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. HerbsArmy

    Fantastic effort from the lads.
    What is Arsenal’s obsession with shit Swiss players all about???
    Arteta deserves credit, but he will get a damn sight more if he lances us from the Swiss leech.
    If we hold our nerve at home, another cup final is ours for the taking.
    Arsenal have a decent record against Conte during his time at Chelsea (including a cup final win that stopped them doing the ‘Double’), so we go into the Tottenham game with renewed confidence and every chance of winning.

  2. GD

    As incredible as our boys played today, I thought Ramsdale was very shaky. His decision making was Fabianksi and Almunia like. Let’s just hope this is a one off

  3. salparadisenyc

    Come on that fight tonight ?
    I’m here all day every day for that effort.

    Regardless of whatever happens in this tie, Klopp looks a dick which I didn’t think was possible.
    PRESSURE cranking with Bowie matching Freddy.

  4. Tony

    Just watched the highlights and not surprised too see Xhaka red carded, which is a plus for us going too Spuds.

    The real match story is how we held onto a draw keeping a clean sheet. Ok Mane and Salah weren’t playing leaving the Dippers a bit toothless in front of goal, but to keep us in the cup with that defensives display should long in the players’ minds of what they can achieve as a collective.

    No complaints from me other than Xhaka where on that I would imagine I’m not alone. At least he can’t hurt us for 3 games.

    Will this be another Arteta stumble? Will he play a Hale Ender or 2 at WHL who comes of age there?

    For an agnostic I seem to be thinking about praying a lot for us to get results.

  5. Tony

    So still very much in the cup and going to WHL with a dogged confidence while Spuds look brittle and broken in places.

    A good time to be going to WHL. Sure they’ll pull a performance, but those highlights looked solid to me defending as a team limiting Dippers to 1 shoot on target and 10 off mostly with 10 men – the sort of confidence building wee needed after the Forrest game.

    Backs against the wall stuff where we only manager 1 shot on target and oner off playing against 77% possession.

    Onwards to WHL with belief we can win and where our softer side is hardening up.

  6. Nelson

    We have learnt two things today.

    1. White is very good playing 3 at the back.
    2. Lokonga plays much better with support from Martinelli than with Xhaka. Martinelli has a lot of energy. He is fast and he can play physical without getting red cards. Xhaka is a lamp pole. Lokonga was left alone.

  7. Nigel Tufnel

    Sambi I’m noticing more, really needs to hit the gym and bulk up.. protein, carbs, whatever… these past 2 games seems so light weight…

    And he has to stop some of his little cute carries and dinky passes in crowded areas midfield and deeper.

    I’m beginning to understand why Arteta has been reticent to trust having him in the team.

    And I was complaining that he needed playing time when Xhaka came back into the team. He’s farther from ready than we wanted to admit.

    The levels at which he was impressing Kompany are far, far below premier league.

    We really need a good midfielder, to push him and Xhaka further from important starts. If Arteta got a really good one like Guimares, I think he’d start him and Partey.

  8. Tony

    Wonder how Pedro, is feeling now after saying we needed Xhaka last night? I can’t think of one reason to keep Xhaka others than to look after the dressing room keys.

    Pedro entitling Xhaka fans comedy gold.

  9. China1

    The fact that after all these years Xhaka still has apologists is absolutely shameful

    That’s his second red of the season. He was lucky to not get 2 yellow on at least two other occasions this season.

    The player is technically average. Strategically average and he is such a burden on the team over the course of a season it’s not even funny.

    People still pining for his return or for any new CM we have to just be his understudy need to take a long hard look in the mirror at why they are so relentlessly forgiving of a player who has no right to be a starter at a club of this size in england.

    And he’s done this at a time when we have no CMs because partey is away, AMN is on loan, El Neny is away and Sambi is still learning. He is literally a disgrace. Again.

    Is this some of that intangible leadership quality we saw again from him? Biggest load of nonsense I’ve ever heard.

    Meanwhile enormous credit to everyone else for a fantastic result. Let’s regroup and beat them in the second leg. Would be fantastic

  10. China1

    He also gave away the penalty against City the other week

    Honestly speaking fans who think he has a place anywhere near our starting 11 should be shamed of themselves. Stockholm syndrome is an understatement

  11. Gonsterous

    Not a bad result away to pool, could we nick a 0-0 in the league? Hope so

    At this point, everytime xhaka gets a red, I can only laugh.

    It was soft, no doubt but you can’t blindly kick that high when a player is nearby, 90% chance of getting the player and getting sent off.

  12. China1

    The guy can scarcely even fill a YouTube highlights reel with anything impressive let alone be depended on to help the team in tough games

    90% of games where he looks ok it’s when the whole team played well – those are the easiest games to look good. 100% of the games that the team plays badly in, he also plays badly. He is NEVER the positive difference maker. He is OFTEN the catalyst for our failures. He is a bad player and a shit leader who cannot be depended on for anything other than training ground fines.

    At any other club a player like this would’ve been cunted off years ago. But the apologists have been running a mock for 6 years now. Even after he told the fans to fuck off. The fans and management turned around and bent over. Absolutely embarrassing

  13. gnarleygeorge9

    The Arsenal motif is a cannon, & Xhaka is a loose cannon. It’s time to cut him loose. The Arsenal lost a Champions League final coz of a loose cannon act. Going forward, the Club needs players who can keep their powder dry on the Big occasion.

  14. Nigel Tufnel

    I would’ve started Xhaka today, of course.

    Sambi needs a stabilizer next to him. Its obvious now.. Would’ve Granit on Sunday too, because he can do 90 minutes 3 times a week. His stamina is crazy.

    If Partey were around and healthy I’d rotate the 3 of them for the 2 spots, until we get someone in. Whenever that is.

  15. Nigel Tufnel


    I laughed out loud too. It’s becoming conical.

    If I was Arteta I’d take Granit into the office in the summer and say… I know we just committed to you with the extension, and you’ve been a good servant to the club, but I think your agent should find a club in Italy, Germany… because the English refs have it in for you.

    That’s the nice way to handle it.

  16. Sid

    “””””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.””””””

    Im telling you for freee!

  17. Tony

    Gons, my take only seeing highlights was that the red was for last man in defense denying a solo chance on goal. Gabs was covering but not close enough to tackle Jota.

  18. China1

    Our season started with Granit. He and the team were white. He went out the team and our form picked up. He came back into the team when the whole team was doing better but got the credit for it. He then missed some games. He comes back and is bad against city and liverpool

    ‘It’s not you Granit, it’s them’. Have a word mate lol

  19. MidwestGun

    I think your agent should find a club in Italy, Germany… because the English refs have it in for you.
    Sorry but no… xhaka had 5 red cards in the German League as well, in just 2 seasons and 1 with the Swiss Int’l team . So. It’s not just the English referees… so your theory is blown. He is just shit at tackling.

  20. Freddie Ljungberg

    Hope we can get a midfielder in before Sunday or it’s a big ask for Azeez and Sambi.

    Not too keen on Melo on loan but anything is better than sticking with that fuckwit Xhaka, he should have been shot into space years ago.

    Zakaria available for 5m apparently? Danilo from Palmeiras?
    A shame we didn’t get Bruno Guimares before he went to Lyon and we had a bid for Xhaka the same window…

  21. Mb

    Someone on Twitter said

    “Bet my entire savings account, my mortgage and my parents car on a Xhaka’s red card and made £6.24 profit”.


  22. DivineSherlock

    Its 2022 and some people still believe in Xhaka , might as well believe in Santa Claus . So So proud of this team , young ones Absolutely massive to be 10man down and not letting Liverpool score. In 29 matches at Anfield this is only the second time it ended 0-0 , shows you how important this is. Aaron Ramsdale had poor game but its ok , thats a first .

  23. gnarleygeorge9

    When Xhaka did his Bruce Lee/Chuck Norris I was all set to turn the tele off in disgust. But then I thought, no, the away supporters don’t have the luxury of that, they have to stick it out, so I kept watching.

    I spent the 2nd half counting it down, minute by minute. It was one of the most satisfying efforts I’ve seen by The Arse in years. And when the away supporters gave it the “We love you Arsenal we do” in unison with a few minutes to go, I thought they’re going to do it, & they did 🙂

  24. Kegunner

    Xhaka’s tackle was not necessary and actually foolish on his part. However, the tackle was a consequence of Ramsdale’s poor decision to leave his goal line and the defence getting caught out.

    Later in the game Ramsdale also made another error leaving the goal line. Young goal keepers make this errors. Ramsdale has to work on this.

  25. Tony

    ‘Xhaka’s tackle was not necessary’

    In Xhaka’s mind it was because he couldn’t keep up, so he went for it to get the foul outside the box.

    Am I giving Xhaka too much credit?

  26. Kegunner

    Xhaka made a professional foul but will be vilified for it. He was not the last man and Arsenal were still in the game. Jota may have scored or not and the team needed Xhaka for the league more.

    In the end Xhaka’s challenge gave the team a chance to fight another day but likely at the cost of league points.

  27. Habesha Gooner

    Defending Xhaka after that is terrible. He knew the pass over the top was coming. He saw Jota before Robertson passed the ball. He just thought he could win it in the air. He is so slow that he couldn’t keep up at all with Jota. And instead of sprinting back and making the angle tight to shoot for jota he made a stupid decision to go with a high boot. This is not a kid. He is 29 and he is a constant liability. And top teams know he is a weak link. He can pass as much as he likes but he is shit defensively if he isn’t always positioned in the right place. Even then, he ca be tricked easily like Bernardo did to win the penalty. We need to be done with him. Sell him and get in one top CM and one prospect while we raise Patino’s and Azeez’s levels.

  28. Freddie Ljungberg


    “Would have been avoidable if he’d bought say Guimares or similar instead of White and kept Saliba to play with Gabs.”

    Was against signing White for that very reason. Although he has surprised me and been very good, same with Ramsdale. We had more pressing needs in midfield.

    We address that and striker in the next 2 windows and I’m still happy, Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

    Still like what I’ve seen the last couple of months so definitely think we’re heading in the right direction.

    Never was a fan of Arteta as a player or up until now as a coach but credit where credit is due, looking much better lately. Took him too long maybe to correct some mistakes and some were very much avoidable but it is what it is.

    Just one more massive mistake to correct now – Xhaka…

  29. Terraloon


    I am far from sure that there will be enough players for the NLD but I do wonder if Arsenal have shot themselves massively in the foot.

    Having played in the first team for a game where the rules of the competition require you to “ play “your strongest team “ it’s possible that Patino will be counted in the number and also the fact that voluntarily two players in this window out on loan both who have featured in first team games likewise may well feature in the debate.

    In terms of COVID. I think I am right in saying the need to self isolate now is only 5 days so on the basis that they will be tested on day 6 then depending on when they first tested positive it’s possible that they will be counted as fit to play even if day 6 is either Saturday or Sunday.

    Turning to Xhaka.

    I know a poster said earlier that it was confirmed that the sending off had been confirmed as for stopping a goal scoring opportunity but as far as I can see that’s only press comments . It’s important because if that’s the case the ban for such offensives in isolation is one game as opposed to three for serious foul play.
    If a player gets two red cards in a season an extra game ban is added .

  30. Nigel Tufnel

    I was only joking about Arteta using the relationship breakup tactic that we’ve all used…. immortalized in a famous Seinfeld episode.

    “The problem is not you sweetheart, it’s me”

    In this case just to soften the blow and encourage him to leave, by blaming the refs.

  31. Terraloon


    “The problem is not you sweetheart, it’s me”

    A few years ago returning after a draw with Chelsea at the Emirates we had to listen to this classic method of a break up of a relationship for around half an hour.It was classic. The game itself was far from memorable but the “dumping “was classic

  32. Nigel Tufnel

    Tony can’t help himself in bringing it around to blaming Ben White.

    Even when he’s man of the match and a leader.

    I said it the other day.. I get the logic of fixing midfield before adding to cb, but you’re being immature because you were against White from the beginning. It’s done.

    Grow up.

    Saliba wasn’t going to start for any good premier league club this year. He needed a full year where he’d play a lot.

    I know you want to blame Arteta for the Saliba delay/issues. Arteta didn’t kill the kids parents. The team mishandled his first loan.

    Bad news for you though..

    Saliba or not…. Ben White isn’t going anywhere.

    Just appreciate the awesome partnership we in our back 5.
    Don’t stir up problems next year when Saliba comes back and is integrated. I know you’ll be crying every time White starts… which will be almost every match if fit.

  33. Jamie

    Despite Xhaka’s routine attempts at sabotage, the team performance last night was exceptional.

    We got some luck in the end with poor finishing from Liverpool, and we also created a few chances to score. Looking forward to the home leg.

    I can’t wrap my head around sending AMN out on loan at the beginning of the window. Surely it would’ve made more sense to let him go at the end of the window so he could provide some needed cover in midfield for a few more games?

    Theoretically Partey could be back as early as next week if Ghana loses tonight to Gabon, and Morocco and Gabon draw when they play their group game. So we’re only talking a couple games where AMN could’ve provided cover.

  34. Terraloon

    I thought White looked solid in a three but what happened in truth is the three was a five and not just at times it was for near enough the entire game post sending off.

    Add to that Liverpool kept trying to go through the middle meaning in a very compact area at times there was a wall of 7or 8 defenders.

    Whites problems come when he himself has to decide if he should stick or twist

  35. Emiratesstroller


    I am not a great fan of Merson as a sports commentator, but the point he made yesterday about playing Patino in the Nottingham Forest game was a valid one.

    If you are playing a young kid like Patino in a first team game it is important that he plays alongside an experienced player. Sadly that was a commodity in short supply in absence of
    both Partey and Xhaka.

    I think that most posters including now myself included recognise that Arsenal will need to
    recruit a central midfield player to replace Xhaka in first team. His mistakes are now becoming a major issue particularly when your team is young and inexperienced as ours is.

  36. Terraloon


    Couldn’t agree more. I personally think that it’s a real gamble playing players so young but with the current issues and how potentially the PL will use such an appearance in terms of counting that player as a “ first teamer” it’s an even bigger gamble.
    Chelsea played a youngster on Saturday. I think even younger than Patino, but their squad is far deeper so looking post that game in terms of any implications toward future games wasn’t a consideration for them but my point was it could well be for Arsenal.
    Irrespective I remember just last week you were talking about not needing a big squad going forward and I disagreed but here we are just a few days later and the potential squad and of course the balance of the squad are seriously exposed as being flawed

  37. Unoni

    That settles it then. Central midfielder is the highest of priorities. Doubt we will hear much talk of Vlahovic Jovic or Isak until the summer.
    Just open the chequebook and go out and get the midfielder we need.
    That said, it’s still wasn’t a straight red for me. I’ve watched it a fair few times now and it’s a yellow. Especially when you factor in that it’s 20 mins into the first leg of a semi final. There has to be some common sense with officiating. A yellow and a stern talking to. Xakha and Arteta would have known he was on thin ice after that. If he gets a second yellow then he deserves the shit sandhwich everyone here was preparing for him last night. Or Arteta could have chose to remove him from the situation.
    The ref removed the choice of that matter with an over the top, narcissistic decision, yet again

  38. Just Another Customer

    or we could remove Xhaka out of the equation altogether thus not having this officiating debate week in week out

    if only it were that easy eh

  39. Habesha Gooner

    We will bring in someone on loan for sure. Arthur Melo is the player we are negotiating for according to a lot of journalists. But he won’t be available for spurs even if he was registered by mid day today. And even if he was, it’s a tough ask to make him play against spurs on his first game after he had signed two days earlier. Not even Tomi would have handled that and he came in and bossed it after two days against Norwich.

    Ben white has played DM under potter plenty of times last season. He is going to have to play there in the North London Derby.

    Backline will be Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney. It is not ideal with chambers and Holding but there is no Son either so they will have an easier time dealing with Moura, Dele or Locelso.
    CMs white and Sambi
    He attack will be what we played at Anfield. If ESR and Tomi are back, things would look a lot better and we can definitely win.

  40. Moray

    I don’t know why we’re worrying about Xhaka being absent in the NLD. It’s a match he’s likely to get sent off in anyway.

    If Arteta persists with this clown much longer then I fear he will be seeing off another manager.

  41. Unoni

    Let’s not forget Gabriel got sent off against city and we booked again last night while missing headers, mid kicking passes and mistiming challenges.
    He was error prone last season too.
    Just saying…..

  42. DivineSherlock

    January 13, 2022 12:40:22

    The only part I dont agree with is Xhaka part. But I dont wanna rehash it . Lets see if we play better with him in the side. Hope his brain fart doesnt mean he gets sent off and then we’ll be without him for the spurs game.

    This comment I made after reading Pedro’s post , Not that I want any credit or something but this is what I and countless others have said it . why is it that even I know this basic fact and Arteta doesnt realise this about Granit Xhaka ??

  43. Arsnil

    Xhaka does what he does consistently because he has no pace whatsoever. So he often gets caught on the wrong side and well … you know what happens next ad nauseum. He contantly has what is often described here as being brain farts when he is actually shitting himself.

  44. DivineSherlock

    The thing is I would have rather played AMN , Torrreria , Guendouzi or even Chambers or Ben White in midfield before trusting Xhaka . Waste of a space , He is the midfield Mustafi .

  45. Terraloon


    Melo it seems will only arrive on loan if there is an obligation to buy and to be honest he has been such a failure at Juve I wouldn’t go anywhere near him.
    Any player on loan , for me, at this point has to be PL proven and there is the difficulty because they have to hit the ground running

  46. Just Another Customer

    even if we have an option to recall both Torreira and Guen they are finished in Arteta’s mind

    I still want to see that Torreira-Partey partnership that Simeone intended at Atletico Madrid

  47. Mulerise14

    How many red cards had he collected in our colours?the fact that this is the first time he would be apologizing says a lot…… don’t judge his intentions but his actions on filed are inimical to where we want to go as a team. Yes he is important to this team now, not because of his qualities or the much vaunted specificity, but because of paucity in our midfield….so next stop,a CM that’s gonna make him sit on his a*se,if we can’t sell him,he should be made to play Elneney’s role in the squad…..I don’t hate him, but I think,give these young guns a Gx upgrade and a top end striker…… this team would be well set up for great push at titles and cups in a coupla seasons.

  48. englandsbest

    It’s unlikely a request for NLD postponement will be turned down because it’s likely Spurs will not raise an objection.

    It’s likely one (perhaps two) midfilelders will be signed before return game against Liverpool

    It’s probable that Arteta will make do with Eddie, Laaca, Marinelli as strikers until summer.

  49. Habesha Gooner

    Players will always make mistakes. That is a footballer in a nutshell. What you can’t consistently do is make costly mistakes. How many games has Gabriel cost us?

    There is also the issue of whether a player is a match winner. In that sense Gabriel definitely is. He makes crucial defensive actions, sometimes scores headers at the other end. And he doesn’t consistently let us down.

    Xhaka consistentlylets us down. Whether it is giving away a penalty vs Zaha, Bernardo or at Brighton, or making a stupid amount of errors leading to goals. Remember the goal he bounced of chris wood at Burnley. And has told fans to fuck off in the past. It’s not just about the red cards. Viera used to get sent off all the time. But he was absolutely quality. And he was a match winner and a leader. So no one questioned whether it was worth it to have him. Having Xhaka isn’t worth it.


    It’s about having numbers to be honest and replacing AMN. Quality wise, we won’t get what we want in January. I think the plan is to loan melo for 6 months, and go for Bruno G in the summer and go for Vlahovic this January.

    Arthur has been on a decline for a while. But he is still a good passer. I think arteta likes having an alternative to Xhaka who just can sit and control games. And it is a loan. I think that’s why he is going for Arthur.

  50. Unoni


    I understand. I agree xakha costs games. I’m just pointing at that this particular incident, when taken in isolation, would be treated different were it Gabriel who commuted the foul. A straight red is over the top and it killed the competitiveness of the match. The ref rendered it a training exercise through his own narcissism/incompetence/corruption.

    It was not the correct decision

  51. Pierre

    I’m not sure Charlie Patino was the problem v forest, he was tidy on the ball and put in 2 or 3 tackles showing he had no fear.
    We certainly didn’t improve when he went off that’s for sure.

    The problem was that certain players didn’t trust him enough to give him the ball..

    What we may find with Charlie is that I’m not sure he has that extra half a yard of pace(yet) to evade the tackles in a high intensity game.
    Against forest he settled for keeping it simple and passing to a team mate which he did with consumate ease.

    Arsenal and Arteta have been very naive in believing we could loan out AMN in january in the knowledge that xhaka is always an accident waiting to happen.

    In the last couple of weeks alone he has given away a needless penalty, contracted covid at a time when we were short of midfielders, and got himself red carded again in the first half of a game against a top 2 opponent.

    What were Arteta and Edu thinking in loaning AMN out.
    We have central midfielders coming out of the ying yang, who are all better and more reliable than xhaka.
    Guendouzi, Torreira and AMN would be ahead of xhaka any day of the week for me and yet we cannot use them.

  52. Pierre

    “Xhaka saw the danger and ok he was slow but how’s Tierney not seeing the danger and just jogging back also. Tierney gets caught up the field often.”

    Tierney has lost his composure on the ball , he treats it like a hot potato at the slightest sign of pressure, I’m not sure he’s good enough when you look at other quality full backs..

    The problem is Tavares confidence is now shot to pieces, he looked very nervous when he came on last night , it was as if he was afraid to make a mistake..

    What we have seen over the past few months is other than white, the new young players performances are regressing, Tavares and Lakonga look a shadow of themselves from earlier in the season, and even Ramsdale performances have dipped.

    Arteta needs to get these players playing at the level we have seen previously , otherwise they will become the next “dross” (as le grove like to call them) similar to Mari, cedric , AMN and Holding , who have all been frozen out of the side for long periods.

    Does Arteta put too much pressure on players with his constant barking of orders, notnall players respond favourably to having a manager in their ear for 90 minutes..

  53. Gary Ssss

    So, yet another ‘brain fart’ from Xhaka. Although I’ve never been his biggest fan, I’ve never derided him either, certainly not as much as many others have. I do recognise the qualities he brings the team when he manages to stay on it for a full 90 minutes. However, for all the good he brings the team, Arteta has to let him go in the summer and find a replacement.

  54. Negative Nigel

    Unionists.I wouldn’t be shouting about a “ Diamond eyes” recommendation when it comes to Midget Milo 😂 Have you seen him play.Makes El Neny look prime pirlo.Actually ,shades of Caballos.Would love to be proved wrong of course..But I think the loan( thank god it’s just that) will prove my point.

  55. Habesha Gooner

    I disagree. I thought it was a red because that was a clear goal scoring opportunity. He denied Jota. If he was a bit faster and more aware he would have got there and showed him a tighter angle. Jota also miscontrolled it as Xhaka went in to him. He might have miscontrolled it through just pressuring him. But Xhaka did what Xhaka does.

  56. Unoni


    I wasn’t referring to melo. I don’t particularly rate him that highly. Another modern one who’s neat and tidy but not a lot else
    If a centre mid can’t control the flow of the game in serie A then he won’t in the premier league. Just look at veron and Aquilani

  57. Emiratesstroller


    Patino has been rated the most gifted footballer at the Arsenal Academy since Fabregas.

    There is no reason to disbelieve that assessment from those who have monitored the Academy over many years.

    However, it is a big ask for a player of his maturity and physique to come into a team, which
    lacks experienced players as is the case at Arsenal.

    When people discuss the youth at Man United during the era of Giggs, Beckham, Scholes,
    Neville brothers and Butt it should not be forgotten that there were a decent number of experienced players in their squad/team and perhaps more importantly the overall standard
    of the EPL was a lot lower than it is today.

    Patino I am sure will follow Saka and Smith-Rowe and become a first team regular, but it may take a couple of years to do so. I will be inclined to send him out on loan next year, but
    Arsenal need to sort out our central midfield in the meantime.

  58. Kegunner

    Xhaka throws himself into last ditch situations because of the failures of left sided defence. Arteta needs to toughen Tierney and Gabriel. They get off clean yet they make mistakes. Worse off they get Ramsdale to be in no man’s land.

  59. englandsbest


    Absolute nonsense from you. Regression!!!!???? Are you nuts?

    Every man-jack played with commitment, courage, coherence. Those youngsters, the new signings, are improving game by game.

  60. Unoni

    Rates more highly than wilshere ESR and Saka?
    If so then we have an elite baller on our hands
    I’ve only seen snippets of him online
    Outside of his brief appearances for the first team this year

  61. Unoni

    I think the stick chambers and holding her is really unfair
    Both a very capable premier league defenders
    Both a lot better on the ball than is admitted on here and both rarely of ever let the team down.
    Gabriel has made more mistakes in a season and a half than holding has in 5 years
    Chambers was ripped apart at rb a few season ago when he was 20 but has come back to the first team as a very capable player.
    Both are top6 players for me and shouldn’t be let sold.
    They done as prod last night again in a difficult 10 man cup semi final at anfield. The atmosphere was electric and they stood firm
    I thought both were equal to Ben white last night at the back

  62. Dissenter

    Juventus don’t want to release Melo on loan, they want an outright sale.

    Just walk away.

    Mikel need to put on his galaxy brain now. He needs to play Chambers in that role.

  63. Emiratesstroller


    This assessment is made by people who follow the Academy and not me. What I do know is
    that he has a football brain and skill set which is exceptional for a player of his age and the
    fact that Barcelona and Spain are interested in him reinforces that view.

    I agree also with your comment about Chambers. He had a few sticky moments when he came on the pitch, which is hardly surprising considering that he has played very little football recently.

    However, as the game progressed I thought that he was solid and I would certainly rate him
    above Cedric when we play in domestic games. Cedric may be better suited in European

  64. raptora

    In the last 10 years, only Sergio Ramos has picked up more red cards than Granit Xhaka across all competitions in Europe’s top 5 leagues.

    Granit Xhaka has conceded 6 penalties in the Premier League for Arsenal. Only Laurent Koscielny (8) has given away more.

    Most errors leading to goals amongst outfield players in the Premier League since 2016/17:
    Granit Xhaka (8) Cédric Soares (5) Ben Mee (5) Simon Francis (5) Nicolás Otamendi (5).
    At least three more than the next player. (from March 2021, since then he’s climbed to 9 errors)
    He’s average or below in 15 out of 20 stats compared to the midfielders in the top 5 leagues in the last 365 days.

    Need I give more statistics? Guy is a bum. How can anyone defend him and Arteta’s decision to let the guy be a main player for us in yet another year?

  65. Emiratesstroller


    Agree with your comment about walking away from Arthur if he does not come in on loan.

    I made the case previously that Chambers could play a defensive midfield role in absence of
    Xhaka and Partey. He played that role in past and is probably the best short term solution.

    However, DMF/CMF is one of two positions in starting eleven where Arsenal need to recruit
    and that is a priority for next season.

  66. Graham62


    Of course you are 100% correct.
    Unfortunately, Arteta sees him as a pivotal member of our team and a leader.
    What more can I say?

  67. Fedda

    Arteta isn’t blind. Xhaka is a means to an end this season. Surely he will be upgraded in the summer. He might not be sold, but no way we do not bring in someone to slot in next to Partey.

    With Europe and cups next season we might still have use for him in the lesser games to give our main players a rest.

    Noone is defending Xhaka. But most people understand why he is playing. Facts are we are better with him in the side than without at the moment. His brainfart is a consequence we have to live with this season. Enough is enough though, upgrade is highest priority.

    I do not have the stats for it this season. But errors leading to goals against has been insanely high the last few years. Also amount of tackles and free kicks made was very high. I bet all those stats are significantly reduced this season based on watching the games. Based on that Arteta will upgrade.

  68. Emiratesstroller

    Xhaka may have a lot of characteristics, which have appealed to Wenger, Emery and Arteta,
    which explains why he has survived so long at Arsenal.

    However, the reality is that Arsenal is a young side and the experienced player at club need to be disciplined and set an example.

    Xhaka is making too many mistakes in “critical” areas of the pitch and his red cards, penalties, free kicks are costing us too many games. If you are going to make a foul as Paul
    Scholes frequently did then at least make it somewhere there are not going to be consequences for team.

  69. InsideRight

    Arsenal need to do a fitness assessment today and find a couple more players testing positive for Covid and get the Spuds game postponed. We’ve had problems in years gone by with shortages of players, but this is shocking. Between AFCON, Covid, and injuries we are threadbare. We can’t go into a NLD like that. The fixture deserves better.

  70. Habesha Gooner

    I think Arteta really values top level experience. That is why Xhaka plays. If not, based on form, Sambi would have ousted him before Xhaka came back from an injury. Sambi was growing in to the team. Now he has to start over again and regain form. And the impressive thing about Sambi is the more he plays the better he gets. Kind of Odegaard in a way.

    We are going to sign Arthur for the same reason. Arteta knows what a top midfielder looks like. He likes Xhaka because he thinks he is experienced and can do a decent job. He doesn’t think he is a top player. If he did, he wouldn’t have tried to flog him last year and to bring in Locatelli. We are now biding our time too. In the summer, he will either be a rotational player or he will be gone.

    I didn’t think Leno was a liability too until ramsdale came in. If he can put Leno out of the team that quick when he signs a quality player, then there is no doubt in my mind he will do the same to Xhaka.

  71. Unoni


    I hope he lives up to that assessment
    I would dearly love to have ESR Saka Balogun and Patino becoming top/world class players for arsenal but to have a technically proficient, deep lying, thinking midfielder come through our academy and take arsenal to the top after the false dawns of cesc and wilshere would give me an immense sense of joy

  72. Unoni

    Leno was a liability the day he dropped the ball v Liverpool under emery in his first season.
    He and Aubameyang were the two biggest problem played in our team at that point
    Still, bringing in ESR and Odegaard was Arteta’s watershed moment. Reinstalling a creative heartbeat (which emery ripped out) haven’t looked back since. We just keep getting bette and better

  73. Shaun

    Gini Wijnaldum would do a job for us onloan and I would take him now loads of PL experience and ready to go , all action CM who would provide much better cover then Xhaka and would also work well with Partey , we need a quick fix .Wijnaldum would provide that and you would think he would be the quickest and easiest for Arsenal to complete

  74. China1

    What exactly is the value of xhaka’s experience? He makes the most immature, petulant and naive mistakes of any player in the squad. He makes them as often as he did the day he joined as well

    This beneficial experience he brings is the saddest myth ever

  75. China1

    I’d Xhaka played exactly as he does now but his age was 18 everyone would say ‘yeah you can see he lacks experience. Too emotional, silly naive fouls. Puts his team under intense pressure with the frequent penalties and reds. He flirts with other clubs as soon as they show any interest. He tells his own fans to fuck off.

    It’s the behavior of a footballing youngster. Hie has absolutely nothing to teach the kids about anything. He’s more likely to fuck up than they are. He’s more likely to overreact than they are. He’s more likely to cost the team than they are.

    He has learned absolutely nothing over the years and this he has no experience to share.

  76. Unoni

    At this stage is just being in Wijnaldum and get Jack on a short term contract for rest of season and have them ready to go for Sunday. Give both a half alongside lakonga. I’m not sure we should be breaking up the back line for such an important game. Especially when they have looked so good this season.
    I’d go with a back 5
    Put Jack and lakonga in the middle with wijnaldum coming on for wilshere
    3 up front pick themselves

    If ESR or Odegaard are fit to play then play them alongside lakonga.
    Got to be back 5 now though really

  77. Emiratesstroller

    I have never been a great fan of Nketiah primarily because he did not seem to have much movement or work ethic in his game.

    However, yesterday in the 25 minutes that he was on the pitch I saw more energy from him than in any other game he played previously. Frankly it was a shame that he had to be taken off so early.

    My instinct tells me that if he is not transferred in January and gets more game time in second half of season we may be surprised and he signs a new contract.

    I like Lacazette’s work ethic and leadership, but he has lost a yard of pace and he is not realistically a long term option for club.

  78. Just Another Customer

    you can take Xhaka out of Albania, but you can’t take Albania out of the Xhaka

    his hard man posturing is so cringy

  79. Unoni


    This is true but if we had ESR and Odegaard available then we have runner around him. He does the donkey work so the others can shine. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go out and get a player there he can do what he does but with pace power and goals but that ain’t happening until the summer and even then I’d keep laca for another year as his commitment is infectious. Look at how hard he worked last night to secure a clean sheet from the front. If auba is on the field we lose that.

  80. raptora

    Don: “Reinstalling a creative heartbeat (which emery ripped out)”

    What a garbage comment. Emery had very little say in transfers. He was outranked by Sanllehi, Mislintat and Edu.

    Emery’s main targets were Zaha, Partey, Nkunku, Maguire and Nzonzy.
    Instead he got the likes of Pepe, Torreira and Sokratis.

    He lost Ramsey, Koscielny, Monreal – all leaders he would have preferred to keep or replaced adequately by natural leaders as well. And he also lost Iwobi and Welbeck who were quality bench option which freed space for Saka and Willock I guess.

    Let’s not try to rewrite history like he wanted any of the incoming transfers I mentioned or that he handpicked the players he wanted. He didn’t. It was Mislintat/Raul and a little of Edu.

    “We signed Pepe,” Emery explained to The Guardian this week. “He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience. I favoured someone who knew the league and wouldn’t need to adapt.” Emery wanted Zaha.
    “[Wilfried] Zaha won games on his own: Tottenham, Manchester City, us. Incredible performances,” he continued. “I told them: ‘This is the player I know and want.’ I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own.”

  81. Emiratesstroller



    I don’t see Arsenal signing a new striker in this window unless Aubameyang or Lacazette leave the club.

    For all the noise about Arsenal making a mega bucks signing in January the finances suggest otherwise. Arsenal have spent in this financial year around £130 Million NET. That
    would be a realistic spend for our club in our current financial situation and not playing
    in Europe.

    If we qualify for Europe in the Summer I can see us investing £150 million next season and
    buying a couple of quality players in CMF and CF positions.

  82. Unoni


    He chose not to give Jack and Santi the new contracts
    He chose to omit ozil and Ramsey from the team after two games
    He chose to cut out Mkhitaryan and sell iwobi without replacing any of them.
    He had say on what type of player he wanted and in which position.

    Revisionism at its worst

  83. Unoni


    Yes that would be sensible.
    Go big on one player in each position who can step into the first 11 and create a new dynamic for the team.

  84. Unoni

    We signed Pepe,” Emery explained to The Guardian this week. “He’s a good player but we didn’t know his character and he needs time, patience. I favoured someone who knew the league and wouldn’t need to adapt.” Emery wanted Zaha.
    “[Wilfried] Zaha won games on his own: Tottenham, Manchester City, us. Incredible performances,” he continued. “I told them: ‘This is the player I know and want.’ I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own.”

    You’ve proved my point. He told the transfer team what position he needed to improve to implement his full, negative, creatively void game plan and they decided on personnel. Why? Because he wanted nzonzi and Wilfred Zaha and Dennis Suarez 😂

    Too right they chose personel

  85. Unoni

    He’s on £180k pw
    You think he’s getting that anywhere else?
    He’s at arsenal and part of a great project
    You think he’s going to a bigger club or a more promising project? It’s back to France or a team like Sevilla or Villarreal on £100k pw for him after this
    1 year extensions were good enough for bergkamp and Pires
    Why not Lacazette?

  86. Unoni


    How much would he get? How much is a 31 year old laca worth to a semi decent team in France or Spain? £5m? £7m?
    Can’t be any more than that surely

  87. raptora

    Don: “He chose not to give Jack and Santi the new contracts
    He chose to omit ozil and Ramsey from the team after two games
    He chose to cut out Mkhitaryan and sell iwobi without replacing any of them.
    He had say on what type of player he wanted and in which position.”

    I just prove you that he had no say in Arsenal transfers yet you spit bollocks like he decided which players to leave and which to stay.

    ‘Ramsey’s injury, when he was at his best, had a big influence: he conveyed positivity, so much energy. And playing a lot of important games in April without him, we needed 100% commitment from every player.’
    ‘Ramsey had decided he was going. It would have been better for the team if he had continued, and for me. Petr Cech was retiring; fine. But I wanted Laurent Koscielny to stay, Nacho Monreal to stay. All those leaders went, which makes the dressing room something else.’

    “We’re with you” but in front of fans and the dressing room they couldn’t protect me. Truth is, I felt alone.’

    Emery is literally saying how things went and you invent a different reality out of your ass and saying it out loud like you actually believe yourself. LOL

  88. Tee

    “Wijnaldum would provide that and you would think he would be the quickest and easiest for Arsenal to complete”

    PSG isn’t entertaining any offer for him

  89. Karsa


    He’ll get a goodly sum. Quite a bit more than if he postpones it for a further year and is too old for that 3 year deal he’s after.

  90. Jamie

    “Don: Reinstalling a creative heartbeat (which emery ripped out)”

    Wenger chose not to offer extensions to all the players Don gets wet for while he was busy tanking his final season in charge.

    Santi, Wilshere, Welbeck, Ramsey all had 18 months left on their deals while Wenger was still in the building.

    Santi plays in Qatar – hadn’t kicked a ball in 2 years when he was released, was lucky to be fit enough to play at any level post-achilles operations.

    Wilshere couldn’t get regular game time at West Ham 1 goal zero assists in 3 appearances over 2 years before he was sent to Bournemouth where he managed 1 goal 1 assist in 15 appearances, can’t get a contract with a Championship club today (creative heartbeat!)

    Welbeck 3 goals 1 assists at Watford before being released, then 8 goals 3 assists in 31 appearances at Brighton (creative heartbeat!)

    Ramsey 5 goals 5 assists in 49 Serie A appearances over 3 years at Juve, being released this summer because he robbed them of £400k a week during his time in Turn (creative heartbeat!)

    Straight-up donkey logic from the guy who keeps having to create new accounts here. Painfully embarrassing.

  91. Karsa

    Anyway it’s widely reported that Laca has already turned down a 1 year deal. I’d imagine he knows how much a variety of deals are worth to him.

  92. raptora

    ‘Juventus are ready to make an offer for Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after losing Federico Chiesa to a season-ending injury.’

    What the eff. I didn’t know Chiesa got a serious injury. Now they might actually go for Auba as they need goals with that allergic-to-goals Morata and no Chiesa. Or they’ll go hard for Vlahovic.

  93. Bill

    Is it my imagination or is Klopp struggling not to laugh at the complete load of bollocks he’s talking about the false positive results of lateral ow tests.

    LTFs are 99.75% accurate. So that means 1 in 400 test results are wrong . So to have two wrong tests in same testing period for LFC is 1 in 159,000+, but there were several false positives. So the odds increase hugely from this already infinitesimal small chance.

    There is no chance that there were any false positive.

    Also note how he talks about the “rules” not the tests.

    Yes, very funny Jurgen

  94. raptora

    I never bought into Klopp’s charisma. I’ve no idea what other people see in him to call him likeable. He’s an ironic person, his celebrations are unsportsmanlike, and he’s never ever wrong. He is so smug, he always thinks he’s the smartest person in the room.

    I’m not pro Arteta but he isn’t someone I’m ashamed of. I like him more than I like Klopp for sure.

    Of course, as managers the most important thing is how good they are in their job, but I still have an opinion on how they present themselves in front of the cameras.

  95. Sid

    Klopp is Not likeable because he is managing our rivals,
    if he was on our team being smug, smartest in the room, unsportsmanship is what you want in your manager

  96. James

    I think we all know that Granit would always have needed upgrading for Arsenal to kick-on to the next level of prgoress and we are seeing that now. He’s solid but has only ever been average with many obvious limitations.

    I don’t blame Arteta for playing him last night – our options are so limited at the moment and feels like a hands tied situation

    Afcon is unavoidable and affects other teams too… we probably would have lost last night if facing Mane and Salah – they’re arguably the best in the league (even world at times)

    Few teams have gone to Anfield over the past few seasons come away without losing and last night’s performance was phenomenal in the face of adversity – congrats to the team for pulling it off

  97. Jonnygunner

    Not at Sid,you and support the same club,but I think you’re a twat. A complete twat. You get off on being controversial.
    You always pop up with great frequency after a shitty performance,rarely after a win.

  98. James

    Regarding our current midfield, it does feel like a crisis situation, no doubt!

    But…ultimately I would rather for the sake of progress play promising youngsters such as Patino than moan about limited average players such as Elneny and Xhaka not being available. Those guys cannot be relied upon to win us games at the top level, as has been proven over and over again.

    Arsenal are progressing – that is clear to me

    It’s also clear that not every problem can be solved in one window. Last summer we spent a lot to fix some glaring problems and have had a good season thus far.

    Now its obvious the issues are lack of bodies in midfield (and up front). The reasons for this are Afcon, Covid and injuries.

    But if Xhaka, Elneny and even AMN aren’t the solution (in the longer term), then to me the silver lining is that it will serve to highlight to the owners that we need to continue improving the squad with the right signings.

    Yes we don’t wanna lose on Sunday afternoon – and we feel at risk of doing just that with no real midfield options, but bottom line for me is that Arsenal are progressing. We’re within spitting distance of top 4, possible favourites for a cup final and have a very young side getting better over time.

    Team needs a bit more seasoning and time to marinate…

    But the next few weeks are crucial as the season could go either way now…

  99. raptora

    Balanced opinion especially the last sentence. It’s up for grabs but it could go either way.

    We need to use and abuse the problems that other teams – Manure in crisis again and changed managers, Spurs in crisis and changed managers, even Chelsea have looked very vulnerable and not in a good place. West Ham cannot be our direct competitors, we should be much better than them with all due respect.

    Our team is young but the manager has been here for over 2 years now, he has gotten INCREDIBLE support from our owners and the directors. Almost everything he wanted and was realistic, he has gotten. This has to count for something and that something should be a top 4 or a real go at top 4 if some unfortunate events happen and it’s understandable if we lose the fight at the end.

  100. Gonsterous

    Whenever the window opens, we always have priorities that are ahead of selling xhaka. It’s one of the main reasons, he’s survived this long.

    Managers end up thinking he will be a valuable back up to have with his experience and when the window closes, we start seeing the hindrance of xhaka.

  101. Nelson

    “West Ham cannot be our direct competitors, we should be much better than them with all due respect.”

    The problem is that we have a time bomb known as Xhaka.

  102. Time Up

    Not defending Xhaka, but if that was Maguire it would at best be yellow.

    I’ve seen worse tackles like stamping on Tomiyesu head and Evans being the last man with pulling Auba with not even yellow. The only reason Xhaka was sent off because he was Xhaka.

    I don’t like the guy but I’ve seen twice as bad tackles with not even yellow, Kane anyone?