The kids did allllllright

by .

Mikel Arteta undertook a risky strategy that paid off against Portsmouth. He opted to start 6 kids 20 or under against a form side. Portsmouth were unbeaten in 19 games at home. They were also on a 10 game winning streak. That’s a lot of confidence in the players and a lot with the fans.

The game wasn’t Picasso in its beauty, but that was always unlikely in a cup game with a ferocious home ground so mean they sang ‘You’re leaving in an ambulance’ to Lucas T when he was smashed over without a booking inside 15 minutes. That moment unnerved us and quite often in big injury games, both teams switch off, but we gained our composure and had the best chances of the half.

I’d say the problems in the first half were very similar to those we face with the senior team, in the final third, we lacked a decent ball and our finishing was poor. We had a few shaky moments at the back from some looping crosses, but we kept their chances to a minimum. In fact, they only hit the target once in the entire game. Gabriel missed a couple of sitters that he’ll regret and I think Eddie also flunked his lines. The opening moment did come though, deep into injury time Nelson fizzed a low cross at Sokratis, the GREEK BEAST buried his shot inside the near post. A thing of beauty. A strikers finish. Alan Shearer in tears at the purity.

The second half was a different story altogehter. We took a far more aggressive approach and absolutely dominated the chances and the possession. Reiss Nelson again made the difference with a great run and final ball that found Eddie, he did brilliantly at the near post finishing like a boss.

We can look at the result as a professional job well done, I’m not sure I always felt like it during the game, but we limited Pompey to zero shots on target across the 90 minutes and a young team rode out some brutal play from the home side and an absolutely standard Mike Riley performance in which you can be sure he was desperate to help Pompey. Booking Matteo for theatrics but not the thug that smashed Torreira summed it up.

There were some solid performances. Pablo Mari, the most handsome man in the team looked very assured. He had the second most touches on the pitch, made some good blocks, and gave a solid account of himself. He opens up the pitch as well, he’s very pro moving the ball forward and he’s actually far quicker than I thought he’d be. Yep, quicker than Per, I said it. Let’s see if he can do that against the Hammers in a few days.

Joe Willock didn’t have his best game. His touch was off, he made some bad decisions and his final ball was not of the standard we’d expect of a 10. I’m not sure that’s his position. I like that he has outrageous amounts of energy, and that he never lets his head drop, but he’s not quite right in the 10 role. I’m not sure if he even likes playing there.

Reiss Nelson landed two assists. He was direct, confident and he had a lot of swagger about his game. I’m so pleased to see him improving, notable that Arteta said he was a special talent, he clearly had a lot of hope for his future.

Sokratis is worth a mention just because he played the most Hollywood ball of the game and it was pretty, also can’t know a centre back scoring a goal like an elite striker.

Saka continued to have some good moments, Ceballos fought like a dog, and I’ll continue to give David Luiz props for being a mentor regardless of the game he’s playing in. It was great to see him spending time with Reiss after the game. I am really impressed with his attitude towards the new regime and his approach to the games since Emery left.

Arteta once again delivered his criticism to the players in plain English. He had this to say on AMN absence from the starting 11.

“Ainsley needs to put his head down, work hard and show me every day in training he wants it more than anybody else and that he wants to play for this club and fight for his place.”

Lack of focus has been a a critique of him in the past. He’ll switch off, do something dopey on the pitch and look unfocused. Counter that critique of him to what he said of Papa.

“He moans a little bit because it’s not his position,” Arteta joked, “but for certain games I think [Sokratis] is very [much a] handful.

“He has always had the right attitude and has qualities to play there in certain moments when we need him.

“Sometimes he needs to interpret what’s happening, when we have the ball it’s a little bit difficult for him to use the space like he should do in relation to what the opponents are doing. But in general he did really well again.”

It’s clear. Do what you’re asked. Focus. You will get games. AMN is going to blow his chance with us and end up like Theo and Iwobi. Sad to see.

Overall, it’s a game we should have won. But we’ve slipped in the past after a bad result. The players fought hard, they kept their composure and they once again showed they are up for the fight.

Now we have to do it in the league. Champions League is the goal, we need to make it happen. Onwards and upwards, we’re playing West Ham next. Always tough to play derby games, but a win is the only acceptable outcome.

241 Responses to “The kids did allllllright”

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  1. azed

    There are two reasons why we attack down the sides.
    1) Most teams block the centre via two banks of 4.
    2) Lacazette doesn’t make runs in behind and he’s off the ball movement is poor.

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again playing PEA in the middle would open up space for Ozil because his movement would would keep the CB’s busy leaving Pepe and Saka/Nelson 1 v 1 with the full backs.

    With Lacazette, everything happens in front of the the opposition CB’s and they never have to worry about Lacazette going in behind them.

  2. Marc


    Whilst not going down a rabbit hole what odd’s do you think of matches being called off our played behind closed doors?

  3. wattsy


    Agree AMN needs to stop sulking, but I have some sympathy for him, he helped us out big time by playing wing back, for months, there is no way he can prove his worth in central midfield, unless he is actually given some match time. Last night was perfect or him, get out on the pitch, put up or shut up time. Until that happens we will never know.

    Saka on the other hand is handling himself very well, and not complaining YET
    but he will if and loudly if the situation goes on unchanged into next season. Bet your life he will have this in mind when deciding whether to sign a new contract

  4. Marc


    If that is true it’ll be all over every news outlet in no time – you just can’t cover that type of thing up with social media out there.

    It’d actually make the situation a lot worse if the government was caught either trying to cover something up or looking like they were.

  5. Marc


    “Yeah cos the government only have the best interests at heart for its constituents.”

    Actually in this sort of situation I believe they do.

  6. Marc


    This country has a history of being at it’s best when the shit hits the fan – it’s when things are all OK it goes down the toilet.

  7. salparadisenyc

    Could see Liverpool have a couple bad results after the bubble finally burst.
    Love to see them crash out.

  8. Marc


    Chelsea win tonight, Bournemouth win at the weekend and a draw against Atletico a week tomorrow and the collapse is well under way!

  9. Samesong

    There was an episode of the Simpsons 1993 that mentions the virus. Even a book written in the 80s predicting 2020 the Wu tang flu would appear. Make of that what you will.

    I know of someone in China that is asking for the masks to be sent from UK to China because the masks over there are not problem disinfected.

  10. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Same there is something dodgy
    This is a man made virus.
    First they tried to same bats.

    Wouldn’t suprise Mr if done on purpose to reduce world population.

  11. Markymark

    Un – already heard somebody claiming a colleague died in front of them . The thing is you never quite get the name or the exact place and time . So it joins the long list of conspiracy theory / social tales such as “Welcome to the AIDS club” 1980’s or pretend social workers kidnapping kids circa 1980’s 1990’s or recent suicide inducing internet clubs . Each and every case not a jot of evidence turned up.

  12. Marc


    It’s killed less than 3,000 in China out of a population of over 1,400,000,000.

    If this was created as a biological weapon the guy who did it is to germ warfare what Xhaka is to PL midfielders.

  13. Pierre

    Without anyone mentioning it , Arteta has managed to take away all the fear of us playing out from the back..

    No credit has been given to Arteta regarding this but lets not forget how bad it was under Emery.

    Same players , different outcome …coaching ?

  14. Samesong

    Pierre why do you keep mentioning Emery. Just when you dont want to be reminded of him. You mention him this morning and this evening. Please stop mentioning him.

  15. MidwestGun

    Diego Simeone broke Liverpool. When your defense starts making Ross Barkley look like Ronaldo… it’s over. 😀

    They will still win the league at a canter, mind you.

    Lampard Is still laughing at Pedro’s miss that’s how bad it was..

  16. Pierre

    It was relevant to what I was saying and what many of us have been saying for the last few months a bit good coaching.

    We were told that these players were uncoachable.
    the playing out from the back with ease by those same players is proof that good coaching makes a difference.

  17. Habesha Gooner

    Trent Alexander Arnold is liverpool’s main offensive weapon. Without him liverpool look toothless. They don’t create a lot because they haven’t got midfielders with imagination.

  18. Champagne Charlie

    Billy Gilmour getting motm tonight, another Rangers academy player and talent scouted from the scottish prem.

    League might be muck but there’s transferable talent there. Arsenal would do well to run a comb through it, likewise the Eredivisie. Feel like we’re never looking there for potential gems, always La Liga and Bundesliga.

  19. azed

    “No conspiracy theories on Le Grove unless they’re geared around Arsene’s bonus”

    Does this apply to RedTruth and CG?

  20. Pedro

    You’re relaying a rumour from a third party.

    Let’s keep it football.

    Azed, RT is in jail after his carry-on this week. Too much hate.

  21. Ishola70

    “Klopp brought on the big guns to save it but they had little effect.”

    If you truly want to advance you don’t leave two of your star strikers on the bench and bring them on with 20 and 10 minutes to play being already 2-0 down.

    Liverpool got what they deserved.

  22. Champagne Charlie


    Yes mate, was training with the first team at 15 in Scotland then Chelsea poached him before he signed a pro deal.

  23. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    Playing out from back is better, but still wobbly.

    Maybe emery just thought pro footballers would just be able to do it.

  24. Ishola70

    “Klopp rolled the dice and got punished”

    You mean he threw the FA Cup away.

    tbh it’s a surprise Liverpool have even got this far in the competition.

    Didn’t they play a completely reserve/youth side in an earlier round.

  25. Ishola70

    Well he’s got his two star strikers on the bench and doesn’t bring them on until the game is virtually over and he plays a complete youth/reserve team against Everton.

    It’s like they have been trying to be knocked out of this cup since the start and as said before it’s a surprise they even got this far in the competition.

  26. Markymark

    Un – you need to ask your Special branch contact why “Special Branch” Raided the Barnes Brothel and not the Vice Squad. Now that really is an awful mucky , scandalous cover up.
    The Brothel owner conveniently had an Insulin overdose and popped her clogs after claiming she photo and written evidence
    It’s 80’s era and is probably the likeliest evidence that things were amiss in high society . Some senior Journalists have written it was very dodgy. Anyway as Pedro says no conspiracy theories on this site !

  27. MidwestGun

    The Pool went from Invincible to Invisible in a very short time. I’m very happy to see them hit a wall.. Their fans are some of the most obnoxious the world over. AM wont be easy to knock out of CL with a one goal lead either and no away goal.

    Anyhow.. speaking of conspiracy news.. seems the Oatmilk bubble is about to burst Pedro.. might be time to get out.

  28. Ishola70

    “The Pool went from Invincible to Invisible in a very short time. I’m very happy to see them hit a wall.”

    Their current european champions, world club cup champions and this seasons EPL winners.

    Annoying fuckers aren’t they.

    The time to celebrate a Liverpool loss was that Watford match. That would have hurt truly them. Not so much tonight.

    The FA Cup is an also ran cup and has been for a good while.

  29. MidwestGun

    Ish.. I celebrate any loss by Pool .. It’s engrained. But if they would have somehow done the treble this season.. then it would only have gotten worse for the rest of the world, trust me. It still counts as a trophy.

  30. Champagne Charlie

    Can we stop offering up excuses for Liverpool please? They’re the best side in Europe, they’ve already won the league, of course they wanted to win the FA cup too.

    They didn’t, they got slapped in back to back games. Rival fans get a lol from it. They’re not above the FA cup ffs, that’s such a wank suggestion.

  31. salparadisenyc

    Too many rules of the road for some on here, its pretty basic.

    When Liverpool or Tottenham loose, rejoice. To state Klopp threw the FA cup away is a piss take with lineup he put out tonight. Rotated three players and got shellacked. Could of easily been 4 nil.

  32. Ishola70


    When Spurs lose any match you rejoice.

    Liverpool are a scally port city that doesn’t give a toss for Arsenal apart from when we have a good team challenging.

    Said it before it’s a bit unfortunate when all this despise is coming mostly from one side that being Arsenal.

    Let Liverpool get on with their proper rivalries with Manchester United and Everton.

  33. Dream10

    Apparently Harry Kane is considering his future at spurs. Awful news for us as Utd will bail out spurs and give them massive money for a fresh rebuild. Really hope this doesn’t happen.

  34. Marc

    Liverpool’s form up to 2 weeks ago was good enough for them to be looking at doing the treble with an Invincible league season.

    Anyone saying they weren’t up for doing that doesn’t understand football.

  35. salparadisenyc

    Christ Ish .. .next I suppose you’ll be telling me how to properly drink and enjoy my Islay 16.

    A few Arsenal things were ingrained in me at a young age, that was one of them. Best Arsenal moment is without doubt 89 when I was a kid slaying 10 year olds to Milli Vanilli.

    Liverpool wanted history and now its lost, rejoice.

  36. Dissenter

    We have to beat Westham.
    No ifs, ands or buts
    We play City afterwards and we all know how that will go; young sauce manager meets cultured sauce mentor

  37. Bojangles

    Kane wants to win something, he stated this last year so it’s no surprise that he may be looking to leave spuds in the summer. Not sure if he will go to another English club though.

  38. Ishola70

    milli Vanilli lol the mime artists.

    We need to rise Sal. Rise.

    And then the scallies will dislike us again.

  39. Valentin

    The only English club who can afford him who would appeal to him and where he would fit in term of football style is ManUtd.

    Arsenal can’t afford him and he he would no more guarantee to win something with us above Spurs.

    Chelsea are trying to lower their financial outlet, so over-paying for Kane would be unwise. Especially while they already have Abraham.

    For all his quality, Kane is not Firmino. For Liverpool, Buying Kane at high price would mean benching Firmino or switch to a 4-4-2 that would then result in the benching of Salah and Mané. Unlikely to happen.

    Even Kane would not displace Aguero at ManCity. So he may win some silverware (but obviously not the Champion’s League if the ban stands), but he would become a luxury substitute.

    Leicester has just posted a loss of £20 millions despite the sale of Maguire, so this summer they may need to sell before buying. For Kane Going there would be a lateral move at best. Same thing with Wolves.

  40. Chris

    If I were Kane I would just stay at Spurs and try to break Shearers goal PL record, and remains a club legend (such as it is considering its Spurs)

  41. Habesha Gooner

    Kane leaving spurs might actually work in their favor if they spend it wisely. They blew away the bale money in the past. He will go for over 130 mil+. Either this will be their couthinho moment or they will fuck it up like they did with bale.

  42. Pierre

    “Papa swung his leg only as a reaction to a ball coming his way, 99 times in 100 the ball goes to the stand., but papa scored a beauty with his reaction”

    Actually he didn’t swing his leg, he did the opposite .
    The pace of the ball was so fierce and he used that pace to guide it into the corner. Jn fact he may have had to take some of the pace off the ball , which is a harder skill than swinging your leg at a ball and hoping for the best.

    Your attempt at ridiculing Sokratis actually makes you look ridiculous though I am sure you will deny that was your intention .
    The nature of your negative comments recently towards the manager and players tells me it was.

    Being a tough uncompromising defender does not mean that a player lacks technical skills as sokratis showed in this instance.

    It was a thing of beauty but luck did not come into it.