CULTURE CLUB + TRANSFER THINKING

by .

Well, yesterday was the most trafficked post of the year, isn’t that weird? Thousands of men and women, sneaking off to the bathroom,  Peroni in hand, to land a hit of Le Grove. Lovely stuff. Could also be a weird SEO thing because I put ‘xxx’ at the end of the title.

I was spending Christmas alone yesterday until I found out my dad had also tested positive for COVID. He came into London to collect me, we shared strains in the car on the way home, and had a nice Christmas. I am STILL testing positive. But today is day 9, tomorrow, I’m free whatever the lateral-flow test says.

It was mildly amusing to see the Arsenal.com handle land some shit for not saying ‘Happy Christmas’ until later in the day. I am not a Trumpy ‘THEY STOLE OUR CHRISTMAS’ type of guy, but if you’re out here celebrating every other religious holiday (which Arsenal rightly do), you can’t shy away from saying Happy Christmas when you are a British club. Honestly, who gives a shit if someone is offended by it, that is their problem.

Back to the good stuff…

We’re playing Norwich today, they are bottom of the league, Dean Smith has a good record against us… but today really would be asking something of him. The Canaries have been truly awful this season, they don’t have the equipment to stay up… but when has that ever stopped an upset?

Things going against us today:

  • Post-Christmas games are always a bit sluggish
  • The game is an away day, and we’ve not been the best away from him this season. We’re 10th for points accrued on the road. We’ve conceded 17 and lost 5 in 9 games.
  • We are famous for being a Christmas gift to teams that are having a bad run. It’s been that way for about 15 years.

Arsenal cannot allow Norwich to happen to us. It would ruin a great body of December/November work. We are a form team, everyone has found their level, we need to go to Carrow Road and do a very straightforward job, very well.

The injury news is pretty good. Everyone is available bar Auba and a few second-stringers that wouldn’t have been important anyway.

Arteta is thinking about the January transfer window.

“If you can tweak what you need to in that period, which is not easy, it would be really helpful,”

“We are working on that to see the necessities we can have, and whether we can find the right solutions to that.”

The problem with the January window is it rarely offers up a lot of ‘NOW’ value. The standout move over the past 15 years was Andre Arshavin. He came in, made a HUGE impact, then he got a little overweight and was never the same. Martin Odegaard on loan was also a bit of a saucy move, the player made an impact to the way we played, versus showing big numbers, it was also a trial run for a summer move. Now look at him… don’t we just love him?

Maybe that’s part of the recipe? Find players with a point to prove. Jovic at Madrid needs a move this summer, he has 321 minutes to his name, he’ll come in and play the way we want him to play.

The other challenge you have with a loan move is the reality: It might take minutes from a promising kid. We wasted minutes on Ceballos last season. We wasted even more on the busted flush that was Willian. Are we going to bring someone in that might waste time that could go to a top talent? I thought Arteta had the answers in this following quote:

“I was living at La Masia – it was a bedroom of eight,” he said. “I had Pepe Reina, Víctor Valdés, Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol … What I learned was that internally there was competition: we were all at the same age and wanted to be first-team players but could not all get there. But what I learned as well was within that competition you understand that you have to look after each other. That was a big, big lesson in that period for me.

“Some of them are still my best friends because it is tough and you go through important, key moments in your career and it stays for life. Those relationships are unbreakable.”

I’m not sure that quote answered much, but it’s nice that he’s doubling down on Wenger ideals. Our ex-manager dreamed of building a group of young players that had unbreakable bonds on the pitch and a huge love for the club off it. The thing he missed during his Project Youth was the special sauce that could have made them title winners. Cesc needed an experienced destroyer next to him. The team needed more depth. Talented young players will eventually want to win… and get paid.

The manager also spent a lot of time talking about culture. This is meant in the least offensive way, but I think it’s quite hard for journalists to write about culture because the job they do is mostly all about them. Journos are like golfers, they are in control of whether they are good or not. The words flow or they don’t. My guess, having not worked as one, is that there’s not a huge amount of teamwork in sports writing. I know they occasionally write in groups, but I don’t think they experience culture in the same way you or I do (Unless they were footballers at a high level). Which is why some ask questions like ‘are you a dictator for enforcing something that feels quite trivial.’

Well, the questions in the presser again fell on ‘what is culture and how do you do it.’ I quite liked that Arteta said firstly, the culture is not his. The second part I liked is that he makes it work because he asked the players ‘do you think it has been good in the past?.’ If they agree no, then fixing it becomes everyone’s duty. That is ultimately the key to a great culture. When it’s working, everyone understands what you are working towards, and everyone in it knows what they have to do.

A big part of it is also knowing what gets rewarded in the system and what is punished. It’s super basic, but you probably know that in a Jose Mourinho system, pretending to have a head injury in the 92nd minute is going to be rewarded in the dressing room. If everyone understands that is part of the culture, players know how to behave on the pitch, and you grow a team of shit-housers that will do anything to win. What does Arteta reward? He probably likes to see players focusing on being defensively resolute the whole game, so what are we seeing now? Martin Odegaard closing down like a lunatic late in the game, Martinelli tracking runners after a gruelling game, and players celebrating defensive actions like goals. How do you know that sort of stuff is part of the rewards in our culture? Fans recognize that Arsenal are more George Graham than Arsene Wenger. We can see it. The rules of your culture are important because they allow you to weed out the people that aren’t going to work.

Anyway, I find culture fascinating because it’s a living being in an organization. When people call it management talk, it’s usually because they’ve never experienced a good one. This is controversial, but quite often people label truly elite cultures toxic because they can’t handle the pressures that come with hitting a standard. You see it all over the world, companies that create incredible often have workers that complain. A good culture doesn’t always mean it’s pleasant. A good culture is hard. It means you are constantly reminded that there are standards. It means you are called out if you fall below it. A good culture is exhausting. Just listen to Klopp talk about his players at Dortmund getting bored of him after a while. Conte never lasts long because he takes the standards too far and it breaks people. Those are the extremes of elite anything. Some people can handle it, some people are prepared to suffer, most can’t and melt.

Losing a player like Auba just means he’s not built for where we’re heading. Look at the players moved on? Most couldn’t hit the standard, weren’t prepared to stay at the standard they once attained or were too old to give a shit.

I like where we’re heading. It’s exciting. It makes sense. Games like today show us where we are.

Right, have a great Boxing Day, I’ll see you in the comments. xx

P.S. We’ll be in the whistle after the game

P.P.S. If you’ve seen Ian Wright wearing the awesome jumper below and you want it… head to Art of Football to buy it.

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Rich

Diss Numerically we’re in no desperate need for a striker, once we’re into February, we’re almost at a game a week for the run in The job Lacazette is doing at the minute is really important, and I’d have no worries about Eddie being thrown in We’ve been linked strongly with Kulusevski, but unless Pepe leaves, there’s no room at the inn Think there’s a good chance we’ll bring in a central midfielder early in January, maybe a loan If we can get our top striker target, and get Aubameyang out, then we might do something, but we’re certainly not… Read more »

MidwestGun

Only complaint I got aboit Saka is he needs to work on his goal celebrations.. he always looks sheepish … celebrate like you just won the million dollar lottery … I say.

TheLegendaryDB10

Diss

Rich would you get a striker in January or wait until the summer?

If I may respond, I personally think that waiting till summer is always the better option. It’s rare that good strikers are sold during winter TW as teams need their strikers to get some goals in.

Now unless there is some unknown quantity (c.f. Aaron Ramsdale) that we can snap him up, by all means.

Or some “renegade” striker who wants out that is worth his salt.

So my belief is that nothing will happen on this front unless above reasons.

Br0wnie

Sure glad we didn’t end up with Buendia. He does nothing but whine and then trot back if he comes back at all

MidwestGun

Loan move for Jovic makes sense to me .. like Pedro said in blog, If we get an option to purchase so we arent devevloping soembody elses player.

MidwestGun

We keep winning and playing like we have been Auba isnt coming back this season . And we will need another striker.

Habesha Gooner

The striker situation depends on two things. 1) Whether Eddie signs a new contract. I think we will take offers that we will get if he doesn’t sign a new contract. 2) If Auba will be back in the fold. If he comes back from Afcon and arteta forgives him then we won’t sign a forward. But if both leave then I can see us loaning a striker till the end of the season. May be someone like Jovic. I personally would wait till the summer unless we can sign the likes of Vlahovic, Isak and the like. And those… Read more »

Rich

Loaning Niles out without an obligation is such a weird move

He’ll be down to his last 12 months in the summer, which puts us in a weak negotiating position

Also leaves us light in midfield over the next month, even if we did bring someone in

Habesha Gooner

I think we might let Eddie go on a free if we don’t find the right opportunity to sign a backup to Lacazette though. It will be disappointing to see him leave for free. Auba in my opinion is leaving in January. Arteta will make it clear to him that he isn’t in his plans anymore.

Pedro

GET IN LADS!

The agenda is looking powerful this evening.

I LOVE that the young players are making the memory of Auba so feint.

MidwestGun

Yep sweet win Peds….. Young Guns.. Baby!

MidwestGun

Ugh… Villa playing much worse this half.. come on.

Venga, Dani

Wolves is going to be very tough on one day’s rest. They haven’t played since Dec. 19th. Very tough fixture

Saladin

Villa are shite

MidwestGun

Oh damn it.. 🙁

Dissenter

Lukaku’s first premier league goal since September 11

Habesha Gooner

Pedro
Yep! Agenda looks strong when we are scoring a hatful every game. 2 vs westham, 3 vs Southampton, 4 vs leeds, 5 vs Sunderland and 5 vs Norwich. I have no problem calling Arteta the sauciest manager around if we continue this run.

Fuck Lukaku scored. Mings was poor.

Dissenter

They should have had FIVE subs allowed for the games on Dec 26th sand Dec 28th.

Nigel Tufnel

Pedro, Great post. Coming from a progressive like yourself, the Happy Christmas issue is a nice piece of common sense from you. Also the la masia connection is a good one from Arteta, pertaining to this young, talented group. With that in mind, he may be the perfect manager for the team now. The confidence is slowly growing.. Who’s the one who was shaming Arteta for challenging our young players to score more earlier this season. Of all the stupid takes we’re all guilty of here, on occasion, that’s one that should be disavowed by the author. Accompanied by a… Read more »

TR7

Let’s see how we play against City and Spurs in January. We have struggled against good teams especially playing away from home.

Dissenter

Lukaku easily beating Mings up, every single time

Habesha Gooner

What a miss! Should have been calmer.

Dissenter

Villa have some fantastic young talent in the midfield

OCGooner

Great to see the team clicking through the gears today! Fun to watch (even when we all know it’s Norwich). Long may it continue. Keep scratching my head with ESR starting on the bench, but it’s all working, and he scores when he wants to. He’ll surely start against Wolves, Ode needs a rest b4 Citeh. Saka looks like the Saka of last year again. I guess this is what depth looks like (been awhile). Still a bit of dross underneath the best 14-15 or so, but that’s a topic for another day (no way back for Auba). Moving in… Read more »

Rich

TR7 Whenever we do well, you’re always looking forward to a set of games where you think we’ll trip up…. The season is 38 games, we’re on course of 70 points at the halfway line, proving we carry on this trajectory We’ll definitely lose games and drop points along route, but the direction of travel is as exciting as it’s been for over a decade, we’ve got some of the most exciting young players in world football We’re clearly not at City’s level, we’re competing with the likes of Spurs, United, Leicester, West Ham this season I said after the… Read more »

Saladin

Isn’t Mings supposed to be good? Looks horrific tonight.

TheLegendaryDB10

Nigel To be the devil’s advocate, those (like me) had a very solid reason not to believe in Arteta in his early days. This was/ is based on our own personal experiences where seeing an inexperienced person being placed at such a high level of responsibility is practically unheard of (unless you are a genius (rare) or running a start up). Hence the dismay and the current level of “suspicion” on whether Arteta can actually achieve. Let’s be honest, Arteta was sold as a Pep Man City IP guy (no disrespect to you Pedro) and is showing to be (to… Read more »

Habesha Gooner

Mings is so scared of Lukaku. He is a decent defender but not there mentally. Just a scaredy cat.

InsideRight

Just got back to civilisation to see the result. Superb win. Norwich aren’t getting results but they have been playing better since Smith went there. You can only beat what’s in front of you and the lads did that very well today. It feels like an identity is forming. It’s not there yet and we are far from complete, but these signs are encouraging. I’m not sold on Arteta but I want him to succeed for the sake of the club. One game at a time. Just keep beating what’s in front of us and don’t tinker with something that… Read more »

Pierre

Pedro
“I LOVE that the young players are making the memory of Auba so feint.”

So much for experience eh…

Xhaka is using all his experience isn’t he….last week against Leeds he should have seen red when we were 3-0 up and today he tried to turn the Norwich crowd against us by getting involved again when we were cruising.
Put it this way , if Saka , Martinelli Eddie or Smith rowe had got involved in something similar , it would have been put down to.A lack of experience.

OCGooner

I really hope Villa can get on the break and even this up (if their finishing was better they would have done already). Seeing Chelski drop points would put a nice bow on the day.

Saladin

Game over. Thanks for nothing Villa. Anyway, glad we won, good weekend.

MidwestGun

Villa just went full surrender mode once Lukaku came on at halftime set up deeper to defend .. trying not to concede rather then score. Think they have only had like 20% possession this half. Oh well… anyhow.. as long as we keep puttign up the points we should … Chelski will trip up at some point. They are abbout a million times better with Lukaku though..

Habesha Gooner

Jacob Ramsey is impressive. Good talent for a CM. Looks similar to Bellingham.

Oh well Lukaku Buldozing everyone to win a Pen.

Zfree

Luiz was sent off against wolves I believe it was, for less than that. Konsa only shown yellow

Time Up

The wolves game on Wednesday big chance is off.

Good or bad?

For me it’s good we need a break before City game as we’ve plenty of time to reschedule.

Time Up

HG,

Ramsey would have been better as a out and out striker. Villa problem is two average strikers they paid good money for them ahead of him.

I wish we’d put cheeky paid for him, as they did with ESR

Time Up

Wolves game on Tuesday*

Nigel Tufnel

From Mb: “Are we seeing Patino as a sub today? Would be awesome.At this stage, all I want to see is a tean without Xhaka.” This is an example of an unnecessary and foolish statement, considering how Xhaka has been performing. Rewatched the past few games, the guy gives a lot to this team. Never looks like a guy who didn’t get his preferred move, and earning his cash as much as anyone. No matter what he does, people like this will never allow themselves to recognize good play. Imagine being judged that way by thousands of bitter little people… Read more »

Karsa

3 key passes from Xhaka today.

Rich

Pierre It’s about balance, you can’t just throw a bunch of rookie kids together all at once We’ve had to gradually integrate them into the team, first it was Saka, then Smith Rowe 13 months later, now Martinelli is being given his most consistent run The idea that 2 years ago Arteta could have just thrown: Saka 18 Martinelli 18 Smith Rowe 19 All into our starting 11, and they’d all be performing at the level they are now, stands up to no type of real scrutiny, this is a process…. Same with Nketiah who I’ve always liked, but it… Read more »

TheLegendaryDB10

Yep Time Up, this is really good news that our game v Wolves has been postponed.

Allows us to fully focus on Man C!!!

Good news for me to as I am working on Tuesaday. This means that I won’t miss the game!! 😀

Rich
Time Up

It’s official

Tuesday game V Wolves is OFF.

TheLegendaryDB10

Rich

To me this is very fair (finally). When you see that these cunts down the road have 3 games in hand, this won’t harm us to allow our squad to recuperate for the Citeh game.

Venga, Dani

postponed. Honestly considering they would play on 10 days rest and we would play on 1 days rest, not the worst outcome

Time Up

Xhaka bringing his international form into club level since after the Everton game.

Time Up

Do10,

Same here. Wolves is a good counter attacking physical defensive side under their new manager. With 10 days rest, we’d have been in trouble.

Habesha Gooner

The wolves game being called off isn’t bad news at all. It was a potential banana skin considering they haven’t played for a while and we have had to play 3 games in 12 or so days. We can beat them when we recover.

Time Up

The only issue I’ve is WTF couldn’t Arteta see what we saw!. Since last Christmas, when we played Chelsea, we knew without Auba and Pepe we were better.

I guess better late than never!.

Topside Northbank

Schedule was insane asking us to play twice inside 48 hrs.

Not the worst news the game v Wolves PP.

It would of been a game even if we would of won would of come ar a cost no way a player or two wouldn’t of picked up a muscle injury.

Time Up

Looking at Brighton, I’m really surprised at Potter. With all his intelligence, he could have insisted in including Eddie Nketiah as part of the deal for B White for 10 mil.

Eddie in that team and their style, would’ve got 15/20 goals easily.

Pierre

Rich I’ve always preferred 2 holding midfielders who rarely get ahead of the ball as it gives the team balance, control and protection to the back 4. Xhaka serves a purpose but so does lakonga, Elneny and AMN, Arteta obviously loves him but he has sailed close to the wind in the last 2 league games by perpetuating his hard man image, though apart from his couple of indiscretions he’s played quite decent and done a good job for the team. It is strange how injuries and suspensions etc have proved to be a blessing in disguise for Arteta. normally… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

Wait!? Are there still people here hating on Ødegaard?

What tf is wrong with these people?

The Smith is great, yes.
Nobody is perfect, not Øde or anybody else.

But man if you can’t see the class in Ødegaard, you really shouldn’t be talking football.

Not in public. ..
Watch in your home, and spout your nonsense to your pets and family.

At least they won’t realise how stupid your comments are. Well, the pets won’t.

Topside Northbank

Next PL game for us Man City at home as well a game where to have any chance any team will have to be tip top physical condition.

Large periods without the ball and the midweek after 1st leg league cup.

We are in good form but it’s a punishing fixture list.

Time Up

Rich never have a point,

Last year Martinelli and ESR were 19/19/20 not as you said.

Giving them minutes at that age (19/19/20)is better than giving Willian and Pepe. Auba was useless to, but at least he was scoring here and there. Those kids wouldn’t have finished below 8th.

Time Up

Yes Pedro,

Like getting the age of the players wrong to justify giving minutes to useless Willian and Pepe, with us finishing 8th.

Anyone defending Arteta always has a point!.

TheLegendaryDB10

Pepe is debatable as he is a young kid. But I agree re Willian. What a waste of space he was.

As much as he is a Chelski scumbag (always will be), I will extend some respect as he had the decency to walk away from his contract for less money than signed for. For that, he gets my hat off for not impeding the development of one of our young Gooners.

Time Up

I must say Bravo to Arteta for going with Holding instead of Cedric. Holding is reliable, Cedric is not, that’s what a good manager do when adjusting to injuries and suspension.

Also, subbing Partey at the right time, he started tiring with yellow to his name is a danger.

The boy is learning. Now all he needs to time his sub better when losing to change a game.

Leedsgunner

Wolves game postponed.

From an injury point of view it’s good I suppose. However I hope we don’t lose our momentum because of this.

Up the Arsenal – brilliant brilliant result!

Time Up

What a goal by Brighton 😮

Rich

Time Up Arteta took over the club 2 years ago, not 1 At which point Saka was 18, Martinelli 18, Smith Rowe 19 People who are saying he should have gone with project youth straight away, are failing to take into account that they weren’t ready Saka sat out the back end of 2019/20, didn’t even get on the pitch in the FA Cup final or Semi, 12 months later he was starring for England ahead of Grealish + Foden at the Euros Goals + assists will be the next part of his development Smith Rowe was injury prone, needed… Read more »

Pierre

Petty obvious that Arteta had got wind that the wolves game was going to be called off, hence keeping with the same team as previous league games and not substituting Lacazette and Tierney…..I did think his team selection and substitutions were surprising , but now i see why.

Nigel Tufnel

Yes Pierre the subs make more sense if Arteta knew something about Wolves.
I really was itching for him to sub earlier, and differently. Was really worried about Partey and Xhaka on yellow too.

Habesha Gooner

Next game is man city then. It’s better we go in to it fresh. Wolves being called off is a blessing. It would have been tougher to play wolves on Tuesday then Mancity next.

Rich

The good thing about playing City first game into the second half of the season, is that it gets it out of the way

Even though our home form is good, City will be strong favourites

Hopefully we stay clear of COVID, and City have an outbreak just before the game, not enough to cancel…

Just enough to throw their preparations into disarray, and seriously weaken them

Bob N16

Time Up, Soares has Covid, Arteta didn’t pick Holding over him.

LoveSausage

City showed today that they aren’t bulletproof. They’re favourites either way and I don’t expect us to get anything from the game. I’ll be happy with a strong performance from the team even if we lose. No more 0-4 disaster classes please.

Bob N16

Like your thinking Rich. City are arguably the best team in Europe, the only way we are going to beat them is with a massive dose of luck (and Covid) weakening them.

Sly

Fantastic result
Odegaard is def going to be a more influential player than ozil
Nice to see him bossing the midfield, I think there’s more to come from him
We just need to see bravery and consistent performances against the top 3 moving forward

Time Up

Pedro,

I won’t look silly. I pointed Arteta’s weakness as a manager. He impressed me today with how he dealt with Tomiyesu absences. He could’ve gone with Cedric under the most stupid excuse used in English football “partnership should never be broken up”. You should ALWAYS play with the players that more reliable, even if you’ve to break up partnership.

Unlike people in love with Arteta, if he messed up, I’ll call him out.

Time Up

Bob,

Then I gave him credit he doesn’t deserve. Injuries, illness and suspensions our best manager.

Habesha Gooner

WTF!!! € 10 mil euros as a buy option for AMN from Roma? We need to get atleast £15 to £18 mil for him. Roma are such cheap skates.

Sly

Lokonga needs to get minutes ahead of afcon

Time Up

Bob,

I disagree about City, I think this time we’ll compete with them. At home with the crowed behind the kids, I think we’ve a chance without needing only luck.

I just want us to play them without fear and give them a game unlike last year and the year before.

I’m feeling positive for some reason, maybe because we can match them in work rate with all the lazy players out of the starting 11.

Bob N16

Time Up, it’s not reasonable to blame Arteta for our defeats but not to give him credit when we win.

Bob N16

If we get anything from the City game it’ll be a massive bonus.

Sly

Good point time up
If arteta can lose his inferiority complex against the top 3 we should see a good performance
Just need to see the team play without fear against city
I can take a loss but the cowardice really rankles

Rich

Who are these people that are in love with Arteta? Most people praise him when they think he gets stuff right, and criticise him when they think he gets stuff wrong, some people are far too obsessed with the manager I’m willing him to do well because I’m an Arsenal fan, I don’t think that coaching or tactics were our biggest problem the last few years, so I’ve had some sympathies with both Emery + Arteta, but without being emotionally invested in either If we sacked him tomorrow morning I wouldn’t shred a tear as long as we replaced him… Read more »

Sly

That’s absolutely true Pedro
With what we’re doing against the rest of the league opposition things are looking fantastic
I think we’ll get there against the top 3
I just hate seeing us lose at a whimper against them
I can take glorious failure any day
I was actually ok with our last outing against Liverpool
Player naivety made pool look good
All that being said Arteta is due immense credit for how the team is performing

Sly

I never had arguments against the project btw
I’ve always been for it

Muppetman

Time Up I think Cedric tested positive for COVID. That’s why White played RB.

Nelson

Game against Wolves has been postpone.

Ustyno

The team is going up in leaps and bounds but that dude that write team of the week on BBC will still call them ordinary team that he’s surprised we are winning games

Arteta is doing a great job so far,long may this continue,whether the opponent is poor or not beat them silly that’s what big teams do and I want us to get close to that path

Well done lads

LoveSausage

I don’t think we can expect results against City and Liverpool this season. We’ve improved both in terms of results and quality but the fact remains we rely on players like Laca and Xhaka who are essentially second rate footballers. I wouldn’t say Partey is second rate despite being poor, but he certainly isn’t first rate either. We need 1-2 more TWs before we can really compete with the top teams.

gnarleygeorge9

Merry Christmas Arsenal 🙂

Rich

LS Most of our improvements should be internal, rather than external, building team cohesion + understanding is such an underrated aspect of building a successful team Next season we should start with a settled back 5, and whichever 3 players we’ve got behind the striker, will be much more settled Most of our starting 11 now are players on the way up, we’ve got very few players in regression, or who are due to enter a period of regression We’ve now got internal succession plans with: Partey – Sambi Xhaka – Patino Tierney – Tavares Holding – Saliba Lacazette –… Read more »

Havyn

Spurs beat City at home and drew with Pool recently yet you people are saying we can’t beat both at home?

Wait and see

Tom

“Spurs beat City at home and drew with Pool recently yet you people are saying we can’t beat both at home?“

Not without a major COVID outbreak within their squads, apparently.
#levelplayingfield

Rich

Happy Xmas Tom

Enjoy the game?