by .


Oh… lost 3-2 to Brentford did we?




I mean, it’s a preseason game, it in no way foretells how badly we’ll get beaten by Manchester City.

The highlights felt pretty familiar. We were very sloppy for our goals. Dopey midfield switch offs, badly judged passes, a touch of laziness in certain areas.

But… we forgive. It’s a preseason game. There’s still a week to go.

One thing that is interesting to note is how the lack of atmosphere affects those games. Arsene Wenger said in one of his interviews that he felt smaller teams suffer without the fans. I watched the Brentford highlights and felt that our players looked like they’d switched off without the fans.

Either way, next Wednesday’s game is going to be tough.

Pep G is going to have a fully fit squad of players that he’s been lashing with a whip made of Messi’s 2011 hair. If we are not at the races, we’re going to get steamrollered.

The only thing keeping me going is that under Arteta, we may have dropped stinky performances, but we’re generally been difficult to beat and well disciplined. I have my doubts we’re going to allow ourselves to be opened up. This game comes with special fire for both managers. Mikel has to prove he’s not a bitch and can handle the highest level, Pep has to prove he’s still the greatest and he has to make a statement to anyone else thinking of leaving his orbit.

I’m looking forward to the game. It’ll show us how far we have to go this summer. It might also set the tone for the rest of the season. If big players don’t show up, maybe the final games are kids? If they do show up, and we pull out a good performance, maybe it’s them for the rest of the season.

This is a huge management task for Arteta. He has to motivate players that are going, he has to blood kids that are fresh, he has to build atmosphere and energy in empty stadiums, and he has to push us up the table.

It’s a big ask… but it’s a big job, so we expect delivery.

Can’t wait.

See you in the comments x

354 Responses to “Oof”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Marc


    I’m not so sure the City ban will be overturned – if it is it’ll completely destroy UEFA’s efforts to get finances under control in football. Also there are a group of powerful clubs who are not happy with the likes of City and PSG – I don’t think they’ll will allow FFP to be wiped out without repercussions.

    My guess is the ban will be reduced to 1 year.

  2. Up 4 grabs now


    Not my role models, just a point that the teams around us are maybe not up to speed like we arent.

    The bindippers can beat Blackburn 6-0, but there miles better than us, and at the minute not our competition.

  3. Bob N16

    ES, agree with your view that we have to ‘get through this season’. I sense that people will come down hard on Arteta if we don’t have say 2pts a game in these last ten games. As you rightly point out, we have games against five teams above us and not many against teams with nothing to play for. It’s still a glorified pre- season for me.

    People will come out with their snap judgements but a new coach deserves time, particularly one who is inheriting a dysfunctional squad.

    To quote Graham ‘judging Arteta so soon is unfrigginbelievable’ but let’s be honest it’s not a surprise that these judgements happen, usually from people who would have preferred another coach to take over.

  4. Spanishdave

    If the distancing is down to 1m which is about the normal distance when speaking, and now the scientists say that sitting next to somebody is safer than directly in front, why therefore can’t the stadium’s have supporters in them?
    Politicians logic is crazy now, Boris has lost the plot.

  5. Bob N16

    To finish in a CL place would be nothing short of remarkable and far above what should be reasonably expected. With the number of teams above us and our remaining fixtures looking tough, I would have though 6th/7th would be a decent end of the season, 8th is realistic although I have no idea what other teams fixtures are looking like compared to ours.

  6. Marc


    I think the government are getting caught up in a situation where they are letting the press control the narrative. One minute they’re screaming that the government are being irresponsible in loosening the lock down, the next they’re asking why the economy is tanking, why kids can’t go back to school and why the government won’t allow pubs / restaurants to open.

    There seems to be a general lack of understanding that there is not a complete scientific consensus – there are opposing opinions and the media are fueling that.

  7. Marc


    I never said it would be easy! My view is we should definitely aim for 5th, if it doesn’t come off at least we can look at which players have performed etc for next season. After that finishing above the Spud’s should be the minimum requirement.

    I want my St Totteringham’s day back.

  8. Emiratesstroller


    If we beat Spurs, Leicester and Wolves I will be happy and that will be in itself
    progress, but I don’t think that will be enough to qualify for CL.

    Basically I think that we can afford to lose one more game this season to have
    a realistic chance of qualification.

  9. Marc


    If we win those 3 and can get a draw against Liverpool who will hopefully be on the beach by then then we have a good chance. The City match is one where I don’t hold a lot of hope but Brighton, Southampton and Villa away plus Norwich and Watford at home are winnable.

  10. Bob N16

    Marc ‘letting the press control the narrative’ .

    Do you not think the government is trying to control the narrative? If they are unable to do that, to then blame the press for pointing out their inconsistencies and lack of clear leadership is to try and avoid taking responsibility for their shortcomings.

    Otherwise you’re one step away from the Trumpian defence of a government throwing out the accusation of fake news to any organisation or individual that doesn’t toe the line.

  11. Emiratesstroller


    We need effectively six points to overtake Manchester United factoring in their large goal difference.

    Their form has improved dramatically since the arrival of Fernandes and I think
    that is a huge task.

  12. China1

    ET you are not factoring in that all those teams above us are also playing plenty of difficult games, many of them against each other

    Whichever team competing for 5th puts in a solid run until the end of the season will either get 5th or be close

    The only reason teams like wolves and Sheffield utd are even part of the conversation is because teams like arsenal utd and Chelsea have been so poor this year. If we go on a decent run of form there will be a ‘correction’

    If we don’t, we’ll then that’s our fault

  13. Graham62

    The reason CG is so negative is because he is consumed with guilt.

    He blames everything and everyone, except himself.

  14. Habesha Gooner

    I don’t think Champions league is achievable. We have left ourselves with a lot to do. Those successive draws after arteta came in were a bit costly. I am not mentioning Emery because it was a shit show. But I still think we can and will make Europa league.

    The players we recruit from now on in midfield will need to be spot on to progress and make champions league next year. if it goes well we then can think about competing for the title in 3 or 4 years time.

  15. Marc


    A lot of it is going to depend on the mentality that teams come back with and we won’t know that until football kicks off again. ManU do have the Spud’s and Leicester away so there’s a couple of difficult games there.

  16. China1

    ET you’re also not factoring in that playing behind closed doors will likely lead to a lot of surprising results as various teams do better or worse in the unusual circumstances and are impacted by the lack of (especially home) fans

    There’s less certainty about how this season will end than any other in living memory. Form and What happened several months ago isn’t relevant and can change in a couple of short games

    Utd we’re looking better before the break but if they lose their first lockdown game and drop points in their second game then all that progress would be undone, confidence fading etc.

    Take nothing for granted

  17. China1

    Also utd just lost a friendly against west brom with a midfield pairing of pogba and hernandez. Is that just a bad result or indicative of them not being sharp or well suited to playing behind closed doors? Or maybe those two won’t work out well together as is often the case with quality midfielders (gerrard and lampard were average as fuck combining for England)

    ET my point is that these circumstances are uncertain as hell and we’re not far behind 5th. Those are the facts

  18. China1

    Even teams like Leicester

    They’ve been stripped of anything resembling momentum. They don’t have much to play for with CL football exceptionally probable. Playing without fans and in light of the above they might not end the season that well and could be far more beatable than 6 months ago

    The same is true of city.

    Meanwhile what if the unthinkable happens and we beat city in light of the above? Confidence soaring, huge victory, tough game done, 3 points in the bank

    It might not be expected but we’re not talking miracles here, just a bit of luck with the stars aligning. Unexpected but entirely possible

  19. Jamie

    See New Zealand for how to successfully handle a global pandemic at home.

    No need to control the message after the fact when you handle shit from the off like a pro.

  20. Spanishdave

    Hi Marc, Bob
    Yep the government are following and not leading, hence the dithering.
    In most parts of the country the virus has gone but the fear is being kept up.
    Golf last night there were no crowds? Why.
    Instead of 35,000 watching 5,000 could watch easily with distancing.
    A lot of footballers and golfers at the bottom of the chain will be giving up.
    The big companies will reign back sponsorship so many clubs will go under no matter what.
    The economy pandemic is just about to start.

  21. Freddie Ljungberg


    Wouldn’t that be nice…

    Not that I think it’s likely but it would be the best move we can do. We can easily afford it too along with 1 or 2 midfielders if we’re ruthless in our outgoings.

    We’re not going to fix all the issues in the squad this summer anyway so it’s better to get the absolute best players we can afford when they’re available regardless of if it’s what we need the most right now or not. That’s the only way we can build a winning squad.

  22. The Godfather

    Looking forward to Inter vs Napoli just to get a glimpse of some real football. Must say that the bundesliga has been quite a bloody disappointment but I throughly enjoyed Milan vs Juve so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for another good game today.

    I know fans can be boorish and obnoxious at games but maybe these players and clubs will finally appreciate their contributions to the spectacle after weeks of playing behind closed doors.

  23. Marc


    It would be nice if clubs manage to remember after this that fans who attend matches are important and the life blood of the game rather than a group to take money from and not consider when scheduling etc.

  24. The Godfather

    One thing I’ve noticed with Italian teams and it really struck me when Napoli schooled Liverpool In Naples was the way Italian teams pass out of the back and the crisp passing triangles they effortlessly draw. I watched closely yesterday and was bloody impressed.
    Their close control and technical ability to receive and retain the ball was amazing (especially from their CM’s). It’s something we have with the likes of Dani C and maybe Guendo, but clearly missing from Xhaka, Torreira and Willock.

    Cmon Raul, sign that check for Partey!

  25. Versus

    If Arsenal get destroyed. I mean completely humiliated. That will make aubas mind up. Chelsea are building a scary squad. Remember this season was the ‘blood the youngsters’ season. Now they are buying quality to go ontop of the base the foundation of youngsters they just gave minutes and game time too.
    If pool, city and chavs take three top4 spots. Then we’ll be fighting for 1 spot with UTD, SPURS, LEICESTER and WOLVES.

    Do you think Auba wants to play the rest of his career in the EUROPA LEAGUE smh.

  26. China1

    Habesha the truth is I’m not yet feeling optimistic at all – I just think the situation is very far from resolved so it doesn’t make sense to write us off yet

    I’m pretty concerned that we will continue to be defensively careless and will still have a hopeless midfield with xhaka and ozil. Arteta really needs to demonstrate that he’s up to the task by dragging us through the rest of the season in reasonable shape

    I won’t be disappointed or surprised if we don’t make top 5 if you can see Arteta has been working positively on the team, but if we continue to put in insipid performances and have certain crap players remain untouchable in spite of poor performances I will lose some faith in Arteta

  27. Marc


    I agree on Arteta – he’s stuck with a squad he basically inherited so he is limited in what he can do and chances are we’ll need a decent amount of rotation but I can’t see for the life of me why Xhaka would continue to be picked unless he really up’s his game – I also don’t see anything he contributes that can’t be passed to one of Torriera, Ceballos, Guendozi or even AMN who I’m not a huge fan of.

    What worries me is this belief that under better coaching Xhaka will “become” a better player, he put’s in the odd good performance – Chelsea this season or Liverpool at home last season but that actually to me shows why he’s such a terrible player. If he can switch on every so often and cut out the stupid mistakes it shows he can do it when he can be bothered.

  28. Graham62


    Population less than 4.9million. Twice as many people live in London than in the whole of NZ

    Larger area than UK.

    Far easier to implement measures. Granted though, they were always well ahead of the game, whilst we were slow off the mark

  29. Gentlebris

    ‘With the number of teams above us and our remaining fixtures looking tough, I would have though 6th/7th would be a decent end of the season, 8th is realistic although I have no idea what other teams fixtures are looking like compared to ours.’


    People who hauled stones at Wenger for finishing top 4 for 20 years are now parading 7th/8th as a decent end to this season.

    There is no decent end to this season if we end up in Europa 4th year in a row.

  30. Jamie


    Similar was said for Sweden. Population 10m, 5k covid deaths. Scotland population 5.5m, 2.5k covid deaths.

    New Zealand population 5m, 22 covid deaths.

    No comparison, irrespective of the size of New Zealand. 1.5m people live in Auckland. Their death count should’ve been at least in the hundreds, but they handled it quickly and decisively. It’s been an absolute shit show in the UK.

  31. Emiratesstroller

    Fred die Ljungberg

    The Upamecano rumour has appeared this week in both Camden and Islington local press.

    My view has been that Arsenal are not nearly as broke as has been indicated by many so-called experts.

    Based on what happened last season I think that Kroenke will sanction more
    deals than many on here assume but dependent on many factors including
    departures, reduction of wages and the outcome of CV.

    I think most of us would be very happy with arrival of Upamecano and Partey
    plus retention of Aubameyang.

  32. Santan

    The perfect transfer window thats realistically possible imo

    If we can go from 8 cb’s to 4 or 5 then we can try and get upamecano
    We could sell AMN and Xhaka (if we’re lucky) for relatively cheap prices
    Sell Elneny and Mkhi
    Try and sell Auba for as much as we can
    Then buy a good young CM or 2
    Loan in a striker

  33. Marc

    If we are going for / going to sign Upamecano who does that mean we’ll have in the squad as CB’s next season?

    Obviously Upamecano and Saliba would be first choice – who else would we keep? And obviously we wouldn’t make the Mari signing permanent.

  34. Freddie Ljungberg


    Chambers is staying by default since he’s injured. I’m guessing Holding also stays since he’s English and then probably Luiz for experience.

    Wouldn’t hurt to fix our CB pairing for the first time in a decade + and with genuine long term solutions. That’s the back 5 sorted for the long run apart from maybe right back.

  35. China1

    Upe and Partey would be an incredible summer but I’ll only believe it when I see it

    Making up rumors is the easy part. Making them happen is another story!

  36. China1

    Marc even that small handful of really good performances xhaka has managed since he joined don’t mean anything

    Literally every players on the planet plays a blinder once in a while, just like every player plays below their level occasionally too. All that matters is your average level and Dhaka’s is just miles off the pace

    To prove the point, my dad said growing up he was below average at football, just ok. He played a game for his local side when there was a man utd scout watching (he wasn’t aware at the time). From the wing he scored twice, got an assist and played out of his skin. After the game he was approached by the scout and asked to do a trial in Manchester which he declined because he was honest enough to tell the scout he just had an amazing game and didn’t have a hope in hell of making it at that level

    Point is, individual games mean nothing. Form over extended periods is all that counts. Xhaka’s arsenal career form ranges from absolute trash to ‘not noticeably that bad’ (current and early emery form)

    Arsenal need better

  37. China1

    Perfect case in point is the FA Cup where minnow clubs routinely show up against PL teams and cause a major upset (or come close)

    They’re still crap teams, they just had a great game. Meaningless in the end

  38. Marc


    I was in no way suggesting we keep Xhaka – my personal preference would be that he’s never seen in an Arsenal shirt again.

  39. The Godfather

    Watching old man Santiago Carzola play for Villarreal
    reminds me of what we missed when he was cut down
    by injury and the horrible Arsenal medical team
    He doesn’t have the old burst and sparkle but his touch and
    Vision hasn’t dropped one bit.
    What a player

  40. Habesha Gooner

    I don’t think the Upamecano rumors are true. If they are it will be because we are letting go of Luiz with Sokratis and Mustafi. Arteta already said he wants a Left footed CB to open up play. So Mari is staying.

    But Imagine this Saliba, Upamecano, Mari, Holding, Chambers. We wouldn’t need another CB for three or four years if they play to form. What I am really hoping for and Realistically see possible is A CAM and CM/DM. Xhaka is staying whether we like it or not. I am questioning Arteta’s judgment on him but I wouldn’t crucify him for choosing a player and the player doesn’t fuckup. He has looked better under arteta but I think he is a poor player. Anyway A Grealish and Partey double would be amazing. Kalvin Phillips would be a good backup target for DM and May be Fekir for CAM. We get those players and I think our scoring rate will improve at least by a quarter percentage.

  41. China1

    Habesha if you’re proposing we sign all those midfielders you’re probably going to need a 100+m outlay minimum

    If we managed to sign even one of them it would be major news!

  42. Graham62


    Whereabouts in the UK are you based?

    Agree though with the way we handled it. Just typical of our government and there inabilities to make clear decisions. Pussyfooted around for far too long.

    Should have been clearer and tougher from the word go.

    More emphasis was placed on the weekly clap for the NHS.