Arsenal beat out whinging bully-boys from Burnley

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My first return to Arsenal this season, and what did I bring back? A first-half lead. That was all me.

The Burnley game really wasn’t much to write home about. There was a distinct lack of intensity from both teams. They really are a rough outfit to watch. They have nothing about them. They move the ball around like they hate it and they have thuggish similarities to Bolton when they were a thing.

Emery didn’t exactly make things interesting, fielding three defensive midfielders. Lucky for us, Xhaka was NOT in central defence, that role falling to Nacho Monreal who left the pitch after 37 minutes with another injury.

Mesut Ozil dropped a world class pass for the opener, finding Kolasinac from a crazy tight angle, the ball was clipped back into the box where Auba was foxing in the box to put us 1 up. When you see that sort of pass from Mesut, you kind of understand why a generation of casual football fans love him so much. He can deliver the perfect 6-second clip for a shareable video on Twitter… but explore his offering a little deeper and you can see why he’s struggled to make an impact this season. He always seems to have one foot in the game. Capable of flashes, but he very rarely grips a game these days from start to finish.

We actually carried the lead into halftime for the first time this season, then grew out our advantage after the break with a stunning goal from Auba again. The way Arsenal moved the ball up the pitch was a sight to behold. The finish was electric as well, a real near post lashing. That had Auba as the top scorer heading into Christmas. Wonderful.

We did let Burnley back in with a sloppy goal, but Iwobi stepped up and actually found the net late on to seal the game.

The afternoon was pretty bland from a football spectacle. Emery had to drop a heavy rotation, and thankfully it paid off. I had big reservations about our ability to turn in a result yesterday. The key message for me was that we had an instant response in the Premier League after losing a great run. Under Wenger, the walls would cave in and we’d sputter for a month or so. After United bullied us out of our invincible run in 2004-05, we drew 3 games, won 1 and lost the other. It took us a month to find our feet again. That didn’t happen this time.

The worry for me, as I’d highlighted before this patch of games, was that we’d start to pick up injuries if the manager had gone too hard on the players in a bid to get them Emery sharp. We’ve had a rough run of late, picking niggles and strains all over the place. Our defence is particularly creaky, and age I’d imagine is a factor here. It’s not good that we’re having to rely on Lichtsteiner, who really does look off the pace of the league. There’s going to need to be an intervention in January if we’re to survive the season.

One of the most heartening advances under Emery is the bite the side has. We don’t get pushed around. We have nasty actors, Sokratis being a key figure here. He won’t be bullied and he doesn’t let our team get pushed around. It was quite unbelievable to watch the aggression thrown at Guendouzi yesterday (Barnes stamping on him).

He was being kicked pillar to post. What I loved is he’d just get up and carry-on. He’s a little rough around the edges, but my oh my, there’s a lot of talent brewing inside of him.

Final point, I couldn’t believe how few people showed up to the game yesterday. It was so empty there, I went and sat downstairs for the second half. I don’t want to be draconian here, but if you don’t show for your ticket, there should be some sort of cost. I was hearing from so many people yesterday that they sit next to seats that are never filled. The casual nature of some fans is f*cking embarrassing. It was also frustrating to watch hoards of tourists rolling into the ground 15 minutes late. It’s so disrespectful to the game and the people you’re sitting next to.

Next up is Brighton on Boxing Day and they have Lewis Dunk suspended, which is going to be very helpful.

Also… how bloody marvelous was it to see City and Chelsea lose?! I love it when the world of football bemoans a teams invincibility and the death of the game as we know it… I think people forget how incredibly tough it is to keep a winning machine running on track in the Premier League. City has the pick of players, but every coach in the top 6 is capable and every club has players capable of causing an upset. Sad to say it, but I think it’d be good for the league for Liverpool to win this season.


402 Responses to “Arsenal beat out whinging bully-boys from Burnley”

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  1. Receding Hairline

    Dissenter the coach Emery also mentions Mavropranos when discussing our center back options.

    Don’t know why the kid irritates you. He isn’t the first footballer to get sent off so dunno why the constant reference to that like it validates your irritation

  2. Dark Hei


    Wenger was a football junkie and like all junkies he needs to shoulder some of the blame but it is counter productive to lump it all on him alone.

    I am hitting the big 4 soon……you are right, things aren’t the same it used to, lol.

    I was with my kids at the amusement park last week. The spinning teacup ride almost killed me.

  3. Dissenter

    Mavros has been sent off in 50% of the competitive game she’s played for Arsenal. I don’t dislike him. We just don’t have enough objective data to make a determination.
    My point was that why all the hoopla for? He’s only a prospect at the moment.
    Cesc Appeal gave a perspective that it’s because he was scouted by Mislintat so maybe there’s something there. We’ll have to wait and see

  4. Graham62

    Brighton at the Amex is never an easy game. With Dunk suspended it gives Arsenal more opportunity offensively and less hastle defensively. A win and we’ll have reached the magical 40 point mark before trotting up to Anfield at the weekend.

    Really enjoyed the VVD banter yesterday along with the trip down memory lane.

    Have a great Xmas Eve everyone.

  5. Emiratesstroller

    The transfer window will open next week and it will be interesting to see whether Arsenal buy anyone.

    My view is that our main objective should be to bring in a CB, because Holding is out for the season and Koscielny is clearly no longer good enough to play at the top level. In reality we have two established Centre Backs plus Mavropanos who has yet to play a single game this season.

    There is also some talk about Arsenal bringing in the winger Pepe. Somehow
    I doubt that this player will come in in January particularly now that Lille are
    demanding an inflated price for him. Arsenal’s optimum transfer budget in
    recent years was last season and that was covered entirely by sales.

    I don’t see Arsenal exceeding the threshold of £100 million this season since
    we have made limited sales.

    Moving forward we will of course have next season sponsorship well in excess
    of £100 Million and I would expect that budget to be spent on new players in the Summer.

  6. Akilan

    Mavropanos coming back from injury is good news however you slice it. At worst, we won’t see the likes of Xhaka & Licht in defense.

    Also, he will benefit from playing with Sokratis. Not just linguistically but also to get into the minds of the striker.

  7. Graham62

    Undoubtedly, for many supporters, 2018 will go down as a great year in the history of AFC. Most importantly and significantly, Arsene Wenger left the building and Unai Emery arrived.

    We had the departure of Sanchez to MU, which as we all know ended up being a complete and utter cockup. New arrivals in Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Sokratis and Lichtsteiner and we’ve had the wonderful and progressive additions of Guendouzi and Torreira.

    Leno looks OK, despite a couple of clangers, whilst the rest of the team and squad, on the whole,have adjusted well to the changes in methods and systems. Games have not always been pretty and yet we’ve found a way to win games through hard work and a more focused approach.

    Of course, on top of all of this, we have had the Ozil saga. The single biggest cock-up in the history of cock-ups at the club. A parting gift from Wenger and Gazidis? Whatever, it has created a major headache for our new manager who, on the whole, has handled the situation well.

    The feeling of relief that we at last have “change” is, for me personally, immeasurable. At this stage,winning trophies, although nice, is not important. It is all about competing and believing once again and having pride and trust in my manager and team, whilst, at the same time, remembering the fact that Arsenal Football Club is the greatest club in world Football.

    Happy Christmas.

  8. mysticleaves

    Dissenter, you went wild after seeing Guendouzi in preseason alone. I was a lone voice crying caution but you mistook it for hate or something else.

    Now you are here with Mavropanos, haha

  9. englandsbest

    Let’s admit it: Arsenal have got themselves a damn fine manager. And to help him along, two guys who know all about getting the best players, and getting the best out of them.

    So is everything hunky-dory, will we soon be back where we belong, at the top of the football tree?

    Not necessarily. That will depend on how much backing he gets from the absentee owner. Nobody expects stupid money such as Man U have spent. But with the Club’s massive revenue, players of real quality ought to be within reach.

  10. Dissenter

    I think you’re missing the point though.
    Mavros has only played ONE full game. I’ll respect receeding hairline’s request to leave out the fact that the next game was an early shower.
    Even after Holding did well in a FA Cup final going toe-to-toe agajnst Costa, he was still shaky until this season when he stepped into his own. Mavros has not shown himself to be better that the lads on the U-23 squad based on the insufficient substrate.
    That’s like not having enough sample to even run a proper lab test or trying naturally to inseminate without an erection.
    I’m just questioning what the foofaraw around Mavrosis is based on.

  11. gambon


    I think the excitement about Mavropanos is that we finally have a CB with the attributes to be top class….after years of signing highly flawed CBs

    Koscielny is short and weak. Mustafi is short and useless.

    Per was unbelievably slow, as is Chambers and Holding.

    While we don’t know how Mavropanos will turn out, it’s good to see a CB that is tall, powerful and fast for once.

    Very noticeable that it wasn’t until Wenger was not involved that we made this type of signing.

    Holding is doing ok but his lack of physical prowess will probably mean he never makes it at the top level.

  12. Marko

    To be fair it kinda went to shit there recently when Holding went down injured. But yeah says alot about our defence that that happens when Rob Holding picks up an injury

  13. Guns of Brixton

    Fell in love with Holding when he went toe to toe with Costa and called him a Psycho.

    Solid passer too. Needs to bulk up slighty tho.

    Otherwise 🤩

  14. Marko

    Seemingly Lyon are actively trying to sell Fekir this January and Julian Weigl could be available on loan. I think Weigl and Under and a CB could be about as good as it gets this January

  15. Marko

    And Pulisic incredibly might be on the move with Dortmund lining up some Ukrainian RW who’s tearing up the league at 21. All very strange considering there on for the league title

  16. gambon

    Problem is, I feel Weigl & Under are not the players that move us on a level.

    One thing Wenger did used to get right was his insistence that you should only sign players that are better than you have.

    Just a shame he didn’t have a clue what a good player looked like.

  17. gambon

    Pulisic hasn’t improved and Sancho is vastly better.

    Their business model involves cashing in to support investment.

  18. Thorough

    Mavro got sent off in his 2nd game.

    Kosxielny, our best CB of the late Wenger era, got sent off in his second game.

    Knowing when to not miss the man when you’ve missed the ball is an attribute of greater defensive players.

    How many reds did Vieira get actually?

  19. Marko

    Gambon we’re not getting Sancho and Pulisic would be a great signing. He’s 20 years old and Chelsea are sniffing. As for Weigl and Under not moving us on a level I mean they’d improve us over Iwobi/Mhiki and Xhaka/Guendouzi so up a level but probably not quite the level you’re after.

    Actually scratch what I said about not being able to get Sancho he’s 18 and there’s no way you couldn’t negotiate them down from 70 million they only bought him for 7 million euros a year ago

  20. Nelson

    I agree with Emery that Ozil is currently not suitable for a very physical game because he can get knock down easily. Instead of accepting this deficiency, I would command Ozil to work with the physical trainer to improve his upper body strength. Image that if he had an upper body like Kola, he would not shy away those physical contact and he won’t get knock down so easily. On second thought, just getting an upper body like Iwobi would be sufficient.

  21. mysticleaves

    Nelson, at this late in his career, that will be folly. What Ozil will do in due time is leave the club when a buyer comes around. Ozil will never be that physical no10.

    With Ozil,theres no “chance to redeem yourself” matches again. Emery knows him by now and he knows Emery. The 2 have already seen they can’t work together.

    But because we don’t have any midfielder that can do what Ozil can on the field he will continue playing, and helping us win until he goes.

  22. mysticleaves

    “Mhiki out for 6 weeks with a broken metatarsal”

    fucking lol. The injuries are getting unreal. broken metatarsal?? Who the fuck hit him?

    Yea, didn’t know what Gambon was talking about there either. Weigl is one of Sven flagship players. He said so himself.

  23. Dream10

    – For me, jury is very much out on Emery. Some on here are firmly in the Emery is a Messiah in camp, others in let him build and another batch in the anybody but Wenger camp. To each his own.

    – We’re linked to Fernando Calero. He has a 11m euro release clause. Apparently, he was London yesterday. Don’t know much about him, but seems a bit lightweight. If he struggles, he’ll be easy to move on. The bad thing is, signing a 23 yr old like him means no Upamecano, Koulibaly, Skriniar, Zagadou, Diallo in the summer. We want to be an attacking side who push numbers forward, so CBs who can defend in 1v1 and 2v2 are necessary. Holding, Chambers, Mustafi, geriatric Kos need extra protection because of a lack of pace/ability in space. No point in signing a 6-7/10 CB when you have four on the books.

    – Agree with Gambon that Weigl is not what we need. Intelligent, but unathletic. Mislintat likes him a lot, but if Emery will be our manager next season, no point signing him. Rumour is he’ll sign for PSG on a loan with a cheap buy option.

    Barça favourites to sign Rabiot. A nice 10m signing on fee for him.

  24. Nelson


    I always like to think positive to improve the players of our club. I am not those who like to shoot down our own players. If a player improves, he’ll worth more when we trade him. It is better that way instead of telling the whole world how bad our players are. I have no preference on a specific player in the club. I like what Emery said, “Every player will be treated equally”

  25. mysticleaves

    I am with you on that Nelson. Was just merely pointing out that you might not be able to teach physicality to a 30year old

  26. useroz

    Mavropranos (some call him Mama) is an excellent specimen for a CB and a modern one at that due to his good ball skill to play out from the back. I think his few cameo appearances showcase his potential with no glaring mistakes. That’s very positive.

    Don’t understand why his whatever (groin?) injury(ies) have taken so long (6mo+) to fix though. Hopefully all behind him now.

    Holding may look ok but lacks real strength consistently when push comes to shove. One great game against Costa isn’t enough. Would be fantastic that Mama can learn his trade-craft from Papa. If Mana didn’t fuck up this pairing would feel more robust than Papa with Holding or Mustafi.

    Kos along with Mustafi and Chambers can go and a younger (mid 20s), good quality CB should be bought asap. Still short as Holding is out till next season but don’t expect th club would bring in 2 CBs. Perhaps Zed as 4th CB?

    Still need to buy

  27. Northbanker

    I think Vieira’s reds lessened as he got older. Macro will make mistakes because he’s young and inexperienced so there is going to be a blooding period as there was with Holding

  28. Marc

    Holding isn’t strong enough?

    Didn’t the club just convert a training pitch or something into a new gym?

    Sure there’s a solution to this problem just can’t see it.

  29. Champagne charlie

    Will Stans purse strings loosen with the players dropping like flies?

    Welbz, Holding, Mkhi all serviceable players for this season that we’re going to miss in some capacity. We ain’t City in terms of squad, we now need reinforcements just to aspire to top 4.

  30. Dream10

    Champagne Charlie

    Stan ain’t loosening no purse strings. If a CB is incoming, it means that Elneny and/or third GK Martinez are being sold.
    Torreira, Monreal and Kolasinac are candidates to miss time in the second half of the season because of fatigue/injury proneness. Brace yourself…

  31. Dissenter

    It’s overly optimistic to expect that Mykhi will return from a metatarsal injury within 6 weeks.

    We have to dip into our rainy day fund or whatever it’s called.
    We do have to buy now.
    All this selling players to fund transfer business isn’t going to work out because there’s no one else to sell now.

  32. azed

    It would be disappointing if we don’t go big this January. We are level on points with Chelsea and 4th is a realistic goal. We should be bringing summer purchases forward even we have to pay an extra 10M.

  33. Guns of Hackney

    Finally Mikki’s adamantium bones gave out under his planet sized weight.

    Fat bastard.

    You thought he was big before the injury…wait until you see him after 10 weeks of inactivity. It will blow your socks off.

  34. Joe

    Hopefully mkhit injury forces us to replace him permanently.

    Was hoping he was sold in the summer. This might expedite it

  35. Emiratesstroller

    Our injury list keeps on rising with Mkhitaryan out for 2 months.

    Arsenal will be forced into the transfer market in January whether they like it
    or not and we will now need to rely on both Ramsey and Ozil to play more games.

    Current situation is not good with 3 players out with long term injuries and another 4 also out. We are now down to bare bones.

  36. Alone + Easy Target

    Surely whatever extra payment for the January acquisitions will be worth it if we qualify for the Champions League? In fact it will pay itself by then with the money earned for our place in the league?

  37. Joe

    Well now is the time for ozil to show he can live up to Emirates S’s and Pierre’s valuation of what he brings to the team.

    He is really the only “#10” we have left.

    Ball is at your feet Ozil.

    Let’s see what you do with it

  38. Dissenter

    The Reece Oxford thing is a sick joke.
    Have we sunk that low. He tried out in Germany and failed. He’s not even good enough for Westham .
    It’s got to be a joke

  39. Joe

    We will have to sign an AM/#10
    This Jan.

    emery really doesn’t trust ozil.

    Ramsey has one foot out the door

    Mkhit although bang average is hurt

    We need a body in there and hopefully it’s a first 11 body

  40. gambon

    “Gambon we’re not getting Sancho and Pulisic would be a great signing”

    I didn’t say we were getting Sancho. I was explaining why they are happy to cash in on Pulisic.

    Pulisic would give us nothing.

    No end product, another Iwobi.

    We need a VanDijk, a Mendy and a Hazard right now…

    Not more Mustafis, Kolasinacs, and Iwobis.

    Need either elite players or talents that may make that level.

  41. Moray

    This transfer window will display our ambition. We have players out through injury, key players confirmed outgoing in the summer (presumably including Nacho, Cech and Wellbeck), and some players nowhere near good enough. On the flip side, Chelsea and Man Utd are there for the taking, Spuds will tire and could be taken down. So a fourth place finish is possible though it would require investment.

    We have a new manager who is showing some signs of what could be, if he had the right players for his system/s.

    We could of course wait for the summer, but it’s clear we need to bring bodies in and the sooner the better, or else we then need half a first team squad replaced next summer. The hope is that the team is aware of some tasty contract rebels or maybe some cut priced talent available once Henry takes Monaco down, though the players there aren’t exactly putting themselves in the shop window.

  42. gambon

    Liverpool have the best wide combo in the PL

    Chelsea have the best wide left player in the PL

    We are miles away from that.

    We need first XI players in wide positions.

    Anyway, I bet neither of them teams sign Pulisic.

    It will be a Roma or Inter type team.

    If you believe the papers then we are about to bid £100m for Dembele, £52m for Under, £72m for Pepe, £16mm for Sarr who cost Rennes £17m.

    We’re after Rabiot who wouldn’t play for Emery.

    We’re after Naylor Navas despite signing a £22m keeper 6 months ago.

  43. Marko

    One could argue that it’s impressive a 20 year old has over a 100 appearences already but I won’t. Who realistically speaking are you hoping we target this coming January?

  44. gambon

    Theo already had over 100 appearances at 20. Then everyone started to realise he just didn’t have it.

    I’m not sure signing an attacking midfielder will be overly possible in January.

    Look I agree we need an AM

    In fact I’m one of the few on here saying we need 3 AMs

    One in the CAM role and 2 wide players.

    Julian Brandt looks to have a high ceiling.

    Hirving Lozano could be interesting.

    I like Pepe.

    I would break the bank for Sancho. English, best friends with Sancho and Willock. From London. No way he wouldn’t be interested.

    Thorgan Hazard is becoming a player.

    Martial could be signed in the Summer if he refuses an extension and makes it clear it’s not happening.

    Overall I think if we try to bring an AM in next month we will end up with yet another expensive sub-standard player in the squad blocking our ability to bring someone else in.

  45. Marko

    Brandt is fairly comparable to Pulisic 2 years older and 33 in 182 appearences compared to 15 in 114. Point is statistically both aren’t what you’re probably hoping for

  46. WengerEagle

    Felipe Anderson was a big miss in the summer, has had a similar impact at West Ham that Payet had. Absolute blockbuster player.

    Was shouting his name from the rooftop on here for ages.

  47. WengerEagle

    Pulisic is a talent but I agree that for the price being talked about we should be doing better.

    He’s stagnated the last year or so, he’s not going to come in and hit the ground running for us. End product is poor and he’s fairly raw still.

  48. Dissenter

    Wenger Eagle
    I’m not so sure Pulisic’s reputation was enhanced by his nationality.
    I actually think he would be better rated were he to be English or French, being American counts against him.
    That said he has regressed so much. He had the same start that Sancho and Reiss Nelson had.

  49. WengerEagle


    Disagree, incredibly rare that such a talented player comes out of the US, could be argued that he’s the most gifted US player ever although he has some way to go to surpass the likes of Dempsey and Donovan in the shirt of course.

    If he was English he would also have hype behind him but if he was French?

    Doubt he would even still be on top club’s radar.

  50. China1

    Merry Christmas grovellers!!!

    Our key areas that need major immediate upgrades are wing, AM and CB.

    I don’t see us spending a lot (over 30m) on more than one player this January tho. Maybe we can get one really interesting buy and one unknown bargain. Would be a solid step forwards imo as I doubt we’re going to address all of our major weaknesses in one window and with amazing long term options

  51. Emiratesstroller

    Merry Christmas

    I agree with China. Arsenal will focus on one player maximum in the January
    transfer window.

    My guess is that it will be a defender and not winger. Pepe might be of interest
    but I doubt that Arsenal will be paying £60-70 million in the current financial
    year. It may be a transfer in June if there is genuine interest.

    Based on the number of long term injuries at the club I do not see Arsenal offloading any current members of squad in January. Our resources are already waifer thin.

  52. Champagne charlie

    Happy Christmas all who read/write on this blog, and especially the man who provides the platform for us to do so. Enjoy, be merry, and stay the fuck out the ER.. cheers