Arsenal v Wolverhampton; Untold’s now famous warm up

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Having established that all is not equal when it comes to referees we now start our regular build up and down over another game.  It was Dogface’s preview of the referee for the Everton game that started all the excitement and got the media going.  He’ll be along in a short while, but lest we forget, there are also a number of players involved as well.

Arsenal v Wolverhampton

By Phil Gregory

Excluding this sentence, the following match preview will not include the name “Phil Dowd”. I wouldn’t after all, want to take pleasure in the fact the FA has pulled him from the rota this week with Untold at the forefront of highlighting the ineptness of his performance (including the appearance of this blog on the BBC.

The good news is that the injury Djourou picked up wasn’t that severe and he’ll be fine for Barcelona. Wenger could be in two minds over the Swiss international, but if he’s passed fit his aerial prowess could come in useful against Wolves. The main cost for Arsenal of the international break was an injury to Tomas Rosicky, who is ruled out with a groin injury.

Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas are back fit after missing midweek internationals with illness, while Denilson has been passed fit. It’s great to have Song back, particularly in light of Diaby’s red card, while Wilshere only playing 45  minutes was no bad thing either.


Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy

Song Wilshere


Walcott Van Persie Arshavin

Szcznesy continues in net, with the usual back four in front of him thanks to Djourou’s return from injury. Song and Wilshere shield the back four with Fabregas playing further in front. Arshavin continues in the place of Nasri, with Van Persie central and Walcott on the right of the attack.

Wolves don’t travel well, with a solitary away win to their name all season. While they’re struggling in the league at the moment,there won’t be many Arsenal fans who need reminding that Wolves come into this game on the back of a win against United. Like any game in this league the opponent must be respected but even with a few first team players out we should have no difficulties seeing off this Wolves side despite their record against the top sides.

Wolves are a side who like to use the wings, which should work in our favour creating space in the middle of the park. Saying that, we will still likely see our midfield three numerically matched by theirs. Against United O’Hara played off Doyle, but I can’t help but suspect away from home they might leave Doyle on his own and bring in a defensive midfielder, perhaps with one of the two central midfielders given licence to support Doyle. Their wing play  will however result in plenty of crosses into the box, so the presence of Djourou is welcome in that regard.

Doyle isn’t the paciest of strikers, so won’t be able to exploit the space left behind our high line. Indeed, the high line will be quite effective at limiting the impact of their long balls forward, as even if Doyle is winning headers he isn’t much of a threat unless he has the ball nearer the box. McCarthy won’t want him to be isolated so may be tempted to play someone in behind, but again I suspect he’ll start off with a defensive midfielder sweeping up rather than an attacking midfielder supporting Doyle.

Wolves are an organised side, and that is what cost United. An excellent defensive shape and system requires offensive play of a higher level to break through it, and United simply didn’t have that. While they will be a threat at set pieces, we need to make sure we are on our game offensively.

While that may be a strange point to make given it is this Arsenal side’s forté (there’s your weekly french word, Tony!), it must be noted that our key attacking contributor this season has been Nasri and he won’t play any part. Apart from the goals, much of Nasri’s contribution is that he divides the priorities of the opposition: do they nullify Fabregas, Nasri or both? Leaving one relatively free is deadly, but so is doing a poor marking job on both and few teams have a pair of midfielders with the nous to keep players of the calibre of Nasri and Fabregas quiet all game. Some, however have one player and without Nasri that player will solely be focussing on keeping Fabregas’ contribution as little as possible.

It’s going to be up to the other attacking players to share the burden then. Arshavin is a man with bags of ability while Theo is another, creating options in his own way via off the ball runs. I suspect Van Persie’s performance will be crucial: with a defensive midfielder tied up dealing with Fabregas, Van Persie could come drag the opposition’s defence further forward in an attempt to track him, leaving space in behind for Walcott.

Certainly one to watch then. I’m going for a 3-0 to the Arsenal, with a return to normalcy for the home crowd. Prediction is of course subject to revision depending on the analysis that Dogface comes up with. Enjoy the game Gunners.

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15 Replies to “Arsenal v Wolverhampton; Untold’s now famous warm up”

  1. Cheers Phil nice analysis,

    Hopefully none of our players get Karl Henry’d eh.
    I have a firm belief also that the honeymoon is over for Man Utd and their season. They will drop at least 2 points tomorrow and our title charge starts this weekend.
    Enjoy the match everybody!

  2. Should be an interesting match, and with the spotlight shining brightly on the officials (can’t thank you enough, Walter and the rest of the Untold team), I expect at least a half decent performance from the whistle blower. Didn’t know Mr. Dowd had been pulled out of his matches, that says a whole hell of a lot.

  3. Re. Doyle..,
    He is faster and more skillful than most give him credit for.
    Unfortunately, after the F.A’s recent shenanigans there is scant chance of him fielding a ‘weakened’ side. So no level playing field as united yet again.
    I’d also like to add that after what happened at sportsdirect@st james’ (sorry as i am to reference that flea pit!) macarthy is likely to send out the bovver boys in an attempt to ruffle our feathers and get at our soft underbelly!- with a certain cretin at the whistle, it is the only hope of success against us.
    But on the other hand it is only a matter of time before a team takes home a cricket score from the emirates, please unspecified diety ( you know who you are, mike riley!) let it be tomorrow.

  4. Wolves are certainly no easy opponents!! They have beaten Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and ManU. Hopefully, or defence can maintain discipline for the whole game!!

  5. And in fact they were equal adversary in all 3 games they played Manure this season, in game at Cithe they were all but submissive and for bigger part of game they looked as they spend 200 millions on attacking options last two summers.
    So it will be far away from easy, but question is how badly Mick want points away o he is concentrated on wining all remaining home games which may secure spot i PL next year too (it wont be something new Mick decide to save some legs for more important game next week home). But again it mean little or nothing to us, as we have to win apart from what Wolves may try to do and get from this game.
    Maybe outcome of Manchester derby will also be boost for our squad (if happen what we all hope will). But lets see, one way or another 3 points are imperative.

    Why I am so scared to see what will Dogface say this time?!

  6. So the FA have rightly pulled that inept referee Dowd from its rota this coming weekend.BUT THE DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE. With the in-depth surveys being done this season, showing up the mistakes by officials, the next stage must be to find a means of rectifying errors so as not to penalize the Clubs concerned. It can’t all be swept under the carpet as “a rub of the green”. It could turn out to be a matter of life or death for some Clubs. As Bill Shankly once said “Football is more important than that!”.

  7. Does anyone know when Nasri will be fit again to play ?
    Will he also miss the Barcelona match ?
    Dowd should be missing for the rest of the season never mind this weeks game.

  8. Le Boss says he is training already but it will take one more week, so I don’t think he will be in tomorrow or Wednesday roster, but we may expect him in second leg game.

  9. Interesting, can anyone give some more colour about Dowd? Was he pulled out directly as a result of his appalling performance in Ars-NU, or does it really link back to the wider investigation (chiefly driven by Untold)? And what does his withdrawal mean – a suspension, or just a week off to ‘clear his head’ or something?

    Even Le Grove have been complimenting (in parts, anyway) the work of Untold on the refereeing thing by the way, think that says it all

  10. Agree with the team selection.

    My one concern is if we do not score early (or go behind) the 12th man will get restless/nervous which then feeds into the players. So the crowd tomorrow have the important role of remaining positive.

    In addition to a win I am praying for no injuries – particularly to Fab or the defence. I think you all know the reasons why.

    Finally, I suspect Nasri will surprise everyone and play against Barca at home.

  11. @pheonix gunner,
    It cannot have escaped the attention of the EPL bigwigs that the refereeing team they sent to NUFC was a shambles, my suspicion is they are all taking refresher courses at he moment as NONE OF THE QUARTET is ruining / officiating any matches of the EPL this weekend.
    Of course there is a chance that they all had to catch up on some overdue gardening!

  12. Firstly I stand corrected from a previous comment nice job on Dowd. Didn’t know Song was cleared fit, great news. If they’re not distracted by Wednesday should be a happy weekend. Cheers, that’s all.

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