by .

The year is 2021. The future is bleak, face masks and Purrell are the currency of the land. West Ham United are genuinely an excellent side.

Imagine these visions in 2018?

West Ham had a good run out against City, beating them for xG, but losing the game. It’s kind of brutal that TV isn’t aligned better between European football and the league. How can you have City playing the first game of the day after a Champions League run out? Truly brutal.

Arsenal and Leicester are in similar boats this Sunday. I mean, bar the fact Arsenal had to do two away legs in the Europa, with our home leg being further away. Again, why does it have to be the first game of the day? Every little helps. The competitions need better alignment.

The big watchword amongst Arsenal fans atm is ‘THE RED ZONE.’ This terminology was big on Le Grove in the early days. People didn’t think it existed when we were calling for Arsenal to get a S&C coach to fix the injuries (remember Wenger getting a witch doctor in to solve the issue?). Well, now people are very much accepting of sports science. The basic premise… when you are fatigued, you have a higher chance of soft tissue injury. The fancy GPS kit they use helps staff understand where a player is in terms of their limit. When you hit the RedZone, there’s a higher chance you could ping something.

The corollary that many of us are worried about is the breakthrough of Jack Wilshere, when Wenger played him 54 times and the player never recovered… and the breakthrough season of Bukayo Saka, with Arteta being unable to drop the teenager. This is Wilshere.

‘I remember having conversations with the physios in my first year in the Arsenal team. They were like: ‘Look, you’re playing a lot…’ I told them: ‘I want to play”

“I was living the dream. I was 19, playing for Arsenal. We were challenging for the league, in the Champions League. No one was going to tell me I needed a rest. That’s one of my biggest regrets – I wish I’d listened to physios a little more, learned more about my body”

It’s very worrying. Arteta is under pressure and playing for the short term. Keeping players fit and healthy during their development is a longterm thing. ‘The player said he wanted to play’ shouldn’t factor. If I child wants to eat a bonfire, you don’t let them, unless you are a weak leader.

This Sunday feels like one of those plotlines in a film.

‘Come on Bukayo, just one more time. Do it for the boys.’

The Leicester game is another Cup Final, not because we’re going to do anything in the league, but because this project needs a major scalp after a rough run of games. Killing Brendan Rodgers title run after he shithoused us earlier in the season would be totally dreamy. He needs Saka if he has a single hope of it.

The manager knows he’s tired, his response is that fatigue is part of the game. Wenger, Ferguson, Pep, and pretty much every manager out there would say the same… but there needs to be a balance. Unai Emery fucked his top 4 hopes when he overplayed Aaron Ramsey after he returned. That sort of marginal error can kill you.

The only temptation on offer is that after today, it’s a 5-day rest until we play Burnley, a game you’d hope we could rest him.

Then it’s straight back into the Europa mixer for a doubleheader against Olympiacos, which is conveniently wedged between Spurs and West Ham United. This next batch of games is where the money is made. 6 wins and the season is saved. If we have a horrendous run, pick up some injuries, and drop out of the Europa, it’ll be a bloodbath with the fans.

This is football. Glory or death. No in-between.

Loan watch is going well. William Saliba has managed 10 games in a row, he’s certainly answering fitness questions and his fanbase is growing. Also worth noting that Dino Mavrapanos is doing well. Lots of admiring glances for one of Sven’s bets. It’d be great if one of them slipped into the squad next season. Both young, both have high ceilings, both have resale value.

Short one today. Before I go. A couple of things.

This internet is a shithole. There are literally thousands of basement dwellers whose only power in life is being mean on the internet. These cowards sometimes pop up in my comments section. I’ve had people send me e-mails this year complaining about it. I am always happy to be alerted to bad actors. If I get the mail, I sort it, every time.

What I have to reiterate, over and over and over again, is this: I am just a part-time writer. I work a fulltime job dropping New York 70 hour weeks. Advertising is where I make my money, not this website. I make ZERO money from tweets, podcasts or blogs. I am also a left-leaning snowflake. If there is someone saying mean things in the comments, trust me, it’s not because I am down with those comments.

So when you email me. Please consider this is just a big hobby on a site that looks sleek, modern, and clean… built for a 2.0 world.

Finally, some exciting news. I’m going to be a contributor for The Gooner. Layth has kindly given me a little bit of space to drop thoughts. I’ve always loved the fanzine. The jokes, elite banter, gossip, and the sketch on the back of mag was always a treat when I’d go to the games with my dad and football fam back in the day. Fanzines were and are a massive part of the footballing experience, I’m glad it’s continuing, but it could always do with your support. Sign up here, it’s money well spent.

On that note, see you in the comments. I’ll be here with an On The Whistle Podcast tomorrow.

1,226 Responses to “REDZONE FEARS BUBBLING”

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  1. S Asoa

    Pepe been a handful. Tap in after pre -assist. But Leicester defence was all over. Simplest goal. Now let us wait for humiliation and benching of Pepe after next match Rancid Sauce

  2. Jamie

    “That we are better with Aubameyang and bellerin on the bench and Pepe and Lacazette on the field
    And that Martinez is a better keeper than Leno, obvs 🙄”

    But you’re done with Arteta right lad? Can’t keep up with your 15 minute flip flops these days.

    Emi better than Leno.. Hard to take a guy who pines for Wilshere seriously. Nice little red he picked up yesterday in the Championship.

  3. Chris


    What we are seeing today would warrant Lacazette getting another run in the side certainly, but we shouldn’t forget what Aubameyang can give us 🙂

  4. TheLegendaryDB10

    Yes!!!!! Really nice team build up to that goal.

    I actually thought Ødegaard scuffed that ball…. but we’ll played in the end.

    And the replay shows that Willian is with the assist.

    I have to admit that Willian has really woken up in this game.

  5. Zimmie2652

    Does anyone else get as annoyed as I do at Xhaka for falling and grabbing the ball like he does whenever he gets touched?

  6. London gunner


    gabriel is top top quality you forget he has just turned 23 and came to arsenal from another league all the while getting three arsenal player of the month awards… deffo wouldn’t write him off

  7. Chris

    I’ve always liked Bellerin as a player and a human being in general, but I must admit he has lacked consistency overall for a while now. I still rate him for a player but for both his and Arsenal’s sake, seems he needs a new challenge and rumour has it that is what he is looking to do in the summer.

    Cedric has done very well overall when asked to cover him, although I’d love to see us go for Aarons of Norwich for a long term solution.

  8. raptora

    Good by Mari. I felt the red card coming. Nice it didn’t go there. Feels like Vardy being out for a while is going to take him a bit to come back to his usual which is good news.

  9. Samir

    S Asoa
    You’re right. Cedric isn’t amazing but he highlights how poor Bellerin is. Bellerin is very poor both defensively and attacking wise.

  10. S Asoa

    Arteta will not have both Party and Martinelli ,to bollster his argument Martinelli struggling. He will have Martinelli where he is left to fend to himself, again to prove his argument

  11. Jamie

    “Careful Jamie. Check your privilege”

    Careful Don, you don’t want to go through the ball-ache of creating a 15th account here. You always lose.

  12. London gunner

    classic arsenal fans digging out gabriel one of our better players this season.

    give the lad a fucking break multiple player of month awards and come into a shitshow team in crisis and played well and not bottled it.

    has he been perfect no has he made some mistakes yes all defends at all clubs have this season but in the balance of things he has done much more good than bad and before his injury was our most reliable and consistent player.

    stop digging him out lads.

  13. China1

    The n1 thing that Pepe changed apart from looking hungrier is he used to always stop on the ball when he got it, sit his man up then try and skin him and put him on his ass

    When it worked it looked good but it slowed the game down and let teams defend in numbers easily so it was pointless

    Now he prefers to get the ball and move it sooner rather than later which allows him to use his pace to stretch and commit defends early more like saka

  14. TheLegendaryDB10

    I agree re Partey. MA seems t9 have learnt his lesson about not rushing players back from an injury.

    He is slowly building back Thomas’s fitness by easing him back in by slowly increasing his game time.

  15. MidwestGun

    Mari… has really picked up his game from a terrible start… fair play to him.. That’s why I don’t like rotating CBs all the time though. Although to be fair ours get injured a lot.

  16. Gonsterous

    Chaka has been one of our Vetter players. Everyone has played well today. Definitely been a positive week after that defeat to city.

    Get laca off and let martinelli have a few minutes on the pitch. Bringing auba on now will be kind of clueless.

  17. S Asoa

    Auba is coming in for Laca. Safe strategy by Arteta to avoid sending in Martinelli.
    Actually Pepe needs a fast thinker who moves into position. Otherwise he overdribles and loses the ball

  18. TheLegendaryDB10


    Yes he is.

    This is why it’s a total mystery as to why he can’t get any minutes at all.

    If MA wants to make sure he can rotate with fresh and fit players, he must ensure that all players have a chance to play a bit.

  19. Gazzap

    Winning the ball back quickly in midfield. And playing with a decent mobile number 10 is Also making a positive difference today.
    But Leicester appear very leggy.

  20. China1

    WHY BRING ON AUBA when Martinelli is available and auba is being rested today? The game is over what is the logic of this

    Honestly some of the decisions arteta makes are so obviously ridiculous you wonder if he’s trolling

  21. Gonsterous

    Leicester going out Europe definitely been a bonus for us. They look sloppy and demotivated.

    If martinelli leaves, nobody can blame him really. No minutes in the last 10 games in all comp.

  22. TheLegendaryDB10

    Bellerin has been our weakest link since the beginning of the season.

    We have never seen anything good from him.

    Bellerin strength was his speed. This is what saved him and made him a “good” defender. The moment he lost his speed due to his ACL, it has shown him up to be a poor defender.

    I can only agree that Cedric is head and shoulders the better player.

  23. Gooner_grower


    Can anyone understand the reason for not bringing martineli on?

    I am sure Martinelli’s time will come. Just as Pepe was not being played earlier and looks better now, same will happen with Martinelli

  24. Gonsterous

    Laca has been good today but honestly, he’s still a very limited player, hardly ever scores from open play. We need to sell him and auba and get a complete player, someone in the mould of halaand.

  25. Buzzy

    Whenever Partey comes on as a sub, it feels like Arnold coming in on that Harley Fat Boy in Terminator save that kid from T2 driving that semi truck