Watford Preview, Sutton In The Cup & Transfer Deadline Day

When he saw the fixtures back in June, Jim White knew January’s Deadline Day would be quiet. A full Premier League programme tonight and tomorrow meant none of the movers and shakers would be signing anyone as the window closed. And with that knowledge, he went to the corner of the room, slumped to the floor, crossed his legs and brought them into his chest, and rocked back and forth, simpering, “At least they haven’t ruined August…you’ll never rob me of August”, over and again.

Arsenal did their bit yesterday. Chuba Akpom headed to the seaside, to Brighton on loan. He’ll do well to force himself into the side which is already at the top of the Championship table but he and the club must be confident in his abilities to take on the loan spell.

What of Carl Jenkinson or Mathieu Debuchy? The former’s move to Crystal Palace is off after failing to agree personal terms. We either pay too much or Palace low-balled; I know which one my money is on. No offers for the other one so more months of training and kicking his heels seem in order.

Neither of the players is likely to feature much in the coming months. Wenger made it clear that Gabriel is his preferred option as ‘deputy’ right back when needed while Maitland-Niles did a decent job at Preston in the Cup. Debuchy is fast running out of career so it’s surprising his Mr20% hasn’t found him at least a loan deal while Jenkinson has to take stock over the next few months.

The magic of the FA Cup

The FA Cup draw gave Sutton United the dream; a big Premier League club at home. Competition rules may yet rain on their parade and the iniquitous FA stance is that if the police order the game to be moved to the ‘nearest’ suitable venue, any revenues in excess of those the club might have received, go into the ‘central’ pool. So as well as losing home advantage, the ‘home’ club loses any financial windfall after being ordered to move the game? The FA rules stopped the practice of switching ties for financial gain for non-league clubs, to the benefit of the FA.

I hope Arsenal go to Gander Green Lane. It will do the players the world of good to have a genuine fight on their hands, against a team determined to make history. You’ve all probably seen the clip of Sutton United’s fans after the FA Cup draw last night; that’s what the FA Cup is about. Dreams, not weakened sides and a shrug of the shoulders at defeat.

That was the main thing which struck me about Brighton, Newcastle, Liverpool and Watford. They brushed off the FA Cup shock with no shame or humiliation. We all understand the pressures which league football places on managers, especially the former pair who are chasing promotion, but a good cup run can bolster confidence as much as defeat can damage it.

Yea Gods, I need to lie down. Shearer was right…

The use of ‘it’s a squad game’ is pathetic. Even to the untrained eye, fielding an XI which has never played together before is a policy which is going to blow up in your face at some point. For once, Alan Shearer was on the right track at the weekend when he criticised clubs for their policies, especially the clubs outside of the top four. Wolves, Lincoln and Sutton showed what is possible and with the top four only bringing out the big guns at Wembley, there’s every chance that the FA Cup is there for the taking.

But in years gone by – and I’m thinking, Walsall, York and Wrexham off the top of my head – there was a massive embarrassment in being a cup ‘shock’, no matter the competition. Sheffield Wednesday was a prime example; once the anger subsided, I don’t remember any sense of prolonged embarrassment about losing, just the usual lightning rod of anger at Arsène.

And that for me is how money has ruined the game. The FA don’t help themselves and moving this match will be a sizeable chunk of the ‘magic of the cup’ hit squarely with a sledgehammer.

Watford Preview

The usual suspects are back in contention tonight. Arsène has as full a squad to choose from, as far the pre-existing injury and suspension lists allow. Danny Welbeck, he conceded, probably wouldn’t start this evening, with the club keen to manage his return from injury. Welbeck’s scoring return keeps Olivier Giroud motivated and the motivated Giroud is a far better player than the unmotivated version. He’ll have the chance to prove the point this evening.

There’s a danger of taking this fixture lightly on our part. Last season’s FA Cup exit hands us the warning of complacency; thrashing them three weeks later only served to underline the wasted opportunity. I’m still scarred by the FA Cup defeat to them in 1987. We compounded that by losing at Vicarage Road a fortnight later in a poisonous atmosphere

While we look ahead to the weekend – and hope Liverpool win tonight – the players are focussed on this one. Watford are in dire form at the moment. Two wins in ten, and involved in one of the worst matches of the season at The Den. Will they come out and fight? I doubt it; that means taking us on and leaving space to exploit, which never happens unless we’re facing top notch opposition. A comfortable win would be a good tune up for a vital match on Saturday, a genuine ‘must-win encounter already.

I expect the line-up tonight to be along the lines of:

Cech; Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Iwobi, Özil, Sanchez; Giroud

With the Chelsea match on the horizon, Arsène will probably exercise caution with Bellerin and Walcott, keeping their return from injury as much in mind as Welbeck’s.

Dad’s Jukebox

A new set of tunes, Twelve Inches of Pure Pleasure – ‘it’s a right old Carry On’ – is here.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

181 thoughts on “Watford Preview, Sutton In The Cup & Transfer Deadline Day

  1. Wavey says:

    Sanchez seems to be only player who hasn’t given up. Time to call the agent and get the fuck out of Dodge.

  2. Alex says:

    if only Sanchez could know how to control a ball…

  3. Wavey says:

    Another team who have watched previous games and come to the obvious conclusion that we bottle it if we are pressed.

  4. YW says:

    What a pile of bollocks.

    Not your comments, Wavey, the 45 minutes I’ve just had the misfortune to watch.

  5. Ras says:

    Missed most of the first half. No doubt Watford have used their physicality to get in the faces of Arsenal thus rendering our game to virtually zero.

    Just seen the replay of the 2nd goal. Mr Ramsey beaten to the ball. Hhhhhhmmnmm. We are not at the Races today. Are we able to conjure up some magic again c soir in the 2nd half?

  6. Bufallo says:

    Team of show ponies run by a baffled manager….all been said before. If they have anything about them, the aforementioned lot, they would pull off a sensational winning comeback. I wont hold my breath. Another pointless season of football. Board are happy though. I’m personally bored rigid by same old Arsenal and the creche culture.

  7. Joel says:

    Welbeck,Walcott,Perez,Ox,and Bellerin all play well in the FA Cup…admittedly against a weekened Southampton side…and are all immediately replaced.That’s obviously understandable as Ramsey is consistently mediocre;Iwobi habitually drifts in and out of a game;Coquelin adds nothing to a midfield other than a willingness to run around like a headless chicken;and Giroud makes sure that attacks are slowed down enough to allow defences to get behind the ball.
    Yet another slow start has had dire consequences. Without pace as they attack Arsenal are much easier to stop and fall back into their slow sideways passing slow and predictable game plan….THE DINOSAUR might not be on the bench but Arsenal’s first half display is all down to him!

  8. dfb says:

    Never mind. Our mental strength will see us through.

  9. Ras says:

    Good evening YW. Honestly are we to be surprised by the 1st half showing?

    As I stated I have previously I have missed virtually all of the 1st half. I’m not surprised. These says Im never sure which Arsenal will turn up on any given night.

  10. Damon says:

    Very glad I went to the gym tonight

    Let me guess, we turned up after a convincing win and thought we just had to turn up, they pressed from the off and ran their nuts off? We panicked and they scored. Rinse and repeat

    Anyone for another rallying second half performance for 2:2 and we can say we’ve got loads of mental strength. Again

    Meanwhile Chelsea march on. Can anyone who still has lingering title nonsense give it up now?

  11. YW says:

    Damon

    The official stats show we didn’t manage a shot on target.

  12. Ras says:

    Joel,

    Spot on Joel. I have run out if things to say these days to be honest. How YW finds the imagination on a daily basis to write such good copy.

  13. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    Finally. 48th minute and we start the engine.

  14. Ras says:

    TW should have buried that chance. It’s in those situations where you PROVE your meta.

  15. Jonny says:

    Sol Campbell –
    “I’m excited to announce that I’ll be joining Trinidad & Tobago’s national football team as Assistant Manager to Dennis Lawrence!”

  16. Wavey says:

    A mate of mine at the game has sent me a message to say he is also ditching his season tickets in the summer.

  17. Bufallo says:

    TW. Metal. Let’s not be silly now Ras. I’ve seen tougher bog rolls.

  18. Wavey says:

    YW,

    Did we have more possession though? Very important to Wenger when he discusses how many goals they scored from their chances whilst we had all of the ball.

  19. Bufallo says:

    watord caught us, a little bit, by surprise. i feel we started slowly lacking the right mentality and they started faster than us. in the end we showed great mental strength. the players are very tired. you should ask someone else about the fixtures. and the referee bla bla. bounce back. etc
    let me do the post match for you arsene

  20. YW says:

    What a fantastic finish that was. Well done, young Iwobi.

  21. Wavey says:

    Alexis just keeps going. If he’s not scoring he’s trying to set up one of this team mates.

  22. Wavey says:

    Bufallo,

    Have you got his mobile number? He’s sitting in the stands, so will be checking his phone regularly. Gives him some time to memorise it. Hang on, he doesn’t need to as he says the same thing pretty much every time.

  23. Wavey says:

    Does Behrami need glasses, or does he just not know his own number? He was staring at the board for a couple of minutes and then suddenly realised it was him that was being subbed.

  24. adam singh says:

    Should have started with this front three. Although Sanchez needs to calm down a touch. He can’t do it all by himself.

  25. Wavey says:

    Yet again we are pissing around with the ball in our own half.

  26. Wavey says:

    Iwobi dropping back into the middle?

  27. -DFS says:

    So tired of this predictable circular shit.

  28. G4E says:

    Good Bye Hope…..Hello yearly Capitualtion

  29. Bufallo says:

    frankly i hope we get worse and worse this year so it makes it impossible to announce a new contract.

  30. G4E says:

    Just watch, the Premier League is becoming so predictable. Arsenal will now beat Chelsea but Chelsea will win the title anyways and maybe we will finish 2nd.

    The Board will say….Oh we were so close, one more year for Wenger so he can win the League as a gratis from the rest of the premier league managers and then he can Fuck – Right – Off for the love of GOD….Enough is fucking freaking Enough already.

    I honestly don’t fucking care if we change managers and get relegated….At least it’s something different from this Bull Fucking SHIT every year.

  31. Wavey says:

    Who said you can’t keep telling the same joke and still get a laugh? I’m crying with laughter.

    Unprepared and inflexible. A packed defence was only breached once because we insisted on trying to walk it through them again and again. We get down the channels and no one is willing to make a run into the box to provide an option. What’s wrong with trying to get in front of the first defender? Even when we do get a couple of men in the box Walcott plays it along the ground for the Watford defender to clear. Did he expect the ball to go through the Watford man?
    And at the end the players are all running around like headless chickens trying to salvage a point. Alexis was clearly trying to do everything at the end because he doesn’t trust his team mates. We’ll probably hear that they were showing their mental attitude in battling to try to get a point. Our luck has finally run out as we have put ourselves in the same position time after time this season and just about managed to get out for jail.

  32. SV says:

    Physical presence still rules the EPL.

    And Arsene Wenger still creates mediocre teams.

    Plus ca change…

  33. Arsetralian says:

    Oh dear me
    AW should be returning to Sanchez CF with TW and on form Perez

    Giroud plan B only

    I thought that was agreed

    And Ramsey cover for #10 only

    But sadly reverted to form and type

    Balls

    What an opportunity missed

  34. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    We came out and won the 2nd half with ease. Not good conditions for a small skill team, but how can we keep starting so slow?
    Smelling salts before the game starts? Or maybe just being kicked around the park by a few hooligans might help…Sanchez excluded.

  35. Jjgsol says:

    Very much what I expected. A great performance one day then the players who were rested mess things up. No doubt they had their minds on the chel$ki game during the first 20 minutes, by which time it seems to have been too late.

    The arsenal roller coaster is alive and well.

    Interstingly whenever we meet a team in poor form they always seem to surprise us.

    Back to the drawing board.

  36. andy1886 says:

    Actually I still fancy us against Chelsea. That’s the ridiculous sort of thing we can expect. Then we’ll probably come a cropper against Sutton. It’s the Wenger Way.

  37. G4E says:

    I don’t really believe any of this BS, have their eyes on the Chelsea game by losing to Watford for fuck sake?

    This is all the manager, for the million time….We changed at least 5 teams since 2004 – 05, there are no excuses, he has full squad of mostly good enough players to win the league. He doesn’t know how to plan for a full season, I’m beginning to think it was all Pat Rice.

    Fuck Off Wenger, I used to like you…..I hope you move on before the fans dislike becomes Hate.

  38. consolsbob says:

    One can’t help but consider that YW’s post where the current team was measured against that of the ‘Invincibles’ era was both timely and cruel.

    These players are not fit to be mentioned in the same breath as their talented, yet determined, predecessors. Leadership perhaps did then perhaps, as Arsene has oft claims is his preference, reside in the team rather than individuals but because they were a team of strong men. This side? Where is the strong man, the leader. Anybody, please step forward.

    No, not a team to inspire, not one to love. Mercenaries who actually don’t care enough for their ‘sport’ to implement, or probably even realise, what is needed to win. That effort and intensity must be applied every week, every game. Winning does not require some fancy dan celebration to mark some empty result. It requires everybody to do their job because it is their job.

    This will not change. The pattern under late period Arsene is set.

  39. andy1886 says:

    Damon,

    Surely nobody but the clinically insane actually thought we might win the league though? Anyone would have to be pretty naive to think that after years of the same old failings. Better players, same predictable result. The only bright side (in my own selfish way) is that the ST waiting list should shrink a bit more and I could get to the top of the list just as AW throws in the towel. And people say that I’m a pessimist….

  40. wilberforce says:

    it’s all very frustrating. I was so upbeat after The Saints win and yet I knew Wenger would not have the balls to play the Ox and Perez today. Welbeck is not ready to start and we don’t want to get him injured again so he will need some time.

    Wrong set up we need to start the game with 3 pacey players up front and press from the front. OG has done very well but he is a plan B. I wish Wenger would grow some balls and stop fucking it up year after year. This is a v good squad but we are not being very smart. We are not learning from our lessons.

    We should have played Sanchez in the middle with Walcott and Perez either side with Ozil le coq and Ox in the middle and Belerin at RB. we should not be changing the starting system only change the approach with OG coming on if plan A does not work or to mix things up a bit or take tired players off. All this pissing around is hurting us and enough is enough.

  41. G4E says:

    I was going to take a day off to watch the Bayern game in the CL….

    But why the hell waste my time off from work on this crap and get depressed on top of it all?

  42. Dukey says:

    We had the players to wipe the floor with Watford. But Wenger left them all on the bench. Just Fukin play perez, theo and the Ox. I do like Ramsey unlike some of the unruly mob on ere but the Ox has to be given a run in midfield now. Theo on one wing perez on the other with Sanchez all over the place. We would just tear teams up. What’s Wenger bleeding playing at.

  43. Barnaby says:

    If I believed in a god I would pray we get a new manager next season. As long as, we don’t get relegated I will be happy

  44. Orson Kaert says:

    Thank you Aaron for contributing so generously to Watford’s two goals. I was so sorry to see you go off injured. Was it a hamstring? Or shear embarrassment at your own ineffectiveness.

    With a central midfielder of such an abysmal lack of ability cocking things up its little wonder that the defence becomes rattled.

  45. FinnishHit says:

    Seems we couldn’t do it on a rainy Tuesday in London. Bad result.

    The Gabriel RB experiment didn’t work tonight, his eyes were bulging with too much effort in the chase, after the mistakes he made previous to their goals.

    Well, this is league football.

  46. Dukey says:

    Was wondering when you was going to chip in with your dose of Ramsey bashing horse and kart.

  47. C says:

    Didn’t watch a single min but seems all those that thought we should and were going to walk over Watford were sadly mistake.

    I have no idea what happened but at this point in the season there should be no questions as to two of the front 3 positions going to Perez and Sanchez as they are literally up for every match the other front 3 position goes to either Theo, Iwobi or Welbeck; start the match with energy and fight.

  48. -DFS says:

    Here’s an admission for whatever it’s worth.

    About an hour had passed since the fiasco and I got distracted, absorbed in something. Then I remembered the match and tried to rekindle anger but it took too much effort.

    No doubt YW will provide a great blog and most will return posting valid comments today…but…is it just me or is it getting increasingly difficult to take anything – team, campaign, Wenger- seriously anymore?

    I am literally chilled because any of us could have made the joke after Saturday, this might happen on Tuesday.

    It’s not even anything approximating a shock.

  49. phe says:

    Arsenal have not won the league without players heavily coached by George Graham (Parlour and Keown still playing in invincibles season) since 1971. When Graham played in the team.

    We have not won a European competition that Graham did not manage or again, play in the final himself.

    Tony Adams said five years ago that Graham was far better technically, defensively, coaching and getting the best out of his players.

    ”No disrespect to Arsene, but George’s coaching ability, defensive structure and technical ability, for me, is far better.’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2002001/Tony-Adams-tells-Arsene-Wenger-George-Graham-better-coach.html

    And even this truly excellent article:

    “There are basically three types of managers,” he continued. “There’s the training-ground manager, who likes to take a group of players and work on them until they have improved. There’s the cheque-book manager, who builds teams by going out and buying players – it does take skill to do this, as a cheque will never guarantee success. Then there’s the media manager, who is on TV and radio all the time, who is publicity-friendly and good at PR.”

    So which are you George?

    “The first type, of course. I leave you to put names to the other types.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2000/feb/12/newsstory.sport

  50. phe says:

    This is also very much worth a read regarding :

    “You might not like me lads,” Graham told his players, “but if you work hard, you’ll win trophies and medals you can show your children and your grandchildren.”

    ‘When Wenger’s Arsenal hit a winter dip during 1997/98, skipper Adams and his fellow defensive stalwarts instigated a hastily-convened team meeting at the Café Royal during the Christmas party to emphasise to Vieira, Overmars et al the need for an all-for-one mentality, and for the former to shield the back four. “Tony was quick to point out that under George Graham, success only came when the team operated as an interlocking unit,” explained Vieira. “It was a turning point in our season, and we heeded what Tony said.”

    http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/what-did-george-graham-ever-do-arsene-wenger-heres-what?page=0%2C2#HM8TDLHMVK5K021v.99

  51. -DFS says:

    phe –

    Thanks for the links. A different world.

  52. Wavey says:

    C,

    Giroud subbed at half time. Says everything about his performance.

    Wenger says they were not mentally ready. Why is that when they should be buzzing as a team after a 5-0 win at the weekend? Another Jekyll and Hyde week at Arsenal.
    Seeing it too many times before no matter who is on the pitch and there is only one constant.

  53. Dukey says:

    How the he’ll could this squad of players not be mentally ready? It’s like a grown adult not being able to tie his shoe laces, we should bloody well know better by now. You get that same feeling again that even if Chelsea held a door open for us and invited us in we still wouldn’t be able to get our sorry arses over the threshold.

  54. Orson Kaert says:

    It’s obvious that Wenger did not read the interview that I highlighted in a comment on January 30th @ 1.10 pm.

  55. Mongolian Gooner says:

    I was thinking about the interview you’ve highlighted before the match. And I thought “Well, that’s rugby and this is football. They’re different.” My bad, I guess.

  56. Orson Kaert says:

    Dukey:
    Was wondering when you was going to chip in with your dose of Ramsey bashing horse and kart.

    Yes Dukey, but I was rather stating the obvious, wasn’t I?

  57. Orson Kaert says:

    Mongolian Gooner,

    It’s a simple philosophy, not rocket science, yet Wenger seems unable to grasp the concept.

  58. -DFS says:

    Not mentally ready, FFS.

    This has become an insult to intelligence.

  59. andy1886 says:

    Isn’t making sure that the players are mentally ready the job of the bloke on £8m a year? Something he fails to do on a regular basis it seems.

    It’s going to be tight in the top four scrap this year but I’ve no doubt that we’ll pull it off in the main due to the failings of others.

  60. -DFS says:

    Orson –

    That was a takeaway I made made with Wavey after Saturday…just start the game in the moment.

  61. Wailesy says:

    You really have to laugh DFS. My Chelsea, Liv, and actually all my mates are ripping me to shreds and there’s nowhere to hid.
    I was talking to C about the lack of fortitude in Wenger’s squads through the years and surprise surprise this one ain’t any different.

    Fans who are singling out players or their poor performances as reasons why we lose games are as deluded as our esteemed manager

  62. Orson Kaert says:

    Wailesy,

    I’m slightly puzzled here, if players and their poor performance are not the reason that we lose games, what is?

  63. Bufallo says:

    players weren’t mentally ready……what for arsene, war ? they are playing football, a very simple game involving being paid vast amounts of money. if they aren;t ready then fire them or yourself, or both. not ready = unprofessional. unprepared.

    ramsey is either a bag of sh1te as are many others in our team or perhaps they are not prepared correctly by the manager, tactically, mentally and physically. bingo.

    retire wenger you are a burden.

  64. Bufallo says:

    the only hope is we get even worse. but he is a specialist in papering over the cracks so im expecting some sort of run to keep us in the top four, wenger will declare it progress and a success, congratulate himself on a job well done and sign the contract he drew up himself. while lecturing us about how tough it is, other teams have more money, we play the ‘right way’ and have great ‘fighting spirit’. total conman, he ought to be ashamed of his salary from a football perspective.

  65. Bufallo says:

    i truly hope chelsea eat us this weekend, it’s what we deserve. conte is a proper coach, when do we move with the times or are we supposed to offer charity pensionable salaries to a moderately successful manager forever more….

  66. Bufallo says:

    excellent posts phe @ 1.34 and 1.54, i’d really like to hear arsene having this put to him. but he is deluded about how good he is, sadly. and boy have we paid the price for about a decade too long now. frankly the money wasted on his salary would have been far better invested in some decent players. why did we move from highbury again ? 1.2.3. Oh.

  67. Orson Kaert says:

    Wailesy,

    So everything is down to Wenger. Nothing to do with a player turning away from a shot on goal and causing a massive deflection (Cech’s words) past his own ‘keeper. Or the he same player failing to close down an opponent in midfield and then trotting along behind him making no attempt to gain the ball, in the build up to what turned out to be the deciding goal.

    Of course Wenger is massively at fault for the lacklustre attitude of the players, and deserves the blame for it, but certain players need to take a good look in the mirror too.

  68. andy1886 says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Of course some of the players are culpable, but in addition we seem to actively avoid buying players with strong personalities (Alexis aside) and when they do call out their colleagues (Per for example) Wenger censures them. As Wavey said this has gone on while players come and go, where there is only one constant (owners change, CEO changes, BoD members change, players change, but only the manager remains).

    It’s the culture, and it’s determined by just one man.

  69. Bufallo says:

    “Of course Wenger is massively at fault for the lacklustre attitude of the players, and deserves the blame for it”

    He is totally at fault, he is in charge of recruitment, selection, development, attitude, tactics, preparation. If they are ‘lacklustre’ he ought to bench them, remove them from the squad or sell them. But he runs a well paid creche instead. He, and our under performances, are indefensible.
    No wonder he still has a job with people falling over themselves to defend him against the very players and team he has totally molded in his image. Isn’t it working well.

  70. -DFS says:

    Wailesy…agreed.

    The thing is, we’ll be having the same absurd conversation after another absurd result in the near future. We all know it.

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