Wolves v Arsenal Preview: Three points all that matters

Before I took about Wolves I have to make a quick word on yesterday’s post.

A few people quite rightly pointed out that it was Marouane Chamakh that took over the duty of marking Andy Carroll for the Newcastle goal and that Gael Clichy was unfairly criticised.

For that I apologise, but for me it doesn’t change my point of view: for me we have a real problem with winning the ball in the air and rarely approach the situation with any intelligence.

Thanks to everybody who commented – I will be adding individual replies on yesterday’s post as soon as I’m finished with this one.

Cesc will be hoping for an improvement at Wolves

The biggest news going into tonight’s game at Wolves is that Laurent Koscielny’s red card appeal has been turned down by the FA. Quite why was sent off is beyond me — am I the only one who did not see any contact? — and I am obviously disappointed to see his appeal knocked back. Fortunately his two-match ban was not extended on the grounds of being frivolous, so he will be available at White Hart Lane for the North London Derby.

Koscielny’s absence will see Johan Djourou return to the side, with Thomas Vermaelen still struggling to make any improvement with his achilles problem. Regular readers will know what a supporter I am of Djourou and he has been getting better with each game this season since returning from long-term injury. Tonight is another opportunity for him to show what he can do.

Cesc Fabregas’ hamstring problems have been restricting him in the last few games but with the manager’s declaration that he is now fully fit, he expects to see a better performance. Fabregas was quite frankly poor against Newcastle and you have to think our lack of creativity in that game was in part due to his below-par performance. This team looks to Fabregas for guidance and leadership — perhaps too heavily with other inspirational figures like Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen in and out of the team — and when he struggles so does the team.

Tonight’s starting line-up could be an unpredictable one.

Lukasz Fabianski will keep his place in goals despite a bad error at the weekend while the back four looks certain to include Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou and Clichy. Fabregas, Wilshere and Song should all start in the middle but I have a feeling Song may be rested. He is has been abandoning his defensive duties a little too often for my liking at the moment and it may be a good time for Denilson to come in and simplify things in the middle.

Further forward I have no doubt that Andrey Arshavin will start on the left and Marouane Chamakh will play through the middle. That leaves an open spot on the right, so it will be out of fit-again Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky or Theo Walcott to fill the final spot. Personally I think it will be Nasri.

All that matters tonight is that we register three points. We could win the game 1-0 with a goal in the final minute, or edge it in a 5-4 thriller, but all I care about is winning. This is not normally my position but with Chelsea still five points ahead and having just lost to Liverpool, their next bad result may be some time away.

As per usual I’ll be watching the game at The Oscar Wilde in Berlin so on the off chance that you’re around, be sure to come along and cheer the boys on.


Have your say on Arsenal’s trip to Wolves by leaving a comment.



  1. Firstlet me say I agree with you re; the FA but when have we ever had a fair deal from this group of suits who most people regard as anti AFC and their actions prove it true. Kozzy on the other hand has shown a naive and reckless attitude to one on one situations and that is not what a £10 mill buy should be. If AW had the guts to buy Jones or Cahill neither would have been that stupid and we would have at least another 6 points in the bag. Add to that our usual goalie cock ups and we have the answer right now to why ‘AFC will not win the title of Champs League’.

    As for Cesc calling for us ‘not to lose tonight’ ……..well
    this is an insult to all gunners. Cesc should have been off the field after 15 mins..it was his total lack of interest and terrible passing that broke down most of our moves and gave Toon hope. He was a disgrace even Eboue would have been better, certainly more motivated. I counted 8 straight moves where AFC had 4 on 4 when the ball came to Cesc and when he did not lose the ball or gave it away he held on and passed way back to the defence. AND worse still our manager watched and watched and watched. What sort of master tactician could not see that the 25 passes per shot does not work anymore and gives the opposition confidence?

    I suggest that AW needs a kick up the arse and told to improve or else. His tactics are nil if we dont score first at home. His tactics are weak away ie; just keep the ball…this must have a purpose like an end product. Watch Man U…& Chelski..they can hold onto the ball just as well but they have a determination to score that we dont. We only have a an instinct to entertain and that is not a winning mentality.

    I yearn for George Grahams philosophy of ‘ you only beat us by luck not effort’. If only George was in charge of our defensive purchases ….we would be unbeatable. Sadly its Aw and he has no idea and never has had.

  2. I would like a fighting team to be put out tonight.

    Sagna Djourou Squillaci Eboue

    Denilson Wilshire Song

    Nasri Chamakh Rosicky

    with Walcott & Jet to come on later. Cesc only if he is up for it and not as certainty. Clichy has been a liability for a long while and sadly Gibbs like Vermy is always injured. I expect a 1-1 unless Flappy puts a couple in for them.

  3. I know Arsene Wenger is a genius and I am a mere mortal but I’d love it if sometimes he just lost the plot in an interview.

    People probably won’t agree with me here but I’d find it refreshing if Arsene really gave it both barrels to the squad in public after suffering such a sloppy defeat like we did against Newcastle United.

    Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion, Chris Hughton’s side deserved the win but that was a game we should be winning if we want to nick the title off Chelsea this season.

    Maybe Wenger gave it to the players in the changing room, maybe a few tea-cups were thrown around, but I still feel a public dressing down would give these players a kick up the arse.

    For me saying we were unlucky in defeat just breeds a little complacency. Sure I can understand Arsene wanting to protect his players but sometimes a bit of tough love can go a long way.

    I saw Jack Wilshere’s twitter (he said it was just a bad day at the office) and whilst I agree to a certain extent it has to be more than that.

    Was losing at home to West Brom a bad day too? If so we are fast running out of ‘bad days lives’ and need to address it. Sharpish.

    We were bailed out by Chelsea losing too but that doesn’t really make me feel any better about it. I view it as losing vital points and ground in the title race.

    The next three league games will shape our season. Three games tougher than the steak I had at the weekend and we have to bounce back. Hard.

    Arsenal cannot afford many more slip ups. We face some potential banana skins in the next couple of weeks. Its a big big test.

  4. @ GunnerPete – A bit harsh on Cesc, I reckon. He’s given us more than any other Arsenal player over the past couple of years both in quality and desire. It’s clear he’s injured and that has been the reason for his difficult performances. Hopefully for all he is back to his best tonight.

  5. @ Andrew Weber – i totally agree with you .. we need to support him when he had a poor game just like we praise when he had won us a game before…

  6. Have you discovered the difference between Morinho and Wenger? Morinho removes player the moment he discovered he is not playing to plan and Wenger leaves the player pampering him until 65 minutes or even ends the game.

    Wenger shouldnt have removed Wilshare rather he should have removed Fabrigas and bring in Rosisky. Walcot does not seem to have alternative should he be marked out. Look at messi, when you mark him to much in a place, he switch to another wing to test the prowess of the player. Walcot should learn to alternate between 7 and 11.

    I would have brought in Vela instead of Bendtner or even Ebue instead of Arshavin. Infact i have not started enjoying arshavin’s game.

    Please wenger should play Fabrigas, Nasri, Rosisky and Wilshare. We can beat any team with these players.

  7. @ GunnerPete
    yes, our captain had a disappointing 90 minutes……and for me, this season has been a struggle for Cesc. We need the best version of Cesc to wear our colors and hopefully we will see that tonight and going forward. Sometimes as a manager you have invested so much into a player, and he has come through for you ‘almost always’, EVEN IN AN OFF MATCH, its best (long term) to show your confidence by sticking with them.

    I disagree with your comments abt Song going forward. This season I see our opponents pressuring Cesc with one player and another used to cut off his passing lanes. Tactically Song is only taking advantage of the overplay on Cesc (or whomever is our CM).

    Most of us follow Arsenal for the skill level of all our field players and Song has proven this season to be our most industrious option from midfield – more so than Wilshere or Cesc.

    As you rightfully pointed out about the lack of organization in our defense (Carrolls goal) there is the same learning curve for midfielders to observe the flow of the match and change roles as necessary when a teammate can move forward.

    In yesterday’s post about the gap between our CB’s and DM – too much space for Newcastle’s forwards to receive a ball: the first principle of defense is to deny your man the ball……so I would say that the CB was not late in responding to the change of play. However, Newcastle really never threatened Arsenal the entire match as I thought our back 4 did a terrific job of breaking up long balls. I also really like Djourou – an Vermaelen’s injury along with Koscielny’s red cards are giving him the playing time he deserves to be valuable in the long stretch.

    You are spot on about the overall lack of organization and I’m NOT sure our manager has the right staff to correct issues that from my perspective surface regularly (especially the past 3 seasons).

  8. IT WAS UN LUCK GAME. A vary game have a luck,at that match against Newcastle was no luck for Arsenal. Because guys was played vary good,we have missed clear three chances,Cesc foul ,walcott shoot and Nasri shoot which saved by Newcastle goolkeeper. These was the best chances which have faced with un luck of the game.

  9. This is one game we have no choice but to win, I mean with the possibility of Man City taking down Man U, we could find ourselves once again at position number two and better placed to chase the league title. It is about this time of the league where we always find our selves dropping valuable points which come back to haunt us later on….….For me Van Persie should be sold and a more reliable striker bought. At the moment he is robbing the club and the fans as we are paying him for services not rendered. Fabianski should remain our number one and let’s thresh these smalls teams big time.

  10. Quite right about Clichy being targeted but for a set piece I dont think its the same thing at all as general play, Koscielny or Squillachi should have passed Clichy on and took the threat, like I said earlier there was probably only one other threat and that was the hardly prolific Ameobi. The simple solution was to have Clichy stand goalside of Carroll and stand his ground, blocking if not delaying the run of the strong attacker either resulting in Carroll getting nowhere near the ball or givng Koscielny the head start in his jump to clear, the same can be said for the hapless Fabianski, Iv said to you before Andy any man who can jump and use his arms vs a player heading it to be beatin to the ball is criminal, yet this has happened a dozen times in the last few seasons with our keepers. In general very few teams come to the Emirates and play 2 up top so even when they do it should be a 2:1 scenario and your point about the second ball is bang on, either its hesistance or poor anticipation, you rightly point out that this happens to the best teams, but not as often as it does us mate…….and on Chelsea being beaten twice this year, that means nothing to us as we failed to capitalise having lost 3 points in a head to head with them already this season.
    If you look at the goal again its plain to see Chamakh just gave up on tracking Carroll, even if their was a call from Fab his job wasnt over he should be tracking Carroll and blocking his path incase the keeper spills or fumbles the catch, but Arsenal cannot defend properly, how many times has Koscielny been beaten in a straight footrace this season, im not talking about him being nutmegged or skinned im talking bout the ball just been knocked alongside him and him not being up to it, like Diouf at Blackburn….and Koscielny is a way better player than Squillachi, who is an accident waiting to happen, mark my words.
    Am just gutted and dissapointed with the performances and the nature of the soft goals weve given away the last few seasons, like I said Iv never minded getting beat but this team and management has been beating itself for seasons with poor concentration, tactics, preparation and definately questionable application………..like I said you only need look at the performance of Liverpool as a team on Sunday, they dont have next nor near the manager or indivdual players we do on the whole, yet they can raise their game and send the fans home happy in a crunch game, I mean we dont even lose in a way thats makes you think ‘at least we gave it a right go’, we finished the last 10 mins of that game sunday with a whimper.
    Its not good enough.
    As for tonight I just wanna see some pride after the last few performances, Id gladly take a point if its one where we fought hard for eachother

  11. @ shambo – Right you are about Chamakh not blocking Carroll’s run. He’s got to get his body in, even if he expects Fabianski to get there.

    Re: Fabianski, it was a bad mistake but had nothing to do with not getting high enough to beat Carroll. I just honestly think he didn’t see him coming out of the corner of his eye. He made an almost identical catch in the second half, so I was happy that he obviously hadn’t lost his confidence.

    I’m interested to see how Fabianski does. His is an interesting story if nothing else.

  12. Fabs is an enigma but like I said last year Andy Id reather have him in their learning from these mistakes than Almunia whos at the age and experience level now where his learning should be done but still costs us………like you said bro its about getting a result and back on track tonight….my big fear is that we come out all guns blazing get our goal and then revert back to our ways and get caught late, but heres hoping!
    Be great to see a bit of RvP aswel tonight
    Come on Arsenal!

  13. I am not going to cry over the boys lost to magpies but I what I am going to say is that arsenal should try to least give the fans for what they paid for$$$$, I can’t try to persuade any of you, to put wenger job on the line becoz you believe in the motto ” in wenger we trust”, but if wenger loved the club so much he would of bought a goalkeeper long time ago when everyone agree (shareholders,fans & players probably) but fail to, okay neva mind that at least wenger should of have a game plan b when playing strong aggresive players which he does not have. He had four seasons to do that and still fail, is wenger still all there?

  14. As i said before it’s one thing to loose to CHL, MANU, BUT if wenger can’t motivate these players to beat NewCastle and WestbRom then were in real trouble
    I think the players are beginning to not trust wenger because the points don’t match what he says
    he is in the first stages of loosing this dressing ROOM, the players don’t seem motivated and to make matters worst at home infront of your fans. Something is very wrong.
    Today wenger says others will drop points, so that’s how we intend to win the league not doing what we should.
    Wenger and fergerson are two managers who have control of transfers at there clubs so when thing go wrong who do you blame? the Players? No way, WENGER
    LINE of excuses by wenger over the years
    The players are young.
    The players are not mature
    Bad ref decisions
    Bad tackles
    the list goes on the only one he has not said is this team is not good enough or not built to win this league its built to entertain but not to win and that’t the fact based on the last five years
    I hope we win tonight cause cause wolves are not a good team I don’t care what anyone says AND i hope wenger spends more time analyzing the opponent cause if he does’t then we will losse am sure
    Go ARSENAl

  15. Sorry guys, i cannot agree about Cesc, yes he has been massive for us, the best player for quite some time,but you are only as good as your last game, and Cesc had a very disturbing game, in fact because of the mans standing in the team, was responsible for the rest of the teams dire performance, and yes i go along with a public outcry for his players abysmal performance, he could’nt because he was at fault himself by leaving Cesc on a very bad mistake, that was the reason we lost, bad passing and bad decisions.
    Arshavens form has also been in Question but the manager still plays him whats all that about V Persie comes on, a big suprise to every body, been out all season comes straight back in without even a reserve game why, i know our manager has had a lot on his mind lately, perhaps a weeks holiday is called for let Ricey put a team out, probably another bad decision.

  16. @ gunner pete

    I disagree about Cesc, and also abt Koscielny. I don’t think he’s naive in one on one tackles. In fact he almost always wins a one on one. He however, is a little lightweight and seems to be brushed off too easily when he gets tight. that is something time in the gym should improve.

    @ Femi jacobs
    Please do not compare Mourinho to wenger. That isn’t the only difference between them and I would rather Arsenal relegated than have a man like Mourinho in charge.

    I agree that ultimately points are all that matter, but today I don’t think that would suffice. As I see it there should be a response as far as the performance is concerned also. I’m not saying we win 4-0 or anything of the sort. A simple 2-0 with sharp passing and keeping the ball well, not to mention a good defensive display.

  17. @ Andy having just watched the Arsenal v Wolves match Fabianski was brilliant. I don’t doubt he’s a good goalkeeper but I just have the feeling he will continue to make big mistakes in important games. I will back him however if he doesn’t make anymore mistakes in the next 10 games as then he will have proved consistency as well as goalkeeping ability. A good win and up the arse!

  18. At least we weren’t very predictable today, Song stopped singing forwards with every attacking move and the defense was much more protected.
    Arshavin is a genius….very accurate(he beat the keeper again, but not the bar)….I really love this guy. If only he could be playing from the middle sometimes, much like what Cr07 does at Magreed.
    What about Rosicky, look what the much deserved rest did to him…..was fantastic for me same as Wilshere(did a marvelous job again).
    We have loads of really good players on the bench these days? Why don’t we try and rotate the strikers, so they can be fresh for the next assignment?
    Don’t we think Walcott would be better in the middle or if he must play on the wings, then we have to fit him in and try to suck the opposition into our half and allow for the fast break.
    I love Chamakh(who put up a much better performance today(he shoots) aside the goals that is), but not as much as i love Walcott, besides, rotating them would bring more serious performances and let us see who actually does better.
    Finally, i guess the players are all up for this campaign, but the manager has loads of work to ensure that they are not tactically outsmarted on the pitch. As u said ANDY, three points are all that would ever matter…

  19. @webber dude i thought you have left the art of analysing n rationalising arsenal performance on n off pitch after the shaktar defeat. NIce to see you back into the blogging world. Hope u had a swell time wid ur bro.

    Neways comming to the New castle match yup it was heart breaking to see that toons walkaway wid three following the suit of baggies.But I certainly feel tht fabianski could have done better as again he showed a superb display today at molineux and not to mention recently our shooters have got a knack of hitting the post., if we had been a bit lucky we could have atleast drawn the match. So again I think its not due to lack of ability of fabulous flappy but its just a errorenous judgement where caroll got the better of him….if he would have had managed to punch or collect the ball….it would have been a different story with fans going gaga ova his performance.As for the hardest n obnoxious critics i hv one thing to say……Even the best of the keepers have bad days so we cant be so myopic in ruling him out , after all he has been producing quite stunning displays …The poor chap would have escaped with light weight criticisms if we had managed to win or draw the match…..I think the guy is unlucky because whenevr he manufactures a slightest of lapse of attention or errorenous jedgement it changes the course of the game as well as campaigns….while others escape with those momentarily lapse of concentration. Lets not anhhilate his slowly regained self confidence because then we would be seing him producing more of such errors n I, am positive he wont commit them any more.

    About clichy yeah he can be frustrating at times but with gibbs out n traore on loan i dont see him not being under immense pressure to keep himself in contention. The recovery of Gibbs hopefully long term rather than shorter one can actually be good for both arsenal n clichy in particular n i just hope clcihy doesnt get injured before gibbs return as our dear clichy has been sufffering from injuries which i think has somehow regressed his ability to play defensively or offensively Again in tht potential situation of seeing clichy injured we would either have to use Ebue or Evina at the left back position….So I am rather comfortable with clichy n hope he some how miraculously regains his form of 2 years ago.

    As for the recent shock of the defeat to the magpies at home its high time to get down to smelling the coffe n being responsible in the midfield and the back line as i really have no complains about our attacking prowess it looks good to me n capable enough to score goals even against the narrowest and well organised defense we just need a bit of luck and with a couple of crucial matches in the month of november and december we can really hope to shape the way for our credential to the tital claim.

    N i hope to read a bit more of your work regularly….so make up for the lost time n contribute two articles a day…..just kidding

  20. Didn’t get to watch today, though between espn2, fox soccer channel and fsplus they managed to show 5(!) matches. As a gooner since 1971, I think I can say that the ups and downs with this year’s team are and will continue to be exasperating. Loyalty to the sweater comes first, as they say in ice hockey, and we have a good, if not great side. Among Squillaci, Kosc and tvM, we have solid 3 for two slots in back, no matter who is in goal. Injuries are big part of game and we always seem to have more than our share. Loved Arsh @ Zenit and first game against ‘Pool, Walcott has even better pace, Sami is as clever as Cesc, and Wilshire is amazing in the holding slot. After 67 years on the planet and way more than half of them as a Gooner, I say to my compatriots: “maintain cerebral” and Gooners forever!

  21. Funny performance again this morning. Should have been 3-0 up but didn’t take our chances then Wolves took over and they really rattled us. Fabianski kept us in the game, but then we had chances at the other end in the second half that would have killed them off. Chamakh was anonymous for most of the game yet scored both goals! Fabregas is clearly not himself and Djorou gives me kittens every time he has the ball! I actually had Arshavin as our best outfielder today but he didn’t rate any points by the experts who game MoM to Chamakh. Wolves are a better team that they have been given credit for but Henry is a dirty sod – lucky he didn’t damage Arsh in that tackle. Everton away next – another three points a must before we take on the Spuds.

  22. That was weird. Weird game. Weird performance from Arsenal. Wolves had more possession and more shots on goal. Brilliant performance from Flappy. Arsenal’s fastest ever premier league goal apparently. Weird.
    If only we coulda beaten Newcastle & West Brom we’d be top of the league now…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.