The Lesser-Spotted Arsenal Away Win

By Kevin Whitcher

Online Ed: Gunners overcome Middlesbrough

I don’t think anyone is going to get carried away by Arsenal’s victory over a relegation-bound Middlesbrough last night. It was a game which both sides needed to win, and became very open in the second half as a consequence.

Certainly, the home side came close to leveling the game 2-2 on two occasions, and ultimately, this game will be more fondly remembered for the points and the two excellent Arsenal goals than the defending. If Wenger’s team are to have any hope of defeating Manchester City next Sunday at Wembley they will certainly have to play better than this.

Arsene Wenger switched to three at the back, although why he felt the need to inform the world of this before kick off smacks of insecurity (“Look at how I can tactically adapt everybody!”). With the players selected, he could have fielded the standard 4-2-3-1 so why he didn’t keep quiet until the teams lined up at kick off is a mystery. Why give your opponents the chance to work out who is going to do what to counter the change in advance?

Anyway, six changes from the Palace defeat and the Ox and Monreal as Arsenal’s version of Victor Moses and Alonso. The Ox was actually the stand out player of the first half, although ran out of steam a little after the interval. Arsenal generally struggled to get going and neither team looked convincing in the opening 45 minutes. The 1-0 lead courtesy of an excellent Sanchez free kick calmed nerves at half-time

That didn’t last too long as less than five minutes after the re-start Negredo somehow stabbed the ball in, despite the attentions of two defenders. Manchester City will have Aguero, Sane, De Bruyne, Silva and in all likelihood Sterling at Wembley. Based on the evidence of last night, it’s difficult to envisage a clean sheet for Wenger’s side. The midfield duo of Xhaka and Ramsey simply do not provide enough cover for the defence, and whether there are four or three at the back, danger comes from the flanks, which is why so many will travel to the semi-final in hope rather than expectation. Last night was a case of new formation, same problems.

At least, at the Riverside, Arsenal rallied and the greater amount of space that opened up was exploited by Sanchez and Ramsey to lay on a chance that Ozil converted well. Middlesbrough’s Achilles’ Heel – their inability to score goals, proved their undoing. After the catastrophe at Palace, they were probably the best team the Gunners could have faced.

At half-time some Wenger Out banners were confiscated by stewards apparently on the basis that the game was on television (even though the cameras were behind the away fans). Go figure. Seems to me like censorship is alive and well. The US is planning a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, but the Wenger Out brigade don’t have any plans to bomb the Emirates to the best of my knowledge.

Arsenal hung on to their lead at 2-1, and rode their luck a little to get the three points. That keeps them in with a chance of a top four place, but the fixture list looks daunting, especially with the potential psychological damage of a bad defeat in the semi-final. Yes, cup football is full of surprises, but in both their previous semis, Wenger’s team were not able to dispose of either Wigan or Reading without needing extra time. Manchester City will be more resilient with Kompany in defence, so it is going to take the type of performance that we haven’t seen in months from Wenger’s team to get to the final. Worse still, they do not even have a settled side. Who can predict the starting eleven?

The fear is that this is, like the win over West Ham, a blip in a terrible run, rather than the green shoots of recovery, the typical Arsenal end of season recovery to scramble into fourth place after a disappointing title challenge collapse.

The players though, celebrated as if they’d won Sunday’s semi-final rather than an away game at a relegation doomed side. I guess they needed that. Arsene Wenger certainly did.

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18th April 2017 08:27:57


Comments 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.

Paulo75  9:09am 18th Apr 2017

Will take the 3 points after recent traumatic results but will need to be much improved to have any chance against City. Can only hope the team can somehow rise to the occasion but have my doubts. Would like to see Holding given the chance through to the end of the campaign. - Post No. 106427

Mathews  9:29am 18th Apr 2017

All in all it was a nervy match, and Wenger is feeling the heat of fans anger. He looks visibly shaken, and trying to cover it up with team line-ups and wry smiles. For me Holding was the stand out player, not Ox. His calmness in defence was evident while Gabriel kept fluffing. They should revert to a back four for City, unless Wenger thinks he is a genius and can replicate a Middlesbrough. Hope Perez or Welbeck leads the line and Giroud to remain as a sub. - Post No. 106428

The Man From UNCLE  9:31am 18th Apr 2017

It might be stating the obvious, but our sloth-like build up makes it too easy for teams to defend against. Is it really that hard to go at teams with pace using two flying wingers? Re Sunday; the only positive is that Citeh are as dodgy at the back as we are. - Post No. 106429

Gaz  9:37am 18th Apr 2017

Gutted we won as it takes the pressure of Wenger. Hate seeing him celebrate off the bench with that double clenched fist thing too. Hate feeling this way but there you have it I'm afraid. - Post No. 106430

Wardy  9:38am 18th Apr 2017

God help us on Sunday ...... fingers crossed City have an off day ! - Post No. 106431

Bard  10:12am 18th Apr 2017

The whole will he wont he saga is overshadowing everything. I dont see a 4th place escape and think it would be a disaster longer term if it was achieved. In previous seasons it would be fair to say we were probably 1-3 players short of being a top side ( tactical limitations aside) but looking at the present mob we need at least a dozen new players. Currently he has spent over £100m making us completely irrelevant. And for that we are thinking of offering him a new contract, madness. - Post No. 106432

Yes its Ron  10:26am 18th Apr 2017

In all fairness, tho only Boro, who fought really hard and deserved a draw perhaps, Asl showed a bit of grit for once, so the away fans at least hadnt travelled all the way to Middlesboro for nothing. Agree with Bard though, its a great big rebuild job and top 4 s isnt coming on cue this yr. They might surprise us in the Semi of the Cup though, i dont think we ll win that either. - Post No. 106433

Gaz  10:26am 18th Apr 2017

Problem is whereas a top four spot and an FA cup indicates no improvement whatsoever in 5 years (and that's with the influx of big name players into the squad) you just know if it happens it'll be dressed up as a great big achievement and one that warrants at least a two year deal. What a ridiculous situation. - Post No. 106434

Graham71  11:12am 18th Apr 2017

Match report:We beat a team worse than us.Move on nothing to see - Post No. 106435

jjetplane  11:16am 18th Apr 2017

Boring. What can be said is that Wengo kept his mainly useless teams in the top four for a yawning two decades because there were only four teams competing for the spots. Now there are six he is well out of it. Also when you see Utd, City, Totts, Liver, Chelski going for CL quals they mean to do do better than the atrociously banal Wenger has ever done in it. On the AKB lala side I guess that wraps up a Mesut improved deal and Wenger's contract because they beat the worst attacking team in the four divisions. Think we will find Pep playing the extra man at Wembley while the Ostrich sits on his bony claws. Leek - Totteringham day edges ever closer - ready for the celebrations? Leeeeeekie! - Post No. 106436

Deighty  11:34am 18th Apr 2017

Why do people keep mentioning 4th place ?? It ain't gonna happen, it is realistically out of our reach. And it will have the luckiest performance ever to get past Citeh in the semi, even more lucky than drawing two non league teams in the previous rounds. - Post No. 106437

jjetplane  11:37am 18th Apr 2017

Certainly happy over in the Untold Ward with all the patients having had their meds and streams. One very happy patient in the acute unit reckons the Ox is beeter than Alii after having brought Borough to a halt. Atwood of course is delirious as he walks around the beds adjusting patient dosages followed by Walter in drag doing his Belgium best to sound like Hattie Jacques. Let's hope Captain Theo (who?) visits them with his geetar and sombrero. The Ox would but now he is the best midfielder in the land and is even thanking the support for the unswerving backing. Time for Ox to grow a beard and maybe lead 'the team' out against Citeh. - Post No. 106438

Seven Kings Gooner1  12:06pm 18th Apr 2017

As our full backs are not even "wing backs" but out and out wingers it makes sense to me to play 3 at the back, at least it gives an extra man when our possession football eventually breaks down and we are hit on the counter. However Wenger did n't play 3 at the back as a tactic it was purely a PR stunt because as we know AW does not do any work to counter any threats from the opposition, lets face it if we had played 1-8-1 it should still have been enough to see off Boro. The lack of any pre match preparation to nullify our opponents strengths is why our Frenchman has lost so many finals, semi finals and key 1 off games. AW has spoken many times of wanting the players to work things out for themselves on the pitch, yet when the players did he would often make game changing substitutions, normally for the worse, Champions League Final anyone? - Post No. 106439

The Man From UNCLE  12:08pm 18th Apr 2017

We'll turn Citeh over don't worry. They ain't that good and in a one-off game we can more than match them. - Post No. 106440

Yes its Ron  12:33pm 18th Apr 2017

SKG - I think that '3 at the back' definition is a misnomer. It was 4 most of the time. Monreal was doubling back as a makeweight centre back nearly all game. Hes a good lad is Monreal. One of the few whove got some balls. Its the same with Chelsea. Its a back 3 when theyre over the half way line. When theyre not, its often a back 6! Same with Gunners. Media are obsessed with systems on paper. Sh-t goes on paper doesn't it. Deighty - yes, Arsenal will need a bit of luck and need City to be more of a mindset of being concerned about top 4 really. Cup wins always need luck. No team has ever won the FAC without a few dollops of it along the way. Our luckiest was leading up to May 71. Man City ironically in the 5th round largely outplayed us at Maine Road and Stoke certainly deserved to beat us in the first Semi. Goes with the territory mate. - Post No. 106441

jeff wright  12:39pm 18th Apr 2017

A couple of good goals scored against it must be said very modest oppo sums up last night's rather tedious affair. But hey was that not our rock solid ' holds the defence together like super-glue ' Keystone Kos that I spotted being at fault on Downing's cross that the Boro striker put into the back of Cech's goal >? With our little Kosser flapping desperately about like a Pigeon with a broken wing... surely not ! Yes Keystone Kos and co will have to do much better against City on Sunday but it really is just a side show the Cup for both Wengo and Pep with the top 4 trophy ,as both the pair of desperadoes call a top 4 finish, being the main priority for them . It looks like a case of let's see who can score the most goals then on Sunday with nothing much to choose between the two defences . Keystone Kopesgue type antics and silly goals conceded being the norm for the clowns with clean sheets kept being rarer than in a Turkish brothel. Pep has the better side though in midfield and attack that's why he has more points on the table in the league than Wenger does .These Cup games however are always about on the day performances so on that basis Wengo has a chance but not in my view a favorites one. He will need some of his infamous good fortune to prevail over the more tactically astute Pep who will be rubbing his hands with glee if silly Wengo puts out three CB's in defence all of whom have all the brains that God gave a Duck's arse as we saw last night they just get in each others way and Wengo lacks the tactical nous to drill and coach defenders properly. Keystone kos and co lose more leads than all the dog owners at Crufts do put together . You can never feel at ease when our lead is just one goal and last night's game was further proof,if if needed, of that fact.Our fullbacks will have a busy time of it with Pep being sure to target them . Again defending is obviously not something that Wengo works on with them at the training ground . - Post No. 106442

TonyEvans  12:45pm 18th Apr 2017

Same thoughts as Gaz - don't want Wenger winning any matches at all and that includes the semi-final. Hate this situation but there it is. Noted Wenger's predictable 'our confidence is returning' crap - just like it did v Lincoln and Westham I suppose! - Post No. 106443

Cyril  12:59pm 18th Apr 2017

It was good to see AW try 3 at the back. I mentioned in a post a while back that it might not work with Ramsey to keen to get forward at every opportunity. Xhaka to my disappointment may not have it. He needs to be the pivot in this formation but seems to be too slow. Nice passer but can't get himself out of trouble like a Vieira. Would love to see us nail 2 formations. Work in progress, but I couldn't see the benefit of the extra man. The midfield keep nudging further forward leaving too much exposure. As we have seen on so many occasions, [top heavy] and this causes so many problems. They recycled it back with only 3 to spread it. Boro played a very high press and we were very lucky. However, this system can work but we need a class midfield who will sit and only go when right. It was great to see a side come at us and maybe 3 will tempt more teams. We just need to sort the midfield. Nice to get a win all the same. - Post No. 106444

Staplehurst Gooner  13:07pm 18th Apr 2017

I don't suppose I'm alone in seeing the semi-final draw as incredibly kind: we can lose quietly to Citeh and not have to face demolition by the Chavs, or worse still humiliation by Tottenham. Handing THEM the double with another anaemic final performance is unthinkable. Winning on Sunday would be a disaster, although there's as much chance of that happening as Corbyn being elected PM. - Post No. 106445

Yes its Ron  13:33pm 18th Apr 2017

Cyril - Ramsey unbelievably had a decent game i thought. Its a low quality middle as you say though. Theres not an impressive midfielder at the Club in my view. 3 Centre halfs of that average quality will get torn to shreds by a really good side. It wont happen v Citys forwards for sure. - Post No. 106446

mbg  13:34pm 18th Apr 2017

Weasels can be hard to spot has this one resigned yet ? We want wenger out we want wenger out. - Post No. 106447

mbg  14:04pm 18th Apr 2017

Didn't hear much from the away fans like I said all it will take is a win against mediocre opposition. Sad. We want wenger out. - Post No. 106448

Seven Kings Gooner1  14:13pm 18th Apr 2017

Ron: funny you mentioned that 1971 5th round tie at Maine Road, my father had a mate who could read football brilliantly and he told us leading up to that tie that if we could get through that game we would win the cup. Remember the game well, lousy conditions, awful pitch and for long periods we saw little of the ball but we had Charlie George and it was his night was n't it. We really rode our luck that year in the cup and with replays against Portsmouth, Leicester & Stoke City we certainly did it the hard way, thankfully we had the "mental strength" to go all the way - no wonder Frank was shattered at the end of that famous season. - Post No. 106449

Redshirtwhitesleeves  14:40pm 18th Apr 2017

Both manager and players have been under-performing and letting us down for years, last nights win means nothing. Shame we didn't lose, here's hoping city beat us in the semi. I for one don't fancy a humiliating final defeat against the chavs or even worse the scum. A word for Holding, I've been impressed with him this season, id like to see more of the boy. Unlike kosclelny he seems able to last beyond half time and unlike Gabriel and mustafi he seems able to actually defend. - Post No. 106450

Yes its Ron  14:54pm 18th Apr 2017

SKG - I was at that match. It was a mud bath. i was on the Kippax side of the ground with a few Man c mates. Noit sure of you knew Maine Road but they didst have an 'end', they had a 'side'. It was unusual as it was so big and opp fans always got in to an extent.They gave CG some stick. Colin Bell should have a couple. Great win as City we re a good side then. Lee Bell Summerbee Oakes (he missed an easy one) and Co. Peter Storey was great that night. Kicked everything in a light blue shirt! For me, Storey was the key man in that team closely followed by Raddy and Bob Wilson. Teams were just s--t scared of him. As mean as a rattlesnake. He had some great matches didnt he. - Post No. 106451

Yes its Ron  15:06pm 18th Apr 2017

redshirts - agree on Holding. He played at Leics last August. A good kid.Not sure hes started since? The thought of losing to Spurs in a Cup Final is a sobering thought as you say. Never quite got that Semi loss in 91 out of the system! A final would be far worse, though ive lost a lot of the old passion for it all now and hence the animosity towards Tottenham s dissipated too. Quite glad to have done. Not enjoyed ANY NLD ive ever been to, esp at WHL. Just too much to cope with pre match thinking of losing to them. Used to get bad stomach ache. How pathetic! - Post No. 106452

Redshirtwhitesleeves  15:43pm 18th Apr 2017

Ron- I was at that semi in 91, I went straight home to bed and didn't surface for 2 days such was the disappointment (and shame!). My spud mates still go on about it now! Like you say the NLD is nothing as what it used to be. Like all top flight football it's been sanitised and had the passion removed.I couldn't care less if we lost to them in the league in a couple of weeks if it helps Wenger on his way out. A cup final defeat though doesn't bear thinking about as we would never live it down. We were lucky that we only waited 2 years to avenge that semi weren't we - Post No. 106453

Yes its Ron  16:12pm 18th Apr 2017

redshirt- very true mate. 1993 was the antidote to an extent wasnt it. We were well beaten in 91 though whereas 93 was a close game, theres the difference i always think. 'sanitized' is the word. The derbys now are little different to any other match really and lets face it, most of the players have no affinity with the Clubs and dont get the meaning or care about the meaning of derby defeat for the fans. I suspect the Spurs fans will be up at peak pitch though at the Lane shortly, what with it being the last one there, plus theyre going for the title. Its all set up either for a thrashing for Asl or on the other hand a great big Spurs let down and thus a home defeat, for which theyre famous for. i suspect the former applies this time though. Wdt be at all surprised if Arsenal went there an jammied a win some how. ha - Post No. 106454

Moscowgooner  16:39pm 18th Apr 2017

do we actually want to beat Man City in the semi?? To lose an FA Cup Final to either Spurs or Chelsea would be as painful as it can ever get (particularly the former and especially if it gave them the double...) However: win the Cup and we guarantee more Wenger. We´re really between a rock and a hard place if we win on Sunday. City will go into the game as clear favourites and we generally perform well when the pressure is gone. - Post No. 106455

mbg  16:54pm 18th Apr 2017

Reality check needed as usual in some quarters, it never surprises what one win against relegation fodder always does to/for some, You couldn't make it up, remember the inevitable is just round the corner. We want wenger out. - Post No. 106456

Yes its Ron  17:12pm 18th Apr 2017

MG - I hear you. For me, i hope we beat City and am happy to risk a loss in the Final to possibly Spurs, dread the thought!. The PL s done now and has been done for a while and the Wenger stay/go issue isnt affected at all now by the FAC i dont think. Its gone far deeper than that. The Cup is no longer a mask over the cracks and for me, hasnt been for years. Plus , I like the FAC, its a reminder of what football was before the cleansed and sanitised crap was imposed on us that the PL is now in the main. Its also at least a chance to put a blight on Spurs season. Lose to City and we dont get that chance. OK, we may not be good enough to do that, but its an enticing thought surely? Mainly though, im fed up of the great AW debate. Said all i need to say years back in truth. Every argument has been vented. The Cups a release and provides a bit of football focus at least. - Post No. 106457

Roy  17:52pm 18th Apr 2017

As usual I'm with Gaz and Tony in that I don't want Wenger to win any games, also gutted that we won last night. Moscows got it right too, if we beat City ( and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that we could pinch it on the day, though I don't think we will ), we are in for a world of pain. It's Spursday nights for us next season as it is, and if there's any semblance of a football club still remaining that some of us are lucky enough to remember, that will be WITHOUT Wenger in charge. If not, we're done for. - Post No. 106458

Cyril  18:20pm 18th Apr 2017

Hi Ron, I bow your superior trained eye in all things tactics. Perhaps, Ramsey needs better players around him. But we definitely need a no nonsense fair stand up player to protect the three. So many times there was nobody in the midfield looking for it when we were getting cornered. Oh for a mature Fabregas there in the xhaka position. Do you think he might give this 3 a try out long term? I would love or see it Ron. - Post No. 106459

MAF  18:21pm 18th Apr 2017

look Boro were absolutely awful for most of the match, they really are 2nd rate. I could still see 100 weaknesses in how we played frankly. I maintain Zhaka is a total waste of Money and no where need premier league Standard. would any of the other 6 Teams buy him for £30m ?? dont think so. Ozil so now we know the truth, he called Wenger as no other Team out there fancied him. too laid back by a mile. Monreal has to be one of the worst defenders in the EPL plus he is a complete pussy. I still think we will get spanked by City and Spurs and will barely pick up another 6-8 Points this year. Wenger please leave us alone and let us start afresh - Post No. 106460

Seven Kings Gooner1  19:32pm 18th Apr 2017

Ron : Never got to the Maine Road tie, did Portsmouth home and away, Leicester home & away, missed the Semi's and sent off the corners of my programmes for a Cup Final ticket but missed the cut. Can't see us stopping this City though, their forwards will get a bit of extra room against us and any thing less than 0 - 3 will be a reasonable result. However Ron semi finals are funny affairs and there has never been a Arsenal v Spuds final! - Post No. 106461

CORNISH GOONER  20:03pm 18th Apr 2017

Watched it but was bored - I just don't care anymore. Awful opposition & yet we could easily have lost. Inevitably the second goal was a cue for more thumb sucking & a group orgasm. What a shower our Monsieur Hulot has created. I prefer the Jaques Tati original myself because he is always silent. For you "kids" out there you can Google him!! - Post No. 106462

Wengerballs  20:42pm 18th Apr 2017

Disappointed to see the win and Sanchez and Ozil both score as I was kind of hoping they were now playing to get rid of Wenger, ala Chelsea playing to get rid of Maureenho and Leicester players playing to remove Ranieri. Thought our lads had finally twigged they can do the same. - Post No. 106463

Cyril  23:10pm 18th Apr 2017

It makes sense not to play 3 at the back in a cup game, as they will come looking. It can work against lesser teams in the league cos they will fancy it. It's a defensive set up. We need to give them hope to give us hope. The problem we have is no backbone to handle this formation cos they are not good enough. Ox ran and ran, cos he can play. TEMPT the team to find out who can play. I saw that last night. Ox class. Monreal class. Win the battles in midfield and put a shift in and STOP hiding behind a standard back four as this is not working. Sanchez does his bit. If you going to have Ozil luxury for a tickle ball, you MUST EARN IT. Sadly it's all to apparent that when we need a 50/50 win on a ball fairly and squarely it's not there. WHY, because they can't play the 'man up ' game. Come on players, I hope you read this and 'man up'. I will always support you but you have to look at yourselves. Love you Arsenal. - Post No. 106464

mbg  23:15pm 18th Apr 2017

Ron, hear what your saying also, personally i'd prefer TOF got no where near the/another final, 1, he doesn't deserve it (and neither do the/his powder puff players) 2, the weasel could fluke it and then where would or could we be, although saying that a stuffing by Spurs in the final would be the final nail in his coffin, but do we want to take the chance ? a win against them no matter how lucky we were or how we scraped it would certainly mean another two years what a time to make the announcement (maybe that's what he's waiting hoping for ?) his spin department and AKB luvvies would have a field day, and those luvvies who are falling off and who have fallen off already would be jumping back on again quicker than the British Gymnastic squad on a trampoline. We want wenger out. - Post No. 106465

Cyril  23:56pm 18th Apr 2017

Mbg, sorry the fact he tried something new will always give me hope. It was a different game last night. As a season ticket holder, we are the last people to give up. Hence, why I pay thousands to follow them. Always willling to forgive till the last moment. Don't be a school book depository 'no mark' shooter patsy just yet my friend. - Post No. 106467

CT Gooner  3:21am 19th Apr 2017

MBG: you got a shout out on the monthly podcast, nice one! One of the panelist was a real apologist though, wants shot of Wenger, but no need to protest. Kevin pretty much tells him what Wenger thinks of him and the rest of the supporters and how he's paying for this, but the fella's still "obe-la-de". - Post No. 106468

Guernsey gunner  7:55am 19th Apr 2017

I'm afraid it's time to call time on jack wilsheres arsenal career following news that he has broken his leg. If we renew his contract following that news coupled with a very uninspiring loan spell at Bournemouth it's diaby mark II. It's a shame but elite sport is a cruel, tough environment and I'm afraid he has not got what it takes to consistently perform at the elite level. Maybe doing what joe cole was doing at Coventry might be for him. - Post No. 106469

Bard  9:43am 19th Apr 2017

Guernsey; Couldnt agree more. Its sad but we should have sold him a while ago. Yet another example of the club having become a social centre rather than an elite football institution. In all likelihood we will of course offer him a spanking new 5 year deal. - Post No. 106470

jeff wright  11:54am 19th Apr 2017

Nice one Cyril ,however ,I don't believe that Wenger has any chance, other than a slim outside one, of winning the cup again.I have no intention of getting all in a lather about that and Wengo himself wants a top 4 spot more.So if he is not that bothered about the cup why should I or anyone else be. Deja vu for me his poxie 4th place trophy that he uses to keep his well paid job I hope he misses out on that as well..The FA devalued the FA Cup years ago anyway when they allowed Sir Ferguson and his crew to opt out of it to go and play instead in some Mickey Mouse tournament in South America that was all about selling merchandise abroad for United . Wenger's already won the FA Cup 6 times and rather fortuitously the last 3 times it must be said. Seeing as he himself said it was not as important as finishing 4th is and that winning the European Cup was his main ambition I reckon that he should be judged on not winning that again this season and not on if he wins the FA Cup. Not so long ago that was not worth the bother of having a parade to celebrate winning . Well it was 2005 actually,my how time does fly... ! So what's changed then .The answer is Wenger's position is worse now days with no title tilts and regular first round Wexits from Europe every season. So the once maligned cup is a useful diversion from these realities for Wengo and the club. Of course the cup for obvious reasons can't be talked up big time unless Wengo wins so ifhe loses on Sunday the reaction will be all about damage limitation and the less hype that goes into the semi final regarding winning it the less damage limitation that will be required if things go the shape of an American football for Wengo . Along with many others I can't really get that excited about Wenger and another cynical FA Cup final possibility . As I'm convinced anyway that he will not win it or his 4th place trophy either I just hope that this will see the clown gone in the summer and if this means no FA Cup so be it. By the way giving Syrupy thousands Cyril only helps to keep him hanging about stinking the club out and Wengo in his job. The FA Cup is not worth that .Anyway the FA Cup is always a case of que sera sera. Watching the AKB's cautiously poking their heads above the trenches after Wengo has beaten another team of road-sweepers and now hopeful of a Semi final Cup win over a better side is rather amusing .We have been here before only the opponents this time in the Wembley show-down are better than Wigan and Reading were. So obviously it's best not to get too excited about it all considering how fortunate Wengo was against those modest sides . End of. - Post No. 106471

Alsace  12:00pm 19th Apr 2017

Just a few comments. 1) The point about the manager is that he absolutely refuses to do what is necessary to win because he doesn't like going against his own ethos. The fact that he is now starting to try and obey the rules of English football because he is staring the sack in the face speaks volumes. 2)However, no matter because his long term lack of any coaching of the team is, as Kevin says , now going to bite him on the bottom. 3) The team celebrating loudly after beating Midelsborg is contemptible as is any assistance that they now give the manager to hold on to his phoney baloney job. 4) Let us just hope that this is now going to unravel real fast for the manager. We are in the semi finals after beating two non league teams. He is the luckiest man in football but he can't escape the truth. He is just a lousy coach. - Post No. 106472

Redshirtwhitesleeves  14:03pm 19th Apr 2017

Apparently the left back we are supposedly trying to sign from Shalke has been told Wenger will definitely be manager next season. It's all pointing that way and it's what most of us have feared all along. Please god we get battered a few more times this season to force the boards hand - Post No. 106473

markymark  14:25pm 19th Apr 2017

Brickfields latest quote on Untold 'This is of course because most of us AKBs have the added advantage of education, experience as well as great moral and work ethics. I do believe that most of us have achieved a lot in life and it being mostly by our own noble efforts' Boy he's lost the plot! - Post No. 106474

The Man From UNCLE  14:35pm 19th Apr 2017

I can't believe anyone hasn't already thought this one up. As we all know, football mirrors life. What's happening at AFC right now is the sporting equivalent of Brexiteers (AW out) vs The Remoaners (the AKB's). I would even hazard a guess that the split is along roughly the same lines; 55-45 or 60-40 in our (AW out) favour. That comment above from Untold, courtesy of Markymark, shows the AKB's acting in the same way as your average Guardian-reading Islington-dwelling Remoaner; "you filthy peasant, how dare you know more than me, your superior educated better". Vive la revolution, on both fronts. Though I still think we will blag a win on Sunday - their back four is as hopeless as ours. - Post No. 106475

Time for change  14:51pm 19th Apr 2017

Maybe in 2037 Wenger will use three at the back to win the league again. Probably still be manager then [!!!] - Post No. 106476

RobG  15:42pm 19th Apr 2017

Just to pep you up - the new appeal is at the half way point on the Just Giving page. Keep donating 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👏👏👏👏👏🍺 Pleaaaasssseeeee !!!!!! - Post No. 106477

Bard  16:09pm 19th Apr 2017

Redshirt; Im sure he has but I wouldnt bank on Wenger signing. If it were nailed on they would have said something by now. The win over Boro wasnt a ringing endorsement of an improvement. We are still looking like we could suffer another thrashing anytime. The team will have to show a serious improvement for him to sign. My take is that they are giving him every opportunity to turn it around. If he doesnt he wont sign in my view. - Post No. 106478

mbg  16:21pm 19th Apr 2017

Cyril, hear you mate, but why try now ? when he knows he's in the shyte, why not weeks, months, years ago ? instead of plodding on trying to prove everyone wrong with his ego and arrogance, with respect your just one of these who have been taken in by this fresh false hope just what was intended, just wait and see how long it lasts if and when he gets comfy again. wenger out regardless. - Post No. 106479

Redshirtwhitesleeves  16:34pm 19th Apr 2017

Bare- hope your right mate - Post No. 106480

mbg  16:36pm 19th Apr 2017

CT Gooner cheers I haven't got round to listening to it through yet, yes I sent the Ed an email to see if he could bring that subject up about luvvy dovey fans wanting him gone yes but to nice to protest, pathetic, do they want him out or not, with that pathetic attitude they may as well chant for him to stay. We want wenger out we want wenger out, it's as simple as that. - Post No. 106481

Yes its Ron  17:21pm 19th Apr 2017

Hi Cyril and the rest of you lads. Im no great tactician Cyril but on 3 at the back, you need 3 really good defenders to do it and wing backs who can both get fwd and get back to defend willingly and in equal measure. I wdt like to see Asl try it too much other than v rubbish teams. Top teams would clean us out. I hear you lads saying we really shdt progress in the Cup and its hard to say that youre not right, in fact i can support yr views and my own!! I m just looking for some inspiration from an awful season really i suppose and the Cups always escapism isnt it. Many a time a usually poor to average team can win it and why not Arsenals sorry lot this time? Best Final i ever went to was Spurs v Cov City in 87 or 88?. Went with a few Spuds for my sins. Cov were deserved winners, though not a great side. Brilliant seeing the Spuds in abject misery after they had swaggered to Wenbley thinking they only had to show up, despite Cov having belted them a few months earlier up at Coventrys old Highfield Road ground. Yr all right though, Asl are risking a thumping off some body. Cyril, 3 at the back on that wide Wembley pitch? Ooooh mate, risking utter carnage in Keystone territory that is! - Post No. 106484

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

Frozen North Provides Relief For Arsenal

Rare comfortable away win for Gunners v Ostersunds