2nd half specialists, but what does it mean?

by .

I am not going to lie, I think Sky do a great job with stats. Super simple, exploratory and usually insightful.

Their latest piece shows the stark difference between our first and second halves this season. We’re ranked 19th for 1st half performance and 1st for second.

The conclusion points to improved fitness and the tactical fluidity of Emery. He’s made 14 half-time changes so far this season, Wenger made 9 in the whole of last season. That’s some aggressive change management.

Now, you can look at this positively, and say we’ve been crying out for a manager who can change things during the game. Or you could say, how the fuck does he get it so badly wrong in the opening 45minutes?

I can’t give you an answer as to why our opening 45s are so poor, but I think the key point is we’re dealing with it at the moment. I actually think there’s something really interesting from a strategic perspective in the early changes. You simply don’t know what you’re getting with Arsenal. We’re finally unpredictable. We’re playing a slower version of NFL playbooks this season. We’re rocking two sides essentially, and the second side you play is countering your stratagems in real-time.

This approach means that unless you’re playing a very sharp manager, other coaches are going to struggle to adapt. I think that’s a smart move. The longer-term vision for Emery is that he can train his sides to adapt during the game. Pep Guardiola is the best in the business at this, he can roll with 4 systems in a half, prodding and poking until he’s found the weakness his incredible players can exploit.

Arsenal fans have been so starved of innovation, just having a halftime video analyst feels modern (not Boro sitting in the stands). Sven M was rocking that role 7 years ago. Arsenal needs to move the players’ education and execution approach to levels where the coach can move things around after 10minutes and make a quicker impact on the game when things are going poorly

Either way, our players are fitter (8th to 1st in the league for distance covered) and we’re a smarter overall outfit. That’s great news for the season ahead.

There are strong rumours Ozil is now ready to return to the side, Qarabag is apparently being earmarked for a return.

I couldn’t be less interested in this game. I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but the Europa League group games are almost as shite as international breaks. I cannot imagine there’s going to be a major turnout.

So that’s why we won’t be landing Dembele on loan this January. What a goal. A shame that Spurs progressed against a pretty poor Barca team, but that could benefit us freshness wise in the second half of the season. The longer they’re in the CL, the better the chance of them tiring and breaking down.

Right, that’s me done today, see you in hell.

Also, look at this funny meme you could use to show off your shit judgment.

391 Responses to “2nd half specialists, but what does it mean?”

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  1. Joe

    When we play in the semi and final, we should play our strongest 11. No if and or buts about it

    Emery will want to win and will show it respect

    I imagine from now one even, we see more of our 1st teamers playing

  2. Akilan

    I think we’re joint favourites along with Chelsea for the EL.

    Bayer and Valencia are in the bottom half of their league tables. Shakthar is a team we should beat over 2 legs.

    Sevilla and Napoli are strong teams whom we should be vary of but again we should beat them. May be I’m underestimating Napoli here but Italian sides flatter to deceive these days.

    Unlike last year, there is not a single side in the competition against whom, we would go in as underdogs. Combine it with the mastery of Unai in this competition, may be we are slight favourites above Chelsea, as long as we don’t have other distractions.

  3. Emiratesstroller

    The question, which should about tonight’s performance is how many of those who played are good enough to have a “future” at the club?

    1. Martinez the goalkeeper is third string and realistically he is never going play regularly in first team and most probably is also not good enough considering that he is already 26 to become our second string.

    2. Sokratis is playing at the moment in starting X1, but at 30 has probably a
    maximum of 2 years at club. Koscielny was untested tonight but knowing the
    seriousness of injury he sustained is unlikely to be considered in future a
    first team regular.

    3. Monreal will most likely be replaced next season as left back.

    4. Jenkinson and Elneny are most definitely not good enough to sit on the bench let alone play in EPL. They should be offloaded this season.

    5. Maitland-Niles is currently a “utility” player. On current evidence I am not
    sure that he is good enough to secure a regular place in any specific position.

    6. I have expressed my view about Ozil already on many occasions.

    7. Lacazette is the only mature player who I would most definitely keep.

    8. Of the youngsters who played tonight the two who I think can make the grade in the future are Sana and Medley.Both have talent.

    9. I am not convinced that either Nkietah and Willock are good enough to
    play in first team at EPL level.

  4. WengerEagle

    La Liga top teams have been a mess this season reminiscent of the PL in 2015/16, I wouldn’t at all be intimidated by Sevilla.

    Krasnodar and Standard Liege both beat them in the group and they’ve dropped plenty of points in the league, very beatable team without any real top drawer talent in their ranks.

  5. Bamford10

    Saka is talented. Definitely. He is quick, he has good close control, he is confident, he strikes the ball well, and he makes good decisions. Good little player.

    I don’t see enough in Willock or in Nketiah, personally, and I don’t see either “making it”. Just MO.

  6. TonyD

    From the DM this morning:
    “Not only the question of how a No 10 fits into the No 10-less 3-4-2-1 formation that Emery has fielded in Ozil’s absence but also whether he has the desire for the ruthless, relentless self-sacrifice that the manager demands.

    It was back to 4-2-3-1 here, with Ozil in the hole. Old system, same old Ozil. This altruistic sprinting, harassing, pressing is just not how he works.
    He drifts, he wanders, he meanders. This season in the Premier League, he has covered around 450 metres fewer per 90 minutes than his team-mates’ average.

    Even when he did press, it felt at half-pace and certainly not with the ferocity that will scare the opponent into chucking it away like a hot potato.

    That is not to say he does not affect the game. Ozil had the second-most touches, made the second-most passes. Although of his 106 touches, only three of them were in the opposition box.
    The problem, though. Ozil likes to play the game at Ozil’s pace. And that just does not happen, not yet at least, to be Emery’s.

    Ozil was left on the bench for the Bournemouth game because the manager did not believe Ozil could help Arsenal battle the ‘physicality and intensity’ of the opposition.

    Ozil missed the next three games with his back injury.

    The game here was rarely going to be physical, although there was a moment 10 minutes before half-time when Ozil went down, tackled, aggrieved with the referee’s decision not to award a foul and sat shaking his head.
    arabag were bottom with nothing other than a bit of pride left for which to play. It was a night out for the tiny section of fans from the Azerbaijani club huddled into the corner at least.

    Temperature aside, this was as gentle a rub as it gets for Ozil to ease his muscles back into it. And ease he did, which was surprising for someone battling for a place with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi. Maybe that’s just how he is.

    There was a standing ovation from the spattering of Arsenal fans in attendance when Ozil was brought off with a few minutes left. Emery gave him a hand slap, but nothing more.

    That was enough. Whether Ozil had done enough to force his way back into Emery’s starting plans for the weekend, only he will know.”

    I didn’t watch the match and congrats to the lads for another win, but the above sounds like a familiar story and not what we’d hoped for with Ozil leading by example for your younger lads.

  7. TonyD

    “Mesut Ozil blows chance to impress Unai Emery on Arsenal return as he drifts through win over Qarabag”

    Was the headline

    “Martin Keown questions whether Mesut Ozil ‘wants it enough’ after return for Arsenal and admits relief at Laurent Koscielny injury comeback”

    He told BT Sport: ‘It’s a chance for Ozil, to see how he is after that back injury.

    ‘He needs to show he wants to work hard out of possession as well as the quality in possession, to get back into this team, and he’s shown that.

    ‘Emery has shown it doesn’t matter about the reputation, but Ozil is exciting with his passes, he can switch the play, it’s all there for him, for me its just if he wants it enough.”

    Was another

    Barely a mention for Ozil in the Telegraph.

    From what I’ve read this morning I’m underwhelmed by Ozil’s tepid performance and what seems to be the same old story of drifting in and out of a game.

    Will be interesting to see if Emery sees last night’s performance to be enough to play Ozil against Southampton. Though He might have to play due to the injuries we currently have.

    Maybe Ramsey will get the nod.

    Really happy Kos came through unscathed and should be ok to start Sunday.

  8. GuNZ

    The wonderful NZ TAB (a kind of ubiquitous William Hill down here) occasionally chuck a freebie $5 into my online account which I then place on something outrageously unlikely. This week, however, they are offering 26-1 on Arsenal beating Southampton 1-4 so I have splashed their money on such a reasonable sounding outcome. And why not, I ask you?

  9. GuNZ

    I have just learned that Özil was born in Gelsenkirchen which is not a million miles from Wuppertal, whence hies a wonderfully dirty German bint I once had the pleasure of a bit of a roll with in my younger days. She was very urgent. Excitingly so. Perhaps I should put young Mesut in touch with her.

  10. TonyD

    Emery has equalled GG’s unbeaten 86/87 (22 games) record who could have asked for more?

    The usual suspects will find ways to criticize no doubt.

    Let’s hope Sunday makes it 23.

    I don’t know what anyone else wished for, but I just wanted a manager to make us compete again week in and week out.

    For the Groundhog Days to stop and give us hope to be passionate about again.

    Just need a successful January TW because that is vital for the rest of the season.

    Emery doesn’t have an unlimited stock of band aids and He needs to start putting round pegs in round holes, which can only happen with the right new players being brought in.

    Emery is doing his job admirably.

    The squad have risen to the challenges set so far, so it’s over to Sven, Raul and Stan to give Emery the tools to complete His vision/mission to give us CL football for next season.

  11. China1

    Seems a mistake to have played Sokratis last night

    Beyond that lots of positive from my perspective

    -Another win
    -Another EL clean sheet
    -Topped the group cleanly without breaking a sweat
    -Rested almost the entire first team
    -Koscielny didn’t break

    I didn’t see the game so can’t comment on individual performances

    I do worry about that Sokratis decision tho. We’re already rocking so many defensive injuries and he has been a very decent player for us so far. We don’t need him over-working in meaningless games

    Make no mistake, if we can keep our existing defensive unit alive and add a fully fit Koscielny and monreal this will be huge for us. On the other hand we’re only one or two more niggles away from being in a total defensive crisis. Fine lines…

  12. China1

    If we have a fully fit defensive unit I actually think we will look pretty damn decent at the back


    I really do think that’s a very reasonable unit. No major issues and some genuine class in there to boot. The only concern is longevity as 3 of them are obviously not long term options. It’s probably safe to assume Sokratis has a couple more years left in him for us, but we realistically have to replace kos and probably monreal with real quality in the coming year

    Fingers crossed

  13. China1

    Tbf Mustafi has improved and not been too bad this year but I still don’t want him in the first 11 unless he improves further or we have injuries.

    We lack a bit of long term depth at the back as we have

    -Licht (not bad but last legs)
    -Kola (having a good season, not sure if he is good enough to be a long term first choice after monreal tho)
    -Mustafi (reasonable as a backup but has 1 big error in him every game)
    -others all unproven kids with barely any professional game time

  14. China1

    Mesut is the wettest fart in the whole arsenal squad.

    I don’t care if he’s dominating the next 10 games in a row (he won’t) because he’s done it all before. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Anyone who thinks ozil might finally remember to care about football is in for their 100th rude awakening after yet another false dawn

  15. Leedsgunner

    Nketiah might not be getting the ball in the net but he is doing everything else right, getting into good positions, hassling opposing defenders, and releasing key passes so that his teammates can score. His movement was excellent.

    Just a matter of time before he does score.

  16. Emiratesstroller

    Whatever anyone wishes to say about Ozil he provided the pass which “unlocked” the opposition yesterday and that is the impact that he makes on a game.

    Whether that is enough to justify playing him in the type of formation and high tempo game which Emery decides to play is an entirely different point of discussion.

    Inevitably he is going to divide opinion about his performance on the pitch.

  17. Leedsgunner

    Nketiah has to make his next appearance count and do start scoring especially if it is against lower league opponents in the FA Cup or the Carabao Cup.

  18. Graham62

    “The ball was in Ozil’s court” but, if we are all totally honest, he was a bit of a damp squib.

    Started off ok. Looked quite enthusiastic early on. Set up Lacazette………..but basically, after that, it was service as usual.

    Can’t put my finger on it, but let’s just say, from a fan’s perspective, I find it all very embarrassing and exceptionally frustrating.

    Dodgy back aside, his general demeanor is that of someone who is going through the motions. As it stands, he is a liability and can’t see the benefit of fitting him in to a team and system that makes him stand out like a sore thumb.

    It’s as though he doesn’t give a toss.

  19. Leedsgunner

    Özil was on a lose lose last night. He isn’t being paid the highest wage in AFC history to show up against the Azerbaijiani champions.

    Southampton, Tottenham Burnley, Liverpool let him begin to rebuild his reputation there… if he can be bothered.

  20. Emiratesstroller

    Graham 62

    Ozil is going to divide opinion primarily because you expect a player who is being paid £350 K pw to be the standout player on the pitch.

    I accept that Ozil no longer performs at that level, but he is nevertheless a “class” midfielder. Whether that is enough to justify keeping him on the books is a different topic of conversation.

    Most posters on Le Grove clearly don’t think so, but then that applies also to
    many other players in our squad as well.

  21. Pierre

    “The usual suspects will find ways to criticize no doubt.”

    correct ..have a look through the comments this morning and you will see criticism from graham, China and yourself as well as the “usual suspects” last night.

    Very perceptive of you TonyD to recognise where the criticism is coming from.

  22. Pierre

    That game last night was a very difficult game for offensive players to shine (and I’m not talking about ozil).
    The opposition s only interest for the whole of the 90 minutes was to keep the score respectable .they showed no interest in getting bodies forward.

    Very difficult game for nketiah as space was limited ,if his header hadn’t been disallowed for offside people would be giving a slightly different opinion of him.

    Lacazette did nothing other than score the goal and saka improved as the game went on and showed that he has the ability to beat a player in a tight area …

    So instead of criticising our players why not show some understanding of how difficult it is to break down a ten man defence…the game would have panned out differently if the opposition had come to play instead of parking the bus.

  23. Tony

    Ah Pierre reading not your strong point but made up for by trolling.

    Same shit different day from you, but guess you can’t change the habit of a lifetime.

    None of your aforementioned names were critisizing Emery only expressing dismay at what was well reported by the press with regards to Ozil.

    Try to keep up and work on your reading comprehension skills.

    Is it an age thing or have you always been this stupid?


  24. Pierre

    “Nketiah has to make his next appearance count and do start scoring especially if it is against lower league opponents in the FA Cup or the Carabao Cup.”

    No he doesnt ,especially if he is played on the right side of midfield..

    Nketiah is a striker as he showed in the 2nd half last night …was unlucky with the offside goal and should have had an assist when he put it on a plate for saka.

  25. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal’s first team have a lot of commitments since we are still in four competitions and that is inevitably very demanding on the resources we have
    at the club.

    Our stats sofar this season are without question above expectation in that we have played sofar 24 games and lost just two scoring 51 goals and conceding 24.

    The team is without question resilient and now very difficult to beat. However,
    our season will now begin to be tougher particularly as we start playing stronger opposition as we progress in cup competitions.

    Frankly there will be very few games beyond January, which will be easy and as we have seen in the past Arsenal do struggle with our schedules from January onwards.

    We have lost already Holding and Welbeck for the rest of the season. Neither
    might be considered strategic players, but both would be expected to play in
    our major games either in starting lineup or from bench.

    For this reason they do need replacement in January. Whilst Koscielny may
    be coming back to fitness I need to be convinced that he is still able to play
    regularly if at all in first team following his injury.

    In the case of Welbeck we no longer have on the books a player of his type who can play in all positions in the front line and adds physicality.

    So Emery and Mislintat need to act very quickly when the transfer window opens to replace both players. There are in my view no ready made replacements in squad.

    It is of course important to test younger players in the minor first team games,
    but there will be very few matches of this type after Christmas. Frankly I see only Smith-Rowe ready to play more regularly in first team.

    The others will need to return to U23 or loaned out to clubs elsewhere.

  26. Bob N16

    Went to the game yesterday. Lacked any ‘jeopardy’. Qarabag were pretty awful. Don’t think it was a true test and therefore I would be hesitant to come to any conclusions on the evidence of last night. That being said, I felt all our youngsters should be happy by the way they played.

    Some on here are premature to come to an opinion on the success of some of them. It doesn’t take a genius to consider the success rate of previous academy players is not high. A ‘class of 92’ happens rarely. That being said, I think that progression is hard to predict, when a player has reached ‘his ceiling’. All the youngsters have technique, they look ‘Arsenal’ type players, enjoying a quick passing game.

    What each of them needs is sufficient opportunity to develop and a little luck! I hope the club recognises the importance of placing these players into the right loan club; Europa and Caribao cups + U23 football does not offer enough of a chance for young players to develop.

    What I would say is that in the positions where the 1st team squad is not strong enough e.g. out wide, players like Nelson and Saka may have more opportunity. Mind you Saka was 17 in September, shit that makes me feel old!

  27. Graham62


    Criticism? Sorry Pierre, but I will not accept any more of this nonsense .

    We have been more than patient with Ozil. Believe me if he was injured, which he isn’t, he would not be playing. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.

    21000 at the stadium and millions around the world saw for themselves where we stand with Ozil and if I’m to be brutally honest, the sooner we get rid, the better for everyone (including Ozil).

    This criticism is not unjust, it is perfectly justified. He had an opportunity to prove himself but, once again, he fluffed his lines.

    My patience has been stretched too far and although I genuinely want him to perform consistently, I know this is no longer possible.

  28. Bob N16

    Not here to be an apologist for Ozil Graham, but yesterday’s performance was not notable in a negative way. I feel Ozil’s time is almost up at Arsenal but am with ES when he writes that Ozil can still contribute this season.

    If you imagine he’ll be gone in June ( and try and forget his salary) you may be able to cope with his continued presence in Arsenal’s matchday squad! I’m sure Emery will be pragmatic towards him.

  29. Emiratesstroller


    No-one argues that the young players who played yesterday should not be judged on one or two performances. Realistically the opposition was very poor.

    However, if there is one lesson to be learned from the latter part of the Wenger era it was that we were always ill-equipped for the second half of the season when the demands on our squad were much greater.

    Looking at the youngsters who have played in the first team this season there
    is only one that I consider is remotely ready for promotion to first team squad
    and that is Smith-Rowe. He looks to be a class apart from the rest in performance and maturity.

    As I wrote earlier I am not downgrading the rest but they should continue to play either at U23 level or loaned out to less demanding or expectant teams
    than ourselves.

    What I do know is that our first team squad is “thin on the ground”. We have
    already lost two players for the season and frankly there are several other players who I do not consider good enough to play in first team specifically
    Jenkinson and Elneny.

    Also there is uncertainty about whether Ramsey will be at the club beyond
    January if we get an offer for him. My guess is that if we get an offer of £10 million+ the club might sell him in view of the decision taken by management.

    You have also got question marks about the ability of Koscielny to play at top
    level again.

    So the club does need replacements and not to rely on the kids in the New Year.

  30. HighburyLegend

    Didn’t watched the game, but it seems that Lil P.’s favourite has delivered another stellar performance, and against a strong opponent. lol


  31. Pierre

    I just read what TonyD posted earlier ….and it started with a headline from a newspaper

    ““Mesut Ozil blows chance to impress Unai Emery on Arsenal return as he drifts through win over Qarabag”

    Which makes it sound like ozil has a poor game .

    It then goes on to say
    “Martin Keown questions whether Mesut Ozil ‘wants it enough’ ”

    but did he really say that ,because he then went on to say
    “‘It’s a chance for Ozil, to see how he is after that back injury.‘He needs to show he wants to work hard out of possession as well as the quality in possession, to get back into this team, and he’s shown that.‘Emery has shown it doesn’t matter about the reputation, but Ozil is exciting with his passes, he can switch the play, it’s all there for him, for me its just if he wants it enough.”

    So Keown said that ozil has shown he can work hard out of possession as well as quality in possession and ozil is exciting with his passes and switching play.

    But what does Tony and the reporter focus on …yes it’s the last comment ” to me ,it’s just if he wants it enough”

    And supposedly, that last comment is the proof that Ozil blew his chance to impress Emery despite the complimentary things Keown said about the performance.

  32. Bob N16

    Agreed Pierre, the game yesterday was not one to make any sweeping judgements, Qarabag were meaningless opposition- Ozil needs to step up in the PL. He hadn’t played for a month, most people who consider this, accept that a player needs to get ‘through’ such a match and prove/improve match fitness. For many the narrative is ‘written’ before a match has ever been played.

    I’ve also found it’s very difficult to comment on a player’s performance when I haven’t watched the match!

  33. Pierre

    “From what I’ve read this morning I’m underwhelmed by Ozil’s tepid performance and what seems to be the same old story of drifting in and out of a game.”

    Tony reached this conclusion by believing a newspaper headline. “““Mesut Ozil blows chance to impress Unai Emery on Arsenal return as he drifts through win over Qarabag”

    Maybe if he had read keown’s comments correctly in the article he may have reached a different conclusion .
    “It’s a chance for Ozil, to see how he is after that back injury.‘He needs to show he wants to work hard out of possession as well as the quality in possession, to get back into this team, and he’s shown that.‘

  34. Pierre

    Of course any sensible fan would know that after being out for a month you have to feel your way back into the game and pace yourself .

    No one is saying he had a great game , he did what he needed to do to get himself up to a level of fitness .

    I don’t think he will play v Southampton ,I believe Emery will play Xhaka,Torriera and Guendouzi in the middle ,possibly 4-3-3 as I don’t think we have enough centre backs for 3-5-2..the defence will need protection from midfield .

  35. TitsMcGee

    The usual suspects will find ways to criticize no doubt.”

    It’s ironic because they made excuses for Wenger for almost a decade and a half(sit back and think about that for a second, the sheer amount of fixtures). Failure after failure, face-plant after face-plant, both domestically and in Europe.

    You would imagine(if you took them at their word that they loved Arsenal and not Arsene) that they would be thrilled we are more competitive this season.

    You would imagine…….;)

  36. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s leave aside the debate on Ozil and focus on more imminent issues in lead
    up to January Transfer window.

    On Sunday we will be playing with only one established Centre Back in First Team Squad who is available and that is Koscielny who is returning from a serious long term injury and has played yesterday his first senior game after
    8 months. Holding is now out for season and Mavropanos has also been out
    this season with groin injury. Both Sokratis and Mustafi he is also injured are

    Next week we play Tottenham in the Carrabo Cup. It is inconceivable that Arsenal are going to put out a similar side against them as we did yesterday
    in Europa Cup.

    Moving on and analysing our squad we have got according to Official Arsenal
    Website 25 players in our first team squad and we know two of these are out
    for season reducing it to 23.

    Also there are at least 3 players in current squad namely Martinez, Jenkinson
    and Elneny who Emery will not play in EPL games except in case of dire emergency.

    So we are down to just 20 players in our current squad who Emery will consider to play in EPL or against strong opposition in Cup Competitions.

    That does not factor in what might happen with Ramsey or the fitness of
    Koscielny or Monreal.

    Realistically we are short of at least two experienced players and good enough
    to play at top level in EPL.

    The question is then do you go for short term solutions such has been suggested with a player like Cahill who is frankly on his last legs? The second
    issue is how much funds are potentially available if we find a top class player
    during this window?

    None of the younger players apart from perhaps Smith-Rowe is ready for promotion to first team squad.

  37. Bob N16

    On Sunday I would hope that Ozil can come on as a sub and influence the game from there. I do feel Ramsey is at his most influential when he comes on with 25 mins to go and has the freedom to take advantage of the opposition tiring and being more open. Ozil could similarly be used in this way.

    Mind you the way things are going, our subs have come on due to injury rather than a tactical switch (yesterday’s game excepted).

  38. Left testicle

    It’s irrelevant how Ozil performed last night. He isn’t a player that fits Emery’s style and should be sold as soon as possible to free up space and cash for a player who does.

  39. Bob N16

    Fair point ES, but are we any different from our top 6 competitors?

    We do have players who can double up, in more than one position…Monreal, Lichsteiner(to an extent), AMN.

    Now Montreal is back in contention, there is an argument that if he is playing LB we can return to a back 4, relieving the pressure on the number of fit CBs. Mustafi and Sokratis are not available through suspension on Sunday(not injury – although M may have a niggle), so you could argue that we’ve managed this season okay. Holding now out but Koscielny back.

    If I were Arsenal I would see how Montreal and Koscielny manage in the next 2/3 weeks before going into the market.

    As far as money/budget this window, the club has suggested if the right player comes available, money will be available. I’m hoping for a winger to be purchased who can go more or less straight into the 1st team.

  40. Bob N16

    Agree Left T but it would seem likely that Ozil will be an Arsenal player for the rest of the season and he surely he is worth a place in the match day squad?

  41. Micheal

    I was a little disappointed with some of the youngsters who I felt did not grab the opportunity to make a mark – even against a piss-poor opposition. They had a great chance to step up and none of them really took it with both hands.

    I am not writing this to provoke fake outrage from the usual suspects.

    Willock played around the egdes of the game without exerting any influence, Saka was excellent everywhere except in the final third and Nketiah needs more end product (though I agree he played better up front after Laca’s withdrawal).

    All three are good technical players and a delight to watch, especially Saka. But will they ever progress enough to be regular starters ? On basis of last night, they certainly have the ability but I have doubts they will all step up. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

  42. gambon


    That would be Martin Keown that said Arsene Wenger should be able to choose when he leaves?

    Im sure you werent quoting Keown when he said Ozil was a disgrace last season.

    Agenda driven cunt.

  43. Emiratesstroller

    Bob N16

    I know that Southampton have had a poor season but are you confident in playing against them with Koscielny alongside Monreal or Lichsteiner in Centre Back position? Personally I am not.

    Also I believe that our resources for rest of season are very thin particularly if
    we suffer another couple of injuries.

    I understand your and other posters demand for a winger, but this is not in my
    view a priority. Frankly any half decent winger is going to cost a lot of money
    and more so in January. Personally I don’t want to land up with some other
    clubs ‘cast off’ and pay an inflated price for the privilege.

  44. Jamie

    Pierre says it wasn’t him who quoted Keown, literally put things Keown said in an article in quotes a few posts up.

    This kid is a buffoon.

    Pre-emptive “Yeah, but Tony started with the quotes though, so me saying I didn’t quote Keown is still sort of true if you ignore the posts where I also quoted Keown.”

  45. Rambo Ramsey

    What kind of a ‘Senior Citizen’ spends most of his day winding up and provoking strangers on a football blog?

    I’m sorry if I don’t buy Pierre’s story. Something clearly doesn’t add up here.

  46. Marko

    It was Tony quoting Keown ,not me ……nice try.

    You do realize that you quoted keown too Pierre. I love how you make excuses for Ozil against a team like that and at home. How low can Pierre go?

  47. Graham62

    Koscielny smiled as he came off and thanked the fans. Not surprising as he had been out for so long. Nice to see him out there once again. Long may it continue.

    Ozil trudged off with hardly a flicker of emotion. How much longer can Arsenal FC act as his carer and psychiatrist?

    The end.

  48. Bamford10

    Zech Medley looks a player as well, btw. Saka and Medley to make it, for me. Nketiah doesn’t have enough to his game, IMO. He’s just a finisher at the moment, and that’s not enough. To become a player, he needs to develop his dribbling, needs to be able to beat one or two defenders off the dribble consistently. Otherwise there just isn’t enough to his game.

  49. Pierre

    It’s ok Jamie ..people are not stupid ,they know that Tony posted the Keown quotes and he was using them ( wrongly) as proof that Ozil has blown his chances with Emery.

    I suppose Joe will be on here soon …and before you start spouting off Joe read Tony’s comments first and digest them and maybe question him as to why he would post such a derogatory comment towards a player of the team you support that was obviously not true ….

  50. Pierre

    “I find Martin Keown at wee bit ott.”

    Says the man who 5 minutes ago posted

    “Ozil trudged off with hardly a flicker of emotion. How much longer can Arsenal FC act as his carer and psychiatrist?”

  51. Dream10

    Rambo Ramsey

    Probably one of Southampton or Brighton away. Injuries and suspensions in the back six/seven starting to happen to more frequently. While we are good at scoring in the 2nd half, one team away from home will take advantage of the multiple chances
    they create andd score a couple in the 1st half.

    Three of our next four are away from home. Have to be careful or there could be a seven/eight pt gap btwn 5th and 3rd/4th by January 1st.

  52. Bamford10

    The Ozil discussion is a bit boring at this point, but he certainly didn’t look like he was all that interested last night. He didn’t play poorly, but he didn’t look like one of the world’s best playmakers either. Not by a long shot. Sometimes you can tell when a good player is overflowing with confidence, energy and joy; he is just happy to be out there with the ball at his feet, trying things, showing what he can do. Ozil is the opposite of this. It’s like he has lost his love for the ball, for the game. Of course it was just seven weeks ago that he was genius against Leicester. Ultimately, though, he is too mentally fragile, too mercurial, too moody, too soft. If we can sell him for a reasonable price, we should. Bring in one or more young and hungry and energetic CAM types.

  53. Graham62


    Maybe, but I’m not a pundit getting paid a substantial salary to express my views.

    What don’t you think rings true with my Ozil comment?

  54. Marko

    It was Tony quoting Keown ,not me ……nice try.


    “It’s a chance for Ozil, to see how he is after that back injury.‘He needs to show he wants to work hard out of possession as well as the quality in possession, to get back into this team, and he’s shown that.‘

    A literal quote. Not sure Pierre understands what not me means. And I’m sure he wasn’t quoting keown last season when he called Ozil a disgrace.

  55. Marko

    Also Moratta has just taken over the reigns at Inter and has built a reputation for smart and shrewd purchases and there’s no way he’ll risk that reputation on signing the likes of Mesut Ozil. Not going to inter now

  56. Pierre

    Come on inspector Clouseu..stop acting dim..there you go

    December 14, 2018 02:32:45
    “Mesut Ozil blows chance to impress Unai Emery on Arsenal return as he drifts through win over Qarabag”

    Was the headline

    “Martin Keown questions whether Mesut Ozil ‘wants it enough’ after return for Arsenal and admits relief at Laurent Koscielny injury comeback”He told BT Sport: ‘It’s a chance for Ozil, to see how he is after that back injury.‘He needs to show he wants to work hard out of possession as well as the quality in possession, to get back into this team, and he’s shown that”

  57. Marko

    Again It was TONY quoting Keown ,not ME ……nice try.

    And then

    “It’s a chance for Ozil, to see how he is after that back injury.‘He needs to show he wants to work hard out of possession as well as the quality in possession, to get back into this team, and he’s shown that.‘

    Unless of course this isn’t a direct quote in which case you’re implying that it is and therefore you’re disingenuous.

    “I haven’t been happy with him for some time and it seems as if he picks and chooses his games.” “I don’t think this team can carry anybody – and tonight it looked like they had been carrying him.””I bet he doesn’t play again this season. He’ll have some emotional breakdown and won’t be able to play at the weekend. “I don’t know how many illnesses he’s had this season. The fella is not kidding me. That is not a proper performance.”

    Oh how right he was.

    “Whether the new manager coming can find it I don’t know. It’s a big problem for the new manager because Wenger’s invested an awful lot of money in this player and I’m not seeing a performance to go with it.

    “He wasn’t fit to wear the shirt tonight.

    “And I’ve seen this a lot this season and it needs to be said because he needs to be dug out because we expect more from him. He’s a World Cup winner.

    “These are crocodile tears that I’m seeing from the player. He’s not conning me.

    Now there’s a quote from Keown

  58. Rambo Ramsey

    I’ve never understood the ‘tiredness’ reasoning applied to footballers.

    Why is it so hard to exert themselves for 90 minutes every three days?

    Oh those poor pampered bastards.

  59. Pierre

    Not sure what you are going on about Marko but keep digging …you’re getting nowhere with this ..it appears to me that you have had to dig up some comments from Keown a year or so ago to make a point .

    The person you should be questioning is TonyD as he tried to use those Keown quotes from an article as proof that Ozil has blown it with Emery which I find a little strange ….why would an Arsenal supporter be so desperate to want to discredit one of his own players by using an article and a headline that was obviously false, to prove a point.

    My only comment on Ozil has been ” No one is saying he had a great game , he did what he needed to do to get himself up to a level of fitness . “

  60. raptora

    Rambo is right if you think about tennis players especially the ones that advance deep in the tourneys they play. If you’re world class say Fed, Rafa, Djoko and so on these players are/were probably playing 100-150 days out of 365. Easy. And on most tourneys minus GSs they start on Monday and they play a final on Sunday – 7 days in a row sprint after sprint after sprint. Compare this heroes of the modern physical athletics to footballers like Ozil. Not even close.

  61. Marko

    My only comment on Ozil has been ” No one is saying he had a great game , he did what he needed to do to get himself up to a level of fitness .

    You also quoted Keown. Tell me how was his first 20 passes? World class? Level of fitness again if he’s not fit that’s on him

  62. Rambo Ramsey


    What is so ridiculous about my question?

    Lets be frank here, footballers don’t even exert themselves for full 90 minutes.

    And fans lap up the bs, ‘Oh those poor lads played 90 minutes on Saturday and again on Wednesday’

  63. Graham62

    We could all go on and on about Ozil, I know I could, but shouldn’t we all just accept that if Arsenal are going to progress the way that Emery wants us to progress, Ozil cannot be a part of it.

    It’s all fairly straightforward as far as I’m concerned.

  64. raptora

    You guys think that Merse is right on this?

    “”Liverpool wouldn’t buy Torreira tomorrow morning, I wouldn’t have thought any of the top four would. He can and will get better, but he’s done great.

    “He could be playing at Southampton and wouldn’t get a mention, or Burnley. No-one would mention it. It’s just that Arsenal needed it so badly.””

    Imo guy has been a revelation. Would he play on the same level at another club? No idea. Still, at £26m from a Sampdoria team for a DM with 3 sub appearances in friendlies for Uruguay, is not pocket change. We have a big player in our cards and that’s money absolutely well spent, but apparently he was a rated player to go for this much money.

    That he wouldn’t have made an impression playing for Southampton or Burnley is a big stretch imo and insulting. We saw how VVD got a huge transfer from Southampton, Mahrez to City, Pickford from a dire Sunderland side to Everton. You can shine in a shit team if you are that good. And boy is Torreira that good. He’s been our Player of the Season. Easily.

    Seriously fk Merse. Why would you talk shit of the current best performing player of your club?! Wouldn’t get a mention at Southampton or Burnley! Piss off!!!

  65. Graham62

    Try playing tennis in 40 degree heat over best of five sets, every other day, for two weeks.

    That’s true exertion.

  66. Rambo Ramsey

    Merson is absolutely right.

    We all saw Liverpool star signing Fabinho totally outclass Torreira. Right?
    And the Spuds complete domination of our midfield is still fresh in memory.

  67. Pierre

    “Seriously fk Merse. Why would you talk shit of the current best performing player of your club?!”

    Exactly…..now I’m not saying ozil is the best performing player atm but what’s the difference between merson and le grove who also continually talk shit of the current players or is it only the best performing player that should be exonerated from criticism.

    Merse would be have a great time on Le Grove slagging off Ozil,Iwobi, Mhkitaryan,Bellerin etc ……..along with Marko,Joe,Graham ,Tony and the rest.

  68. Marko

    Merse is an idiot. Torreira if he wasn’t playing for us would be playing for Napoli or possibly Juve after us he’ll be playing for Barcelona or Madrid never Southampton or a Burnley. He’s the bee’s knees basically

  69. Pierre

    Ramsey….good(not great) player but lacks the discipline to play in a 2 man midfield …Torriera and Guendouzi are showing him (and wenger) now it’s done.

  70. gonsterous

    Torriera and Guendouzi are showing him (and wenger) now it’s done.

    well you’ve done it. You’ve brought Wenger into the mix. Wait till Pierre gets his hands on you…

  71. Marko

    Exactly…..now I’m not saying ozil is the best performing player atm but what’s the difference between merson and le grove who also continually talk shit of the current players or is it only the best performing player that should be exonerated from criticism.

    For one you’d be talking about our current best most consistent performing player who puts in so much effort and heart in every game and the other (Ozil) who isn’t our best player who isn’t consistent and who doesn’t put in effort or play with heart. One player’s nickname is ‘Los Charruas’ which refers to a gritty, brave victory in the face of certain defeat while the other’s nickname is “wet sponge” “eunuch” and “old frog eyes”. Basically you can’t compare the two players

  72. Marko

    well you’ve done it. You’ve brought Wenger into the mix. Wait till Pierre gets his hands on you…

    Vic will be breaking up with him now

  73. Bob N16

    Merson is not an Arsenal supporter, he supports Chelsea. Don’t think he’s all that bright but gets paid to comment…probably just regurgitates what his mates are telling him. Thought he was a great talent for Arsenal though, loved watching him play as long as he hadn’t been out for a few, the night before a game!

    Torreira is clearly an outstanding player already. Most players are allowed time to assimilate to an a new league and country, he hasn’t only needed 6 starts before showing his quality. I don’t believe any of the rest of the top 6 would be unwilling to take Torreira in a moment.

    Rambo, I believe the tiredness is almost more mental than physical.

  74. Champagne charlie

    “You guys think that Merse is right on this?“

    Stopped reading after this.. No is the answer. Always no.

  75. Bob N16

    ES, re. Southampton on Sunday without Mustafi and Sokratis available – it’s only for one match! A bit unlucky that both hit 5 bookings at the same time! If Emery is feeling conservative, he could play Monreal, Kos and Lichi as his back three. I would consider a back 4 but what do I know!