Arsenal Cruise To Quarter-Finals


Arsenal 2 – 0 Middlesbrough

1 – 0 Giroud (27)
2 – 0 Giroud (29)

Arsenal vindicated Arsène’s decision to field a strong XI against Middlesbrough with a comfortable victory, the two-goal margin of victory only disappointing because the performance and effort deserved more. It wasn’t through lack of trying; Tomas Mejias in the Middlesbrough goal played well, making great stops from pretty much the whole of Arsenal midfield and attack.

Post-match, Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka lamented his sides’ performance. They hadn’t, he believed, done themselves justice and lacked the intensity which underpinned their victory at Manchester City in the previous round.

The Spaniard misses the point or chooses to ignore it; Arsenal did not let their opponents settle. Straight from the kick-off, the passing was crisp and precise, the movement sharp and quick. Middlesbrough most likely, have never faced a side in this form. It was the epitome of the short passing game, an idealised version of the style Arsène wanted but could never be produced consistently enough over the years.

It was the stand-out performance of the season so far, Santi Cazorla picked up the baton and conducted a symphony of football. Mesut Özil rightfully gained praise for his part, a virtuoso performance indeed, but it was the Spaniard whose vision freed the German’s spirit.

imageThe opening goal encapsulated all that was good about Arsenal’s performance. All eleven players were involved in the move (Opta tweeted the graphic on the right yesterday to illustrate the point – click on it to enlarge) with ‘Boro barely sniffing the ball until Mejias picked the ball out of the net. A slight exaggeration, I know; it was, I think, the strongest contender for Goal of the Season so far.

If the first put the lid on the coffin of Middlesbrough’s FA Cup dreams, Olivier Giroud’s quick-fire second nailed it shut. The visitors were slow to react and the French international showed outstanding technique under pressure to guide his volley past Mejias.

Speaking to the press afterwards, Arsène was quick to praise Giroud, highlighting his improvement as a player since joining Arsenal. The striker has his critics, some of that is relevant, some not so; it’s the same as anyone else receives. He is a good centre forward, a traditional leader of the line reminiscent of Alan Smith.

Yes, he could stay on his feet more often but since returning to the side, it seems the injury he suffered at Goodison Park has played on his mind. Certainly his dismissal against QPR was as a result of that. Whilst his body has healed, his mind will take longer and to a certain extent that should be expected.

But yesterday showed that little bit extra he has developed in his game; his control is better than normally associated with the target man whilst he linked well with Cazorla, Özil and Welbeck to create space for others. Arsenal enjoyed a lot of dangerous possession down the left in the first half with Kieran Gibbs playing as an auxiliary forward for most of the opening forty-five minutes, making the most of the opportunities the visitors afforded him.

That Arsenal were so dominant, perversely makes it harder for players to push claims to usurp the incumbents of the starting line-up place. It would, for example, be harsh on Nacho Monreal to make way for Gibbs on the basis of this performance. However, knowing that the ‘understudies’ are hitting form and can seamlessly slip into the side ensures that the rest of the squad knows they have to perform at a high level consistently to keep their place in the side and that is no bad thing.

At the back, Arsenal were not tested particularly which afforded Gabriel a relatively straightforward debut. He picked up the obligatory booking but dealt with the visitors attacks in an unfussy manner, using the ball well and keeping it simple to retain possession.

Arsène praised the Brazilian post-match, underlining that nerves played a part in constraining Gabriel’s performance. We didn’t need a flamboyant centre back yesterday or anything spectacular – do you ever in that role? What we saw was a player determined not to make a mistake and willing to put the team first with a cynical block that earned his caution. It’s a hint of the ‘dark arts’ which Arsenal have been reluctant to employ in the past.

Perhaps it was the absence of the third goal which caused Arsène to observe that “if [Middlesbrough] had come back to 2-1 I think we would have struggled a little bit.” It’s a curious statement, perhaps overly generous in praise for the visitors but hinting at a fragility in confidence in the squad.

There shouldn’t have been. Arsenal played with less intensity in the second half, content to pick off their opponents on the counter. To me, there was always a feeling that Arsenal could have upped the ante and gone up a gear if ‘Boro had scored.

Perhaps Wenger’s concern reflects the profligacy Arsenal showed in front of goal, Walcott might have scored a couple whilst Gibbs, Özil and Cazorla were all denied in their pursuit of glory. You sensed that a third would have opened the floodgates and there could have been few complaints had that been the case. Arsenal were that dominant.

All in all, there can be few, if any complaints. It was a good performance and a clean sheet. In a knockout competition, that’s all you can ask for. We wait to see if the football gods deliver another kind draw in the last eight.

’til Tomorrow.

92 thoughts on “Arsenal Cruise To Quarter-Finals

  1. silvergunner says:

    Morning YW my brain and my heart tell me different things about Giroud.

    I think he has such great touch and passing ability for a target man and tends to be able to score the most difficult type of goal, but he is unbelievably slow, when he ia playing badly looks awful and can be unselfish to a fault.

    Hope the stories of santi to Athletico are fictitious as he is just quality.

  2. Richard says:

    A good article well written and fairly done. I would like to pick out two players the first paulista and then ozil. Paulista did little wrong in the game and he did the right thing by taking out the boro player out of game, but I do have a concern and that is his lack of comfort on ball his passing was ok but not once did he have assurity to bring the ball out of defence rather playing it to koscelny or chambers or gibbs or Cazorla flamini to take ball out of defence against Chelsea or Liverpool or teams who press this may be a problem but as a debut it was a solid performance. Now to ozil who I think gets maligned too much, yes he has a laid back manner and yes he doesn’t take three people on and score a stunning goal but then he is not that type of player. What he does and what he does well is keep the ball moving one more pass and he can open up defenses like a laser through toilet paper and yesterday could have been on score sheet except for boros outstanding keeper mejasbwho kept the score respectable. Now I was going to leave it at that but my mind was drawn to Sceszney he had little to do but late on he was beaten by keke’s header which hit the post, for me this is where he needs to improve he always looks like he might concede especially on one on ones. Is he our number one I don’t think so for me I would like to see another keeper come in and make it a three way fight for number 1 spot.

  3. luckyarsenal says:

    Santo was touted as leaving last year too. Would be a shame as he is quality

  4. Richard says:

    Think I need to clarify my point about wojech take a look at Courtois or de gea or hart they look like it is going to take something special to beat them. Wojech doesn’t have that feel about him does Papuan probably not but he inspires more confidence especially on one on one situations.

  5. Wavey says:

    Morning all,

    Great write up. I thought we played within ourselves on the second half, only doing as much as we needed to. I completely agree that we could have turned it on if Boro had dared to score.
    There were impressive performances across the team and I’ll agree that Flamini had a good game, but for me these have been few and far between this season. Where he does frustrate is in his need to get up the pitch. We don’t need him there, especially as his legs can’t get his back quick enough to cover. I prefer LeCoq at the minute for his willingness to stick to task.
    Just a comment on Gibbs. Maybe I just haven’t noticed it before, but he seems so much more assured on the ball now. The way he takes it down and controls it looks so impressive and if he gets his play in the final third right more often he could develop into a quality winger.

  6. silvergunner says:

    Wavey you are right against the better teams he might be an option from the left wing being already defensively minded. Gibbs problem is simply staying fit consistently like one or two arsenal he always seems to pick up niggles which has also hampered his England progress as for me he is head and shoulders better than baines.

  7. jerry says:

    Being a mere Red Member I rang AFC first thing finally getting through at 9.57 wanting 4 tickets for WH.Told not on sale til 10.00 but not allowed to hold…phone continually engaged now! Is there any real point to Red Membership? Great article..excellent performance..

  8. Joseph Wandega says:

    @ silvergunner thats a good observation. I think Gibbs must be crafted into a Winger just like Gareth bale was changed all of the sudden at Whitehartlane. Gibbs has the quick feet and dribble on him with his only weakness ability to take shots. We need him more in the Champions league and against the top 4 teams in the league. We still need a well established defensive midfielder before we can dine on the same table with Chelsea or Citeh

  9. Stu says:

    As a life-long Arsenal fan, I have been reading Yogi’s blog and the comments daily for a long time now, but this my first time of posting here.

    First up, great write up YW. Thank you for our daily snippets of insight into the world of Arsenal, N5 life, the Emirates, and of course the goings on in the corporate world behind the club.

    Secondly, a nice result result. I watched it on TV from the comfort of home (now in the Midlands) risking my usual powers of jinxing the performance – I watch and they are rubbish/loss/clutch a draw from the jaws of victory, I dont watch and listen on the radio and they play well and win. I also avoided wearing any of my Arsenal t-shirts (even the Thierry Henry one) as these usually create some form of disturbance in the force! So, I’ll take the laid back 2-0.

    Thirdly, got to say that I have had the same thoughts of Jerry. Been a red member for years, although stupidly didnt sign up as soon as the membership was released (small children, work, usual commitments taking priority) and now I am stuck in the miles from Silver, can’t justify a club level ticket, and have to pay 3 x face value for the occassional red ticket for me and the two boys. Add in trains from the Midlands. lunch etc and it costs £300 for a match. Ouch!

  10. HenryB says:

    I think Gibbs had one of his best games, and played a fluid defense/attacking game that harked back to his early Wimbledon days as a winger, and then his transition into a very good left back for us.

    I happened across the Norwich team having a midwinter break in a very nice ‘sporty’ hotel in Spain some years ago, when Gibbsy was with them on loan.

    He was sitting on the table next to me, and after complimenting him on hie performances for Norwich, I asked him to open one of those small jars of honey for me, as my hands were too big for it and I could not get a grip on the jar lid. He was very charming and said OK, so I passed it to him, but after much wrestling he could not get the bloody thing to budge.

    Dion Dublin, who was sitting at the table too, reached over, took the jar from him, and with a quick tweak, returned the open jar to me, with a big grin.

    Soon after the team left the restaurant to go training, and the last I saw of Gibbsy he was taking terrible stick from his laughing team-mates for being a weakling.

    He was/is a really nice guy and did not have any airs about him – and I am delighted he has been so good for us — and maybe the honey episode made him more determined to succeed! 🙂

  11. Wavey says:


    I agree on the injury history, it is a real problem and has hugely hampered his progress.
    I like the idea of deploying him as a winger again, I didn’t see him in his early days but feel he could a great job in that role now.
    A friend’s daughter knows Gibbs well, having gone out on a couple dates with him as friends. She said he was a really genuine guy and has sorted programmes etc signed by the squad for a young nephew. She was joined at lunch with Gibbs by Ramsey on one occassion. She described Ramsey as a complete dick acting the big man and always on the phone making out he was talking to his agent etc. Maybe she caught him in a bad day, but a bit of a shame if he is like that, especially was he would have been embarrassing Gibbs as well.

  12. nicky says:

    An apt description Yogi, because they surely did cruise. If only all matches allowed us to see the sublime passing movements that Arsenal can offer when in complete control.
    On the subject of Gibbs I only wish he realised the value of a good right boot. So often he will tear down the left wing, cut inside and then when the ball becomes naturally on to his right side ready for a shot at goal, he has to pull back and transfer it on to his good old left boot in order to pass it to someone. So irritating as he could be world class save for this one-footed limitation.

  13. Bill says:


    Excellent description of an excellent game for us. Thanks again.

    I expected it to be a lot tougher but we took the game to them and really played well and full credit to us. Cazorla was brilliant and even Flamini and Chambers did well. Gabriel did not have much to do. You mentioned Giroud and he has been excellent this season. All of the lovely passing and ball possession would have been completely irrelevant if he had not scored those 2 goals. I have been one of the Giroud critics for the last 2 years because before this season his finishing has been inconsistent to poor but so far this year has been different at least to date. Both goals yesterday and the majority of his goals come on crosses when he makes a near post run and can use his left foot or when can gets a free header. He really struggles when opposition does a better job of cutting off that sort of service or they mark his runs better. When that happens his inability to move with the ball and create his own chances or score from other positions on the pitch becomes more of an issue. However right now he is scoring goals so none of that matters.

  14. Bill says:

    We have argued about this a lot in the last couple of seasons but I still think its hard for any team that does not include C. Ronaldo to score enough goals without a significant contribution from the CF. Alexis saved us early this year and you need scoring help from the wingers but its more difficult to score consistently from the wings or the midfield. The idea of spreading goals all over the pitch sounds great but the CF is almost always in the best positions and it makes sense that he should be the teams leading scorer in a majority of top of the table teams. If your CF is misfiring its going to be tough to compete for big trophies. Hopefully Giroud can find some consistency and continue this run for the rest of this season and into next year.

  15. Pistol Fish says:

    Really good performance from every one yesterday. Even Flamini, yes I said it.
    I really like Santi and Ozil centrally. If we add a no nonsense DM it could really work.

  16. Pistol Fish says:

    It does my head in that at this level you still get players that are do one footed. You would think a little training and practice and they could vastly improve the weaker foot.
    When I was a youngster our coach had us do weaker foot training and it really made a difference.

  17. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:


    I agree with much of that, Giroud as now played the equivalent of 8.95 matches on the basis of minutes played and in so ding as scored 7 times and created another 2. This is based upon the EPL, remember he was not included in the CL squad due to injury. I think it safe to say he has been much improved in front of goal. He actually averages less shots per game than Sanchez, Welbeck and Santi.

    As a team we have now scored 47 EPL goals, placing us third, 4 behind City and 8 from league leading Chelsea. We are however 4 in front of United, with their trio of Van Persie, Rooney and Falcao. Improvement has been seen in recent matches in the defense, well aside from the all important North London derby mess. Lots to work upon but a few things to be happy about as well.

  18. Bill says:


    I have not been a big fan of OG but full credit where it’s due. He has been excellent this season. I don’t know the numbers from this season but if my memory is correct in his first season his conversion percentage was the worst of any player in the league that scored in double figures in league goals. I am confident his conversion percentage is much improved this season. He has had a couple runs of good form in the past and I suspect his struggles might return if better defensive teams cut off the specific type of service he thrives on but so far that has not happened and long may his scoring run continue.

  19. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    I hope it does as well. There were a couple of passages of play yesterday where Arsenal even put in an early cross which quite frankly shocked me to be honest. But, moreover I’m glad other players are setting up right now what with Sanchez being a little more on the edges of the game. No doubt in my mind he is our best player, but he is tending to drift through some of the minutes at the moment.

    When Giroud returned from the world cup he didn’t look like he was going to be hitting form did he 🙂 He looked a little disinterested and/or unfit and then of course picked up the injury. Santi’s returns look better this season, but then he is taking our penalties in the absence of Arteta. Still, Santi has been the best player of late and long may that form continue. A good run of form and dependent upon the results with others and who knows, maybe we could sneak second?? Yeah, I’m not confident either, but the world is full of weird shite 🙂

  20. Bill says:


    I suspect Man City will put together a strong finish while they try to catch Chelsea so 2nd may be asking for to much but 3rd and the FA cup and a win in the round of 16 in the CL perhaps.

  21. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Maybe mate, I still think Monaco is going to be a more difficult endeavor than some seem to think. That said, it is a winnable tie so lets hope it we play well. Got to head out to work soon, bye all.

  22. Limestonegunner says:

    OG seems to have improved when he returned from injury and after we purchased Welbeck. Not a coincidence, IMO.

  23. C says:

    Great win and on to the next round.

    I tend agree with Pistol, i like Santi and Ozil centrally, add a top quality DM and we really could be special. Giroud hitting top form is always a good thing, honestly, I’m glad I was wrong thus far about him. it will be interesting going forward to see how Sanchez, Theo, Welbeck and Giroud get along because thr combinations there could be something special.

    Gabriel was ashored and aggressive and just the type of no nonsense CB some have been clamouring for.

    I do hope these reports of Santo to Athletico arent true but wouldnt att all be surprised if they were.

  24. C says:


    I agree, I think while they aren’t the best at scoring they are really good at not allowing their opponent not to score.

  25. Bill says:

    OG does seem to react positively if he perceives a threat to his position. The Suarez pursuit of last year caused him to shift to a different gear in preseason. Welbeck was a threat and perhaps any talk of Jackson Matinez is an AW bluff to keep OG on his toes.

  26. Damon says:


    You do read some wishy washy liberal news outlets, don’t you?! 🙂

  27. Jonny says:

    Damon if you think the Independent is liberal you need your head read.

    I also read Telegraph and Guardian – I scarcely even consider The Indy a newspaper these days.

    Why? Do you get your news from The Fascist Planet or Daily Thatcher?

    People living in the salty air of Brighton should not be throwing stones at the liberal. 😀

  28. Two Owls says:

    I don’t think Giroud has necessarily had a history of lacking effort in his play. Someone on the blog today noted that he is a player that thrives on service and for that reason when his service is denied he does poorly particularly against the stronger teams. The same could be said of all centre forwards really. I agree that he does not have the greatest pace but he makes up for that in intelligent play. Girouds progress since arriving from Montpellier has been increasingly stronger. Blazing pace is not one of his attributes but he makes up for that through intelligent play. The touches he uses to bring others into the play are exceptional. In addition, the touches he uses to score goals are equally exceptional. He is definitely still not the finished product and one notes that in the game on Sunday he placed too much weight on a pass to Welbeck in addition to not using him in a rather obvious advanced position. Still, Giroud scored two goals, one of which was sublime. Girouds profligacy in front of goal, I think we all might agree, is rather surprising given his runs are often almost clumsy in appearance. But we can expect this man to develop in terms of strength and in terms of his technique which will produce more goals for Arsenal Football Club. He is a focused hard worker which has been evident since his days at Montpellier.

  29. Damon says:


    I note that the “wishy washy” part of my baiter was not even mentioned let all e contested! 🙂

  30. Damon says:


    I note that the “wishy washy” part of my baiter was not even mentioned let alone contested! 🙂

  31. Jonny says:

    Perhaps I didn’t think it needed contesting – given that I derided the ‘newspaper’ in question myself and pointed out the other news sources that I refer to.

    Gimboid. 😀

  32. C says:

    So the FA cup has us playing Prestin in the next round.

  33. SV says:


    If Preston defeate ManU that is…

    Otherwise ManU away. Hmm… A chance to get rid of the curse? Or an inconvenient draw with a certain defeat?

    I personally think our squad is too weak and injury prone to have a proper go in 3 competitions when it get tough. We’ve had the only journey to Brighton since when? ManCity away in mid January? Should boost with energy and have a nearly full squad right now with such an easy schedule. Instead, injuries… So, we’ll collapse as always.

    No idea what Arsene does with the playeers, but it does not work.

  34. C says:

    Smalling just got away with a blatant push in the box. Will Phil Dowd have the cojones to call a penalty on Manure?

  35. C says:


    Honestly the only focus at this point should be the FA Cup. Yea i understand the CL we can dream but I dont see us winning it so focus should be: finishing top 4 and lifting the FA Cup as 1.a and 1.b and then CL.

  36. SV says:


    Arsene will prioritize the Cl as always. With the predictable result of losing to ManU in the FA Cup and struggling big time in the league.

  37. C says:


    I hope not mate. I get there is a real possibility we can and will push on past Monaco (though they are a lot better than people think and it will be really realy tough) but the FA Cup is a trophy we can surely win again and I could be in the minority but I would rather lift the FA Cup for a 2nd consecutive year rather than push on past Monaco and then get knocked out in the next round.

  38. C says:

    Preston!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!* 1-0

  39. Wavey says:

    Anyway. As I said, away at Preston.

  40. C says:

    The PNE supporters have been brilliant, were in full voice in the prematch and havent stopped singing since.

    Manure are getting away with some serious mugging of Preston players when they are trying to defend set pieces.

  41. Wavey says:

    I honestly think we should be kicking Manure’s arse at OT. They are just not a threat at the moment. It’s amazing that they have only lost once in 18 games, they are shocking. Just one of those bogey teams for us at present , especially when Shrek plays.

  42. C says:


    Phil Dowd might have to be brave and show Manure a card or call a penalty.

  43. C says:

    Agreed, Manure simply don’t look like a team we should be losing to. We really need to put that demon to bed.

    Also, how much of a waste of money has Falcao been? I mean he simply doesnt look like he wants or fit in a Manure shirt and even worst doesnt look like he and Rooney don’t seem to want or know how to play together.

  44. HenryB says:

    Hi C,

    I am either the only one who reads your massive missives, or the only one who is sometimes mystified at your deep thinking tactical analysis!! 🙂

    Let me see, @ 5:12 you said:- “they aren’t the best at scoring they are really good at not allowing their opponent not to score.”

    So, if I take out the double negative it seems you are saying:-
    — “they aren’t the best at scoring they are really good at allowing their opponent to score.”

    Now that is deep because basically you are saying they are not good at scoring, and they are not good at defending.

    Why did you not say; – they are crap – ? 🙂

    You make any blog worth reading, and the ‘sayings of C should be writ large!!

  45. C says:

    Van Gaal just subbed Ashley Young for Falcao and the Columbian wasnt happy at all.

  46. C says:


    i didn’t re-read that post before I submitted.

    What i meant was they aren’t the best attacking but are really solid defensively but clearly it didn’t come out as I had wanted.

    Damn you 😉

  47. HenryB says:

    More to the point, C, is why did Manure ever think it was a good idea to pay Falcao £280,000 [$440,000] a week = £15m a year, [$23m] when he is 30 y.o. this year, and is clearly not suited to the EPL?

    Good luck with that. 🙂

  48. HenryB says:

    Dowd is an asshole ref.

    How could Rooney not be ‘interfering with play’ when he had to pull his weiner out of the way of the ball to avoid a personal injury?

  49. C says:


    So very true, not to mention he doesnt fit their system. I do want to thank Manure for getting Falcao though because it allowed us to grt Welbeck.

  50. C says:


    Yup that shouldn’t have been a goal. Than Fellanini with a clear 2 hand shove of the CB to win the ball for his goal.

  51. SV says:

    Funny how many say we are better and expect a victory at ManU. The same ManU we lost to 0:2 at home.

    The pressure will be on, and we’ll collapse. Because Arsene’s teams do not cope well with phycological pressure.

  52. C says:

    Come on Preston, you have time and Manure’s back 4 are shaky.

  53. Jonny says:

    @C Nobody is expecting an easy ride against Monaco – especially at this stage of the competition. I am not sure why you are taking every opportunity to remind/warn us it will be really, really difficult?

    Really? They are 5th with a game in hand in Lique 1 – would they make the top 6 in the Prem? Doubtful.

    In good news, they have back-to-back fixtures against PSG amongst the fixtures in between.

    As I said – I am not suggesting they don’t pose a genuine challenge but, barring injury crises, we are, and should be, considered favourites.

  54. C says:

    Rooney just dived, the GK didnt even touch him!

  55. C says:


    This is actually the first time I have mentioned that they won’t be a walk in the park.

    I have seen people both on here and in the Goonerverse talk as if Monaco is going to be a cake walk. Are we favored, surely but Monaco are a good side and yea they are 5th in Ligue 1 but as you know, clubs can have average form in their reapective leagues but can turn up in the various competitions.

    It would be a disappointment to lose to Monaco no doub4 about it though.

  56. GunnerStl says:

    Shrek dives! One offside, one push and one dive!! The Arsenal had better be prepared!

  57. Jonny says:

    Maybe it wasn’t you (though I think it was) – I am sure I have read someone on here saying they are going to be really difficult/much harder than everyone thinks, a few times recently.

  58. C says:

    Nope not me, I mentioned it the day of the draw but that was about it. I have talked about Kondogbia but not Monaco as a whole.

  59. Jonny says:

    Ah well – someone on here has been a broken record about it! 😀

    When is Oxpot back? Couple of weeks? Be nice to have a little depth for MF/RW – hoping he might just make the FA Cup tie.

    Unlike many, I think our squad is in decent shape for the travails ahead. Just quietly, I’m feeling more positive than usual.

  60. Bill says:

    ManU at OT for the next round, that’s a bummer of a draw. If I remember correctly the last time we played a cup game there I think Fergie sent out a line up with 7 outfield defenders and a GK. John O Shea, Rafael and his brother whose name I can’t remember started in midfield and we lost 2-0. Hopefully we can do better this time.

  61. Limestonegunner says:

    Good. An extra chance to put right our sorry record against ManUre.

  62. Jonny says:

    Right you are – an easy mistake! 😉

  63. C says:

    We all make them Jonny, I’ll forgive you.

  64. C says:


    Lucky for us then that Van Gaal doesn’t have 7 fit defenders but he may try to field all his attackers: Mata, RvP, Rooney, Falcao, Di Maria, Fellani, Janzup and who ever else he can find.

  65. FREDDO says:

    When Gabriel pumped that long ball up to Alexis, I thought: “Arsene’s bought a good one here.” Showed great range and vision (even if Alexis didn’t quite get onto the end of it)

  66. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    I mention the Monaco fixture yesterday in passing to Bill. Not sure mentioning the fixture once could be construed as a broken record. However to put the issue to bed, I’m fine with taking the rap 🙂 or was it today? Whatever, the crazy work hours are doing my banana in.

  67. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    And Lime, what is this dobbing in business all about 🙂

  68. C says:

    Arrigo Sachi is a racist and again shows how ignorant people and especially some Italians can be. His recent comments about too many black players in thr National team set-up and in the youth ranks is ridiculous and then to say “I’m not racist….but”.

  69. santori says:

    You have to be pretty blinkered to not give Flamini any credit.

    Even erstwhile Arsenal critic Pat Nevin (another Flamini’s mom then) recognised his work in midfield where he made some timely blocks and distributed the ball well, kept Tomlin and company in his pocket, ate up space in the middle.

    Unless you are prey to selective stats, Flamini did well.

    Ditto Chambers and Gibbs.

    Welbeck was a bit rusty but should prosper if given a more central role. That said, we were for a bit a 4-4-2 with Boro tamed in midfield.

    Walcott would have again proved lethal on limited showing on the break but for the inspired form of their keeper.

    We beat a very good and in form team. Particularly we beat them with a number of players who have not been regular feature in recent games.

    Contrast with Leicester where we were wholly unconvincing playing some of our regulars many like to Coq stroke to.

    This can only augur well for the squad as a whole with United coming up and CL.

    We are not Claude.

    We fear no one. I say bring it on.

  70. santori says:

    Have to agree we have to be even more ruthless.

    A third goal would be more comfortable.

    but defensively,we were solid (part from the last minute of the game)

    This is with carrying a new defender, and switching Chambers and Gibbs in + Flamini.

    We were more solid than we were against Leicester.

    We kept the intensity for most of the game and when we started to look like we were dropping, Wenger brought on Walcott and Rosa.

    So why did we not do it against Leicester with ‘better’ players on the pitch?

    Blatantly it is a systemic issue and not entirely an issue of certain individuals.

    Certainly the addition of Gabriel (and it is still a bit early to tell) has settled us when without either of Meterscielny. He may not be firing on all cylinders just yet having to get use to team movement but he looks much more comfortable in the position and it helps everyone-else.

  71. arse110 says:

    @Wavey re: your friend’s daughter’s experience with Gibbs and Ramsey, perhaps it might have been a bad day or what have you, because a good friend of mine is cabin crew with Emirates and she was working a flight he was on with his wife relatively recently and she said he was great, very low key and almost shy, they both were super low maintenance especially compared to some of the other British footballers they crew have had to deal with (actually one of whom plays for us but she’s forbidden me to say who). He also obliged the captain with some banter and photos with the crew, and declined special services treatment both upon boarding at Heathrow and arrival in Dubai (which was not his final destination, he was connecting elsewhere). Also seems like in general public interactions with him are good, so maybe it was indeed a bad day?

  72. Damon says:


    For what it’s worth, I’d like to echo that last story about Rambo. I’ve not met him personally but have heard a few stories that very much echo Arse110’s tale. The one yesterday (Wavey?) was the very first I’ve heard of anything even close to prima dona

  73. Damon says:

    And call me old fashioned or a romantisist but it matters to me. At least when they play for The Arsenal

    I want utter shit eating bastards when they cross the chalk for 90 minutes but the rest of the time the kind of guy our be glad to call your mate

    These boys have time and money in hideous excess. I’ve seen what taking three minutes out of their day can do for a kid (and some not so little kids!!). It makes their year!!

    Easy to say when i don’t have it 24/7 but if it were me I’d walk around with signed shit to give kids just to see the looks on their faces. It’d be ace!!

    There will always be some who are poor with it (I saw Adebayor behave about as atrociously as you could imagine whilst a Gunner) and people will have off days or even hours. I think these kind of blogs iron out whose had a one off and who deserves a good slice of karma served back to them…

  74. HenryB says:

    Good morning Romanticist, 🙂

    Rambo always seems to be almost painfully shy when I have seen him on TV.

    I probably started this thread by my recollection of an amusing ‘incident’ concerning Gibbsy and trying to open one of those tiny breakfast jars of honey. He really was a nice ordinary guy – and so was Dion Dublin, as it happens.

    I told him I was an Arsenal fan and looked forward to seeing him in the shirt – and all the Norwich players started to take the micky out of him, and he was obviously well thought of.

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