by .

The Champions League is over, the big show is tonight, Arsenal vs the MIGHTY Slavia Prague.

What did we learn from last night?

That teenagers can do it at the highest level.

Jude Bellingham, 17 years old, dropping a big performance against a top 3 side in the world.

Phil Foden, haircut of a god, not quite a teenager, but young enough to be worth mentioning because he decided the game.

Mikel Arteta falls back on his safety blanked of senior players like they’re the Milan side from the 90s. I’m sorry, I can’t have it. There’s no Inzaghi, Seedorf, or Pirlo to fall back on in this group. We have seen that movie enough times.

‘One last job for the boys’ usually ends up with the robbery vehicle stalled with everyone going to jail.

Tonight is about the kids showing the world how good they are.

We need their energy. Their hunger. The decisive nature of their football offering.

Auba wasn’t at training yesterday. Maybe he really does have flu? Who cares. What I care about is knowing whoever is on that plane is ready to deliver in a game that is absolutely vital to our season.

ESR is fit. Martinelli is fit. Saka is fit. Those three, playing at their peak, is enough to take the tie.

Lacazette will likely start again, I like the role he takes on, creating openings for the pace technicians.

Thomas Partey should be the pivot in supporting two banks of 3, or even a 6 man forward line.

I’m a little concerned about Xhaka at left-back again, only because the Slavia forwards have more confidence and they seemed quite fast on the break.

This Arsenal team has enough to win tomorrow. We just need to show up with the same urgency and aggression we saw at the weekend.

Unai Emery in the next round will no doubt be tougher, but at least the game will have some zest about it. Last time we played Villareal in the semi-finals, we made the Champions League final. It’d be pretty sexy to do it again.

This is a big moment for Arteta.

The worry is that he is often more concerned about proving his ‘manager’ decisions in the summer were the correct ones. We need the Arteta that knew his job was on the line at Christmas.

Pick the best team. It’s that simple. Don’t select on reputation, salary, or the memory you had of said player from 6 years ago. It’s time to move this project on, accept what hasn’t worked, and go for the starting 11 most likely to execute the game plan.

Liverpool was a disaster. Slavia at home, regardless of the chances, was a disaster. Time to make amends, and as a 7 famous sounds artists once said…

‘Reach for the stars’
‘And when that rainbow’s shining over you’
‘That’s when your dreams will all come true’

Big night. Let’s see what the players have! Make our dreams come true.



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. China1

    Habesha when you are so invested in Mikel being the one that you’ve drawn a picture of LEGO model hair on the in and outside of your tightey whitey underpants, it goes without saying that he will savor this one.

    Its a good win. We can enjoy it

  2. China1

    On another point. We were told arsenal can’t cope without xhaka in the middle because he’s so key to our play

    In the last two games we’ve played very well both matches, 7 goals for 0 against. 2 wins. And ironically xhaka himself playing really well out of position

    As someone else said the frustration with xhaka lies with him being an automatic starter and his importance overrated. If he was a squad player used for rotation and putting in utility roles like he has and playing well I don’t think he’d attract even 1/2 of the criticism. Glad he’s done very well at LB. fair play to him

  3. Davey

    Please keep Pepe on the left even when Tierney is back, he looks a different animal there. That was our front 4 last night Saka right, Pepe left Lacca up top and ESR in behind, this is what saved MA his job Chelsea game stick with it. Simples

  4. Cazorla

    China xhaka might not have played in the middle but he was very influential on our play and how we played. He plays forward a lot more from that area when there isn’t an easy option behind.

    Sorry to break it to you China xhaka was still key to how we played. If you only watched highlights you might not have picked that up.

  5. AFC Forever


    “Sell ESR and Saka to Barcelona for £170 million”

    I would be more worried about what’s going to happen to you lot when Harry Kane leaves.

  6. AFC Forever

    Talksport have been giving Arsenal pelters all week. Just a reminder of what Jamie O’Hara said on twitter after we conceded that late equaliser last week:

    “That Away goal has killed arsenal, this Prague team are a proper side with belief in everything they do, can’t see how they can get through this tie now Arsenal”

    That was some performance last night and shows how the team is developing. Nobody gave us a chance but that was a masterclass. Going to shut up a few people.

  7. China1

    Cazorla you’re proving my point entirely

    He played very well, and deserves all credit for it. But we didn’t miss him in the Centre of the pitch two games running. In these two games we’ve been playing better than in the vast majority of games this season. That we can’t play without him in the middle is simply a myth

  8. Ishola70

    The real reson to keep Pepe on the left would be because Saka looks much better on the right.

    All this talk of Pepe being better on the left doesm’t ring true to me. He will have to play far more games on the left for me for this view to convince.

    But as a whole having Pepe and Saka as options wide is pretty good isn’t it with the hope that Pepe can continue showing the better attitude and application and all the while meaning Arteta has to pick him on a more consistent basis. Many of Pepe’s critics have never doubted his talent. Arteta hasn’t dropped this guy too many times just for the fun of it. This is not the real world if you think you drop a 70m player who can win you football matches. Pepe has also had application and attitude problems in a few too many matches he has been picked for as well. There was a whole segment on him on Match Of The Day this season highlighting just these problems.

    Now what Pepe needs to do is go on a stretch of matches where he doesn’t show obvious application and attitude issues and Arteta has no choice but to pick him and all the while Pepe’s confidence rises.

  9. Cazorla

    China youre getting this twisted. Even when he isn’t playing in the middle, he’s still the one influencing and dictating our play. As has been mentioned that’s the area he gravitates to when he’s playing in the middle anyway.

    Who had the most touches and the most passes last night out of interest? I’ll wait.

  10. Graham62

    1-1 at the Emirates helped us.

    Gave us the mental fortitude to go for it and show what we’re capable of. Sparta were scared of us and didn’t know what to do. If we’d gone there 1-0 up their approach would have been different.

    Hopefully Arteta will learn from this.

  11. China1

    Right cazorla so let’s put it this way. Our CM has operated comfortably without him for the last couple of games, with him playing well at LB. now if you imagine taking him out of the team yesterday and a fit and sharp Tierney coming in, do you think we would have been worse or even better?

  12. AFC Forever

    The Holding Mari partnership is looking good. You can see they have an understanding and play as pair, which is essential in that position.

    It is no surprise to me that Holding has started every game this season’s n which resulted in a clean sheet. With Gabriel & Luiz we have too many mistakes in us, Arteta yesterday Indicated that communication has been an issue. With Chambers alongside them you have proper defenders, tall physical lads which you need in the PL. Chambers is a better defender and baller than Bellerin, ability, decision making & reading off the game are far more important than pace. He is also better with the ball, his experience at DM proves that.

    If you have a defensive unit that can look after itself, it frees up the rest of the team to play a more fluid game, so perhaps the Luiz injury and Bellerins situation has fallen kindly. It’s no CE not to have those moments at the back where they play silly buggers.

  13. Ishola70

    Of course if Pepe is now the regular wide left player and with Arteta wanting not to embarrass the brass at the top by selecting Willian at times then Martinelli will suffer for game time as well.

    We all know what the answer would be to that. Just completely fuck Willian off. Unfortunately due to people not wanting to put their hands up to errors and a deference for seniority Willian is going to see matches for Arsenal again next season.

    If Pepe left restricts Martinelli in that position then Martinelli can go more quickly to the position which some think his future lies at anyway at CF and he is starts rotating there in that position.

    Arteta has to be brave in this respect. If we have a top young player in Martinelli then he has to be picked on a regular rotation basis with your more senior striker. Not just a handful of matches. A significant number pf matches.

  14. Northbanker

    “Sell ESR and Saka to Barcelona for £170 million” – that was almost really annoying until i realised that the post code is Edmonton. Why are Spuds bothering to troll an AFC forum.? Incredible how jealous you lot are. Even when we’re in a lower phase of our history the Spuds can only watch and weep.

  15. Kroenkephobe

    Just re-enjoyed the highlights. So many positives. The way Pepe anticipated and rode the incoming challenge when he took his goal was outstanding. And his backtracking and challenging for the ball has vastly improved.

    Saka has obviously honed his shooting. That first one that led to the disallowed goal was going in and drew a good save from the phantom of the opera. That said phantom was rooted to the spot for Saka’s actual goal says it all.

    That Martinelli run will have sent shivers and looks of envy around Europe. He looks physically stronger now and even quicker despite his injuries.

    He didn’t do much in his 3 allotted minutes but it was also heartwarming to see Balogun come on. His signing feels like a highlight this season but yesterday’s result suggests there may be more.

    Defence very sound although Slavia hardly threatened.

  16. AFC Forever


    I took some flak at the start of the season when I was defending him after some criticism. I watched a few Flamingo games, including their equivalent of the Champions League, he was so good. Reads the game well, stays on his feet and brings a calmness that alll the best defenders bring.

  17. Cazorla

    China he still took up the same/similar position as when he plays CM on the ball.

    If you take xhaka out of this current side we are worse. The results show that. He’s running the game from left back.

    Who had the most touches and most passes for us last night china? Shouldn’t that be one of the two midfielders that haven’t missed xhaka been in there.

  18. Kroenkephobe


    Mari as 007?

    Sean Connery (gawbless’im) would turn in his grave. “ye cannae huv a jamesh bond wi plucked eyebrowsh likesay”.

    Let’s stoke some real controversy and settle the age old debate about the best JB. Here’s mine, in this order Dalton, Connery, Craig, Lazenby, Moore, Brosnan. I get a lot of grief for choosing Dalton but he’s a classicly trained actor who executed a fantastic headbutt in one of his 2 films. I’m now going to hide behind the sofa for the rest of the day…

  19. Spanishdave

    Pepe is better when the ball is played ahead of him so he can use his pace.to beat defenders.
    Bellerin was playing the ball to his feet all the time so he had no momentum.
    Xhaka feed him well last night and they worked well together.

  20. Davey

    Pepe gets us down the pitch quicker on the left (which he bought for) he seems much more comfortable there but Arteta likes an inverted winger to accommodate Tierney’s overlaps (when Tierney is fit) Seems obvious to me that Pepe looks good on the left. I also prefer Mari as left centre back not as aggressive or last ditch than Gab but doesn’t need it as he reads the game better and calmer IMO

  21. Ishola70

    Xhaka is not a permanent LB so if the team perform very well with Partey playing his role until the end of the season then Xhaka’s previous position in the team should be under danger.

    For me the situation doesn’t change.

    We have in Partey a player that can play the DM role and who can play and come out and contribute and we have an ACM in ESR who shows the promise and ability and of course there may also be Odegaard.

    All we are missing is an up and down midfielder that can support ESR in more advanced positions.

    What Xhaka has shown is that he is a good option in regards being versatile in deep positions. Many of these versatility players in top teams don’t start every week. They show their versatility coming off the bench or filling in when needed.

  22. China1

    Cazorla ok so you’re saying xhaka was so key in his contribution from LB (or this hybrid position) that we would’ve been worse swapping him out for a fully fit and sharp Tierney if he was available

    I didn’t watch the game and I’m assuming outright xhaka has been very good in that role as not one person has disputed it, but it does sound more than a little hard to believe that his contribution there was so good that it was better than what Tierney could’ve contributed which is exactly what is implied when you say he ran the game from LB and our team is worse without him.

    I hope he plays LB again this weekend as I’ll be able to watch this one. If he’s really more important to our game than Tierney from LB I’ll be extremely impressed, I’ll put it that way. But I’ll believe it when I see it

  23. Ishola70

    We have shown the promise this team has but as others have said it may be wise not to go overboard regarding these last two results.

    Sheffield United are a dead team and really Arsenal should have been several goals up against Slavia Prague from the first leg. It was a very poor result to only draw with them in the home tie tbh.

    But at least we see the potential and promise in this side.

    No way should this present team and squad just be midtable in the league. That’s down to the management this season.

  24. China1

    Apart from his lack of pace, it suits xhaka to play as a defender on the ground that his best asset is his passing and the whole game is played ahead of you as a defender so you get more time to look up and pick your pass. On this front I’d expect xhaka to pick out a lot of good passes from a LB role

  25. AFC Forever


    “Why are Spuds bothering to troll an AFC forum.?”

    I know, obsessive lot. To be fair, at least he’s not pretending to be a Gooner, as many do on here.

    A Spurs fan analogy: It’s like a Spud going to a nightclub and pulling a young lady after spending hours telling her how successful & good in bed he is. He has all the talk. The cocky Spud takes her home and before long she’s exploring his body as he lays there enjoying himself. It all starts to go pear shaped when he cops a feel and realises Daisy used to be called Darren from Dagenham and is sporting a cock twice the size as the one on his home shirt. The disappointment, shame & humiliation is just the same.

  26. Ishola70


    Yes it is no different to when Arteta was asking Xhaka to drift wide to the left when his starting position was meant to be central midfield.

    It gives him more time and space.

    The problems with Xhaka at LB will start to appear when we play teams with more offensive capabilities.

    It’s not a realistic idea to think that Xhaka could play LB for a whole season. He would face too many defensive issues over a period of a whole season.

  27. Ishola70

    Xhaka could survive if he was a stay at home LB. Hardly ventures forward.

    But for me over a whole season that is not what a fullback should be I’m afraid.

  28. Karsa

    Pepe will probably be dropped for the next league game. And that will be the right move imo.

    Replace him with a fresh Martinelli for the Fulham game.

    Give Martinelli minutes, and rest Pepe rather than give him two games in three days. Then bring him back in for the Everton game.

  29. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal are going to have to make some serious transfer decisions this summer.

    The starting point is the starting centre back combination. My personal view is that Mari is
    probably the best option in the left side centre back position. He is not a glamorous or pacy
    footballer, but he is positionally sound no nonsense and a natural defender.

    Then comes the decision to be made in finding a partner to play alongside him. Holding is a
    solid squad player, but is not in my assessment a starting X1 player. My view is that we should make a decision to play either Gabriel or Saliba alongside Mari.

    From my perspective Arsenal have rotated this season far too many centre backs and it is
    important that we make a decision to stick to two with backup from another two.

    The right back position is also a problem. We have played this season 5 players in that position with Bellerin, Soares, Chambers, Maitland-Niles and Saka. None of these players is
    outstanding in that position and an automatic starter. If Bellerin leaves and is sold we should
    buy an upgrade.

    Tierney is currently the only player in the backline who is an automatic starter in left back
    position when fit. When absent we have played Kolasinac, Saka, Maitland-Niles,Soares and
    now Xhaka. Xhaka has looked okay in last two games, but I am not sure that would be his
    preferred position except in an emergency. Ideally we need to recruit a specialist as a second

  30. AFC Forever


    “Sheffield United are a dead team and really Arsenal should have been several goals up against Slavia Prague from the first leg”

    Mate, there is a tendency on here to discredit every win, yet never allow excuses for any loss. Worth pointing out that a couple of months ago Sheffield United won at Old Trafford 2-1. In addition, Slavia Prague knocked Leicester out, Leicester failing to score in Prague. We didn’t scrape past thuse teams, we completely rinsed them. You have to beat what’s in front of you and we did that well. The reason for that is that we have a good team that suffers from inconsistency & individual errors, which is still in development. A few tweaks & additions needed but we’re not far away from being a very good team.

  31. AFC Forever


    Holding has started every game in which we have kept a clean sheet. The centre back pairing is not about the best players, it’s about the best combination. No way I would split Mari & Holding, they need to keep playing. With them together we’ve won 5/6 and that’s not a coincidence. They suit each other and I would add that I prefer Chambers in the right back role. Three proper defenders who all read the game well.

  32. Ishola70

    AFC Forever

    I have basically said the same as you.

    Arsenal are not in midtable because of the overall squad and team.

    They are in midtable because the management and planning of the players has not been good enough from the management.

    So although we can talk of not over-rating recent results we also realise we have a capable side with promise who should not be where they are in the EPL atm. Should be higher in the league.

  33. Emiratesstroller

    AFC Forever

    Yes you are right, but realistically we are far too erratic and error prone.

    Arsenal need as I have just posted to reduce the rotations in our backline and find a back 4
    starting lineup which is able to play together and minimise the mistakes.

    Arsenal played for 10 years a backline combination of Winterburn, Bould/Keown, Adams and
    Dixon. They were seldom injured and none apart from Adams was outstanding. However, as
    a collective they were a brilliant and frugal unit.

  34. AFC Forever


    I agree. But Holding & Mari don’t make the mistakes the Luiz / Gabriel duo does. I believe that’s because they defend first, they don’t take risks or overplay. Also, as Arteta mentioned, communication is key & that is clearly an upgrade too.

  35. Northbanker

    I would like to see Mari and Gabriel pair, even though one of them will be on the right side. Gabriel’s power is way ahead of any other CB but Mari’s calmness will also help complement the rough edges.

  36. Cazorla

    China it’s not a case of tierney or xhaka though is it? You said we haven’t missed him in the cm but as I’ve explained he’s still playing in the same area it’s just his staring position is different. So it was a misinformed statement at best.

    Our best 11 has Xhaka and Tierney in it.

    Against teams we’ll dominate the ball with xhaka is a good option when tierney is out.

  37. Emiratesstroller

    AFC Forever

    My preference would be Saliba or Gabriel because both are more athletic and better footballers.
    The weakness of Holding is his very limited forward passing ability. The square and back
    passing between Centre Backs and Goalkeeper is for me a problem and results in mistakes.

  38. AFC Forever


    Yep, my own view is that team building takes time and consistency comes from that. We’ve inherited a lot of problems and it was only the last transfer window we were able to shed some of the over bloated squad. We aren’t in this for one season, we are building towards consistency over many seasons. That’s why changing manager every bloody season is a recipe for disaster. Things are coming together, need additions and a proper pre-season would be good because we never had that chance. If you think about it, individual errors have been at a ridiculous level, eradicating those makes a big difference. We also have Hale End delivering, where players like Azeez, Balogun et Al will start getting opportunities. Things are looking good, imo.

  39. Ishola70

    AFC Forever

    Ironically if Arsenal have a good end to the season then there will be less breathing space for Arteta next season.

    The start of next season is a whole new chapter. A new page. If the team again obviously fails in the league next season as it has done this season then these failings will be even less tolerated and Arteta is going to be in trouble.

    But as you say the hope is that any improvement seen until the end of the season will carry onto next season and it is a case of continuing improvement under Arteta.

  40. AFC Forever

    We can’t keep chopping CB pairings. It’s no coincidence that when you have players who defend first & don’t overplay at the back, there are fewer mistakes. Personally I prefer ‘proper’ defenders than players who play with the ball, I think that has been a problem. Gabriel is a very good player but he has a mistake in him & communication is questionable. You also need a left & right pairing. Whatever is decided, we have to stick with it, the CB position has to be an established pair who compliment each other.

  41. Foxy

    I am not sure about the general opinion that Xhaka did Ok as LB last night. In the first quarter before we scored Slavia P tried to come at us and Xhaka managed 3 sideways hospital passes two risky long diagonal passes back into our box and a standard Xhaka rugby tackle that he got away with. Later on he often vacated the LB position to a more Left CB position and left Pepe alone to cover the wide attackers. The only really good thing he did was the outside foot pass down the line to release pepe for the 4th Goal and then he first seemed to want to pass inside.

    Xhaka did “OK” last night because we scored 3 quick goals which totally destroyed SV just like Leno did OK because he never really had to do much. Real pace and pressure down our left side will see Xhaka’s lack of pace, mobility and inability to cleanly one on one tackle exposed, him soon booked and even sent off. Chambers on the other hand showed exactly the balance of qualities needed in attack and defence on the night.

  42. Rich

    Next season we should go with just 4 centre backs, and the option for Chambers as 5th

    This season we had 8 centre half’s, Sokratis not registered, and Saliba not registered in the Europa, it was real messy, and completely unmanageable

    Defensive options for next season:

    Leno, New keeper to provide genuine competition for Leno
    Chambers, Soares
    Tierney, New left back to provide genuine competition to Tierney
    Holding, Saliba
    Gabriel, Mari

    That means we can let go of:

    Luiz Free
    Kolasinac Free
    Bellerin £15-£20million
    Niles – £15-20million
    Mavropanos – Either loan, or see if we can get a fee with a nice sell on included
    Runarsson – May as well loan him out, if we can get anyone to take him, doesn’t look good enough for even third choice

    If we could get Soares or Chambers out, and then get an upgrade at right back as well, that would be a bonus

    Gabriel was 22 when we signed him, with just over 50 competitive games, and who didn’t speak a word of English,

    We didn’t sign anywhere near the finished article, we signed a young centre back with potential, it’s just whether he can develop him over the next 12-18 months, and then tie him down if he does kick on

    We’ve then got a centre back who’s 25, settled into the club and country, and who can lead our back line for the next 7-8 years

    We’re a team in transition, transitions are often painful and take a bit of time

    We signed Gabriel for £22 million at 22, so we don’t have to buy him at 25 for £50-£60 million

    Same with Saliba, we sign him for €30 million at 18, so we don’t have to pay €60-€70 million at 22-23, providing they both develop in the way we expect

    The benefits of educating young defenders is that with good coaching, we can mould them the way we want

    The dangers of educating young defenders, is that fans are far too knee jerk, and are too impatient to go through the process of seeing the return on that investment

    If we go with Gabriel 23 + Saliba 20 next season, as 2 of our 4 options, then there will games where their inexperience costs us points, but realistically we’re building a team for 2022/23 onwards, right now we’re a team in transition

    And if we don’t get our recruitment and squad planning right with some really astute moves, we risk being stuck in perpetual mid-table purgatory

  43. Champagne Charlie

    Lol China doesn’t even watch the game but wants to use it as an opportunity to undermine Xhaka as per. Some just unable to be objective about anything.

    Xhaka’s value is huge, get over yourself at this point.

  44. China1


    ‘ Against teams we’ll dominate the ball with xhaka is a good option when tierney is out.’

    That very may well be the case. The opposition these last 2 games hasn’t been high level but I have a lot of time for players who can do a job out of position. I’ll also cut him more slack at LB if/when he’s there the same I did for Soares when he was LB

    Let’s see now if arteta will climb aboard the progressive train for good this team and build on this initial momentum we’re picking up or if he’ll revert to type and fall back on the old guard again. Win lose or draw this weekend I just want to see bright positive ideas in terms of selections and tactics

  45. China1

    Charlie these are the nicest posts I’ve said about xhaka in 5 years. Unless he’s becoming a much better CM or he’s going to be Mr utility and do it well as he has the last two games you’re unlikely to get any more than that out of me

  46. Jim Lahey

    Always great to win in Europe, especially in such a convincing manner.

    However, I feel this is just the classic high before the inevitable fall. This is Arsenal in Europe we are talking about. Either we get bantered in the semis to Unai or we get bantered in the final to United. Take your pick. You all know it’s one or the other.

  47. Uwot?

    It’s promising that if you include Saliba & who knows even Mavroponos eventually? We have potentially a group of v.good centrebacks.That are able to rotate.Cutting out the brain fart errors to an absolute minimum going forward hopefully will prove this.Woth regards to what’s missing in the middle of the park is someone like Bissouma.Oh how I wish we nab him.Despite the competition & British premium.Will be worth his weight in gold to us.Transformational.

  48. Uwot?

    Yeah Jim.Our history in European finals is disastrous.Europe just doesn’t seem to agree with us & Lady Luck goes out the window compared to manure & the chavs.We’ve lost our last 4 European finals for one reason or another.😪

  49. Chris

    Agree about the need for a new central midfielder, the box to box, midfield engine, general whatever you want to label it.

    This player in between Partey and ESR/Odegaard will make us much more dynamic in midfield. Xhaka has proven he can be a useful squad and utility option now, very much worth holding onto I’m that regard, unless we get an offer too good to turn down.

  50. Chris


    Our luck in European finals has to change some time!

    Got to navigate Unai first. This is going to be fun.

  51. Arsnil

    You are all discussing centre back options for next year with Mavropanos not even getting a mention. Given that he is performing really solidly in a good standard of league in Germany then surely he deserves a thought?? To me Luiz has to go. A liability. I like Mari and Holding as they do the basics well. Very good under a high ball.

  52. Useroz

    The following assumes very limited transfer funds to be available and need to sell to buy..

    Based on recent media noises …
    _looks like Luiz played his last game for us.
    _Saliba would return and be looked at for next season
    _Mavro doing ok in Germany but no signs he’d return

    We’d have Gabriel, Mari, Holding, Chambers, and Saliba , all between 20 and 28yo, fighting for the CB position. We may get a good CB in mid 20s depending on whether we get CL or EL…

    As an option, can we let Soares and Chambers competing for the RB position and use the Bellerin money elsewhere ? After all, Chambers played RB. before joining us. As well , he’d be the 4th/5th CB..

    In an ideal world, we’d sell Bellerin, Chambers and Soares and get a great young RB and leftover to contribute to MF purchases. But Soares could be a 2nd/3rd choice LB, unless we buy a brand new backup for Tierney. Xhaka proves he’d be a 3rd backup for LB, at least when the opposition hasn’t a great RW or forward play.

    The MF situation appears complicated…
    _Torreira is practically gone and would generate little fee. (£20m now looks a fantastic offer)
    _sell Elneny for whatever we’d get
    _AMN returns from loan, very likely to be sold because he doesn’t want to play RB
    _Willock returns from loan, probably to be sold if offers are good
    _Guendouzi returns from loan Arteta probably wants him gone but this guy has some talent and could worth quite a bit if he plays well in PL. Needs to decide if extends his contract or he’d walk for free a year later.
    _Xhaka… to sell or not to sell? He’s very consistent if not brilliant in anything. Would keep unless a contract risk eg bosman

    Some kids knocking on the door but realistically only Azeez looks ready next season .

    We should have money for buying two MFers (eg Ode) and pair them with Partey, ESR, Xhaka, Azeez, and may be Guendouzi.

    Upfront is more tricky.

    Ideal world, sell Willian and Auba but I doubt there are takers who are willing to/ could pay… sad

    Would also sell Laca, Nelson and Eddie too. This max out the funds to get a good striker, with spares for punting on emerging talent. Edouard will leave Celtic but is he the best we’d get under the circumstances ? I suppose not depending on funds but not Aguero please. As good as he may be, lits of injuries in recent years and not another obesse wage packet!

    Left with Pepe, Martinelli, Saka, Balogun plus two newcomers . May also be stuck with Willian and/or Auba.

  53. Emiratesstroller

    What is infuriating about Leno is his poor decision making when he distributes the ball.

    Yesterday there was one occasion when he made a short pass to one of the centre backs who
    was directly in front of the Czech forwards. If our player had made a mistake the Czech would have had a direct free shot at goal.

    I have no complaint when Leno distributes the ball to players who are in “open space”, but too often he makes high risk decisions when the best option is to kick ball out of danger.

    The problem with Leno is that he has “poor football” skills, which is perhaps we need at some point in future an upgrade.

  54. Leedsgunner

    If last night proved anything, it proved this.

    The heart of our team is Saka and ESR. Keep those two healthy happy and in form our team begins to fire on all cylinders.

    I know that mathematically we haven’t lost the hope of qualifying for the Champions’ League via the EPL.

    Pragmatically, we have.

    Against all my instincts, we have to think strategically and pace and protect our best players so that they are injury free and in form for the Europa League.

    Use the EPL as a testing ground for our best youngsters and fringe players so that next season they are ready to go.

    Drop people like Willian. Give his minutes to Martinelli so that he can build his confidence and recover his fabulous form that he exhibited before his injury. Balogun looks to have signed, good.
    Use him then.

    Willian is done. We should sell or loan him for next season. Or take the hit now and come to a mutual departing of the ways with the player for a quick upfront fee now. We can’t afford another Özilesque or a Mkhitaryian saga.

    Give game time also to people like Elneny, Bellerin and Nketiah, fringe players whom we can use to keep our best players fit and hungry. Plus if they do well, it will only increase their value. After selling them, use the proceeds to put together a package to purchase Odegaard.

    It really isn’t rocket science.

  55. TT


    Not a bad analyzes but Guendouzi is a no go. I think he has fully burnt his bridges with Arteta and by all accounts is immature and disruptive. Good footballer but why bring him back in the club to sell for few million more when he will not behave?

    As for Azeez I’m looking forward to seeing more of him. Like what I have seen so far in the lower levels.

  56. AFC Forever


    “Lol China doesn’t even watch the game but wants to use it as an opportunity to undermine Xhaka as per. Some just unable to be objective about anything”.

    Yep, it just proves that for some this isn’t about discussing Arsenal sensibly, it’s about peddling an agenda and forcing an opinion. Some people don’t seem able to understand that you can criticise and praise, there is no rule in place that says you can’t do both.

    For me, I expect to see someone wearing the shirt respecting the fans by giving everything during games, Xhaka does that; he has put a lot of players to shame in that respect. He does the role asked of him and since December has arguably been one of our most consistent players. He isn’t the same player Unai Emery used to expose in one on one situations against transition. Pace is everything. It is about positioning & decision making or else Walcott & Bellerin would be unstoppable. Yes, Xhaka has shortcomings but he does not deserve the childish scapegoating we see on here virtually every bloody day from cretin contributors.

  57. Ishola70

    AFC Forever

    You see this is where you are wrong.

    People can see that Xhaka has versatility in the deep positions and shows some consistency in his play. Remember Xhaka’s consistency has to be related to players in other positions. Is it more difficult to show consistency in other positions such as attackers who have to make things happen i.e. take on players or play deep not venturing forward much and playing those continuity passes?

    You can see that Xhaka shows consistency it what he is actually asked to do for the team but at the same time that doesn’t stop many from wanting to see if a midfield with Partey and a new CM would bring a more expansive dynamic feel to the side especially in offensive terms.

  58. Gonsterous

    Last two games we played against Sheffield.and salvia prague. Not really the best teams to use as an example to big up xhaka at LB.

  59. AFC Forever


    “Not a bad analyzes but Guendouzi is a no go. I think he has fully burnt his bridges with Arteta and by all accounts is immature and disruptive. Good footballer but why bring him back in the club to sell for few million more when he will not behave?”

    Spot on. Team spirit and harmony are so important. I like Guendouzi as a player, lots of ability there but he is too disruptive and not someone you want messing around the place.

    Hir former Manager at L’Orient, Casoni, said: “Guendouzi’s problem is not physical and is not technical. It’s his attitude, it’s not good for the team or the coach. My relationship with him wasn’t very good. I picked him for a cup game against Nice but he got booked early on. The ref told me at half time to warn Guendouzi: one more foul and you’re off, but in the second half nothing changed. I was left with no choice but to sub him off. When I did, he refused to shake my hand”. Guendouzi featured in just one match that season following the incident, with Casoni sacked as manager shortly after. Mickael Landreau succeeded him as the club’s new boss, but Guendouzi soon fell out with him as well, so badly that he was expelled from the first-team for THREE MONTHS.

    Now on loan at Hertha Berlin, their Manager Dardai told Bild he is having to use education methods to address Guendouzi’s attitude problems: “It’s like puberty for him, he’s rebellious. He has to work and learn. In training, I always stop this kind of duels because you can’t fall to the ground like this and, afterwards he’s mad.”

    He’s a pain in the arse.

  60. AFC Forever


    “You see this is where you are wrong”.

    No. it’s where you think I am wrong. I am correct in stating that he doesn’t deserve the bullying he gets. I personally don’t think he should be in our midfield but that wasn’t what the discussion was about, it was about the unfair scapegoating he receives.

  61. Jim Lahey

    @Cazorla –

    “No Jim. I’ve read your negative posts and that’s just you I’m afraid.”

    Lol… not to be confrontational, but are you either a young supporter or a recent one?

  62. Ishola70

    Well that’s a different matter then.

    Feeling sorry for him and thinking he has been hard done by rather than definitely wanting him to continue as the pivotal midfielder in the side.

    But there has been quite a few posters like that.

  63. AFC Forever


    “Last two games we played against Sheffield.and salvia prague”

    Salvia Prague sounds like a porn star.

    You do know this team haven’t lost at home in almost two years and didn’t concede against Leicester when they knocked them out? Prior to the game, everyone was saying how good Slavia are and how difficult it was for Arsenal to get a result. In fca, pundit after pundit was claiming they were a ‘proper team that would go through. Yet when we win and win well, we get the usual discrediting that has become a far too familiar theme on here. Happened when we beat the Spuds, Man Utd etc; Arsenal only win when the other team are poor. I would argue we made them look poor, it’s our inconsistency that is the problem not our ability.

  64. Tom

    “That was some performance last night and shows how the team is developing. Nobody gave us a chance but that was a masterclass. Going to shut up a few people.“

    “Arsenal will beat Sheffield and then Slavia, and the Arteta project will be back on track” is what I posted after the first leg and put money on.
    A very enjoyable performance against a much weaker team that does the basics very well.
    Even when Arteta got his starting line up wrong and then sat on his hands for 80 minutes to change things up, Arsenal still should’ve won the first leg comfortably . That should’ve told you everything about our chances in Prague.

  65. AFC Forever


    Yes. There are a lot of immature posters who have pretty limited ability to describe a players attributes or otherwise. These people refer to players as ‘Shit’ or similar. Xhaka is a very good player, with almost 100 caps for Switzerland. Hitzfield and Thorsten Fink give him high praise and successive coaches talk about how hard he trains, how he helps young players and his desire. Whenever he plays he gives his best, works hard for the team and therefore the ridiculous treatment he gets from certain bully’s is undeserved and unfair. As I mentioned previously, Unai Emery did him no favours leaving him isolated which is not his game.

    Do I think he is what we need in midfield? No, obviously not. We need more mobility to play Artetas way and that also means being able to receive teh ball on the half turn and move the ball quickly, which is not his game. We need tempo in our game. I have said many times that Arteta inherited this squad of players and has to shoehorn them into the way he wants to play, which has meant compromise and some of the age-old problems rearing their ugly heads. Xhaka has not let anyone down and deserves praise but he is not what we need in the middle of the pitch.

  66. Foxy

    what one has to remember with centre backs is that like Goalies they usually need time both to physically develop and gain the needed experience. Attackers can be good younger because their play is more instinctive. Martin Keown lest we forget was sold by Arsenal when he was 20 and only re-joined and gained his cult status when nearly 27. Gabriel has great potential just needs a season or two to mature

  67. Cazorla

    Jim relatively speaking you’re a baby in supporter terms if your nadir was the fabregas and rvp teams. I’m old enough to be your dad.

    I read the blog and have seen your comments on the team and manager and they’re, how shall we say, crude and agenda laced. You along with raptors stick out like a sore thumb. We get it you don’t like the manager.

    Why should we be fearful of Villareal and Utd/Roma in the final? The best team in the competition went out last night in Ajax. So no i don’t share your negative prediction of a mishap in the semi or final (see you hedged your bets and mentioned both).

    We have been inconsistent but we have proved we can get up for the big occasion.

  68. Chris


    What you have said just there is what myself and others have been saying about Xhaka, but on one side where you have unmeasured views on him aka worst player ever, you have the other side who go in to bat for him come what may and feel that no upgrade is needed on him at all.

  69. Tom

    I’ve noticed that one of the main things Arteta has succeeded at is to lower the expectation bar amongst fans, whether by results or his comments ( needing six new players for example).
    We mustn’t get brainwashed there, we’ve got enough talent to compete.

  70. Jim Lahey

    @Cazorla –

    If either is the case, here is a rundown of Arsenal’s big European nights since I have been supporting the club.

    2000 – UEFA Cup Final: We lose on penalties to Galatasaray.with Suker and Vieira missing their penalties.
    2003/04 – Champions League QF: The most egregious of all from my point of view. Losing by a last-minute Wayne Bridge goal at home to Chelsea. If we don’t concede that goal we win it that year, no doubt.
    2006 – Champions League Final: I think we all know what occurred that night.
    2009 – Champions League SF: We lose badly to United, Almunia beaten from a free-kick that was so far out it was nearly in the parking lot. And the Gibbs slip of course.
    2018 – Europa League SF: Beaten by Atlético Madrid after someone (name will not be mentioned) kicked the football into his own face allowing Griezmann to score.
    2019 – Europa League Final: Hummilated by Chelsea.

  71. Sid

    WiglafApril 16, 2021 12:42:21
    If Guendouzi’s parents had a grip on him as a child he’d not behave the way he does

    The irony! LMFAOOOO

  72. Jim Lahey

    @Cazorla –

    “We get it you don’t like the manager.”

    I don’t care about Arteta one way or another, I care about the team. Believe it or not, I support the club not individuals within the club.

    “The best team in the competition went out last night in Ajax”

    The best team is United, easily. As it stands we are the third best out of four.

    “(see you hedged your bets and mentioned both)”

    I am not hedging bets, I am being very real about our chances.

  73. Omozuafo Frank

    A very solid performance. The main thing now is not to underrate the next opponent because of Emery. They should approach the game professionally.
    We have to win the trophy this time around.

  74. AFC Forever


    “Even when Arteta got his starting line up wrong and then sat on his hands for 80 minutes to change things up, Arsenal still should’ve won the first leg comfortably. That should’ve told you everything about our chances in Prague.”

    Really? The Leicester result was not a factor, nor their unbeaten home record or all the pundits that said we would struggle to turn it around? You knew we would easily beat Slavia Prague. Of course, you did.

    Yes, in the first leg, we would have won had the team taken the chances that had been created, that’s not on Arteta it was poor finishing. Nor is the equaliser on him when his instructions were clear but Soares and co fucked around with the ball. This may be why Arteta dropped Soares and put Xhaka at left-back, he was certainly animated.

    You have fallen into the trap of predictable narrative; not winning is Artetas fault and winning is nothing to do with Arteta but the fault of the opposition. It’s called framing; creating a win-win situation, which makes it disingenuous and makes you look desperate to deliver on agenda. If you’re going to continually discredit or reframe something so it fits your narrative then that’s a shame you feel it necessary to do that. If you genuinely believe you have the ability to predict results so accurately, then I would suggest you open a betting account and put your money where you’re hindsight is.

  75. Jim Lahey

    @AFC Forever –

    It was a good win and good to see us actually play some decent football and kill a team off in the first half, but… it was Slavia Prague.. Last night’s result should have been standard for a club like Arsenal. We use to beat teams like this regularly in the Champions League with our second string out.

  76. AFC Forever


    “The best team is United, easily. As it stands we are the third best out of four.”

    What is that based on? No doubt you are going to claim Villareal are the fourth best?

    So predictable. No doubt if we were to beat the first or second-best team it will be because they were poor. We’ve taken four points from Manchester United this season, so I fancy our chances should they make it to the final.

  77. Jim Lahey

    “What is that based on? No doubt you are going to claim Villareal are the fourth best?”

    No, they are the second-best.. They have a manager who has won this competition 3 times and brought us to the final. You think we are just going to walk by them?

    “We’ve taken four points from Manchester United this season, so I fancy our chances should they make it to the final.”

    Yeah, we have, and somehow they are still 21 points ahead of us and sitting in second.

  78. AFC Forever


    Football is not as predictable as some like to pretend. Sure, you can wave hindsight in the air but ultimately it is a game of small margins. When we drew Slavia after they had knocked Leicester out, everyone said we had a tough draw. Last week, we were told by every pundit that Slavia are no mugs at home, where they haven’t lost for nearly two years, and that we would do well to actually score. It’s funny then that when we not only beat them but hand them a serious thrashing, that all of a sudden out of the woodwork come all the “It’s only Slavia” bollocks. Well they wasn’t “only Slavia” when they beat Leicester, when we drew them out of the hat or going into yesterdays game. Then they were a tough opponent.

    The same with Sheffield United who a couple of months ago beat Man Utd at Old Trafford, two one. Prior to the Weekends game, it was about how hard they are to play against and how they usually only lose by one goal because they are so dogged. We rinsed them yet afterwards it suddenly becomes “It’s only Sheffield United”

    It’s so predictable. No doubt if we beat Villareal it will be because it’s “only Villareal” and should we meet Man Utd in the final and win, it will be “Manchester United were poor”. As I said earlier, it’s predictable.

  79. S Asoa

    So many perfect settings with personnel already at hand.
    Now it remains to be seen if Fraudeta will condescend to pick these guys or , as usual revert to his power mind games. Perhaps vitamin B-complex might do good to his nerves, of course nothing for his hair

  80. China1

    Not quite AFC. I’ve consistently described Slavia for what they are which is a tiny club I’d expect us to thump over two legs if we play well. But you can only beat what’s in front of you and in the second leg we did so very well.

  81. Jim Lahey

    @AFC –

    ” It’s funny then that when we not only beat them but hand them a serious thrashing, that all of a sudden out of the woodwork come all the “It’s only Slavia” bollocks. Well they wasn’t “only Slavia” when they beat Leicester,”

    You have just mentioned two teams that I wouldn’t consider anywhere near the level of Arsenal Football Club. So yeah, it’s only Slavia and, it’s only Leicester. These clubs are not the sum of our ambitions. We played well last night, we should be playing well most weeks, we are (were) a huge club.

    “As I said earlier, it’s predictable”

    Yeah, I notice you say that a lot as if it was some form of crutch word you use instead of making a point.

  82. Champagne Charlie

    Rangers vs Arsenal July pre-season game.

    Love seeing these two face up, good relationship there. Would take Glenn Kamara off them tomorrow

  83. Rich


    The lack of balance hurts us just as much as a lack of quality

    Next season we should aim to construct a balanced squad

    4 centre half’s instead of 8

    2 attacking midfielders instead of none

    2 competent left backs, instead of loaning out our 2nd left back in January, then overplaying our only left back, inevitably breaking him. and then leaving us with no left back

    2 right backs instead of 4

    4 central midfielder instead of 6

    4 wide forwards instead of 6

    2 competent keepers, instead of leaving us 1 injury away from Armageddon

    A first team squad of 22, instead of an unmanageable squad of 31

    Ideally we’d improve the overall quality as well, but there’s really no excuses for a squad that makes as little sense as ours does

  84. Tom

    I didn’t say “easily “ so you don’t have to add to my original comment trying to discredit it.

    Yes, Slavia beat Leicester, and Zagreb beat Spurs , so the obvious conclusion must be Slavia and Zagreb are both quality.
    Except they aren’t , and Villareal, who are less talented than Spurs and coached by a bum apparently , won both legs against them comfortably.

    Stop the presses! ……… a small team beats a more talented side in a cup competition?
    Well, that’s surely never happened before.
    Doesn’t mean they’ll go on a cup win run does it.

    Maybe Spurs should swap out Son and Kane with the Villareal attackers then.

    I don’t listen to British pundits so I don’t know what they might’ve said, nor do I care.

    Arsenal players missed chances in the first leg but don’t kid yourself , Arteta didn’t put on a coaching masterclass display by any means.

    An already average Slavia keeper freshly back between sticks from a serious head injury, wearing a face mask and head protective gear limiting his vision should’ve been a victim of a constant barrage. He wasn’t.
    When have you ever seen a keeper flinch at a ball bouncing off the post and out before?
    Never of course.

    Arsenal should’ve started their home game in a full on attacking mode like they did in Prague.

  85. China1

    Rich you still need a bit more buffer than that a squad of 22, what happens when your first choice gets injured? Your second choice has to play every match? If there are several important games in a short period you need a bit more rotation options than that

    That’s why beyond a core of 22 you need a good few versatile cheap and cheerful types (like chambers) who will make do in various positions as needed even if never first choice

  86. Rich


    You buffer the squad with 2-3 talented under 23 players, and make sure some of your players are interchangeable

    Leno, Ryan
    Chambers, Soares
    Tierney, Kolasinac
    Holding, Saliba
    Gabriel, Mari
    Xhaka, Elneny
    Partey, Willock
    Odegaard, Smith-Rowe
    Saka, Pepe
    Martinelli, Willian
    Lacazette, Aubameyang

    I’m not talking about the quality of that squad, but numerically it’s fine, particularly if it’s backed up with Balogun, Azeez, Ballard, Cirjan

  87. Tom


    “Tom April 10,2021 21:27:40
    We win tomorrow and then in Prague, and the process will be right back on”

    I didn’t post my response to you to boost my ego or brag about a small bet I made lol.
    Your “no one gave us a chance” comment made me respond to your post , which probably was a mistake and that’s the only hindsight here.
    Nice effort at a psychoanalysis of my personal state of mind vis a vis supporting Arsenal.
    Don’t give up your day job though.

  88. Nelson

    “That’s why beyond a core of 22 you need a good few versatile cheap and cheerful types”

    AMN would fit your bill. Whether he wants to do it is the question.

  89. AFC Forever

    Tom, you really do go over the top when you try to frame your debate. You make no attempt whatsoever to be sensible because you have convinced yourself you are always right. As for the snide posts about lucky draws and whatnot, Jesus mate. Don’t make life all about you.

  90. Tom

    A sensible debate is kinda out the window after someone says no one gave Arsenal a chance against the Slavia fucking Prague.

  91. Tom

    “Tom’s an attention seeker.“

    Says the guy who can’t live without posting on a blog from which he had been banned half a dozen times

  92. AFC Forever


    “So yeah, it’s only Slavia and, it’s only Leicester”

    It’s not about history, it’s about where you are at any given time. I have been going to Arsenal games for nigh on 40 plus years so I know how big we are. I remember the years when Man City and Chelsea were yo-yo-ing up and down the leagues, football started long before the Premier League and the money arrived. It’s not ‘Only Man City’ now and that’s the reality. Unfortunately, Arsenal, as huge as we are, have been through a problematic decade or so, for a number of reasons. We have no given right to beat any team, so you are wrong there. You earn every point and despite what some try to claim, football is a game of small margins where small things can make a big difference.

    It’s a modern thing that everything is about the Manager, the ridiculous sacking cries drive me bananas it is completely ignorant. Our club has a big rebuilding job due to a lack of investment, poor management and numerous problems during the stadium rebuild, so playing we’re a massive club card as a right of passage doesn’t work. I remember the ’70s and 80’s when we flirted with relegation and had some of the most turgid and boring football imaginable, yet the expectation was tempered because people understood. Now the expectation of a club our size is huge, rightkly so, but that doesn’t always meet the reality of the situation. Claiming we have some divine right to success because we are a bigger club than another is blinkered ignorance. It has to be earned and our great club has been sorely let down over the years and is playing catch up.

  93. Cazorla

    Tom Ajax were knocked out of the CL, have steamrollered through the knockouts, battered Roma over two legs and went out. Var fucked them not Roma.

    Take you haven’t watched Ajax this season the football they’ve played is superb and were unstoppable at times. That is the team I was weary of facing. The other 3 are more fallible.

    Jim keep your history lessons to yourself. I’m fully aware of what happens in our European games but past performance is no guarantee of future results.

  94. AFC Forever


    Yes, I thought Ajax would go through too. They were much the better team and would have given Man Utd a tougher game imo.

  95. Cazorla

    AFC you’ve hit the nail on the head about fans and the media. They’re always moving from one drama to the next and the lemmings lap it up.

    The club, players and manager are either amazing or the worst you can imagine there’s no inbetween.

  96. AFC Forever

    “Spoken the like the truly entitled modern fan”

    I think that sums up some of the modern fans. They think every game is easy and losing is a disaster of monumental proportions. This is due to the clickbait media that create false narratives in an attempt to engage through ‘rage’. Football has definitely changed but is just a reflection of changes in society I guess. I stopped listening to the media channels a while back, they just insult everyone.

  97. Rich

    AFC Forever

    I agree, successful teams come and go in cycles

    When you’re young and your team is winning, you think it’ll last forever, as you age you learn to enjoy the good times much more, because you learn that life is full of ups and downs

    Even during what has been a lower ebb in the last 30+ years, we’ve still won 4 FA Cups, and reached a couple of finals as well in the last few years

    Plenty of massive clubs have slipped out of the top flight, and taken years to come back, we’re a team in transition, if we make some better decisions, we’ll have a good chance to build an exciting young team over the next couple of seasons

    Sacking the manager is always the fans default position, but if your problems aren’t coaching or tactics, then sacking the manager is pretty pointless, because a new manager just inherits the same structural problems

  98. Gonsterous

    Look at the table, no way we can finish anywhere higher than 7th. Liverpool sit in 6th with a 7 point lead which we can’t overcome.
    Spurs are 4 points above us, and it’s a long shot but we can overtake them if we pick up 15 from the remaining 18 points. All on us to perform. Finish the season strong.

  99. Gonsterous

    If we end up in 9th and don’t make the final of the EL, maybe safe to say, mikela may not be here next season.

  100. Karsa

    I think that sums up some of the modern fans. They think every game is easy and losing is a disaster of monumental proportions.

    This is very true.

    People keep saying such and such are a side we should be beating comfortably, yet I could point to literally dozens of ‘shock’ results in this seasons premiership alone.

  101. Tom

    No I haven’t watched them play ………hence the question.
    Still think United , as beatable as they are , are the most talented side remaining.

  102. Rich

    Everton vs Spurs tonight

    If they draw

    Then Fridays game against Everton really has something on it

    If City win the League Cup, and as long as Southampton don’t win the FA Cup

    7th place I think gets into Europa League preliminaries?

    We should be aiming for 60 points, 5 wins from 7

    West Brom

    It’s not the worst run in, and 60 points would be 4 more than last season, which at least gives us something to build on next season

  103. Gonsterous


    Looking at the fixtures, 15 points seem realistic but this is arsenal after all. You can be sure, we will make it difficult for ourselves. I’d be surprised if we get more than 10 points.

  104. Rich


    I’m not confident, but we showed after Xmas we’re capable of putting a run together

    I don’t want our season to fizzle out, we’re second favourites for the Europa, and we need to give that a good go

    And if there’s a chance to finish about Spurs, or get the last Europa spot, then we have to keep fighting to make that happen, it’s something to aim for

  105. Elmo


    7th, assuming Southampton don’t win the FA Cup, will qualify you for the play-off preliminary stages of the new Europa Conference League (the new 3rd tier competition below the EL, starting next season).

    Now that will be a truly embarrassing competition for a club of our stature to be participating in (think Dundalk being an average level side in that).

    I can’t imagine who you’d be meeting in the preliminary play-offs in the middle of the summer. A literal pub team from Estonia?

    On one hand as a club we can’t really turn our noses up at European silverware, as we don’t have much in our history, but the level of the Emirates Cup would be many tiers higher than what will be going on in the UECL.

  106. AFC Forever


    Enjoyed your comments and agree. Life experience far out weighs ideology & fantasy, I always smile when a younger poster claims a team is ‘easy’ or ‘shit’, it’s such an ignorant mindset. I’ve played at a decent level, you turn up with that attitude & you’re in for big trouble! Football has always been cyclic, not quite as much now due to the Oil money elevating yo-yo teams to levels they would never achieve otherwise because it’s less organic. As you say, you have to enjoy the high points and try not to whine & blub your way through the low ones.

  107. AFC Forever

    If Everton do the Spuds, the Mourinho out cries will be ringing along with the offers for Harry the diver Kane. This is a club that is once again proving that the constant changing of Manager is a failed philosophy followed by people who think football management is as simple as putting 11 names on a team sheet. The way Levy treated Pochetino was a disgrace & they deserve everything they get with Mourinho & his rotational fouling.

  108. Batistuta

    Or you think Klopp gets another full season if they are as rubbish as they’ve been this season lol. It’s 2021 and not 2005 anymore, football is a results business and if a manager is failing at getting said results then serious football clubs show them the door..

    All depending on what the ambitions of the club are anyway so if a club and its fans are okay with finishing double digits away from the top positions every season as long they get the odd win against a big tram here and there then that’s fine

  109. Rich

    AFC Forever

    I liked a quote I seen from the queen

    “Grief is the price we pay for love”

    It’s like that with football, or anything in life, the biggest critics are usually the biggest optimists, they criticise because they believe so strongly that things can improve, not necessarily because they’re negative people

    Ultimately all Arsenal fans want wants best for the team, we just occasionally disagree in how that’s achieved

  110. Tom

    “It’s like that with football, or anything in life, the biggest critics are usually the biggest optimists, they criticise because they believe so strongly that things can improve, not necessarily because they’re negative people“


  111. JOEL

    What’s the effing point of playing Elneny if Partey is going to have to come on anyway in an attempt to save the game..Surely its better to start him and then take him off later in the game.
    We now also have another opportunity to witness Neketiah’s lack of suitability at first hand….I would be far happier seeing Balogun on the bench.
    We might have seen two VAR decisions go against us but its disgraceful to see any Arsenal team struggling to draw with…let alone beat… a toothless piss-poor Fulham side.
    Arteta really is clueless.

  112. Emiratesstroller

    I would suggest that before posters on Le Grove shoot from the hip further they read what has now been published on the Arsenal Official Website and provides a proper explanation of what is being proposed.

    1. The European Super League will be a “mid-week” competition. It is not designed to replace
    the Domestic Leagues.

    2. In the short term there will be 15 clubs in the competition including the 12 who have signed up. An additional 5 clubs will be invited to join in due course.

    3. The function of the new league is to replace the Champions League and Europa Cup. From
    a personal perspective I would rather see Arsenal playing regularly Real Madrid and Juventus than Dundalk or some obscure team in Eastern Europe.

    4. The League will operate when fully functional with two Tables of 10 clubs.

    My guess is that the 12 clubs who have agreed to join ESL have considered the legal implications of what they propose and are confident that it will go ahead. For all the initial
    noise I doubt that there will be much opposition.

    Whilst I appreciate that other clubs in EPL will be disappointed not to be able to compete in
    a top European Competition that could well be a blessing in disguise. They will not be forced
    to overstretch themselves financially and can focus on a more realistic horizon.

    Clubs in ESL will have to raise their game and that will include Arsenal. We will need to recruit players who are fit for purpose to compete at top table. One presumes that Kroenke
    understands what is expected of us.