Koscielny, Paris And A Bit More

Attention turns to Paris and our quest to finish runners-up in the Champions League group stage. Coming top is so over-rated; who ever did well in this competition by winning their group. Mind you, if Arsène can find a place in the starting line-up for the new player, Luck, anything is possible.

Except winning the group. It’s been a long time since we enjoyed a trip to Paris. 2006; 1995; best to forget them, I find. Interestingly, both were losing European finals which hailed the end of an era of success. Bear with me whilst I root around in the cupboard to find my tin foil hat.

1994. What can you say about it? The beginning of David Ginola’s lifelong hatred of Arsenal. All the talk beforehand of what he was going to do to Lee Dixon and the Arsenal defence which largely failed to materialise. Even his goal was an ‘Arsenal’ goal; a near post header from a corner.

The major concern for tomorrow is Laurent Koscielny’s fitness. When Arsène holds his press conference later today, more will be known. We’ll just have to hope that holding raw steak to his eye – or a packet of frozen petit pois – has reduced the swelling. Don’t worry about how many fingers are being held up; if he can make out there’s a hand in front of him, that’s fit enough to start.

PSG are in the middle of a crisis. That’s their definition of it anyway, losing at Monaco, drawing at home to St Etienne; this from a club which has spent its way to dominating French football. You can’t help but wonder if Unai Emery was brought in with different priorities this season. Certainly, his track record in winning the Europa League with Sevilla suggests that the Qatari owners looked at that rather than the Andalusians La Liga record when appointing him.

Would that we were in good enough form to be confident of winning or at least not losing.

Koscielny has provided a steadying influence since his return from summer exertions. Rob Holding was more settled alongside him which was only to be expected. Mustafi could do worse than heed the lessons of ‘LoLo’s’ own move to the Emirates. For a couple of seasons we were waiting on the inevitable red card or own goal – sometimes both – to mar the early games before he settled into form.

To his credit, he has turned that around and become a pivotal member of the side. If Mustafi matches that, there’s a long Arsenal career ahead of him, particularly with age on his side.

Wenger was effusive in his praise for his compatriot:

“He has committed to the club for a long contract and he has always improved every year. Today he is an outstanding centre back.

“He is one of the most experienced players we have now. He is one of the longest serving defenders and I think he is one of our best players.

“When I think about the squad, when you choose a captain as well, you think one with a good chance to play in every single game and that’s not easy nowadays. It’s a bit easier for a defender than for a striker or a midfielder.

“He gave himself a great present, but as well he doesn’t score that when it is four-nil for you, he scores at one-nil down and that’s always a special quality.”

We can’t be too far away from hearing the line, “I didn’t buy Higuain because we have Koscielny who is capable of playing centre forward and I didn’t want to kill his career”…

There’s no doubt Saturday’s line-up cast more than half an eye on tomorrow night’s game. It’s the only rationale for Giroud and Alexis being substitutes on Saturday, Xhaka as well. Had it been the trip to Nottingham next rather than the French capital, there’s no doubt they would have all played against Southampton.

We’ve poured over the performance from the weekend and whilst the determination to seek a winner is welcome, we know that a more cohesive and incisive attacking dynamic is needed to take anything from tomorrow’s game. That’s not a criticism of any individual, simply an indication that we missed the passing range of Granit Xhaka, whose ability to mix things up with short and long balls negates the predictability of pass, pass, pass, with no end result.

The first midweek trip of the season is a sign football really is back. Can’t wait.

’til Tomorrow.

51 thoughts on “Koscielny, Paris And A Bit More

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    Hey Hombre, our new man did okay on Saturday I just hope he doesn’t have to play alongside a different partner tomorrow.

  2. Jonnygunner says:

    You’d be correct with your statement about the football really being back YW.
    I cancelled Sky in May and bought an Amazon/Kodi gadget in vain…….
    It’s not the same….it buffers….all the time.
    So I re-signed to full Sky package this week and changed to BT Internet for their Sports package too.That little lot is £100 a month……I’m so fickle.
    I’ll only get to 4-5 games this season so telly’s my only option I’m afraid.

  3. king kosc says:

    looks like the back 4 is sorted barring injuries,midfield I’d go for Xhaka & Carzola with Ozil in front of them,front 3 looks like only Sanchez is the obvious starter

  4. silvergunner says:

    I thought Santi was excellent I would be tempted in starting Santi and Xhaka against PSG. Giroud is a sure starter too having been dropped to the bench. Ox just keeps getting chances and for me isn’t making the most of them I personally feel he should have sent out out on loan instead of Campbell.

  5. C says:

    Morning mates! Yup futbol is well and truly back.

    PSG, think they are just going through a period of transition but with thr main focus being CL glory. Why can’t we win the group, I think we can.

    The midfield is going to be very interesting, I’d go Xhaka/Santi/Ozil but I also think there is certainly an argument to be made for Elneny or Le Coq in for Santi to be a bit more defensive to play on the counter.

  6. C says:

    silvergunner,

    Campbell has done well for Lisbon so far and has a goal but just as important, the supporters and the club have really taken to him.

  7. silvergunner says:

    C:
    silvergunner,

    Campbell has done well for Lisbon so far and has a goal but just as important, the supporters and the club have really taken to him.

    That’s exactly it c he isn’t fighting against the tide there both club and fans have taken to him and you will be surprised how far that goes towards putting players at ease.

  8. Gunnerjoe says:

    Just wondering when this good luck signing is going to turn up cause I didn’t see any of it on Saturday.
    All I saw was its team mate bad luck I saw a free kick given for a none foul from which they scored.
    I saw a goalkeeper make a great save to push the ball up on to the bar only for the damn thing to rebound off the bar hit the goalkeeper and go in.
    I saw Kos get a kick in the head that was deliberate there’s video available on the Web if you need proof.
    It never made the highlights or the replays on any thst I saw over the weekend.
    As for our lucky penalty this is rubbish it was a stonewall penalty not only for the shirt pull but taking Giroud ‘s legs from under him causing him to fall over Fonte.

  9. C says:

    silvergunner,

    Yup, he has found a place that he enjoys playing at and the supporters have taken, I hope it does bring out the best in him. He gets CL futbol, will potentially win the league so he is in a good position.

  10. lance peters says:

    we need to being in sanchez and iwobi in place of Walcott and coquelin.
    they need to build a partnership with Perez. Grude is just going to frustrate us as usual.

  11. C says:

    Also, should Holding have to play (which I do doubt) I would start Xhaka and one of Elneny or Le Coq to give a bit more protection.

  12. HenryB says:

    JonnyG, @ 9:31

    You are right about the rising costs of watching football on TV.

    Sky now share the Premier League and Champions League with BT, and the two of them are royally shafting supporters with their subscription charges. Bastards! 😀

  13. dukey says:

    The missus keeps asking when I’m going to cancel sky sports on the account of me saying all summer I’m not interested in watching any this season… backtracking…..I’m more fickle than you Johnny.

  14. Wavey says:

    HenryB,

    It is amazing that Sky has lost games to BT (both PL and CL), but not reduced their charges. They would claim that you are paying for all of the other sports they cover, but who are they trying to kid. We all know it’s all about football.
    I’m perceiving with streaming from websites such as Neolive. Once you manage to get past all of the adverts it’s usually pretty good. I tried the Android box route, but it’s the buffering lags that kill it.

  15. YW says:

    Gunnerjoe

    It isn’t so much a glass half-empty with you is it but the glass with the little bit of liquid left in it, just fell off the table and smashed on the floor. 🙂

  16. C says:

    Sky and Btsports, well glad I don’t have to deal with that nonsense.

  17. C says:

    Apparently both Gabriel and Kos took part in training.

  18. nicky says:

    As someone who has just re-negotiated a contract with BT Sport (as well as being a Sky viewer) I think I can speak on behalf of the millions world-wide who, due to old age, infirmity and distant land, rely on both broadcasters in order to watch their heroes perform.
    We would prefer to attend the Ems and some of the away games but this is not possible. While acknowledging criticism of both the Sky and BT commentators, I feel most of us adopt a “it’s better than nothing ” attitude.
    And the cost is still less than a match ticket! 😉

  19. Gunnerjoe says:

    YW,

    Na my problem is it’s over half full and filling up and I can’t empty it guick enough even if it’s a good pale ale. ?

  20. C says:

    Thiago Silva is set to make his season debut tomorrow against Arsenal according to Emery. He has been a large reason for some of there issues, missing their leader and defensive rock. He is arguably the best CB in the world when he is fit.

  21. Gunnerjoe says:

    But luck is fickle thing it’s like finding yourself on an over night flight find that you have a row of 4 seats to yourself.
    As soon as you settle in for a nights sleep the baby in the row in fronts starts screaming for the rest of the night on and off.

  22. HenryB says:

    Wavey,

    It is a good point that Sky should have reduced their subscriptions once they had lost their ‘exclusive’ satellite broadcasts of the Premier League and Champions Leagues – and I ‘phoned their customer support (always a waste of time, of course) and said as much.

    BT: Ready response – Page 2; chapter 3; para 2.3(a) — but we now have twice as many Premier League games as BT and more than we have ever broadcast before.

    Me: And the Champions League? How’s that going?

    BT: Well …..

    Me: Click

    As I said above – Bastards! 😀

    [And watch your feet – Yogi is busily smashing peoples’ glasses, with a bit in them, on the floor!] 😀

  23. HenryB says:

    GunnerJ,

    I cannot dismiss your viewpoint – it has merit – but you must agree that no one get justice, you only get good luck or bad luck! 🙂

    OK, that might be taking things a bit far, but Baudelaire said; “It is only a universal misunderstanding when everyone agrees, because if they really understood each other they would never agree.” Lucky that. 😀

  24. Ak says:

    silvergunner,
    well said Campbell should have been preferred ahead of Ox, i personally would have gone further and even preffered Gnabry to Ox, on club and fans i agree with you and C that support is key, i just wonder why the same isn’t afforded to Giroud

  25. Wavey says:

    HenryB,

    They haven’t quite done it yet, but taken to its ultimate conclusion Sky and BT could televise 70% of the PL games played in a season. That’s based on a potential 7 games in an extended weekend (including Friday night and Monday night). That could go higher as some of the 3pm on a Saturday games rescheduled due to cup fixtures are played mid week.

  26. HenryB says:

    Wavey,

    This might sound anti-football, in general, but given the option, i might prefer to watch Arsenal home and away and give games played by everyone else a miss – except when they play us. 🙂

    The reason is that I used have a season ticket, and also went to all away games thru the late 90s and early noughties — had to give up the season ticket in 2006/7.

    I think individual club games could be the future on TV — but might wreck the smaller clubs finances tho’ – hence ‘anti-football’?

  27. C says:

    Ak,

    Think there is a difference between the support for Campbell and the support for Giroud, at least for me. Its not that I have never or not supported Giroud, I just think that after 4 years we know what we have and its not about sending him out of the club, its about trying something new. I think the thing with Campbell is that, sure he was given match time but I think 14 matches is hardly enough time to judge him especially since he was putting in good performances but was never truly given the chance that say Ox or others have been.

  28. Wavey says:

    HenryB,

    I can relate to that having given up my season ticket this summer. I like watching all football, but would probably give that up if I could watch all Arsenal matches live on the box. I think that’s the model clubs want to go to, but the FA and the PL don’t.

  29. HenryB says:

    I am not the greatest fan of Giro, but he always seems to me to be better in the round than I give him credit for.

    He does have the odd hiatus in his scoring each season, some longer than others, and naturally gets berated by us fans for that. But look at him against the current media ‘bad boy / but sooo talented Costa’ — and, for balance, also Sanchez, over the past two years and the information is illuminating.

    [Anyone likely to be pissed off by a fucking mathematician should stop reading here] 😀

    In season 2014/15;
    — Giro scored 19 goals in 36 appearances, averaging 0.528 goals per game.

    — Sanchez scored 25 goals in 52 appearances, averaging 0.480 goals per game.

    — Costa scored 21 goals in 37 appearances, averaging 0.567 goals per game.

    And in season 2015/16;

    — Giro scored 24 goals in 54 appearances, averaging 0.444 goals per game.

    — Sanchez scored 17 goals in 41 appearances, averaging 0.415 goals per game.

    — Costa scored 16 goals in 41 appearances, averaging 0.390 goals per game.

    OK, so what does that tell us averaged over the two seasons?

    Giro scored 0.478 goals per game, on average, over 2 seasons.
    Sanchez scored 0.451 goals per game, on average, over 2 seasons.
    Costa scored 0.474 goals per game, on average, over 2 seasons.

    Well the much derided stats show that they are all much of a muchness, with Giro just outperforming our own star, Sanchez, and the media darling, Costa, over the last 2 seasons.

    But Giro gets a much worse ‘seeing to’ by the fans for being crap – and yes, I have already admitted that includes me, but perhaps we will see an even better goal scoring performance from him this year? 😀

    I just could not bear to look up Theo’s figures – he gets enough ‘praise’ already.

  30. HenryB says:

    Wavey,

    Going on my past experience, you will miss your season ticket most in the first season after giving it up — as I certainly did.

    Mind you, my father who also had a ticket, died in 2001, and I took friends on his ticket as I could not bear a stranger sitting in his seat next to me, but after a while I lost the heart to continue, and paying for two tickets became a problem, to be honest – so maybe it will not be the same for you.

  31. C says:

    HenryB,

    You should’ve also mentioned the fact that part of the thing with Giroud is the fact that, like at all clubs, he is compared to those who previously played his position.

    I think he is better than most give him credit for but not as good as some make him out to be (you know, the one’s who say, “well find me better”).

  32. andy1886 says:

    HenryB,

    Henry, what it tells me is that Giroud’s record last season was considerably worse than his record the season before 😉

  33. C says:

    I wonder how PSG are going to play against us, they have all sorts of attacking players, but their midfield plays the same. Actually, watching them and Arsenal, we play similar.

  34. HenryB says:

    That’s a fair point, Andy, and that is why all stats need to be treated with caution.

    I could produce stats showing that Thierry was worse that Giro towards the end of his career with us — and that would be bollix. 😀 [And I will not do it.] 🙂

    On the other hand, you can understand why some will defend Giro, whereas others will never be convinced to see him as the CF we need — and I hate to admit it – that includes me – based not on stats, but on nothing more than my subjective observations over the years.

    But I want to be wrong, as he, with Perez, is what we have got this season.

  35. HenryB says:

    Actually, Andy, I might have been too quick to concede you point that Giro was considerably worse in the last season compared with the season prior to that.

    The difference per game was 0.084, which if multiplied by 38, the games we play home and away = 3.2 goals, in total, over the course of the season.

    3.2 goals spread over a season is considerable? Well in the world according to Andy! 😀

  36. andy1886 says:

    HenryB,

    Henry, by my calculations it’s a difference of 9.1%, so not huge I’ll grant you but when we are told it’s all about small margins, well, it isn’t so small either.

    Another way of looking at it is that scoring another 3.2 goals could be the difference between 3 points (three draws) and nine points (three wins). Given that we struggled to score at home during Giroud’s long barren spell last spring that isn’t such an unrealistic scenario…

  37. HenryB says:

    You can be as inventive as you like, Andy, and why not? Can I join in? 🙂

    Perhaps, we might have been losing a game 4:0 and Giro then scored all his 3.2 goals deficit late in the game and we only lost 4 : 3.2 – with no difference to the points lost. 🙂

    Finally, if you apply the % test to Giro’s totals, you will need to also compare the %s of the others too, and I think they will be worse. But enough of the maths — I do not want to be in even more trouble – Yogi never speaks to me as it is.

    Anyway, my point in highlighting the actual scoring records of the three players was to show that a minuscule mathematical difference has a huge ramification for the perception of someone like Giro.

    But football is much more than maths – and an individuals personal contribution to goals scored does not take into account a player’s real impact – for better or worse – on his team mates and how they respond to him in the team, or not, and it is that area that concerns me rather than tiny mathematical differences.

    And I would be surprised if you did not agree with that as well. 😀

  38. Spy says:

    I have no appetite for the CL whatsoever,
    Waste of time

  39. Jonnygunner says:

    Spy,

    Really mate?
    I love it.
    It’s a reality check for fans of British clubs that think they’re the dogs bollocks to see how we fare against our continental cousins.
    Usually not so well……..

  40. dukey says:

    The toffees looking excellent under Koooman. would be an ideal replacement for Wenger once Wenger decides to relieve himself of his duties.

  41. dukey says:

    Could us gooners put up with a manager like Simeone? and his dirty tactics. the play acting and down right general bordering on cheating style of play, are us gooners now too middle class for it?

  42. Spy says:

    Jonnygunner:
    Spy,
    Exactly, we’re miles behind

    Really mate?
    I love it.
    It’s a reality check for fans of British clubs that think they’re the dogs bollocks to see how we fare against our continental cousins.
    Usually not so well……..

  43. dukey says:

    Got a real fight on our hands for our position this season. although no doubt by hook or by crook we will still get it.

  44. dukey says:

    Koeman half time sub completely changed the game. can’t for the life of me remember the last time wenger made a tactical half time sub that threw the game in our favour.

    David Moyes is a busted flush, no cunt can take him seriously now. he might aswell go work for the bbc.

  45. Orson Kaert says:

    Well if there were any dogs bollocks on display tonight they were wearing a shirt with the name Lukaku on it. Okay he was up against an absolutely crap side but that was the way a centre forward should play. Two brilliant headers and a superb one on one with the ‘keeper. Giroud should spend a moment or two watching the video. What a difference Lukaku would make if he was our striker.

  46. Spy says:

    dukey:
    Koeman half time sub completely changed the game. can’t for the life of me remember the last time wenger made a tactical half time sub that threw the game in our favour.

    David Moyes is a busted flush, no cunt can take him seriously now. he might aswell go work for the bbc.

    I agree he’s gone from top club to bottom, and hasn’t a fucking clue, give up now mate and apply for the Scotland job

  47. Papa Bear says:

    Morning Yogi Bear and Lads,

    Although Perez didn’t impress in his first match, I think give Peerz more games time to settle.
    Iwobi has already made a good connection with Sanchez and Ozil in the end of last season.

    So, my preferred Best Starting XI for Arsenal right now if everyone fit is like below:

    Cech

    Bell Mustafi Kos Nacho

    Santi Xhaka

    Sanchez Ozil Iwobi

    Perez

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