Arsenal v The Miracle Workers. Tonight at the Ems

By Bulldog Drummond

And so here we are again.  Shut away the memories of saturday and see what we can make of the league cup.  Out of the trenches, over the top, up and at ’em, go for the jugular….

Well, not quite.  But still, it’s a match, and Southampton, what with not having any European games to worry about will probably put out most of their first team that have taken them to second in the league (or secundo in foedere as they say in Latin).

In the squad, and almost certainly in the team is Diaby, who has been playing with the under 21s and was on the bench for the Villa game.  Of him, Arsene Wenger said,

“He’s a giant, mentally. To do what he has done, with the severe injuries he has had… he comes back every time, is dedicated and he deserves a lot of respect.  I’m a huge believer in his quality and I’m sad as well that he couldn’t show it more. If there is some justice, the future will be much better for him.

“Yes, I will rotate.  I have a big squad and we will still have a team of experienced players, and we want to do well in this competition. I believe this is an opportunity to give a game to players who need it and we go into a period where we play, and play, and play, and we want to continue to win our games.”

Chuba Akpom with six goals in the last four, was also described as “a huge talent”.  On the other side of the coin, one of the papers said that Bellerin wouldn’t play because he had such a poor match in Germany.  So that’s the new approach.  If your first senior match doesn’t make you a magical superstar, you are off to Southend.  It beggar’s belief.

We should also see Isaac Hayden, Francis Coquelin and Semi Ajayi.

Mr Wenger called Southampton “miracle workers” having lost half the team and the manager so he’s bigging them up.

Meanwhile, we can also say who we won’t see, because they played for the under 21s last night…

Macey; Kamara; Moore; O’Connor; Ormonde-Ottewill; Maitland-Niles; Crowley; Zelalem; Dobson; Hinds; Iwobi.  
Zelalem was obviously in the team to help it have some solidity, given that a number of players were pulled out to be able to play tonight.  There is no question of his being down-graded.  Same for Crowley.

David Ospinais certain to start barring accidents in the warm up.  Some suggest Chambers will play against his old team, but I am not sure, given how much he is needed by the first team at the moment – unless he is to be the solidity in the centre of defence that Mr Wenger thinks we need.  I’ve put him in, but could be wrong.

Isaac Hayden on the other hand is the under 21s captain and didn’t play last night so he will be in for sure.  Coquelin has been on the bench for our first team matches thus far this season and I think Mr Wenger still has confidence in him, as he has shown since signing him aged 16, or thereabouts.

Joel Campbell ought to get a game – playing on the right if Akpom plays down the centre which will allow Thomas Rosicky to play at number 10, and quite possibly have Podolski on the left.

Which might result in


Bellerin Hayden Chambers Ajayi

Coquelin Diaby

Campbell Rosicky Podolski


I am not even going to try and guess the bench.

Here are the facts and other made up stuff…

Not only are we on the unbeaten league run that Tony likes to talk about but we are unbeaten in the last 10 matches against Southampton (won six drawn 4), stretching all the way back to 2002.)

We have played Southampton four times before in the League Cup and won each time.

We have also won nine of the last 11 League Cup ties, losing only the clubs with lots of oil.  So as long as they don’t find the black stuff under the Solent in the next six hours we are home and dry.

Arsenal have also gone through at this round every year since 2002 – but then for the last three years so have Southampton and were the League Cup runners up in 1979,

Here’s our list of finals – we’ve won the pot twice.

  • 1968: Arsenal 0 Leeds 1
  • 1969: Arsenal 1  Swindon Town 3
  • 1987: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1
  • 1988: Arsenal 2 Luton Town 3
  • 1993: Arsenal 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1
  • 2007: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2

Southampton in the late summer

Today’s anniversaries and other stuff

87 Replies to “Arsenal v The Miracle Workers. Tonight at the Ems”

  1. I suspect we might see Coquelin at left back with Flamini and/or Wilshere in the midfield.

    Also, if Sanogo is fit I would think he would be likely to start ahead of Akpom (although I would rather see Akpom have a start – he has really impressed me in the little I have seen of him).

  2. On a separate note, but, looking ahead, if we really give the Totts a thumping on Saturday Pochettino could start to be under real pressure. We all know how itchy Levy’s trigger finger is…

    After the weekend’s games, my West Ham supporting work colleague remarked how great it was to be above the Totts in the League (didn’t bother to mention MU, Liv, Everton etc…).

  3. I would certainly like to see that team. I would also like to see players like Crowley Toral and Zelalem get game time from the bench (are the last two injured though?…not sure…)

    As for Southampton, they are a credit to themselves and the game.

  4. @jayramfootball

    I believe I saw that Toral is on loan at the moment. I am a huge admirer of his, big and skillful.

  5. Te promotion of the U21 players left that team understrength last night and they lost against Newcastle 2-1. I hope that those of them playing tonight have better luck. Should be a good game between two footballing teams.

    Our referee is Keith Stroud, Assistants – Nigel Lugg and Andrew Fox and Fourth Official Keith Hill. As far as I’m aware all are new to Arsenal so it will be interesting to see how they all get on. Mr Stroud has d
    officiated in three championship and four league one matches this year. He comes from Hampshire, so a somewhat surprising referee geographically (Southampton being in Hampshire) but for now lets give him a hearty welcome, he will certainly be a change from the normal tired faces.

  6. The thought of watching this line-up (or one close to it) is mouthwatering, to say the least!

  7. Southampton will look at our team sheet and know, it’s the best time to beat us. So it will be hugely contested, but back us to qualify. Would like a goal from Akpom, Podolski and Campbel. Hayden will play PL this season, he will break through. May be that’s why Arsene did not strengthen in this area.

  8. Cant wait to see Diaby play. I ask Allah to make him score and assist, and not to get injured again,ever.

  9. @JohnW
    Yes, I think Hayden was very much the reason all imagined central defender transfers fell through. AW would not sign anyone who would not be a significant improvement to Hayden, and there was no available options to remotely reasonable prices.

    All the best, greencloth.

  10. I find it amazing Stroud is the ref.He lives just outside of Southampton.I did a refs course some years ago and he was the main man.Has he ever done a pompey or saints match before.

  11. Thats a good looking team we’re putting out tonight.Good luck you Gunners! Dont blame you for editing out the Birmingham final Tony.
    COYG! Aha and Amen!

  12. That was a typical penalty against Arsenal am afraid.

    The second goal took a deflection, wrong-footing Ospina, didn’t it? I thought that’s what I saw but the commentator (Jim Beglin?) hasn’t offered that side of the story…
    We should overhaul the deficit in 2nd half.

  13. @Mandy
    It was a penalty.

    We were the better team, but we gave them free two goals.

    I just dont understand it, why do we always have to play much harder than any other team to get a win?

  14. Not a great half defensively from us… CBs and midfield look like they have never played with each other (probably because they haven’t!)
    Lots to do in the second half, Southampton fully deserve the lead, they have been the better team.

  15. Yassin
    maybe we need to test some young players
    give a rest to some regular players.
    need to think about serious competitions.

    for teams like southampton it is the only chance to TRY to win smting

  16. It was a clear penalty by the way! Silly play from Rosicky. He is experienced enough to know better.

  17. Have not seen the pen, or the goals yet- sounds like quite a lot to catch up on in this game!

  18. It was the slightest of contacts, and he was just outside the box. All I can say is it would not have been given against either of Chelsea, Liverpool or City. Maybe would’ve been given against Utd with Clatternburg reffing. The player went down as if he’d been shot.

  19. @AL it was at least a foot inside the box and clear contact. Don try and make a bad decision out of a fair one.

  20. Inside??…it was outside, if there was ever a contact in first place. The player flung himself into the box.

  21. Watching the game live and it WAS a pen. Defensively we have been poor – as I speak Southampton should have scored again… We look ok going forward, but open at the back…

  22. The penalty seemed a penalty to me. Tomas took his foot.

    We are losing through a deserved penalty and a wonder strike. However, our young team doesn’t look that bad. I have liked what I’ve seen of Bellerin, especially.

  23. Jayram
    It was outside the box, although the player dived into the box. Campbell was shoved down in the box about to shoot, and the commentator said it was a coming together. Why is it that we only get awarded cast iron penalties, while everyone else gets debatable ones, and some Arsenal fans are always too willing to see things the ref’s way, even where there’s a strong suspicion they got it wrong?

  24. Yes Bellerin looks very very quick and covers his errors well with that pace. Not such a young team though – Podolski, Wilshere, Rosicky, Diaby, Sanchez, Coquelin and Ospina playing…

  25. We lost to two mistakes from Rosicky and Ospina (it was a wonder goal too, cant fully blame him, but he could have saved it)

    Other than that I just want to see where did we play badly? Our defense open? Sure,we are open because we are attacking, but where are our defensive huge mistakes?
    Rosicky played bad after the penalty, sure that was predictable, but he wasnt THAT bad. And so wanst Diaby? Am I watching another game? Southampton playing on counter were controlling the game?

  26. The Miracle Workers have done it again.

    I’m not unhappy this time though, except for the youth who were going to get some more games in that cup. Maybe they will get a few more chances to play in the PL and FA.

    Now let’s hope the squad can last throughout the rest of the season.

  27. sounds pretty poor. Did not see the game, but we should win such games at home,especially scoring first. Heard on radio defensively we were poor we could not deal with their pressing in MF….but I dont believe everything I hear on the radio? If true, that is something we really need to work on.
    Shame, this tournament is a good chance for non first choice players, who we need to be ready with our injuries.
    Still, we have saved a few for this weekend
    Ignore the trolls!

  28. We looked pretty decent in build up play, but our final ball let us down. A few players made the wrong decisions consistently tonight and Southampton really should have won more easily on chances created. Pretty worrying defensive performance, but in truth being out of the Carling Cup is no big deal. Even though its a chance for younger players to get a game its just a distraction and can result in injuries.

    Well beaten by a better side on the night. Onwards to the weekend.

  29. We did not AT ALL have a poor game…a couple individual errors cost us much more then the score indicates…coz as a team the play was very good!

  30. @Mandy,

    We were not poor at all, we were the better team.
    We scored and out played them first. Then Rosicky gave away a penalty which can really been avoided, there was no danger from it.
    Then they scored a wo der goal after our defense cleared the ball from corner. Then they tried to hit is at the counter, so we opened our defences to equalize, we should have git a penalty and Wanyama shouls havw been red carded after his second yellow, but non happened.
    Other than that the ref was ok.
    If the game stayed at 1-0,we could have won it, instead our playmaker was lost after his mistakes. And they were damn lucky every shot from us on the goal, went straight to were their GK was standing, he wasnt moving and the ball went to his handa like 4 damn timez.
    Our defense was great, bellerin was awesome, The whole defense managed will to stop the counters of Southampton, but sure they will get some dangerous ball, its a damn counter.

  31. The positives I take:
    1/ One obligation that could potentially DRAIN the team is over with
    2/ Whilst its one lost opportunity for potential silverware, it is much needed time for rest and preservation of squad members (WE NEED ALL OF THEM)
    3/ Our youngsters had nothing to be ashamed of and actually showed they are close if not ready to the next step up.


  32. @apo

    I agree with your comment. We did not have that bad a game & against almost a full and quite belligerent Southampton (certainly no saints there tonight) we had them chasing for much of the second half.

    Unfortunately we let them into the match with an unnecessary penalty, as for their second goal – it was one of those wonder strikes that seem to hit us every now and again.

    After that strike Southampton tried to defend in depth and catch us on the break.

    On the positive, some of the young guys played really well & with much promise.

  33. We should have got a penalty, but I dont think the ref missed it due to bias, it was a mistake.
    Their penalty: it was a foul, buy was it inside, I cant remember, so I will leave this to people who do, but it was definite fouls.

    Anyway, I second apo Armani opinion, we deserved to win and congrats to southampton they played really well. Not a bad team to lose against, hope they win it now we are out.

    And yws total respect to their players, never attempted to foul us, except for that Pelle thing.

  34. Thanks Yassin….just sounds like one of those nights where we made a mistake or two but things just didnt really go for us, turned out a tricky draw against the early season team of the moment who nothing is going wrong for…for now at least, those are dangerous teams….Leicester are another….it happens.
    A shame for the youngsters and fringe players, but will not lose sleep, as long as we put things right at the weekend
    will avoid the media wankfest though. They will prob find a way to blame Ozil

  35. BTW, jus a word:

    Wilshere will break walls for this team, really? He almost broke himself out there to get the equalizer. MOTM for me followed closly by Bellerin.

    And I think we have a successor to Arteta when he retire, Diaby? I think he only lacked his fitness but he still has this moves and just perfect passes. And by the way, he didnt play badly at all.

  36. Shocking refereeing again, which cost us the game.

    Why don’t the FA stop the referees from cheating Arsenal out of these cups?

    Oh thats cos they hate the gooners too.


  37. It hurts whenever Arsenal lose a match. So I will take this on the chin.

    Watch out however for the doomers. For them, the season is over! Now is the right time for them to shout ‘Wenger out’

  38. And I thibk this FIFA, Uefa, and FA should start something against diving and time wasting. These are cheating and have to be stopped and thrown out of the game.

  39. We did not play badly nor did Southampton play that great. We were undone by a mistake by Rosicky and by a great goal that might have been stopped…I thought Bellerin played well, as did the whole back line – average age 20. Campbell flitted in and out of the game, Jack played OK. The Ox played well when he came on. Diaby was OK but was out of synch with the other players. Hey we lost – full points to Southampton but I’m not going to cry over this.

  40. I was sitting very close to the Rosicky penalty and immediately said penalty, no problems in my opinion with that decision. There were a few other shouts for penalties from both teams and again for the most part I think the ref got it about right. He should have carded the a Southampton keeper for time wasting long before he did and some of the tackling from both sides was robust enough for more cards. On the whole though I thought the officials had a decent game and we’re certainly of an equal or better standard than we get week in week out. I will defer further comments on the officials to Walter, if he cares to do a review.
    A disappointing result to a decent game, we displayed a lot of bluster but in truth rarely mounted coherent attacks. Southampton had two goals that we could do little about and won. No complaints and we can take a number of positives from the performance by a team who clearly weren’t all match fit or used to playing with each other.

  41. I think the result mattered not. There were no chemistry at all within the players as either they are newly brought into the team or inregular starters this season. Very obvious with the performance of Rocisky and Diaby. The defense are relatively young and very inexperience. We can’t win it all so would rather be in this competition. Not disrespecting the league cup, but I think Arsene got a bigger fish to fry this season.

  42. Time wasting started from the 55th minute.

    I still think it wasn’t a penalty as the player dived into the box from the outside. May be I am wrong. Will watch it again at But ref had a decent game otherwise. And as for Campbell pen. claim, it would’ve been soft. But then Rosicky one was soft too.

    Sad that won’t get to see Hayden and Akpom again this season. Let’s hope we can. They looked soooo ready for the first team.

    NLD next.

  43. Never really excelled in this cup. Not happy to lose but one less competition means fewer chances of injuries.

    Mainly disappointing for the younger players who won’t get more time to play some quality opposition.

  44. Anyone else getting fed up with a lot of Arsenal fans needing a scapegoat to blame when we don’t win?

    Now it seems it is Podolski’s turn.

  45. @ Will
    In fairness, he was our least active player and didn’t seem interested. No effort, no movement and bar 1 shot, was very anonymous.

  46. Will, to be honest he wasn’t much in the game but in my article about this match I pointed at the why. No natural left footed left back behind him was the reason. He cuts inside most of the time as that is where he is best but then he needs a left back to run the line. But as Coquelin is not a left footed player our attack from that side was not as it can and should be.

  47. @Walter, I agree totally with the analysis of that left side and how that would have affected the flow of attacking ability on that [left] side. In fairness though, out of the senior places in that line up (Poldi and Rosicky) were the ‘rustiest’ – that its no surprise given that they have no match fitness and it showed.

  48. ohhhh and we NEED to buy a DM 🙂 🙂

    or Was the our Diaby having a super comeback??

    In my opinion he showed much of the Diaby we know (great vision for the long pass, and take people on)…he did a fair amount of breaking up their play!!

  49. HIt is more the fact that Arsenal fans now seem to have to have someone to blame, it was Ramsey before and fans calling for his head. I have seen fans saying Jack needs to be sold as he is rubbish and frankly, as a life-long Gooner, it is annoying the hell out of me.

    I feel like asking them for the definition of support as they don’t seem to know what the word means.

  50. If I read the website and understood it, there might be that Wenger is trying to make Diaby that monster DM we need. In a way it would make him less vulnerable to the kicking he always got playing higher on the field. And maybe get him less injuries?

  51. Agree Apo,
    it seems that the older you get the more matches you need to be ‘match fit’

  52. @Walter,

    From yesterday match, Diaby can play that DM position perfectly, but as Arteta do, not because he is a monster, because he can conteol the ball and pass it no matter how many players are around him. The new DM which pundits cant see.

  53. @Walter

    Apart from the fact that I hate it when we go out of any competition (even the ‘small’ Cup)…The other reason I would have liked for us to have stayed in it, was so that we can rotate some of our senior players in order to give them much needed game time with purpose. The longer these guys stay stagnant the harder it will be for them to perform to their full potential.

  54. Yassin,

    True, Diaby is very good with the ball that no matter how many players around him, he still can manual his way out with ease. A better ball player in fact than Pat Vieira. Needs mental strength though. Let’s go, Abou, show the world how good you really are! We all are behind you, buddy.

  55. There’s a part of me that wants to win each and every match, and I can’t help but feel a bit miffed that we let this one slide. Ah, well. Upward and onward, I suppose.

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