by .

If you came here expecting TRUST THE PROCESS propaganda, you’d be absolutely correct.

The Mikel Arteta fan club just had its servers crash after a masterclass under pressure.

We downed Racist FC. No, we smashed them. It was an absolutely brutal takedown. Majestic under any circumstances, more so because of the context of the scuzzy team, and the moment in our season that felt do or die.

The big worry is we’d see a return of players we’ve not been happy with.

Auba didn’t start. Was he the leaker? Did we have another Ozil situation brewing? Was this because of the authoritarian management of a novice manager reported in the French press?

No. Turns out flu was actually malaria. Yikes. That’s not good. If I remember correctly, Kolo Toure took quite a while to fully recover from the disease way back when. Wishing Auba all the best though. Sounds like he was doing captain duties from his sick bed, that was great to hear.

The ‘you are a terrible person for having an opinion’ police dishing out ethics lessons on Twitter need to pipe down. The club told us he had flu. He’s been playing poorly all season. He’s had discipline issues. If you’re above making a comment on that, fine, but please, don’t lecture people for working with the information they had.

Back to the game.

Things blew up pretty quick after 10 minutes. ESR tapped in the second ball after Saka hit the post, VAR cancelled it out, you immediately wondered if that was going to be our night.

It was not. No one felt sorry of themselves. We powered on, sticking to the plan, creating chances, and most importantly this time… taking them.

Nico scored a superb goal, breaking the offside trap by inches, then holding off shooting until 3 players had dropped to the floor before rifling into the next.

Bukayo Saka had another crack cutting in from the right, instead of gong for the far post, he caught the keeper off guard with a stunning low near post shot. Beautiful angles.

Lacazette made amends for his sins last week. He buried a penalty with his usual coolness. His second goal was outrageous footwork that blinded 2 defenders, his drag back perfectly executed in tandem with a clean striker.

Bob Holding and Pablo Mari kept things incredibly tidy for the game.

Thomas Partey pulled midfield strings again whilst also offering up a masterclass in shielding our backline.

Granit Xhaka, left back to the gods, dropped another good game.

We qualified. But in style. Performances matter, that was a performance.

So what do we have to say about that?

Playing your best players is usually the best option. Arteta didn’t start Martinelli, but I don’t think you could argue with anyone he had in the starting 11. Smith Rowe was absolutely explosive, he is the absolute real deal and I can’t believe we’ve landed him at the same time as Saka. His running is exceptional, his off-ball movement is so modern and difficult to track, he’s decisive and so alert. This kid will be a 15 goal a season player when it all clicks for him. You also couldn’t argue the inclusion of Pepe. He was brilliant again. He’s confident, increasingly decisive in big moments, and he finally looks like he’s enjoying himself. His goal was a thing of beauty, shades of Kanu, exactly what we were hoping we bought.

It’s becoming hard to deny that Lacazette is the better forward for this system. Auba is great if you want to build your game around feeding him chances. For me, Lacazette connecting 3-4 players with his quick passing and deft movement feels really promising. Our forward line in the last 2 games has looked devastating and incredibly dynamic. Now everyone is finding the Midas touch, it’d be tough to break the flow up. Interesting that Eddie is picking up minutes now, clearly to get him into shape with Auba out for a while. Shame it’s not Balogun, sounds like he’s going to leave Arsenal this summer, what a shame. Final point on our attack, we’re doing this without Tierney, Auba, or Odegaard.

Defensively, we were very strong again. Pablo Mari and Rob Holding dropped clean sheet number two. Do I like that? Yes I do. Can we move away from the idea David Luiz needs to be the future of our central defence? Isn’t it time to move on from a once elite player that will never give you reliability? Bring Saliba into the fold next season and age down our backline. It’s time.

Let’s also talk about Arteta. He had not showered himself in glory over the last month. He invited the doubters back in with familiar mistakes. It looked like the team was floating away from him. Made worse by the leaks. But here we are again, watching him do the business in a competition he needs to win. His tactics were spot on in both legs, the personnel not so much. Last night, we banged, every player worked for that win, there were no passengers. He needs to remember this. When his back is against the wall, who does he turn to? The hungry players that want it. I love that the players are reacting well to his systems and that his systems are starting to work better for the players. Arsenal, collectively, are becoming a more intelligent team. We just need to do it on a run of games. Pockets of form do not qualify you for the Champions League.

It’s also worth talking about the leaks. Someone went to L’quipe and complained about the same things that went into The Sun before the Sheffield United game. Authoritarian management, unhappy senior players, and Thomas Partey not being played correctly. 2 games, 2 leaks, 2 wins. The leaks aren’t coming from players we should care about. There’s no manager coming into to work with this lot that wouldn’t make the older player change their games. As for authoritarian, again, what is the counterpoint? Build out a creche like Wenger did? Cave to senior demands like Unai Emery? This phase of Arsenal cannot be a negotiation with players that aren’t doing it.

The path we’re on is the right one if Arteta learns his lessons, fast. Stick with the players that want to be at the new Arsenal. Give chances to young players with high ceilings. Develop senior players who want to learn. Keep improving how we do things week in, week out.

The next round of the Europa is against Unai Emery. We must destroy Villareal. There’s no other outcome that is acceptable. A see a lot of people crying about how classy he was. It needs to stop, this is a guy brought in by a super agent, late to the process, who landed the job without speaking English. He literally did a deal with the devil, and when Raul let him go kicking and screaming, a skint Arsenal paid him out in a lump sum instead of putting him on gardening leave like every other club would have.

This cut back merchant needs to feel the full force of the new Arsenal. Arteta needs to make a statement in both legs. We need make sure we see a bang-bang performance because I honestly cannot deal with the Emery fan club any longer. The weirdest fetish on the internet.

A final against Manchester United will be very tough, but in a one-off, you’d have to fancy our chances.

But first… we need to exact a lesson on Villareal. Last time we were in a semi against them we made a Champions League final. Time for us to make another European Cup Final and actually win one this time.

Onwards. Podcast on Sunday. See you in the comments. #ArtetaFanClub

1,239 Responses to “ARSENAL BANG”

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  1. Kroenkephobe

    Talking to Ms Kroenkephobe about it this morning. She spat her scrambled eggs in my face as I told her they might have finally invented a cure for my nearly 50 year addictive obsession with Arsenal.

    No fucking way, she said. You’ll still be as hooked as ever. Looking within myself, I don’t agree with her. This is a watershed. I’m not going to tell her yet though…

  2. Kroenkephobe

    And if you’re a little hard up after covid, season tickets in the championship can be had for 250 to 350 quid. Lower league stuff is a fiver and kids get in free.

  3. Terraloon

    As I posted yesterday this sort of league was inevitable. It will go ahead but and here’s the but it will become sanctioned by UEFA.

    The timing is pretty obvious to pre empt UEFAs own announcement about the plans for the CL.

    Some months ago it was floated that CL winners of yesteryear would automatically qualify for all future CL that idea was not the super clubs it was UEFAs.

    We could argue all day about the qualification numbers for the CL but the reason the UEFA allow more clubs from the likes of the England, Italy and Spain is that is about the TV draw and the money.

    This is all about the money and as I said yesterday the big clubs are the ones who invest the big money yet clubs say like Olympicas who let’s be honest worldwide they really aren’t the greatest draw yet they the same basic amounts as those big spending clubs.

  4. gunnerman

    The absence of fans in the stadium really allowed those greedy bastards sitting in their ivory towers to go forward with something like this. They are just too distanced from the average wage earning person/supporter to understand how much of a negative this move is.
    Fans in the stadiums would absolutely let them know what they think which will lead to strong negative pressure but alas this is where we are.

  5. Dark Hei


    I think football has a romantic element to it.

    Take that away and it is just plastic. I am NOT that loyal that I am going full plastic on this.

  6. TR7

    There are 3 major stakeholders in any football club – owners/shareholders, footballers/manager and the fans.

    Huge TV money in ESL makes the fans redundant from commercial point of view.

    Owners/shareholders don’t care about history, community and ethos as long as they are able to make more money from ESL and that too on a long term basis.

    The only stakeholder whose stand is not yet clear and who are absolutely critical in determining the fate of ESL are footballers and managers. Will a Klopp or a Pep be excited to manage in a league where there’s no competition in the sense no club can be relegated and participants are pre-decided ? If players still get to play in their respective leagues and get to represent their national teams too then they wouldn’t really care simply because they will get even more lucrative contracts now.

    As for the governing bodies will FIFA risk banning the likes of Messi and Ronaldo from world cup ? Unlikely. Does the FA have resources to do without top 6 clubs in EPL ? No. The governing bodies might try to flex their muscles but they don’t weild enough power to scupper the ESL.

  7. Tony

    My initial thoughts for the ESL wasn’t one of incredulity more of ‘OK it’s arrived’.

    Then I naturally thought about our current plight. Not just the 1:1 debacle against Fulham but our whole incompetent set up for the last 14+ years on and off the field.

    I can imagine it’s a similar situation to when Stan was hovering and the players at that time holding shares were in a financial feeding frenzy that ended in sell sell sell.

    This time there are no shares: Stan has them all, so he’s sitting pretty awaiting the biggest financial bonanza about to happen where potentially billions of customers will be clamouring to have PPV and merchandise.

    Amazon and Elon Musk are going to have competition assuming Amazon doesn’t clean up on the streaming rights.

    The participating club’s brand will grow exponentially; the captive market set for the foreseeable future barring more global epidemics or war particularly in Europe.

    What then of us, at this point, with our current managerial set up of the following?

    Vinai: CEO chief strategic planner ,
    Edu: Technical Director
    Arteta: Manager

    Collectively they have steered the club and all things football on the field for the last 15+ months.

    Forgetting cups and shields as we’ll be entering a league competition, we haven’t got close to winning a title (forget being 2nd with a big points gap to winners Leicester) for well over a decade and now settling in mid table very likely not to make the EL cup next season.

    What would our target be in the ESL?

    Don’t come last?

    Really not much we as fans can do after the league starts.

    If the fans say to the club we’re not attending games, the club will know it’s a hollow threat, as they can sell out most of the games without our fans.

    Arsenal vs Barc/Real/Juve/United/Bin dippers etc. will fill the Emirates I would imagine.

    Interesting to hear what others think, and I wonder how many fans would go anyway because there is no point fighting the system at that stage, and they want to see potentially thrilling, pulsating football (from the opposition) and ??? from us. Lambs to the slaughter perhaps at times – it’s happened before more than once.

    I assume the SM conditioning will be commencing soon and forever thereafter.

    Still, after all I’ve said above, I don’t have enough information to form an opinion one way or the other at this point.

    So I’ll wait to see how it develops.

  8. Ishola70


    The managers will fall in line as well as the players and they themselves will see the dollar signs.

    Diego Simeone has already set the tone for the rest. He was asked about his view on the ESL and simply said I am only the coach and I will coach this team wherever and whoever they play and I’m sure the owners of Atletico Madrid have made the right decision for this club.

  9. NORG

    Youngsters will not want to play for ESL teams and the clubs that make up the ESL will rely on old has beens – we will be OK we already have a few of them.

  10. Terraloon

    Sky are trying to whip up a storm here and keep focusing on money. Really

    Sky were the ones that split darts, they were the ones that forced Rugby League to change its playing season.

    For those that don’t know the history Chelsea won the league in 1955 and were invited to participate in the first European Cup but were warned by the FA that if they did they would be banned from English football.

    Twelve months later Man U won the league and told the FA who tried the same tactics and Man U told them to shove it !

    I truly find the FA hypocrites. They have encouraged and yes supported the big clubs to get bigger. In realty the PL has around 10 clubs that never have and in real

  11. Valentin


    The importance of ticket sale is small in England, because the TV rights contract is enormous. However they will have to successfully market that project to generate revenue higher than both domestic league and European Competition combined. If they don’t they will make less money and so the importance of tickets sale will just increase.

    The backlash against that proposal is so enormous that FIFA, UEFA, the domestic FA will have to show their teeth. Threatening expulsion and meaning it.

    Anyway the ESL intends to make money via broadcast right. But in Europe I doubt that they will make money. People are tapped out and most can’t afford another subscription on top of Sky, BT, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV, …

    In the far East, they may get some joy, but the time difference make it less appealing. Evening Mid week game means early morning working day in India and China. A few years ago, some people floated the idea of having Champion’s League final game at 09:00 in the morning to please that market.

    If they decide to please the far East market by having early morning games, bar the retirees nobody will be able to attend such games on a regular basis. Even with free ticket, the stadia would be half empty.

    I can’t see that project being successful. Those American owners have just misread the room and convinced themselves that this terrible idea will make money. In the short term, it might, but longer term it is not viable.

  12. Black+Snake

    What I like about the ESL is that it has shown how greedy football is. Not just the teams breaking away but even the likes of UEFA, the FA and Premier League. The whole thing is elitist. If you want real football go support your local non league club, they’re dying for your support and struggling to survive.

  13. Terraloon

    reality are very unlikely to be relegated and yes that’s big 6 are in there.
    I read today that City and Chelsea were against this but the other four yes incArsenal were 100% mean in either of theses two clubs could say no .

    If I were a betting man I would not be at all surprised to see this go ahead under UEFAS umbrella but don’t be at all surprised if one or two of the 6 English don’t get a permanent seat at the table.

  14. Valentin


    Did you mean Jeff Bezos instead of Elon Musk?
    Otherwise I have no idea why Elon Musk would be involved in Amazon business. They both hate each other.

  15. Terraloon


    Mid week football in a ESL particularly in London would be a massive draw for tourists.

    Without the CL BT sport would only be about the PL either they or another provider would step in yes it would probably cost more but who would ever have thought the PL would generate so much TV money.

    Part of the proposed structure is that clubs themselves would own the TV rights to four of their home games. Isn’t that many on here should be the way forward ?

  16. Terraloon


    There are 55 countries affiliated to UEFA meaning just over half aren’t in the EU. Are you advocating that the majority of countries in UEFA shouldn’t qualify to play in European tournaments?

    I would be far anti to this proposal if it meant the end of domestic leagues but it doesn’t. It’s a midweek tournament structured to capitalise on the draw of the bigger clubs

  17. DM

    UEFA and FIFA need to say the following: Any club, any player, any manager, any match official, any sponsor who participates in the so-called European Super League will be PERMANENTLY barred from participating in ANY FIFA or UEFA competition.

    Surely that will have to kill off this ludicrous idea.

    As it is, they want to have 5 teams per year get there on merit. Well they wont be able to do that now, because those teams can’t afford to go there one year and then be forever blocked from any other competition afterwards. Likewise, players who play for ESL clubs… what happens when their contract expires, or if they’re unhappy at the club, or just not good enough? They can only be sold to other ESL clubs?? Doesn’t make sense.

    UEFA and FIFA have done the right thing so far saying that clubs will be banned from competition, but it needs to go further, the PLAYERS are what will make a difference.

    Oh and of course, we, the fans, should totally boycott this new league. Just don’t watch it.

  18. Tony

    I was thinking about wealth ranking competition not them working together.

    As an after thought I meant if Amazon gets all the steaming rights then wealth competition won’t exist Bezos already has $113 billion – not sure if that was pre or post divorce settlement.

    Really it was a throw away line regarding wealth.

    The bottom line the ESL will generate, at various levels, huge income for all involved far more than any current league does or ever will.

  19. gnarleygeorge9

    The Arsenal is still in Europe, has been for 25 straight years. Being 9th in the PL means sod all when it comes to being asked to join an alternative league. But ofcourse all the media lovies who have attacked The Arsenal for 25 years have just had it shoved fair up their collective arseholes. Pluck the media.

  20. Captain Tierney

    David Ornstein says Raul Sanllehi may be involved in the creation of the ESL.

    Driving forces are Perez and the three American owners of English clubs Liverpool,ManU and Arsenal.

  21. Terraloon


    All that will do is facilitate another worldwide body being formed

    So many on here out the likes of the FA, UEFA & FIFA but when a challenge to their authority surfaces then it’s like WW3 breaks out.

  22. DM


    A new football worldwide body when only 12-15 teams are involved? Nah. Way too much work. And players can’t risk choosing the new one over all the existing ones.

    Is a player really going to go to this brand new ESL if it means he will never again play in the Premier League (or La Liga etc), FA Cup, World Cup, EUROs… No, not in my opinion. The clubs will have to pull out of the ESL and issue a “oh, we were only testing the waters, it was never a certainty..” etc etc

  23. Ishola70

    Never mind challenges to authority.

    The closed shop nature of this league is pure shit.

    It goes against all true sporting ethos.

    All the slime balls are involved in this. Someone mentioned Sanhelli and of course Gazidis just had to be on this one as well.

    All slimeballs that don’t give a shit about football. Only money they make.

  24. Kroenkephobe

    Anyone thinking of writing a rhetorical question about the esl beginning with the word “why”, here’s the answer. MONEY.

    Simeone’s cop out answer exposes him as a huge coward. I cannot wait to hear what tets will eventually have to say. I assume it will be silent routine for as long as possible.

    Black+snake. Spot on mate. See you at the Johnstones paint trophy final.

  25. Ishola70

    That so many now will be backing any action from FIFA and UEFA towards this ESL says everything about this league.

    They are backing the devils to kill off the huge demon.

  26. TR7

    Manchester United have stood down from the European Club Association (ECA) and club executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has stepped down from his UEFA roles.

  27. Danny S


    You’re such a tart 😂

    Chill out, it’s just football. Things change all the time.

    Uefa and the champs league haven’t always existed. At some point they were created and at the heart of it was probably financial incentive.

    Talk about melodramatics.

  28. Rich

    Socialists getting mad at all powerful people seizing the means of production, creating monopolies, and removing the relationship between effort and reward

    You really couldn’t make it up….

    Power corrupts, and the only people who benefit from big centralised bureaucracies, are the bureaucrats themselves

    The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen

    Or the bigger the European Super League, the smaller the grass roots football


    I see you bring my name up again completely randomly, thanks for the rent free space inside that big empty head of yours

    I’m a free market capitalist, free markets are based on free and fair competition, with no state subsidies, not protectionist rackets run by business lobbyists paying off our corrupt bureaucrats

    This European Super League is the equivalent of the EU customs union, and single market

    The customs union is basically a racket that defends producers in EU countries, against producers in non EU Countries, at a huge cost to the consumers in the EU countries

    And on top of that you have 27 countries, all subsidising 26 other EU countries, at a huge cost to their own citizens

    They basically lock out 84% of world trade that’s growing rapidly, to lock their citizens into 16% of world trade, that’s declining rapidly

    Then the single market is used to import cheap foreign labour, and allow the business lobbyists to set their own high regulation, in order to stop smaller businesses being able to get off the ground, and create internal competition

    Competitive markets give more consumer choice, lower prices, better service, and create a need for progress and innovation

    State run quangos give no consumer choice, higher prices, worse service, and create no need for progress and innovation, because all you’re left with is the statuesque that nobody can challenge

    Socialists voting to stay in the EU, is the equivalent of Turkeys voting for Xmas

    Trump, Macron, Merkle, Blair, Cameron, May and Boris aren’t my people as you suggest, general elections are based on picking the least worst option, a bit like having to choose between picking Andre Santos or Steponovs

    I’m a classical liberal, I believe that it’s not for the government to put obstacles in our way, and tell us how to live our lives

    It’s for the government to remove obstacles out of our way, so we can choose the lives we want to live

    The government should be fair referees

    Referees should never become players

    And Referees should never have a stake in the game their officiating

    While I don’t believe in much state control, I do believe that the government should step in here, and ensure a competitive market place isn’t turned into yet another giant protectionist racket

    All financial fair play did, was protect the biggest clubs against smaller clubs, by protecting their revenue, and stopping investment into small clubs, which actually created more of the monopolies they claimed they were trying to prevent

    Why do you think all the big clubs voted for it to begin with?

  29. Valentin


    The problem of relying on tourists as consumer (not fans) of your product is that it is only sustainable in an normal environment (Covid, …) and by being successful. Being in a single competition like the ESL means that clubs won’t be able to appear successful.

    In England, Liverpool was able to appear successful because despite not winning their domestic league, they were winning domestic and European Cup. Once banned from domestic and European competition, then only the ESL can be won. Have them not winning an ESL title for 31 years and younger generations will not be interested in them.

    You can see that in the NFL and the NBA. The standing of the 49ers is slowing descending. From most valuable franchise to 6th. Wait an extra 10 years of not winning the title and not making the superbowl and they will not be in the top 10.

  30. Rambo


    As if the FA or UEFA have the balls to ban the biggest clubs on the planet. Just goes to show money equals power in this World and all these Associations and Governing bodies are a waste of space. Like how WHO proved in this COVID fiasco

  31. Bob N16

    Not sure how this ESL will end up, quite how the 12 clubs, whose fan bases are violently opposed to the idea, will be able to deal with the opposition. Fascinating to see how things will develop as the owners and organisers of the ESL would have anticipated the reaction that the announcement has caused so must have a game plan.

    Can’t help but feel that it’s the American owners pushing the franchise model at a time when Covid has temporarily fucked the finances of some of the biggest clubs.

    On a personal level, I cannot not support Arsenal where ever or whenever they play but I would completely understand if a lot of supporters ‘walk away’. ‘Tourists’ would pick up the slack to an extent but the atmosphere would be diluted on match days.

    When I first went to Arsenal a ticket on the terraces cost the equivalent of 2/3 pints, the cost now is around 10 pints. This has radically changed the demographic in the stadium, this will continue to reduce the broad base of supporters that existed in the past.

    Not all change is for the better.

  32. AFC Forever

    Rich (09:31)

    Yep agree.

    The great thing about democracy is at least you get a choice. Might not be a great choice but at least you get one and the opportunity to vote against the least favourable.

    Football fans get the shitty end of the stick and we are taken for a ride. VAR has been an absolute joke, its implementation has ruined the game as a spectator sport, yet we are never considered or given the opportunity to have our say while they continue to mess about with the rules to fit VAR and still get decisions wrong. For years we had Blatters corrupt FIFA cartel running the game taking backhanders to decide venues, QATAR the final step too far where human rights violations and the prospect of playing football in desert temperatures finally tipped the balance.

    Football is our National Sport and the football clubs all benefit hugely from that; they have a secure customer base which they can fleece at will. They can secure levels of debt few businesses would be able to survive, just look at the two Spanish Clubs. As you say, FFP was a disaster, it protected the big clubs and when teams owned by the Oil States broke the rules, very little happened. The odd fine, a transfer ban.

    The big 6 are the reason why the Premier League enjoys the power it has. You take the so-called big 6 out of the PL and the TV money will dive along with the PL and grassroots. The big 6 clearly couldn’t give four hoots for grassroots football, they just want a bigger share of the pie. As with everything, this is pure greed. As for the arrogance of teams like Spurs, with just 2 League Titles in their history, words fail me.

    The European Super League will ruin football just like VAR has done.

    If you thought football was already stupidly expensive, you wait until this comes in.