Of Daymares, Liverpool & Other Stuff

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It felt like an incomplete answer. The question put to the manager concerned Mikel Arteta’s fitness ahead of Saturday’s trip to Anfield; “He’s alright,” came the succinct reply. But there seemed to be something missing, some unspoken phrase diminishing the Spaniard’s injury to an insignificance. It seemed that he wanted to add, “He was trying to pull a flanker, he always does. Likes his Monday’s at home with the family, does Mikel. But he couldn’t pull the wool over my eyes.

And then I remembered, Arsène Wenger manages Arsenal not Harry Redknapp. Is it possible to have a nightmare in daytime when you’re wide awake? I know, I know, Igor Stepanovs had a career of them.

The media have found their angle for Saturday’s match; the immovable object meets the unstoppable force. Mertesacker and Koscielny against SAS. Who thinks of these nicknames. SAS? I thought that was Shearer And Sheringham in Euro96 as England stormed to another failure, albeit gloriously. So where is the equivalent for the Arsenal duo? Mixing their surnames doesn’t work; let’s be honest Kossacker invokes political arguments or sounds like a low-rent, cheap price supermarket vodka, ripping off the Smirnoff label. It is probably more the Arsenal way not to have such a sobriquet. Does it matter; a strikeforce which has scored in all but one game they have played together this season meets the defensive pairing which kept them out. With a bit of help from nine others and the woodwork, granted, but in years to come those incidentals are forgotten.

Inevitable Arsène was asked about the Uruguayan and the summer’s farce. Still in Walker Brothers mode, there are no regrets but a repeat episode this summer is unlikely although when it comes to transfers, the manager is a bit of a Medicine Head; one and one is one. He did put to bed one lie though;

We never wanted to replace Giroud, we always had complete confidence in him.

Whenever discussion turns to the lack of depth, the default position is that Giroud is fine, we don’t need to replace him. But it was never about that, even the manager admits that; it’s about proper cover and options. There is a well-stocked midfield, even if it is being stretched to its limits at the moment. Consider that for one moment. If the same level of injuries or suspension hit the forward line, Giroud and two options to replace him would be out for any number of games. What then? Personally, I don’t want to find out.

Focus is on Arsenal’s squad and the ravages on injuries and suspensions. Flamini still has one match to serve after tomorrow, the FA Cup tie at home to Liverpool a week on Sunday will be that. It means Arsène can begin to rotate, perhaps even this Saturday with Jack Wilshere reportedly fit for selection. How fit will decide whether he starts or returns with a place on the bench. Even so, Wenger does not believe the coming workload will be that much of an issue,

When you’re in a good position to fight for something of course the closer you get to the end the more every game becomes vital. We did fight very hard until now to be in this position so let’s just enjoy it and give our best. I’m sure we will.

Mentally we are prepared and we have shown a great response throughout the season when we had difficulties. Physically we are prepared as well. It depends how many injuries we have because we need to rotate and it’s important that we have as many players available as we can. Big injuries can of course question the end of the season.

There is a smart-arsenal answer to that but that has been argued to death already. It is a crucial phase of the season but it has not arrived as a surprise; the fixtures were announced several months ago and this time was readily identified as a tough spell. The question is how the players will react? They repeatedly tell us that the big games are special to them, they want to do well in them. This season gives the opportunity to show that.

The run of matches gives a hint of how some view a European Super League working. Each week would see the top clubs pitched into battle. It would indeed be a tremendous fixture list, one that every player would want to be involved in. Substitute the likes of Sunderland and Swansea for the likes of Milan, PSG or any other élite club you want. And of course, Tottenham would no longer be a part of the regular footballing calendar; I doubt that the notion of Thursday night football is crossing the minds of the proponents of such a League.

For supporters, it is surely the best of times to see the club face Liverpool, United, Liverpool, Bayern followed by Bayern, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City. Potentially one of Chelsea or City again if Arsenal progress in the FA Cup. It is a tough run of matches and one which will probably wring every emotion out of you. Realism dictates that Arsenal will not win all those matches, or are unlikely to. Even losing in the Premier League and following that with a win is better than two draws in terms of points. What a defeat does to the psyche, I don’t know the players well enough to comment but they need to respond quickly in those circumstances and that is a key reason for enjoying the run.

There is no let-up, there is no respite; it is the opportunity for the players to show their mettle, to throw the cloak of invisibility from their shoulders and face the challenges head-on. It is the time for them to pronounce their own judgement on the season. OK, it is spread over two months and that is a long time which is not necessarily helpful in a notoriously fickle environment. They may veer from being world-beaters one match, to hopeless cast-offs the next. But if at the end of it, they remain top of the Premier League, in the FA Cup and quarter-finalists in the Champions League, no-one would complain. Surely?

That’s the ideal outcome. Now it’s over to the players to make it happen, starting at Anfield.

’til Tomorrow.

90 thoughts on “Of Daymares, Liverpool & Other Stuff

  1. What a run we’ve got on our hands. Well we can’t say there’ll be ma’am of entertainment any time soon.

  2. I’m struggling a bit here. I was up very early.

    If we lose to Chelsea we drop three points and they gain them. Winning the next game is fine but Chelsea still have the three points. Surely then, two draws would be better if Chelsea, for example, were also to win their next game?

    In one scenario we have 3 points and Chelsea 6, in the other we have 4 each.

    I could be wrong about this. It’s still quite early for maths.

  3. Winston would have proud the way you’ve just rallied the troops. Onwards and upwards. COYGs

  4. Consols 🙂

    Too early mate…… but I prefer my maths, we win 2 and Chelsea lose 2…. that way we have six points and Chelsea 0

  5. Bob

    But if we lost against Liverpool and beat Chelsea…

    You can pick to be pedantic if you want. Next time I’ll include a full list of permutations to underline the complexities of generalisations 😛

  6. I would take a win tomorrow, and a draw on Wednesday. That way even if we lose top spot, we will still be in contention. If we lose both games, then it becomes difficult for us. I would retain the same team but replace Monreal with Gibbs, he’s more solid as a defender. In the second half, if way we’re in the lead, we replace The Ox with Rosicky.

  7. John..for me rosicky has to start,that liverpool defense is slow,rosicky’s energy and quick thinking will serve us well in big games,i dont think wilshere is fit enough to start,so i think le prof will have arterta and chambo,chambo making his energetic runs from deep,it would have been perfect if walcot was on that wing….chelsea will draw against newcastle this weekend.

  8. It doesn’t monreal-ly mata about Per-mutations and math-ieu. Chelsea will start to go down Ca-hill and Luiz a few games. City will suffer some Ag(ue)ro and are not fit to be in the same Kompany as the Arsenal, Man Utd are Way-ne behind us and we are Bac-ary on top of the PL, we wil-shere Rodger-s Liverpool on Saturday PerKos we are the team that are going to win the PL. Maureen will be Ro-sick-y Wenger we lift the Silva-ware!

    I’m a bit bored today 🙂

  9. I’ve got a feeling that after all the praise Jose’s Chelsea are getting for beating Man City (Which to be fair, they do) they’ll either lose or draw with Newcastle.

    City will come out and smash Norwhich, if it was an Everton or Liverpool they were playing i’d have predicted a loss, simply because their bubble of confidence has been popped by Jose’s Chelsea vastly outplaying them at home and showing they are, in fact, mortal men and not footballing gods.

    Perhaps a slightly worrying idea that Barca now have a fit again Messi, Puyol, Affelay and Alba

  10. Better still, \Newcastle should recover from their derby loss with a win over Chelsea which will be nice as long we also win to take advantage…

    What of a crystal palace draw versus Man city… dare not imagine a win here. that puts them at least 4 pts behind us.

  11. Consols – I tried to get my head around that math – and I’m getting an ‘ed ache.

    I would really like Arsenal at this stage to be pragmatic and play the numbers game. It’s to our advantage because we’re in control of our destiny. If we target not losing to City or Chelsea, which at minimum is a draw – then the 2 clubs don’t become a problem so long as we do professional jobs elsewhere.

    Of course it won’t work like that but then again we can dream.

    What I know is that we will continue to challenge and as the cliche goes, we’ll be there or there abouts at the end of March. The fixtures get bettter after that and at that time, I think the adrenaline in the players and their psyche will drive us to the finish line. The players will know that we’re a cunt hair from that EPL title and I think we’ll see a ruthless, no-nonsense, we don’t give a damn about how we win but win we must attitude amongst our players.

    As for Saturday, SAS my left testicle. If they don’t get the ball they can’t shoot. Who is it who plays in the Liverpool midfield again?if we’re

  12. Just seen on French TV that Ribery will be out of the Bayern team for several weeks after undergoing an operation. Will that do us a favour?

  13. Northbanks

    Absolutely it will…He tore us apart last time at Emirates!

    I know it’s not Arsenal news related. But over the moon my hometown team of Dundee United had their 4 million debt bought out by fans to make us debt free. Club now has to asnwer to the supports club in question and also has to commit to a community service scheme. Brilliant!

  14. Good way to get myself for a match Yogi!

    The only math that matters is at the end of the season, if we are +1 over 2nd place then we win the EPL, doesn’t matter how we get there just that were +1 over every other club in the EPL at the end of the season.

    A SuperLeague, that would be a sight but isn’t that wheat the CL is suppose to be, a longer version of the CL; meh I don’t care for it.

  15. @Northbank

    That will do us a favor no doubt. You take a player that was top 3 for EVERY major individual award across Europe off a side and it is always good for the club they face.

  16. @MLF

    Yea Shitty will have to deal with not only them but Inesta is back fit as he was out injured for a bit. That coupled with Shitty not having Aguero and more than likely Fernandinho and Barca will hopefully burst Shitty’s confidence bubble completely especially at the Oil Rig.

  17. it is true we are heat badly by injury but with our current midfielders and solid def-fence,it will be difficult for Liver pool SAS to penetrate and there fore we will beat them again for history repeat itself.

  18. MLF…

    congrats, happy days for the marmalade toun…

    ‘and it’s up with the bonnets of bonny Dundee!’

  19. Are Broke Back Barca playing at the oil rig for the first leg of the knock-out stage? I really really want them to tear City a new asshole Nothing wrong with getting them to help break the so called steam-roller.

    On other matters, I had a great conversation early this week with some Manure fans. They cannot stand the thought of Arsenal winning the title, they’d even rather City or Chelsea win. Apparently, their biggest fear is that they’ll have no where to hide their sorry faces from the vitriol that will come their way having speken so much shit about Arsenal for the last 10 years. They just can’t stomach the tthought of dealing with Gooners who will clearly shit on them from a very high ground if we end up top of the pile.

    But it was very enjoyful to listen to the consoling thoughts they have for their team, especially after the defeat to Stoke. Actually, I thought most of them were just lost at sea and couldn’t fathom how is is that Manure could fall so far, so fast. The “Let’s give Moyes some time” nonsense has also run its course and doesn’t cut the mustard any more.

    What is scary for me tomorrow is fans of Manure, City, Chelsea, Spurs and even Everton all around the world will be willing Arsenal to lose.

    As they say, if they hate us that much, we must be doing something right.

  20. @Yogi

    Did you see what Newcastle did? Newcastle cancelled and sold a disabled Grandmother’s season tickets because she was off on vacation and let her 29 year old son use the ticket because she had to have an adult accompany her 14 year old twin grandchildren to the match. This for me goes right along with the Manshitty charging disabled people more money and Barca thinking that ticket prices should be raised daily! The funniest part is the response from Newcastle lol, I mean I know Arsenal have had some PR disasters but this makes Arsenal look like the best PR department in the world!

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-united-fc-speak-after-6681465

  21. @Darius

    Its funny but my Manure Coworker has said that he would rather us win the EPL than Shitty or Chavs because he couldn’t think of anything more disturbing than all those blue Mancs being champions and running about Manchester saying and shouting as much because he is moving back to home to Manchester in the summer. He said Chavs because he hates Mourinho with such a passion but he said the toughest thing is the thought that Liverpool could make CL and Manure could at worst not be playing in Europe at all and at best be playing in the Europa.

    He did say though that the “Let’s give Moyes time” thing has run its course and if he can’t save the team and club by the summer now having Mata, RvCunt and Rooney that he deserves to be fired because if they don’t make Europe its going to be hard to strengthen their side not to mention all their big players will want to leave. That coupled with the fact that Vidic says he WIL BE LEAVING MANURE THIS SUMMER and the thought of building a CB pairing of a combination of Jones/Evans/Smalling and he is in utter disarray at present.

  22. I believe the first game is at Camp Nou! With Fab, Xavi, Inesta, Pedro, Messi and Sanchez…You’d think they’ve got the fire power to take City apart both legs. Could derail them a bit in the league. But if they get shunted out, also means they’re free to concentrate on winning league. But so can we, because no matter how much we’ve imporved, can’t see us unhinging a Bayern side that’s so, so dominant

  23. @MLF

    Nope the 1st leg is at the Oil Rig not the Camp Nou. Would be great if Barca did a number on them. Don’t forget Neymar in that firepower no to mention Tello and Cesc. I do think that they can beat Shitty because if Citeh want to play that all out attack style and give the space on the counter and on the flanks to Pedro, Messi, Neymar, Inesta, Cesc, and Sanchez to be picked out by Xavi, it could possbily get ugly because your not having Ramires, William, an out of form Eto’o and Luiz shooting at Hart your having Messi, Neymar, Inesta, Xavi, Pedro, Sanchez.

  24. Great post yogi. Thanks again.

    I think we can hold Liverpool to 1 or fewer goals. If we do that it will be another 3 points in the bank. I would love to see a midfield with Arteta Rosicky and Ozil. Ox struggled a bit with his passing in midfield but you can’t drop him after he scored 2 last weekend so he should be wide right and move cazorla back to wide left. That leaves Podolski as a super sub in case we need a goal in the second half.

  25. I think we should keep the same lineup as we saw against Palace except Mozart in for Ox.

    Sczny
    Sagna—Mert—-Kos—Nacho
    —–Arteta—-Mozart——–
    ———Ozil————
    Santi—-Giroud—-Podolski

    Bench: Fab, Jenks, Verm, Ox, Gnabry, Jack

  26. Our midfield should overrun theirs whether its Ox or Mozart next to Arteta. Gerrard/Henderson/Countinho struggle and honestly if it wasn’t for Suarez and Sturridge, their side would struggle creatively.

    I do think that Santi on the right makes sense because Sissokho tends to go bombing forward and with Santi he would not be able to get forward as much for fear of being Carzola’d.

  27. always thought SAS came from Shearer and Sutton back when Blackburn were relevant? The old days of the 4-4-2.

  28. C:

    If we really want Podolski in the team then Ox should start in the midfield. How can you drop the player who scored our only 2 goals last game?

  29. @Bill

    Didn’t Arsene drop Podolski after he scored 2 goals against Coventry? Its not like it hasn’t happened before. I do think though that we could very well see the same team against Liverpool and that Mozart will come off the bench.

  30. @MA

    That’s very true, very very true to be honest even though the boss gives overwhelming glowing praise of Podolski. O well it wouldn’t be the 1st time I’m wrong about team selection.

  31. C:

    Scoring 2 against Coventry is a bit different then scoring the only 2 goals in a PL game against a well organized defense like Palace. IMO we can’t drop the Ox and there is no way we can drop Cazorla so that leaves out Rosicky if Podolski gets the start.

  32. @Bill

    Those 2 he scored against Coventry put us through in the FA Cup and completely opened up the match. You have been wrong before 😉 IMHO! The thing is though I would rather Podolski start on the left to help track back and deal with Sterling who likes to pick up the ball and go bursting down the sidelines with whoever is playing their fullback that match on the overlap. I would rather Sagna not always have cover support from the winger tracking back then one of either Nacho or Gibbs, both can do it but Sagna is more adept at it. Not to mention from what I have seen and I could very well be wrong, but Sturridge tends to pick up the ball on our left flank when he does drop deeper most of the time and Podolski tracking back and being more physical would most definitely help.

    I know that might be a bit jumbled and randomly put together.

  33. “Scoring 2 against Coventry is a bit different then scoring the only 2 goals in a PL game against a well organized defense like Palace”

    To be fair, you can only score against the opposition you are play against. Ox stood up to be counted against Palace as Podolski did against Coventry. There is no reason to believe nor suggest that Podolski cannot replicate that double against Liverpool anymore than the idea Ox will repeat his feat.

  34. I wouldn’t be surpised if rosicky started in place of OX either, simply because as he stated in his pre match interview we need to keep the ball to stop Suarez and Sturrudge getting chances, so i imagine we’ll keep possession and contain them and which will work better with Rosicky, Ozil, Santi and Pod, as mentioned, OX’s passing and hold up is still rusty for me! Ox can be used second half when they’re midfield is shattered from chasing the shadows for a bit of pace and bite! I think we’ll win tomorrow with goals coming in second half in the last 20 or so!

  35. To follow up my point, defensively Liverpool aint’ all that! Contain and break will work well with the Pod, Santi, Rosicky and Ozil axis as well as having the benifit of being able to retain the ball in midfield and tire out Gerrard and Henderson!

  36. Against Palace it was quite predictable that we could stop them from scoring and we would have the vast majority of possession but were going to struggle to break them down. It made sense to play our most attacking team against them which includes Podolski. Against Liverpool the opposite is true. We should be able to get a couple of goals against them but the problem will be stopping them and dominating midfield. I think our best defensive team that will be better at controlling the midfield has Rosicky and Ox wide right.

  37. Bill

    Do you think Ox out wide will defend better than Pod? I think Pod’s experience out LW is invalauable against a team that predominantly uses the flanks to attack! Team below as copied for me! My only qestion is Monreal or Gibbs? Monreal was suffering from a bit of a Southampton hangover against palace and let them in a couple of times, perhaps Gibbs will get his chance to break back into the LB starting spot?

    Sczny
    Sagna—Mert—-Kos—Nacho
    —–Arteta—-Mozart——–
    ———Ozil————
    Santi—-Giroud—-Podolski

    Bench: Fab, Jenks, Verm, Ox, Gnabry, Jack

  38. @MLF

    Mate, I agree. Unlike Palace, Liverpool will not be keeping 10 men behind the ball and that will allow us the ability to play between their lines more. In watching Liverpool it is quite apparent that for the goals Suarez and Sturridge score they do not have a mentality of tracking back to defend. It’ll be more difficult on their patch but by no means insurmountable. The midfield is going to be key and if Ozil, Cazorla, Arteta and Ox/Rosicky can tighten possession of the ball then I expect them to out think Gerrard, Coutinho, Henderson and Sterling.

    Also, we have Jack back and like Ox he offers a more direct approach to moving the ball rather than the likes of Santi and Ozil.

  39. The link up play between Giroud and the likes of Ramsey, Ox and jack has been the reason we are also seeing goals from this trio. All three of these lads is willing to make the run in to the 18 yard box from deeper positions and thus create the style of link up we need.

  40. Miami Arsenal

    Yeah, that’s what I was getting at! Having a midfield with Rosicky in it is a double edged sword in that he moves the ball from defence to attack seamlessly as he does defend! He always tracks back and with Arteta lying deep that should allow us to snuff out Gerrard/Henderson axis! And once we win it back, he’s effortless in his taking the ball forward into the opponents half, like you said, Ozil and Santi love a 1 – 2 etc but Rosicky is forward thinking like Jack and always looking for the through balls, which, against a team that isn’t that great defensively could be vital! Their LB and Rb position is extremely weak right now, contain and counter could work wonders with Pod and Ozil on Lw and RW, with someone as clinical as Pod chances will be had, they will have to concentrate on marking Giroud and I don’t think MD or Kolo are adept enough to handle Pod, Ozil, Santi and Giroud all moving positions! Only a matter of time! Ramsey would have been ideal in this kind of match!

  41. @bill

    What is to say that we won’t dominate possession against LIverpool. Lets be honest here, we can dominate their midfield with either Ox or Mozart playing beside Arteta but Mozart’s passing and ability to counter at pace is something the Ox not to mention Jack and Ramsey are still learning how to do and that will play a massive part in a match that I think Liverpool will be looking to attack attack attack. Remember they have no Lucas so they are playing Gerrard and Henderson as their holding midfielders with Countinho(who doesn’t track back at all) in a midfield.

  42. MS! Meant Skyrtll! But i can never spell it or be bothered to google it for correct spelling

  43. C

    Yeah, this could be a chance for Arsene to show he’s as shrewd in tactics as any of the best. Gerrard and Henderson will be looking to operate at a high tempo to attack attack as mentioned, meaning the longer we keep the ball and keep them chasing the more spaces they’ll make. The front 3 of Suarez, Sturridge and Cout do not track back as much as they should; they very much lie in wait for the pass forward. Our tactic should be exploit the LB and RB positions and contain their midfield and Rosicky and Arteta should be capable of this. Pod for me is still the most clinical striker we’ve got, with their frist choice LB and RB out, plenty of chances to be had I think!

  44. Not to mention, in their last match, Liverpool were giving up chances but West Brom didn’t have a striker with Anelka out and Anichibe starting from the bench. West Brom had chances from not only the counter but with Liverpool back defending.

  45. C

    Very much why if they do make champs league, they’ll very much get hit with a reality shock.

    If Suarez leaves in summer, they’ll have a hard time replacing his raw talent. If they don’t make CL, then they won’t replace him. Suarez for me, is putting himself in the shop window with his performances this season, don’t for one second think he’s happy staying with no CL! He’d have joined Arsenal had to bid £50mill+

  46. Norhtbank.

    Ox offers more pace and energy defending on the flank IMO. I just don’t see how you can drop him. I am going against my own advice about getting overly excited by one game but I have always thought that Ox is the future. He has just come back from a long injury lay off and its my hope that he will play well on the right flank for the rest of this season and hopefully he and Walcott will be an incredibly dynamic duo on the right and left wing for many seasons.

    Miami:

    What you say is obviously true but the reality is that scoring against Coventry is not the same as scoring against Palace.

  47. I see Sanogo has returned to training, he was thought of as one of the best young CF’s in Europe, i wonder if we’ll see him more over next couple of months! What a plunge though, French second division to Champs league vs Barca!!

  48. @MLF

    I agree with you. With Lucas out they have been playing:

    Gerrard—Henderson
    ——-Countinho——–
    Sterling—-Suarez—Sturridge

    Only Gerrard and Henderson defend in their midfield for the most part. So our midfield will have time and space on the ball and we can pass around them and have them chasing shadows no doubt about it. With Podolski playing he gives us another goal scorer but also a player that will track back and help defend and is extremely good on the counter. The issue with playing both Ox and Santi is that they will all play centrally in the midfield and congest the middle thus allowing their FB’s to run up and down the flanks. As you point out, both of their 1st choice FB’s are out which means we should be chomping at the bit to take advantage of that.

  49. Just seen the photos from todays training session and Jack was training so could be on the bench tomorrow.

    @Bill

    I haven’t mentioned the Ox today 🙂 you must have meant your comment for someone else!!!!

  50. Bill

    I’ve thought Ox was the future since his game vs AC Milan at Emirates when he personally went about tearing them a new one. But he worked well in that game because AC came to defend, so worrying about defending wasn’t on Arsene’s mind IMO giving Ox the opportunity to run at fullbacks and if he got caught out, well Arteta and Rosicky were covering behind him. Pod offers more cover out wide left for me and he’s good at attacking, if there is someone I want the ball to land to with space in box, Pod every time. Ox is still very young and not as adept at holding the play up and passing as Rosicky and Pod. He’s a fantastic sub to have against them though, his pace and power in the last 20 could be crucial! But I think the midfield of Arteta, Rosicky, Pod, Santi, Ozil can defend and contain as well as they break whereas I think OX turns off defensively simply due to lack of experience. Also, his cramping in the last 10 shows he’s not ready to start consecutive matches, especially one that will be high tempo like this!

    Benching him after two goals seems harsh…But could also make him hungry to come on and steak a claim to starting matches with a goal or two. I’m sure he’s aware he’s not up to full match fitness yet.

  51. @MLF

    I to think that Suarez is off should LIverpool not make CL. I mean a player of his ilk and talent will want to play against the best at the highest level not in the Europa. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him off to Madrid.

  52. @Bill

    Ox isn’t playing on the flanks in the future mate! Arsene has made it crystal clear that Ox will be playing centrally and that is why we are seeing him centrally now. We won’t be seeing the Ox on the flanks IMHO until Ramsey gets back and in the full flow as I think Arsene at this point is more inclined to play Mozart on the flanks than Ox. Plus when Ox plays on one flank and Santi on the other we have basically 5 central midfielders on the pitch and they all occupy each other’s space.

  53. @MLF

    In that match against AC Milan that you are talking about, Song was the DM that match with Ox playing beside him. If I’m not mistaken we lined up:

    Sczny
    Sagna—Kos—-Verm—-Gibbs
    —–Song—–Ox——-
    ———Mozart——–
    Theo——RvCunt—-Gervinho

    Song was brilliant that match shielding the back four and allowing our attackers including Ox to attack Milan in one of our better attacking performances that season. What made it all for not though was the fact that we had a chance to win the tie but the “Little Boy” inside me pulled a bad Gervinho!

  54. The biggest question is going to be what will the battle for the other pivot spot be with Jack, Ramsey and Ox all battling for that spot. It will only make our team better but 2 of them will be starting from the bench.

  55. @Bill

    “What you say is obviously true but the reality is that scoring against Coventry is not the same as scoring against Palace.”

    At face value it obviously isn’t because they are two different teams. However, application of the goals is the same if both players are willing to continue their solid work. 5 in 7 or 8 or whatever it is now for Podolski is not something to sniff at in a game where we need goals. That said, I’m not so sure this will be a particularly open affair. Whilst Liverpool want the 3pts it is just as damaging that they don’t get any, given their race for 4th is just as tight if not more so than our chase for honors.

    What has been interesting for us this season is the number of times individuals have stepped up in games that we might not otherwise have looked to for inspiration or scoring. This Arsenal is the definition of team, from front to back they are working as a unit with seemingly very little individual ego attached. I don’t care where the goals are coming from.

  56. @MA

    I’m intrigued by what type of match this will be to be honest. Rogers says that he does not fear us or any team in the EPL which makes me think that they will attack attack attack. I mean they attacked Shitty until the calls started going against and then Rogers scaled his boys back but that was away. When you look at the squad that they have fit, they really can’t defend unless he puts in Allen who is only a tad better defensively than Henderson but not the player going forward that Henderson is.

  57. When I watch the games its not obvious to me that Podolski is not a good defender or hurts the balance of our team. However, there has to be a reason that despite his obvious talent as a finisher he has basically been dropped for the last 13 months and when he does start he is always subbed off for someone who is more “defensive” around the 70th minute of every game. I have never been one to accept that Arsene always knows best but there has to be a reason for what he does. He must see something that we don’t. A problem with defending on the wing is the only possible explanation that I can think of for the way that Podolski has been used. The alternative is that Arsene just does not like him which seems a ridiculous idea to me.

  58. Again I am not one to believe that Arsene gets everything right but about 12 – 13 months ago he dropped Podolski and our team captain TV5 and went with more “defensive” options. I was cheering loudly when TV5 was dropped but I thought that dropping Podolski made no sense, but in this case time and our results has proven Arsene got that one right. Its difficult to argue with results.

  59. @Bill

    Being subbed off at the 70th min with one of Jack/Mozart/Gibbs/Nacho coming on for him to become more defensive is a good thing mate, that means we are winning and Arsene wants to maintain the lead and preserve the win. That’s not a bad thing and him doing that actually makes complete sense. Your winning and you want to bring in a player that is more defensive for a more attacking player and to not only a more defensive player but also a midfielder like Jack or Mozart who not only draws fouls but also glides past defenders and keeps possession. You must also remember that he was out injured for much of this season and it is his first major injury of his career. We have seen this with Santi, it took him a while to get back from his injury but Arsene played him through his. As we have discussed, nobody knows the reason that Arsene does what he does with Podolski; big upping the player for his finishing, attacking presence and attacking balance that having him on the wing brings to the team and overall talent but then not starting him. We may never know but we all know 1 thing, numbers don’t lie and being too defensive tends to get us punished.

    Another part that played into our run last season and early on this season was the fact that we had Theo scoring goals for fun and when he was out injured at the beginning of this year, Ramsey and Giroud were taken over while Podolski and Theo were out. Now Podolski is back and the work rate is there but I think the thing that tends to get overlooked is that attacking wise he really didn’t have as bad of a game as people think, he was a defenders last ditch interception from putting Giroud, Santi and Ozil through early on in the 1st half against Palace and if those last ditch interceptions aren’t made people are singing a different tune on Podolski. Not to mention if he doesn’t slice that shot wide then he would have been praised for his goal and there were times when he was standing alone in the box and instead of cutting the ball back Nacho played it across the face of goal. Those things are what he brings to the match and if Nacho cuts it back Podolski scores(to be completely fair Nacho played the 2 balls across the front of goal brilliantly and there was nobody there to tap them in) and you saw the frustration on teh field when he didn’t receive it.

  60. AND ya gotta love the fat that his brother, Timo Mertesacker, travels on the coach, for some of the away games, with the fans! 😀

  61. Is it weird that I am not at all nervous for the game tomorrow. I just have this feeling that we are going to go there, control the game and come away with three points. I am usually not this calm going in to a tough away fixture, but I can feel a win coming on…knocking on some wood at the moment as well.

  62. Liverpool will likely take some lessons from the defeat to us and will want to press us in the middle and dominate in numbers. Not sure if Rodgers will switch Sturridge wide.

    Key to our success is to meet them in midfield in numbers but also threaten down the wings where there will be more room.

    maybe ?…

    ………………………Per………………..Koscielny……………………..
    Sagna…………………………Arteta……………………………..Gibbs
    ……………….Chamberlain……………………Rosicky……………….
    Gnabry………………………..Ozil………………………………….Santi
    ……………………………….Giroud……………………………………….

    That puts a wall of five in Gnbary- Chamberlain- Arteta-Rosicky-Santi ahead of the defense to cut supply to SAS but also allows us to splay the ball wide and take advantage either of Gnabry-Sagna-Chamberlain at speed on the right on the attack or Santi- Rosicky aixs with more nuanced approach feeding off Ozil.

    We will still have Podolski to put on later where we can take young Gnabry off if need be and switch Santi RW. Also more defensive option would be to put on Monreal in lieu of Gnabry, Santi again to RW.

  63. Podolski – I agree with C that he was not bad at all against Palace. Tracked back to defend and but for some luck would have found the net. Particularly liked the way he let the ball run with a dummy just before he was taken off. The ball got played back to him and he was unlucky to hit the side netting.

    That said, I think the reason why he is less played maybe because of the flexibility Santi represents ahead of him. Santi whilst able to play across midfield is better (and more dangerous) cutting in for a shot out left wing. But he can also readily take up position in exchange with Ozil switching left side and crucially he can line up for a shot quickly with either feet if in the middle.

    Also there may be something to be said for two creative heads just behind the main striker in both Santi and Ozil. No surprise that Podolski IMO at Palace was trying to put in more effort with the creative aspect of things. What you do get from Podolski is a merciless finish when opportunity presents. but that opportunity is more often created for him. I feel if he can create some chances for himself and for others better, he will definitely be more in contention for a full start.

    Just my two bits worth. I could be wrong of course.:)

  64. Well the last time that we beat Liverpool, their midfield consisted of Lucas, Henderson & Gerrard against Arteta, Rosicky & Ozil. With Cazorla and Ramsey on the flanks. This time around, with Lucas out and Coutinho back, we can still play them off the park with Arteta, Rosicky & Ozil.

    Going by Mr, Wenger’s words, “We need to dominate the game in order to keep Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge quiet, We must control possession. Saturday is a good moment for us to win a big game because we have a big month ahead.”. My bet is that he will opt for the strongest OFFENSIVE lineup available. Which, to me, must be the above.Whether Podolski or Oxlade start on the flank, that i do not know.

  65. So Bergkamp’s statue will be unveiled on February 22 before the Sunderland match!

    That is going to be a huge day and the lads will probably really set out to play beautiful for the Brilliant Dutchman.

  66. Santori, great team selection, we’ll definatelt win with 12 men…. really boss the midfield 😉

  67. Baring in mind Glen Johnson, Agger, Sakho and Jose Enrique are injured, very likely to play RB and LB are Flanagan and Cissokho who endured a torrid November at The Emirates. I’m confident we will beat them tomorrow.

  68. That’s a good team Santori – I’d prefer to start Poldi and swap out Gnabry for Santi on the right, but no problem either way.

    AND Dennis is set to be present for the unveiling, C. Great day for him and the club.

  69. Ha! I thought something was wrong Northbank! In that case just drop Gnabry.

    So long as Rosicky plays – I’m happy.

  70. @Borges

    Per our discussion yesterday:

    I do think that with European clubs poaching top Brasilian talent that we see alot of them not develop properly and then have a semi resurrection once they move to a lower sided club or back home to Brasil. It has always bothered me to be honest but there is nothing that I can do because so many of the Brasilian clubs financially can’t pay the top players the wagers that the European clubs that come calling can.

    As far as Dede, I like the makings of that lads and think he could become the next CB to come from Brasil to become a boss in Europe following in the foot steps of Lucio, Juan, Thiago SIlva, even Dante(who was very good before but became a household name after his move to Bayern).

    Ofcourse you would know and speak of Hernane de Souza as he left Sao Paulo if I’m not mistaken. I think now in his prime he is proving to be a very good striker the only thing though is that he is already 27 years old which means it will be tough for him to break into Europe one would think but I do think that if Scolari gives him a chance in the Copa do Mundo that it will prove to be a good decision.

  71. Ha ha Santori, in your eagerness to seal victory, you’ve fielded 11 outfield players in your lineup

  72. hehehe…I thought no one would notice.

    I’ve snuck in the extra man!

    Oh well, back to the drawing board…which is reason why the gaffer is the gaffer and I am on these boards.:D

  73. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what squad comes out tomorrow, what matters is the players understand what’s at steak here. Knocking the oil barons off their perches after all these years on top.

    Someone was mentioning above about Man U fans saying they’d rather Arsenal never won it because they couldn’t cope with the stick we’d be sticking down their throats, well, despite not winning anything for almost a decade, our fans are still here, still turn up week after week and when victory comes they’ll have earned their bragging rights. Will Man u bounce back from their slump, and more importantly, will they still continue to have such a obnoxious bunch of fans despite a few years of rebuilding? I’m not so sure….The Glazers will not, i repeat, NOT give David Moyes over £100million to spend in the summer, despite new kit deals etc they are still in debt and with the prospect of no European football next season i’d have imagined that if they were going to splash cash they’d have bought a lot more than Mata in January, realistically, if they’d stuck in £50million for Pogba/Vidal etc, they’d have got them…With Vidic gone, where is the CB replacement to come in? Is Vidic going to put 100% in and risk an injury before moving in summer? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, COYG! I might not watch the game tomorrow out of being away snowboarding and i hate checking scores on my phone. Hoping it’s positive!!

  74. As I am sure many people do, I look through the stats looking for some sort of advantage.
    Liverpool have scored 15 times from free kicks this season compared to our total of 5. Assuming he is fit, Arteta needs to be careful with his tackling tomorrow

    COYG

  75. Evening all,

    Interested to know how we will go tomorrow..

    I don’t see Podolski starting this one. In fact I don’t see Lukas starting any difficult away matches where our attacking players will be expected to a) continuously track back and b) where the position expects someone to use the ball well and rotate with the rest of our attacking players. Sunderland at home is more a Podolski game in my eyes.

    I love Rosicky, really do but I don’t see Arsene starting him alongside Arteta. You can count on one hand the amount of times he has started in the box to box role under Arsene. He sees Tomas as more of an attacking player and rarely does Arsene go against the balance of the team.

    I hope Jack is fit for tomorrow, allowing the Ox to move to the right. Those two goals will give him confidence, hopefully we’ll see him pealing away from the full back and centre back a little more often after getting a taste of that first goal.

    Anyway, I reckon we’ll see Liverpool flying out of the traps, I wouldn’t be surprised if the game largely depends on how we cope with the opening 25 minutes or so because we have the technique to wrestle over control. Suarez vs Koscielny is a different proposition to at the Ems.

    If Jack is fit, I’d go..

    Szczesny
    Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
    Arteta Wilshere
    Özil
    Ox/Ros Giroud Cazorla

  76. C,

    Dede would be an asset. Ticks all the boxes that you expect a CB to fill. There’s a bit of Sol Campbell crossed with Dante about him. My only concern is his lack of European football experience – then again, that hasn’t hindered Paulino e Neymar’s progress there.

    Hernane de Souza – on the other hand, i can’t see him ever playing for Arsenal or any of our top rivals. Prolific last term, yes, unlikely to replicate similar form over the next couple of seasons…especially as a 27yr LATE bloomer. At best Shakhtar, Anderlecht or Braga will be his ceiling. I mentioned him because i wanted you guys to be familiar with his name, in the event of him making the world cup squad.

    We’ll have plenty of time to discuss this subject in-depth over coming days and weeks. But for now, Liverpool has my focus. 🙂

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