Rubbish keeper, wrong selection, hopeless tactics. Oh look we drew.

By Tony Attwood

“We trained today with the Champions League balls and the bibs with the Champions League on, and it’s difficult to describe the feeling,” said Mr Pochettino the latest in a long line of Tottenham managers.

I suppose it gets easier and less exciting for Arsenal, year after year after year playing in the Champs League, but yes it must be exciting for the smaller clubs that don’t get there so often.  While occasional Arsenal fans claim that fourth is not a trophy, it seems that third feels like one to the Tottenham manager.

Tottenham of course are repeating the experiment from years ago that Arsenal engaged in by playing Champs League games at Wembley, and they’ve been doing all the stuff such as practising on bigger pitches and exciting things like that.  The media, who chose to see Arsenal’s time at Wembley as a gimmick, are lapping it up.  But then, that’s what they do.

Meanwhile what did we learn from PSG v Arsenal?

First that there is a lot of fight in Arsenal.  Second there is probably a lot more to come, as the new players get used to the game plan.  Third, Ospina is one hell of a keeper.   Actually we didn’t learn that – at least those of us who watched his activities in the international arena didn’t.

The problem however is unless one was there, the enjoyment of the game was mediated via BT Sprout who built up to the match with a level of negativity about Wenger and Ospina which exceeded even their normal rabid delivery level.

Ian Wright got it going with a prolonged rant against Ospina for his incompetence in European matches in the past and Wenger for his crass stupidity in using Ospina.  “It’s a big game so you need your best keeper,” he said or something along those lines.

The entire build up on BT Sprout was in fact negative, negative, negative, negative.  Wenger had got the team selection wrong, and in particular the selection of Ooooospina was a nonsense.  Why drop Cech?  Ospina was rubbish last season.   (No mention of his international exploits since then).  It went on and on and on.

Compare and contrast with the Guardian newspaper this morning which says

“This was one of those occasions when what had initially appeared an unnecessarily risky team selection ended up feeling more like a masterstroke. Arsenal were overrun for long periods in Paris but still departed buoyed by the point pilfered from their trickiest tie of the section, and with David Ospina’s reputation as enhanced as Edinson Cavani’s was wrecked. The locals are growing used to their Uruguayan’s profligacy. Ospina, in contrast, has rarely asserted such a positive influence on his own team’s display.”

Sprout meaning could not get around the idea that if Cech gets injured we need a top keeper who is fit, and ready to play.  If you want a top international keeper as back up you have to give him a reason to stay at the club – and in this case that reason is playing in the Champions League.  It is not that hard to grasp.  Except for the Sprout.

And just when we thought the negative ranting might finish it went on and on and on some more, and by and large had little relationship with what I was watching on the screen.   From my seat on the sofa 374 miles away from the action Ospina was superb.   True Arsenal looked a bit overwhelmed at the start, but after that Arsenal looked to me very much like a team who knew what they were doing.

Of course the Sprout would never admit that their people had been attacking Arsenal, Wenger, Ospina… at the end of the match it was “other people” (not the likes of I Wright and co) who had perhaps suggested that Ospina was a bit of a gamble.   The negativity never once stopped until we scored.

As for the football, the result was excellent was Arsenal, in my view, leaving us with a chance of winning the group for a change.  Certainly if you had just listened to the commentary what you would never have imagined is that Arsenal had 48% possession.

So why do TV channels like the Sprout do this?  Why be so constantly, utterly negative?

In the end it comes down to a cheap way of making TV in which nothing much can go wrong.  Those of us who don’t buy into the opening propaganda can see that much of what is being spouted through the game is gibberish and can see the swerve away from the gibberish as it becomes clear that Arsenal are not being beaten 10-0.

But what the Sprout primarily relies on is the fact that attention span of much of their audience is very slight.  So instead of an honest statement, such as “Ian Wright told us the selection of Ospina was a dreadful mistake that was going to cost Arsenal dear, but the exact reverse has proven to be the case.  Why did you get it so utterly and totally wrong Ian?” we just get a change of view to meet the new situation.

The reality was that Ospina kept the score at 1-0, repeatedly denying Cavani another goal. Alexis Sanchez equalised with a half chance through a crowd and with the keeper well positioned, and suddenly the commentators have to change their tune.  An away draw in their hardest game is a good result.   Wow.  Arsenal are good.  Oh but Giroud is sent off.  Right time to attack Giroud.

Compounding their reality shift, BT Sprout then announced that Arsenal’s game against Chelsea is on Friday. are showing it as Saturday.   Of course if it is BT Sprout who got this wrong, they won’t ever admit it but will instead tell us that Friday is the new Saturday and that it was an extra turn of the world that changed the day because Sproutists can never ever be wrong.

They make reality.  Us poor followers know nothing and have to be told how the world works.  Because if we didn’t have Sprout, well, how would we ever know what was really going on?

Well, we always have the Guardian I suppose.  “For a team whose spirit is questioned so regularly, Arsenal do play often with real heart,” wrote Barney Ronay.  It was good of him to admit it.

Finally, back to the Tiny Totts, and a little word of warning.  Since they were last at Wembley, getting a beating in the League Cup final in the normal way, things have changed in terms of crowd control.

Following the gaining of planning permission for further development around the stadium, a new kettling plan is being introduced as supporters going to and from the ground are increasingly funnelled in and out of the stadium area.

Certainly I had difficulty getting access to the ground for both the recent semi-finals, but worse, the kettling that is now planned to take place (in which thousands of people are pushed into spaces and then held there with no way out until the police deem it proper for the crowd to move on) is becoming worrying.

Even the FA’s operations director, Julie Harrington, has been exercised about the issue, telling a meeting with the firm behind the redevelopment, Quintain, that it was “working from a position to maximise profits” rather than to “protect fan safety”.

She added: “If fans can’t get to their coaches and can’t get to their vehicles, if up to 9,000 fans are pooled behind the stadium with nowhere to go, if 15,000 fans are pushed down back streets to their coaches, it’s a recipe for disaster, a public order disaster, and the FA will not stand by and see fans treated in this way.

“We cannot be complacent about the huge steps forward made in stadium safety in the past two decades. No-one should believe that it’s acceptable to herd fans like cattle. We must learn from past mistakes.”

Transport consultants working for the FA presented analysis indicating fans could be forced to wait for up to three hours to board coaches.  An FA spokesperson said the FA “would not be able to attract major events to Wembley if fans can’t leave the car park”.

Still, for anyone who regularly goes to WHL for matches it will seem like luxury.

67 Replies to “Rubbish keeper, wrong selection, hopeless tactics. Oh look we drew.”

  1. The last three points in the headline are accurate.

    Ospina has always been a good keeper. So you’re a bit harsh there Tony.

  2. Truly Brilliant article. What a bunch of numpties. I love at the end of the game when Arsene gets asked lots of stupid questions still driving the stupid agendas of the pundits and he shoots them down with a wry smile which says stupidity is eternal (particularly in football).

  3. It wasn’t just Wrighty, I was constantly wound up by the “Arsenal are so lucky that Ibrahimovic is not on the pitch”, or “Zlatan would of got that”. It’s not luck Mr Hargreaves, he plays for Manchester United – that club you once posed for a few pictures with.

  4. Tony

    Agreed regarding Ospina.He saved the day for Arsenal.

    But we were poor at the back as PSg created chances and we were lucky that Cavani missed them. The defence must be doing better.

    Ozil was missing again.I dont know why?

    Thirdly Alexis played better on the wings so Wenger should stop pkaying him in the CF position imho.

    But to be fair a draw at PSg is a good result.Not many teams can win there.

  5. Good article – I enjoyed the read – Some good points made about the negativity on BT towards all things Arsenal……

  6. Great point! But I fail to understand the reason why this happens to us ever so often on the European stage – An extremely poor start resulting in a goal conceded which instantly puts us on the back-foot. PSG have lost perhaps their star player over the last few seasons & still manage to steam roll us comfortably in the first half.

    The fact is that they could’ve run away with the game in the first half. Why does this happen to us so often in the big games? AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Liverpool come to mind. We do try and salvage things later on but this shouldn’t be happening to us in the first place. A slow start compounded by the aggression shown by the opponents is suicidal to say the least.

    I just wish Le Prof manages to fix this problem dare I say it is psychological & has nothing to do with the team selection as the Mickey Mouse Media (MMM) so often put it across as. The same thing happens to us in a semi-final away leg at Barcelona……I cringe to think what the result will be!

  7. I turned the sound off after about 5 minutes because of the commentators’ negativity. Owen Hargreaves appears to be the voice of doom, at least for Arsenal.

  8. Arsenal were resilient and fortunate to comeback home with a point from Parc des Princes yesterday night. In a tough Ucl away match where Arsenal game was not superior to that of PSG neither was it inferior, Arsenal needed the 2 elements of resilient and good fortunes to get a result from Paris and that proved to be important.

    Like Ospina has said, my take was for Arsenal to comeback home with all 3 points. And suddenly, A chance for Arsenal to do that came out of the blue. But unfortunately, Iwobi fluffed his lines with that big chance he had to put Arsenal ahead in the game. But alas! He could only weak curled his shot to the left side of PSG’s keeper who effortlessly picked the ball without any difficulty. This is lamentation. But would Iwobi learn from this his error? At 19 is he still weak and can’t hit the ball with such a needed power and accuracy to hit the back of the net? Had he seen Sanchez execute such precision of power and accuracy when he equalised for us from the rebound of his Iwobi’s shot. Iwobi MUST improve vastly on the power and correct placement of his shot in front of goal to beat the goalie.

  9. There’s some sort of agreement that the two keepers will get regular matches in order to keep them content.Wenger said:‘I have two world-class goalkeepers. I can give them both games. If they do not play, you can’t keep two world-class goalkeepers.
    ‘We have a rule that the keepers know. It’s important to have clear rules like that. They know what the rules are for the season. If they change, I’ll tell them.

  10. Tony

    “Viewers attention span” is the key. We are becoming even more like American telly.
    What you say is unimportant, it is forgotten within seconds.
    just make sure you say something, no matter how absurd
    Negativity is much easier than positive comments
    Commercials is what pays for telly
    As Bernard Cordell says, he turned the sound off after 5 minutes
    i`m surprised he lasted that long!

    As always with Untold, thanks

  11. Excellent article… The commentators were killing us.. Even after Alexis scored, they were saying he hit the ball on the ground…its as if all the goals missed by cavani were non existent..

  12. I posted this on the previous thread but it is appropriate on this.

    Alan Brazil and Neil Warnock on tTalkshite this morning are writing Mustafi off after 2 games, lets underline that…. TWO GAMES, as being not good enough and a poor panic buy. Absolutely incredible that they are employed to spout this ridiculous nonsense.

  13. Tony,
    With respect I wish you would ease up on your continual criticism of BT and Sky TV, particularly the former.
    As a patron of both, along with a host of the old, infirm and those in distant lands, we rely on both broadcasters in order to follow progress of our chosen Arsenal Football Club.
    It may interest you to know that by the law of averages, most of us cannot hear the commentaries anyway
    (for which of course we are naturally thankful).
    So please remember in your thoughts and words, those who for one reason or another, cannot, unlike you, unsuccessfully seek a half-time coffee at the Ems. 😉

  14. Well from my seat on the sofa Arsenal secured an excellent point due mainly to PSG fluffing their lines rather than any brilliant tactics by Wenger. Could easily have been 4-1. Still its the result that matters.

  15. Well from my seat on the sofa Arsenal secured an excellent point due mainly to PSG fluffing their lines rather than any brilliant tactics by Wenger. Could easily have been 4-1. Still its the result that matters.m

  16. Ospina was excellent.
    A mild criticism of Tottenham today! I have been threatened with some very unpleasant fates on a well known …so called ….Arsenal….. blog/forum for less!

  17. Rosicky@Arsenal

    I don’t know why you use “again”? Mesut was very good and solid against Southampton and yesterday Cazorla was unable to deliver any good passes up front. But oh, yes, Cazorla is untouchable but i haven’t heard of him one second during the first half (note: i like Santi a lot!).
    And Sanchez as a striker offers no good platform for Mesut to shine. But yes, he wasn’t at his best but guess what: there is a team in front, a team that knows that if you wish to block Arsenal, you have to block Özil….

  18. That’s all very well Tony, but the performance was dire again and we just look to have no real footballing identity or plan.
    Much like the u19s whom I watched earlier in the day and were completely outclassed but managed to get a 0-0. It’s not just the result but the manner of it that’s important. It is possible to ignore the agenda driven idiots on TV and radio while still seeing that performances this season are beginning to mirror those of last. It’s time now for some progress to be made in developing the football identity of the squad and were just not seeing it.

  19. The U19s played earlier last evening and also earned a draw, neither team scoring. I had a meeting and only caught the last half hour listening as I drove home. The BT commentators were reasonably balanced as far as I could tell – a far cry from their colleagues later in the evening. As soon as I saw the usual suspects in the studio I turned the sound off. Far easier for my blood pressure..

  20. Were the same plundits who have modelled themselves upon Alan Partdrige who were trying to convince everyone that the Colombian keeper was no good were the very same Experts who told us Hart was the best keeper in the land?

    Says here that Hart was Torino’s second choice as they failed to land former AFC reserve keeper Viviano.

  21. Anybody that can’t see that Wenger’s game plan and tactics were sadly lacking again is a fool. Take your rose tinted glasses off and face reality. Arsenal were lucky to get a draw and most definitely did not deserve it. I am so disappointed with the club that I have supported for over 40 years that I can barely watch them anymore. And by the way, I watch the matches with the commentary off so I can judge for myself. Wenger is not getting the best out of a talented bunch of players. This is a fact.

  22. Tony

    I just posted this on the previous thread but I think it bears repeating as it’s pretty relevant to the points you make here. Sorry for the repeat.


    September 14, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Brazil and Warnock on talkshite this morning are writing Mustafi off after 2 games, lets underline that…. TWO GAMES, as being not good enough and a poor panic buy. Absolutely incredible that they are employed to spout this ridiculous nonsense.


    September 14, 2016 at 10:00 am


    Don’t know why you even listen to them arseholes mate.

    I haven’t listened to ‘talkabsolutefuckingshite’ for over a year.

    Last night I wouldn’t listen to the build up on BT simply because I know it’s usually an hour of Arsenal bashing.

    Similar to when we are on SKY. I don’t listen to the build up there either for the same reason.

    I haven’t watched SKY on Sunday mornings for at least 3 years, because the ‘Sunday Supplement’ is simply an Arsenal, or more accurately, a Wenger hate fest. Goals on Sunday found a way to bash us at the merest opportunity.

    Radio 5live is just as bad.

    The thing that sickens me is I pay an absolute fucking fortune for the privilege of having my beloved club criticised, ridiculed and abused at every opportunity.

    As, due to work, and finances to a lesser degree, I just cannot get to many games, if I want to watch or listen to Arsenal live, I have no choice but to subscribe to these broadcasters.

    To be honest it is for the reasons above I get so annoyed with the guys that come on here moaning and groaning.

    To me Untold Arsenal is my little Oasis of positivity.

    For example, with a night such as last night, a place I can come and enjoy a hard fought point.

    I’m over the moon at the fact we didn’t play brilliant but somehow with a mixture of luck, brilliant keeping, last ditch defending and a sheer bloody minded will to keep going, we got a point.

    What’s not to like ?

    Enjoy it FFS.

    But no, some have to find fault with this that or the other, and isn’t funny how it’s the same old names.

    You have to ask yourself, why do they even bother.

    If they have got there issues with Wenger, and my God some really have, why oh why do they have to come here, when there are so many other platforms where there seemingly endless negativity would be welcomed with open arms.

    What gets me is that these people know from the sites ‘mantra’, it’s blazoned across the top of the page ffs, that this is a site set up for folk who take a positive, supportive view on all things Arsenal and Wenger, and then they get all uppity when we become a bit defensive.

    We may be wrong. We may be misguided. We may be touchy.

    Whatever. If you don’t like it, don’t post here. There are dozens of places to go and listen to like minded souls. You can post and phone-in your whinges and whines to your hearts content, and not hear a word of dissent.

    One site, just one fucking site that wants to maintain a ‘positive’ attitude and buck the trend of finding something to moan at no matter what, and you choose to do your whinging here.

    I don’t get it.

  23. I think Owen Hargreaves sounds a lot like The Rza from The Wu-tang Clan, somehow if i imagine its Rza talking its less annoying.

  24. Cannot complain that ­we have come away wit­h the point one bit b­ut what’s worrying is­ our performance. It ­was obvious in the So­uthampton game and ye­sterday. We got away ­with it twice but you­ can bet your bottom ­dollar that a good te­am won’t be so forgiv­ing (as we found out ­against Liverfool). The way we were cut o­pen, almost at will, ­was very worrying, an­d the fact that the f­ormation/system the m­anager sent out simpl­y did not produce any­ kind of cohesive foo­tball surely requires­ a rethink at this po­int. This formation o­r whatever it is that­ Wenger is trying nee­ds to stop now as we ­have seen Alexis can’­t cut it up front. At­ some point you need ­to be able to control­ games, and win them ­on the basis of the q­uality of your own pe­rformance. ­On the evidence of la­st night, I’d back PS­G to win the group, b­ecause Arsenal – reme­mber with only one ne­w face starting last ­night – do not seem t­o have addressed the ­underlying problems t­hat saw them fall sho­rt last season as Lei­cester took the title­. And if Arsenal perf­ormed as they did in ­the Nou Camp rather t­han Parc des Princes,­ the result might not­ be dissimilar to the­ hammering Celtic too­k there at the same t­ime the Gunners manag­ed to escape with a p­oint.

    A case of getting awa­y with it, but that k­ind of fortune won’t ­last. Arsenal need to­ up their game, but a­t the moment, it is d­ifficult to see where­ that might come from­.



  25. Great result. It’s always good to get a draw when the other team played better than us. We have for years been told by know-it-all pundits that great teams pick up points even when they have off-days.

    Ospina was great. Why do haters have a “problem” with the fact that our goalie saved us from a bad defeat?
    Peter Schmiechal used to save Man Utd on bad days (back in the day when United won league titles and major trophies). Nobody said United was saved by their good keeper.
    In many games Neuwer saves Bayern from defeat.
    Ospina was hired by Arsenal to make important saves. That’s his job. He is part of the Arsenal team.

    Well done Ospina. Well done Arsenal on salvaging a point from a very difficult game. PSG were better than us on the day but our defense and keeper kept us in the game.
    Well done.

  26. Alex

    I dont know which match you were watching?

    I think Ozil failed to lead the proceedings.

    Did u saw Ozil ratings by different media outlets.

    I saw 2 of them.One gave him 6 and the other one a meagre 4.5.Extremely low as per Ozil standards.

  27. Jambug
    I admit to being an idiot for listening to Talkshite occasionally. I get wound up, angry and frustrated and it makes no sense, i must be a masochist.

    Following last nights game the media (and a good few of our own supporters) have given us a typical example of how they operate where Arsenal are concerned.
    We do not play at our best but dig out a draw due to excellent goal keeping and PSG’s poor finishing. We then get castigated and criticized by the media experts for our performance whilst the result is almost ignored.
    Contrast with the opposite scenario when we play fantastic but do not get the desired result because the other teams goalie makes a few worldies and they equalize with their only shot of the game, offside for good measure. And what do we get from the media and pundits and a lot of our own fans. You guessed it, no mention about the great performance and how well we played. Oh no, all of a sudden the performance is ignored and its the result that is the focus of the media negativity.
    So no matter what we do, it will never be good enough for some supporters and most of the media. WE can win, lose, play well or play badly and we will still get flack. If we win the Champions League this season I can guarantee we will be criticized for it having taken so long to have done it, or the other teams were poor or whatever.
    I am afraid, as Arsenal supporters, we just have to live with it.

  28. I was surprised that Arsene chose to play Sanchez as our main striker (whilst keeping both Perez and Giroud on the bench).
    I don’t think this tactic worked. Sanchez never seems to perform well when deployed as the central striker. And the game against PSG has again confirmed that Sanchez is better as a winger than a striker.
    We played much better when Giroud was brought on and Sanchez moved to wing position.

    I don’t know why Prof persists with trying Sanchez as a striker.
    Maybe there is something to this strategy that Prof knows and I don’t know. Prof knows football more than I do so maybe he is right and the future will prove me wrong.

  29. A few conclusions of my own.

    1.If Chelsea had snatched the draw in a way Arsenal did, Conte would have been hailed as the best thing since sliced bread.

    2.Arsenal have stretched their unbeaten streak in France. The problem is, our home record against the French teams is far less impressive.

    3.Alexis knows where the goal is and Iwobi is still learning. At this point, Iwobi looks much better than Ox who has to rise his game before turning into Pennant and ending up as a fringe player at Liverpool!.

    4.Mustafi and Kos might have a problem not just because of short adaption time but also due to similar playing style. Per’s partnership with Kos was a rock solid one and the Kos-Vermaelen one didn’t.

    5.If we get three victories in next three matches against Basel and Ludogorets (x2), a goal-less draw against PSG at home should be enough for top spot in the group.

    6.People who ask about Xhaka’s absence should know that he had tough time dealing with Krychowiak both with Borussia against Sevilla last season (Xhaka conceded a late penalty on the Polish midfielder) and with Switzerland against Poland at EURO 2016. Hence Mr Wenger’s attempt to use little and mobile midfielders to cope with PSG midfield.

    7.Speaking of Krychowiak, he dominated the German midfield including Ozil at EURO 2016. Really difficult player to deal with.

    8.Back to Kos. He suffered a head injury last weekend. No wonder he didn’t give his best performance.

    9.Ospina is the best second goalkeeeper in the world. If he hadn’t had a rival who is one of the best goalkeepers ever, he would have made No.1 spot of his own for years.

    10.We trailed twice in three days and got two excellent results. Me like it. Whoever is moaning about the level of our game should remember our second leg at Villarreal in CL Semifinal in 2005-06.

  30. Zurivi
    ‘Maybe there is something to this strategy that Prof knows and I don’t know. Prof knows football more than I do so maybe he is right and the future will prove me wrong.’
    An astute observation and one that lots of other posters should take heed of.

  31. Great point. And I have absolutely no problems playing Ospina. He really is a good keeper and Im sure him staying had a lot to do with being guaranteed champions league games.

    But there were absolutely glaring holes in our game that cannot survive the band-aid treatment game after game. first is Alexis as striker. If there is alternatives he should be played on the wings. He was a different player and we were a different team when he went wide. I can understand it if there are not any other options, but with Perez and Giroud on the bench it makes zero sense. He is always dropping too deep to get involved and we have no-one up top. Essentially we become a 4-6-0. Lets please get Alexis back on the wing until we have to play him up top.

    2nd: the make over of the coqzorla partnership is dysfunctional and not working, but its more due to tactics than performances. Coq slows down our play and he doesn’t enable a directness in midfield, big problem when you need to counter away from home, but the bigger problem is that Wenger doesn’t have Coq playing DM he has both santi and coq playing CM in almost box-to-box roles. They are a level pairing in defence and this is leaving space between mids and defence that PSG absolutely exploited this. The first goal is the perfect example. Coq from either this tactic or his own laziness simply refused to drop into said space and pickup Di Maria and Koscienly followed him WAY up the pitch leaving us short and exposed at the back leading to confusion for Mustafi and the goal. If coq drops in and covers Di Maria Koscienly stays in position and there is no problem. Tactical error leading to a goal. If we played a true DM this is not an issue. Dhaka came on and changed to pace, positioning and momentum and we got into the midfield battle after the break, for the life of my I cannot understand why he didn’t start

    3rd: The ox. He has been given more chances than that person you know who simply cannot give up on their cheating lover. Makes me quite disappointed as to why Campbell could barely get on the pitch then has to go on loan and the Ox who has never proven anything continues to be given opportunity after opportunity. Easy fix here was start a striker (i woulda played Giroud) and Alexis goes to the wing.

    Lets not kid ourselves this was a VERY poor performance. If Cavani didn’t just perform one of the best striker comedy routines of all time we would have been destroyed. You can say it was a game plan and it worked because we got a point, but it wasn’t the game plan that kept us in the game, we got exposed over and over and over again, until we made the changes (there were a couple chances after that, but at least we we a threat ourselves which wasn’t the case before 60mins). Yes a great point especially in the circumstances, but a few simple changes and tactically and we can improve immensely

  32. The manager knew we’d be plying ‘on the break’ and picked Sanchez for that ability. I’m sure that Lucas would have been a starting option if he’s played a few more games with us but it’s clear from his 1st game that the team need time to know his game, which is even more important when you’re trying to play the counter-attack game.
    The 1st option of winger would have been Theo for his speed alone (even though he rarely show it now…) but as he appears to be injured, the manager went for the next quickest option (without moving Hector) which is the out of form Ox, together with the quick (but not that quick) Iwobi who also has the benefit of excellent ‘vision’. Add to this that all 3 of them have very good shots (when on form!), and that’s why he went for that squad. Unfortunately the whole team played poorly (except the GK) and the sub-1 minute goal against us just put us on the back foot for too long.
    Personally I was very disappointed with Santi, Ozil and the Ref.
    They all seemed to be a yard behind the play and the ref let PSG off of far too many late tackles. His final card to HFB underlining how poorly he officiated the game.

  33. As gfar as I am concerned, I am happy Oooospina had thus hope he will have recovered from last year’s misshap.
    I really like the guy and thought he must be made of strech fabric when he was able to get that ball of the players feet at the end of second half. What an incredible save, without even a hint of a possible foul on the player.

    Hope his performance lifts the others out of their sometimes strange lethargy.

    Using off the shelf technology UA should offer viewers match commentary to replace the mean stupidities of the telly….image via TV, sound via some streaming….

  34. I enjoyed the summary of Ferdinand when he said that Sanchez scuffed the ball when he scored the equaliser. Nothing better to say, What a ……

  35. Purely as a side issue, I thought the antics of the PSG manager, Emery, were a constant irritation on TV.
    Mourinho is bad enough but club officials who are clearly frustrated actors have no place on our screens. 😉

  36. Mick@ 11:59, spot on bro. I don’t have problem with the Robots,, sorry the media, pundits etc, but i pity the so-called fans who moan about everything. Few years back, Chelsea won the champions League as the worst team, they were seen as heros, not bad but when its Arsenal, you know the story.
    My own, lets win pretty, ugly even very ugly…who cares…

  37. Pottechino knows what Champions league is all about and qualifying for 20 times is a phenomenal achivement.

    Nothing quite like it and once again a perfect start holding a favourite to draw.

  38. Chris,

    There’s no need for UA to do a commentary. Just use the one provided by, much more even handed, but not uncritical when necessary. The only problem is synchronising with the pictures.

  39. Wenger’s team selection was spot on I think. Sanchez through centre upset PSG. Putting Coquelin and Ospina proved to be masterclass. And we’re back home with a point.

    Haters gonna hate

  40. Great to see the WOB so upset….. their perception is that Arsenal have got away with it two games running…….yet they are very quick to hail other teams who snatch results when not at their very best, praising tactical acumen, mental strength, intestinal fortitude etc.
    The WOB live by double standards, which they can switch at any given moment to put Arsenal in a negative light, a bit like the media and idiot pundits they follow so intently.

  41. Something is happening with this team…. u can’t quite place it but the seeds of something is in there. Before now, we would have been lucky to escape with a 1: 0 loss. Even the Southampton game would have ended at best a draw. We are getting resilient. If this team gels, (without much injuries hopefully) we will pleasantly surprise many this season. One negative tho’. What is wrong with ox lade? He loses the ball too often and most annoyingly trudges away. Why not make an effort to recover the ball? Our English core is really falling apart. Willshere,Walcott, gibbs,ox,chambo all below par? I think ox rather than Campbell should have been sent on loan.coyg.

  42. @Mandy- spot on. Now idiots moan about lack of beauty in our game despite good results since that defeat to Liverpool.

    @chybike – you are right about our English core. Maybe they lack motivation to learn and correct their flaws. I recall how a certain Yugoslav manager was frustrated with inability to motivate the Arabian players from wealthy families to train hard. Thanks to this HG-rule and inflation of prices of English players, they get a six-figure per week contract and a wank-fest in the media before they have scored ten goals in career.

    Ox is a good example. I adore that kid and his talent but since the whole Ox TV thing, his career hasn’t reached the level his talent deserves. It’s not Mr Wenger who tells him to dribble without positional sense or avoid scoring/creating goals.

  43. Great article as usual Tony.

    Ospina did his reputation a world of good by getting us a point to help erase the almost impossible situation he landed us in same competition last time out.

    However, I too questioned the starting option. Wenger should know everything about Aurier, after all the Ivorien was heavily reported to have been on our sights before Debuchy came. He should have known Iwobi, as a great footballer that he is, lacks Alexi’s pace and defensive abilities to help contain the marauding right back. That made Monreal appear bad all game.

    Still, one had to be Barcelona to still keep shape after going down so early at a very difficult arena. Whatever Wenger intended went out of the window…because all game till we equalised, PSG conveniently played on the counter. Thankfully Ospina, on one hand and Cavani’s profligacy on the other, kept us in it until we escaped.

    Ozil’s only impressive game this season came in those sub 20 minutes at Leicester City. For one of his standards he was woeful. In Wenger’s shoes I would have subbed Chamberlain and Ozil after first half, brought in Giroud and Xhaka, put Carzola in no 10 position. But then what do I know?

    In all, I’m so glad we snatched the point. For once Arsenal got real lucky in the game of football. May the luck continue.

  44. actually Josif, just seen your posts, seem to be echoing some of your points from earlier on…Conte and the praise he would receive if he did that was a very good example.
    I was listening to the radio earlier. Tony Cascerino, a man who never has anything good to say about anything to do with Arsenal…was slating the team, firstly, in his opinion, for having no instructions from the manager, and then, pressing as individuals rather than as a team. The organised press seems the be all and end all for English teams these days. But the alternative, this PSG team and their clearly very clever manager are probably easily good enough to see through such relatively rudimentary tactics just bypass over organised pressing and other traps less sophisticated teams might employ. I am not saying such pressing doesnt work, sometimes it does, sometimes Wenger himself employs it, but there is far more to our managers game. Yes, in the first half, we probably did hang off them a bit, I would imagine partly because they are some very dangerous players, and partly in the knowledge they would run out of steam, which they did eventually.
    I despair at some of these pundits, especially ex players who should know better, and the fact they are given air time.

  45. Mandy Dodd, chibyke, josif

    Very good points.

    And specifically regarding this from Mandy Dodd:

    “The WOB live by double standards, which they can switch at any given moment to put Arsenal in a negative light, a bit like the media and idiot pundits they follow so intently.”


    I made that very point regarding an article by that numbnuts John Cross at the weekend.

    He ran a headline along the lines of ‘Wenger, if you rate Wilshere so highly why have you loaned him out for a year’ as an obvious criticism of him.

    But the idiotic thing is in the same piece he answers his own question/criticism and quotes verbatim Wengers in depth explanation, that he and Wilshere had agreed that it was the best way to guarantee him match time and get him back to full fitness and his top level.

    That’s dumb enough, but had Wenger kept Wilshere on, and he had found himself spending a lot of time on the bench, you just know Cross would of been the first to critisise Wenger for not loaning Wilshere to get match time.

    With these haters, whatever Wenger does they will criticise him.

  46. Ozil was the focus of tight marking – but his pass to iwobi in the lead up to the goal was sensational- and got us the point. I loved it! Well played mesut!

    As for the commentary I was fortunate not having to listen to the garbage… But think it is humble pie time for mr Wright…

  47. Not sure what game some people were watching. We started slow but as the match developed I was more than impressed with our application and desire. We were all over PSG leading up to the goal and our hard work got us a deserved equaliser. Admittedly there was little flair on show and only one outstanding individual performance – Ospina – but plenty of guts and running to grind out a valuable point. A lot of focus seems to be on the disjointed pairing of KosMus but I also thought Bellerin and Monreal put a real shift in; some great interceptions and hustling for the ball. Are people forgetting Paris have reached the CL quarters the last four years? They are a top side and a good test for anyone. Cavani is way overrated by the way, which is why nobody in the PL has come in for him despite his agent offering him to nearly all the top clubs. If Giroud lost/scuffed/miskicked the ball in front of goal as many times as he did last night the AAA’s would be screaming for his blood – if I was Emery I’d be having kittens over that performance.

  48. Good write up.

    Seeing the line up yesterday, certain things come to mind
    1. The Boss has his mind on the Premier League
    2. The reality that PSG is the only worthy rival to Arsenal in that group and therefore with proper player management, injuries can be avoided, early fatigue can be avoided and at the same time achieve appropriate result.
    From the above,
    1. It is understandable why our two recognized strikers, first choice DM and GK had to start from the bench.
    2. The player selection, particularly the bench, shows tactics deployed is to ensure reasonable attacking and defensive play while understudying the opponents playing pattern to set the tone for the second half.
    While PSG find it difficult going past Ospina, it provided an opportunity to fine tune the game and launch a good response. The introduction of Giroud and Xhaka for Ox and Cocquelin was tactical as much as stabilizing at a time when the midfield was down and Arsenal still needed to equalize. Both worked out.
    How some people still maintain Arsene doesn’t do tactics is beyond comprehension. And it will be an insult to basic sense for the media to understand this and still publish it regarding Arsene as they will be out of business. Negativity sells

  49. Arsenal win some people still moan, Arsenal draw and some people still moan, Arsenal lose and some people still moan. Some people can never be pleased.

    Anybody here watch the PSV vs Atletico Madrid? Martin Atkinson screwed up by disallowing a legitimate PSV goal and then later on in the match gave PSV a penalty which wasn’t a penalty to make up for the mistake, it was funny. Oblak the Atletico Madrid keeper saved the penalty by the way.

  50. Wenger’s Champions league records are unrivaled! Pochettino Klopp Mourinho Van gaal etc.. cant come close to it. Ofcourse it would be great to win it but no other manager can do it with this sort of budget.

  51. From BBC website:

    ‘PSG have lost only one of their last 40 home games in European competition (W25 D14).’

    Not an easy place to play.

  52. The French media didn’t think much of us either
    Arsenal: David Ospina 9; Hector Bellerin 3, Shkodran Mustafi 2, Laurent Koscielny 5, Nacho Monreal 3; Santi Cazorla 4, Francis Coquelin 5; Alex Iwobi 5, Mesut Ozil 4, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 3; Alexis Sanchez 5.

  53. DavidM jambug

    Good posts.

    I think Wenger is experimenting Alexis as CF but it is not paying off.It would be better to play Alexis on the wings. I think following is our best playing eleven

    Bell Must Kos Mon
    Xhaka caz
    Iwobi ozil Alexis

    2nd 11


    Debuchy Per Holding Gibbs
    Elneny Coq

    Theo Ramsey Ox


  54. Did we play well? Not really but I am unsure as to the reason. It would seem that the lineup was partly forced…niggling injuries and partly tactical and PSG are a solid team. As for Oezil not playing great, well, I would suggest that he too needs to adjust to having different people around him and although I would expect him to play better and want him to play better quickly, I am confident he will come good. The sky isn’t falling Chicken Little maybe just a little rain.

  55. PSG were fouling all night and hiding it from the ref, that is, fouling on the opposite side to the ref and getting away with it a lot.
    I never knew that they(PSG) were a dirty team, but Arsenal must be aware that most other teams will do everything and anything to try to win the game.

    Coq, Ox and Xhaka do not like it when teams foul too hard and do let them know soon after by fouling one of their players.
    I hear Mustafi is also tough, so Arsenal seems to be changing to adapt to the physicality of the PL and the game in general.

  56. Para – sorry mate there’s no such thing as hiding it from the ref. There are 2 assistants & 2 dildo bearing more ons who patrol the goal line. They all have a duty to assist the mouse in the middle…but 3 blind mice is what we always get. It’s a FIFA norm.

  57. Congratulations to the spuds. Record crowd (for them) at Wembley, and they lose to Monaco.

    But, I bet the press doesn’t crucify them.

    It was sure annoying to see all the articles about how horrible Arsenal were in getting a tie in Paris. And how many former players spoke up to say bad things. Or so the headlines lead me to believe, I never read any of them.

  58. @ Gord, I google Arsenal and there’s plenty of headlines criticising Arsenal, then I google Tottenham and don’t see any. Amazing.

  59. Polo
    Try actually looking into the newspapers (online) and you’ll see plenty of very bad Spurs headlines in the Guardian & Mail. I don’t bother with other papers but assume they’ll be the same.
    NOT “Amazing”, but expected.

  60. Those of us in the blue half of Manchester can empathise with widespread negativity at the hands of BT Sport in Europe, but as they say, we will raise you and see you.

    Just suppose what BT had served up for you was not Ian Wright spewing his bile, but (say) Gary Mabbutt and Arry Redknapp, telling you about how bad Arsenal were. Think that might stick in the throat somewhat? That’s precisely what we had throughout last season. On a regular basis we were treated to the observations of Manchester United legends Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand on why City were failing, and were likely to fail, the things about the club that were wrong, why we were abut to lose games that we went on to win, and so forth. As TA said in the main article about BT’s coverage of Arsenal, it was negativity, negativity, negativity. Before City beat PSG least season, Ferdinand actually said ‘I hope City lose.’ At one point, after we had beaten (I think) Gladbach, Jake Humphreys said ‘We need to give City credit, hard as it is’. One one occasion Paul Scholes criticised the large swathes of empty seats in the Etihad – it was at the time, 35 minutes before kick off.

    There are literally dozens of other examples I could give you, so City fans can well sympathise with any s**t that your team gets at the hands of BT sport.

    However, what happened next may be of some use to you. City fans in their droves phoned in to cancel their BT Sport subscriptions. And when asked why, the coverage of City in the Champions league was given as the reason. There is a thread about it on Bluemoon which deals with the various reactions of BT staff when given this reason (‘why don’t you just watch the game with the sound turned down’) and the various, increasingly generous, discounts offered to tempt the caller into not cancelling the subscription.

    Anyway, this season the coverage of City games is so much better. The studio pundits on Wednesday, for instance, were Richard Dunne and Uwe Rosler, both absolute City legends. The commentary from the match summariser and his sidekick was refreshingly positive. And I know we won 4-0, but we had some fantastic results and performances last season and still got sneered at. There has (on the evidence of three games) been a real change in their coverage of us. It is difficult to attribute that to anything other than a significant number of cancellations among City fans, giving that as the reason for the cancellation.

    So there is the moral of the tale. If you don’t like BT’s coverage, get on the phone and tell them why you are cancelling your subscription. Hit them in the wallet. If enough of you do it, they will change their ways.

    They did for us.

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