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DILEMMA OR OPPORTUNITY

by Don McMahon

This weekend we play our final EPL game of this season at Norwich. Imho it is a meaningless game to us but to them could mean relegation or survival. While the AAA bitches, whiners and gloomers have bemoaned our horrible season from the first game to the last and persistently lamented our 4th place trophy, 9 years of no silverware and the presence of Wenger for yet another season, the truebloods and Gooners worldwide celebrate a better season than any since 2006. What should Wenger do at Norwich as, it is both a dilemma and an opportunity depending on how one sees it. Here are the pros and cons of playing a full team there:

PROS

* This is a great motivational game if we can win it handily,
* Wenger can experiment¨ with different midfield and attacking options and tactical lineups during the game,
* Many neophytes can be used such as Zalelem,Sanogo, Gnabry, *
* Diaby can be given a run in as well,
* Returning players like the Ox, Gibbs and Wilshere can be provided a cameo as well,
* Ramsey can be played, if he is fit, then substituted by Flamini or Rosicky,
* We could end up tied on points with Chelsea, if they lose another one, which is worth the look on Moanhino’s face alone….
* Our travelling fans would get to see their BEST available 11 team one more EPL time, which we all agree, they deserve.

CONS:

* Playing our top team risks injuries before the FA Cup,
* If we drop points it can be a discouragement to the team,
* We would be fielding inexperienced players in many positions,
* Wenger has nothing to prove to anyone by playing a full team.
* We couldn’t risk our returning injured in a meaningless game.
* If any of our players get yellow or red carded they could/would miss the FA Cup,
* Norwich will be tough and desperate, which , if the officials remain true to form, could mean no fouls against them and a license to kill our players.

I say start the squad who have been faithful bench warmers all season and keep the stars on the bench just in case we are chasing the game or it is tied:

Fabianski
Jenkinson
Vermaelen
Mertesacker
Monreal
Flamini
Rosicky
Podolski
Zelalem
Gnabry
Sanogo

Substitutes

Giroud
Ozil
Ramsey
Koscielny
Sagna
Szcesny
Diaby

Frankly, this is a non-event for me but Wenger surely is considering the FA Cup as his primary concern so he’ll likely mix and match to rest a few key players before the FA Cup. That said, what do you on UA recommend and what do you want to avoid?

 

49 comments to DILEMMA OR OPPORTUNITY

  • WalterBroeckx

    I can find myself in the team you suggest apart from one position. I would start Diaby.
    So he can show how fit he is and to see if he can last and for how long. Perhaps bring in Zelalem after one hour for Diaby or after 70 minutes

  • Shuaibu Yusuf

    I would like d line-up to be fix with szcesny instead of fabiasky….but fabiasky should be keep aside to accomplish his FA cup match……also diaby should be test to know his compitency

  • I just love the fact that we can do whatever we want. I trust Wenger as ever to do what is necessary. If Norwich gets relegated tonight, our task would even be easier on Sunday as they would be thoroughly dispirited.

    Anyway, I am only looking forward to the 17th now. All I care about on Sunday is that no one gets injured.

  • menace

    Fabianski must be on the bench unless this match is used as final practice. The FA squad is known to Wenger and his selections will be well judged. The cards are an issue that we have to accept.

    We could have some nasty shocks in the final as regards cards.

    Diaby is for me a starter but its Wengers call not mine.

  • Jax

    I was looking for a new shirt for cup final day and thought I’d try a vintage one from 1950 cup final, so googled it and up came this:http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/memorabilia/an-orange-arsenal-1950-facup-final-shirt-4885471-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=4885471&sid=84b38ee0-d554-4864-b9f1-c6db95fd5bfb
    £24.000 for Joe Mercer’s winning shirt. Hope the money went to him or his family. Great captain was Joe.

  • john L

    looks as if it truly will be meaningless as sunderland are two up v norwich…

    i would like to see wenger rotate the squad. i would like to see gnabry and sanogo start, with zalalem coming on. if diaby is fit would be nice to see him.

    no need to risk injuries, cards, or morale….

  • jambug

    menace,john L

    I may be wrong but I don’t believe that cards (well single yellow at least) are an issue.

    Obviously 2 yellows or a red would be, but you’d think it wouldn’t be a game likely to invoke that sort of trouble. Well you’d hope not anyway.

  • john L

    ‘two yellows or a red’ would fall under ‘cards’… 😉 and with the refs as they are…i say dont risk it…

  • jambug

    john L

    I thought the concern might of been the ‘totting up’ process, which I don’t believe is an issue.

    Only trying to help.

  • jambug

    Norwich down.

    Final days a bit of a let down really.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hopefully we can take this game easy, avoid injuries and have a bit of shooting practice, though not to underestimate a team with some players who could be playing for their futures now they are heading down.

  • Quincy

    If I was playing Arsenal manager, I’d start Kallstrom next to Flamini, and an attacking midfield of Rosicky, Podolski and Chambo if fit, otherwise Gnabry. And I’d definitely have Arteta on the bench. Otherwise as Don has it.

  • nicky

    @Jax,
    After the end of WW2, some genius at Arsenal had the bright idea of signing a few experienced players nearing the end of their careers.
    Two of these players were Joe Mercer of Everton and Ronnie Rooke of Fulham.
    I saw Mercer during the 1947/8 season when he ably captained Arsenal to the Div 1 Championship.
    It was a joy to watch those legends during the early post-war years, being given a new lease of life in their already illustrious careers.

  • Jax

    Nicky
    Today I watched a YouTube of the hi-lites of the 1950 cup final (with Harry Enfield style voiceover). It’s the first time I’ve ever seen any of that match which I listened to on the radio at the time.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I would like:
    WS so he can get his gloden glove award.
    Back five: Sagna, Per, Laurent, verm, Gibbs
    Midfield: Flamini, Kallstrom, Diaby
    Up front: Giroud and Gnabry.
    Bench: Fabianski, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Ozil, Arteta, Ox or Cazorla or Podolski
    Bring in three players after 60 minutes to provide a warm-up for the FA Cup, namely Ramsey, Podolski, and Ozil, or others.
    Norwich is already in the Championship, but it may be a matter of pride for them to try to get a result; their offense is the worst in the Premiership with only 28 goals, including a goal that we allowed them to score against us during that famous 4-0 early season home win that included the goal of the season for Jack Wilshere…

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I meant 4-1, obviously.

  • Whatever we do on Sunday, we must keep a clean sheet. It’s all we need for Szczesny to win the Golden Gloves. Be nice for him to win it as a big middle finger to those lamenting a need for a ‘world class keeper’ with no faith in the young man. I hope that Giroud finishes as the highest goal scorer in the league next season too.

  • Micheal Ram

    Walter,

    With full of respect, I have to disagree with Diaby starting. The boy was out for 14 months and starting in a match means survival or relegation for the opponents is very unwise. Norwich has the desire to crash into Arsenal players if needed to considering their current predicaments, a truly bad state of British football anyways. A sub appearance if the scoreline suggest Arsenal in comfortable position is a logical practice. Im sure Arsene knows the importance of resting and maintaining the groove. Oh god, im will be in tears of joy to see Diaby in action again. I frankly believe he is as equal as Yaya Toure as talent concerns.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hope the youngsters get to play ,but am hopeful that there be no injuries .

  • nicky

    @Micheal Ram,
    Agree with all you say about Diaby.
    I would rather he came on as a sub, depending how the game is progressing i.e. are we being kicked off the field.
    Better by far to play him regularly in the pre-season games.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Norwich has to win with a swing in goal difference of around 18 goals! And then they have to rely on WBA not getting one point at home to Stoke.

    I think even the most optimistic ‘Untold Norwich’ fan will admit that this is impossible to do. Certainly when you only scored 28 goals in the season so far.
    So the only thing the Norwich players can play for will be a bit of pride.
    For me even a 0-0 would be a great result with Szczesny winning the golden glove.

  • blacksheep63

    i think we should volunteer an Untold team. Walter in goal, Tony as the midfield maestro, i can do a turn on the (left) wing, Nicky at RB, Bootoomee as a nippy right sided attacker, Andrew in the middle (so he can argue with the ref), clearly Menace as out and out striker, fill in the rest yourselves. Boys get a rest. sorted

  • WalterBroeckx

    I would risk my knee and my future referee career for that blacksheep63 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • blacksheep63,

    How the hell did you know that I play on the right side? Okay, there are only 2 sides so it’s 50-50 but still well done 🙂

    I must nominate Bill from Manhattan as our Flamini. I think that if need be, he’d kick the living daylight out of anybody who kicks us 🙂

  • nicky

    @Blacksheep 63,
    As I once scored 7 goals for my School team in 1940 in a massive win over Blackburn GS 2nd XI, I demand (in a nice way) to play as a striker.:)

  • Jax

    Bootoomee
    I think there’s a 7/1 chance of you being right sided. That Bill From Manhattan is a right head case isn’t he.

  • Jax

    Bootoomee
    That should be1/7 chance shouldn’t it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    FFS sake Nicky Wenger should have signed you up as our title winning striker last January 😉
    Why didn’t you tell this before?
    Of course the moaners now will use this as a stick to beat us as it seems that there were goal scorers available.
    Goal scoring is like riding a bike I have been told :)Once you can do it, you will never forget how to do it

  • Jax,

    I know of only 2 sides, you know, left and right. I am not a betting man so I don’t use odds but as a mathematician, I have a very sound knowledge of probability. I know that there are many positions on the field but the only 2 sides are left and right.

    I’ll appreciate an enlightening explanation of the “1/7 chance” that you stated.

    On Bill from Manhattan, he reminds me strongly of Flamini in his comments but I respect his honesty. I’ll take a rude and expletive laden truth over polite and beautifully written bullshit anyday. I am a fan of Bill from Manhattan as he is mine.

  • bjtgooner

    @Bootoomee

    I agree with you completely about Bill from Manhattan – he says it as he see it – great. I much prefer that to some of the twisters and the skillful manipulators of the double meaning.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Damn I think Wenger will not call upon us…

    on the other hand some good news from the press conference: @aaronramsey is available again and @JackWilshere could be back in the squad. @KieranGibbs is back as well”

    Please don’t risk them too much Wenger in this match. But half an hour or so would be nice to get them some match rhythm of course

  • Jax

    Bootoomeee
    What I meant was that there is a 1/7 chance of you being a right sided player (although you could play left of course) as there are (supposedly) seven times as many right handed (footed) people as left. My school master told me that. I think I’ve seen Manhattan Bill on US blog 7amkickoff.

  • Anom

    Certainly this season is an improvement on what has happened in the past. Hopefully get this fa cup and shut up the whiners alike. We must not lose focus. Hopefully Norwich will already be on holiday mode come Sunday.

  • Micheal Ram

    I want the midfield double pivot with BFG. I can ram into the opponents and Brickfields can laugh about it. All juice and joy in one moment. Referees will overlook because of the amusement.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe Brickfields wants to play a part on the field himself. He could be very useful even if he has no football skills at all. He could start telling a few jokes when we get a corner and they will lose concentration and we could score from them.

    If not he can always sit on the bench and get us back on our feet with his medical skills. Gord would be a reliable assistant for Dr. Bricks I think. That is if he doesn’t claim a playing spot himself of course…

  • bjtgooner,

    Very true. And you are firmly in that category. I’m always looking forward to your comments.

  • Jax,

    I did not look at it from that angle but you are absolutely right. We righties vastly outnumber the lefties. They better not cross us 🙂

    I appreciate that. Thanks!

  • menace

    Thanks for considering me as striker (picket line would be more appropriate – even there I would probably collect for charity).

    I would love to TV up front (v Norwich) because he has all the assets. He scored a few initially but has faded after injury. TV & Sonogo would be an interesting strike force and also defence should start up front. A natural situation.

    As for right & left footers, there are also ambidextrous players like SC.

  • Gord

    Walter

    I was always the supersub. Played every position, and did athletic first aid stuff. But, I don’t know how I would get there. It’s a long drive, and wet for a considerable distance.

  • Gord

    I’ve been doing stats and sanding wood.

    In any event, it has been rumoured there are more football games this weekend.

    Cardiff v Chelsea L-W Oliver ? -6.3
    Fulham v Crystal Palace T-T Friend -5 1 CP
    Hull v Everton W-L Webb ? -2 f
    Liverpool v Newcastle W-L Dowd -11 -3 Newc
    Man City v West Ham W-L Atkinson 3 4.5 fair
    Norwich v Arsenal T-T Mason ? -13 Nor
    Southampton v Man Utd W-L Dean -1 3.25 ManU
    Sunderland v Swansea W-L Moss ? -1.5 fair
    Tottenham v Aston Villa W-L Foy 0 ? fair
    West Brom v Stoke L-W Probert -11 -1 Stoke

    As seems to be usual, some matches I am missing data in terms of BIAS. Actually, if someone came up with families of correlated teams, that would be useful. Someone at Untold suggest I substitute Stoke for Crystal Palace I believe.

    I don’t know how biased Oliver might be against Cardiff. Oliver is biased against Chelsea. Lawro is predicting a Chelsea win, and even with a biased ref, I find it hard to see Chelsea losing. If both teams park the bus, a tie maybe? Probably a fair game.

    Fulham versus Crystal Palace (aka Stoke) is a 6 point bias difference in favour of Crystal Palace. Lawro thinks this will be a tie, Friend would probably be in favour of a Crystal Palace win.

    Hull versus Everton. What does Webb think of Hull? He has a slight negative bias to Everton. Lawro thinks Hull will win. I think it will be a fair game. Personally, I don’t think HULL cares about this game, they don’t want injuries or cards going into the FA Cup final.

    Liverpool versus Newcastle. Lawro thinks Liverpool will win (I wonder why?). Dowd is the man in the middle, and while he seems to be biased against both teams, his bias against Liverpool is significantly stronger.

    Man City versus West Ham. Lawro thinks ManCity will win. Atkinson is the man in the middle, and he has a slight positive bias for both teams. It should be a fair game.

    Norwich versus Arsenal. Lawro thinks this is a tie. Mason is the referee, and I suspect Andrew will tell us more in the not too distant future. I would like to see Szczesny get those golden gloves.

    Southampton versus ManU. Lawro is predicting Southampton. Dean is not strongly biased for or against either team, but oneis positive and one is negative. Slight chance Dean will throw ManU a bone. Maybe someone can beat Neville over the head with it, to help him get rid of that empty feeling.

    Sunderland versus Swansea. Lawro is guessing a Sunderland win (go Mannone!). Moss is the man in the middle. I don’t know how he biases Sunderland, he is just slightly negative against Swansea. I’ll guess it is a fair game.

    Tottenham versus Aston Villa. Lawro is all over the Spuds running rampant on the Villans. Foy is the man in the middle. He is neutral about the chicken people, and I don’t know about his AV tendencies. I’ll guess it is a fair game.

    Wet Brom versus Stoke. Lawro has Stoke for the win. Probert is strongly biased against West Brom and neutral against Stoke.

    Conflicts between performance and bias? Fulham/Crystal Palace, Liverpool/Newcastle, Southampton/ManU.

  • Linz

    I think Wenger should play the strongest team he can,only leaving out those with niggles. You cannot underestimate the loss of competitive edge when not playing for a fortnight. There is no need for anyone to take any risks re red cards as ultimately the result on Sunday is irrelevant ( sorry Woj)

  • AL

    Wenger should play the peripheral players at Norwich,it’s a pointless game and after what happened with Pawson’s lying to ensure the hull player escaped retrospective punishment I think Mason might give one of our key players a red card to weaken us before the final. Or just let Norwich players kick lumps out of our players.

  • Why do I think that if Wenger plays our strongest team on Sunday and we lose an important player or 2 to injury or(and) cards, Linz would be one of the first to blame the manager.

    Arsene Wenger, as I am pretty certain, will field the players that he thinks needed to be played on Sunday. While I would love a win, I careless about the result but more on the welfare and availability of our players. I don’t think that the result of the match will have any impact on our game in Wembley but losing players to injuries and suspensions will.

  • WalterBroeckx

    We must keep in mind that in the game before the CC against Birmingham we lost Fabregas. We played on Wednesday that week against Stoke and Cesc did his hamstring if I remember it right.
    RVP was only just fit to start against Birmingham and injured himself again during that match when scoring the equaliser.

    I think those injuries to our then best players cost us the CC that season. So he can field the U14 for my part I don’t want any injuries in this last match.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Dilemma , opportunity , good advice or……

    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way if they get angry they’ll be a mile away – and barefoot.
    A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
    If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.
    My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
    Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
    It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
    I have found at my age going bra-less pulls all the wrinkles out of my face.
    For every action there is an equal and opposite government program.
    Age is a very high price to pay for maturity. A closed mouth gathers no feet.
    If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
    Always yield to temptation, because it may not pass your way again.
    Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
    A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.
    Eat well – stay fit – die anyway.
    Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
    No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
    Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.
    Opportunities always look bigger going than coming. Junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it.
    There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
    Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a mechanic. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
    By the time you can make ends meet they move the ends.
    Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
    I believe the only time the world beats a path to my door is when I’m in the bathroom.
    Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.

  • Gord

    And I get to follow up Brickfields with this?

    Okay, going back to whatever the top division in England was, back to 1970. I am ignoring Chelsea post-Abramovich, ManCity post-Oilers, ManU in the EPL and Arsenal under Wenger.

    As a general indicator, I am looking for runs of 4 years or more, where a team has a median finish of 4 or better, and has a MAD (median absolute deviation) of 2 or better. I am trying to find stretches where I can define the finishing position, to be that of a “top” team.

    Please provide reasons in arguing, I want to better define “top”.

    Chelsea has never been a top team before Abramovich (and since 1970).

    Ipswich was a top team for 4 years ending in 1981, and for 5 years ending in 1976.

    Forest was a top team for 4 years, ending in 1980.

    Leeds was a top team for 4 or 5 years, ending in 2000 or 2001. Leeds was a top team for 4 years ending in 1973.

    How do you classify Arsenal, for the 9 years ending in 1991, I am guessing the end of those 9 years they were top.

    ManU for the 4-7 years ending in 1982-1985.

    Derby was a top team for the 4 or 5 years ending in 1975 or 1974.

    Blackburn was a top team for the 4 years ending 1995.

    Tottenham was a top team for the 4 years ending 1984.

    Newcastle was a top team for the 4 years ending 1996.

    Liverpool has flirted with being a top team for the entire period. Define the good periods.

  • Gord

    Followup.

    For SAF at Aberdeen, he had finishes of 4, 1, 2, 2, 3, 1, 1 and 4. If I sort those numbers, I get (there is a reason for the odd arrangement):

    1 1 1
    2
    2
    3 4 4

    I have 2 rows in the center, so I want the average of 2 and 2, which is 2. The median of that set of 8 numbers is 2. Next, I want the absolute value of the difference between any of those numbers, and the median.

    1 1 1
    0
    0
    1 2 2

    Which when sorted is:
    0 0 1
    1
    1
    1 2 2

    Hence, the median, of the absolute differences is 1. Aberdeen under the management of SAF had a median of 2 and a MAD of 1.

    Ipswich had a run from 1978-81, which has a median finish of 2.5, and a MAD of 0.5. Ipswich had another run from 1972-75, which had a median of 4 and a MAD of 0.5.

    Newcastle (1993-96) had a median of 2.5 and a MAD of 0.5.

    ManU (1979-85) had a median of 4 and a MAD of 1.

    Leeds (1997-2000) had a median of 4 and a MAD of 0.5. Leeds (1970-73) had a median of 2 and a MAD of 0.5.

    Liverpool (1999-2008) had a median of 3.5 and a MAD of 0.5. Liverpool (1994-97) had a median of 3.5 and a MAD of 0.5. Liverpool (1971-90) had a median of 1 and a MAD of 0.

    The last run I thought I had, was Derby (1971-75) which has a median of 3 and a MAD of 2.

    I am going to discount Derby as a top team, for its MAD being too large. I think it is reasonable for a hiccup in the middle of a long run, to split the run into smaller runs. One reason which comes to mind is a run on injuries, but bringing in a disruptive player could also do this. Probably other circumstances. If nothing else, Liverpool had Heysel and Hillsborough.

    I would say a reasonable hallmark of a top team, is a median finish over a run of 4th or better, and a MAD of (probably) 1 or less.

  • Gord

    Okay, if I combine all those runs of “top” teams, I get the following distribution of finishes:

    1 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 1 1
    2 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
    3 3 3 3 3 – 3 3 3 3 3 – 3 3 3 3
    4 4 4 4 4 – 4 4 4 4 4 – 4 4 4 4 4
    5 5 5
    6 6 6
    8

    Change this to:
    1 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 1 1
    2 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
    3 3 3 3 3 – 3 3 3 3 3 – 3 3 3 3 3
    4 4 4 4 4 – 4 4 4 4 4 – 4 4 4 4
    5 5 5 5
    6 6
    7
    8

    I have to “smooth” the histogram to remove the “hole” at 7. In the process of smoothing, my distribution gained a point. Off to use this with my bootstrap.

  • Gord

    For those who enjoy pontificating.

    The most common finishing place for a top team (in the top level of football in England) is 2nd! First and third are about as likely, and 4th is only a little bit less likely. Finishing higher than 4th is possible, but not very likely (8 times out of 70).

    What are those media types harping about? Finishing 4th?