And we're out! A mix and match Arsenal team were beaten by an inform Southampton at the Emirates on Tuesday night. @BerntsenAnders @GoonerChris1886, @gooneroaf and @IronMan_AV are here to answer some post match questions.
1) We are not used to going out of the league cup at this stage are you disappointed or philosophical about the whole thing?
@BerntsenAnders - Both. Disappointed with the senior/regular first teamers. Especially I feel the front three and TR7 should and could have done better. Philosophical about the way our back four preformed. For me they all showed tonight that they are sufficient backup players. Very impressed with Bellerin and Hayden. Thought Coq played well to. In midfield Diaby played very well and was MOM for me. JW10 at least tried his best and had some good spells.
@GoonerChris1886 - It's always disappointing when Arsenal lose and it would have been nice for us to have a good cup run, however it wasn't meant to be and it means we can focus on the other 3 competitions without further risk of injuries and suspensions to the players, especially with the lack of depth we have available at the back at the moment
@gooneroaf - It's always disappointing to lose but if we had to chose one competition to go out early in it would be this one. That being said, it's only OK if we do well in other competitions.
The main reason I am gutted is that I couldn't make the game tonight (don't worry someone else took my ticket) and I was really looking forward to seeing the players that haven't played much yet, like Joel Campbell, now that we're out we won't get to see some of them for a while.
@IronMan_AV - A cup exit, especially in a winnable competition, is always going to be disappointing. Some will try and play it off as ok as it's the 'least important' of the competitions we're in this season but I can't get on board with that attitude. If we're already struggling in the league cup, what hope for the tougher tests to come? They say winning is a habit and all that so writing off matches/cups etc is surely not something we should be doing.
2) Did you think the blend between youth and experience was right today or was it more down to individual/team performance?
@BerntsenAnders - I was quite happy with the team from the start. Should have been a good blend, but I think we couldn't get any real flow in our attack because we had a front three who played together for the first time.
@GoonerChris1886 - Before kick off I felt it was definitely a decent blend, the youth players gave a good account of themselves tonight, it was the more experienced players on the fringes of the first team, such as Podolski and Rosicky that let themselves down and didn't seize their opportunity.
@gooneroaf - The team was actually stronger than I thought it would be, seeing Chambers, Wilshere and Sanchez in the starting line-up did shock me.
Personally, I have historically preferred an 'all or nothing' approach i.e. a team full of youngsters or none at all, unfortunately I don't think we have enough prospects at the moment to field a full team. Although I would have liked to have seen Zelalem though.
In short, I think the balance was right given the squad we currently possess.
@IronMan_AV - We've become used to this mix in this competition. Whether it's right to do it against an in-form team if we really care about progressing is open to debate. Personally, I thought there was actually little wrong with the 'blend' per se but we were very much lacking a leader/organiser. Rosicky seemed to be captain in name alone and this seemed to impact the rest. It wasn't a great team showing by any stretch of the imagination.
3) Did any of the youngsters stand out for you today and if so, why?
@BerntsenAnders - Yes! I think Bellerin and Hayden played a good game.
@GoonerChris1886 - Bellerin and Hayden both played fairly well tonight, they were certainly up there with the better performances from Arsenal. Hayden seemed calm and assured, he looks to have all the attributes required to make a decent CB. Bellerin put in a decent performance too, seems to have a good cross on him and he goes forward well. The pair of them could be set for bright futures.
@gooneroaf - Chambers has really impressed me so far, I am hoping he can continue his development and become a key player.
Bellerin did well considering the tough night he had in Dortmund. Although, I don't think my son will ever forgive him for completely ignoring the middle tier when kicking balls into the crowd on members' day ;)
The biggest plus for me was Hayden, with our defensive options being so short thifs season it was good to see him against Premier League opposition.
@IronMan_AV - I like Hector Bellerin a lot. He's going places. Very raw and questions remain over his positioning right now but his recovery pace, in the first half in particular, served him well. With Debuchy's injury, I suspect he'll get more opportunities in the coming weeks and hopefully the experience will serve him well.
4) Who disappointed you the most and why (I think I know whom)
@BerntsenAnders - Podolski had a shocker. I also think Joel, Tomas and Alexis struggled to get it going, but at least they worked hard and looked like trying.
@GoonerChris1886 - Podolski and Rosicky, both were extremely disappointing. The German international was virtually non existent throughout the entire 90 minutes, moving around the pitch like it was a leisurely jog around a park. The performance by Tomas was capped by that awful penalty he gave away, his passing let him down and his frustration was there for all to see when he booted the ball away late on.
@gooneroaf - Can I say some of our fans on Twitter? You know, the ones who's timeline shows nothing but negativity and disrespect towards the club, even when we win? No...OK.
In terms of playing personnel...it pains me to say this as I am a huge fan (I even have him on my shirt) but I have to say Podolski.
I'm not in the camp of "Poldi is terrible" as that would be ridiculous considering his career, his goals and his assists. I think most people would appreciate Podolski more if they took a step back and stopped expecting him to be something he isn't...his game is all about end product and he has that in abundance but don't expect him to run around like a crazy Flamini.
That's why I'm not overly critical about his work-rate, he scores goals. But the reason it disappointed me tonight was because he has had limited game time, so should want to win his place back. Plus he was playing with youngsters so, as a senior player, and a world cup winner, he should have been a role model tonight and this includes working hard!
Frustratingly, if he added that work rate to his game, with his ability, he would be one hell of a player.
@IronMan_AV - Cant seperate Rosicky and Podolski. Both awful in their own way. I think Rosicky just shades it because of his daft challenge for the penalty. As captain, and with all his experience, he should really be putting in a better overall performance and certainly not making such costly match-defining errors.
5) Who was your Arsenal man of the match?
@BerntsenAnders - Diaby. He did almost everything right. Kept it simple and we need someone with his physical presence in midfield.
@GoonerChris1886 - Hmmm, tough one but Alexis Sanchez for me. He was one of the only experienced players who put in a good performance today, he looked hungry throughout and didn't stop working hard during the whole 90 minutes. His phenomenal freekick was something to watch over and over again as well, exquisite.
@gooneroaf - Hmmmm that's a tough one. I'm not a Diaby fan boy and think that, even when fit, he tends to have one goof game in five (has he ever been fit for five games?) but anyone that can be out for so long then put in a decent shift at that level deserves a shout.
Sanchez's free kick was immense and his work-rate is always immense.
Afobe scored 2 tonight (for MK Dons) so is in with a shout lol
But I will have to go with Hayden for the reasons mentioned earlier, it was good to see him 'take his chance'. The goals were a penalty and a screamer so he can certainly hold his head higher than others this evening despite probably being the furthest from the first team.
@IronMan_AV - Tough one. Alexis I guess. Wonderful goal and incredible effort throughout. You do worry he's running himself into the ground but one cannot help but be impressed by his effort. More of the same, please.
6) Can the boys put this to one side and deliver in the NLD on the weekend?
@BerntsenAnders - YES, no doubt about it!
@GoonerChris1886 - Of Course they can, to be honest I wouldn't focus too much on tonight in terms of preparation for the weekend. The only 3 likely to start who featured this evening was Alexis, Wilshere and Chambers. I fully expect the team to be raring to go come Saturday evening and get yet another result at home against our fierce North London rivals.
@gooneroaf - Of course! The team will be very different and I am confident the lads can get the job done. But, if Wenger puts Özil back on the wing I might actually have a breakdown and cry uncontrollably in front of the press where I sit. I can't wait for Saturday, I sit behind the away dugout so am expecting some awesome banter too :)
Welbeck to score at least one, from another Özil assist. My prediction? 2 - 0 to the Arsenal.
@IronMan_AV - Hopefully. I don't say that with any great optimism either. We're yet to really get going this season performance-wise and at the moment, I think we can be thankful they are seemingly going through a similarly indifferent time of it. It may be a case of who is 'less' bad.
7) Any other thoughts?
@BerntsenAnders - Southampton played really good tonight. They deserved it and I feel we couldn't do much with the two goals conceded.
@GoonerChris1886 - It was good to see Diaby make a first team return this evening, it was promising that he managed to last over an hour and the way he left the pitch would suggest he got through it virtually unscathed. Also I think if it comes to it due to defensive shortages, Hayden would be a better option at CB than trying to bring in some average free agent to make do.
Focus now moves onto Saturday, here's to another North London Derby victory!
@gooneroaf - Schneiderlin put in another good shift tonight and has had a great start to the season considering he has the hump about having to stay. I haven't previously considered him as an option for us in CDM but he must be playing his way into peoples thoughts. Whether it's Schneiderlin or someone else, let's hope we do some defensive business in January.
I'd also like to appeal to people to not jump on bandwagons. Some people seem to commit their lives as fans to waiting for us to do something wrong so that they can moan and say 'I told you so' - ignore them, don't join them. Some of the stick Özil has had is ridiculous and it was great to see him back on form against Villa.
Then tonight (the night of the Southampton game) I actually saw someone tweet something about Rosicky's Arsenal carer being over...seriously? Get a grip! The guy was awesome last season and has hardly played this season. I'm not sure what people expect....he's a good player that works hard, get behind him!
The final thought I would like to leave you with is that Mesut Özil plays for Arsenal.....if that doesn't make you smile, your are beyond my help!
P.S. Alexis Sanchez plays for Arsenal too.....that's pretty awesome :)
@IronMan_AV - Lack of decent squad depth is a worry. Fringe players not really performing when given the opportunity so one suspects that they may not be up to the task if called upon for the so-called more important matches in the league and in Europe. Makeshift/patched-up/young defence did 'ok' on the night but at no point would you want to have to worry about feilding three 19 year olds in defence against the likes of Chelsea/Real Madrid. Pray to any God you believe in that this is never the case this year.
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