Arsenal V Partizan: Time To Be Solid At The Back

What should have been a practice game is now a real fight thanks to the lacklustre performances by the second string in the previous two Champions League away games. But I’m confident we should get through to the next phase.

Interestingly though, I’m wondering if getting knocked out of the Champions League would be that bad! For the players it might be a disappointment and it will give the Misery Brigade a great deal of ammo but does it matter that much?

If you think about it, getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA cup along with a top 4 spot didn’t get Arsenal any credit. And I’m sure we are not winning the quadruple this year. So what’s the harm in getting one competition out of the way early? That would certainly allow Arsene to focus better on the domestic cups and the Premiership.

Anyway, that’s just a thought and I haven’t made up my mind one way or the other.

As far as this game goes I’ll be very surprised if Arsenal don’t win. If it’s a disaster we might draw the game and I can’t see Braga winning in Ukraine unless Donetsk just don’t try.

Nonetheless, I hope Arsene puts out a strong team and we get a solid performance as that will help the confidence going into the big one on Monday.

RvP looks fit enough to start and I hope to see him back in the central striker role. That should also give Chamakh some rest. I’m not sure what the scene with Bendtner is but as long as Van Persie is fit I would not start the Dane in the central role.

It might also be a good idea to give Nasri a break as he looked really tired towards the end of the last game. Walcott can do a job on the right especially with Van Persie in a central attacking role.

Another person who should get a rest is Wilshere. The midfield will have a big part to play against United and resting one of the players seems like a good idea. In Denilson we have an able replacement for such a game.

Well, I said we need a strong team and have gone on to suggest three key players should be rested! I won’t go any further with that. The likes of Song, Arshavin and others should be able to carry on.

The starting line-up I’d like to see is,

Fabianski – Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy – Song, Rosicky, Denilson – Walcott, RvP, Arshavin.

We can rest Song and Arshavin after an hour if the game is in control.

I’d certainly prefer a 2-0 win over a 5-2 in this game. We need a game where the defence looks comfortable and organized.

It’ll also be good to see RvP, Rosicky or Arshavin among the goals. Little Mozart really needs one for his confidence and I believe he will have more impact in games after he gets one.

There is not much more to say so I’ll go back to wondering whether we an early exit from the Champions League will be all that bad.

41 Responses to Arsenal V Partizan: Time To Be Solid At The Back

  1. Ketch says:

    isnt Koscielny injured till January?

  2. santori says:


    I’m a little of the reverse. I’d like to field a strong team and get the job done within the first half then rest some players thereafter…


    when we’ve got the 2 goal cushion (hopefully within the first half) then :

    Bendy for RVP
    Walcott for Nasri (Rosicky moves LW, Andrei into the middle)

    After 60 (provided we mantain our 2 goal cushion or more)

    Andrie off Denilson on. Practise shutting shop.

    • desigunner says:

      My only issue with that is that we tend to be shaky towards the end. If we take a two goal cushion and change the players towards the end it could again be nervy.

  3. Miranda says:

    Does it matter? Yes, to the tune of 20-40m, which is the price of quite a few decent players. Yes, because it’s prestigious, the comp that makes us attractive to potential new signings and makes existing players excited to be here and strutting their stuff on the big stage (do you really want Spurs to become the club of choice to young players with a big future rather than us?). Yes, because if come third we’re in the nightmarish Europa League – God, the humiliation and the time-wasting! And finally yes, because I LIKE THE CL! It’s the only thing I care about; I couldn’t give a monkeys about the FA, Carling etc. and only care about the league as an entrance to the CL. OK, that may be an extreme position but many non-English fans share it.

    If we play the B team again, we’re done for, but it sounds like Wenger has belatedly returned to his senses and will start the 11 that played against Fulham. No Djourou, alas, only a still slightly concussed Koscielny – well, he must be, a little, surely? I mean it’s normally 2-3 weeks for severe concussion, not a couple of days?

    An Italian ref, which is a good omen – he may be dreadful, I’ve not seen him before, but we do normally win with Italians.

    • desigunner says:

      I don’t think financially it would make that big a difference. The bulk of the money comes from qualifying for the group stages which we’ve done.

      I don’t think qualification from the group phase will be an issue tomorrow. That will be a real shock to me, if we fail. I just can see Braga getting a better result against Shakhtar than Arsenal would at home against Partizan even with a B team. Braga coach also mentioned that his priority was the Portuguese league.

      Spuds won’t become the club of choice in one season and anyway I can’t see ‘Arry doing anything with kids. That to me seems like an irrelevant concern. And if we can get good domestic results the thought won’t even occur to youngsters Arsene wants to sign.

      • Sonu says:

        Oh c’mon Desi, You know how bad we want the C.L. It’ll be an absolute humiliation for Arsenal FC to go out in Group stages considering we got one of the weakest groups.And that too this season already the Spuds have beaten us at home and now for them to brag about topping a tough group while on the other hand we exit the C.L is simply UN-thinkable. I dont really understand why you would make such a statement. I have been a big fan of your writing style but this came as a shock to me.It doesnt really matter if we go on to lose the C.L but what seperates us from the minnows is atleast getting out of Group stages and being up there amongst Top 16 European teams.

      • Nischit says:

        Desi, I agree with you when you say qualification tomo wont be issue. However, financially each stage in the champions league is a multiple of the other. The difference between making the semis and not getting out of the group stages is HUGE. Off the top of my head, its about 10-15 million

  4. Wilsheres dad says:

    I can’t see the need to rest any one. Top, young athletes can’t play Saturday, Wednesday & then Monday??? The way you get consistantcy from a team is by playing the same players together, rather than chopping & changing.

    • desigunner says:

      That’s true. In the last few years we’ve been forced into doing that anyway. But when we have options what’s wrong in using them wisely? There can be a debate on what is or isn’t a wise choice. My vote goes to two or three rotations no more.

      • Wilsheres dad says:

        You’re right that in the past we’ve been forced into making changes because of injuries, but if the best players are injury free they should play. Rotating & resting players did us no favours against Shaktar or Braga.
        The best teams play as a unit with an understanding between the players which is forged by playing a stable team.

  5. Steve Palmer says:

    Desi or should i say Dizzy.
    You should have your arse kicked,it definitly wouldn’t do us any good to go out, what the f–k do you think we fight for right to the end of the season and work our socks off to get in the CL just to chuck it all in to lighten our load.
    I want these guys to go out there and work hard,me personally i wouldn’t rest anyone, surely they cant possibly be tired, half of them have been injured had a rest and come back, and the ones that have played all the games give them a bonus,this league, that is CL is the biggest comp in the world and you want us out, i am f—ing speachless, any player who may look through some of these blogs, i hope they miss this one, unless of course your pulling our plonker and winding stupid old farts like me up. yea that must be the case, no way an Arsenal man would say that, thank f–k.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not saying we should chuck it. I’m just saying suppose that happens… would it be so bad? There is a big difference.

      Many others have anyway said Arsenal will be out in the second round. How is that any better than what I’m saying.

      • Jonathan says:

        Theres no way Arsenal will be knocked out of the CL by Partizan Belgrade; so once we go through everything will be back to normal. Contrary to popular preference, i would rather face a tough team early in the knockout stages. I would love to catch inter or barcelona early especially since inter are on such bad form and barca will definitely be suprised to face a fully fit Arsenal

  6. MultiH says:

    Surely if we’re got of the champions league it would be worse? We would be in the Europa league then and they have one more round of play-offs than the champions league.

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah Europa League would be a real pain. Maybe that would be another trophy for the Carling Cup side? A good experience for those who take the Champions League football for granted? Just a thought … not saying it’s a good thing.

      I’m quite confident of progressing but was just wondering what if … not saying we should chuck it. I guess the words I used conveyed a different meaning.

  7. JP says:

    It’s an idea. Losing the money from the Champions League would hurt too. There are no guarantees that going out now will make the team focus on other competitions or increase the likelihood that we would do better. Go out play to win and see what happens. Nice to see Kos is not out until January. Was getting really worried about the CB position. Go Gunners.

    • desigunner says:

      The money from the Champions League won’t be that big. The bulk of it comes from qualifying to the group phase. Might make a difference of 7-8M I guess but it would also depend on how far we could go i.e. how many home games we are likely to miss out on.

  8. jcloud says:

    i have a feeling that we will win Man U game but not so sure about this one. On the other hand I don’t see why we couldn’t win quadruple. It’s possible. 🙂

  9. Miranda says:

    Desi, it sounds like you think the league is more important than Europe? Also the Carling and the FA Cup because they’re more easily achievable trophies? To me this is completely mind-blowing but maybe it’s a difference between the US/Indian perspective and the European one? Fair enough, and I know many of the older, very traditional local fans aren’t that interested in Europe either.

    Trouble is, most of our players are young Europeans and for them the CL is what they dreamt about playing in when they little kids; winning the CL is what separates the great clubs (United, Liverpool, Real, Barca, Milan, Bayern, Inter) from the ones who’ve only ever cut it domestically, which is where we belong sadly, in the second tier, never having won and only in the last few years beginning to get beyond the last 16 on a regular basis. It would feel to me like a really retrograde step to retreat into English insularity again and focus on the home competitions, like turning into a Bolton rather than progressing in our ambition to be part of Europe’s elite. The thought of being overtaken by Spurs in this respect is not a very nice one!

    • desigunner says:

      Some unfair generalization there perhaps?

      I’m not saying League is more important than Europe or that domestic cups are. In fact I’ve always supported Wenger’s approach to the domestic cups.

      In the recent past we’ve given the domestic cups the secondary treatment without much success. Why not try something different for once?

      I’ll be surprised if the Tiny Totts can finish in the top 4 again. So being overtaken by Spuds in any respect is not a thought I’d spend time on.

      And who can say the players’ confidence and belief won’t get a bigger lift from one or two domestic triumphs rather than another run in the CL?

      • Miranda says:

        The point is the prestige of the CL – that’s what you seem to be overlooking when you suggest we could focus on the domestic trophies for a change. There’s a Q&A section in the Arsenal mag where players are asked, ‘Which would you prefer to win, the World Cup or CL?’ They aren’t asked whether they’d prefer a league title to the World Cup, let alone whether their heart’s deepest desire is to win the FA Cup or the Carling! Those domestic trophies just aren’t the pinacle of a top player’s ambitions. Nor do they have much impact on the club’s standing, the respect it commands in the world. We’re not Bolton, for heaven’s sake, for whom the Carling would doubtless rank as an achievement; we’re aiming to be one of Europe’s elite.

        Given this, an early exit from the CL is so demoralising for the players it has a knock-on effect on our domestic performances, which almost always falter when we go out.

        And I wouldn’t discount the money either. It has been estimated that either directly (TV revenue) or indirectly (the income that comes from merchandise when the club’s brand is enhanced) that reaching the semis is worth 50+ million to each of the four clubs involved.

        We’ve stupidly given ourselves a mountain to climb, but I agree with the post above that suggests that actually it might be easier to meet Barca or Real earlier rather than later. With a bit of luck we’ll have fewer injuries in Feb than we always seem to suffer from come April and May. With an even bigger bit of luck, though, we’ll draw Schalke!

      • Miranda says:

        ‘Some unfair generalisations there perhaps?’

        Desi, like what? If you mean my suggestion that maybe your indifference to the CL reflects a US or an Indian perspective, I was merely wondering whether this might be the case, not asserting that it was.

        It’s interesting and useful for the club to know what non-European fans value most highly, especially as they are now the majority. Hence a question I asked a couple of weeks ago about whether people reading this blog shared the views expressed at the recent shareholders’ and supporters’ meetings, attended mainly by an older generation of local fans, that we ought to focus on winnable trophies such as the Carling and forget about the more taxing CL.

        To judge from the response yesterday and today, the answer seems to be no, most European fans, at least those of the younger generation, think the CL is what matters the most, but that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to take the opposite view. I was simply the question and contesting your suggestion – now there’s an unfair generalisation – that the only people who would really mind going out at this stage are the paid-up members of the misery brigade!

    • desigunner says:

      As I said earlier, we’ve tried for the CL quite often while giving second hand treatment to the domestic cups. Why not do the reverse just this once? That doesn’t mean Premiership or domestic cups are more important than Europe or anything like that. Just a matter of sorting out priorities based on what has happened in the past.

      I thought the generalization was to think this is about one trophy being more important than the other. My point was to consider the pros and cons of a different approach, no more no less.

      We might get knocked out in the second round. Will that suddenly make all players want to join the Tiny Totts? I think not. We can afford a bad run in the CL in an odd season without the players being too disappointed or everyone suddenly rating Spuds higher than Arsenal. Prestige is important but it doesn’t change in one season.

  10. So_CalGun says:

    it’s a fair question……

    but like a lot of people have said, the prestige and $$$ associated with the k/o rounds of the CL is worth the extra strain on the team

    world class players shouldn’t want to be in the Europa league

  11. twoleftfeet says:

    Your first truly terrible blog desi. Loosing the CL won’t ease our load, we still have to play in the Europa which will have one more round (we’ll probably go farther too!).

    • desigunner says:

      It’s just a thought … I don’t understand why people are taking it so seriously. Anyway since so many are maybe I’ve not used the right words in expressing it.

      Once again I’ll reiterate … I don’t want Arsenal to deliberately chuck the CL .. I’m just saying if that happens it might not be the worst thing in the world …

      • Jonathan says:

        i get what you mean desi, however not progressing past the group stages after starting w8th 9 points in our first 3 games will be seen as a collapse and will only put further pressure to win a trophy on the team, which is something we dont seem to handle well

      • JP says:

        I understand what your saying Desi…..I got your back 🙂 lol

      • Arsenal4 says:

        Have the same thought .. I am actually taking it more easy even if we don’t qualified (though it will be a major shock) … we have much better chance to win the league then UCL this year, while of course i don’t mind getting both.
        I don’t think anyone will recall whether we’ll get to final, semifinal, or QF … only matter if we win it .. no body credits Arsenal for being in the final of CL or carling cup the last time anyway .. man u didn;t pass the group stage sometime ago as well and it’s thing in the past now

  12. rohan says:

    Hi Desi!
    You just penned down your thoughts and everyone is worried. 😀
    I cant see we getting beaten tonight, and surely braga wont get better a better result than us. IMO, champions league is absolutely crucial.. And i disagree with you.. But guys! Its not gonna happen! Chill 😉

  13. Goon says:

    My lineup:

    Eboue, kos, squillaci, Gibbs

    Denilson, song (80th eastmond), rosicky

    Walcott (60 JET), bendtner (60th RVP), vela

    Rest team starting against ManU, test RVP

  14. Idowu says:


  15. critic says:

    desi is gone bonkers…..

  16. afrogoon says:

    great blogging as usual desi…..where are you from by the way as i remember one of your blogs mentioning something about you not being from the UK…….sometimes i think it is good to be away from it all so you can take the results in from a distance…….getting your football perspective from cunt of the day can really do damage to one’s ability to reason…..anyway…great blog….i don’t comment always but read everyday……probably the best arseblog out the…lol….ok…the closest to the orignal arseblog…lol

    • desigunner says:

      I’m in the US in St. Louis. Getting football perspective from pundits anywhere in the world is injurious to ones mental health and understanding of the game. Those who came on TV when I watched the games in India were at least as bad as the clowns on MotD.

  17. afrogoon says:

    if it came down to choosing between the league and the champs league i would take the champs league as we have not won it ever……I would not mind winning the league though this year….it’s been a while…..hell i want the quadrupule…beggars can’t be choosers and

  18. emblematic says:

    Check (below link) these stats :
    the Arsenal WORST defensive record in the last 15 years(!), and progressively getting worse in the last 4 years.
    unforgivably so, it is partially the personal issue no doubt about it, BUT clearly Arsene did not figure out the defensive tactics and tools to supplement the 4-3-3 necessary , it’s been talked about often and I will not belabor here.

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