The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Fabianski, Ozil, Sanogo and The Ox Shine as Arsenal Progress.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is a little pleased with himself.

Morning, folks.

When I saw the team sheet for yesterday’s fixture, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it. I knew the rotation was coming, with Bayern coming to town on Wednesday a few changes was inevitable. Call me a soppy old romantic, if you will, but the FA Cup still holds significant sentimental value for me. I didn’t really feel too glum about the selection or those involved, just a little disappointed by the absence of a few players. As it turns out, other than Szczesny, the changes were largely forced upon Arsene.

The team that took to the field might not have been out strongest 11, but it was an exciting team with a few eye-catching performances. Yayo Sanogo made his full debut and whilst still very raw, certainly caught the eye with an impressive debut. He’s a big lad with a decent touch and he gave Agger and Skrtel all kinds of problems, comfortably out-muscling both on numerous occasions to such an extent they began to resort to cheap fouls.

I was impressed. I can’t claim to know much about Sanogo before he came to Arsenal other than he’s had a few injury troubles and became the brunt of people’s frustrations over the summer. It’s very early days yet, but he performed well and deservingly received a standing ovation from The Emirates crowd when he was substituted.  Perhaps it’s a tad knee-jerk for me to say, but with Bendtner likely to leave in the summer, perhaps Sanogo is a better choice of deputy to Giroud. If he performs like he did yesterday, he’ll give plenty of defenders problems.

The most impressive performances were Ozil, Chamberlain and Fabianski.

Mesut has has his detractors in the past, but he looked up for the game from start to finish; scurrying about looking for the ball and showing some fabulous touches. He had a hand in both goals – his pass to set The Ox through for the second was a perfect example of glorious precision.  At one point he was even making tackles and winning the ball on the edge of his penalty area – shock, horror!! – and he tracked back to cover the full backs on more than one occasion. I hope there’s more to come. Much more.

Chamberlain also put himself about and threatened regularly with his directness and clever runs behind the defence of Liverpool. Wether you feel he is best deployed centrally or out wide, he has the ability to impact games from either side, and his greatest strength in my opinion is his ability to play different roles well in equal measure. That attribute is what makes him a threat in the same way Freddie Ljungberg was . His first goal showed awareness in the box, and the assist he provided for Podolski’s was a lovely cut-back. Since Theo has been injured, The Ox has contributed an enormous amount to the goals we’ve scored.

Best of all was Fabianski. He’s had his faults over the years and made the odd calamitous blunder. Those can’t be denied. However, as he’s aged and matured, a very, very good goalkeeper has emerged. Liverpool had their chances to scores more than 1, but Fabianksi was equal to everything Liverpool fired his way. He even had Daniel Sturridge tying his shoelaces for him…  It’s almost a shame he’s opted to leave in the summer, but he announced his departure with dignity and class and few could begrudge him his wish to play regular football. In this kind of form, he’ll make an excellent No1 for someone.

On the whole, the performance was a good one. We rode our luck at points, and few could argue Liverpool were denied a penalty; a spot-kick I’m certain they didn’t get largely down to Suarez’s histrionics and startlingly over-exaggerated tumble. We had luck on our side in patches, but no more so than Liverpool and especially Steven Gerrard who, these days it seems, needs to ritually slay a teammate to receive a second yellow card.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable match played by two teams eager to attack and get the win. In the next round we’ll face Everton and maybe, just maybe we can start to dream about our name being on the cup this year.

My last mention today is for Olivier Giroud and his personal problems. I have no intention of discussing what he did as it’s none of my business. Nor is it yours or the media’s. He has obviously made a mistake and wishes to be left in private. Sometimes that’s a luxury not afforded to professional sportsmen, but I prefer to talk about what they do on the pitch in an Arsenal shirt. The rest, unless it’s detrimental to the Club, doesn’t concern me.

Hopefully we can take this victory and press forward. We’ll be playing arguably the best team in Europe next, and I’m looking forward to it. If you can’t look forward to this kind of game, what can you? It should be a fantastic spectacle and I hope the players are up for it and have a real go at Bayern.

That’s all for today, folks. Let me know your thoughts on the game. I’ve not mentioned Jenkinson or Podolksi, both of whom gave performances worthy of note. Who was your stand-out player? Don’t be shy, drop me a line.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Arsenal
  • Daniel Cowan says:

    If you’re not getting abuse you’re not doing it right so…. You call us beautiful but bastard, fuck you Mr James, I’m not bastard!

    February 17, 2014 at 9:10 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @Cowan: You are a bit…

      February 17, 2014 at 9:16 am
      • Daniel Cowan says:

        People are taking this seriously… wow.

        February 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm
    • realarsenalfan says:

      r u having a bad day?…

      February 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm
    • Wenger admirer says:

      Is English not your first language, perhaps?

      February 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm
  • lance says:

    we were so much better without giroud. sanogo’s runs is what ozil and co require. had giroud been up front then ozil would of had a stinker again. james , i disagree with sanogo being a deputy for giroud , giroud should be the deputy for sanogo and our new striker we get in the summer.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:31 am
  • nijwm says:

    by the 60th minute mark, i was piss drunk to notice anything on the screen. but from what i remember till that time, i think we have the template to match the might of bayern. as many have stressed, in the absence of walcott and ramsey, we lack pace and engergy, which also hampers ozil in some ways.

    however, the ox on the right yesterday was terrific, and should start in the same position against bayern munich. i’m also tempted to retain the arteta-flamini combine for added defensive solidity. but i’m also wondering if podolski should start ahead of cazorla. i know cazorla is the more creative and adds much more to team-play and defensively. but podolski is the one who makes walcott-like runs, and i just wonder if starting him would give us a different dimension than just playing through the middle. also he’s the most clinical finisher and is actually in good form. so i think he’s earned his place in the starting 11. of course, i wouldn’t mind if either of them start, but maybe podolski can start to be replace by cazorla later on in the game.

    not many are expecting arsenal to win over bayern over two legs. they are the most dominant team in europe and even better under guardiola. but i think if we can win the home leg 1-0 or 2-1 (scores which some people would find unlikely), we’d have a great chance in the second leg away. COYG

    February 17, 2014 at 9:54 am
    • fazjac_debra says:

      I agree on Poldi and the Ox starting. I think sometimes we become to predictable. I also think we can win against Bayren .

      February 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm
  • Antique Gunmen says:

    Hi James.
    Congrats Gunners. We’ve beaten the 5-1 over hype opponent team, even with our second string. That’s what I called : sweet revenge. For unlucky Suarez, perhaps he dived too many times in his career, so the refs couldn’t recognized which one true or fake. In my language James, this is called : been ate by your own gun. Hahahaha…
    Ozil had settled his score after having a nightmare at Anfield and days after that.
    Finally, you couldn’t deny that we were lucky last night, but sometimes an affair (not like Giroud did) with Fortune Goddess was all the matters.
    Prepare your self to kick some Bavarian’s ass gunners!

    February 17, 2014 at 10:25 am
  • osahi says:

    Nice piece. Jenkinson was good though Sterling gave him a dodge once or twice. Podolski is clinical and should start against Bayern. Ox may have to pair Flamini as Arteta is suspended for that game, I think. He’ll be better in that position than Wilshere, a bit more disciplined defensively, if you ask me. If he does play there, Ozil may have to play on the right, Cazorla in the middle. It’s going to be hard to contain Bayern but we can nick a win.

    February 17, 2014 at 11:23 am
  • Veer says:

    Great to see a bit of optimism for a change. Next up; Bayern. COYG!!

    February 17, 2014 at 11:24 am
  • mav361 says:

    Ozil was class no doubt about that, Poldoski really put a shift in and took his goal superbly but my MOM was definitely the Oz when he runs at people he really does take some stopping and he can finish that’s for sure he really could be the real deal

    Also thought Postman Pat did well for his first real start and certainly put himself about & didnt mind mixing it with the 2 centre half’s

    Best thing about for me was that we put the week before performance out of everybody’s mind and that must give the lads huge confidence for the game against Bayern on Wednesday which is gunna be huge for how our season pans out

    Bring it on can’t wait for it ……….COYG

    February 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm
  • Joy says:

    Now I’m officially over that 5 – 1 defeat. It’s as they say James – payback’s a BiTCH! It’ll have given me more joy if u put up that pics of sturridge tying fabianski’ laces LOL. Later rockstar!

    February 18, 2014 at 4:46 am
    • Joy says:

      And you haven’t officially Welcome back the steel man – THE FLAME.

      February 18, 2014 at 4:50 am
  • jeph says:

    James you silly bugger.. great post every post and neat looking site. Sanogo wasn’t bad at all! Who would you play against Bayern at home? Knowing that a win at home in the first leg, would set the tie up nicely for the Arsenal..

    February 18, 2014 at 5:18 am

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