Has Arsene conquered a familiar negative trait in his 2016/17 team?

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via @t0wey (instagram)

via @t0wey (instagram)

Arsenal did something yesterday that perked me up about our prospects this season, they won in the face of two setbacks. The sort of setbacks that would have thrown us in seasons past, but didn’t against a tough Stoke side.

First setback, we lost our superstar defensive signing from the summer to a hamstring injury. Mustafi limped off on 25minutes, and instead of things going to absolute shite, we rolled on the best right back in the Premier League and pushed Gabriel into the middle. So comfortable. Finally, we have a squad with quality all over.

The second thing we reacted to was a penalty against us, when Xhaka kind of raised an elbow to Joe Allen and definitely wiped him out. Part of me was furious that he’d made another thoughtless decision that could have cost us big, but part of me secretly loved the fact we have a mean player in the middle of the park again. Charlie Allen, freshly 31 years old, looking like he’s been eating glass and snorting battery acid for the last 9 years, sent Cech to the right as he slotted simply down the middle.

We didn’t roll over, we put our heads down, continued to dominate possession and managed to pull one back just before half time. Our 14 pass move ended with Bellerin receiving the ball out wide, cutting his cross dangerously into the box with Theo on hand to deftly knock it inside near post . A beauty of a goal.

We started the second half with much promise, the impressive Oxlade Chamberlain floated an Ozil-eque Hollywood pass over the Stoke defence where, errr, Ozil was on hand to cushion his header over Grant who’d found himself in no-man’s land. A lovely assist for Chamberlain who is growing in confidence. He still needs to find more influence on the pitch, his 16 passes (out of 23 attempted) feels poor, but he made 3 out of 3 take on attempts and some of his passes were pretty tight.

Our third goal came when Iwobi had found his way onto the pitch, Sanchez had been fouled at the edge of the box, the ball spilled loose and the terrible referee waved play on, #Iwobes picked up the ball and casually swept it under the keeper to bury the game. Extra benefit is I think Sanchez landed the assist!

Wenger took his Chilean off on 75mins, which was lovely. Amusing that his reaction to the sub was like he’d been handed a bolt gun and told he’d have to take one of his dogs behind a shed and do the business. Gotta love his passion, I just hope his body is in iron mode this season.

We snatched the 3 points and it was easy. Totally comfortable. A breeze.

The great start to the weekend only intensified as Manchester City were absolutely spanked by Leicester City. Pep G really is having a tough time of it. Too many people crowing like this is Tony Pulis trying to prove a point at a big club. Pep will get it right at some point, we just have to make sure we’re racking up the points whilst he’s not. If we can break through the next two games with 4 points or so, we’re in serious contention for the new year.

Things to think about:

The Crowd: I always said I’d never be this guy, but fu*k me, listening to Arsenal on TV sometimes is painful because it’s so damn quiet. I really didn’t feel we were in any danger at any point yesterday, yet we’re 2-1 up and the fans are jumping on the backs of players misplacing passes. I get that it’s cold, I get that it’s a massive commitment, but come on… surely we shouldn’t be having a pop at players who are playing in committed fashion?

I hope the next manager we bring in is a touchline warrior. Our fan base, me included, could do with a bit of a gee up when we’re not on good form. If any club needs a standing section, it’s ours. It’s a bit stagnant in the stands and part of that is down to steward oppression, part of that is down the lack of young blood in the ground, part of that is feeling like y0u’re being interfered with by the club at summer camp every time you spunk out £4.80 for a beer that takes 14minutes and an argument about correct change to receive. I feel your pain… but the fans are so important and it’d be nice if we sounded better.

Theo Walcott:

He’s a player this year. I think he benefits from having a pace monster with good delivery on his outside, there was one point where Gabriel tried to latch onto a Sanchez pass but didn’t have the legs. Bellerin gives Theo an extra lift and his stats showed it. 6 attempts on goal, 3 on target and a goal. 16 of 18 passes complete in the final 1/3. 4 of 7 take ons successful. A good day’s work. I’m really enjoying who he’s become this year. A total asset. Seems like his fantastic attitude is finally being rewarded as he’s added a bit more discipline to his game and a bit more grit.


Xhaka continued to be an all action hero. 3 tackles, 8 ball recoveries, 2 take ons and 77 passes. Coquelin also had a good game. He’s not the player Xhaka is and he could never replicate Santi, but he had a very good game. I think top of the shopping list is a world-class B2B player who can sit alongside Xhaka. But look, right now, our midfield is in pretty good shape. Ramsey isn’t getting a look in and we’re not crying out for him. My how the times have turned. If I’d told you Rambo and Wilshere would be out of the fold 3 years ago, you’d have laughed at me. Just goes to show you what focus and a bit of luck can do.

On to the Everton and Manchester City. Good time to be playing both. Let’s see what Arsenal are made of!


326 Responses to “Has Arsene conquered a familiar negative trait in his 2016/17 team?”

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  1. Romford Ozil Pele

    This is where the arguement comes in for a winter break. Bayern will have one shortly and won’t play until the third week in January. The F.A cup kicks in during January, so we’ll be playing more games. The Bundesliga is also two teams smaller. So they’ll be rejuvenated and fresh. We’ll need to give Alexis and Özil some rest this month/Jan for sure. Lucas and L’Oréal will get games.

  2. Red&White4ever

    “We’ll need to give Alexis and Özil some rest this month/Jan for sure. Lucas and L’Oréal will get games.”
    May Wenger hearing you…

  3. LegendMax

    Bayern are definitely beatable. Madrid not so much. Playing the 1st leg in their home will also be an advantage. I don’t get the pessimism really. Robben n Ribery are past it. Muller’s only scored once in the league this season. They couldn’t win their group. This is not the same bayern of recent seasons.
    Talk of them getting better by Feb could actually go the other way…..they could be worse.
    If we can’t beat this bayern team, there’s no point staying in the competition. We might as well focus on the league

  4. Louis Almeida

    LegendMax, this is Bayern! They’ll be fresh of a winter break. Robben and Ribery despite their ages are still awesome players, with Costa and Coman in reserve. I wouldn’t expect Muller to be that bad for too long either – class is permanent! That said, I agree with you, I think we have a chance although Carlo Ancelotti is very good in Europe. We have to beat the best and it’s about time we did if we want to be taken seriously.

  5. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    I’m pretty convinced that it’s all rigged ..

    Draw normally done first Friday after games played now occurs on Monday …

    Should not be seeded off thatbteams can’t play each other .

  6. Dream10

    Robben is the player I fear most. Despite being 32, he still is top class. Since his return from injury, Bayern look more threatening. Teams know he will cut inside on his left, but the majority still can’t stop him. Quality burst, great technique and shot. Easily the best Bundesliga player of the last decade

  7. Ozil's left boot

    Hello and welcome to live coverage of Arsenal being drawn against Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. Or knowing their luck, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
    Then we land Bayern.

  8. Thank you and goodnight

    @Frank Mc

    Blasphemy…….How dare you even try to compare Bayerns dump of a ground compared to the 8th wonder of the world built by wenger himself….

  9. gambon

    Well, thats the CL over for another season, isnt it.

    Normally, with a great team vs a good team, you would say its 70/30 in Bayerns favour, but unfortunately we all know that a team like Everton or Swansea would have a better chance than Arsenal.

    We will absolutely shit ourselves, struggle to string 2 passes together, make bizarre mistakes in possession, and only really start playing once the tie is over and we are 3-0 down.

  10. Frank Mc

    @ TYAG

    You passed the test very well, be like saying the Sistine Chapel has got a prettier interior that the Emirates! Wenger with a roller pisses all over that Michelangelo geezer!!

  11. vicky

    The only thing that gives me hope this time around is the fact we would be playing at home in the 2nd leg. I hope Wenger parks the bus in Munich.

    Gabriel Koss Mustafi Monreal
    Coq Xhaka
    Bellerin Ozil Ramsey

    I don’t like Ramsey at all but he puts in a lot of effort which is what will be required to at least nick a draw away in Munich. I would like to see Bellerin play as a right winger to give us more solidarity and he’s no mug playing attacking football anyway.

  12. Louis Almeida

    Key is staying in the tie. If we have a good chance going into the home leg I think we can win with someone obscure scoring the winner.

  13. Red&White4ever

    “I’m pretty convinced that it’s all rigged ..”

    Same for me.
    we get Bayern almost everytime, and Rumenige (ze c*nt) is happy.

    And for the rest of the draw, everything is made in favor of the spanish clubs!!

  14. Arsenal not Arsene

    I remember years back coming from old trashford still in the tie (1-0) only to get spanked at the ems. Bayern are really celebrating this draw. Focusing on the league will save us a lot of heartache.

  15. Leedsgunner

    I think there were dangers either way. Had we got Porto… we might have underestimated them.. like we did wth Monaco. This way I’m pretty sure they are underestimating us. As I said before I’m hopeful that this tough draw motivates Wenger to go into the transfer market for a couple of reinforcements.

  16. DaleDaGooner

    Wallace, I hear you. Possibly true.

    On another note: I know Pedro talks about rotating and resting players, Mustafi was rested and still got his hamstring blown against Stoke. Shows that resting isn’t necessarily safe. Failure mode precautions like having decent players like Gabriel and Holding is all we can rely on. I hope Gabriel takes his chances a la against Chelsea before Diego Costa got him sent off.

  17. raptora

    If the games were to be played next week or a week ago when Mustafi wasn’t injured, I’d say the chances are very even with maybe higher chances for us like 60 to 40%. In 3 months from now? Who dafug knows?!?! With our form recently I’d be worried if I was Bayern. They haven’t been playing all that well and we are in our best form in 10 years. Fuck the points and the rest, I haven’t seen our team play the so called “typical” Arsenal game for so long till this season started and so did our great displays. Pedro had something along the lines of how we need to see our team competing and the more important – to be moved, to make us dream, to count the hours for our next game… We needed our team to MAKE us be FANS again! Don’t know for the rest of you guys but so far I’ve been having a blast.

    P.S. What better way to make Ozil and Sanchez stay than to put a hole in one of the top 3 clubs in Europe?! This might just be what we needed!

  18. DaleDaGooner

    Someone brings up a good point about Bayern having good advantage with winter break, having less competition in their league and rush of games for us into January with FA cup etc.

    That saying, we can beat them, no need for people here to damn the team. We’ve put in some pathetic showings in situations like this only to smash the opposition, even at theirs. We need to go into the fixture like we’re already down and be determined, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s either the league or champions league…..even Chelsea had to forgo the league to a detrimental 6th spot.