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1) Massively disappointing result today for the Arsenal. Before we get into the nitty gritty, were you happy with the starting line up before kick off?

@akosao - I was ok with the starting line up based on the game against Manchester City but thought we should have played three midfielders considering our centre back position was a bit weaker than usual.

@alexthistlewood - I was surprised by the benching of Xhaka. The only thing I could make of it was that the boss figured it would be an unfamiliar spine. The Liverpool eleven didn't scare me. The only thing I would add is that a lot of responsibility fell to Elneny as the connecting passer in this lineup (i.e. the Santi role) and I felt that in the first half he was not up to it. The second half, everything fell apart.

@APAutomatic - Yeah, I think the starting lineup was fair, given our lack of options for CB, and the protection they needed. While some might argue Xhaka should have started, he looked off the pace when he came on, so I'd say, in hindsight, going with Elneny and Coquelin (who prefers the higher tempo) was a good call. (Can't say the same about subbing Elneny off instead of Coq, though...)

@leouzzi - I think with the exception of Ramsey in the No. 10 role, it looked good.

@omospecial - the line up is fairly satisfactory considering the options we have got

@SarriesKid10 - No I was not I thought it was very poor starting a kid who he didn’t even trust to play ahead of Flamini last season and a kid who hadn’t played a minute in the Premier League. Also playing Coquelin ahead of Xhaka was disrespectful not just to the fans but the team who had already had to endure our season crumble with Ramsey and Coquelin and in the side this year. It made no sense at all but it seems Wenger has an inability to play new signings till the damage is already done so this isn’t a new thing. The rest of the team I agreed with but Ramsey let down the team big time, he needs to take his chance quickly before Cazorla and Özil push him out the team but I pray it has more down to the fact we had no control on the game to help Ramsey flourish today with Xhaka inexplicably benched rather than Ramsey’s deficiencies.

2) Liverpool equalised in stoppage time in the first half, until then we looked comfortable defensively. In your opinion, what was the cause of us shipping a further 3 in the second half?

@akosao - We lost focus and Liverpool were fired up for the second half .The goal before half time really helped them a lot. They pushed up in the second half and we had no outlet ball and shipped three goals in very quick succession. Liverpool played were more intent for the fifteen minutes of the second half which got them out of sight.

@alexthistlewood - Apparently Klopp told his team to use their superior fitness and I felt it showed. We wouldn't have scored a goal as sharp as any of their three. They were superb. I also thought of Squillaci's comments about leaving our defence open . The passed through us and our defence was exposed.

@APAutomatic - I haven't watched the match again, but I plan on doing it tomorrow. From what I could see, I thought Monreal (surprisingly) was at least partially at fault for all three second half goals, which is unlike him. Part of that is maybe Iwobi's fault, who was unusually absent from his defensive duties today. I think conceding the second goal made heads drop, and everyone panicked after that. The attempted fightback was valiant, but too little too late.

@leouzzi - We were out of sorts with marking and tackling, the left side of the defense was leaking and it seemed like no one could organize the shape at the back.

@omospecial - Lack of concentration and experience at the back was responsible for our considering the 3 goals after they equalized

@SarriesKid10 - No leaders in the team. Simple as that the captaincy has become a running joke because he keeps giving it to players who won’t play at all and always spend large periods out with injury. He prioritises what the captain does off the field rather than on it that should no longer be the case, if you don’t want to appoint Cech then give it to Xhaka or Ramsey or even Mustafi who assuming he does join without any last minute complications speaks perfect English. But we never go for the logical option like leaving your £35m leader who was BMG’s captain last season on the bench for no reason.

3) Who was Arsenal's best player on the day and why?

@akosao - The best player for me was no one. The midfielders had no structure, the attackers were lost and so were the defenders.

@alexthistlewood - I think our best player was Santi Cazorla, who showed the kind of connective passing we missed in midfield. By then the game was wide open and chaotic, however, so it is a bit hard to judge.

@APAutomatic - It's an arguable choice between Walcott and Coquelin for me; Walcott might have seemed better than he actually was, thanks to Moreno's penchant for ball-watching (though I guess Walcott loses points for the saved penalty), and Coquelin spent the first half being so effective at what he does; Bellerin also had a solid game (mostly, might have done better on the cross to Lallana, e.g.), and The Ox made an obvious and substantial difference when he came on.

@leouzzi - Oxlade Chamberlain. He came on and got the team off suffering a mauling.

@omospecial - I think Coquelin was our best player today, he was terrific going forward and fought for every ball

@SarriesKid10 - Hard to pick out a player as I felt even Monreal who is our most consistent performer was bad. Rather than answering that what I would say is it is positive that Chamberlain has scored for the first time this season in the first game with his 1st shot. Hopefully that gives him a lot of confidence as we really need to see him deliver this season. Also other positives Walcott finally back on the right wing in a competitive game and he scores now keep him there. Finally also scoring 3 at home which is something we struggled to do in games last season has to be a positive even if we lost.

4) Which Arsenal player(s) were not at their best and why?

@akosao - I would say this was Cech. The goal by Lallana was pretty poor goalkeeping. I am still unsure of where he was running to. Lallana was being closed down with a tight angle and for some reason he rushes out and concedes. That was when the flood gates were blasted open.

@alexthistlewood - I feel like Elneny wasn't up to the role as midfield connector in the first half. I haven't rewatched the goals closely, but Chambers did not have a good game.

@APAutomatic - As I mentioned before, Monreal seemed off the pace to me. He first got drawn to his CBs, leaving space for Lallana to run into for the second goal (Iwobi's absence notable here), then got beaten by both Clyne and Mane for the two subsequent goals. I also feel Ramsey was trying too hard all match, and made some poor decisions. A shame his match ended as/when it did, though.

@leouzzi - Aaron Ramsey is not the player to hold down the No. 10 role at Arsenal. Chambers was poor. Nacho was targeted and it paid off for the opposition. Alexis fared worse than in the strikers role today than Theo could have.

@omospecial - Ramsey and Bellerin were really poor today. Sanchez also left his boots at home

@SarriesKid10 - I’m not going to hang out Chambers and Holding but its beyond negligent that those two were allowed to start a premier league game together so early in their careers. So I will pick Coquelin as he offered nothing should have been sent off and was pressed like we expected he would be. Either play him as right back cover or with Cazorla or bench him there’s a reason we were so hopeless even when he returned last season he’s a technically limited player like Kante who only works in the right system with the right platform who can’t pass so he shouldn’t have ever played even if Xhaka is deemed behind on fitness.

5) What did you think of the Chambers/Holding partnership?

@akosao - I thought it was ok. Nothing too bad, although I wish they fouled earlier to prevent goal and get in position a bit earlier. Coutinho's second goal and Mane's goal come to mind. Holding should be closer to Coutinho when the ball comes in. Mane's goal should have been if Chambers had fouled earlier.

@alexthistlewood - I feel like it's unfair to render a verdict. They looked fine in the first half, notwithstanding a couple wobbles. But to judge a 20 and 21 year-old thrown into action, one of whom was making his Premier League debut, against a possible top four side is harsh. It is hard to say they did well in the second half.

@APAutomatic - I think Chambers and Holding work quite well together; they're both capable of bringing the ball out of defence, good at passing through the lines (which is a bonus), and generally read the game well. I still can't say I know Holding too well as a player, but Chambers has a specific style, somewhat similar to Mertesacker in terms of positioning and sweeping up play. Holding *seems* to be better at reading play and intercepting, in the Koscielny image. That said, sometimes their passes don't come off, and the situation becomes dangerous. Most of their hiccups are just that; with game time, I'm confident they'll be more assured in their play, and could make for a solid long-term pairing at CB.

@leouzzi - I did not think it would be a bad partnership, but Chambers failed to show maturity when it asked of him. The same mistakes made in against Man. City last week played out with positioning and decision making. Holding is young, but he seems like a better partner to which ever senior CB that is fit to play the next game.

@omospecial - in all fairness to the young lads I think they can't give what they don't have, they played to their capacity.

@SarriesKid10 - Don’t think I need to say anymore than what I have already said. It should have never happened literally even Monreal as a makeshift CB would have been better. It’s sad what’s happened to Gabriel which has essentially stopped us from being able to loan him out even when additions come in.

6) Alexis Sanchez impressed at centre forward against Man City in our last friendly but struggled today. What do you make of him at centre forward?

@akosao - It is an interesting one. For some reason we kept on playing high balls to him to be the press from the fullback position. It would work against teams that are totally dominant against us but not when teams sit a bit deep. When the opposition team are deep, he looks a bit lost. Like a puppy at sea.

@alexthistlewood - I don't know whether his unfamiliarity with the position contributed to it, but I feel like he did not get enough service. That might also have had to do with us not having enough controlling, passing types (i.e. Santi, Mesut). I wouldn't close the book on him there, but I wouldn't go back to him either unless we were in extremis.

@APAutomatic - Sanchez's hot/cold play at CF really confuses me. I've seen some others mention that part of it might be down to the fact that he likes to play with the ball at his feet, involved in the buildup. This might not make him suitable as a CF against a team in the Klopp vein, seeing as how they press so tightly and constantly. (City does under Pep too, but nowhere near with the same intensity as a Klopp team does). His assist for Walcott against Man City shows how he can be effective at CF if given time and space, but didn't get any chances like that today. Most of the passes for him to run onto weren't of the required quality either. Here's hoping that someone smarter than me can figure out the reason behind Sanchez's shortcomings at CF and turn it around.

@leouzzi - As previously mentioned, he fared worse than Theo could have. I think Arsene should have interchanged both players at the start of the 2nd half, seeing how Alexis struggled to get into the game and it might have given Klopp something to thing about. He does have the ability to play in that position, but with Ozil/Santi behind him for sure.

@omospecial - I don't think Sanchez will do well playing in the CF position against top teams in a competitive match, he is really poor with his back to goal and hold on to the ball too much thereby giving smart defenders ample time to disposes him

@SarriesKid10 - I think he makes the runs but he needs to be on the pitch when we have a Cazorla/Xhaka/Ozil behind to help us dominate games. Like the 1st half of that City game we struggled to keep the ball and then as soon as Cazorla came on we controlled it but obviously when we don’t have that to work with on the pitch he’s going to struggle.

7) If (and hopefully when) we get additions to the squad, where do you see Arsenal finishing this season?

@akosao - I think we would finish second behind city.

@alexthistlewood - Top four, and a fair distance off the leader. Groundhog day. Maybe a fight for fourth if Liverpool, Spurs, et al. are competitive

@APAutomatic - I'm stupid, naive, and optimistic when it comes to Arsenal; I hope this is just a blip on the radar, and we'll right ourselves soon, and get back into a good groove. It seems we can all be certain about a CB coming in, and an attacking player (either wide forward or centre forward, or maybe both!) would be an added bonus. As it stands, we have a 32-man squad (including the technically U21 players: Bellerin, Gnabry, Iwobi, Chambers, Holding, Jeff, Bielik) but that includes Per, Welbeck, Debuchy and Sanogo. Assuming Debs and Sanogo aren't going to be a part of the squad, and that Per and Welbz won't be a part of the squad for the majority of the year, I think we still have enough depth and quality to handle the rigours without signing any attacking players. I think Arsenal will end up in the top 4 (never in doubt), but if we get the one/two forward(s), might be able to aim for the summit.

@leouzzi - I don't think this loss will have much impact on the final position on the league table. If the manager and team do feel like they deserve better from the fans, they will have a real good go for the title at all cost. If they are not driven, then we would regret this poor start.

@omospecial - I think our best position this season will be fourth

@SarriesKid10 - Even if we sign Griezmann and Mustafi I don’t see us finishing higher than 2nd. I also think this team will struggle to be lifted without new ideas.

8) Any other thoughts?

@akosao - I liked the pressing in the first half, constantly hurried Liverpool back line but ran out of steam in the second half. I love Arsenal but it is getting tough these days. For the life of me I cannot understand why on earth we have not bought a quality striker in ages. Sanogo is the last I remember of the top of my head and he is woeful. Wenger blaming the experience of the centre backs he chose to play annoys me. We had time since Mertasacker. Hopefully we do something quickly and get two players in. If we lose against Leicester, the season would be a write off already. UTA

@alexthistlewood - This felt like a disaster purely of our own making. The excuses Arsène preferred were pathetic. It's the first day of the season, and I am losing patience. We dropped points today, and worse than that we're in crisis mode after one game. There isn't a plan--we weren't ready for this game, we weren't ready to give our fledgling centre backs the protection they needed, and there wasn't a plan for our transfer activity when our first choices fell through. Not wanting to pay market prices mean we put our fate in the hands of other teams on deadline day: we are totally dependent on the urgency of the deadline and the dominos falling just right to improvise and pull something off--that is not a sound plan for a team in our position.

@APAutomatic - Hoping we turn it around against Leicester next week, and that we get the players we want/need through the door ASAP. Even if we don't, we've still somehow got to *try* and support the team through thick and thin.

@leouzzi - Arsene has stuck to his ways and this has backfired in the first game, but there would not be anything wrong if he re-adjusts to rectify obvious issues with his team and tactical structure. We are The Arsenal, We Move....

@SarriesKid10 - Arsene needs to go. And he needs to tell everyone he will so we can lay the groundwork for a new manager preferably Simeone next summer by doing that he unites the players and the fans and prevents the situation from getting much worse than it is right now.


Thanks as ever to the guys above for the responses. If you would like to follow the guys above, just search the twitter handle and get following.

  • 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