once) and who buy 2-3 big players every year.

    Yes we have some cash to spend believe me I want Wenger to spend it, but spending £50m this season would not automatically put us on a par with Bayern.

  89. WengerEagle

    ‘If we keep it tight like we did with bayern, and don’t go gung ho, anything’s possible?’

    They played the kids vs Villovennse and were already qualified and played half a team of reserves away to Leverkusen.

    They did draw with Roma 1-1 in Rome but they smashed them 6-1 in Camp Nou.

    Against Deportivo complacency kicked in, they were 2-0 up and cruising until around the 75th minute, could pretty much guarantee that if they played Deportivo next week they would demolish them. Same goes for Valencia tbh where they had numerous chances to finish them off before the late equaliser.

    The Bilbao and Celta Vigo performances were more freak occurrences than anything else IMO. They were convincingly beaten both days but that’s two matches since probably Bayern in 2012/13 where they have been well beaten.

    I’d be more worried about how easily they strolled to the UCL Final last season battering Man City, PSG and Bayern in the first legs so badly that the 2nd legs were mere formalities.

  90. DUIFG

    Neymar definitely frightens me the most tbh.He will do unspeakable things to poor Bellerin. Kid doesn’t stand a chance if Neymar is in the mood.

    Rambo off the right will be key, protect the kid

  91. salparadisenyc

    Juve vs Bayern the standout from round of 16 for me, with Juve beginning to come to together, winning 7 of their last 10 and drawing 2.

    Regarding us, at one point over the 180 minutes were going to steam rolled.
    Curious to see what the odds come in at.

  92. WengerEagle

    Sal

    Yeah that tie caught my eye as well, fancy Bayern of course as they are just so strong but was impressed by Juventus last night against Fiorentina.

    Dybala will be key for them.

  93. Joe

    Ready made excuse for the true believers when we get knocked out at round of 16 agai.

    What could Wenger do? We can’t. Compete with Barca. We were unlucky to draw them. Etc etc etc

  94. tunnygriffboy

    Cesc
    Afternoon butty. Just your comment about Messi, Neymar and Suarez coming througj their academy
    I take it you were being facetious 🙂 🙂

    I get where you’re coming from in that thrre are good players out thetr and we can buy some of them. Would the likes of Suarez and Neymar pick us ovet Barca ? We not at the top table but we should be on the table just below. We need another couple of players of Alexis/Ozil quality and we become a good side for a few games.

    Please though could we have a proper DM to see the seadon out, giving us a chance in PL.