Manchester City v Arsenal: Catching them at a good time

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n paper, Sunday’s game against Manchester City, the current champions of England if you needed reminding, is the most difficult we will play all season in the league.

It is a great test to see where this team is at, whether ambitions of a proper title challenge are realistic or not, whether suggestions of an improved defensive solitude are premature.

Yet the feeling in my gut — somewhere near the epic Margherita pizza I scoffed down earlier, the last solid food I will be having for a few days after having my wisdom teeth out — is that we’re catching them at a good time.

While City sit level with us on the table with two wins from two draws, they’ve had a surprisingly disorganised start to the season. They’ve shipped six goals in the league, including a total of five against Liverpool, Stoke and Southampton, teams we have made to look toothless in attack, as well as three in the mid-week Champions League game against Madrid. In fact, they’re yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

City looked horrendous defensively in the last thirty minutes in Spain and threw away a 2-1 lead with five minutes to play. It was something of a crazy game, five goals scored in a 25-minute period is an anomaly at this level, but it is telling that City were unable to dictate the pace of the game once they took the lead.

In contrast, our boys have looked fluid in attack and solid in defence, switching effortlessly between an adventurous 4-2-3-1 and disciplined 4-4-1-1 formation with and without possession. The counter-attack has been utilised more effectively and the system has got the best out of Santi Cazorla, who has been superb in all five games. We were tested strongly by Montpellier, but our defence held relatively firm and squeaked out a positive result.

We are not playing perfect football but we look well-prepared for the challenges that City will pose. Despite their topsy-turvy start to the season City are still potent in attack and tend to turn up for the big games, as a club stacked full of big-name talent should. Yaya Toure was immense against Madrid and he has a habit for scoring important goals. He is one in particular who needs to be watched.

We have no new injury concerns going into this match. Wojciech Szczesny has been confirmed as out for a further three weeks, giving Vito Mannone an opportunity to further stake his claim as a genuine first-choice goalkeeper, while our squad should be virtually identical to the one that traveled to France. Nevertheless Arséne Wenger will have some decisions to make given the quality of our opposition.

The back four has remained unchanged for the opening five games this season but the availability of Laurent Koscielny, our best defender, poses an interesting question. Does Arsene Wenger stick with the defensive line-up that has functioned so effectively or bring in the French defender to cope with City’s pace up front? The latter is a distinct possibility, regardless of how well Per Mertesacker has performed.

Further afield rotation is possibly, but less likely in midfield than attack. Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby both started against Montpellier and I expect them to back-up, while Santi Cazorla, our most important creative player, is a certainty to play. The key decision for me is around our forward structure: will we see Olivier Giroud or a more fluid, unpredictable front three featuring Gervinho as the central striker?

We gave City a hell of a match last season away from home. We troubled them for large periods but came away 1-0 losers. What’s more, we beat them by the same scoreline at the Emirates late on in the season. They are obviously a team we are capable of beating and as I said before, I believe we are catching them at a good time.

Predictions are a tricky thing and I would much rather hold my tongue and just watch the game unfold. Needless to say, I would absolutely love it if we knocked off City but I think any realistic supporter would be happy with a draw. The thought Santi Cazorla pulling the strings and orchestrating a victory is a very, very sweet one.

Enjoy the game wherever you might be watching.



  1. I read this expecting the usual biased rubbish that I am used to from all football clubs, including my own – Man City, but I must say that it is a refreshing change. Whilst you have your obvious allegiances to Arsenal, you also display a balanced view of the game. I am also thinking that this game should give an indication of where both teams are, barring any red cards.
    Anyway, I wanted to congratulate you on your site and your philosophy!
    Good luck for the game and for the season.

  2. Agree with many of your points Andy. GIroud has to start scoring or we might need to bring in a centre forward in the January transfer window. The battle to finish in the top 4 will be fierce ! Any injury to Podolski could be fatale if GIroud does not find his scoring touch of last season.
    The carling cup should be a good opportunity for him to play against weaker opposition , and start scoring .
    His work rate is irreproachable , he is aggressive but he puts a lot pressure on himself.
    I always so saw him as a complementary player to RVP not a replacement. He has to free his mind , we only need the BEST Olivier Giroud , let Wenger worry about the rest !

  3. I totally agree with Gunfest. Although many have said Ollie wouldn’t be another Chamakh, it worries me to think that Poldi could get injured, what then?

    The game against Man-City leaves me a bit tense. I think despite the wonderful defending Mert has done, Laurent who is quicker and more agile should face Man-City’s fast paced forwards – Tevez, Mario and Dzeko (just remembered Sergio was injured). My two cents.

  4. We are catching them at a good. They seem in more disarray at the moment, although it’s usually a circus up there anyway.

    Joe Hart spoke out against the Real Madrid loss and apparently upset Mancini with his comments. Super-fan Liam Gallagher left the Bernabeu in a huff. Typical City antics. They are without Nasri but will have Silva, Aguero, Balotelli and Toure.

    They will be under huge pressure to win while we are the underdogs again. I just don’t want to be disappointed as I so often have with our performances after a win and I’m not talking about whatever the scoreboard shows after the match.

    This Arsenal side is riding both their form and their luck into this match and deserve to keep both going. Above all, we supporters deserve it. COYG!!!

  5. awesome game great winner by giroud i knew he would come good. (here’s hoping i’m right wish me luck)

  6. Lets hope we have 100% juice in the brain and no water inside it tomorrow. Beating them will be a massive boost. We can only go uphill from here. We are as fluid as any team can be given our last league performance, we cant afford to lose this one. Cazorla and Podolski all the way.

    Actually, I don’t care about the useless City ego……I still see them as a small team. Amazing how much pressure they have put on themselves. Here’s to a beautiful 3-2 win.


  7. Very hopefull about the game. Two key factors could decide it

    1. Mannone hasn’t been put under too much pressure yet. Hope he copes ok

    2 which Abu Diaby will turn up, the awesome Anfield one or the sloppy Montpelier

    I wouldn’t risk Giroud for this one, think I could be tempted to use Theo though

    Hope Aaron gets to play a part he’s looking much stronger now


  8. The biggest plus for Arsenal this season compared to last is the versatility with our formation… we’ll basically keep man city guessing with our game plan till the last minute…

  9. oh,we do have a bunch of optimists on board today-lets hope it is warrented,
    Lets give Theo a run he must be dying to prove…..well something,
    I do like the idea of Gervino from the centre, and pop Arshavin on after an hour he also has a point to prove. Koscielny yes please- and if they stay calm 1-1 hopefully

  10. @PeterTaylor,
    No offense mate but you sound the most optimistic of all calling for Walcott and Arshavin to do a job just because they have points to prove, they both had more than enough starting time from Wenger and in my mind rarely justified it…its only now both of their glaring lack of defensive workrate is being exposed by Podi/ Ox and the Brain and you would reward these guysefforts by putting these two lightweights on in their places?
    Walcott is now realising the team can win and do well without him. His plan to hold out for 100,000 a week has backfired and now hes in a sulk because he has to now fight for his game, if he is an Arsenal player he will relish this fight, win his plave back and who knows he might improve to a level of not losing the ball 8 out of every ten possessions, otherwise hell be sold to pool or some other team that cant create the space that we do and hell be even more exposed.
    I think Kos should come in, no offense to the Wall but he is better suited to the lower centre of gravity threat City pose up front.
    Diaby will have to keep the ball better today whilst keeping an eye on Toure, lets see if he fancies it against one ofvthe worlds best away from home.
    The front three should be Ox/ Giroud/ Podi.
    The brains done well in recent weeks but doesnt do as much going back as AOC and at even if he does track deep Gervinhos concentration and passing can make him a liability and this is a game where we cant lise possession cheaply, I cant stress enough how important it is taht if we do lose the ball it is in front of Arteta, not carelessly behind him where they could get a run on us.
    Giroud should start, if his lack of a scoring touch in front of goal hasnt impressed then surely his battling with CBs and working for the team has been the reverse. He will be needed defending set pieces on Kompany and he will also battle for us up the other end.
    As far as they go I just hope Mancini makes the boo boo of starting Maicon because Gibbs and Podi could have real joy down that side if he does.
    Result is important of course, but I think the majority of us will be scrutinising the performance moreso..COYG!

  11. Nearly totally agree with Shambo. No way do Arsh and Walcott deserve a start but hey, they are potentially very useful subs to bring on in the latter stages. I think Gervinho deserves a start though but that means no place for Giroud or Ox-C. Either way it is nice to have some options.

    I must say I don’t feel confident that we will win – City will be smarting from the midweek defeat, but I am also not fearful that we will be outplayed and beaten easily. I suspect Mancini is going to be conservative – they have shipped a lot of goals this season already and he will want to fix that possibly (hopefully?) at the expense of their attack. But as you rightly put Shambo its the performance as much as the result that I am looking for.

    I think the season starts now!

  12. Its OK to be optimistic with the way we are playing. We have been dominating teams except for Montpellier where it died in the second half.

    The defence looks sturdy, the attacking players are in sync and Poldi is dangerous in front of the goal.

    2-0 win for me!

  13. Great post Shambo! The midfield battle will determine our performance. If we can hold our own and play well and create chances, it will be a positive sign for the rest of season. Was it a good idea to sell Song and not buy a DM ? We will get the answer today

  14. @Gunfest,
    If the rumours are true about Song bro then he had to go…supposedly he was always late for training, showed a poor attitude and continually refused to comply to how the manager wanted him to play.
    Throw in the fact he was batting his eyelids at Barce and its so long, farewell.
    Going forward its like this; if you want to be at Arsenal you will be, if not you wont be begged to stay. When we have this entirely we will be a real force again.

  15. Retsub,
    I dont know where Shard has gone, hope hes well though and returns like the great Icehammer did last week.
    Was just watchin the Utd game retsub and was actually visualising Shard goin bonkers about the decisions they get and hes dead right..Evans tackle was two footed but he was cute enough to play the victim..had Shelvey had any brains he would have rolled around aswel.
    Anyway enough about those stomach- turners…Come on Arsenal!

  16. Sorry cazorla (predictive typing)

    I would give Gervinho 15 minutes and then give theo Giroud a chance

  17. Tryin to stay positive with half an hour left but there has to be changes made. Gervinho is awful and Ramseys getting tired. Come on Wenger and freshen it up.

  18. Great performance the BFG was great, if we had striker on form we would have won it

    Shambo I am with you again I would have had Gervinho and Ramsey off, but a point is as great result and we were the better team

  19. The worst Diaby turned up today. Is our coach setting us up to struggle? The midfield was not mobile, Gervinho should’ve been switched with Podolski/Walcott second half, they finish a lot better.

    We threw this one away…….Simple as that.

  20. Retsub,
    We deserved a point but I thought they were there for the taking had we shown a bit more composure…lots of passing backways again today and no real penetration but Mertesacker, Kos and Jenkinson were outstanding.
    Giroud looked strong when he came on and outmuscled Kompany a couple of times which impressed me. Walcott tried, I guess.
    Iv said it before and Il say it again.
    How can any Arsenal player make a run to match a Gervinho pass or dribble when the guy himself has no idea what hes planning, dont get me wrong hes a great runner and honest as the day is long but end product, ball retention and composure needs alot of work and fair enough these things can be coached but Im really worried about his lack of vision and awareness. But hey Im not a PL manager and AW is one of the best ever.
    Unbeaten so far and looking forward to Chelsea!
    Great cake

  21. This Arsenal team could go places this year, though I have this niggling feeling that there is still room for a lot of improvement. Gervinio is so predictable and misses too many easy chances which come his way. Kosni and Merty played blinders and Mannone, despite his flapping excursion and Schezny-type clearances, is solid and instils confidence into the defence. I am not too pleased that our best attackers are actually our defenders: Giroud needs to be given some space to roam as he seems hemmed in. But overall a very good result, which could have been better. Let’s go for Chelsea’s jugular next!

  22. The BFG was terrific, Koscielny was Steel(Colossus) as usual. The WEAK LINK is Diaby and Ramsey(even though he worked hard today). We certainly could’ve used Coquelin(for sloppy Diaby) from the start, so that we eliminate the free spot in midfield for an extra attacker. My midfield combination(Coquelin, Arteta and Cazorla) is still the best for us UNTIL Wilshere is back. This does not mean Ramsey deserved to start, he made a lot of glaring wrong decisions, but it was good to see him put in some effort unlike Walcott (who is obviously fresh, but seemingly not hungry).

    Finally, OUR brain was half-filled with coconut water today…….very decent performance, poor poor finishing. Could’ve scored atleast a goal

  23. I thought Ramsey and Diaby had pretty decent games. Ramsey tired half way through the 2nd half but did very little wrong. Diaby did have a couple of sloppy moments but he does add steel to the midfield

    In my opinion the big problem today was Gervinho. I don’t think his brain and feet are on the same wavelength. Poor control when Ramsey opened up the defence and a great tackle on Ramsey highlighted this. Personally I think Walcott is a better choice at the moment

    At the end of the day a

  24. Continued

    A draw at City is a great result and we deserved to win.

    Interesting dilemma for Wenger, all three are on top form

    Will still feel better when Szsc is back

  25. Sorry Gunnerboss, I thought Ramsey had a good game. Diaby clearly faded in the second half again which is a concern. Mertersacker would be my MoM though. His positional play and distribution from the back were brilliant. For me we look really strong but there is one spot in the team that is raising douts. Three players are fighting for that place – Gervinho, Walcott and Giroud, Unfortunately none of them really look convincing. If only you could clone one player from their best bits – Theo’s pace and finishing, Giroud’s strength and Gervinho’s hair! Actually he has pace and sets himself up but then it all goes pear shaped. But a pretty good result and performance and you can’t ask for much more than that.

  26. Shane
    July 7, 2009 at 10:30 pm#

    @anicol5- The reason why we have the 3rd highest wage bill is because of our youth. Since we have so many youth players in uopur squad who are of high quality, we need to pay them at a higher wage to tie them down for long periods of time. Aaron ramsey’s wage is roughly 10,000 pounds a week wen united were looking to pay him less than half that. We have expensive you players on long deals. Gibbs. Walcott was in the top highest earners for under 21′s. If you look at our wage structure, it is rare for wages to exceed 80,000 a week. We could have met Arsharvin’s wages. After all Hnry was on well over 100,000 pounds a week. But we chose not to.

    As for the article. It probably sounded a bit like an essay. That is probably due to the fact that I am so used to writing 1000 a year. Glad you guys enjoyed it

  27. Yes Terry and Retsub

    I guess the problem is that they are particularly in my error-prone books. Thus, any mistake made is quickly noted. Believe me, we could’ve won this match if Diaby was just 50 percent consistent(especially Diaby). Like I said earlier, I feel Ramsey compensated for his errors by working his ass off. But, would we not rather they contribute 10percent errors, get burnt out and substituted early than about 40-50percent costly errors? Diaby dribbled himself and fell in the middle of the pitch, lost the ball sparking a quick counter. Ramsey picked the ball from Jenkinsons feet, then clashed into him(rather than create space for him to pass the ball), lost the ball immediately afterwards. They were indicisive or sloppy atleast 3 times in the opponents box.

    I’m not blaming anyone but the coach here. I feel he would’ve done better to start the match with more trusted personnel (Coquelin always does well and we scored 6 when he started). I hate asking myself which Diaby will turn up each time he plays, he is that inconsistent. I love him when he moves, but if he cannot keep up this pace and concentration throughout the first 45 mins, then he clearly is not up for it. Sounds more like the all too familiar favouritism to me……….

    Sad to see me write all this(criticize the players) after the supposedly good match and result. BUT, is there none of us that feel we could’ve done better with some other personnel? Its painfull, but hey we drew to City away….bullshit. We could’ve won easily too. I still think we gave it away.

    Not addressed to anyone
    If I have higher hopes about my team, it may often result in higher frustrations. Hence the feeling………
    We were clearly let down by Gervinho’s finishing etc. But, how many times did Cazorla or Arteta do something stupid with the ball? It just would be nice if the whole team is somewhat on the same wavelength

  28. Gunnerboss..agree alot as usual.
    Diaby needs to learn which touch is the one too many and which part of the pitch to try things..obviously he didnt learn from the midweek game where he dwelt and then collapsed in a heap in OUR box as he tried to take on FOUR City midfielders today and Aguero subsequently could have won a pen.
    But its actually the first time Iv seen Wenger take him off barring injury.
    If he could just get his decision making right and keep the tempo in his game rather than dawdling then he could be a Toure, but he does infuriate me.
    The same applies for Gervinho…yet I have to say both were so hit and miss today yet neither wavered or altered their approach. For me this is both great and maddening.
    Great that they have such self confidence, maddening that they continually make thesame blunders. I mean Gervinhos touch when clean through was so far removed from what a professional footballer should be capable of it made me jump off my seat….that he didnt even seemed angry at himself made me wanna shake him!!!
    The thing is though their OUR players and they want to be here playing for us and thats enough for me right now..I can jump up and down when the game is live and the outcome still in the balance and then later laugh about Gervinho tackling Ramsey or Diaby falling over like Bambi.
    This season is really going to be about taking the rough with the smooth. If we want Diabys enigmatic fleeting inconsistant brilliance then well have to endure his more consistant inconsistancy….When we hit our speed bump in the season do we want the gameplan second-guessed or aborted out of panic or do we want a steadfast belief in what we are doing like Gervinho displayec today?
    Easy answer.
    This season for the first time in years we have a squad who all want to be here, who want to play for Arsenal. Their not rowing behind the scenes like Gallas and Nasri, their not angling for moves like Song or Adebayour and their not ( bar Walcott ) holding the club over a barrell over obscene and unjustified wages.
    We have a squad that doesnt need strengthening in January or the summer in my opinion.
    If we dont win something this year then were gonna have a big say on who does and if Wenger told us that we are building for the next couple of seasons then I would finally believe him.
    Because its true this time.

  29. Spot on Shambo – Agreed completely. We might not need any more signings, but we need to teach Gervinho how to shoot…….

    This line I particularly liked – “yet I have to say both were so hit and miss today yet neither wavered or altered their approach. For me this is both great and maddening.
    Great that they have such self confidence, maddening that they continually make thesame blunders. I mean Gervinhos touch when clean through was so far removed from what a professional footballer should be capable of it made me jump off my seat….that he didnt even seemed angry at himself made me wanna shake him!!!”.

    This is why I say we gave away this match. I want to see Wenger scream at them when they miss chances like Gervinho did today and BENCH someone for once (especially when Diaby actually dribbles three players and loses the ball trying to dribble the fourth under no pressure at all)………………..

    Scare them a bit, else we go back to mediocrity. Ramsey is all hustling and stuff, but will he keep it up(barring tiredness) when guaranteed playing time? The City was ours to take, we decided to share the spoils. This is not killer instinct, this is not the sign of a team that actually wants to win the league. I know they want to win it, but we have to SEE THIS DESIRE somehow(especially from the old players).

  30. ok the Arshavin comment was provocative-but Mr W did slip Walcott in- to no avail and I did predict ( and was happy with ) a 1-1 draw

    Did anyone else notice How Good Jenkinson was today ?

  31. Finally, its good to know players and fans alike play and watch with a lot less pressure these days. The team is solidly built, but we can definitely do better, much much better if more round pegs are stuck into our round gun barrels.

  32. @peter taylor – I always liked Jenkinson from the beginning. I know good players when I see them play. I have not missed a minute of any Arsenal match since 2010. This is why I really feel for Santos(Gibbs is doing so well, but…rotation?) and Coquelin(Wenger prefers to enhance Diaby’s les blues prospects than highlight that of an under 21).

    This is why I especially feel our players should be picked on current form and team spirit(what does the team miss when he is not there), not on squad seniority, contract standoffs(bloody politics) etc.

  33. Diaby – I thought that he started the game well, but later on faded from fatigue and started making a lot of mistakes like trying to dribble 3 Mancity players. He is best when he plays simple football with one or two touches, but the reality that in his core , he is an offensive midfielder . More like a Nasri than Viera, even if he is tall and black!

    The brain has creative quality going forward , but lacks concentration at times and he is just a not good finisher.
    I too was screaming at my TV when he missed controlled that ballthrough , but let’s not forget that found himself in these positions because of his skill ,pace and intelligence.

    and Gervinho should have come out at the 60th minutes why Wenger waited so long is beyond me.

    For all the deserved complaints about Gervinho’s play, was Podolski on the field today? Did he have a scoring chance?

    I am one those who think, the rebuild is not over. In order to guarantee a spot in the top for the next 3 or 4 years we will need a proven goal scorer .
    We are playing attractive football again, the defense is very much improved , Mannone has a steady presence in goal . we are on the right tract, but we are not yet fully ready or equipped to win a major trophies.

  34. The Brain blows ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. I hope he’s back for the Chelsea game. + I WISH he would get his hair cut ….. it’s shocking!

  35. Great to see so many people participating in the comments today. I guess that happens when there’s a big game on.

    A quick summary from me before a match report later today:

    Ramsey was superb. Great game. Gervinho: someone up there called him unpredictable. Unpredictable? He doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing half the time, in a good way! Love that guy and the cult of The Brain grows and grows. Shocker of a miss though.

    A top result, considering they were undefeated and only failed to win once there last season. We outplayed them for long stretches and created chances, which is important. Just looked a little tired in the second half I thought.

    Carry on kids.

  36. I can smell Giroud getting a cracker against Chel$ki.

    Once he gets going I think he could get back into the starting line up and because of his size, take the attention away from our creative boys. Just looking at Giroud’s face while on the pitch, he looks very frustrated.

    When he hits that first goal, it will make the Koscielny cellebration look like childs play. Come on son!!!!!

  37. Be interesting to see what team plays v Coventry in the Littlewoods Cup or whatever it is called these days. Surely Giroud can get off the mark in that one! Andrew, I love your passion for Gervinho no matter how misguided! To be honest I have seen headless chooks run around with more direction and purpose than him yesterday!

  38. @terry

    If you can get a quick flight you can buy tickets for the Coventry game for £10′. I think that gives you an idea of the side he will put out.

  39. Well played you Gooners. The team seems to be more balanced in view to offence and defence by aquiring more steel and backbone mentally and physically. I think all praise should be given to the assistant manager Steve Bould. Although i only saw highlights of the game it appeared that Arsenal controled larger portions of the encounter and if not for the conversion style attompt at goal by Gervinho (a player i actually like) you might have bagged more. Shambo, is Diaby actually beginning to show signs of reaching possible potential (i say with a wisper just in case he gets injured again). Something seems to be wrong at the Etihad, for the players still seem to be playing as they did throughout preseason (having viewed all their games-sad i know). They appear over weight and sluggish. Other than Javi Garcia I cant understand the reason for purchasing most of the players they have done, during the summer window. Mancini has lost his way.
    Another point stolen by my boys, a game i actually predicted as a 1-0 home win to us.
    Finally, is it true that The big cheese Sir John Terry could be heading North and thats not to the Yids………..Ha ha!
    Up de ammers.

  40. Andrew… did you see Freddie on MOTD? A point from ManC away isn’t bad, but still feel a little disappointed, which I think is some indication of what this team has done so far this year.

  41. Ice,
    Dont wanna talk bout the hammers game bro. Kevin Nolans injury time equaliser cost me 2,400 for a €5 bet. Eight results up and he does that to me!!!
    That ones gonna take some time to heal!

  42. it was a good game from the boys and getting a point at city is encouraging. its funny that we are frustrated because we know we could have won it,…meaning there is more belief in this team.

  43. Neither of the teams had much chances really. We bossed the first half possesion wise but didn’t really have a clear chance till that sumptuous Ramsey pass that Gervinho wasted(I dont think Coquelin could have delivered that pass, Sorry @gunnerboss). Ramsey had a decent game, had a few stray passes and did run into team mates but we needed a creative player than a defensive oriented one IMO. Ramsey drifting inside also created that space for Jenkinson to run forward and he did so magnificently!

    Both teams were struggling to keep the ball not only because of sloppyness in possession but also because both teams were playing awesome defence. The tackling, team shape and the reading of passes were on display tonight. As Andrew pointed out, we did play last year’s champs and are pretty good at home.

    I thought it was still a good game from our boys. Man city scored against the run of play so although there are still improvements to do, we did get a point against a pretty decent opposition and the difference between this season and the past couple of seasons? I wasn’t worried at all!

    MOM – Koscielny – He got us the point right?

  44. I don’t profess to be a football coach, but on the sky commentary there was a lot of discussion about Arsenal adopting zonal marking. It did seem to me that our big defenders were very static at corners, free kicks etc, whilst the City players were gaining height from run ups. Far be it for me to criticise a defence that has conceded 2 goals in five games, but they do look suspect at set pieces. Indeed Lescott’s goal was a good example of this.

    Still think Szs is the number 1′ Mannone has done ok but am not convinced. If we did go into the market, I watched Barca v Granada highlights today and the Granada keeper Tono Rodriguez played out of his skin

  45. @Terry

    Here is a team for Coventry


    Djourou Sqillaci Koscielny Santos

    Walcot Frimpong Coquelin Arshavin

    Chamakh Giroud

  46. @BrisVegas Gooner – I hope it is not lost on you we beat a team while scoring 6 with Coquelin………….Why must he be the one in your opinion to be spraying the strikers with passes? Is he Song?

    Do you know he is a defensive midfielder? If he plays the DM position, it frees up Arteta. Thank you

  47. @Gunnerboss We played a team that were ambitious who attacked with numbers and they paid for it. I think we scored that much because of the fluidity of our attack and us taking chances. Yes, Coquelin was playing but I doubt he had a big part in us scoring 6. He looked quite lost if i can remember it right. He had a few games last year that showed promise though! He did what Song forgot to do. DEFEND! I’m sure he’ll be good down the line.

    Did you know that with our team shape currently being worked on requires all the players to defend? hence, the team not needing a defensive specialist in the midfield. I wouldn’t call Arteta a defensive midfielder either. He is a Deep lying playmaker.

  48. I think anyone who goes to the Ethiad and gets a point is doing well!

    I think the fact the fact we some of us feel dissapointed we didnt take all 3 shows the potential of this team!

  49. @BrisVegas Gooner – I sincerely do not know why u r going round in circles when you know the answer already. You said Arteta is a deep lying playmaker……..Assuming i agree with you and Coquelin comes into the side as a defensive midfielder, do you agree that our deep lying PLAYMAKER will now go a bit further upfield and perform his playmaking magic there probably to more potent results? This eliminates one of Diaby or Ramsey and we cope with lesser errors as a result. Who would you prefer to run the “playmaking” show upfront with Cazorla? Arteta, Ramsey or Diaby?

    The efficiency of a machine lies in the sum of all its parts. Cazorla never ran into the box with the ball, he was watched too closely……….we needed someone to take that pressure off him. And whenever someone seems annonymous in the middle of the park, he must be doing something very efficiently hence the ball doesnt seem to go his way.
    Did you notice Javi Garcia? He seemed anonymous for most of the match cos he kept a good eye on Cazorla.

    My point is that we could have done better to beat them if we did not have to cope with two indirect men playing at the same time in central midfield for us against seemingly stronger opposition.

    If your point is that Gervinho did not finish properly(everyone knows this as a fact), then it does not take away the fact that we were simply inefficient in the middle.
    We could’ve done much much better and this is akin to the last FA cup final we played against Chelski when Wenger played Denilson and Fabregas in a 4-4-2 formation and we lost cos we were set up to struggle. We had better personnel, but he felt he should not risk his experienced players. Where are FABs and Denilson now? We also lost the league that season.
    Sometimes I feel, he does not like it when we score 6, so we do not get ahead of ourselves and start ….demanding for bogus contracts, underestimating any opposition etc.
    But, if we do not start scoring ruthlessly and get used to it, how do we score against the supposedly tougher teams? We need to seriously get our scoring acts together. Raphael(a right back) scored a very beautiful goal for a manure equalizer, we NEED to get our scoring and ball distribution acts together.

    Put in decent players and do not be patient with anyone not performing cos you have personnel (itching to show what they can do) on the bench. This is not the time to play conservative cos we do not want anyone to be injured. We have capable replacements and this rules out that argument as well.

  50. Hi Retsub, tell you what I will shout you a pair of tickets for the coventry game if you shout me the airfare! i’ll even buy you a beer. Can’t say fairer than that.

    Gunnerboss I think you have made your point, but as far as I can tell the majority on this site seem to think Ramsey had a good solid game, which after last season when he was be the target of unnecessary and over the top vitriol from a minority of so called Gooners, is both pleasing and satisfying to those of us who think he has great potential and hopefully will have a long career with the Arse. And I wish exactly the same about Coquelin. I hope we see him a lot more in the team. But for now Wenger has decided Arteta will play a deeper role and he is doing it outstandingly well and as a result we are undefeated, looking much more solid. So if it ain’t broke why fix it?

    And Peter T, Squillaci??? I though he had gone. Please tell me he is not playing!!!

    Welcome back Ice but I find it hard to reclaim my usual soft spot for the Irons with Allardyce at the helm. Sorry about that!

  51. @Terry Exactly! Why fix something that ain’t broke?

    @Gunnerboss Why would you want to move Arteta when he is doing such a mighty fine job passing the ball out from the back while protecting the defence? There is no need for a defensive specialist because of the way the team is defending. We haven’t shipped many goals have we?

    That means we have 3 midfielders that can potentially make plays instead of 2. You’re suggesting that we struggled in the middle last game so you would take off a box to box player (Diaby and Ramsey) who both can pass and dribble for a defensive specialist who can.. sit in front of the back 4?

    And about your conspiracy that the manager does things so we wont score heaps against an opposition sounds silly. Have you ever considered that Premier League teams have invested lots of money in player talent and coaches and have improved immensely since the Arsenal glory days?

  52. @Terry – Very correct. I am not against Ramsey playing…nor am I against Diaby playing and this should be properly noted. Thanks.

    @BrisVegas – You keep going round in circles. I made mention of a certain FA Cup final match we played against Chelsea, of course you have nothing to say about it than to rubbish it entirely. I also made mention that some other coaches would be screaming at them when they miss silly chances or make stupid errors. Looks to me like he is condoning the mediocrity. While I do not personally feel you are an idiot, you certainly are beginning to look like one by not looking before you leap. What is the point of my spending time to write when people like you just wake up and criticize everything said without reading again. I hope my point is noted. Thank you

  53. @Gunnerboss I look like an idiot? Get over yourself. You act like you know better than Wenger who has been coaching/managing for a couple of decades now in the top level. I am merely trying to understand why the coach makes them decisions. I understand everything you posted and I think it over before I write something. It does not mean I have to agree with it.

    “People like me” are just appreciators of the game of football and Arsenal. I admit, I do not know everything, that is why I participate in the blog community to further my knowledge. My sole purpose is not to criticize but to try and understand why people believe certain things. I did not mean to offend you by challenging your opinions. I just thought this blog community was about sharing and discussing. I guess there are always exceptions.

  54. @BrisVegas”And about your conspiracy that the manager does things so we wont score heaps against an opposition sounds silly.”

    This in itself sounds silly. It only shows ur ignorance about football. Do some more research about football psychology. Do you not know that the mentality of your players is almost as important as their talent if your team is going to be successful?

    If you really want me to believe you want to learn, then why say what someone is saying is silly? Why not be constructive instead of outright castigation? I see where you come from now….

  55. I don’t believe that Man city is well and hard team. They have simply high rated player.Arsenal team is more potential and efficient than them.So Arsenal is the best than Man city.

  56. Aw, this has been an exceptionally good post. In concept I would like to place in writing similar to this moreover – spending time and actual effort to have a really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something completed.

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