International break continues.

by .

A real lack of news out in the woods of Footballdom today. Things are so dull, I bought a FIFA20, and actually played it.

So many buttons to learn.

I make this sound like less of a problem than it is. I worked on a pitch for a gaming console, I bought the said console so I could understand the machine and the community around it, now I’m hooked on games.

‘Just one dab of meth, it’ll be alright’

It is not. I am really into this fantasy game. It’s the absolute best thing that has happened to me. I’m so addicted, I watch Youtube videos in the gym for hints and tips. It is unhealthy.

The first 9 months of the year, I was crushing through books like a powerhouse, now I’m out on the street taking hits of Tetris whenever the coast is clear. What a shambles.

Raul had a little chat with some fans. He defended the managers’ decision to ditch Mesut Ozil. The manager picks players based on their effort in training. Makes sense on paper, but worth noting that Patrick Vieira wasn’t a very good trainer, but he was a monster on the pitch.

Not that Mesut is a monster on the pitch.

Key issue here: If Mesut doesn’t train well, which one would assume is a statement garnered from watching him for an entire 15 months… why the captains armband?

I am going to ask this question every day until I land an answer.

There’s a story doing the rounds that Saka doesn’t get changed with the first team, to keep him grounded. Love how football works so hard to keep these kids on a stable footing, then they give them £50k a week and send them on their merry way.

I’ve been told that Emery took the changing room tradition a step further and created dividers in the canteen. You can’t eat lunch with the first-teamers. Very clubbish. Imagine having to earn your right to eat a cheese sandwich next to Granit Xhaka? Goals my friends, goals.

Finally, sink your teeth and your heart into this video. Bergkamp and Wrighty, my childhood heroes!

314 Responses to “International break continues.”

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  1. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    The gift that just keeps giving…

    Donyell malen off to Barca for 50m

    What a cunt he was in the last 10:years…

    No way should he ever be allowed back at the club…

    Certified cunt .

  2. Guns of Hackney

    Apparently Ozil is selling up his house in London. Read into that what you will.

    Emery still out. This won’t change. The man is troubling to me.

  3. Guns of Hackney


    I plan to see this ASAP. Is it really good or just, Oscar good? Gotta ditch the missus and tyke first. Or I’ll be seeing joker in 2021.

  4. Un na naai


    It’s like an old school film. It would have been considered good in the 70s or 80s even though they were producing films of this quality regularly but compared to today’s offerings it’s top drawers, best film of the year.

    It’s horrible to watch, tragic, disconcerting and depressing.
    Don’t want to say any more but yeah. They just don’t do proper character studies like this any more. The acting is superb. Phoenix is phenomenal. I’d actually say better than Ledger but different. Less comic-y

  5. Un na naai

    My only criticism is that it ended too soon or abruptly but on second viewing it’s probably a better fit for the film

  6. HillWood

    I was thinking about going to see it today as the weather was so shit but the reviews weren’t great
    Might give it a go some other time ?

  7. Guns of Hackney


    Thanks for the time to write that up. I wanted to see it anyway but now I REALLY want to see it.

    I’ve heard good things about his take on it. Glad to see you agree.

  8. Un na naai

    Hill wood

    Forget the reviews. They are from hard left critics who are trying to make the film political when it’s more a social commentary on oppressing people with mental illness and just being nicer to people in general.

    95% of the time films should leave politics at the door

  9. Micheal

    Un na
    “…critics are from the hard left…”

    What utter bollocks. What you mean is that critics do not agree with your warped opinions.

  10. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    None of you give a fuck that wenger fucked up yet again… in letting malen go…

    It’s weird what yall lot get vexed about… this blunder will hurt bad.

  11. Steve

    Football is evolving. Plain truth. All the traditional number 10 are all struggling in their clubs. James Rodriguez, Mesut Ozil, even the guy that was the soul of Liverpool before he was sold to Barcelona has been loaned to Bayern.
    Ozil needs to adapt to new reality. It was not only Emery he had problem with. It was the way Arsene indulged him that created problem between Arsene and the supporters especially his lack of effort when we are overwhelmed and losing. Arsene may have the patience to deal with him. Emery does not have that because while Arsene is his own employer given his influence in Arsenal, Emery has two years to prove himself or be fired.

  12. Un na naai


    Nope. Not unless you think the film is dangerous, overly violent and encourages murder

    93% of audience reviews agree with me.

  13. Un na naai


    Never read them. Did love batman comics as a kid though. And Spider-Man. And wolverine

    I didn’t even know there were joker comics until the last 10 years

  14. TheLegendaryDB10

    Guns & Un

    Saw Joker on opening day.

    Guns, as Un said this film is a real masterpiece. To see the transformation of Arthur Flack into the Joker is mesmerizing. Joaquin Phoenix has definitively nailed the role. Makes J. Leto’ s take on Joker even crappier than it already is.

    Phoenix must be awarded an Oscar for his performance, there is no doubt about this.

    As I can see that you are a film buff, you cannot miss it.

    The 2nd great film to come out this year. The other film I really loved is QT’s Once upon a time in Hollywood. That film is only for film buffs.

    Finally 2 films worth seeing in the cinema. Makes you realise how much crap Hollywood spews out these days.

    Pedro: Thank you for posting that video of God and Wrighty. Makes you realise how much we miss having such characters at The Arsenal.

  15. Guns of Hackney


    Ha ha ha. Sorry.

    The graphic novels are excellent. Very dark and violent. The Killing Joke and the court of owls storylines are brilliant. The illustration is incredible.

    You can pick them up on amazon for a few quid brand new or used. Worth a read as a juxtaposition from the movies.

  16. TheLegendaryDB10


    If you have to read one graphic novel; it’s Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. The film loosely uses that book for parts of the story.

    And now I have decided to rewatch (for the nth time) Tim Burton’s Barman.

  17. Un na naai


    Really? Once upon a time in Hollywood
    It was a fun watch and very cool in a signature Tarentino way but it was a bit of an anti climax

    Maybe I went in with expectations too high. Best performance from brad Pitt since fight club though. Robbie and Di Captrio are always on song bu Pitt was quality. Glad to see him back to his cool self. Seems like getting rid of that nutty cow he was with has brought some vitality back to him.

  18. Guns of Hackney


    Jackie Brown is my fav Tarantino movie. But I do want to see OUATIH.

    Jared Leto was an abomination. Awful is a awful movie. His best role: the robber in Panic Room.

  19. Un na naai


    Yeah been thinking about it. I’ve got too many good books on the list right now though. Or books that i really want to read. Also, think I’m a bit old for the graphic novels. Tried with a couple a year ago and just couldn’t get into the zone with them like I could when I was a teenager.

  20. TheLegendaryDB10


    OUATIH is a special film in the sense that it gives you an insight in the filming industry itself. How everyone knows everyone and how they watch each other. I think that most people failed to realise that what QT did was to show that litterally nothing has changed in the film industry. This is why I liked how he chose to have as main characters a has-been and a stunt double. Hollywood was and still is littered with these people. The ending was QT’s Fuck you to the Manson family and the atrocities they commited.


    My fav QT is Pulp Fiction. I just love the way he wrote and cut the film. But to be fair I loved his first 3: Reservoir Dogs, PF and Kill Bill vol.1. For some reason, KB vol 2 had a different pace which was jarring compared to the first. I was glad that he released them separately as it shows that even he realised that that first part was perfect.

  21. Guns of Brixton

    I actually thought Jared Leto was a real life tranny bcos of Dallas buyers Club.


    Never heard of him before and he played it well so i put 2 and 2 together 😂🤣

  22. Un na naai


    Yeah I get that about the ending and it was satisfying to see but the Manson family were dispatched with far too easily. They didn’t offer enough of a threat to make it compelling.

    Loved the Bruce Lee scene though. Apparently that was based in reality. Obviously hammed up but he really did have a fight with a stunt man on set but apparently this bloke was a fucking monster.

  23. Un na naai


    Really? So before Pulp Fiction and Reservoir dogs who was telling stories with non linear time lines? Nobody

    Who was writing dialogue like him?

    His films are distinctive and have been copied for nearly 30 years

  24. Redtruth

    Does Quentin Tarantino steal all his best ideas and present them as something new and original? And, if so, does that make him a con-man, or an artist?

    Take Kill Bill (which many wrongly consider his masterpiece). The yellow suit Uma Thurman wears is lifted straight from a Bruce Lee film, Game of Death, in which (like Thurman) he rides a motorbike and has a fight in a paper house. The fight in silhouette, against the single-colour background, that’s taken from a film called Samurai Fiction, as is the idea of having a fight shot entirely in black and white. And so on, and so on. There is virtually nothing in that film which is original. It must have been easier to invent things, but no, he bravely went out there and found things to pinch. It’s a whole new kind of movie heist!

  25. Graham62


    Thanks for the Bergkamp/Wrighty video.

    A great watch to see two heroes still show the same love and respect that they showed each other all those years back.

    Dennis loved our club with a passion and we all know that Arsenal FC runs through Ian’s veins.

    A wonderful watch.

    Will keep it in my archives.


  26. Redtruth

    The color-coded names of the robbers in “Reservoir Dogs” comes from the original “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three”; “Jackie Brown” begins with the title tune from the soundtrack of “Across 110th Street”; and “Pulp Fiction” was preceded by the first glimpse of the logo of Tarantino’s production company, A Band Apart, an anglicized version of the French title of Godard’s “Band of Outsiders” (which is also quoted in “Pulp”‘s Uma Thurman/John Travolta dance scene).

  27. TheLegendaryDB10


    What you fail to get is that AT is a serious film buff who has always loved showing it off through overt or subtle references.

    Like all goid artists, he uses what has inspired him and builds on it. He references a lot if films within his films but hus stories still remain original in their own right.


    Re graphic novels. As much as I understand where you come from, Alan Moore stands apart. His stories are extremely well written. I am sure you must have watched Watchmen. Read his graphic novel, it is 10 times better. The same goes for From Hell and V for Vendetta. They outshine the films that were made.

  28. Graham62

    I implore you all to watch Foster Brooks doing his classic drunken roasts on YouTube.

    Frank Sinatra/ Don Rickles/Sammy Davis Jnr etc


  29. Un na naai

    So you’ve listed 5 things which were inspired by other films….
    Big deal

    All inspiration comes from somewhere.

  30. Redtruth

    Un na naai

    The plot and many of the visuals of Tarantino’s 1992 debut film Reservoir Dogs are lifted wholesale from the Hong Kong crime film City on Fire, released five years earlier. aptly describes the similarities in plotting, saying that both films feature a gang of jewel thieves conducting a heist on orders from an older crime boss. Things go wrong during the heist, and one of the thieves snaps and kills every stranger in the store. Eventually the tension surrounding the botched heist culminates in a Mexican standoff wherein next to no one survives. Tarantino has acknowledged his considerable love for City on Fire and even dedicated the script for Reservoir Dogs to City on Fire‘s star Chow Yun-Fat.

  31. azed

    “Am I the only one reading that laca was offered to zenith during TW?”

    I’m pretty sure the story said an agent probably a Lacazette’s agent was the one hawking him around and not the club.

  32. Redtruth Reservoir Dogs

    Tarantino didn’t just borrow a character or a scene or a subplot, he ripped off the whole story. And then replaced all the dialogue with pop-culture trivia, as if he was doing some kind of Pop-Up Video version of the same movie, but with white guys.

    If you need a visual aid, director Mike White put together a handy 10-minute documentary in 1994 showing the similarities between the two films, titled Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?

  33. Danialtos

    Slightly embarrassing being an Arsenal supporter these days .We had years of childish abuse aimed at our previous manager, and now he’s departed the obsession has turned to Ozil , and when he’s departed I’m sure they will up the anti on xhaka Pretty sad if you ask me …

    Pierre of course you wont mention the abuse that the current manager gets

  34. Emiratesstroller


    I watched last night the Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright interview, which was sent to me.

    These are the type of players that Arsenal should be recruiting not only for their talent, but for the commitment they made to the club.

    What was interesting also is that Bergkamp has no ambition to be manager
    or head coach, but he wants to coach in a ‘system’ either with first team or
    academy. Surely there is a place for him at Arsenal within that framework.

    Watching England play yesterday I thought that the football was both disjointed and insipid. The only footballers who I would choose remotely
    to be recruited by Arsenal were Sterling and Kane.

    The rest were decidedly mediocre to poor. I don’t think Sanchez is an upgrade
    on our current crop of wingers and the midfield and defence was nothing to
    write home about.

    Personally I think that Arsenal can find better players elsewhere for a fraction
    of the prices that are being demanded for English players.

    British players need to be sourced either for our academy or like Holding from lower leagues. If we are spending money in transfer market then we
    need to buy premium players who are being carefully monitored and realistically priced.

    Arsenal have now reached the point in our recruitment of buying perhaps
    one or two “top class” players each season and that should now be the focus
    of our transfer policy starting off with one CENTRE BACK and one OFFENSIVE

  35. TheLegendaryDB10


    These are the type of players that Arsenal should be recruiting not only for their talent, but for the commitment they made to the club.

    Exactly what I was saying earlier. We are genuinely lacking that type of players at our club. Commited and ready to fight for the cause. We are not seeing that, in particular from our midfield.

    Re England’s performance last night I agree with ES and CA. We were dire to say the least. The fact that out only goal came from a pen says it all really. We were outplayed, in particular during the first half where the Czechs played extremely well.

  36. TheLegendaryDB10

    Re Joker

    When you see the the message in make up in Murray Franklin’s backstage room where Joker is waiting saying “Put on a Happy Face” is a direct reference to the first Batman where The Joker in the add for Smilex says “So Remember: Put on a Happy Face!”. What an Easter egg!

  37. 5am

    Rail said they don’t treat players differently….so why are they on different salaries and as it’s recognised that each bring different qualities, how is it actually possible to treat all the same??

    For starters, 31yr olds should have a different training regiment than an 18yr old, which should probably include more time spent tactically so the seniors and captains take the lead in directing that on the pitch as well.

    Maybe Raul is trying to run a communist ship 🤔

  38. salparadisenyc

    Red never disappoints barring that moment he changed his handle, then changed it again but all was forgiven as the voice never faltered.

    Like it or not Tarantino has created his own genre which is one of the most difficult things to do in film in my opinion.

    Top three for me:

    Inglorious Bastards
    Reservoir Dogs
    Pulp Fiction

    As good as it was, shame he didn’t direct his True Romance script. That would likely top out.

  39. Valentin


    “These are the type of players that Arsenal should be recruiting not only for their talent, but for the commitment they made to the club.”

    I think that you see things with rose tinted glass.
    DB10 ended up a magnificent servant of the club, but let not kid ourselves. He joined Arsenal out of desperation. We were pretty much the only club willing to take a punt on him.

    We should be concentrated on players who show commitment on the pitch.
    Football has changed. Footballers are much more individualistic. Mid level footballers may be happy to find a club that treats them as family, but The best players are in it for their own personal glory or the money.

    Even Messi has just admitted that he tried to leave Barcelona but that at the time nobody was willing to bite. No commitment there, just personal interest.

    Ronaldo decided that Real Madrid did not love him enough (i.e. were not willing to put up with his incessant wage increase demand) and he left. No commitment there as well.

    I am afraid that the day of one club man are gone. Even the concept of testimonial for 10 years at the same club will soon be something of the past. Partly because of the players, partly because of the clubs. Most big clubs have now a special contract policy for over 30 years old players. No renewal or just 12 months extension.

  40. Valentin

    Tarentino does more than just copy old film scenes. He enhances their best scene and add some genial dialogue. Despite keeping the same style he has been able to reinvent himself with each new movie.
    On the other hand directors like John Woo have become caricatures. Their new offering look like pastiches of their best movies.
    After spending years working in a video store, Tarentino has a much more eclectic movie knowledge that he is being given credit for.
    Also he kept his focus on the character and the story rather being consumed by the technological aspect of movie making. See David Fincher and his tendency to include crazy shot in his later movies. Crazy shots that for the most part add absolutely nothing to the movie itself.

  41. Eduardo

    Mourinho said at the beginning of the season that Luiz was a good signing because of his character. And Gary Neville agreed that he is the kind of signing arsenal need to bring in, big personalities not wet blankets and losers. We are still without the likes of Dennis and Wrighty but steps in the right direction.

  42. Emiratesstroller


    You should listen to the interview.

    Bergkamp made it clear that he wanted to leave Italy and come to England,
    but more importantly when he did so and became a star he was offered the
    opportunity to go to major clubs on Continent, but he declined to do so first
    and foremost because he wanted a stable life for his young family and he
    liked the lifestyle in England.

    Second Arsenal were a club on the way up winning trophies and recruiting
    world class players like Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires.

    He made the point that Arsenal were one of the top teams in Europe and the
    EPL was the most important league.

    Two other interesting points he made were firstly that foreign players coming
    to England take six to eight months to adapt to EPL, which I would suggest should perhaps apply to Pepe. Second for Arsenal to become again a top class club they need at least 4-6 world class players.

    I think that most posters on Le Grove would not disagree with those opinions.

  43. TheLegendaryDB10


    I was going to reply to Val but you said it best.

    I’ll just add that there was no desperation in his wish to come to us. As said in the interview, the football that was being played at Inter did not suit him. As he said, when he read about us in that Dutch football magazine he immediately identified that our style of football and the identity we were trying to create back then (to play good expansive football) would suit him better.

    Like anyone looking to make the best of their career, he was happy to move somewhere where he felt his football would be more appreciated.

  44. Tony

    I’m with you on Bergkamp as the best PL player.

    Also been advocating him to be a coach at Arsenal since before Wenger got sacked.

    Recently I’ve said I’d want PV, FL and DB as the new management/coach set up to take over from Emery. However, Charlie made sense about getting Alegri first and then there aforementioned PV team take over from Allegri.

    Keown? For defensive and specific man marking coach?

    What are your thoughts on that, Bojangles?

  45. China1

    I’ve no idea how good bergkamp actually is as a coach but I guess the good thing is he said he’s happy with relatively sidelined roles and he’s such a super star that he brings xfactor to any coaching staff he’s in

    Would dream of having him back with the kids or whatever

  46. Tony


    Good morning Graham/Bob/ES
    Looks like the Scotland/Japan game is on, and should be a belter.

    Both Japan and Scotland have fast line speeds and mobile packs so we should see some free flowing & expansive rugby unless Scotland try to slow the game down in the rucks/mauls.

    I fancy Japan to win after watching them beat Ireland albeit without the game changing J Sexton being fit for that game.


    If we play Australia in the quarters, we should be too much for them and their current ill discipline.

    Jones has a good record against the cry-babies – sorry I meant Wallabies who blame everyone bar themselves when they lose.

    No slight meant on you Goobergooner or any other Aussi gooners.

    But I always look forward to the Australian media after they lose in sport – any sport! The melt down after England won 3:0 in Australia was hilarious.

    Pathetic Cheika is already playing the ‘the cheat in the scrum’ cards.

    Fortunately Jones has a sharper wit and tongue, so the war of words this coming week should be legendary.

  47. Tony

    Not wanting to rekindle the Ozil debate, but this is a balanced view of Ozil from the DM:

    “Mesut Ozil has cost Arsenal an incredible £19,718 a MINUTE this season as £350,000-a-week forgotten man is now out of the picture for club and country

    Mesut Ozil has played 142 minutes for Arsenal this season, in two appearances

    He is out in the cold at the club and they are happy for him to depart in January

    Ozil has not featured in Arsenal’s last three matchday squads under Unai Emery”

  48. China1

    Very interesting to see bergkamp say in our great arsenal teams there would be players squaring up in training about 4 times a week.

    You see all that quality and harmony on the pitch but it was underpinned by a ruthless expectation off the field. None of this nicey nicey crap now where we’re worried about upsetting bad players on huge wages who aren’t willing to leave when told to (mustafi)

  49. Bojangles


    I watched the Wrighty- Bergkamp interview a couple of days ago. He was quite categorical on not wanting the head coach position. Sounds like he wants to work with the kids and/or as a specialist coach.

    As for Keown, it’s just a personal thing with me but I do not like the man and would prefer not to see him around the Emirates other than as a fan.

    I like having Freddie around, not sure he can step up to head coach or not. I would be open to Vieira coming in.

    My choice for head coach would be Simeone but I very much doubt we could prise him away from Atletico. Neither one way nor another with Allegri.
    Whether he be our next coach or not would be ok with me.

  50. TheLegendaryDB10



    Do you think England will go far in the tournament?

    I have my reservations. In particular with Farrell. As much as he is a good player he has always been very inconsistent with his kicking. And I was in particular furious with his really poor kicking performance in the first half of the Argentina game. I have a feeling that this could come back to bite us.

    From what I have seen, I genuinely think that the All Blacks will win it. Their performance so far has been practically flawless.

    Glad to see that the Scotland v Japan game is on. As you say, it will be a very interesting game. Really surprised by Japan’s very good and very disciplined performances so far. I can see Japan nick this one if they carry on playing in such a disciplined way.

  51. Bojangles

    There were warnings here earlier in the week that the “super” typhoon was headed for VN. Fortunately for us, though not so for Japan, it veered North a couple of days back.

  52. KAY Boss

    RSPC, Doyen Mallen is not a miss. I don’t get arsenal fans with their nostalgia for players who many don’t remember. Good for him if he’s truly headed for Barça. But he isn’t a miss. Maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t good enough for the Arsenal setup. Get over it I’ve personally not seen him play enough for arsenal to warrant any hype.

  53. Tony


    That’s a good question.

    I’ve always tipped England to make the semis where I would consider it an upset against form if Australia beat England.

    Like you the All Blacks have to be my favorites.

    The training manager for my wife’s company (a rugby mad jock) was doing training in NZ when they drew with South Africa recently. He said those on the training course and in the pub where he watched the game saw that draw as a loss and the media were super unimpressed.

    With the AB’s only a win is good enough.

    Martin Johnson’s auto biography was a good read as he nearly played for the AB’s when he lived there in his youth playing career. Interesting what he has to say.

    England has the ability and squad to win the cup in the same way as we (Arsenal) have the squad to finish 3rd. Difference is Jones is a top world class manager and Emery isn’t.

    It will depend who we have in the semis. If it’s the ABs we have about a 40% chance of winning/beating them.

    I don’t share your Farrell thinking as he normally is good with his kicking. The last game with Farrell missing 4 kicks was a real anomaly.

    The Ford/Farrell axis can work, but Ford is too lightweight for my thin king, but I noticed he has bulked up for the WC.

    I’ve always stated that England often beat themselves by committing too many penalties. Generally over 8 pens and you’ll lose the game if the opponents have better discipline.

    It’s going to be really fascinating from here on out.

  54. Tony

    Bergkamp was never in my mind as head coach, more as you say for the kids and attacking midfield coach.

    He would be excellent for Ceballos, Willock, Saka and Guendouzi as well as probably getting a little more from Xhaka, but not enough to retain Xhaka after this season.

    Any experienced CAM/10 we buy would also love the chance to work with DB10.

  55. Emiratesstroller


    I have just finished watching Grand Prix . Amazing how the Japanese have managed to get everything back to normal after the Tornado. Most efficient and well organised nation!!

    On the basis of what I have seen sofar in the Rugby World Cup I think that New Zealand are streets ahead of everyone else in performance.

    England will have a tight game against Australia and my guess is that Wales will win comfortably against France who are too up and down in their performance.

    Ireland have become far too predictable in the way they play to make an impact in tournament.

    I have a feeling that Scotland could well beat Japan today despite the latter’s
    high octane game. Scotland had a poor game against Ireland but since then
    have played well and I think that they have got some football talent.

  56. Emiratesstroller

    The fact that Bergkamp is not ambitious to become Manager or Head Coach may well suit Arsenal.

    I don’t think that he would be considered for First Team especially whilst Emery is at Club. Bergkamp more or less indicated that in his interview and also suggested that he will stay in Holland until his children finish school.

    However, I do think that he would be ideal in the Academy. If Arsenal are
    to focus in developing talent then I would certainly choose someone like him
    to run a programme there. What a role model and consummate professional!!

    Josh Kronke made the case that Arsenal needs to develop its own production line at the club. If it works better than in past I am all for it.

  57. Bojangles


    If DB could get anything out of Xhaka, he would Be a valuable man to have around.

    Unfortunately DB is not considering any coaching move until his kids have flown the coop it seems. Mind you they being 21 and 17, I imagine not longer than 4-5 years.

  58. Tony

    NZ have been made to look good playing such inferior countries.

    When they have to play the top 4 ranked countries the gap in class isn’t so far apart, but I agree NZ is still and rightfully playing quality rugby as per their No 1 world ranking.

    That said NZ is beatable. It will just take a world class performance to knock them out of the cup, especially in a world cup.

    England and South Africa has the potential to do this.

  59. Bob N16

    Alright Tony,

    Am rather hoping Japan win, although playing the All Blacks in the QF is arguably the biggest challenge in sport. Think Scotland threatening legal action was uncalled for.

    Not sure England’s game off is an advantage or a disadvantage. Will be amazed if it’s not an England All Blacks semi. Hard to see ABs losing but we have a chance. Jones will have to get his selections right. Feel Farrell at 10 might be better but it’s a tough call. Slade missing an opportunity to shine at inside centre against France. May mean Ford will play. To beat ABs all our key players will need to perform, Youngs and Billie V in particular. Think Watson should play 15, Nowell if fit RW. Daly can come on and put one over from half way line to win match!

  60. Emiratesstroller

    Bob N16/Tony

    I will be very surprised if England beat NZ based on what I have seen. I don’t think that England have played particularly well albeit they have beaten opposition comfortably.

    Would England have beaten Argentina if the latter had 15 players on field?

    NZ are the team for me with SA also in frame. I don’t see any Northern Hemisphere nations getting into final.

  61. Goobergooner

    Haha Tony, the wallabies are cry babies. Been all over the shop for years. I just hope we put up a good fight against England.

  62. TheLegendaryDB10


    Very interesting stats re Farell I have to admit. It’s just that in some games he can really be inconsistent. And this is where it worries me. Games will be tighter in the latter stages of the tournament and we can’t afford to be missing 3 pointers as they may prove crucial.

    I also agree on your take about our discipline. We have conceded far too many penalties and that most certainly will cost us if we can’t stay disciplined.

    We really need to be on our A game if we want to beat Australia in the QF.

    Not surprised by the AB’s fans reaction to their draw vs SA earlier in the year. You could tell during the AB vs SA group game that AB were looking to right that wrong.

  63. Wolfgang

    Hopefully after the international matches ,the situation of our SA will be clearer.
    Actually Emery did not fancy him but was over ruled .The Spaniard knew the gunner md required a big man.
    With due respect to our South American you can see he will invariably lose out in a 50/50 tussle.His 168cm frame aint made for the epl, I know there are other guys like Kante of similar stature but I would prefer to get a beast in md.

  64. Bob N16

    ES, strongly believe England would have still comfortably beaten an Argentina with 15 players.

    Also think England are tantalisingly short of ABs quality. Not much in it as Tony has mentioned ABs haven’t played any quality teams except of course SA. Am not a betting man but I think the draw favours SA. ABs against England should be an epic and whoever wins may be a little battered in the final. Wales could give the Boks a game mind you.

  65. TheLegendaryDB10


    Would England have beaten Argentina if the latter had 15 players on field?

    That was the same thing I was thinking during the game. Argentina were playing extremely well before that red card and that game would’ve really gone down to the wire if it was 15 v 15 for the entire game. I think we could have narrowly lost that game. This game would have been a real test of Eddie Jones’s mettle to get us playing with as little mistakes as possible.

  66. Bojangles

    I know that playing in the Europy cup is an annoyance. Playing Thursday’s in a competition that holds little prestige and forcing us to play pl games on Sundays or, worse for me at least, Mondays but I think this year it could be an advantage to us.

    At the moment we have players capable of getting us through the group stages without the need to play any first team members. Neither Un**ed nor Villa are able to do this. Spuds and Chelsea are not able to do this either being in the CL. We should be able to keep our first team a little fresher than our main rivals for 3rd or 4th spot.

  67. Bob N16

    Wolfgang, ‘invariably lose out in a 50/50’ – can’t agree with that statement. Football is mostly played on the ground and Torreira’s low centre of gravity, quick feet and commitment mean that he does a more than decent job as a DM. In tight games where he here is little space in midfield he’s particularly good, in open games less so.Uruguay seem to think so too.

    I wouldn’t be adverse to an upgrade in the summer mind you!

  68. Bob N16

    Bojangles, good point about EL. Thought that would be a help last year too! Obviously Emery has the wherewithal to pick a 2nd eleven. The way the midweek team are performing, the lines are getting blurred between who should be a PL starter or play midweek, which is a healthy place to be.

  69. Bojangles

    Kola, Papa and possibly Chambers will drop to the cups team I’d imagine which is going to weaken them a little but should still be good enough to see us through the group games and early domestic cups games.

    Depends on how much importance we place on the cups. We could allow the “second” team to play them throughout. Ensuring 3/4 spot is our main objective. Although Emery loves the Europa so I don’t see that happening in truth

  70. Bob N16

    Seems to me that the EL should simply be an opportunity to develop players and to keep fringe players match fit. Without being a great team, we’ve made the semi and final which says a lot about the strength of the competition.

    Emery being ‘good’ at the tournament is bogus, the sides who he has managed have been comparatively good teams for the tournament, that’s all. I wouldn’t pretend to know anything about Emery’s previous clubs but simply judging on Arsenal’s performances there with him, I don’t see some master two leg tactical masterclasses.

    If we’re looking nailed on for the top four, by all means go for it QF stages onwards but don’t go the same way as last season.

  71. Chris

    Last season in the EL I thought we did a great professional job on a dangerous team in Napoli, Rose our luck slightly in the first half of the away leg but a 3-0 aggregate score points to a job well done.

    Other than that the other knockout ties were at times a bit hairy so I would largely agree that it wasn’t really in the same vein as the 94 CWC run! Perhaps the Napoli games show that it is in Emery’s locker when he isn’t confusing himself with his own tactics.

    I would love to win the EL however, not at the expense of top four eh if bid vital for this season, but we have had a lot of strife and heartache with this competition over the years (last year and 2000) and it would be nice to finally nail it.

  72. Cesc Appeal

    Not the easiest of games to return to, Sheffield are a well organised and hard working side and lets be honest this is exactly the kind of game you can see us making very difficult for ourselves and probably lose.

    We can all say we want Torreira at CDM then Guendouzi and Willock but you know Errorsaurus is at CDM so we just have to make our peace with that and realise our midfield will be dysfunctional.

    Unless he actually is taking paternity leave which I would laugh at but in this case I would love.

    The forward line is interesting though. Lacazette is apparently close to full fitness and the question will be whether he plays right away and also what we do in terms of Pepe/Saka/Martinelli.

    If Lacazette was fully fit for it I’d go with Martinelli, Lacazette, Auba I think. Auba played RW before he moved to ST and looked far more effective there in preseason.

    Saka looked slightly lost against Bournemouth and I’ve just been so impressed with Martinelli’s work rate, pressing and tenacity. Even if he isn’t effecting the game how he’d like he’s still making an impact and his winning of the ball back in the opposition final third or halfway line is so impressive.

    Leno, Chambers, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Willock, Martinelli, Lacazette, Auba.

    I’d like Torreira at CDM but we know it isn’t happening, therefore we need Guendouzi and Willock to do all the midfield running and pressing that Xhaka can’t do.

  73. China1

    We shouldn’t put all our eggs in any one basket and that applies to the league and the EL – but the fact is our squad is the third best in the league and will be one of the top 3 or so in the EL so with careful rotation, a bit of good stamina management and a general fan of luck we have more than enough reason to demand top 4 and a EL semi final as a minimum without him needing to doing anything miraculous. The squad isn’t perfect but it’s easily good enough now

    As for other cups, I’d rotate accordingly but I wouldn’t write off any particular competition. It’s ok if we get to the league cup or fa cup qf and face a decent team – we can blend some experience with youth as long as we’re not running our best players into the ground during busy periods

  74. Nelson

    Someone should sent Emery a highlight video how Denmark scored the winning goal while Xhaka was again chasing the goal scorer in vein. On the other hand, Uruguay won 1 – 0 against Peru where Torreira was the DM for Uruguay.

  75. Cesc Appeal


    But we know he’s going to play.

    I honestly think it’s not over the top to say the week in week out playing of Xhaka will be a massive part of the reason Emery is not manager next season. It really is such an unnecessary self inflicted injury.

    You, me and basically every sensible Arsenal fan can see Xhaka creates massive problems for us and we scratch out heads as to why Emery can’t/won’t see it.

  76. Bamford10


    I agree with all of that, except that I wouldn’t leave Ceballos out. I think Ceballos has to start, even with the problems Xhaka brings.

    Also, Bellerin should be able to start, no? I would think so.

  77. Marc

    We have 4 midfielders who range through good, very promising, inexperienced, young and adapting to the league.

    Xhaka is not one of them and should at best be 5th choice for midfield.

    Out of interest I know clubs insure players to covers wages etc if they suffer a bad injury – if Xhaka and Ozil managed to take each other out in training and both ended up with career ending injuries does the insurance cover the value (ie what we paid for them / what their value is on the books) of the player to the club?

  78. Marc


    There are some on here who don’t rate him as DM.

    It’s an irrelevant argument as he is by far the best option for DM in our current squad and therefore should be starting there. If people want to argue that next summer we should look for a more physical specimen fine but that’s a completely different conversation.

  79. Guns of Brixton

    Emery probably feels the positives on playing Torreira further forward and Xhaka behind outweigh the negatives of swapping them around. Lord knows how slow Xhaka is. *sigh*

    I guess Xhaka will decide Emery’s fate the same way he decided Wenger’s.

    They are options like willock available who could play beside Torireira and do a better job

  80. Marc


    He wants midfielders who can press so is accommodating Xhaka in a position he’s awful at and scares the living shit out of the CD’s to have other players further forward who are more mobile.

    At the moment Emery is digging his own grave.

  81. Graham62


    I agree with your “cheat” perceptions on Australian Sport.

    The worst losers in sport but also the worst at overstepping the basic ethics of gamesmanship. Cricket/ tennis/ rugby etc. Its in their blood.

    Sorry guys.

  82. Bamford10


    The question is, should Torreira start if Xhaka is starting? Many here think ‘no,’ as he can’t cover enough ground to compensate for Xhaka.

    If Xhaka is not starting, however, I think many here would start Torreira next to Guendouzi.

  83. Valentin

    I can see Japan beating South Africa. So they could reach the semi-final. There they would give a good game to France or Wales.
    On the other side of the draw, Ireland will face the New-Zealand and likely to be pulverised.

    Japan is now a tier 1 nation. They deserve more be part of a national competition against All-Black than Argentina.

  84. Cesc Appeal


    I don’t think Bellerin is quite ready yet. Seems to be what Emery suggested as well, Tierney seems fit and sharp whereas Bellerin looks off the pace still.

    With regards to Dani Ceballos, I’m a fan, but I just think he isn’t quite physical or tenacious enough to compensate for Xhaka being a plinth basically, rooted in the middle.

    You need the young legs of Guendouzi and Willock to compensate for the fact we have a sunk oil tanker at CDM.

    Also, Xhaka gets away with the fact that HE is supposed to provide deep creation, he is supposed to be a deep playmaker. But he doesn’t do that either…he’s literally good for nothing except key safety.

    Guns of Brixton

    ‘Torriera bossed the game vs Peru’

    A No.6 playing No.6 plays well…shock! Torreira strongest attributes are his reading of the game and ability to intercept/break up play in our half. Why Emery insists on playing him B2B is beyond me.

    He has the skill to occasionally venture forward, but he should be a CDM.

    We actually have the ingredients for a nicely balanced side, Xhaka’s inclusion ruins it totally.

    I’m really starting to dislike Emery with his Wenger like continued defence and selection of Xhaka.

  85. Tony

    Well deserved Japan win playing scintillating rugby at pace in numbers.

    I picked them to beat Scotland but I don’t think South Africa will be beaten twice in 2 world cups by Japan.

    That’s where the fairy tale journey ends for the brilliant Japan.

    They have done their country proud in their time of need for unity.

    Wonderful people and country.

  86. Graham62

    Japan were “a tier 1 nation” four years back.

    They would have beaten Scotland in 2015 at Kingsholm if it wasn’t for the fact that they were scheduled to play the Scots just a few days after beating SA.

    Japan are a dangerous outfit.

  87. Bob N16

    CA, in complete agreement with your midfield views. Was hoping that our captain would be taking paternity leave but after playing for Switzerland I guess that rumour was bull. He’s a yellow card away from a suspension so really hope we have a blinder in his absence.

    Seems bizarre to be wishing for a player to be suspended.

  88. Graham62

    I understand this is an Arsenal blog but surely if you love Football you love all competitive sports.

    Rugby WC is probably the greatest sporting(team) spectacle. The ultimate physical contest and yet only a few posters seem to buy into it.

    Oh well, c’est la vie.

  89. Bob N16

    Can’t see Japan beating a strong Springboks. Getting to a QF is job done and as you say Tony, SA will be fully motivated to avoid another loss to Japan.

    Great game of rugby though.

  90. Bob N16

    Graham, shouldn’t be surprised on an Arsenal blog. Football is a world game, this is a football blog and Rugby is only played competitively in a few countries. It’s a minority sport in this country as well.

  91. Graham62

    Bob N16

    I tend to agree with you.

    Home advantage/ never say die attitude/ some technically gifted players and capable of the unexpected, you just never know.

    If I was a betting man, I would say SA by 5-8 points. The thing is I’m not, so for me it’s a 50/50 game.

  92. Valentin

    I think that this current South Africa can only play well on the front foot. When they attack they are dangerous. However if the opposition contain them and then start counter-attacking them, they are all at sea.
    South Africa will dominate Japan in scrum and in ruck, but Japan will try to play a very fast game with lots of pass after contact negating the impact of ruck.
    It is still 50/50, but I would give a slight advantage to Japan of 5~8 points.
    My semi-finals predictions are New-Zealand v England and Japan v France.

  93. WrightIsGod

    I watched the Joker last week. Think it’s brilliant but please don’t walk in expecting a comic book film (although it does flirt with the source material in a slightly pitiful way I think to gain DC favour).

    Also un na na nai saying critics are from the hard left lol. I would say the critics are more from the right. The middle to upper classes scared of the rebellion of the disenchanted lower classes.

    Jobs are cut, social care is cut, capitalism is hurting the poor, austerity isn’t working. A lack of care and humanity which again are right wing traits. Both England and America are currently run by right wingers.

    This film has the poor rising up against it all. And as usual it’s the nanny state right wing brigade that are saying it glorifies violence and anarchy.

    This is a film the patriarchy do not want you to see because it shows the reality of the society they have happily facilitated in order to line their own pockets.

  94. Valentin

    We all have different opinions on the best midfield for Arsenal, but deciphering Emery is pretty easy.
    Everybody knows that under Emery Xhaka will start every major games.
    In his current form Guendouzi is undroppable, even if he needs to progress on the defensive awareness of his game. At least you can see progress in that against Bournemouth late in the game he was well placed for a last ditch tackle/clearance.

    So the last of the midfield selection is really about the opposition and how we want to approach the game.
    On the defensive, Emery plays Torreira to compensate for Xhaka lack of mobility and tackling ability.
    On the offense with Arsenal expected to dominate possession, Emery plays Ceballos to attack further up.
    Willock being used as a substitute to change things late in game. Either shoring thing up and replacing Ceballos. Or attacking a little more without losing physical aggression ms replacing Torreira.

  95. Tony

    Close game but SA will make the semis.

    On paper you’d say SA v All Blacks final.

    However if England beat the ABs they should go to win the cup.

    The next World Cup should see France as a real contender.

  96. Valentin


    South biggest problem is their attachment to their old identity.
    They used to be those old strong men winning by being hard in scrum and hitting hard. Rugby has moved on from that. Even England is not so one dimensional anymore.
    They tried to moved away from that and when results did not go as expected the went back to the old formula twicked a little bit.
    They have now players who could play a more expansive rugby while still retaining their edge.
    I used to play 7 and I love that physical aspect of the game, but against team that are as physical as them , but who can also play fast, precise rugby they struggle.