Heavy rotation rewarded with a controlled Arsenal victory

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So, that was, well, pretty good.

I mean, yeah. Next round. No real drama. Some new 2016 faces. Some good performances. Some ok performances.

But qualification.

The biggest disappointment from the day had to be the fans. Half the stadium empty by 90th minute. Very flat as well. I get it though, I’ve been in that zone. Too many games in too short a time. You’re spoilt and it’s hard to motivate yourself to be THE GREATEST FAN OF ALL TIME every week.

The starting line-up was quite interesting and certainly merited more fan enthusiasm. Coquelin, Iwobi and Elneny in the middle. Sanchez, Giroud and Chambo in the front line. Chambers, Gibbs and Gabriel new in the backline. Ospina in goal.

They played pretty well considering the change as well. Iwobi continued where he left off. Tight control, working space well, composed. I thought Coquelin looked relatively solid bar the strange collapse in the build up to their goal. Elneny did a good job as well. Unspectacular, but very steady. Not a destroyer, that’s for sure. Loves a long shot, Wenger will have that beaten out of him in no time.

We opened the scoring in odd fashion, Iwobi passed to Sanchez on the edge of the area, the Chilean poked it to Chambers… our new right back side footed a shot into the top corner. Straight from the book of Bergkamp!

We let Burnley back in though. We didn’t clear on the edge of the box, Vokes was fed a peach of a cross which he finished with a bullet header.

We picked up in the second half, a lovely counter attack, Iwobi fed Chamberlain out wide, he crossed dangerously and Sanchez rifled into the top corner. He doesn’t miss from there.

I can’t not praise Ospina for making some tidy saves. Our backline was pretty shaky all day and he was called upon to be decisive a few times and he delivered.

I also thought it was a positive day for Chamberlain. He landed an assist and he was far more productive than he usually is.

Still not sure about Chambers as our right back. He’s so green. He’d cost us in big games and he’d be top of your ‘here’s how we get at them’ list if you were an opposing manager.

Two final things. Am I the only one who shouts ‘DISGRACE’ when I hear Theo is our longest serving player? I am? Ok.

I know that am I not the only one who shout ‘HE’S GONNA MISS THIS’ when Theo is through on goal under no pressure. Because that’s what happens every time. Last minute, he has the chance to bury it, he has time to think, he uses that time to think about his favourite sandwich, he blows it.

In big games, against big teams. That is your one chance. Against Barca, he might only get one chance over two legs. That’s why we’re not 2004 elite. Too many players like him in the side who can’t deliver under pressure.

Anyway, we won the game. We’re on for 3 in 3. We picked up no injuries and successfully rotated our squad again.

ONWARDS!

954 Responses to “Heavy rotation rewarded with a controlled Arsenal victory”

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  1. kwik fit

    Pedro I take your point on Theo ,I really do, but you can’t deny he’s nothing if not consistent …….consistently pooh

  2. ADKB

    The Theo situation is a pointer to how things are at Arsenal. Wenger won’t pay £40, £50m to buy more players yet we’re playing average/ok players (e.g. Theo) mega-wages weekly. It doesn’t make sense.

  3. MrT

    Was in a group chatt with fellow arsenal fans during the match and we all shouted disgrace when Theo was mentioned. We also were in agreement that we knew he would miss his chance. Disgrace indeed.

  4. ADKB

    I wonder when Wenger will call Elneny aside and say: “Hey son, pulling the trigger, from outside the box for that matter, isn’t the Arsene way! That”s a NO from me!”

  5. Honest Bill

    ADKB

    It makes sense when you consider that Wenger believes that friendship and team unity and togetherness are more important than footballing ability.

  6. ADKB

    Possibly, but how many trophies have mental strength and cohesion won us since 2004? Is it coincidence that when we started spending big, we’ve won back-to-back FA cups?

  7. Mo

    Iwobi was good again I thought. Will be interesting to see if he makes it, he doesn’t lack confidence that’s for sure!

  8. ADKB

    Elneny gave a good account of himself, decent for a debut, IMO. He likes to go forward and let fly from outside the box which was something we aren’t used to doing.

  9. London gunner

    I only saw a bit of the game

    Elneny doesn’t have special quality.. Looked like a run of the mill player.

    Walcott is a pussy. He completely bottled that at the end. To much of a pussy to shoot you could see him hesitating and having a mental fart.

    He could have place it around the keeper with a finesse shot or chipped him.

    I bet you any money griezmann finished that with ease.

    Let’s get griezmann in he is young extremely talented a regular goal scored who can play wing or cf.

    Oh and simeone has been praising him for learning to play with his back to goal and gaining a hard work ethic… He is also a great header of the ball.

    I know he isn’t everyone’s faviourte but he would be a dramatic improvement

  10. MidwestGun

    Meh…right…. hard to read much into it. But far from what a title winning club looks like in my mind. Unconvincing performances against not even PL quality team is hard to rally around. Had 4 first teamers who will start versus Barca and in most PL matchs to be honest only Sanchez looked decent of those 4. Kos, Coq and Giroud looked pretty spent or rusty.

  11. Emiratesstroller

    Just returned home from game.

    I would not describe it as our finest performance against what were very average opponents.

    I would agree that the two best players were Iwobi and Sanchez. Iwobi is not only working very hard around pitch, but he is an excellent and highly intelligent footballer.

    That is more than can be said about some of the other players on field. Ox
    needs to use his brain more than he does. Far too often he loses the ball simply
    because he either makes the wrong decision or fails to look up and see to whom he is passing.

    I hate to say it but Giroud was more or less a passenger today. His input was negligible.

    As for our defence it was on occasion fairly dodgy albeit that the conditions were difficult because of the wind. However Chambers despite his goal is not in my opinion good enough to play for us. For me he is a second tier EPL or
    Championship player at best.

    The jury must be out on Elneny, although he has a ferocious shot. Coquelin is
    most definitely short of match fitness, although this was a good tester for him.

    There has to be concern about what happened to Koscielny right at end of game. He stayed on ground and was being treated when I left the ground.
    Hopefully he will be fit for Tuesday, because we will need him.

  12. ADKB

    HonestBill: But he, Elneny, played a simple game, no sloppiness, not afraid to shoot when he’s got the goal in his sight. If only others can play the “simple” game of passing, moving forward and shooting – not doing tricks, not even tiki-taka!

    Agreed, he’ll soon learn to play the Arsene way

  13. Mark S

    I will always take the win, but that was far from convincing from a pretty strong Arsenal team. In regards to Coquelin’s collapse during the Burnley goal, he was taken out by a Gibbs challenge. The way he went down, I thought that he might be seriously injured. The other thought that crossed my mind was, “Oh great, the guy we’ve been waiting to come back to strengthen the team is taken out by our backup left-back.” Thankfully for us the Coq came back on!

  14. Honest Bill

    ADKB.

    That’s good to hear. But we probably won’t see him play too often if he doesn’t do fancy one-touch flicks.

  15. Emiratesstroller

    Midwest

    Ospina was shaky on one occasion early in second half when he lost the ball and
    then was kicked by the oncoming Burnley player.

    The goal conceded was probably in part due to Coquelin being taken out of game
    and the centre backs not doing their job properly in the box.

  16. DM

    ADKB

    Congrats on your win, but if you had been here often enough you’d know that I don’t compete on Saturdays, it’s my Sabbath and I don’t use electricity etc (it’s just finished so here I am!).

  17. ADKB

    @HB: I’m afraid that’s the home truth about us.

    @Redtruth: “Iwobi and Elneny would fit well in the Championship as todays game reveals”

    Are you a troll?

  18. MidwestGun

    Haha Red. ., your annoyingly funny sometimes.

    E-Stroller –
    Ospina has always been a bit shaky on high balls, and he spills rebounds too much. I actually agree the CB defending was shaky and most likely lead to goal but Ospina was not instilling confidence by commanding his area.

  19. Honest Bill

    As far as Cech vs Ospina is concerned, I’ve never seen any evidence that either of them is even remotely capable of writing inspiring, heart-warming children’s fiction. So i don’t really care which of them plays.

  20. ADKB

    I’ll take Cech over Ospina any day. Cech’s taller, more experienced in the PL, has won lots and has a more calming presence in goal.

  21. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Yet again Wenger goes in to the last day of the window feeling contented about his squad .
    Which in reality is a shambolic gathering of ill disciplined players and a lack lustre attitude.

  22. Wallace

    both Iwobi & Elneny look like they’ll be comfortable in a high-tempo pass and move side. interesting additions to the first team squad, I think.

  23. ADKB

    @DM: Oh, and I once tried the day of rest thing, and said no TV or internet at home during weekends. My 2 teenage sons raised hell and said it’s either I do it alone or they’ll phone Social services 🙂

  24. Redtruth

    ADKB
    “I’ll take Cech over Ospina any day. Cech’s taller, more experienced in the PL, has won lots and has a more calming presence in goal.”

    Are you a troll?

  25. Honest Bill

    Midwest.

    Fine, if you want to talk about players, then i expect you to back it up with hard statistics.

    Over the last two seasons, how many shampoo adverts has Cech featured in?

  26. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Are the two signings from Nigeria for real ?
    If so what age are they ?

    The look like the geezers from ex factor , I’m sure Cheryl Cole , Fernandez , smith , joepnes ….was in the picture ?

  27. ADKB

    @Red: Ha! You’re so funny I must say. I’ve stated facts. Cech: 1.96m Ospina: 1.83m. Cech arrived at Chelsea around 2004. Won trophies at Chelsea. That isn’t trolling!

  28. kwik fit

    I actually think that we should play Rambo wide right now with El Nino in the middle along side coq. He seems to be a more disciplined B2B than Ramsey.

    Our current best front six is;

    Elhenny Coq
    RamboOzilGod
    Handsome

  29. London gunner

    Honest bill
    You are honestly cracking me up tonight .

    I wouldn’t start Ramsey on the right as Joel who I’m not actually a fan off has been a couple levels better.

    Iwobi looks a tidy player

  30. Redtruth

    ADKB
    @Red: Ha! You’re so funny I must say. I’ve stated facts. Cech: 1.96m Ospina: 1.83m. Cech arrived at Chelsea around 2004. Won trophies at Chelsea. That isn’t trolling!”

    Keep trolling..

    Being a beanpole isn’t ideal for a keeper.

    A keeper has no impact winning trophies at Chelsea as last season proves

  31. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Theo wouldn’t be wanted abroad
    Pool with new manager won’t touch
    City with sterling an the igerlouch fella (looks a fantastic prospect)
    Chelsea will not be interested .

    United ?
    Well a maybe

  32. Cesc Appeal

    No way we can sell Walcott now, not on £140 000 a week, no one will take him. I seriously think Walcott will play out his days at Arsenal and ridiculously be labelled a ‘club legend.’

    Elneny’s first half performance was poor thought, second half though I thought he grew into, nothing great, but a solid performance, I like that he cracks them from distance as well.

    As things stand, I’d have him in the centre, unspectacular, but he gives you more solidity and discipline compared to Ramsey.

    Obviously as well this was his very first game, plenty of time to grow as a player.

    This season is really emphasising what Arsenal fans have been saying for years, those who don’t just seek to always cover Wenger, that the central midfield is crucial.

  33. ADKB

    Not sure of the context but these 2 “kids” haven’f officially signed for us yet. If they do. they’ll join the academy first. Anyone remember Krystian Bielik?

    I’m sure Wenger doesn’t agree we need to strengthen the first team squad right now. These new signings are for the future.

  34. Drey

    I like Elneny. He looks comfortable on the ball,and can play the simple pass-and-move on style,which can be handy in high tempo games. You can see him and Alexis linking up well. I also think we should play Ramsey on the wing to accomodate him. He is not good tackler but Coq will cover for him. Campbell should work harder if he wants a spot nw

  35. ADKB

    Theo to Utd? Can’t see that happening. More likely City. But then they don’t need him. Unfortunately we’re stuck with him.

    Funny how he was running here and there, scoring goals. A new, improved contract done and dusted and he’s disappeared into mediocrity and obscurity.

  36. ADKB

    @London gunner:
    Everton and West Ham sound more like possible destinations but he’ll have to accept a wage cut which I can’t imagine happening.

  37. Wallace

    Elneny was obviously the B2B midfielder today, with Coquelin patrolling in front of the back 4. prior to seeing him I was thinking he was being bought as a potential partner for Ramsey, but now I’m thinking maybe it’s Coquelin. he’s(Elneny) certainly a lot more comfortable with the quick passing stuff than Ramsey.

  38. Drey

    When Theo was through on goal i was telling the rival fans watching alongside me “i owe you 500 naira if he scores that goal”. He is so predictable its laughable

  39. London gunner

    Wallace

    I used to support walcottbut he has had ample opportunity to prove himself.

    I honestly thought he was on his way to being a lethal finisher before his injury, but now he seems half the player he was and doesn’t really use his pace anymore.

    I’d still be on defending him but tbh there are plenty of pacy finishers out there who are better right now.

    Griezmann being one I would love to test atletico with a bid

  40. MidwestGun

    Wallace –
    I actually thought the team looked much better early in the season with Theo over Giroud. Now tho…… new contract or whatever, but he looks complacent as hell. Needless offside thing is ridiculous let alone the bottling the shots thing. Idk… we never have a strike force all on form, would be nice to see what that looks like, someday.
    I don’t think the amswer is a front 3 of Giroud, Sanchez and Ramsey tho. Just not sure we have a better solution tho.

  41. Wallace

    Midwest

    yeah, I do want to see him up top again before I bin him. really thought he might step up when Alexis got injured, but it’s been Giroud that has shouldered the load. very disappointing currently. if Wenger does give him another chance up top it certainly won’t be because he’s earned it.

  42. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Your Comment Heredidnt Theo do this with the previous contract ?
    Dragged on , scored goals played well, signed did fuck all got injured !

    So if History repeats we are due an injury .

  43. Joe

    Kwik

    You have elneny starting as our B2B on the basis of one match vs a championship side???

    Not that I rate Ramsey but still.

    Let’s see how he does before we start him against a side who beasted us 4 nil a month ago

  44. kwik fit

    Joe

    I guess it’s because after seeing Flamini and Ramsey against the chavs play so headlessly that anyone who seems to have any discipline does it for me. Lets hope Wenger has the balls to give him a chance to shine against the saints.

  45. Joe

    It’s such a farce that arteta and flamini are even being mentioned. Anyway. May as well play elneny as our title chances are done. May as well bed him in for next seasons fa cup run

  46. MidwestGun

    LG _
    Nope as I said earlier 3 out of our 4 sure starters. Kos, Coq, and Giroud weren’t good. Coq. I can completely undertand as hes coming back from injury. the other two looked mentally unprepared to play, imo.

  47. salparadisenyc

    Nice win with puzzled together starting XI.

    Ospina made a couple nice saves, nearly gifted a goal and really has a fondness for dawdling on ball before distributing his outs poorly.

  48. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Wenger really annoys
    Had to prove a point that he rates ospina by playing him…

    Like his stubbornness playing him in champs league , which has lead to our exit in big cup next month.

  49. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    In fairness joe

    Wenger did a few things right with sczzchney

    Got him in early
    Got a good keeper coach ( albeit not the best )

    Sent him out on loan where he done well
    Then reacted to fans saying give him a chance ….he did

    Where sczzchney fucked is he thought he made it to soon
    The Birmingham nightmare to the saints embarrassment he had chances
    Liked the lad himself but he may be a keeper when he approaches 30 with more wisdom ..

  50. WengerEagle

    ‘The Koz- Gab partnership looks good on paper but somethings not right there.’

    Too similar IMO.

    Gerrard-Lampard for England was the same, in their prime that looked a world class pairing on paper but they always disappointed when partnered next to each other.

  51. Paulinho

    Koscielny has been extremely poor for a while now.

    He’s almost as slow as Mertesacker it seems as well. The only reason he got ‘fouled’ by Shane Long during that Southampton game, in the build up to their goal, was because he literally was moving like a snail. Long didn’t need to accelerate or anything to trip him up.

  52. leon

    The signing did look good well at least going forward he did and he is a high energy player . This game showed once again the defence needs a leader

  53. steve

    “Was it just me or was koz kind of shit today”

    He’s been shit for a while now though. Also Walcott? More like Walcunt.

  54. MidwestGun

    El Sharraway finally scored a back heel stunner from about 4yards out. Another player like Pato who had great hype and injuries at a young age. maybe he finds his form with Roma. that goal was something else tho.

  55. Nick

    Theo, that was embarrassing for me, as an Arsenal fan, to watch. Didn’t like Elneny’s positioning, or his tenacity. he drifted too wide and pushed up too far. Maybe someone could tell him and Ramsey that the secret to Coqzorla is that they keep it tight in the middle. We have 4 other attackers besides the box to box player so just think of the team– not yourself– and keep it tight. Arsene got very lucky that he stumbled onto the Coqzorla partnership, and by the looks of it he doesn’t know the difference between the way they play it and the heart-in-throat way that our midfield two play whenever the coqzorla are not both on the field. if we win the league it will despite Arsene’s tactical coaching.

  56. Samesong

    I wonder if Theo has a coach that teaches him finishing..

    Interesting the guy on soccer am this morning works with Berahino and a few others with fine tuning. Lol and he scores 2 today.

  57. Samesong

    Elneny needs time to adjust to the premier league. He will get stronger, beef up a bit. His shooting will improve. Give him a little time.

  58. kwik fit

    Wenger on Elneny’s debut…
    ‘I felt he started a bit cautious, played a bit secure. He became more adventurous, . His mobility, his work rate was exceptional and for the rest, he needs to adjust to the power of the game in the Premier League. This was a good welcome today and certainly he has learnt a lot today. It will take him some time to adjust to the power side of our game here, but the intelligence, the mobility and the technical level are good but he’s got to cut out those fuckin shots on goal’

  59. Wallace

    Mertesacker’s a talker and an organiser. Koscielny just goes out there and does his job. he’s an excellent defender, but he needs someone like Mertesacker alongside him. Gabriel also looks like the quiet type. having Cech behind them will help, but I’ll be surprised if they make a good partnership in the long term.

  60. Wallace

    okay, found it –

    “[It was his first start] for eight or nine weeks. When I saw Derby against Burnley, I had a little hesitation to pick the three [Alexis, Coquelin, Elneny]. But the fact that we played at home, I thought we could manage to get away with it. With Alexis, I was not too much worried about on the fitness front because I kept him out two weeks ago and he was already there physically. We had some worries about his muscle but today he came through well and you could see that physically, he is ready. Also, Bamford needs to shut the fuck up.”

    – Wenger on Alexis and Bamford

  61. Cesc Appeal

    Elneny is very leggy, reminds me of Diaby in that sense, all legs.

    Perhaps seeing him that is why I expected more physically from him, might be unfair if he isn’t even that type of player, might bring it out of him, let Shad bulk him up.

    Didn’t rate him in the first half, but I thought he was good in the second half.

    Maybe think about a Coq, Elneny base, Ramsey, Walcott and Sanchez up top with Ozil in the hole, not at all that Walcott deserves it, but I think with Giroud we’d be too one paced and Walcott at ST seems to bring more out of Sanchez.

    Walcott this season has summed up his entire decade at Arsenal, brief, brief glimpses of what might be, then lengthy periods of total uselessness.

  62. Sam

    We managed to rest Cech, Mert(banned), Bellerin, Monreal, Ramsey, Ozil n Campbell.

    Hmmmm, We don’t have a small squad.
    Wenger made it look so coz he only picks his favourites
    He could rotate Ramsey, Walcott n Chamberlain for Elneny, Iwobi n Campbell. will increase the team’s performance n force the british core to work hard

  63. Bamford10

    Agree that Elneny had a good showing, but I was hoping for more athleticism, pace and ball-winning from him, so that he could serve as a replacement for Coquelin. He doesn’t look that; instead he looks a solid if unremarkable CM.

    Wallace

    I am glad to hear my commentary is reaching Wenger. He needs to know that intelligent supporters want him to fuck off as soon as possible. Cheers.

  64. Bamford10

    Sam

    The problem isn’t the size of the squad, it’s the quality. Elneny helps a little, but he doesn’t give us a chance against Barcelona, nor does he make us equals to City. Not even close, actually, in either case.

  65. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Like akpom to be given a chance , but reality says that he prob won’t…

    Ridiculous when you think of some of the dross Wenger has given a start to
    Weak
    Kana diawara
    Wiltord (apart from last season)
    Bemdtner
    Chamkah
    San no goal

    Akpom is prob the most technically gifted forward out the lot of them

    But two things go against him,
    English an came through the yoot system!

    Had he been poached from barca would be a deffo starter

  66. Sam

    Good Weekend,

    We have our Coq back, Sanchez scored, we rested 7 first team players, Elneny had a decent debut, Iwobi is our rising star, Calum Chambers now wants to be called Canaldo he keeps bragging about his goal to his team mates, Chamberlain is improving n we progressed in the Fa cup

  67. Wallace

    yeah, Iwobi’s done a lot of good things the last few weeks. as Arteta said, it’s unusual for someone who has been developed as a winger to have such good vision and awareness when played centrally. and plus, he’s an exciting player to be able to call from the bench.

  68. Joe

    We don’t have a strong squad Sam.

    That’s the problem. Ox? Won’t make it

    Ramsey is a sub at best.

    Walcott is garbage

    IWobi and elneny.

    You are going to throw them in when we are supposedly fighting for the league

    Says it all really.

    Fuck off Wenger.

    All the others are defensive players and you’re not going to rotate defensive players curing a run in

    It’s a weak small squad with very little top quality. Ozil. Sanchez. Cech.

    Only ones I would trust to have any impact on is coming close to winning the league

    And since we have to rely on the other players, we don’t have a chance to win

    Even the worst league in decades

  69. Sam

    I love it when I am called AKB then I know I am talking to an Arsenal hater not a fan.

    Chamberlain did better as compared to his previous games
    How do you know Akpom will never play for Arsenal?
    Tell me Joe,

    What is it you like about Arsenal? you seem to hate everything, everyone?

  70. Joe

    I hate AKBs and Wenger.

    Love everything else.

    Including Ox but I also know he won’t come good so what’s the point in keeping him.

    He did well against a championship team ?

    Hmmm. More his level isn’t it

  71. Joe

    Sam

    I’ll love Arsenal more than you ever will.

    and it shows now beacayse I hate what Arsenal have become under Wenger whereas you are ok with the crap that’s been going on for 11 seasons and you big up ever plsyer because Wenger can’t be wrong.

    It’s you that hate Arsenal because you wouldn’t be happy with the last 11 seasons a nd Wenger if you truly loved Arsenal and not just Foking Wenger

  72. Sam

    I think you need someone equally miserable to share hugs n tissue with

    I am not sure I can help, Especially the day Sanchez scored, we had our Coq back n are through to the next round of Fa cup.
    I have to enjoy my weekend