by .

Nothing more stressful than trying to green card over here. It’s painful. They want pictures of your insides. It never ends. Bonus slips from First Sport, 2002. Size of toenail clipping when you’re hot. Every question, they asked. Finally, after being flagged about 500 times… they sent the card. What surprise did they have in store? They give me a new middle name. ROBUT. It’s like the guy who writes ‘Pizza’ on my Starbucks cup moved to the visa office.

You know what? I can live with it.

I could say it’s how the French spell the name.

From now on, please address me ROBUT. I think it’s kind of cool. The sort of thing Prince would have named his kids.

The name that I really care about? Thomas Partey. He’s back in training. He might play tomorrow. Who knows. He might last 40 minutes. He might give us 2 games. Just don’t get your hopes up. Enjoy his majestic presence like you’d turned up to an after-party with Prince as your dad and everyone is asking you cool questions about your seriously cool name.

Arteta’s press conferences are very muted at the moment. He really doesn’t give much away when he’s under fire. His story about Eusebio was an epic invite to sound interesting and he delivered the most deadpan boring response you could imagine.

Benfica in the Greek home leg is a Cup Final for him. Win, it sets up an exciting tie this weekend. Lose, and he’s getting pelters on and we all know he reads them.

I see no reason we shouldn’t bury the Portuguese side. Hopefully the running around at City has blown the confidence out of the sails. We need fresh bodies and we need everyone concentrating to the max so we can move into the last 16.

I’d imagine it’ll be all the big names. Smith Rowe will be fresher. Saka will start. Xhaka might have a more able partner next to him. I’m not really sure where we’ll see players rested? Europa is literally our only way back into the Champions League this season.

The game needs a performance as well. We need to continue the good bits we’ve seen since Christmas. Expansive football, high-quality chances, and control of the game on our terms. If we do that, I don’t think Benfica will luck out like they did last time.

This is sadly a very huge night for Arsenal. Last 32 feels important. A loss and it’ll crater Arteta’s rep. A win, and it’ll put judgement on hold for another 2 games. He needs this win to kick start a run. We need to see what this squad has got.

COME ON YOU REDS. See you in the comments. Might see you after the game with an on the whistle.


202 Responses to “LAST 32 FEELS LIKE A CUP FINAL. SAD.”

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  1. China1

    I would assume xhaka is a stand up guy. Team mates and managers all love him. But please be a stand up guy for another team is all I’m saying lol

  2. The Godfather

    Mr. J,
    This is why I call you a slow learner.
    The article is about the downturn of Fenerbache fortunes since
    Ozil arrived, but your first response was to talk about Arsenal.

    And yet you somehow don’t understand why you’re being called out for
    deflecting? Dude you’ve got some comprehension issues ….

  3. China1

    I can also relate to xhaka for his fuck off outburst because I once told my manager to go fuck herself (kinda funny story looking back on it) but the difference is my boss deserved it 😂

  4. Tom

    Something for us all to agree about
    ‘ Report: More than 6,500 migrant workers have died during Qatar’s World Cup prep’


    Yea, but those were all dark color skin workers and we all know their lives are only worth a fraction of white people’s.
    1/3 perhaps?
    So about 2200 people have died there then .
    Still a lot , but much better though.

    I’m sure Trump’s hand picked former US Treasury Secretary ,Steve Mnuchin, is heart broken with this news though. He spent his last days in office visiting the Gulf States, so human rights abuses surely must’ve been on the docket.

    Oh wait, he’s launching an investment fund back by Qatar and Saudi Arabia amongst others, so perhaps not so much then.


  5. China1

    You guys probably won’t but may remember there was an explosion in the north eastern Chinese port of Tianjin in the summer about 6 years back. It was a chemical fire and the explosion was one of the largest non nuclear blasts ever recorded

    I live a mile and a half from the epicenter and was in my kitchen doing the washing up looking out the window that night when it happened directly in front of me. Blew all the windows open in my apartment, shook the building, mushroom cloud of fire went up and literally looked nuclear for a short period (keep in mind were not that far from North Korea…). Everyone evacuated the building in the middle of the night and was disorientated as fuck, also it was clear a lot of people must have died considering the size of it.

    My wife worked for an international company and was responsible for about 20 Indian colleagues here who lived much closer to the blast zone than even us. We had to drive to their building and get who we could. Half of them were badly injured. Got to hospital in the neighboring district tanggu because our local hospital was overflowing with patients. Looked like a war zone in there, so many injured. Glass wounds from glass exploding in peoples faces. People in wheel chairs with shards sticking out of their head, blood streaks all over the hospital floor. Looked like a scene from the Iraq war. My wife had to translate for this Indian family who couldn’t speak any Chinese and the dad was badly injured and needed surgery and his poor wife was just shaking, her 4 year old kid wasn’t even wearing trousers the evacuation had been so hectic. We had to stay there til 4am to help. Went back home and went to sleep for like 2 hours then we heard reports on the news there were thousands of tones of cyanide in the explosion and it was due to rain in the next 24 hours so we didn’t know if the rain would be toxic and everyone in my district (teda) was ordered to evacuate. At the time I worked as a kids English teacher in the neighboring district Tanggu which had been barely impacted due to distance. My senior manager calls me the next day and I told her all the above. Said I couldn’t breathe properly from the shock and stress and was going to evacuate downtown so won’t be available for work for some time and encouraged her to close the school u til we know the rain is not toxic.

    She replied to me saying your don’t take time off, you request time off, and you don’t text your manager you call them’

    I was like dude if you think I give a flying fuck about your stupid fucking protocol right now after what I’ve just been through then you seriously need to go fuck yourself

    To my surprise she didn’t sack me and seemed to back off realizing that she’d overstepped the mark. Needless to say not long after everything calmed down I quit.


    Why did I say that was a funny story? It was a horrible one… I had PTSD from that explosion for about 3 years after. Fucking bad times

  6. China1

    RIP to all those who lost their lives in this, especially the volunteers and firefighters from my local FDP… my view of the initial fire was obstructed by buildings between so I didn’t know there was a fire… just saw the first explosion then the second one. Faaaaaack that was scary

  7. englandsbest

    The way I see the game is a 0-0 draw will be enough. Arteta’s rep hardly matters, nor does his method or style. All that is vital is getting through to the last 16.

    We should stop putting Arteta’s job on the line every game. That is the Chelsea way, not the Arsenal way. And – as every sensible fan knows – the man has gone for the long haul. No quick fixes. The slow steady build to a squad capable of putting the Club back amongst the elite.

  8. Graham62

    “The Arsenal way”

    What is that exactly?

    This has nothing to do with putting Arteta’s job on the line, this is all about having someone at the helm who has the know how and experience to make things work.

    Whether you like it or not, Arteta is under severe pressure.

  9. Anonymous Commentator


    We damage ourselves further by keeping arteta around.
    The understanding should be that he’s a walking corpse at this point.
    There is nothing good he can do for us, any action that delays what needed to have already happened is damaging us.

  10. Anonymous Commentator

    Am I really supposed to believe that the board don’t see the absolute state of things and that arteta has no secret sauce?
    Surely kroenke has encountered a few frauds in his time and rejected doing business with them, why are we still doing business with arteta?
    Kroenke must know, surely, that this isn’t going to work.

  11. Anonymous Commentator

    We were nice enough to take a shot on arteta and hire a rookie.
    The understanding was that he needed to produce regardless of circumstances.
    Now he’s been permitted to fail to produce and I’m not sure but whom because arteta’s own words from the press conferences might as well state that he has already failed.

  12. TheLegendaryDB10


    Kroenke must know, surely, that this isn’t going to work.

    The problem with Kroenke is that he knows nothing about football. So hoping that he can see that MA is not all that was promised on the tin is going to take a while or at least until he realises that we are not going to get back in the top 4 with a rookie at the helm.

  13. Uwot?

    Quick fix – it’s official from the anti Arteta mob .You have as an Arsenal manager one season to achieve top 4 or EL winners.That’s it.That’s your lot.None of this Kloppy 5 seasons malarkey to win the title or CL .oh no.We’re The season or get the please.Simple.Very chav like.or in it Spursy……..

  14. NORG

    Uncle Stan has other things on his mind that are more of a problem than the performance of Arteta and AFC. He did well in the first lock down and his stock rose in value – now it is in reverse.
    He is still a very rich man but nobody like having a couple of billion removed from your value.

    I wonder what Tim is doing at the moment?

  15. DigitalBob

    China – Damn man what an experience glad you and the wife made it out ok, rest in peace to all that lost their lives.

  16. DigitalBob

    I expect we win comfortably tonight, although I probably said that before the Olympiacos game last year, we are a better(more defensive) side and this is not a strong Benfica team.

  17. andy1886

    UWOT – If you believe that Arsenal are a mid table side that’s your problem. Thing is so far the manager has taken us down two or three places whereas by any metric improvement means moving up the table. Arsenal are not a mid table side and neither is this a mid-table squad. Responsibility to get the best from the available resources falls squarely with the manager, something that so far he has failed to do.

  18. Rich

    Hopefully our players can make it through the game tonight without doing anything erratic

    Even though we should have won it, Benfica were well organised last week, hopefully we can get an early goal, then force them to change their shape a bit.

  19. China1

    Isn’t Willian a quick fix? And we have regularly side stepped some of our biggest youth prospects (martinelli, saliba, balogun) to pick out of form old heads who frequently cost us points

  20. TeeCee

    Uwot……I know you are a dustbin lid on here for a windup but you talk like the idiots in RedAction during Wengers days.
    It’s not about getting top 4 or winning the title for us, it’s seeing progress!! It’s learning from mistakes, hell, it’s just learning!! Arteta can’t even do that! Moyes could genuinely do a better job than Arteta with this squad and none of us would have wanted him anywhere near our club!
    Arteta’s management is shockingly bad, never look above 10th place with him in charge as that’s as good as it will get.

  21. Receding Hairline

    I don’t understand the fuss over today, even if we win 5-0 then what? Its the round of 16 for us.

    Why is everyone acting like Benfica are the strongest team left in the EL and eliminating them clears a path to winning the tournament.

    And even if we lose, there are 13 games to go in the premier league, if indeed that represents an opportunity to make a late surge for the European places and even if we fail we set ourselves up nicely for next season

    So enough with all this cup final talk.

  22. Graham62

    Quick question to all genuine Gonners out there.

    Based on what you’ve seen of Bellerin and Cedric these past few months, who do you think is the better option?

    I’m assuming that none of you are fully qualified football coaches.

    That’s what we have with Arteta. A so called top level coach who can’t spot the difference between Bob the builder and frigging Ronaldo.

    x by 3 or 4 for other similar disparities in our team.

    Now do some of you get it.


  23. Nelson

    Starting XI: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang, Saka.

    Subs: Ryan, Hein, Lacazette, Willian, Cedric, Partey, Pepe, Chambers, Mari, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli.

  24. englandsbest


    To make my point more clearly: quick fixes don’t work long-term. Therefore judging a manager on a game-to-game basis is a a contradiction if the aim is to return the club to the elite. By definition an elite club is one which consistently, year-on-year, genuinely competes for the major trophies.

    To properly judge Arteta we must take account of how much progress he has made in that direction, bearing in mind he inherited a squad unfit for purpose, and with very little money to spend. In my view he has made giant strides. Yes, an occasional stumble, but surely we can allow a rookie manager a few of those?

    But I would maintain he is far better than that. He has transformed how we look at the Club. Faceless, a far-flung neglected piece of the Kroenke empire, it has become vibrant, vigorous, innovative, a Club to be proud of again.

  25. Chris

    It’s time to exorcise the ghosts of 91-92, time to send Benfica packing this time.

    I would be gutted to go out of the competition tonight, we are long overdue a European trophy and it also comes with reward we are all well aware of. I do think we were handed one of the tougher draws at this stage which was unfortunate, however if we go out tonight and therefore 2 seasons in a row at last 32 exit, it does not look good on Arteta. I just hope he remains calm and sticks to the attacking shape that has seen us far more dangerous and creative since Christmas.

  26. Leftside


    Its called reframing success and lowering already low expectations, ever lower. For those of us that aren’t satisfied with the path this club is headed we’ll no doubt be titled negative by the superfans.

  27. MidwestGun

    Sup Y’all….? Big match today.. keeps hope alive for this season.

    I believe this is the lineup that Arteta believes is his best lineup.. except for maybe Partey ahead of Ceballos. So.. no excuses today.. have to win.

  28. raptora

    Should have started Laca, Pepe and Auba with ESR behind them.
    Saka has heavy legs, Odegaard just joined and is starting every single game.

    We might win it but Arteta’s squad rotation has been atrocious.

  29. Ernest Reed

    “But I would maintain he is far better than that. He has transformed how we look at the Club. Faceless, a far-flung neglected piece of the Kroenke empire, it has become vibrant, vigorous, innovative, a Club to be proud of again.”

    Love the optimism, but unfortunately reality often has a way of interrupting such views.

    What can Arsenal look forward to in its hopes of attaining Europe participation? At least four more rounds beyond today of Europa League competition with each getting subsequently more challenging. Thirteen more rounds of matches in the EPL to perhaps secure a much coveted Europe spot.

    Based on the clubs current performances, this is a seriously big ask. The club has indeed shown defensive resilience and a marked improvement in this area. However, the exact same cannot be said of their offensive performances as those have tended to show stagnation on regular offer and the overall results speak for themselves.

    You can say many things about Arsenal under Mikel Arteta but consistent is not one of those. This is a team that struggles for an identity and to point that still, even after this far into the season overall, the manager still tinkers with his lineups to limited success.. The optics remain questionable and this much I do know, Arteta should count himself incredibly fortunate that ownership are as patient and tolerant as they are, because given club history there is no valid or reasonable reason as to why Arteta should still be Manager given the abject mediocrity that he has established as the new normal.