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August 2021

The Dark Forces v Arsenal: a preview of Marseille


The Christmas gift for the fan with (almost) everything


With over 2000 followers: Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


By Tony Attwood

Ah, Marseille, the darkest of dark forces.  One of the clubs that helped give rise to the legend that match fixing happens in funny foreign places but not in dear old England.

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Their president, Bernard Tapie, bribed three Valenciennes players (the club of which Boro Primoracto was coach) to throw a league match in 1993. Tapie was later jailed and Marseille were stripped of the title.
In fact it was quite similar to the Manchester United / Liverpool match fixing scandal of the 1914/5 first division season in England, as a result of which Chelsea were relegated.  But of course this is England, so after the official  enquiry which found both Liverpool and Man U guilty of throwing the match the clubs got no fine, no one went to jail, no one was thrown out of the league, although Chelsea were reprieved and allowed to stay in the first division.   That of course is the English way of doing things.

As for Marseilles Mr Wenger has contended that his club Monaco also suffered at the hands of Tapie and made a reference to it after last season’s incredibly bent Euro campaign (remember Vela being done in Portugal for diving rather than getting a penalty – which would have ensured we avoided Barca in the next round, and of course Van Persie’s sending off v Barca.  Match fixing?  Well, no of course not.  Doesn’t happen does it).

Indeed of his time in Monaco Mr Wenger said, “We fought against people who didn’t use regular methods,” Wenger has said. “I am sure we would have won more titles in normal circumstances.”

And as the most recent findings from our regular referee reviews show, it was ever thus.

So onto today.  The Velodrome is being redecorated so doesn’t get the full capacity, and as the last commentary on France yesterday showed, the club are not doing too well in the league.  But they are top of the group in the Champs League.

André Santos is at left‑back, and it looks like Aaron Ramsey returns to the middle which gives us


Jenkinson Mertesacker Koscielny Santos

Song Arteta


Walcott Van Persie Arshavin

I thought Koscielny played well on Sunday, and when Vermaelen returns we will have three centre backs in good form which is a novelty for recent times.

I also felt that Arshavin was really bubbling away when he came on, and I am not sure Gervinho has got the whole feel of the team yet, so I’d give him (Arshavin) a run. (I have to add though that I sit just to one side of the goal we attack in the second half in most games, in the upper tier, which is a perfect position to watch Arshavin in the second half, so maybe my viewpoint leads to bias).

(Incidentally, returning to the centre back issue, Squillaci and Miquel was the centre back pairing for the reserves yesterday, which leave Djourou as our spare central defender for tonight’s match).

Who else?

AOC has had an incredible start to his campaign, and I saw that Young Guns Blog on their Tweets was highly critical of Mr Wenger for not including him on Sunday – especially after his three goals for the under 21s.   But young players can get blown away by a couple of duff games as fast as they can rise up quickly on the back of some brilliant performances, and Alex needs to be managed.  I’d like to see him play some part in the game, but he hasn’t travelled.  He is a possibility on the bench for Sunday and certain to play in the league cup game next week.

I’d also like to see Ryo get a chance.  He didn’t play for the reserves last night, and he has been in the team of late.  I don’t know if he travelled – maybe he’ll be like AOC and get into the Bolton match but not this one.  On the other hand if we go 4-0 up early on he could have a little jog on the pitch for a while in this match.

Rosicky, Park, Frimpong, Chamakh, Coquelin and Benayoun should be lurking around on the bench, I guess along with Gervinho.   But I am a little hampered here by the fact that I can’t remember how many subs you can name for a Champs League match, and my lunch break is nearly over so I must post this.

But you’ll correct all my mistakes as usual, won’t you?

Oh, and just in case you are interested and didn’t catch it, here’s the team that played for the reserves last night…

Vito Mannone

Nico Yennaris  Sebastien Squillaci  Ignasi Miquel  Jernade Meade

Chuks Aneke  Craig Eastmond  Oguzhan Ozyakup

Kyle Ebecilio     Luke Freeman  Sanchez Watt

Which ones will we really see in the first team this season?  I’d go for Miquel, Eastmond (unless on loan) Freeman, and Watt.   But still, what do I know?

Have fun tonight.  It’s on ITV.  Best turn the sound off.



Untold Arsenal – the (fairly) complete index

32 comments to The Dark Forces v Arsenal: a preview of Marseille

  • jerome e

    this is exactly the same line up as Sunday! It’ll never happen. Ramsey is back fit and will feature. santos will play and i see djourou in there too. was chamberlain not selected for squad then? he’s awesome. and i agree, arshavin was brilliant sunday and will probably start over gervinho, but would like to see arshavin and gervinho working the flanks…
    i think ramsey will start over rosicky too, for fitness, or ramsey will later come on for rosicky as he’s just come back from injury. Rosicky’s passing sunday as absolutely brilliant. he’s got gooner football in his blood which arteta hasn’t yet got. i’m looking forward to the return of Diaby and Wilshire for the same reason too.

    Djourou berty(per)Koscielny Santos
    Arteta Rosicky
    Arshavin RVP Gervinho

    Subs: walcott, frimpong, ramsey, benayoun, jenkinson, park, flappyhandski

    Marseille 1 – 2 Arsenal

  • jerome e

    Sorry for the above comment, i pasted and copied my comment from another site and meant to delete the first line..
    Your line up choice is very likely. Ramsey is back & fit and will feature. santos will play and i see djourou in there too. was chamberlain not selected for squad then? he’s awesome. and i agree, arshavin was brilliant sunday and will probably start over gervinho, but would like to see arshavin and gervinho working the flanks…
    i think ramsey will start over rosicky too, for fitness, or ramsey will later come on for rosicky as he’s just come back from injury. Rosicky’s passing sunday as absolutely brilliant. he’s got gooner football in his blood which arteta hasn’t yet got. i’m looking forward to the return of Diaby and Wilshire for the same reason too.

    Djourou berty(per)Koscielny Santos
    Arteta Rosicky
    Arshavin RVP Gervinho

    Subs: walcott, frimpong, ramsey, benayoun, jenkinson, park, flappyhandski

    Marseille 1 – 2 Arsenal

  • Mandy Dodd

    brings to mind a certain Jean Pierre Bernes, heavily implicated with corruption in association with the Tapie issue. Unfortunately he is Na$ris agent, not exactly doing us any favours to this day! Although I guess you can also put Dein Jr in that bracket.

  • Jerome – glad I saw the second post before rushing in and asking what game you were at on Sunday!!!!

  • JohnW

    This is the sort of game where we should play Cochelin, rest Arteta and Gervinho and have Arshavin and Theo playing on the flanks. If we’re to win, Theo will be central because the French will be up against a player who really relishes his speed. But I think it will be a draw, 2-2.

  • slim

    Tony park and ryo aren’t in the squad I think.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Wojciech Szczesny
    Lukasz Fabianski
    Carl Jenkinson
    Andre Santos
    Per Mertesacker
    Laurent Koscielny
    Johan Djourou
    This is the squad that Wenger named to travel to Marseille:

    Tomas Rosicky
    Mikel Arteta
    Alex Song
    Theo Walcott
    Yossi Benayoun
    Francis Coquelin
    Andrey Arshavin
    Aaron Ramsey
    Robin van Persie
    Marouane Chamakh

  • Johnny Deigh

    Wenger said in that french interview that Van Persie’s form has kept Park from featuring.

  • nicky

    In the likely line-up tonight, 3 of the back 4 are Summer buys, as well as the central playmaker.
    The four are beginning to gel, but it takes time and we must have patience with them and also with Gervinho.
    In the wings there is Ryo,Park and AO-C, the young defender Miquel plus a host of established reserves waiting for promotion to the first team squad.
    Like many supporters of our great Club, after our “Summer of Discontent” I’m looking forward to the injection of this new blood into the team, particularly in what appears to be a fresh
    and exciting attack.
    When and how the newcomers will be absorbed will be up to Arsene Wenger but to me the future looks exceedingly bright.
    Between now and the January transfer window will determine whether there is any need for further player investment before the end of the season. What IS needed for certain is the role of all true fans, namely, to provide 100% support until next May in all the Club’s endeavours. Without this vital ingredient
    we won’t succeed. As they say up North..”THINK ON”…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Now that was a brilliant master stroke of genius. Just play around for 92 minutes and do nothing special and force Marseille to do nothing either. And then suddenly the Marseille players showed they read to much the AAA blogs and think “Djourou is totally useless” so they let him cross the ball and bang says Ramsey. 1-0 to The Arsenal 😉 Game over.

  • Gooner Gal

    I am so happy!!!!

    The atmosphere sounded a bit intimidating, Jenkinson was doing really well until he was forced off, Arsene made some great subs and Ramsey slotted in a great ball for the win. That is the attitude I love to see. They never gave up, kept pressing and had belief that the game is there for the taking.

    RVP spent quite a bit of time offside in this match for some reason and Arteta didn’t seem as comfortable or was as creative with the ball as I would of expected.

  • Gooner Gal

    Haha Walter!

    Djourou did nothing wrong when he came on as rightback, I have no idea why he was yellow carded.

    Also there is no way AOC should of played today in that atmosphere. You could see cool heads and experience shining through today. I am so glad Arsene Wenger is the manager and not some of these bloggers and armchair managers.

  • Gord

    @ Gooner Gal

    The BBC text commentary also had no ideas on that yellow card. The BBC minute by minute said it was an unfair challenge.

    @ Walter

    There should be a “care” package in your email for your wrong call work.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Gord, maybe UEFA have a quota for Arsenal which must be brandished each game. Do people bet on that sort of thing??

  • WalterBroeckx

    And what about Koscielny? What a great game he had. I think Thomas Vermaelen will have a big job to get him out of the team. But wouldn’t it be great to interchange between Per – Kos – TV at random…

  • Mahdain

    once koscielny has proved all the doubters wrong.i really like his play no nonsense and really knows how to intercept play..beast im telling you..what baffles me is there is a section of our “fans” still calling him average and shit..seriously havent they seen him play or just decide to turn blind eye? cant believe people still want us to overpay for the overrated and overhyped cahill..for what?is he better than any of our defenders?absolutely not..Per is starting to show his quality..really composed and disciplined and newsflash vermaelen is just 2 weeks away so why do we even need to waste the money on cahill? wenger already has selection headaches..i mean who gets the bench once vermy returns? there is no way can you put a fully fit Vermy on the bench..once the verminator is raring to go no one can stand in his way 😀 tbh i love it and im sure wenger loves it too..a good problem to have

  • Mahdain

    should have read *once again koscielny has proved the doubters wrong..

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Walter, Kos was my man of the match today, though I really loved Rosicky’s performance in driving the team forward and I am now watching Santos a lot closer too. As he looks like he will be a big improvement on Clichy.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Mahdain I agree with you, but the funny jokers that make up the ITV commentary team reckon he will be the one that gets instantly dropped for a Verm and Per pairing.

  • Mahdain

    @Gooner Gal im sure wenger is scratching his head on how to play 3 of them right now..surely the perfomances kos is putting in cant mean nothing can they? and like i have said there is no way hell can you bench a fully fit should per be dropped? no way he is really starting to come out good and showing how great he is..calm and composed and not the slow defender the media wanted us to believe…problems problems problems but for once good problem to have 😀

  • Mandy dodd

    Now that was pleasing, except maybe to the lunatic fringes of our so called support.
    Well done the team, kos you showed em, but always remember wenger cannot make substitutions, the aaa told me so!

  • bjtgooner

    Great win for the team.
    @Gooner Gal – I agree about Kos – he put in a super shift tonight.

  • Mandy dodd

    Any word on jenkinson? Thought he put in a great shift, really impressed with him, his energy and attitude, he , as everyone says, is not the finished article, nor would he be at this stage of his career but a player who will hopefully do great things in time. And even more importantly, he is a gooner.

  • Mahdain

    @mandy yeah jerkinson impressed me a lot..such a shame he got injured..on his injury wenger said “He has a knee problem. He overstretched his knee and we will check that tomorrow.” hopefully it aint serious

  • Mandy dodd

    Unfortunately, being an arsenal player, the wounded knee is likely to be serious with the luck we have on such matters. Thought jd did ok there though

  • Mahdain

    yeah he did great considering the amount of bashing he has been getting lately

  • Ruaridh Aitken

    Game comments:

    Jenkinson- never seen so many crosses in an arsenal game :), aquittted himself well.
    Koscielny- better defensive qualities than Merter but needs a verm/merter leader type bside him.
    Santos- off the ball-bit lazy letting Marseille send in too many crosses, not tight enough quite often (fitness?). On the ball bit risky but s’ppose thats natural 4 his style, will grow with confidence.

    Song- Best DFM in EPL
    Arteta- Never new he had so much industry in him-played a solid if not creative game

    Walcott- needs to be more effective on the ball…

    ITV’s commentary-average at best (Townsend @Arteta when he tried to skin a player to cut the ball back in the 1st half) “He didn’t have enough strength”. Strength was not what Arteta was lacking (it was a bit of extra pace he needed) you moron!

    Overall, a confidence boosting performance which could have been won with a greater scoreline with a better final ball.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Mahdain,

    I haven’t seen the Per/Verm up close to judge it, but I have seen the Kos/Verm up close and I thought it was instinctive and intuitive as they just seemed to have a great understanding. I have no idea who it should be really. I would like to see the day when that is a genuine problem though, where the manager has a fully fit squad to choose from and has the added headache of players like Miquel too in the mix. There will real competition for places and then ‘total football’ aspects will have to kick in, meaning that players would be very willing to slot in anywhere just to get a game.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Bjtgooner, I certainly wouldn’t swap Kos for Cahill or Samba – that’s for sure. Like the ITV pundit advised Wenger to get in defence a few weeks ago.

  • Domhuaille

    Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I’m an AAA groaner,moaner,gloomy doomer plastic fanboy and I’m sadddddddddddddddd!!! Arsenal are playing like shit but winning,wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    Jenkinson, Arteta,Per, Santos, Walcott, Arshavin, Koscileny, Ramsey, Gervinho and Rosicky are all pure shite but they look good….this can’t be happening, wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    Wenger is shit….he’s lost the plot, he’s hopeless at substitutions, he’s a French loser but he’s winning, wahhhhhhhhhh!
    OMG…could I be a moronic cretinous fool that knows nothing about Football and less about the Arsenal???? Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I’m going to join the Tiny Totts….they’re more my size!

  • Lanre

    Wasn’t impressed wit our creativeness last nite, but i like our work-rate. The guys put in a good shift. And what a better time to score d goal. We’ve suffered such fate a number of times too. Marseille weren’t that bad too, they just lacked the hunger. 5 win in 6 games for us now. Crisis? What crisis? I am looking at our team. Things are beginning to take shape n momentum now. Our defence, what will happen when the verminator shows up in a forthnight? Then, there’s diaby (a player i rate highly). Monseur Wenger’s gonna have some seriously good selection headaches. Well, the way is up for us now. COYG

  • David

    Excellent result in what was potentially a tricky game. Even the editor of the online Gooner almost managed to praise Arsenal’s performance last night – but didn’t quite fully manage it. Nevermind…