Norwich City Preview: Arteta Is The Conductor

Arsenal travel to Carrow Road for today’s Premier League fixture knowing that a win would put pressure on the top four for the first time this season. With Chelsea and Liverpool playing each other tomorrow and Tottenham not playing Villa until Monday, a top five place beckons if they are able to induce the Norwich defence into a coma and win by a margin of four or more goals.

History is on Arsenal’s side. You have to go back to December 1984 for their last defeat at Carrow Road, an unbeaten run of eleven games. Arsenal’s last visit to Norfolk was the last occasion that Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp scored in the same match away from home. Jose Antonio Reyes scored the other in a 4-1 win.

Not that Arsène is being lulled into a false sense of security. Speaking of The Devil, Arsène resisted the temptation to delve into The Smiths back catalogue. Instead he preached of the Road to Redemption, vowing never to return to Hell. From his perch on the First Circle, he saw the Fourth Circle onwards and whilst he doesn’t like the occupants company, he comes back every week to manage Arsenal and suffer their company,

We came from Hell and if we have learned something it is to put 100 per cent effort in every single game. Maybe to have gone there helps us keep the urgency.

Maybe. A criticism that was often levelled in previous seasons after a defeat is that the team felt they only had to turn up to win. Today is that sort of game. Norwich have played to their strengths, showing a lack of fear whomever their opponents are. That is an admirable quality and will help them in their quest for survival. The tenacity they displayed in retrieving the deficit against Blackburn summed up the collective desire they have. That they found themselves two goals adrift identifies the weaknesses, something Arsenal will look to exploit and capitalise on.

It is international week and would not be the same if we were not talking of injuries. That the walking wounded this time were non-combatants sums up the sort of injury luck Arsenal sometimes suffer. Carl Jenkinson is out with a stress fracture of his back which sounds remarkably similar to the injury Denilson suffered. When he will return is anyone’s guess and you suspect, subject to how well his replacements cope. Many, myself included, expected Laurent Koscielny to drop into that position once Thomas Vermaelen returned from injury. Wenger instead persisted with Johan Djourou but will that continue? I suspect so.

Wenger has to stick with his first choice pairing at the back and that seems to be Vermaelen and Mertesacker at the moment. They need to build an understanding but more importantly, the whole back four does and that comes at someone’s expense which is harsh on the Frenchman and knowing that he has fought himself into international recognition, something that will hurt. Yet he will know from his time at Arsenal how fluid the situation can be with injuries and suspensions, which will no doubt spur him on.

The midfield is revolving around Mikel Arteta, his experience crucial in settling the side. The partnership with Song and Ramsey is blossoming with the Spaniard a driving force behind it,

Arsenal made it clear they wanted me because they needed an experienced, creative midfielder. Someone who could fit in quickly in the Premiership…With some of those players leaving and others coming in there will always be a discussion about who is better but at the same time I thought I will have the chance to help the team and improve it.

Obviously two of the best players have gone and it is different. We cannot try to be the same as them, that would be a big mistake. Fabregas was here for eight years. He is a legend, one of the best midfielders I have played against. Trying to compare yourself with them is never going to work. It is impossible from day one. So just try to play your own game, improve the team and try to fill those holes.

It seems that the message of not being the same as two who have left has yet to sink in with comparisons between the two Spaniards rife. To be honest, only time will stop that. The bonus for Wenger has been that Arteta has allowed Song to flourish, perhaps being a more senior member of the squad suits the Cameroonean. Stepping out of the shadows of Nasri and Fabregas in that respect have allowed him to impose himself on the game more which is suiting him.

Big performances will be needed from both in the centre of pitch as well as from Ramsey who is starting to realise his potential. Jack Wilshere’s return will, hopefully, give Wenger the best sort of footballing headaches. As the manager has said though, the target before Christmas is to close the gap on Manchester City. A win today will help to achieve that by not letting the gap widen. This is line-up I expect Wenger to go with,

Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho

Crucially Wenger will have a strong bench to choose from which is a good motivator for the starting XI. Consistency of performance will be necessary to sustain the good run, starting with a win today.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 19, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 294 Comments.

  1. Norwich, from what I’ve seen of them, play wide open football and I expect a lot of chances and a lot of goals today. The man to pull the levers has to be Theo who will provide Lambert’s boys with a challenge they have not had before with his pace. I would also like to see Chamakh today for a decent run in the second half.

  2. Yogi, I’m just not sure what makes you say that Kos will be dropped.- two games so far with Verm back, one each with Kos and Mers playing. Some rotation us to occur so maybe all will play over the next month, but I would be surprised if johan ever played ahead of kos. For that matter, I’m of the opinion his first center back pairing is verm and kos regardless……

  3. Don’t think his 1st choice pairing is Kos and TV5, Nando. Rotation will occur but not on a regular basis, other than cup competitions. It can’t simply because the defence has to be settled to be effective with the centre back pairing being crucial to that.

  4. Nando -It may be Arsene will chpose his centre backs depending on who we are playing. For the high altitude bombardment games Meettsacker is a must, for the slicker ground attack Kos – nice choice to have

  5. Morning YW great to be back talking about football again after what feels like forever. I agree with you I actually think RB suits JD better than CB just still not so sure about our first choice central pairing. Imagine November and we have selection choices. Given our defensive casualty list that speaks so highly of the squad. Well done Mr Wenger for assembling it I say.

  6. Good preview, YW.

    There is a profile of Mikel Arteta in today’s Independent.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/mikel-arteta-arsenals-latest-magician-6264496.html

  7. For once this is an argument I wont mind losing – as others say, its a nice problem to have. For me I think kos and verm will play in most games together in the center. But if it is mers in the center I would guess kos will be at right back……given the large number of matches in the next 6 weeks though, I expect johan to get some game time regardless.

  8. abdulrahman okene

    arsena is known to play fantastic game. At least arsenal ll score 2 goals in first half, and dey ll crown it up in second half with another 2 or 3 goals.

  9. Djourou being groomed as RB stand-in makes all sorts of sense. What you don’t want is 3 of 3 ‘first choice’ CBs all on the field, if possible, so there is none on the bench, and Plan B becomes more tricky. If Djourou’s defensive play is not as good as Jenks, his offensive play is probably better, more Eboue than Sagna.

    I would not underrate Norwich, a sturdy and fluid team, a knack of scoring vital goals (so far) and a great home ground record. Still, I think they’ll find our offensive play very difficult to manage. They’ll need luck, and we’ll need to bury early chances and not allow their spirits to lift.

  10. It is nice of Mikel to defer to Cesc as a legend, I suppose he is. But there are times when Mikel’s all-round basic game and positioning – in the pivot – is more mature, direct, robust and more effective for being less flamboyant; he does the simple things well. Cesc looks happier higher up the field at Barca, and less responsibility on his shoulders.

  11. Norwich most fall 2day match,we are expecting van persin 2 deliver 4 arsenal fans.gunners 4enever.

  12. Cheers Yogi,

    I think your suggested team is the most likely today and I’m really pleased to be nearing a resumption of life: just under 3 hours to go!

    I like Pers more and more and was impressed by his interview on Arsenal Player. It seems to support some of our preferences for club over international football. His comment, paraphrases to something like:

    “I have played in the World Cup and many times for Germany but playing with Arsenal is at another level. I hope to learn and continue to improve here.”

    I’m actually not too worried if we play any two from the three (Kos,Mert,Verm). Come the Xmas crush, this is a very good position to be in. Given that, I also agree that Djourou is likely to be the first choice to fill in at RB until the new year – when we either see the return of our normal choices or (unlikely and unpreferred) have bought a stand-in.

    I have some trepidation but great optimism for today but wont tempt faith with a prediction.

    COYG

  13. Just another quick point (in case my above comment suggests otherwise) but I do NOT go along with the ‘short term memoried’ in feeling Djourou cannot make the grade in the middle. Should/when injury affects two of the in-form three, I would be more than confident in him partnering the remaining CB and that can’t be bad.

    Well done Arsene and, fingers crossed, good times ahead!

  14. Tempt ‘fate’, not ‘faith’!

  15. we are gona win without stress.GUNNeRS 4 life

  16. Today am expecting brillient performance from gunners, waving them to success in today’s match to put preasure on the top four. Not to underate Nowich fc becouse football is unpredictable.

  17. Thank goodness that international break is over. Two weeks in the wilderness is too long. A great opportunity with either Chelsea or liverpool droping points tommorrow. I think Norwich will prove very stubborn opposition. A deluge of goals and another RVP would be great. My heart says 6-0 to the Arsenal but I suspect its more likey to be a hard fought one goal winner that seals it. Agree with Zim Paul. Arteta does bring a level of maturity in the middle of the park. So what about Thierry Henry then?

  18. Expect some funny results this weekend. Top tier teams are more vulnerable, relative to lower teams, immediately after international break. Arsenal are as inconsistent as any other in this, previously anyway. Canny lower team managers, generally adept at small chances and little pluses, know this and motivate and execute plans accordingly.

  19. Laurent Koscielny is the best CB in the league on current form.What does dropping him say?
    I will be very surprised if he does not take the field.Particularly as we will be expecting to play in the Norwich half for much of the game.

  20. I think we will win 3-1 today.

  21. Andy .sorry about yesterday.
    Sense of humour bypass .Should have known better.

  22. George, It’s an away game and from the two or three Norwich games I have seen, they can play a bit. ManU in no way dominated them and were lucky to get a draw. It will be interesting but I am hoping that our attacking flair at Chelsea will carry over in this away game, as our away form could be improved. Today is the time to establish an away run of wins!

    Irish, this is going to be fun. I’ll be late for the start a few minutes and hope I miss a good RvP goal to put us ahead from the start!

  23. LG it was an away game for Blackburn too and they dominated.They made chances at United because United defended poorly.Lets not build them up to much.
    We should dominate and win.We may not,but we should

  24. PG – All good mate 🙂

  25. YW,
    Can’t recall the year but my recollection of Norwich vs Arsenal was Nigel Winterburn’s stunning goal fom 40 yards, one of the goals of the season.

  26. Koscielny could be kept back for the Dortmand game, with Per starting against the ex-Dortmand player’s team?
    If $iteh are rotating CB’s (due to injuries, bans etc…) will Arsenal have to for similar reasons? Now that the injury curse has hit the FBs. And not the CBs like two seasons ago when there were the same number of CBs (unless you have trouble counting). Unfortunately Sendoros and Djourou both were MIA. At least it is an option!
    In the last season that some reliable experts believe was Arsenal’s last strong season, when injuries ravaged the squad* the CBs were ok, Djourou covered for a while very well, and was unlucky to be droped for the returning, post-virus Toure.

    *and when a few maligned players including the skipper of that side were ‘good enough’, though that didn’t stop the usual heckles upon those players during the interlull. Joy. Strange how this ‘form’ thing works. Different to say a Tai Chi or martial ‘form’.
    I’ll figure it out one day.

  27. Morning all. FOOTBALL! *little jig*

    This is worth a read – a good reminder of how little we know.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/nov/18/secret-footballer-coaches-tactics

    I’m off to darkest Suffolk. Enjoy the game!

  28. nicky

    A rare occasion he used his right foot for kicking the ball. Has there ever been a more left-footed right back than him during his early days at the club?

  29. Ma gunners wil carry da dei

  30. YW – You didn’t mention the Chris Dowd factor. It is one negative we will have to overcome. I am pretty sure we can. However it is rather ominous that “Arsenal haven’t won a match with Phil Dowd calling the game since January 2010.” (7amkickoff.com). I expect us to be more measured and conservative in our attacking and defending and wouldn’t expect anything like that last years 4-4 shocker vs Newcastle when Dowd was in charge.

  31. I really don’t get how people have been impressed with Djourou at right-back. It’s not his fault as he is totally out of position, but he’s been pretty fcuking woeful as far as I can see in the games he’s played there. And people are bigging him up without even seeing the alternative (Koscielny). At least let the guy have a game there and then decide.

    I would give Koscielny a go there, he seems more naturally suited to the position in that he’s probably a bit quicker, more comfortable with the ball at his feet and has the happy knack of nipping in front of his man and winning the ball which could be invaluable in setting up a counter from that position. Let Djourou back up the defenders from the bench.

  32. LSG – No proeblem mate! Am heading down there now, nothing like a pint at 7:30 in the morning!!!

    YW – Just who the hell was this “Slim” fella anyways?

    FunGunner – The Arsenal to win 5-1 🙂

  33. Kos starts at right back. The rest is as you would expect.

  34. O boy ! This is exiting, kick off cant come soon enough. I been unable to sleep since 3:30 am because of my excitement. I think today will end 3 – 1 to us, hard fought game, goals from RVP, Gervinio and Ramsy.

  35. It should be fairly simple to work out the team that the ‘secret foorballer’ played for jonny. Any ideas?

  36. Kosser at RB? tough on Johan he did really well for me but I like the look of Per & The Verm at the back. Excited now.

  37. Anxious to see how Koz handles rb……..

    COYGs….

  38. Sorry I’m late. Better never than late!

  39. Love this starting line up. Kos at RB is awesome. As for the CB pairing I love the idea of big Per and TV. I am a big fan of a stay at home lump at CB.. However, Kos has done a superb job of “staying at home” and he has played very well when he has played with TV so all credit to Kos and if he turns out to be the first choice over the long run then so be it. My concern that Kos and TV would be a repeat of the Gallas/TV partnership seems unfounded up to this point. My only concern is that we don’t fall into our old bad habits. I worry when I see TV hanging around the 18 yard box in open play, hopefully he will temper his enthusiasm enough to remember that his first job is still to defend.

    I think we will have a comfortable win today.

  40. Unbelievable defending.

  41. How we aren’t 3 -0 up I will never know. Great start.

  42. We look very good so far. Little worried about the left side of our defense. TV and Santos both love to get forward and I suspect any joy that Norwich will get will be down our left. Hopefully Per, Kos and Song will able to cover.

  43. ^Graaaah. They are so lucky. Boys need to keep cool, goal will come for sure.

  44. Unlucky Rambo – what an assist that would’ve been. We look different class.

  45. Looks like its only a matter of time for us to score.

  46. Bill what on earth have you seen to worry you? Jesus man get a grip.

  47. Haha, was Walcott looking for a run by Mertesacker?

  48. Comical !

  49. Oh I take it back Bill. You were right, just got the wrong side and failed to guess they’d score from a clear foul.

  50. Does that answer your question Steww,,, how about all the missed chances,, you could see this coming.

  51. Fucking gift of a goal.

  52. Well you couldnt..

  53. Right then – game on. Come on boys.

  54. Hmm Van the man got the wrong boots on today.,

  55. does anyone know a stream i can use to watch the match. my gf took the keys with her to work and all my flatmates are out, so if i go to pub down the road then i’m locked out for rest of the day. annoying!

  56. What happened, Evil? My internet connection went down.

  57. Huge screw up by Per. Can’t believe someone with his experience would do that.

  58. Still think we will come back. We are dominating and the game is relatively open so we should score at least a couple.

  59. Twice cleared off the line now. Christ I hope it won’t be ‘one of those days’.
    Luckily the team have more backbone than me, doomer that I am!

  60. OK make that three. Fuck a duck.

  61. @FG
    Theo was on the edge of their box after a corner, received a pass by Mertesacker and was looking to play him into space.

  62. Also, I curse our bad luck. How many chances will we have to waste until we finally score? Norwich are so lucky, it’s unbelievable.

  63. COME ON pure fucking Arsenal

  64. Thank you RVP !

  65. good morning Yogi & everyone.
    very sad for carl j. i wonder how and when he got the injury.
    I’m with your lineup YW. johan to start at RB.
    HOPE THE CREW PUTS THE CANARIES AWAY EARLY.
    the longer in the game, the harder to put them in their place.
    come on ARSENAL!!!
    UP THE GUNS!!!!

  66. Bill it was a foul not a screw up get with the programme man.

  67. Woohoo! Theo feeds Robin redbreast.

    Thanks Evil

  68. Finally. Easiest of tap-ins and it looked like we still might screw it up, but I’ll take it! 1-1. RVP

  69. And theres Robin…what a football brain that walcott has!!!Let the avalanche begin.

  70. Goal made in wengerland!

  71. anyone???

  72. Also, Theo has been brilliant so far!

  73. We should score 3 or 4 today. Theo skinning his marker on the right. Easy tap in for RVP.

  74. Bad defending for their goal, unusual mistake from Mertesacker, but we have seen some great attacking play from us so far today. Thins one looks like it has goals written all over it.

  75. Arsenal a deserved goal…..but the midfield play of Song and Ramsey has been
    poor…..

    Norwich defense is pathetic…….

  76. Great tackle from the Verm. Good to see him back he brings bite as well as control.

  77. TV gives 1000% in every game.

  78. Rambo made up for the mistake really well there,

  79. you are a star evil, thanks so much

  80. Interesting Norwich have dropped the long ball stuff and look a lot better. But we are so dangerous Gerv has the RB on the ropes

  81. @ steww | November 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm
    I was just going to ask, how’s Ramsey doing overall?

  82. Norwich has been poor on defense so far. Not sure how they are in 9th. Doubt they will stay there much longer.

  83. How in any universe was that handball?

  84. Anyone seen technique like RVP just showed? Since dare I say DB10?

  85. We have dominated the first half and should be ahead at least 3 – 0

  86. Half time synopsis? We utterly dominated. Created enough to easily score 5, they got away with a blatant foul for their goal. No reason to fear the second half.

  87. Ramsey is a strange mix. Dogged and creative but gives the ball away too often.

  88. After watching the replay again,, still dont see a foul. Per got muscled off the ball.

  89. Per looked like he thought he had all the time in the world to chest the ball down and pass it out – – – you dont get that time in the premier league Per – just hoof it away next time fella

  90. Let’s finish them off now.

  91. Difficult to hoof the ball after you’ve been wrestled to the ground.

  92. no way steww he should have put his foot through it, not a foul, he just made a balls of it is all …

  93. That was a great cross bet Chamack watched that with envy as gerv nodded it back to the keeper. C’bob that ball from Ramsay was his strength I feel. The quick first time through ball it’s what he brings the team. The rest will come with age is my guess

  94. that was no foul. phil is blind.

  95. take a shot.damndamn it.

  96. And that’s another thing rambo does well coming into the box at just the right time.

  97. oh so lucky.basterds

  98. How the fuck didn’t we score then? I cannot believe this.

  99. oh my god…

  100. Aaaargh.

  101. Think we might see AA? Point to prove maybe?

  102. gervinho is off his usual game.

  103. That miss from Gervinho is unforgiveable.

  104. How did we not score this? Why was Gerv looking for RVP? He should’ve just poked it to Theo.

  105. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOh yes indeedy

  106. Robin van Perfect does it again!!!

  107. He just can’t stop, can he?

  108. What a finish on his right foot, that boy Robin can play !

  109. beautiful, now put these fuckers to the sword

  110. RVP …world class…what more can u say.

  111. 3 more goals for Henry’s record, 5 more for Shearer’s. Comeon RVP.

  112. prince

  113. Last of THe Country Gentlemen

    RVP!!!!!!!!

  114. Kenyan, calm down. No miss is ‘unforgivable’ I forgot it seconds after it happened. Just like RVP’s misses.

  115. That must have been close. What a clearance from Kosser

  116. What miss steww? I already forgot about it!

  117. Guess what – I just forgave Arteta too.

  118. with should be up by four goals, at least

  119. I love watching football.When your team are the only side in the match and yet there’s a sick feeling of apprehension because somehow you are only a goal up. And I have to drive to Portsmouth in half an hour I need this game wrapped up so I can load the car.

  120. Ramsay does that well too. Persistent closing.

  121. They obviously thin k they can just flatten our defenders without any punishment.

  122. Christ how close have Norwich come to total annihilation. They must be the luckiest team around.

  123. not clinical enough today.
    come on yosi

  124. more aggration, attack that ball FFS

  125. These are the nervous minutes if we don’t get a third!

  126. forwards yosi, FORWARDS!!!!

  127. Looks like that’s going to be Szcz’s trademark move. People will remember him for that!

  128. That was a blatant dive. He jumps into Merts body and goes down.

  129. holy shit,

  130. How much extra time?

  131. OK – heard it’s three minutes.
    Come on Arsenal!

  132. all right, three points. good enough.

  133. Well done. We should’ve won it by a massive margin but I’ll take any win we can get, especially after an interlull.

  134. Phew. Didn’t want to jinx it by saying so beforehand, but ever since IrishGray predicted 2-2 for this one, I had a feeling it would be 2-1.

    Fantastic, boys! Well done.

  135. Arsenal had a little FIFA virus today. thank god for the win.

  136. How about that sub, Holt, on Norwich. The man comes on the pitch and dives for 20 minutes. Real quality.

    great job team.

  137. Well I will take tippy-tappy any day as we held onto that ball in the last 20 mins and never gave Norwich a chance. I love this mature, confident ball-possession Arsenal FC. 6th and climbing to blow-wow!

  138. Great team performance particularly after the two week break. Credit to Norwich though…3 points and we can smell the top 4. This team keeps getting better. Mertesacker still bedding in but it will come.Move on up.

  139. Nice win. The battle continues. Up the guns.

  140. we worked for this win.Excellent matured play.Again I can’t shake off the feeling that we’ve turned a corner.Last season and the one before,we would have lost or drawn this game.usually conceding in the final minutes.

  141. 31 goals and counting, MY MAN PRINCE OF PERSIA..

  142. Phewwwww.

    It was a foul on Per but it should have been cleared before that.
    I thought we played well and should have won comfortably.

    But what was Santos thinking , giving away that free kick at the end?
    We do look solid now seeing out games.
    Theo and RVP were immense.

  143. thei played well

  144. This side is different.

  145. early kick off after an international break and an away fixture……brilliant arsenal..should have been a cricket score but who cares…we are arsenaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllllll…5 wins of the trot in the league..10 wins from the last 12 games with just one defeat….looking good…

    where are the doomers now?? conspicuous by their absence-the post defeat specialists..and long may it continue..

    up the arsenal!!!

  146. All Theo’s seven assist have been scored by TV. Now that’s interesting.

  147. now for the others to do their part and drop some points… Yah

  148. 31 goals and still no balond’or nomination..bahhh..

  149. @ Anirudh | November 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm
    fantastic, isn’t it?

  150. I wonder how Kos feels about playing RB now?

  151. Since we went on this great run I haven’t seen suga3.

  152. FG..

    Absolutely, undoubtedly, utterly, etc, etc 😀

  153. @ anirudh
    ha ha ha!

    Fabulous team
    fabulous manager.
    Up the Arsenal!!!!

    Bye.

  154. I missed you Irish, but it was sweet! Great atmosphere at the Blind Pig! Bit of a nail biter in the second half, especially with Phil Dowd holding the whistle. But our goal difference could have become really healthy with the incredible number of great chances. Had to run for a an appointment at the end, so I couldn’t stay to find you and give you a congratulatory shake. Next time need to find you to sing together! All in all a very satisfying early Arsenal morning in NYC!

  155. No international break hangover–this team has steely determination.

  156. Watching the eltihad armada. Maybe sports direct fc can beat them?

  157. Absolutely brilliant missed the game but what a result, trust me many teams will find hard going against the canaries. Well done lads and long live aclf. Nothing better as an early win to set the weekend mood. Hats off to rvp he’s thimply the best! And theo brilliant keep making em eat humble pie.

  158. here is a scenario.
    Just suppose, the ref being the c**t that he his, had given holt the penalty, and they had converted, would you blame a 2-2 outcome on the ref or the missed chances by almost all the forwards excepting van persie of course.
    Am posing this hypothetical question because as the games pile all, surely relying on only van persie is suicidal, and a game liket his just shows the precarious situation we are in.
    Gervinho and Walcott should really be given encouraged to bury the chances that come their way, with such sloppy performance in front of goal we have ourselves to blame and not some c**t of a ref that can’t help himself being a c**t.

  159. Bit of a nail biter in the second half? What game were you watching, LG? Surely it wasnt the Arsenal Norwich game. Extremely comfortable victory for me. Should of had at least 4 and they had what two shots on target? Onwards and upwards.

  160. The Theo haters have gone underground from the looks of it, Runebreaker.

  161. Good professional win there. A bit wasteful in front of goal, but I always thought we would win the game. Theo, RvP, and TV5 were all excellent today. Santos was hit and miss but won plenty of headers which is a turn up for an Arsenal left back. Good to see.

    RvP really can’t stop scoring eh? When he went through there ws no doubt whatsoever that he would score. Even though his first touch was unusually poor. Amazing stuff.

  162. have s safe drive steww,,, i feel a great wknd coming up. HAHAHA. geote you are right. Santos didn’t have to concede that foul. too many passes going to the wrong team today and a few too many dispositions. we had enough quality to finish it off. it was a good chance to better the goal difference though. just not Sharp enough. the best is yet to come… 🙂

  163. very happy with the win. Should have been a much bigger margin but no matter. 3 points is 3 points no matter how they come.

    Overall we dominated. Defense was good other then Per’s howler. Little worried about that and a couple of other plays he made but hopefully thats one and done. Santos overall did a good job and did not get caught out. If he can learn the proper balance he will be an awesome LB. Kos was very steady at RB and he and JD will be a great there until Sagna comes back.

  164. Great attacking performance away from home, RVP & Theo were excellent.

    Didn’t think it was a foul on Per, just indecisive play from the big man, should of just dealt with it, luckily it didn’t affect the result.

    Never easy to win away, no matter who you play so all credit to the boys.

    Certainly makes the other games this weekend very interesting!

  165. Newcastle were on the back foot early and held on but they have looked dangerous for the last 10 minutes. Stil not sure they have staying power. Next few weeks will tell a lot with their schedule.

  166. Well, well, well. Just in the midst of the Sky commentators going into overdrive about Ryan Taylor for England, two silly mistakes have been punished by City.

  167. Well so much for newcastle challenging in this game.

  168. Actually…two clumsy mistakes.

  169. Handball, pelanty.
    Arsenal B Team 1 Newcastle 0
    Whoops, an Arsenal fan and Capello reject scores again
    Arsenal B Team 2 Newcastle 0

    I think that Mancini has either manipulated circumstances to his team’s advantage or has been very grateful for Tevez’s stupidity in helping to scare that collective of bickering ego’s.

    Still early days for this new Arsenal team.
    Great noise from the Away crowd.
    Walcott’s shot against the post was interesting.

    I thought earlier that there was a chance that Koscielny would’ve been rested to play RB against Dortmand. Another opponent wearing yellow to come this week. It’s going to be a biggie.

  170. Couldnt watch the full game because of a stupid power cut but good victory after the break! Satisfying and sets the mood for the weekend, The others create, RVP finishes! What a player… the chip above the keeper for the 2nd was amazing!

    And I wonder about the Ballon D’Or, no nomination for VP tells you about the way they select the best player. Its a disgrace…

  171. For those who continue to believe that Arsene did not try hard to keep Nasri and Fabregas or that he was cavalier in his decision to sell, the following quote should set the record straight:
    “For the first time I lost young players, who were reaching maturity. I suffered. It’s painful to lose key men you have invested a lot in”
    On second thought, for the anti-Wenger lot, nothing will convince them.

  172. Shotta – Without going over old ground, we were sort of forced to sell Nasri. And we should have told Barca simply fuck off. Cesc has said that his transfer would have never happed without Arsene’s input as he got the board to lower the asking price. Make of that what you will. That quote does not really shed any light on any of it.

  173. @Andy- Arsene leaving Cesc to go is the same as Moyes leaving Arteta to go. It would have been detrimental to the squad mentality, had he been forced to stay. Yes, him leaving the Arsenal side had an impact on us but the problems in the dressing room that might have created is endless. You wouldn’t be wanting a Tevez situation at Arsenal would you? Speaking of that, would Cesc get to those low levels is also a doubt.

    We might have held on, but anyone who is watching Arsenal now will accept, that Arsenal are playing better this year because of the blend of experience in the squad.

  174. Shit Kickers of Old Stoke town are loosing at Hoofball HQ

  175. Sriram – That is only your opinion mate. There has been no suggestion whatsoever that Cesc would have behaved unprofessionally. By your logic if RvP decided that he wants to move back to his hometown club in Rotterdam but they can only afford £5M we should let him go?

    In my opinion (and that is all it is) the club should have simply stuck to our valuation over Cesc. If Barac met it, fine he could go. If not, they could come back once they could meet it. Even Cesc should have been able to see that the problem was Barca’s side, not ours. I know plenty here disagree with that, and that is fine also.

  176. Look below Liverpool and you see a pretty weak league. Maybe it’s a bit early to say, but I think it could be one of the poorest we’ve had in recent years.

  177. Andy-

    To tell it in the first place, I am all for showing Barca the finger about the Cesc issue. It’s a fixed price market, pay up or shut up. That’s how it should have been.

    I was just putting up with the other side of the argument. Anyway, Cesc being gone is behind us now and to be discussing it, is not going to change anything for us. But I wonder if it was about the chat Cesc had with Arsene at the start of last season.

  178. OOU- Amazing article yesterday, did not find the time to comment. Koscielny hiding the beer in 1933 is a highlight. Fantastic writing and the appreciation for the formations goes to whoever who did it. Forgot his name. sorry

  179. Sriram – Fair one mate. And you are right of course; old news.

  180. Anyone watching Oil City vs Newcastle? Pretty obvious Newcastle have decided to target Clichy especially with aerial diagonals. Actually created some bits and pieces (half-chances, corners etc) from this tactic. Some things never change.

    GA – Admittedly old ground but obviously Wenger fought to keep them. Explains the 11th hour moves doesn’t it?

  181. Midway the 2nd half and it is clear Newcastle’s unbeaten record has bitten the dust. 3-0 to Oil City.

  182. Shotta- Why do you want to persist with old news? Just asking! Anyway, Wenger surely would have tried to keep hold of them, he wouldn’t just let them leave. Claiming that he would have is madness.

    But saying that, Wenger is too good a coach to stand in the way of a player who wants a move!

  183. Thanks Sriram – Wild Woodbines were actually cigarettes, and apparently filthy I found an empty pack under the floorboards in my house when I was a kid. It must have been about 90 years old.

  184. Ryan Taylor lost it for Newcastle in the first half, a penalty and some sloppy defending. City pounced on it. But you have to admire the supreme confidence of Balotelli.

  185. Siriam – It was a very recent quote from Wenger that is why I rehashed it. Like I said I don’t think it matters to the unconvincables anyway

  186. Oops, I am not used to the term OOU. Anyway whats on for next Friday?

  187. Shotta- Too much of assumptions in that transfer business.

  188. And some had stoke as dark horses to break into the top 6, how much money have they spent! Sinking without a trace!

  189. Shotta – He says he was disapointed to lose 2 of his best players. Hardly groundbreaking or surprising really.

  190. Biggest money losers this year for me is Liverpool!

  191. OOU at at 4:16 pm
    I may be wrong but I think the wheels will begin to fall off Newcastle starting today. In my opinion they are hard to beat but they are nothing special beyond Demba Ba. They are good for top 8 but the race for top four is shaping up between Arsenal, Pool, Chelsea and Tottenham. It pains me to say it but it is clear Oil City are the team to beat for the championship. But there is a very long way to go.

  192. No, that’s understandable. I wasn’t aware of them until I found a pack! Not too sure about next week – I’ll just be happy to have some current football to watch in the meantime though. Oh, and I roped in my brother for the formation designs, he’s pretty handy with Illustrator etc.

  193. Shush Big Al. Everybody thinks you are an all round genius at the moment.

  194. Yeah, SG. Man City for the title at the moment. I mean, of there’s any sign of them losing momentum before February they’ll just go out and spend another £50 million. They’d need really bad luck, like losing Silva to injury on the 2nd of February. And yeah, I also think tis is the beginning of the end for Newcastle as a top four side – mid-table finish for them, although they do have Ben Arfa coming back, who’s a decent player. Tiote and Cabaye have been good in the middle as well – but they’re still not strong enough to last. I think Liverpool are turning out to be pretty limited as well. Don’t want to speak too soon, but Dalglish has been crap since Blackburn.

  195. Er, yeah, I mean, I just banged out the designs in a couple of minutes.

  196. Sriram | November 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm
    Agreed. I find Pool underwhelming. The 35mm for Carroll should have sent alarm bells ringing. Does King Kenny believe that football can be dragged back to the ages of the big-old center forward? Suarez is better but as we saw from World Cup 2010 he has issues and he has done himself no favors with his alleged racial abusing of Evra. Now he is a watched man.

  197. Excellent win today, i have to say we look really matured and composed when closing games down.
    Excellent game from Theo, he is soon going to be unplayable. MOTM for me

  198. OneOfUs 4:50 pm
    Concur re Ben Arfa. Also think Krull is excellent. Thank heavens the ignorant blather by the plundits concerning Steven Taylor will die a slow but inevitable death.

  199. one more thing, Vermaelen is just a beast of a defender

  200. Theo was a stand out performer today. VP scored 2 but could have been more. Gervinho needs to take his chances and Mertesacker needs to take his decisions quickly!

  201. Gooneramos was me Sriram btw! 😀

  202. OOU- Current football, its refreshing that it is back. So happy to be feeling the adrenaline pumping action again.

  203. Regarding Per’s moment. I think he was trying to head the ball back to sczesny but pressure from the norwich guy pushed him a lil ahead of the ball. I think the ‘foul’ Arsene was asking for would be the high boot as the NOrwich player had to almost kick per’s face to get the ball.

    Gr8 game by the front 3 tho gerv has to be more clinical.

  204. sorry folks, had to just bring this up.
    what do we do if God forbid, rvp has an injury.
    our- almost complete -reliance on him for goals is a little bit like tempting fate.
    if anything, we know fate has been very cruel to us this last few years, so if God forbids, he gets crocked, what do we do, throw in chamakh?

  205. Post match press conference:


    My inner geek enjoyed the change in font for those diagrams in OOU’s post yesterday.

  206. Glad we won, although I’m still yet to watch the match. My thots on the game will wait until then.

    Sorry to take us back to yesterday discussions, but I’ve just read the thread and need to ask why JJ’s use of the word ‘ponce’ considered was homophobic? Is every other word that describes effeminate behaviour also considered a homophobic slur? Or is just no longer allowed to express displeasure at girly behaviour anymore?

    I need to know if my pc guidebook needs updating, just in case I need to visit europe soon.

  207. rahi,What do you suggest?
    Do you think United say the same about Rooney ?
    Barca ,Messi ?
    Real, Ronaldo ?

  208. Fucking great result today; away from home, early kick off after a fucking huge old international break and we created a tom of chances, I will take that all day long.

    And some fucker can only go on (twice so far today. George why the fuck did you even bother replying to the point mate?) is that sad he feels the need to go on about something that hasnt even occurred??? Words fail me (almost!)

    Henristic. I didnt see the discourse man, but my understanding of the word ponce has quite a few very different meanings and none of them refer to gayness!

    A ponce is someone who spongers off people like a parasite. For example

    Darren Dein and his ilk are all ponces.

  209. And the U18s get their 5th win in 6 today, scoring 6. A hatrick to that top prospect Bunjaku. He is going to be luuuuuge!

  210. Henristic – Stay as you are mate. Shotta was just looking to try and stir things. Either that, or he really needs to get a grip of himself.

    Dexter – Agreed about Dein. The sponging little fucker.

  211. True Andy! 🙂

  212. george,you do see the difference though, rooney,messi and ronaldo have played more games in recent seasons compared to rvp, call it fate, luck, am just saying that our back-ups and other forwards should be chipping in more goals, which you can say is the case in barca and real

  213. Very impressive win in a match that could have been difficult.

    Major bonus today was Theo’s performance. The breathtaking pace we are all familiar with. But his covering back, his ball control, his trickery, his final pass and his shooting were all in great shape today. It’s a delight to see him looking so comfortable on the ball.

    And what an outstanding football brain.

  214. Ponce should be a must in everyone`s dictionary. Just don`t confuse it with nonce.

    Good performance & result today. I thought Theo was bright & incisive & was almost my MOTM. Good stuff from Kos & TV at the back – Mert should learn from that blunder. At least it didn`t cost us.

    Maybe we have begun to take RVP for granted these days. I haven`t. The bloke is head & shoulders the best striker around on current form & what`s more he`s a bloody Goona !

    Relax & enjoy folks

  215. Merlot

    Theo is quality, I cant believe that some still give him stick?

    Paulie

    Ha! Yeah big difference between those 2 words!

  216. Sorry Dexter,
    rahi,he is our main striker.The others give him the ball and he puts it in the net.Its his job By the way.
    If another player was our striker ,Park or Chamakh,and we gave them the ball they would score goals.Not as many as Robin ,but some.And others would take on the responsibility.
    Would we be as good without him?Of course not.But neither would any team if you took out their best player.

  217. Speaking of Darren Dein, I saw a list somewhere on the internet:

    Saddam Hussein
    Osama Bin Laden
    Muammar Gaddafi
    Sep Blatter
    Darren Dein

    Make what you want of that list, but my first thought when quietly laughing to myself was that a hitman had been arrested and those names were in his diary.

  218. Another week of bollocks convo on the blog then!

  219. Darius,

    Thats John Terrys christmas card list.

  220. Very professional performance today. Could have done with more goals, but it was more important to get the 3 points.
    The best part of the game for me was the way we shut shop after realising it was time to take the 3 points. Closing down games or even playing for a draw for that matter hasn’t been something we do well.
    It was great to see Theo use the corner flag to take off steam, before recycling the ball back to Ramsey for another “keep ball” session to run down the clock.

  221. DukeG

    Dont pretend you dont like chatting bollocks mate!

  222. Listening to five live and the theo critizising just wont let up, every time he didnt do something special he got condemmed. i swear the next fucker that slags him off is getting a tut tut from me. its like a fucking fashion to slag him off.

  223. George- Exactly, that is the sane view of things regarding reliance on RVP for goals. He just puts it into the net, just because he is the one player who has scored for us match after match doesn’t mean we will not score if he is missing a match or two.

  224. DukeG

    Its pathetic man, really annoying and completely baseless. But like you say, it is like the thing to do these days. Nigel Winterburn had a pop at him the other day, trotting out the tired old cliche about him not being ‘consistent’ enough. Truly appalling and lazy hackery IMO. Just look at his assists, key passes goals etc. He is a top player for us and frankly anyone slating him is a cunt.

    But why the feck are you listening to that 5Live bollocks? 😀

  225. “is that sad he feels the need to go on about something that hasn’t even occurred?”
    dexter, are you that obtuse? my posing the scenario of a -GOD FORBID- rvp injury was to highlight the;
    1-the profligacy with good scoring chances of the other forwards and
    2-the over-reliance on rvp (with his history of injuries) to get all the goals.
    have I made myself clear enough for you? thanks

  226. At work dex so not much choice. the only radio station that hasnt pissed me off lately listening to the Arsenal is absolute. but if nigel spackman is on there then expect every single fukin cliche and saying going. he likes to set his stool out and get his old gags in early doors as he lays down his marker for he believes he will be under the cosh so has to give 110% as its a game of two halves but he will be over the moon because football is a funny old game.

  227. Had to `water the flowers` just before HT so popped the old wireless on whilst in the khasi.

    It was as if I had been watching a different game. Norwich were dominating apparently & Theo was irritating the summariser with his choice of options. Unbelievable !

    I made sure I gritted my teeth second half & the bladder thankfully held out (like our back four)

  228. those two bloody wantaways put us and AW through jell and back this past summer. imo, CESE was practicly on strike for the last month and a half of last campaign. and NASRI was only thinking of not getting injured and his big payday at the end. AW is right. we all suffered, but there was no other way this could have played out. AW is to good of a manager to have forced CESE to stay when he wanted out. he even refused to go to the far east. and like a child, he wanted what he wanted. unfortunately, Arsenal came on the short end and lost out on a lot of money. pound for pound CESE is and was a much better all around player than Ronaldo and should have brought at least 65mill. all water under the bridge now. imo, this year we have a better group of gonners at the club and it shows every week. in this i agree with shotta and sriram.
    Per was actually pulled back on norwiches goal. i would have called it but he needs to know that the EPL is a different league and animal. he won’t get that call and needs to make a quicker decision and get rid of the ball faster. we win, but it could have been a heatbreaker. we need to get sharper, and yes theo and 3Fs need to take their chances better. gervinho specialy. he looks like he is more interested in passing it than shooting.
    KENYAN, you mentioned all theos assists have been to tv, all seven of them??are you sure mate?? ill check on this. its hard to believe..

  229. rahl

    Yep, you certainly have been clear. Now everyone can see what a sad miserable cunt you are.

  230. DukeG

    Id be sick as a parrot to have to listen to that Spacker man.

    Paulie This is the way commen tating has been going for a while now, just like the written press. You have to have an axe to grind and a patsy for your angst. Just look at how some people react to a win FFS.

  231. @Darius
    in all honesty I’m not a big fan of either Deins but short of sending a hitman for warren, what do you think of giving david a position in the board as”football man” to keep his son off our backs or else this prick is going to dry us of all the players under his care.
    mind you, i wouldn’t want david back at all if we didn’t have these problems with his son.

  232. @Goonerkam. Honestly, the alternative to having David on the board is cheaper and cleaner.

    Besides, Dein Snr burnt all his bridges. The only way he’s ever going to be on the Arsenal board again is if he buys the club outright.

  233. “Persie_Official Robin van Persie
    Thanks theo, thanks alex great assists! Good performance should have scored more goals today but great to have the 3 points! Enjoy your eve!
    2 hours ago”

    One man team my arse! At least RVP knows.

  234. in all seriousness, i know david burnt his bridges, and he is in bed with the russian, and the whole sorted affair. still, he does have a good relationship with AW and they did some good work together in the past. less responsibility on AW back and we get Darrin off our backs all in one shot. win,win,win. it might even work positively on the russian and his relationship with Stan. one stone ,three or four birds.

  235. dexter,
    calling me cunt is a sin motherfucker

  236. Why would people think that having Dien snr on the board stop Dien jnr doing his job? Darren is an adult so he will do what he wants to do, not what his father tells him to do. *We may not be happy with the outcome, but as an agent his job is to get the best deal for his client. Ultimately it is the client, not the agent who decides where he wants to play his football.*

  237. Sorry Reverand! But should a man of the cloth be using words like muthafucka, muthafucka?

  238. LSG – LOL mate, I walked into the Blind Pig and started yelling out “Who the fuck is Limestonegunner?”. Was very quickly told to shut the fuck up or get out! Needless to say I chose the former and sat my ass down with a Heineken 🙂 Great crowd as usual though, nice to hear them singing like that.

    FunGunner – I never said it would be 2-2!!! I said 5-1 and I would have been right if Gervinho had not made a balls of some clear-cut chances.

  239. it flew over your head as expected
    just referencing a funny quote in a scorsese flick!
    am not a “reverand”, motherfucker!

  240. HAHAHA, irish. you didn’t. you crazy irishman. too much.

  241. Dexter – “This is the way commen tating has been going for a while now” – LOL 🙂 whatever that means!!

  242. Oh dont I look the silly sausage now for not getting you were quoting a line from a flim? I take it back, you aint at all sad, boring or pathetic.

  243. Irish

    It flew over your head as epxted! 🙂 It was a line from a scooby doo cartoon muthafucka!

  244. goonerkam – I dam well did!!! I even accosted several Gooners grabbing a smoke at halftime, asking if any one of them where Limestonegunner?

    Me: Hey guys, any one of you Limestonegunner?
    Gooner 1: Eh what?
    Me: Anyone of you guys called Limestonegunner?
    Gooner 1: Eh noooo, friend of yours?
    Me: Yea.
    Gooner 2: But you don’t know what he looks like?
    Me: Eh no.
    Gooner 3: Why the fuck not? (said while giving me a look up and down)
    Me: I only know him online, never actually met him.
    Gooner 1+2: (Mumbling under their breath) 1:Fuckin’ weirdo! + 2:Fag!
    Gooner3: You might want to be movin’ on mate! (said with a bit of an edge to it)
    Me: Eh yea, whatever…….

    AWKWAAAAAARD!!! When I went back in and told my mate Craig what had happened, ha was cracking up laughing. Dam you LSG!!!!

  245. Dexter – “epxted!” – keep’em coming Dex LOL 🙂

  246. HAHAHA, got stood up AGAIN. it must be creaking blast to party with you man. limestone loss. HAHAHA. BOOOOOBS!!!!!

  247. Irish You just like approaching strange men in bars, admit it, its your pulling technique.

  248. .our local pub here is a ‘POOL pub, but us gooners are the majority, i would say. its the COCK&BULL.. lots o good times there. and that’s just one chapter in southern cal. we own this town.

  249. being a son ,i would never do anything to the detriment of my fathers business for the same of money.hopefully a daughters duties are no less . And, an agent can push his player(client) in one direction or the other if the decision is borderline.
    everyone knows that. who is to say it wknt work out like i say. imo, better than fifty/fifty chance. what do think Dex.

  250. Dexter – Most fucking awkward conversation I have had in years man!! Even more awkward than when I tried to explain to my old roommate that his Playboy magazines of the previous 2 months had indeed arrived but well, let’s just say having served their purpose,where duly disposed of.

    Goonerkam – Cock & Bull hu? Explains everything mate 🙂

  251. for the sake of money that is.

  252. that’s the name man ,j swear. there is the Fox&hounds also , and that my friend is a GUNNERS DEN. a great place to watch games. saw Frank Maclintoc there once ,a few years ago. what a gentleman. the fa cup & EPL cup where both there. i took my picture with them . so did a least 500 gooners. some with their sons and daughters. it was awsome…

  253. Goonerkam – Sounds pretty cool man 🙂

  254. *roll eyes*, not the quote, dexter, it’s the irony in saying “calling me cunt is a sin motherfucker” that was way over your head.
    how obtuse can you be

  255. *Picks out fluff from belly button, scratches arse*

    Ha! You’re really proud of that line aint you rev? You just cant let it go. Do you get to use it at fancy dinner parties? bet its a real hit with the ladies.

    The fact its completely unfunny is immaterial I guess. You really are a freaking hoot, how much do you charge for your after dinner speaking gigs?

    BTW Explaining it again won’t make it any less boring. But feel free to carry on. 😀

  256. great result today..
    finishing could be better but who gives a shit three points is three points..
    i was a belly full of butterflies today, international break and all i really didnt want us to lose momentum…id take 2-1 every single game..

    rvp is naturally taking all the praises and rightly so but tommy v and arteta are the fucking nutts..

  257. JonJon – I thought Theo had a very good game too. LK at right back was solid but I think we all agree a bit wasted out there but needs must and all that. Gervinho was excellent running at their defense but then kept making a hash of it. I mean he was around the keeper for God’s sake and then hits it with his heel back ino his hands! And RVP only scored his first goal because Gervinho missed again, he tried a flick but the ball went through his legs instead. Thank God RVP is such a good reader of the game, as he was in the right place at the right time. (AGAIN)

  258. AW – “Van Persie is 28, Fabregas and Nasri left at 24. My dream is that Van Persie stays until the end of his career at this Club. I will do the maximum I can to try to convince him and I hope I will manage to do that.”

    Please do Arsene, please do.

  259. JJ

    Exactly mate, 3 points from an away game after the international break, cant ask for more man.

  260. Irish

    RvP will stay man, no probs.

  261. Dexter – I reckon the fact is he wants to stay but will only sign when we have secured CL for next season. IMO that is why his contract is being left until the summer. Unfortunately that means months of stupid annoying articles in the media. If he can stay fit for the entire season, then I can see us remaining in the top 3. Then I can see him signing. But if he decides to move on, how much do you think we would get for him? I mean Carrol 35m, Torres 50m, so maybe 60m?

  262. irish, gervinho played a dummy. through the legs and RVP had an easy tap in. how much did you drink today.. 🙂

  263. If its down to CL qualification then that is sad imo. He has been at Arsenal a long time and that shows loyalty, however, he has been injured a fucking lot and the club stood by him, kept faith in him and I am glad about that. But he ought to be a reminded of that if he isnt already. However, with a slimy agent working on his behalf (pfft!) thast may not be the case. Fingers crossed it all pans out, although top 4 is the least we will get this season.

  264. I’d rather have RVP than £60m

  265. Goonerkam – LOL 🙂 Can you imagine if he came out and said he did indeed dummy it, and then went on to claim an assist? Now that would be funny!

    Dexter – I agree with you that the club stood by him when he was injured but if he stays healthy and helps us to achieve a minimum of 3rd in the league and at least 1 cup this year, do you not think that he may feel he has repaid us and that it is time to move on?

    Passenal – You can have RVP, I will take the 60m ok?

  266. Why would he want to move on afger helping us do that? he just needs to listen to van Basten, he knows the score.

  267. Arsenal will finish 2nd and Stoke will be relegated. Nice 😀

  268. Dex – I was just curious as to the value we would put on him if we were going to sell him. I do not think he will nor do I want him to leave but still curious. 🙂

  269. Watching “The Outlaw Josey Wales” 🙂

  270. I have a theory.

    When fabregas was here, the midfield players used to pass to him alot for creativy so he could provide for robin van persie. But when fabregas didnt deliver the goods then our players werent conident enough to make chances and make the passes needed for van persie

    Now however, as the focal point of the team is van persie, evryone focuses on supplying him, but also other wide players who can provide for hiim. This is what an persie is benifiting from.

    Before= Team to Fabregas to Van persie

    Now= Team to Van persie/wide players = more goals, less time spent in midfield

    We bypass the midfield abit faster than before, because the ball isnt constantly played to fabregas, other players now have the confidence and ability to think they can make that difference. Now our strength seems to be van persie and our wide players, so we quickly go to the point of our strength which is our attack

    Makes sense to me, i think. Or it may be the late night ramblings of sleepiness.

  271. I do ope mertesacker doesnt become the new whipping boy, i mean someone has to get it. we are scrapping the barrell lately but he made a mistake so its fair game.

  272. Duke – the German is relatively safe
    He is white, he has hair, and he is not a bad footballer
    I suspect the boo boys will fix elsewhere

  273. Be well sad to make a scapegoat out of PerM, but thats what’ll happen.

  274. “I feel people have been harsh in their judgement,” said the manager.

    “I like Per very much, because he is a very intelligent boy and reads the game very well. He has a calming influence, a commanding influence.

    “Because he is so tall, sometimes if he looks less impressive in one situation, people make a definite negative judgement.

    “But he grows stronger in every game and we watched him again in Germany against Holland in midweek, and he had an outstanding performance. I am really happy with him.”

    On the goal we conceded today. (Which I think was a foul but still an error by Per, still a class act though.) – “I must say I was upset with the referee at the time but I will have to check that on the television. I thought that Morison brought him down with his left hand.

    But I told Per that when you are in England facing goal, maybe in many countries you are safe but not here. That’s what he has learned today. “

  275. Yeah, he will learn from that today and be a better player for it. The good thing is it didnt matter in the end.

  276. I also thought it was a foul by the Norwich player.

  277. What the hell is the Arsenal fan looking at in the away strip in the bottom right corner of that photo?

  278. Haha! He’s posing for the camera.

  279. Waste of a ticket Dex, that’s what that is!!

  280. He obviously just came to get a glimpse of Delia Smith.

  281. Moe – I am not entirely sure of your theory, will have to think a bit more on it but I do believe you are onto something with regards to how quick we are moving the ball through midfield. The best proof of that is NOT seeing several Arsenal players lined up at the edge of the box, not knowing what to do with the ball when they got it. Before it took so long for the ball to be worked through midfield, that the opponents defense had plenty of time to settle. Now with AA/Gervinho on the left wing and Theo(and to a lesser extent AOC) on the right, our midfield seems almost giddy in their enthusiasm to get the ball out to them. Yes RVP especially is reaping the benefits but I believe that is only because he is a better finisher than any of the above. For now! AOC especially shows a great eye for goal. Theo has scored some beauties and Gervinho will start banging them in pretty soon. AA is a genius but is hot and cold.

    When Fabregas was in our team we where the most lethal team on the counterattack. The perfect example was AA’s goal against Barca. LK intercepts in our box, passes to NB who passes to JW. JW a little flick to Fab, who turns and seemingly without even looking, sends a perfectly weighted pass to Nasri(who would later turn to the darkside) who holds it up for AA to curl into the corner like he was at the training ground. Yet, for all our speed counterattacking, we labored to break down the shittiest of teams more often than not. As frustrating as it was at the time I think you may be onto something as now that both of them have gone, we do indeed seem to find it easier to break teams down. We still need some more time to gel completely but not much. I am not saying Arteta is as good as Fab, he isn’t, but he also doesn’t turn into the petulant little bitch that Fab did when the team was struggling. Sorry if that sounds harsh. I know many times he carried us(Villa anyone?) but it was inconsistent at best.

  282. I wish we could just execute, say, one-third of our chances. I think positions are going to be close at the top and would hate to lose out on goal difference.

  283. After Irish’s account of his conversation today I’m thinking of naming a pasty after him, but trying to stay away from anything considered to be homophobic…

  284. LOL, Irish! My loss indeed… But I WAS out having a smoke at halftime!?! Oh well, next time–might be in NY for either ManCity or Villa match in December and definitely will hit the Pig. A bright spot in the exilic Gooner nation. Even bought a fly NYC Gooner T-shirt from gooner leader Kurtis. http://store.arsenal-nyc.com/

  285. Looking forward to watching the highlights–we had so many chances it was unbelievable we didn’t score 5. Next time we’ll put them away. I think we are due for a blowout given the way we have been creating in attack.

  286. Irish, that goal was so brilliantly executed and so dramatic. Pure ecstasy.

    MD, agree with you. This was a good opportunity to improve the goal difference significantly. I think some we are the cusp, though, of breaking out. Plus we are defending well, so hopefully the goal difference will improve shortly.

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