Arsenal prepare for PSG; Santi Cazorla off to Barcelona

By Tony Attwood

I never really expected to have much in common with Santi Cazorla.  He’s one of the very few players around who is actually shorter than me by an inch or two, and he can play football rather well, which I can’t.

But it turns out that Santi has just toddled off to Spain with his Achilles problem, and this coming weekend I shall follow him, complete with a similar problem.

However there the similarity ends since Santi is going there to try and make his Achilles better, while I am going to make my Achilles worse, by taking part in three days of jiving and similar fun.

I mention this connection, not because we will be on the same flight (mine appears to involve me getting up at 4am to catch the flight the dance club has hired while I suspect Santi has the club’s executive jet – or if not, then at least first class travel on the regular flight.   No, I mention it because I do know just how difficult Achilles injuries are to put right.  I’ve put the gel on the offending areas, done the exercises, had acupuncture, and even laid off the dancing for a while, but it still comes back.  It is all rather annoying.

All this means that S.C. will miss PSG and AFC Bournemouth, not to mention quite a few other games I suspect, and although I am sure the media will soon be doing their usual stories about Arsenal incompetence over injuries, there really does seem to be no way of treating injuries of this type.   Sometimes they go, sometimes they stay.  Me and Santi, we have the staying variety.  I know how he feels – and I have to cope with it all without the megabucks salary.

So we approach PSG on Wednesday without Santi, and indeed without knowing whether we should be aiming for first or second spot in the Champions League.

As things stand Barcelona look like winning their group stage but Bayern Munich are second in their group three points behind Atletico Madrid.  Real Mad are second in their group two points behind Borussia Dortmund.  Thus this season coming second could be a benefit, or a disadvantage.

The list of the teams we most likely could play is:

Napoli, Benfica, Barcelona, Aletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, FC Porto, Juventus, Sevilla.

Some would not cause us too much concern, some would bring out the “not them again” groans.  So it goes.

At the time of the first CL game in Paris, PSG were struggling in the League somewhat.  Since then they have recovered having lost once to Toulouse and drawn at home to Marseille while winning the rest.

Here’s the league table…

# Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Nice 13 10 2 1 25 9 16 32
2 Monaco 13 9 2 2 39 15 24 29
3 Paris Saint-Germain 13 9 2 2 26 7 19 29
4 Lyon 13 7 1 5 21 16 5 22
5 Guingamp 13 6 4 3 18 13 5 22
6 Rennes 13 6 3 4 14 17 -3 21
7 Bordeaux 13 5 5 3 16 14 2 20
8 Toulouse 13 5 4 4 17 12 5 19
9 St Etienne 13 4 6 3 14 11 3 18
10 Angers 13 5 3 5 12 12 0 18
11 Marseille 13 4 5 4 13 13 0 17
12 Metz 13 5 2 6 13 22 -9 17
13 Montpellier 13 3 6 4 20 27 -7 15
14 Dijon 13 3 5 5 16 18 -2 14
15 Caen 13 4 1 8 10 22 -12 13
16 Bastia 13 3 3 7 10 13 -3 12
17 Nantes 13 3 3 7 9 18 -9 12
18 Nancy 13 3 3 7 8 19 -11 12
19 Lille 13 3 1 9 10 19 -9 10
20 Lorient 13 2 1 10 9 23 -14 7
So this is not the same PSG as won the league last season by 31 clear points from Lyon.  (Nice incidentally, have a Mr Balotelli playing for them.  He has played six and scored six.  He is currently suspended).
Anyway, back to PSG and Arsenal.  In their games this month they have won their Champions League game against Basel, but only just – through a superb goal from Thomas Meunier in added time at the end of the game.  And that against a team whose one point so far comes from a draw against Ludogorets.
But after that they recovered and in the two league games this month have beaten Rennes 4-0 and Nante 2-0.
Paris Saint-Germain however have recently had an injury set back after Adrien Rabiot was injured playing for France in the interlull with a hamstring problem.  We can but sympathise, although not this Wednesday.

And although Angel Di Maria opened the scoring in the PSG game against Nantes he was then substituted on 36 minutes.  The PSG manager said that this was a precaution, which of course may be right, but coming off on just over half an hour seems a bit odd for a precaution.    Maybe the coming days will make things clearer.

In the broad perspective we can say that we have never lost to PSG, drawing with them in the Cup Winners Cup in 1994, 1-1, before winning the return leg 1-0 at Highbury.   Other than that all we have had is the 1-1 draw in Paris in September.

So, finally, how do we feel about all this?  Deflated because it wasn’t much of a game against Man U?  Or elated because we have a super sub who can come on and turn the game around (and who is clearly available if we want to give Alexis a rest)?

Deflated because Tottenham are getting closer, and could easily have gone down 1-2 at home, or amused because the most successful ground change in the history of ripping the tax payer off has resulted in the east enders sitting just on the very edge of relegation?   Or deflated because if they do go down their monthly payments for renting the stadium will go down even further?

Or maybe just amused that Manchester United, having spent rather a lot of money are still lingering outside of the European places?

Probably bits of all of that.   But that’s how it goes.

Tales from Untold 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

How the use of downright lies and misinformation has spread from football into the world beyond

Arsenal in November. Exactly how bad are we year after year? You might be surprised.

Man United – Arsenal : 1-1 Our beach saves the day

Man U v Arsenal – the teams, the pizza, the telepathy, the result

José Mourinho vs Arsène Wenger. As far as the media is concerned the teams are irrelevant

Wenger v “M”. Tactical naivety, blaming the medics,

Manchester United v Arsenal 19/11/2016 – The Match Officials



The books

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4 Replies to “Arsenal prepare for PSG; Santi Cazorla off to Barcelona”

  1. As we all know, we still have unfinished business at our hands to do in the group stage of the CL.

    Yes, Arsenal have qualified for the knockout stages of the competition but we are yet to win our group despite we are topping it. But we’re still being hotly pursued by PSG who if we stuttered could overtake us. In this regard, we have to beat PSG at the Ems on Wednesday night to further assert our leadership on the table.

    I want Le Prof to start Petr Cech for this Ucl game because of his height advantage that can enabled him to successfully deal with the aerial threat Cavani could pose to us during the match. No disrespect to Ospina. Le Prof could give him the Bournemouth match to compensate him for necessarily have to dropped him to the bench for this PSG game. Ospina should understand and not be annoyed. It’s all for the advancement of Arsenal progress for which he’s integer part of it. Le Prof could still give him the FC Basel game to mann.

    Despite Le Prof is yet to give his update on the state of the Gunners and for this PSG game, but haven known that we have no any injury from the Man U game, I’ve decided to make my own starts & bench early for this match for Le Prof to look at them and consider.

    My starts:
    Jenkinson Mustafi Koscielny Gibbs
    LeCoq Ramsey
    Walcott Ozil Iwobi

    My bench:
    Ospina Debuchy Gabriel Monreal Oxchambo Xhaka Sanchez.

  2. Ahh, so now we know Tony’s erm…Achilles Heel *cough cough*
    I don’t like this thread because Achilles slew Hector and was slain by Paris…the metaphors are too rich.

    My fears aside, we ought to be elated. Super subs are a real gem for any team.

    Your Jive talking is as good as ever Tony – thanks once more.

  3. I would love us to win our group , and damn whoever we draw next . Am sure the fixers would have their fix in , no matter what .
    And good luck to the both of you and your respective achilles’ .

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