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. The Godfather

    Anyway the good thing is that we are debating things that had nothing to do with deciding the game. We have a week to prep for Burnley who just got smashed by the Totts.

    We owe them one for the idiotic red card and OG that gave them an undeserved win. Fat Sam and that red headed gravel voiced thug from Burnley are two coaches I can’t stand even more than Mourinho … we have to beat them next week

  2. Rich

    AFC Forever

    If we get natural competition for Tierney + Leno, I think that improves us.

    Bellerin looks like he needs a change of scenery, so hopefully we can get a significant upgrade there

    I’d like us to sign Odegasrd permanently, or a player of similar ilk

    Not all improvement though has to be external improvement, squads are assembled in the transfer market and through the youth system, but they’re built on the training ground

    Team cohesion is such an underrated aspect of building success

    Sometime you need to take a sideways step, or a couple of steps backwards, before you can spring forwards

    We’re a club in transition, and at a low ebb of where we’ve been over the past 24 years, where we’ve produced remarkable consistency

    Liverpool, United, City, Spurs, Chelsea,Leicester, have all spend more seasons outside the top 6 than we have in the last 23 years

    Transitions are often painful, and take a bit of time, my concern is over our recruitment, because we need to get it right this summer

  3. The Godfather


    What really goads me about the clown is that he has Ashley Barnes, who is the nastiest, and most deceitful player in the league and the joker cries about diving and cheating.

    He’s such a two faced lying lizard.

    What’s the difference between kicking, grabbing and diving … all of which Burnley players are guilty of by the way.

    I can’t stand that dude

  4. Receding Hairline

    We started the season hoping to challenge for top four, by February we have lost 11 league games and some have already proposed writing off the season, a victory against a struggling Leicester city and all of a sudden fans who have questioned a disappointing season are the ones running a narrative.

    Sounds absurd but here we are

  5. The Godfather

    I’ve got no love for Liverpool and Kloppy but I felt bad for him when they lost to Burnley and he went nuts after Sean Douche!
    Losing to anti football clown like that must simply be nauseating

  6. AFC Forever

    Rich, yes I agree. Like I said previously it takes time to build a successful team. The players need to understand their role within a given system and the players around them. Gradually we should build partnerships. Players like Odegaard need to integrate with their team mates so that sixth sense can develop & that takes time. Intensity of games prevents that, that’s why it’s such a massive advantage not to have midweek games. It’s why Leicester won the league & why West Ham are doing well. As you say, get a couple of upgrades and & get a decent pre-season, which Arteta hasn’t had yet.

  7. The Godfather

    Funny cuz Roy Hodgson is a Dino in terms of philosophy and play like Fat Sam and Dyche but his demeanor and personality is so classy and refined that you can’t help but respect and admire him as a gentleman and sage

  8. Pedro

    Rich, would be nice to sell some players this summer instead of giving them away. Need to raise 80m or so. £50m for MG and LT… maybe £25m for Hector. Quite excited to see what we do in midfield and would LOVE if we landed MO.

  9. AFC Forever


    Burnley are a team of the dark arts. They grab at corners & rotationally foul because they know they will get away with it. We was all over them in that game, until the sending off & then that flukey own goal. The problem is these Northerners are supported by the Northerners who are the PGMOL officials. North South divide always evident.

  10. Tom

    Unlike yourself I don’t change my position to suit any agenda I might have.

    I’ve always maintained Arsenal squad is top six level jus as Leicester are.

    Can you say the same?

  11. Rich


    I think the transfer market will be completely decimated

    It was slow last summer, now add in 12 months of no ticket revenue

    Ligue 1 is virtually bankrupt

    There’s very little money, moving players on is going to be very difficult

    Loans + paying players to leave will be the new normal over the next few years

    Hopefully we can somehow shift a few, and KSE back us

    We need quality + squad balance over quantity

  12. Nelson

    Here is my opinion on Martinelli. The club has signed him for 5 years. We have enough wingers and strikers. With the addition of Ødegaard, Arteta is still testing his forward line combination. We have to understand that he needs to win now to save his job. Martinelli is not experienced enough to replace Auba and Laca. Therefore, for this season, Martinelli is kept by Arteta as an emergency backup.for winger/striker.

    On the other hand, I also see that Martinelli needs game time to develop. This is the same situation as Saliba. If the club decides to extend Laca, then there is no hurry to develop Martinelli. Otherwise, the club should give Martinelli game time so that he can be ready to be in the starting 11 next season.

  13. The Godfather


    Interesting reference to the GAME OF THRONES-like North – south divide lol. I think it could be more of a hand to British born coaches but what do I know … except that they are both a blight to this beautiful game ….

    I know Wenger definitely was hurt by Refs who favored Sir Alex and regarded him as this arrogant frenchie who populated his team with non British footballers

  14. Benjamin

    Shitting on Arteta is not the same thing as shitting on Arsenal! For me unless he gets 4th place or wins Europa league he should go!

  15. Tom

    I actually bet money on Arsenal win today while you keep lowering the bar saying nobody expected us to win.
    Why wouldn’t they?
    We’ve played well lately and Leicester haven’t.
    They aren’t great at home , had a real stinker in Europe and a few hours less rest.

  16. Pedro

    Tom, Arsenal should be challenging for top 4.

    My agenda doesn’t change. A better Arsenal. It’s always been that.

    Right now, we’re 7 points behind Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Everton in that pack behind them.

  17. AFC Forever

    Godfather. You only have to watch the YouTube highlights of Mike Riley in our 50th game to know everything you need to know. Scandalous.

  18. Dissenter

    Is Odegaard the only candidate. It seems the fee Madrid will ask for may be too exorbitant

    Maybe if we work out a sell-on clause with Madrid like they did when Morata when to Juventus.
    We can pay a fee for him with a guaranteed profit when/if Madrid decide to come back for him.

    What about the other AM that le-grove was crazy about; Is Buendia a better target that Odegaard

  19. Pedro

    Tom, I specifically said on the podcast last week that we’d beat Benfica and Leicester this week.

    Rich, yeah, that’s true. I think all the Odegaard stuff about Madrid seeing him as part of their future is nonsense. They are broke as are most clubs.

    Would be awesome to snap up some deals this summer and age down the squad.

  20. AFC Forever

    Who would have thought we would we three points off Liverpool with 12 games to play after the start we had? Lot of points to play for anything could happen the way this season has been going.

  21. AFC Forever


    “They aren’t great at home , had a real stinker in Europe and a few hours less rest.”

    They had considerable MORE rest mate, not lesd. They played at home Thursday, we was in Athens & had all that travelling.

  22. Rich

    The EU isn’t the worlds largest free trade area, it’s the worlds second largest protectionist racket

    The customs union is a racket, that defends producers in rich countries, against producers in poor countries, at the cost of the poorest consumers in the rich countries.

    You’ve then got 27 separate countries, all subsidising inefficient European business from the other 26 countries, at a huge cost to their own citizens

    We’re leaving 15%% of world trade that’s declining Year on year

    And trading on better terms with 85% of the world, that’s expanding year on year

    Asia is where all the action is at, and will have a rising middle class over the next 20 years

    The European single market isn’t an external market, it’s an internal market

    Competition is what drives business, it produces lower prices, better service, along with progress + innovation

    Protectionism offers higher prices, along with stagnation + regression

    The Euro is also a giant Ponzi scheme, which has crippled half a continent

    The European Central Bank is now borrowing on behalf of te northern countries to pay the debts of southern ones

    Good luck explaining that to your electorate

  23. AFC Forever


    “They are broke as are most clubs.”

    True but those big Spanish clubs have real problems. Real Madrid is estimated to be £450 million in debt, Barca over 1 billion. This is why there are so many rumours doing the rounds regarding offloading players. If we sign Odegaard that will be special.

  24. Northbanker

    Kroenkephobe – agree there are too many moaners on here and I often don’t view the site anymore as a result. After we’ve lost, they’re ‘told you so’ philosophy stinks.

    Anyway, haven’t read all the comments but surely today no one can be on a downer? It was a great result and possibly the first match I’ve watched all season (maybe Fulham counts too) whereall of the 11 played really well. My pet hates Luiz and Willian actually looked decent. Pepe started to look a class act. He is running with the ball on receipt rather than stpping and checking as he did previously

    We look to have the makings of a great team. Add 2 or 3 top drawer signings in the Summer if Stan puts his hands in his pockets (maybe he’ll know he has to plus we’ll be back in the money to an extent next year) and we’ll be in the mix next year.

  25. AFC Forever


    “We look to have the makings of a great team. Add 2 or 3 top drawer signings in the Summer if Stan puts his hands in his pockets (maybe he’ll know he has to plus we’ll be back in the money to an extent next year) and we’ll be in the mix next year.”

    Well said.

  26. SpanishDave

    We need.both ESR and MO because then we have choices, this will bring the best out of Saka and Pepe.
    If we can get another DM and left and right back back ups , this with the other young players will get us humming again.

  27. Rich

    We could lose


    We’d still have

    Leno, Runarsson
    Bellerin, Soares
    Holding, Saliba
    Gabriel, Mari
    Xhaka, Elneny
    Partey, Willock
    Saka, Willian
    Pepe, Nelson
    Aubameyang, Martinelli

    Add a left back + attacking midfielder + keeper

    And numerically we’d be fine

  28. consolsbob

    AFC forever.

    You might tempt me but I fought in a previous blog war against trolls with an agenda on ACLF years ago. It was not mush fun and Yogi was far more willing to ditch the trolls than Pedro. It his hos blog and who posts is upto him. I have no complaint.

    However, you cannot win a fight against trolls unless you bin them. They never give up because they are mad or bad.

    I have no time to fight a with no weapons.

  29. AFC Forever


    “I often don’t view the site anymore as a result. After we’ve lost, they’re ‘told you so’ philosophy stinks”

    Good to see so many people complaining about the constant moaning, it was a bit too ridiculous today, I mean minutes after we beat Leicester, I mean that is pathetic!!! Please don’t stop commenting Northbanker, we need sensible contribution because it’s a bit too Groundhog Day.

  30. Rich

    AFC Forever

    We don’t all have to agree

    People are free to feel as positive + negative about Arsenal as they want

    The world would be boring if we all agreed all the time

  31. G8

    Leicester 0 Slavia Praha 2
    Leicester 1 Arsenal 3

    Yes it was a good win especially considering that we have been shit for a while, but it dosnt get Arteta out of jail
    Season started in September not xmas
    Finishing outside Europe place should warrant sacking him.

    We are not winning europa cup that’s for sure.

  32. AFC Forever


    “You might tempt me but I fought in a previous blog war against trolls with an agenda on ACLF years ago.”

    It is infuriating. It’s so obvious what they are, match day really finds them out. Unfortunately, social media attracts them, some people abuse anonymity. I enjoy talking about all things Arsenal but some of these guys hate that. I’m called a Superfan, a pom pom waver, just because I say positive things about the club, players or manager. So I usually over egg it a bit!!! It is a bit Groundhog but people like you can change that. I have no idea how people can get so much fun slagging something off, every single day, bit weird. Anyway, we need you to comment otherwise we’ll all just give up and let them whine all day long.

    The “death wishes” I struggle with, that is disgusting.

  33. FB

    Hello and thanks Pedro for the blog

    Terrific win. On the Martinelli issue. MA would have known there were 10+ mins, so conceding immediately would have left us under the cosh

    MA’s job was to win the game and he had a choice between Auba and Martinelli. I believe he made the right choice ie less risky

    Say we lose to Olympiakos, and The Lord forbid Spurs, the MA will have the rest of the season to fully inetegarate Martinelli. He will know from training which young guns are knocking on the door

  34. The Godfather

    I watched that game live and agree it was arguably the most criminally biased game by an official ever. And that’s saying a lot considering some of the Rubbish from Refs.

    But that could also be interpreted as a favor to a British coach vs the arrogant foreigner rather than simply a north-south bias. That’s all I’m saying

  35. Dissenter

    At this rate, AFC is going to drive many regular players away from this blog
    Hey AFC, why don’t you start your own blog where managers are ever criticized.
    You can call it “positively Arsenal” or “retold Arsenal”

    I’m not the only one telling you to pipe down and let other opinions stand without name calling.

  36. englandsbest

    On Arteta : he is honest, straightforward, forthright. He says it like it is. A polar opposite after years of conniving and dissembling. Yes, I now this is hard to believe in the fatigued cynical sporting world but there it is: we have a noble soul as manager/coach.

  37. Matt B

    Thanks for another great read Pedro — I think you’ve called it right with Arteta and totally agree that there is something brewing with this team.

    A real shame about the constant moaning on here though — I find it hard to believe that people would still find something to whinge about today.

    I’m afraid for me and clearly some others, it puts us of contributing or even reading the comments section.

    If you can’t find any joy supporting Arsenal, what’s the point in supporting at all.

  38. Claver

    Reading through the comments, I always wonder how some people lead their daily lives.

    I mean, Once someone differs in opinion, they are an idiot, a c word, an every-letter-in-the-alphabet word. Player makes a bad pass, he’s excrement, complete and utter garbage…Damn.

    Couple of folks I know would punch you in the face for calling them some of the stuff I see here. Y’all must be street brawling all the time.

  39. AFC Forever


    ,I asked you nicely not to be a prick. You don’t like it because people are coming on here claiming they don’t contribute because of the trolls like you pissing on Arsenal constantly especially after this win.

    The team selection today was fantastic. Before the game it was ridiculed yet we turned over a great side who have been iin the top 4 all season. 3-1 away from home, despite all the travelling and resting players like Saka. The fact that displeased you is predictable. So please fuck off.

  40. Matt B

    Love AFCs comments

    Have you ever wondered what a non-Arsenal fan might think if they happened to read some of the comments on this site on a day like today. Constant bitching and entitlement is not a good look and I’m sure a big part of the reason why Arsenal fans have such a bad rep.

  41. AFC Forever


    There are a few honest managers. I like OGS and Potter, they are always straight up. It’s a pleasant change from the likes of Maureen. Mind you OGS was not happy today after VAR was ignored by Atwell. That could rumble, a few claims from MUFC players

  42. I hate Green Bay

    At the game today, Luis kept passing to Mari and Mari kept passing to Luis, and źVardey chased down every ball and didn’t win it once, then he ran out of legs. I think we did it deliberate.

  43. Kroenkephobe

    Claver – Unless they stay put and don’t go out. I know punters near me who say all sorts of pernicious shit online about anything and anyone. But when they do venture out, they’re as meek as mice.

    Northbanker – Well put. You have to enjoy the good moments with this team, not least because they’ve been pretty rare since the autumn.

  44. AFC Forever

    I hate Green Bay

    Yep, tactical masterclass today. Stopped ball getting to Vardy in the situations he likes and he was chasing Shadow’s, he hardly had a touch. Apart from the mistake for the first goal, the team delivers a fantastic performance, Leicester barely had a kick. If we had won by 5 it wouldn’t have been harsh. Really strong performance from everyone.

    We have to cut out individual errors though.

  45. Rich

    Burnley with a midweek game against Leicester, then we’re the early kick off on Sat

    We should have the fresher players for that one

    Big advantage

  46. AFC Forever

    Rich, Burnley were terrible today. If they give us that much space, we will punish them big time. It’s about time we had an advantage with rest, we had to play City and Leicester after long journeys away, Man City having an extra day too.

    I just hope their rotational fouling gets stopped. Ndidi should have had three yellows today!

  47. Kris

    Arteta is a brilliant manager.
    He should be given at least 3, 4 years to get us into the top 6.
    He was a legend as a player and will be one of the greatest managers in history if given time and another 200 or 300 M.

  48. Northbanker

    AFC – thanks but tbh its partly me as well – i get so down about Arsenal losing that I have to switch off from football. The doom merchants on here aren’t exactly the tonic i need. A couple of days later I’m back looking forward to the next game with hopeless optimism. Been like that ever since 1968!! lol

  49. Rich

    With Leicester’s growing injury list, Burnley should fancy taking something on Wednesday

    There’s a strong argument we go with the same eleven next Sat

    There’s also a decent argument with Pepe’s recent form, that we start rotating Tierney + Saka at left back

  50. Northbanker

    don’t agree on Saka at LB – he’s wasted there nd would mean he would end up being overplayed overall. We need Chambers to rotate at RB so Cedric can play more at LB.

  51. G

    ‘’. don’t understand this fascination with Martinelli not playingHe’s 19, coming back off a big injury, and all our forwards played really well today’’

    Spot on

  52. I hate Green Bay

    We played in Greece Thursday, travelled back Friday, travelled to Leicester yesterday, had a midday kick off, made six changes, dominated a game the usual sausages were eagerly predicting we would lose, so they come up with Leicester had an injury, and Auba was bought on with ten minutes to go. Do you ever listen to yourselves? Its pitiful.

  53. AFC Forever


    You are welcome, mate. I’m the same, when we lose I’m like a bear with a sore head for a couple of days. I started watching around ’69/70 the passion never leaves you. I was buzzing today after watching that performance, our boys were superb.

  54. Thorough

    Moving to the next round of El, no matter how hard we made it for ourselves, qualifies as progress.
    Beating Leicester, our perrenial bogey team, is also definitely progress.
    What isn’t progress however are the intangibles that AKBs have been speaking about since forever. And Arteta is still dim as per substitutions and ostrasizing of players. Arteta out!

  55. Bertie Mee

    Well said I hate Green Bay
    This was a very praiseworthy win today .
    Arteta was in trouble until we beat Chelsea . ESR got him out of jail but since then we are one of the better teams in the country . Last week playing the best team in Europe after getting back from Rome 36 hours before and losing 1-0 was not the rank humiliation that many on here portrayed it to be .
    We have a real chance of top 6 or 7 and European qualification

  56. Matt

    So now we are not allowed to talk about injuries that the team we are playing have?

    I think someone needs to put a list together of what people are or are not allowed to speak about. I’m sure there are a few candidates for the job!

  57. I hate Green Bay

    I don’t usually get things right, but I have been saying for months that Cedric should start. I heard a stat today that Cedric and Pepe linked up 31 times. The last game with Belerin, they linked up 7 times.

  58. AFC Forever

    Bertioe Mee

    “Last week playing the best team in Europe after getting back from Rome 36 hours before and losing 1-0 was not the rank humiliation that many on here portrayed it to be .”

    It’s crazy the football authorities schedule these games. Making us travel to Rome and Greece was bloody ridiculous. It was worse for the Man City game because they played just up the road in Liverpool to play Everton a day earlier. That’s a massive advantage, although you’re not allowed to point it out. Even Leicester had an advantage because they were at home while we travelled. It is simply impossible to play all your players, you will get injuries and legs will tire. That’s why rotation is crucial and to do that successfully you need a strong squad. Ours has definitely improved.

  59. Rich

    I’m not convinced with Chambers at right back, he’s incredibly slow over the first few metres, really struggles against quick + agile players

    Hopefully someone will give us £10-£12million for him this summer, he’s much more suited to playing centrally in a team with less possession

    Saka occasionally moving to left back isn’t ideal, but Tierney can’t play every game

    And Saka does have really good delivery

  60. Peckobill

    Fair play great use of squad rotation and tactics today by arteta just goes to show there’s a better squad there than some seem to think .
    Willian actually played well , in fact the team as a whole did barring Mari for the first goal but he recovered well .
    The Vardy goon was anonymous all game reminded me of auba getting no chances early in the game .
    Hope some of the idiots now realise the worth in getting Odegaard in for cover instead of coming out with nonsense about him stifling ESR , you won’t survive in the PL with one player in a certain position with no one to rotate for goodness sakes .
    Beside for me Odegaard has been great and only get better, his understanding of one touch football into attacking spaces is sublime .
    Hope for more of the same for the rest of the season .
    Oh and Pepe MOM for me a threat and nuisance throughout , Brendan knew Thomas couldn’t cope with him , no doubt he would’ve seen red had he stayed on or backed of Pepe too much and caused more goals . Hope arteta sticks with him in his selections

  61. AFC Forever


    “Of course talk about injuries, just people shouldn’t use it as an excuse to float their anti-Arsenal agenda”

    Yep. Especially when it’s hypocritical – because you try blaming injuries, or anything else, on the reason for losing a game. and you’ll be shot down in flames. As we left Saka out completely and Auba & Partey weren’t in the starting eleven, it’s irrelevant anyway.

  62. Northbanker

    One of the few games this season when we didn’t have any injuries – just saying. But I guess it doesn’t count when we have injuries – cos then its just down to Arteta being shit.

  63. Habesha Gooner

    I am late here but what a game that was! I enjoyed it very much. Willian performing to a decent level was a surprise. Pepe was man of the match for me. Everyone else was also good.

    One negative for me was the Auba sub. We didn’t need him. We need him for the rest of the season and subbing him in for a game that is already won wasn’t great. I was also hoping to see Martinelli be given a run out in a role he flourished at under emery. The first teenager to score double figures since anelka deserves at least 20 minutes. I think he is going to end up as a 9 in the future. I haven’t seen him play at 9 under Arteta so far. He has everything been to be top class there.

    Other than that it was an excellent performance. If we keep this up we might even guarantee at least a europa league place through the league.

  64. Northbanker

    Habesha – completely agree. An opportunity missed. Gabi would have brought energy to a flagging attack – perfect time to run at tired defenders and get some minutes under his belt.

  65. Northbanker

    Rich – not disputing Saka’s contribution at LB but if we want to preserve him then let’s not use him also as cover for KT. We have to find another solution and I do think letting AMN go without that cover was a mistake. Cedric is cover for both sides at mo and for same reason therefore and by process of elimination most obvious person left is Chambers. Unless we have someone we can promote on either flank (with Cedric covering the other flank)?

  66. Rich

    I’d be very pleasantly surprised if we made top 4

    Can’t see it though, no reason we can’t win 8/12, which will give us 61 points, and a reasonable chance of 6th

    We’re one of the favourites for the Europa League as well, hopefully we don’t brain fart, and the draw’s kind to us.

  67. AFC Forever

    Creator, yes very tough but it’s a funny season. Go on a decent run and who knows. The old adage about taking any be game at a time

  68. Rich


    I agree, I’m not making the case for the quality of Kolasinac, but at least he gave us another option there

    I don’t fancy Chambers at RB, and our competition for Bellerin, is our only cover for Tierney

    The logical choice for me is Saka playing a few games there, he gives us penetration, and end product.

    Full back is the most physically demanding role in the team, Tierney gives a lot, and we’re going to need to manage him carefully

  69. Habesha Gooner

    North banker
    It’s not just that. I believe there is a really special player in there. I think him and Saka are the future at Center forward and Right wing. If we are going to win the premier league again in the next five years, I believe they will play an important role. And Martinelli needs minutes to become a talisman like Saka. That is why I am disappointed to see that he wasn’t subbed in instead of Auba. He is also infectious because of his desire and non stop pressing. He is a lethal finisher. He needs to do better at his play making skills and his technique a bit. And that’s why I believe he has been struggling at LW. Anyway I hope Arteta doesn’t piss him off because if he doesn’t we have him for 4 more years. There is still enough time.

    Top 4 is gone. There are 6 teams between us and 4th place even without considering points. 6th is very much achievable though.

  70. Ernest Reed

    “Since Christmas, we’re 4th in the table, with the 2nd best defence, having scored the 3rd most goals”

    Got to love ya Pedro, only you can get away with such a lame presentation, conveniently omitting the fact that they are 10th in the league with as many wins as losses.

    Memory serves that when some Wenger teams were showing progress in blocks or spurts you quickly reminded those making the argument, of the overall performance.

    You can wax poetic all the numbers that you like, but the only one that matters is 10th Place with 11 wins and 11 losses, with just 12 to go.

    No argument from me, in your eyes Arteta is shitting gold bricks – get it and got it. You’ll have to forgive the scepticism that sometimes reality brings.

  71. Ernest Reed

    Thought the team put in a spirited effort and credit where credit is deserved, thought Willian put in a really good shift today and so did Xhaka. Any match where you can make Jamie Vardy look totally invisible, is a really good one.

  72. Pedro

    Ernest, Wenger was clogging away at mediocrity for 12 years.

    Arteta hasn’t finished out a full season yet.

    … and once again, LOUDLY, the only numbers that matter are NOT the Premier League table ones.

    It’s about underlying metrics and performances… and the eye test. If it were only about the table, the Premier League would not have Jurgen Klopp in it atm.

  73. Ernest Reed

    “… and once again, LOUDLY, the only numbers that matter are NOT the Premier League table ones.”

    What does that even mean???

    “It’s about underlying metrics and performances… and the eye test. ”

    You’ve honestly lost the plot when that is your argument. Stunning absurdity.

  74. Matt


    I would just like to talk about everything. We talk about our injuries, we can talk about the opposition injuries. I don’t see why anything should be off limits.

    We got a great result today and we played some really good stuff so yes, that should be the main focus.

    I actually really like Xhakas performance today. Yes he was partly at fault for their first goal along with others, but apart from that he was very good. Probably just shaded Pepe to MOTM I think. That’s a sentence I never imagined I would type!

  75. DUIFG

    Pepe. Needs starts now, but saka needs to come back and artet will love Willian, again we will put in the shade a 72m player who ai 25 for a 32 Yr old man,

    Get this right arteta

  76. Rich


    Arsene went on for too long, and he lost his magic in the transfer market

    But in his last 12 seasons, he produced 10 top 4 finishes + 3 FA Cups

    Never finished outside the top 6 in 22 years, and only outside the top 4 twice

    That consistency deserves respect

  77. Pedro

    Matt… Xhaka was pretty saucy today! Defended well, made some great touches, and there were some sexy flicks.

    Hard to admit it… but he’s been very good this year.

  78. Pedro

    Ernest, not really.

    It’s such a silly thing to keep on parroting.

    If the Premier League was the only thing that mattered, Arteta would be sacked.

    Club didn’t sack him because it’s a longterm project and they aren’t looking at this year solely through the lens of finishing position.

  79. Nelson

    I hate Green Bay
    ” The last game with Belerin, they linked up 7 times.”

    Talking about link up between fullback and winger, last time, Tierney and ESR linked up at most 1 time.

  80. Matt


    I would like to have seen how much distance he covered today. At one point he was pressing their defenders in their penalty area! He was much more positive with his range of passing as well. I like that when KT is playing, xhaka is always looking for a pass to split the right back and centre back that KT can run behind onto.

    He still has those moments and he always will, he is just one of those players. But, he has improved massively and you have to respect him for coming back from where he was. He is a leader on the pitch and we don’t have enough of them.

  81. consolsbob

    AFC Forever.

    All credit to you, my friend. Following the thread this evening, you have the patience of a saint and the skin of a rhino.

  82. Matt


    I like Mari. I think it’s clear he’s not the fastest, but he obviously is aware of that limitation and has built his game around that. When he was 1 on 1 with Vardy I thought he was in trouble but he dealt with it really well. He looks very composed on the ball as well.

    I don’t understand what he was doing for the goal today though. I don’t know if he got a call from someone not to go to Tielemans, but it was odd that he didn’t get across

    I’m not sure what our best CB back pairing is at the moment, which I guess is a nice problem to have? You feel that when fully fit Gabriel has to start because he is the only one or the four with any sort of pace and you worry when neither CB is particularly quick, but it worked out OK for us today.

  83. AFC Forever


    I watched Mari playing for Flamengo in the final of the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent to the Champions League, he was fantastic. Then when I heard we had signed I was made up. He’s 6ft 3 or 4, so he’s a physical presence and good in the air He’s quick and good on the floor for a big bloke. Edu is big fan probably because of his Brazil connections. He’s had a couple of injuries, his first one was when he was playing well. The break today wasn’t his fault but he made a mistake in black Ng up. With him, Gabriel, Holding plus Saliba, we have four excellent options.

  84. Ernest Reed

    “Club didn’t sack him because it’s a longterm project and they aren’t looking at this year solely through the lens of finishing position.”

    Total body of work, agreed. However…

  85. AFC Forever

    Matt, nice comments. He’s not a slouch mate. Agree about the goal, not sure why he backed off he backed up he had to go to Tielemans. But after that he was superb, very composed player.

  86. Ernest Reed

    An observation, thought Pepe played well today, but the optics also revealed how easily he can be bossed off the ball. Would like to see him more stronger in the mix, but recognize that may not be his game.

  87. Matt


    Yeah it was probably a case of each of them waiting for the other to go to the man. They surely can’t have thought Xhaka would catch him! 😄

  88. AFC Forever

    You know it’s a weird season when Man Utd are talking conspiracy theories about not getting a penalty. The bare face cheek!!!

  89. Pedro

    Matt, it’s certainly weird to be in a position with 4 centre backs that are all pretty decent. He’s been a steal at the fee, contacts scouting finally coming good…

    AFC, Dino played well again this weekend. Another talented young centre back

  90. Matt

    Makes me laugh, all the fuss that United are making about the handball decision. It came from a free kick they should never have been awarded in the first place. Mctominay had his leg high and kicked mount in the head and the ref gives United a free kick?

  91. Pedro

    Matt, not sure. I think Luiz is our best defender. Gabi all over the place at the moment.

    Suspect Arteta sees it as Holding and Gabi. You?

  92. Matt

    I genuinely don’t know at the moment Pedro.I can’t remember the last time Arsenal fans had to ask ourselves the question.

    I have been really surprised by Holding this season and he has been very solid so at the moment it’s probably him and another of the three.

  93. Biggles

    Has anybody been watching AMN at West Brom? I’m curious as how he’s doing as a central midfielder. BBC player rater over the last few games has consistently had him over 6.

  94. AFC Forever

    Funny Pedro but it wasn’t long ago we didn’t have any decent centre backs. Arteta needs them to stay at on their feet and be comfortable on the ball. Luiz has been excellent he had another strong game today but he’s not the future. It’s an area where you need some maturity though.

  95. AFC Forever


    “Holding this season and he has been very solid so at the moment it’s probably him and another of the three.”

    Yes, agree. He’s so strong in the air and probably more reliable the Gab at the moment. Arteta is concerned about the individual errors so he needs to decide a pairing for me to get an understanding.

  96. bacaryisgod

    Based on our financial limitations and recent news stories, I can[t see us making any changes at the CB position over the summer. Only possible activity might be a sale of Chambers and decisions need to be made on Saliba and Mavrapanos. But the first four in line are looking to be the same for next season.

  97. Matt


    Like I said, it’s such an odd position for an Arsenal fan to be in. As you say Luiz isn’t the future, but on form you would have to put him above Gabriel, but I’m sure he will come good again.

  98. Emiratesstroller

    I think that Arsenal have now got 4 decent Centre Backs on their books albeit they are all prone to making mistakes from time to time.

    Frankly we keep on making silly mistakes early on in games as we saw against Wolves, Aston Villa, Man City, Leicester and Benefica. The lack of concentration needs to be eradicated.

    What we miss in the defensive department is a genuine “team leader” on the pitch. Someone
    who keeps the players alert and on their toes. Organisation is key to a solid defence.

    Arsenal played well today and I thought that Pepe in particular had a very good game. He was a “handful”. Let us hope that he can maintain this form and improve his consistency.

    The only team who have outplayed us since the start of this year has been Man City, which
    is not unexpected. If we can eradicate the silly mistakes and poor decisions I think that Arsenal have the makings of a decent team on which to build.

  99. Nelson

    Last season, Leicester fell out of the Top4 after they lost Maddison. They are a different team without him. Why Rodgers didn’t sign an adequate backup? They better hope Maddison come back soon this time.

  100. Gonsterous

    The fact that everyone thought mari had a great game except pedro, just goes to show he looks at the club through rose tinted glasses. No wonder he thinks arteta is generational.

    I don’t know why most of the people here don’t understand that a youth player cannot develop only through training. If you want Martinelli and Balogun to boss the league next season, they have to see minutes on the pitch.

    Any manager that thinks they are too good to wear the clubs colours come match day, are clearly in it for themselves. Arteta is either here for the money or using arsenal as a stepping stone, which is great for the club in the short term but when he leaves, we will have a squad full of pensioners and all our youth prospects will have been out the door.

    Then it’s time for another re build aye?

  101. Tony

    Take him please.

    Barca proving they have are nowhere near the club they were by having wanted to take Bellerin back and now Arteta is on their radar.

    Perfect solution for Arsenal right now as we can make money on both manager and player and then be free to decide between Overmars and Rangnick.

    There is nucleus of a CL qualifying team – just needs the right experienced manager and DoF for next season.

  102. China1

    Yeah tbh holding is the least talented of our 4 rotating CBs but he’s consistently good and extremely reliable and at CB that counts for a lot

    He’s not going to ping a 60 yard pass like Luiz, he’s not going to perform miraculous step in challenges in Gabriel and he probably doesn’t read the game as well as Mari, but he’s the most consistent and if a CB gives you a 7-7.5/10 every game that is incredibly useful

  103. China1

    Yeah tony I’d be fine with losing both but I don’t see Arteta leaving right now knowing he’d surely be sacked within 6 months at Barca if he underachieved they way he did in the first half of this season

    But Bellerin out seems a small possibility and I hope it happens because not only do we get paid but we stop having to criticize arteta for always picking him lol

  104. China1

    When you see the average standard of performances Bellerin has put in over the last 3.5 or so years you have to say he’s been absolutely stealing a living at this level. And now if he moves to Barca or PSG it will be quite comical that he’ll have conned his way into such clubs irrespective of his performances

    He has that ozil effect on people seemingly where it doesn’t matter how sub par he is, people think of him and remember what he was doing several years ago and it completely whitewashes the reality or what he’s been doing ever since

    But if Barca or psg want to burn some cash on him please be my guest

  105. China1

    Tony even tho there’s no chance arteta leaves this summer or gets sacked, if he did I’d be on the phone to gerrard. He’s done enough to warrant a pop imo

  106. Dissenter

    I think Gerrard is the Liverpool manager in waiting. He will likely wait to be called for that job.

  107. Tony

    “Give it a rest. You’re an idiot mate, you never have anything decent to say. You defend people making death wishes and go behind peoples backs with your snide insults, playing to the ‘crowd. You goad people, like Bamford, so I don’t want anything to do with you, I tried my best to converse after you abused me last week but I can’t be bothered any more. So don’t address me any more & we’ll leave it at that. You’re are one of those snidy, behind the back types I can’t stand people like that.”

    You should know better than to say anything other than the utmost positivity about Arsenal to an AKB.

    Cardinal sin mate.

    Your moniker gets you off to a bad start with those super fans, as soon as it appears on the blog where AFC and his cronies are frothing at the mouth in anticipation for them to get into holier-than-though, god squad ramblings.

    One minute Berkamp63 is never going to return to Le-Grove while snide, idiots (AFC & B63 demeaning tags for you/us) as we are accused of our supposed trolling/baiting.

    2 days later Bergkamp63 does his best Lazarus impersonation and is back in full AKB flow as AFC’s second-in-command mouthing off to any nasty, non AKB supporter (they can’t be real fans) who says anything negatively about Arteta or players no matter how constructive they are.

    In reality we are people who have opinions backed by the historical facts regarding Arteta breaking records for all the wrong reasons.

    An AKB? Well their facts are in their beliefs regardless of any rationality.

    To become and AKB you get issued rose tinted specs and the AKB rule book of how to defend the indefensible, such as Wenger’s last 10+ years and now our generational Arteta. The book also teaches they are never wrong.

    Somehow Emery was bypassed by the unique brand of ‘you-can-do-no-wrong’ instead he was blasted with the AKB be-carful-what-you wished-for-brigade, which was kind of propped up by Pedro’s if-you-can’t see, I can’t help you arguments.

    The AKBs honestly believed Pedro had become one of them. Mini street parties broke out all over north London, such was their glee and there were rumors of limited edition, celebratory, small pottery Arteta figurines being sold along with the traditional AKB merchandise.

    Some people never seem to grow up and live limited lives even when they emerge from their mother’s basements, marry and have children.

    I mean come on Dissenter – death threats? That’s a bit much, don’t you think?

    I would have got it if you suggested the AKB’s be neutered and feel the 2 house bricks route to neutering is the most humane for them or the best to help them improve their high-pitched whiney voices to that of more a screechy falsetto range.

    Now be a good boy, Dissenter, and play nice in the future ok?

    How his decision making is agenda/ego driven and man/game management is poor and showing no signs of improving.


  108. Aussie+Gooner

    Whilst I love a great win against a top 6 side please let’s keep things in proportion.

    Leicester were well below par without the injured Wesley Fofana, James Maddison, James Justin, Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez . They also lost Barns and Evans during the game. Their main strength has been being able to select a proficient first team – they have little depth. That’s how they roll with limited financial clout.

    Willian had his 1 in 12 good game, Pepe was fired up and we took our chances well. It still doesn’t absolve some dreadful back/sideways passing, lack of concentration, poor defending and stilted midfield. Add to that some questionable team selection/substitutions. When Balogun and Martinelli move on and set the world on fire it will be too late for recriminations! And people pointing these things out are not anti-Arsenal – they are just being realistic based on years of experience watching yoyo performances, poor man management and repeated team selection/substitutions errors!

  109. Aussie+Gooner

    This quote from Arteta after the game just about sums up the problem:

    “It’s not that we have to rotate. I want to rotate and give the chance to the players. They deserve it. The way they train everyday, behind all the players.”

  110. Tony

    Finally a game to enjoy although not the injuries, especially to ESR who I believe has been over played, especially when Arteta know’s ESR can be injury prone. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.

    Thought Mari put in a decent performance along with Willian showing glimpses of his past best Chav’s form similar to his best for us against Fulham. Will this Willian’s form continue? It didn’t after the Fulham game and Leicester really didn’t turn up yesterday and were missing their vital MF cog in Maddison. Would Willian have played as well with Maddison on the pitch? We’ll see in the coming games, as no doubt Willian’s name will be on Arteta’s team sheet second after Xhaka.

    To be honest I never wanted Willian to sign for us, especially the length of deal and ridiculous salary/bonuses agreed. There were far better options for less money at the time.

    However, if Willian can show consistency that is greatly beneficial, he should play and be rotated in the squad the same as the other squad members. I’ve always been a meritocracy believer no matter whether I like a player/person or not; it’s all about consistency and ability for me in sport and business.

    I’ve always championed Pepe to come good, so yesterday’s display was what I’ve been expecting from him, and I feel Pepe can still go up a few gears if Arteta plays him in a run of games. Initially I was concerned with Pepe on the right, but Cedric and MO created the small spaces Pepe does well to explode out of into the box from.

    Cedric, as has been stated here by many, should take the RB position going forward.

    MO is making small improvements with each game. Yesterday he was his usual tidy self working in the tightest of spaces while finding ways to thread balls to players in scoring positions.

    I still believe MO should partner Partey with ESR in front of those 2. If ESR isn’t fit for Burnley, I’d like to see Azeez partner Partey with MO in front.

    Martinelli, Balogun and Azeez should be getting game time and Burnley would be the ideal game to start them with Saka, Pepe and MO.

    For me this is where Arteta can prove he believes in our youth players and quieten the Arteta detractors of which I’m still one.

    The comprehensive win yesterday even though the stats were not far apart with our 12% better possession, 4 vs 3 shots on target and 4 vs 1 shots off target in our favour with our 7 corners to their 1 was the tonic we all needed.

    A one off win or the start of a winning run? That’s the question in most of our minds, certainly is in mine.

    It doesn’t matter what my feelings are as to where Arteta is what Pedro claims him to be.

    I care about one thing and that is our Arsenal getting back to its former glories/successes of the early Wenger and GG eras.

    I can easily overlook Arteta’s peccadillos if he is right for our club either in the short or long term.

    The win yesterday doesn’t make it so for me right now, but I can appreciate the win yesterday was down to Arteta’s coaching and giving the players belief.

    Arteta can further win us naysayers over if he doesn’t lose the next 4 league games: Burnley (a), Tottenham (h,) West Ham (a) Liverpool (h) and dispatch Olympiacos in the EL cup.

    We don’t have player poverty and haven’t had as Emery proved even with a lesser squad last season.

    It’s down to the manager and the players giving their all for Arteta and badge.

    At least if Arteta doesn’t make the grade with us, then he can be generational at debt ridden Barca, which would suit Arteta’s immense, dogmatic ego far better.

    The next month is going to be interesting for us all.

  111. Tony

    Aussi Gooner
    “It’s not that we have to rotate. I want to rotate and give the chance to the players. They deserve it. The way they train everyday, behind all the players.”

    A very well articulated Arteta paradox

  112. China1

    The injury to ESR is two fold first we lose a very good player but secondly it means Ode now must play more

    I’m very comfortable with Ode and like what he’s about, but he too has been pretty breasted lately and with ESR our it means he’s our only capable 10 in a congested period. Even assuming ESR is out I’d drop Ode vs Burnley and let him back in vs Olympiacos. As much as we want to win the Burnley game if we run Ode into the ground and he also gets injured we are actually in quite big trouble imo. Gotta protect him

  113. Guns of SF

    Id play Ode against Burnley. Today he had a good game and nice splitting assist. He is starting to find his feet I think ( i hope)
    Against Burnley he might be able to grab an assist or goal again.
    Mind you, he is only returning to play, so has not logged a ton on those legs just yet.

    Saka I would rest for sure if we can. 2 game without playing would do us and him a world of good

    the real question,
    My daily question is…

    When in the F does he play Martinelli?