Arsenal v Ipswich – teams and all that sort of stuff

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Victory Through Harmony

By Phil Gregory

Well, the second leg our first semi final this season has crept up on us, or at least it has on me, having thought it was being played tomorrow.  Not the best of timing really, considering I’m balancing big shifts to finalise the report I’m writing for the Commons Inquiry between Uni commitments (read: skiing), but if you can’t find time for a match preview, what can you do?

So, Ipswich come to the Emirates with a new man at the helm, after their caretaker boss took over for the first leg of the semi-final. There was certainly a bit of fallout from that game which is neither surprising nor unjustified given we lost to a Championship side, and not a great one at that.

That said, much of the furore was around Cesc Fabregas’s “rugby” comments, and poor old Cesc really made a slip-up here. The journalist asked him a question about Ipswich’s playing style, using the rugby comment in the question knowing Cesc was likely to respond at least mentioning rugby. Cesc did, and voila the journalists had their headline of “Fabregas lambastes rugby tactics”, soft old Arsenal don’t like it up ‘em, etc etc.

While we don’t expect much more from the media these days (and indeed while the average Joe foolishly laps that stuff up, they’re within their rights to do it to make their money) it was simply disappointing to see many of our own fans fall for it, and lambaste our Captain for “being soft”.

Anyhow, today is a new day and all that, so let’s have a look at Ipswich. Since beating us, they lost away to Millwall and beat Doncaster at home in the Championship. Looking at their home and away data, they do quite a bit better at home as you’d expect with 6 wins in front of their home fans against only three for the travelling contingent. Travelling to the Emirates, with 50,000 fans behind us  (extra seating given to away support – but the game, which is not included on season tickets, is sold out, which says something itself) and yelling at the ref, as well as a pitch that is only going to help our game, I’d expect our home advantage to have significant influence on the game.

As for team news, we know that there are no new injuries from the last game, with a handful of doubts being passed fit.  Squillaci and Diaby are back in training on Thursday counting them out of this game but available for the weekend. Rosicky has been ill, rendering him short of full match fitness for this game, while I’m assuming Fabianksi is still out given the lack of mention on ArsenalTV.

Considering some of Wenger’s comments in regards to minor rotation, I’m expecting the following line-up then:


Eboue  Djourou Koscielny Gibbs

Song Wilshere


Walcott Chamakh Nasri

Szcznesy continues in the absence of Fabianksi, giving the younger Pole a further opportunity to stake a claim to the number one jersey. Our ever-present and increasingly impressive centre back double act continues at the heart of defence, flanked by Eboue and Gibbs. I’m anticipating the fullbacks however to be rotated for this game. We’ve got fantastic depth in both positions, with Eboue and Gibbs both highly capable deputies, and given the distance our fullbacks cover in a game, it’s a real advantage to be able to rest our first choice players and have complete confidence in the backups.

Give Ipswich have that one nil lead, we can get away with rotating defence as I don’t see them doing much attacking at all. However, we do need to win the game, so I’ve gone for a full-strength midfield, with all of those who played against Wigan appearing in this game too.  The next game isn’t until Sunday, so we don’t really risk tiring them out for it either.

Further forward it’s largely a first choice forward line, with only van Persie rested for Chamakh. While I did say earlier we need to win the game, I’m bearing in mind here recent comments of Wenger’s whereby he said he was choosing where to play Van Persie carefully. While the Dutchman is playing brilliantly and would be an asset in unlocking a likely packed Ipswich defence, Chamakh is a highly capable forward, and we could bring Van Persie off the bench if he is needed.

On the whole, while not our strongest eleven, I think that team has more than enough to it for a big win. I’m going for 3-0 to the Arsenal, though it is a tricky one to predict. Much will depend on if we score early: an early goal would force Ipswich to come out and look for an away goal, making it much easier to rack up a comfortable score line. We’ll certainly exceed three goals if we grab one in the first ten minutes; that much is guaranteed in my mind. If however we struggle to score in the first half, Ipswich’s resolve will be strengthened and their players will give absolutely everything to keep that clean sheet, knowing they are in with a real chance of Wembley. In such a case I wouldn’t turn down a scrappy goal or two to force them out but realistically I see us opening them up at home.

We’ll be playing a high line, likely with our defence on the half way line for much of the game. That’ll leave us vulnerable to the ball over the top, even more so than we saw in the first leg. If the fullbacks bomb on playing as auxiliary wingers, there’ll be space down the flanks for Ipswich’s players to receive the ball, and we’ll have less pace in the backline as a whole.

It’s something the team will be aware of after the first leg, and the best defence is simply excellent pressing. If a player is closed down from the front, he is going to struggle to play a decent ball forward, and will likely look to play the ball to someone else who can do so. If those side passes are limited as well by more pressing he may just lump it forwards, hit and hope style. Those sorts of balls will be ideal for our centre backs, who’ll be able to use their numerical advantage to mop up misguided passes without too much difficulty. If we limit their possession by using the ball well ourselves, and limit their ability to use the ball well when they do have it, they’ll get few opportunities to test the pace of our backline.

Enjoy the game, Gunners

Untold’s Submission to the Commons Enquiry on Football: let’s sort out the EPL/Championship divide

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We’re gonna score in a minute: but which minute?

35 Replies to “Arsenal v Ipswich – teams and all that sort of stuff”

  1. Arsenal must play against odd. The so called enemies of Arsenal for no reason and happen to talk negative through their media outlet. The Arsenal enemies must learn a lessen today. (The FA, The English media). When Arsenal had full of English players, we were told “boring”. When we play the highest standard, we are told “less English”. No such thing was said to Man Utd.

    Now it is time, in the world were football is driven by money but when it comes to Arsenal (driven by less money and passion), we need to teach our enemies. If condition permits why not beat Ipswich even 19 to nil.

    Come on Fabregas, Come on Gibbs, smash the net beyond repairs and silence the English media. Please Walcott; tell them you are the English Arsenal who netted 7 goals in that night. Come on Jack; make the history and hopefully the FA closes dawn for good.

    Get the racism out of the English FA and Great Britain. Come on be the heroes of the world and silence the media. Play for the racial harmony against the racist English media and racist FA

  2. Scoring an early goal will be highly vital. I hope we start with Van Persie and start with Chamakh in d fa cup later this weekend. We are already trailing in this match so its better to start with our best 11 and score goals as early as possible. Arshavin, Bendtner and Chamakh should be used for Fa cup.

  3. I agree with Dark Prince. The longer this game goes wiithout us scoring the more pressure there will be on our players. The crowd will get nervous and this will feed back onto the players.

    We should start with the strongest possible line up and try to be two nil up by half time. We can then make substitutions. Rotation can be left for the weekend.

  4. If it is 0 – 0 after thirty minutes, panic will start to set in, and Ipswich know they only have to score once and we HAVE to score three. I wish I felt a bit more confident.

  5. Hey guys, does anyone know a reliable streaming link for the game? My usual link’s not working and all else they seem to be showing is the Man United game later.

  6. Wacky line-up. Zero chance Arshavin does not start. If Wenger’s not even going to start Arshavin for a cup game, he would be on the transfer block.

    Also unlikely to see Fabregas starting. He’ll be on the reserves’ bench.

    So, Arshavin starts for Walcott. Nasri deputizes for Fabregas. And either Song or Wilshere dropped, with Bendtner and Chamakh both starting. Yes, I know they have been far from convincing together, but again, it’s a Carling Cup match, and we’re home, and we have a strong side. So here’s my prediction:


    Eboue Djourou Kocsielny Gibbs


    Arshavin Nasri Wilshere Bendtner


  7. @Stone Roses

    in the CC away goals only count in extra time i.e. we could win 2-1 (pick any one goal lead) and still have extra time in which to get another – unless that rule has now changed?

  8. Slim,
    You might be able to watch the game live on Wait until 2:30pm(7:30 UK time), it shoud give you the various alternatives.

    I usually watch most Arsenal matches when not on TV from here in Virginia, US

  9. Dogface – I won’t complain if it’s more than 3, but let’s say 4-0 sounds just right! 😉

    Can’t wait for line up to be announced. Please spare a nervous snake the news if anyone gets it.

  10. Byo – greetings from a fellow Virginian 🙂

    Should be winning this one at a canter, but we never make it easy on ourselves do we. Good to see a strong starting 11… my nerves could do with an early goal.

  11. taeryn– Greetings! I am in Charlottesville.
    Check out You have at least 2 options to see the match.

  12. Any decent pubs down that way that show the footy on weekends? I am in Northern VA and have to go into DC for that. Good to meet another Arsenal fan from Virginia, it seems everyone around here are Man U fans.

  13. Im watching the UTD game on that now they are 2-0 down to blackpool with 20 mins left.

  14. Final score 3-2 to ManU, but they’re far from invincible.

    3-0 to Arsenal. The chain of 3-0 wins continues… Phil, you called it right!

  15. So – where’s that twunt gandiv to tell us all that ‘shocking’ Bendtner isn’t fit to wear the shirt?

  16. LOL, A Casuel observer. LOL

    I feel like writing a celebration article. 🙂
    And tomorrow my ref review with one of the strangest incidents I have ever seen from a EPL ref. Shocking….

  17. You could be right Casual and Guess what thats 14 assists now for Arshavin to go with the 7 goals and we are only half way through the season.
    He may be out of form but still plays a part.

  18. Walter – he clearly didn’t know the rules! The Ref is NOT an outside agent on the pitch, I was shouting that at the telly before he finished blowing his whistle!?!?!?

  19. That was horrible ref, stoping a scoring opportunity just cause he’s touched the ball!

    The ref in ManU game was no better, he was whistling for them all the while they were down 2-0. Rafael shoved a player in the box, and the ref played on. Bullcrap!

  20. taeryn- The so-called ManU fans in VA follow the herd, it is fashionable. I have met a few and their knowledge of football generally is fleeting.
    A pub here in Charlottesville(Albemerle Sq)shows sports generally. But it is not an Arsenal pub. The other place is a pizza joint, most people there do not even pay attention.

    I actually plan my work around Arsenal matches, most of which I get to see-I can watch in my office on line or at home. I do miss a few when I’m on-call, though.
    Even my wife knows not to distract me on weekends(when she’s not watching with me). In fairness, she is an Arsenal fan now, as she buys me every gear she finds on line-got the shirt for my last birthday.

    Great win today. The guys made my day!

  21. It was never in doubt, was it? 😀

    What a goal from Bendtner, fantastic touch to bring it down and brilliant finish. NOT FIT TO WEAR THE SHIRT! Obviously.

  22. I’m estatic. Was really worried about this match. But what do I know. Great effort from the whole team, every player played well, never stopped fighting for the win. Bendy’s goal was brilliant and two assists from the other scapegoat of the moment. Here we come Wembley!!!!

    as much as I am happy about our fantastic win tonight, I cannot get over this apparent bias in English football towards ManU. Shocking refereeing during their match against Blackpool. A clear penalty denied for Blackpool. Not surprising since Utd haven’t lost a single match Walton has reffed while Mike Riley pulling the strings as the general manager of Professional Game Match Officials. The silence of the media is sickening.

  23. All I can say is thank God we did it! I love my club, I love the squad, I love Arsene Wenger!!!!!!

    I have about a month to try and get a ticket for Wembley, which I know won’t be that easy.

    I will be cheering on the Hammers tomorrow.

  24. It was very nice to win the game. Feels good to to the final, most importantly at Wembley. About the Man U game, I really think the FA and tje refs will do their possible to make sure Man U dont ever get beaten. Walter, usually you make ref reviews of our games only, but if you had an occasion to watch the ManU game, please make a review of that, because it wad shockimg performance from the ref. Anyway, holla to u ppl from Virginia. I lived in Fairfax county for 4 months when I was in college there. I watch Arsenal games online too. The link I use is Every game from around the world has a link. Back to us, I was very happy, Jack wilshere showed how really bad he wanted to go to Wembley. Bendy’s control was sublime. And The kittle russian may be out of form but surely, he knows how to pass.

  25. Typeface, I think sadly you are right.
    The english referees at present it wouldnt surprise me if we find out someday that they are in line with the Italian ones as in “for sale”
    Something stinks with the decisions manure get no one can get so many so wrong.

    I know we do our ref watch here for the Arsenal games BUT ….. I think we should also do a ref watch for the manure games and start raising some serious questions as to WTF is going on among referees when it comes to been fair during manure games.

    The penalty against us that rooney missed was a joke also. never should have been giving cheat your way to the title is what it looks like.

  26. Wemberlee,wemberleeeeeee.

    Hope west ham win.

    Strange atmosphere for most part last night.

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