Blood drawn with dry slap + Szoboszlai on the menu

by .


Yas qweeeeeen.

Some extraordinary stuff going on in the world of Arsenal yesterday.

Firstly, Don Ornstein, the man that made contacts journalism a thing, was called out by Dani Ceballos as fake news. We spoke about it on the podcast, the feeling is that 2020 has been rough enough and I refuse to accept that David Ornstein is in the wrong here.

The story centres on Dani and Luiz having a bit of a ruck at the training ground.

‘FAKE’ yelled Donald Ceballos.

I suspect it’s probably the details that bother Dani. Being smacked on the nose by an older boy probably isn’t a good look in a dressing room of alphas. It’s quite interesting what a little shit Dani is. Starting a ruck with Eddie and now the banter king of the dressing room? Man needs to get himself into shape.

I will say though… I quite like it. We’ve never really been a John Hartson vs Eyal Berkovic kind of club. I thought Theo Walcott telling the world he liked to go to the cinema, sit in the frontrow, and make his eyes go funny was the exact sort of vibe we had in the changing rooms. Players rucking is standard fare at football clubs, if this is happening, it means there’s an edge on the training ground. I’ll take that. Smacking someone’s nose is weird though… Dave Luiz does have a thing for noses if the Arsenal IG is anything to go by.

In more continental news, Marc Ingla, mate of Don Raul over at Lille… has been ousted by Lille scouting magician Luiz Campos. Apparently, over a deal in which Luis thought Ingla put transfer bonuses over club. I mean, colour me shocked people. Nice to see grifters getting the boot all over the world in 2020.

Talking of The Athletic, they ran a glowing piece about the Kroenke’s and how totally amazing and wonderful they are. The crux of the story is that we were in for Jorginho and Auoar for reals this summer, not as backups… and we’re going to go for the Hungarian chap if things work out this January.

Great news.

If you get the structure right under the Kroenke’s, you’ll have a good run as a club. They put a lot of money on the table and they’ve not really taken much.

As I wrote at the start of last summer, we really didn’t have much in the way of cash. We still don’t. We haven’t addressed our wage bill, we’ve lost revenue from the stadium, and probably on lots of other things. The fact they’re still pumping the squad is good news. There are still questions over some of the players, but look, you can’t knock the focus on youth and you can’t deny that on paper, all of our signings this summer are top quality.

I also like how these papers keep saying Edu is a good negotiator. Like negotiating a release fee is some sort of FBI Hostage release magic. He gave Willian £250k a week for 3 years at 32. That’s getting your pants pulled down and taking a spanking with a paddle inked with ‘LOLOLOLOL.’

Arteta said in his press conference that good leadership is ‘how you navigate difficult moments.’ He is not wrong. We are in a difficult moment.

We play Leeds away at the weekend and things are looking pretty fucking rough on the injury news front. Thomas Partey is out with a thigh injury, Mo Elneny is out with Covid, and Willian might get punished for treating himself to a steak with Salt Bae.

I don’t know how we’re going to cope with the power and pace thrown at us, but injuries are part of the deal when you manage in a 2020 season. Granit Xhaka would be exposed aggressively in our midfield, but experience-wise, we’d be really lacking without him. AMN just played for England, he has the exact profile you need against a high energy team. Dani Ceballos will, without doubt, be back in the squad. Then you have to wonder what he’ll do with the attacking options. Does he take a risk on Willock without the protection of Mo and Partey?

Big questions. I’m dreading it to be honest. Still, losing 3-0 will be ok as long as Auba plays through the middle, right?

It’s going to be a tough game. Arsenal fans are expecting a wholesale change to the setup, I’m just not sure where I see that coming from at the moment.

On the pod, which I am about to tout, Dom made the point that what Leeds lack in technical ability, they make up for with a pack mentality to the football. They don’t care about pristine formations built around positional trickery. They’ll just blitz you. Arteta tends to approach these games with a purity that often ends with one of those Mike Tyson punches to the mouth. He needs to have something for tomorrow. All teams suffer against Leeds, we need to have a smart way of dealing with a side we know will come windmilling in, keys in hand.

Right, onto the podcast. I had a NEW guest on, fellow Essex boy Johnny Cochrane (@iJohnnyCochrane) who you might recognise from standup comedy or his ‘Hows Your Father Podcast’ (check it out here, lots of elite guests). We also welcomed back Dom (@dommy_daniel), who is studying to take over a football club at the moment.

We talked about the pressure Arteta is under, we discussed ways he could open the game up, and we gave a lot of time to the wonderment that is Bukayo Saka. Tune in, it’s a good one. Also, excuse the lack of music, I don’t have a laptop built in this era to mix properly.

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254 Responses to “Blood drawn with dry slap + Szoboszlai on the menu”

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  1. Goobergooner

    Covid normal hey Graham. The thing I hate hearing the most hahaha. The “new normal”.

    Countries were already taking things like pollution levels and germ spreading seriously. Just because the rest of the world is catching up doesn’t mean it isn’t normal for some already haha.

    The god damn west and their aura of BS

  2. Kaz

    I sincerely hope the rumour we wish to pay Szoboszlai 23m release clause in three yearly payments is utter bullshit and we instead just pay it upfront in January.

    Otherwise not only is this utterly embarrassing to us, it’s also going to make us look even more inept. As the rival clubs will just pay the fee. Also why the fuck would Salzburg be ok with that when they know he has so much interest??

    There’s got to be some finance directer in place who’s been there for years, he really needs the boot.

  3. Karsa

    I sincerely hope the rumour we wish to pay Szoboszlai 23m release clause in three yearly payments is utter bullshit and we instead just pay it upfront in January.

    As long as we pay the first instalment in January I’ll be happy as it will mean we’ve got him.

  4. S Asoa

    If we suppose, and we can suppose anything.
    Suppose we lose 3-0 playing Auba through the middle , will it be ok ?
    But then suppose we win 3-4 playing Auba through the middle , even this should be ok .
    Likely , it could be 3-1 win with Auba in the middle which is better.

    I like this suppose game

  5. Marc

    From BBC Sport Football

    “Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tells ex-Gunners defender Alex Scott that his side are ‘”a long way” from where he wants them to be, and says he wants to bridge the split between the fans and the team that he witnessed when he first arrived as manager in December 2019.”

    Split between the team and the fans? Really other than any fan with half a brain wanting Xhaka gone which we were finally getting the mood was not that different from now. Emery hadn’t worked out and the fans moved on.

    Obviously there’s an element of divide caused by fans not getting in the ground at the moment but that’s the same for all teams I just get the feeling Arteta’s trying to deflect.

  6. Goobergooner

    Marc, not sure if the divide is because the fans aren’t in the stadiums.

    But it’s a random comment to come out after such a loss and some meek as fuck performances.

  7. Marc


    That’s what I meant by deflecting – the club a year ago is pretty irrelevant at the moment I’m more interested in us getting a result tomorrow.

  8. Goobergooner

    Ahh yeah of course hahaha.

    Been a long week, keep forgetting it’s the weekend already 😂 the brewskies don’t help either.

  9. London gunner


    Respectfully disagree I think its a great argument.

    Its pivotal big crunch games that end up winning championships and not all crunch games comes at the end of season. You need big wins early on to build momentum and motivation.

  10. Marc


    I agree the Spud’s next 3 matches are City H, Chelsea A and us H – they get 9 points out of that and their confidence is going to be sky high, they’ll likely be top of the league and then have a relatively easy tie in the League Cup Qtr Final’s.

    They lose all 3 and all the talk will be same old flakey Tottenham.

  11. Chris


    Let us hope the latter scenario you said is the one that pans out!

    Unfortunately you look at their front 3 that has the potential to be unstoppable, together with Mourinho’s pragmatism and the reality is they have the ability to be very dangerous.

  12. Chris


    I can definitely see them winning today (again, unfortunately) but I do think Chelsea will be the game in which they come away with nothing.

    I think if we can win our next two it will put us in a good place for the derby. True that they may have momentum but we really ought to be winning the next two if we have pretensions about finishing top four.

  13. Marc


    I think people are writing City off a bit too easily – they haven’t looked right this season so far but that will change – hopefully today. For the Spud’s Chelsea match I’d like carnage – I want the score line measures in broken limbs rather than goals.

  14. Nelson

    Chelsea’s Werner and Abraham form an effective attacking pair.They are two run and gun type attacker similar to Auba and Pepe. I wonder whether Auba and Pepe can team up in the same way.

  15. Chris


    City will definitely be a threat in terms of the whole season, they simply have too much quality not to be, but sadly I see Spurs picking up the win for today. Argh.

    Like you say I think it will be a blood and thunder match between them and Chelsea next week. Should at least be entertaining.

  16. Marc

    Arteta talking about the training incident

    “Arteta described the confrontation as “nothing” and was more concerned about it becoming public knowledge.

    He said: “I don’t like the fact that that incident comes out at all.”

    The Spaniard added: “I will find out where it is coming from and if that is the case, that goes completely against what I expect from each other, the privacy and the confidentiality that we need, and there will be consequences.””

    Another example of his inexperience there. By saying that in the press you keep the story alive, if you want a witch hunt to stop it happening again fine (not sure it’s something he should be dividing his attention on) but keep it in house.

  17. Dissenter

    I’m in agreement with you about Arteta’s keenness to answer some of these questions,
    The Ceballos vs Luiz incident was a nothing burger, he should have just ignored it. Going on to talk about finding the leaks in the club is laughable.
    Who’s he going to deploy to find the leak,? …..special branch or military intelligence?

    He didn’t handle the little storm over the Willian trip to Dubai well.

  18. Marc


    Said it’d be dealt with in house.

    What Arteta should have said about the Ceballos – Luiz incident is something on the lines of “this type of thing happens all the time in training both players have shaken hands on it and all is forgotten. The fact you guys are talking about it shows how scarce real news is in the International window”

  19. Champagne charlie

    Proper football must be back, we have a Spurs game getting billed as one that ‘makes them favourites for the title’ with a win, or ‘ends their season’ with a loss.

    Week 9 ladies and gents, just the 29 games to go.

    What a take.

  20. Pierre

    Pep has shown what a quality manager he is in the way his team have recovered from the 5-2 home defeat to Leicester.
    11 games unbeaten in all competitions without doing any special , 4 goals conceded shows that he tightened things up at the back and played a much more disciplined game..

    His first aim was to get back into the title race or at least make sure they are not out of it.
    They are not firing on all cylinders that’s for sure, aguero has been a big miss plus sterling hasn’t hit form.

    They are in 10th but have a game in hand which would put them up to 5th.
    I expect them to get something from the game today but i doubt we will see too much open expansive football.

    It’s all about results for pep atm , expansive football will come later.

  21. Karsa


    I agree with the Ceballos-Liz incident.

    I was querying the Willian situation. All I’ve heard to date is that Arteta has talked to Willian and it’s been dealt with. That could mean anything from a slap on the wrist to a fine or other punishment.

  22. Pierre

    Apparently staying safe but missing a zoom meeting is a worse offence than putting yourself at risk by travelling half way round the world to Dubai during lockdown…

  23. Marc


    Agree Merson was talking about how they’ve conceded 9 goals already when 5 of them were against Leicester in a freak result. Funny how they don’t mention Liverpool’s 16 conceded!

    What you did miss is that they have two matches in hand on Chelsea so a win today and win the game in hand and they are on the same points as Chelsea who are top right now.

  24. Marc


    “Apparently staying safe but missing a zoom meeting is a worse offence than putting yourself at risk by travelling half way round the world to Dubai during lockdown…”

    You could have made a good argument there but instead you had to defend Ozil. Both are unacceptable but Willian’s actions were certainly worse.

  25. Marc


    Doesn’t matter if he tests negative – he shouldn’t have put himself in a position where he could have tested positive.

    It’s bad enough the number of players missing this weekend’s fixtures because of the internationals without someone potentially exposing themselves.

  26. Pierre

    I actually think Willian ‘s little trip to Dubai has done Arteta a favour, as he now has the perfect excuse to leave him out of the side without having to drop him for his poor performances ….

  27. Pierre

    “Yeah Pierre , because he took all precautions and his test came back negative . ”

    So , Sitting on an aeroplane for 12 hours or so is taking all precautions is it..

    Personally, i would say sitting at home is taking all precautions , and sticking to the lockdown rules.

  28. raptora

    Was just about to say that Villa has some potential top class players in their squad in Grealish, Barkley, Emi, Mings, Luiz, Watkina. Barkley already out injured 3 mins in.

  29. Champagne charlie

    “Personally, i would say sitting at home is taking all precautions , and sticking to the lockdown rules.“

    All the more curious how he managed to miss zoom meetings that were in place instead of training and face-to-face meetings given the circumstances.

    Sat at home, stuck indoors, and still he couldn’t adhere to basic requests from his manager. No idea why Arteta feels he’s not a team player, or displaying the right level of professionalism.

    Real mystery.

  30. raptora

    If Welbeck managed to stay injury free, he’d be starting for us. He misses a lot, but he is always making runs, has the physicality, pace, determination to always cause the opposition team problems. Upgrade on Lacazette in every way since Alex started missing the same chances.

  31. Marc


    I’d love to know why we turned down a bid for Laca in the summer?

    If it was a stupid amount we would’ve leaked it – really baffling decision.

  32. Marc


    “two Lacazette being miserably out of form.”

    Yeah but how long has he been out of form? At some stage he’s not out of form he’s shit.

  33. Marc


    Don’t be stupid – Laca has been poor for more than a few games he was bad last season and the excuse was he had personal problems – whats the excuse now?

    His goal scoring return is decreasing season by season.

    You can’t seriously tell me you think Laca looks anywhere near the player we need at the moment?

  34. Champagne charlie


    I’m not saying Laca is anywhere near the player we need, I’ve argued he isn’t and said his contractual circumstances mean he’s THE issue for us to address in Jan imo.

    But there’s a chasm between ‘at the level’ and ‘shit’. Danny Welbeck for instance isn’t close to being a superior player, but alas….

  35. Left Testicle

    It’s all a fooking shambles.

    Willian pissing off to Dubai
    Ceballos falling out with another team mate
    Leaks coming out of the club
    £350,000 per week player not in squad
    £27m Saliba not getting a game
    Our top striker playing out on the left
    Selling the gk most suited to our ‘style’
    Boring football

  36. Marc


    I never said Welbeck was a superior player I asked when does poor form become the level for a player?

    As for Laca’s contract makes not selling him in the summer even more peculiar.

  37. Champagne charlie

    “I never said Welbeck was a superior player I asked when does poor form become the level for a player?“

    And I never argued the point you’re making, I was responding to a comical claim Welbeck is superior to Lacazette given the conditions associated.

    That said, Laca was brilliant in France and has been just good in England. Wouldn’t say that makes him shit all of a sudden.

    Also think he’s under immense scrutiny with us because our moments in attack have been so sparse the last 18 months. Top strikers get half a dozen shooting opps per game, we have our attackers averaging less than two.

    As for the bid in the summer, when was it? I can get us rejecting a bid late in the day with no replacement. But I’ve already said the second we had Auba wrapped up we should’ve moved Laca on, made Auba the centrepiece, and for me replaced Laca in the XI with a creative wide player like a Thauvin/Fekir sort who has some guile.

    Right now I don’t like the balance. Auba, Laca, Pepe are all finishers and end product merchants. We’re crying out for a Mahrez sort that has a football brain.

  38. Up 4 grabs now


    Should have bought fekir when we bought lacazette.
    He was teeing them up for him.
    The bindippers pulled out of a 50 million pound deal for him claiming some dodgy knee problem which wasnt proved.

    Then he went to betis for like 20 million?
    Another missed the boat opportunity.