Champions League Review: Towering Performance Over Basel

FC Basel 1 – 4 Arsenal

In 2005/06, the record-breaking run of clean sheets was unexpected. Welcome, but unexpected nonetheless.

The same can be said of Ludogorets Razgrad earning themselves a point in Paris last night. PSG were overwhelming favourites but twice trailed the Bulgarians. A third and decisive goal was beyond the French champions; inexplicably and unbelievably, the made the sort of mistake Arsenal have long-held in their repertoire.

So, for the first time since 2010, we’ve finished top of the group. Last night’s win almost warranted that on its own. The XI picked up where most of them left off at the Olympic Stadium. Basel were brushed aside with Lucas Perez grabbing a hat-trick, his first for the club.

Each of them was a poacher’s goal; predatory instincts prevailed for each. Alexis’ delightful chipped pass to Mesut Özil was met with an equally perfect slide rule pass across the goal to Lucas. Pause, stand, regain balance and slot home; three yards from goal, it took nerves of steel to leave the defender prostrate in the back of the net.

The second, quick as a flash reactions after the goalkeeper parried, admittedly into the Spaniard’s path.  The third, seizing on a miscontrolled pass, slotted home coolly. Three striker’s finishes; if they had been scored by Alexis, we’d have been purring about the quality he possesses.

Instead, we’re left purring about his free kick which rattled the bar with the goalkeeper beaten all ends up. As last kick’s of the match go, that was impressive. As was Olivier Giroud’s work rate when he came on. The French international, with a point to prove and a place in the XI to regain, quickly settled into the match and in fairness, ran his socks off for no reward.

The final goal went to Alex Iwobi, well-taken after he was set up by Mesut Özil. With the German and Sanchez in the side and in this form, scoring goals ought not be Arsenal’s problem. You sense that a game is coming where it will be tough though; this is Arsenal, after all.

A Nice Night

Arsène was rightly pleased with the night’s work:

I cannot complain. We played some nice football and it’s a nice night for us. We came here and wanted to do the job, to play well and on top of that we were lucky with the Paris Saint-Germain result. It was a positive night.

You’d have to be pretty churlish not to think that Arsène was overdue a bit of luck in Europe. If you recall the self-inflicted wounds previously suffered, it’s the first good fortune I can think of since Napoli couldn’t find the one extra goal to dump us into the Europa League a couple of years back.

It came off the back of our best performance in Europe for many a season. There was no flattery in the scoreline; 4 – 1 fully reflected the comprehensive nature of the win. There wasn’t a bad performance from anyone and several which stood out. The obvious candidates are the goalscorers, Mesut, Alexis, etc. However, I thought Rob Holding’s rawness at the back showed definite signs of lessons on the training ground being learned. Yes, there were mistakes but everyone makes them, particularly in a new role or at a new club.

Kieran Gibbs caught the eye though. It wasn’t the toughest night he’ll ever have but he was eager, hungry to snap into the tackle and anticipating well, setting up attacks with quickly won possession.

Ospina made some good saves which some will argue might have put a different complexion on the game but Arsenal missed enough chances of their own.

Good Start Surprised Basel

Credit to Wenger for his rotation which was quite seamless in terms of performance levels. It was hard to notice that six changes were made to the line-up from Saturday. Arsène put this down to the confidence displayed from the first whistle:

We had a good start, were quite mobile and technically very agile as well. The speed of our start surprised Basel and it was a convincing performance. 

And you can’t argue with that. You can if you want but after a 4 – 1 win…

There’s a distinctly look to the probable opponents. Some are known: Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica. Others are likely: Borussia Dortmund (assuming they lose as expected in the Bernabeu tonight), Porto and Sevilla. Are there any easy ties? Some are easier than others but let’s be honest, that’s a more accommodating group on the whole than Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Monaco and Napoli.

Whatever the case, the Champions League is on the back-burner until February now. Yes, the draw is important but there are a dozen Premier League matches before the Round of Sixteen, as well as the FA Cup, beginning at Preston North End.

Finally, a reminder that Dad’s Jukebox has reached 1983 in Times of our Lives, with 1984 soon to go live.

’til Tomorrow.

59 thoughts on “Champions League Review: Towering Performance Over Basel

  1. -DFS says:

    Wonderful win last night!

    We rotated heavily, yet cleverly. The icing on the cake – Ludogorets holding PSG to the draw and us topping the group.

    A lot of positives – Holding had another good game but for the one error and I think if he was to make a mistake that was the time and place to do it. He’ll learn.

    Another good showing from Gabriel – I am really liking him out there. Gibbs was just sublime last night and is so elegant when on form. Xhaka bossed the play out of midfield.

    I think everyone was just delighted for Perez – his hat trick and boost in confidence has come at the perfect juncture. With Perez and Welbeck (soon) back in our lineup that really gives us options. If Perez can make himself available in the box, get on the end of balls from the likes of Sanchez, Ozil let alone the full backs, Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain have to start looking over their shoulders. He looked fit and quick and I would love to see him start this weekend.

    The sublime moment for me, Ozil’s beautiful pulled-back, weighted pass for Iwobi’s goal.

    I make no secret of being a true fan of CL participation. I think a game like last night’s underlines for all the great ‘A’ list ties there is drama to be written and enjoyed against lesser clubs in surprising circumstances.

  2. Ak says:

    Hello,
    emphatic victory , hope perez becomes a regular scorer

  3. Jonnygunner says:

    Without wanting to sound miserable about young Iwobi-I’m chuffed for him that he got a goal….but I reckon he’s lost his shine of late….what say you?

  4. -DFS says:

    Just by the by….

    …for the first Perez goal it was Gibbs who took Sanchez pass and cut the ball back to Perez.

    It was Gibbs who struck the second shot which came off the keeper back to Perez.

    And…it was Gibbs who put the ball through to Perez for the hat trick.

    Loved me some Gibbs last night.

  5. -DFS says:

    Jonnygunner –

    Yes, agree about Iwobi. The other day noted he was getting fuzzy, fuzzier by the game. Re my comment about Perez and Walcott being fit – I think the pressure should apply to Walcot the Ox and Iwobi.

  6. -DFS says:

    Obviously mean to underline Perez and Welbeck being fit…

  7. Wavey says:

    Morning all,

    a cracking performance and a score line which didn’t flatter at all. It was great to see us at them from the first minute and the movement of the ball from back to front was impressive. As I said last night, a true passing game rather than the camping outside a penalty box we have seen so often in the past. Maybe Basel gave us more space than a ‘park the bus’ team would have, but it was the speed of transition from back to front that really seemed to catch them out. When they tried to stage a fight back we caught them on the break on several occasions and could easily have scored a couple more.
    I agree with jonnygunner that Iwobi has perhaps gone off the boil a bit, Bill would say it was inevitable. He was probably our weakest forward last night with some of our attacks breaking down when he was in possession. That is being picky though because the overall performance of the team was excellent.

  8. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Nice review YW

    What we have with Perez is a fox in the box. His strengths seem to be to get on the end of things so he’ll compliment our other forwards when he gets game time.

    I like the way Xhaka can take hold of the slower, more low key games – now I want to see likewise in the quicker , higher intensity of the EPL. If he can do so , we’ll have some player.

    Also, great stuff from Gibbs …when he has the courage of his convictions he’s a different player …so his yellow card last night was the highlight for me. No nonsense or fannying about.

  9. nicky says:

    What puzzled me last evening was the inordinate time it took to achieve 3 minutes added time in the PSG/Ludogorets game. In the end I became convinced that “Fergie Time” had spread to continental Europe. 😉

  10. Wailesy says:

    Nice one Yogi,

    Just a great night last night!

    Wenger picked a good team last time that surprised most on here, myself included.

    Football’s all about scoring early goals. Especially for a team like ours.

    Lets hope we nab one early against Stoke and go on to open them right up.

    Well done Perez! 3 well taken goals!

  11. C says:

    Jonnygunner,

    Tend to think that part of Iwobi’s struggles recently were from him struggling in front of goal and that missed sitter (forget what PL match it was). Think all he needed was this goal and it should get him going again. The thing for me, is that he was still providing that creative edge and was doing better defensively, but I think he is fine. The other thing is, he is learning how to not only perform and travel with the club but also for country as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a giant monkey off his back.

  12. C says:

    Only got to see the first 2 Perez goals then had to head home but isn’t Perez’s goals not just last night but his other brace, showed a predatory type player. He has also shown that he has hat creativity about him.

    —–Ozil——-
    Theo——Sanchez——Perez

    I like that with Xhaka and either Le Coq or Elneny sitting behind them.

  13. Orson Kaert says:

    Good afternoon all, three words sum it up nicely. A Complete Performance.

  14. Highbury says:

    It was an enjoyable match. Really enjoyable.

    I am really beginning to sound like a broken record, but watching Holding strut his stuff seemingly unflustered, my respect and admiration for Koscielny reached the stars. I put his performance down to his skill set, confidence and playing with Koscielny. I am pretty convinced that Koscielny’s legacy and influence will probably be right up there with the likes of Henry, Bergkamp and Adams. Not only is he playing at a very high level, the entire backline seems to be responding to his influence. I am sure that Mustafi, Gabriel, Holding, Chambers etc. already look up to him, and they should because they are playing/training with a top class defender at the peak of his powers. Well done, Laurent.

  15. C says:

    Highbury,

    Tend to agree, the one thing that I think is making the biggest difference is he looks much more assured. I generally think he and Mustafi are a top pairing. Kos seems to really have embraced being a Captain.

    I will say, Holding and Chambers are looking like to excellent buys.

  16. Highbury says:

    C,

    For 2m, he is turning out to be an excellent acquisition. Maybe a word for the manager as well who we have often criticized for lacking an eye for defenders. We seem to be doing okay in that department.

  17. C says:

    Highbury,

    Yup, think you most certainly have to tip your hat to Arsene. The other thing with Holding is that he isn’t in the English limelight, so he can develop properly and not rushed into that dreadful English National team backline. Strange to think that if we keep this group of defenders together, we are set gor years to come.

  18. HenryB says:

    I too enjoyed the performance as a whole, how could any fan not do so, and also the performances of individuals within an excellent team, with the usual suspects, Alexis and Mesut, but also others that have already had a call, like Lucas, Xhaka, Gabriel and especially Rob Holding.

    Holding is not a plug ugly bruiser, altho he is taller than was made out at first, but is a skilful, elegant CB who is still a baby and can only get better. That is not to avoid the point that he was responsible for their consolation goal, because there is a time to boot the ball into Row Z and eschew the short zippy passes in too tight areas. He lost the ball doing that, and altho he almost got it back he only succeeded in tapping it forward for their goal scorer to put it away.

    No matter – he will learn from that, and the only way to get experience is to go out there and play your game and take the good with the ugly.

    Terrific stuff.

    Where’s Andy when the good times start to roll? 😀

  19. HenryB says:

    Hi C,

    You said earlier re Lucas that he was a goal scorer, but also was ‘creative’ – and I can only ascribe that comment to Bill getting into your head.

    A natural goal scorer is there in the team because he scores goals – and balls to creativity 😀 we have loads of creative players and not too many pure goal scorers – that suits me fine.

    Tell Bill the old adage is very true ‘A Jack of all trades and a master of none’ means someone (in this case a footballer) can be OK as a scorer, a creative player, and a good passer – but not a specialist in any of them. We have a potential top goal scorer – so who cares about the rest. 😀

    [No need to tell Bill – he may read this] 😀

  20. C says:

    HenryB,

    Not just Bill, there was a couple folks but surely Bill will comment.

    I like Perez and everything that was spoken about him prior to his arrival from all those that watch La Liga is what we have gotten: works hard for the team, skillful, creative and has goals in him; yea they were tap-ins but how long have we discussed not having people in the box willing to attack balls, well that is exactly what he has shown.

    I have no qualms with him being a good all around LW capable of doing a bit of everything good. The other thing is, people will say, “well its just Basel” but Basel are a good team who regularly causes problems for people in thr CL.

    Perez/Sanchez/Ozil/Theo, yes please want to see that in the PL.

  21. HenryB says:

    Good points, C.

    I also would be happy to see three of your 4 suggestions for the EPL – can you guess who?

    No point discussing the other one – he is just …….. oh, well …….. they say love is blind, and all that, which is true in your case, so it is just as well you are not throwing your hat into the ring to become a coach! 😀

  22. HenryB says:

    Look at this, C, AW must have been reading our comments. 🙂

    — “Liverpool have been heavily linked with the American international, [Pulisic] but they could soon find themselves fighting it out with multiple clubs. Dortmund, however, remain adamant they will not sell the youngster, but with some of the top clubs in England circling, Dortmund might just capitalise on a very large and inflated transfer fee.

    Arsene Wenger could see Pulisic as a future replacement for Theo Walcott and a player who can contend with Oxlade-Chamberlain for a spot in the squad, due to the Ox’s somewhat inconsistent form.

    Oh, no — could that be true? 🙂

  23. philmar says:

    I always hate to read much in to great performances vs. teams from which none of their players would be on our starting XI

    But Perez is more mobile than Giroud and better able to pounce on lose balls in the box – just not sure if parked EPL buses would have afforded us that space.

  24. HenryB says:

    You are right to cast a shadow on a great game and achievement, Philmar, we do not want any enjoyment from winning anything do we?

  25. HenryB says:

    Hiya, C,

    To cheer you up, now that the silly season is nearly upon us, here is another rumour that would please us both of it ever happened — altho moneybags Chelsea seem to be rumoured to be buying up every player in Europe. 🙂

    — “Talksport report that Inter Milan have told Chelsea and Liverpool they can have Geoffrey Kondogbia if they pay £17.5m.

    It comes after Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that is the price Inter would be willing to sell the French defender for.

    Kondogbia, 23, is currently out of favour at Inter and is among the many players the Italian media have claimed Chelsea are interested in.

    Liverpool have also been linked with the player, as have Marseille and Arsenal.”

    [I do not take much notice of rumours — and I cannot believe they would sell him at that price after paying twice that in the summer.]

  26. C says:

    HenryB,

    Well we all know which of the 4 you don’t want even though he is one of the leading goal scorers in the PL this season.

    Pulisic is certainly an extremely talented lad who has burst onto the scene at Dortmund, I think he is in the top 5 for assists in the Bundesliga (shhh Bill is going to say he wants goal) but his pace and close control are extremely impressive. I know it might sound crazy, but I would rather have Dembele of Dortmund or the Dembele (no relation I think) from Celtic. The biggest thing is, Arsene is finally listening to the wise (well some) posters of the ACLF!

  27. Orson Kaert says:

    HenryB,

    “I do not take much notice of rumours” Just enough to repeat everyone you see. 😀

  28. C says:

    HenryB,

    Yea the silly season is in full swing. Could you imagine Kondogbia and Xhaka sitting behind Ozil; give me a second while I wipe the drool off my keyboard! Apparently there are quite a few that are out of favor at Inter, and if Kondogbia can be had for 17.5, that is a bargain for a player who has everything you want in a CM!

    Another couple of rumours I saw is that we are in talks for Bacca of AC Milan and apparently Giroud’s agent has come out and said the player doesn’t want to leave in January which I got a laugh about as I didn’t even see a single report or anything saying that Arsene or Arsenal wanted to sell.

  29. philmar says:

    HenryB, far be it for me to ask you not to enjoy AFC beating a team of players, none of whom I bet you’ll be able to name 5 months from now.
    Enjoy!!

  30. HenryB says:

    Orson Kaert:
    HenryB,

    “I do not take much notice of rumours”Just enough to repeat everyone you see.

    Of course, OK, you convinced me that every morsel of cobblers is worth repeating — not! 🙂

  31. HenryB says:

    philmar:
    HenryB,far be it for me to ask you not to enjoy AFC beating a team of players, none of whom I bet you’ll be able to name 5 months from now.
    Enjoy!!

    Can’t take you up on that Philmar, as you would be right, I will not remember — I live in the moment not the past — anyway, I do not know what your problem is – I was agreeing with you – we should not go overboard and be happy about a great win, or give credit where it is due – much better to look for the downside and be miserable like you do, that’s what supporting your team is all about – isn’t that what you believe?

  32. Two Owls says:

    Very much enjoyed the match yesterday. Even enjoyed the fog hanging over the pitch. Some extremely nice passing in Basal’s defensive third. Holding acquitted himself very well throughout the match for such a young player. Agree with the perspectives presented that he is going to be a good one in the Arsenal defense. Also took note of the dynamic game that our left defender played. Gibbs took a yellow card and was generally not a push over for the Basal attackers. Is Gibbs maturing into a first class left back? He has experienced a considerable time on the bench and his occasional times playing have shown a lot of improvement, particularly last night! His time as a starter for Arsenal is not far off.

  33. HenryB says:

    C,

    I wonder what is behind Juventus losing interest in him, and allegedly losing a lot of money too?
    Still Orsey will come up with a counter rumour saying it was not £17.5m but that some guy forgot to add one to it — no, not £17,500,001 — but £175.5m. 🙂

    We will all go mad following the rumours until the end of January.

  34. HenryB says:

    Two Owls,

    Couldn’t have put it better! Gibbs looked like he had turned the clock back – he was terrific.

  35. Steve Palmer1 says:

    Evening, Nice one Yogi fine assessment,
    Don’t like to burst your bubble, but last nights epic result is now over, and i assume we will be back to the norm with Stoke. Lucas was eye catching last night but i doubt he gets a start at the weekend, more likely Giroud to start and maybe Sanchez, Hob nailed Stoke will be ready to throw a few boots around. Perez Walcott and Iwobi will be a bit soft for that match, as they don’t like a lot of physical contact. Theo never impressed me al all last night, i laughed when he came on and the commentator said thats all the tired legs of Bazel want the pace of Theo Walcott. the first touch he had was a backpass so nothing changed at all.

    We have nights when our football is breathtaking and other nights when we bang on the edge of the box until i get bored to death, the trouble with games like last night is it reminds you of how we can play. but quick as it comes it disappears almost immediately.

    Top of the group, and second in the Premier league, how the hell has that happened as we have been Jeckal and Hyde all season. Arsene was a master last night but he too will disappoint this weekend, much the same as the team.

    Yes many of you will boo me but down deep you know whats coming. Stoke can play a bit now, and they can unsettle us, dont like to say it but we have quite a few who lose bottle with teams like Stoke. Of course this turn of form may just continue, but i reckon we will be back to the back passing and giving the ball away. I predict a draw, but i hope i am wrong. Game like last night builds me up, but usually to a disappointment next time out, boy i hope i’m wrong.

  36. HenryB says:

    Hi Steve,

    Past performances do support your concerns that a gripping game can raise the spirits (no pun intended) only for heightened expectations to come crashing down in the next game.

    Anyway, we have still got 3 more days to enjoy topping the group and roosting at No 2 in the EPL – and you never know, we might give Stoke a bashing, who knows?

    Are you still fishing?

  37. philmar says:

    HenryB: Can’t take you up on that Philmar, as you would be right, I will not remember — I live in the moment not the past — anyway, I do not know what your problem is – I was agreeing with you – we should not go overboard and be happy about a great win, or give credit where it is due – much better to look for the downside and be miserable like you do, that’s what supporting your team is all about – isn’t that what you believe?

    Nope. You’ve read far too much in to what I’ve written. Just adding perspective.
    You can go on to live in the moment. Enjoy.

  38. Steve Palmer1 says:

    HenryB,

    Evening Henry, Dont like to sound like a Jonah but i am a bit thick skinned by now. Boy i wish we could play like we do at times all the time, but still a way to go yet.

    Mrs has had a new knee and my fishing has taken a back seat for a while , but she is now getting about well, so will be back soon.

  39. C says:

    HenryB,

    It is strange but Juventas are brilliant in the market so I wonder if they are saying they lost interest and then next thing you know he will be a Juve player.

  40. -DFS says:

    Regarding Perez, I don’t think anyone is expecting him to necessarily go on a goal scoring bender, but there is something to his directness.

    I thought Walcott had turned a corner in terms of productivity this campaign but already he appears to waiver and as with The Ox you simply never now what to expect.

    Perez appears to like an incisive drive towards goal or to be in and around the goalmouth and anticipate action.

    Its faintly ludicrous in one sense because this should be a core element in both Alex and Theo’s game but they both drift in and out of belief and effectiveness.

  41. HenryB says:

    Philmar,

    I do not know what happened to my response to you and it may turn up — basically I was apologising for my attempt at humour in pulling your leg – and got it wrong.

    If the original makes it to ACLF you will have to apologies – can’t be bad. 🙂

  42. HenryB says:

    C,

    We will have loads of these spurious rumours – but you are better at working out the more promising from the dross.

    By the way, I saw Draxler is another who wants away — allegedly. 🙂

  43. HenryB says:

    Got to go and pick up a friend at the station – so until tomorrow mes amis. 🙂

  44. -DFS says:

    It will be very interesting to see how we deal with Stoke.

    I maintain there was a distinct change in mentality for the Bournemouth game, and since.

    It appeared to begin with a sense of grit and determination (a good result without playing that well) and spanned through to yesterday evening, where the team exhibited a kind of relaxed confidence, one that can only come when a team starts really believing in themselves.

    I am hoping we broke through a mental barrier of sorts – and if we have, with the strength of squad and skill at our disposal, we can challenge on several fronts. However, if this sounds a little ‘blue sky thinking’ then Stoke can simply not present as a stumbling block of any kind.

    Chelsea play like they believe they have what it takes to win the league and if we do not match them stride for stride with results as well as mentality, we will falter.

    Its long overdue we felt fate was in our own hands.

  45. Bill says:

    Yogi. I skimmed the main post but did not have time to look thru the comments yet but I wanted to thank you for the review.

    Great game yesterday. I have been banging on and on and on about our lack of firepower for the last 3 years but that looks rather silly when we score 9 in the last 2 games. We have had short runs like this every season in this decade but we have always reverted to our struggling form for 1/2 of every season so hopefully this time it really will be different. Time will tell. For now its fun to watch us knocking in goals right and left. Long may it continue.

  46. Wavey says:

    Hilarious, we win the group but can draw Bayern or Real Madrid on Monday. I wonder who we get then?

  47. C says:

    HenryB,

    I would take Draxler in a heartbeat and put him on the LW. Wolfsburg has failed to invest around him and the supporters have booed him off the pitch for speaking out and for not scoring loads of goals.

    I would have Draxler over Pulisic or either of the Dembele’s. He is another who is a master of nothing, yet, but really good at everything.

  48. C says:

    Wavey,

    Bayern, in a hilarious tweet, they actually referenced it making a joke of UEFA.

  49. Steve Palmer1 says:

    -DFS,

    DFS, what you say, I can understand, I to have hoped that we could find the belief that you speak of, Who knows maybe this last game has made us turn the corner, as if we want honours we have to be consistent.

    Now what you are saying i felt was not to far away, as we have shown glimpses of some blinding play, the passing i have seen in some games has been mouth watering, that has suckered me into believing that our time has come to bring the trophies that we all crave for.

    In all fairness to Wenger and the players they have shown over the years that consistency is ingrained, Wenger has found talent from the bargain basement and nurtured them to be top 4 players. I have to say that has been very pleasing to me, in a league of nineteen, top 4 is pretty good for twenty years.

    Now we are not dealing so much, with the bargain basement, and we are now actually scouring the world for top talent, Wengers has shown that he can find the players that have special qualities, and now our finances are better he is showing why i have had faith in him for all these years.

    Personally i believe we need better coaches, Bouldy has been a good servant over the years , whether Wenger uses him to his best attributes or not, i am not sure, as Zonal has kept the goals down but it also makes for gaping holes at times. The better sides with top quality strikers can find those weaknesses and punish us, and we have to pull all the stops out to get the goals back.

    Its true that we have stiffened up with some good players , our central midfielders do protect more, and players like Coquelin has certainly been a revelation. Again whether it was luck or timing, Wenger brought him back into the Frey and what a player he is turning out to be. The aquisition of Elneney and Xhaka has elevated the side, but Ramsey and Wilshere Theo hasn’t worked, or should i say i don’t think they have worked. Sanches and Ozil are first rate but they need a bit more help to bring us results to win consistently.

    Giroud has been fairly good as he has scored regularly, even if he looks slow at times. Iwobi is young and he may still make the grade but Theo has had his moments in his ten years with us, but not enough to be classed as a regular, who knows about Welbeck, what have we seen of him to be able to assess, but what i do know is that he doesn’t possess enough talent to make a great deal of change.

    Lucas of course has not seen the amount of playing time, to see if he could be the player we need, but he is not that young so even if he is he wont last that long. Whether we have enough to win trophies we will just have to wait and see, but like you i live in hope.

  50. -DFS says:

    Steve Palmer –

    Thanks for the reply.

    Stoke will be a test. With bad blood in recent years (due both to players and fans attitudes as well as some non-committed refereeing) this has been a trying fixture.

    But, if we are to challenge seriously, we cannot revert to certain type. Stoke are beatable, they are a decidedly inferior team.

    If we start in with a mentality of…potential banana skin…they’re always up for it…ref won’t call their fouls etc. etc. we’ll drop points. We should be taking to the field with the intention of taking them to the cleaners as we did with WH and Basel.

    Whether or not we do this remains to be seen – but Stoke would be a nice scalp to underline an upward trajectory!

  51. silvergunner says:

    This nonsense with Chelsea and Sanchez will only continue so long as things stay as they are the sooner we sign him and ozil up at whatever the cost the better because the alternative is a nightmare.

  52. Arsetralian says:

    -DFS,

    Come on chaps

    I know we are paranoid about thinking we could win a game and jinx ourselves but Stoke at HOME

    Come on

    A little confidence in our team ?

  53. Arsetralian says:

    Ramsey with Xhaka…

    Do the audience feel this was a success just as we were all about convinced he is a substitute at best?

    Maybe against weaker teams he can fit in perfectly there with Le coq or El against the tougher teams

    Either way we progress as usual at this time of year

    Can we mix it from here in though..?

  54. Steve Palmer1 says:

    Morning all.
    Yes of course we all want to be confident in our team, Stoke at home Arsetralian, hits it on the head, he feels that it should be a stroll in the park, Boy i hope he’s right.

    Its not that i don’t have confidence in the players and Manager, its the fact that i don’t know what team will show up, also not knowing what goes through the managers picks for any certain game.

    It seems that a winning team, used to be the way to pick the team for the next game, but how football is today, who really has a clue. and at the end of the day our form has been a bit spasmodic. Will Sanchez play, after all how many of you wanted to rest him in mid week, same for Ozil, Will the hat trick man now he’s finding the goal Lucas be in the starting line up, Will Wengers favorite Ramsey be playing Holding will he get a shot Coquelin or Elneney Xhaka will the dynamic Gibbo be chosen ahead of Monreal who knows.

    I just feel that Wenger will look at who he has fit and work out a stategy that can handle a phyisical Stoke, does he see this game as a pivitol moment, will he risk some of the stars to save them from bruises.

    Thats why i would like a squad of players who work around what looks to be a settled side and introduce one or two fresh players, but our old Arsene could make another eight or nine changes and that seems to upset the apple cart most times.

    I like to think that all games no matter what we play is going to feature our best players on the day, and with clever one or two changes every week we could, a player who needs rest can still be on the bench in case of emergencys, but we know he wont make those changes until after the magic sicty minute mark, In Arsenes book, 30 minutes should be enough time to change a result that is heading out the window, and of course he is probably right, but why make the problem in the first place.

    A new player coming in to a settled side would be nurtured by the others who feel settled but change 8 or 9 and they all feel iffy. Is that wrong to feel like that or do you like wholesale changes

  55. -DFS says:

    Arsetralian –

    For what it’s worth I think you might have missed my point – I am absolutely saying we should beat Stoke – no excuses.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: