Once Again, It’s the Jekyll and Hyde Gunners
By Kevin Whitcher
Online Ed: Ye Olde Game of Two Halves in FA Cup 3rd Round at Preston
Arsene Wenger’s line-ups in this tournament now are a demonstration that the trophy has become something of a facesaver for the club in recent seasons. There was a time when the likes of Rob Holding and Jeff Reine-Adelaide on the bench would have started this kind of game. As it was, with the exception of Maitland-Niles at right back (with Bellerin apparently injured and Debuchy definitely so) this was a relatively strong line-up. One suspects that Carl Jenkinson would have started were it not for the plan to sell him in the current transfer window.
Anyway, strong team or not, (of the “fit” players, only Sanchez and Cech were left at home), the performance in the first half - all too reminiscent of recent displays against Everton, Manchester City and Bournemouth - seriously threatened Arsene Wenger’s record of never having lost a third round tie in the FA Cup.
In my piece on the 3-3 draw last Tuesday evening, I wrote: "After seeing the defending at Bournemouth, I shall be hiding behind the sofa for some of the away trips still to be negotiated this season. Arsenal do not have the organizational quality and intelligence at the back to get the results they need, and this will also be confirmed, as usual, in Europe."
But this was Preston North End, not the Allianz Arena, as Championship yeomen waltzed their way, unchallenged, through the Arsenal team to take the lead, and really should have been two up before the interval, maybe three. If the strong line-up was a recognition that this trophy now matters a lot more if this is to be Arsene’s farewell season, his players certainly didn’t seem to show it in the opening half.
It was a classic chilly night oop north with fog hanging in the air, and Arsenal going behind in this situation – an away trip to lower league side under the floodlights – is hardly anything new. There was at least, plenty of time to correct things.
However, Arsenal’s offside trap needs a bit of work before they face anyone a bit more clinical than Simon Grayson’s side. What language are they communicating in? One imagines it could be Spanish with three of them having played in La Liga, although whether or not Gabriel heard anything is a moot point. Who exactly was calling the line here? Dixon-Bould-Adams-Winterburn it certainly wasn’t. I am under the impression that Gabriel has not bothered to learn English, in spite of being at the club for two years now, which is a shocking state of affairs. He had a stinker and Mustafi was only marginally better. It didn’t engender hope. Koscielny has his critics, but he is not as bad as this.
In front of them, the team could not keep possession. I noted that when there was an injury the Preston manager took the opportunity to instruct one of his players close up. Arsene did nothing of the sort in spite of the fact that things were obviously not working on the field and needed correcting.
There were some elbows flying around – and not all of them belonged to Preston players. It was physical and it didn’t suit the visitors. Fortunately, getting an equalizer almost immediately after the second half kicked off calmed the nerves. Ramsey’s shot showed the benefits of not always trying to walk the ball into the net and the visitors took control. The ball started to stick to feet, there was more movement and players wanting the ball. Why this couldn’t have been the case before the interval is a mystery, but thank goodness a decent football team had come out for the second half. As my old pal Basti’s better half (a Brazilian girl) would have put it, they were playing in stillettos in the opening 45 minutes. At least they left them in the dressing room before returning after the interval.
Arsenal played like they were already ahead, but the second goal was a long time coming. Preston became frustrated that their more physical approach was now being clamped down on. Perhaps the ref saw some replays of what they were getting away with in his dressing room at half time and decided on a zero tolerance policy. That, at least, allowed for some more football to be played and greater space developed on the pitch for it as the clock ticked down.
The paucity of options on the bench meant that no subs were made until 80 minutes when Danny Welbeck made a welcome return to action. I was watching the game with a nine-year-old who didn’t know what a replay was. I guess there aren’t too many of them these days. I had to explain why there would not be extra time and a penalty shoot-out. It did feel like we might be getting a replay in ten days’ time as injury time neared, but another late goal from Olivier Giroud saved season ticket holders some money on a game that many would have given a miss on a chilly midweek January evening.
The cross from Xhaka was demonstration of the better side of his game, Giroud got a slight flick and Perez took possession of the ball. He backheeled it, which Giroud was prepared for, his shot deflecting past the Preston keeper to break the hearts of the home crowd. A quality goal that Giroud could celebrate for as long as he liked, in contrast to Tuesday evening on the south coast.
Injury time began soon after and Arsene put on two subs. However, in terms of in-game management, why not put one on at a time, and eat an additional 30 seconds of the remaining minutes? The refs rarely add anything on to injury time regardless of the stoppage – witness the game in Bournemouth. A goal was scored in injury time there but no extra time added. Anyway, it didn’t matter last night, Arsenal held out and avoided a replay only Preston would have wanted.
In the post match interview, Aaron Ramsey was asked what was said in the dressing room at half time to create such a different approach. The Welshman gave an answer to a different question that he wasn’t even asked. There’s media training for you. They should get Jeremy Paxman in to do these post match interviews.
Anyway, job done, in the hat for the last 32. Focus now on three points at Swansea next weekend, after Paul Clement’s side were knocked out of the cup at Hull. Ozil will be back from his “flu” along with Sanchez, Cech and one imagines Koscielny and Bellerin.
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8th January 2017
User Comment and Reaction
User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.
Mark 8:27am 8th Jan 2017
The best team lost. - Post No. 102452
Gooner72 8:54am 8th Jan 2017
Poor for long periods of the game, banana skin avoided, same problems exist, yawnathon, through to the next round, moan drip moan, 2 more years, Wenger out, wake me up when it's all over!!!!!!! - Post No. 102453
WeAreBuildingATeamToDominate 8:55am 8th Jan 2017
A game strangely reminiscent of the last cup tie at PNE, back in '99. Mind you last night was an improvement as then we were two down after fifteen minutes or so. Obviously things are progressing under AW's stewardship. Oh, hang on... - Post No. 102454
GoonerRon 9:06am 8th Jan 2017
Truly awful first 30 minutes. Rather than continue to be ****ing surprised by the effort of the opposition, why not start at 100% ourselves and neutralise it early? Much better second half and liking the way Giroud and Lucas link up when they play close together. Banana skin avoided, move on. - Post No. 102455
James 9:07am 8th Jan 2017
For 45 mins we were given a lesson not by Madrid not Barca but a championship team.We were awful and we were only still in the game because of PNE's missed chances.Mustafi was terrible his positional sense is nil.Ramsey was dire as for the Ox he has to be sold in the january window but who will buy him?Burnley.It really is painful watching us play - Post No. 102456
Doolittle 9:13am 8th Jan 2017
It was Ramsey who clipped the ball in for Giroud's winner. - Post No. 102457
Bard 9:30am 8th Jan 2017
These limp first half displays becoming something of a habit. The defence was an utter shambles yet again. Maitland -Niles looked useful but he needs to sharpen up his attitude and stop trying to look cool. Lovely touch from Perez. Unless things change pretty quickly I dont see 4th as realistic. - Post No. 102458
Arseneknewbest 10:07am 8th Jan 2017
Thanks Kev. For me, it reinforced the fact that we need to ship a lot of deadwood out of the club. The back four and midfield absolutely stank, and bore testament to the management's complete inability to get the team ready. Nacho played reasonably well but he and Ospina were surrounded by complete dross. Bard - I thought Maitland was poor and will need to make much more of his next outing to impress. Ramsey and the Ox belong in the wally/chambers category of people who should be nowhere near an Arsenal jersey (and they're all British players of course). No longer shocking to see an Arsenal team capitulate like that - it reminded me of Hillsborough last year - but I'm getting to that point where I want to see them lose these games in order to hasten the chihuahua's ejection from our once proud club. We need to face facts here - just like the PL and CL, the FAC is not a trophy where we are expected to compete this year based on that showing. He should be ashamed of himself, but we know he'll just move on with a layer of skin fewer on his gallic arse. Piss poor, embarrassing Arsenal, run by a shower of money grubbing sh*tbags and admired by deluded cowards like Jamee. - Post No. 102460
Exiled gooner in Portugal 10:14am 8th Jan 2017
The interview with Giroud and Ramsey summed up the whole problem with our club, when both players said they were surprised at how Preston started!!! Then we are supposed to be impressed that in the last 2 games we have shown great mental strength.Something the players are trying to tell us now instead of the old fraud. Shame only Sanchez and most of us supporters seems to be embarrassed by it all. Wenger and the board out . - Post No. 102461
Jamerson 10:37am 8th Jan 2017
Giroud has now elevated himself to world class and is getting better every game and whether he starts or comes off the bench the mans a game changer and unlike most strikers needs very few chances. Welbeck looked very sharp in the little time he had and Wenger and this team once again look like they are going to do far better than everybody on here said they would do at the beginning of the season. - Post No. 102462
Mad Monk 11:21am 8th Jan 2017
Unbelievable! Mr know it all Attwood is again comparing Giroud with Messi using his hi-tec stats and evidence but unfortunately he thinks Messi plays for Real Madrid! You couldn'tmake it up - Post No. 102463
Lee 11:22am 8th Jan 2017
couldnt agree more with all comments on here and nothing we all havent said time and time again over the last 8 or so years, although indeed strangely familiar to the 1999 cup tie there. I think the post match interview 100% confirms my belief, when Olly and Rambo stated 'surprise' at how Preston started??? That this manager does NOT prepare his team for a game which results in the poor lacklustre starts in so many matches over the years and recently. its the FA CUP fellers!! if you cant be UP for the cup then I suggest you go do something else! However, before I get lambasted by the wenger knows brigade, yes better second half and kudos to him (for a change) for actually giving the proverbial RoCkEt UP THE ASS needed at HT, and in the hat we go for 4th round, but I suspect if we draw someone better we could be O U T? - Post No. 102464
Torbay Gooner 11:42am 8th Jan 2017
So once again the FA cup is the only trophy we can possibly win this season and we almost balls it up at the beginning with another half-hearted performance. The players should be embarrassed with themselves for these kind of displays but are more likely patting each other on the back for another 'show of mental strength'. Draw a decent team in the next round and our season will be officially over, unless you get excited over the top four 'trophy'. - Post No. 102465
David 12:11pm 8th Jan 2017
I'm not sure how World Class is defined, but Giroud is doing a good job. Welbeck did look lively coming off the bench and Lucas Perez is a latter day Freddie Ljungberg. Throw in Sanchez and the front line looks strong, especially if Wally and The Ox can be kept out of it. However the midfield and defence is woeful. Granit by name, Granite by nature, this guy is a £36million statue in the middle of the pitch. Tried to check the Opta stats on his distance covered, but I reckon it is little more than 100m in walking to the centre of the pitch and off again in each half. He makes about 100 passes yet they are all right or left for about 5 yards with zero penetration. When he does run it is only to foul someone and give away a penalty or get sent off. The biggest waste of money ever. Basel must be laughing at getting £50million for two less than average midfielders. - Post No. 102466
Redshirtswhitesleeves 12:12pm 8th Jan 2017
The latest in a long line of drivel from this team of pansies. And so on and so on until the bungling fool departs and takes his little lambs with him. You wouldn't want him or any of his prima donnas in the trenches with you. Wenger out - Post No. 102467
Wear Your Colours 12:21pm 8th Jan 2017
The second half was far better; we need to continue to show that level of energy and focus for the full ninety minutes. I am pleased that Rambo got on the scoresheet, hopefully it will set him off on a purple patch of goal scoring. COYG! - Post No. 102468
Jude 12:32pm 8th Jan 2017
Forgive me for being less than impressed with Ramsey's performance against a mid-level championship side. Apart from his goal, he was abject, and doesn't belong anywhere near the team. - Post No. 102469
Exeter Gunner 13:02pm 8th Jan 2017
The players don't seem to go into matches with any motivation. They need the circumstances of the match underway to find some reason to play. But criticism of this or that individual player is irrelevant; it makes no difference who the playing personnel are, the fundamental issues remain the same, surely everyone but the most slow witted can see that after a decade of it. - Post No. 102470
Nick 13:25pm 8th Jan 2017
The fact that so called lesser teams like to "get in our faces" and "get about us" would seem to be something our players despite it happening on a regular basis every season are still surprised and put off by ! We ALL know what we are going to be on for when travelling to such clubs our manager and players surely must know too so WHY is our attitude for these games so often to start as though we have already won ? Only to be rattled and knocked out of our stride before going behind ? Yesterday Prestons poor finishing saved our bacon and we were able to regroup in the second half and avoid embarrassment JUST ! The lack of focus and preparation for such games is criminal and you can only blame one man for that the man who picks the team who "coaches" the team who decides the teams "tactics" the man who is supposed to "MOTIVATE" the team and also the man who is supposed to react to and try to rectify what is going wrong IN the game ! Fair play to Preston they did what a lower league side should do and exactly what we should have EXPECTED then to do the fact that yet again we were surprised by it is a condemnation of our manager as well as the players ! I expect a similar attitude from Swansea next week in Wales if we are once again "surprised " by their intensity and do not respond with intensity, fight and passion ourselves while our manager sits on his bony arse or berates the fourth official about the oppositions unwillingness to LET us play our football I'd almost wish for Sanchez to run over to him and plant one on him ! This type of performance has been a regular feature of our game for over a decade now and if people can't see the common denominator in this then they are either blind or incredibly stupid! - Post No. 102472
jjetplane 13:46pm 8th Jan 2017
Watch Wengo throw in the towel if he gets half decent oppo away in the next round. You can hear how Arsenal are now hated by other fans for different reasons than the old days. Disinterested, smug club that are a disgrace to football. Be funny if they catch either of the Mancee teams next so we can see a Rashford/Stirling show. Man Utd and Citeh could both win the PL so without even mentioning Jamerson's (Fenlands Troll) impressive Totts, Liverpool, Chelssea is there room for such an unlikeable team at the top with a freak carthorse up front who would struggle to hold a place in the Burnley side but that is where he should be playing and that is why this club will win nothing this season. Sur though all will be OK when Santi gets back next season and plays for 20 mins before breaking down. Was at a cracking game yeaterday with some lovely football played on a proper muddy pitch by lads with passion. With those PNE supporters all the way - this Arsenal is a disgrace. - Post No. 102473
WeAreBuildingATeamToDominate 14:38pm 8th Jan 2017
Nick; my old man played to a good standard and he always said the team told each other when away to lower league oppo in a cup game "first tackle go in hard" something that perhaps modern AFC have forgot - wonder why? Anyways a win is a win is a win. - Post No. 102474
John F 15:12pm 8th Jan 2017
Judging by the body language and the way some players are moaning at each other I do not see any evidence of the famed mental and team spirit.This team reminds me of the season before GG took over when the players formed little groups.The players could be as divided as the fans are about Wenger and when in the year 2025 he does leave it will be interesting what players autobiographies will say about it all.Bfg and Santi signing a one year extension to their contacts says to me that Wenger may be staying put at least for another season.If he was leaving he would leave that decision to keep two early thirties players to the new chap unless that chap is already at the club. - Post No. 102475
mbg 15:12pm 8th Jan 2017
What is there to say about this game that hasn't been said about the rest ? They're all the fooking same now, the nice boy ballerinas get away with it again, with head ballerina again saving the SIF's arse, as someone said last night there's something seriously wrong with this team (and we all know what/who it is) a shyte team getting s******r every day, there's only one way to cure the diarrhoea. wenger out. - Post No. 102476
Highbury Boy 15:14pm 8th Jan 2017
The only real positive I took from the game was the return of Danny Welbeck who had a nice little dribble and fine shot. In this second half of the season Giroud will start many more games than he did in the first half and with Ozil and Sanchez automatic starters it leaves just one forward spot to be fought over by Welbeck,Perez,Walcott or Iwobi. Hopefully it can mean that the Ox can be sold though Klopp has made it clear he doesn't want him. I would hate the Ox to be given a new contract. What a waste. Also what nonsense to be thinking about new contracts for Mertesecker and Cazorla. it's like it was with Diaby and Rosicky: an old age home for sick footballers. Give the money straight to Sanchez. - Post No. 102477
Seven Kings Gooner 15:30pm 8th Jan 2017
There are some really tough away games coming in the next few months, if somebody does not do some proper work with that defence I can see us shipping a hatful of goals. You would like to think that somebody on the board would just stick their head into Arsene's office on Monday morning and ask him what are his plans to improve our defending - I would pay to see the look on Mr Webster's face! - Post No. 102478
mbg 15:45pm 8th Jan 2017
Face saver for the club Ed ? Face saver for this old clueless broken manager, remember when he used to abort it, and make IT low priority, and all aided and abetted by the AKB wengerites who now think it's the bees knees, it can't save his arse forever. wenger out now. - Post No. 102479
mbg 16:19pm 8th Jan 2017
One things plain to see, this team of nice boys and it's old past it manager has a damm good spanking coming their way and it could be from anyone. Any Resignation yet ? - Post No. 102480
GS 17:20pm 8th Jan 2017
Happy with the win after a shocking first half . No need to over analyse , we know where we are . Groundhog season looms again with a massive Feb coming up, can Arsenal meet the challenge and come out on top ? Recent history tells us otherwise . - Post No. 102481
mbg 17:27pm 8th Jan 2017
ArseneKnewBest, the majority of the team stink the place out mate, and the biggest stink is caused by the SIF himself, and your right, (proof yet again not that any is needed it's not) he never ever prepares the team in any way shape nor form for any game from one to the next, what manager doesn't do that ? (he probably thinks he's above that such is his ego) God only knows what he tells them or says to them, go out and play your normal game no doubt as that is what they do, what the f**k does he and them actually do in training, like I said earlier this team and it's no good manager have a thumping and another humiliation coming and it couldn't happen to a nicer man, and it might even be the final nail in his coffin. Go now you old fraud and put us all out of our misery. wenger out. - Post No. 102482
Bonzo 19:45pm 8th Jan 2017
Poor old Jamerson his testicles inflate when Arsenal win but deflate when we lose. Over Christmas he ended up with a pair of raisins. - Post No. 102484
CORNISH GOONER 19:51pm 8th Jan 2017
Boring Jamerson ( per usual), Boring football ( per usual) & boring excuse for a football club. Nick's excellent post sums it all up really. 60+ years of supporting Arsenal & now it's become Arthur Webster's L'Arse plaything & I am seriously BORED. - Post No. 102485
Arseneknewbest 20:18pm 8th Jan 2017
Aagh Bonzo. I was just dunking the second mouthful of a garibaldi biscuit in me earl grey when I read that! If Jamee's testes were a true barometer of Arsenal's form over the past ten years, he'd be a eunuch. Oh, hang on, maybe we're onto something there...After yesterday's showing, it almost feels as though the FAC is over which is a symptom of the madness that ensues when following asano fc. - Post No. 102486
John Abrehart 21:03pm 8th Jan 2017
Good summary Editor. I will let others discuss the game, the comments seem to be the same week after week. This gripe is about the change of shirts. Is it now Club policy that we never wear our traditional red and white away from home, even when there is no colour clash? It seems that any excuse and we change to the unattractive alternatives. The two team's traditional colours could hardly be more different but we change to the 'away strip' even though it created a clash of shorts. I used to think that the red and white of Arsenal was a trademark of the club, perhaps even gaining a bit of respect from our opponents. The so-called 'European' strip which is worn by preference in boring black is even worse, making us look like North Korean border guards. Who decides on these matters, is it just about selling shirts or the continuing de-Arsenalisation of the club? Come on Arsenal, lighten up!! - Post No. 102487
Bonzo 21:54pm 8th Jan 2017
Squeak - yes I'm very beaten up I can feel the cyber bruises... you foolish pup. So where is Baba Gump now? But then you appear ? Never seen in the same cyber forum together and of course yes very good advice why don't you clear off to Untold. - Post No. 102490
mbg 21:57pm 8th Jan 2017
Just like the Bournemouth lads I bet these Championship lads woke up today and suddenly realised how easy that was and how the fook did we let that slip, how the fook did we not win that, how the fook are we not in the draw tomorrow night. Sad. Go now wenger your past it. - Post No. 102491
GS 22:16pm 8th Jan 2017
Leeky , welcome back , can't help yourself but be abusive can you. One day il read a post from you about Arsenal & football that makes sense and shows you to be a true Gooner. For now , it's good to have you back , now finish you milk and off to bed , what time is your paper round ? - Post No. 102492
BBA 22:18pm 8th Jan 2017
My name Baba. I used to be someone else but can't remember who, my name now Baba Gubba. I go Jamee's caravan, see Wenger pictures. He put me in cellar, he operate on my brain. Now I Baba. Jamee is my lord, Jamee is my master. Jamee tell Baba, attack WOBs. Then he lock me in cellar. Baba not like dark, Baba get angry, Baba want to smash, Baba want to destroy! I must obey Jamee, my name Baba. - Post No. 102493
Leek fc 22:21pm 8th Jan 2017
Freedom of speech and all that Bonzo. "Clear off" is the way to debate nowadays???? You really are one scared puppy son. Bye the way... . How's the demo going?????? - Post No. 102494
mbg 22:31pm 8th Jan 2017
John Abrehart, it's just another example (one of many)of one of our traditions being eroded, and airbrushed out of history by wenger and into his own failed image and what he wants and stands for, yes HIM not the club. He just hates anything left from the old days, the days since he arrived especially George Grahams era, he just hates that era, he still hates any reference to George, he's still jealous of him and how he's still held in high esteem by the fans (if I was a journo i'd bring it/him up at every opportunity he'd hate it, and completely rattle him) he has done everything in his power to rid us of all those traditions over the years, and he has succeeded, that's what happens when you give someone too/so much power that he thinks he's f*****g God, and we're all to blame. wenger out now. - Post No. 102495
Bonzo 23:25pm 8th Jan 2017
Squeak - as we well know there is no freedom of speech on Untold but ...... it purports to support the manager. This site on the whole does not support the manager . That is why you are better off on Untold. Now protests, I don't attend Arsenal matches under Wenger thicko . I keep on saying this and said it numerous times. Same as most on here. Attendance at Emirates will commence upon departure of Wenger just as yours will end upon departure of Wenger. Numerous people and I agree that going to a match with the sole purpose of trying to cause a punchup over Arsene Wenger is totally counter productive. Believe it or not I don't actually get involved in fights or can afford to do so as I hold a sensitive job however I occasionally have to deal with physical threat during my work and have a whole blinking folder on threat situations I have to read through (deep joy) I suspect keyboard warrior BBA and you have never had anyone bellowing or screaming in your face during your working hours but hey your tough guys (snigger) so I'm sure you'd handle it. - Post No. 102496
Dartford gooner 23:47pm 8th Jan 2017
Ozil will stay only if wenger does, good bye and take anyone else who thinks the same with you. - Post No. 102497
Havering Gooner 1:18am 9th Jan 2017
MBG - you've let your guard down and revealed your true colours..a misty rose tinted glasses GG lover. I'm with you on the Mickey Thomas goal - nothing in my life has come close to that moment, that includes marriage and witnessing child birth! But get real that was all so great back then. I stood in the North Bank for all the GG years until it was demolished including matches against Coventry in '88 with just 17k other fans and a few matches the year before with a fraction more fans AFTER we won the League Cup. But whist 1986-92 were fun/great the last 3 years of his dictatorship were appalling. Yeah we won a few cups but he scarified any flair with brawn. To swap Rocky and Davis for Jensen and Selley was a crime in itself. Have you forgotten that in the double Cup year we only scored 40 goals in 42 league matches...most of which we via the hoof up field. Were you there in Dec '93 when we somehow beat Sheff Wed in the last minute thanks to yet another long ball to Wrighty via Smudge...and the remaining fans booed us off for yet another cr*p non flair match? Have you forgotten how he treated Limpar and eventually booted him out and replaced him with Helder (weep) Have you forgotten the home Cup exits in his last 2 seasons to 2nd tier Bolton and Millwall?? Have you forgotten that Adams wanted to leave and join Man Utd because he and that magnificent back 4 were totally overworked as we had a midfield in front of him that couldn't control a ball let alone pass the thing. And of course have you forgotten how he dragged the club through the gutter with the bung scandal?...for another diabolic player - Lydersen. The aftermath had us looking at relegation up until Easter. Listen I too have serious issues with Wenger and his squad building over the past 10 years but the acerbic hatred that you and other regulars on the site spew in his direction is beyond the pale. Name me one 'major' club who haven't lost their tradition over the years. They've all sold their souls to the filthy Wonga that the TV companies have chucked at them...and we one of the first to cash in back in GG days with the galling Bond issuance. I would love to still be standing in the North Bank at Highbury paying the inflation equivalent of 1987's £4 watching players on slightly more money than double the national average... but its just not viable or realistic. So please move on and ease up this hate campaign that will only end up giving you and your cronies an ulcer!!! Better still try constructive criticism - Post No. 102498
mbg 2:29am 9th Jan 2017
Havering Gooner, let my guard down ? where have I done that ? what makes you think that ? my guard was never up, even though I was only using his era as an example in reply to John Abrehart i've never made any secret of the fact that i'm an admirer of George Grahame (and always will be)and if you were a regular on here you'd know that (so no brownie points scored there to take back to your wee mates)and any one who purports to call himself an Arsenal fan would be too because he's done as much for Arsenal as wenger has regardless of the bung that you seem to take great delight in bringing up, along with the rest and I don't have to remind you what (or maybe I do)because he wouldn't have won what he did with out Grahams discipline and input another one of the traditions he's ruined and dismantled and very successfully too, with his own dictatorship, and I bet wenger won't be remembered so fondly in twenty years time. I could very easily respond with similar during wengers reign, diabolical players, signings, and how he's dragged the club through the gutter over the years with humiliations and embarrassments and all that went with them, etc, etc, especially the last ten years but I won't, hell some would even give you a good argument that he's taking bungs himself, money under false pretences, and £8,000,000 plus a season is a lot more than £500k. No it's yourself who has let your guard down and revealed your true colours coming /being drawn out in defence of your messiah, (the I to have serious issues with wenger and his squad building over the last ten years is a nice touch but fools no one)just like him, you and the rest of your ilk also don't like Georges name and era mentioned but that's something he'll never air brush out of history no matter how he or fans like you try. wenger out now. - Post No. 102499
CT Gooner 4:25am 9th Jan 2017
Totally with you Dartford... - Post No. 102500
Roy 7:33am 9th Jan 2017
Yep, totally with you as well, Dartford. See ya later, then. - Post No. 102501
DECLAN BURKE 7:48am 9th Jan 2017
The first half display here was absolutely alarmimg. The lack of leadership, drive, determination, the disarray in defence. Yes we turned it around. Giroud's goals are saving us lately, as he is paid to do, People of question the 'character' of modern day Arsenal, ask yourself...would George Graham have give the captains armband to Giroud ??? - Post No. 102502
Peter 8:26am 9th Jan 2017
Dartford you have it so right. This is what Ozil had to say today Ozil said: "The club knows that I am here most of all because of Arsene Wenger. He is the one who signed me and he is the one whose trust I have". Yes Ozil trust in Wenger because he never substitutes you when he is playing bad. So Alexis all fans want you to stay but if so please state it is because of the fans and not Wenger. - Post No. 102503
Bonzo 8:37am 9th Jan 2017
Dartford - my support for Ozil against my better judgement , hereby ends. Goodbye Ozil nice knowing you. Ps: think PSG might have a nice place for you. - Post No. 102504
Seven Kings Gooner 8:40am 9th Jan 2017
Dartford Gooner : I wonder how much the board paid Ozil to come out with little gem? Arsene and Ozil in cruise mode till their retirements - what an indictment on a once great club. - Post No. 102505
Dazzy90 8:52am 9th Jan 2017
Against half decent opposition we would of been dead and buried by half time. A bl00dy embarrassing first half display with comical defending. The scouts that spotted Gabriel and Xahaka should be fired with immediate effect. Gabriel is truly awful, and not fit to wear the Arsenal shirt. He is clueless. A liability every time he plays. Xhaka is lazy and wasteful. Not worth £35 let alone £35m! The Ox is Walcott's double. Should be sold. Not improved since he's been at the club. As for any defensive nous or organisation well, with clown Wenger in charge we will never see it. Shameful. Disgraceful. Woeful. Embarrassing. - Post No. 102506
TiTi2 9:18am 9th Jan 2017
Reminiscent of cup final v Hull. I sat there in that match thinking at least it will be the end of Wenger. How wrong can you be? - Post No. 102507
Arseneknewbest 9:56am 9th Jan 2017
Havering Gooner - Yes, I remember all of that (we all do) and STILL it was better than the corporate money-grubbing shyte that goes on now. You've conveniently skipped the high points of GG's era though a little haven't you. He isn't coming back (and nor is Pal Lydersen), we get that, but someone with an ounce of his commitment and ability to to get the best out of mediocre players would be better than the current ship of fools. Do you ever wonder,for instance, how Bouldy lives with himself - it's the complete antithesis of everything he represented as a player. It's often a struggle to recognise Asano these days - I'm not talking about dodgy away kits either - I mean the way in which they consistently capitulate and under-deliver. If you have been through that 80s-90s period Havering, as you say you have, then you too must be desperate for change. - Post No. 102508
Arseneknewbest 10:17am 9th Jan 2017
Here's some FREE strategic advice for money-grubbing merkin man stan on the ozil "will he, won't he" fiasco. Tell the over-rated german maestro that he'll get his wish about wengo (or tell a porkie and say he's already signed a new contract) if he renews his own contract immediately. Remember to offer him less though than he is asking for. Sack wengo forthwith (huzzah!), and when Ozil comes over to Missoura in a rage, tell him and his agent that it was a capitalist trick and that he should suck it up. Alternatively, just avoid him by hiding under your desk. Then sell Ozil straight away to moneybags PSG for a higher fee because his contract length is much longer. Simples. Stan, are you listening? Stan? Stan? Nurse get the defibrilator! This a surefire way to get rid of two of your biggest and most costly wasters. - Post No. 102509
Ron 10:21am 9th Jan 2017
Bard - It wd be a total shock of Maitland Miles didnt place precedence on 'looking cool' rather than football. Lets face it, the whole Club and certainly its squad has had looking cool as its priority for a decade and possibly even longer. The kits cool. The grounds cool. The PR from the Club is cool. Wengers cool and sauve. All hairstyles are cool. Beards are in and cooler still. The kit accessories like gloves and snoods are cool. Tippy tappy and the associated and obvious renunciation of physical football is cool. Add the aura of snobbishness of the attitude that emanates from the Club and you have total coolness. Pity that the Club despite its ultra coolness is a million light years from being a footballing powerhouse. Still, never mind, its makes a packet of cash every day while the regulars that go there, buy into coolness and in many cases try and emulate and reflect it in their attitudes, demeanour and acceptance of it. Frankly, this coolness is a virus thats riven into the fabric of the Club and killing it slowly. - Post No. 102510
chris dee 10:26am 9th Jan 2017
Next game Swansea away.They have a new manager and the their players will wan't to impress him,the crowd will be 'up for it'.And of all the 'top teams' which one would Swansea like to face,which team would most likely to crumble under pressure?There's only one answer,Arsenal.The team that keeps on giving to desperate clubs in need of a boost,the team that for the last ten years has epitomised the phrase 'southern softies'. - Post No. 102511
Redshirtswhitesleeves 10:26am 9th Jan 2017
Those of us that remember the George Graham years and further back beyond that no longer recognise our once great football club. And great it most certainly was. I loved every single thing that Arsenal FC was and stood for. Most of all I loved the fighting spirit and never say die attitude that the club seemed to bleed. Players full of fight and passion, way too many of them to name. Win or lose we knew our team had left it all on the pitch and that there was no room for pansies and free loaders in a dressing room full of CHARACHTER and MENTAL STRENGTH. Compare and contrast to what our club has been reduced to, no more than a frightened, quivering wreck of a team, unable to stand up and be counted when it matters most, collapsing into a pathetic shambles at the merest sign of pressure. I want my club back and this shameful regime out. They can't p*** off a moment too soon for me. - Post No. 102512
Ron 10:40am 9th Jan 2017
redshirts... hear hear! Nail hit squarely on the head. Chris Dee - totally true. Take yr pick. Arsenal are a mirror image of either the West Ham of the mid 60s to mid 70s or the Tottenham of (in the main) the last 50 years. We re a powder puff team. OK at looking pretty, win a few games on a good day in good weather but only if the opponent lets us play or has a bad day. Whilst nothing like as bad, these characteristics were filtering into the Club as far back as 2001/02. - Post No. 102513
Arseneknewbest 10:49am 9th Jan 2017
Ron and Chris Dee - here's a bold prediction: Swansea will come at Arsenal like a train, at the very least until the valleys very own Ivor the Engine runs out of puff. Will wengo's "flying frenchman" be able to get out of the station without derailing? Jamee will still be in the buffet car tucking into his traveller's fare sickly sausage roll. Swansea have been absolutely toothless/cluless for months - expect that all to change when they face the mini-mockney aristocrats from N7. Coincidentally, we were the first team to face them after the hapless bob bradley was appointed a few weeks ago and we all know how that nearly ended. Expect Unsold Anusol to probe why we always face clubs with new managers and how it's terribly unfair, sob! - Post No. 102514
Exeter Gunner 11:00am 9th Jan 2017
I too preferred even the darkest days of GG's reign to what we have now. At least I felt much more engaged with the club then. Yes corporatisation is the way football has moved generally but there's no excuse for the complacent, groundless arrogance, 'play when we feel like it / if there's a fair wind' attitude that's so evident now at AFC. That's what sickens a lot of us who remember what it used to be like more than anything, I think. - Post No. 102515
BW 12:13pm 9th Jan 2017
Just to add to your report Kevin, a work colleague travelled to Preston and sadly reported more fighting between AKB and WO groups in the away end at half-time. Wenger is nothing if not divisive but getting physical among ourselves is ridiculous. - Post No. 102516
Time for Change 17:01pm 9th Jan 2017
Crap first half, bit better in the 2nd. Glad Arsenal won Wenger (and if needs be Ozil) out. - Post No. 102537
mbg 17:18pm 9th Jan 2017
Dartford, spot on, anyone who thinks like that let TOF take all those wasters with him, obviously he (and any others)that think that way don't give a f**k about the club and aren't here because of it, I wonder what the AKB's think of that, there again I suppose it's right up their street, if any player at any other club in Europe said that he'd be hounded out, and booed at every opportunity until he pisses off. Go now wenger and take your luvvies with you every last one of them. Ozil out now. - Post No. 102540
mbg 18:09pm 9th Jan 2017
Peter, yes indeed it's funny how these players love the manager and have nice things to say about him when their constantly being picked no matter what and how shyte they are and giving time off, you can bet your mortgage it would be a different matter if TOF was subbing the wee f*****g dwarf all the time and dropping him not picking him at all, there'd be less kissing his arse that's for sure, Pathetic. Ozil out now . - Post No. 102544
Paul Ward 18:30pm 9th Jan 2017
BW The punch up was also mentioned by a caller on talk sport on Saturday night.Cant say I'm suprised to be honest , that first half display was enough to make the most mild mannered gooner wanna chin someone to be honest. Don't really get the Wenger apologists myself, do they want to see AFC win the league again or not?They can't seriously believe that Wenger will ever win it again surely. What cannot be denied is that Wenger is now a divisive figure, and as such he should do the right thing and go in the summer. - Post No. 102547
Dazzy90 7:19am 10th Jan 2017
Against half decent opposition we would of been dead and buried by half time. A bl00dy embarrassing first half display with comical defending. The scouts that spotted Gabriel and Xahaka should be fired with immediate effect. Gabriel is truly awful, and not fit to wear the Arsenal shirt. He is clueless. A liability every time he plays. Xhaka is lazy and wasteful. Not worth £35 let alone £35m! The Ox is Walcott's double. Should be sold. Not improved since he's been at the club. As for any defensive nous or organisation well, with clown Wenger in charge we will never see it. Shameful. Disgraceful. Woeful. Embarrassing. One final whinge to the editor of this site - can you use a different verification process? These stupid images always take 2 or 3 goes!! - Post No. 102566
15th January 2017
Online Ed: Arsenal win comfortably at Swansea