From across the galaxies, the overwhelming Untold Arsenal prediction service…

Editor’s preamble: I am thrilled to announce that Phil Gregory has been found, dusted down, and has provided his pre-match analysis.   My match review will (snow willing) be appearing in the Observer on Sunday.

Now Phil’s piece…

Arsenal “welcome” Hull to the Emirates Cup for a clash that has plenty of controversy surrounding it, despite Hull’s promotion only last season. With the FA Cup tie culminating in the Fabregas “spitting scandal” (what a surprise he didn’t do it) and the infamous “who is he to sit in a JACKET and come onto the pitch at the end of the game! Outrageous!” from a member of the Hull City backroom team.

Oh, and the small matter of a 1-2 defeat at the Emirates in September.

I can remember the fateful day, and the exact spot I was standing in Headingley on the way to the pub when I said “we could just play the kids”. How very, very wrong I was. With the stage set, it promises to be a cracking match.


Most importantly for Arsenal, Cesc Fabregas is out for the game against Hull, with his injury said to be short-term, but no date set for his return. Traore is still out, expected to be back for Aston Villa, though Denilson has returned to the squad.

Rosicky and Bendtner are out until early in the New Year, while Van Persie and Djourou are long term absentees. Leftbacks Clichy and Gibbs are out, so Wenger will have a decision to make as to who is his 4th choice leftback.

Hull City are without their talismanic midfield player Jimmy Bullard. The likeable English playmaker is a vital component in the Hull City midfield, linking play and working hard and seeming to inspire his teammates to greater levels of performance.

Ian Ashbee is a long-term absentee for Hull City and will not be involved at the Emirates.

Key men:

Aaron Ramsey’s performances for Wales have been headline-grabbing, and now the young Welshman has an opportunity to impress the Emirates faithful.

Deputising for Cesc Fabregas is a task few would be able to manage, but with the crowd behind him and an undoubted natural talent, I’m looking forward to seeing the playmaker unpick the Hull defence in the manner of his Spanish mentor.

With an out-of-form front line, Andrei Arshavin will be expected to rise to the task. An early goal will force Hull to come out and play and make them easier to break down.

Hull City without Jimmy Bullard are a team with very few standout names. Geovanni was in inspired form on his last league visit to the Emirates so should be carefully marshalled by Alex Song. Stephen Hunt impressed in the Premier League with Reading, but him and Geovanni having a mere six league goals between them (less than Gallas and Vermaelen have managed from centreback) I don’t foresee much goal threat from Hull.

Arsenal Predicted line-up:


Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre


Diaby Ramsey

Walcott Arshavin Nasri

Subs: Fabianski, Denilson, Eboue, Emmanuel-Thomas, Vela, Eduardo, Wilshere

Fairly self-explanatory, given the lack of options in some positions. I presume Silvestre will continue at leftback, but I would go for Eboue personally, given he will offer much more going forward.

I’d expect Diaby to continue in central midfield given that Denilson is just back from injury and Ramsey will deputise for Cesc.

The front three is a little trickier, you could make a case for Eboue’s inclusion over Walcott but personally I see Arsène persevering with the young Englishman. Dropping him at this stage would only damage his confidence further and after all, it is only Hull at home.

Arshavin could continue at centre forward, but when Eduardo came on, the Croatian took over in the middle. Could we see him restored to the central berth? We shall see.


With a mere two points away from home, Burnley shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the Arsenal, even given our depleted side. Bullard is an enormous loss for them; expect them to struggle to get a foothold in the midfield.

Much will depend on how Aaron Ramsey copes with the pressure, but if he is going to fulfil his potential he has to take these sorts of chances to shine. With five goals scored away in the league all season, Hull shouldn’t trouble Almunia too much, and the clean sheet will be a welcome boost for the Spaniard. 3-0 to the Arsenal, solid home win.

Halftime musing:

What has happened to Senderos? Against Burnley, our only defensive substitute was Eboue, who could feasibly cover the fullback positions but not centreback. I know Emmanuel-Thomas’ versatility is well-documented, but centreback? Surely not!

And yet we had two strikers on the bench, both of whom could play wide as well as two young wide players. Seems to me Senderos is picking up his wages yet isn’t even in consideration. Given the importance Wenger places on mentality, I can only presume his mindset is all wrong after his loan spell at Milan.

Untold Arsenal announcement service from the editor.

On we trace Arsenal’s form 100 years ago, and as the year end approaches the problems grew.  We’re now only a month from the moment that MAKING THE ARSENAL takes up the story.  Meanwhile, as I mentioned at the top, with luck I should be contributing the Arsenal’s fans’ view column in the Observer tomorrow.  It generally also appears on line as well.   Bloody cold isn’t it (sorry that’s only relevant if you are in a cold place, but if you are in the UK or northern Europe you’ll know what I mean).

Finally, if you missed the last post – in which Billy the Dog gives his view of the forthcoming match, you can get to it via this handy link-type-thing.

(c) Untold Arsenal 2009

25 Replies to “From across the galaxies, the overwhelming Untold Arsenal prediction service…”

  1. i hope this prdictions work out fine and right, if so and other rival lose points then arsenal will at least be on the right track of league champ. goners 4 life

  2. I would start Eboue upfront instead of Walcott as Hull City will be very physical and Eboue will be able to cope better. Walcott should be brought on in the final 20-25 mins..

  3. I dont wana see walcott in our starting eleven at all…..i mean the guy cant even control a beachball……he has to pull up his socks otherwise he will end up in league one like jeffers….and i hate it when he talks to the press….he needs to concentrate on his footballl first

  4. A controlled performance from the team and showed that we can rough it up if needed. And when we did get rough, the ‘men from the north’ ccouldnt cope up with it.. Wonderful free kick from Denilson. He does have a great curler.. Almunia did a wonderful job saving the penalty even though it wasnt a great shot…

    Just 2 points of ManU and the 2nd place. Now looking forward to the Villa game. Thought Wenger had an eye on that game today by resting Sagna…

  5. Great prediction Phil.
    This must be a very sad day for the gloom and doom brigade. Who will they turn to this time. Denilson scored a cracking goal on a free kick, this must be ages ago that we scored like that. Good feeling. I think it is because Denilson is so lightweight and always passes the ball backwards that the Hull keeper didn’t expect it. 😉
    Almunia saved the penalty then and this was vital. But if the ref really wants to blow penalty’s like that then we will have some 9 penaltys each game. This was ridiculous. But then again we can expect those things can we ? So lucky Almunia was up to it and for the rest of the game one could see his confidence rising and he played very solid.
    Diaby ? No, one of the best players on the pitch so also not a player to moan about.
    I bet they will find something….

  6. Walter, the players who made the difference were ‘Lightweight’ Denilson, ‘Liability’ Diaby, ‘Not worth to wear the shirt’ Song and ‘Not Arsenal Quality’ Almunia. Feeling very strange because of this. It really is a sad day for the Doom & Gloom bridage which started with Fulham defeated the team they say is better than US and whose players are 10 times better than ours!!!

    I jumped with Joy when Denilson scored, when Almunia SAVED the penalty and when Diaby got the goal he deserved.

  7. Over here in my house the same thing Indian Gooner. I was so pleased with Denilson free kick. He has the quality, the technical ability and finaly taken the responsability and I can only say : more please.
    Also with the penalty save. I know he hasn’t had a great season so far but when you looked at him after that save he looked 10 cm bigger and full of confidence. The way he claimed a high cross comfortably, the safe 3 minutes from the end… this was the Almunia we have seen before and I hope this will kick start his season.
    I just want any player who has our shirt on to perform good. How bad he may have been in a game, when the manager puts him on the field I want him to do well.

  8. And now preparing myself for a real cracking game against Villa… I just hope the Eurostar is sorted out against next Sunday so I can get trough the tunnel under the Channel…:-/

  9. I realize now that all along I have been blind and stupid to believe we have a good manager and a good team. This was awful, from start to finish. I would like to say the flattering score was down to luck, but it wasn’t. It was down to something much worse than that; an ingrained lack of self-belief in the side. Once Fabregas is no longer on the pitch, we look ragged and disjointed. Because we played so badly, Hull became disjointed too. Then a few dodgy decisions, and we squeaked through. On another day the penalty would have gone in, and then we would have back-pedalled into the oblivion.
    Now I want to score the players, because that is the kind of person I am.
    Almunia – 2
    Silvestre 3
    Eboue -1
    Gallas and Vermallen -1
    Song – 4
    Diaby -2
    Denilson 5 day passes to Alton Towers
    Arshavin – two Zloytys
    Eduardo – a pink handbag and spritzer
    Nasri – 41 cloves of garlic and a French Letter

    I’ve scored Gallas and Vermallen as a unit, because this is the kind of innovative scoring system that marks my blog out as unique and cutting edge.

    Everyone can agree with me, We are rubbish, the worst team ever in the history of the Premier League to score 44 goals in 17 games. Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to their opinion, as my Uncle Ceacescu used to say.

  10. Wow, what a day. Didn’t get to see the game but kept an eye on it on the bbc. Sounds very much like Denilson’s freekick turned a game that could’ve gone very differently, cannot wait until Match Of the Day I’ll tell you!

    The penalty save for Almunia and the goal for Eduardo will hopefully put a bit of confidence back into their game. Very pleased to see us score from a direct free kick – I don’t think we scored one at all last season!

    The Villa match is huge. Great opportunity for us to address our doubters.

  11. The Village People have been coming on strong recently. But without the moustaches they are nothing. Martin Toenail is a good manager though.
    He’s really got those boys singing in unison.

  12. Denilson has some serious precision there. He really should be taking the really close free kicks (under 25m) because he can place it right where the keeper can only see it late and as a result can’t get to it.

  13. 8 : 0!!!!

    Not often that one has the extraordinary pleasure of watching eight goals you really like while conceding none. Yesterday was the day! We watched Portsmouth followed by Fulham followed by Hull. What a way to spend the day!

    Walter is clearly correct about the Hull penalty. Was the ref trying to “balance” things out after reflecting on the Nasri incident? The Mascherano sending off was more interesting. He dived in, his leg between Ben-Haim’s legs. He thrust his shin forward in an attempt to castrate Ben-Haim. The ball was to the right of Ben-Haim’s right leg, nowhere near the action. I don’t think the ref saw it properly, but while the two players writhed around on the ground, the ref spoke to the fourth official who described the action. This resulted in the red card. Is this allowed?

    Congratulations to Phil! Mark – great post.

  14. Phil, Spot on prediction mate.

    It is official. Diaby is the back-up to Cesc Fabregas. a truly Man-of-the-match performance from him yesterday.

    Denil-my-son, A truly Brazilian free kick, that was.

    The Aluminium man? He just stopped the albeit dubious penalty. A true world class goalkeeper would not have done that. Useless!

  15. i thought we played so-so in the first half. dull city were just trying to interrupt our fow, wind us up, and hope for either a lucky break or decision.

    the second half was much better, we commanded the midfield better and actually got in behind them. i must say that i was very nervous watching the penalty. it was going to be the turning point of the game either way. thankfully, aluminium (boiling point : 2519’C) noticed how shit geovanni is at taking penalties and denied the visitors.

    espn seem to have jumped on the anti-arsenal bandwagon quite swiftly. much negativity from the potatoes and parsnips. the nasri incident was a point in mind. it looked to me that nas accidentally stepped on one of the dull players, who promptly cartwheeled across the pitch in pain. this then led to barmby almost poking nasris head off his shoulders followed by full blown handbags. ceasar hunt and nas both ended up with yellows, but this seemingly wasnt enough for espn, who referred to the ‘stamp’ thereafter ad-nauseam. until that is they got wind of the ‘ooze’ news.

    if i had to pay to watch such dribble, i might find myself doing a grundy.

  16. the nasri incident was a point in mind. it looked to me that nas accidentally stepped on one of the dull players, who promptly cartwheeled across the pitch in pain.

    No, I believe Nasri intentionally stepped on the Hull player, without any force but with clear intent, AFTER being pushed roughly and rudely by the said Hull player when Nasri was trying to get the ball (which was awarded to us as a free kick).

  17. Shocked to find the BBC Liverppol Fans/ pundits think we played so badly and won 3-0- and from my viewing should have scored more.
    The decision to award Hull a penalty was amazing -must be the worst decision made this season by Steve Bennett-That is saying something- was it a mistake-really?
    One thing is certain-
    Nasri will be banned for 3 games -remember who he plays for – he’s French and sneaky… very sneaky-MUST have touched the man- look at the way that fair dinkum Aussie went down – and him a real man!
    When the anaemic FA tackles Sir Alex “ranting”Ferguson, I will take them seriously.

  18. Just let them BBC pundits say we are not good enough. It will be intresting to see how the FA is going to act.
    Normally when the ref gifs a (yellow) card the can no longer do anything about it. But then again if they would give him an extra ban then they open another pandora box and it could well be that they let this pass.
    On my pitch Nasri would have walked with a red card. As would have Barmby and Hunt.

  19. @Walter. “On my pitch Nasri would have walked with a red card. As would have Barmby and Hunt.”

    Nasri stood on the foot of Garcia, probably intentionally. This was in no way different to the dozens of players who did exactly that to Jens. I never saw anyone getting a yellow, let alone a red. Walter, please elaborate.

    Hunt raised his hand and pushed Nasri in the chest, perhaps as high as the shoulder. Barmby pushed Nasri in the face. Barmby is a clear red. Does Hunt’s push warrant a red?

  20. Cape gooner the answer is in the next article. Well, my answer that is. It would have been less crowded on the pitch if I was the ref. 😉

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