By Bulldog Drummond
I’ve just been told that my new glasses are available at the opticians, which means if I leave for the match in good time (like 2pm) I can pick them up before driving through the undoubtedly solid motorway system to London for tonight’s game. What a totally stupid night for a football match in London on the busiest night of the year for motorway traffic. The journey back up the M1 took 2 hours more than it should have done because of traffic chaos. What are the chances today?
Meanwhile the press are not so much divided as self-contradictory, saying at one time “Wenger’s tactics have been so mind-numbingly predictable as to bring to mind the military strategy espoused by General Melchett in Blackadder Goes Forth: “Doing exactly what we’ve done eighteen times before will be the last thing they expect us to do this time”, while at the same time accusing Mr Wenger of not knowing what his best formation is, as he alternates between a back three and a back four formation, and experiments with a counter-counter attacking approach.
Mind you amidst all the attacks on Arsenal there is one note of interest… The Telegraph actually says this as part of its never ending praise of Sir Alex F,
“…Phil’s brother Gary more or less booted Jose Antonio Reyes out of Manchester with a display of rugged – and often illegal it has to be said – defending. Arsenal were again outmuscled and beaten 2-0, as their 49-match unbeaten run came to a sudden end.”
Something illegal in the 50th game? Wow! One more tiny step, Daily Telegraph, and connect up the dots. You’ve said the tactics were illegal. Now note that the referee did nothing about it. And then one more step: ask yourselves why the ref did nothing about it. Then you will be on the first rung of the ladder towards serious reporting of football matches.
Anyway, tonight we are playing Liverpool, and so the question comes up as to whether the Ox made a good move by leaving Arsenal, and did Arsenal do a good deal getting £35m for him.
Since he went to Liverpool, the Ox has started in five of 15 Premier League games and one of four in the Champions League. That I think is worse than he got from Arsenal last season where he benefited by Arsenal’s exploration of a number of different ways of arranging the team – something I touched on in the last article and of which the Telegraph are in total denial.
Mr Wenger’s response to the questioning about the Ox was, “You are sure of a place nowhere. In a big club, you have big competition for every single place. That is absolutely normal.
“What do you want? To be a big player and not have to fight? What do you want on top of that – sitting in your rocking chair and saying: ‘I’m a big player? I don’t need to fight?’ No. It doesn’t work like that. Every player can do that and Chamberlain does it. I am convinced it’s part of being a top player.”
Mr Wenger also said that he offered the Ox a new contract to replace the one that had been set to expire in the summer of next year. But the Ox said he wanted out so he was let go.
“At the end of the day, I decided to sell one,” Mr Wenger said. “Chamberlain made his decision and we had to find a compromise to get the best possible transfer out of it. I personally think he will be an important player for England and that he will continue to develop.”
And so, the teams. Francis Coquelin looked to be injured in the West Ham game (he went off very after he was kicked) and of course Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are missing. Shkodran Mustafi is said to be fit.
But do we play four or five at the back? Do we rest Kolasinac as he was used in mid-week and give Maitland-Niles another first team start?
I have to admit I really don’t know, and I don’t think the media has much of an idea either because most of them are doing nothing much more than talking about the West Ham game and reminding us that tonight’s game is on and that Arsenal are awful. There’s even an interview with Lee Dixon who tells us that night games are always important.
So let’s see what we can rustle up.
Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi, Monreal
Iwobi Wilshere Xhaka Ozil
Beached could be some of these…
Ospina, Holding, Mustafi, Welbeck, Kolasinac, Walcott, Elneny, Mertesacker, Debuchy,
Maybe. maybe not. But according to the Telegraph, we’ll use the same team as started against West Ham. In the League Cup. Because we never change.
- Arsenal Youth v Liverpool, why a bad run against them doesn’t matter and the sadness of Dennis
- Arsenal v Liverpool Friday 22 December – The Match Officials. Arghhhhhh!!!
- Too much of a good thing? Why referees need the final say in any decision, even with VAR
- Arsenal v Liverpool! The fortune telling programme that predicts results quite well.
From the History Society
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
- Arsenal attacking problems… what attacking problems?
- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
- Is the injury to Gabriel Jesus equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?
- Womens Champions League Arsenal Women v Juventus – the match preview