Monday, March 20, 2023

Cech satisfied, Neville praises Wenger sacrifice

Petr Cech says he was pleased with the way Arsenal kept themselves in the game against Chelsea after the hosts made a fast start at Stamford Bridge.

The Gunners secured a creditable 0-0 draw against Antonio Conte’s side – their first clean sheet away against the Blues in 12 years – and managed to keep 11 men on the pitch despite some tactically astute fouls and a physical end to the match.

Comparing the performance with that at Anfield three weeks ago, Cech told

“At Liverpool we gave them the advantage before half-time, then it became very difficult for us.

“A couple of recent times at Stamford Bridge we didn’t finish with 11 players on the pitch and as well on both occasions we gave them first-half goals.

“Obviously, when Chelsea get in front at home then it’s very difficult for anybody, so we needed to make sure that we kept the clean sheet and wait for our chances.

“It’s a shame that in the first half that we had some good opportunities that we didn’t take.”

“We had to survive the first 20 minutes and then step-by-step towards the end of the first half we came more and more into the game.”

Arsenal’s performance today will go down as a blueprint for future away days at big clubs, albeit with the caveat of scoring some actual goals.

Elsewhere, Gary Neville, who was so scathing of the Gunners recent capitulation on Merseyside, has praised Arsene Wenger for sacrificing Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez (the former was injured and the latter is still building up his fitness) in favour of Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck.

“Arsene Wenger made a difference,” the ex-Manchester United player told Sky Sports. “He chose attitude and hard work over talent.

“Iwobi and Welbeck did what Ozil and Sanchez didn’t do at Liverpool. They attached themselves to the two central midfielders. When I saw Xhaka and Ramsey in this team today, I thought they would get bulldozed in midfield, however, Iwobi tucked in, making Chelsea go wide and Welbeck did the same on the other side.

“When you think about Ray Parlour and the job he did for Arsenal over the years of course there would have been more talented players than him but he put in the hard work and showed the right attitude.”

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Damo Dinkum

He hardly sacrificed Ozil if Ozil was injured

Ashish Chandra

With Wenger, all important dropped players are always “injured”.

Clive St Helmet

Could this have been a power play?

“Look Mesut, you’re good but life goes on without you. Now, here’s our contact offer. Why don’t you be a good boy and just sign it? It’s the best you’re getting, here or elsewhere.”

Bould\'s Eyeliner

Pretty dangerous power play–and no, points far exceed television drama. People don’t really manage others like that (except for maybe Mourinho) simply because it doesn’t work.


I agree. I appreciate what Ozil brings to the team but performances like that make you wonder if we’re really set up to accommodate him. I’m sure if we had Matic and Kante in midfield Ozil would be devastating. But Xhaka and Ramsey are much better with the ball than without it. You have to think there was much more balance in our game yesterday. Let’s hope we learn something from it and it’s not just a one-off like that game against City. It shows we can compete with anyone if we’re set up right and play with the right… Read more »


Spot-on. I wonder if he played would we be picking over the bones of another 4-0 pasting..


Only if we had examples of this happening hmmmm

Last season did Ozil even play when we beat them? hmmm interesting


But not having Ozil in the team didn’t suddenly make Ramsey play with caution, defensive discipline, and tidiness in possession. That’s on Ramsey, regardless of who he’s got around him. He should be able to play that way with Ozil over Iwobi in the team. It’s not like Iwobi (who I like) was some kind of Coquelin character yesterday, shielding the midfield two by making a ton of tackles. He worked hard positionally, but it was more about Ramsey not bombing forward constantly, and being smart in possession.


Yes..but Iwobi did shield the ball and withstand physical challenges. He also worked his ass off to protect the midfield. All things that Ozil is hopeless at


People are saying if Ozil played we would have lost. How did we beat Chelsea in the cup final if Ozil did play?

Dan Hunter

Chelsea game showed we are so much better off the ball without Ozil.


Ray Parlour would walk into our team now

Only one Dennis Bergkamp

Ray Parlour is the Romford Pele. He would walk into any Arsenal team for me! They don’t make players like him anymore.


He was a superb player and should’ve won a lot more international caps.

Crash Fistfight

Still, he was involved with the England squad enough to have that brilliant anecdote about Eileen Drury.


Spot on. Totally underrated player, and Wenger did a great job of getting the best out of him (remember 98 when he absolutely should’ve gone to the WC).

Eric Blair

‘It’s alright, it’s only Ray Parlour…’


lol, wtf

The Limp Bar

Of course he would, bloke is an Arsenal legend!

Little Mozart

Happy with the performance yesterday but I seriously will stop myself from getting too excited about what this means for our season just yet.

That being said, truly a positive performance and result.

Clive St Helmet

The article alert on my smartphone merely stated the following headline:

“Cech satisfied, Neville praises Wenger sac…”

Well played sirs.


Wenger does have a nice sac

Maul Person

I’m afraid to ask how you know this…

Clive St Helmet

I think the clue might be in the name.

Das Neck

le sac magique

Crash Fistfight

le chapeau magique, surely?

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Arsene Wenger’s Magic,
He has a magic sac,
He wears it on top of his head,
He doesn’t need a hat.

Crash Fistfight

It puts the lotion on its skin…

Ex-Priest Tobin

We’re a better team without Ozil. Overrated and overpriced luxury player who needs to fuck off asap.


God called, he said he’s glad you jacked it in – even He thinks your an eejit!


Yeah sure. Howabout the many games we won form Ozil assists and goals??
You have to take some you have to give some.

Ex-Priest Tobin

I’m willing to bet we’ve lost more because of him. Weak, weak player.


How many of those were in games when we weren’t dominating possession? How many in the big away games where you might have to dig in and grind out a result? I’m not saying Ozil is incapable of doing it (see his performances for Germany though they are an exceptionally good side whether he’s in the team or not and always dominate possession) but he hasn’t because he’s not the other stuff you need too, even as a 10. If he halved the amount of chances he created but doubled his work-rate/discipline off the ball, he’d be twice the player.


And that right there, ladies and gentleman, is, magnificently encapsulated in one ignorant comment, the exact attitude that explains why England haven’t won a major international trophy in 51 years.

Next you’ll be telling us what he needs is half the talent and twice the “pashun”.


And unfortunately your own comment is the exact attitude that explains why Arsenal haven’t won the league in 13 years. It’s nothing to do with “pashun”, it’s about being tactically balanced regarding your offensive and defensive duties in order to become a more complete player.


As long as the players give 1000% thats all we need.


well said, he is a luxury.


Not sure why you’re getting downvotes, Ozil is the definition of a luxury player. Fantastic when your team has the ball and is dominating, one of the best players in the world. But in a real fight, he disappears unfortunately

John Lukic

utter codswallop


Apart from it’s not at all, is it? I get we’re Arsenal fans and we want to support our players and the team, but let’s not get blinkered here.

Crash Fistfight

Can’t both be partially true? Against lesser teams when they’ve got 10 men behind the ball he is very important, whereas against teams that dominate us, we need more discipline and work-rate. Can’t we just play players depending on the situation, instead of expecting the same 11 to do it, regardless of circumstances? Look at what Ferguson used to do with Park Ji-Sung and Darren Fletcher (or even our own Danny Welbeck)? The problem has been that we seem to see it as a sign of weakness not to go into these games trying to outplay the opposition, so players… Read more »


It’s really hard to have a player who likely fancies himself as one of the world’s best and tell him that we are only going to play him against lesser teams. If that is our plan we would be better off just moving on to a player like Iwobi or Lemar, etc who are still young enough that they are willing to put in a shift in addition to creating against the lesser teams.

Crash Fistfight

I think the problem is that we don’t have ‘World Class’ players with a more defensive mind-set that could come in ahead of Ozil and Sanchez, so Arsene feels like he has to play those two. If we had a squad of similar level players that could be swapped in and out it would be much easier to rotate on that basis.

Just my thoughts, anyway.


A lot of the problem IMO is Ramsey. When he plays like he did yesterday and shows some real positional discipline and defensive work, then it’s ok to have a player like Mesut who is more creative and doesn’t necessarily track back. The major issue is that Ramsey often tries to play like an extra #10 (see Liverpool) which then totally isolates his midfield partner and we get overrun. If Ramsey shows some positional sense then we can afford to play Ozil. If Ramsey is just going to bomb forward and ignore his duties, then he should be up for… Read more »


BUT: we didn’t look more disciplined because Iwobi played; we looked more disciplined because for once Ramsey decided to play with positional discipline, defensive caution, and tidiness in possession. That’s the big difference; not sure how Ozil gets blamed for Ramsey failing to do this repeatedly in recent times (e.g. Anfield).


“Can’t both be partially true? Against lesser teams when they’ve got 10 men behind the ball he is very important, whereas against teams that dominate us, we need more discipline and work-rate.”

Crash Fistfight, I’d go as far to say that that’s the textbook definition of a luxury player. Agree with everything else you’ve said though


what is


because it doesn,t matter how bad he plays people will ALWAYS say he is good, just because he is ozil


And it doesn’t matter how hard he works other people will ALWAYS say he’s a lazy luxury


The only thing lazy are the folks who can’t see all the good he does on the pitch, and instead prefer to learn how to watch and analyze a football match from the morons on match of the day and the like.


Can’t believe how many down votes you are getting for this. While I wouldn’t go that extreme, there’s more than a grain of truth to what you said.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

In a real fight the whole team have been disappearing recently. It’s daft or maybe biased to single out any one player.

A different George

That must be why he only plays for Germany in unimportant matches. You know, like against Brazil. And Argentina.


What I never understand is why it’s never a “luxury” to have players who work their socks off without the ball but are somewhere-between-mediocre-and-crap on the ball. Why is it teams are never supposed to be able to “afford” having great skill and creative players who aren’t great on defense, but it’s always fine to have grafters who defend like trojans but can’t do half the things Ozil can do with the ball (e.g., not to pick on them, but imagine playing Mustafi or Coquelin as a number 10–what a lark that would be). Where’s the logic in that? It… Read more »


All great players are definition of luxury lol


Chelsea were there for the taking yesterday. We may have actually won if we’d created a couple more chances.

Ben Rivers

Your ridiculous.


This team needs to be doing the same sort of stuff every game. not allow teams time and space on the ball as most teams do to us.
made many chelsea players look very ordinary when making rushed decisions.
2nd half we were not adventurous enough but understandable given the need to not lose the lead.
A bit of confidence will work wonders and team can get stronger.


For fecks sake it was only a draw. Getting as bad as Spurs with this self praise. Result means nothing if performances aren’t consistent throughout the season.


We can only comment on games played since the season isnt over. Pass us your crystal ball when you’re done with it so we can have a bit if a moan and a bitch.


Ok. 5 league games played, 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw. Is that cause for celebration? I think not.


Isn’t it great though…we are not spending today with our head on our hands unable to explain ourselves to any smug fucker asking us about our football team…happy daze…thought the lads did well yesterday ?

Das Neck

was nice to see us not get bullied about. Kolasinac and monreal putting in some damn fine fouls to stop the build up. i liked the look ofour team without the pressure of having the ‘superstars’ being on show all the time. solid performance.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Now you folks are only guessing that the superstars won’t work hard when they come back properly. Remember that nobody was really working hard enough before today, not just the “superstars”. When the squad gets told to work harder they ALL get told to work harder. Lets wait until we’ve seen a few games before we condemn the non-playing players from yesterday.


Wenger has done something right??? And even Gary Neville can spot it???

Das Neck

im so glad i was sat down when i read that


We should release a DVD of this heroic performance 😐

Green Gun

Cannon not chicken on a basketball.

Das Neck

youre a melt,. were not sp*rs. get back in the fucking thames


Hi Das Neck, it was sarcasm intended to highlight that – as a club, top to bottom – our ambition and expectations have lowered significantly, and we as the fans are normalising this. A worrying trend. It is a shame that i’ve had to clarify that.


Wenger knows how to play like this. But he won’t keep doing it, because he doesn’t like it. Get on with this program or go support another team.


Go support another team? Fuck off!


Don’t remember when was the last time that I saw so many positives in a game. The mentality, the work rate, the discipline ( okay a few lapses there but as long as they didn’t result in a disaster) was really commendable. I feel that Sanchez should’ve started in place of Lacazette, given the strategy that Wenger had employed. Since Welbeck and Iwobi were playing really deep, it got really difficult for Laca to get behind the ball. He’s more a finisher than a creator and needs quality balls provided to him. Sanchez on the other hand is brilliant at… Read more »

Carlos _ Santana

The media ripping into sanchez for laughing at lacas miss.. What a load of horse shit.. That was a ‘Oh shit we almost scored’ reaction.. Hopefully he silences the critics ASAP

Das Neck

thats what i thought. said to the bro, he doesnt look miserable or unhappy. he slapped ospina on the back as it was that close. fuck the media.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

…because the media sure want to fuck us Gooners.

Damned if he smiles. Damned if he doesn’t smile.

They love Gooners. We get so much angrier than other fans and they know exactly which buttons to press. Female sex organs the bloody lot of them.


we played a lot better without ozil,if he had played we wouldn’t have played that good, that proves he is no good


Usual nonsense from you. Probably would have won if our most creative player was on the pitch yesterday


lol, if its nonsence, then why did wenger drop him for this game


He was injured, genius.


was he, you know that dobyou!!!!!


I fail to see how it’s Ozil’s fault when Ramsey regularly decides to pretend he’s a forward and forsake his defensive responsibilities.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

I think you are a bit of a twerp. I don’t have any proof of it. I leave that to you.


I don’t think you know what the word “proves” means.


I truly think fans shouldn’t hate Özil that much! When the team loses, it’s his fault, when Ramsey plays ahead of Lacazette for Stoke’s goak, it’s Özil’s fault, when Ramsey plays out of position and lets Xhaka alone, it’s Özil’s fault, when Ramsey goes for Hollywood and forgets the good of the team, it’s Özil’s fault, when Oxlade-Chamberlain refuses to play against his future team, it’s Özil’s fault, when Wenger doesn’t put Lacazette and Kolasinac in Liverpool, it’s Özil’s fault. I’m sure he is guilty for the trouble with the Köln’s fans. Maybe Sanchez’s laughs against Bayern and Liverpool are… Read more »

Another Sam

well I for one blame him for the fact that our weather isn’t as nice as the south of France.
And I don’t give a sh*t what that Valencia legend thinks of anything.


what crap you talk

Jean Ralphio

I think there are many factors to our performance that explains why we played in a very organised way in the central midfield area. Was it Ozil not playing? Was it Ramsey being more disciplined? Gary Neville has a point but at the end of the day we need to win games and Ozil is the type of player who will help achieve that. Ozil has assisted many of our goals in big games – apologies, I forgot where I read that stat. Maybe we should play with a 433 in big games with Xhaka Elneny Ramsey and Ozil starting.… Read more »


ozil will cost us games aswell


Can anyone tell me what the whole Alexis laughing at Lacazette miss is about? I haven’t seen video, just wondering if it is The Sun making a big deal of nothing?

Another Sam

someone reminded him of Wenger’s new pink lined smoking jacket?


no its nothing. saw it during the match on tv.
sanchez on seeing laca’s miss pushed ospina’s hand in frustration.
and then realised what he had done and was smiling in apology. at least that’s what I saw.

Have to say I was happy to see both sanchez and giroud show their frustration on not seeing us score.

unlike some players who dont show any emotion whatsoever.

John Lukic

It is.


I think a lot of credit is due here to Arsene and possibly Bould. This was much better. And it is confidence-building. Unlike a 4-0 thrashing.


Ozil has a place in the squad but not as a guaranteed starter anymore. In games where we need to be solid then he has to start on the bench. For the games when teams will come to us and string all their players across the box then he is needed.


Why is it at Real and Germany he was an undisputed starter but at Arsenal fans talk about he needs to be dropped against tougher opponents? Like Germany is loaded with talent and he seems to be pretty much locked in X1 over the past 5-7 years and the same at Real. If he isn’t good enough for Arsenal X1 wouldn’t you think he wouldn’t be good enough with Germany which has pretty good second X1?


I think Neville makes a good point and especially about Sanchez. Much has been made about Ozil being a defensive liability but Sanchez isn’t exactly the most defensively disciplined player either. Great at harassing the opposition for the ball (normally after he’s lost it himself!), not so great at getting into position, getting tight with our CMs, covering for others. You feel sometimes he’s working hard for himself, not the team. Might seem churlish to say that but I think it’s valid all the same.

Making Arsenal Great Again

Wenger has been brilliant tactically this season but it’s gone unnoticed. Look at the tactical changes against Leicester. The changes against Cologne. The setup against Chelsea yesterday. Ozil may have been classified as “injured” yesterday but, it’s obvious he was an excuse to drop him.


And the ridiculous team selection against Liverpool? Wenger cost us three points all on his own there, I think the players were as stunned as we were. I want to see Wenger and Bould putting the effort in for all matches, not just this one. The managerial laziness is a major factor in our defeats, we know that Wenger has the ability to do tactics, he needs to stop hiding behind the players and get off his arse for every match, not just this one.


It’s “obvious” when a player is injured or not, based purely on whether he’s in the team or not, says the guys who has no idea what’s going on behind the scenes at the club?????


damn right its gone unnoticed, I noticed you didn,t mention Liverpool, any reason for that


Ozil out. I actually agree with an idiot like gary neville. However iwobi was struggling from about 55min. He needs to get into shape. I want to see danny on right lacazette in middle and sanchez left. Ramsey in middle and i wish we man city fernandinio. That youngster is really good at man city


The Romford Pele is a legend




I think Neville is right. He is one of the more lucid pundits who has put his money where his mouth is and done a stint at managing at least. Wenger was correct to go for graft with Iwobi instead of Ozil. But I also thought he was correct taking off Lacazette for Alexis. The Frenchman was off pace probably still getting use to the pace of the game. He will get better but he looked gone in the legs by 60 minutes. Whether Alexis could have been brought on slightly earlier is another question and we certainly did not… Read more »

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