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Middlesbrough v Arsenal: the team

By Bulldog Drummond

We know most of the match facts by now – especially those that set out Arsenal in a bad light along with the fact that Middlesbrough have failed to win any of their last 14 games in the Premier League, and have failed to score in six of their last eight league games.

But as we noted last time we have not conceded in the last 3 games against Middlesbrough.  A straw I admit, but it doesn’t say I can’t grab at once passing by in my job brief.

These sorts of facts and figures generally mean that we need to score first and get settled (or get settled and score first) so that we can do our thing, and let Middlesbrough fret.  It will happen one day because ultimately all bad runs come to an end; it would be nice if it happened now, and next weekend we sailed through into another cup final.

And when looking for positives there is the fact that Arsenal have scored in their last 13 Premier League fixtures away to Middlesbrough while Boro have the worst attack in the Premier League.

Here’s another – I have not checked this one out but it comes from the BBC so ought to be reliable: Olivier Giroud is the only member of the Arsenal squad to score against Middlesbrough, with two FA Cup goals in February 2015.

And one more from the same source: two of the last three meetings between the sides at the Riverside Stadium have ended in a 1-1 draw, but the last was back in 2008.

So let’s have a bash at the team, given that we have not been doing well, and have a couple of players of note back in contention.

Cech

Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal

Ramsey Xhaka

The Ox  Ozil  Alexis

Giroud

By and large I would go for this line up – in particular with Giroud replacing Welbeck, because Danny has just not looked like that all firing guy who has previously come on as a sub on occasion.   Obviously if we do go with this sort of line up then which of the two who doesn’t play will be on the beach ready to come on with 20 minutes to go – just as the defenders are tiring.

The defensive midfield is also a problem: Elneny and Coquelin could equally play there, and once again whichever two are left out, they will be lurking in the river.

But assuming that team set out above is right (a big assumption I know, and one I make from behind the sofa since I got the line up right for the last match and then look what happened… but assuming it is right, playing in the mud on the side of the River Tees while waiting to be called upon we might or might not have seven from this group of eight.

Martínez, Gibbs, Iwobi, Welbeck, Mertersacker, Elneny, Coquelin, Walcott

Arsenal can’t actually win this match of course, at least not in the sense of winning over any hearts and minds, nor in the sense of showing that they have turned a corner.   The massed armies of bloggettists, pundits and journalists will see to that.   But a 10-0 victory to Arsenal might at least persuade some of the anti-Wengerian flag wavers to put their banners away, at least until the cup semi-final.

Middlesbrough v Arsenal – the rest of the story

Middlesbrough v Arsenal: ways of ending a bad run of away results

Middlesbrough v Arsenal. Booing Héctor Bellerín probably doesn’t help very much

Middlesbrough v Arsenal; 17 April 2017 – The Match Officials. If we end up with 11 on the pitch we’ll be lucky.

87 comments to Middlesbrough v Arsenal: the team

  • GoonerDNA

    And if we lose tonight I’ll be back to remind you…..Wenger out

  • Gunz

    @GoonerDNA
    Grow up!

  • Goonermkey

    GoonerDNA………what a fine name……….sounds like you must have benn “supporting” Arsenal for many, many decades; through thick and thin; through seasons in the bottom half of the top division; through many years without European football. I know I did and, as you will no doubt agree, it was so, so much worse in those days………..

  • If we were to lose tonight I would still be a reasonably ok and happy sort of guy who will got to the cup semi next week and enjoy myself with my friends. Looking at the anger on the faces of the little band of people who march around the Ems with their banners before the games I am not sure everyone can separate supporting their team from the rest of their life.

  • Six changes from the last match and 3 at the back I am hearing.

  • Cech;
    Holding, Koscielny, Gabriel;
    Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Monreal;
    Ozil, Sanchez;
    Giroud.

    Beached: Martinez, Bellerin, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott, Iwobi.

  • Jerry

    Did Mustafi pick up an injury?

    Lineup from the Arsenal app:
    Cech,Gabriel, Koscielny, Holding, Monreal, Ox, Ramsey, Xhaka, Ozil, Alexis, and Giroud

    Bench: Martinez, Bellerin, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi, and Walcott

  • para

    Can we play 3 at the back?
    Is this the new Arsenal?

    /
    Sky has been asking for more respect to AW in punditry?

  • Blimey para did Sky really say that? I took a peak just now and they were just talking about the tiny totts and chelsea.

  • para

    Tony:
    Just before, it was Neville and he actually critisized Carragher for saying last week that AW should be sacked.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Well three at the back is certainly a change – let’s hope it’s one that works!

    COYG

  • ARSENAL 13

    3 @theback…Oinks….

  • Andrew I have read your ref preview… we need to get the ball in the net 10 times to have one that counts

  • ARSENAL 13

    Why do players rub that thing on their shirt???

  • Menace

    The simplicity is that Neville was not pleased with Carraghers inference that Wenger should go. Carragher needs an education. He is uneducated & stupid when it comes to anything besides kicking another human being. At least Neville has some understanding of responsibility.

    In truth all the pundits lack sufficient training in human interaction & humility in front of customers. The BBC have lost a lot of its higher moral ground with its continual lack of HR testing of sports staff.

  • Menace

    Arsenal 13 – That ‘thing’ is vick or something similar to help breathe in the cold air.

  • Leon

    So, it’s three, five, two by the look of it

  • Menace

    Official already being soft with a pull & booking the OX

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ohhkkay…Ox gets a yellow…Fair enough…

  • ARSENAL 13

    @Menace,

    Vicks ok….

  • Menace

    Taylor playing to the Boro calls rather than seeing & then calling the foul.

  • Pat

    Here we go – a yellow for an Arsenal player after about three minutes.

    I hope our away fans are noticing this.

  • Menace

    A yellow to Leadbetter rather than a Red. A slidint tackle that connects with Ozil & is nowhere near the ball.

  • Pat

    Did you see that foul on Ozil? No wonder he’s smiling ruefully and wiping his brow. Glad he’s not injured.

  • gouresh

    Initially Neville used to attack AW, but since his sacking, the penny must have dropped.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Hahahah….Ox is wearing slippers. . Somebody give him his studs..

  • ARSENAL 13

    @menace…. Xhaka would’ve seen red…

  • Menace

    Arsenal 13 -That’s the system PGMOL use when preparing for a match. They are briefed on who what & how to manage the angle of the pitch.

  • Menace

    The clock is being manipulated with injury time. 3 minutes already.

  • Gord

    Another Middlesbrough player down receiving treatment. (Leadbetter, Fabio and 2 others unnamed according to LiveScore.) Didn’t we see this a game or two ago, where the opponents had a gazillion treatments on the field?

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    So Vicks claims its first victim…Fabio

  • Menace

    If the pundit sees a penalty then the PGMOL Taylor is blind as is his assistant.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wow.. Giroud should’ve got a penalty…

  • Menace

    Commentator saying lucky to get away with the cuddle but that is normal – Laws of the Arsenal.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Will video ref call it a penalty???

  • Jerry

    @13,
    If the video ref has not been corrupted by PGMO.

    Not surprised Taylor missed it, he’s completely useless as a ref.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oh wait…He gave a foul against Giroud for a 50-50… Earlier inside the penalty box….But this balant one….Missed??? How….

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ooooooo Rambo

  • Gord

    Come on Arsenal, get one in the old onion bag, so as to open the flood gates! Maybe we can get three hat tricks today.

    COYG!

  • Menace

    Some really robust tackling from behind by Boro but Taylor doesn’t see it. Oh just a foul….Arsenal Laws.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL

  • ARSENAL 13

    Is Xhaka do low on confidence that he doesn’t use his weak foot at all!!!!….

  • Menace

    De roon drops the Ox but bovine slaughter is permissable in this part of pitch.

  • Menace

    Ooops Alexis puts it in sooooooo easily

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ahaaaa…. Yyyeeeeaaahhhhh.

    Electric Alexis

    Cooooommmmeeeee ooooooonnnnn

  • Pat

    What a goal! What a pleasure!

  • Gord

    How to go Alexis! One down, many more to go.

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Just 2 mins added…

  • Menace

    2 mins injury time – one lost to the paying public.

  • Gord

    Five treatments and 1 substitution is only 2 minutes?

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Why are our players wearing slippers….

  • Menace

    Arsenal 13 – you can see it’s a miserable cold rainy night. The vick/or rub that has some eucalyptus oil in it helps breathing & also causes issues with opponents who come too close as it stings the eyes.

  • Menace

    The ground is harder than normal due to the cold & studs need to be longer. Because our pitch is so good this cabbage patch (only kidding) does not play the same.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Just saw a tweet from Podolski….

    Imagine Podolski becomes a pundit and first thing he says…”Arsene doesn’t do tactics”

    Hahhahahaha.

  • Menace

    Poldi is a true Gooner!

  • Vince

    Possession 31/69
    Fouls 6/11

    Same story all over again…

    If you watched this half, it was pretty obvious that
    – a red card offense foul from Boro (the tackle on Ozil) will be a yellow card
    – a yellow card offense will be a foul with no card
    – a random foul won’t be given
    And obviously the other way around, Taylor gave phantom fouls against Arsenal, and gave yellow cards at every occasion he got

  • Leon

    Should be three nil with penalties not given

  • Bash

    I haven’t seen any mention of Ramsey’s studs up challenge which could have been a leg breaker, or Gabriel’s high boot kick on Gaston Ramirez. Selective vision in full swing?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Noooooooo…. Come ooooooonnnnn.

  • Menace

    Taylor not sending Leadbetter off but having a chat like school kids. This is professional football. No chats just use the Laws & be honest.

  • Menace

    How many bookings are Taylor & PGMOL going to evade. Probably just as much tax in millions.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Will Clayton get a card today??

  • Gord

    Come on Arsenal, get those goals rolling!

    COYG!

  • Gord

    LiveScore mentioned Clayton fouls 3 times in first half, once in second. So, it could be he has completed 10 fouls by now.

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ooohhzzil…

  • ARSENAL 13

    Yyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhh cooooommmmeeeee ooooooonnnnn…

  • Menace

    Gord – its aweful the blindness of Taylor. I would spend more that half the match covering the crap. Despite it all Arsenal are on top.

  • Gord

    How to go Mesut! Nice assist Aaron. Maybe you can switch things, to get Mesut (at least) an assist today?

    COYG!

  • Menace

    Traore looks like he’s got a sheep on his head. Rambo might just get excited!!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oh no Menace…

    Ramsey likes some Dragons

  • Gord

    Menace, that is baaaaaaaaad!

    Come on Giroud, get a goal!

    COYG!

  • Menace

    What a cheating cunt Taylor is!!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Alexis gets fouled…But free they get!!!

  • Menace

    Arsenal 13 – thats what we have to put up with match after match.

    Get some serious stuff in to Times of India.

  • para

    A needed win, but Alexis with all the goals he gives us must stop giving the ball away, they could have scored making it even.

    We can’t put ourselves in that position, helping the opposition.

  • Menace

    Great game considering the 14 players against us. Arsenal are still in the hunt for the title!!

    Planes crash & disease strikes, pizza makes teams sick & PGMOL might have some bad pasta.

  • Jerry

    Great win by Arsenal today! Now let’s knock out the oilers next!

  • Menace

    There are so many good things to see yet the bastard PGMOL cheats always leave that bitter galling taste in the mouth. I hope they all suffer the shits or some damned stomach bug to suit their stink.

  • Bash, I don’t think you quite get the nature of what happens on a supporters site during a game. If you want to follow a match on a website dedicated to one team, what do you expect during the match?

    We do have a balanced analysis subsequently, but during the game? Maybe you should be follwowing it on the Daily Mail site. Although, come to think of it, perhaps not.

  • Gord

    Walter’s post is up.

  • Pat

    Ha ha ha ha Tony!

  • WalterBroeckx

    match report is on line

  • Gord

    UA-MoTM: Arsenal 13
    UA-DoTM: GoonerDNA (before the match even started)

  • Bash

    So I shouldn’t attach much substance to the comments. Thanks, will do

  • Goonermkey

    GunnerDNA…………where are you? No doubt you’ll be back again some time to share with us your experience and knowledge as a world class football coach, and top manager…………….

  • ARSENAL 13

    This is my first ever MoTM….

    Thanks to team Untold. It’s a team game you see…….😬