Sunderland Preview: He Said What?!?!

So let’s dive straight in. Arsène laid himself bare to significant criticism at his press conference yesterday, with the one-two applied by Pep Guardiola at his.

Before I start though, I do acknowledge he is particularly sensitive to football’s morality, and understandably so when you recall his time in France. Marseille’s corruption was very real and not perceived.

Oh, for God’s sake; I know it was cod psychology,

“We have two leagues. For example we had to fight very hard at Stoke and Southampton but some teams once they are safe just have a breather, which didn’t happen 10 years ago. The league has changed mentally. Morally it has changed a lot.”

No. No, it hasn’t. Stoke and Southampton, according to their respective managers, were on the beach. Clubs have always been on the beach for decades. West Brom and Watford are like West Ham; they aren’t there to do your job for you, Arsène.

We won’t finish in the top four because you weren’t good enough at your job. Pep reckons Bayern or Barcelona would have sacked him for third place.

You knew the score when you decided to stay at Arsenal all those years ago.

The Oldest Profession Has Better Morals

The morality of clubs has changed; they care only for money and don’t like it when fans judge them. They want the opera crowd as supporters; customers who pay through the roof no matter how poor the product.

Despite his claims that “we have done our job well to the end”, Wenger is horribly wrong. We were on the beach every time we travelled to a big game. We were on the beach in the second half in Munich.

It’s no good claiming that results meant we qualified at half-time in both matches. Only the bookmakers care about half-time scores. The reality is that yet again, we were found wanting on the big stage. Horribly so, as the record books show.


Guardiola has experience of the maletin. He dismissed the notion that English football is unique in its’ competitiveness:

“Every club is different, every manager is different. Football is 11-v-11, the same pitch. Of course in every country, the weather conditions are different, the referees, it can be more physical.

“But it’s the same with football everywhere, when Chelsea won it’s because they played better, more consistent. But I’m here to [be] helped so maybe you can tell me why it’s so special. You English guys – why is it so special? I’m not from here, I don’t know the answer.”

It’s only another three months until we’re told to judge Wenger in May. That’s as specious as his arguments yesterday and only slightly more irritating.

Time Is Tight, Points Are Tighter

Arsène had the money last summer to invest in the squad and didn’t do so wisely. Per Mertesacker was injured in July and Mustafi joined more than a month later. Our defensive weakness cost us three points on the opening day of the season.

And now we face Sunderland and Everton, knowing that most likely, six points isn’t enough to reach a basic target. If there was one because as he told us, Arsène isn’t set targets by the board.

Sunderland are down, Everton can’t improve on seventh or be caught by eighth. Two opponents who have nothing but pride to play for. Two opponents who are now utterly motivated by Wenger’s jibes. David Moyes can’t inspire the Black Cats squad; Arsène has done his team talk for him.

Loose talk, Monsieur Wenger; loose talk. And it’s tiresome; everybody else is to blame.

We get a hint of the future tonight. Koscielny is probably out, the same for Alexis. I’m sure the Chilean wants to play but give the man a rest.

It means a return for Alex Iwobi and Kieran Gibbs, with Nacho shifting to the third central defensive slot. No issues with either, to be honest. It’s, on paper, still a good enough team to beat Sunderland:

Cech; Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs; Özil, Iwobi; Giroud

Yes, Giroud up front. He’s in a scoring vein so best to keep him leading the line until the barren spell hits once again. Three points rather than the usual stalemate, if you don’t mind.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

80 thoughts on “Sunderland Preview: He Said What?!?!

  1. What’s he going to say if we don’t win tonight….that we weren’t trying….we were on holiday. Honestly he is having a shocker somebody at the club ought to tell him to shut up. Get your own house in order before assuming the arrogant godfather of football role. He is painfully embarrassing and frankly dishonest these days surely this nonsense cannot continue.

  2. Good morning folks and thank you Yogi.

    Guardiola took a final swipe at Wenger and his teams on holiday comment. “I don’t understand how the managers speak for the other clubs. He plays against Everton and Sunderland no? Both teams are done, no? One is relegated and one is in the Europa League, so it’s the same situation. If you don’t want to complain, do it better during the season and you will not have this problem.”

  3. Good Morning YW great post.

    There is an old West Indian Proverb that states ” Dance at Home before You Dance abroad “. The Man irritates me every time he opens his mouth now.

  4. Orson Kaert,

    Morning all. Sun trying and mostly failing to come out.
    AKB’s will be blocking their ears at Pep’s comments, especially the ‘I’d have been fired at Bayern or Barca for this season’ one. According to The Devotees, Arsene’s incredible loyalty to retaining his job at Arsenal forever more meant he has often turned down the bigger clubs, who were queueing up to have him.
    I know this is the age of delusion, but Wenger’s right up there with the political class. He’ll be telling us we have a strong and stable defence next.

    Koscielny’s had an achilles problem since last summer’s Euros. He’s clearly been playing through pain this season.

  5. Morning all,

    My eldest is 20 today and that makes me feel old. He has been brought up the correct way – he is Arsenal through and through (just like his younger brother), despite moving away from the south east when he was just 5. Arsene led us to his first Premier League title when the lad was just 1 year old and we won the FA cup final, beating Newcastle on his first birthday. Life was good. The lad even has a tile on the concourse that celebrates his 18th birthday. And yes, I still intend paying for his membership each year.

    We have long discussed the merits of Arsene’s tenure and both agree that his time is up. The difference is I can remember Arsenal before Arsene. The joys of Merson’s magic hat, Thomas going through the midfield, the likes of Limpar, Bergkamp and Ian Wright Wright Wright. But then I remember as far back as Terry Neil in the 70s when Liverpool won everything, our poor league form in the then Division 1 and of course those three back-to-back cup finals and the grief I got at school after the 1980 final.

    The lad is aware of such things, but his memories only really go back to the year of the Invicibles, when all was good, both in football and the UK generally; the future looked rosy. We had a world class squad and a new super stadium was on the horizon. More Premier Leagues, FA Cups and a Champions League were undoubtably on their way.

    As we all know, the wheels on the bus stopped going round and round (he loved that song when he was little) with the ill-fated 2006 Champions League final, the period of austerity with the move to the Emirates, Kroenke’s takeover and what appears to be the onset of Arsene’s dementia caused by a incurable dose of Mourinho-itus.

    I cannot do anything about Arsenal’s current plight, but I can wish happy birthday to my eldest today. Unfortunately, we will not be celebrating at the ground today with him at Uni in Norwich and me now living in the south west. I’m just a little gutted that his team have let him down, bar a couple of FA cups, over the past decade or so. Just weeks before his birth in 1997, another red team celebrated a victory with the song “Things can only get better”. Twenty years on, the sentiment remains. We can D-Ream.

  6. Stu,

    Thinking back to 2004 it was hard to see us not winning a shed-load more trophies. We were the best team in the land by a good distance, then the wheels came off. Sure we won the FA Cup in 2005 (a great day out), but the team nose-dived.

    I think the catalyst was selling Vieira. His uncompromising style has never been replaced. He was 29 at the time and won 4 more titles in Italy.

  7. Orson Kaert,

    I saw those comments and literally cried laughing because all the talk before the season was how Arsene was going to struggle with the top managers now in the PL and well, we are now in the Europa League and Pep is spot on.

  8. Oh FFS just shut up Arsene…..
    Your charges have been on the beach since December when we played Everton and Man City mate.

  9. Good post Yogi.

    the other part of Arsene’s comments that I found to be laughable is the talk of have too big a squad but wanting a bigger squad. To me that could mean two things: 1. he thinks we have quality but wants to add more (which hints at a summer clear out) or 2. We are about to see Ozil, Sanchez and Bellerin sold.

    Personally, until he clarifies his future, Arsene shouldn’t be given any funds (though I admit the signing of Saed if true is a brilliant signing) or say so over the squad for next season.

  10. C

    The club will announce once league season is over. Before the FA Cup final as well; too risky afterwards as defeat would leave the mood despondent and Wenger staying would turn that toxic. No-one is going to turn on the team before the final and any cup final crowd suffers in silence, traditionally.

  11. YW,

    That makes the most sense logically, but you have supported much longer than I have and you have seen the detoriation of logical thinking by the club, so I will wait and see what happens. I actually think, barring winning the FA Cup the announcement of Arsene’s contract is going to be toxic especially if they announce it as you say and Citeh come out and put us to the sword.

  12. Nobody expects Arsenal to be anything other than totally underhand in all areas, putting off the announcement of the new contract is straight out of our brave new textbook. I would have thought that all of those in positions of power at the club might be slightly alarmed that the figurehead is so unpopular that they cannot announce a new contract for fear of the reaction….or perhaps it’s other clubs faults…or the fans fault that they are being unreasonable about poor arsene. Anyone’s but the board, manager and players fault. A ripe old mess….the other problem we have is wenger once again excusing the players by unbelievably blaming other teams for our fifth place trophy…..he is a very poor man manager. He may be an economist but he’s a dire psychologist….contrast that to conte talking about it being a moral obligation and an instruction to win. I know what kind of attitude I’d rather play for….

  13. YW,

    There has to be a plan on the table, with Champions League qualification effectively down the toilet, the board have to be relying on an Cup Final win to make it possible to spin that as enough of a success to warrant a new contract.

    How they will manage if we lose in the final I just don’t know.

  14. Ospina has spoken apparently:

    “My agent is dealing with transfer matters but I will say this, I’ve told Arsenal that I want to leave and I would play in Turkey,” Ospina told Fanatik reporters Edip Adanir.

    “I am actually happy at Arsenal but I want to play regularly, the club understands my situation and will not attempt to block a summer exit.

    “We will just have to wait and see what happens next.”

  15. A very good post indeed – just the right amount of much needed skewering to cut through the ludicrous churn of AW’s ever-growing and ever more embarrassing excuse-factory.

    Honestly, does he not hear himself at all?

    I am presently sat on a bus in Montreal off to visit Limestone and the delights of Kingston (no not that one – it also goes through Whitby and Scarborough – original place-names are in short supply, it seems).

  16. YW,

    Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to within a week or two of Arsene’s contract expiring before they feel obligated to tell us what is happening. We could lose heavily in the final and see them leave it for a few weeks so that things cool down. At least they would in their minds even if many fans don’t oblige them by moving on so quickly.

  17. C,

    If Ospina is off, that reopens the Szczesny debate. Would he accept the number two position behind Cech? Is he good enough to be first choice? Would Cech accept the back-up role?

    I suspect we will retain Cech as the first choice, for one more season, and promote Martinez. Although I would be more in favour of signing Buttland or one of the other young Premiership ‘keepers and phasing Cech out over the first half of the new season.

    I don’t want Szczesny back.

  18. Orson Kaert,

    We will agree to disagree on Sczcney, I have watched many a Roma matches and read reports and I would gladly take him back in the same way that Chelsea phased out Cech with Courtious. Butland can’t stay fit so no point in signing him. I would also think that Sczcney can come back as our #1 as a more matured GK and one that over the last 2 seasons has been the #1 GK for a Roma side that up until the last weeks of the season has battled Juve for Serie A crown.

    I do think that Martinez has the potential to be a really good GK especially with his command of the box and big frame. For me, I can’t take another season as Cech as our #1 and watching match in and match out such poor distribution. Personally I think Sczcney is remembered for the first of of that season and not the fact that the season before he won the Golden Gloves, has kept 14 clean sheets(leads Serie A) this season and another 8 last season in a league where you have 6 20+ goal scorers (Dezko(27), Mertens(25), Belotti(25), Icardi(24), Higuain(24), Immobile(22)) .

    I know I’m going to be in the minority but I would rather have Sczcney than any of the young PL GK’s as I simply don’t think they are what we need to push for the title.

  19. Speaking of, he gave an interview recently and here are the main talking points:

    “I came here after a terrible season,” Szczesny said. “I was in a bad moment. It was a good chance for me to re-launch my career.

    “Coming here and having a fresh start, new challenges, new league helped me to mature a little bit as a player.

    “My best season? I’d say so, yeah. In terms of consistency, it definitely is. In terms of quality, I feel at my best.

    “Am I the best goalkeeper in Serie A at the moment? It’s a big statement to make. There are goalkeepers on an unbelievable level here.

    “I wouldn’t dare compare myself to Buffon, not as a man and not as a keeper. I’d never make that statement, no.

    “Roma’s season? It’s been a little bit up and down, but mostly up. In a few important moments we lost important games that we shouldn’t have lost.

    “I wasn’t playing but we got knocked out of the Europa League in a way that shouldn’t happened.

    “There were were some bad games, but when I look at the season overall we’ve been very consistent.

    “Difference between Roma and Juve? I don’t ever want to say that my team is missing something.

    “Roma can absolutely compete at the top level in Italy and win trophies. The size of their squad is a difference, they have 25 players that are ready to play every week and that makes a difference over a season.

    “It looks like they always know they are going to win. They have a mentality of real winners.

    “I really appreciate that as a professional and when things don’t go well, they still come out on top.

    “That’s made a difference but in terms of quality, I don’t see anything that we’re missing.

    “Playing with Totti? A little bit unreal. He’s a player that I watched as a little kid.

    “As a young kid of eight or 10 years of age you never dreamed that you’ll share a dressing room with those kinds of players.

    “It was the same with Buffon when I first played against him. I never thought I’d get the chance to play such a legend. It’s been unreal.

    “Staying at Roma? I’m happy here. I feel I’ve grown as a goalkeeper but for me the time to make a decision will come in the summer.

    “For now I’m an Arsenal player, as soon as my loan finishes, I have to come back [to London]. I’ve always said I’d love to be back there.

    “Like I said, what will happen definitely won’t be decided now but in a month or two months’ time.”

  20. Orson Kaert,

    Would gladly have him back as cup keeper next season, if he’s willing. As C said, he had 14 clean sheets in a great season for Roma. Cech is 35 in a few days so perhaps next season his last as first choice.

  21. Afternoon,

    Wenger makes ridiculous statements to explain the poor performance of the team and the final position in the table. Nothing new there then.

  22. Limestonegunner,

    I haven’t seen any of his games for Roma, but I suspect that he has had a settled defence in front of him, should he return to Arsenal he will be playing behind a bunch of defenders who don’t know what system they will play from game to game and whether they are centre-backs, full-backs or wing-backs.

    The fact that we are going to sign Kolasinac, a left full-back, seems to indicate that three at the back is not set in stone.

    In Norfolk we used to have a railway company called Midland and Great Northern. The M. G. N. R. Known locally as The Muddle and Get Nowhere Railway. It looks like Arsenal are turning into the M. G. N. F. C.

  23. C that’s a great interview, he comes across well, at the time of ‘smoking in the showers gate’ i was very happy to see the back of him but a couple of years in Italy has shown he is clearly good enough to be our no.1….before even Cech, for me. Hope we bring him back for next season, i think he’d be, as well, a good character to have around the club. Fair enough to Ospina he wants to play, did a good job for us when he played and for me Cech wasn’t the upgrade we all hoped for.

  24. In French they have a saying that only a fool doesn’t change his opinion. Arsene can make all of the excuses he wants but he just sounds more and more like a sociopath every time he speaks.
    There seems to be no planning in any aspect of the sporting side of the club (or is it company?), whether it’s tactics, training, recruiting, player turnover…..whatever.
    If we fail as a team having put into place structures, systems and processes to give us in principle the opportunity toke a credible challenge in major competitions, I co live reluctantly with that, that we don’t do so is the real indictment,

  25. Great preview yogi

    Arsene says some really stupid things sometimes. I wonder if he really believes what he says or if he understands how stupid that statement and just does not care what anyone else thinks. Part of human nature is that they can rationalize anything to justify something they desperately want to believe so I suspect its the former.

    Anyone who thinks Arsenal has stayed at Arsenal all of these years because he loves the club is allowing his emotional attachment to control his judgement. Arsene has stayed because he has total control and he is the one who decides what constitutes adequate results and he could never find another scenario where he has that sort of control. It does not hurt that he also has world class wages and no one is going to take that away until he decides its time to retire

  26. We have talked about this a lot over the years but Arsene obviously falls into the same trap as some of us. He sees what he wants or hope to see when he watches the season play out. I understand that human nature is the same for everyone and I accept that fans will do that but you would think the clubs manager would make a special effort to be rational and realistic about what is happening.

  27. C

    I know how much you want to believe in Wojo but what if you are wrong about him having conquered his mental demons. He is coming back to a culture which gave him the problems in the first place. We have seen first hand from the Almunia and Wojo years just how much an inconsistent GK hurts a team. The risk may outweigh the benefits

  28. I think there are plenty of good GK such as Fraser Forster who could do very well without the risk that Wojo represents.

  29. Bill,

    How do you know you that he doesn’t come back and is the GK that he is now at Roma? As you know and have banged on for years about, GK’s get better not only with experience but as they age and how do we know that since he has been battling the whole of the past 2 seasons for the title that he doesn’t bring that winning mentality and fighter mentality back to our back 4 which sorely needs it and Cech clearly isn’t bringing? Yes there is a culture here but you as I know, GK’s are a completely different breed, kind of like a GK in hockey.

    I know everybody keeps banging on about Butland and Forster, but how do we know that they are right at the level that they are and aren’t the calming influence, especially Butland who can’t stay fit. We have seen GK’s bought from mid level sides and not perform, think Bergovic at Chelsea, think Mignolet at Liverpool, hell think Bravo who was really good for Barca but has struggled at Citeh.

    All I’m saying is that he has 1 year left on his contract and Cech, IMHO shouldn’t be a guaranteed #1 for us next season for a number of reasons including his distribution which is shit for a side that plays out of the back. I think there are a lot of people that are making assumptions on Sczcney from when he was younger and had a bad half season (remember before he won the Golden Gloves he was injured that’s part of the reason he lost his spot).

  30. C,

    I see that you’re determined to get the Polish guy back, I’m fed up with having to type his name


  31. C, I’ll let you announce the team sheet, we are just about to sit down to dinner.

    Back in a bit.

  32. Team to play Sunderland: Cech, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud.

    Subs: Gabriel, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Welbeck, Coquelin, Elneny.

  33. Orson Kaert,

    The formation may not be set in stone but it doesn’t necessarily affect the decision about WS. All GK’s do benefit from an organized and settled defense. WS has proven that he can be a good keeper at the top flight. That is better than relying on Martinez or another young keeper untested on a good team. I wouldn’t want to throw him in ahead of Cech, but he would be very good in Ospina’s role for a season if he is willing to do that after proving himself.

  34. I think it’s a mistake to start Alexis. Chasing top 4 vs fielding g the best team for the cup. Jonny agrees.

  35. Hello from Kingston, Ontario.
    Limestone and I are in place.
    He’s geared up with a cranberry and soda.
    Cheap date.

  36. I won’t list Petr’ faults as he was a good buy at the time, but we can definitely upgrade by bringing back SZCZ.

    Kolasinac looks very good physically, I’d imagine if we’re sticking to a back three. 3 goals 8 assists is the kind of stats you’d want to see from a wingback.

  37. Stadium about 65% full I hear. The BBC are doing a good job of failing to mention either by text or on the radio that it’s part of the Wenger Out campaign, surely they know that?

  38. C Bob

    Giroud can take Gibbs with him. He seems like a nice lad but surely we have better academy players than him?

  39. staying away when your seat is paid for is the kind of protest Kroenke doesn’t mind!

    some great movement and passes from Ozil, who is getting a lot of space, but everyone up front is just giving it away. Xhaka’s put in some good passes too
    Giroud is back to Giroud. Sanchez giving the ball away a lot as usual – I do wonder why he’s playing tonight

  40. Arsene has really turned us into a laughing stock now hasn’t he.

    Emirates half empty and we are a laughing stock. Listening on SiriusXMFC and they are having a right go at Arsene, the emptt Emirates, Giroud being shit and the shambolic defending and how Sunderland look like a side that should stay up and we are a side that shoulf be relegated.

    They just said, “this is worse than playground futbol, please please please somebody come from the stands and take all the balls home because this is absolutely shambolic futbol.”

  41. C,

    I don’t, I just like the look of him and in the games I’ve seen him play I’ve been impressed.
    I think Wojo looks good because he has a solid defense in front of him. he’s playing in a team with a game plan, bags of passion loads of desire and structure.
    all things that will be missing if returned to Arsenal

  42. Pistol Fish,

    Honestly, I think both Forster and Sczcney are in the same situation currently when it comes to the defense and team infront of them with thr biggest difference Sczcney needing to perform under pressure for a club for the 2nd year running putting up a proper fight for the title.

  43. 2 – 0, Sanchez & Sanchez. Clean sheet, three points.

    All we have to do now is beat Everton and pray Liverpool don’t beat Middlesbrough. Then beat the Chavs and Wenger will have done the TFT and FA Cup double.

    Good night one and all.

  44. A pretty strange game really. We huffed and puffed for ages and between our sloppiness and Pickford’s keeping didn’t look like we would score for most of the game. Then Sanchez gets the goal and everyone suddenly wakes up and we look really threatening. We nearly managed to give them a goal, I really haven’t a clue what Nacho thought he was doing.

    I haven’t watched Pickford before, but I’ve got to say he really looks the part. I’m a fan of Butland, but I don’t know what that long injury will do to his career, but Pickford looks like a quality keeper and his distribution is generally much better than Cech’s (although I think he did put a couple straight into touch).

    Looking good for that speech about the brave attempt to get into the CL places and the disappointment about not quite making it.

  45. Pistol Fish,

    My old man is a huge Celtic fan (being a sweaty) and was always moaning about Forster when he was at Celtic. Complained that he never came to claim the ball. There again, he was well up for the Gordon signing and now moans about him all of the time. I think he just has a downer on keepers.

  46. Enjoyable ultimately but we could have used a couple more goals from all the attacking creation. Pickford certainly looked terrific. If the penalty had been given for holding Giroud in bear hug, the floodgates might have opened earlier.

  47. That Nacho back pass and the free kick are among the strangest situations I’ve seen in a march for a fair few years. Totally bizarre stuff.

  48. Not for the first time Arsene redefines success – this time it’s getting more points than last season. Is there a trophy for that?

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger speaking to BBC Sport: “We had plenty of shots on goal but we needed to be patient. We were frustrated at half-time not to be leading.

    “We made 71 points and were second. We now have 72 and want to go to 75. After that you deal with what happens.

    “We’ve got in on the final day many times. Sunderland fought and you want that in the Premier League – that’s what you want from every team.

    “We had a difficult patch after the Bayern game because it was difficult to recover. On the other hand it was a good mental test and we responded in a strong way.”

  49. andy1886,

    “We responded in a strong way”. Conveniently forgetting the West Bromwich and Palace defeats, not to mention the NLD fiasco.

  50. Again it shows that when Ozil and Sanchez are playing close together higher up the pitch good things happen. Ozil’s cushioned pass was nothing short of class and he knew Sanchez was going to be there.

    My only gripe is that it shows again Giroud is not our CF1 or and should have to battle for CF2

  51. If we win our last game we will be on 75 points which I think would be our second best total of the decade. Hard to imagine that many points back in Feb. It’s amazingly frustrating how we can flip a switch and get results whenever the top 4 is at risk. I am actually hoping that Liverpool hold on and we are in the Europa league next year. Arsene knew this year was going to be tough because he spent close to $100M in 2016 on transfer fees which is more money then we have ever spent but it still was not enough. Hopefully missing the top 4 will light some sort of fire under his feet and may be he will get even more aggressive this summer.

  52. As has been mentioned here, three at the back (often five) really does provide a very solid platform for our creative players because they don’t have to track back as much. Ironically, that makes Alexis a better defender because he’s prepared to chew up energy closing down players high up the pitch (his speciality) because he knows that he won’t have to use it tracking back to his own penalty area. He and Ozil can also float all over the forward line. In other words, it took almost the whole season for Arsene to unshackle his creative players. Until then, he was fighting the last war. How much is he paid? Unbelievable.

  53. C

    We don’t have a CF1. Sanchez scores just as many or more from wide left and that is where he likes to play. Makes no sense to move him to CF. We don’t have anyone to play CF who is of the quality we need to challenge for top of the table.

  54. Freddo

    This end of the season run of good form happens every season when we in a fight for the top 4 irregardless of which players we use or which formation. If you really believe that Arsene has found an effective formula then we should be able to take the success into next season but that never happens.

  55. Bill,

    Sanchez is already out the door, unless the club demands that he serve out his contract and is prepared for him to be even grumpier than usual. I can’t see that happening, no matter how desperate Arsene may be.

  56. Bill,

    You may well be right. But with three at the back, Sanchez basically plays as a CF (even if he starts on the left) because he doesn’t have to track back as much. Arsenal went off the boil around the time that Arsene asked him to bust a gut down the left flank.

  57. Limestonegunner,

    Presumably, Cech was trying to make sure he received the ball on his right foot. I thought the ref messed up when he allowed Arsenal to form a wall at almost right-angles to the goal post. Arsenal players should have had to line up along the goal line until they were ten yards for the ball and only then stand in the field of play.

  58. freddo,

    Throughout his career Cech has always preferred to receive the ball on his left foot, which why it was so odd that he would be standing so far to his left side.

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