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In the North London derby, ludicrous, fantastical notions of ‘playing the Tottenham way’ or ‘Wengerball’ essentially go out the window as simply securing a victory is all that matters. Nothing reinforced that fact more than the latest tête-à-tête between Arsenal and Spurs. Arsenal took an earlier lead but failed to capitalise, spent much of the game on the back foot and ultimately, looked second best. However, for all their possession and positive approach, our rivals could not find a way through and still found themselves on the receiving end of defeat. While there may be a worry or two over the way the team played and struggled to get a proper foothold on the game, the end result was the only thing that mattered. It may well have been one of the least enjoyable matches to watch

I love Olivier Giroud, I think his contribution to the team is often overlooked by those who favour pointing out he isn't as ostentatious as previous incumbents of his position. However, when isolated up front whilst the rest of the team defends, he can often be maddeningly ineffectual. Today he looked a touch lethargic and his control, which is usually very good, let him down on numerous occasions. Also, The Ox was jarringly profligate in front of goal, and I'm still yet to decide what he was trying to do when put clean through. A crafty dink? A pass? It was bloody awful. I know that much.

That penalty of course came courtesy of a challenge by Laurent Koscielny on the talented but devious Robben. The Bayern winger had spent much of the evening trying to get up close and personal with the Alianz turf following a series (!) of tumbles that most people would correctly call cheating. Of course, he needed little invitation to go down like a new-born foal under Kos’ challenge but once again, our French centre back made the decision easy for the referee. Every replay you care to watch shows that Kosclieny’s tackle attempt definitely made ‘contact’ with the flailing Dutchman so, while harsh, it could easily be argued that it was indeed a spot-kick.

One of the players in the current squad one might argue isn't likely to be overawed by a so-called 'tough' game is Mattheu Flamini. Since his return, the tenacious Frenchman has been lauded for adding that much sought after 'steel' and toughness to Arsenal's midfield and in the eyes of most, would have been tailor-made for the battle at the Britannia. Inexplicably however, Flamini was left out. It's easy in hindsight to look at the team selection and criticise the manager's decisions after the event but leaving out the Midfielder, as well as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ozil, was odd before the game and in light of the result, looked borderline absurd. Ok, the team he picked may have been mostly the same as that which comprehensively dispatched of Sunderland a week prior, but if

There is a huge irony here – that the same people who never stop banging on about the importance of ‘marquee’ signings where Arsenal are concerned seem oddly unwilling to accept how far twenty marquee signings each might take Manchester City and Chelsea beyond our reach. And have you noticed how they have found all sorts of ways to keep criticising whilst carefully avoiding any real mention of this elephant in the room? One of their favourites is to compare our budget to the teams just below us instead, to show how we ‘under-achieve’. ‘We only just came above Spurs, and look how tiny their wage bill is compared to us’. Well, firstly, Spurs are showing right now just how difficult it is to maintain that kind of form for more than a season. Secondly, if they ever made the

Has there been any confirmation of the extent of the injuries? It’s never a good thing to have too many changes to your back four but regardless I do think we will be okay. Monreal wouldn’t be a huge miss but the absence of Gibbs puts a damper on the whole situation, losing two leftbacks at this stage could be a problem. Koscielny on the other hand is a huge miss however with Sagna willing and able to play center half we should be fine.

On his return from injury, it was clear Rambo was playing tentatively. He was slow and ponderous in possession and was asked to play an unfamiliar position. The thinking behind shoehorning him into right midfield has been questioned by some and lauded by others. In truth only Arsene and his backroom staff know why he was asked to play such an unfamiliar position. This season we are seeing the player we had caught glimpses of pre-shawcrossed; a player who is exuding confidence and class, trying things on the pitch that others would never have deemed possible from the Welshman 12 months ago. Whilst the medical staff, who often come in for criticism over our injury list, deserve a great deal of credit; so too, do the personnel who spent time with Aaron focusing on his

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more