Dortmund Preview: Arsenal Must Show English Clubs How It Is Done

English clubs floundered in last night’s European clashes, Manchester City’s air of invincibility shattered by their failure to win in Napoli last night. They are the more likely of the two Mancunian clubs to join Spurs in the Europa League although should United lose in Basel, that competition will receive an unexpected English boost.

Borussia Dortmund arrive at The Emirates for a pivotal clash in this group phase. Defeat combined with a Marseille win would send them out of the competition and no doubt give more impetus to the rumours of an impending £30m bid from Arsenal for Mario Goetze. Despite declarations this past Summer that he was staying in Germany, the English media have suddenly realised that the big names are no longer heading toward the Premier League, their desire for stories in the transfer window weakens their hand for the rest of the season.

Avoiding defeat is key for Arsenal this evening. Do that and qualification is assured if Marseille do not lose. Winning with Marseille failing to do so, seals top spot. Looking at the rest of the groups, that is imperative. Potential opponents in the first knockout phase are significantly weaker than the group winners. Whilst the bravado may say fear no-one, the path of least resistance to silverware is no less satisfying than one where seemingly insurmountable hurdles are overcome.

Arsenal go into this match in far better shape than the first meeting, physically and mentally. The club was still getting to grips with the anguish of the defeat at Old Trafford and new players arriving. This time, the side has a settled look about it with an undefeated run entrenched. Arguably, the draw in Dortmund was as crucial as the win over Swansea in stopping the rot. It does not matter that Dortmund were the better side on that occasion; you expect that when visiting the reigning Bundesliga champions. Does that meeting have any bearing on tonight? None at all other than to know that the visitors possess attacking strengths and defensive weaknesses, a mirror of Arsenal.

The team news is highly encouraging. Only Tomas Rosicky is missing from the weekend’s squad. I am not sure that the return of Abou Diaby is anything to shout about just yet. In Arsène’s own words, Diaby has not played one minute since surgery in June. This is too high profile a match for him to participate, even under extreme circumstances. It is a hope for the future because he is a talented individual; whether that future ever comes on a consistent basis remains to be seen. Even his detractors must be sympathetic to that on a humane level. Surely?

Disruption to the team should be minimal and I doubt that there will be changes to the defence or midfield. Wenger’s choices are limited for the former with injuries to Sagna and Jenkinson needing makeshift right backs in the form of Djourou and Koscielny. The latter could move to the centre if Mertesacker is deemed to need a rest but to me that would be an over-reaction to Saturday. I suppose that would be entirely in keeping with the aftermath of Norwich’s goal at Carrow Road but entirely unnecessary.

The manager was entirely unsurprising in his assertion that Robin van Persie will start. Will both Gervinho and Walcott do so? Gervinho had one of those days on Saturday whilst Walcott sparkled. Was the former suffering a touch of travel sickness? It would be no surprise to see Andrey Arshavin start this evening but changes overall, will be few and far between.

I would expect the line-up for tonight to be:

Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Ramsey, Song, Arteta, Walcott, van Persie, Arshavin

Twelve months ago, a weakened Arsenal team lost in Braga. Wenger will not want a repeat of that so Lukasz Fabianski will remain on the bench. Speaking ahead of tonight’s game, Bob Wilson believes that Wojciech Szczesny is as key to the side as Robin van Persie. Both Wilson and Arsène praised the Pole’s maturity and calm nature. It is usual for striker’s to gain the headlines – or lion’s share of them – an indicator that things at the back are working well. Crucially for a young goalkeeper, Szczesny has experienced heads in front of him. Whilst the callowness of youth manifests few and far between, the defenders this season appear less likely to offer an ‘after you‘ to the ball on as regular a basis as before. That helps Szczesny who is still learning. The talent is exceptional though and not underappreciated.

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


Posted on November 23, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 355 Comments.

  1. Showing them how it’s done, eh BB?

  2. I expect a tight game in the middle with us winning 🙂

  3. Well, not sure about easier opponents if the come in first. Looks like ManU and ManC are both going to be 2nd in their group (unless they decide they prefer to play on Thursday) and I wouldn’t want to draw either of them. I’d rather have a good side from the continent instead.

  4. @Evil: I don’t think you can draw a club from the same league in the first knock out stage…correct me if i’m wrong please

  5. bravo NAPOLI
    bravo BENIFICA


  6. @evil


  7. Agree with that starting line-up YW. If Rosicky was fit I was certain he would start tonight. Hopefully he’ll be back for the Fulham game. Evil, there is a rule that states that teams from the same country cannot play each other in the first knockout stage of the Champions League, so we wouldn’t play either of the Manc clubs or Chelsea for that matter, regardless of position in the group.

  8. Top 10? Early post

  9. Good morning everyone we have to show the Englalish teams how this is done. Think it will be tight but hope RVP and Theo can do a great job and hope Chervinho has a good game !

  10. I was sick for 2 days off work, but why oh why couldn’t I be sick on thursdayonstead of Tuesday & Wednesday!!!
    Now when I am going to work tomorrow I will be on The train constantly refreshing the BBC text commentary (reliable and quick) all the way to work! Now that ladies and gents is nail biting stuff. More so than watching. Even wen we score the update says GOAL, then that second of panic before reading next line saying RvP scored… Dreading it…
    But I am also confident we can get past them. They might BD tired after Bayern game..
    Go you Arsenal….

  11. I hope we thonk them to shut the bloody media up. Stupid myopic bunch. They keep making excuses for the manc teams. Am sure they ll have a “great” day if dortmond get a result.

  12. I’m with you YW. RVP has to play. and start. not like the game against marseille. let’s wrap this baby up. i would give AA his start to, as i can see he is hungry. show me Andri, show me.
    this will give a subtle message to 3gs to wake-up and take his good chances. i love a good assist as much as a good goal but others need to start chipping in with the goals and make us more balanced up front. in the second half bring on 3gs. he will burn them up overtime. Thei will be his wonderfully self, I’m sure. our passing should be better than the game against the CANARIES. specialy in the second half we gave the ball away to easily and carelessly. i can’t decide between kosher or johan at right back. I’m leaning ever so slightly towards the latter. no matter what , i think it is going to be a cracking game. best of the day. ARSENAL BY 3-1.
    God willing. 😉

  13. Great write up and analysis.

    However it is surprising that any other player is mentioned at right back other than Koscielny. He is a great central defender and did not put a foot wrong in that position last week.

    This cannot be said for any of the alternatives……..and we have to have our best players out there.

    Koscielny has the defensive game, the attacking ability, a good pass and he is athletic and quick enough. It also keeps him match fit and avoids the need to rotate a central defender. It is the right decision to support the Meat Sack and the Verminator definitely needs the games – however well he has come back.

    Surely it must only be injury that would bring on another alternative…….however much we want to be nice to the squad.

    Had my say and it is all positive.

  14. Choose a team to win until winning doesn’t matter, then rest.

    A few times last year we rested before we could afford it and it did cost us. It is one of the things I would change about last season.

    ……..That and trying to depend on Nasri to lead the team in Cesc’s absence – he just disappeared.

  15. YW – Nice write up as ever. The link to the Bob Wilson article is very good, and it is the last paragraph which stands out.

  16. GOOD MORNING SA GOONER. with your permission i was actually contemplating with the back four of johan, kosher , vermalen, and Santos.
    speed across the board as the opponent is quick up front and they don’t have any really big men up front. cancel speed with speed. simples.
    what do you think YW.??

    ps.. what shameful actions by the Besiktas fans. truly low. i can’t stand an exgunner being abused like that. SHAME ON YOU BESIKTAS.

  17. Go on gunners

  18. by the way, i don’t consider adypaymore, Nasri, and flamony gunners or exgunners. so fair game for them. take it back. no player should be abused like that.

  19. I think it will be an unchanged team from Saturday. IIRC, Gervinho had quite a good game out in Dortmund, if he can reproduce that and maybe add a goal or two we should pose plenty of problems going forward with Walcott and van Persie on form.The goalie, back four and midfield picks itself.

  20. Sure guys 2day is our day we r going to beat dortmund by far hop la capitaIN can make tha diff c’mon players pull ur strings take us thru knockout stage brilliantly YES WE CAN 3-0 GOD BLESS U GUNNERS

  21. I think it will be quite a dull game with AA (on as sub) getting the winner in the last 10mins. Just a feeling.

    I also think we will field the same side as we did against Norwich.

  22. i wonder how many of their away fans are gona make the trip. their fans were excellent the first leg. the EMIRATES best be ROCKING. LOUD AND ROCKING.

  23. i think it will be a very cracking game. end to end action. a pleasure to behold. the best game of the season so far.

  24. and i wouldn’t even think of playing Diaby. he isn’t ready. his chance will come soon enough. same with Jack. let them have a game or two with the reserves and get match fit.

  25. YW,i doubt le boss will alter the team from saturday.we need to get this game and top spot done and dusted,no kidding though i know it will be a cracker and many folks will have shorter finger nails after the ever the game pans out the Arsenal will come out tops and hopefully the two (w)mancers will join the spuds on their jolly thursday trips around europe…

  26. anonymous_coward

    It’s not fair to blame Fabiansky for last year defeat from Braga. Look here: Both their goals were from total incompetence of our defenders. Especially second one: three defenders were unable to clear single attacker, they let him strike as if there was no defenders at all. I’m yet to see a keeper to cope with such a strawmen in his defence.

  27. Your views are spot on YW but I don’t think AW will change the team from the Norwich game.
    This is a must win tonight, Dortmund are the Bundesliga ‘in form’ team so it will be a tough game. A win will put us through on 11 points, a draw will put us second on 9 points if OM win, and a loss will still keep us second on 8 points if OM win, with BVB on 7 points.
    So there is all to play for tonight but it will not be over till the final game of the group unless we win tonight, and even then, we may not win the group.

    But having said all that, I believe the gunners can do it and get a win tonight.
    I read through the comments here last night, after the Man City game, the gloating got a bit too much. Don’t gloat until after the final games Gooners, we still have our work cut out to qualify.

  28. “i wonder how many of their away fans are gona make the trip. their fans were excellent the first leg. the EMIRATES best be ROCKING. LOUD AND ROCKING.”

    According to Arseblog, Dortmund have got tickets all round the ground. They’ll definitely have sold all their official allocation. German sides always travel in decent numbers. Should be a good atmosphere.

  29. Also I agree with the other guys who expect to see the same team as Saturday.

  30. Just to clarify the table:
    If AFC and OM win-
    AFC 11
    OM 10
    BVB 4

    If AFC draw and OM win-
    OM 10
    AFC 9
    BVB 5

    If AFC lose and OM win
    OM 10
    AFC 8
    BVB 7

    So with the first 2 scenarios we go through, with the 3rd……….. it will be down to the game in Greece

  31. Gervinho missing tonight with a personal problem (?) – a night for Arshavin to remind us of what a very good player he can be.

  32. And if AFC win and OM fail to win we qualify and top the group 🙂

  33. The atmosphere in Dortmunds ground was amazing. I have never been in a crowd that loud before, it really was deafening. Good set of fans. Dortmund really need to win tonight, so they will come after us straight from kick off. They always play a high pressure game (a bit like Barca) so we will have to be switched on all night.

  34. I will make 3 changes if I were Wenger: Djorou at right back, Kos at CD in place of Mert and Benayoun or Arshavin in place of Ramsey. That number 10 spot is for geniuses like AA n not Ramsey with his exuberance n great workrate. But I am not Wenger and Kos’s career can slowly continue its race towards ruin by being played out of position. We should have the bigger picture in mind by not putting our 3 most reliable central defenders on pitch at d same time. Arsenal more than any other team should know about contingencies.

  35. @Block4
    Yes, that’s the best scenario for tonight 🙂

    But I’m assuming that OM will beat Olympiakos at the Velodrome……. not guaranteed I know, but a fairly sure bet.

  36. After yesterdays results hopefully the media hype about the two Manchester clubs being the best in the world has had a reality check. That said the team have a tough assignment and mathematically need to beat Dortmund and Olympiakos to secure top spot. Though even that holds no guarantee looking at Napoli n Benfica. We are definitely in a different headspace in comparison to our last game with the Bundesliga champions. This game will be a fight. With the Emirates crowd, confidence and belief we can show everyone why we have been consistently performing in this competition for the last 14 years. RVP the MVP again.COYG.

  37. Any sort of win will do for me be it a 1-0 or 6-5. It is imperative we win to avoid last game stress of qualifying. Very good news Diaby is back earlier than expected. I am sure since he hasn’t had any playing time he will be on the bench.

    Very good points on us being loose in midfield over the weekend, this is a game where Rosicky’s cool head would have played a vital role, too bad he is out. Hopefully our midfield will do better tonight because we will be sunk if we allow Dortmund too much space as they are very good at attacking.

    On Fabrigas’ remarks of being a fan, who really cares what he thinks now? For a fan he obviously let us down when it mattered most so he can shove his niceties as we don’t need or want them for that matter.

    Started watching the manure game from the 33rd min and I must say I was happy with the draw though I would have loved for Benfica to nick a win there at the end with their chance. Also happy that moneycity lost. I hope this will bring them down a notch and that liverpool can take advantage and win on Sunday ultimately breaking their unbeaten run and setting us up nicely for the curling cup. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if they didn’t make it to the knowckout, and wiping Nasri’s little smirk while at it!!!

  38. I think what gives me comfort for tonight is that this Arsenal team will have the ability to react even if Dortmund score. The blend of experience in the team is our growing strength and it gets better with each game.

    I have a feeling Alex Song’s pperformance will be critical tonight with his responsibility of stifling Dortmund’s attacking midfielders.

  39. RVP the MVP. Hehe I like that.

  40. I am still lusting for that treacherous rat Nasri to be dragged all over the dark corners of Europe on a Thursday night, marking time on the bench while draught-horses like Milner and de Jong are given priority in Mancini’s uninspiring team selections. He caused Wenger a lot of pain by jumping ship after giving us a measly six months of proper football. Mercenary.

    But I digress. Like everybody else, I just want a win tonight. 1-0 or 6-5, just give me a win baby.

  41. Tough game this one. I guess the teams are +/- evenly matched, since Arsenal recovered, and the Arsenal they play tonight – and at home – is not the same, literally, as the one they faced in Germany – which they dominated for much of the game, although we had our moments. They have equally improved their domestic form and are strong title contenders.

    The thing is, they must win, a draw is only enough if Marseilles draw or lose. So this is their “final”. They are a young team. I suspect they will throw caution to the wind, they have nothing to lose – even a win only gives them a lifeline, they would have to go on and beat Marseilles; and if they do get a goal from an early onslaught they have a chance of a fairy-tale ending.

    For me, this dictates a cautious approach with our selection and Arshavin is not likely to startin that case. I think we might stick with the team for Norwich. We might find ourselves defending a lot, battling the middle and counter-attacking a lot. Therefore …

  42. I sense a classic match in the making, hope so.

    But don’t worry that Fabgregas is our biggest fan now; he makes a far better fan than an ex- or ‘want-away’ player anyway.

  43. What are Gervinho’s “personal problems”.

  44. Nasri has started just four games for ManCity. He already sports a regrettable air about him. He used to smile, poor fella.

    Napoli showed exactly how to beat City, in the middle and fast, and watch that match being watched many times by EPL managers.

  45. Where are they now for some of Arsenal’s ex youth – it’s a good proliferation:

    David Bentley (West Ham)
    Jay Bothroyd (QPR)
    Gaël Clichy (Man City)
    Ashley Cole (Chelsea)
    Matthew Connolly (QPR)
    Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Ipswich Town)
    Keith Fahey (Birmingham City)
    James Harper (Hull City)
    Justin Hoyte (Middlesbrough)
    Mark Howard (Blackpool)
    Richard Hughes (Portsmouth)
    Bradley Johnson (Norwich City)
    Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City)
    Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland)
    Fabrice Muamba (Bolton)
    Jermaine Pennant (Stoke City)
    Darren Pratley (Bolton)
    Steve Sidwell (Fulham)
    Jay Simpson (Millwall)
    Stuart Taylor (Man City)
    Jerome Thomas (West Brom)
    Armand Traoré (QPR)
    Matthew Upson (Stoke City)
    Plus a number who are in European first division sides:

    Jérémie Aliadière (FC Lorient)
    Graham Barrett (Shamrock Rovers)
    Nacer Barazite (Austria Wien)
    Andre Blackman (Celtic)
    Stephen Bradley (St. Patrick’s Athletic)
    Georgios Efrem (AC Omonia)
    Rui Fonte (Espanyol)
    Stefán Gíslason (Lillestrøm SK)
    Valur Gíslason (Fylkir FC)
    Julian Gray (Nea Salamina Famagusta)
    Fran Mérida (SC Braga)
    Håvard Nordtveit (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
    Stephen O’Donnell (Shamrock Rovers)
    Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (Panathinaikos)
    Rohan Ricketts (Shamrock Rovers)
    Ólafur Ingi Skúlason (SV Zulte Waregem)
    Dean Shiels (Kilmarnock FC)
    Ryan Smith (Chivas USA)
    Graham Stack (Hibernian FC)
    Anthony Stokes (Celtic)
    Gilles Sunu (FC Lorient)
    Sebastian Svärd (Roda JC)
    Rhys Weston (Dundee FC)
    Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders FC)

  46. His forehead is getting too heavy I believe.

  47. Darius – 100% agree re Song. If he disciplined and plays well, we are are much much better side. He is arguably as important as RVP this year.

    If fit, he will start every game.

    Pleased Diaby is back in training would much rather he had a run out last night instead.

    Here’s hoping we don’t need him

  48. Szchz/TV5/Song/RvP is now the spine of our side. Pretty strong IMO.

  49. Diaby to do wat he knows best

  50. I pray that Arsenal w/d win the game

  51. Skhokho – Hopefully you don’t mean pick up a niggling injury which keeps him out for another few months?

  52. City dropped 8 points in 5 games in champion’s league and only 2 points in 12 games in premier league. Could it be that english teams are a bit shy with them. Then they should find inspiration in those champion’s league games. They are far from being invincible.

  53. @ leborbe

    It just probably means that against technically adept teams, a midfield with yaya toure and nigel de jong just does not cut it..

    which is why im quietly confident of a good result when we play city a bit later in the league

  54. Can’t find anything on the net about Gerv the heads ‘personal problems’?

  55. Song, Theo and Gervinho are all bound to be pretty knackered at this stage, but I think we’ll name an unchanged 11. Try to get the job done in the first half then bring on Benayoun, Arshavin, and Djourou can slot in in midfield if necessary.

  56. @jonny,,
    wow, what a list. all EPL and for that matter europe is ex gunners. i think sol campbell was overlooked. he is still with Newcastle, no??
    shitty have dropped quite a few points in europe. nice theory regarding the ” fear or respect factor ” by the poster. well, i don’t think ARSENAL fears them and sure as heck, they will park the bus when they come to the Emirates for the cc cup. just like last year. and hold on for dear life…

  57. Sol Campbell???? The epitome of NOT Arsenal youth!

  58. Also, I would imagine City’s CC team is going to be pretty strong. Their reserves are £20M+ players! Will make it all the sweeter if we beat them though.

  59. @anicol5
    is it true? 3gs is out due to some personal issues? where is this reported?

  60. i don’t know if AW will go for mario gotze if the price tag is as high as 30 mil. i thought he was closer to 15-20 mil. i know he is very eager to come to Arsenal and play for AW. he is talented and all that and i hope we can make a deal for him. maybe as early as january if BD get knocked out of CL.

  61. Dortmund have already said he will not be leaving in Jan, so I can’t see that happening. £30M+ seems to be the fgure being bandied about, but if it gets into a bidding war somebody like City or Madrid will come in and blow us out of the water. Once (if) we do make a bid, we need to wrap the whole thing up very quickly.

  62. Impressive work jonny.

    Any of those players you’d have back?

  63. with the nice hole they have dug for themselves in the CL, there is a very good chance man shitty will priorities the comps. and send a weaker team to the emirates for the cc . no matter, we will beat whomever they put in that team. and advance. i wonder how the will react to the loss to NAPOLI. it will be telling as to how cohesive their team is and where they are on the mental strength scale.

  64. Just wanted to say great post as always YW. Going to be an interesting game tonight. It will sort of be a measure of how far we have come since the 1st encounter. I know we shouldn’t look too much into one game, but we got absolutely destroyed in terms of possession in Germany. Lets see how the stats fair tonight…

  65. Out of all of that list (Jonny’s) there is only Ashly Cole who would get into our current side. And also one glaring absentee; Cesc Fabregas (I know we got him from Barac, but he must surely quality as one of our products).

  66. MARIO has got the Gota for us. i don’t think he will consider the bid from manure or shitty highly. after the game in germany, he couldn’t wait to pull the ARSENAL shirt he had gotten in exchange with one of our player on. i believe he is a not so closeted gooner at heart. 🙂

  67. Chris – Dortmund were very good that night to be fair. Despite being outplayed, we showed real grit and determination in that game. That may have been a turning point in our season and started us back on track.

  68. Consol – I always thought JET would make it so my opinion should count for very little. 🙂 I note that he has scored but 1 goal so far for his new employers.

    I think the best of those is Larsson, he wouldn’t get many games for us but he is a talented lad, a good passer and plays in an unfussy manner. He’s arguably the best free kick taker in the prem – certainly miles better than any of our lot at that particular skill!

  69. 30m for a teenager? Wouldnt that blow our tranfer skyhigh? I know gotze is good but 30m is not to be sniffed at.

  70. that is , mario has got the hots for Arsenal.
    Bently and Upson are my only regrets. top two of the list that should have stayed and played for us.

  71. Hey ACLFers, hey YW..

    I sense a special game tonight.
    One for the history books, the beautiful game & much gunner-joy.
    We will deserve it.

    Napoli is the kryptonite to Man City’s money-squad
    The team that has their number
    City’s back 4 don’t do too well with cohesive, speedy, laterally proficient teams (like us)
    I really enjoy the way they play…(glad they were not in our group)
    I expect Cavani, Lavezzi & co. to get through to the next phase.

    I’m very happy to see AD2 back.
    And I expect him to claim his starting position within 4 weeks.


  72. sebastian is the third.

  73. I wonder what the problem is with Gervinho? Hope no-one in his family has died.

  74. Wenger must have a long roll call of players to point at who thought the grass was greener and found reality really rather different.

    Look at Merida – hailed as the next big thing, itched for a move for lack of first team opportunities and went to Athletico. The manager scarcely used him and he’s now been farmed out on loan to Braga.

  75. All too true jonny.

    Actually that applies to your link to ‘that’ man as well Fun.

  76. Stop Kagawa and Goetze playing then the game is ours gives those two too much room at your peril.

    Make no mistake dortmond are a proper team and I for one will be happy enough with a draw.

    I hope walcott continues to ignore his detractors and focus on his game. A couple of goals for hint will be brilliant.

  77. Hoonerkam 11.34 Gervinho’s absence reported in this mornings Times – no details as to whether the personal problems are animal vegetable or mineral

  78. SilverG being at home you should aim alittle higher, a win or a win, no?

  79. I expect Arsenal to win this encounter. While both teams have great attacking options, speed and midfield sizzle (an area Dortmund arguably may be better, but not by much), Arsenal have the better defence, keeper and Song. A maverick Santos goal may do it, you know, in the 67th minute or a TV screamer on half-time. He’s due one around now.

  80. Jonny

    Being pedantic with your list, we signed Clichy from Cannes, Upson from Luton, Pennant from Notts County. They had all made first XI appearances so weren’t products of the youth system. There are probably others as well, I think that list shows more that the Academy was a finishing school in a number of cases.


  81. Well if Gervinho is out, I couldn’t think of a better option than Andrei for an important match, time for him to psyche himself out of the russian doldrums. Nice to have a bench, hey?

  82. If AA starts I wonder if AOC will get a spot on the bench. Or maybe Park?

  83. So negative everyone. 3-1 to the good guys.

    Don’t forget they have to attack us. If we’re as solid as we have been recently we should score at will.

  84. @FG
    Incredible. I do wonder if that man is aware that his team might be playing on Thursdays soon unless they manage to win a tough away game against a side that managed to draw 3:3 at the Old Toilet.

  85. Anirudh at 11:08 am
    You said: “It just probably means that against technically adept teams, a midfield with yaya toure and nigel de jong just does not cut it.”

    You left out Milner who started wide right in midfield, got shifted centrally when de Jongh was substituted and finally ended up at right back. Milner is simply a hardworking farm horse at this level. He slows down their passing game and is uninspiring going forward. Added to that Silva started out on the margins playing left midfield and was uninfluential until shifted centrally.

    The truth be told City had enough match winners on the bench to match up with Napoli but Mancini put a negative team out on the field determined not to lose. Talk about lack of ambition. My point is so far this season they have never played so negative in the PL but I suspect as the pressure grows to win the League Mancini will resort to his ingrained cautious ways and become even more wretched in his team selection.

  86. Sure YW -never claimed it was thorough or vouched it’s veracity!

    Still interesting reading I hope.


  87. Shotta, that is an excellent point. Mancini grows cautious at the first sign of trouble and his team doesn’t react that well when he sets them out to play for a draw, which is obviously what they do in big games away. This is why I think if they fall out of the CL it could actually work to our benefit.

  88. What struck me about Citeh’s problems last night in Naples was that their central defence and defensive midfield shield were just not used to players to the opposition coming at them so fast, and keeping the ball on the ground – Lescott and Kompany looked clumsy and harassed all night as though a swarm of wasps was after them

  89. @ shotta

    Why i mentioned those 2 in particular is that the middle 3 in the 4-3-3 dictate the tempo more than anyone else in the game to the point that you can maybe even get away with an uninspired contribution from a wide player i.e milner..

    in the epl most teams dont have the passing ability to get past the shield offered by those 2 and give city enough possesion to win games domestically..

    As far as mancini getting more negative as the pressure increases is maybe because he knows a good passing side can and most of the times will have the beating of city..just watch against us..I am sure he will play a midfield 3 of de jong, barry and yaya toure

  90. I see it being reported (I know, huge pinch of salt required) that Anelka resigned to leaving Chelsea, anyone fancy a cheeky bid to bring him back in Jan as back up for our front 3 (can play right across the line). Should he be on Jonny`s list?

  91. Re: Gervinho ( personal problems?)

    What I noticed in our win at Norwich, specifically with this player, is that for the two goal celebrations produced by RvP, there was no joy on Gervinho’s face ( compared to his teammates) or compared to his participation in previous match celebrations.

    In fact he has a look of someone who has other conflicting things (outside football) on his mind ( a look of concern).

    I hope this gets this sorted out quickly. HIs contribution on the score sheet is critical.

  92. If Anelka’s going on that list then so are Voltz, Boa Morte, Wreah and all the rest!

    Mancini can get away with playing Yaya as some kind of AM in the PL but not in the CL.
    Polizano was right about Yaya: Give me a Song anyday.

  93. lbc – No, we bought him for 500k from PSG.

  94. Alex Song has made more tackles (28) than any other player in the Champions League this season.

  95. As I wrote about Mancini tactics, I couldn’t help but think of Bill and his defence-first “mantra.” Trust me Bill I am not starting a fight but Man City,yesterday, is an object lesson in the difference betweeen Mancini’s defensiveness and Wenger’s attacking philosophy. Loading your team with defensive-minded players only invites nippy counter-attacking teams like Napoli to run at your central defenders and show up their weaknesses. Napoli could have easily scored 2 or more goals if their forwards were a little more composed.
    In contrast I am sure we Wenger would set up his team to be more offensive, starve Napoli of possession and force Napoli’s attackers and midfielders to stay at home in fear of being ripped apart by our counter-attack.

  96. Arsession Gerv looked quite happy in the training pics up on the official website.

  97. Great post yogi: should be a cracking game today. Dortmund have found their form after a tepid start. Hopefully we can keep our shape and play in control. I hope we don’t go into this thinking it will be an end to end shoot out. The thing that is so great about this squad is the understated confidence and not the overstated bravado and desire to outscore everyone. A solid 2 – 0 or may be 2 -1 win. Would be great if Theo and Gerv got the goals.

  98. Anelka wouldn’t be a bad short-termish signing in January as van Persie backup if the price is right. He’s been good for 15 or so goals every season for Chelsea even though he’s never been first choice and usually plays wide.

  99. Shotta – To be fair, I don’t think Bill ever wanted us to be a defensive side per se. I think he was pointing out that were were far too easy to score againt and conceeded ridiculous goal due to schoolboy defending on an all too regular basis. And until 8 or 9 games ago that was still the case.

    Hopefully we have turned the corner in that respect. It has been a long time coming.

  100. @ firstlady

    training ground is a photo opt……

    in a match, your team scores to even the match, and then later, to take the lead……and the only faces you can muster expresses no joy?

    I’m not professing I know what the issue is OR that there is an issue……from my past experiences, there seems some merit it what was posted above. (personal issues)

    Regardless……I like this player’s attitude and contribution on the pitch and wish him a long
    career with the club.

  101. Shotta @ 1:55:

    Did not watch the game in Italy but followed the score so can’t comment on Mancini’s set up or tactics. I think going too far towards either extreme is the problem. I don’t enjoy watching teams that park the bus any more then you and don’t advocate that we play that sort of game. I do believe that you have to be able to lie deeper and defened when the situation calls for it. Stubbornly saying that we will attack full bore no matter what the situation is a recipe for inconsistency, and I do believe that we went over board in our attacking ethos in the past.

    I am much happier with the way we have played in the last couple of months and hope that we can maintain the balance we seem to have found. Should be a good game today.

  102. I think our manager will continue with the same line up as Norwich, but I’d like to see Benayoun start over Ramsey……..or slot Arshavin in the attacking midfield role.

    Hope Diaby will make some appearance, maybe in the last 15 minutes.

  103. Agree with andy @ 2:00PM.

  104. “Don’t gloat until after the final games Gooners, we still have our work cut out to qualify.”

    I agree, especially when there is still a chance we could end up in the Europa league ourselves if things we to go wrong. You only need an over zealous referee and a sending off to upset the best made plans

    “i know he is very eager to come to Arsenal and play for AW.”

    How exactly do you ‘know’ this goonerkam?

  105. I sense a narrow victory tonight. Just so the media can be vindictive in their reporting.
    Anyone fancy an Essex Thanksgiving Pasty or Pumpkin Dessert Pasty?

  106. Passenal

    you’re so right……Dortmund is a solid team and Arsenal will have to bring their ‘A’ game to get a good result.

    Another major test for the club.

  107. If I remember correctly, when the press were saying AW was intersted in Gotze, didn’t BVB, his family and he himself say that he was still too young to leave his homeland.

    I don’t think any ‘foriegn’ side has a chance of signing him just yet.

    As for Anelka, I’d love for him to come back, he still has the ability in the right team and would easily slip into our style of play.

    I reckon a close game tonight, just one goal in it, either 1-0 or 2-1 (to the gunners of courrse)
    RVP and/or Theo to score and/or Gervinho if he plays.

  108. Please i need some clarification on the Gervinho issue, are ya’ll saying that he wont be in the squad??
    Can i have any link to any article or something

  109. First lady @12:40 I know we are at home but we will have to be defensively sound against a very talented dortmond team lets not forget lebandovski either.

  110. Apparently, Balotelli said he was playing with a fever yesterday and Mancini was aware that’s why he didn’t score more, seriously.

  111. Jeff, so where were all these wonderful strikers that city has? Could no one cover for poor sick Mario?

  112. I keep on having a repeated imagination of Dortmund playing with their high line pressing and Walcott gets released close to the half way line and goes all Henry(placing the ball in the net with the right foot) on the keeper.

    I’m thus going to put my money on Theo to score today

  113. @Passenal,
    I doubt Mancini would be to happy to hear what Balotelli said, makes the Mancini look stupid

  114. We would need to play with a lot of energy and make good decisions tonight, remember Dortmund pressed us in the last match the way Germany pressed England in the WC but they couldn’t take advantage .

  115. Jeff, yes! Dortmund have to attack. Theo must start.

  116. I love Johnny’s list.

  117. Loved Jonny’s list also. Spending the time to alphabetize the list shows true commitment and perhaps a little neurosis (little smiley face). Jonny you must have far to much time on your hands. (another little smiley face)

    Where are Nikki B. and Denilson?

  118. They are both still Arsenal players Bill as they are currently on loan and not yet sold.

  119. Does anyone know, who the player behind Song is in the training pics (picture 7)
    I’, raking my brain trying to recognise the face.

  120. I agree the Jonny regarding Seb Larsson. Wish we could have kept him and Cashley for a few more years. We had Yaya Toure here on a trial at one point I think. Don’t know the details but would have been nice to keep him if possible.

  121. Pass:

    I know, but so is Traore I thought. Doubt we will see any of the 3 back but who knows.

  122. Is that Brek Shea?

  123. Anyone know how Kyle Bartley is doing? Hope he is playing well at CB in the SPL.

  124. No Bill, Traore has been sold

    Yes Pranaam it’s Brek Shea – he’s a giant!

  125. I feel that some of the players on Johnny’s list would have made it to world class had they joined later . Like Pennant and Larsson. Even Connally. The problem was that they were the pioneers and the academy itself was a work in progress. I’ll grudgingly admit Ashley Cole was an exceptional talent that would have come through anywhere!

  126. I’ve just googled him, and he’s not an arsenal player. What’s he doing here?

  127. He’s an MLS player training with us for experience. I was surprised to see him training with the first team on the day of a match because TH14 was not there and Arsene had said that visitors were welcome to train with the first team but not before a match…

  128. Passenal:

    My bad regarding Traore. I thought he was sent on loan to QPR. Thanks.

    Brek Shea is a left footed midfielder for my local MLS team FC Dallas and a USA international. Good player, but probably not as good as Landon Donavon or Clint Dempsey so I doubt he would make much of an impression here. Is he on loan or just training with the squad?

  129. @ Passenal:

    Thank you very much, for the info.

  130. Jonny’s list highlights what a great job the club does in evaluating talent. Out of all those players that moved on there is barely any regret. Some of them looked like they might be the next great thing while they were in the reserves. You would think the club would have made a some mistakes and let a couple of really good players go. Even in retrospect there has not been any mistakes of real significance. Cashley would have been nice to keep but not much we could do about that one.

  131. @kenyan gunner: Ashley Cole did come through our academy and was a very important member of the team. he was greedy for more cash and jumped ships simple. As for pennant he was given a lot of chances he took some but wasn’t consistent. He did not do much after leaving arsenal. I know he played for Liverpool but he didn’t shine there.

  132. Just training Bill

  133. Passenal:

    Thanks for the info. Hope you get a chance to go to the game today.

  134. MDGunner – Still trying to pass off your blighted, tasteless, glorified stale doughnuts that you insist on calling Pastys? 🙂

  135. Good man Irish. If you ever make it to England I will personally deliver you a proper pasty.

    Guarenteed to enable you to find a friend in a bar without embarrassing yourself.

  136. Irish – Don’t confuse me with Dunkin Donuts.

    The Essex Thanksgiving Pasty contains only the highest quality ingredients – Turkey meat substitute*, Idaho mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, fixin’s, Grandma’s traditional stuffing and gravy.
    *may contain Chum.

  137. please don’t advocate Anelka being brought back to Arsenal. even though i think he still has game and a creative spark for chelski, imo i was the original malcontent that left at an early age. i can’t stand his agent/brother either. talent or not ,good ridens.

  138. Thanksgiving in this context means we don’t have to eat it I would guess.

  139. André Santos!!!
    Very important game for the champions, we are going with every thing for that game #Arsenal
    And we count with the support of our fans :))

    I really like the Champions bit – could have been lost in translation, but it’s nice to know Santos considers Arsenal champions.

  140. @irishgray
    as jonny said yesterday regarding your posts.
    i hope, bayern munich will come to win in the next round and knock these mercenary skyblue mancs. out of the CL. then watch how Mancini will lose the team and the fireworks starting in their lockerroom. good times indeed.

  141. Bob Wilson praised Szcz’s maturity? The guy is halfway to being as nuts as Jens, and Bob’s talking about maturity? Then again, when was the last time an Arsenal goalie was praised for that reason? Probably David Seaman.

  142. Cbob – I’ll be down at the soup kitchens tomorrow donating my (unsold) (out of date) pasties to the needy.

    Is the game really only on FSC+?

  143. You are all heart MD. I feel a tear coming.

  144. @Darius

    I would suggest Darius, that Santos was talking about Dortmund being the champions of Germany… and not Arsenal as champions!!! 🙂

    However, his comment about the fans is spot on.

  145. Arsenal Team:

    Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie

    SUBS: Fabianski, Djourou, Diaby, Frimpong, Benayoun, Arshavin, Chamakh.

  146. i did notice that Walcott had blackened out shoes on the Arsenal training pics earlier. Is he leaving nike too?

  147. oh and very mature bench btw…infact very mature team overall…

  148. @northbank69.
    i thought the same. that he was referring to the DOORtMATS. 🙂

  149. i hope we comeout All Guns Blazeing. everyone on their a game. good to see the story in the Times was baseless.

  150. before i was always worried when we were one goal down. Nowadays i know we will fight back. So i dont get nervous or worried even if we are two goals down. Cos i know the players know they are good enough to win no matter what.
    That is such a relife compared to last year….

  151. Bill @ 5.29 pm – I should be at the game, but I can’t go as I’m sick! As you can imagine I’m gutted, but as much as I love my gunners, I can’t afford to risk pneumonia for them!

  152. Cbob – I think you are right, we should all give thanks we do not have to eat them!! And yes, the next time I am in London I would love to try one of your Grandmothers originals 🙂

    MDGunner – I know they say you have to be cruel to be kind, but passing off your ‘pastys’ to the homeless is beyond cruel. That’s not to say it will not cure the homeless epidemic by killing them all off, for it undoubtedly will. Just that it would be a very cruel way to go.

  153. MDGunner – No they are not showing the game live, we will need a link.

  154. “good to see the story in the Times was baseless.”

    Where do they get off coming up with such nonsense?

  155. Gervinho starts. And a big welocme back to Abou. What a player he could be if he fulfills his potential. 3 -1 to the Gooners. I feel; it in my bones Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie. COYG

  156. “I would suggest Darius, that Santos was talking about Dortmund being the champions of Germany… and not Arsenal as champions!!! ”

    I would think he means Champions League myself

  157. @Passenal

    It could well be that as well…….. only Santos knows what he meant, and whether there had to be a translation!!!!!

  158. Hey Cbob – does your granny have a recipe for mince pies? 🙂

  159. 😃😏😓😍😳😁😜😭😂😲

    Happy days. I just figured out how to make little faces. 😃🐴🐫🐑🐘🐍🎅👻 and lots of other cool stuff. What fun

  160. Was that your defensive line up Bill?

  161. 15 minutes to kickoff, I’m in the bar with loads of Marseille supporters and the compromise is 15 minutes OM game, 15 minutes Arsenal, then 15 minutes OM. If OM are winning easily at HT then they will let me watch more of Arsenals game in second half, and vise versa………. seems fair to me considering I’m the only gooner and there are 15 of them…. COYG

  162. Bill – Congrats 🙂

  163. Bill – epic fail, mate.



  164. Indeed she did MD.

    Why, are you looking to put bubblegum in pastry but need some authentic cover?

  165. MDG

    Not ours, it’s dortmunds or maybe Chelsea.

  166. Enjoy the show ACLF brothers. 🙂



  167. Bill – On the I-pad you were successful but on my Macbook they look just like little squares. So in the grand scheme of things you are back to square one mate!! 🙂 <—– just to rub it in!!!

  168. B:):)BS!!!

  169. B 🙂 🙂 BS!!

  170. Jonny – Thanks for the link mate 🙂

  171. Santos looks better every game. Very good tonight.

  172. Yes thanks Jonny. Noisy Germans, are they trying to out sing us?

  173. Looks like Darius was right. Highly entertaining game so far. They have come to play. Excellent.

  174. well Dortmund are very good indeed. Me thinks if they go second they will be a hard match for any no 1 team…

  175. Noticeable each time we start to build we’ve been fouled. I like the way Dortmund combine quick thinking counter attack with real pressing and hard tackling. Obviously I’d like it more if we scored…

  176. It’s matches like this that make me wish we played teams like this every week instead of the Stokes and Birminghams of this world. A team who have come to see who can win a football match by playing football. Refreshing.

  177. what are they booing for?

  178. Vision from Ramsay but what a save!

  179. Took Vermaelens boot in his face. Ouch.

  180. wow two of Dortmunds best players off before half time… thats dramatic for Dortmund!

  181. Per just did one thing really well. Wonder if everyone will talk about that for the next four days.

  182. anyone got a live link?

  183. Our turn to press. Gerv has been better defensively tonight some great interceptions.

  184. Can’t watch but sounds like a good game.

    Jonny and Irish. 😜

    Steww@ 8:13: why so serious?

  185. Was that offside? Oooh. Just.

  186. Says you Bill? I thought you took it all very seriously.

  187. Kos with a MOM performance so far. I’ll you what If I lived in Germany I’d be happy to watch Dortmund every week.,

  188. Their keeper is the only reason it’s not 2 – 0

  189. wow song is good!

  190. so is Ramsey!

  191. Impressed with the calm professionalism tonight. Not panicked or rushed by Dortmund giving it all they’ve got. We’ve bided our time and so very nearly snatched two goals.

  192. WOW What a game!! I have to point out that although they had a couple of breaks, I never felt nervous the way I did last year. Anyone else agree with that? Kos has been outstanding!! They all have at the back actually. Gervinho not as sharp as against Norwich but impressed by Theo’s movement. RVP is looking as hungry as ever.

  193. Noisiest I have heard the Emirates since the Barca game, bloody Germans trying to take over the ground, like the sunbeds down on the Costa Brava. I still fancy us to take over the second half.

    CBob – I ‘borrowed’ granny’s other recipe, just fancy a seasonal rip off.

  194. Well, if you want a good recipe i can provide but you need to make your own ‘mincemeat’, MD.

    I really like this Arsenal side. They don’t worry me like those of the last few years. Solid ans always likely to threaten. A good footballing side. No pretensions to genius.

    Fine by me.

  195. Hah Messie got a yellow card for being an ass…

  196. I don’t know if it is Stewart Robson commenting or someone else but did anyone hear what he said about Santos? He said he did not know why Santos went forward so much, went walkabout was his phrase as it left a huge gap at the back. “Not a very good defender, no need for him to go forward so much, rediculous really” and then he gets the ball, attacks and threads a great ball in for Gervinho(?) and what does he say? “That’s what Santos brings to this team, gets forward, causes havoc and plays in balls like that!” WTF?!!!!!! He gets paid to spout this shit!! As Bugs Bunny would say “What a Maroon!!!”

  197. tbh the entier Barca team is one giant ass…

  198. AC Milan1-2 BarcelonaHT
    Arsenal 0-0 Borussia DortmundHT
    BATE Borisov 0-1 PlzenFT
    Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 ChelseaHT
    Marseille 0-0 OlympiakosHT
    Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 FC PortoHT
    Valencia 4-0 GenkHT
    Zenit St P’sbg 0-0 Apoel NicosiaFT

  199. very tight marking from both sides but I wish Arsenal mid field can play a bit better. If we can’t control the mid there won’t be much offensive play to create goal scoring chances. Gervinho has a problem wonder what it’s ?? Just not playing right.

  200. You not noticed any of Gervinho’s interceptions, tackles and forward runs then dy?

  201. OK Szezzer cancels one of their keepers saves. Should be 2 – 1 now!

  202. Steww @ 8:26.

    Why so serious was a great line from the movie “The Dark Knight” and it came to mind when I saw your post. Yes, I do go overboard sometimes. Trying to control that.

    Sounds like we controlled the latter part of the first half. An early goal in the 2nd half would be nice.

  203. Unbelievable by Alex Song. UNBELIEVABLE

  204. Bill I apologise not familiar with the film. I take football far too seriously. According to my analyst anyway.

  205. Vantaaaaaaaaaaaaaastic….what a pass from song…and finished with aplomb.

  206. Let’s just play Song on the left wing from now on.

    Bob, what a genius that Song is?

  207. What’s Song doing there? Thinks he is Messi or what? STAY BACK, SON!

  208. I said earlier on today, the most important player for Arsenal tonight will be Alex Song. Not fit enough to wear the Arsenal shirt my arse. Can you believe there were people who suggested that Song was not good enough for Arsenal?

  209. Darius scroll up I said 5 minutes in you called it right tonight.

  210. lol.. my pc goes down for 2 mins and boom, we score!

  211. That was good from Arteta. Not Alex Twinkle Toes Song type good but great possession.

  212. Well Song did say this summer that when important players leve, others will step up and take responsibility. Song really knows how to put the money where his mouth is..thats for sure…

  213. Baffling that there are people who genuinely believe that Parker is better than Song ..

  214. Wonder if you can get ‘Not Fit to wear The shirt’ shirts Darius?

  215. Evil – they believe the hype not the evidence.

  216. Alex sooooooooooooooooong. Commentator on the espn game cast called the run maradona-esque.

  217. Brilliant tackle from Hummel

  218. wow Gervinho is so unlucky!

  219. wonder if he may give way to diaby? i wanna see diby 🙂

  220. poodle – maybe if we score again.

  221. gervinho should have put the game to bed there..has to be more clinical than that..
    good game so far though..

  222. i agree, we probably more likley to see someone els than him coming on….

  223. like Benny

  224. Song brilliant again.

  225. JonJon how can you blame your own player for a brilliant defensive tackle? Oh forget it there’s no hope

  226. oh what up with arteta?

  227. lol hes back 🙂

  228. Steww – I’m going to the Fulham game on Saturday with some reprobates from here like Consols, Yogi and Big Al – I’ll print enough “Not fit enough to wear the Arsenal Shirt” t-shirts for all of us.

    Consols, I hope you’re up for a few pints Saturday.

  229. Gervinho just did some very good defensive work to cover Koscielny who went with the runner.

    The Jewish Iniesta is in.

    he was clean thru, one on one with the keeper he had plenty of time to slot it he just dithered on the ball and allowed the cb to get back..
    i think thats a fair comment and its not knocking him cos i like him but he should have scored..

  231. Benny – absolutely brilliant.

  232. Great stuff. We have a 1-0 lead and I don’t really feel that nervous about it How weird is that.

  233. Anyone else notice Koss developing a Tony Adams look of put upon weariness?

  234. Hush Bill. The fates may be listening.

  235. PIraeus scored against Marseille. if we win we are through as 1st, rigjht?

  236. well lets not speculate until the fat lady sings tonight…

  237. I know what you mean Bill. It’s because we’re more solid and experienced. less gung ho enthusiasm. That’ down to Santos, Per, Arteta, Vermaelen, Benny the Goon – lots of experience out there now.

  238. So we are subbing our defensive reserve full back for our offensive reserve full back.

  239. Come on RVP!!! bend one in here 🙂

  240. Wow. Abou. So good to see.

  241. Diaby 🙂 he DOES exist!!!

  242. Yes Yes yes Mr. Diaby – have your cameo.

    I think he’s only been brought on because Olympiakos are winning.

  243. RVP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! game over now!!!!

  244. Masterful substitution. FUCKING HELL we scored from a corner.

  245. rolling back the years with that goal

    scored from a corner 😉

  246. Steve Bould flicks on, Ian Wright taps in.

  247. RVP……..signed, sealed, delivered…I love this f@ckin team.

  248. And Chelsea are behind. Can things get any better?

  249. Robin Vantatic. He just cannot stop scoring!

  250. as much as i like gibbs, santos is the main LB now for me..
    watching him going foward really puts into perspective how much clichy slowed our attacks down..

    & chelski lose… :):)


    Hopefully somebody on here will remember me banging on about resurrecting the front post flick on?! Surely almost all of our corners should utilise this trick? It’s certainly better than what we usually do…

    and this is where Gains will tell me to go coach 10 year olds!

    😀 😛

  253. No no no. Far be it from me to criticise my own team but that was poor. There I said it.

  254. The only team to win and the only team to top their group is Arsenal. Chelsea are 2-1 down

    Disappointing and sloppy pay – not good, and we lost a sloppy goal.

  255. Awesome game apart from the last 5 seconds 🙂

  256. Stupid goal to concede but I’m all smiles!

  257. BOOOOOOBS!!!

    Well done the lads.

    Song & Theo men of the match. Massive nod to Arteta & RVP.

  258. Your MOTM ACLFers??

  259. that was fucking sloppy..

    topped the group though…thats all that counts..

  260. lol who woudl have forseen this in August?? Arsenal being the first and only secure england team with one match left to play!
    Especially since both Cheslea and uniteds groups are pissing poor..

  261. So with some luck come next year Spursdays might be enhanced by cameo appearances from City, Chelsea and ManU? Oh how I would love that!

  262. We played a bit sloppy because we were playing a top side. Reinging German champions who never stopped pressing us with 2 and 3 men at a time. Did you also miss where we strung to gether 15-16 passes in a full midfield? How many teams can do that? Dortmund just beat Bayern 1-0 and we beat them 2-1, I will take sloppy anytime!! Great game, great result. Roll on the knockout stages, preferrably with us being the only English team 🙂

  263. What a sloppy goal to concede but I am all smiles. Yes Robin’s gets all the praisebut truly a team effort. Fantastic Song and the central defender who ran his heart out as a right back, King Kozzer, the most versatile defender in the league.

  264. JonJon i think moaning is all that counts.. The most important is to moan when we win. just to make sure everyone knows we are shit even though we win…

  265. besides, united are sloppy all the time, they were sloppy last year to yet won the league… sloppy is the way forward.. it brings glory.. just ask united 🙂

  266. Song obviously man of the match. The best d**m in the league? The only one who can even think about coming close is Yaya Toure. Essien is way past his expiration date.

  267. Super toll, as they say.

    Song! Wow!


    I thought Benayoun was tidy and helpful at the end.

  268. what’s that for ? Very very sloppy and stupid goal to concede, right at the end and Arsene and our captain fantastic should give them a spank at the dressing room.

  269. Lord, it would be hilarious to see all the other English teams tramping all over Europe on a Thursday night. Crisis at Arsenal indeed.

  270. A mature and professional performance. How the critics are choking on their pies now…Arsenal the crisis club first english team to qualify.That game was a real battle of attrition. Robin gets the champagne…simply unplayable , but Song is my MOTM what a warrior.Top of the group top of the world. Kids will get a run out in Greece. And the wheels to fall off for the Blue and Red Mancs. COYG.

  271. Too many to mention mj. Bloody great team performance.

    Is that a promise about the shirt Darius?

    Ateeb! I hoped you’d be here by now and, yes, Song is bloody brilliant.

  272. Also JJ never praise an Arsenal ,player unless you compare him negatively with a present or recently departed one.
    Every silver lining has a cloud doesn’t it?
    Returning to the real world. Excellent performance against a top class side.

  273. Honestly JonJon, I still can’t understand your inability to make a point without putting a player down. Granted Santos is playing well at the moment, but do you really have to put down 2 other players to make your point.


  274. One of the best defensive performances in recent times from us, I can’t remember Szhez making any real save. Kos, Mert, TV & Santos all were immense, credit to Song as well who grew as the game progressed.

  275. So I guess the moral of the story is if you spend $1.5B you can qualify for the Europa League. That’s nice isn’t it 🙂

  276. Wonderful moment on ITV, were Adrian Chiles has tried to make a tactical critique of Cech, and Keane, O’Neil and Southgate have just looked at each other with a, what the hell are you saying look.

    Good win tongiht, we stayed calm and handled the initial Dortmund onslaught well and slowly worked ourselves into the game.

    Kos for MotM

  277. Bob,

    I am here for the last 2 months. Studying mostly, since that was the plan. It’s been good, really like it here so far.

  278. back to comment about Gervinho, not playing well attacking but he did a great job tracking back and did his duty defending. That’s what we all want to see, each one is playing for the team even if one is having a not-so-good game.

  279. And my arrival here coincided with Arsenal finding the good run we’re on right now. No jokes. Maybe all Arsenal fans should think of keeping me in London. Or maybe it’s just that it’s a far better team than last year, like you said, this team has class of it’s own. And a great leader at the front. May he stay fit forever.

  280. first English team to qualify. NOT BAD FOR A “TEAM IN CRISIS” NOW START EATING YOUR CROW.
    Alex, i love you.
    UP THE GUNS!!!!!!!!!!

  281. Irishgray | November 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    “So I guess the moral of the story is if you spend $1.5B you can qualify for the Europa League.”

    Quite right Irish, plus

    150k per week to come off the bench. That is ambition Mr Nasri.

  282. King Kozzer is my MOTM, worked his heart and legs out. The close up shot of him really showed he’s struggling to catch his breath. What a player we have here.

  283. lol …what the fuck are you lot on about??
    let me get this straight…your critisising me for thinking santos has provided good competition for gibbs and is better than clichy going forward??


  284. Steww & Sixtay – really?? That troubles you as a put down? Grow up!

    Any excuse for a cheap shot on a fellow fan for making a totally harmless comment eh?

  285. So we can meet for a milkshake on Saturday Ateeb?

  286. Hold your ground, Ateeb!

  287. I’m not sure about the milkshake, but I can if cidres are present during this meeting.

  288. Mj,

    Impossible to do that, you never know when Bob heads off to Crete for months again. And you know, he’s getting older, so meet him while you can. Ha Ha.

  289. Good show Bob and Ateeb. Let us keep the high road for heaven’s sake.

  290. Arsenal did show the English clubs how it is done!

    Brilliant win!

  291. Consols – just make sure they can serve pints at that milkshake parlour.

    If you can make it Saturday Ateeb, it will be great to meet you.

  292. Dream scenario arrives! Sing it: There’s only one English team in Europe, there’s only one English team in Europe!

    Not literally true, but we might very well be the only English team that finishes top of our group. Brilliant.

  293. From the Guardian match comments – fair play to the German fans tonight, they made a great atmosphere:-

    “I am one of those fans. I, and many others from the UK, go to watch Schalke. We have a thriving UK Fanclub which has over 80 members here and a lot more in Germany, a twitter account with 1700+ followers and two websites. The fans in Germany are so much more up for the occasion than they are in England – there they are a huge part of the occasion, so often over here they are just observers. Plus it’s mostly much cheaper ,for example it costs me €15 to watch Schalke from the Nordkurve – what level of football in England can I do the same? Conference? You can stand up, sing your heart out, drink beer whilst in full view of the pitch and even have a cigarette if you’re so inclined.All in superb stadiums. Once bitten by the Bundesliga bug you can never accept the waffle spoken about the Premier League.”

  294. Ateeb said “And you know, he’s getting older, so meet him while you can”

    Must get those recipes off Cbob asap then.

  295. I can’t believe I missed that game – it sounds like it was a great performance and atmosphere. But we won so that is the best possible medicine!

  296. Md,

    Bob hasn’t replied since I wrote that……….

  297. A bit of advice based on Irish and my misadventure–have a precise meeting up spot or trade identifying info!

  298. @ Jonny & irish

  299. @irish
    and don’t burst into the pub screaming. who the f*** is Limestone gooner. lol

  300. Darius,

    Yes, sure, would like to meet you as well. Is Muppet around as well?

  301. @Limestone – Yogi is the bus conductor and I’m sure he’ll make sure we clearly have our tickets for the drink up before and after the game. I think we might be sitting in different parts of the stadium during the game though – but that’s just 90 mins.

  302. We’ll all be wearing red carnations I assume?

  303. why isnt arshavin getting the gametime??

    is this two games on the spin now he aint been used??

  304. @cbob
    never mind them good mate. they didn’t mean it. chalk it up to youthful exuberance. enjoy the win.

  305. ACLF – let’s take a moment and think about Sven Bender who’s undergoing an operation in London. He can’t travel back to Germany and they’ve decided to operate on his broken jaw.

    It’s really sad when any person gets that injured – and it matters not that he fouled Vermaelen – hope the best for him and his family and that the operation goes well.

  306. Darius at 10:28 pm
    Thanks for the info. All the best to Sven Bender.

  307. LOL Jonny, I might just get a carnation and wear one. I’m sure I’ll stand out like a sore thumb anywhere on Holloway Road.

  308. I thought song was MOtM but RVP secondgoal tipped it.
    The Chavs bought a kid manager for 15 millions ha ha ha ha ha. Paid 50 millions for a sub ha ha ha ha ha ha. Andresh Villash Boaaash will get his sacking money, lucky bugger.

  309. @Ateeb – I’m not sure if Muppet will make it, but I’ve dropped him a message to tell him you were asking.

  310. Lets not forget Theo in the MOTM nominations – thought he was marvellous.

    Darius – I’d accept some kind of floral hat as an alternative.

  311. Grrrrrrrreat game boyzzzz!!!

    How funny that we are the 1st (possibly only! Nah that would be too much to take!) English club thru! Top top performance by the lads, very composed and organised and an old school corner routine goal to boot! What more would you want?

    Oh yeah, a fucking clean sheet you dopey arsed fuckwits! 😀

    MD Gunner My mate goes to Dortmund, Shalke and a few other German clubs. He loves the crack over there and you get loads more for your money.

  312. JJ

    I imagine Arshavin will get to play saturday and against City man. One of Theo or Gervinho needs a breather IMO.

  313. Klopp: “Van Persie’s performance tonight was just unbelievable. He is such a player …Is he the best in Europe? Certainly one of the best.”

  314. did you go tonight dex??
    yeah it was a good game some top stuff..and we topped our group..
    its nice to go into the last game knowing we already thru and watching the others have ‘must win’ matches..

    it will be hilarious if none of em make it..although i think city and chelsea are likely candidates..i gotta feeling fergie will resort back to 1-0 tactics and will go thru…

  315. get better soon Sven.
    that was painful to watch.

  316. I fucking hope the club are pestering the fuck out of Theo’s, Robin’s and Song’s agents about those new deals. I dont think I can handle the uncertainty of all 3 till the summer, not after our recent will they wont they soap operas.

  317. Well done and top of Group !
    What are the odds for getting AC Milan in last 16 and ManU getting APOEL ? 🙂

  318. id expect arsh to feature sometime soon but i cant see him being happy in bench warming most seems to me hes dropping down the order the more games we play and the more the momentum continues

    i thought that benny would feature instead tonight as wenger seems to be going for the ‘grafters’ at the minute and the team is rocking but where does that leave arsh long term??

  319. yeah weve gotta keep these players together now..
    song and rvp are key players especially..the spine of our team…its time we released the shackles on the wage structure if that what it takes to keep them

  320. Its a long old season JJ, he will get games, we will get injuries and Gervinho is off for a few weeks.+

    I do wish Alan Smith would fuck off, I really cannot stand him commentating on our gAMes. Miserable and dour git that he is.

  321. Chelscum fans chanting AVB out! Ridiculous! But funny. 🙂

    If the English teams do not qualify for the CL next round, Wenger will be loaded with the most remarkable ammunition to use against detractors and with which to galvanise loyalty amongst the squad.

    Look at Nasri? Look at Clichy?

    If we find decent money for RVP – not obscene or crazy money – then RVP should stay. There is little evidence that leaving is any guarantee. Stay. Be a legend.

    Let’s prove them all wrong.

  322. Benayoun showed some glimpses of magic in his cameo.

    Gerv is the last player we want in a 1 on 1 with the keeper eh? 😉

    Jurgen Klopp is a very good manager – but did feel we were impressively comfortable defensively tonight.

  323. Jonny at 11:07 pm
    Well said. I would gloat loudest.

  324. jonny if rvp stays theres a good chance he will break henrys record..
    thats another good reason right there…
    he could be the arsenal legend..if he wants..

  325. @Jonny
    great point. good ammo. for AW indeed.

  326. did anybody see that wink that Diaby gave Walcott when he was comming on? Welcome back Abou

  327. “Chelscum fans chanting AVB out! Ridiculous! But funny. 🙂 ”

    And this on twitter from a citeh fan (excuse caps but they are his)


  328. With Abou back, our carling cup with Man City just got a little more interesting, thats AA23, Abou, Benny, Park, Chamack, frimpong, le coq, Fabs, yennaris, AOC, Seb, JD, Rosciky, not bad back ups eh?

  329. Excellent result and some impressive perfomances from some key players. Major kudos to andre santos wot a buy. His is so comfortable on the ball and ability to draw out the sting from pressing dortmund players was simply outstanding. I reckon he will be starting for brazil as first choice if he carries on like this. Koscielny take a bow son so far u r in the top cb in the premier league. Wot can u say about song and rvp, simply sensarional. This team is solid and more importantly they have a steel about them. It reminds me of when we had edu parlour lauren and pv4, mean and menacing but with style!

  330. “on Gervinho’s form…
    He is vital for us because Robin likes to go to the ball and Gervinho likes to go into the space so they always push defenders back. That gives us space in midfield to create for Robin. He was a bit less sharp tonight but overall I am very happy.”

  331. Wenger, when asked if surprised that Arsenal the only English team through so far:

    “Yes …….. I have to be very cautious in what I say…”

  332. Jonny- he has to be cautious for now, he will wait until they are difinetly out then he will have a say I’m sure. Because they kicked him in the teeth when he was down. He will get his back.

  333. Asmucxh as I hate the chavs and their ill gotten, I do think AVB is a decent coach and decent person. \He will be a good manager, hopefully not there tho!

    Jeff, I was gonna pst the CC team earlier and apart from Miquel instead of Sqillaciu, that was my team too man.

  334. 1loose – oh yeah – now is not the time for crowing. I am sure when it comes Wenger will do it with a few classy, subtle nods and a cheeky smile. Nothing too gloaty-stoaty.

    I am sure he will also point out our emphasis on value and spirit and it’s merit over the methods of others.

    ‘I told you so’. Just in other words.

  335. Terry crashing into the net hilarious terry loosing going paraplegic trying to stop Johnson so funny terry worshipping van persie take a bow son your journey to oblivion is well underway

  336. 17 goals this season? THIS SEASON! It’s only November!!

  337. Outplayed and out hustled in the first half, kudos to Arsene (his halftime talk) – 2nd half Arsenal looked more confident with their play.

    RvP – besides his 2 goals was amazing all over the pitch.

    Song, well he is a ‘money’ player.

    Kos is a brilliant defender. I hope his departure late in the match was not due to an injury.

    Dortmund – good manager and excellent football club.

    A great result for Arsenal.

  338. Wonderful performance. Atmosphere much better than Marseille match, I thought. Hearing the result of the other game at the end just topped off the night. It’s all going to plan so far. I love this team.

    Diaby has got fit just in time. We need to rest Arteta and Ramsey – they have worked their socks off.

    @IrishGray | November 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm
    “So I guess the moral of the story is if you spend $1.5B you can qualify for the Europa League. That’s nice”

    ha ha ha ha!

  339. “17 goals this season? THIS SEASON! It’s only November!!”

    Well said Ateeb but let us not get ahead of ourselves. Remember early 2009-10, around this time, when we were on course to score over 100 goals. Then RVP went down with the ankle injury in that pre-world cup Italian friendly after which our goal-scoring went tits up and we struggled for 4th.
    We must remain humble.

  340. Shotta,

    I am very optimistic as always. I think this is the season he will go uninjured. It is only fair that a talent like his get’s a chance to prove himself that he is the best striker in Europe and one of the best players overall. He’s doing in the EPL, what Messi and Ronaldo are doing in the Spanish league. A world of a difference. I don’t want to think about him getting injured again.

  341. It is very strange to think. at one point we lost 2 key players. sitting in unfamiliar places in the table and had a 2 dificult games against Udinese , the players were on their knees and the hacks kept on laughing at our demise. Here we are today through to the next stage of the C.league and 3 points away from third spot in the league. They were too quick to underestimate Wenger despite knowing full well this guy has managed to compete every season with little resources. they were hoping to take advantage of the situation and get him the sack but they failed. What did they do next? they dug up a interview with a frech magazine fabricated a story and made it look like he is leaving at the end of the season only for him to put them in their place by insisting he will honour his contract and if possible beyond it.

  342. Just Another Luke

    Diaby looks tentative and still not there yet in the few minutes that he played. I do hope that he will push on from here though.

  343. @1lc
    exactly, write us off at your own peril. i don’t expect much from the dimwits in the media ,fa or many of the teams competing with us,. after years of watching this league i know that they all have an agenda and they will do their part to be a stumbling block to our progress. but i do have a beef with the pseudo-gooner crowd out there who were on the same band wagon as the rest of the Arsenal haters and even more zealous. to all of those i say,, i pudd on your grave le grove . you backstabers deserted this team when the going got tough. you have no right to rejoice and be happy at the teams success. you are nothing but the enemy within, and that’s ten times more treacherous and dangerous as the enemy outside the camp. repent i say, repent..


    This morning’s tabloid-tastic headline for you. Oh, and a post to go with it.

  345. Great game against a very energetic young team. The most telling statistic at half time was the distance they travelled. 62 km to Arsenal’s 48 I think.

    The last 10 minutes they looked tired and so it was to be, in the 2nd half we opened them up and if we would have stayed with the starting 11 (10 excluding Diaby – great to see him back) we would have beaten them by 2.


    In the last few seconds of the game our substitute right back, who had been on for all of 5 minutes, kept the ball in play with a perfectly weighted pass for their wide player to knock it in and score for the third goal of the match.

    … poor suffering other half said that it was the end of the game when he came on, but I was sure,with only five minutes left it would not be too bad.


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