Late Strike From Ramsey Give Arsenal Top Spot

Olympique Marseille 0 – 1 Arsenal

0 – 1 Ramsey (90)

You’ve no idea how hard it was to avoid a headline of “Euro Stars head home happy from the south of France“. But no incentive was offered so no product placement occurred…

Arsenal moved to the top of their Champions League group with a comfortable victory in the south of France. Their fifth victory in six games means a repeat outcome in the return match will leave them all but assured of qualification for the next round. It seems a far cry from August when we were told that they would not even get out of the group phase.

That was, of course, the view of a media that has taken one word from Arsène’s post-match interview out of context and branded last night’s win, ‘lucky‘. A habitual crime by the habitually lazy.  Wenger reflected on the lateness of Ramsey’s winner,

We lost two points in Dortmund in the last seconds of the game. We lost a Champions League Final in the last part of the game with 10 men. We are not always lucky but when you face good opposition you need to take your chances..

The truth is Arsenal were rarely troubled. Marseille’s own problems were evident in their lack of attacking ambition beyond the opening twenty minutes. When they did break through, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were outstanding in the centre of the defence, repelling the sporadic French attacks comfortably.

At the other end, Arsenal found Mandanda determined to preserve Marseille’s impressive home record against English teams. He gave Szczesny an object lesson in goalkeeping; every cross that came into the area to the penalty spot was claimed, caught or punched. Such communication is essential for a defence to retain confidence in their custodian; Marseille showed the understanding that was there.

And when Arsenal did break through, the Zaire-born goalkeeper stood tall, using every inch of his body to deny the visitors. When he failed, Diawara was on hand, quite literally, popping up with a header immediately afterwards that prevented van Persie’s looping effort crossing the line.

Not that it was all Arsenal. Inside the first twenty minutes, Alex Song was fortunate not see red when he sloppily lost possession and chopped Remy down before the French international could pounce. It was just about the only blemish on an otherwise solid performance. As the last man, Song was relieved for the referee’s leniency.

Likewise, Carl Jenkinson. Another night, another official and it would have been a harsh penalty conceded as the ball struck his arm. The youngster did well, I thought, overall. He was diligent in his defensive work, quick to get a foot onto Remy’s shot that deflected it wide with Mertesacker having been brushed aside a little too easily.

At the other end, in the first half at least, Marseille were content to allow Arsenal possession in front of the penalty area but massed their ranks to keep the visitors at bay. It was frustrating not least because of the inconsistency of Arshavin and Walcott in the first half, struggling to impose themselves on players that they dominated in the second.

That half was in marked contrast to the first. Aside from a scramble in the area that Jenkinson hacked away, Marseille created little. Koscielny had Remy, Ayew and later Gignac, in his pocket. On the evidence of this showing Thomas Vermaelen’s return to the first team is not as clear cut a choice as we might believe. The injury to Jenkinson may change that; if serious, Koscielny is the obvious candidate to switch to right back.

At the other end, Theo Walcott scrambled clear but could not make a telling effort count with defensive pressure forcing a hurried shot that Mandanda saved with his feet.

Arshavin wriggled free on many occasions, to be baulked by sheer weight of defensive numbers or inconsistent delivery of the final ball. He was probably not substituted first because Walcott had a similar night, the England international made way for Gervinho. It was a brief stay of execution for the Russian though as ten minutes later, Aaron Ramsey entered the fray in his place.

It proved to be a masterstroke. With the clock running down and the hosts looking to keep Arsenal at bay, the defence was dragged toward the right side of the pitch. Djourou’s cross was missed by all – Gervinho had a damn good go at controlling it though – and Ramsey was left unmarked. He drilled his shot unerringly into the net, following a celebration that echoed Thierry Henry’s at Highbury having mesmirised the Spurs defence all those years ago.

A win, five out of six and onto to a tougher encounter on Sunday with Stoke as visitors. Arsène’s birthday may be marked by a rough and tumle affair.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 20, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 218 Comments.

  1. Yogi, good article, but I think it was anything but a comfortable victory

  2. 1st 4rm africa

  3. brovar is in africa too

  4. Leftpinky

    In what respect? Do you think we were under constant pressure? I don’t. Did Szczesny have a save of note to make? I don’t recall one. So how was it not comfortable?

    In European terms, it was an extremely comfortable victory.


  5. nas

    Way too slow. You’ve got to be quick off the mark to beat The Brovar!


  6. Theos so called incosistency is now worryingly consistent.labelling arshavin incosistent is taking euphemism a bit far.he has being consistently poor since he lost his starting berth to theo.that was last year!

  7. A win is a win, lucky, ugly or downright scrappy. I would have taken a point prior to the match.
    I thought our centre halves looked solid. Andrew Saint had a shaky first 20mins then seem to settle. Jenks needs some smoothening around the edges but he has the makings of an Arsenal legend. Arshavin! O Arshavin! Theo! O Theo! How long shall I persevere with thee?!!

  8. thank God 4 d winning over marseille.arsenal is getting back on line.

  9. melcfromfinsburypark

    Very solid performance from arteta. Maybe fans will get used to the fact that he is playing a very different role from cesc, he generally sits deep and does a tonne of diligent covering in front of the cb’s. And last night, unlike in some previous games he barely wasted a ball

  10. Have not seen the game yet (didn’t get home till late) so can’t comment on the performence. Good to see we got a win though, especially as it seems that we were not at our most fluent.

    I think out of all of our central midfield options, Ramsey looks the most likely to develop a goalscoring habit. Nice to see him carry on that notiona last night.

  11. Nice article Yogi – except it’s hasnt been Zaire in 14 years.

  12. love the win! it’s refreshing to see us getting the winner in the dying minutes of the game, than the usual goal conceded in the dying minutes! a perfect birthday present for me and Arsene! COYG!

  13. I am more impressed by the clean sheet than the win. I mean the win was an icing on the cake.

  14. Ha, the Congo it is.

  15. “We are happier because we are playing much more as a team. Defensively we have improved so much and in the second half they hardly created anything. We were much more compact and that comes from the work we’ve been doing in training. Hopefully we can build on that because know we’ve got the talent and with this togetherness around the team we’re going to get good results”

    Quotes from Arteta. Interesting to see him mention the compactness of the team. I have long banged on that this was one of our major problems. If we had adressed this in years gone when we arguably had a more talented side, I have no duobt that we would have won things.

  16. Romford

    I can’t keep pace with it all. Mind, it is tempting to say it was Zaire when he was born and as he is a French international, it was probably Zaire when he left…


  17. Excellent write-up, as ever.

    As you say, we rarely looked in trouble defensively – indeed, for once we looked pretty well organised (although Santos is clearly not on the same page yet). Koscielny was massive.

    It was a disciplined performance. We didn’t get frustrated, and we kept plugging away to the end. In the last half hour only one team was ever going to score. If it had been United doing this, the media would be full of praise for their fighting spirit. Lacklustre performance notwithstanding, we should praise the boys the same way.

  18. Yogi–

    A comfortable win is more like 2-0 with an early goal and the outcome in little doubt. This game was in doubt until the 92 minute and there is no way we were comfortable in victory till then. They did have a couple chances that went just wide in the first half, but it was still 0-0 with 45 seconds left of a 95 minute match.

    If you said it was a comfortable draw till the end, I’d have to agree with you. A comfortable win, not so much.

  19. A positive result (which includes an away draw) was in little doubt (they had the hand ball appeal–as did we–but a victory was surely in doubt until the very end, so it I would have to say that it was a tough, gutsy win that wasn’t secured till the very end.

  20. Time for Theo and Arsh to be drop, give Benayoun and the Ox some runs. Great win though last night.

  21. A very interesting contribution from our Brazilian left back – at times an excellent defensive shield, at another a rapier to the heart of the French Defence with the touch of an angel – and yet …….sometimes as careless as Gael at his worst

  22. I will go with you pinky on the comfortable to the extent that it was a game that at no time did I think we would lose – I had until that cunning lay off from Gervinho to Aaron doubts as to the three points

  23. Yes, very little application from Walcott once again! Not good enough. What about this Ryo guy we’ve got?

  24. As stated in yesterday’s column i think Gervinho intervenes on the pass deliberately and emphatically. Watching the slow mo reveals that having overcooked his own run he nudges the ball into the path of the oncoming Ramsey.

    On first look you don’t see the intervention, on 2nd you see it, but don’t see the intention, then as you watch it, it becomes pretty clear what he does and why.

    I think he has get a toe on it to steer it away from the defender, if that is the case I think it has to go down as Gervinho assist.

    Just going to check what ‘Le Unconvincibles’ are bleating. He he

  25. 1 nil to The Arsenal…

    Great take and finish from Ramsey. Loved his enthusiastic celebration. While Santos looks a little lardy he also gets stuck in right til the last minute, i cant fault his stamina, the fat git More game time will get him more slimline but i already feel more comfortable with him in there than gibbs.

    I was happy with Artetas game last night. You might say he didnt create much but not once was he caught out of position or ahead of the ball when the attack broke down. For me thats what we need in an away game, especially against a counter attacking team. Arteta is an intelligent player who doesnt mind curbing his attacking instincts when a more controlled and disciplined performance is needed. Lest we forget we needed to get our defensive game in order sharpish.

    It was a classic european away performance where we nulified as much as we could then pushed it in the last 15 mins to snatch the victory. Long may that considered approach continue.

  26. We were solid. Their lack of chances was as much down to that as a lack of ambition from them. Arteta and Song covered very well and Rosicky didn’t stop for 90 minutes. He’s bound to get a rest at the weekend. And further proof for me that Ramsey can be very effective from the wide positions too.

    Arshaivin was poor. Sorry George/SA.

  27. leftpinky, it was about as comfortable a win as you’re likely to get away to decent opposition in the CL. They had one decent chance on goal in their own ground.

  28. It seems when Ramsy gets into some interesting positions he is not afraid to score. I will like to see this from Jack when he returns.
    Song was magnificient so also Koscielny.
    good to see Olympiakos win their game, hope they pick the 3rd spot so that we can take Mario Gotze in january.

  29. I think a lot of people are missing the point that this was a ‘tactical’ game by Arsenal. Arsene made it clear before the match that ‘we must not get caught on the counter-attack’. That is how Marseille managed to destroy the inexperienced Dortmund team. Arsene is too experienced in the CL to fall for that trick away from home, so I think the team was set up to keep it solid and take any sniff of a chance we got. Theo cannot do what he does best without the supply and the midfield was more focussed on keeping it tight in the middle. We got very few real chances and took the one we needed to win the game. What more is there to say?

  30. Answer:

    Le Unconvincibles are hailing a well ground out 1-0 win. The sort that they have been asking for.

    Except that the hint is that this is only a Champions League run.

    $hiite-y ……..v….. ManUre sounds like a good fixture I might watch it.

    Win/Draw /Loss……….How can you lose?

  31. Agree with Diese and passnela amongst others.

    A classic away win in Europe as beloved by the media -and me!

    I don’t know what some people expect. They moan about a gung ho approach and an inability to concentrate in defence and when Arsenal deliver a thouroughly well thought out game plan they can’t see it.

    This side is gelling.

  32. Just Another Luke

    At the end of the day, a win is a win, comfortable or uncomfortable. Pedantic George would have been proud of this pedantic debate.

    Marseille might have taken the lead in the first half if they had been more clinical. But then, we would have played a different game in response.

  33. Opps! Sorry Passenal. All fingers and thumbs at the moment. Too much physical labour.

  34. Jenkinson’s injury might be a blessing. It’ll be better to play the taller and more experienced Djourou against the trolls this week.

  35. Just Another Luke

    Nice one, especially the dig at Clichy. Should be entitled “the many faces of Santos”

    Anicoll5 | October 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

    A very interesting contribution from our Brazilian left back – at times an excellent defensive shield, at another a rapier to the heart of the French Defence with the touch of an angel – and yet …….sometimes as careless as Gael at his worst

  36. It was a win and we were comfortable. That surely makes it a comfortable win.

    Neither Theo nor Arsh is ever going to be the invisible cement in the team. They’ll always be looking to create goal-scoring chances and so will often be responsible for giving the ball away.

    One useful role played by Arsh was to give Roy Keane (clearly distressed at our win) someone to persecute in the after-match discussion on ITV. All four of them looked as though they’d been pole-axed by our late goal.

  37. I think it was a good performance for this stage of our development. I also think it is undeniable that Arshavin did not have a good night (depressing to find myself in agreement with Roy Keene!). Theo was busy but not overly effective in the final third. Song, Kos, Per and Czsz were all very good. Santos looks more promising with each game and ongoing familiarisation and health improvments will no doubt tell. Jenks was industrious. The strategy and Arsene were very good.

    Overall, a good night and preparation for the upcoming visit of a strong (and still detestable) Stoke.


  38. Merlot,

    Just saw your post. I agree, the commentators (led by that fat lump of stupidity) were so upset it was almost funny. Which other English team could play a foreign team in Europe and have Keene announce that he was pleased by their hardships to the resounding laughter of his co-presenters?

    Then there was the commentary, which sounded (shall we say) less than sympathetic to our cause.

    Nothing new, except now we’re starting to win again and their faces will find less opportunity to vent through their gaping holes.


  39. consol “They moan about a gung ho approach and an inability to concentrate in defence and when Arsenal deliver a thouroughly well thought out game plan they can’t see it.”

    Exactly what I was thinking last night. Often critcised for being too attacking and havin no plan B, then when we roll out plan B and play a smart game we are criticised for a lack of attacking flair. If United had won away to Marseille in the exact same circumstances they media would cream themselves over their impenetrable defence and resilience in finding a goal.

  40. Didn’t see the game but doesn’t seem like I missed much, seeing how everyone is saying it was a cagey affair. However, a win is win and snatching 3 points in the last minutes of a game is always welcome, considering how many times we’ve dropped point in similar circumstances, even when we had all of our ‘stars’.

    If we keep winning by ‘playing ugly” there should come a time when our tactics should be questioned, just not yet. For now, playing with style is far from being our priority.

  41. Henristic, watching our defence totally shut them out was kinda refreshing actually. In particular Koscielny, Arteta and Song were very solid and worked their socks off.

  42. Who gives a fook what the hit seeking whores in the media and the internet say? Lucky win my ass. We were consigned to the Europa League trash bin weeks ago. Now we are top of our group and gelling quite nicely. Long may it continue.

  43. I think that the most telling comment was after the match when Wenger said the we didn’t give the ball away in silly areas (or words to that effect). This meant that we were able to exert sustained pressure on Marseille, especially in the second half which eventually paid off. We were defensively solid all night and Sczeszny didn;t have a save to make that I can remember.

    I don’t accept the criticism of Walcott, I thought he was very diligent in his covering for Jenkinson, put crosses into decent areas once or twice, could have scored but for a decent save and had one of his better games overall.

    @SA Gooner 10:06, what are you talking about? Gervinho overran it and it fell to Ramsey, can’t we just take a bit of a lucky break once in a while without making it out to be some kind of masterful bit of play which it patently wasn’t? You’re reading too much into it, I think it’s just lucky that Gervinho couldn’t control it as he was marked and there would likely have been no chance made at all.

  44. So, who gets rested for Stoke?

  45. excellent win and very controlled performance, can`t comment on the commentators as had to turn them off after 7 minutes, when Andy Bellsend commented over a long ball that WS came and collected on edge of the box that there was obviously no communication between keeper and LK. When if fact LK had ducked under the ball letting it run through to the keeper, obviously demonstrating excellent communication – his next comment that he should have headed it out as it could have hit his back and gone anywhere… well it might have hit his back if he was an unco-ordinated mong, but I think 99% of the time 99% of profession footballers are capabily of getting out of the way of the ball (as demonstrated by Giggs on the weekend – can we imagine the out-cry if an Arse player had leap out of the wall like that) – This followed from various digs at how we would have to win the comp to qualify for next years, how do these people get and keep their jobs??

  46. I think this midfield set-up will serve us better in the CL than that of recent years. Nothing wrong with 1-0 to the Arsenal. Lots more of those will do nicely.
    It surprises me to read that it surprises any Arsenal fan that the commentators and pundits are surprisingly anti-Arsenal and surprised at us winning. LOL as they say.

  47. Longblackcloud, the question to ask is “how do they get their jobs?” Most of them were journeymen at best and do nothing to exhibit any more knowledge of the game than the average fan. In fact one or two of them have disgraced the game and it is really an outrage to see them still making money from it. Anyone want to guess at who I mean?

  48. Block4 – I watched with friends and none of us could agree on whether Gervinho meant the flick on for Ramsey or not. It’s immaterial but I was undecided – I thought ‘no’ at first but then the replay made me wonder.

  49. Haven’t seen the game, won’t be able to for at least another 24 hours (aaaargh!) but so delighted that we won and top our group with two home games to come.

    Bring on Stoke!

    @ melc and Deisegooner
    Agreed with your comments on what Arteta brings to the team – that is exactly it – he is not another Cesc. He is an older, stronger, more experienced version of another player whose name cannot be mentioned without starting an argument.

  50. Good win! bring on tony pubis and his stoke rugby football club

  51. Any news on Jenkinson, btw?

  52. SA Gooner – “Just going to check what ‘Le Unconvincibles’ are bleating. He he”

    I had a look too – it’s actually a fairly reasonable review – the most notable thing is the quiet volte face regarding Koscielny and that they are seemingly fully paid up members of the free Arshavin campaign!

  53. Ok (I am rolling up my sleeves a fixing a deadly stare)
    Arshavin was not as bad as people are making out.
    The team ,back5 ,Arteta and Song kept things tight and were not attempting to create much.Thomas also was not intent on being his creative self.
    That meant ,as Theo was ensuring he covered Carl,it was down to Andrei and Robin to do the offensive work .Andrei ran at people tried some tricks and was very busy.Not a lot worked for him but try he did.
    Now as he is my little favorite I send a lot of time watching him ,and he was always pointing , directing and generally organising ,Santos in particular.
    So he contributed a lot more the Roy the Red would have us believe.
    His finest hour it was not ,But neither was he crap.

    As for “comfortable”or not well it was a deserved win with little risk of losing.And I was not squirming in my seat so all in all ,”comfortable?” ,well yes ,it was ,

  54. I thought both walcotts and arshavins games suffered because of our measured approach to the game we were in no hurry to get the ball from defense to attack quickly for fear of the counter attack. Although if you watched theo in particular he made a number of good runs that were ignored.

  55. Stop saying bring on Stoke!

    I know it’s at home but I still dread playing this mob.

    If we get through with 3 points and no injuries or sending offs, I’ll be a happy man.

    If Ramsey plays that will be the first time he’s played against Shawcross – yes?

    Good news is they play tonight in Europe so one can hope they will be tuckered and depleted.

  56. I don’t see why some are moaning about Arshavin and Walcott… if they don’t receive the ball, they have less chances to impress. Its as simple as that.

    We were pretty solid in the second half, and our attacking players had a bit more room as our ability to win the ball back and retain the ball improved as the game went on. Marseille were well organized all over the pitch too. We rarely saw any ambitious passes, through balls, or over the top balls into Van Persie or any attacking players until the final 20.

    It was just one of them tight, boring games.

    A solid away win, after the opening 20 we never looked liked losing. Nice report YW

  57. Six wins, one draw and two defeats – not a bad run since getting shellacked against the scum.

    With Vermaelen back we will have a real platform on which to build – freeing Kos as cover for RB.

    That said, JD looked quite superb last night.

  58. Great win last night. Ramsey looks to be a scoring midfielder, even if he isn’t playing well, he can always find gaps and produce such moments like he did last night.

    Well said Passenal, Wenger got his tactic spot on last night defending deep last night really worked for us, Mert is a pretty intelligent defender.
    Koscinley MOTM, Arteta a close second.

    the Prof would have selection headaches when Vermaelen returns, ill go for Verm and Kos but what do i know, a selection headache is always welcome.

    Up the Arsenal

  59. Jenks or JD for right back?

  60. would be nice for Stoke to pick up few injuries this evening, confirmation that maybe (fingers crossed) our luck is turning – on a bitter anti utd soapbox anyone else notice how offen teams are missing their star or most effective players when they play Utd? when was the last time anyone can recall Manure having to face a full strength opposition? Certainly cannot remember the last time we went there with a full 1st team available

    Anyway bitter rant over
    I see Stoke are championing another long throw expert in their team – of joy of joys, that`ll be entertaining

  61. Henristic – “If we keep winning by ‘playing ugly” there should come a time when our tactics should be questioned”

    Can’t agree with that mate. If we keep winning, then that is the time when no questions need to be asked. If we are winning it would suggest our tactics are working no?

  62. Yes another doomer myth well and truly buried.
    Wenger does do tactics!!
    Wenger does have a plan B
    Wenger does defensive work in training

    So they can hold up their hands and say “sorry but we are drooling imbeciles”

  63. Ref Theo and Arsh. Makes me laugh how people sing the praises of those who come on late in a game and deride those who played earlier.
    If Theo and Arsh had come on later after Gerv and Ramsay had stretched and harried a determined defence into near exhaustion they’d have looked great too.
    It’s so blindingly obvious. When we are defending more against a lively team of course the front players don’t see much of the ball, later on when we assert our dominance the forward line come into it more and more and the opposition tire and lose shape. Perfect for any sub to shine.

  64. DJourou isnt really all that clever at right back. Id play Coq in there and keep the same 3 in the rest of the defense

    Santos Kos Per Coq

  65. melcfromfinsburypark

    Jonny, I think you are spot on re Stoke. Didn;t they get tanked by Sunderland after their win against Kiev or someone else the other week in the Euro Vase?

    My son was moaning about Walcott last night but the one thing he is good at these days is doing defensive work. He might be a frustrating player with inconsistent end product but I definitely don;t think he is lazy. Ox may look as if he can provide a lot more going forward in the long term but Theo is a million times better than him defensively and that is why Ox wasn;t even on the plane to Marseille

  66. DeiseGooner,he will not play Le Coq. at right back.He has said as much.

  67. @Desie,
    ill play Jenks(if he aint injured) in RB, remember, Wenger said Coq isnt really comfortable in RB.

    even Arshavin himself admitted he is having a rough patch, we all love our russian and want him to do better. As for theo, even if he is having a bad game, i feel the is always a major contribution he could make, either a goal or assist

  68. Tactics are only effective if you have the players to execute. Regardless of their current
    league form, Marseille is full of talent: swift, athletic, and powerful.

    The team is well organized and whose coach had them well prepared for this match. A likely successor for Arsene!

    The first 20 minutes they applied high pressure with the intent of forcing miscues that would lead to an early goal or break our confidence.

    Arsenal were patient and even though Song and Santos picked up early yellows…….they settled nicely as the match progressed.

    I thought our Manager’s game plan was masterful. We did not need a win and the players seemed (to me) resolved to win possession, hold possession, and be patient.

    In my brief period for following Arsenal, it is one of the few matches where the club (at the last minute) pulled the rabbit out of the hat. I think Bendtner had scored some late winners awhile back.

    At the 82 minute mark, I kept telling myself “please defense – stay focused, finish the match with the clean sheet. A clean sheet / draw will be viewed by all as success and something to build on.”

    We stole 3 points. Was it deserved, more so than Marseille. For the final 70 minutes, we took the game to Marseille. While our midfield and defense gave Szcz a night off.

    This was a team victory. I think it serves little purpose to find anything negative about any player. Why would you want to discredit Gervinho’s redirected pass to Ramsey? Talk about a grumpy bugger attitude.

    We won, celebrate. Everyone contributed their part.

    If nothing else I was excited to see that we snatched the points without needing RvP.

    Great to see Djourou step up and deliver……his brief cameo will do wonders to restoring his confidence and give us another valuable option in the line up.

    What can you say about Jenkinson? a mini-me of Kos (but not in size). What grit and determination for a 19 yr old.

    Next to our win over Barca (at the Emirates) last spring, this was a sensational result for the club, manager, and players – factoring in how we started the season.

  69. looking forward to seeing our young stars in the Carling cup, especially Ryo and AOC

  70. Deise – Wenger has already said that Coq is not comfortable there. I would stick with Djourou until TV5 returns. Then put Kos over there. A back 4 of Kos/Mertesacker/TV5/Santos would be fairly solid I reckon. We definately would will plenty in the air.

  71. Yeah Jenks plays if hes fit. Im just saying Djourou doesnt look all that comfortable at right back either. Fair enough Djourou is a defender first whereas Coq is a midfielder first – but Coq has played quite a few games on the right (back of midfield) last season whereas Djourou is almost always central. He also seems a bit more lumbering at right back. But maybe a taller stay at home defender would be the way to go against the mongoloids this weekend

  72. melcfromfinsburypark – well said except for your conclusion – Theo being better defensively is not a reason to not include AOC on the plane.

    I think there may be other reasons for AOC not playing in Europe but he recent omissions from the bench are difficult to understand – AOC is exactly the kind of player you want coming on in the last 15 minutes of a game.

    He’s quick, two-footed, fearless & bold, plus he looks to have the handy knack of scoring goals – most crucially of all he is in fantastic form at present.

    Here’s hoping he gets bench inclusion on Sunday.

  73. George, as much as Arshavin likes to take on defenders, right now he looks to be about the worst of our players at doing exactly that. Running into trouble far too often and has been for a while. Trying to do too much.

  74. AOC is exactly the kind of player you want coming on in the last 15 minutes of a game.

    Apart from his all round game not being good enough.Yet.
    Or yes if you want to be more vulnerable.

  75. Markus.I have put my fingers in my ears.Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala

  76. Great write up YW thanks.

    Arteta put in a very good defensive display, harrying and pressing, more than most of the other players. His passing was good, not too elaborate, but effective. Good to see him getting used to his teammates’ styles. Kos was the best player on the pitch, looking more and more like a top quality defender – I’d be tempted to have him and TV5 as our starting CBs (depending on opposition). Song was excellent and made a brilliant last ditch tackle while almost lying on the floor in our own box, great stuff. Jenk did very well, and showed great determination, even after his first knock (i think it was just after that knock that he made a very important block in our box). Great attitude. Santos really had me worried to begin with to be honest, was ultra casual on the ball in some tricky positions, but grew out of that as the game wore on. He was very dangerous going forward, and can run with much power and pace.

    In attack, RvP was contained very well by their defence bar a couple of half chances, and looked a little lonely up there on his own, but this was to be expected.

    I totally agree with Steww’s comment above about the difference coming on as sub after Theo and Arsh had done all the hard (and not very satisfying) work. They should not be slated for their efforts, even though not much of what they tried came off.

    All in all, a very good result. For those understating the result, bear in mind that we are only the 2nd English team to beat Marseille at their place – ever.

    Well done lads. Onto Stoke…

  77. Sorry to repeat myself
    Said this before but Arshavin gets a free pass to the level of criticism that Theo gets. For our record signing and a guy with so much international experience he has been worse than our most inexperienced youngsters. Last night he gave the ball away almost every touch and seemed to get worse and worse. Sorry but id rather see gerv, theo, ox or ryo ahead of arshavin. he has had plenty chances over the yrs. And also george grapham pointed out that he looks so uninterested on the field.
    If nothing working for you (touch, passing and shooting is off the pace ) the least you can do is work hard for the team.

  78. George – “Apart from his all round game not being good enough”

    Heh, this from a man who champions AA. I can’t imagine AOC is any worse than AA defensively.

  79. If we got a decent offer for AA or Theo come the summer, I would take it and plough the cash into our bid for either Goatze or Hazard.

  80. Good job you are a poster on a blog and not the manager Andy.
    He is a lot worse defensively.A lot.And other listen when Andrei tells them where to go and what do do.I could do with him telling you 🙂

  81. George – And where do you get that opinion from (that he is a lot worse that AA defensively)? I for one have not seen anywhere near enough of AOC to make a reasonable judgmenet of that (it seems you have). But I do know that AA is pretty awful defensively.

    AA is very good at guiding younger players when and where to make their forward runs. He is also very good at watching the right back run past him 😉

    I like AA and Theo (believe it or not), both both players are ones that you hope play well. In general they have more “OK” game sthan good ones. I would like us to have more players to you can be confident will perform more than not. Like RvP. Cesc was the same; it was more of a suprise if he had a dodgy game.

  82. “I could do with him telling you”

    And I already have car insurance thank you very much.

  83. goonerandy | October 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    “Henristic – “If we keep winning by ‘playing ugly” there should come a time when our tactics should be questioned”
    Can’t agree with that mate. If we keep winning, then that is the time when no questions need to be asked. If we are winning it would suggest our tactics are working no?”

    Sure it means the tactics are working, doesn’t mean we can’t question it.
    I want us to win things, but moreso I’d like us to do it in style, like Arsene is known for. I’m not ashamed to say it was our style that got me hooked on the Arsenal in the first place, and I wouldn’t want us to loose that identity anytime soon, especially considering how much I (and many others) have enjoyed rubbishing Mourihno’s past successes for the very same reason.

  84. Henristic – I would be more than happy if we played slightly less silky football if we got better results. Style needs to have substance after all. Also, we have to take into account the loss of Nasri and Fabregas (and the unavailability of Wishere) as to why why have not been so fluid of late. Both were instrmental in our ball retention game.

    I don’t think there is any danger of us turning into a functional side under the current manager, but in recent years our possesion game has not returned any fruits. Sometimes change is nessasary.

  85. Just for the record I’m going out on a limb and supporting Jonny on the AOC issue. I realise Arsene is the manager and he knows best, but AOC on the bench offers you something for those games where we are behind and need a goal. George, there are certainly flaws to his game much like there are flaws to every players game, learn to use AOC at the right time is all we are saying. I do think it is curious that two of our more in form players are not making the cut in AOC and Park.

    I finally got to see the match last night, the stupid TV here had 3 channels of football and it was all Barca.

    I thought as some have already mentioned that Arsene’s approach to the game was bang on. This was a game where a point would have been an acceptable return for our endeavours, we played that way with a tactial no stupid errors approach. I liked it, in fact I loved it. If you cast your mind back to the OM v Dortmund game, Dortmund were all over OM retaining possession and having more chances and yet their desire to score opened up their defense time and time again. We were not so foolish as to play the same game.

    As a stat attack, I am curious whether we actually train crossing as a standard fair in the attacking third. According to game cast there were in the end 30 crosses delivered by Arsenal, 30! I have supported Arsenal now or 34 years, and I don’t think I have seen anywhere near that level of crosses by an Arsenal team before. I was certainly glad to see Rambo pop up with a winner, we all are but 29 crosses never connected with an Arsenal target. I am not sure what the game plan was behind so many crosses where largely we had maybe 1 player in the box to potentially receive the ball. I am not against crossing the ball, but I would prefer prefer to central targets for delivery. In fact if you look at the winning goal, there were two Arsenal players making runs in to the box when the ball came over.

    Viva la Arsenal

  86. Miami – “Just for the record I’m going out on a limb and supporting Jonny on the AOC issue. I realise Arsene is the manager and he knows best, but AOC on the bench offers you something for those games where we are behind and need a goal. George, there are certainly flaws to his game much like there are flaws to every players game, learn to use AOC at the right time is all we are saying. I do think it is curious that two of our more in form players are not making the cut in AOC and Park.”

    My thoughts as well.

  87. ‘but I would prefer 2 central targets’

  88. I conducted no empirical review of those crosses Miami but my recollection of watching last night is that on few of them was there ever more than a single Arsenal player (RvP) in the box surrounded by the enemy.

  89. GA, I was perusing the Arsenal website yesterday looking at the current Arsenal 1st team players and I have to say seeing before Walcott and Gervinho listed as forwards was something that gave me pause. Arsenal are playing with a lone striker and 2 wingers, it is the preferred formation from Arsene. The thing is with the defensive duties Theo is asked to get through in a game he is largely not able to get as forward as he or we may like and is therefore essentially playing as a right sided midfielder. So are we really playing Theo as a forward? I think it is a difficult spot for the lad, he wants to get forward but it mindful of his defensive duties. Think about TH14, sure we scored gaols from the wing but he really started scoring goals though the middle as a central attacking figure.

  90. An interesting game to watch. Thankyou for the post Yogi. Also, lots of good commentary about the game on the blog. I like the comment about the “grumpy bugger attitude” from Arsesession. I get there some times so I am told by my wife or my lovely Rose, a Golden Retriever. I truly dislike that part of me that finds a way to come out sometimes. It is truly an archaeic and ineffectual part of my personality that needs self purging. Pat the unhappy little boy on the head and direct the person to more useful things out in the garden which is happieness.

    This was indeed a team effort and was nice to see. The coming on of our Welch midfielder added a dynamism to our game. Aaron was all over the park! What a remarkable player Ramsey is and he is rounding into the player we all knew before his wretched injury. It is going to be hard indeed to keep Aaron out of the starting eleven. But, who will he displace and displace he will.

    Also liked the commentary about Theo and his development as a defensive player which is accurate. Theo is letting everyone know that he is in the park these days and he is indeed all the better for it. Yet Theo still finds moments of sublime magic during a game. He is such a pleasure to watch. He can make fullbacks appear very inconsequential especially when he has them in a position to use his speed as you might remember during this game. Theo went by that poor chap like a cold wind in July.

  91. Anicoll5, that is my point mate. The fact we are crossing to a lone target surrounded by at least 2 defenders so consistently, left me some what shocked. I’ll say it again, the goal came from a cross. The area the ball was delievered to had two Arsenal players attacking it. The ball then dropped to a third Arsenal player following up from a wide position, whom scored. Crossing for the sake of just putting a cross in hampered us last night in as much as we were essentially giving the ball away. I personally feel that had we had two central targets there is much more indecision in the minds of both the defenders and keeper.

  92. Miami – In theory, the 3 midfielders should shuffle left and right to make up for the lack of a right/left midfielder per se. With our 2 wide men dropping too far back we are essentially playing a 451. This could be leaving them too much space to cover if we suddenly break forward. It may explain why none of our wide men have really made the impact on games were would expect? That said, it is no different to last season, and Theo’s stats were fairly decent then.

  93. hah – was just about to point out that AA offers less than nothing defensively but goonerandy beat me to it.

    Miami – re the crosses this was my first post match comment last night:

    Funny thing was watching attack after attack come down the RHS and decent crosses being delivered to meet no one in particular. Cannot help but feel that Chamakh would have been useful here.

    If ever the time to play two strikers was more apparent I don’t know when it was…

    One thing with Wenger, which even those who can see scarcely a flaw must admit, when you have gone from favour it’s a stony, unexplained silence from which few return.

    Chamakh is out of favour and few can say quite why.

    What use 30 crosses without numbers in the box and with Chamakh and Park being remaining totally unused?

    You are right though, when did we last see 30 crosses from an Arsenal team? No doubt about it Jenkinson’s delivery is the best part of his game (along with his attitude – take note AA). Just a bizarre thing that the manager watches this happen and doesn’t bring on a player with a reputation for sticking the ball in the back of the net with his bonce.

    Final question – given the clear quality of Jenks delivery should he not be taking all rhs corners? It can;t be just me who is sick of seeing RvP out of the equation, taking corners when he should be on the edge of the box looking to run onto anything headed clear.

  94. GA, I understand that mate. The thing is in watching the game we are essentially using 2 defensive midfielders now in Song and Mikel. If you take away the starting position of the players and look at the general areas they hang out in during the course of the game you’ll see that both Song and Mikel, are doing a wonderful job of shielding the defense. The issue of course then becomes what do we have in the middle, which is usually a single player, whether Rambo or Rosicky. This lone middle to final third area midfielder is then asked to carry the work with the help of the wingers, which is drawing the wide players inside more than we probably want to see.

    It is just my observation.

  95. Most of the crosses last night were a complete waste. We’d have been better retaining possession. Time and place for it, and when we have VP on his own in the box against 4 defenders is not the time.

  96. Jonny, corners are a pet hate of mine because I cannot understand how we do score from seemingly any of them. Most teams it says to be said love to see a corner, it is a set piece affording an opportunity to score a goal and yet my wonderous Arsenal seem to have forgotten what they are actually for.

    I haven’t looked, but when was the last time we scored a headed goal from a corner?

  97. Miami – Yup, all good points mate.

    You are right about the corners as well. It is bizzare; our delivery is normally pretty bad. Players who are normall excellent strikers of the ball (RvP & Arteta) constantly fail to beat the front man. I just don’t get it.

  98. Markus – Agreed.

  99. Le Grove is the most depressing blog I’ve ever been on…. totally draining.

    We won against a good team. Man Shitty just beat a similar team, how is ours deemed a failure.

    We’ve for the first time in a while got a decent squad with lot’s of different attributes and mix of youth and experience. The system doesn’t suit all of our players, AA isn’t really suited out wide but he does a job, nasri wasn’t that great out their either with his best form coming when central for cesc.

    Defensively we’re looking better, the midfield are providing good cover, Stoke will be a test but one that again with the right tactics, tempo and team selection we can overcome.

    I agree with the point about crosses and noone being in there but there is also a benefit to crossing in that it keeps the opposition defence guessing, seasons gone by we were predictable with no crosses and always trying to walk the ball in. It was a cross that led to the goal, defenders still have to deal with them whilst being aware of a cut back, cross pass, low drilled ball and whilst dealing with the 2nd ball.

  100. I am not bagging my Arsenal, these are just observations which I thought deserved the light of day.

  101. The moment Ramsey received the ball I knew it was a goal. He has the thing Lampard had at his peak. U ain’t seen nothing yet!

  102. Our corner routines and set pieces generally are definitely in need of improvement but that is less important than defending, workrate and tactics right now

  103. Great post Yogi:

    Excellent game. Our defense played very well and gave us the chance to win. I have been fooled far to many times before to get overly enthusiastic about a couple of good games but I really hope that we are starting to put together a defense that be consistent and give us a chance to get results even when our attack is sputtering. The last several years have proven that no matter how much attacking talent you can run out every game, you need to be solid in the back to consistently get results. I hope I’m wrong but I doubt this squad is going to score as many goals as some of our teams in the recent past but if we can maintain our solidarity in the back we can still save this season.

  104. @Bill

    I’ll second that re defence, the invincibles conceded only 26

  105. Two Owls | October 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm
    ‘grumpy bugger – borrowed from Georges post yesterday……

    sorry George for not placing an asterisks or a foot note to the long post….

  106. The Congo Zaire connection is intresting. We have Benik Afobe. There’s Kompany, Boyata, Kakuta, Bosingwa & Nzogbia to name a few plying their trade in England. All ofcourse citizens of their European countries!

  107. I’m really interested in Arsenal playing a 4-2-2-2 formation if we are going to cross the ball 30 times a game 🙂

  108. Miami, GA or anyone:

    Crossing towards one of 2 players against a deep lying defense that is set up and organized is worthless especially for a team like ours when we have no one on the pitch who can beat a defender in the air on a 50/50 ball. I think we should be counter attacking a lot more or at least attacking the the goal earlier in the sequence of play before the defense is organized. Low crosses aimed at players making runs into the box would be more effective for us, but that is impossible if the defense is set. It means less possession but this squad is not really as well suited for the possession game compared with previous squads. Walcott, Arshavin, Gervinho would all be more effective moving quickly towards the goal rather then trying to weave their way around banks of defenders.

  109. I am glad we didnt stop crossing to be honest, it only took one to get through.

    It surprises me that many cannot see what happened last night, instead we look to berate players. I do agree that Arshavin was off, but the Theo attacks (I think Yogi is wrong in saying that Arshavin and Walcott had similar games)have me confused.

    Many times the crosses were not poor but becuase we were staying back we didnt have enough people in the box. However I can see the sense in crossing becuase you never know. Also many of the blocked crosses turned into corner kicks (one nearly came off, if not for a handball). Another thing is, with how our opponents were defending, we were most probably not going to score down the middle as they chocked that part of the pitch.

    The plan was not to get caught on the counter because Marsailles plan we to sit back, not let us carve them open and try to catch us on the counter.

    This was an excellent win!

    God bless!

  110. Bill – I agree with that. It has been a feature of our play for a few years. We either don’t move “back to front” quickly enough, or, move fairly quickly, but slow the pace down when we approach the final third.

    It is almost at times as though we play lots of defence again attack in training, and need the defence set and in place before we try to score during the match.

    The times we have “just gone for it” (I recall a couple of Theo/AA goals) we are devestating. It must be a mental thing.

  111. Bill, when Chamackh scored recently it was against 2 defenders and the goalkeeper. With that maybe it wouldve been better to have him on last night, but it doesnt matter now.

  112. I do agree that we should be attacking with more pace and off the ball movement overall, but last night was a well worked plan.

  113. The issue of crossing is a funny one. It is beyond dispute that we don’t get enough men in the box on a regular basis to warrant too many crosses. But this in itself is is a strange one; we normally dominate possesion should should have more opportunity to make crosses. Numbers in the box is often enough to get goals as well. Look at Manure; they don’t have a “target man” but score a shedload of goal from crosses. And they normally have at least players players breaking thei necks to get into the box.

    As sides know that we are unlikely to cross the ball, or, get enough men in the box to make use of any cross it makes us very predictable. By not varying our game we are making ourselves easy to defend against.

  114. Does anyone know where Ole Gunnar and Limparassist dissappeared to? Haven’t seen their posts for a while now.

  115. There were so many crosses last night, I am sure Chamakh would have gotten on the end of a couple of them at least, and the winning margin could have been greater. Jenkinson tried over and over again, and must have been a little frustrated that they weren’t met. I must admit I was surprised that Chamakh didn’t get some time at the end, due to the amount of crosses, and the need to keep RvP nice and fresh.

    It didn’t matter in the end as a cross gave us the 3 points. It is good to see that we are experimenting with other approaches now, and once the team gets used to trying the ‘plan B, C’ etc, we’ll have a nicely flexible approach to our game.

    We have shown that we can shut out opponents and win by the odd goal. We know when we are on our game we can slice any team open with our passing play. We know we can counter very effectively with the extremely pacey personnel we have. All of these parts of this new look team can be polished and improved upon, giving us the ability to change our game plan depending on the opponent – something we haven’t been great at for a few years.

  116. Ole Gunner left us quite a while ago Kenyan, Limpar more recently… Not sure what’s up there.

  117. GA,
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy with us having to play ‘boringly’, for now, especially if we are winning. Needs must and all that.
    I just wouldn’t want us to change our identity over the medium/long term.

  118. Not sure where Ole and Limpar are, but I am sure Frank has disapeared up his own hole 😉

  119. Henristic – No me neither. Ultimately we have lost the player the side was build around. It was always going to take us a while to find a slightly different way of playing.

  120. “I just wouldn’t want us to change our identity over the medium/long term.”

    Henristic, I don’t think we will. I think we are having to adjust our play because of the influx of personnel, and because of the loss of Fabregas. We don’t quite have the same quality in midfield and our quick snappy passing has suffered slightly due to players not knowing eachother’s styles quite as well. But I am confident that we will get back to those ways once the team clicks more, and the beauty of doing it this way is that we are discovering how to play without relying on the quick passing, possession play that we’ve become used to (as have our opponents). when we are firing on all cylinders again, we should be able to switch our style around more freely.

  121. Andy @ 3:05:

    ManU is the example I would use also. They tend to attack at pace and they get the ball into the danger area quickly. Hernandez who has no great technical skill scores boatloads of goals by turning in low crosses that are aimed at his runs towards goal. Rooney scores a lot the same way. They seem to convert their chances at a higher rate then we do and yet I can’t believe they are better finishers. I think they just create better chances because they attack before the defense is set up. They are also better poachers and turn in more rebounds and get more scrappy goals. Again that happens when the defense is disorganized. Once the defense is set they have a much better chance of clearing any rebounds that the GK spills or when the ball takes a bounce of deflection in the area that no one was expecting.

    Geo @ 3:13:

    I agree. I know its early and we have been fooled before but yesterday gives hope that we are developing a little more tactical nous and ability to adapt and play a different style when the situation calls for it.

  122. Missed the game as was stuck at Zurich airport – which wasn’t ideal.

    Massive result. Make no bones about it, winning at Marseille in Europe is not a feat often achieved, to do so with (based on highlights & reading reports) remaining disciplined (bar a couple of stupid yellows) , with a good shape and not giving away chances is all the more pleasing.

    As Ramsey is growing in confidence, could this weekend be the perfect setting to exercise a few demons, and for our midfield to find its new leader?

  123. Henristic:

    If we can maintain a stable consistent defense the other parts of our game can build off that. In the past I have regurgitated stats and table and graphs (ad nauseum) showing that effective attacking and defensive nous are in no way mutually exclusive. The idea that a team can not maintain an identity as an attacking team and still play good defense is utter rubbish and you know that as well as I.

  124. So because some fuckwit pundit says Andrei look disinterested we accept that do we?
    Well I don’t, and he and anyone else who questions Andrei’s attitude should try to understand that they have not got a scooby what they are talking about.

  125. Henristic,Good post and point about our style being important.

  126. George – Be honest……….are you Andrei?

  127. Blocky

    I would rather my reality had the possibilities of a breath of genius, rather than the limits of your imagination.

  128. Arshavin was very much interested. He tried hard but his moves didn’t come off as he or we would’ve liked.

  129. Anyway, off home. Playing football tonight.


  130. SA Gooner .I don’t know what you are on about but I like it.

  131. Geo

    LA is travelling around Europe somewhere.


  132. Paul ,That is what I said earlier.Where this lazy and disinterested,which we have been hearing for about 2 years now,has come from I am not sure.(stupid people I suspect).
    If that was the case he would have been shown the door ,And there would be no shortage of takers either ,by the way.

  133. SA Gooner, I can imagine that you’re off your rocker if you think Gervinhos miscontrol was a pass.

    pedantic george, I wouldn’t say Arshavin was disinterested, but nothing he did came off last night, he created nothing. Not his night.

  134. pedantic george, I wouldn’t say Arshavin was disinterested, but nothing he did came off last night, he created nothing. Not his night.

    Now that I can agree with

  135. Just had this forwarded to me at work: Titled “The Sun lies about Hillsborough”….

    “After the success of the e petition system in having a debate about the Hilsborough disaster in parliament, (after over 100,00 people had signed the petition- virtually 140,000 in fact) a new e petition has been created.

    This petition is to force the sun newspaper to reveal their sources and documents that they based their infamous headline ‘The Truth’ and story on.

    The apparent behaviour of the Liverpool fans at the disaster that killed 96 Liverpool fans (urinating on the dead, stealing from the dead etc) described within this article has had absolutely no evidence to back it up surface in the following years. Liverpool fans demanded an apology from the day of publication of this story and to this day the people of Liverpool still refuse to buy the newspaper in question.

    To sign the petition please click here:

    To learn more about the story behind the article in question click here:

    (I make no apology for the passionate and emotive language used by the website it is a subject that has created extremely high emotions of all Liverpool football fans for the past 22 years and will keep doing so until there is some sort of resolution)”


  136. Moderation Yogi?

  137. I’d rather have a squad with Arshavin & Theo than not, granted they can be ineffective but equally it only takes a mistake from a defending team and they have the talent to capitalise

  138. Waz, I remember Walcott having to be pulled down on the wing because he had the guy well beat and wouldve been in acres.

  139. No Geo, the usual excess. Oh, right, you’ve a comment that’s not appeared? Hang on, I’ll check.

  140. I dont know i hold a harsher view with arshavin as he is a senior player not a youngster – he has played in very important matches and has won medals in russia. Now is a time for him to step to the plate like Van P, Like metersakker, Like gibbs, like song etc – he is not living in Cescs and Nasri’s shadow anymore so please come out and take more responsibility. Too often i see him looking at his toes when a move doesnt come of or he tamely loses the ball. Last night he really cheesed me off and was supprised to see walcot leave the pitch instead of him.
    I want him to do well cause he wears the shirt but what i dont like is how Theo gets it from all sides for poor performances (esp media and some of our own fans)and Andre is excused for them. Like i said above our record signing @ 17 mill yes more than reyes and wiltord who were deemed flops in some circles (loved them both) even after winning a couple of medals in our teams

  141. Geo

    Comment was moderated for a previously stated reason. Its doomed to fail in its intention since the government won’t debate one party’s actions when the wider issue is being resolved.


  142. Arshavin is hardly disinterested. He gets a salary and a win bonus. That’s a heck of an interest.
    Or maybe you meant uninterested.
    Andy – your sleight of Frank didn’t go unnoticed. If you were one hundredth part the fan he is you might be able to comment.
    But you are not, so don’t.

  143. xpedantic george | October 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Forget roy keane – i dont care what he thinks. Ive been saying that i think his performances were not good enough for a while now – since last yr infact. Its noticeable that in our must win game in Italy he lost his place to gerv who is a new signing and you would have thought andrei had a better understanding with the rest of team than gerv.

    He himself has admited his performances were not good enough ( and comendable that he has the courage to admit it in public) but he has not lived up to the hype for me personally.

  144. sorry bout the x before your name – in case you get offended – just a typo

  145. Sad news today that the EPPP was signed off on 😦 I understand that the EPL makes the money and such but this in effect kills all 72 teams outside the EPL.

    I am very disappointed that the Premiership clubs were threathening to hold off payments to the league assocation for lower level youth development. I have no idea how Arsenal positioned themselves in this affair, but if they supported this gross injustice then I am very saddened to be an Arsenal supporter today.

  146. geeGunner,Did he hype himself up?
    No he did not .So why should he have to live up to it?
    If the team was built around him(and I am not saying it should be)like the Russian national team is ,and he was given free licence ,then and only then would you see him at his best.

  147. Arshavin has stepped up when he can, that goal earlier in season from some silly angle is not something most players would have the talent to finish, be careful what you wish for or how simplistic you view the ease with which a player should be able ‘to step up’ in a game.

    If a defence is doing a solid job then there isn’t much you can do in a position where you are afforded less creative freedom, a winger can be taken out of a game with doubling up from a midfielder and a defender. If Arshavin was in a flloating central role then we could criticise his effort/talent as he’d have the space to apply himself.

    I think we often forget that we actually play against teams who have done their homework to nullify our threats, no team at this level are just mugs who let our best players play.

    We’ve got competition for places, talent, experience, great youth and match winners (yes they don’t always win matches but at least the threat is there). We’re prob a cb and a top striker short of a very, very good squad, all we need is consistency and some game time for the newbies to bed in…

    Would RVP get opportunities to score if Theo, AA etc etc were doing absolutely nothing…I doubt it as then RVP would have a whole defence marking him.

  148. Kisses go after the name, geeGunner.

  149. Waz,Thanks I was just about to say that very thing.And coincidentally,use exactly the same words.

    Markus ,lol

  150. All I gotta say is that when Chelski & Manure went there last year & got draws, the media were jizzing themselves… stuff of champions they said…

  151. Good stuff Waz, really good!

  152. Rambo ❤

  153. Thanks guys

  154. Theo should be taught some football intelligence if its possible. He is one of the poster boys of wenger’s youth policy.if he fails,it’d reflect negatively on arsene,we can’t have that now,can we?

  155. ace advocating more intelligence in a person would be desirable.
    Is “ironic” the word I need?

  156. We havent scored a late goal in a long time. This wkind and yesterday shows we can get back to being Arsenal. I love it. Marseille gave us a game and to come out of it with the three points is quite impressive. One game at a time, now let’s go to stalk and win!!

  157. you don’t know what you need?

  158. Stew you ate lame at best, no fool that comes on here after the blackburn game claiming to be proud and suggesting a great comeback can really be taken seriously. You are a troll at best and a idiot to boot , and offer nothing compared to GA who clearly loves this club far more than you.

  159. three points is two more than i would have been happy with, and coming at the end like that made it even better. Alot of positives from last night. i thought we played more consistantly than before, yes there were some below par individual perfomances but as a team we defended better. i think that is a sign of improving confidence and attitude. We have good players coming back very soon, two of them for the next CL game maybe. Thanks for the post by the way. Its good to be top of the group leage.

  160. what is EPPP

  161. Jo,I will take Stew’s line here.
    How can a dimwit like you have the front to critisise someone like Stew?
    And I cant imagine that even your Mum takes you seriously.

  162. But,george i know nobody takes you seriously.

  163. Team Spirit, EPPP is the Elite Player Performance Plan.

    There is an article up now on skysports about it. It is however essentially a means for Rich clubs to ensure that buying players from the lower leagues is far cheaper than it use to be. I was never a fan of the idea because the game is already beset with financially failing clubs in lower leagues and this kind of action is making the situation worse.

  164. we have enough financially failing clubs in the top flight let alone the lower divisons where money is even more tight.

  165. How do you know that ace?
    You see that is exactly the type of post that proves your stupidity.
    Thanks for saving me a job.

  166. But Miami,the other view is that it will improve the standard of our home grown players.And goodness me we need that to happen.
    Not saying I agree one way or the other.Just saying.

  167. Keep it coming george.i’m never tire of comic relief from you

  168. Yeah George, I understand there are those that have of views on the issue. I am not against improving the level of youth football through investment but even in that case why institute set figures for years at the club? As the example on skysports demonstrates, a 17 year old (the next AOC maybe or whatever) can leave Pylmouth for Man Utd for 100k. That doesn’t seem fair or reflective of a fair system.

    Hey, if I am wrong I can own up to that but at first glance this looks great for the haves and a kik in the teeth for the have nots. I am curious whether it would have passed were not the EPL threathening to not pay 5 million in youth development costs to the league association.

  169. i take george seriously..

    yogi after thinking about your claim that the win was a comfy one i find myself in agreement..
    not typically comfy in terms of a damn good thrashing but we controlled a very naff game in our own third and the middle third and although it took until the last kick we scored what we needed..marseilles were never in it..

    it wasnt an amazing game nor did we look at our best but the game was won, the points were taken and the table looks good with two home games to go..

    the players reaction said it all after the final whistle..this game was important for confidence and momentum and another win at the weekend and 4th place doesnt look too far away..
    cl qualifaction doesnt look too far away either..

    its looking like we are turning a corner..but one step at a time..the game v stoke is massive..we need to win..

  170. Stoke are footballs Antichrist

  171. To think after the defeat to Barcelona we were maybe 2 signings from competing with them,
    Now we are light yrs away, on a good note we are starting to play with more confidence the Marseille result was huge, but don’t expect any praise from the media,we have a plan B and it goes unnoticed, oh well a siege mentality might do us some good.

  172. Miami, Arsenal were the featured game on Fox Soccer Channel yesterday. Barcelona got second billing. I don’t know how you could’ve missed the game.

    I liked Djourou on the right yesterday. He combined well with the midfield, stayed when he had to and got forward when he got the chance. It was his play on the right that got us the goal, after all. He looked well up for it and slotted in seamlessly.

    I don’t buy that Arshavin was disinterested. That’s just some stupid shit to say if you watched the game and came away with that. My gripe with him last night was that none of his moves came off. Had Santos been a bit better Arshavin would’ve gotten a lot more joy down the left. As it was, it was just him and two defenders for most of his time on the pitch. Those odds aren’t good for even the best winger in the game.

    Ace, it’s you that needs to learn some football intelligence and not Theo. Theo was up and down the right all game making sure that Jenkinson was well looked after. He made his runs when he could and had to contend with the rotational fouling most teams choose to use in order to stop him. If the ref were any good Morel would’ve been double booked before Theo came off. By the way, did you see that run where Theo knocked beyond the LB and made him contort like a pretzel? Football intelligence right there, my boy.

  173. George ur being cruel to the anti-Christ
    He has not got a long-ball

  174. “what Arteta brings to the team – … He is an older, stronger, more experienced version of another player whose name cannot be mentioned without starting an argument.”

    That is exactly what I’ve been thinking recently! It’s interesting that suddenly some people can see the value of that type of ‘linking’ player. But I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in regards to his role in the team.

    “when Vermaelen returns, ill go for Verm and Kos”

    Me too Jeff. Merts is a very experienced CB, but for our style the smaller, quicker defender seems to work better. Maybe we can play him more in away games against the bruisers? Although having said that, he does not actually attack the ball in the air that much. He has not yet adjusted to that aspect of the PL.

  175. DeiseGooner | October 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Do you ever listen to what the manager says, or visit It’s enlightening and I would have thought a necessity for an Arsenal supporter.

  176. Why does Theo get so much abuse and critisism, i mean he is twice the player for us then Arshavin. in fact theo has contributed apart from rmvp to alot of our goals. if i was him i’d fuck off coz i would nt want to play for some moaning bunch of cunts that dont appreciate what he offers.

  177. Martin Keown sums up precisely my problem with AA.

    “I watched Barcelona as well last night and what stunned me about them was the work rate of the players – they work to win the ball back very, very quickly. If I was to pick one player on Wednesday night who doesn’t necessarily do that for Arsenal it’d be Andrei Arshavin. He has great ability, but he doesn’t look like he’s willing to run around and get the ball back and there needs to be a better reaction – if he was to work hard, we’d forgive him when he loses the ball. I thought on Wednesday night in the main Arsenal worked really hard to win it back. There were glimpses of Arteta running back defending, working hard, we know Song does that, Jenkinson’s work rate was fantastic; these are the key indicators, players who are willing to bust a gut for their team-mates. That’s how Barcelona do it and that’s how you win things.”

  178. Well said Duke, you don’t know what you have got til it’s gone

  179. Truth is would AA be missed??? only boy george.

  180. sorry typo i meant by george.

  181. Duke, no he is not twice the player.He never has been and he never will be.
    But that does not mean he is not a valuable asset.

  182. You would wonder why he is still here .If only Arsene knew as much as some people all would be rosy in the Arsenal garden.

  183. We cant keep saying that Wenger is playing AA out of position coz he plays Theo out of position and he still produces(yes not every game we know). but AA’s good performances are as rare as rocking horse shit.

  184. Come on George that was half hearted,
    Look Arsh can be great on his day but Theo is more consistent and in my mind a better player

  185. I’m trying to think of the last game AA was the best player on the pitch. help us out george.

  186. Funny that Jonny because Marin Keown sums up my concerns about pundits and ex players in particular.
    So now there is only one way for a team to play.Like Barca.Ok good luck to everyone who tries that.I mean it must be easy .Martin says its “the” way.Good oh

  187. when was Theo the best player on the pitch.Ever?Let alone last time.
    Here is something I said case you missed it Duke

    “pedantic george | October 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm
    geeGunner,Did he hype himself up?
    No he did not .So why should he have to live up to it?
    If the team was built around him(and I am not saying it should be)like the Russian national team is ,and he was given free licence ,then and only then would you see him at his best.”

  188. G4E,

    “Rambo <3"

    Ha Ha. Since when did you start making hearts? Stick to the .

  189. Since when did being an armchair manager and moaning endlessly equal anything even halfway respectable, JO? I find goonerandy’s posts pretty dull and whiney for the most part. Frank and steww do what supporters are supposed to do SUPPORT. You and goonerandy are simply customers with an annoying sense of entitlement.

  190. well we are not seing the real Arshavin. hope he wasnt one of the ones that wanted to jump the sinking ship in the summer.

  191. Spy ,when was Theo regarded ,by all and sundry ,one of the best players in the world?
    The only thing Theo can do better than Andrei is run fast.And that is not saying Theo is not a good player .Because he is.

  192. A bit too harsh on Arsh there, Duke. Second most assists last season by Arsh. I think he usually performs when the whole team is performing. Which is something under proccess at the moment. When the team finds it’s rhythem I think Arsh will start contributing more with goals and assists.

    I agree with Theo though, get’s undeserving stick. I personally can’t wait to see Ox playing for us a little more now.

  193. You can see the gulf in class between Fab Nasri and Arteta Benny etc let’s not kid ourselves we are a lot weaker but we are where we are and the team are in transition it’s up from here, Go Gunners!

  194. Duke he could go back to St Petersberg or join Eto on silly money.
    He wants to play for Arsenal.

  195. spy stop banging on about the the deserting duo.

  196. Bennythegoon is as good as Samri IMO
    No one is as good as Cesc so comparisons are moot.

  197. george,

    well we all know AA has class. we cant afford to lose any more quality players.

  198. Duke I have named them “the cowardly two”

  199. dukeGoonem | October 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    well we all know AA has class. we cant afford to lose any more quality players.

    well stop fucking winding me up about him then 🙂

  200. george.

    Smiley face winking flipping the bird!!!!!!!

  201. “spy stop banging on about the the deserting duo.”

    Thanks for that Duke!

    blasted annoying to say the least!

  202. hilarious dialogue (rocking horse sh*t) 🙂

    someone reading these posts would have thought we lost yesterday……with fans defending their favorite from being responsible for the loss…..

    Can’t we even enjoy the moment?

  203. @Arsesession – NO! NEVAH! 😀

  204. Stew – “Andy – your sleight of Frank didn’t go unnoticed. If you were one hundredth part the fan he is you might be able to comment.
    But you are not, so don’t.”

    a. It was a joke, chill out.
    b. How do you judge who is a “better fan”? I am as much a fan as anybody on here.
    c. I will comment on what I like.
    d. As seen as you spend half your time up his hole, say hello to him for me. Please. 😉

  205. Yeah Paul u have probably never loved and lost

  206. Sorry to mention this but people talk of the cowardly two as if they were equals.
    They were not is any way equal.
    I keep hearing pundits saying “Arsenal lost their two best players”
    Well that is bollocks.Cesc was the leagues best player the Manc. sub was nothing compared to him

  207. Spy,why call Paul a looser?
    I am not someone who likes to compare how good fans are relative to each other ,but Paul would stand along side anyone. Definitely not a looser

  208. George I’m only joking, loved and lost might b a clue I’m on ur side honest

  209. Spy.Ok,I get it now.Sorry.I thought it was a bit out of character.

  210. Spy, the two boys who left are the real loooosers, even if they win!

  211. Too true Paul, sorry if I offended you

  212. Nah Spy, we are good!

  213. Bradys right foot

    pedantic george | October 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Stoke are footballs Antichrist

    LMAO George


    It’s Friday and that means one thing. A new post has arrived…

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