The new top 4 trophy is a real trophy

by & filed under News Review.

Europa-League-932639

Feed me.

Feed me my drug of choice.

Inject me with your silvery goodness.

Take me to my happy place.

Let’s dream of European glory, and a backdoor entrance to a competition we are ill-equipped to survive, with a manager in the last year of his deal.

YES PEOPLE, my favourite competition of all time is upon us. Arsenal face down CSKA in a winner takes the semi final type game.

This should be a walk in the park, right?

WRONG.

Arsenal can’t go into this game with a sloppy complacent attitude. We’ve already seen a shaky first half from Liverpool that nearly let City back in, we saw Barcelona fuck a lead in Rome, and Juventus nearly beat Madrid after taking a 3 goal lead at the Bernabeu.

If any team in Europe can go to CSKA and blow a 3 goal lead, it’s Arsenal.

Still, an admittance from Arsene Wenger that the trophy is important is a welcome boost for team focus.

“Europa League is important for us – everybody knows that and we are at [the] stage where of course we focus on it because in the Premier League we have a very, very, very slim chance to get further up,” said Wenger.

“The Europa League is one of the big targets of the season.”

I like that he’s still thinking about the top four race of yesteryear. No Arsene, it’s been Europa or bust for a while. We’ve never been in the top 4 hunt. That much was clear last summer when you absolutely tanked it.

The Europa is an opportunity though. If we land an easy-ish draw in the semis, we could easily find ourselves lining up in Lyon.

One game at a time.

The team news is mistake machine Granit Xhaka is certainly out of the game (I’m being mean, he’s been good for at least 5 games). We have no Mikki who we know loves the Europa League. I expect we’ll see the in-form Danny W start, along with assist King Alex Iwobi.

I hope we go there to soak up the pressure. We don’t need to win 4-1 again. We need to keep it calm for the first 20minutes and slowly feel our way into the game. No dramas. No rash decisions. Just see the result through.

Sounds great on a blog, let’s see how it plays out in the real world.

Fun fact: The CSKA game was the first time since 99-00 (UEFA Cup) that we’ve won 3 knockout European games in a row. Isn’t that shite?

Right, see you in the comments. Also, last chance to listen to our bloody excellent podcast.

Also, jump on the pod, it’s excellent.

  • Aubameyeng: Hit or miss?
  • The case for our defence: Who stays or goes?
  • Iwobi: Hero in waiting, or another Nik B?
  • Jack Wilshere: What do you do with him?

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579 Responses to “The new top 4 trophy is a real trophy”

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  1. Pierre

    6 times in the last ten minutes one of our 2 central midfielders made a run into the opposition box in a desperate attempt to score a goal, neglecting his defensive duties, but that’s OK, he managed to get on the score sheet even though it was a meaningless goal..personally I would have preferred both our central midfielders to protect our lead and not put the team in a situation where we could be caught on the break….

  2. zaco

    DaleDaGooner
    April 12, 2018 20:56:01
    Anyone sold on Golovin to us?
    =============================================
    That guy is the next Erikson (yes Christian Erikson). this is arsenal’s opportunity to sign him but i see him going to Leicester and everybody will be trying to sign him in 3 years time for 100 million pounds

  3. Bob

    “Champagne charlieApril 12, 2018 21:22:01
    Haha Jack definitely finger blasted Bobs sister on a night out”

    Wilshere did that to your mum and became England captain

  4. london gunner

    PAYET IS WORLD CLASS ON HIS DAY! Such a wasted career.

    How did a player of that level end up of the west hams are Marseilles of this world

  5. Akilan

    Always liked Elneny. IMO the perfect squad player. Always puts the team ahead of personal glory and works his arse off. Long range shooting is one of his strengths which when he is allowed to use,can make his game a little more unpredictable. The only CM in the club that you can trust in a 2 man midfield(Xhaka has been decent recently though and we missed him today).

  6. gambon

    Like the look of Golovin, and we certainly need a strong number 8.

    I would sign Fabinho and maybe Golovin this summer.

    Cazorla is gone, Wilshere should go.

    Think the club will also be looking at Seri, Ceballos and Meyer as well.

  7. Leedsgunner

    My observations on the game.

    1. The score line flattered us tonight. We are so poor defensively, and another side with better playmakers and finishers would have embarassed us.

    We need a complete defensive overhaul.

    2. Jack is more style over substance. He is a squad player at best.

    3. What Ramsey lacks in Jack’s apparent “passion” he makes up for in consistent performances.

    I’m pleased as a fan that we’ve won but we need a manager who will take us forward with new ideas rather than a manager who continually tries to put himself before the welfare of the club.

  8. Champagne charlie

    Elneny produced a piece of quality for Welbeck but a spade is still a spade.

    He was shocking for their first goal and was the deep midfielder all game as CSKA totally ran the show in the centre. No presence, dictation from him at all.

    He’s a squad player at best for me.

  9. Pierre

    The way I would sum up Welbeck is, he is capable of making something out of nothing and of making nothing out of something.

  10. Akilan

    Pierre,
    Lacazette got subbed. Welbz and Iwobi were our wingers. Ozil played the false 9. So Ramsey was/ should be expected to support the attack.

    Jack was our problem though. Doesn’t offer anything defensively. He’s being played exclusively to control the game with his passing and maintain the tempo. Failed miserably and lost the ball too many times, kept on dribbling into blind alleys. When he went off, the team actually looked stable.

  11. Akilan

    I thought Elneny was our only midfielder who showed up. Was everywhere. The others being Koscielny and Welbeck. Nacho was reliable apart from the goal. Rest played like a bunch of ponies.

  12. Pierre

    Akilan
    So basically you are saying that’s its fine to leave Elneny by himself in central midfield whilst the team was trying to defend our lead….. Did Ramsey really need to vacate his central position everytime we attacked in the last 10/15 minutes……what was more important for that team at that time… To score another goal or to protect our lead.

  13. raptora

    I like how Pierre comes and cares for nothing else but Ramsey’s last 10 mins of the game. I don’t like to swear and I really mean that. But jesus fk what is your problem?! Was Ramsey the absolute biggest problem today? You don’t even say anything else about us advancing. Nothing else. But Ramsey vacating midfield and going in attack. Holy lord.

  14. Champagne charlie

    Akilan

    He was pedestrian for their first goal not closing down the cross, and I fail to see how he was “everywhere” if CSKA bossed midfield.

    He doesn’t pass through midfield and that stifles our ability to play football massively. We missed Xhaka sitting in there doing exactly that, Elneny could then be the ‘busy’ player Jack wasn’t tonight.

    I thought we were terrible in the middle all game, no technical dominance or interplay for any prolonged periods of the game to take the heat off. All ball chasing twats that looked like they hadn’t played a game with each other before. But hey, onto the next one

  15. Samesong

    Ramsey scored with 1 minute to go in the game on a counter attack and Pierre having a BOB moment. You and Bob would make good friends.

  16. raptora

    What kind of supporter comes after a game and the first thing he says is how Ramsey did this or that. First thing and third thing with a Welbeck comment in between. Then people say there’s no anti-Ramsey agenda. And then he teaches other people what a supporter is. What kind of supporter are you?!

  17. HighburyLegend

    Lets face it : marseille, atleti, salzburg… they all wants to face the kings of mental strength in the next round lol

  18. raptora

    The absolute shocker of a performance today was Wilshere’s. Ramsey could have scored 5 goals today if the final ball of our attacking players was a bit better. And he was playing with 2 other CMs behind him. With Ozil who is dropping deep as well. Who can score in that team tonight?! Lacazette who was a shadow YET again? Who? Danny scored a good goal but it usually doesn’t happen. Ramsey is the one that is good at it and Auba who cannot play. Wenger got the right place for Ramsey with 2 CMs behind him, a ball playing wing in Ozil and it’s good balance in my eyes. Needed a better winger than Mikki and better CMs behind Ramsey.

  19. london gunner

    What kind of supporter comes after a game and the first thing he says is how Ramsey did this or that. First thing and third thing with a Welbeck comment in between. Then people say there’s no anti-Ramsey agenda. And then he teaches other people what a supporter is. What kind of supporter are you?!

    stop the crying you pussy

  20. Pierre

    Samesong
    In the last 15 minutes, every time we attacked and I mean every time, Ramsey made a lung bursting run into the box..

    If, at that time, we had 3 central midfielders, then there is no problem as there would be protection behind him but, at that time, Ramsey and elneny were our only cm.

  21. raptora

    Wilshere was absolutely terrible.
    Lacazette absolutely invisible.
    Cech with another bad mistake which has been happening way too often in the last season or two.
    The others played in their usual level good or bad.
    Elneny deserves MoM probably because his two assists today were superb and I’m happy for him.
    Welbeck never stopped trying and got rewarded for it.

  22. Pierre

    Raptora
    “Ramsey could have scored 5 goals today if the final ball of our attacking players was a bit better. And he was playing with 2 other CMs behind him”

    Who were the 2 Cs behind him in the last 15 minutes

  23. raptora

    Like Bob said, Wilshere got subbed and from being the much worse side, we became the much better one.

    Their players visibly had trouble keeping up with us in the last 15 mins. Their feet couldn’t work.

    At this time was the moment for us to push and we did just that. Else you risk our defence making another blunder.

    I’m actually happy because we clearly saw the problems in this Arsenal team. We also clearly saw the good things.

    Hopefully it’s clear also to the people that matter.

  24. raptora

    Pierre,
    he still had Elneny + 3 CBs. Thing is CSKA couldn’t walk. Also we had Iwobi who is much more defensively sound than Lacazette who he subbed in.

  25. Marko

    With respect, why exactly are Atlético a team to fear? They got dicked in the CL and best away from home tonight.

    They’ve got two brilliant strikers an excellent defence and keeper and a functioning midfield. That’s why they’ve to be feared. They got dicked in the champions league while we were being dicked by Cologne and whatever that team from middle earth was called in the group stages of the Europa

  26. Pierre

    Raptora
    So you agree, he didn’t have 2 CMs behind him but you are saying Ramsey’s excursions upfield were OK because cska were tired.

  27. raptora

    I still cannot understand for the life of me, and I’ve been repeating the same thing again and again for a while. Why is Ramsey counted as a CM? Has/is Ozil counted as a CM since day one when he joined us? He’s played the same role for the most of his Arsenal career playing in front of a midfield duo. Now it’s Ramsey playing this role and Ozil plays something like an advanced playing playmaker. Ozil never gets shat on when he doesn’t defend because it’s not his main job. But Ramsey consistently gets trashed for “neglecting his defensive duties”.

    You know that it’s probably part of the game plan that he makes those runs in the box so much. Because maybe he is our biggest goal threat so you base your game around it. So even if Wilshere gets subbed for Chambers, it really is another defender coming in the team so this change shouldn’t make him more defensive. Especially against dead legs team.

  28. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    Erroneous nonsense. Atlético got dicked in the CL and lost tonight to boot – you can’t wax lyrical about their side when they’ve clearly underperformed. You’re talking them up and simultaneously talking us down for the same thing. Fuck off with that rubbish.

    We played our second string until AC Milan. Arsenal have nothing to fear from Atlético Madrid, we need to focus on us and us alone.

    You’ve got a real ‘grass is greener’ mentality, you ought to rein that in a touch.

  29. Marko

    I see another classic Ramsey debate happening over the next week. Lad gets overrun in midfield for 90 minutes but all is forgiven because he scores a goal

  30. raptora

    Pierre,
    Does Ozil defend ever? Why do you expect of Ramsey to defend at all? Oh, wait, because he is actually pretty good at it. But that’s a bonus compared to Ozil, no? So why should he be a victim of his own quality? He was playing Ozil’s old role in this team, and you never expected Ozil to defend but now you expect from Ramsey to do all game long?! LoL

  31. Champagne charlie

    Raptora

    Ramsey played as a holding midfield 2 with Elneny dropping between the CB’s.

    If you’re arguing that then either you didn’t watch the game or you’re choosing some alternative reality to extinguish the Ramsey criticism.

    Ozil has never played as a Cm for Arsenal, Ramsey has many a time. Tonight included.

    Martin Keown even noted after the game that Ramsey and Jack were asked to hold in central midfield and neither looked capable/comfortable doing it.

  32. Bamford10

    Pierre

    One, is there a rule that says a CM can only get forward if there are two CMs holding behind him? Where exactly is this rule written?

    Two, why do you presume that Arsenal play with two purely holding mids (as opposed to one holding mid, a B2B CM and a CAM)? If we play with the latter, why can’t the B2B CM get forward at times?

    Three, are you really still talking about Ramsey getting forward “too much” after he scored a goal to help us advance? It just seems a little bizarrely obsessive.

  33. raptora

    Marko,
    Before it was all about our mid duo not being good.
    Cazorla and Coq worked for a bit, all of the other duos failed miserably. Xhaka came and still no good mid duo. But we have been talking about that mid duo for years now. And Ozil has always gotten a free pass as the third player in it. Mostly critiqued as not having a real influence in attack but not in defense. No one has said anything bad about his defensive responsibilities and against Chelsea in the FAC I saw him made a tackle for the 2-nd or 3-rd time in an Arsenal shirt and I WOWed. Yet Ramsey in that exact same role is responsible and the main culprit that we lost the midfield battle today?! Just wow. Good night from me.

  34. raptora

    CC:
    “Ozil has never played as a Cm for Arsenal, Ramsey has many a time. Tonight included. ”

    Explain me where was he playing in our team for his first 3 years or so?

    Wasn’t a team with mainly Podolski/Alexis on the left, Giroud in the middle and Walcott on the right?
    Where did Ozil play?
    Did we play with a mid duo of Cazorla and Jack, Cazorla and Ramsey, Cazorla and Coq, Coq and Ramsey and so on?
    Wasn’t Ramsey played in front of a mid duo tonight and the last several games?
    Please explain.

  35. Marko

    you can’t wax lyrical about their side when they’ve clearly underperformed. You’re talking them up and simultaneously talking us down for the same thing. Fuck off with that rubbish.

    You’re saying why should we fear them because they got knocked out of the champions league group stage and were beaten tonight. Why should they fear us though? On the basis of tonight? Are we performing that well? Must have missed that. Yeah fuck me I should rein in the grass is greener stuff clearly Atletico ain’t shit and we’re red hot. They’re an excellent side who honestly over two legs would dispatch us comfortably and in a final should win.

  36. Pierre

    Bamford
    There is a time to attack and a time to defend and with 15 minutes to go in a quarter final in Europe, that is not the time for one of our 2 CMs to decide to attack at every opportunity to get a meaningless goal.
    If he did the same thing in the latter stages in the semi v Madrid and they breakaway through our midfield and score would you still be defending such a selfish, glory hunting attitude.

  37. Marko

    Raptora they’re both luxury players for sure but the difference is Ozil isn’t expected to do fuck all on the defensive side of things because he’s a CAM player with zero responsibility which is just how he likes it cause he’s a wet vagina most of the time. Now Ramsey when he plays in CM has got responsibilities which he regularly vacates because let’s be honest here he’s a selfish idiot at times. Again it wouldn’t be a problem if he played the same position/role as Ozil as in CAM but when he’s asked to play CM he’s got to do more than he’s honestly capable of

  38. Bamford10

    “You’re talking [Atletico] up and simultaneously talking us down for the same thing. Fuck off with that rubbish.”

    Atletico are 4 points ahead of Real Madrid in La Liga. We’re 5 points ahead of Burnley FC.

    They Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa; we have Lacazette and Danny Welbeck.

    They have Jan Oblak; we have a Petr Cech in decline.

    They are managed by Diego Simeone; we are managed by a clueless relic.

    It’s not that complicated: Atletico are better than us; there is every reason to favor them.

  39. Pierre

    Raptora
    “If Ozil hasn’t played CM then Ramsey hasn’t been playing as a CM in the last couple of months either. No?”

    God give me strength…

  40. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    You’re predictable mate, nobody stated Arsenal are mustard. Just a bit odd you’re sitting fawning over Atletico when they’ve done nothing to deserve it in Europe this season.

    Just lost to Sporting Lisbon but here you are stating it’d be a formality if we draw them.

    ———

    Raptora

    So you didn’t watch tonight then is that what we’re saying?

    Ramsey was a holding midfielder alongside Jack, Elneny was deep and often split the CB’s. We were supppsed to be protecting a 3 goal lead if you hadn’t noticed.

    I don’t criticise Ramsey so much for his defensive liabilities (which he has). He’s just not got the tools to play as a Cm and is shown up whenever he pays there. He excels in the final third, in Cm he’s lost.

  41. Bamford10

    Pierre

    Yeah, I’m watching the game on replay right now, so I’ll let you know if I think Ramsey was being irresponsible in the final 20 minutes or so. But that aside, allow me to point out that scoring an away goal is not “meaningless”. It’s just as valuable as preventing them from scoring a home goal, indeed, it’s slightly more valuable.

  42. raptora

    Lol!

    The question is if Ramsey is clearly played as CAM, just like Ozil has been played almost exclusively as a CAM ever since he joined us till this season, why do you feel like Ramsey has neglected his defensive responsibilities, if he is indeed a massive upgrade on Ozil in that exact department. A massive upgrade.

  43. Barking Arsene

    Over two legs against AM we won’t have much chance IMO. They probably should have won tonight we’re it not for Griezmann missing two really good opportunities.

    Make no mistake they are a much better side than we are – they had a poor CL campaign but that sometimes happens.

    If we manage to get to the final and end up against them then anything can happen.

  44. Marko

    You’re predictable mate, nobody stated Arsenal are mustard. Just a bit odd you’re sitting fawning over Atletico when they’ve done nothing to deserve it in Europe this season

    They’re in the semi-finals of the Europa league just like us. Only we got there by finishing 5th the previous season while they got there by having an unusually disappointing champions league campaign. For some reason you perked up at the notion of being fearful of Atletico Madrid okay fair enough but why the actual fuck would THEY be scared of US? They’re actually decent in spite of tonight and being in the Europa league. We’re shite this past two seasons

  45. raptora

    Okay now that I read cc’s response I think it’s time to invent a new position. KdB’s position, Pogba’s position, Coutinho’s position, Iniesta’s position, Cazorla’s position first year he joined us, David Silva even, Fabregas position although in a lesser extend.

    Players who play in midfield I don’t know if they are CMs or CAMs or whatever. Players who have much more freedom to go in attack than their other CM colleagues – a bit more defensive players like Kante, Matic, Herrera, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can, Drinkwater, Xhaka, Elneny and so on.

    Now, the first group of players do indeed have defensive aspect in their game, no doubt about it. But they have much more freedom to move in to advanced attacking positions unlike the second group of players.

    Ramsey in my honest opinion, belongs to the first group of players. And he is doing well in this position at the moment because his attacking potential is clearly wasted if he is made to play as the second group of players. We are I must say a bit spoiled by his defensive skills if you compare him to a lot of the players in the first group, so it could be the reason why people are unhappy with him. Yet, our team would look very well balanced if we had a better duo playing behind him as Wilshere today was absolutely balls and useless.

  46. Marko

    Just lost to Sporting Lisbon but here you are stating it’d be a formality if we draw them.

    After our performance against CSKA tonight yeah I’d still say it’s a formality

  47. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    Again….read slowly…..nobody is stating we are mustard. It’s the idea that an Atletico Madrid side that got dumped out the CL and beat by Sporting tonight is a side to shit the bed over.

    Nothing more, nothing less. So stop turning it on it’s head and asking why they should fear us, nobody is sayig they should.

    The Europa League tonight showed it’s very much a toss up. Yea, Atletico are probably the most solid, but they’re not head and shoulders better than anyone left in it this season.

  48. Marko

    Considering our midfield was piss poor against a bang average CSKA and generally speaking it’s been piss poor all season long the idea that Atletico Madrid with its fully functional and fairly consistent midfield should be worried about us isn’t something I’m buying. And we haven’t even talked about their defence which is excellent by and large

  49. raptora

    Marko,
    You got to say that AM don’t look as scary as we thought they would though, no?
    I didn’t watch any of their two games vs Sporting but from the highlights I saw, and the commentators opinions, if it wasn’t for the 2 horrible errors leading to 2 goals in the first game, Sporting played better, created more (and missed more) and were very good in defence as well. Don’t remember who in this forum said that Sporting are shocking and are the worst team that reached the quarters. So it does make the devil look less scary, I think. Not that we have been doing wonders to look like the team to beat either but Atleti in those two games, from what I heard were outplayed by a team who a lot of people thought is just not that good at all.

  50. raptora

    Cc,
    No.
    But so did no one in our team either. Every single one of our players was shockingly bad until Wilshere got subbed and CSKA got their legs heavy.

    Yet some players were worse than others. Wilshere, Lacazette, Cech to name a few.

  51. Marko

    The Europa League tonight showed it’s very much a toss up. Yea, Atletico are probably the most solid, but they’re not head and shoulders better than anyone left in it this season.

    Except us they’re head and shoulders above us. You stating that we shouldn’t be worried about Atletico cause they got dumped out of the group stages and lost away to Sporting tonight is short sighted when you look at the season we’ve also had and the performance we had tonight. We shouldn’t be worried about them because they were poor in the champions league group stages but we were also poor in the group stages of the Europa league. They were poor tonight so were we tonight.

  52. Champagne charlie

    Raptora

    Read Banfords comment above and tell me if Ozil has ever setup in that position for Arsenal

  53. Marko

    Not that we have been doing wonders to look like the team to beat either but Atleti in those two games, from what I heard were outplayed by a team who a lot of people thought is just not that good at all.

    We’ve been poor for a while now they’ve been unconvincing for about a week. They drew away to Real last Sat though…

  54. raptora

    Bamford:
    “At the start of the second half, we very clearly set up with Ramsey and Jack playing parallel to one another in front of a deeper-lying Elneny.”

    And just like at Pool – Coutinho before and Chamberlain now; and City – Silva and KdB; Man United – Pogba or Lingard; Tottenham – Eriksen and Alli to an extend even though he is played more like second striker. Those players defend and attack all the time. They have the freedom to attack at will if they see a good opportunity. Fact is Ramsey could have scored 4 or 5 if the attempted passes to him were a bit more precise. His positioning in the box was top notch yet again.

    The defensive stability is secured by the other 2 midfield players at the time or by the other midfield player + the 3 CBs if that’s the formation.

  55. Marko

    At the start of the second half, we very clearly set up with Ramsey and Jack playing parallel to one another in front of a deeper-lying Elneny.

    Then Jack got hooked and it became a midfield two and he went on a crusade to score again

  56. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    You don’t do rational at times do you. You’re right, Atletico are mint and the trophy is theirs.

    Let’s ignore the fact Sporting made a couple of howlers in Spain and missed a sitter. Then beat them at home. Atletico are dynamite.

    Arsenal have blown away every side we’ve faced in the Europa this season. Even tonight’s shitshow was corrected second half and we avoided the loss. We were 4-1 up if you do recall.

    Your black and white nonsense about us and Atletico is totally without measure. It’s a toss up amongst the final 4 in the EL.

  57. Champagne charlie

    “We’ve been poor for a while now they’ve been unconvincing for about a week.“

    Wrong.

    They’ve been unconvincing the whole season in Europe, you’re just refusing to acknowledge that because you can’t get past the Atletico > Arsenal concept.

  58. WengerEagle

    Charlie

    Being a little disingenuous there, they had a UCL group containing a Roma side that just dicked the great Barcelona and Messi and Chelsea.

    No great shame in finishing 3rd in that group.

    As Marko pointed out they now have 2 great CF’s too, they did not have Diego Costa before in the UCL.

  59. WengerEagle

    Marseille is probably the easiest tie and even that will be tricky, much better side than CSKA or Milan.

    In Payet they have a top class player with plenty of useful pieces in Thauvin, Gustavo, Amavi, Ocampus and Sarr.

    Velodrome is a cauldron as Josip says.

  60. raptora

    CC,
    All of the players I’ve mentioned like Pogba, KdB, Coutinho now Ox, Iniesta and so on, are midfield players that are similar to Ramsey’s freer role lately. Ozil’s not defending at all was one of the main problems in recent years. And him not making any forward runs although having all the freedom to do it.

    That’s why I believe that Ramsey is a much better fit in that role than Ozil. He defends much, much better. He makes much, much better runs in the opposition box being much bigger threat in finishing the moves. He also covers much more effective area from box to box. It’s basically the best of two worlds.

    Now it’s clear as day that Ramsey isn’t KdB. He isn’t Pogba. I’d much rather have any of those 2. No doubt. Any day of the week. They are clearly superior in probably all sides of the game to our Welsh player. Yet in our team, he stands out in what he does, and can offer us truly useful qualities that none of our other players have.

    So in my eyes, is he a top class player – no.
    Is he one of the most important and class players in this Arsenal team – hell yes.
    Speaks a volume of our team, but not seeing what he has to offer and how useful he can be if used properly and with a good base behind him isn’t good either.

  61. raptora

    Honestly I don’t mind any team bar Atleti.
    I believe there is a possibility that Atleti might not reach the final.
    Still most important thing is that we up our game because we haven’t been winning convincingly for a while. It is anyone’s game though. A red card + pen and anyone can win the semis and then the final.

  62. Champagne charlie

    Weagle

    Disagree, they were poor against those sides and have been lukewarm in the Europa.

    They had Costa tonight and he didn’t do a thing. The fawning over Atletico is unwarranted in Europe this season, their results/performances suggest that. Too much emphasis is being placed on their pedigree.

    Arsenal are wank, but we’ve been pretty succinct in Europe this season. Fringe players played early and when things have gotten more real we’ve dispatched two sides essentially in the first leg of each tie.

    It’ll be a game is all I’m saying, talking like it’s a formality is ridiculous.

  63. Bamford10

    Champagne

    “Arsenal have blown away every side we’ve faced in the Europa.”

    None of whom are anything even approaching Atletico.

    “you can’t get past the Atletico > Arsenal concept.”

    That’s probably because Atletico are in fact better than Arsenal. And several people here have explained why. Indeed, you are the only person here who doesn’t think this.

  64. Elmo

    Atletico

    Results vs top 4 in La Liga:
    Valencia (A) D 0-0
    Barca (H) D 1-1
    Real (H) D 0-0
    Valencia (H) W 1-0
    Barca (A) L 0-1
    Real (A) D 1-1

    CL:
    Roma (A) D 0-0
    Chelsea (H) L 1-2
    Roma (H) W 2-0
    Chelsea (A) D 1-1

    2nd in La Liga, ahead of Real after 31 games, so a disservice to them to say they’re no better than us when we’re 6th, and have been trashed by all the top 4 PL sides.

    In that their results against top sides show they don’t concede many, rarely more than one, and never more than two, they’re the prototype of the side who will almost always prevail over us (like the old Chelsea), as we will almost always concede two in the big games, and need to score three or four to win or draw.

    In a one-off game like a final we’ll always have a chance, and as we saw tonight they can be beaten by average teams, but in any clash they rightfully should be strong favourites.

  65. Bamford10

    “It’ll be a game is all I’m saying.”

    Actually, you just said that among the remaining four teams it’s “a toss up,” which implies that all four teams have a more or less equal chance of winning the whole thing. That’s a stronger claim than the above, which is basically, “we have the ability to give Atletico a game”.

    So which is it? Are Arsenal just as good as Atletico? Or are they better than us but we’re good enough to give them a good game?

  66. Marko

    You don’t do rational at times do you. You’re right, Atletico are mint and the trophy is theirs.

    Not really. And probably

  67. Champagne charlie

    Banford

    Stick to talking to Red, he’s about your level. We all know your manner of understanding points of view on here, run along.

    ——-

    Elmo

    Trot out respective league form all you like, they’ve been lukewarm in Europe this season and if we face them it’s 100% NOT a formality as is being disputed.

  68. Elmo

    CC

    Yep – agree it wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion, especially in a final, but the concern is their results in all competitions show they don’t concede many, even when their performances are relatively poor, whereas almost as a default setting against any top side we will concede at least two in any given 90 mins.

    Hope for a one-off final, rather than a two-legged SF.

  69. Bamford10

    Charlie retreats to, “it’s not a 100% certainty that Atletico beat us.”

    Great, guy, no one said it was.

    And he resorts to insulting me because he knows he has no way to respond to what I’ve said.

    This guy is the worst.

  70. Champagne charlie

    Elmo

    They’d certainly have the edge because they’re capable of being solid, but those results show like 8 goals scored in 10 games so hardly explosive.

    It would be a good final, though I’ve a sneaky feeling we might get Marseille next round and I think we could capitulate at the Velodrome. Standard Arsenal things

  71. Marko

    Disagree, they were poor against those sides and have been lukewarm in the Europa…Arsenal are wank, but we’ve been pretty succinct in Europe this season.

    To be fair they only lost to Chelsea and Sporting in Europe this season while we’ve lost to Cologne and Oserterunds or whatever they’re called. Not sure we’ve been that succinct. Sure they’ve been lukewarm considering they’re usually a team that goes far in the champions league

  72. Champagne charlie

    Banford

    I was talking to Marko about Atletico, he was stating how it was a formality against them over two legs. I disputed that because they’ve been tepid in Europe this year.

    I have any number of ways to respond to you, but perhaps you’d do best to acknowledge I chose not to and wonder why. Is it because you’re a giant self important fetus? Well, that would be telling.

    You’ve already proven countless times your slimey way of interacting with folk on here. You spend half the time trying your hardest to undermine what I say, and desperately failing…

    Pro tip: stop clinging to the hairs on my nutsack and bother someone else on here.

  73. Bamford10

    By the way, after Welbeck’s goal, we were playing essentially a 5-4-1, and CSKA needed two goals just to draw level in the tie. That people here were criticizing Ramsey for getting forward at the end is honestly ludicrous. Seriously. We were playing with five defenders. And Elneny was holding. And CSKA needed two goals simply to draw level. Come on. The anti-Ramsey thing is a bit ridiculous.

  74. raptora

    It’s like critiquing Marcelo for going as forward as he did for Real’s 3-rd goal vs Bayern M last season. At 2:2 and aggregate of 3:2 for Real, Bayern needed just 1 goal to progress when Marcelo made that run with ball and gave it on a plate to Ronaldo. They could have defended their lead, or score another goal. They decided that the risk was worth it.

  75. Champagne charlie

    Banford

    The fact you’re talking to a crowd about me as if they’re your close circle is frankly pathetic. Nobody cares what you think of me, so save your “this guy is the worst” pontification.

    You have nothing credible to say about football, that much is proven. So as I’ve stated, bother someone else with your drivel, or better yet pick up a World Cup sticker book and use your time better. You’ll be confused at Icardi’s inclusion of course, but it’ll pass. :)

  76. Bamford10

    Pierre

    Just finished watching the replay. No irresponsibility on Ramsey’s part whatsoever. As I explained above, we were playing with five defenders at the end, along with four midfielders. And CSKA needed two goals simply to draw level. Ramsey made a couple of runs forward, sure, but they were good ones. Cheers.

  77. Leedsgunner

    I personally think it’s NOT a foregone conclusion if we face Atletico in the Europa League — and I actually think it would be a good thing to face them now than in the Final.

    Why?

    1. If Atletico is still in the La Liga title race they will need to rest/rotate their best players for that. We don’t. It is clear that our focus is this competition precisely because our league position over the entire season has been inconsistent to put it kindly.

    2. Anything can happen in a cup competition.

    3. Wenger, can turn it on when his back is against the wall. I mean, how many lucky escapes has he had in the past five seasons? People are continually predicting his doom and he always squeezes through.

    I would say we’re slim underdogs but not by much.

  78. WengerEagle

    Leeds

    Barcelona are 11 points ahead with a better H2H so basically 12 points, 7 matches to go.

    Title race is over.

    I’d give us more of a chance if we avoided them until the Final than over 2 legs where the best team usually prevails.

  79. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s be clear it does not matter whether we play Athletico Madrid in semi or final, because there is the assumption that they are the better team and going to beat us.

    The bottom line is that they have a smarter manager, are better prepared and more balanced team and very difficult to beat.

    Arsenal’s only saving grace is that under Wenger we have become a “Cup” Team so the result is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

  80. Pierre

    Bamford
    “And CSKA needed two goals simply to draw level. Ramsey made a couple of runs forward, sure, but they were good ones”

    1) he made 6/7 runs into the opposition box in the last ten minutes. Whether they were good or bad is immaterial as he was leaving the centre midfield short.
    2)yes we were 2 goals up but a game can change if a goal is conceded… And before you know it we are under pressure again and are out of the competition.
    3) one of the reason we have failed over the years is because of this lack of discipline at important moments in a game.
    4)did we really need another goal or was Ramsey just doing his usual glory hunting. He was in effect saying “fuck the defending, I want a goal and I will get into the box every time we attack”

    This lack of understanding of the game and what is needed comes from the manager… Wenger and Ramsey probably deserve each other.

  81. Samesong

    The bottom line is that they have a smarter manager, are better prepared and more balanced team and very difficult to beat.

    Amen to that ES

  82. Wallace

    Wenger battering Simeone in a European final would be beautiful. all the jizz le grove’s expended on the Argentine over the last 4/5yrs. would be a real blow if a washed up Wenger were to best him.

  83. Michael24

    Although I predicted a 2-2 draw before the game, when it went 2-0 early in the second half I seriously thought we would fuck it up…. again!

    A huge part of me was saying “Please CSKA, put us out of our misery and get a third” whilst ‘Mini Me’ was saying “dig in you idiots and fight”

    I hate to admit it but JW was a liability. Won’t add why, because it was so bloody obvious.

    Elneny was superb and, quite rightly, was Arsenal’s MOTM.

    Now for the draw.

  84. Akilan

    The fact is in the last 15 mins after our goal, it was us who exploited the gap in midfield to counter. Pierre claiming Ramsey left our midfield open is bogus and not true. In fact we were so solid I lost count the number of times they passed the ball straight to our attackers. Ramsey always had 6 players behind him + 2 defensive wingers in the last 15 mins. Actually it’d be pretty dumb not to make those runs that Ramsey did.

    Once Welè scored, the chances of us fucking it up was practically zero. The focus should be on why we were tits in the first 75 mins. I believe Ramsey was one of the poor performers today but he was no worse than Ozil or Lacazette. Wilshere was the worst of the bunch and was a liability. We missed Xhaka badly in the midfield.

  85. Michael24

    Forgot to mention, well done Danny Welbeck.

    Great goal and it seems he has found that yard of pace again.

  86. Redtruth

    Emiratesstroller
    “The bottom line is that they have a smarter manager, are better prepared and more balanced team and very difficult to beat.”

    Samesong and Emiratesstroller are both giving Wenger a get out of jail card…..lol unbelievable simple fans lol

  87. Redtruth

    Emiratesstroller
    “The bottom line is that they have a smarter manager, are better prepared and more balanced team and very difficult to beat.”

    Samesong and Emiratesstroller are both giving Wenger a free get out of jail card…..lol unbelievable simple fans lol

  88. Michael24

    Wallace

    Even if Wenger was to get one over Simeone, it wouldn’t make the slightest difference.

    Those that criticize Wenger on here know that sometimes his guardian angel will, temporarily, dig him out of his hole.

  89. loyika

    All 4 teams left in the Semis of the Ropa are just not that good and would be beaten by the 4 teams left in the UCL.

    Generally people must have favorites so probably AM are (in terms of their record in this Comp) but i doubt any team left fears them. When you get to the Semis of any Comp you deal with whomever.

    Arsenal will be Arsenal against anyone (either brilliantly good or utterly rubbish) we get so if we go through we do, if we go out we will regardless of whomever we get.

    Bring it on.

  90. Michael24

    When it went 2-0, how many of you thought “We’re fucked”

    CSKA could have have made it three and so very nearly did, but thanks to our ‘Anthony Joshua on a skateboard’, we got out of a hole.

    On paper, getting to the semi’s of the EL looks good. However, the reality is we have become a mediocre European team with a below average manager.

    We’ll probably win it now!!

  91. loyika

    @ Micheal24

    Which of the teams in both the UCL or Europa semis can say they weren’t lucky in one way or the other?

    Even Pool had some decisions go for them over the 2 legs against Citeh that on another day would have turned the tie.

    Would you have said Lazio would have been knocked out the way they were? Right now it is what it is (in both the UCL and Europa)

    Both Comps will be won on fine margins. But the draws today will be tension filled across board.

    I think Bayern and Salzburg are the only League Champs from their leagues left in the comps, the rest of us left are all “Also rans” the lot of us.

  92. Pierre

    Akilan
    “Actually it’d be pretty dumb not to make those runs that Ramsey did.”

    “Once Welè scored, the chances of us fucking it up was practically zero. ”

    So you think a 2 goal lead against a team that caused us problems all night is done and dusted., I’m sure you understand that a 2 goal lead with 15 minutes to go is never enough , one goal conceded changes everything.

    Actually it was pretty dumb to make the runs that Ramsey did if you think “the chances of us fucking it up were zero ” as the chance of us fucking it up increase every time he bombed into the box in the last ten minutes but hey he scored a goal to make the winning margin 3 goals so that’s ok then .

    There is nothing wrong defending on the front foot and the goal he scored was fine as he received the ball through midfield but his continual appearance in the opposition penalty box shows his lack of intelligence ..surely he can support the strikers by being outside the box so if the move breaks down he is not hopelessly out of position as I can guarantee you that he has more pace when he is going forward than when he is struggling to get back…

    As I said before , Ramsey and Wenger deserve each other for their lack of awareness of what is needed on a football pitch at a particular time .

  93. Michael24

    Loyika

    Good morning.

    Don’t care about any of the other teams and how lucky they were but all your points are duly taken.

    Salzburg are the surprise package, so maybe Arsenal will draw them.

  94. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s be honest. The only way Arsenal can play with our current team/squad is
    an offensive game. The team has the ability to score a lot of goals when we
    attack.

    The problem with Arsenal is that our midfield and defence are singularly poor
    at defending. When we go into defensive mode as we habitually do in away games there is every likelihood that we will lose games or concede a bucketful
    of goals.

    Arsenal beat CSKA Moscow easily in home game. Frankly we could have scored eight goals. The result was 4-1 and I said at the time that Arsenal could
    struggle away from home because with this team 3 goals margin is not a guarantee of success.

    That proved the case last night. We could easily have conceded another couple of goals against Moscow.

    What we have learned over several years is that Wenger’s teams lack the capacity to defend properly.

    That is something that every supporter,opposing team and the media have learned about the club. Sadly Wenger has not learned the lesson.

    What I do know is that many of our players would improve under a different
    manager and coaching programme. Defence is much easier to resolve than
    goalscoring. However, that is not going to happen so long as Wenger is at
    the club.

  95. Michael24

    ES

    Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head.

    Problem is, many of us came to this conclusion in 1866!

  96. Rambo Ramsey

    Arsenal beat the Russian team 6-3, the difference of three goals scored by Ramsey.

    But look at this chap Pierre blathering on and on about Ramsey being the biggest problem in the side.

    Fans like Pierre are an embarrassment with their blinkered obsessiveness.

    Shut up already, you senile twat.

  97. raptora

    If Diego Costa is injured as it is reported that he might be, after he got subbed in the 52-nd min of yesterday’s game, if we draw Atleti the game suddenly looks a lot more in the balance. Without a doubt Costa is a forward who can cause you all sorts of trouble and he will be badly missed if he is indeed injured no matter who Atleti play versus.

  98. raptora

    When you look at the semi finalists in LE last year – Manure and Celta, Ajax and Lyon; one could say that if the draw doesn’t pick us to play vs Atleti, and Atleti themselves get eliminated by the other team, we could have a similar road to the trophy as Manure facing Salzburg and Marseille. If Atleti and us play a final though, it’s a totally different game to any that Manure played in the competition last season.

  99. HighburyLegend

    @raptora : yes it could be a fucking good news, but he could be fit in time for, let’s say the 2nd tie.

    And God knows how the bitch is tough, and mostly how he hates us lol

  100. DivineSherlock

    Pierre

    I think you are wrong on many levels regarding Ramsey . He is our best player in midfield . His leg was fucking stapled still he managed a goal. The guy is a machine , his endless energy is very much an asset . I thought Wilshere was poor. Elneny is showing why we gave him a contract. The guy was everywhere. Wish Xhaka had awareness level like Elneny.