Mikel Arteta has players rocking in stunning victory

by & filed under News Review.

Mikel Arteta and his players launched 2020 by rocking The Emirates to its foundations with a brilliant evening of intense football. Arsenal kept a clean sheet, locked United out of the game for 90 minutes, and scored two brilliant goals to gift us a vitally important 3 points.

The game was so good, I don’t actually know where to start, but the line-up would be handy. We really weren’t in good shape with our starting 11. Kola had to be drafted back lacking fitness, we started Pepe who has been under a lot of criticism, and we had to roll with a group of players that have slugged it out hard over the past 3 games. One thing was for sure, there wasn’t much conservatism, Arteta went for it.

It didn’t make a difference, most considered the Chelsea game a great performance with a poor result. The football was at the right level of intensity, and so it continued. The main difference in this game was United didn’t have the same quality in midfield, so it was a little easier for Arsenal to control the game. I was interested to see how Kola would operate, we know he often leaves the defence exposed with his runs, last night, Granit Xhaka would regularly drop into the left-back role to cover him defensively, or to drop him to give him freedom offensively / allow him time to pick out passes.

Our first goal came from his run. He had a one-two with Auba, pushed into the box, his low cross squirmed out of a melee of 6 United players falling to Pepe who swept home. The lid blew off the stadium, everyone in the ground is so desperate for Pepe to be a thing, that was a great start to the night for him.

The half was dominated by great Arsenal chances. Pepe found Auba at the back post, his bicycle kick was skewed over. Torreira danced through the United defence to squeeze a shot just wide. Lacazette outmuscled Maguire and uncharacteristically pushed his shot wide from 6 yards. The closest came after we’d forced De Gea into an error, Pepe picked up the loose ball on the edge of the area and rattled the post.

We did make the pressure count. Pepe rattled a corner at the front post, Lacazette wasn’t tracked, he nodded the ball on, Sokratis bullied his way to the ball and roofed it.

The pace in the game did start to dip a fraction on 40 minutes again, but I still felt we were in control. My worry was that United had planned for us to start strong and fade, with the hope of picking us off in the second half. We did drop physically in the second half, but it felt like we had more of a plan to absorb the pressure. We sat a little more deep, forcing United to try and play football, and we attempted to pick them off on the counter.

What I loved to see was the compactness of the defence. We were nice and narrow, there was aways two midfielders protecting the back four, and we were aggressive. The players wanted the result, and they wanted the clean sheet.

We had some chances in the second half, Mesut Ozil played a defence-splitting pass that was stunning over to Auba who couldn’t link up well enough with Lacazette. We closed the game out well, limiting United to long shots and diving for penalties. Saka, Nelson and MG gave us some more energy late on to see the game out.

It ended 2-0. The fans stayed behind the congratulate the players who’d gathered in the centre spot with the manager. A brilliant show of unity. The last 18 months have been forgotten, a new decade, a new coach, and a new benchmark for how we play the beautiful game.

So what did we learn?

Coaching

Arteta has lived up to the coaching hype even after 2 weeks. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he was more than the cone boy at Manchester City now. He’s taken players that most fans had totally written off and turned them into beasts. The squad is a long way from Liverpool’s, no doubt, but too many people let Emery off the hook by stating the players we have at the club couldn’t be moved forward.

David Luiz was an absolute monster, he looked a £50m centre back out there last night. He was everywhere, strong in the challenge, he was coaching the kids, he was actually celebrating good passes between players during the game with fist bumps. He was immense versus Chelsea, even better last night.

Granit Xhaka was right up there with man of the match plaudits. His game was impeccable. He was measured, thoughtful, and disciplined all night. For a man that had one foot out the exit door, he sure didn’t play like it, a total professional.

Mesut Ozil has rightly rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way, but here we are, game 3, and he’s still putting in a dirty shift at the office. He worked like a dog, he ran further than any Arsenal player, and he made a huge difference. He made a 10 ball recoveries, which shows he’s paying attention and engaged. That’s all we ask for, it’s great to see him back enjoying a type of football many said he couldn’t play.

Lacazette didn’t land a goal, but he put in a workman like shift upfront. Auba, considering he’s looking to move, looked very much into the game. Nicolas Pepe showed us a glimpse of his talent. He had an incredibly productive day and banged out a shift. It was a pleasure to watch him.

Identity

There was so much debate about how long it’d take a good coach to give a club an identity when Emery was here, but look where we are now, 3 games in and we’re an aggressive possession-based football team that loves to attack. It’s not perfect, but we’re well on our way to unlocking a lethal front line of talented players. The Arsenal way we thought we lost is here, and we didn’t need to spend £400m to get there.

Defence

Defence is always about the collective. For too long we’ve focused on it being about individual greatness because there’s never been a collective system. That’s all changed now. Arteta looks to have focused on creating a solid foundation more than anything. Everyone had clear roles and responsibilities, the positioning is absolutely clear, and the whole team works to get the ball back.

The pressing is unbelievable. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Everyone aggressively hunting the ball down in packs. Lucas Torriera was a machine last night, the guy was literally everywhere. Why? Because he has a system that allows him to be that player.

The Stadium

I’ve not been as much as I used to over the past few years, but I’ve been to big games and felt the misery. That atmosphere last night was something else. The players created a reason for the fans to care. They were brutal, intense and they wanted to win. We reacted to it. We sang all game, stayed until the end, and made The Emirates the sort of place you’d want to sit in on a cold night in January. We finally have something to believe in, and it’s exciting.

Moving forward

I didn’t expect a win, so we’re ahead of schedule in my head. Now we have a bit of breathing space. Unfit players can get some energy back in their legs, injured players can return to stock the bench, and Arteta and his coaching staff can continue to develop their ideas. The next two months are about laying the foundations for an attack on the Europa League, but interestingly, if we can find some form in the Premier League, we might be able to have a crack at the top 4. We’re 9 points off Chelsea who are desperately inconsistent, we’re within 4 points of United, and 3 points of Spurs. I’d rather not be in Europa, but Champions League would give us a tremendous financial opportunity this summer. All very exciting.

The road ahead will be bumpy, there is lots to do, but we can rest assured the club has made a stunning decision to hire Mikel Arteta. Next season is going to be special, but first, let’s see where this one takes us.

 

629 Responses to “Mikel Arteta has players rocking in stunning victory”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Marko

    Do we really need to pay a Jorges Mendes agent mark-up to get a player we don’t need .i.e. Lemar?

    We don’t need? I dunno about not needing considering our options in midfield and our playing players out of position at LW/LM positions Lemar can play in.

  2. Bill

    OK Bamford. Clean sheet.
    Start afresh

    Tell us how you have come to the conclusion that Arsenal will finish “no higher than tenth”.

    Also tell us how you come to the conclusion that Man Utd have a better team, squad and manager than Arsenal.
    To be fair to you, you have consistently said this, but you have never explained how you have come to this conclusion or given any evidence or facts.
    If this is solely your OPINION, fair enough, but you state it as fact and say there is nothing that will change your mind.
    That is the talk of a fanatic.

    So let’s bury the hatchet and please answer the questions set so that we can all understand where you’re coming from.

  3. Batistuta

    Earliest memory is when we signed Bergkamp…Dad and uncle who support Inter thought it was nuts that Inter let him go and so he followed up on his Arsenal games and there i was a young and staunch Milan fan following up also mainly just for the banter really and like they say, the rest is history

  4. Cesc Appeal

    At least Lemar has been to the Simeone school of ‘I reject what science says about the maximum output of lungs’.

  5. Cesc Appeal

    Demiral is the rumour again for CB.

    It is likely Arsenal have Upamecano and Demiral as their options, discussions with Arteta and opinions on which represents best value likely will determine what happens.

    Would prefer Upamecano but I’ve read a lot of fans of Juventus and Serie A in general saying great things about him.

  6. salparadisenyc

    “Is anyone else here a Le Grover? Asking for a friend.”

    Looool im not sure if thats some kind of strange affliction involving total and utter masochistic behavior i’m definitely in.

  7. James wood

    Jim Lacey
    No such trouble here I went to Holloway county school
    a huge footballing school.
    Players at the time that represented Arsenal Charlie George and Tommy Youlden.
    Boys from Holloway also represented Spurs and Chelsea.
    Bob Wilson our past Goal keeper was also a part time sports teacher
    so he got a good look at any potential talent ( scouting on a shoestring 😂).

  8. China1

    That talk of dayot at 80m is not serious

    They wanted 70m in the summer

    Since then he’s nearing the end of his contract and they’ve already been sounding out his young replacement

    50m will do for sure on this one. 40m +mustafi could work. Or chuck in el bent and it’s could go to low 30s… depends if they’d like any of our rejects lol

  9. DigitalBob

    I’d prefer Ake over Rugani – something about Rugani screams “not suited for the Prem”. Ake while a bit rough around the edges is still competent but first choice has to be Upamecano and I’d actually go as far as to bid £60 million as he’s worth it in today’s market.

    Sad news about Chambo, wish him a speedy recovery, I think he’s been good for us this year and would have surely benefited from the new coaching regime.

    I hope this doesn’t mean the club will keep Mustafi……….wheres Dino Mavropano’s, seems the lads been injured for a while.

    Also in regards to the Thomas Lemar link, he would be great for us on the left, with the right coach hes got the talent to return to form but at the moment we have no need for another attacking option.

  10. Henry Root

    Graham
    Am I being dim ?
    Such a turnaround from last March when we were beaten 2 0 at home by Utd. A point at Bournemouth compared to our defeat last year and a narrow home defeat to Chelsea when compared to the 5 0 home defeat last year. The turnaround from Emery is astonishing.
    We beat United 2-0 in March, won at Bournemouth in October 2018 and beat Chelsea 2-0 in January last year

  11. Bill

    Batitusta,
    I remember very clearly that all press reports indicated that Bergkamp was going to Newcastle.
    I was told by a disgruntled Man Itd supporter that Arsenal had come out of the blue and signed him. I didn’t believe it and continued not to believe it as I was part of a group of practical jokes.
    Well the joke was in me. When I got home, I checked on Ceefax and found that Bergie had signed a d that I had wasted a day not enjoying the moment as I was convinced I wouldn’t be pranked!

  12. Graham62

    First clear memory was the 1969 League Cup Final, when we lost 3-1 to Swindon Town. Don Rodgers scored a brace.

    I was not quite seven.

    I remember crying because I could see how upset my Dad was.

    Bloody hell, 51 years ago!!

  13. Chris

    A great read on Arsenal’s ‘front five’ on The Athletic.

    My earliest Arsenal memory was on the tv when I was around 7 or 8 and Kevin Campbell bagged a goal against Leeds on the way to the title in 91. That in the says when top flight football was free on terrestrial television. First game was the first of the following season, against QPR. 3rd generation Gunner!

  14. DigitalBob

    Arsenal are my first and only club, been a fan since about 1996(10 years old) when I asked my dad who our local team(live in hackney and born at homerton hospital) were, he said “Arsenal, don’t worry you’ll like them” and the rest is history.

  15. Marko

    Leipzig likely postering on Upamecano who most likely wanted to move to us last summer. Their options at CB are him, Orban, Konate, Ampadu, Mukilele and Klostermann the latter two who can also play RB and their currently bringing in a RB in Henrichs. The sheer numbers they have coupled with wanting that PSG lad suggests that they could let Upamecano leave this month

  16. Jim Lahey

    “Chambers out for 6-9 months”

    This is what happens when you build your training ground over an ancient indian burial ground..

  17. Bill

    Digital Bob,
    Totally agree. Rouhani is not physical and not fast – physically or in thought. I’m convinced he will be a waste of money.
    Always liked Ake. Competent and fast, but can’t compare him to Upamecano. There is never a guarantee to go with a player, but he reminds me of Big Sol. Not as big, but speed and aggression
    The idea of him and Saliba paired up is wonderful. Both would need time to acclimatise, so if we could get both in this window that would be great.

    Lemar would be great but no where near our priorities. Partey would be higher up in what we need or Doucoure.
    We will probably have to replace Auba and/or Laca, so Lemar goes even further down the list. Unless we get bought out by a billionaire happy to flash the cash.
    Where’s Usmanov?

  18. wattsy

    Amazing night, must admit I could not watch from the beginning, not proud of it, but have been conditioned into expecting us to throw the game away, or be robbed by one of the appalling officials who haunt our league. So watched the darts, whilst my son streamed the game next to me . Hooked back in with 20 mins to go, and had trouble taking in the amazing scenes , w e had shape, we had style , we had aggression, and above all , the will to win. Seems churlish to pick on individuals , but Luiz was above magnificent, and his after match interview was spot on. Now it seems most everyone wants to stay and join in, everyone had a job last night, and busted a gut to do it.
    .I felt drained at the end, the feeling of impending doom never quite left me even in added time, now we have hope, now there will be noise in the library, now it feels great to be a gooner again.

  19. Marc

    China

    The reason the cost has gone up to £80 million is because we want them to take Mustafi in exchange.

    They’ve said that a straight up fee with no Mustafi and we can have him for £40 million!

  20. Marc

    On a serious note the Chambers news confirms that we need another CB this month. Luiz and Sok were certainly fine last night, Holding is making his way back from serious injury and Mav is not only highly inexperienced but has had injury issues as well.

  21. loyika

    I’m just here for the Bamford banter (Lolz)

    Having said that.

    I guess it’s obvious that Emery was just a “Rebound” Manager who was doomed to fail eventually as it was obvious that his appointment after Arsene was going to be tricky and he was not going to be given the same leeway (like Moyes after Fergie) .

    Feel sorry for him, seems like a nice Bloke who just got the job at the wrong time and circumstance as concerns the state of the club and fan base.

    A’Las Mikel will gain from what Emery was trying to do but couldn’t achieve. I would still have preferred a Carlo A or someone of that status to be at the helm but guess Arteta it is then.

    Really gutted that Paddy V didn’t throw his hat in the ring to be considered, just don’t understand what the issues are between him and the club?

    Arteta will “live or die” on if the club backs him with the resources to get in his own players whom he feels will be able to carry out what he wants on the pitch.

    One thing he has to do is be as honest as possible with the BoD and speak up if he is not being supported. He should not turn into a “Yes Man” like Wenger eventually became in order to remain at the helm and acquire some fake kind of power base that didn’t pay off for him in the end and probably threw away his Legacy for over 40% (or more) of supporters.

    Arteta can create a new era if he is given the support he needs, we might not win the league in the near future but we will definitely improve and hopefully compete if he is given the chance to make his name as a Manager with us which he should relish and take the chance with both hands.

    Once again…Paddy V this should have been you? Have no flipping idea what you are fucking around doing in Ligue 1!? You ain’t getting the Citeh job anytime soon either.

  22. James wood

    One memory that stuck with me was our player Joe Baker
    Lumping 6-2’ Ron Yeats to the ground at Highbury.and promptly walking straight off before the ref could think straight.

    Joe Baker was a great Arsenal player scoring 100 goals in 156
    games.
    He roomed with Dennis Law when playing for Torino.

  23. Batistuta

    Bill

    I remember following just to rile up my uncle and Dad that Bergkamp was going to flop at Arsenal and oh how wrong i was….Beauty of it was how that converted me to a gooner

  24. salparadisenyc

    There was never another club, only Arsenal then watching the family get hammered in Stokey win, lose or draw and wondering what that felt like.

    Its stuck.

  25. Danny

    Graham62
    ————-
    Mines the year before seeing my granddad wanting to beat the shit out of Terry Cooper and the ref for the foul on Jim Furnell. As for that Swindon match, the less said the better…….

  26. DigitalBob

    Absolutely Bill, the Atletico man we need to prioritise is Partey he would work very well in the middle with LT. Doucoure would also be great.

    Could you imagine a transfer window in which we get one of Saliba/Upamecano as well as one of Partey/Doucoure! Oh the possibilities…………..

  27. Chitom

    Bill, the idea that Man U has a better squad isn’t an outlandish one. After all the transfermarkt folks seem to think so too, even if not by much.
    Less than 70m or so.

    Although Pogba’s valuation is a big part of that difference and he seems to be chronically injured now.

  28. Alex James

    Who is the oldest grover on here? Pierre sounds like he was around from the caveman days?

    My first time at Highbury was 1957. I was there in 1958, when we lost 5-4 to Man U, in their last UK game before. Munich. I used to have Arsenal programmes, going back to 1950, including the 1950 and 52 FA Cup finals. I also had the programme of the Blackpool game in 53, when we won the league on goal difference from Preston. Sadly, I gave them all away when I married.

  29. Marko

    Unfortunately no Partey or Can or Bruno Guimaraes or whoever now that Xhaka is likely staying. It’s an unnecessary shame that I’m genuinely wondering why Arteta would be so against. Not only was he going to be rid of a problem player but he would have had a chance to bring in someone that HE wanted. Every new manager I suspect wants to bring in the players he wants as opposed to ones inherited. It’s a shame though

  30. DigitalBob

    Marko – I don’t think its set in stone that Xhaka’s still at the club this summer. I think Arteta simply needs everyone on board now and if he maintains form and excels under new coaching then yes he’ll likely stay on.

    We still need another midfielder as Ceballos deal will expire, id rather spend 50 million euros on Partey than Ceballos anyway.

  31. shaun

    there is only one confusion and it’s a big big one as it seems Art really does want to keep xhaka……….baffled

  32. loyika

    @ AJ…Wow!

    1957…Damn!! My Parents hadn’t even met by then (Lolz)

    Would love to hear how you “Golden Age” football fans have been able to cope with all the changes in the game from differing eras…must be a nostalgic feeling seeing the game evolve through its different stages (for better or worst)

    I think RedButt is the oldest Le Grover…sounds like he is in his early 70s

  33. Marko

    I suspect he’s okay with him going in the summer which again brings into question why not just let him go this month? You risk a lack of interest in the summer meanwhile this month we could apparently get close to 30 million for him. A risk imo not worth taking

  34. Bamford10

    Bill

    To address your first question, I don’t think I’ve actually ever said that (“Arsenal will finish no higher than tenth”). If you think I said that somewhere, please copy and paste it in here. I think you are misinterpreting or misremembering something I’ve said, though. It is true that I don’t rate this current squad, it is true that (like others) I have been quite pessimistic at times, and it is true that I have at times wondered if we would finish better than tenth, but in general my view has been consistently this: that at least seven PL teams have better squads than we do and that we will therefore find it difficult to do better than 8th. That has generally been my view and I have laid out why I think this many times. There is a chance that I was even more negative and pessimistic on this front at some moment in the past few weeks, but I don’t believe I ever said the above, nor does the above represent my general view, which has been fairly consistent over the past few months. Again, my view is that our squad is something like the 8th best in the PL and that we are therefore likely to finish 8th or lower. I admit that this is a fairly negative assessment of our squad, but journalist Matt Scott, for example — who Pedro had on his podcast a little while back — believes we have the 15th best midfield in the PL and he has penned an article discussing this assessment. If a respected voice like his can come to such a negative assessment of this squad, why is my assessment so problematic? I don’t think it is; indeed, I think my view is reasonable, informed and realistic.

  35. Alex James

    Joe Baker was a great Arsenal player scoring 100 goals in 156 games.

    Remember the really strong forwards line. McLeod Strong Baker, Eastham Skirton . Regrettably, still failed to win anything.

  36. Bamford10

    I like Ceballos in some ways, but there is absolutely no question we need a Soumare or Partey more than we need Ceballos. If signing Ceballos means not spending serious money on other midfield pieces, then signing him is a big fat ‘no’ for me.

  37. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    Don’t understand the logic about an apparent lack of interest in Xhaka come the summer, the reverse is surely more reasonable?

    Up until now he’s had a hard season, public fallout, and by all accounts wanted out. That puts Arsenal in a really weak negotiation position.

    Arteta wants him for the here and now because he backs him to deliver aspects for the side. So if he manages to continue that trend we have a player come the summer infinitely more attractive to possible buyers. Couple that with the Euro’s and the 25 mil can quickly become 40 to the right suitor.

  38. Jim Lahey

    Its odd, Maitland Niles at 22 is seen as a young player still developing yet Dani Ceballos at 23 is expected to be a seasoned vet!! ha!

  39. Radio Raheem

    Happy new year mongoloids.

    For the first time in a while Arsenal look like a top 4 side. With the drabness that marked his final days it’s easy to forget the initial uplift in performance Emery had on the side. This culminated in that 22 game unbeaten run.

    That said at no time in that run did we produce the sort first half I saw against ManUre (I didn’t catch the Chelsea match). It was dominant yet controlled. We had some very good performances under Emery mind. But they were more helter skelter, think of the home matches against Tottenham, Leicester etc.

    Always the real magic is to be consistent. Go on Arteta!

    I’m happy to munch on some humble pie Pedro. Whether or not it collapses from here Arteta has surpassed my expectations.

  40. Alex James

    Would love to hear how you “Golden Age” football fans have been able to cope with all the changes in the game from differing eras…must be a nostalgic feeling seeing the game evolve through its different stages (for better or worst)I think RedButt is the oldest Le Grover…sounds like he is in his early 70s

    Can match the age. The modern game is much more scientific in England now. Doubt if their was much coaching going in when I was in my teens. Training was limited to players running up and down the stand steps, and in some clubs, players were not allowed to touch a ball, to make them hungry for it at the weekend! For all that, my memories recall Eddie Clamp or Peter Storey terrorising opposition forwards, by .literally booting them into the air. Overall, the game is better, although I think the hunger has been lost.

  41. Champagne charlie

    “To address your first question, I don’t think I’ve actually ever said that (“Arsenal will finish no higher than tenth”). If you think I said that somewhere, please copy and paste it in here. I think you are misinterpreting or misremembering something I’ve said, though“

    Funny that……

    “Which further supports the claim that the problem was the squad, not Emery. But let’s not get bogged down in that discussion again. Arteta is inheriting a poor squad & a mess of a situation; w/o a smart January, we’ll be lucky to finish 10th. #afc“ – Banford on Twitter

    “Appoint whoever you like. Pochettino, Ancelotti, Arteta. This group of players will finish no higher than 10th. #afc“ – Banford on Twitter

  42. Jim Lahey

    @Alex –

    “Training was limited to players running up and down the stand steps, and in some clubs, players were not allowed to touch a ball, to make them hungry for it at the weekend!”

    So I can confirm, my local team still does shit like this! I have done training sessions where we were not allowed to touch a football..

  43. Marko

    Jorge Jesus: “The 17-year-old (Reinier) will be sold to one of Europe’s biggest teams now, for several million euros.”

    Fingers crossed.

    And Pedro getting push back on Twitter about Upamecano’s injury record. Pedro in the 18/19 season it’s impossible for a player to miss 350 days of a season and make 22 appearences and 1800 mins on the season. Sounds like a mistake

  44. Pierre

    Graham
    “First clear memory was the 1969 League Cup Final, when we lost 3-1 to Swindon Town. Don Rodgers scored a brace.”

    I was there ,the day Ian Ure cocked up big time, Bobby Gould equalised last minute of normal time and we all thought that would be it, our first trophy for 16 years….wasn’t to be.

    We had to wait for that until the following season in the fairs cup.

  45. Jim Lahey

    The game moves so fast now, I always wonder how even the Invincibles would get on in todays league. Probably still boss it actually, that team had it all, could play football could dish out a beat down if needs be!

  46. Alex James

    But they gave great value.
    Skirton ( The Bomb)

    Forgotten that nickname James. I saw him playing for Weymouth some years later.

  47. Champagne charlie

    Jim

    Different era of course, but I think those guys would adapt to the needs of today and absolutely crush it.

  48. James wood

    Alex James.
    You did not see those players in the refs face
    I thought we looked amateur last night in that
    department.

    Should be a yellow ref last night was weak.
    To many premier players doing this.

  49. MuddyGooner

    Highbury Leg end
    ‘Once again, I prefer to wait a bit before giving Pedro a blow job.
    Old habits die hard.’

    Best to pull out the blood dripping tampon and replace it with a dry one. That might improve your mood. LOL

  50. Pierre

    Alex James
    “my memories recall Eddie Clamp or Peter Storey terrorising opposition forwards, by .literally booting them into the air.”

    Clamp was before my time , storey booted anything that moved , hence the song

    Storey ,Storey break his leg , a yard above his knee.

  51. Marko

    Don’t understand the logic about an apparent lack of interest in Xhaka come the summer, the reverse is surely more reasonable?

    On the basis of recent summers and the amount of midfielders that have changed clubs meanwhile there’s been nothing remotely concrete with regards to Xhaka leaving and even this month the club interested in signing him is only interested in him after getting knocked back for Tousart. I would not be confident of drumming up interest or getting a better price than what we could have gotten from Berlin for Xhaka in the summer.

  52. Bamford10

    Champagne

    OK, so those were two of my most negative and pessimistic moments. I now think I was probably overreacting a little; I now think we probably have a decent chance at 7th or 8th and I was maybe getting a little carried away back then. However, given how this team has struggled against the likes of Bournemouth, Norwich, Palace and Brighton in the past, I may be just as pessimistic two weeks from now as I was then.

    Let’s see how we do against other kinds of opponents on other days before we begin saying that any and all pessimism was unwarranted. Whether it was warranted or not can only be assessed at the end of the season.

    If it makes you gents happy, though, I will gladly say that I may have been overly negative at certain moments in the past. Those tweets represent such moments. Everyone gets things wrong from time to time. I am no exception.

  53. Pierre

    “Remember the really strong forwards line. McLeod Strong Baker, Eastham Skirton . Regrettably, still failed to win anything.”

    Had a crap defence back then as well , Jim Furnell in goal didn’t help either

  54. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    You don’t know of concrete interest in Xhaka, and when a player is happy at a club he inevitably gives his agent nothing, and puts the “not interested” sign up in his own window so that’s that.

    There’s no surprise Xhaka has a club ready and willing to buy him the second he’s flirting with leaving. You must recognise that?

    We’ll see in the summer, but the idea this is a one time deal is incredibly naive from where I sit. We improve, Xhaka plays well, he’ll have his suitors, couldn’t be more confident of that fact.

  55. Jim Lahey

    “Xhaka would command a very decent price …35/40 mil.”

    I thought the Hertha Berlin deal was meant to be around 20-25m?

  56. Ernest Reed

    “ If a respected voice like his can come to such a negative assessment of this squad, why is my assessment so problematic? “

    A). You are not a respected voice
    B). You have little to no football acumen
    C). His voice can back up his claims and opinion

    This has always been your problem, you way too full of yourself to be taken seriously. To even state such a thing is proof enough. Or would you prefer that I provide you with 32 examples followed by another 16 and then followed up with 11 reasons as to why? You get it yet? You’re just not likeable, period.

  57. Marko

    You don’t know of concrete interest in Xhaka.

    Don’t be naive in this day and age there’s always rumours always reports always something if enquires or bids are made. There’s been nothing concrete with regards to Xhaka until Berlin who did so after Lyon knocked back an initial approach for Tousart. So not only is he not getting alot of interest but any interest is after a club wanted someone else first. Like I said it’s a risk not to accept it this month a major risk.

  58. Bamford10

    Jim

    I think Spurs, Wolves and United have better players than we do, so while we are only 5 points below United and fifth now, I really don’t think fifth is that realistic. You are free to think otherwise. We are allowed to have different opinions here, no?

  59. Redtruth

    Pierre March 10, 2019  21:50:01
    “Today’s performance against a very good football team showed that if the team is set up correctly and play with the right attitude , we can compete with the best.”

    Pierre full of joy and exuberance after Arsenal beat Man Utd 2-0 in March 2019

  60. Marko

    he’ll have his suitors, couldn’t be more confident of that fact.

    I don’t share that confidence at all. His age his ability his price his wages there’s just far better deals out there for clubs. Look at Hertha Berlin trying to sign up 22 year old Lucas Tousart first or Marcos Llorente, Barrella and others moving last summer and I just think clubs will likely look elsewhere.

  61. DigitalBob

    Marko – I agree, its risky for sure, you hope that in the summer he’s more appealing but short of him becoming world class overnight the rumoured price Hertha offered will most likely be the same in the summer, from them or another club.

  62. Champagne charlie

    “OK, so those were two of my most negative and pessimistic moments. I now think I was probably overreacting a little; I now think we probably have a decent chance at 7th or 8th and I was maybe getting a little carried away back then.“

    Well just 18 hours ago you tweeted the following:

    “ We’ll be lucky to finish 8th. We killed ourselves in order to win tonight, & that was the worst I’ve seen United play all season. #afc” – Banford on Twitter

    Seems you’re absolutely dead against anything that might make your prior claims about squad poverty look foolish, and that’s your continual downfall on here imo. You draw a line and then take stance after stance to protect that view no matter how bizarre.

    Be wrong, not “may have been”, or some other nonsense. Nobody will think less of you for it, gets boring watching you cling onto a POV that is quite clearly not defendable in the manner you previously suggested.

    Christ above you’re far from perfect, stop trying to protect that ideal……it’s widely known mate.

  63. Jim Lahey

    @Bamford –

    Of course we are allowed to have our own opinions, but that doesn’t mean those opinions can not be questioned.

    You think those three teams have better players than we do I would disagree on all three counts.

    You have seen the last 3 games right? I mean the difference in our play has been
    remarkable. We have a very good batch of players, still missing a few key components of course.

    If we keep progressing as we have in the last few weeks we should be looking to push for 4th. Probably won’t get it at this point but we should be there or there abouts.

  64. Marko

    Even now you’re hearing of Juve willing to listen to offers for Rabiot for around 25 million. If he’s available for that next summer and Xhaka is available next summer I can guarantee you that Xhaka will be not be first choice. Guarantee you.

  65. Ernest Reed

    “If it makes you gents happy, though, I will gladly say that I MAY have been overly negative at certain moments in the past. ”

    Not exactly a contrite statement. And my estimation of your opinion grants only one thing, that you are indeed entitled to one, provided you state it as such and not a fact, to which you often present.

  66. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    There’s only been concrete stuff with Xhaka lately because Xhaka and his camp allowed the advances. Clubs don’t start the PR drips and sounding out players without some encouragement. Only the very best get constant hounding, and he ain’t that.

    I think your lack of confidence is misplaced, you think him much less than he’s considered in football imo. He’s the Swiss captain, has a good reputation in the Bundesliga, if he has a stellar half season with Arsenal and say we win the EL or something you’re going to tell me he couldn’t fetch more than 25 mil at 27 years old on 100k? Behave. We will see.

  67. Bamford10

    Marko

    Except that it’s not a risk at all to hold onto Xhaka. One, we’re short on midfielders and there is no guarantee we will get a quality replacement for him in this window. Two, Arteta clearly believes he needs him. That alone is reason to think holding on to him is the reasonable thing to do. Three, if Arteta gets Xhaka to play reasonably well for the remainder of the season, Xhaka’s stock will be higher than it is now, not lower. If he doesn’t perform up to expectations or if his stock doesn’t go up, so what? Our priority right now needs to be winning PL and EL matches. If Arteta thinks he needs Xhaka at the moment to do this, I think he’s probably right.

  68. Redtruth

    What’s the point in being up for a game against an average Man Utd side and then flopping in the remaining fixtures…..
    Wolves have beaten Man City twice this season and Wolves are shit…

  69. Champagne charlie

    Marko

    Rabiot is on twice Xhaka’s wages and everything they sell him for is profit as he was a bosman, so the price can be undercut to shift him.

    Also, let’s just watch Rabiot actually go for 25 mil before saying that’s his price.

  70. Pierre

    Ruth
    “Pierre March 10, 2019 21:50:01
    “Today’s performance against a very good football team showed that if the team is set up correctly and play with the right attitude , we can compete with the best.”

    Pierre full of joy and exuberance after Arsenal beat Man Utd 2-0 in March 2019”

    It’s amazing how good a team can be if they are set up correctly, dont you think Ruth .

    Always happy when we win , I support the team not the manager.

  71. Alex James

    The only chap all hard men avoided was Dave Mackay of Spurs. That picture of him lifting Bremner off the ground by the neck still makes me chuckle.

  72. Bamford10

    Jim

    “You have seen the last 3 games right?”

    Yes, I saw us draw with a poor Bournemouth, lose to Chelsea and beat United. I think you have been more impressed with what you’ve seen in these matches than I am.

    “I mean the difference in our play has been
    remarkable.”

    Ummmm, I think we’ve been better in certain respects. I don’t know about this “remarkable” stuff.

    “We have a very good batch of players.”

    Sorry, but I disagree.

    “we should be looking to push for 4th. Probably won’t get it at this point but we should be there or thereabouts”

    Yeah, sorry, but I think this is unrealistic. Chelsea have loads more quality and athleticism than we do, and some of the teams immediately above us have more quality and athleticism as well. I think you are getting too carried away with what last night means. Let’s see how we do against Palace and whoever’s next after that. Then we’ll talk about whose assessment is more accurate. You may be right — Arteta may be a miracle worker in fact — but I personally think that you’re getting carried away and that you’re forgetting about some of our weaknesses, weaknesses that will likely rear their heads in future matches.

    To each his own.

  73. Redtruth

    Pierre
    “It’s amazing how good a team can be if they are set up correctly, dont you think Ruth.”

    Amazing, just like the other day we were set up correctly and lost to Chelsea…lol

  74. Pierre

    Ruth
    “Amazing, just like the other day we were set up correctly and lost to Chelsea…lol”

    And your point is?

  75. Un na naai

    Champagne Charlie

    You played at the bernabeu?
    How? Why? What position did you play? How old were you? That’s quality

    I got into arsenal because an older cousin from Ireland who I thought was the business gave me an arsenal shirt when I was 9 and I started getting into them properly after that
    My whole family were chelsea
    I still haven’t lived it down
    Totally made the right choice
    Fuck being a chelsea fan.

  76. Un na naai

    Bamford

    Yeah. Ok. You appreciate untied an solkjear

    I haven’t really got a problem with it.
    Things are good
    Life is good
    Arsenal just re announced ourselves

    I’m not going to ride you too much over it
    It’s weird but hey ho. I was cheering spurs on vs city in the champions league last season so what can I say?

  77. Un na naai

    Marko

    I’m with Charlie
    Xakha is a good olayer in the right set up. Remember my old “more value for money than Paul Pogba argument”?

    I stand by it. He has his uses but has been hung out to dry almost constantly in his arsenal career bar a few weeks here and there where managers found some rhythm in midfield.
    I think that’s about to change. The way Arteta is using him and our left wing back is perfect

    I wonder if he will bin bellerin for a more technical, ball playing right back though. Seems to suit his strategy more than bellerin would

  78. Alex James

    I started following The Arsenal in November 1957 – can anyone rival that? Me.See my earlier post.

    Tommy Smith.? Yes. I remember talking to an ex Arsenal player some years ago. He said, the 1958 Bolton full backs Hartle and Banks were like apanzer divisions. And refs were scared stiff of them.

  79. Bamford10

    I appreciate you being so reasonable and fair-minded, Un Na. I will try to treat you just as reasonably going forward.

  80. Un na naai

    Yes, I saw us draw with a poor Bournemouth, lose to Chelsea and beat United. I think you have been more impressed with what you’ve seen in these matches than I am.“I mean the difference in our play has been
    remarkable.”Ummmm, I think we’ve been better in certain respects. I don’t know about this “remarkable” stuff.

    Bamford

    Come on!! Arteta has transformed ozil and Luiz

    Torriera and AMN look like the players they should be

    Xakha has found his groove
    Pepe stepped up against United

    Sokratis looks like a warrior
    We hunted in packs
    Defended and attacked well but more importantly, as a team.
    We passed the ball well.
    Kept our shape
    Adapted our tactics

    All in 10 days!!
    How can you not see this??

  81. Marko

    There’s only been concrete stuff with Xhaka lately because Xhaka and his camp allowed the advances.

    Yeah I dunno man I think his camp would have been susceptible to an approach had a club say be prepared to offer him a wage or a club been willing to make an actual offer for him.

    I think your lack of confidence is misplaced, you think him much less than he’s considered in football imo. He’s the Swiss captain, has a good reputation in the Bundesliga

    Then why oh why was Hertha Berlin’s first choice Tousart?

  82. wattsy

    Am pitching for the oldest Grover here, my first game was either 1949 or 1950, my Dad left me in the boys enclosure , we won 3-0 and Lishman scored a hat trick, think it was against Blackpool.

    Now in my 76th year, and have been through many ups and downs with the Gunners, my dad went to Chelsea the weekends Arsenal were away, so guess I was just lucky, that went to Highbury first, had a lucky escape!

  83. Bill

    Looks like Charlie bear me to it. There are further examples in your tweets as JM Bapple and again on Arseblog – one where you set one of your wagers. I could find them but I can’t be bothered unless you deny it and then I can fish them out.

    My main interest is your reasoning why you believe Utd have a better team, better squad and better manager.
    With all due respect, you give a circular argument: you believe we have a team / squad that is 10th “at best’ because that is your belief.
    Do you base this on statistical evidence, if so which datasets do you use?
    Do you base it on watching matches, if so which? If you watch matches, then I suggest you are at a disadvantage as watching a match at any ground gives a far better appreciation if movement off the ball and pressing by the team.
    You can’t use the league table as there are many other factors or, as one of your protagonists stated that there are manifold “extraneous variables” involved. You called this “waffle and deflection”. Funny that you now use the same accurate argument. I don’t do this to belittle you, but to further question HOW you have come to your conclusion. It seems nothing more than your opinion. That’s not bad but it can’t be dressed up as fact.
    I suppose I was hoping you had used some form of algorithm that we could all discuss.

    Thanks for your input. I think we would get on much better if you just stated your opinion and clearly stated your evidence.

    Cheers

  84. Marko

    Fact is that despite a slight improvement under Arteta Granit Xhaka has been generally speaking a poor signing for the club over the past 3+ seasons. I think if we were to get close to 30 million for him considering that fact that we should absolutely take it and reinvest in younger and better. It is a risk to suggest that a player who has struggled in the past will improve enough in the next few months to garner such interest as he has now. Which might I add is one single club. Sell him get in Rabiot or Can on loan or Bruno Guimaraes or Sander Berge players who I imagine Arteta could use and use well.

  85. Alex James

    Wattsy. Now in my 76th year, and have been through many ups and downs with the Gunners. Hats off to you sir. Ahead of me in the post 70 count.

    Alex your not married to Jeanette are you same year same month.
    It’s a creditable draw.
    Can anyone top this.

    Ha. Widower now.

  86. Emiratesstroller

    Regarding how I became a supporter at Arsenal.

    My father was a friend of Joe Mercer during the Second World War. Mercer was captain of Arsenal and interestingly one of the few footballers with business interests outside football.

    My father secured a seat through Mercer in the Special Enclosure at Highbury, which was very difficult to obtain because there was a very long
    waiting list. This enclosure which was directly opposite the Directors was
    unique and rather like a private members club with dining/tea room and
    later on tv room. Many celebrities were of course season ticket holders there
    and interestingly David Dean was a season ticket holder before moving onto
    to become a Director.

    My first game at Arsenal was watching Stanley Matthews play for Blackpool which was a very long time ago.

    Memorable games I have watched include the last game played in England by
    Manchester United [Busby Babes] at Highbury which was also an exceptional
    match.

    I watched Arsenal win the Double when Bertie Mee was Manager. I watched
    Arsenal win 1-0 at Spurs when we won League Title.

    I have seen Arsenal win 6 League Titles and countless Cups at Wembley including the Memorable Final when we won against Man Utd having blown
    a lead.

    Perhaps the most memorable football games I watched were not involving
    Arsenal but when England won the World Cup in 1966. I was fortunate to watch all England’s games in London including the final.

    Having said all that I can also say that I watched some of Arsenal’s worst performances as well. Arsenal produced some fairly awful teams and there
    was one season when we could easily have been relegated but for the outstanding goalkeeping of Jack Kelsey.

    So I consider myself to be a “Gooner” through and through even if I was never
    a member of the Cale Mob who controlled the North Bank.

  87. Henry Root

    I first supported Arsenal in 1958. My Dad saw them play at Highbury in 1924 ( he was 4). My Grandad used to watch them play at Woolwich . I have seen over 1000 home games and probably about 100 away games .
    I remember that forward line under Billy Wright and loved Joe Baker especially when he decked Ron Yeats !

  88. Un na naai

    Marko

    Yes. He may be considered a poor signing but that doesn’t mean that his abilities can’t be harnessed in certain way that bring the best out of him in the right setup.

    Diego Forlan springs to mind
    Morientes
    Salah and KDB
    Mane
    Henry
    Overmars and Pires
    Dennis Bloody Bergkamp

    Not that he’s in the league of the some of the legends I’ve mentioned but the point stands
    Some players in the wrong set up are below average.
    You get them into the right tactical set up and add some confidence and you’ve got yourself a player all of a sudden

  89. Emiratesstroller

    Henry Root

    So we are kindred spirits.

    Billy Wright was an excellent footballer whilst playing for Wolves but rather
    like Bobby Moore too nice to be a good manager.

    Fortunately for him he married well one of the Beverley Sisters and lived in
    a rather nice house in Highgate which would have been rather unusual for
    anyone with a football background in that era.

  90. James wood

    Emirates
    So I must have been in your gang as I was a Northbank resident.
    Loved the rapour with the clock end.
    It could get noisy
    Especially the night we won the Fairs cup.

  91. Danny

    Special Enclosure at Highbury
    ———————
    My granddad had 2 season tickets there from the 60’s onwards, then it was called the Executive Suite which mainly included season ticket shareholders and you’d see Ken Friar there every match handing out the official line ups before ko. I went there hundreds of times and as executive members, for reserve matches we’d sit in the Directors box.

  92. Luteo Guenreira

    Really curious to see if the squad can keep up this level of intensity in their play for the remainder of the year. Once fitness level and stamina start to play a bigger factor as you go deeper into the season, I don’t know if I can expect players like Xhaka, Ozil, Luiz to have the kind of performances they did yesterday. Regardless of where we both sit in the table, Arsenal v United is always a big match that the players will show up for.

    It’s ruthless but we need to squeeze every ounce of ability and effort out of the squad this season to try and somehow snatch a CL spot, and regardless of the efforts and performance given if any player is overall seen as subpar we have to improve that position. I don’t want any sentimentalism based on the potential of one or two good performances.

  93. Un na naai

    for. It’s ruthless but we need to squeeze every ounce of ability and effort out of the squad this season to try and somehow snatch a CL spot, and regardless of the efforts and performance given if any player is overall seen as subpar we have to improve that position. I don’t want any sentimentalism based on the potential of one or two good performances.

    Luteo
    Funny how folks round theses parts considered just qualifying as an affront.
    Usually those that have never been to an arsenal game

  94. Tenerife Gooner,

    Became an Arsenal fan Jan 1988.Always wanted to watch top class football regular.Wife went back to work full time,plus reasonable priced Train fare from Paignton.It was a toss up between OPR and Arsenal,when I found out how quick I could get to Paddington,from Highbury.Only one choice.Loved it.

  95. Alex James

    Samesong. Thanks. Without sounding arrogant, I guess we old fellas have the history of the club in our heads. My grandad went to Highbury in the 20s, and my dad in the 30s. My son is a Gooner as well. It’s in the blood.

  96. Valentin

    Having seen Nelson and Torreira quite often slipping on Arsenal’s turf and the sheer number of ACL Arsenal suffers, I wonder if Arsenal’s players choose the wrong studs.
    Years ago when he started as a professional footballer, my godson did his ACL and was told off by his coach for having used the wrong shoes. Especially in view of the reason why he had not selected the right one. The official one were not flashy enough for him. The moulded studs were too long or wrong shape for the playing condition surface. When he tried to turn, instead of tearing the ground surface, the studs got stuck and his knee buckled.
    I know that in rugby, some teams have a kit man that walk on the pitch before the players and select the right ones for them.

  97. Luteo Guenreira

    Some of the Grovers have been Gooners twice as long as Hamford has been a student of the game.

    That’s a bloody long time innit. Cheers, and good health to you all 😀

  98. Danny

    About 1998/9 I was at a reserve match (George Armstrong was the coach) and when I got to the Directors box just before ko it was pretty empty so for a laugh I sat in Dein’s sit (had his name on it). Come half time, I get up to head down for tea and biscuits etc and right behind me was Dein! I said I was sorry and he just said “for what?”. Nice of him and I spent the half time break talking to him, he was the business for sure and didn’t hold back in what he had to say.
    But after the break I sat in a different seat……..

  99. Emiratesstroller

    James Wood

    I sat mainly as a season ticket holder in West Stand. However, on occasion when my father could not get me a ticket to sit with him I did stand in North Stand.

    I did so on the occasion of Arsenal’s game v Man Utd which was the last time
    that they played in England before Munich.

    Incidentally we all talk about the good times, but I have still vivid memories
    of Arsenal losing to Swindon in League Cup Final, which was one of my worst
    experiences.

    This is why I am perhaps more tolerant of Arsenal’s recent form than many of
    the younger posters. They have been relatively spoiled in recent years.

    Having said that I have come very close to considering cancelling my two season tickets this season. The football has been so turgid.

  100. Emiratesstroller

    Danny

    The Special Enclosure changed when Arsenal secured its first sponsorship.
    A large proportion of seats were allocated to sponsors and those season ticket holders who remained were charged fourfold price increase.

    My father refused to pay the increase on a point of principle and Ken Friar arranged for him seats directly outside enclosure.

    This was the start of commercialism at the club

  101. Valentin

    Got into Arsenal after moving into the UK in 1994, because two of the four people who I knew who were into football were Arsenal fans.
    The other two, one was a Newcastle fan and the other one was a QPR fan. Went to my first English football game with him at Loftus road. Felt wrong, never gone back to Loftus road.
    To this day, I thank my lucky star I did not chose any of the other two.

    In France used to go with my great-grandfather to see football at Lens. In term of atmosphere, RC Lens and its stadium is the closest to English football. Lens is a small city full of miners with a population of 30,000 but a stadium of 35,000. It used to be 40,000 then it dropped to 30,000 and now after some refurbishment it is about 38,000.

  102. Danny

    Emiratesstroller
    ——-
    Must’ve been in the late 70s I guess.
    Reminds me of team shop run by Jack Kelsey in the ground which hardly had anything till they opened that shop by Finsbury Park station.

  103. Marko

    Having seen Nelson and Torreira quite often slipping on Arsenal’s turf and the sheer number of ACL Arsenal suffers, I wonder if Arsenal’s players choose the wrong studs.

    What other ACL’s have we suffered at the Emirates?

  104. Valentin

    Ok my bad.
    Still if you choose the wrong studs at the Emirates or at away you still at a higher risk of ACL.

  105. James wood

    Emirates
    In the 20 odd years I went over Highbury as they used to say.
    I never sat down once.
    It was always the North bank -combination games as well.
    I was alway’s comfortable there except one occasion
    when Rangers played Red star Belgrade a big nasty pissed up
    Rangers crowd turned up they where up to know good very scary.
    Especially getting out of the ground.

  106. Marko

    Well at least you’re not blaming Emery for it. Makes for a nice change of pace. I seem to remember Chambers went down under a challenge though

  107. Freddie Ljungberg

    http://dailycannon.com/2020/01/arteta-kolasinac-wasnt-ready-he-put-himself-on-the-line/

    Kolasinac wasn’t ready to play, was expecting to start at Leeds or later but said he was ready because Saka was running on fumes after the last couple of games.

    Luckily we got away with it this time but shows the threadbare nature of the squad at the moment. We need some more players back now, this 9 day break in the PL couldn’t have come at a better time.