by .

Arsenal turned up the heat in the❄️snow❄️in a game we’d historically have trouble in. It was freezing, our form has been shaky, and we were up against a Sam Allardyce side. The perfect concoction for an afternoon of potent shit-housery.

Not January 2nd 2021.

Arsenal blasted out of the starting blocks and found themselves a sexy performance. Our 4-0 victory was more than worth it. We could have had 6 on another day. 21 attempts at their goal, 12 shots on target, dominant in possession, and plenty of variety to our attacking play.

There were so many great performances, but it’s hard to look past Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka as the standouts. The Scotsman really found his stride, opening the scoring with a blistering run and strike. He turned Darnell Furlong inside out before cutting inside on the left, drilling a thunderbolt into the top corner.

3 minutes later, the Hale-Enders took over on the right. Smith Rowe and Saka drove through the middle, Lacazette found Smith Rowe’s run, the young creator kept his composure finding Saka for the tap-in. A proper Arsenal goal. Saka’s 3rd g/a contribution in as many games. Smith Rowe’s second assist.

The third and fourth goals were taken care of by Lacazette. Good work from Saka out wide for the third, Smith Rowe’s deflected shot fell to Laca who buried it. Tierney did all the work for our 4th, placing a perfect cross at WBAs 6 yard box where a loose knee pushed it over the line.

The game was simple enough for us to take Bellerin off to give AMN some minutes. We were also able to take ESR and Saka off early, and we didn’t need to gamble on Martinelli. Nice to see Willian given a few minutes to show why he’s a spectator these days, though he did register his second shot on target for the season (someone told me that stat, is it really true?).

That’s three wins on the bounce. We’ve gone from relegation fodder to being laughably within 6 points of 2nd place in the league. That’ll all change, no doubt, but the truth of the league this season is it’s tight and likely to stay that way.

The Hale-Enders have made a huge difference to the energy on the pitch. Hungry players make it difficult for the not so hungry players to mail it in. These kids have careers to play for. That’s the energy we need. Strong characters that just want to play nice football.

Also worth mentioning some of the more seasoned guys out there. Rob Holding is very reliable and had another solid game at the back. Pablo Mari looks pretty sound, he has a nice touch, he passes well, and he’s dealt very well with 3 very different teams. I also like his hair. Alex Lacazette is back from the dead. His finishing has been great, his workrate has been top-notch, and he’s adapted to this false 9 role like a pro. He’s more important to this system than Auba. Shades of Teddy Sherringham in his latter years? Maybe.

Now, though our captain had a bit of a shocker again, it’s clear he’s deeply frustrated with the way he’s playing. He gives a fuck. He was running right until the end. He wanted a goal. He celebrated with the kids like he cared. That made me feel better about his form, he’s trying, it’s just not landing right now. It’ll click soon, hopefully for the cups when we’ll need his sharpshooting.

Arsenal needs to keep racking up the wins. It’s frustrating that we had so many discipline problems earlier in the season. Lose those red cards and maybe we’re even closer. Cut our losses earlier on Pepe, Luiz, and Willian, maybe we’re in better shape. Rest Partey for one more game and maybe December looks better. Still, we are where we are because we deserve it. Now things are looking brighter, the hope is that the lessons have been learned and this is the next chapter in our season.

Gabriel M is going to be a difference-maker if we keep him fit. Our best centre back is coming back into the side. Thomas Partey should be in contention for the Newcastle game, that’s our hero signing and he’s played 3 games all season. He will be massive for our run-in. ESR looks the business, he’s strong, he moves rapidly, he can take the ball on the half-turn, and he’s making the difference in big games.

The transfer window might give us some additional ammo. Firstly, we’ll move out toxic players that aren’t contributing positively. Then we’ll add some additional bits. Smith Rowe has played a big role in our mini turnaround. We only have one player like that. It is essential we find another that looks like him so we can rotate and maintain creativity. We desperately need a back-up keeper to protect us from the horror signing we made in the summer. I also think there’s a shout for a back-up left-back with Kola gone.

I hope we make mostly loans. I don’t want to load-up on panic buys that’ll cost a premium. It would be nice if we could be more thoughtful about what we do this time.

Right, short one today, listen to our on the whistle podcast and I’ll see you in the comments.

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Sid

    Hassehutl stats xG and xGA, at Southampton when he came in improved even though the results were not good. The same cannot be said of diet Peps Arsenal.
    Comparing the 2 is a false narrative.

  2. Guns of SF

    anyone think ESR has done enough to dissuade Mike to get a CAM?
    I hope if we do, its someone better than ESR!

    If not, Mike needs another CM, DM or 8 B2B

    Hopefully we have a new GK coming in

  3. Goobergooner

    Just want to mention Wilko from the last few posts always with that sly dig “people who have played and understand the game should know…”.

    Get over yourself 🥱🥱🥱🥱🥱

  4. Emiratesstroller

    Despite the recent upturn in results and the introduction of Smith-Rowe into first team Arsenal are still short of “quality” in our midfield.

    Smith-Rowe is unquestionably a very promising and intelligent footballer, but he has had a history of injuries. For this reason alone he should not be overplayed. The club needs to learn
    the lesson from Wilshere.

    Apart from Partey the club has far more limited resources in this department than most of
    the leading clubs in EPL. If we are going to progress up the table the club needs to recruit at
    least one additional “quality” midfielder in next two transfer windows.

    Hopefully there are one or two midfielders playing in U23 and Academy teams who will make the grade but that is a “long shot” and unlikely to become first team regulars for at least two or three years if at all.

  5. Time Up

    Now Auba back, I can see Martinelli being benched. It was good to rest him against WBA. However, I think he’ll see very little footballers if the senior players stay fit.

  6. Captain Tierney

    Emergence of ESR shouldn’t stop us from signing a creative mid in Jan. We cant rely on just 1 creative player especially on someone who is still very young and has a history with injuries.
    Either we get someone on loan like Isco, make a signing like Buendia/Olise/Brandt or reinstate Ozil in the squad to rotate with ESR.

    Personally, I think Brandt is out of our reach this window. Norwich won’t sell their best player when they are pushing for promotion again. If they do it’ll take a premium. So Olise for 8 mil makes a lot of sense. Young, High ceiling and most importantly won’t take away ESR’s starting spot from the get go.
    Both will have to fight for their chances and it’ll only make both of them better.

    I would also ship out Mustafi and Sokratis for minimal fees. Send Nelson and Willock out on loan.
    Try to find a homegrown deputy for Leno who won’t cost upwards of 10 mil.

  7. Raulishuss

    I love Brandt. He’ll be suitable for us and very versatile. Guendouzi hasn’t really changed much from the starts he’s just been afforded more time and isn’t even pressing that much himself. I think the Bundesliga is making him look good but statistically he’s performing the same as when he was here

  8. Tee

    “If Guen comes back into the fold Arteta will look an even bigger twat than before hahaha”

    Nothing is funny about this. Guen coming back will be on Arteta’s will. He will be giving another chance into the team because he is till contracted to Arsenal. So, I don’t no what’s so funny about it except if you are waiting to score a point which is so common in here. Guen needs the paying time away from Arsenal as the atmosphere creates for him here is negativity. I believe he will be welcome back with both arms.

  9. Goobergooner

    Tee he could have played a whole lot instead of being benched after one fateful incident.
    What is funny to me about it is arteta’s “non-negotiables” are already bullshit.

  10. Raulishuss


    The think Arteta is as petty as they are and he’s hell bent on throwing our assets away. They can’t look beyond their agenda. Talking like guen is our saviour in midfield. Someone that’s on loan to Herta lol. If guen comes back with his head screwed on he’ll get his chance if he decides to keep acting like a spoilt brat then it’ll be good riddance

  11. Pierre

    There is a misconception on Le Grove that playing lots of games is bad for player and will inevitably lead to injuries..

    With some players , the more they play the stronger they get .
    Take Tierney for example , he is now at peak fitness because he has had a constant run of games and he looks half a yard quicker and physically stronger..

    I actually think that a player who only plays the odd game here and there are more at risk as their bodies are not attuned to the rigours of premiership football.

    Smith Rowe could well be one of those players (as saka is) that needs to be playing regularly to build up his strength and physique

    When Smith Rowe reaches his peak fitness through playing regularly , he will move to another level , as Tierney and Saka have done recently.

    I say start him and keep starting him, if he has to come off after 75 mins or so then fair enough, but you will find that the more games he plays , the more he will be able to last the pace for the entire game.

  12. Goobergooner

    And tee, I’d prefer to look like a dickhead and be proven wrong by Arteta than to be a sheep and say the same thing as everyone else. Especially when I don’t think it is true

  13. Goobergooner

    Raulishuss. I don’t think Guen is our saviour.

    But we have needed bodies in cm, and he wasn’t playing worse than elneny or xhaka.

    So please go do one with your agenda talk.

  14. Goobergooner

    How was the atmosphere here negative towards Guen? The only thing I can think of is Arteta and his non negotiables kicking him to the reserves.
    For what? Not apologising? Well then if that is all it takes to get sent on loan, why hasn’t Xhaka been kicked to the reserves? Oh wait. Arteta already has his favourites.

    in regards to Guen, Lots of people thought he had a lot of potential and loved his ‘passion’ and workrate. Yes, he still has a shit load to do to be a proper starter for us. But he couldn’t have been doing worse for us than both xhaka and elneny in our most abysmal start for 50 odd years.

  15. Tee


    Exactly, he is on loan and I’m happy he is enjoying his time over there and I believe he will come back more complete than before. The way some fans comment here, you would think Guen would have prevented our poor performances (something he couldn’t do when Emery had the same problem).

    I’m with you on this. It’s only arsenal fans that complain of many matches for young stars when their counterparts in other leagues are playing more matches. Before anyone come with their usual “EPL is more demanding than other leagues” mantra, hope they have heard of Fofana at leicester.

    I still believe we need another CAM but I will love it more if our forward line is all about creativity. When you watch man city, you see the creativity all over their forward line – there is no passenger.

  16. Aussie+Gooner


    You are on the money. ESR has no medical weakness per se. He just needs regular football and conditioning to build up his strength. Players in his position are in a bit of a twilight zone. They aren’t played much in the U23s because of availability issues for the first team squad and they don’t get much playing time in the first team because they are on the periphery. Catch 22. Same for Martinelli, Saka (in the past) and others. This position makes them more susceptible to injury and requires special management.

  17. Emiratesstroller


    I am sorry, but I disagree with your viewpoint.

    Smith-Rowe has had a history of injuries albeit not particularly serous. That applies to most
    midfielders. There are few who are injury resistant. It explains why Xhaka is still on our books because he gets seldom injured.

    Arsenal’s current midfield resources are waifer thin and we need to be recruiting more in that department. Ceballos contract is unlikely to be renewed in summer. Ozil is for all intents
    and purposes also leaving and both Willock and Elneny are not of the quality required to play and compete at top level.

    If we play 3 players in midfield then I think that the club needs at least 5 players in squad who can rotate on a regular basis over the 60 or so games a season we play.

  18. Raulishuss

    Excellent point Pierre but with Smith Rowe it’s his injury history that worries but you might be right tho I did observe that about Tierney as he looks sharper and quicker than he has ever been since he joined

  19. Wilko

    Gobby talk about someone else missing the point. Just keep in your lane as you can’t keep up.

    Guen wasn’t let go due to one incident it. He was an arsehole behind the scenes with numerous incidents. You can be a big time Charlie if you’re an actual player and can back it up. He’s not and he isn’t. Yet.

    He’s on loan and this might be the wake up call he needs. He’s not a bad player just not as good as he thinks he is.

  20. Sid

    Different players different requirements

    ESR injuries are muscle related having him as the main AM for the remainder of the season is risky.
    It took Tierney/Bell a while to be back to fitness and he has been playing as CB not FB which is demanding.
    Then there are players like Guen that can be played without risk.

  21. Emiratesstroller

    Our current formation is 4-3-3.

    The three midfield players selected in last three games who have started have come from
    Smith-Rowe, Xhaka, Elneny and Ceballos. Willock has come on as sub.

    Partey will obviously come in when match fit and probably play in place of Ceballos or Elneny. However, he is not a replacement for Smith-Rowe should that player get injured or need to be rested.

  22. Emiratesstroller

    Guendouzi is not coming back to Arsenal this season and will most probably be offloaded in
    the summer.

    He is not remotely a “starter” in a top class club with ambition. At a club like Man City, Liverpool or Chelsea he would be lucky to get on bench.

    I am not factoring in his behaviour which is clearly a factor in why he has not played since June and was shifted out of club.

  23. Valentin

    When the body is still growing up, players are more susceptible to injuries, so maybe ESR was in that period of time when his body could not handle the change and playing at the same time.
    Compounded the fact that quite often he was playing as a winger when it is clear he does not have the pace to bomb up and down for 90 minutes increasing the risk of injuries.
    As a No10, his position requires less up and down sprint lessening the risk.

    However I still would not like to overuse him like Wenger did with Wilshere. 28 years and can’t find a club because nobody believe that he can stay fit for a full season.

  24. Valentin

    There is a difference between being an arrogant idiot and being unprofessional. Willian going to Dubai for personal reason and mixing with the public at large was unprofessional. Getting a red card for grabbing an opponent by the throat is unprofessional.

    Funny how everybody is piling on Guendouzi attitude behind the scene, yet Per recommended to Hertha and both have said that he is a model professional.

    Any manager worth its salt know how to handle arrogant idiot. And that’s not by confronting them. It is by playing on their narcissism. You challenge them to prove to the world that they are as good as they think they are.

    On the other hand, any manager worth its salt know to punish unprofessionalism. Because if you don’t and play favourite, you just build up resentment within people who works for you.

  25. Tee

    re wishere injury, as far as I’m concerned, He didn’t get injured due to the number of matches he played buy his style of play. He holds the ball for too long which would always invite hard tackles from opposition players coupled with the fact that he loves to tackle recklessly. I believe he should have been told to release the ball on time.

  26. Valentin


    Our current formation is not 4-3-3, it is 4-2-3-1.
    Xhaka-Elneny or Xhaka-Ceballos are the midfield duo tasked to protect the defense.
    Martinelli/Aubameyang – ESR – Saka are the trio playing behind Lacazette.

  27. Tee


    Under normal circumstances, Guen shouldn’t even be playing for the first team. Only young stars moving mountains can do what he did and still get away with it. He is just an ok player who should be playing cup games.

    I believe the loan move will do him a lot of good and it won’t move me an inch if he is sold in the summer.

  28. Raulishuss

    What is your point then Val? I remember you lambasting guen was Emery was in charge and you was telling us about his past history with coaches and all now you’re blaming Arteta for not massaging his ego? Lmao. Guen is not worth any hassle. He isn’t even Ceballos quality yet and you want him to be pampered. He should be lucky to be at arsenal and giving the opportunities he has. Very different case from William but I’m not surprised you brought it up, you’ll say anything to paddle your rubbish

  29. shaun

    the non-negotiable crap was when he was trying to play the hard man manager then the twat realised oh shit I lost the players and will now loose my job and that’s the worry. People of any intellect at all do not come out and say the things he does , THE GUY JUST PUTS HIS HEAD ON THE BLOCK AND SERVES HIMSELF UP WITH OUT THINKING FIRST .Not great for a man who frequently represents Arsenal football club via public speaking but hey as long as the %’s are there lol………………………lol as a isde note not sure about this SAKA V SANCHO debate although I would say I have noticed Saka’s confidence increasing as he does just go past players now and actually tells them he is going to do so always said the best young play at the club and I include Martinelli in that as well

  30. Raulishuss

    Exactly tee

    I remember agreeing with Val about guen not been ready was Emery was playing him literally in every match and he still exhibits the same flaws with Herta. He holds on the the ball too long, he isn’t stronger than he left, can’t shield the ball well etc but to see Val trying to defend him now is just strange

  31. Bob N16

    By the start of next season I would hope that our midfield options were very different. Other than ESR and Partey I think we’ll bring in 2/3 new players to join them. Willock and Azeez could make up the numbers.

    If Guendozi was the perfect pro in terms of attitude I would still have reservations about his technical ability and decision making- too many touches, poor at shielding the ball and one paced. I see Besiktas is supposedly offering £6 m for Elneny – take it and replace him in the squad with a temporary upgrade if that’s all we can get.

    This summer we can get cash for Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka (pretty please!). I would also cash in AMN and get a LB as it would appear he’s never going to get a chance in the middle of the pitch.

    Oh and Ozil’s salary can finally get put to some better use!

  32. Aussie+Gooner

    What ever his attitude problems may or not be Guendouzi was considered to be not good enough for Arsenal at this moment in time. He runs around a lot, falls down a lot, appeals for free kicks when he has been tackled a lot and is generally unproductive.

    I honestly don’t know where the Guen love fest has come from! Perhaps with the appropriate coaching you may be able to harness his natural energy, but who knows! Now Torreira was a different beast – just that his physical stature was not up to what was required of him!

  33. Goobergooner

    The thing is I started this by saying that if Guen comes back under arteta id find it funny. (As Arteta would look like a fool who couldn’t handle an ego but the Berlin coach can/could).

    I don’t think Guen should be starting for us. But I would in all honesty prefer him to elneny or ceballos as a squad player. He has a drive and forward purpose on the pitch and also is showing he can score some belters too.

    Tee just didn’t like me calling Arteta a twat. Poor diddums

  34. Dissenter

    The management of Saliba has been sham policy for the club and the player.
    We didn’t even get a cent in loan fee when we sent him to Nice, that’s a measure of the pathetic manner the club is run.

  35. Goobergooner

    And fair play Wilko, despite the lame attempt at play on words Pierre had already come up with.

    I concede it wasn’t just the one incident.

    Guess I didn’t play the game so didn’t know what was going on.