Sutton Preview: Pride and Hard Work

After the talk of Arsène’s future, it’s nice – and a relief – to have a match to look forward to this evening. With nearly a fortnight to go until the trip to Liverpool, there’s plenty of space to be filled in that respect. It’s a subject that isn’t going to go, the elephant tapping its feet in the corner of the room impatiently.

Tonight is about making sure we avoid the humiliation suffered by Burnley. With that gap to the next game, the last thing anyone wants is the vitriol which will undoubtedly surface in that circumstance. Even with that backdrop, I can’t contemplate any circumstances where I would want Arsenal to lose a game, even the most meaningless of friendlies, let alone a competitive match in a competition which is our last realistic chance of silverware. If you think that changing the manager justifies wanting a defeat, have a word with yourself and question whether you’re wanting the best for Arsenal Football Club or your ego.

And we’re being given a bloody good chance of winning this competition. The footballing gods did their bit; Sutton away with the winners facing Lincoln at home. OK, the semi-final will see four of the top six competing (probably) for a place in the final but you do occasionally have to beat a good team or two to win the cup. That’s to get ahead of myself; we haven’t even got through this one yet.

Even after Munich, I fail to see how we would be satisfied with anything but a resounding victory. A scrappy one-nil to The Arsenal will suffice for progress but it won’t instil any confidence in the players, something they are in desperate need of. I’m not sure that this match is even the occasion to do that; Arsène would probably prefer a fortnight’s training ahead of the Anfield trip.

Back to footballing basics

But he hasn’t got it; the FA Cup takes us to the grassroots. For many of us, it’s a return to yesteryear as I’m sure we’ve all watched plenty of non-league games. The Arsenal players all know about the facilities here as well; maybe it will make them more appreciative of being at Arsenal, as well as aware of the responsibilities they have in that respect. All of them will have seen dressing rooms like Sutton’s and worse. And more to the point, football isn’t played in the dressing rooms.

The usual cup side is expected to take the field at kick-off, with plenty of changes from Munich, even though I’d argue that we will get more from playing the same XI and making them work through their failings.

Danny Welbeck won’t feature; the pitch at Sutton is the reason for his appearance with the U-23’s yesterday, as he tweeted last night.

Presumably the same applies to Per Mertesacker. The German’s injury is different but nonetheless, Laurent Koscielny’s injury may require that the BFG’s return is delayed. In any case, I have little problem with Gabriel and Rob Holding playing this evening; they are capable of containing the Sutton forwards. Interestingly, Mathieu Debuchy is being suggested as right back rather than Carl Jenkinson or a repeat of Preston where Ainsley Maitland-Niles featured.

We shall see; I’m not even guessing the line-up this evening. I’ve mentioned earlier that mine would be as strong as possible; Arsène has his own ideas on that.

Cup of Joy floweth over in Sutton tonight

The night is Sutton’s cup final, and I mean that in a non-condescending or patronising way. They aren’t there just to enjoy themselves but playing against Arsenal isn’t something they thought would happen. Dreamt of, certainly but a competitive fixture? When the younger lads in their squad think about Cohen Bramall’s journey to north London, I am sure they will see opportunities to follow his path to the professional game.

In that sense, I hope Wenger does go with a strong XI, offering Sutton the chance to shine and know that whatever the outcome, they went toe-to-toe with the best. Sentimental old fool, I know.

More than anything I want a convincing performance and victory. Is it too much to ask?

Dad’s Jukebox

Finally, we’ve reached 1992 in Times of our Lives. Catch the playlist here.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

208 thoughts on “Sutton Preview: Pride and Hard Work

  1. Ras says:

    I guess it could be thankful that TW did not manage to get a touch on that…

  2. C says:

    Aaron,

    If you think that then you send to send me some of what your smoking mate!

  3. C says:

    Elneny down injured, are you fucking kidding me….

    Ox set to come on.

  4. C says:

    Elneny looks to have picked up something but looks okay to continue

  5. Adam Singh says:

    Elneny injured. They did say those 3G pitches are hard on the ankles and knees. Which basically means the entire Arsenal team is at risk!

  6. Adam Singh says:

    C,

    I’d be tempted to go down to 10 men than risk Ox’s knees or ankles on this pitch.

  7. Wavey says:

    Really don’t get why there was no foul called on Iwobi. He got the ball, but was out of control and took the player out ‘studs up’ as well.

  8. Wavey says:

    Still seem to be letting ourselves get mugged on the ball. Lucas was over run there and had no real options to pass to.

  9. consolsbob says:

    You on the sauce, jonny?

    Couldn’t make hide nor hair of your last comment.

  10. consolsbob says:

    We will have to match them for physical presence this evening, that is clear.

  11. C says:

    Wavey,

    You would think given how high his boot was but guess not.

  12. Ras says:

    Other than the attempted flick at the ball which in turn turned out to dummy the goal keeper what has TW done on the pitch?

  13. C says:

    Well the former Arsenal youth player Deacon is up for it.

  14. Wavey says:

    What the fuck was Ospina doing? Complete cock. Needs a serious slap.

  15. C says:

    WTF was Ospina doing there? He passed it right to the Sutton player.

  16. Bufallo says:

    I’d say it’s rather lucky we are playing a non league side today…..pretty average from Arsenal.
    Hardly clinical.

  17. YW says:

    “Pretty average”? There was nothing pretty about it.

  18. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Hardly comfortable

    For organisation, effort & desire we’re second best.

  19. Bufallo says:

    YW standards aren’t high at the moment.

  20. Bill says:

    I can’t imagine that we can concede 2 in the 2nd half. Another goal would put the game away.

  21. Jonny says:

    A bit Bobcat – a cwider for sure.

    My blithering is as much about my frustrated typing limitations whilst trying to eat soup.

    Good soup.

    But yeah, Lucas over Theo please.

  22. C says:

    I honestly feel like we are playing average but partly because outside of Deacon, they haven’t really provided much of a threat. On the back of what has taken place these past couple of weeks, nothing really feels “comfortable” until the final whistle.

  23. consolsbob says:

    Seriously BBC?

    Did I just hear Keown saying, talking about Sutton’s effort, ” you’re the foreign player coming here to take my job, I’ll show you” ?

    Wtf is this? Is this at all acceptable, never mind true?

    Slpooy joirnalism I have come to expect from the BBC but that was just lazy, outdated bollocks.

  24. consolsbob says:

    Ah, it was about Theo.

    Everything makes sense now, Jonny.

    Bang on the money.

  25. Wavey says:

    Ox delivering the passes that Xhaka surely should have been.

  26. C says:

    This is my US supporter questions for the night, how far is Sutton from the Emirates? It feels like North London and South London.

  27. Jonny says:

    A spork at least!

    I’m not a fucking savage.

  28. Bufallo says:

    I really want them to score, we aren’t going anywhere….

  29. consolsbob says:

    No C, that is just stupid people spouting cliches. All countries have that.

    The irony is that the BBC is so up their own arses with their ‘liberal pc’ attitudes but they don’t mind it when it is spouted about a football match.

    Hypocritical, patronising wankers.

  30. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Has Iwobi ever tackled anyone ?

  31. Wavey says:

    Nice goal. Always had a man available.

  32. C says:

    Theo scored….yup still does nothing.

  33. C says:

    consolsbob,

    Mate you don’t have to talk about stupid people with me given our current President and his ability to make war with what seems like the whole world.

    Shame the BBC allows it given that most people in across the pond have BBC on the regular.

  34. Damon says:

    That’s Dick Laws sitting to David O’Leary’s left

  35. C says:

    Ospina shouts Keeper yet is NOWHERE near the ball, its my main concern with with Ospina, all to often he shouts Keeper yet is nowhere near the ball and often times leads to a free header like that.

  36. Dukey says:

    I’m not interested in watching us duff up the poor, weak and vulnerable whilst always running away from those that can fight. Bully boys.

  37. YW says:

    And sitting next to David O’Leary was Dick Law, in case nobody recognised him.

  38. Damon says:

    Perez reminds me of Freddie

    That’s a good thing, btw

  39. C says:

    Ospina standing flat footed gets saved by the post.

  40. C says:

    Damon,

    Unfortunately mate Arsene doesn’t see it. Several people have said we need a Moses type player that works for the team but has some skill and Perez is that plus some but Arsene doesn’t give a fuck.

  41. Wavey says:

    Generally controlled the second half. Still fairly sloppy in possession and wanting too many touches. Seems like I’m picking on him now, but what is Xhaka actually there for? I don’t think he has offered anything at all tonight and this is non-league opposition. I really wanted him to be a success, but he looks very average.

  42. C says:

    If Ox had a brain in the final third I think he would become the player many think he could be but unfortunately his final ball (be it shot or pass) leaves you wonder. Why fizz it when you could have rolled it for the tap-in

  43. consolsbob says:

    Him and Mustafi, Wavey.

    But then so does Theo and a few others.

  44. Wavey says:

    Dukey,

    We aren’t even duffing them up though. Looks like we got a lucky punch in and are now crowing because we managed to knock them out.

  45. C says:

    Would love to see Maitland-Niles get some match time coming on for Xhaka or even Iwobi.

  46. Wavey says:

    consolsbob,

    Mustafi looked the part initially. Maybe he’s another of those players who needs actual coaching rather than an expectation that he can just go out and do the job.

    Sanchez gets his 20 minutes.

  47. andy1886 says:

    Alexis on?? What is the point of that exactly? Totally unnecessary risk IMO.

  48. Bill says:

    Theo and Perez get credit for scoring but Ox is the only player who really has stood out as being higher quality. Ox has a much more dynamic style compared to elneny xhaka or even Jeff

  49. C says:

    HAHAHAHA Sanchez coming on and Maitland-NIles for Adelaide and Iwobi. What’s the point of bringing on Sanchez and taking off Adelaide? Makes no sense. Let Adelaide play and take off Theo who score his goal.

  50. C says:

    Crowd seeing, “Give it to Sanchez”

  51. Damon says:

    Ox has been good in the middle tonight. Again

  52. C says:

    As I say that Ox gives teh ball away in midfield.

  53. Wavey says:

    andy1886,

    It’s like the last round. Alexis has been in Wenger’s ear for most of the second half. I am convinced he sounds like Tattoo from Fantasy Island, “Boss, Boss, the plane, the plane”.

  54. C says:

    Mustafi for me is different than most German defenders, he plays with a very high risk reward style that works for him in most cases but when he gets it wrong its generally a bad mistake.

  55. C says:

    Have to say, Sutton back-up GK posted a photo at the bar and the assistant is eating a big sandwich during the match.

    Funny, Xhaka got a yellow for his foul yet Collins pushed Sanchez twice and didn’t get a yellow, bit of reputation playing its part.

  56. wilberforce says:

    What does M. Niles look way better than Xhaka?

  57. Wavey says:

    C,

    May have been a bit of a harsh yellow, but it was still a bloody stupid foul to give away.

  58. Wavey says:

    At least one non-league club gets a big pay day at the Emirates.

  59. C says:

    Wavey,

    It was a foul no doubt but I’m more interested why the earlier challenge on Iwobi and then Collins foul didn’t produce a yellow.

  60. C says:

    wilberforce,

    Maitland-Niles has look better than not just Xhaka but Le Coq as well when Arsene has called on him this season.

  61. Wavey says:

    Sloppy in the first half especially, but a generally professional job.

  62. C says:

    Wavey,

    Yup, and good for them, the players not only come to the Emirates but get an extra bonus based on everything that I have read.

  63. Wavey says:

    Away fans making it clear they appreciate the efforts of Lucas.

  64. Bufallo says:

    Well, we we were better than the last game. Lucky it wasn’t a pie eating contest, that was some impressive noshing. Like a human pacman.

  65. C says:

    Wavey,

    Yup and well done to Sutton as they most certainly can hold there heads high as they put on a good performance.

  66. andy1886 says:

    Workman like, did what we needed to but no more than that. Move on…

  67. Jonny says:

    Best the club has gained from Ox, the last several games from the middle.
    Good promise.
    BBC have been a shitshow tonight.
    Cliche bingo and backslapping condescension from FA cup stereotype land.
    Fair play Sutton – closer to our level than Bayern.

  68. Wavey says:

    On to the next round. That’ll do donkey, that’ll do.

  69. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Job done

    Difficult to rate anyone given the circumstances.

    Bring on Lincoln

  70. Damon says:

    Dhaka and Mustafi both arrived and looked full of potential

    Circa £65m worth of player that has regressed to looking pedestrian against non league opposition.

    I’d like to ask Arsene what he thinks are the reasons for that

    There are others I could add to that very short list, but they’re the two highest profile ones

  71. Orson Kaert says:

    Job done, does it matter how?

  72. C says:

    Damon,

    I would wonder what is going on because both Xhaka and Mustafi, both of them have and were brilliant at their previous stops but seem to be asked and doing things that don’t allow them to play to their strengths. For instance, Xhaka when allowed to be essentially Busquets is one of the best DM’s / deep-lying playmakers in Europe but for Arsenal he is asked to be Vieira style which is completely opposite to what he is; he is more Silva than Vieira for instance.

  73. C says:

    Moving on to the next round is all that matters!

  74. C says:

    A quick side note, ref Clattenberg is off to Saudi Arabia but will finish off contract in PL.

  75. Bill says:

    Workman like is all we needed. Ox stood out as the best player after he came on for elneny. Xhaka is mostly a ball possession player who is an but not defender. He does have a couple of eye catching long diagonal passes in his locker each game. Eye catching looks great on u tube videos and the first couple times we see him. However as we see an occasional long pass does not make someone a good deep lying playmaker.

  76. consolsbob says:

    I beg to differ. ‘The next round’ is not all that matters.

    All that matters is that Arsenal regain a sense of pride amongst their supporters. That the club once again shows ambition and a purpose other than making profits for a rich owner who cares nothing for our club or the sport. That we embrace change as a necessary precursor to achieving a way out of the apathy and disaffection so evident in our fans. That we once again build a team with spirit, with players who will recognise that professionalism means more than just actually being paid.

    Goodnight.

  77. C says:

    consolsbob,

    Sorry mate, I should have prefaced that by saying for this year. I think you and I have chatted for quite a few years and you know I want Arsenap to take over Europe, this season, I think unfortunately the FA Cup is all that matters so I want us to continue to progress and that is what matters at this point in the season.

    The CL and PL, well lets build a team(I don’t think we are far off and a proper CF would change us drastically) and get a manager in the summer.

    I’m a romantic remember 😉

  78. Bill says:

    C

    I am not sure what we can do to play to the strengths of Mustafi and Xhaka. We already surrender tactical advantages and flexibility by playing to Ozil’s strength and we can’t do that for everybody or we would have nothing but a jumbled mess. You can only play 1 system at a time and we either need to buy players whose strengths fit into our system or the individual players need to be able to adapt their strengths to our system.

  79. C says:

    Bill,

    Absolutely disagree with you, there is no way that every manager in futbol plays to one player, tactics are there to get the best out of every player. Bayern aren’t playing to the strengths of Robben, Xabi, lewandowski and Tiage; Fergie didn’t play to the strengths of Ronaldo/Tevez/Rooney and Carrick then completely change to play to the strengths of Rooney/Berbatov/Carrick/Scholes/Valencia and Park then again to that same lot swapping RvP for Berbatov. Yout system can’t and isn’t designed for one player. Hell, you think the Invincibles was built solely around Henry, nope its was built for the lot of them.

  80. Bill says:

    I think Perez’ goal was probably supposed to be a low cross into the box or may be a pass for Theo but it counts anyway. I think Lucas is a lot like Joel Campbell. He works hard and plays well when he gets a chance but at least today he was not overwhelming. In the long term I think he probably fits somewhere between squad position 17- 22 depending on whom else is available. Just like Joel Campbell, I think the concern about his lack of minutes has gotten over the top and the idea that Lucas would be a significant difference maker if only Arsene would give him more chances is probably not realistic.

  81. Bill says:

    If Perez does push for a move to a different club then we could just bring back Joel Campbell.

  82. Bill says:

    If the only options were Iwobe and Perez on the wing, I would certainly favor Perez. Tougher call between Theo and Perez and Welbeck and that would depend on where Theo is at the time. Clearly Theo is the best option when he is in one of his better goal scoring runs but if Theo is misfiring in front of goal then its much closer.

  83. C says:

    Bill,

    Perez is much more the finished article and offers more attacking wise then Campbell and you know how I feel about Campbell. If one thing is certain, its this notion that every player has to be highly skilled, if the one thing that we have seen since Fergie was bossing the PL, is that every player fits a role, think how important Valencia and Park were to Fergie’s teams, think Moses to Conte’s Chelsea, think how important Okazaki and Albrighton were to Leicester last season and I could go on and on. Perez offers not just the fight and desire to work tirelessly for the team but has the skill and is a goal threat on the flank to play opposite of Sanchez or even on the LW opposite Theo when Sanchez is playing CF. He isn’t being asked to lead the line because we have Sanchez to do that but what he gives to the team is the exact thing so many including yourself has been calling for: somebody to match Sanchez’s work rate, a willing runner, a player on the LW that can not only defend but also is willing to get into the box and take chances to score goals while be able to score goal and create and somebody that is always up for it. He showed that in Spain and actually at every stop (I have done plenty of reading up on him and found his problem was that he was often asked to create but also had some injuries along with being a late developer). I think most including yourself would be really surprised to find out that against the biggest clubs in La Liga he was actually at his best and scored goals.

  84. Bill says:

    C

    I really think Perez is a good squad player but at least based on what we have seen I think its clearly an overstatement to suggest that he should be a starter or a long term difference making player on a team whose goal is to win PL titles and go deep in the CL. I understand the idea that Perez should have been given more minutes this season but the only reason you would have that debate is because all of our other options are underwhelming and all close to the same level. Its unlikely that we are going to be going deep in the CL or win the PL if we have to choose 2 starters from a group that includes, Walcott, Welbeck, Ox, Perez or Joel Campbell. To be a top team you need difference makers upfront and the only player we have at that level is Alexis

  85. Bill says:

    The idea that Joel Campbell could have been a starter and a difference making player on a big team that is capable of competing at the top of the league table and in the CL is even more far fetched.

  86. C says:

    Bill,

    I disagree, see my post about players that normally wouldn’t be difference making players but play a specific role and because of that they are critical players to a PL winning side. I think the thing with Perez is that people look at his age(28) and the fact that he is a late developer goal wise and think that he isn’t a difference maker, yet during Giroud’s most recent goal scoring form, he was the catalyst for quite a few of Giroud’s late winners. I think we have enough players that can make a difference especially when you consider Theo, Giroud, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck, Iwobi, Ox can all make something happen but far to often we are lacking in players that show that desire and fight to match Sanchez’s work rate (not including Ozi in this discussion because I think he fights but tends to get frustrated with himself) and the one player in the squad no matter the opponent that has shown that not named Sanchez is Perez. You don’t need XI players that are top draw in quality, you need XI players that fit together with 1-2 of them playing a specific role and often times that role is doing the dirty work; if they lose possession chasing a player 30 yards to win it back and start an attack (see Southampton) or the player that has quality of finishing when the chance arrives (see Bournemouth). I would start Perez/Sanchez/Theo or Welbeck in most matches and take my chances. I think all too often players like Perez just need to know their role and they will do it extremely well for the good of the team. Look at Moses, NOBODY thought that he would get a shot at Chelsea under Conte and he is, by Conte’s own admission, one of the first names on the team sheet because of what he brings to the team and his unselfishness in playing his role coupled with his tireless workrate. You always mention Fergie, yet Fergie depended on players like Park, Valencia, hell even Carrick, Fletcher and others because he knew that he could put them out to do a specific job and they would do it and because of that they won titles after titles.

  87. Bill says:

    C

    Campbell, Perez, Walcott, Welbeck, Victor Moses etc etc etc could all be nice complimentary pieces to a puzzle. However you need to have the difference making players for them to compliment. Any of those players would work out well is we have Luis Suarez and Alexis or may be Lewandowski and Alexis or Diego Costa and Hazard or Benzema and Ronaldo as our other 2 forwards. However, IMO, no way we compete for the top of the PL table for a full season or compete for a spot in top 10 in Europe if we have to pick 2/3 of our starting forward line from the group of Perez, Walcott Welbeck, Ox, Campbell or Iwobe. You may disagree but I hope the idea I am trying to get across makes sense.

  88. Bill says:

    Fergie got by with Park and Fletcher in the midfield because they were playing with Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez, Ferdinand, Vidic and Van der Saar.

  89. Bill says:

    Next summer lets sell Giroud, Ramsey, Wilshere Ozil and possibly Walcott and buy Bellotti and Reus Pjanic and one other good midfielder and then Welbeck, Perez/Campbell, Elneny OX can really thrive in their role as complimentary players.

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