Gabriel Ban Overturned But Trouble Still Looms & Tottenham Preview


It’s a funny old game and for once Arsenal are laughing. Having rarely done so before, the Football Association overturned Gabriel’s three-match ban for violent conduct. Well done to the legal team but not quite a time for the champagne corks to pop; there’s still the small matter of the improper conduct charge to beat yet.

We may find that what the FA giveth with one hand, they take with the other. Even though it has been found that he should not have been sent off, Gabriel may yet find himself on the wrong end of a ban. On the face of it, he didn’t leave the pitch when dismissed by Dean but the situation was made to look worse by the appearance of security on the pitch even though Gabriel was already heading toward the touchline.

I would be surprised if the FA took into account the incorrect decision to dismiss him; this is about his reaction to the red card. No matter how wronged he may have felt, the FA will probably take the view that he should have left the pitch without fuss.

The decision to overturn the red card offers clarity in applying the Laws of the Game. Violent conduct, previously seen as an action which in itself appeared violent, must now involve actual contact with another person. A slew of appeals is likely to follow future dismissals but it may eventually end the tawdry play-acting of which Costa now stands accused.

But at the end of it, Chelsea still have three points. The FA’s decision is something of a hollow ‘victory’ for Arsenal in that sense.

For Arsène, it changed his outlook on tonight’s match. Knowing that there is a likelihood of a one-match ban looming, I would select Gabriel and rest Koscielny to partner the returning Per Mertesacker. The Brazilian will surely be feeling vindicated, perhaps even buoyant, with the week so far, going in his favour.

Wenger is going to field a similar side to the one which lost in Zagreb. The League Cup is now officially not a Youth Cup, it’s the Stiffs Cup. Except we don’t have reserves at Arsenal according to Arsène,

There are no fringe players [here], there is only a first-team squad. It is an opportunity for Arsenal to win an important game and for the players who play for the club to defend our club and qualify.

Apart from that, we played with the team in Zagreb and we didn’t win, so we want to come back now and win our cup games because that’s vital for us.

Which is good news for Joel Campbell who must have wondered what he was exactly at Arsenal. The Costa Rican has a reasonable expectation of starting on the left tonight as Arsenal seek a repeat of the 4 – 1 win the last time the two sides met in this competition at White Hart Lane.

The choice to field a relatively strong line-up underlines Wenger’s recent comments that the Academy leagues are not competitive enough. The good youth players, the ones with a chance of making the grade, are out on loan and, according to the manager, the remaining players are not ready for this level, this type of match. His view in that is not alone, other clubs exploit the loan system for exactly the same reason. It’s an issue the FA has to address.

Drawing attention to the Champions League defeat underlines the backdrop to this game. Arsenal have lost consecutive fixtures and need a win to restore confidence to the squad. A must-win game for the reason alone, no matter how much you might despise this competition. Add in that it is the North London Derby and a match where there has to be a loser and well, no pressure, eh Arsène?

The manager chose to highlight two players for whom this is a key match for very different reasons: Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Giroud’s indiscipline was as pivotal in defeat as Gabriel’s dismissal at Stamford Bridge and underlined his frustration at his form. Goals, hard to come by, need to start flowing once more. Tonight offers the opportunity to start with Theo Walcott, for the moment at least, promoting himself to the first-choice striker. It’s not going to be easy for him to be displaced if the back-up isn’t scoring either.

Equally, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has something to prove. He’s become a fan favourite and like Alexis, largely gets a ‘free pass’ for any mistakes. There have been some which have proven costly, a trend of conceding possession that led to conceding goals developed in a couple of friendlies and has carried on to this season, capped off with poor defensive work in Zagreb which led to a genuinely unfortunate own goal.

Arsène noted that Oxlade-Chamberlain has a tendency toward being overly critical of himself. I’d rather that than the egotism of Bendtner. Ox shows the inclination, the drive and desire to want to improve and as Wenger noted, has become a regular for England. The next step is to make an Arsenal spot his own and there’s no doubt he has the ability and drive to do that. More than anything, he needs the manager to believe in him and that’s half the battle. Wenger’s preference for Ramsey to notionally occupy the right flank makes it a tough battle ahead for Ox.

Largely, you would expect the team which failed in Zagreb to get another chance. Tweaks and changes, yes, but for a similar XI. The biggest issue for me is the defensive midfield role. I know Arteta will play but I would also include Chambers alongside him, with a view to putting some energy into the roles, as well as giving Chambers experience as back-up to Coquelin until the squad is strengthened in that area.

It frees Ramsey to move further forward or at least enjoy a more attacking role. The worrying trend of a lack of support for the striker is starting to re-emerge and with Giroud, if he isn’t in the box, no-one else is there as we saw in Zagreb. Ramsey can solve that problem.

Assuming Alexis and Özil are rested, a possible line-up (with the probable starters in brackets) is:

Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gabriel (Chambers), Gibbs; Chambers, Arteta (Ramsey); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey (Özil), Campbell; Giroud 

Whatever the case, Arsenal need a win, ideally in 90 minutes but any win will do to be honest. And leaving the north London sky a lovely shade of red can be no bad thing, can it?

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

166 thoughts on “Gabriel Ban Overturned But Trouble Still Looms & Tottenham Preview

  1. C says:

    Sanchez coming on.


    Completely agree, Campbell has done way to much covering for Debuchy who is getting caught up field.

  2. C says:

    Theo on for Giroud and Ozil on for Arteta or Flamini please.

  3. Wavey says:

    Debuchy overlaps and Ox gives the ball away. Usual naive play from a player who really needs to think about the pass.

  4. Wavey says:

    Debuchy needs to stay at home. Can’t afford to be caught up the pitch as often as he is.

  5. consolsbob says:

    We are a pretty ordinary side, aren’t we?

  6. C says:

    Ox gives the ball away again and Giroud is having a seat in the middle of the park for no reason.

  7. C says:


    What a strike!

  8. Wavey says:

    Tonight I think I’ll let Santori have his moment.

  9. C says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha you honestly couldn’t have made that shit up.

    Somewhere Flamini’s Mum is absolutely losing his mind, surely he is lurking ready to post.

  10. consolsbob says:

    So, our obtuse friend has been right all along. Flamini is the answer!

  11. Jonny says:

    Shows what a bit of aggression and heart can bring.

    Flamini’s mum will be having a stroke. 😉

  12. C says:

    Who would have thought that Flamini has been the best striker on the pitch tonight.

    Fans are singing, “Flamini scores when he wants!”

  13. consolsbob says:

    After that triple comment on Santori, let no one say that we, on ACLF, don’t read all the posts carefully.

  14. Wavey says:

    Didn’t say anything about him being a striker though. Certainly been better at it than Giroud tonight. Would have thought it was your striker following up for the first one, not your DM.

  15. C says:

    Sanchez looks at Giroud and wonders why he is going for headers and Giroud is wphaving a walk about.

  16. Bill says:

    I have not been able to watch the game but and Arteta could have been the best players on the pitch and no one would have seen it that way. Clearly flamini has been our best player based on the score line

  17. JonJon says:

    pleased for flamini after all the shit weve all given him…
    hes moved above arteta in pecking order….

    let santori have his moment…

  18. consolsbob says:

    To be honest, Bill, Flamini has been as good as anyone. Better.

  19. C says:

    Arteta has been a nothing more than a warm body, in an open match like this, he doesn’t have the legs anymore.

  20. C says:

    Tend to agree with Bob, probably been our best player tonight, certainly in midfield and attack.

    Shame Campbell had to track back to cover and help Debuchy so much.

  21. Wavey says:

    And this is one of those rare times that both strikers are on the pitch. A couple of minutes to go and so nothing to lose.

  22. C says:

    When you saw the lineup, who would have thought that Flamini would be the MOTM after nabbing 2 goals.

  23. C says:

    Have to say, both of Flamini’s goals were well taken.

  24. Wavey says:

    We’ll take that. Beating the Spuds on their own ground again.

  25. poodle says:

    second string did the job. Flaming is the King!

  26. consolsbob says:

    Apparently, Flamini is out joint highest goal scorer this seasowe do have “solutions upfront”.

  27. poodle says:

    Well Flamini did what Ramsey should do as a box to box no?

  28. Finnish Hit says:

    It’s a good night for the Wenger, Flamini, Arteta, Chambers, Kroenke and Mertesacker bashers to come out. Oh.

  29. JonJon says:

    other than the goals flamini did fuck all…

    but goals win games….

    and more importantly a game against spus…his second was a cracker….a worthy winner of any match..

    regarding goals I don’t know what to say about giroud…..there was one attack where ox was going after them and found himself on his own as he raced past giroud who was sat on the floor…

    but this was a much needed win…

    just don’t fuck it up against Leicester….

  30. Bill says:

    I don’t know how flamini actually played but at least someone stepped up and scored. I suspect this will be his only MOTM performance this year but I guess we are lucky that we didn’t sell flamini this summer.

  31. Wavey says:

    Giroud is really starting to be a worry now. Not even going for the ball and when he does its half hearted. He needs to be beating defenders in the air and holding them off, but it just looks of easy to knock him off the ball.

    Great result and hats off to Flamini for taking his chance. Still no convinced he can do a job covering for LeCoq, but I guess we are going to see this weekend against Leicester.

  32. C says:

    We all give Flamini plenty of shit and he might run around like a headless chicken but his willingness to run down everything everywhere paid off tonight with his followup when nobody else was in the box and for the 2nd his willingness just to chase down every ball. That match winning goal was a cracker and proper technique, he still maybe shit and not cover for Le Coq but tonight he did the job.

  33. andy1886 says:

    “t’s a good night for the Wenger, Flamini, Arteta, Chambers, Kroenke and Mertesacker bashers to come out. Oh.”

    Yeah, great performance by Stan the QB 😉

    Always great to beat the spuds, didn’t see the game just followed on the BBC website so I don’t know how Chambers did, must have missed the BFG bashers though because I don’t recall seeing any posting on here.

  34. jjgsol says:

    I understand that M & S do a very good humble pie, in case any of you would like to get some, now that Gabriel was exonerated because, surmise surprise, he did not touch Costa.

    Sorry to drag you back to the subject of Mr. Warrior’s original article.

    My congratulations to the team, especially Flamini. There may be a few slices of pie left for those of you who have been unstinting lately in dismissing him as a waste of time.

    Perhaps Wenger really knows better that all of the know-alls.

  35. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Good win & decent performance.

    Stand outs for me were Gibbs & Flamini.

    Onwards & upwards.

  36. MikeSA says:

    Great result!

    Have to admit I feared for the worst, so extremely pleased with the Flamster.

    Santori will be unplayable.

    I think Campbell needs more opportunity, I thought he was creative, skillful, and energetic, supporting Debuchy who started out quite rusty but I thought grew into the game as it progressed.

    Gibbs was not great but redeemed himself with a great header off the line.

    I’m getting less and less impressed with Ramsey. He dawdles on the ball and tries way too much fancy shit that loses the ball, one breakaway in particular from his giveaways looked like it was going to cost us. To me he looks like he’s got a bit too far up his own arse and needs to come down to earth a bit again.

    Alexis looked a bit livelier, so hopefully he’ll start finding some form now.

    All in all, a great way to stem the bleeding and get back to winning ways (hopefully).

  37. Jonny says:


    Flamini’s decent performance has been recognised but that does not mean he or Arteta are good enough in the wider picture. Lets see how Flamster gets on going forwards.

    Gabriel’s intent was what was criticised and that was what he got sent off for. That has not changed.

    Take your gloating somewhere else.

  38. C says:

    Liverpool drew with Carlisle, pressure is only going to ramp up.

  39. JonJon says:

    flamini alongside Rambo next match?

  40. Finnish Hit says:

    JonJon wrote: “flamini alongside Rambo next match?”

    You probably didn’t watch the game tonight. Great idea, though…

  41. Bill says:

    Arteta is adequate for short periods of time as long as the team as a whole is switched on. even Le Coq can’t do much if the team defense is switched off. Arteta is a safe option and has good positional sense and he won’t lose the ball or hurt the team by doing something stupid. However, He is not a good option as a long term replacement. No way he can play every game.

    Flamini came up huge today in the box to box role but last season he was a disaster at the deepest midfield role. His positional sense was poor and he lost the ball in dangerous areas. I can’t see him scoring goals from the DM position and unless he has learned his lessons from last year he is not a great option as the deepest midfielder. IMO.

  42. andy1886 says:

    jjgsol – although I have to say that Flamini deserves all the credit he gets tonight it’s still a case of one swallow not making a summer. By all means stock up on the factor fifty and roll out the Bermuda shorts, but I’d keep the old umbrella to hand just in case 😉

  43. jjgsol says:

    Thanks. Jonny.

    However whatever he was sent off for, it was wrong. Simple intent has now been shown not to be sufficient for a red card.

    It is not gloating simply a suggestion that those people who so vehemently said that he should have been sent of because of intent only, should accept they were wrong and say so.

    Even aw will have do so as well.

    So he was not the silly boy who lost us the points after all because of his stupidity.

  44. Jonny says:

    Personally, I don’t actually think he should have been sent off but I can see why he was. Regardless of the abominable refereeing he was suckered in and he let his team down through a lack of control and naivety.

    Life isn’t fair – which is why you have to be savvy, street-smart and learn to play the game within the game.

    Since the teams have been all AW’s we have not been remotely good at this. It’s a definite trait.

    Too naive. Too nice. Too sensitive. Too honest.

  45. Eric says:

    I agree with Jonny. We should have ignored Costa’s antics then rotationally abused him during the run of play.

  46. -DFS says:

    Jigsol – the point you are attempting to make is too labored.

    In the context, no one here felt Gabriel ‘deserved’ to be sent off. What posters were saying is we got mugged by Costa. Gabriel had just been booked and then he got suckered to kick out. You know exactly what everyone meant but are choosing to ‘misconstrue’ to make a fatuous point.

    You also know full well, Gabriel will have ‘learned his lesson’ that there will have been endless discussions between coaching staff and players that players cannot afford to react so naively.

    Or would you claim (due to him having the card rescinded) that he was being given pats on the back and told to do it again?

  47. The Arse in the Gamb says:

    2nd string win. They have all been 1st Team players; MOTM a bit longer than others, but some are out through form, some injury and others age. Where is Thomas? it is cruel, we should have let him go; not even a place on the 2nd string carling cup squad.

  48. Brevity says:

    Hi AITG,

    Thomas is unfortunately out with a knee injury. Ironically if he’d been fit it may well have been Flamini who dropped out.

  49. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    None of this 2nd string are young players except Chambers and all have held no.1 positions for Arsenal at times. Reasons why they are not top team.
    Ospina, knocked off top spot by a first class goalie who fell out of a neighbours tree and knocked Le boss over.
    Debuchy usurped by Bellerin after long injury.
    Mertesacker, returning after 4 weeks out from chest infection
    Chambers, youngster
    Gibbs, been replaced by Nacho after cumulative injuries
    Arteta and Flamini, hanging around for retirement
    Ramsey, Chance to practice in an otherwise packed centre of the field
    The Ox trying to get his form back
    Campbell, getting some value out of his contract
    Giroud, not risking Theo in non European matches

  50. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:


    Case in point, and he could have easily scored the winner too. Just think it is a waste of talent that we don’t need.
    The squad last night was patched together with some decent players, not just youngsters, they have been around a bit and that is probably what saved us.
    Kane has got to get into a decent team. It is so sad to see a really good striker having to play so deep because he is getting no service. Unless it is Tottenham and the striker in question is fast developing nemesisical ability. How many opportunities does he need to put it in the back of our net? 1 maybe and how many do we need to put it in theirs? Are we still at 5?

  51. Highbury says:


    I would say Gibbs lost his place to a superior player. Yes, the injuries did not help, but he is nowhere near Monreal’s quality.

  52. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    On Gabriel.
    It is hard not get involved in the refereeing, but you have to be super careful when the ref is making the game about himself. He has to learn that you can’t beat a bent referee, the ref won, they usually do. and we last 3 points.
    Gabriel will learn that the only justice in football is the scoreline – anything else is not helpful; ego, justice, etc etc. He had the righteous man about him, not the bigger picture.
    Mourinho has to be sanctioned for his MOTM comments. It is not the middle ages and this is not ice hockey, assault is assault and condoning violence in the face of incontrivertible evidence so stridently is bringing the game into disrepute. Without a doubt it left a bad taste in the mouth. (mostly Koscielny’s)
    Petition to prevent Dean from refereeing any more Arsenal matches has reached 91,000. Try to get it over 100!

  53. HenryB says:

    The FA rules for sending off offences is al follows:

    Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct.

    – A player is guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball.
    – He is also guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person.
    – Violent conduct may occur either on the field of play or outside its boundaries, whether the ball is in play or not.
    – Advantage should not be applied in situations involving violent conduct unless there is a clear subsequent opportunity to score a goal. The referee must send off the player guilty of violent conduct when the ball is next out of play.

    – Referees are reminded that violent conduct often leads to mass confrontation, therefore they must try to avert this with active intervention.
    – A player, substitute or substituted player who is guilty of violent conduct must be sent off.

    Seems that ‘intent’ is not mentioned – perhaps because it is not provable.

  54. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:


    There is no doubt that Nacho is above Gibbs at the moment, these are all 2nd string players now, but what if Gibbs had not been plagued with injury and had had a constant run in the team. Likewise Nacho had a miserable season a couple back and was almost dumped.
    In my opinion they are both great players, Gibbs is having a hard time though as he is not being played often enough to get match fit. A couple of great crosses yesterday and some tackles, one credited to the Ox again.- ho ho.
    He is though quintessentially what I was highlighting, which is that even though I had never seen this team play together in this way, they were nearly all extremely experienced for Arsenal and were not a bunch of youngsters. It was an experienced Arsenal squad, just not the 1st string, which I find at least interesting.

  55. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    Henry B

    It was a 2nd Yellow, so the sending off rule would not apply in the same to Gabriel.

    It would to Costa though, and therin lies the point.

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