by .

Antonio Conte exited another cup, this time a semi-final against Chelsea, his side were utter, utter dross all game. No energy, no idea what they were doing, no real output.

That means they’ll show hard at the weekend and we’ll all be wondering how a team so bad can pull a performance out the bag so good just because it’s Arsenal.

Or… Arteta and the coaching gang might have a plan to take more than a point of a very average team bereft of ideas.

That does take me neatly into the game this evening. I really hope Arteta knows the most important thing for Arsenal fans this season is beating Spurs. I don’t care what happens tonight. It’s Liverpool over two legs and we know they are so desperate to win, they basically cheated to get out of playing us last week when we were in good form.

Arteta is going to have choices to make this evening. Dice to roll. I just hope he doesn’t take risks on players that are important to the season. Emile Smith Rowe is key to what we do, if he breaks, we’re in trouble. Tomi is THE MOST PRECIOUS of players, nothing hurts more than seeing his name of the team sheet, but at the same time, this is a League Cup no one cares about, and I’d rather live to fight another day with our first teamers… because we are not strong enough to make top 4 with the second-stringers. We saw that against Forest.

If there is a chance of losing a big name for Sunday, it’s just not worth it.

Granit Xhaka is different. He had COVID, I’m guessing his 7 days are done. He’ll be in the mixer and we need him next to Lokonga. That man is made of different stuff. So I’m not really that worried with him. But I think people are starting to see the reality with Granit, we’re better with him in the side, he’s very solid bar a few brain farts a season. Sambi needs experience next to him, he’s too young to carry a junior.

The big picture here is taking 4 points from the next two Premier League games. If we can manage that, Top 4 is game on. We have 2 games in February, we’ll have a little midseason break to bed in the new players, then we’ll be fresh and ready to hit the rest of the season VERY hard. 1 game a week is a huge advantage if the luck rides with you.

We could blow that in leg one against Liverpool if we rush players. It happened last season when we brought TP back early. That cost us big time. Let’s hope we’re not thinking similar things this evening.

Liverpool needs a lift. Klopp is under pressure. He needs a trophy, this is the earliest one he can take, but make no mistake… that team is stammering and he doesn’t have VVD to blame this season. It’s on him. Pep is taking him to the cleaners.

I’m saying that because it’s likely he’ll roll with the big guns. This evening might see us shithouse them with a 5 at the back jobby. Arteta needs to realise that Cedric is not very good and if he rolls him out against elite full-backs, we’ll be beaten before we leave the tunnel. Try something different. If we can escape Anfield with a draw, it’s game on in leg two and we can go for it with a fitter group of players.

We have seen a worse group of players at Arsenal beat better teams with 5 at the back. There is no shame in doing that at Anfield. NONE.

The key is not to get hammered like we have been recently. Super basic, but just don’t get railed. We need a resolute performance, everyone focused on the job, and we need to frustrate them. Liverpool were walked through over and over by Spurs a few weeks ago and as we all know, Conte’s Spurs are shite. We have power players who can make runs, we have talent that can find feet from distance… can we piece those bits together and make it count?

We’ll go big tonight with our starting 11, really, we can’t take a chance with Leno in a game like this, he’ll panic. We need to have Gabriel in the mixer because Rob ain’t it, and I suspect we might see Nuno on the bench in a game this big.

But who knows… just don’t break anyone. That’s all we ask. Spurs is all that matters. That’s the real Cup Final.

Ok, have fun in the comments. x

UPDATE: Odegaard, Tomi, Smith Rowe all out. GOOD. Arteta derisked it. I bet they’re all back this Sunday.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Nabster73

    Those of you saying there’s no agenda…
    Exhibit A) James MacArthur on Bukayo Saka. The only defence he had was that commentators said he kept his eye on the ball.
    Exhibit B) Johnny Evans’ rugby tackle on Aubameyang. No covering defender but VAR decides it’s not a clear goal scoring opportunity, even though he’s have been clean through on goal.
    Why the fuck does VAR keep doing this to Arsenal?

  2. Terraloon


    I really don’t think that the sending off had anything to do with last man becait really wasn’t a clear denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity.

    The sending off was for serious foul play

    A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play.
    A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

  3. MD-Gunner

    Xhaka received a red card because he was never going to get to the ball, catches Jota with a high boot into the chest, denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.

    Since his debut 2016/2017 no premier league player has been sent off more times then Xhaka in all comps, 5 times he has a reputation in the EPL and the refs know this.

  4. Nelson

    “If Gabriel or Martinelli get that red then the majority here are defending the challenge. Because it’s xakha the agenda’s are on display”

    It won’t happen for Martinelli. He is twice the speed of Xhaka.

  5. Tom

    “xhaka was the last defender and took down the attacker.. clear through on goal. doesnt matter the maliciousness of the foul.. it’s a Red any game I have ever seen or played.“


  6. Unoni


    I know you don’t have an agenda. You’re fair. But that’s a yellow. A fair yellow. Any ref worth their salt gives a yellow there. They do their level best to give the likes of Liverpool, United, Barca and all the advantage every fucking time and something needs to be done about it.
    It’s been going on for too long now. Var has only made
    It worse

  7. TheLegendaryDB10


    He never has been. From day 1 Xhaka was hated when we realised how slow he was for the League and nor suited to the EPL.

    Yet somehow he has survived, even after showing his middle finger to the Emirates.

    This is simply incomprehensible that a player that has never really suited us, has stayed with us for so long in MF.

  8. Dissenter

    I wonder if Kroenke is going to willingly open his wallet this January

    He’s spend £160 million already this season but we opted to spend one third on a central defender.

    If I were Kroenke, I’ll tell Arteta and Edu that there are no mid season rescues; you sink or swim by your (expensive).choices.

  9. MidwestGun

    Anyhow.. I am so tired of talking about xhaka but he does it to himself time and time again.. It’s lack of speed and technique more then anything. Why I have been saying we need a new defnsive midfielder since forever.. because it’s in the job description .. defnsive midfielder. and if you can’t tackle ..and you arent in the right position it kind of defeats the purpose of playing him.

  10. TeeCee

    Only bonus is Xhaka is missing for 3 games, we could play a bottle of Gatorade and it would play better than Xhaka, worst player at Arsenal for over 30 years. Absolute c.unt of a player and Arteta consistently proves why he is still very much a 50/50 choice for Arsenal manager because he keeps picking the fuckwit, regardless of injuries etc.

  11. Tom

    “His eyes were on the ball “, “what else was he supposed to do?”

    The first one is completely irrelevant…. the second one…….anything but bring Jota down while being the last defender.

  12. Mr Serge

    Diss as a business man kronke should be able to see that we are there for fourth and spending money to garantee that spot means he recoups it in the summer
    So Stan get your money out

  13. G8

    The ref fucked us big time
    Not a red in millions years
    Xhaka is still a cunt of biblical proportions and should have never played for arsenal after his 2 fingers gesture.
    Arteta is just as dumb to insist with this shit liability

  14. Pierre

    Probably done us a favour cedric and xhaka going off as we now have 4 6ft plus defenders who can defend taa and robertson’s balls into the box

    What we have to remember is it is 2 legs, so if we go 1 down , no need to panic , just sit deep and defend for our lives.

    We are playing crap though.

  15. Dissenter

    They didn’t send Mane off for repeatedly using his elbows as a battering ram so I’m not so sure of the ‘serious fouls play handle’

    Anfield is a very intimidating place for referees, then the player has a reputation for recklessness.- that’s an easy red card anyway.

    If Matip clear out Saka like that, they may not have give a red card.

  16. TR7

    Arteta will go down with Xhaka. Millions of dollar being spent but his love affair with Xhaka will cost the club a top 4 place and will cost him his job.

  17. Goonerboy

    Who are the pundits on sky telling us it’s a nailed on red card? No joke it’s ridiculously biased ex Liverpool players it’s a joke .
    Not a red card, not a second chance not ever. The competition is fixed .Arsenal are there just to make up the numbers.
    Every time we play a big north western side we have a player sent off. This is not by chance or accident. It’s bent. Yeah it’s clumsy it’s a yellow but it is inconceivable that a Liverpool player would be sent off for the same challenge.

  18. TheLegendaryDB10

    The replays showed one thing though….

    Gabriel, instead of moving back into position, goes after the ball in MF, Leaving Xhaka to deal with it.

    That red is also on Gabriel for not getting back into position.

  19. Dissenter

    ‘ No-one is questioning Tierney being so far up the pitch and jogging back.’

    That’s why Pierre calls some players ‘untouchables’ here.

    Never single out our future captain for criticism

  20. Unoni


    Of course it matters if his eyes are on the ball.
    If he doesn’t go for it, you’ll moan that he lets it go.
    The ref has killed the occasion in favour of Liverpool or United yet again.

  21. Emiratesstroller

    I think that there is every possibility that our game against Spurs on Sunday will be postponed.

    By my calculation Arsenal will be down to 11 first team outfield players if both Soares and Xhaka are added to the list of Covid and Injured players plus those out at Afcon.

  22. Luteo Guenreira

    When I was watching it live I felt it wasn’t a red, on replay I think I felt that way because you can see White at least level with the ball and fairly close to where the foul happened, Ramsdale converging as well. Jota still had a lot to do there so for me I’m not so sure he was through on goal clearly enough for it to be an indebatable red.

  23. LeMassiveCoq

    Looking at Carraghers analysis…it was a red. Benefit of slow mo saw Xhaka looking at Jotas position multiple times. Again, he couldn’t do much else.. Rambo in two minds, Tierney and Gabs pressing upfield, at least Xhaka was present…

    We are fucked come Sunday in MF..

  24. Time Up

    Xhaka was not the last player it was White. The red was not for denying goal scoring opportunity. It was for endangering an opponent.

    Stop the shit about last player and watch the game.

  25. Luteo Guenreira

    Xhaka was in the exact position he was supposed to be, Tierney pushes up and he covers. He just isn’t fast enough to do that against good teams and good players. Honestly you can even say Ramsdale should have been more proactive and gotten there for the clearance before Jota.

  26. Dissenter

    Arsenal should formally request that the NLD be postponed

    All we need are false positives, that’s not hard to generate since the precedent had been set already.

    Arsenal need to postpone that game.

  27. JJ

    When will Arteta see that Xhaka’s cons outweigh his pros by a multiple. He costs us so many points. We must upgrade his position in the market.

  28. TheLegendaryDB10


    I personally don’t see any captain material in KT.

    Never has barked at a player or anything. Ever.

    Don’t see him pulling anyone’s socks up if it’s required.

    Doesn’t have the character. Too meek.

  29. Zfree

    Do we think the coaches nail home points to xhaka pre game like “we can’t afford to have you get a straight red today” or “don’t pull on shirt or otherwise clearly foul a player in the penalty area.”

  30. MidwestGun

    Pool are playing a lot more lackadaisical like we are gonna hand it to them.. Sometimes you can play much better when you know exactly what the gameplan is.. as Mourinho used to do to everyone.. high level shit housery. Saka has played well this half. If we nick a goal… that would be something.

  31. NORG

    Well that certainly was a fart of enormous proportions. A child of 5 would understand the consequences better than Xhaka. Arteta loves sending players to the naughty step but not his beloved Xhaka.

  32. Unoni

    Saka the only one out there trying to make something happen
    Martinelli useless without a no10 feeding him into the game

  33. Balagoon

    So Xhaka won’t be available for Spurs…

    for a second it sounded like he would be playing for Spurs – as a Spurs player.

    for once thoughts of watching Xhaka play were happy thoughts.

  34. Unoni

    It’s legit corruption now. The introduction of VAR has removed the incompetence argument. Now they have the time and the technology and the decisions have got worse, it can only be corruption

  35. TheLegendaryDB10


    I’ll top your mad cap idea with another mad cap one.

    Aaron to launch a daisy cutter kick that ends up in the back of the net.

    If anyone can top this madness, go for it.

    I am at a stage where I’d rather cynically laugh than worry about pool doing us in.


    Pool miss another goal

    Lolz!!! Let’s keep this up The Arsenal!!!

  36. Luteo Guenreira

    Our players are starting to get tired, hanging there heads a bit lower during the short down times they are afforded. Likely to concede soon at this rate.

  37. Domi B

    When xhaka shows on screen for last few seasons I just can’t bare to watch, he makes me physically ill… If he offered me his shirt, signed and I don’t know how much money (to wear it) I’d tell him to off.

  38. Terraloon


    What on earth are you talking about if you can’t see that as a red card then ther3vreallynisnt any hope for you

  39. Luteo Guenreira

    A positive result today considering the circumstances would go a long way in galvanizing the squad for Sunday. Fatigue is such a concern though.

  40. Unoni


    No. It’s not a red card. He’s not the last man back so that’s erroneous
    If it’s for dangerous olay (they said it was last man) then his foot is only waste high with studs down and eyes in the ball

    Yellow on both counts

  41. MidwestGun

    I think actuallu all the boys second half have done incredibly well.. given the task at hand. Did anyone else’s ESpn feed go down.. wtf… hahaha now is not the time for dodgy streaming.

  42. Dissenter

    Arteta has to put on his galaxy brain on Sunday

    He needs to play either Chambers or Ben Whitein midfield
    There is no other choice because Patino is far from ready.

  43. Unoni

    Well… thing I will say is that Tets has this team so well drilled in defence now. We really are formidable at the back

  44. Foxy

    Xhaka is at his best playing centrally like he does for Switzerland and did with Partey in their last few games together. Any further back and he is just a total liability due to his lack of pace and inability to tackle legally. I still curse him for that first Villareal goal last season. When he backed off their right winger.