Nottingham Forest: Praise The Lord

Jan Molby was the first one that I recalled when I thought about it. No, not players who spent time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure but footballers with curious accents. Molby with a Scouse accent always struck me as funny in much the same way Peter Schmeichel’s Mancunian twang did.

I’ve never thought any more about it since then, it’s part of growing up, I suppose. Until yesterday when Nicklas Bendtner spoke. The clipped Teutonic tones kept surfacing during his interview to the point where I was convinced that I was listening to Herr Flick.

Even weirder than that was the humility on show for his part and the face that a reporter seemed to think we wanted to know if he would celebrate should he score tonight.

Good grief.

So the EFL Cup gets under way for Arsenal tonight. It’s not to be confused with the equally worthwhile EFL Trophy. The Football League marketing team has gone all out to sell their competitions. If they are struggling, the Premier League will be only too happy to help; they seem to have no problem selling the soul of football down the river.

It’s been a while since we travelled to Nottingham Forest for a game. I genuinely can’t remember the last time we played there, it must be approaching 15 – 20 years ago. Given how high Forest peaked in my youth and young manhood, it’s a long time for them to have been out of the top flight of English football. They always threaten to have a good season but rarely deliver.

All of which is setting us up for an almighty fall. Changes will be wrung and I suspect the only summer arrival not to play will be Shkodran Mustafi, depending on Gabriel’s fitness. If the Brazilian is ready, he will start, forming a partnership with Rob Holding in a back four which has never played together before. With Cech rested, it’s going to be a case of ‘Getting to know you’ very quickly for the defence.

In midfield, Xhaka and Elneny will most likely get the chance to prove that they are the best midfield pairing at the club whilst it’s time to unleash Jeff although Arsène may play Iwobi from kick-off, at least. In the centre, Mesut Özil is the unfortunate first team regular left in situ whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be able to show off his full repertoire of overhit crosses from the right whilst Lucas Perez looks on forlornly.

It’s back to the ‘good old days’ of full squad rotation but at least these players have a touch more experience about them than the reliance upon youth of years ago.

The match is one of mixed emotions. I hate Arsenal losing but the League Cup lost its sheen long ago. It’s nice to have a cup run but in the trophy stakes, it’s one where after the initial disappointment swept along by nostalgia, I wouldn’t be sorry if it didn’t feature in our fixture lists at all. With no European prize for the winners, the pointlessness of two EFL cup competitions is laid bare for all to see.

But until that happens, we plough on. Forest have a few familiar faces including Henri Lansbury who scored a terrific equaliser at Villa Park a week or two ago. Pereira’s dribble set the goal up and that’s something Arsenal will no doubt be aware of.

As I write this, I recall us beating Nottingham Forest 2 – 0 at Highbury on the way to Wembley in 1986/87. It was the trophy which kick-started the Graham era of trophies. Perhaps Arsène should consider that this season if he wants to sign off with a cup. If he doesn’t want to sign off, a cup is always a nice little trinket to have, no matter how unimportant it is in the grand scheme of things.

Tonight’s line-up may be something like:

It’s a side good enough to win but will require Oxlade – Chamberlain to work hard defensively to provide cover to Mathieu Debuchy whose positioning was awful last season. You have to hope that the Frenchman has recovered his confidence not just for tonight but for his career’s sake. He will find it hard to impress watching club’s if he is all over the shop.

Interestingly, Arsène seemed to be speaking about Carl Jenkinson as the cover when he returns to fitness which makes me wonder if Debuchy will be moving on loan in the January window. Idle thoughts for another day. Or the next round of this competition, whichever comes sooner.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

170 thoughts on “Nottingham Forest: Praise The Lord

  1. C says:

    Colts,

    What a fucking strike, honestly hit that liek Podolski, no back lift just a thunderous strike!!!!!

  2. Adam Singh says:

    New game plan. Get the ball, give it to xhaka, goal. Surely has to start against Chelsea.

  3. C says:

    Adelaide looks like a senior player not just his physical tools but the way he plays.

  4. Adam Singh says:

    New game plan. Get the ball, give it to xhaka, goal. Surely has to start against Chelsea.

  5. mesutsleftfoot says:

    Adam Singh,

    This is the dilema, he’ll be on bench, and we’ll pass it around and need a goal

  6. C says:

    Perez creates a yard of space and looks to have a go from outside the box.

    One thing is for sure, this group isn’t looking to walk the ball in.

  7. Bill says:

    2nd game in a row for a Xhaka goal from long range to the top left corner. I like it. He never had more then 3 league goals in a season in Germany so I can’t imagine this is something he will be able to do with regularity once the rest of the league knows they need to do a better job of closing him down. However it’s fun to watch and it will at least give the rest of the league something to think about.

  8. C says:

    Bill,

    Thats the thing Bill, once they close him down that opens the space for others like Sanchez for those quick darting runs.

  9. C says:

    First stray pass since he’s been here by Elneny and Holding picks up the yellow.

    Xhaka and Elneny should start again Chelsea even with that.

  10. C says:

    Instead of Ox making the simple pass to keep the move going he tries to make a pass through 4 defenders, why o why?!?!?!?

  11. Colts says:

    C,

    Time seemed to slow down for some reason.

    Lucas should be bossing this, quite disappointed, Alex just being Alex i guess, it’s becoming quite amazing how poor his decisions and execution are.

    Jeff. That dude.

  12. C says:

    Adelaide almost scores, that a boy Ox, keep it simple and akpom with the flick and Adelaide did well to get that shot off.

    HOW DOES LANSBURY NOT HAVE A FUCKING CARD YET!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!!!!!!!! FIRST THE STUDS SHOWING TACKLE ON ELNENY THEN THE SCISSORS TO GABRIEL WHO IS NOW INJURED!!!!!!! Get Bielik ready.

  13. C says:

    Colts,

    Yup, he got it right on the counter but otherwise has been kind of invisible.

    Adelaide is a joy to watch. Perez is going good work in the link up to keep the ball moving but I do think he should do better in the 2nd half.

    Xhaka and Elneny are controlling play for us. If they don’t start against Chelsea then questions surely need to be asked.

  14. C says:

    Good sign Gabriel seems to have recovered but it was his ankle so you never know what the lull at half-time will do to the motion in it with swelling and all.

  15. mesutsleftfoot says:

    C,

    Thing is, we all know they won’t. He’s resting Coq and Santi, which means we’ll get bullied in midfield for a large part.

    however Chelsea’s defence looks terrible this season so a rested Ozil, Sanchez and Theo could casue havok

  16. C says:

    The other thing is, Gabriel and Holding aren’t the type of players that are ball playing CB’s so they would need to play beside somebody more comfortable on the ball.

    Akpom should have scored.

  17. mesutsleftfoot says:

    C,

    Once Ramsey is back, we do have a squad with depth. I see Spurs have potentially lost Kane for a few months…..

  18. Colts says:

    C,

    Can’t say I’m too impressed wit mo either, at time I saw him hiding in acute angles instead of showing for the ball, could be a confidence thing with the options we have coupled with playing time. As last year I thought his speed of thought and workrate in being an option was really good.

  19. C says:

    mesutsleftfoot,

    Your spot on about Chelsea.

    We will need exactly what Xhaka and Elneny give us which is that security in midfield defensicely coupled both of them extremely comfortable on the ball and rarely losing posession.

  20. C says:

    mesutsleftfoot,

    Yea but who does Ramsey get in ahead of? If Arsene wants to transition Xhaka to both a DM and potentially box-to-box with one of Le Coq or Elneny then Ramsey drops further down the pecking order behind them and Santi and for me, he doesn’t get in on the wing ahead of any of our winger outside of Ox. We do have depth though when everybody is fit.

    Its a bit worrying though that Ramsey was in training last week with Arsene saying he would be a late decision (if memory serves) for this match and now he is out against Chelsea.

  21. Colts says:

    The Pom. 1
    The Ox. -4

    Akpom, better dribbling, link up play, ball retention, vision, work rate.

  22. C says:

    Colts,

    Not worried about Ozil, he looks like he needed a rest. I think he will play well against Chelsea though he hasn’t been up to his own standards. I think the thing though is when he even stretches wide he is creating spqce for others because defenders are trying their best to make sure he is marked out of the game.

  23. C says:

    Colts,

    When Ox kept it simple on the counter he looked like what we want but its way to many times he doesn’t.

    My god how many fouls does Lansbury get?!?!?

  24. C says:

    Adelaide is a joy to watch, please keep developing because if he does we have quite a player on our hands.

  25. C says:

    Lovely ball by Perez and Akpom wins the penalty!!!!!!

    Perez hasn’t scored but I do like his activity and willingness to drop a bit deeper to keep it going.

    Perez buries the penalty!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. C says:

    His ball lead to the penalty and a well hit penalty even with the GK guessing the right way.

    Might think about bringing on Bielik for Xhaka or possibly Ox and going with a more solid defensively midfield of Xhaka/Elneny/Bielik.

  27. Bill says:

    We are averaging 1 penalty per game so far this season.

  28. C says:

    YW,

    Should be! That was extremely well placed with good power.

  29. Bill says:

    We are averaging 1 penalty per game so far this season. That will even out at some point but we are taking advantage of them while we are getting them

  30. Colts says:

    C,

    Not too sure Chelsea are the right side for the wiz to defunk in, that said perhaps Santi could do with a rest so who else is there. The oz it is, fingers crossed it’s the game he turns his form around.

    His role in that counter was simple enough, heaven can smell the rest of his funk though. I’d play the pom over him every time from this point forward. Think I’ve given up on Alex, finally.

    After his 6th tackle or there about he’s in the book, little team Grace i guess.

  31. C says:

    Perez scores again!!!!!!!! Showed good grit there, strength then the control and grit to bury his 2nd. Like the fight there!!!!!

    Could this be……. early days I will try to hold my excitement back.

  32. Colts says:

    Thought that goal was gonna get disallowed for the shove on the defender but no, good individual goal by Lucas. Not as fast as I thought he was gonna be.

  33. drazy says:

    Good boy perez….
    @C, penny for your thoughts…
    Hmmmm,Never mind, I think I know already…

  34. C says:

    Colts,

    Not worried about Ozil and Santi looks like a player to play well for 2 or 3 matches then need a rest, which is to be expected given he is 31-32. Ozil starts with Xhaka and Elneny behind him.

    I can’t figure out Ox, so much talent but just can’t get it right. When things aren’t going your way your suppose to keep it simple but he seems to be doing the opposite.

  35. Colts says:

    OMFG JUST SHOOT, YOUR IN THE F IN BOX ! God Dam that would have been some team goal.

  36. Bill says:

    C

    Lansbury, Eisfeld, Bendtner and Merida have all scored goals for us in the league cup games.

  37. C says:

    Colts,

    It is the 73′, cut him a bit of slack. He is quick though and the one thing that he has shown not just this match but in his other showings for Arsenal is that he isn’t afrai of the contact and actually seeks it out.

  38. C says:

    drazy,

    Perez, I can’t wait to see him with Sanchez, Theo, Iwobi and Ozil(naturally some combination of the first 3)….

  39. C says:

    Ox struggles all match and scores in the 90′.

  40. Colts says:

    C,

    Not tryin to get on his back, he’s done well overall and anything quicker than Oliver is a plus ?. Just gets on my nerves when any player opts to pass when near the 6.

    Good goal from the Alex, improved during the last 10-15, hopefully that’ll give him some confidence.

  41. Colts says:

    Colts,

    Plus it was on the end of 30 summit passes stretching from mid to defence to up top, it deserved a shot not a pass.

  42. Jonny says:

    Great goal Oxo – hopefully that’s the one that he needed to start believing in himself again.

    He’s just been in a rut of no confidence.

    Chelsea in extra time. Good for us.

  43. C says:

    Colts,

    I agree but outside of that, Perez has looked to shoot when he gets a chance. Quick and I like the stenegth he showed for his goal, good penalty and good hold up and link play.

    Hw did grow in the last 10-15 mins running at tired legs. Think that would be ideal to help him regain confidence; coming on as a late sub and running at tired legs.

  44. Colts says:

    Bill,

    Not sure what your implying, Alex definitely has the talent I’m just not sure he has the faculties and I’m pretty much done with hoping he makes it now that we have a plethora of decent rookies coming through.

  45. Colts says:

    C,

    Yeah, unfortunately the goal wasn’t enough for him to stake his claim in the first 11. He’ll be lucky to be a sub once Rambo comes back, though he’s got till Danny comes back to impress.

  46. C says:

    Colts,

    Yup, when Ramsey comes back it will come down to Ox, Ramsey and maybe Santi.

    Anyways, it was a good win and good to see Perez grab a brace. Adelaide was a joy to watch, as was Akpom, Elneny and Xhaka.

  47. Wavey says:

    Fairly convincing win there. Some good performances and useful run outs. Ox looks great going forward until the final third, as if he’s trying to force something to happen all of the time. He took his goal very well though and hopefully that will settle him a bit.
    Seemed to be some strange choices at RB, Maitland-Niles and then Bielik.
    Perez looks pretty strong and he’s certainly more mobile than Giroud.
    Would be hilarious if Leicester managed to turn the game around again, but unlikely given that they are down to 10.

  48. Bill says:

    Colts.

    I admit that I have a soft spot for ox and Theo for that matter and I know that both are out of favor right now but ox and Theo have both scored twice in 5 games and the only player on the squad with a better scoring rate is Alexis. The one skill we desperately need on this squad is goal scoring.

  49. mesutsleftfoot says:

    Jeff looked good and i have to say another match winning performance from Xhaka. El Neny looks very good on the ball and Gabriel and Holding held up very well. As i said, once Ramsey is back it’s a very competitive team, especially once Xhaka is up to standard fit, i think the midfield position is his if i’m going honest.

  50. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    We are second only to Man City in goals scored… 12 in 5 EPL games, at least at this point that seems rather decent. I was just reading an article about how amazing Liverpool are, having scored 11 in 5 games. No mention of City of Arsenal having scored more.

  51. Gunnerjoe says:

    Well that was a great game hope everyone is happy move on to a worn out Chelski let’s hope on Saturday evening.

  52. dukey says:

    I told you this Xhaka dude was a non scoring nerd. you never believed me…..pah.

  53. Colts says:

    Bill,

    Oh ok, I see where your coming from, indeed your right regarding scorers. I wouldn’t sell Alex, he’s still got time on his side and is a useful squad player. Just disappointed i guess as to what he could become.
    Not sure why Theo would be out of favour, he’s put a shift in every time he’s played this season. Fingers crossed that this time around it lasts, for his sake.

    Was happy to see Moe come out of his shell second half, really got involved in the build up.

  54. G4E says:

    Is Perez the new Ljungberg?

    That 2nd goal certainly reminds me of Freddie…

  55. Orson Kaert says:

    Henry, your boy Ashton gets a thirteen week ban for biting.

  56. Jonny says:

    13 weeks? Ha. We’ll take that thanks.

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