Wishing On A Star? This Is The Match For Them To Shine

If, as was claimed during the commentary on yesterday’s Chelsea vs. Spurs FA Cup semi-final, necessity is the mother of invention, is Frank Zappa the father? It’s this kind of question which keeps me awake at night.

The other is how much further up the ‘Scholes Scale’ Dele Alli can go? A stamp on David Luiz’s ankle upped his nasty little f****r  rating. And it was a stamp; when he landed on the Brazilian, he continued to watch the ball. Were it accidental, he would have looked at any damage he might have caused. He didn’t, not even acknowledging his crime.

Some might point to that as footballing karma. There’s a view that you shouldn’t gloat over others footballing misfortunes, particularly when we’ve got a semi-final today. You can subscribe to that if you wish but forgive me if I don’t. Should we be careful what we wish for as well?

Bwahahahaha; seven in a row and one win in the five ‘home’ games they’ve played at the national stadium. So, on that basis, they are in for a shocker next season.

Seeing the Spurs faithful leave in their droves at Wembley was possibly the best image of the day. And then you get a close-up on camera asking your mate, “Shall we go home?”, when Matic’s stunning strike found the top of net.

“Dad! Dad! You were on telly…”

At which point, aside from the fleeting mention of footballing karma, there’s been nothing on today’s game. Time to rectify that, I think.

Yes, we have a game today. Manchester City; favourites with good reason and I have to say, I’ve rarely seen Arsenal fans, en masse, have such low expectations for a match of this nature.

Which could work in our favour.

Wishing On A Star

The truth is that while we have a dose of realism now, the emotion of the occasion will catch up the closer to kick-off we get.

 

While the press obsess over three at the back, the dose of realism is that we are massive underdogs. City’s form isn’t great but ours is worse. There’s no two ways about it, we could end up losing badly but the comprehensive scoreline of yesterday could quite easily be repeated. We know we can score against City; the trouble is they know they can score against us.

Three at the back versus four at the back?  Our best form of defence at the moment is attack. The return of Vincent Kompany strengthens their defence but come on, Claudio Bravo or Willy Caballero? They are hardly frightening goalkeepers.

Nonetheless, our flakiness is a real concern. At the Emirates, City should have been well ahead in the first twenty minutes but they weren’t. We, unusually for us, didn’t get all woozy and let them score at will. Hope, springs eternal.

And hope comes in the form of a Chilean international and a German World Cup winner. Well, not in their form because it’s been hit and miss – mainly the latter – but this is the Cup and if you can’t dream, what’s left? It’s also the players chance to redeem themselves and while that’s not an opportunity they’ve been willing to take in recent months, it’s the last chance saloon as far as this season is concerned.

The Europa League beckons and let’s be honest, it’s a cup competition we can win; what better way to get into the mood for that one than lifting the FA Cup this season?

To Follow Where You Are

Can we do it? Sounds perilously close to ‘Can we kick it?’; it’s also tempting to say ‘if it moves, kick it’, particularly if it wears sky blue. With our form, they’d probably miss if they did.

So, who’s in, who’s out. It really depends on a back three or four. Using the formation at Middlesbrough does have the hint of a dress rehearsal about it which suggests repeating the trick today. That being the case, it’s hard to see any changes to the starting line-up. Personally, I would tweak it to:

Cech; Gabriel, Koscielny, Holding; Bellerin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Monreal; Özil, Sanchez; Giroud

I prefer the partnership of Ox and Xhaka to that of Ramsey and Xhaka but I suspect Arsène will run with Monday’s line-up. If it’s a flat back four, Holding drops out, Bellerin in and the rest is unchanged from the Riverside.

Whatever happens, if we’re going to fail, let it not be for lack of effort. Beaten by a better side? I can handle that. Beaten because we don’t try? No, that’s not acceptable. Let’s see this team of winners they keep telling us they are.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

201 thoughts on “Wishing On A Star? This Is The Match For Them To Shine

  1. HenryB says:

    Snap, Andy, but mine took longer to type!!!! 🙂

  2. Bill says:

    Nacho!!!

    That was a great cross by ox and a fantastic finish from nacho

  3. Andyv1988 says:

    Wow. A LB playing in Midfield who scores. Clearly Le Professor’s plan all along!!

    Sarcasm aside, what a goal!!

  4. Adam singh says:

    Great finish by nacho but superb cross from Ox. He’s been our best player again so far today.

  5. Wavey says:

    Said on Monday that we needed someone to be on the end of Ox’s crosses. Giroud has been missing in the middle again, so Ox went to the back post.

  6. G4E says:

    Come on Capitalize on the momentum now… I hope.

  7. Ras says:

    C,

    When I watch this team I see what I can only describe as factions.

    I have absolutely no proof at all but its just gut feeling and seeing the players perform. I think the Ox and Ramsey do not sing from the same hymn sheet.

    We see that Sanchez and Ozil are a clique. There is no cohesion off the field and its shown on it.

  8. Ras says:

    Cech is finished. Needs replacing. I am more comfortable with Martinez in goal.

    Martinez’s distribution from defence is far better and is far more comfortable with the ball at his feet.

  9. HenryB says:

    Ras, mon ami, we are still alive in the 83rd minute — so just relax and enjoy!! 🙂

    Where there is life ………

  10. andy1886 says:

    Giroud has been peripheral although I would have put both Theo and Welbeck on for their pace. Kos it seems can’t win headers. We’re looking more dangerous though.

  11. andy1886 says:

    Owen talking bollocks, as if Owen would have passed 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  12. Wavey says:

    Watching both Xhaka and Ramsey both show a reluctance to get in front of the man on the ball when City attack.

  13. C says:

    Ras,

    Completely agree and have said it for a couple of months. It seems Ozil, Sanchez with a sprinkle of Bellerin, Xhaka, Nacho and Theo then you have Ox, Ramsey and that lot.

    Its strange because even if they are a cliqur off the pitch no way you would think it would be so evident on the pitch but it clearly is.

  14. Wavey says:

    Not seen too much in the way of shots at goal from Alexis today. Maybe leaving it late.

  15. HenryB says:

    Don’t often agree with Hoddle — but he is right Gabriel has been our top CB.

  16. HenryB says:

    Well, we have managed to get to extra-time! phew!! 🙂

  17. HenryB says:

    Maybe, AW has saved his match winner, Theo, to get us home?

    Coutinho has just scored a cracking free kick for Pool. Booooo

  18. Orson Kaert says:

    Welbeck has just proved that although he has talent he lacks a football brain.

  19. Wavey says:

    Ox keeps swinging those inviting crosses in.

  20. C says:

    Gabriel is the player that is better than people think but because he is solid and you know what your getting often times gets dismissed because of it.

  21. HenryB says:

    Whatever happens now – the lads can hold their heads up — as can all the Gooner fans singing their hearts out at Wembley.

  22. Wavey says:

    Ha ha. Love it. Looked like Welbz had fluffed his lines, but Alexis slots it in.

  23. HenryB says:

    Told you, Ras — once you relaxed — kerpow!!! 🙂

  24. Ras says:

    We need to hold shape and be disciplined.

    City have to come at us. Players stay in position. Ramsey not going all gung ho.

  25. C says:

    I called it yesterday, we would beat Citeh fuck on and defend for your fuxkinglives!!!!!!

  26. YW says:

    Someone somewhere will tell me Alexis doesn’t work hard enough. There’s your answer.

  27. Wavey says:

    Delph seems a bit fired up for a player who’s just come on.

  28. andy1886 says:

    Bellerin with the most stupid hair cut of the week (or any other week).

  29. Ras says:

    Faux pas or what. Who has advised Bellerin on his latest hair style????

  30. Wavey says:

    YW,

    I did say earlier that he hadn’t had many shots on goal today, but I did caveat that by saying he could be biding his time.

  31. Orson Kaert says:

    We can’t rely on keeping them out for the next fifteen minutes, so we have to try to keep the ball up in their half.

    Here we go!

  32. Bill says:

    We need to sign Alexis to another contract. Who else will score goals for us?

  33. Ras says:

    The introduction of Welbeck has helped the team.

    His pace and ability to get in behind City has unerved Them. You see how easily he beaten Company a number of times.

  34. Wavey says:

    Ras,

    Still makes some poor decisions in the box, but is more a nuisance for defenders than Giroud. When Giroud is in one of his purple patches there is no contest, but otherwise Welbeck should get the nod for his energy.

  35. Jonny says:

    Seems like I missed most of a decent game?

    Managed to catch extra time.

    Ha ha haaaa why pass to Delph? 😬

  36. Bill says:

    Welbeck is a nice energy player to be able to bring off the bench but he has been around for a lot of years and never scored in double figures. No way we can challenge for the league title with a CF who can’t score in double figures

  37. Wavey says:

    Bill,

    Totally agree. I think we are more talking about the tools that we have in the team at present though.

  38. Wavey says:

    What happens if they score? Another penalty taker has left the pitch.

  39. Bufallo says:

    looks like i may have to eat my words, wenger is a tactical genius ! give the man five more years !

  40. HenryB says:

    Oxo — was my hero today — terrific performance!! 😀

  41. Colts says:

    Fancy that. Well done lads.👍👍

  42. YW says:

    Tomorrow will be a pleasant change from polishing the usual turds.

  43. G4E says:

    We managed to see of City who were not as potent or lethal as you expect. But, it was still a big game on the Semi-big stage and we won.

    Kudos to the tram, let’s again hope we can see off Chelsea in the final.

  44. G4E says:

    Kudos to the tram?

    To the team I meant of course

  45. Orson Kaert says:

    Does that result guarantee Europa League football for us next season?

  46. Aaron says:

    So, Holding and Gab play a very good game today.
    Ox with the delivery and Monreal with the finish.
    Kos with the header and Sanchez with the poke.
    Cech missed one and saved one.
    Post saved Arsenal twice.
    Sanchez cuz he can and does.

    Great team display in the extra periods.
    Poor ole’ pot, kane and the other guys on another team who wish they were in the final of the FA Cup!

    Go Gunners.

  47. Adam Singh says:

    The team should be proud of that performance, there hasn’t been many this season! I thought Ox and Gabriel were fantastic today.

  48. Wavey says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Good call. I think you might be right.

    Wenger sounds a bit smug in the post match interview.

  49. Wavey says:

    Adam Singh,

    Amazing difference between the first and second halves. Actually played together much more. Still huge problems at the top end of the pitch, but worked more for each other. Giroud is a passenger when not in his purple patch.

  50. Orson Kaert says:

    Wavey,

    That may be because a Cup Final and Europa League qualification guarantees him two more years.

  51. Alex says:

    I don’t get the hype about Ox. Ok, great pass to Nacho, but refuses to play with Mesut and loses so many balls by dribbling too much while a safe pass would be the best decision…

  52. Sam says:

    Gabriel seems more confident in this back 3 set up. Or maybe it was just today, but anyhow who cares, I’m really really happy although the last minutes were shouting-at-the-tv tense. (it’s so good to have that anxiety back)
    Don’t subscribe to the Ozil criticism at all. His set pieces were excellent and he never gave the ball away. He could have shot at dodgy Bravo with his right foot, sure, but he keeps the forward momentum going better than anyone else in midfield. Such a clever player. Ox was great, this way he has more room. So great to see such commitment.
    We had some luck. So what. You need luck to win a bauble. COYG.

  53. Orson Kaert says:

    It was a good performance and a satisfying result, but we need to be a bit more street wise. Towards the end we were going a bit gung ho when we should have been heading for the corner flag.

    I think Holding has come on a lot and will be ready to take over from Koscielny soon. Gabriel also looks good, not diving in so much but defending well.

    At last Ramsey has realised what defending is all about, but is still likely to go walk about at times, which leaves Xhaka a bit too much to do.

  54. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Any semi final win is a great result & though we rode our luck a little maybe WE wanted it more today. Ultimately we deserved it.

    Whilst I’ve been a critic of AW I suppose he can be a little smug tonight as his tactics certainly helped defeat City.

    He might however see it as some kind of vindication that allows him to justify carrying on – whereas really it was a very good one off win against a decent side in a high pressure game. Nothing more.

    Player wise I thought Gabriel had a fine game , as did the Ox & it was nice to see our general tactics work. It was pleasing too that Monreal got the equaliser as he has been one of our most consistent performers for a long time.

    So, on to the final. I would imagine we’ll need a similar if not better performance, but there’s no reason why we can’t win it…& what a great way THAT would be for Arsene to sign off.

  55. YW says:

    OK

    Yes. However, Liverpool losing at home to Palace offers an escape route back into the top four…

  56. Bill says:

    We rode our luck. City had a goal wrongfully disallowed and they hit the post twice but none of that matters in the end. I am not optimistic about us beating Chelsea but you never know.

    The one thing that the last 13 years should have taught us is just how fast our form can reverse. We go from good to bad and bad to good in a heartbeat. It’s not far fetched to believe that we will go on a strong run until the end of this season. We always collect in the low to mid 70’s in points and we always have about 1/2 season of good form and a 1/2 season of bad. We have used up the bad 1/2 and its not far fetched to think we will finish with a strong run of results until the end of this season.

    Liverpool lost today at home. Arsene is the great escape artist and the fight for 4th place is still on.

  57. Bill says:

    Alex @ 5:56

    With Cazola out, Ox gives us the dynamic skill set that no one else in our midfield has. Pass completion percentage is a useless and misleading stat. Ox does not make dozens and dozens of short passes that leads to our sterile possession. He actually has been making things happen. The concern with Ox is that he has had runs of form where he looks like he has finally come good many times before and it has never lasted more then a few games.

    Ozil did nothing that had any real positive influence again today. He was invisible for the vast majority of the game. He sits around in the attacking 1/2 waiting for someone to bring the ball to him.

  58. Birdkamp says:

    I loved that. There’s more than a hint of 94-95 about this season, and it might end with Cesc lobbing Cech from the halfway line with a minute left on the clock.

    Or it could pick up and we could ludicrously snatch a CL spot and a cup win. If AW bows out, long-time love Lucien Favre and *whispered* Brendan Rodgers would be my realistic choices.

    Three at the back has made sense for ages, especially as it’s forgiving for aggressive CBs that want to win the ball early, which is every CB at the club bar Per.

    And I don’t know if this has been a talking point, but Xhaka is probably not good enough is he? Doesn’t seem to be particularly good at anything apart from long passes if he’s given five yards of space.

    Hey, another left-footed player to arrive with a fanfare but disappoint – Stefan Schwarz in 94-95.

  59. Birdkamp says:

    Exactly, Bill. It’s howlingly obvious that this team needs players deeper on the pitch that can draw defenders out and make space.

    AOC is not perfect but he’s the only midfielder capable of this, which isn’t great.

  60. consolsbob says:

    Jonny,

    WTF is an ‘Escape Room’?

    I bet it has nothing to do with building a tunnel under a ‘Horse’ and dropping earth down your trouser legs.

  61. Alex says:

    Bill,

    Sorry but i’ll never cheer for a guy who misses 42% of his passes… now time to get some neurons for Ox. Now attacking Özil is more than senseless… he missed things but was often successful. But no one is more blind than a man who doesn’t want to see…

  62. consolsbob says:

    Bloody good performance today. Rode our luck a bit but wore them down. Their performance was odd, very lacklustre.

    All the Wengeristas will be coming out of the woodwork now. The bar is not high, a ripple of support will carry him over it easily.

  63. consolsbob says:

    Ramsey wants to win it for Arsene.

    How about winning it for the club and fans?

    It’s always about him.

  64. Bill says:

    Alex

    Ox and Sanchez both lost the ball a lot and neither of them will have a high pass completion percentage but everything good that happened on our attacking end today occurred when we moved the ball down either wing before the defense has a chance to set up. Xhaka, Elneny and Ozil might complete 95% of their passes but we end up with nothing but sterile ball possession. Ox might only completed 58% of his passes but wasn’t the second half when Ox had us moving forward at pace a lot more exciting and more effective today? Are you really still excited about having 75% of ball possession and watching Xhaka, Elneny and Ozil making 10,000 short passes and losing to West Brom or Crystal Palace?

  65. Bill says:

    Alex @. 7:21

    “But no one is more blind than a man who doesn’t want to see”

    I would say the same thing.

  66. Bill says:

    Jonny

    On the contrary. I am very happy if we only complete 58% of our passes in every game if it means we are attacking at pace the way we did and in second half of the game today.

  67. Bill says:

    Jonnygunner

    My comment went into moderation so I copied and pasted it.

    On the contrary. I am very happy if we only complete 58% of our passes in every game if it means we are attacking at pace the way we did and in second half of the game today. The defense is going to contest every pass that you try in the attacking 1/3. Sanchez and Ox have lower pass completion percentages because they are actually trying to make something happen when they are making passes in contested areas of the pitch. Very little chance of something positive happening when you make an uncontested pass 40 yards from goal

  68. wilberforce says:

    I’m with Damon here. Bill is making a very good point about AOC, I don’t see any misery l. He was brilliant today. The creativity was coming from his wide balls today, but not much going on through the middle in terms of creativity.

    I think in Ozil’defense he does not do so well with Giroud up front as he is too slow and does not have the pace to run in behind. However he seems like a player we can’t afford to carry in our team. He does not work hard enough off the ball for my liking.

    We looked much more solid 2nd time round with 3 at the back. We need to work on a few things. Our central midfield still does not offer enough support and we lack a bit of defensive discipline. This will never be great under Wenger but overall a much better defensive display. It’s a shame it has taken this long to change things.

  69. freddo says:

    Great win considering we had the most statuesque CF in world football.
    If Arsene had put Ozil out on the left for the last three years, Arsenal would have won a hell of a lot more games. He’s much better as an inverted winger than in the middle, where the traffic is too heavy for his style of game. Ramsay’s energy in the middle really made a big difference, particularly when it came to pressing.

  70. freddo says:

    Bill,

    If Arsenal is playing with a
    Bill,

    If Arsenal are playing with a sufficiently high line and pressing high, losing the ball with a low percentage pass can be beneficial (yes, I wrote that) because you get to squeeze the opposition when they start transitioning to attack and are out of defensive alignment.

  71. Mongolian Gooner says:

    Maybe they know he is off at the end of the season and trying to send him off with winner’s medal? One can only hope.

    consolsbob:
    Ramsey wants to win it for Arsene.

    How about winning it for the club and fans?

    It’s always about him.

  72. Jonny says:

    wilberforce,

    “I’m with Damon here”

    Like Bert and Ernie or more Morecambe and Wise?

    “Arsenal”

  73. Orson Kaert says:

    Here we go Yogi, comment No. 200. You can go ahead with the match review now. 😀

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