by & filed under News Review.


No. You are a weird one. Cease to continue this read. For this is a JOYBLOG.

Arsenal DESTROYED a Liverpool team that was trying to break a Premier League points record.

The approach was simple.

  1. Convince Liverpool that we were utterly, utterly shit with a messy opening 20
  2. Concede a shocking goal, to solidify the thinking
  3. Press from the front and get two goals
  4. PRAY

Jokes aside, what happened yesterday was not sexy. It will not be put in the hall of fame for ‘tactical executions gone right.’ But it yielded 3 extremely vital points and a much-needed jolt of confidence ahead of a very crucial FA Cup semi-final this weekend. It also might have Arteta reconsidering his team selection for that game. Rob Holding started shakily, but he grew, does that give him a shot over Kola? It should do. Do we want to give Cedric another go, or did AMN do enough? Who knows.

The glaring issues we’ve faced all season were still there. Our midfield simply isn’t good enough. We don’t have the power, creativity, or the concentration to be truly effective. Our tactical approach seemed to consider that. We basically setup as though we knew there was no chance of dominating the middle of the park. Lacazette was tasked with dropping deep as the #10 Steve Bould always said he could be. It wasn’t sexy or productive. It gave us one shot off target all game. Grim reading.

The defence was also all over the place. Their goal saw a weird challenge from Soares, he hurt himself jumping, couldn’t trackback, Holding was pulled in two directions, and we didn’t do well enough with the cross. We’d been battered up until that point. We were chasing shadows. But, the reality is, this is Liverpool, when aren’t you chasing shadows?

I thought we’d collapse. Reiss Nelson had hardly touched the ball, then he hustled VVD, forced him into a bad backpass, Laca steamed in, took the ball ahead of Allison, and slotted home. You can call it good fortune, or you could notice the pattern > Our forward players press the defence hard and it keeps producing.

I don’t think anyone was expecting a second goal, but it came. This time, Reiss Nelson charged down a TAA throw back to the keeper, the pass was fluffed, Laca picked it up on the right, passed to Nelson who cushioned his first touch and swept home beautifully. Again, it’s not a fluke if it’s an instruction.

Liverpool were a mess. They’d gone from utterly dominant, to playing like, well, Arsenal in their bad moments.

I thought we could have capitalised further, but our front three had trouble holding onto the ball. When you looked at the first half stats, despite the perceived battering, Liverpool only managed 2 more shots on target than us. Granted, theirs came from free-flowing open football and ours came from defensive lapses.

The second half was OPEN SEASON on our backline. The context though was clear, they are better than us, we knew it, and Arteta went into protection mode. We didn’t want to give them anything. We were the Spartans in The Battle of Thermopylae. Everyone knew their role. Defend, defend, defend. There was a moment that reminded me of the Invincible season where we defended a freekick in our penalty area from a backpass and the whole team threw themselves at it like it was a grenade going into a school. The prize at stake was a little less dramatic, but the desire for not conceding looked the same.

Liverpool had 17 attempts at our goal in the second half, but importantly, they only hit the target 4 times (same as the first half). Really, the best chance they had came late on when TAA struck a shot off the bottom of Saka’s boot, it deflected awfully, skidding up off the floor, and somehow, Super Emi tipped it wide. That happened in the 95th minute.

We saw out the game and took the three points. We are still a long shot heading into the last two games, but we have a chance at finishing anywhere from 10th to 6th. To be in with a chance is nice because most, no ALL, thought we’d have no chance. If we win our last 2 games, we’ll finish on 59 points. 11 off Emery’s first season, where he had a 22 game unbeaten run going into December, versus the worst start in 38 years Arteta picked up.

So what are the concluding thoughts?

I think most of the positives came from grit, determination, and belief. The players didn’t collapse under the onslaught, they took their opportunity, and they held onto a lead which was a positive considering the stat everyone has been obsessing over this week. We shithoused the Champions. The outrageous open Pep G football we thought was coming to Arsenal hasn’t. Arteta builds from the back. He’s more George G than Arsene. I think we’re all pleased about that.

There are some worries. I want to say this really quietly, but, you know… is Nicolas Pepe the real deal? He was very meek again. He makes a huge deal about shielding the ball and loses it, he played in a counter-attacking set up last night, which was supposed to suit him, and he offered nothing. He looks meek. I feel that it was a mistake to sign a player that has one foot, it makes him kind of predictable. I hope he comes good, but he looks like a bad signing at the moment.

Reiss Nelson did his job yesterday. He worked hard, pressed Liverpool’s backline, and was rewarded with a goal and assist. Well done to him. He turned up in a big game. Brilliant. That finish for the goal was superb.

Emi Martinez. I can’t praise him enough. He has shown up like a hero in nearly every game. He made some world-class saves last night, his distro was pretty good, and he showed that once again, he can be counted on.

Tierney was also elite. He has incredible work rate, he never stops, he loves to defend, he sets the tone for the team. A pure professional.

Let’s also credit Lacazette. He put in a huge shift last night and made the difference. He scored a brilliant goal where his perseverance made it happen. The same personality trait also ensured the second goal where he was sharp, following the plan, and decisive. He also made 4 successful tackles, the most of the game. That is focus. Great performance.

Final point on the game, I feel like we have hired the right manager, regardless of what happens at the weekend. He has made a bit of a statement with this squad and it is clear that if he had better players, we’d be doing better things. I think this quote put a lot of the ‘he’ll be meek’ folk on the backfoot (again).

“It’s a big concern. You can see how [Liverpool] build their squad and there is no magic, you need to improve the squad with quality, quality players. And we need a bigger squad to compete in this competition. That is the challenge.

“It’s a massive job. You only have to look at the difference between the two teams – it’s enormous. The gap in many areas we can’t improve it in two months but the gap between the accountability, the energy, the commitment and the fight between the two teams is now equal.

“Before it wasn’t like this. I’m very proud of that. The rest will take some time but at least we’ve got that now and my message to the players is with that we can create something.”

For the second day in a row, he’s calling on the owners to invest, and why not? Didn’t we criticise Wenger for not demanding funds? Did we like having a manager in Emery who couldn’t get the players he wanted? I like that he’s demanding. He wants to go to the top and he is asking for the club to invest in players in a very depressed market. Will he get them? Doubtful. But at least the comments lay to rest the idea that he thinks the talent he currently has is winning the Champions League next year.

Finally, someone said I was a data guy and I was letting myself down with hype over Arteta. Well, let’s talk about data because I think the story is gaining clarity.

The big talking point before tonight was that we’d dropped 15 points from leading positions in the league. If we’d bagged those points, we’d be 3rd right now. This particular stat doesn’t look good for Mikel, but only if you ignore our reality prior to his arrival. We had our worst start in 38 years this season, we had players people thought were uncoachable, our defence conceded 51 goals under Emery in his first season (Wenger only did that badly once in the season he was sacked). We have been terrible at defending, so how did standard suddenly shifted to ‘WE MUST SEE OUT ALL LEADS’?. Sorry, can’t have that. We can do better, we did last night, but unlike others, I see this stat as an opportunity. Buy the right players, get a midfield, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, and we make those points up.

Back to real data. What does the league table look like since Mikel took over?

5th. Clear of Jose, Nuno, and Carlo. Emery was fired after the longest winless run since 1992. Arteta picked the club up in late December, Jose had Spurs after the November international break.

Arteta goal difference. +11

Emery: 1.38 goals per game, 1.46 goals against per game
Arteta: 1.61 goals per game, 1 goal against per game.

He’s reduced goals conceded by 31.5%. Arteta has 10 clean sheets at Arsenal (7 in the league), Emery managed 10 clean sheets in the league in 51 games.

Arteta has increased scoring output by 16.6%. He is scoring 16% more points per game.

Also, Arsenal fans getting into a rage about comparing Klopp’s start to Arteta’s. Why? Both picked up a shit show, Arteta’s worse in my opinion… but the point is, if the best coach in the world had a similar impact in his first 17 games as Arteta, why not call that out? (before yesterday)

Klopp picked up a squad that had finished 2nd under Rodgers 18 months before. Arsenal hasn’t finished second since 2016. Klopp went from 8th to 8th in his first season and he’s the best, so let’s be honest about what it means to pick up someone else’s mess midseason.

So, has Arteta improved us by the numbers? Absolutely, yes. Remember, he hasn’t had a summer transfer window yet.

Now let’s talk about observations. We beat a team above in the league away from home for the first time in 5 years. We just beat the Champions. We also beat Southampton and Sheffield United away from home (one beat City, one smashed Spurs).

We are tactically fluid. We use different systems, we change during the game, it hasn’t been perfect, but it’s a far cry from Iwobi asking what the fuck he’s being asked to do on the touchline in the Europa League Final.

We are difficult to beat. The middle of our park is no longer a free for all. We are much better off the ball. Everyone knows their role and they try and deliver to it. We can shithouse these days.

The squad are putting in a shift. We press for the full 90. Players look like they care about clean sheets. We have 5 goals from keeping/defender errors.

There is a discipline at the club. If players don’t hit the standards, they don’t play.

As for the attack, well, plenty of work to be done there, but that’ll come with a better midfield.

Things are looking up people. We have a good coach, we have lots of talented young players, all we need to do is invest well this summer. That’s a big if but, at least we know the coaching that was preached is real, and if we make the right moves, we’ll move up the table.

Next up, City. A HUGE GAME. Pray to the shithousing gods (Davies/O’Shea/Pulis/Catermole) right away. EUROPA LEAGUE THURSDAY NIGHTS HERE WE COME (maybe).




Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Aussie Gooner

    And so it goes!

    “ARSENAL have reportedly lodged an offer for Lille centre-half Gabriel Magalhaes – but face a battle to sign him.

    According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Napoli are leading the chase for the 22-year-old Brazilian.

    Another club interested in Gabriel is Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Everton.

    There are another two unnamed clubs monitoring the situation too.

    Foot Mercato has previously reported that Napoli were prepared to pay £20million for the defender.”

  2. DivineSherlock


    Arsenal are waiting to see where we finish before making a decision. Dont expect deals to be done before season ends.

  3. Aussie Gooner


    Yes, but it hasn’t stopped other teams securing their ‘want’ list! The transfer window opens in 10 days time – most of the desirable players will have already been tapped up.

  4. Tony

    “Arsenal are waiting to see where we finish before making a decision.”


    I assume you have this on good authority from your attendance of the Raul/Edu & Arteta meetings.

  5. DivineSherlock


    Its out there if you bother to check it and Arteta has said plenty about how he has plans on every possible outcome on where we finish. Dont be a mug.

  6. Guns of SF

    There is the wish list and the realist list

    We need to do our business early

    Keoneke needs to take a loan 100m to help us

  7. Sid

    Expecting Pepe to be electric in this team is the same as expecting Serge Gnarbry to shine in a Tony pulis team

  8. Aussie Gooner


    As you say we have a (very) limited budget – therefore we should be working smarter and have our scouts working overtime to unearth the talent before the window opens. We are always so slow off the mark compared to other clubs!

  9. Tony

    Aussie Gooner
    I would imagine we have been talking to agents and players for a while now, but, as always, Arsenal like to be shrouded in secrecy regarding transfers.

    On a separate note I recently bought the Roon Nucleus using the excellent Roon app and have been very impressed with the sound quality if you use Tidal and or Qobuz subscribing to their ‘Lossless & Hi Res’ offerings of FLAC to DSF/DSD.

    I had a sort out with my digitised music files and condensed them to 2TB and then added them internally to the Nucleus on a 2TB SSD.

    I’ve dabbled with music streaming over the last decade but finally decided to use it for my music room and house Internet network etc.

    If you haven’t already looked at it, here is a white paper on the Nucleus and other links:




    Thus far I’m seriously impressed with the sound quality – the music selection was never in question for me.

    As for TV media players I’ve had many over the years, but use this one with my cinema and it’s streets ahead of what’s currently in the marketplace.


  10. Tony

    Divine just keep reading the media stories as they’re never made up or used for click bait, are they?

    Are you young or just gullible?

  11. Aussie Gooner


    That looks amazing! You definitely have a state of the art set up! Unfortunately my internet service would not support such a system (no NBN – just copper wire all the way!). And to think I have just got my Rega 2 out of the shed to set up!!!!!!!

  12. Tony

    I suffered with Internet speeds for the first 10 years even though living in Bangkok. The second decade the speeds kept improving where now you can get up to 1gmbps in Bangkok but I get 600mbps in the north.

    Hopefully your speeds will improve also.

    The Rega 2 is a very cool piece of kit to have while you’re waiting.

  13. Un na naai

    Another morning on le grove, another snide comment from Tony

    Quite the little bitch aren’t we Tony?

    Divine could be right
    Raul has his/ emery’s targets lined up early last summer and made their budget stretch well

  14. Un na naai

    Dark HeiJuly 17, 2020 05:24:24
    Why does Gunner DNA hate Arteta so hard?

    Dark hei

    Because he hated wenger. And jumped the gun too early on his replacement and proclaimed him a drastic improvement and exactly what the club needed and when that blew up in his face he was humiliated. Even more so when Arteta was appointed and started instantly outperforming emery

    Arteta is also personally linked to the wenger era, obviously being one of his captains in an ear when while we played some great football and won some trophies, fell away from our title winning position of the earlier years.

    It all ties back to wenger and saving face from being wrong and looking like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about
    Which he 100% does not

  15. Un na naai

    I’d spend all of our budget to make it happen and we are instantly a far more dangerous team with such an array off attacking options in every other position

  16. Pierre

    But seriously, it does concern me a little that Arteta appears to be going down the Emery route of too much emphasis on run, run and run a bit more.

    Creativity,skill and football intelligence, along with composure , technique and letting the ball do the work are elements of the game that I have been advocating for the last couple of seasons.

    I’m afraid that it appears to be bottom of the list at the moment, I am hoping Arteta doesn’t disappoint me and make the same mistakes as Emery.

    I believe he respects skill , technique and intelligence and at this present time he us focusing on discipline and organisation

  17. Pierre

    Talking football on Le Grove is a cover for Tony.

    His main aim today was to let everyone know that he has a “Roon Nucleus using the excellent Roon app and have been very impressed with the sound quality if you use Tidal and or Qobuz subscribing to their ‘Lossless & Hi Res’ offerings of FLAC to DSF/DSD. “.

    Mmm…very interesting..not.

    I much prefer his judith Chalmers impression of “wish you were here”.

    What would you recommend for a good holiday destination at the moment Tony?

  18. andy1886

    Why another Cesc or another Santi? Neither was enough to support a serious title challenge. Better another PV4, far better suited to the rigours of the premier league (unlike Ozil Pierre!).

  19. Dark Hei


    Lol, yah. I think there might be a correlation. If you really and truly hate Wenger you are obliged to hate Arteta.

    It is like Wenger isn’t out until even his shadow is out of the door.

    I am not personally sold onto Arteta just yet. Though realistically he is the best our paltry $$ can buy.

  20. CG


    “”””But seriously, it does concern me a little that Arteta appears to be going down the Emery route of too much emphasis on run, run and run a bit more.””””

    That’s why we let so many late goals in under his stewardship. The team are knackered from all this thoughtless running early on the game. ( a.k.a pressing)

    Under Wenger. Our teams for the most part finished matches strongly always probing, always looking for an opening and always dictating play.

    Anyway what do you expect his style of soccer is going to be like, when he chose Steve Round as his no.2 ?
    Something akin to Man City or Ajax?

    Wednesday was a great result for Arsenal.
    But it came from the David Moyes/Steve Round Everton schoolbook.

    Liverpool had x 17 attempts on Arsenals goal in the second half. That is 1 every 2.5 minutes.. …..

    There is no more ‘ Arsenal Way’ in terms of our play.

    Its just underdogs soccer.
    And expect more of it.

  21. þorkell einarsson

    Go and get D. UPamenaco .. he will be feared by our opposition as will ES Rove
    who is always involved in a goal or two, finally let Auba have some of the
    money wasted on özil at the moment!!

  22. andy1886

    Why would we be signing a CB? We already have eight including one that we re-signed recently (Luiz), a new signing (Mari), and one joining the club after being loaned last year (Saliba). Not going to happen.

    Number one priority is a quality player to fill the gaping hole in the midfield.

  23. Northbanker

    Nothing more boring than when people discuss sound systems – there is no place in conversation for discussing hw many woofers or tweeters or whatever shit they now need That the latest piece of kit has. I love music but it Is a personal choice and has never made an interesting topic for conversation and sound systems even less So.

  24. Northbanker

    Dark Hei – re your earlier point there’s plenty of Arsenal haters on this site. That’s what they do – find the misery in everything. See posts of Redtruth, CG, Thomas etc

  25. andy1886

    Northbanker, the one thing that’s more boring than anything is pompous self-righteous supporters telling others how to ‘support’.

    Each to their own, if someone doesn’t agree with another poster’s viewpoint they have the right to ignore it.

    It’s an open forum, live and let live.

  26. Un na naai


    It’s a small concern at the minute yes but that’s the squad he was given and the hand he was dealt and he’s doing what he can to win. I’m certain that once he gets the players in the middle of the park that he wants that he will combine that hard running with a little more (Or a lot) authority on the ball. He’s steeped in possession football. I can’t see him abandoning that

  27. Aussie Gooner


    In case you hadn’t realised the earth is not flat. Consequently there are many different time zones. While you are tucked up in bed with your teddy and hot water bottle, people on the other side of the world are wide awake. Not much goes on at Le Grove during this ‘twilight’ period so those that are awake may make references to matters other than football. Many people on here share music/film clips. If it doesn’t interest me I don’t look at it!

    Simple isn’t it!

  28. Sid

    The question is, how is someone who spent majority of his football career under Moyes, steeped in possesion football?

    Best answer gets “for free vouchers”

  29. Un na naai

    andy1886July 17, 2020 07:29:13
    Why another Cesc or another Santi? Neither was enough to support a serious title challenge. Better another PV4, far better suited to the rigours of the premier league (unlike Ozil Pierre!).

    Yes and the reason the cazorla and Cesc teams did not go on to win anything was due to the negligent approach to defensive shape, personnel and opposition tactics.

    But let’s forget winning the title right now. It’s not on the cards. Those Cesc and cazorla teams qualified for the champions league every season and both did compete for that title on occasion even if they fell short.

    We aren’t signing creative ball players for next season to win the highest honours but to get into the the top four. This will bring more funds to then spend on better defenders than we currently have (which Arteta is already doing wonders with) which could then, along with our attacking midfield signings could launch an assault on the league or europe.

    There is no Patrick Vieira out there today. If there is you tell me who is and how we can not only afford him but convince him that arsenal and not Barca Madrid city or chelsea is the place for him

  30. DivineSherlock


    I may be young or gullible but you my friend are certainly daft. I said Arteta has himself said he has different transfer plans from which he will choose depending on where team will finish . I cant bother to dig up the quote but if you follow his press conference you wouldve known.

  31. Un na naai

    Pepe has created more assist and more chances for Aubameyang than any other players this season
    Double the chances of the next highest which is……wait for it……Ainsely Maitland-Niles

    Green shoots from Pepe but he’s got to apply himself more. Definitely lacking confidence too

  32. DivineSherlock


    Pepe looks really dangerous when we move the ball quickly . Even when we had so much possesion if we move the ball touch quicker , he gets into space and moves into good position . Its just a midfield issue, Ozil couldve had the same partnership like Sanchez with Pepe . If he cared to .

  33. Un na naai

    SidJuly 17, 2020 08:46:54
    The question is, how is someone who spent majority of his football career under Moyes, steeped in possesion football?


    He spent 6 years of a 17 year career at Everton. The rest were spent with Barcelona, Rangers, Psg, Real Sociedad and arsenal

    He was schooled as a player at la masia and ended his career with a possession master at arsenal in our most possession focused period and then spent 4 years at city under Pep

    If that’s not enough possession based tutelage to be steeped for you then there’s no point even attempting a discussion.

  34. andy1886


    I don’t think that we can prove either way if those teams would have won the title even with an improved defence, it’s speculation. We do know however that earlier AW teams with a different style did win titles. I think that we need more of that rather than reverting to a ‘Barca-lite’ passing based approach.

    As for finding the new PV4 of course I can’t tell you where he might be. But then again who had heard of the original before we signed him from A C Milan’s reserves? That’s the job of the player recruitment team, one that has unfortunately woefully under performed over the last decade or so.

  35. Un na naai


    He has his moments too when he slows the game down and cuts in

    Agaisnt Newcastle and Manchester untied he provided two great assists by slowing down and cutting into his left

  36. Un na naai


    I disagree. I think you put Tony Adams or sol Campbell in our 06-16 teams and we would have had one title or you have someone like Arteta coaching the defence tactically, someone who knows how to shape the back line to protect our goal and we would have won’t a title.

    I wouldn’t turn a modern day Patrick Vieira down at all as this team sorely needs physicality and leadership but the most pressing matter for me is vision and technical quality on the ball.
    If Arteta truly has an attacking vision for this team then I don’t think a defensive midfielder or even box to box in the Vieira mould is going to breathe life into that identity. While he was top top draw on the ball with subtle flicks and turns to get out of trouble and up the pitch, he was not known for making play and creating chances.

    As I said, I’d love a new Vieira in this team but it’s not the most pressing need right now and won’t transform us as much as a Bruno Fernandes style signing

  37. DivineSherlock


    yeahh , so far the good outweighs the bad . I dont want to refer to Sterling but it does feel similar with Pepe . With time I think Arteta can make him a better player. With Pepe I would love it if he can play anywhere on the front 3 , right now he is limited to the right.