After all these years… a plan B

Online Ed: Old style Arsenal return at the Etihad

After all these years… a plan B

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It’s Arsenal Jim, but not as we’ve known it. For once, an Arsene Wenger team went to a place no-one expected them to get anything, and played the game from the start with a plan not to lose the match. From this solid foundation, they were able to build attacks without going gung-ho, and beat the defending champions on their home turf. A fantastic achievement right up there with the best results Wenger’s teams have achieved in his long reign at the club.

When people ask me why I think Arsenal should contemplate a different manager, I ask them this: Do you think another manager could have won more honours with the players Wenger has worked with since the stadium move? And the win at Manchester City was proof that, playing in a more disciplined manner, with a tactical approach specifically tailored to counter the opposition, the Gunners can win big games, even when the odds are against them. It is possible that the players can adapt their approach even under Wenger. The huge frustration of course is, why it has taken so many seasons for this to happen. Still, better late than never. The hope is now that the discipline of this performance can be built upon, and the needless concession of avoidable goals can become a thing of rarity.

Santi Cazorla deservedly took the plaudits, covering literally every inch of grass and giving his finest ever performance in an Arsenal shirt. However, perhaps more key to the victory was Francis Coquelin. A player effectively rejected by Wenger (loan spells at Frieburg and Charlton in the last eighteen months for a player in their early 20s do not indicate someone in the manager’s plans). Mikel Arteta is out for three months. Mathieu Flamini is fit again, but first choice ahead of him is the younger Coquelin. Frank McLintock was on the radio yesterday morning bemoaning the lack of leaders at the club, prepared to ball people out. Thierry Henry on Sky Sports cited the need for the players in front of the defence to protect them more. Coquelin looked like the de facto captain on the pitch yesterday. With less than 20 Premier League starts in his seasons at the club.

Rather like Ashley Cole, it looks a case of a player that Wenger almost allowed to slip through the net might come good and solve a problem. Certainly, the performance at City will give the manager reason not to bolster his squad in the areas they are patently short, although an injury to one of Coquelin, Mertesacker or Koscielny would weaken the team, so financial prudence should not be the order of the day.

Coquelin was ably supported in midfield by both Cazorla and Ramsey. The latter was perhaps a little too keen to join attacks when the team were 1-0 up, although Cazorla was playing in a more disciplined fashion, which slightly mitigated the Welshman’s forays. It should be remembered that others also took turns to add to the numbers on counter attacks once the Gunners were in the lead – Bellerin and Flamini come to mind. It’s about finding the balance. Was it gung ho Gunners? By all staying back constantly, they would have invited too much pressure, so one can’t be too critical of measured attempts to relieve it. If the players work as a team, it’s ok for one man to join the attack from deep. Football intelligence.

And three points for Arsenal with Mike Dean in charge. That, in itself, is another collectors’ item. The penalty was a pleasant surprise. Kompany knew what he was doing, but fully expected to get away with it. It would have been called clever defending if he did. Cazorla’s strike was good enough to beat Joe Hart even though the keeper went the right way. Arsenal’s defending at set pieces was so much better than we have seen for most of the season. So many corners, so little danger. There looked more of a policy to attack the ball and physically challenge the opposition rather than mark space. City had one excellent chance to level the scores, but the slightest touch from Koscielny took the ball away from the path of Aguero who just needed to make contact to convert. It was a key moment.

Arsenal had a plan to deny David Silva the ball, which worked a treat. Yaya Toure is at the African Cup of Nations, and with him as one of the midfielders at the expense of Fernando or Fernandinho, different problems would have faced the visitors, but that is the price you pay for having African international players in the squad. City’s defending for the second goal (which might not have been scored if Toure did indeed play) was almost Arsenal-like, with Giroud having a free header due to a lack of concentration in the home team’s defence.

The pundits were calling it a ‘blueprint’ for Arsenal in the big matches. However, it was all very simple. This was no tactical masterplan, it was rather a case of doing the basics well. Winning a football match is partly about the positive things that your team can do, but when you do not have the ball, stopping the other side. Too often, the latter has seemed like an afterthought. But yesterday, Arsenal stayed compact and rarely gave away possession cheaply in their own half. They worked as a team rather than a disparate collection of individuals, and Coquelin, at the centre of the organization, was fundamental in this. With this approach, Arsenal can become a winning club again, by which I mean trophies. It is probably too early to happen this season. Chelsea are out of sight in the League as far as Arsenal are concerned. And the quality in the squad isn’t good enough to go all the way in the Champions League. But more results like this will breed confidence, and start to rebuild the aura that Arsenal have not had for a very long time. This result also means the Gunners can feel confident whatever the FA Cup draw brings them, assuming complacency does not return at Brighton next weekend.

If you want evidence of a sea change in approach, the fact that Arsenal enjoyed their lowest possession percentage (35%) since OPTA started recording the stats 12 years ago, yet put in one of the best performances seen since the regular trophy winning days, is highly significant. This was old style Arsenal. 1971, 1991, Cup Winners Cup 1994. Not always pretty, but damned effective. Soak it up, go forward in numbers selectively, but always keep an eye on defence. Whisper it quietly, but Arsenal looked like they were sent out by Jose Mourinho yesterday.

Aaron Ramsey did not credit Arsene Wenger with the change in approach, and the manager himself was bemused when asked in the post-match Sky Sports interview why he has waited so long to do this. His preference is for the players to work things out for themselves on the pitch. Which begs the question who exactly formulated the plan to play deep, deny Silva and soak up the pressure? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter as long as the team remain as tactically aware in the games that follow, and start building the kind of consistency and performance levels that can challenge for silverware.

The main thing is that, this morning, it feels like we have our Arsenal back.

I am now on Twitter@KevinWhitcher01.

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Further Reading
A sequel to Arsènal – The Making of a Modern Superclub and entitled Arsène and Arsenal The Quest to Rediscover Past Glories has been written by myself and co-author Alex Fynn. It takes up the story of the club from the last update of the previous book, and can be bought online here. Use the promo code ‘Gooner’ to get 10% off the publisher’s price of £8.99.

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  1. Gooner Negativity Index...

    Jan 21, 2015, 19:03 #65452

    "Do you think another manager could have won more honours with the players Wenger has worked with since the stadium move?" Maybe ask them how many of these players would not even be at the club without Wenger. "Aaron Ramsey did not credit Arsene Wenger with the change in approach..." Gooner rule #1: Never ever credit the manager (unless this is absolutely unavoidable).

  2. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 20, 2015, 20:21 #65385

    Aaaa how nice our first Onlinegooner wedding and there should be no problem finding the hands to exchange rings.

  3. TJ

    Jan 20, 2015, 18:30 #65376

    @AC well I'm more with the 'enjoy whatever the context' people now because I am just happy with whatever we get- I treat any success as a bonus. I'm just saying that it's difficult for people who seem negative and can't enjoy great individual wins because they are so fundamentally disenchanted with the regime. For them it would be like having a Communist government (assuming they're liberal) and seeing that regime winning battles. As for the ref stuff, I think we were lucky but we've been so wronged by refs over the years it's not worth mentioning on this occasion.

  4. jeff wright

    Jan 20, 2015, 18:28 #65375

    Well Caesar ,you can't have your cake and eat it,if Wenger is not doing his job properly and all the evidence says that this is the case,then some supporters will turn nasty that is the nature of the beast . It happens to all managers who fail to live up to supporters aspirations . Now I see the Stoke railway incident being more about bragging rights ,always a big thing for all football supporters when their pride takes a dent. Wenger has presided over too many away horror shows and when one is at Stoke again then the red mist comes down over some supporters and they react angrily to the pain that has been inflicted on their psyche by as they perceive it Arsene Wenger. I believe myself that it is pressure from discontented supporters ,such as the thousands of empty seats at games ,a silent protest but one that is visible to all, that forced a change of tack from Wenger on Sunday rather than vocal abuse did.Let's face it he has a hide thicker than a Rhino's arse. The tight defensive tactics caught City by surprise , they expected the usual gung-ho Wenger school playground ,hey let's see who can score the most goals , ones and struggled to deal with the closed ranks that was in front of them rather than acres of space. I was a bit concerned just after the break at the start of the second half ,following on a Wenger half-time talk, when we were chucking men forward to try and score a second goal,a typical Wengrite ploy this,but fortunately we soon reversed back into a defensive formation and as they say the rest is history. How much of all of this was down to Wenger himself is a matter for conjecture ,because he did not appear to have any clue about how the win was achieved,instead he mumbled about nothing being any different.Well I call a 2-0 win better than a 6-3 defeat. Again though Wenger has more than once tried to claim that we played well in that massacre and it was not as bad as it appears to be.That's your Arsene though bull****t*r number one. You couldn't make it up. I will wait and see if the City result is a spuds v Chavs one before getting carried away with the notion that Wenger has seen sense. Anyway we can''t play like that at home and we still have some tough games to play in the Prem and in Europe as well.I doubt that there wil be a ,lot in it between the sides competing for 3rd and 4th spot .I expect United to get 3rd with us having to play them away with 2 games left in their favour. They won't get caught napping like City did, the trick can only work as a surprise once. We will probably get 4th again , this is not the certainty though that it was last season and again this shows that Wenger is not taking us forward.

  5. Brian

    Jan 20, 2015, 18:01 #65371

    From the heart Augustus! Once more, a joy to read.

  6. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 20, 2015, 17:53 #65369

    Jeff Wright - These are my comments after the Stoke away game by the way. Just so you know I'm not this myopic Wenger loving freak that you think I am. "It's with a very heavy heart and a serving of humble pie that I have to concede that I do not believe Arsene Wenger can take the club any further. That said, I simply cannot find it in me to support any vocal and visible 'Wenger Out' campaign. While we are all currently frustrated at the stagnation of the club and an inability to address recurring problems, I still believe Arsene Wenger does not deserve to be hounded by the fans (I know it’s a fan's individual prerogative to do this, they've paid their money and earned their right to be disgruntled you could say) but I can't do it personally. He has done far too much for the club and should be allowed a dignified exit. How this might by manifested I'm not entirely sure but I think the chances of finishing outside the top 4 are greater than in previous seasons. I have an innate will to always support the club and cheer the team on when they're playing and I absolutely despair when I read comments on here imploring Arsenal to lose games because it would be for the greater good. I understand the logic behind that reasoning but to me it will never be a natural thing to do and I doubt whether it's true fans and more entitled arseholes that do this." I haven't changed my mind on that viewpoint, I am ready for a change. I did, though, jump around like a loon when that second goal went in on Sunday.

  7. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 20, 2015, 17:41 #65368

    Jeff Wright - You haven't actually read and registered a single word I've written have you. Not one. That's just another of your hate-filled monologues. I can see this is the equivalent of talking to a potted plant so I'll bid you farewell.

  8. jeff wright

    Jan 20, 2015, 17:31 #65367

    AugustusCaesar , I am not here unfortunately to praise you but thanks anyway for the unsolicited advice that you offered me . I have been rather busy today and not had time to read this thread so apologies for the late reply. However, Caesar , I can't take your sanctimonious sheep like bleatings seriously because you only appear like a sheep out of the mist after we have had a good result. This means of course that we don't see you too often. Now it seems to me that these ruminations that you claim to indulge in when agonizing over where it all went wrong for Arsene , as it of course frequently does , never appear on here .Question > WHY NOT ? In fact I see you as just being another nut-job excuse maker of the highest order ,so there is never a reason for you to doubt Arsene because bad results can't possible be in your deluded mind his fault. He is only responsible for good results ,right .?You appear after a good result,as do others of your ilk, to try and stop others from protesting about Wenger's obvious inept management . You then try to pretend that you are just a fair minded supporter giving a balanced view ( you couldn't make it up) while Wenger's critics are just hate filled morons posting tunnel-vision views. In reality of course it is you who are the one with tunnel-vision posting constant pro-Arsene nonsense dressed up to appear to be reasonable views . Come back and tell us about it all in May . I will become a prophet here and predict that you will be no where to be seen on here if ,as looks very likely ,Arsene ends up with nothing but a minor place again in the league to show for his efforts. Not that this will deter you of course from changing your unshakable belief in him being the best man to take the club forward.Even though all of the evidence proves otherwise. At best he is just treading water and at his age time is not on his side. If you don't like these reasonable views based on known results and evidence,then tough sh*t ,I am however not going to be forced to cave-in to your AKB views and stay silent about it being obvious that they are nonsensical... C'est la vie!

  9. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 20, 2015, 17:29 #65366

    Fair points TJ and I totally understand where you're coming from. I can't be the only one though who finds it incredulous to find negative comments after the match report on the City game though surely? And wouldn't you agree that this whole 'we wouldn't have won if it wasn't for a refereeing blunder' feels quite warped to me. Literally whose side are you on here? It smacks of trying to frame particular circumstances in the match to suit a long standing point of view. I think that's pretty depressing personally.

  10. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 20, 2015, 17:17 #65365

    @GoonerRon I just can't abide the persistant fatalistic and downbeat attitudes of the majority of people on this forum. Jeff Wright is just one of many. When the final whistle went on Sunday the atmosphere inside the away end was incredible. An utter outpouring of joy. Did anyone say at any point; well that was a neded victory for the race for the 4th place trophy and Wenger still needs to buy a defensive midfielder and just what IS Stan Kroenke's role at this club? Of course not. I totally appreciate that this is a multi-faceted club open to scrutiny both on and off the field and as paying supporters we are entitled to a say and, yes, maybe you could argue some sort of return in terms of silverware given our stature and how much we pay, but, please, let's not lose sight of what we're here for. To support the club and enjoy watching them play football!

  11. TJ

    Jan 20, 2015, 17:16 #65364

    @August. I think Mussolini might be a better name for you to adopt, sir. Jeff isn't being negative for the sake of it- his point is completely legitimate. Personally, I've come to accept that whatever happens at Arsenal now doesn't bother me with Wenger: we may never regularly win trophies under him again (unless the last match was a sign of things to come) so I enjoy victories too. However, people like Jeff and Ron, and I know this from recent experience, are absolutely desperate to see us be at the top of the league and winning trophies regularly. The thing is, they and others are frustrated because they know that there is so much more Wenger could do to change his modus operandi, and make us infinitely better. It's taken 6.5 years to get a proper DM- that ISN'T good enough. So yeah, they're annoyed because getting 4th just perpetuates itself, ad infinitum, which won't necessarily lead to improvements overall, it could be the opposite in fact. So while you can feel great about the win, as I did too, you should denigrate those who are guided by a longer term view of the club.

  12. GoonerRon

    Jan 20, 2015, 16:49 #65363

    @ Augustus - I couldn't dream to have put it even half as better myself. Passionate, coherent with a sprinkling of the almost childish love for Arsenal that I'd hope is inside us all.

  13. Brian

    Jan 20, 2015, 14:23 #65346

    AugustusCaesar, at the end of your arm is a hand I would willingly shake for the most balanced and eloquent post I have read in a long time. Thank you.

  14. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 20, 2015, 14:12 #65342

    Jeff Wright - I'm not going to answer your questions because you already know the answers. We all do. We rake over the issues surrounding the team every day and night. All I ask is that you apply some balance and rationale to your views because when you come on to moan after a near flawless performance it makes everyone think you're a sourpuss that doesn't even want the team to win. We all have a sliding scale regarding our reservations about Wenger and throughout the week we'll discuss and analyse and evaluate where we as a club and what we need to do to improve. And yeah, I do get down about it. The notion that AKBs (sigh), as you call them, are wandering around protected by this shield of blind optimism and ultimate faith in Wenger is just nonsense. We all feel the pain when we lose and we wonder what the manager could have done differently from both a short and long term ppoint of view. BUT, and I don't know about you, when that team takes the field in any game I pretty much wipe the slate clean and the childlike enthusiasm and innate desire to want the team to win the match returns in abundance. It doesn't matter where we are in the league and whether Igor Stepanovs is playing at centre back running through treacle or Gervinho has gone running up the touchline but has left the ball behind again, I want the team to win and I support the team and if we do win I'm fuc*ing ecstatic. And when we win a game like we did on Sunday I am absolutely bouncing and Monday morning feels a hell of a lot better than it does normally. Your first comment was thus: "I would be more excited about the win if were fighting for the title rather than just 4th spot again." Harumph! And then you babble on about some penalty award like it actually matters. Everyone has to put up with your incessant whinging when we lose, pouring over every minute detail and why Arsene Wenger is a cu*t, so the least you can do is applaud the team when we win, or alternatively STFU. COYG!

  15. AMG

    Jan 20, 2015, 13:53 #65336

    Odd that we only see these kinds of performances when the 4th place is under threat, more specifically when the scum overtake us in the league.

  16. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 20, 2015, 13:48 #65334

    Black Hei, if we beat Chelsea one day? your as optimistic as the rest of us I see.

  17. Ghost of Highbury

    Jan 20, 2015, 11:07 #65315

    Bit harsh to try and claim Wenger had nothing to do with it. Having said that it's frustrating that we can clearly play a different sort of game and get results but haven't really done it up to now. I will get excited about the future when I see us do it a few more times against tough opposition.

  18. JAMIE

    Jan 20, 2015, 10:27 #65313

    I don't dislike Adrian Durham.Yes he's a wind up merchant but if people are sillier enough to bite it's their problem.Personally I think he's a closet Gooner,like the wobs on this site he hates to give any praise to Arsenal yet can't help talking about them and coming back for more.

  19. goonercolesyboy

    Jan 20, 2015, 10:02 #65311

    Jeff Wright You are the dense one...I introduced Durham to the argument because as an Arsenal hater like yourself even he could see it was a penalty. How was that Bard?

  20. JAMIE

    Jan 20, 2015, 9:23 #65308

    My pre-season prediction that Arsenal will win the champions league and finish third is very much on the cards and would not surprise me if it came to flourish.I have also been conducting survey's before each game over the last year and will be putting out various results over the coming week.

  21. Charlie George Orwell

    Jan 20, 2015, 8:16 #65304

    Interesting points re Ramsey. I personally get the feeling that he's straining at the leash a bit, trying to prove himself in being similar to his Welsh team mate Bale. Signs of wishing a move abroad - at the cost of tactical indiscipline and selfishness?

  22. Black Hei

    Jan 20, 2015, 7:56 #65302

    I can sense the grudging praise coming from gritted teeth. Careful not to shatter them if we beat Chelsea one day. Some folks would rather be proven right than to see their club succeed.

  23. Bard

    Jan 20, 2015, 6:56 #65300

    Andreas, deliver what precisely. I agree they might perform a bit better but lets not go overboard. They have no chance in the CL. If they beat the Chavs, Unt and the Spuds I might get a little more excited but one competent performance doesnt mean we are on the shoulder of the top teams. Colsey mate you need to pay attention if youre going to have a posting spat with Jeff. Get your arguments sorted and dont resort to abuse. we all waiting.

  24. jjetplane

    Jan 20, 2015, 1:11 #65299

    The Patriots are going down ...

  25. Andreas

    Jan 19, 2015, 23:02 #65298

    The performance on Sunday looked like a team organised by George Graham. Is it possible Bould was able to influence the team? Did Keown have a go with the first team squad for his badges? It did seem the only player who was straying and lacked discipline was Ramsey. With Ozil, Walcott and Wilshere returning the team will be stronger. Wilshere and Theo are capable of putting in a disciplined display and the team will benefit, would Ozil work as hard as Carzola did? Based on his performances for us, I think not. I disagree about the champions league I think we have the squad to deliver this.

  26. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 22:45 #65297

    What does it say and tell us about this old fraud of a manager and club that we're all thinking a win over a top four team away is the next best f*****g thing since sliced bread? surely it's only relegation fodder, Championship and second division teams in the Cup that celebrate that? Sad.

  27. Di Lama

    Jan 19, 2015, 22:33 #65296

    Show me a man who starts abusing another person because he has a different opinion and ill show you a man who has lost the argument.Come on chaps we are all Gooners here save it for the spuds.

  28. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 22:28 #65295

    goonercolesyboy ,er, you are the one who brought Durham into your argument,you are OBVIOUSLY a bit dense and your constant crude abuse reveals a desperate attempt to try due to your lack of grammar to try and prove yourself RIGHT when in reality you are WRONG.

  29. Frank

    Jan 19, 2015, 22:22 #65294

    There is only one type of football.WINNING football.Today i have laughed my head off at the AKB's praising a performance they slagged George Grahams 93-94 teams used to play.Remember trophy winning football.Bring back the boring 1-0 wins.Winning is everything.

  30. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 22:16 #65293

    Bard, me too i'm really looking forward to doing the same to the other big teams now, and all the others, a fortune will be saved on Viagra, i bet Pfizer are really worried.

  31. DW Thomas

    Jan 19, 2015, 22:06 #65292

    Apollo, many good points, basically my feelings. We had 35% possession but our best win in ages in the PL. Why have we not seen this type of display is a big big question that is rarely answered. Wenger doesn't do tactics or defense. He wants to win by attacking and scoring more goals in open play. Problem is we can't even do that consistently vs even the Stokes anymore. A very good win, a great feeling of we beat a big club. But that's just it. When are we going to be that big club that wins the PL or CL? A better discussion/argument than Wenger for me is Coq. Sent out on loan, not deemed good enough, yet brought back an helping us win games because Arteta and Jack are out and Flamini aint up to it. Oh, but that brings us directly back to Wenger and his decisions. As many of us believe, he has and is holding us back. Will he persist with Coq when Theo, Ozil, Wilshere, Diaby (who?), Arteta, et al return and they want a spot? He has always played favorites, always stuck to plan A. In the past these wins were a rarity, never a norm. Credit where due, but was this some anomaly? Lets wait till May!

  32. ApolloGooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 21:51 #65291

    I have been waiting ages to see Arsenal play like that away from home against a big opponent and had given up expecting to see it happen under Wenger. What took so long? And you know what most frustrates me? Its that all the qualities we showed yesterday to win that game (organistation, determination, tenacity, hard work, bravery and planning) were all FREE! This makes a mockery of Wenger's tedious 'financial constraints' excuses. All those who keep defending him should look at that performance and ask how much both Wenger and the players have shortchanged us over the past few seasons. It was refreshing but also left me feeling angry about the wasted years. I am convinced there are many better managers out there who would get that level of commitment and desire out of these players on a far more regular basis. And who knows what that might have achieved? Ironically yesterdays win and performance was just further proof (if needed) that Wenger has to go for the club to progress and get back to where it is capable of being.

  33. Bard

    Jan 19, 2015, 21:39 #65290

    goonercolseyboy; the word you're looking for mate is 'perspective'. Or as Jamie explained you can't speak out of both sides of your mouth. Complex I know but you will get there eventually. Im sure you get Hiccups point but if not read a few past AKB posts and it will all become clear. Meanwhile Im salivating at all the fantastic games coming up Chavs, Spud Man U Liverpool our new found defensive discipline and tactical acumen will give us chance to win the games instead of being lambs to the slaughter. Stan is in heaven now he doesn't have to spend any serious money in the transfer window to bale Wenger out. You couldn't make it up. Keep calm Jeff they will all disappear once we beaten again.

  34. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 21:31 #65289

    goonercolesyboy ,wow! what a guy , he goes TO EVERY GAME HOME AND AWAY !!!!!!!!!!!!! Cue the East Enders theme ...the sound of violins... where was he before the WIN yesterday certainly not here forecasting it... already the excuses are being served up by him in case it was just a once in ten year performance like the spuds against Chavs one ,well almost, then like a plate of pie and mash he becomes nervous ... we need a few more good results before ...right but where have we heard that before... question though ...where I have been proven WRONG about Arsene... now either put up or shut up you clueless Adrian Durham supporting oaf... You couldn't make it up. .

  35. Hiccup

    Jan 19, 2015, 21:28 #65288

    A bit sensitive and personal tonight colesy? Don't let jeff or myself get to you. It's just an opinion. Anyway, good to see you back again. Please don't be a stranger...

  36. Roy

    Jan 19, 2015, 21:21 #65287

    I don't for one minute think that Wenger has become a tactical genius overnight with plan B's and C's suddenly up his sleeve. Whether someone had a word in his ear or not, the man is intelligent enough to know what another pasting yesterday would have meant. To be fair, on another day we could have adopted the same tactics and still lost. That we didn't was down to a performance of fight and discipline even allowing for a half fit Kompany and Aguero and the absent Toure. We shall see what transpires going forward, but for now I'm just happy to bask in the aftermath of a well deserved and much, much needed result. It's been a long time coming. COYG.

  37. maguiresbridge gooners

    Jan 19, 2015, 21:15 #65286

    Hiccup, you couldn't make it up.

  38. goonercolesyboy

    Jan 19, 2015, 21:00 #65285

    Hiccup What's your rationale for being on here? Another see you next Tuesday me thinks

  39. Hiccup

    Jan 19, 2015, 20:56 #65284

    As I said, you can't take the AKB's serious. Arsenal never foul eh? Koscielny booked after 2 mins for a cynical foul as City broke forward. Bellerin booked for a cynical foul trying to prevent a City attack. We're a team of saints aren't we? Oh, and no booting the ball in to row zed either? Monreal swiping a clearance and spooning it over the bar. Kosciielny swiping a clearance and spooning it over the bar. Always precision football. Even mertesacker gave a great up and under. Jamie, the reinforcements have arrived. You can have a night off fella. Go pen your next virtual panto.

  40. GoonerRon

    Jan 19, 2015, 20:51 #65283

    Now unless I'm mistaken this is a match report. If people choose to come on here and congratulate the team and the manager for a great performance in the game being described in said match report, it doesn't mean every defeat we've had recently or ever has been forgotten, it means we're enjoying the moment - the moment of comprehensively beating the champions in their back yard having bean savaged relentlessly for not doing so for a while. Why does every single game have to come with the backdrop of Wenger out, 9 years of failure etc? I was buzzing when I got back from the game and was buzzing when I bounced into work this morning - what is wrong with just enjoying the moment without a 5-9 year post-mortem or being ridiculed for supposedly coming out of the woodwork by (what I assume are) grown men acting like cyber playground bullies.

  41. goonercolesyboy

    Jan 19, 2015, 20:49 #65282

    Jeff Wright Clueless as per usual Why oh why do you even follow Arsenal? I went yesterday and have been home and away all season so have seen the ups and downs, but yesterday was brilliant. Of course the jury is out still, a few more good results and performances will be the acid test. Find a new tag line too, boring and repetitive...

  42. JAMIE

    Jan 19, 2015, 20:32 #65281

    It wasn't ugly football by any means that we played at the Etihad,good defensive display yes but lots of quick passing in the middle of the park and swift breakaways unlike when teams do it to us like manure and the chavs when it's normally just rotational fouling,hoofing it into row zed and basically stopping us playing through any foul means.

  43. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 20:24 #65280

    I was referring to things Arsene, so why not tell us where I have been WRONG? I don't claim to be physic or to never make a mistake . Adrian Durham chief wind-up merchant anti-Arsenal is now being used by a desperate brainless AKB for support ! Jesus wept,you couldn't make it up. Where do they find these idiots.

  44. Hiccup

    Jan 19, 2015, 20:14 #65279

    mg, under the AKB terms and conditions City actually won yesterday! How many timeshave we been told that the only statistic that matters is the possession statistic. How many times have arsenal huffed and puffed away against dogged defences with 65% possession. No different to City yesterday, but claimed we were unlucky, like you say, against anti football teams. Now the boot's on the other foot, it's a masterclass by us. And this is why the AKB will always be a laughing stock. Can you imagine if a City fan came on here screaming they hammered us coz they had 65% of the ball, no different to the AKB excuses of the last 5 years. He'd be laughed out of town even by the AKB's. And that's why their double standards make them a joke.

  45. ermmmmm

    Jan 19, 2015, 19:52 #65278

    "Manuel pellegrini is spanish"

  46. Bitter and twisted

    Jan 19, 2015, 19:33 #65277

    Germany will win nothing.

  47. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 19:17 #65276

    TH14,I will stop calling you leeKFC when you stop using the same terminology and boring disproven claims that he does. Perhaps while you are in your TH14 mode ( the real one expressed views that I and others share on his SKY debut yesterday about the current side) you can point out just EXACTLY what it is that I have been WRONG about >? There is no chance of you doing so of course so bye bye. You couldn't make it up.

  48. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 18:57 #65275

    Hiccup, very good point, it's even been described by some on here as anti football.

  49. Th14afc

    Jan 19, 2015, 18:46 #65274

    I'll tell u what jeff,I'll stop calling you jeff wrong the day you stop weirdly thinking that i'm lee AFC??i think you'll find I go on here when we loose aswell to hav abit of a moan,but I'm not on here 24 7 as I have a life

  50. HowardL

    Jan 19, 2015, 18:29 #65273

    "Aaron Ramsey did not credit Arsene Wenger with the change in approach, and the manager himself was bemused when asked in the post-match Sky Sports interview why he has waited so long to do this". I would go even further: Ramsey actually credited "The Team" - which suggests to me that the players are fed up with humiliation in matches such as these and set the agenda for this display. Wenger's seeming reluctance to take credit could well be that it begs the question of why he hadn't done so previously when most fans and the media kept pointing out the need. AW also suggested in that interview that we could have scored more - true, but that might explain the 10 mins post interval wobble. I hope that the win was down to Wenger and he has regained his mojo or whatever ; however, I thought he looked strangely uncomfortable in that interview for a manager whose team had just beaten the champions on their own ground, with - and please do give them credit for it - a performance which is up there with the best for any Arsenal side I personally can recall for many years.

  51. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 18:04 #65272

    Uche, did you not see bouldy whispering to OGL before he stood up and headed to the technical area to have a go at the defence.

  52. Bard

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:59 #65271

    As usual thoughtful article Kev. Bet you were relieved you could write something positive. Good to see all the mice have come out of their holes, wielding their paper machetes. Welcome back Westie, what were the odds of that. Yet another post about injuries derailing our push for world domination. Havent you posted that last season and this. You couldnt make it up. I loved the game yesterday, the first proper performance all season. Was it luck or judgement, who knows and who cares, fabulous. I was so excited after the second goal, I leapt up and threw my arms in the air. Sadly I tore a bicep and will be out for 3 months. Incidentally I had a 15 page email from Baddie explaining that the game was a metaphor for all that is wrong with society and that he alone understood the real meaning of 3 points.

  53. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:58 #65270

    leeKFC,I don't need advice from someone who thinks that whatever Ivan says is true and that West Brom play in black and white striped shirts and who only appears on here AFTER we win. At least your old used at least 50 times by you Jeff Wrong amused old salad brain Caesar .I note that he has not answered my questions to him and like you leeKFC he is a waste of time.

  54. DW Thomas

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:56 #65269

    Coquelin and Santi are the biggest reasons we won yesterday. Make no mistake. Top notch performances. The others did well too, but we had Bellerin filling in who needed support and help and got it unlike Chambers in many games. Don't think Wenger deserves too much credit though. Hearing him answer theist match questions on why we played more defensively his answer was basically we just had players do their jobs better today. Couldn't have been the personnel? Or the tactics by mistake? By Ramsey's answers sounds like the players knew how to play and didn't want to run and gun even without Toure in the mix. I am happy with the win, but lets all be honest, it's not gonna make one bit of difference in our title challenge as that's been over for months. Still this is a good win, will add belief I hope. You cannot ignore though the fact we've had a solid display by a DM for several games now. With Kos our back four is solidified. Coq wants to defend, relishes it. Been a while since we've had that to cover our back four. We'll see if OGL will continue with these tactics or if they were an accident. And as for you AKBs crawling back out of your holes with one win, get a grip. This result does in no way erase the years of failure by Wenger and his typical lack of tactics. So soon we forget last years or any of the past seasons terrible, inexcusable results! 4th here we come! SIGH....

  55. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:47 #65268

    "Jeff Wrong" HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

  56. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:44 #65267

    I suggest Caesar ,you probably think that you are Napoleon as well at times,that you get your facts right before espousing vomit from your key board. Actually I SUGGESTED that Wenger COULD win the FAC last season you halfwit.So how does this fit in with your claims that I said he would never win anything again. I was not jumping up and down like a demented going loco after Wenger managed to beat Hull in the final,but was pleased for the supporters ,Iwas not bothered about Wenger tbh,I said afterwards that he should have resigned after his fortunate cup win and have seen nothing since to make me want to change my mind onn that. I did predict last season when suggesting that the FAC was the best chance for Wenger to break his yawn inducing long run of potless seasons with some silverware that he would not win the Prem or Champs League and...... oh! You couldn't make it up. I also said that we could win the game yesterday in a post to Lewis the post is there so find it . I suggest squire that you should shut up posting lies and abuse at me and try to post something useful instead ,such as an explanation as to why Wenger never wins against Mourinho >? Or why he has only won one game against United out of the last 15 played >? Or why we are 12 points worse off than last season at this time , despite Wenger having spent millions on new players. Over to you salad brain.

  57. Th14afc

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:37 #65266

    Jeff wrong- I knew it was too much to ask you just for once to say well done to the lads on a fantastic performance....and to say it was never a penalty perhaps u need to take your spud tinted glasses off?it was a definite penalty,kompany has taken monreal out....even if peploe sometimes disagree with what I say sometimes on here I can see their point most of the time people raise good points and where it's due they even say well done when arsenal deserve it but not jeff...are u Finsbury in disguise??

  58. Torbay gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:24 #65265

    Great result and excellent 'win ugly' victory. Yes Cazorla and Coquelin were the stand outs, but everyone played their part. Can we repeat that tenacious performance against manure and Chelski and get those monkeys off our back. I still do not think that 4th is nailed on this season so we might have to!

  59. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:24 #65264

    Jeff Wright - Genuine question: did you celebrate the FA cup win last season or were you annoyed that we'd won something and your 'we'll never win anything again under Wenger' prophecy fell flat on its arse? Here's a thought for you, as well as being critical about the manager and the team (which is fine when appropriate), how about at least appearing to support the team, giving credit where credit is due and being happy when they win. Instead of this ultra negative come back to me in May and you'll see I'll be proved right shtick. Arsenal doesn't exist just to suit your personal small-minded agenda of entitlement. Get a grip. Life is literally too short to permanently have a stick up your arse about a football team.

  60. Hiccup

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:19 #65263

    Good write up Kevin. Just shows that even with injuries, if the team is organised and has a strong work ethic, these results are possible. With ten minutes left you could see City had given up and run out of ideas. Augero and Silva nullified to good effect. Those dumb AKB's that always whine when clubs come to the emirates and park the bus need to get in the real world. When necessary, we parked the bus yesterday. And just how bloody effective and comfortable did it look. Funny how fantastic this approach is when we do it at a top club, but when crap teams and even Chelsea do it at our gaff, it's sneered upon. Anyway, back up to 5th, and our status has increased from on the cusp of 4th to in the mix for 3rd.

  61. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:09 #65262

    Tony Evans, that's one tactic of OGL's that can't be disputed as he's an expert in/at it, along with his followers as one good win shows.

  62. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 17:04 #65261

    Oh shut up you silly poseur/ Come back and tell me about in May.

  63. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 19, 2015, 16:20 #65259

    So we STILL have to listen to the verbal diarrhoea being emitted from Jeff Wright's tedious mouth even when we win! Some advice fella, remove that King Edward Potato from your shoulder and have a day off. We've won, everyone's happy, no one wants to listen to your bile today. Jesus christ, are you really bemoaning the fact that we didn't score from open play and using this as a reason to play down the performance? The same thing that you'll criticise us for not being very good at either offensively or defensively over the course of the season. News flash: penalties and free kicks are legitmate methods of scoring goals. God it must be hard being you on a Monday after we've just beaten the champions in their own back yard and you might have to deliver some praise through gritted teeth. The bitterness oozes out of every keyboard stroke.

  64. Unchives

    Jan 19, 2015, 16:13 #65258

    @ Lose and you moan; draw -and you moan; win and you moan, But you have just bothered,so tell us why?

  65. Lose and you moan; draw -and you moan; win and you moan

    Jan 19, 2015, 16:06 #65257

    Why bother?

  66. maguiresbridge gooners

    Jan 19, 2015, 16:05 #65256

    r/k, maybe that's because it wasn't his mind or tactics.

  67. don froth

    Jan 19, 2015, 15:54 #65255

    avenell road fish bar.....ask the chinese family for something nice for tea.....go on the arsenal.

  68. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 15:51 #65254

    As someone has already suggested over the page maybe time for bouldy masks?

  69. Ron

    Jan 19, 2015, 15:45 #65253

    Westie - a bit of good fortune isnt ever going to be scoffed at. Fact - Kompany merely stood his ground. Possible obstruction in today's game for weaklings but in reality Monreal dived like a River Tay salmon.Only a blind man or a man hanging on to shreds of comfort would see it otherwise. Refs or not, they may be right in todays game, but to an honest football fan it wasnt a pen in a million years. Im pretty sure that had it have been a light blue salmon diving through the air to get MC a pen you would have been on here pleading clemency for your messiah and rabbiting on about how back luck follows us around boo hoo hoo ...... im right arent i mate? Monreals dive stunk the place out and such conning ruins football.

  70. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 15:34 #65252

    "Dermot Gallagher & Graham Poll agreed it WAS a penalty all day long. " Well THEY would do wouldn't they! Wenger will soon be be back to gung-ho he doesn't really like playing defensively,even away, it's only when it's desperation time ,as was the case on Sunday, that he resorts to doing so. If we were losing he would in the end of gone 4-4-2 as he has done in games such as the semi-final v Wigan and against Hull in the final. Generally though Wenger sticks stubbornly to plan A ,or lets the players work it out as he did in the away games at Swansea,lost. Stoke lost 3-2, Liverpool, ended 2-2 with a minute to go when we lost a 2-1 lead, Southampton, lost. A good result and well deserved yesterday but we are still 12 points worse off than at this time last season and were long ago out the title race . Villa at home looks like a def 3 points that should help us toward another 4th place trophy .They will be celebrating winning the real one over at the bridge though in May and thanking Arsene for helping them to win it! You couldn't make it up.

  71. Westlower

    Jan 19, 2015, 15:17 #65251

    @David. The point I was making about CFC getting a hiding at the Lane was that even the likely Champions, with the best coach, tactically astute, powerful physical players & top quality in depth squad. Such a classy team can't possibly let in 5 goals against a non-top 4 team can they? It's a funny ole game Saint!

  72. Unchives

    Jan 19, 2015, 15:14 #65250

    @David & Jamie, firstly I didn't feel that it was a pressure game because we will finish top 4, we are too good not to, secondly we had the toughest game, we had nothing to loose and all to gain, but I did predict a win, and we were superb. The defensive injuries were very unlucky, however the damage would have been mitigated if the "Manager" did just that a got the necessaries pre excuses. The regrets are we should have beaten Spurs, Manure City, Manure Utd and Liverpool and we would have been favourites for the title, but this Manager does the "IF" word very well, Did we play with the handbrake on or off or were we in Neutral, I don't think he knows...which is the point!

  73. jjetplane

    Jan 19, 2015, 15:09 #65249

    JAMIE you old tart! I am still in awe of that performance and I really though Green Bay had it wrapped up with ribbons but there you go. Wilson makes a 35 yd pass and history erupts in the wind and rain. Now he just has to pass the Patriots to death. Ha ha Just noticed I'm on the wrong site! Oh yeah. What's that Coq is the new dawg? Bring it on ..... I'm hip to the Bouldie Mothership. Who is the old French boy? Man needs to loosen up. Or pack up .... Now that Gilette stadium 'in the middle of nowhere' ...... reminds me ..... Nice to see the Chilean bro chillin' in the chill. Anyway - **** this ****. Welcome home WESTIE!

  74. Westlower

    Jan 19, 2015, 14:52 #65248

    Dermot Gallagher & Graham Poll agreed it WAS a penalty all day long. Kompany deliberately stuck out his knee to impede Monreal's run. The usual suspects have been left bitter that a call went our way - go figure? Coral bookmakers were grateful for an Arsenal win as they were spared from a million pound payout after Saturdays results went to the well backed teams. They reported that over 150 customers won over £2,000 each for stakes of less than £30. One guy won £926 for £1 after his 10 match accumulator came up. Another punter won £55,000 for a stake of £21.60, picking 14 winning bets. Arsenal were 33/1 to win 2-0. @Highbury Boy, Yes I agree that a long term injury for one player presents an opportunity for his replacement. Charlie George did indeed break his leg in the first game of the season against Everton. Similar story to Giroud. The difference is that Charlie was our only major casualty in 70/71, while we've suffered many players unavailable for lengthy periods this season. Conversely, good fortune has smiled on Chelsea this season, with regard to number of long term injuries sustained. It'll probably give them the edge over Man City who haven't been so lucky with key players missing vital games.

  75. David

    Jan 19, 2015, 14:46 #65247

    @the beasts are stirring - Badarse is watching and waiting.. @Westlower - not sure what point you're making about Chelsea's result at the Lane. Surely not that, but for a few injuries, AWs boys would be top of the PL? Keep taking those happy pills.

  76. JAMIE

    Jan 19, 2015, 14:30 #65246

    Every other team at the top won and you're saying it was a non pressure game for Arsenal MARCUS.Have you been sniffing jjetplane's exhaust fumes again.

  77. DW Thomas

    Jan 19, 2015, 14:24 #65245

    Kevin, great last comment, exactly my thoughts. Coquelin was terrific, Santi as well! Giroud scored a big goal against the big boys? When has that happened? Kos, Bellerin, Ox, the others all did their part. Ramsey for me is still like Theo, not much of a footballing brain. He gave the ball away, jogged back a lot. His engine is great, but he makes some dumb decisions too often for a center mid of a want to be big club. Sanchez still is the role model, but others do not help enough at times. City looked befuddled, and that was a good thing. I was amazed at Santi's work rate on defense and his silky skills relieved pressure often. Dribbling to get out of the back. Still for me, Coq is an accident. Had our players all been fit, would he even be back? He has shown with a run of games how much a difference a good tough energetic DM can make. His name should now be top 3 on the team sheet each week. Before Flamini, Ramsey, et al as he solidifies the defense, breaks up play, and yells at others to mark and help on defense. An atypical player in our team these days. It was awesome to see this team beat the champions. You know you're having a good game when Kompany almost gets a second yellow for screaming at Mike Dean about his team's fouls! At one point I was wondering if I what I was seeing was really happening. If our manager had finally figured it out. Let's hope so. Let's hope that Coq was not just an accident, Santi's performance not just a one off. Our defending on corners now the rule not the norm. Then maybe just maybe this team will start winning things.


    Jan 19, 2015, 13:31 #65244

    Look it was a good result, but it means absolutely nothing in terms of winning the pl!! WE OUR NOT GOING TO WIN IT!!! Wenger finally changed hes tactics for once wow. I never knew it could be that simple!! Look this result is a typical unexpected wenger win when we have nothing to lose i.e when we our already out of the said competition. We had a similar result a couple years ago against Bayern Munich. We beat them 2-0 away but it meant nothing as we had already got beaten 3-1 at home smh. So it seems we seem to play well when we our under no pressure to perform or deliver, but when we our in the hunt for a title or cl we buckle. Why could we not play like this last season when we top of the pl??? My stance has not changed about wenger nor kronke just because we beat man city for fourth place. Its still dejavu. You cant give teams a 13 point lead and think you can win the pl. Also its a bit embarrassing some of my fellow arsenal fans our celebrating like we have won the pl oh dear, dear. Also this win might make wenger think we don't need reinforcements smh. Look Coqelin played well no doubt about that, but is he really the solution??? Come on now. The first goal was a soft penalty for me. It was never a penalty. Look im happy we won, but im not delusional!! It was a no pressure game. We our not in the title hunt. So it was a top 4 spot securing game AGAIN!!!!

  79. Fozzy

    Jan 19, 2015, 13:24 #65243

    I need to have my two penneth here. The world seemed to be a bad place at tea time last Saturday after the results had gone against us and anti-football whad been the winner. Then the magic happened on Sunday afternoon with one of our best team performances for a long while. Why? It was so interesting to see Weng and Bould talking to one another during the match. Had they actually hatched a tactical plan and were sticking to it? Certainly, the fact that we have not had a midweek game for a couple of weeks meant fresh legs and a longer time to prepare for the match. Then we had the Africa Cup scenario. For so many years in the past we were the victims of this ridiculously timed meaningless tournament, losing players at a cruical time, and then having to re-train them when they got home. I remember The Highbury Spy describing Kolo on his return as a chap with two left feet and who was smoking sixty fags a day. This year, it wasn't us who suffered as it was Kolo's brother who had gone missing.

  80. Tony Evans

    Jan 19, 2015, 13:23 #65242

    Incredible - You are wrong. I am sure all us Wenger doubters appreciated the win, and more importantly the manner in which it was achieved. I think though you should be able to understand that the level of scepticism generated by years of gung-ho, sod the defence type of football so loved by Wenger is not going to go away on the back of one match.

  81. Unchives

    Jan 19, 2015, 13:21 #65241

    Well Kevin you summed it up perfectly,as I read your piece I was ready with something to add, but then you mentioned it further along. Lets hope this tactical template is ingrained in the players head, but most importantly,in the Managers. I watched the game in a packed pub, I was jumping up and down like a loony, indeed just like the old days. We may truly have our "Arsenal" back!

  82. Ron

    Jan 19, 2015, 13:20 #65240

    Chris - respect as ever mate. Good points. Doesn't it just leave a feeling of 'if only' though. A little more flexibility here and there, a little less 'philosophy', a little more of 'the players will play as i say' as opposed to 'allowing themselves to work it out for themselves'and maybe, why haven't we ever made him bring in a strong assistant Coach to force his arm now and again as many of us have suggested for years? Things could perhaps have been so different. WESTIE - no surprise to see youre back. Have you climbed out of a roof window at AKB Central command? Yr posts a bit flat seeing as youve had a month to think it up, esp as its laced with another one of yr dysfunctional displays of Mourinho angst? You do have a real problem with him dont you?. Youd have been better advised to have left him be this time mate, especially as yesterdays performance was right out of his manual. Same old tired regurgitated stuff, though its good your back. Smell the Monday coffee mate!

  83. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 13:19 #65239

    I would be more excited about the win if were fighting for the title rather than just 4th spot again. ( yawn)

  84. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 13:07 #65238

    Spike, it wouldn't be the first time, we'll know better if/when it's secured.

  85. Incredible

    Jan 19, 2015, 13:06 #65237

    Some people have become so obsessed with the manager issue on here that they can't even appreciate a good result and performance away at the champions. Actually seems like these people wished we'd lost.

  86. jeff wright

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:59 #65236

    Wenger had to compromise due to the results of the other contenders for 4th place.He got lucky with the penalty that was never one in a million years ,it was like watching Chelsea when Monreal flung himself at Kompany who stood his ground with arms raised and a expression of 'it's not me guv on his face. The other goal came from a free-kick so two set piece goals none from open play.Wenger will not put up with this nonsense for long !Actually I thought it was a classic away performance and the sort that we should be doing more often ,little blunderbuss Koss and slow coach Per looked more comfortable with less pace around them to defend and with a half decent GK who stayed calm behind them..City in truth looked average but still created a few chances from open play but they thankfully only ended in near misses . And they don't count ,unless it's us that make them in games of course. The bonus for Wenger from all of this is that he will not be under any pressure to buy players now ! You couldn't make it up.

  87. Highbury Boy

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:58 #65235

    Westie;Injuries are not all doom and gloom. They can provide opportunities. You will remember that in your favourite season (70/71) Charlie George got injured in the first match at Everton. I think it was a broken leg. Anyhow young Ray Kennedy came in played every single match after that and forged the perfect partnership with John Radford. Who knows if we would have won the Double if George had not been injured and Kennedy didn't get that chance.Even yesterday does anyone think that Coquelin would have been called back to Arsenal if Flamini,Arteta,Ramsey,Wilshere,Diaby,Gnabry or Ozil had not been injured. Yet there he was having the game of his life. I think our downfall in the recent big away games (up to yesterday) has been that we haven't adapted our tactics. When Ferguson's teams played us they used to change their style of play. Sure they could play great football when they wanted but I remember one Cup much that each United player took it in turn to foul Reyes until he had to go off. Not nice but effective.

  88. WeAreBuildingATeamToDominate

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:58 #65234

    At last. We attacked as a team and defended as a team. But like others above mention, it only seems to change when the hallowed 4th place is under threat. For those damning the victory with faint praise, it weren't our fault City are under par right now.

  89. Chris

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:55 #65233

    Hi Ron - Fair play, it was the more deranged end of the Spectrum that I was thinking of primarily... I don't think it is such a big departure, they just did it better than previously. There have been many previous occasions when we've played in a more conservative fashion, often in Europe away. And also in the PL with much success - he has played more conservatively when the confidence and quality of the team dictated it. But obviously there have been times when we have been thrashed because we didn't, no ones denying that, and of course it's not just down to Wenger - the players have to be totally committed to the plan and to success for it to work. I do disagree with you on injuries, though, and all of the accusations of incompetence ring a bit hollow because Wenger's been nothing if not adequately competent even in his worse years. He has achieved top four whilst trying to develope the team's play by getting to them play an more expansive style. I would hazzard that he calculated we wouldn't win the league even if we played results football for 38 games, so he's gone for top four whilst trying to develope an attacking style to Champions level (even Chlesea now know they need more than results football to win the league / CL). Maybe I'm giving too much credit there but if so, he's been successful in the first bit if not (so far) the second....

  90. Lose and it's all Wenger's fault

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:36 #65231

    Win and it had little to do with him. Those are the rules.

  91. maguiresbridge gooner

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:30 #65230

    Yes Kev, old style Arsenal I wonder what all these young bucks that are always slagging off the oldies think off that. Where do you start with that? usually we're asking that question after another beating or Embarrassment it makes a nice change to be asking it after a great display and result. A great display all round and well done to the team, it's all any off us ever want, and any off us want to see, and keep seeing, and it says a lot when our keeper hardly had a save to make, but why can't we do it all the time? As somebody said last night (I think it was Bard)it's hard to believe this was a wenger team, so maybe there's something in this clip board and sheets of paper bouldy was carrying and he's been allowed to do his job after all, (who needs Henry) but lets wait and see until the next couple of games and where we are and end up at the end of the season before getting carried away, and using one game as a replacement for Viagra.

  92. Westlower

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:24 #65229

    Somewhere between 'BRILLIANT' when we win and 'USELESS' when we lose is reality. I usually get hammered when suggesting injuries play a major part in our demise but consider this. From only 22 PL games played, we have already been forced by circumstance to field 14 different combinations of back 4 + GK. Hardly conducive to establishing a solid defensive unit. Combined with that we've played 4 different DM's to date. I always look back to our best defensive unit of my life time, that is the 70/71 combo of Wilson, Rice, McNab, McLintock & Simpson, with Storey protecting them. They played the majority of the league season unchanged & all 9 FA Cup ties with the same defence. I don't care who the coach is you simply cannot legislate for the abnormally high numbers of injuries that has affected us this season. Has anyone come up with a reasonable explanation why genius coach Maureen leaked 5 goals at the Lane?

  93. Gaz

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:24 #65228

    Was yesterday a new dawn? Well we'll only know the answer to that question after another 4/5 games against the bigger sides. If after that we're unbeaten with the odd good win mixed in then yes, perhaps yesterday will be seen as a watershed moment for Wenger and the Club. I think though that if we're going to bash Wenger when he gets it wrong its only right we praise him when he gets it right. I simply won't include any win in Europe in a tie that we consequently lost in (Barca and Bayern) so for me this was the best win and performance we've had for many a year. As I said it might not mean anything or it could mean everything. Perhaps Wenger really has 'seen the light'? We'll have to wait to find out of course but I can't deny it feels good to be saying something positive about the Club after what seem like a hell of a long time...

  94. Ron

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:16 #65227

    Hmmmm - ' not a Mertersacker fan'? nobody with a pair of reasonably functioning eyes whos ever been to a football match ever could be mate.

  95. Colonel Mustard

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:08 #65226

    Non attacking fullbacks is key. Debuchy and Gibbs should be played at home onl

  96. Ron

    Jan 19, 2015, 12:01 #65225

    Hi Chris - i can only speak for myself mate. I dont blame injuries at all for the last 9 yrs. They've been a useful smokescreen for Wenger to hide behind though. I just blame incompetent squad management, failed transfer window policies, poor player selection in key positions,squad imbalance, excessive tolerance of too many clearly inadequate and over paid players and rank bad team tactics. I dont accept that our historic injuries are worse than other Clubs either, though i accept that some very detailed historic analysis of this would be needed for either of us to prove it. Even then, it wdt be an exact science to determine the effect of the loss of players one Club vis another, so ill take yr view there reservedly. Wherever lies the truth, it cant mitigate for 9 years of underachievement for a Club the size of Arsenal FC. I think you ll find many of us give Wenger his dues when we get a good result. I always do. I have on this occasion, though i firmly believe its far from being all down to him. The type of game we played was such an aberration from the usual gung ho spineless Wenger induced naivety that it simply could nt have been so. The reality is that AFC for the last 8 years have persevered with lesser calibre players than what was the case in Wengers heady years. Lesser player quality calls for tighter and less expansive tactical play and more emphasis on tighter, disciplined game plans. A pub team manager knows this as does any Coach of schoolboys. Not Wenger seemingly. You want him held aloft now for realising some thing so basic? I dont think so. Yesterdays game if anything underpins what us so called WOBs have said for years ie that Wengers coaching has been the cause of our decline as much as ever a lack of cash has been.With the players we ve had in the last 8 years, such as Allardyce, Pulis Hughes and Co would have been able to set our team up as was the case yesterday and avoid the embarrassing collapses we ve become accustomed too in the last few years. Indeed they have done with their own Clubs and often fared better than we have v the top sides. If i have any 'pre conceptions, theyre borne of what ive seen in the last 9 years, not of prejudice. What we saw yesterday was some thing that i and many others have consistently asked for in this period. We can quite reasonably feel vindicated and justified in asking for Wengers expensive services to be dispensed with.

  97. John C

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:47 #65224

    "Aaron Ramsey did not credit Arsene Wenger with the change in approach, and the manager himself was bemused when asked in the post-match Sky Sports interview" These were my thoughts exactly, Wenger's had the same face he pulled last year when the interviewer accredited Uncle Bouldy with our improved early season defensive performances, one of complete shock and disgust. I'm not entirely convince he had much to do with it.

  98. Brian

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:29 #65222

    Excellent team performance, Bellerin developing well and Coquelin a vital part of the team-he has arrived and is a leader, with 'skipper' in his every action. Santi Cazorla has been playing well for the past half a dozen games and only Alexis has overshadowed the man's performance. Yesterday was his masterclass. Well done to all.

  99. AugustusCaesar

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:28 #65221

    A terrific performance and victory. I don't think anyone is claiming Wenger is a tactical genius or we have turned a significant corner because we've seen false dawns before, but after a win in the champion's back yard any negative comments on here today will sound churlish. My hope going forward is for Wenger to stick with what appears to be a winning formula. That is; the prolongued inclusion of Coquelin who gives us a combative and disciplined edge we've often lacked combined with youthful legs. Ditto Bellarin as primary back up to Debuchy. An intelligent rotation of Gibbs and Monreal. My gut feel is that Monreal may be slightly better suited to attritional games such as the one yesterday and Gibbs for home games where we monopolise the ball and are under less pressure. I though we had a terrific balance yesterday in the full backs position with Monreal staying goal side for the vast majority of the game and bellarin joining the attacks when he saw fit (maybe once or twice too many but he's young and will learn). Cazorla employed in a central position where he is playing well. He dovetailed effectively with Ramsey well yesterday with one sitting and the other attacking on counter attacks. Avoid the temptation to bring Walcott or Ozil back in to the side. Neither offer great protection defensively and we're not struggling for goals currently. If it aint broke etc. But above all an approach to ALL games based, first and foremost, on discipline, determination and concentration and all those other attributes that make you a difficult team to beat. We have witnessed yesterday that while a transfer window DM and CB would be welcome additions the current crop do have the capacity to change the way they play and adapt a different approach needed to win big games.

  100. Chris

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:22 #65220

    Ron - Generally you are speaking sense but to suggest our injuries haven't been worse than any other club's is clearly wrong. I certainly don't point this out to defend the manager as the buck for this at least partly stops with him. The problem with the WOBs is that they don't just 'want it both ways', they want it ALL ways - they beat him with the injury stick as evidence of incompetent squad management and then claim it doesn't exist when it might be used as a mitigating factor in his defence. Similarly, Kevin tries to blame defeats totally on the manager and to give him little credit for victories. Letting your preconceptions determine your analysis is a one-way street to being wrong.

  101. AKB Centrasl Command

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:19 #65219

    Taxi for jeff wright.

  102. Tony Evans

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:19 #65218

    It has taken far too long but at last we had some defensive discipline and what looked suspiciously like a game plan. Wenger took some of the gloss off the win for me by arrogantly sweeping all the previous gung-ho humiliations under the carpet and in no way accepting any culpability to the failures of the past. I remain deeply suspicious of anything 'Wenger' but it was great to see such a transformation yesterday.

  103. Aha Poldi

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:11 #65217

    It was no fluke. Arsenal beat City 3-0 in the community shield, remember? And oh Toure played in that game. Top four here we come.

  104. Ozzie

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:10 #65216

    ONE decent win (with 35% possession) and people are getting excited? Tactics be damned - Wenger's bag of tricks has long been empty. Let us savour the sweetness of this rare success before it all turns sour again.

  105. Spectrum

    Jan 19, 2015, 11:10 #65215

    "......Which begs the question who exactly formulated the plan to play deep, deny Silva and soak up the pressure....."? My thoughts exactly, Kevin. It's obvious that Wenger was afraid of getting another thrashing from the big teams, and so finally swallowed his stubborn pride and allowed Steve Bould to handle the tactical approach to the match.The difference in our performance was plain to see.Of course, now that the fear of being humiliated by one of our "rival" teams has receded after this win, my bet is Wenger will resume his usual control over everything and it will be back to the piecemeal mediocrity we've become accustomed to under our fraud of a manager. Two thirds of the way into the transfer window and all we have signed so far is a 17 year old who has only played five top level matches, and who Wenger himself has described as "a gamble".Why should we be gambling ? Haven't we been doing that ( and losing )with our defensive fiasco for the last three years ? Why haven't we signed a solid experienced defender yet? Because Wenger apparently can't find any ! Yet other clubs never seem to have the same problem as we supposedly do in this area.There ARE suitable players out there, but Wenger wants them at bargain bin prices.So let the A.K.B.'s enjoy this surprise result, thinking it's all down to "his brilliance".But bear in mind that after the first twenty matches this season, Arsenal had the lowest points total EVER under him. And our worst start for 32 years.Ponder on those facts as you wonder why we're a massive thirteen points away from the champions in waiting - Chelsea.

  106. Ron

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:48 #65213

    GR - Yes, a decent team, the team that couldn't beat Burnley there the other week. Go into over drive if you like, but City have been rocking for weeks, 'defending Champions' or not Boot on the other foot re injuries? Wengers been bleating already that this performance has been coming and has only took so long due to our injuries. Hes been claiming injury woes for years to mitigate his and the teams fold ups and bottle jobs and the truth is that our injuries have never been worse than any other Club. The hype on here after one good win is amusing. I repeat, ill not be convinced that Wenger has seen and recognised his errors of the last 9 years until there's some consistent evidence that he has. One win proves nothing. Weve had a few false dawns before. They played well no doubt, but one swallow doesn't a Summer make.Carry on thinking Wengers found his mojo again though if you must. My view is that some body had a word in his ear. Add that to the storm he faced had they have collapsed again and you saw the result. Hes smug enough off the back of a win at City to think now that he still needs no defensive middle man, a keeper, 2 decent full backs, a striker and a CB now.

  107. Mike Collins

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:47 #65212

    Agree with all here it was a great performance and at last we had a bit of luck. But one swallow does not a summer make and let's see if the improvement is maintained between now and May. If it is then we're back in business, Gooners.

  108. Mark

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:47 #65211

    Exactly its very important the Wenger doesn't finish top 4. Hopefully Southampton, United, Liverpool, Spurs finsih in the places.

  109. radfordkennedy

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:31 #65209

    At last the penny drops for Aw,well done to the boys a very good performance,young Bellerin and Coq especially,I did find it amusing though watching the post match interview with Aw,that no matter how the question was put to him he absolutely refused to say he changed his mind/tactics.....incidently has anyone else noticed the startling resemblance between Bellerin and a young Ronnie Kray.

  110. GoonerRon

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:26 #65208

    @ Ron - 'a decent team' - you mean the defending champions, unbeaten in 14 games and who have lost 7 league games in their last 87 at home. As for injury/fatigue being a contributory factor - I'm not sure that would wash in mitigation if the boot was on the other foot.

  111. Ron

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:16 #65207

    Hi Kev. Great win, but lets not go over board. Its one win v a decent side. I prefer to reserve judgement on the question of whether Wenger has seen the light. Hes done these disciplined games before and soon slipped back to tip tap tippy tap lightweight toe. The lads played well but lets also accept that it was never a penalty really. The ref bought it. A bit of luck for us for a change. City were a biut aimless partly due to our work rate and harrassment of them but no Toure and a half fit Aguero and Kompany calls for some perspective. Maybe when we ve gone a run and maybe beat the spuds and more importantly beat Chelsea and Utd a time or two and ill start to think the unthinkable, that Wenger has listened to whichever Coach or player told him to take his philosophical blinkers off for once.

  112. Savage

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:15 #65206

    Felt a lot like the 2-1 win over Barcelona. The fact we had Kos and Mert back together was significant, along with the fullbacks showing more restraint. Coquelin has maneuvered himself into the can't-drop-me zone.

  113. David

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:10 #65205

    Badarse, having given up his 60-a-day habbit, is sitting, staring at that cigarette on the table; playing with the lighter, salivating, drooling. He's gone for two weeks without a fag. How long can he resist...All it will take is Westlower to blow a puff of Marlboro Lights into his face...

  114. Red Member

    Jan 19, 2015, 10:09 #65204

    4 reasons for yesterday - Spike mentions the first, number 2 - Man City had their best player absent, number 3 - we finally have a goalkeeper who looks calm and confident, number 4 - we are benefitting at the moment from only having to play 1 game a week. Good win yesterday but I won't be getting carried away until we are able to achieve more than 2 wins in a row (we still havent done this in the league this season)

  115. adrian

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:57 #65203

    if Mr Wenger is such a genius, how come it has taken him so long to twig that you cannot outplay the best sides in the prem. The failiure to be tactically astute has cost the team lost chances of trophies. I suppose we should rejoice the message has finally sunk in.

  116. 600NER PETE

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:56 #65202

    Spot on Kevin. A great performance and result but what a surprise after all these years. We have to wait and see how permanent this change of tactics is but it feels good to be a gooner this morning!

  117. GoonerRon

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:54 #65201

    Absolutely brilliant performance. Kev, rather predictably you're trying to disassociate Wenger with any credit for the performance - I'm not sure how he can be blamed when it goes wrong yet get no credit when it goes well. You also say it was no tactical masterplan, yet I remember Mourinho getting praise for exactly that after a 1-0 at Citeh not too long ago. @ Barnaby - not sure what game you were watching - to these eyes we cleared our lines when we had to but when we could we turned an interception or recovery in our third into controlled possession, brilliantly.

  118. Mark

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:47 #65200

    It was a complete fluke. City beat themselves. If it was Chelsea playing yesterday it would 6-0. Wenger is still a failure of a manager, the team is still average, the board are still unambitious lot. Any change will be the day we get new ambitious owners.

  119. Barnaby

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:43 #65199

    This article says we kept possession in difficult areas, did we ****! We did what we did against Liverpool which lead to the scousers scoring, we just got luckier yesterday. They still need better ball retention against the big teams, The positive is Arsenal did stay back to make it hard for city to play. Also atleast Wenger had the forsight to do his coat up b4 he got on the pitch lolollollol

  120. Mathew

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:36 #65198

    Feel great to be back here after a month long break, and what a day to mark my return... a win against City ! Wenger seems to have learned a trade from Mou, how to park the bus. I liked the fact that there is a fight for a place in the squad, Santi vs Ozil, Theo vs Ox etc. Not to forget the agility from Coquelin, Kos, Per, Hector and Nacho. For me Kompany deserved a card for that tackle against Monreal, with Mike Dean in charge you can't expect an easy one. Well done Gunners

  121. Uche

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:35 #65197

    It is a shame we find ways to always discredit the manager. A pointer to how it was mostly down to the manager, was when, on one of the very few occasions City did get through our defense to muster an attempt at goal, he stood up and had a go at the defense from his technical area. We have seen the team play like this on many occasions, maybe not as much as everyone would say they want, but on many occasions prior to yesterday. Wins at White Hart Lane and The Emirates against Spurs last season in all three games, wins against Liverpool in the F.A. Cup and Dortmund in the Champions League, are just a few of note.

  122. Charlie George Orwell

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:33 #65196

    Good piece as ever, Kevin. Tactics, game plan and tightening of defensive frailties seen on the same day as an away win against the defending champions for the first time in 13 years. Could it be the penny's finally dropped?

  123. Alsace Lorraine de Totteridge

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:30 #65195

    All true Kevin but this sort of thing only happens when Wenger is up against it. Only then will he do what is necessary. For him to be a credible manager he would have to recognise that the time start doing what is necessary is August and the time to stop is in May. This is what the AKB's fail to understand. It isn't that Wenger and the team can't do it - it's that Wenger doesn't want to. Oh and by the way, if the team have initiated the change, he will re-impose his own losing plan. Fantastic win and at the second hardest place to go. I'm so pleased for the players.

  124. Chris

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:28 #65194

    Kevin - Wenger said "We wanted to play deep in our half and high up in theirs", which is what they did. What's bemusing is that you contort yourself trying to find evidence that Wenger is not behind it if the team play well! And Wenger is right that the strategy is not new, they just did it better than they have before, for various reasons. The have played more conservatively before and got great results - e.g. Dortmund away last season.

  125. Spike

    Jan 19, 2015, 9:26 #65193

    As soon as the precious 4th place trophy looks under threat, we start to do what we should have been doing all season.