Arsenal v WHU: recent events and the match preview

By Bulldog Drummond

And so we march onwards.   The results this year in domestic league and cup have been rather fine…  Working backwards from last monday we see.

  1. Man U 1 Arsenal 2
  2. QPR 1 Arsenal 2
  3. Arsenal 2 Everton 0
  4. Palace 1 Arsenal 2
  5. Arsenal 2 Middlesbrough 0
  6. Arsenal 2 Leicester 1
  7. Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1
  8. Arsenal 5 Aston Villa 0
  9. Brighton 2 Arsenal 3
  10. Man City 0 Arsenal 2
  11. Arsenal 3 Stoke 0
  12. Arsenal 2 Hull 0

I make that won 11 lost  on English soil, always assuming Manchester is part of England.

For the opposition we have

  1. West Ham 0 Chelsea 1
  2. West Ham 1 Palace 3
  3. Tottenham 2 West Ham 2
  4. West Brom 4 West Ham 0
  5. Southampton 0 West Ham 0
  6. Liverpool 2 West Ham 0
  7. Bristol City 0 West Ham 1
  8. West Ham 3 Hull 0
  9. West Ham 2 Everton 2
  10. Swansea 1 West Ham 1
  11. Everton 1 West Ham 1
  12. West Ham 1 West Brom 1

I make that won 2 drawn 6 lost 4.   Although those four defeats have been in the last six matches and the wins were in matches 7 and 8.  So the form seems to be with us.  And indeed if you want to go back further it is since 18 wins in 23 games since the start of December.

Put another way – in the last five we’ve won five, they’ve won none, but they did draw with Southampton and the Tiny Totts.

West Ham’s top league scorer is Diafra Sakho with nine.  For Arsenal we have (in the league only) Sanchez with 13, Giroud with 10.

On to the absentees.   The Ox got injured as we saw at Man U which was a great shame given how well he was playing.  He’s out for four weeks.  Rosicky is reported to have been ill but is expected to be available.  Probably unavailable will be Gabriel, Wilshere, Flamini, all of whom should be available for either the Monaco away game or the following game.  Arteta, and Debuchy are still pencilled for 11 April.

Song might be back for WHU, but Valencia, Reid, Cole and Carroll are all out.  Enner Valencia is likely to miss the game having cut his toe on a cup when he was forced to make a detour around Fat Sam’s fatness.

WHU’s collapse has been dramatic, and leaves them 15 points behind us.  We’ve scored 53 to their 39 and we’ve let in 23 to their 34.   Their problem in part at least is the absence of Andy Carrroll whose injury was, interestingly, also described as a freak accident – along with Valencia.

Fat Sam spake thus on the matter:

“Our lack of goal scoring power is a worry. Not having alternatives to use is concerning going into the last 10 games.”   They’ve scored four in the last seven.

And they have a Carlton Cole problem.  He’s just been fined £20k by the FA for tweeting.  

A Tottenham fan tweeted “Hi @CarltonCole1 when your own team-mates don’t kick the ball out when you’re lying injured for 2 mins, you think it’s time to call it a day?”

Cole replied with what the French call a bon mot

“F off you cunt”

Sharp, to the point, I’d say, the sort of language you hear in the street and the pub.  But not in the football ground. 

The rule in question concerns language which is “abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, in breach of FA Rule E3.”

Anyway, he’s injured.

As for Arsenal and the press, some of the old hacks are finally giving in to the notion that Coquelin is not a two bit reserve who got lucky, although no one really wants to acknowledge Untold’s championing of him through the ages.   The Independent has  “Coquelin comes of age to take centre stage,” and then went on to note him as the most impressive player on either side in the Man U game.

Meanwhile some of the press are noting that actually despite all the stats they have at their finger time Arsenal do not always go for maximum possession.  Then the scribblers have tried to say this is a dramatic change of plan – but… and this is the clue to when they are making it up – they don’t cite the stats for previous seasons.  I wonder why.

So, here’s the possession table for recent games.

 Arsenal v…. AFC Possession Result
Manchester City (A) 35.3%  2-0
Liverpool (A) 36.5%  2-2
Manchester City (N) 41.8%  3-0
Manchester United (A) 41.9%  2-1
West Ham (A) 42.3%  2-1
Tottenham (A) 44.0%  1-2
Borussia Dortmund (H) 45.3%  2-0
Manchester City (H) 45.4%  2-2
Besiktas (H) 46.1%  1-0
Crystal Palace (A) 47.1%  1-0

Of course changes in style have occurred but primarily because we have Coquelin and Santi Cazorla playing in the middle.  Both work and work and work for the team and have huge talent.  

And we have Bellerin.  Do you remember how Wenger was derided for not having enough defenders this season, and for “throwing kids into matches”.  Bellerin’s pace is extraordinary and gives us the counter attack option.  When you have had you don’t need all the possession.  In fact you don’t actually want it.

And thus, forsooth we come to the team.  Mr Wenger said

We were at a high level of fatigue because we played against Monaco, Everton, QPR, Manchester United, all very physical games. I will have to test medically, physically, how the players are on Friday, and I will make my decision then. The big priority is of course West Ham.

So how about


Bellerin    Mer   Kos     Monreal


Ozil     Ramsey

Alexis    Giroud    Walcott

On the beach, Welbeck, Sczcszc, Gibbs, Chambers, Akpom, Santi Caz, Rosicky

Playing West Ham in March – the historical perspective


86 Replies to “Arsenal v WHU: recent events and the match preview”

  1. @BD,
    Can’t make up my mind whether our increasing success is due to a fairer crack of the whip from referees…or in spite of them.

  2. I can’t even make a stab at today’s team. The individual arguments are so compelling for resting…pretty much everyone.

    Not so much because of the Monaco game, but because it’s followed by a tough one away at Newc.

    So you’re weighing up a recent gruelling run, a very big win in the week, a must-win game today, but at home against a West Ham team we have done well against recently and who are in the middle of a bit of a dip; a massive challenge in 3 days time away from home in Europe, where we are 3-1 down but still want to give it a go; then another big game, away, 4 days later. Who would be a manager!

    The usual suspects will of course review it afterwards as though everything that happens was bound to happen- if you don’t play so and so, and lose, you’re an idiot; if you play someone and they get injured, you’re an idiot- but that’s not how life works.

    I reckon Chambers will get a start today and, strange as it sounds, at some point we have to ‘risk’ resting the now indispensable Coquelin; today might just be too risky for that,though. Then there’s Kos. In terms of the three matches, which it is hard to imagine him being able to play all 3 of, today is the least risky one to leave him out of, but, boy, it’s still mighty risky.

    Interesting selection for sure.

  3. @Nicky, I want to believe both. We’ve not played to the best of our capability, but we’ve not done badly too. On the other hand, we have seen a better run of officiating than expected. Not that they’ve been biased in our favour, but they have made calls they should and have done.

  4. Here is a funny fact (or two):

    it’s going to be seventh consecutive league match in London for us, the last one before a trip to Newcastle. We’ve won five out of six so far and each one of the previous three at the Emirates. Bad news for West Ham.

    After that defeat against Southampton we’ve had three matches outside of London and we’ve won each one of them (Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester City and Manchester United). Bad news for Monaco.

  5. West Ham seem weakened, but that is no need for over confidence, they will still be a threat if we mess up concentration.
    Can’t see Theo starting for some reason, maybe Akpom should get a start. Just swap their places in the above list.

  6. I think that Theo will start in this game. Wenger has been very careful with him and didn’t want to risk him too much. But I think he could be given a start and rest others like Alexis even so he can get a breather

  7. There won’t be any risk involved today for the Gunners as they have promised the Gooners to seize all the Hammersmiths hammers, if need be at gun point. And then hammer the Hammersmiths with the seized hammers. But there has been a latest twist to this expected hammering of the West Hammersmiths by the Gunners. A news emanating from the West Hammersmiths camp that had gone viral on the Footballing Media, had it said that the West Hammersmiths have put their heads together and decided to appease the Gunners intention to Hammer them at the Emirates stadium, and thus are to offer a voluntary donations of 5 hefty Hammersmiths to the Gunners. And it has been made known that the Gunners have accepted the voluntary donations from the West Hammersmiths which they promised to effect at various stages of the battle that will be fought between the 2 groups on the Emirates stadium pitch this afternoon. So, this is the news I manage fished out from the grapevine. And I decided to share it with Gooners on this platform, the Untold website before Kickoff time. Therefore, we mustn’t be surprised to see a result at the end of the 90′ + of this encounter as AFC 5-0 WHU.

  8. Stan The Man

    To Nickys question, “Can’t make up my mind whether our increasing success is due to a fairer crack of the whip from referees…or in spite of them.”

    You said:

    “I want to believe both. We’ve not played to the best of our capability, but we’ve not done badly too. On the other hand, we have seen a better run of officiating than expected. Not that they’ve been biased in our favour, but they have made calls they should and have done.”

    I think it’s a bit of each as well. I certainly don’t think they’ve ‘given’ us anything that’s particularly contentious but I do think we’ve had far more 50/50’s go our way than I have seen for many a day.

    We’ve had a couple of very marginal off sides go our way, when freeze frame shows a toe nail possibly off, for example Ozil against Spurs.

    The penalty at City, although definitely a pen it is the sort of decision we don’t get more often than not.

    And then we have OT on Monday. As I have said many many times, Oliver had a great game but he didn’t GIVE us anything.

    That kind of Refereeing performance would NEVER of happened before, especially at OT.

    What I said the other day was that in these big, tight matches, it is as often as not the Referee that can turn the game in your favour, or, in the oppositions favour.

    Personally I think we have seen more balanced performances in many of our games. I remember even praising Dancing Dean earlier in the year.

    The fact is we haven’t been playing brilliantly. Well, but not brilliantly. And in past seasons just playing well would not of been enough to overcome both the position AND the Referee. But as we’ve all witnessed, given an even handed performance from a Referee, we are good enough that Just playing well can, as often as not, get us the victory.

    lets hope it continues.

  9. What do we think then ,folks? Anyone else convinced a momentous finish to the season is in store in the higher reaches of the league?

    For me we have a Utd team as desperate as they have been at any point in a very long time (since, oh, about October 2004), a Chelsea team who, despite looking so good for the league, are one bad result from being equally desperate (which consequently makes them desperate already; desperate to avoid the desperate situation, and acting accordingly)

    We have those teams and their deeply engrained behaviour patterns when the chips are down; we have the way that behaviour has generally been dealt with in the modern era; we have the furious fight for champions league places, which our team are of course involved in; we have the way we have been treated by referee’s in the last decade or so; and we have the strange events of the last week ,when not only did attempts to cheat fail to achieve their desired aims, but the media actually offered at least some condemnation.

    That for me, sets us up for an incredible finish to this year. To focus only on Utd, I feel that without getting some very generous, dubious and strange calls from the match officials, there is a high probability they miss out on the champions league. So what happens now when they inevitably go looking for that help?

    I expect to see some very strange things in this last period. I feel we have it well within our means to keep it in our own hands, i.e we have what it takes to avoid the position of being vulnerable at key junctures to an awful decision or two sinking our season. It feels imperative, for instance, not to have the season riding on the penultimate game, at Old Trafford. That abysmal decision not to give Newcastle a pen in United’s last game does not augur well.

    We can do it, starting with today’s game. We can’t give them the chance to screw us, and can hopefully, by holding our nerve and producing near our best, get to the position where, freed of high levels of desperation ourselves, we can stand just outside the frenzy and watch on.

    It might be hilarious, might be remarkably grim, but we just can’t afford to be there this time involved for the very last of it.

  10. Rich

    Agree 100%

    Personally I think we need to win all our matches against all the lower (with all due respect) sides, starting with West Ham and Newcastle.

    Of course no games are easy, but we have shown recently that we are capable of attaining maximum points in those type of games.

    That will hopefully give us the lee way we might need against United Chelsea and Liverpool.

    Even with our recent improvement against the top 4 sides we could still come unstuck against those 3, even on a good day.

    It would certainly be desirable to not need a result up at OT.

  11. I can see United ending sixth as they have a run-in from hell.

    1.Chavs – the gap is too wide, they have a fine run-in and shouldn’t have problems to win the league.

    2.Shitty – they are four points ahead of us. They’ve been pretty crappy in the defence and totally unconvincing at the Etihad (unlike in their championship-winning seasons). However, they have a rather easy run-in and only league to focus on after Wednesday.

    3.Arsenal – we have a decent run-in with three matches I expect us not to win and all three at home: Liverpool, Chavs and – it might come as a surprise – Swans. Still, with seven victories and three draws we should stay firmly on the third place and avoid those needless CL-qualifiers. Third place, FA Cup and Community Shield – sounds like a very successful season to me.

    4.Liverpool – they are in good shape and will get the referees’ decisions in their favour as a final tribute to The Most Overestimated Captain Ever. And, FA would never allow an English delegation in Champions’ League that doesn’t consist either or both Manchester United or/and Liverpool.

    5.Spuds – a relatively easy run-in and Kane on fire should be enough for them to leap-frog Manure. I don’t see them making more than that though.

    6.Manure – they have no balance, no shape or visible structure. Plus, their best defender this season is out for the next five games because of spitting and their most difficult matches – aside from the one in the penultimate game of the season against us – are the next five.

  12. Jambug, aye

    Without taxing my brain by trying to run through each team’s respective fixtures, I’ve the impression that, by winning the games outside those three we should be able to establish a sort of buffer, always keeping ourselves 3 points or more above dropping out, supposing those teams don’t all get maximum points (which given I’m sure they all have some games against each other, isn’t a possibility.

    In that scenario, we can approach those games in a slightly calmer frame of mind (the team and, as importantly, me) which would be beneficial from a performance perspective. It also means that if they go badly the next game would be ‘win, and we can stay in it’, instead of ‘win, and we might get back in it’

    It’s also the difference, those games, between expecting ropey refereeing against us, and expecting something much worse than that could strike any time, with everything that brings with it in terms of how the match unfolds.

    Yep, we need those other games badly this year. Secure the win today, and I’m set to absolutely relish tomorrow’s games. At least two of Utd, Spurs, Chelsea or Southampton dropping some points would be a nice Sunday afternoon if the business has been done on Saturday

  13. Gotta do the business ourselves first of course, and it’s certainly not a given.

    But if we do, Sunday will be a very enjoyable watch.

  14. The problem with tweeting / twitting is that most people retaliate without really thinking ( Duh !) .
    If they took some time to reply after some serious ( or humourous )thought , they’d probably come off sounding quite profound , smart and witty while still meaning the same thing .

    As they say ….
    Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for the directions!!

    Or as the priest camly said to the con man , ” Why don’t you bring your parents to church this Sunday, and I’ll marry them ? ”

    And Groucho Marx ,
    “Why, I’d horse-whip you if I had a horse.” Or
    “Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you.”

  15. Some more quotable quotes ….

    Nicholas Chamfort
    An economist is a surgeon with an excellent scalpel and a rough-edged lancet, who operates beautifully on the dead and tortures the living.

    Jilly Cooper
    The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness and kindness, can be trained to do most things.

    Zig Ziglar
    Little men with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds.

    Dennis Miller
    A good rule of thumb is if you’ve made it to thirty-five and your job still requires you to wear a name tag, you’ve made a serious vocational error.

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.

    Maurice Chevalier
    Many a man has fallen in love with a girl in a light so dim he would not have chosen a suit by it.

    William Clayton
    The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they’re going to be when you kill them.

  16. From the depths of Sky commentary, we have the official lineups.

    Arsenal XI: Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.
    Arsenal subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Bellerin, Flamini, Cazorla, Welbeck, Akpom.

    Which looks like Bulldog missed a swap between X1 and beach, and got one sub wrong. Pretty good predicting.


  17. Only the BBC (of Sky, SportsMole and BBC) made any mention of penalty on that play (4 minutes). Accuracy in reporting.


  18. Every week the officials make a big ‘mistake’, always against Arsenal. And we’re not supposed to blame them.

  19. Giroud…. Yyyeeeeaaahhhhh

    Na na naaaaaaa
    Na na naaaaaaa
    Na na naaaaaaaaaaaa

  20. How to go Giroud, and Theo.

    Well, none of the 3 commentaries talked about penalties again. 🙂 It would be nice to find an accurate commentary.

    Sanogo was on the bench for CPalace today, and played the last 10 minutes. He had 1 shot on target, fouled once, and was fouled once.


  21. Every time Olivier Giroud scores, I feel very happy for him. Every time he scores a belter like this, I feel very proud for my strong faith in him even when many were deriding him and calling him names.

    What a player, what a goal!

    Congrats Ollie, you absolute legend!

  22. That was some goal by Giroud – top class. Got Theo out of jail. Theo should have had at least 2 goals and needs to quickly find his finishing again.

  23. @Jambug,

    No, he only got Walcott’s leg, but according to the commentators, “it was a tough angle for the ref”

  24. Was a clear penalty for the foul on Walcott and a red card. I have no idea why the ref and lino did not see it. It can only be under direction from the FA to not give Arsenal penalties. There was no room for error.

  25. As for Le Tissier saying he got the ball – only bias and misrepresentation can explain his comments. He even saw the replay , although not needed, to make his assessment.

  26. Jambug
    I’m watching in HD and as Jerry pointed out, he didn’t get the ball. That was a stonewaller. Another decision against, it’s becoming mandatory to have a key decision go against us in every match.

    Giroud, what a goal. I really wish he’d do more of that, that left foot of his is as venomous as any of the best I’ve seen in the business.

  27. >> How to go Giroud, and Theo.

    From the BBC:
    > Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey played a lovely one-two in the build-up to Olivier Giroud’s opener

    Gee, imagine that. Ozil involved in the making of another goal.


  28. Thanks lads.

    Tough angle for the Ref.

    Seems like it was a tough angle for La Tiss as well !!!

  29. Now that I think about it, I thought the linesman on the near side was too eager to raise his flag against us. He did it twice when it didn’t appear the ball had gone out of play, Ramsey even kicked the ball away in disgust at one point. Just realising it’s the same lino who ‘missed’ the penalty. Hmmm.

  30. How many times does sakho have to bump into oooosipina to get a booking. Just wondering how that ass ref saw the hand ball for Sanchez and he could not see Walcott military clobbering!?

  31. From the BBC:
    > 16:07 Arsenal keeper David Ospina needs some treatment after he is clattered by Diafra Sakho – no free-kick given. When you consider how much protection referees normally get that is surprising.

    Little or no comment from Sky and SportsMole.


  32. Hahahahahahahaha…

    How come a Chelsea player came in for a west ham player….

  33. How did Foy get injured? Or is this a case of Foy not being hard enough on Arsenal, some on comes Taylor to do the job?

    How come Andrew didn’t think to predict this? 🙂


  34. From the BBC:
    > 16:17 You’re not fit to referee!

    > “You’re not fit to referee!” That’s the chant around the ground as referee Chris Foy limps off to be replaced by Anthony Taylor.

    Now would be the time to be able to listen to the game. Drat!


  35. giroud’s hold up play + one touch flicks I have loved that since he first played.

    remember one of his first games where he tried the insane shot from the left wing that almost went in?


  36. Giroud has to be the most underrated player in the league, the way he scores and the chances he creates is just sublime

  37. Great result.

    Sounds pretty comfortable.

    looking forward to the match report, oh and Sunday !!


  38. Well done, great win without too much exertion.
    I like the alternating of positions lads, shows you are growing more and more.
    Onward to Monaco we go.

  39. One touch football…. Awesome. Practice for the Monaco game…

    Go Gunners..

  40. Taylor must be pissed! He could get demoted by Mike Riley 😈 for this. He gets subbed in to wreck the game for Arsenal, and Arsenal get 2 goals, including Flamini’s first goal in a year!

    How to go Gunners!

    And it looks like Walter’s summary is up!

    A quote for Andrew and Walter to store away (perhaps). (From BBC)

    > 16:37 Gary Lineker Former England captain

    > “I think I’ve just seen the most blatantly obvious penalty for West Brom ever, unfathomably ignored by Michael Oliver.”

    Sunderland started the second half missing a man (for about 3 minutes). Leicester were playing against 10 men(Hull), and still couldn’t score.

  41. Seems like we can play pretty much any combination we like from a pool of about 16 or 18 players (maybe more) without even seeing the join.

    Takes me back to a proposition I put forward a few Months ago, which was…is this the best SQUAD we have ever had? Not the best 11 but best squad?

    Well I for one truly believe we have NEVER had this depth of squad.

    Just loving this. What a week.

  42. Tjay,

    Yeah I remember, it was just above the post.
    it was our 2nd game last season.

  43. Arsenal 13 @ 5.02pm

    Burnley just did!!
    Gap between Man City and Arsenal just got reduced to 1 point!! Go Gunners!!

  44. I was in Mumbai watching the game on TV could not comment as laptop was elsewhere. The PGMO cheats do not hesitate toward their agenda but will have to allow for honest john approach in some games or get slated in the media.

    I’m still of the opinion that we are being led to a double by a power greater than the FA & their PGMO dopes because of our honesty & quality football.

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