by .

Finally, football is back and we can all start being friends again. Kind of sad that international break is like being cut off from the world. My group chats have been dead. Do I only have friends because of Arsenal?

Matt from the pod called me the other day and it was like an awkward first date. I don’t know what he likes outside football. Is that child he walks around with his? I’ve never taken the time to ask.

Friendships during international break is a bit like growing old as a couple and realizing all you had was great sex… my relationships are vapid and narrow. Most are men I’ve met online. Still, I can live with it if we smash Liverpool tomorrow, am I right, internet best friends?

Arteta was asked whether he was prioritizing Europe, he correctly said no.

Good leaders should always reference history for insights into the future… I think one of the defining moments for Emery was when he went all-in on Europa, took his eye off the league, and in the end… fucked both.

This Premier League season like a corgi race… it’s utter chaos, you have no idea how it’ll end up, so the best bet… as I advise all my corgi clients… is to keep going until the very end.

Liverpool has been found out a little bit this season. VVD is very much essential to the way they play, and they, like every other team, need their big players firing. It hasn’t really happened for them.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t still an elite side. They’ll have this season fixed for August, no doubt. Arteta made reference that even in the position they are now, the data nerds have them as a top 2 side by almost every metric. Sometimes, a season just doesn’t drop for you, that’s Liverpool after having nearly everything go right for 2 years.

I suspect Klopp will have noticed what West Ham did. A heavy opening 30-minute blitz against a team that weren’t suspecting it. The key for me in the West Ham game is Moyes knew there would be a very specific plan based on his patterns of play. He zigged and we couldn’t zag. Liverpool will be different because the players will be expecting to be bullied from the first whistle.

What I hope is that we don’t give them too much respect, like we did against City. We have to try a play some football. We’re more than capable of landing punches. The manager said they were better than us, this is true, but that doesn’t mean we have to find a laundry basket and hide under it for 90 minutes.

Liverpool has been beaten by Fulham, Everton, and Chelsea in the last 5 games. They are weak. There is no aura we should fear.

There are 9 games left of this season. There are 7 points between Arsenal and West Ham. There are 6 between us and Spurs. There are 4 points to Liverpool and Everton.

Beat Liverpool and you never know…

Before we leave. It seems like we’re renewing Mo Elneney. Seems like a nice guy, I just can’t understand why we’re giving a new deal to someone who was yanked on 55 minutes in a last 16 game against a bum Greek team.

The more worrying rumour is Sergio Aguerro being a target for Arsenal. No, no, no, no… that is not £300k a week spent well. I don’t care about his ‘special’ qualities. He could be a secret unicorn that harvests carbon emissions in his sleep… he’s not for Arsenal. Let Barcelona start the rebuild with a 32-year-old. We simply have to do better this summer than falling back on players that are past it or simply not good enough.

This summer cannot be about collecting old players again.

Here’s today’s special podcast. I speak with Football Consultant, Rob Gevertz. He’s worked at Manchester City and Talksport. We talk about the world of the digital fan, modernising stadiums, and a bit about Arteta and his progress at the end.

176 Responses to “JUST SAY NO”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Almuniasaynomore


    Agree with you totally, his loyalty to Newcastle cost him, his move to city occurred just before they started churning out trophies and also coincided with the rise of Joe Hart. Christ,do you remember Danny Rose’s ‘screamer’ against us for the spuds. I still don’t know what Almunia was trying to do, all he needed to do was stand still and put his hands up. Like I said that’s when I seriously started to question Wenger. Then again I cursed George Graham from a height for replacing lukic with Seaman and look how that worked out!

  2. Rich

    Team news

    Luiz out discomfort in his right knee

    Saka + Smith-Rowe late fitness tests

    Xhaka unwell, late fitness test

    Willian available

  3. Kroenkephobe


    Just allowed myself to watch that Danny Rose goal again. I’m re-traumatised! Almunia’s reaction was glacial. I thought twitching Arry’s head was going to spin off his shoulders after that went in.

    I loved John Lukic as well – brave, calm and always willing to come for the ball, even though some called him Johnny Bostik because they thought he was always stuck to his line…

    He used to do this really curious thing when he took a place kick where he’d do a little shadow punch halfway through his run up. I always looked for that and if he did it I knew all was good in the world.

    That was peak time for all supporters doing the old “you’re shit aaaagh” when the opposing goalie was kicking it out. One of the more reductionist chants but we loved it. A mate of mine once claimed it helped win an NLD because he’d got it going against spud GK Erik the viking/wanker Thorsvedt. Was very happy when Lukic returned for a while.

  4. Almuniasaynomore

    Re-traumatised is right! When you look back on it we were fairly spoiled for keepers over the years, Wilson, Jennings, Lukic ,Seaman,Jens, with honourable mentions for Rimmer and Maninger(rarely let us down though I’m not sure he would have lasted as a no.1 over a prolonged period). Felt szcezesny(close enough) was unlucky but the league cup final mistake was pretty close to unforgivable (bow your head koscielny). That’s why I just don’t get how we’ve failed to address the position for so long now. Is it that younger Arsenal fans just haven’t seen real quality keepers at the club or has the standard of keeping dropped? Do you remember Southall winning leagues for Everton by himself?(slight exaggeration). If we could just get a good number one it would take a lot of pressure off what is,as stroller pointed out, a young but promising defence emerging for the future.

  5. Colney Gooner

    Did you hear about the bloke who can’t stop singing Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin songs? He’s got crooner disease………

  6. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    If injuries are to be believed then I hope the beach bum has a plan to throw a new youth into the team tomorrow to unsettle the pool.

    Also wtf has Eddie done .
    Fella ain’t getting no seconds on the pitch at all lately.

  7. Uwot?

    @kronkephobe.I’m still traumatised by Almunia.CL semi finalist the Ems.Ronald from about a mile out daisy cutter.And his piece de resistance the CL final nr post between his Bambi legs.I could go on & on.Never forgave wenger for those years of Almunia.criminal.

  8. China1

    Pedro I think I agree with you on 70% of points and tend to strongly disagree on the remaining 30

    But I do have to say you are an excellent writer.

    I have this image in my mind of you feeling frustrated at work because you’d be constrained by the whims of the client and use this blog as an outlet to impart your ‘own’ work. Am I right on that?

    My brother used to be a phenomenal graphic designer and he literally dropped out of uni for this reason. He used to get middling scores from lecturers based on their wish to see him do less interesting work. As well he used to absolutely resent it when he’d present 5 amazing logo candidates to a client and they’d without fail pick the least creative, meaningful or interesting one

    I have this image of you coming up with a slogan for a tooth paste company and them saying ‘yeah that’s good but how about we just change it to ‘makes teeth whiter’ instead haha

    Is my suspicion right?

  9. China1

    My brother once showed me these 4 possible logos he’d designed for a client which were each similarly amazing, creative and thoughtful. Then he laughed and said ‘but I bet he chooses this one instead’ and pointed to a really shit one he’d literally made as a joke in the hope that the contrast between the mundane one and his other ones would lead the client to pick one of his good ones

    Sure enough the client picked the one he had made in sub 5 mins

    He was furious lol

  10. Habesha Gooner

    Liverpool tonight.
    I would go with this line up considering all the injuries.
    Cedric Holding Gabriel Tierney
    Partey Ceballos
    Pepe Odegaard Martinelli
    Auba/ Laca

    I have this sinking feeling though that Arteta will either put both Auba and Laca on at the same time or he will play his favourite willy now that he is back from injury. Things might go south if he does that.

  11. Dream10

    Hope Xhaka is ready for tonight’s match.
    Willian nailed on to start
    Saka and Smith Rowe unlikely to be in the XI (maybe one of them makes the bench)
    Luiz not fit
    Think Mari will get nod ahead of Gabriel

    Cedric Holding Mari Tierney
    Partey Xhaka
    Pépé Ceballos Willian

  12. Useroz

    Tonight we probably see another intriguing lineup from Arteta that produces a typical disjointed performance in the 1H, especially after a break.

    Just hope we wouldn’t concede in 1H, and look to a better 2H…

  13. S23

    Trepidation towards tonights match,we should be able to put up a decent performance,but how many times have we seen,when you need a performance or a player needs a goal-bring on the make a wish foundation,Arsenal-guaranteed 3 points or a highlight reel goal.
    Like our atrocious injury record,I am hoping we have moved on from that.
    The Torreria situation should be straight forward,he is under contract to us and will go where we want him to go,surely a non negotiable-when my Mum died unexpectedly,I still had to go on tour as i was in the military at the time,didnt want to go and get shot at,but that was the job,I am sure if Torreria breaks his leg in training he would still want to be paid by us-a two way sword,we have to become tougher in our recruitment and management of players.
    I think we should go back to the old way of 1 year extensions to players over 30,not too many of our 30 year olds would cause us many tears if we said goodbye to them at the end of the season.
    We must remember we are The Arsenal.
    Fingers crossed for the win,tonight.

  14. The Bard

    Useroz so Aguero worked with Arteta and yes he has been a world class striker but he not going to come to Arsenal because he had some love affair with us over the years.
    He will only come if we pay him £200 grand a week give him a 3 year contract. Surely we’ve learnt our lesson on paying passive wages for players in their 30s.

  15. Rich

    Be interesting what Arteta decides to do at right back tonight, I’ve never been convinced of Chambers at right back, he’s far too slow over the first few metres, and Mane is incredibly strong, quick, and direct

    Chambers was one of our better players against West Ham after the 35th minute, his positioning caused West Ham all types of problems when we were on the front foot

    The issue is we’re unlikely to largely dominate Liverpool for 55 minutes, and their forward line can be ruthless

    If Xhaka is still sick, I’d definitely go with Elneny next to Partey, that worked well at Old Trafford earlier in the season

    Assuming both Saka, Smith-Rowe and Xhaka don’t make it, this is what I think we’ll see

    …….Holding Gabriel
    Soares …………. Tierney
    ………Partey Elneny
    Willian Odegaard Aubameyang

    I’d go with Pepe instead of Willian, but Arteta generally opts for structure

  16. China1

    I want Gabriel to play ahead of Mari (assuming only one of them plays)

    Gabriel is on very good form and was one of our best players in March with some decisive performances. He’s also got more pace.

    Imo Gabriel is the logical CB we should be building around

  17. Rich

    Going for a 2-1 Arsenal win tonight

    Super Mo Elneny with the winner, and Partey with the opener, who’s well overdue his first Arsenal goal

  18. Wiglaf


    Chambers was played at rb vs West Ham to negate their aerial threat
    It won’t be him today. I’ll be amazed if it’s not hector.
    I hope he goes with Mari and holding today
    Leno is a joke without those two protecting him from high balls

  19. Wiglaf

    China1April 3, 2021 11:13:40
    I want Gabriel to play ahead of Mari (assuming only one of them plays)Gabriel is on very good form and was one of our best players in March with some decisive performances. He’s also got more pace. Imo Gabriel is the logical CB we should be building around

    And yet we concede more goals with him and Luiz in the side

  20. China1

    Gabriel was player of the month multiple times when playing regularly at the start of the season. Got injured and missed a lot. Came back a little rusty and hasn’t had a long period in the side since. But quite tellingly he was a contender for player of the month in March which was the first time since the early season when he’s played quite frequently.

  21. David Bolo

    I hate it whenever we face a team that’s been on a terrible run. We are always the team that allows others to end terrible runs. Anyway, I have written off this season and just hoping for a top 10 finish and a good showing for each of the remaining matches.

  22. Leedsgunner

    Not only do we need to say no to BUYING rubbish we need to say no SELLING our stars. Multiple reports stating that the club would consider selling Saka to raise funds.

    No. No. No.

    We have more than even excess weight to shed before we consider selling our stars.

    It’s like selling Fabregas all over again.

    Plus I wouldn’t trust this lot to spend the wisely in any case…

  23. China1

    Also look at half the goals we’ve conceded recently

    Leno, xhaka and Ceballos have all made huge errors leading directly or indirectly to goals. Luiz has made multiple as well. And mari was heavily culpable for Leicester scoring as well.

    Of all the goals we’ve conceded in recent weeks a large number have been from poor errors but very few have been on Gabriel

  24. China1

    Agreed Leeds

    We’ve got dross that should be sold before we consider looking at auctioning off the family silver.

  25. Wiglaf

    China1April 3, 2021 12:12:16
    Agreed Leeds We’ve got dross that should be sold before we consider looking at auctioning off the family silver.

    Leno bellerin and aubameyang

  26. China1

    Yeah David it’s true

    Before every match they always pull out some stat about how their CF hasn’t scored in his last 12 seasons and is suffering from two broken legs. 85th minute and he *inevitably* bangs in a screamer with his weaker foot from 30 yards

    I HATE those stats they bring up because we bottle it every time they do

  27. China1

    Out of interest which quality keepers are available these days? I think the Milan keeper is but I haven’t followed him for years and dunno if he’s a real upgrade on Leno.

    Anyone been watching him this season?

  28. Dream10


    The reason I don’t think Gabriel will start is that Liverpool may start with Jota or Salah as the #9.
    Lots of interchanging with those two and Mané
    Believe Arteta trusts Mari more to lead the defense especially with Luiz missing out

  29. Rich

    Gabriel is doing well, he’s 23, it’s his first season in a new league, learning a new language, and he’s got less than 100 competitive games behind him

    I like the look of him, he’s calm, composed, doesn’t rush in, he’s powerful, and good in the air

    He’s understandably a bit raw in aspects of his game, and will need to be dropped out from time to time like most young players

    We didn’t buy the finished article, but there’s a good chance we can develop him over the next 12-24 months, and he can then lead our defence for the next 7-8 seasons, and provide us with some stability at the back that we’ve been lacking for a long time

    Stability and cohesion are such an underrated aspect of building success

    Liverpool have crumbled without VVD this season, City struggled last season after failing to replace Kompany, if we move away from Luiz this summer, and opt for the potential of Saliba, then fans need to be prepared for a further adjustment period

    Unfortunately that won’t happen, the same fans who are screaming for Saliba this season, will be screaming for Arteta’s head again next season, when we go through teething stages of developing an elite young talent, in a central position on the pitch, where mistakes tend to be fatal, and experience is a real factor

  30. Wiglaf

    We conceded 15 goals in 13 games before he was out, over a goal per game

    we conceded 4 goals in 8 games when he was out 0.5 goals per game

    Conceded 5 in the 4 games he’s played since his return

    Seems clear to me we are stronger without him

  31. Wiglaf

    China1April 3, 2021 12:16:28
    Out of interest which quality keepers are available these days? I think the Milan keeper is but I haven’t followed him for years and dunno if he’s a real upgrade on Leno.

    There’s a guy over at Villa who’s stats are you there with Emerson’s this year as the best keeper in the league. Wish we had someone as good as that

  32. Rich

    I wouldn’t sell Saka for £150 million, unless he kicked up a stink

    CL is worth potentially £40-£100 million, and that’s before you look at the commercial aspect

    Europa League is worth potentially £30-£50 million

    Saka is a match winner, and comfortably the best teenager in the league, we should be building a team around him, not selling him to the highest bidder, and then replacing him with a player of inferior quality, or 3 players of inferior quality

    Moving on our deadwood permanently and picking up fees in this market, is going to be our main issue

    We’ll have a first team squad of 28 this summer, so even if we sold Saka, we likely still wouldn’t have the squad room to replace him with 3-4 players

    Replacing him like for like would be almost impossible

    Selling our best players who are on the way up is a really bad idea, we should never allowed Ashley Cole to leave for Chelsea, Cesc for Barca, Nasri to City, or given United Van Persie so they could win another title

    Arsenal better not even be contemplating selling Saka

  33. The Bard

    Rich I get the passion but football has changed. The Tony Adams era doesn’t exist anymore. There isn’t such a thing as club loyalty. Saka’s agent will eventually ask for huge wages as he should and Arsenal have to decide if they can pay or if not sell him to the highest bidder. He’s a commodity and it’s business. I hate it as much as you do but it’s what it is.

  34. Chris

    If not playing Saka today means he is ready for Thursday, then I’m all for that.

    Liverpool’s new centre back pairing seems more dominant in the air than on the ground, hopefully we won’t see any aimless crossing from out wide, more creativity through the centre.

  35. Rich

    The Bard

    Pay Saka the money, and match his ambition with smarter investment

    I get what you’re saying, but Arsenal’s core business is the football, without quality footballers on the pitch, that hurts our bottom line

    The season tickets, club level, corporate boxes, merchandise, and all the jobs and revenue that creates, either doesn’t exist, or it becomes much smaller, if the product that people pay to engage with , isn’t of the desired quality

    People aren’t showing up at the Emirates, just because they like the Hot Dogs

    Far too many fans take Wenger’s work for granted, we’re still a big draw to young players across Europe, because Wenger put us on the map

    David Dein once said, “Get it right on the pitch, and the rest will take care of itself”

    I was all for letting Aubameyang leave last summer, or allowing him to run his contract down, but there’s a big difference in cashing in on a 31yr old, and cashing in on Cole at 25, or Saka at the beginning of his career, we’ll never progress will that type of mentality

    Ashley Cole was the PL’s best left back for at least a decade, arguably the best left back in the PL era, and certainly one of the worlds best left backs as well

    We lost him over £5,000 p/w, and while I liked Monreal, it’s taken us 15 years to replace Cole, and we had to watch players like Andre Santos come in, who’s by far the worst player I’ve ever seen, and that’s not just at Arsenal

    People are still talking about replacing Vieira and Henry 16 years later, when you get hold of elite talent, you don’t let them leave if you have any ambition, because replacing them is near impossible

  36. Bob N16

    For stupid money Saka would be sold – hardly likely at a time when Mbappe and Hangeland are going to be focusing the accountants at two of the richest clubs.

    In two,/three years time, if Saka continues to progress and the financials are not suffering from the effects of Covid then ok!

  37. Bob N16

    For the most part your right Rich but as Liverpool have shown, if you sell a top player for big money as long as you reinvest intelligently then it could be justified. Not sure our recent track record should fill us with much confidence mind you!

    Let’s be optimistic and look into 3/4 years into the future and we have won the PL are back competing in the CL, it’s highly likely we would have ‘done an Anelka’ to develop our squad.

  38. Chris

    I wouldn’t want to sell Saka at any point unless he handed in a request and was being disruptive etc

    To indirectly quote Wenger, you sell Fabregas and Nasri and you cannot pretend you are a big club after that. The fans have massive attachments for academy players who go on to be top level, the club would be bold as brass to sell him unless he was forcing it through.

  39. Mb

    Saka will be one the greatest for Arsenal, he is not going anywhere! You sell Aubas and Lacas, not a very good Saka/ESR who are still to get to their prime.

    We are making a mistake with Guen and Saliba, give them couple of seasons to grow and they would be brilliant I’m sure.

  40. Almuniasaynomore

    The bard

    I think I’m slowly(very slowly) coming round to your way of thinking. Getting attached to players is a dangerous game, they are going to squeeze as much money from their careers as they can and that probably means playing clubs off each other to get the highest wage they can(even if the player is not naturally inclined to do this you can be sure his agent is). So investing in a player emotionally leads to heartbreak ultimately because as someone said earlier the days of Adams are gone. Can you imagine an agent allowing le tiss to stay at Southampton for his career in this age? Accepting that the likes of Saka might leave before we see the best of him is very difficult but if you don’t prepare yourself for it then it’s even more painful. That

  41. Almuniasaynomore

    That will be a true test of Arteta. If he keeps these young players and builds a team around them he will have achieved something great.

  42. Chris

    It’s a little surprising to see Chelsea go to pieces like this even considering the sending off, Tuchel has organised the defence since his arrival to the point where they were looking almost impregnable.

  43. DUIFG

    Big pepe day, wouldn’t mind a left field martinelli as well, klopp is scared of that boy.

    There is another breakout game coming from him, 2 goals

  44. Habesha Gooner

    Good start to the day. A team incapable of creating chances and scoring smashing 5 past a Chelsea defense that is supposedly a wall is a really good sight. It shows you there are no games in the premier league you should take for granted.

    Let’s see if the day ends well for us. Because we need it. Otherwise it will be Europa league or bust and that’s a fool’s game.

  45. Foxy

    AMN looks like he is settling for being a championship level midfielder as opposed to a premiership level RB or RWB.

    Watching the Chelsea game AMN seems to be more making up the numbers in Midfield rather than being a main man. More Elneny than Partey – verdict SELL we can do a lot better.

  46. SAGG

    Again Arsenal have the opportunity to fight for something in the league, win today and you are just 6 behind chelsea.

    But, as always, surely we are going to do our best to blow our chances.

  47. Rich


    We scouted Mustafi, signed him for £35 million, played him for 4.5 years, then paid him to leave

    Schalke who are bottom of the Bundesliga, with 1 win in 27 games, have dumped him after 7 games

    Signing him in the first place wasn’t a smart move, but they’re much quicker to react to their mistakes than we are

    The best signing we could make would be a strong DOF who knows what he’s doing, these types of mistakes have been plaguing us for far too long

    Edu scrubs up well in a suit, but I’m not convinced of his competence or that he’s particularly switched on, hopefully he surprises me, and has more in his locker than calling his mate Kia