A year on, and how the tune has changed. By Poul Tree.
A year ago we met the Tinies in the 3rd round of the League Cup. Our team was
Ospina, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Gibbs, Arteta, Flamini, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Campbell, Giroud.
This time against Forest the team was
Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom, Lucas
Not a bad selection by the Untold team in the pre-match guesswork!
Two players played in both games Gibbs and the Ox; the changes reflect in part the intensity of the match that was expected against Tottenham, but also just how far forwards we have come in a year.
It also reflects the depth of the squad. Contrary to predictions on Untold, Ooooospina did not play and wasn’t even on the beach, but rather we had our third choice keeper on the pitch and the fourth choice languishing by the Trent.
And the result, as one correspondent wrote in the national press, was that “Wenger’s players passed the ball with the kind of elegance that is simply not seen in second-tier”.
It will also be interesting to look at what happens in the next round where a year ago having beaten the Tinies in September on their own patch we then lost 3-0 to the Wednesday with Mr Wenger famously, and most unusually, criticising the youngsters he put in the team that day.
But most of all what we now have are several young players who might well become a solid part of the first team squad in the next couple of years.
OK, some of them are already part of the first team set up, but looking at the way the club has developed in the last few years with players emerging to be part of the first team, without having been transferred for a huge fee, there is a fair chance that at the very least one of these will be knocking on the door this season. Jeff Reine-Adelaide looks maybe the best bet, but who could be dismissed out of Maitland-Niles, Holding, or Akpom? And I still rate Willock the Elder.
Of course the most amusing sight is how the journalists and their editors are gnashing of the teeth, having to look elsewhere for their negative stories that they feel football supporters are anxious to read every day. Normally it is so simple: “go and see Arsenal and write something bad about them” is the standing order from editor to underling. Now, well we have such funny headlines….
Toure on way out of City as agent blasts Guardiola
Five things Mourinho must do to stop the rot at United
Chelsea fans not impressed by Cahill despite goal against Leicester in League Cup win
Scrutiny grows on Mourinho as losses mount up
To be balanced, the press haven’t quite got their heads around how Tottenham will cope in the coming weeks, restricting themselves to
Tottenham Kane set to be out for eight weeks with ankle injury
Kane set to be out for eight weeks with ankle injury
and other blandness. Had he played for Arsenal the headlines would be
Arsenal in total crisis as star striker out for at least three months with no replacement in site. Fans go berserk at Wenger on social media.
But times move on and the little scribblers are forced to case their eyes further afield bringing us
Barton under investigation for allegedly breaking betting rules
Hughes retains support of board despite frustrating form
‘Mourinho criticism nastier, more personal than Fergie’s ever was’
Tottenham fan’s view of Wembley experience: ‘Most of the best moments came before kick-off’
Adebayor hits out at club’s ‘nonsense’ excuse for not signing him
Fellaini and Rooney out of place in altered Manchester United system
Home discomforts risk bursting West Ham’s bubble
Discord and poor organisation in and around the repurposed Olympic Stadium threatens to be more serious than mere teething troubles
What really strikes me is how utterly, totally and amazingly BLAND it all is, compared to the raging torrents of abuse that we had last season about Arsenal (who to the utter embarrassment of the media and all anti-Wengerians everywhere ended up second in the league!)
Instead in commentary on last night’s game we get
“Lucas Pérez’s confidence should be soothed by the two goals he scored during that period of the match when the away side were at their most dominant. On that basis alone, Wenger can reflect on a satisfactory evening, featuring another spectacular goal from Granit Xhaka and late debuts for Chris Willock and Krystian Bielik, two 18-year-olds from the club’s conveyor belt of young talent.
“The only irritation for Arsène Wenger came when a fan was allowed to wander into the technical area during the second-half and tried to hand him a burger. Wenger looked suitably disgusted – not just at the food – but at the security breach.”
Even last weekend as the crisis at Very Old Trafford (built 1910) deepened we got “The Manchester United manager, José Mourinho, used a new system but encountered familiar problems in midfield and attack with Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney in losing 3-1 at Watford.”
If it had been Arsenal then we would have have
Clueless Arsène Wenger system changes don’t even paper over the desperate cracks in the entire Emirates edifice as fans demand manager’s public execution, deportation of chairman and return to Highbury.
As it was what we mostly get from the press today as the scribblers run around backwards totally unsure of what to do in a territory in which Arsenal have scored eight in the last two games and 17 in seven; and this from a club so desperately lacking in any sense of anything that they even failed to sign a proper striker in the summer, instead panic buying at the last second.
Here is another thought. Only three of the players in the Arsenal starting line up were aged over 24. Shock horror! No experience!!! Before the match started the scribblers had the headline ready…
Wenger’s gamble with kids backfires.
Actually though I must admit the Guardian did provide me with some decent service. The three over 24 was noticed by them, as was the fact that we had six teenagers on the beach and, in total, Arsenal’s starting XI and seven substitutes wore shirt numbers totting up to 618.
I mean, I know someone must have been horribly bored to calculate that, and it really is trivia, but it is still amusing that a Guardian journalist would be so desperate that he or she would get the calculator going on the mobile.
“I told the players before the game that we went to Sheffield Wednesday and lost 3-0 because we were not ready mentally for the commitment of the Championship,” Mr Wenger said afterwards. “Our history helped us tonight to start in a much stronger way.”
And that is what happened.
- League Cup: Nottingham Forrest – Arsenal 0-4: Xhaka boom again and a brace from Lucas Peréz
- Forest v Arsenal updates and Bellerin “has Barça DNA in his blood.”
- Ref Review: Arsenal – Southampton; a perfect example of how the new instructions to refs affects the flow of the game.
Anniversary of the Day
21 September 1889: Arsenal beat Tottenham 10-1 in the opening game of the season. Arsenal played six games between this date and the end of November and scored 50 goals, letting in five.