Jack in the Box

Morning all, we have two match reports today, the first from GoonerB and the second from RockyLives . Both include their own player ratings. Enjoy.

We ideally wanted a win and to qualify before the last game of the group and we got it. We may not win the group but this is maybe not so important. There are other very good teams looking like they will end up second in their group anyway so the potential for a difficult draw is likely either way. It is a cup competition so anything can happen, and a lot of the play that I saw tonight from our team would give me cause to be very optimistic.

We started rather cautiously as has often seemed to be the case recently. We looked to be a bit too slow and casual with our passing and kept it deep within our defence without any urgency to go forward. Montpelier pressed us quickly and higher up and forced us into mistakes in these areas which seemed to give them an early threat in the game. After about 15 minutes, however, it all changed. We suddenly regained our ethos as an attacking side and, in my opinion, mostly bossed the game from then. I think we are a side that needs to keep a high tempo in a game, and are not so good when we try and slow it down, but that I would throw out to debate amongst yourselves.

I would say that we look so much better when we leave players in advanced positions so we can pass forwards rather than sideways or backwards, and I think this could be the key to this current team reaching the heights we all wish for. The confidence in passing and movement seemed to develop and increase as the game progressed and I really think we have a team on our hands if we can get the best out of them. It obviously requires a fine balance between the defence and the attack, something that has been talked about in recent posts, and I feel that if this can be fine tuned then we may have cause for optimism in the near future.

On to the ratings :-

Szczesny 7

Didn’t have too much to do but came out bravely and snuffed out the threat when their player was through on goal.

Sagna 7

Typical Sagna performance of solidity with regular help in attack. Did get exposed when caught forwards, at one time in particular, but is that an acceptable risk across a whole game with an attacking full-back?

Mertesacker 7

He seems to be the general in defence now. He lacks the pace of TV and LK but seems to read the game better than most, and another solid game from him

Koscielny 7

Was potentially lining up as MOTM till later in the game when he got caught on the ball instead of clearing the danger. It almost cost us. Up until then he was imperious, using his pace to snuff out problems before they even started and bringing the ball out from defence. If he can iron out the errors he is a seriously good defender.

Vermaelen 7

Played out of his best position but did a job for us. It is a nice problem to have in choosing him, LK and the BFG in a starting line up. He is our captain and I expect he will show us why as the season progresses.

Arteta 7

Normal no nonsense highly effective performance from Mr Reliable. Is he the glue that binds it all together?

Wilshere 7

Hard to believe he is still so early in his recovery from a long term injury. He oozes class and, although by his standards this was a good rather than great performance, I think we will be salivating in greater measures in the near future.

Cazorla 8

What to say. Arsene has come up trumps with this fellow. Another great performance pulling the strings. As I have mentioned before, if we can mostly keep him higher up the pitch even when defending, then we will always look a greater attacking threat.

Chamberlain 7

Had a good game if not his greatest and made them worried about him. I love the way he is prepared to run at defenders and commit them.

Podolski 8

It was likely a 7 until the volley. BSR, eat your heart out. He is a natural goal-scorer and for me works hard for the team. I am glad we have him and think we will appreciate him more and more over the next couple of seasons.

Giroud 8 My MOTM

Getting better and better. Didn’t even score tonight but the question is would we have scored without him. Two assists and a constant headache to their defenders. He drops off, works hard, and has very good intelligence and link up play. If we can get the other attacking players working off him more effectively then we may have an attacking force to be reckoned with.

Substitutions

Coquelin 84 for Cazorla. Solid tonight but needs to bide his time to be a regular starter. Maybe a long term replacement for Arteta providing he remains patient.

Ramsey 60 for Chamberlain. Has many detractors but I feel he needs more time for AW and the fans to fully assess him, He has some good strengths and was solid when he came on.

Gervinho 84 for Giroud. Not enough time for me to see what he could do.

Written by GoonerB

As a bonus we have a second match report from Rocky 

We beat Montpellier 2-0.

We’re through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League AGAIN (London and Manchester Oil Corporations please take note).

Here are five big positives I took from last night’s game, most of which I was able to watch despite some dodgy stream issues in the first half:

Clean Sheet

We secured our first clean sheet since the 1-0 win over QPR six games ago. It’s all very well taking the view that it doesn’t matter if the opposition score provided we score more. The reality is that clean sheets breed confidence – not just for the defence, but throughout the whole team. I thought Koscielny was outstanding in defence and showed his speed on numerous occasions to snuff out Montpellier breaks down our left flank, where Vermaelen did OK but did not provide the cover an orthodox left back would have.

Podolski’s Performance

Lucas had as busy a game as we have seen for a long time and capped it off with a fine goal. If he can be as involved on a regular basis he will be a force to be reckoned with. He may want to play down the middle, but Giroud is making that position all his own. However, there is no reason why the Pod can’t come infield at times and act as a second striker – which is exactly what he did for his goal last night.

Santi’s On Song

When we had that short run of games where we considered it rude to create a chance on the opposition goal before the 90th minute, it was instructive that our toothlessness coincided with Santi Cazorla’s early season form tailing off. The good news is that it was just a blip, and after his Man of the Match performance against the Spuds he followed up last night with another display of creativity, tenacity and determination. A quality player.

Jack in the Box

Arsene Wenger reckons it will be Christmas before Jack Wilshere is back to his best. Well, what a present that will be. Last night he showed even more great touches and bursts than he did against the N17 Saddo Society and, best of all, he popped up in the Montpellier penalty area to grab a great goal. People were saying he could be the complete midfielder if he added goals to his game. You always felt it was just a matter of time. Let’s hope last night has set the ball rolling.

Don’t Stop The Momentum

Football is a game where confidence and momentum have a disproportionate effect on a team’s fortunes. After a stop-start season this win – securing our place in the CL knock-out rounds – following on from a resounding derby victory will start to rebuild the optimism we were all feeling after the Liverpool and Manchester City away games. I have always felt the quality of players in our squad was good enough to challenge for big prizes. If they can get on a roll I hope they can prove me right.

What are your positives and negatives from last night’s game?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Player Ratings

Szczesny 7

Not much troubled, but looked secure and confident. He raced out of his goalmouth to tip the ball away from a Montpellier forward’s boot in the first half when it was still 0-0. It was an important moment (about which the unremittingly negative Alan Smith could only say: “That would have been risky if he’d got it wrong”).

Sagna 7

Reliable as ever from Mr Reliable.

Mertesacker 7

Typically sound outing from the BFG. He defended with composure, distributed beautifully and almost dribbled his way through for what would have been our most remarkable goal of the season.

Koscielny 8

He has had a few wobbles recently, but last night Kozzer was back to his best against some very skilful and speedy opponents. Was unlucky not to open the scoring with a powerful header against the crossbar.

Vermaelen 6

Got caught out of position a few times but he did a job for the team in a role that does not fully suit his skills.

Arteta 7

The metronome kept things ticking all game long. If Santi and Jack had good games, it was because Mikel was behind them doing the donkey work.

Wilshire 7

Some fine touches and bursts and a very well taken goal. His understanding with his midfield partners and the forwards is growing visibly.

Cazorla 8

What a player! Creative, imaginative, daring, surprising. A joy to watch. He orchestrated most of our best moments.

Podolski 8.5 (MoTM)

For my money his best outing yet in the famous red and white. He was heavily involved throughout and scored a peach of a volley. He was able to combine some good wing play with cutting inside to form a front two with Giroud. I feel this role suits him as he is not a natural “holder up” of the ball like Giroud so, I feel, would struggle if played as our out and out centre forward. He had a couple of decent goal attempts before he scored. For one of them he perhaps should have passed, but I don’t have a problem with a striker being greedy in front of goal. It makes a change from endless tippy tappy.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 6

Not his best game. He seemed a bit rusty, his passing was off and he drifted inside too much. A learning curve game for a talented young man.

Giroud 8.5

Close call for MoTM. He led the line superbly, made two excellent assists and was a thorn in the Montpellier side all game. He’s a different flavour to the strikers we have become used to under Wenger, but it’s a flavour that I’m developing a taste for and I suspect many other Gooners are too.

Subs

Ramsey 7

Gervinho 7 (one touch, but he didn’t mess it up!)

Coquelin 7

RockyLives

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130 Responses to Jack in the Box

  1. kelsey – what do you mean about ‘interpretation’ of the Santi sub? What did you hear on tv?

  2. kelsey says:

    Lewin said quite clearly to AW I think we should take him (Santi) off and they were both standing up and bould was sitting between them and said absolutely nothing. if what Shard is correct and it did look like Santi had been kicked surely Wenger should have made the call or even Bould.

  3. Brigham says:

    I thought we did okay last night and overall, a decent team perfomance, but we are still very laboured moving the ball forward, particularly on the counter. Far too many sideways passes, when if we had move it forward with speed, then I feel we would have created more chances.

    Santi was outstanding last night and he seems to have an abundance of surplus energy which carries him right through the game. Ox looked out of sorts last night and seemed unable to conjure up any magic. A blip no doubt.

    What was all that cheering the Montpellier fans were doing near the end all about? For one minute, I thought they had heard news that Olympiakos had scored against Schalke? Nutters!

    Good to meet up with Chas, Rasp, Peaches and Co in the Tavern.

  4. Gooner In Exile says:

    Two surprisingly similar match reports well done to both of you.

    Both using the verb “to snuff” in relation to Kozzer as I did in the final knockings of this mornings comments. I think this is what Koz has in his locker over TV5. Additionally I think we need that ability, lost count last season of the amount of times he made those kind of key interceptions and tackles.

    As you both say Giroud is making the top strikers job his own, he is on form creating and scoring, this can only be good. They mentioned in commentary last night that Pod and Giroud have equalled BSR goals scored from last season at the same stage, that’s a good thing. And perhaps is also why we fans sometimes feel the team show less precision than last season, with BSR up front the team had a single focus and objective, now we have more options which makes us slightly less predictable and hopefully more dangerous. And Giroud gives us a target that can be hit from deeper something previous seasons would have seen PL giants laughing in our face.

    Kelsey not sure what the issue is, physio tells management player is injured, surely that’s his job?

  5. Red Arse says:

    I think you are right, Kelsey! That has all the makings of a ‘who dun it’ conspiracy. It is obvious that Lewin is the puppet master pulling the strings behind the scenes! :D

    Of course it could just have been Lewin deferentially asking Arsene;
    “he needs treatment, boss – is he coming off, or should I treat him on the pitch?”

    Nah, that’s boring, Kelsey – let’s go with conspiracy! :lol:

  6. Red Arse says:

    Damn it! I cannot keep these dissenting fingers quiet.

    Let’s get my “I’m only saying” in first, that might ameliorate the inevitable vociferous response to my upcoming comment.

    Jack has performed marvels to come back from such a long time injury and slotted back so easily into the team, though I would urge caution as it could be a mistake to overplay him so soon.

    He also scored a lovely ‘fox in the box’ goal with skill and anticipation we do not often see, and that goal effectively sealed the match result.

    But — having watched Jack play at all levels since he was 13 or 14 — I thought that last night was the most woeful display of passing I have ever seen from him.

    One of the strongest features of his game has always been the exquisite and disguised long and short passes from the outside of his boot. Not for lengthy periods of this game.

    It takes two to tango and some part of this errant passing may have been down to lack of anticipation from the intended receiver.

    We all have blips, and Jack will learn from this, as he implied in his post-match interview, and I do not want to come across as the AA version of Strictly’s Craig Thingamibob, but as no one else has said it I have to call it as I saw it. :-)

  7. Great reports guys.
    I had Santi as MOTM, he was a wizard with the ball glued to his feet on a pitch where space was at a premium.
    My main positive was that Pod & OG seem to be clicking, and OG is more than justifying his transfer.
    Think we are averaging 2.4 goals per game as opposed to last seasons 1.7 with RVC, its all good news, and is only getting better.
    I’m glad santi is such a robust player cos he took a lot of knocks last night, but his injury record is superb, hopefully it will continue.
    The defence was good last night, though that very high line was frightening me at times.
    Jack is getting better, some of his passing was abysmal but he’s starting to look the player he was pre-injury, more positives.
    lets take this form in to saturday, i hope walcott is back as our forward 3 with Cazorla orchestrating behind are starting to look very dangerous indeedydoodaday!

  8. Rasp says:

    Morning all and thanks to GoonerB and Rocky for the stereo match reporting. The two reports are pretty much in harmony.

    The team is growing again after a mini slump and just needs to keep playing to maintain the improvement.

    The energy in midfield is being supplied by Santi and Jack. Mikel is not playing to the highest standards we know he can achieve but the width on the left is still lacking.

    Giroud is doing his very best and just needs the midfield to support him more quickly.

    One of the reasons we don not play the ball forward as swiftly as we should is due to the lack of pace and options down the flanks. Sagna is a great RB, but he never beats a player when he overlaps like Gibbs does, he just tries to get the cross in before he is closed down. – and he’s usually successful although he doesn’t get as many assists as she should.

    I think once the Pod has a proper LB behind him he willl be able to cut inside as the LB overlaps behind him, and that’s the way it should be.

  9. Hi guys great double barrelled post match perspectives there. now all the laughter that overly cautious gooners held back for till we qualified can be released at the class less Chavs, ha ha ha.
    What a circus we have at the bus stop in Fulham, eh ?
    I’m now looking forward to our next home game, against the Sheep Shaggers, where I’ll be attending and hoping for the continuation of our recent good form.

  10. Red Arse says:

    Very well done to GoonerB Good and the Rock Meister for your respective Posts! :-)

    Sorry I had not said so earlier. :-(

  11. kelsey says:

    Yes, I should have said the same as RA, well done.

    my final point about Santi.
    Lewin had not come on to see Santi at that stage of the game and my point was that surely AW should have seen Santi was bruised and battered and needed to come off and not be told by Lewin he needed to be replaced, AW should have clearly seen that himself. I rest my case :)

  12. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA your point on Jack is fair, my comment at half time was that we at times appeared to be on different wavelengths, not just Jack, once Giro could have played in Pod but the pass was behind not in front, and there were also some miscues from young Ox.

    For Jack I guess it’s a measure of our expectations, yours moreso as you have watched for so long. In his defence I think he is trying a bit too hard to make his mark, and also finding his feet around new players who haven’t even worked out how they play together yet. When Jack first broke in to the first team there were a number of players who had already sorted out their combinations, Cesc, Nasri, Song, Theo, Arshavin so it was probably easier for him to fit in and hit the ground running.

    I think it’ll come though and I’m sure you do to.

  13. Brigham says:

    Kelsey, you said that AW could clearly see that Santi was battered and bruised. How? Yes, he had received a few kicks, but that does not mean he was actually injured does it?

    There is a very large margin between being kicked and actual injury, with the only person qualified to make that call being the physio or the player himself.

  14. GoonerB says:

    Good day to you all and thanks for the comments. Rocky and I did seem to see the game in quite a similar way. I didn’t expect that. maybe we have a psychic link Rocky that we weren’t aware of!

    RA, you make an interesting point about the passing and you are absolutely spot on with your comment. It was something that I was thinking of including in the report but it was late and my boudoir was calling, and I had an early start today. I also recognised that some passes were going astray and Jack was, uncharacteristically, responsible for a few of them. I actually watched the game with 3 friends at one of their houses. Two of them were bemoaning the stray passes but I took a different view on it in terms of its overall significance.

    Early on when we were passing it around amongst the defence in
    deeper positions, we got pressed into losing possession on occasions. I get worried when this happens in these more dangerous areas of the pitch. Once we got into attacking mode we pressed them back a lot more so the stray passes happened more in their third of the pitch. It is less dangerous in those areas to lose posession and also you can attempt to regain posession by pressing them higher up the pitch, ala Barca style, which I think we did fairly well.

    I thought as the game wore on that the stray or intercepted passes were more often than not when we were attempting to open them up and put a team mate through on goal, and obviously not all of these come off. I feel that some intercepted passes is the trade off you accept if your team is attempting to break down the opposition. Although it seemed to bother my friends I was actually quite encouraged by the fact that we were attempting to get at them and behind them so frequently and I would wholeheartedly encourage them to continue in this fashion. The more they practice it the more refined it becomes and the stats for completed passes will naturally go up but it will be with the added bonus of defence splitting passes rather than cautious sideways and backwards ones. I think that I would prefer this to having greater posession and passing stats but looking less an attacking threat.

    We have sometimes this season slipped into cautious safety pass mode and it doesn’t really suit us. The movement and running off each other was encouraging last night and these players are still learning about each other. They really seemed to enjoy playing together last night and they all seemed to work hard to provide team-mates on the ball with good options in attacking positions and when it did break down I felt they collectively worked hard to regain posession as quickly as possible. For me it was actually one of the more encouraging performances this season and I felt it showed a positive attacking mentality that I hope they continue with and refine as the season progresses.

  15. Rhyle says:

    2 GREAT reports fellas, completely agree with the scores, although Giroud was my MOTM, Podolski ran him close

    As a bit of an aside, Rocky, as great a performance as that was from Lukas, feel his best was at Anfield where he was up and down the pitch and superb, but it’s a moot point and just an opinion!

    Keep up the great work as always, chaps and chapettes!

  16. Gooner In Exile says:

    One thing I didn’t mention earlier was our apparent lack of tempo at the start of the game, we seem to start slowly, but I sometimes wonder if we are just waiting for the game to settle to our rhythmn and the opponents normally come out to get amongst us early…a pace that is very hard to maintain.

  17. Gooner In Exile says:

    Talking of Chapettes where has our Evonne gone?

  18. LB says:

    Rasp

    I would really like to know if I understand exactly what you are saying: do you regard Gibbs as a “proper” left back/wing back?

  19. LB says:

    Great match reports guys.

    I know you both chose your MOTM on the basis of variety; that’s fair enough I suppose, as it can’t be given it to last night’s real winner every game.

    Arsene, a word to the wise: go and buy nine more Spainiards in January.

  20. Rasp says:

    Hi LB, yes I class Gibbs as a proper wing back for a 4:5:1 system albeit with a bit of improvement required on the defensive side of his play. My only reservation about him is his injury record. We’ve seen how not having overlapping defenders undermines the foundations of our attack so we either need a fit Gibbs or another choiice as LB, TV just isn’t the answer.

  21. Red Arse says:

    Hi GIE,

    Yes I do agree with you @12:32! :D

    GoonerB Good, excellent additional analysis @1:05. :D

  22. LB says:

    Rasp

    Agree about TV

    You mentioned something a few weeks ago that I don’t think any one else picked up on and that is AW really didn’t think it through when he bought Podolski.

    We now have three players who opperate best on that wing: Podolski, Gervinho and Arshavin.

    And here’s the thing Gervinho is better down that side than Podolski, people are too afaid to say this yet but it will happen.

    Podolski may be a scorer of great goals but Gervinho scores more.

    And for me when it comes to goals, give me quantity over quality any day.

  23. Rasp says:

    Its a tough one LB, the Gervinho of last season wasn’t better than Pod IMO, but the Gerv that started this season posed a far greater threat because he was prepared to run at defenders.

    I don’t think AA will be with us past next summer or maybe January so we may have one less left side specialist. I agree that one of either Pod or Gerv should play on that side and the choice should probably revolve around whether they will be needed to contribute defensively = Pod, or keep the opposition on the back foot = Gerv.

  24. Adrian says:

    Podolski gets the nod ahead of Gervinho for me anytime. However having Podolski to constantly track back or act as a semi wingback and constantly track back is such a waste of his finishing talent with him easily being the best finisher we have in the team. Apparently he feels the same way too.

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    LB,

    Here are the all time goal scoring records of Podolski & Gervinho.

    Gervinho – Played 265, Scored 73 = .275 Goals per Game.
    Podolski – Played 308, Scored 119 = .386 Goals per Game.

  26. LB says:

    GN5

    What Podolski has done else where is irrelevant to me. I am talking about this season, while he has been at Arsenal, so I am curious, what are the comparitive stats between Podolski and Gervinho?

  27. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    Podolski for me everytime.

    I heard on TalkSport (I’m aware of the majority’s opinion on them :-) ) that Klas Jan Huntelaar’s agent has been indiscrete and said that his client will be moving to Arsenal in January.

    I ignored it until, on local radio, I heard much the same story, altho couched with plenty of “it is understood” and “a reliable German source has said”.

    Do you have any stats on Huntelaar regarding his goal scoring etc?

    Could be interesting. :D

  28. LB says:

    Actually when I thnk about it I don’t really care what the stats are, I go to the games and to me Gervinho is far more of a threat down the left than Podolski and I would play him there in preference to the German.

    Podolski will score great goals but Gervinho will get more.

  29. LB says:

    Do we have any Africans on AA?

    This has got OJ Simpson written all over it.

  30. Red Arse says:

    Unlike my friend, Kelsey, I do not have any contacts at Arsenal, but I have a friend who is ‘acquainted’ with an agent for another club, and, with a nudge and a wink, I am led to believe that Arshavin is a gonner Gunner in January. Who knows? :-)

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    Huntelaar,

    Played 392, Scored 256 = .653 GPG.

    Now that’s a goal scoring machine.

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    LB,

    While I like Gervinho my preference would definitely be Podolski.

    Gervinho runs up far too many blind alleys and this breaks down a lot of our plays.

    On the other hand Podolski is direct and decisive and has one terrific shot – his assists are also nothing to sniff at – just go back and look at his pass for St. Carzola’s goals against Spurs.

    Bring on the German’s.

  33. GunnerN5 says:

    * goal

  34. LB says:

    Hmmmm.

    I remember, the first half was so dire that me and my friends came up with a game to relieve the bordom.

    Name Arsene Wenger’s worst side, we added a couple of rules, they had to he players that he signed and that played in the first team.

    —————Almunia

    Eboue, Stepanoves, Silvestre, Cygan

    —-Another, Denilson, Another

    —–Jeffers, Chamakh, Pennant.

    As you can see we couldn’t finish it.

    Any suggestions or changes?

  35. GunnerN5 says:

    LB,

    Even though you seem to have lost interest here are their comparative stats at Arsenal.

    Gervinho, Played 49, Scored 9 = .184 GPG
    Podolski, Played 17, Scored 7 = .411 GPG.

    So with Podolski we get the best of both world’s – quantity plus quality.

  36. LB – we need a post for tomorrow, how about your 2.57? Do you fancy padding it out a bit?

  37. LB says:

    Nope GN5

    You are applying North American values to the our far more volitile game of football.

    Gervinho’s stats for last season are meaningless, he was poor, none of us need stats to realise that.

    I am talking about this season, the all important is who should be playing on Saturday down the left against Aston Villa.

    Although, I am still curious who has scored more goals this season, and got more assists, game for game between Podolski and Gervinho?

  38. LB says:

    Peaches

    Help yourself, take it off and pad it out all you want.

  39. Red Arse says:

    Thank you, GN5, those stats make interesting and revealing reading. :-)

    I agree with you, and it just confirms my feeling that Podolski is by far the better bet for Arsenal. :-)

  40. Brigham says:

    LB, in reply to your 2.57…

    Nelson Vivas and David Grondin are two that spring to mind.

  41. GunnerN5 says:

    I have no Idea where you come up with “North American Values”

    My comments are factual whereas you made a statement that Gervinho scores more goals than Podolski without any factual back up information.

    It seems that you refute every stat that I’ve posted – so how about this for a twist – why don’t you tell us what their stats are for this season?

  42. Red Arse says:

    Hi Brigham, :-)

    Not Nelson Vivas??

    I suspect he was just a poor misunderstood guy who was the sneakiest, hardest tackling, 5’2″ defender we ever had!! :D

  43. LB says:

    GN5

    In a nut shell people seem to think that in North America answers to sports can be found through stats (Money Ball) this may work when there are only two people involved the Pitcher and the Hitter. But as we know in football the quality of the team will have an effect on how many goals a particular player will score (would Messi score as many goals playing for Milwall?).

    To apply Gervinho’s stats for his whole career to that of Podolski for his whole career is flawed, for a similar reason that I have eplained above.

    In my opinion this season Gervinho has been more of a threat down the left than Podolski. This is based on going to every single game and watching rather than Google.

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    How about Luzhny??????????????

  45. Brigham says:

    Red, yes Nelson was hard tackling, but I still think he was a bit of a duffer in so far as Wenger signings go.

  46. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Superb Reports Fellas. Thank you bth very much.
    Love the Pod Gerv debate.
    IMO, Pod is a better defender than Gerv :-)

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    LB,

    Do you seriously believe that baseball is only a game between a pitcher and a hitter?

    That’s akin to saying that football is only a game between a striker and a goalie!

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Its nice to say nice things, so here’s nice.
    Something you don’t see on the telly, or if you are one of 35 odd thousand fans at a home game that have vanished within a minute of the final bell, but Rasp and I went to the front of the N Bank Upper to applaud the players off, and it was great to see Jack, Per and Sz come right over to the fans below us and chuck their shirts in.
    Top blokes.

  49. Brigham says:

    Too many people leave early, as was evident last night. I saw that incident as well and well done to Jack and BFG.

  50. Rasp says:

    Pod will be far more effective once he has a full back behind him that is prepared to overlap on the outside and so release him to cut in towards goal. Asking him to run the line is a waste of time, he doesn’t have the skills. As an Arsenal player I prefer him to Gervinho because he takes responsibility and plays more for the team.

    But ask any defender who they’d rather have running at them, Gerv or pod and they’d all choose Pod.

  51. LB says:

    GN5

    In a penalty situation, yes I do believe that in Football it is just between the Striker and the Goalie, the other players are on the pitch but they are not doing anything meaningful.

    At the time when the Pitcher throws the ball to the hitter the rest of the team are on the field but they have very little influence on the Hitter trying to get a home run. (dont give me bunts)

    Hence my view that stats are meaningful in North America and are of little use in Football.

    Who holds the record for passes completed…………Denilson

    I rest my case.

  52. LB says:

    You are getting to know me too well Rasp ;)

  53. RockyLives says:

    It was interesting reading Gooner B’s report and player ratings and seeing a lot of similarities with my own efforts.

    Of course the reason is that I snuck on the site late last night and copied Gooner B’s ideas because he’s good on tactics and I’m not.

    Now my report sits there echoing Gooner B’s and I look very clever :)

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    To your idea that Gibbs on an overlapping run would allow Pod to move central, I say…nice idea, but..
    My but was watching Ox last night. The moment Sagna began the forward dash, instead making the run into space inside, on several occasions, Ox checked his run. Defensive duties were calling methinks :-(

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rocky,
    I learnt very early on during my schooling days, that contrary to opinion, cheating works.

  56. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky :) if you’re 2 goals in the lead then I guess prioritising defensive duties makes some sense, but if we’re chasing the game risks (thrisks) have to be taken. If the midfield is as fluid as we’d like to see it, others should drop back anyway to ensure sufficient defensive cover.

  57. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, you’re being modest again. The similarity between your and GoonerB’s posts is just affirmation of your shared brilliance :P

    I’m interested, did anyone see a Montpellier player who we’d like at the Arsenal – I know Micky likes Belhanda (there’s a really bad pun in there for glic!)

  58. Red Arse says:

    Brigham, @ 3:38, I was just kidding.

    I never really saw Vivas play, but what little I did see left me deeply unimpressed!

    You were spot on!! :D

  59. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    Cabella and Mbwia! Two for the pot. :-)

  60. GunnerN5 says:

    LB,

    But using your own argument Denilson is history and that doesn’t mean anything.
    Who has the most complete passes this season?
    You can tell me when you find out this season’s goal scoring record for Podolski and Gervinho.

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    Belhanda was a suggestion of mine last season, along with Giroud. That was before we bought Santi.
    So, from what was on offer last night, then I’m with RA, Mbwia.

  62. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    I enjoyed both your Post and GoonerB Good’s, but they were very different in style, if not so much in content.

    Where you both were like the interlinked fingers on a penitent’s hands was in the ratings assessments you each gave — and they were bollocks!! :D :D

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GN5,
    Here’s a classic example of my cheating technique.
    Care of: one of the many Rasp Didgits
    Gerv 5 goals
    Pod 6 goals :-)

  64. glic says:

    Rasp, I already used Bell ender and Bell handler already, you know me too well ! hahaha

    Fine double dosage today, spot on boys.

  65. GoonerB says:

    Rocky, I am deeply flattered by your assumption that I know what I am talking about but in reality when I am on here I just sit with a manual by me titled “The Igor Stepanov’s guide to tactics” and consult that. The book sits next to the Oxford English dictionary I use when Redders is posting.

    Rasp the Montpelier player that caught my eye in the first game against them was Cabella. He wasn’t quite as good last night but he looks dangerous when he has the ball, and I predict one of the bigger clubs will be in for him eventually.

  66. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Choppy seas down here today, eh Glic?

  67. glic says:

    Belhanda`s one of 5 nominees for BBC`s African player of the year, Cant be that bad then !.

  68. The FA has found that there is no case against Mark Clattenberg!!!!!!!!

  69. Rasp says:

    Hi evonne, that report of the attack on totts fans is truly shocking. Once again I am tempted to ask, what kind of punishment would UEFA impose on a British team/British football if such an incident happened over here. The barbarity of the Ultras has been known and to an extent tolerated for years.

  70. Micky – you may have choppy seas down there but one of my newly constructed walls blew over today – doesn’t bode well methinks :(

  71. glic says:

    Tell me about it Micky !. The ground is so saturated and the water table is so high that my septic tank soakaways are clogging up, causing problems in the tank !. I`ve been out side crapping in the hedges as flushing is a no-go area !. Lucky the missus and her mum are constipated !.
    Sorry, if any AAers are having their tea ! hahaha

  72. GunnerN5 says:

    I also like Mbiwa, a very solid defender, a French international who misses very few games due to injury.

  73. RockyLives says:

    Interesting that a few have pointed out our slow start against the Montpelicans.

    It gives further fuel to counter the Spudders (and LB :) ) who think we would have lost on Saturday if Adebarndoor had stayed on the pitch.

    The truth seems to be that we are, in fact, going in for the old “after you Claude” approach and politely letting our opponents have the run of things for 15 minutes before we step up a gear.

  74. Peachy, and Jon Obi mikel has been charged with misconduct by the FA, ha ha ha – probably for some slander-based misdemeanour, mega ROLF !!

  75. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA apparently Holtby has also been quoted as saying he wants to join Arsenal if/when he moves to the PL.

    Seems we are keen on Germans.

    LB I don’t agree that Wenger should buy 9 more Spaniard, after all one would be a goalie and the last one didn’t work out great, so maybe 8 with a smattering of German efficiency.

  76. RockyLives says:

    Peaches
    I hope Clattenberg does a “Lord McAlpine” and sues the Chavs for libel.

    They accused him of being a racist – and he should demand redress.

  77. GunnerN5 says:

    MD89@4:26,

    Facts my friend and nothing but the facts………….

  78. LB says:

    Evonne

    Watch what?

    The clip?

    If so, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of supporters.

  79. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky,

    Redress will come the next time he’s in charge of one of their games.

  80. LB says:

    GIE

    I know your comment is tongue in cheek as I am sure you know mine was…………………………but it does make you wonder, doesn’t it?

  81. GunnerN5 says:

    Referee Mark Clattenburg will not face disciplinary action over a complaint of alleged inappropriate language.

    A statement from the Football Association read: “The FA has concluded its investigation into alleged misconduct by Mark Clattenburg during the match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC on 28 October.

    “No disciplinary action will follow against Mr Clattenburg.”

    Chelsea had accused Clattenburg of using inappropriate language towards midfielder John Obi Mikel in their 3-2 home defeat by Manchester United on 28 October.

    The accusation was always vehemently denied by the 37-year-old official.

    It was also announced on Thursday that Mikel had been charged by the FA for an “alleged use of threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour in or around the match officials’ changing room.”
    .

  82. goonermichael says:

    Great match reports by both of you.

    Clattenburg wonb’t be reffing the chavs again for a while so I think they’ve got a result. rednose has been dfoing this kind of thing for years and got away with it (not racist allegations obviously). Clattenberg is a biased manc like webb.

  83. RockyLives says:

    I just re-watched the goals from last night.

    The first goal was a perfect example of what can happen with an overlapping left back… in this case, Tommy V.

  84. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Talking of Clattenberg, today UEFA put off dishing out to Serbia. I think we know where they stand on racism.
    Big Fans.

  85. GunnerN5 says:

    From Arsenal.com

    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    Arsène Wenger has revealed the following team news ahead of the Aston Villa game:

    on the latest team news…
    Santos is out for 10 days with an abdominal strain. Oxlade-Chamberlain looks alright. Theo [Walcott] is out for Saturday, but has a chance for Wednesday at Everton.

    on Abou Diaby…
    If all goes well, three to four weeks.

    on Tomas Rosicky…
    He should be back with us on Monday. He started in team training on Monday. Last year from January to the end of the season he was one of the most influential players in our squad. I hope he can repeat that because until now we haven’t seen him and he was injured at the European Championship. He has a similar injury to Scott Parker, they had operations at the same time and they will come back basically at the same time. It is very difficult [mentally] for him, because Tomas is a guy who loves to play, who is happy on a football pitch. When you have been injured as many times as he has been, it is not easy to take.

  86. MickyDidIt89 says:

    on Abou Diaby…
    If all goes well, three to four weeks
    ROLF LAMOW

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Great stuff RL & GB. Thank you.

    Interesting debate about Pod v Gerv, if/when Theo leaves do you think Gerv could play on the right like last night?

    I am in the pro – Pod lobby. Gervinho is too unpredictable for me. Yes, he can beat 3 men but his final ball is rarely of Pod’s standard.

  88. MickyDidIt89 says:

    …and if things don’t go well, three to four months!

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    If Theo goes in Jan, and RA’s story is true about Huntelaar coming, then I’d expect to see Giroud on the right wing :-)

  90. Big Raddy says:

    I will buy Mrs Raddy something very expensive if Huntelaar comes – but he won’t.

    We need a Chamakh replacement not a Giroud replacement. If Theo goes I would expect us to buy a right winger unless Gervinho can be converted.

  91. Big Raddy says:

    If Gibbs starts on Saturday we will have close to our first choice 11 for the first time this season (no Theo). Very excited to see how they gel

  92. GunnerN5 says:

    For what it’s worth…….

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged forward Theo Walcott to commit to the club by signing a new deal and is still considering a move to bring in Thierry Henry.

    England international Walcott, 23, is out of contract at the end of the season and talks over an extension have so far failed to reach a conclusion.

    Wenger said: “I don’t think you can put a time-frame on when it will be resolved. Ideally he has to commit. It is difficult. I believe you have to commit at some stage.

    “It is very important in our sport to be very committed to where you are, and as long as you do not do that, you are not completely at ease. It is important for our squad as well that he is completely committed.

    “I do not doubt it, but as well at some stage it has to be concrete.”

    Meanwhile, the Gunners boss admits he is pondering making a move to take veteran striker Henry to the club for a second loan spell from New York Red Bulls.

    Wenger added: “I don’t rule it out. I haven’t made up my mind yet and I haven’t even spoken to Thierry about it. I have not completely decided how I will sort it out in my head.

    “They (loan deals involving MLS clubs) become more and more popular because their championships are played in a different part of the year. It’s good for European teams but I personally believe that football should be played all over the world from January until November.

    “Gervinho is going to the Africa Cup of Nations, so we are looking for a striker.”

  93. kgooner says:

    Great double post. And the comments as well. I always come here for the posts and the comments.

    LB asked if there was any Africans here. Am one. Kenyan, East Africa GMT+3. Matches aren’t so late here. Maybe the Champs league matches that kick off at 10.45pm here when i have to get am at 5 the next day. All for the love of the Arse!

    I thought Jack’s misplaced passes yesterday were more due to having not built a rapport with the other midfielders than errors. The goal by Podolski on Sat for example. Jacks pass was brilliant. a fast one. Arteta almost missed it and that would have been a lost goal.
    I think over time, once they all ‘click’, the rest of the team will pick up on his cues.
    From a YouTube compilation of Jack Wilshere, he had plenty of such passes that the team of then picked up on. His crosses will come good as well.

    I was comfortable yesterday when the opposition attacked us. Whilst were opponents weren’t that threatening, our defence stepped up a notch.

    Great to see a not so worrisome filled comments. We might just be on a run here and gooners seem to have got into a positive vibe.

    Anyone gt wind of Victor Wanyama (Kenyan celtic defensive midfield) possible move to Arsenal?

  94. GoonerB says:

    Good points Kgooner on Jack and you echo my thoughts. I know Wanyama has been spoken of a few times as possibly coming to Arsenal. I also know many gooners feel we need a powerful defensive midfielder. This is one of the positions I can’t really make my mind up on, as to whether it needs strengthening. If he were to come to us would he be a back up player or an important and regular first 11 player, and if so, at whose expense? We seem to be currently playing with 2 deeper midfielders who are more ball playing defensive midfielders. Would Wanyama improve the current first 11 if he came in to play this role. It would require one of Arteta, Jack or Santi to be dropped. We also have coquelin who I think can become a very good technical DM and Diaby when fit plays as one of the deeper midfielders. Maybe someone like Mbwia could be a better option as he can cover both CD and DM. Even then how would you fit him in. When Gibbs returns we will already have to drop one of TV, Per or LK to the bench.

  95. johnnie nyc says:

    Hi everybody, i enjoyed the dueling reports, it was a good idea, even though opinions not too divided this week.– a couple things i noted from the match. Pod looked energized, very aggressive trying to score.. either he is feeling better, or Arsene has had a chat with him. he was brought in to bring more goals from left wing, because of last year’s dependence on one player.
    Jack looked a little sluggish early on, and misplaced alot of passes, but still had his great moments.
    and– am i the only one who enjoys when Koscielny sees space and bursts forward occasionally? even if only a few times a match, i like it, because i am confident that he has the pace and brains to get back and recover if needed.

  96. johnnie nyc says:

    i am a fan of gervinho, i think he offers alot, but also needs to change his style a bit… one thing we all complained was that he shyed from going for goal..that has seemed to improve this season…
    but… the way we are beginning to rain in crosses lately from theo, podolski, sagna, and hopefully gibbs again soon is making us much more dangerous (rather than tring to pass our way to the goal)—
    Gerv’s problem is that he stops and dances around and gets too close to the line to cross back quickly(worst of all, giving time for 8 opponents to crowd the box)– he needs to use his fantastic abilities better.. easier said than done.- but i think he can be a very valuable player to have..

  97. Big Raddy says:

    Could it be that Montpelier were so poor that Podolski had fewer defensive duties, thus he has able to venture forward ?

    JNyc. I love to see Kos go rampaging forward as long as he checks to see if he is covered :-)

  98. kgooner says:

    Good point GoonerB. Diaby is a strong midfielder with a presence evidenced by his earlier games this season. His injury however worries me.

    Arteta cannot be relied on for a full season and some regulars here have noticed he’s at times tired. Considering his age as well, a younger presence would be good for us.

    Coquelin does not have a commanding body. Line him up against Wanyama, Song, Mbiwa, Tiote>>> gett my drift.
    Wanyam plays as a midfielder or a centre back.

    We will have to wait and see though. In January. I hope Diaby gets better by December. We need everyone fit and clicking for the knock out stage Champions league.

    Having multiple options for different positions is all the better. Healthy competition and a descent first 11 for all Cups: Capital One, FA, Champs and the Prem league.

  99. RockyLives says:

    Hello Johnnie
    I thought this was a very pertinent point:

    “the way we are beginning to rain in crosses lately from theo, podolski, sagna, and hopefully gibbs again soon is making us much more dangerous (rather than tring to pass our way to the goal)”.

    Having Giroud in the middle has undoubtedly changed the way we play and finally, after all these years of asking for it, we have a ‘Plan B’.

  100. RockyLives says:

    kgooner
    Hello again – it’s nice to have a perspective from Kenya on here.

    I mostly agree with your point about having robust DMs, but there have been a few “tough little ‘uns” over the years – the likes of David Batty and Didier Deschamps, so there are exceptions to the rule.

    Le Coq looks solid, if a bit on the short side.

  101. Big Raddy says:

    If we need muscle we always have Frimpong.

    I don’t see this type of player having a role at AW’s Arsenal. Arteta is hardly a normal DM, yet he has adapted beautifully. I expect Coquelin to take his place in years to come (if he stays)

  102. chas says:

    Thanks for the great reports, lads.

    I thought Koscielny and Wilshere were the stand out performers last night. Pleased it wasn’t me that wrote a match report. :)

    As for Gerv vs the Pod, I’d probably go with Podolski at the moment because he adds more defensively and has helped create more goals too.
    Why not both? With Theo out on Saturday, why not try Pod on the right, his right foot isn’t too shoddy and the thought of him cutting in on his left foot is most appealing.

  103. chas says:

    The Montpellier fans were great last night.
    Their pretend we’ve scored celebrations were really funny.
    They actually won 4-2!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdV-YzkgGeU

  104. Gooner In Exile says:

    If Wayne Rooney had scored that goal the British Press would be having a mass hard on. It’s such an exceptional strike, not rolled off the shin, perfect technique.

  105. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Nelson Vivas a duffer…I’m not having that Brigham. Bring a weapon next time you;re at the tavern…you’ll need it :-(

  106. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Two good reports….its always good to see a conflict of opinion about who the match was…especiallly when there are three or more candidates.

    In my mind it was Giroo, then Santi, or Kozzer, then Podo. Ok bollox, any of those four in any order. I agree with Gooner B that Kozzer lost a quarter point for that one silly mistake…but it was good to see him back to his best. Verm was better than of late as well…good signs

    Red you are spot on about Lil Jacks looseness of passing yesterday…most unlike him. even so he still contributed a great deal above and beyond his quality finish. He could be one of the greats…

    Night all

  107. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Ps Can someone let onto Brigham that I’m only small and a bit of a wind up merchant. Ta

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Chas,
    I was going to ask for a Pod goal clip :-)
    Talking immediately after the game, I gave my MOTM to Jack as well.
    My biggest concern is midfield burn out.
    IMO we need to add a world class DM.
    I know there will be screams from the “can’t have better than we have” brigade, but we can, and rotate.

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    By the way Chas,
    Nice shirt, but Ant was right about the signature :-)

  110. chas says:

    Morning, Micky.

    The Pod clip was inspired by GIE talking about technique.

    His goal reminded us of this Georgie Graham goal at 1:04.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJx7TPj9OUQ

    I said to Ant if he minded me getting the scrubbing brush out when he gave the shirt to me. :)

  111. chas says:

    Here’s a slower version of the Pod clip.
    His eyes are glued to the ball and his body moves in perfect response.
    Physical poetry.

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Damn, that was a fine goal.
    Moving from right to left onto his favourite boot. Mmmm.

  113. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    One thing I like about both Podolski and Giroud are that they give 100% and aren’t divers.
    I still see them as a or deadly uo spear heading our attack a bit like Crwasford and phillips did for Ipswich (for our older posters on here)

    Didn’t realise the Villa game was a late Saturday one . having already been not to convincing against other teams near the bottom of the league this is a game where 3 points are vital.We need to up our goals scored Away from home as well.

  114. chas says:

    kelsey,
    Inside the ground there is a list of Arsenal hat-trick scorers near to the turnstiles we use.
    Ant and me were remarking that a certain Jimmy Brain featured prominently and in one season scored four hat-tricks.

    I was wondering if you could tell us what it was like watching him in the flesh? :)

  115. Big Raddy says:

    Pod never looks at the goal before striking, he is totally focussed upon the ball. Brilliant.

    kelsey. I agree, it is refreshing to see honest strikers. Actually we are an hones team – I can’t recall a dive post-Eboue.

  116. chas says:

    I like this photo of Jack scoring the first.
    If you didn’t know better it looks as though he’s guaranteed to hit the deck. Then again I suppose both arms would be outstretched if that was the case, Wayne and Stevie me style.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27453474@N02/8207328122/in/photostream/lightbox/

    Off to work (eek). Laters.

  117. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I love the way Chas “off’s” to work. It always sounds like such an inconvenience :-)

  118. Gooner In Exile says:

    It’s definitely a rarity :D

  119. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, :-)

    Nice looking day, so far! (Just for you Raddy) :-)

    I was trying to be provocative yesterday, altho’ with tongue firmly in cheek, but everyone was so nice to me, bit like the hairy uncle sat in the corner at a party and being rude to the girls, with everyone saying “it’s just RA, poor old dear! :D

    I will try being nice today — so what’s the betting everyone will react and say “that fooker, RA, always causing trouble!” :D

    C’est la vie!!

  120. Gooner In Exile says:

    First annoyance – unnecessary use of the French language ;)

  121. Red Arse says:

    Quite right, too, GIE. Mea culpa!! :D (what about latin?)

  122. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all, I thought I might as well get up early and make a pest of myself……………

  123. Morning all

    New Post …………….

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