ARSENAL RIDE THE LUCK TRAIN TO TOP 4 – WHAT DID WE LEARN?

by .

If you are coming here thinking I’m going to gloss over the luck today, you’d be wrong.

We were lucky.

Woodwork. Marginal offsides. Missed penalties. A worldie save. A blatant handball.

That second half was built for a United comeback.

Do I give a f*ck? Absolutely not. Arsenal haven’t rode their luck against a big team all year, we haven’t had VAR work in our favor, nothing has gone for us all season. That changed today.

Make no mistake, that was a pretty poor performance from Arsenal. When people say age doesn’t matter, watch the match back, those kids were wrecked by nerves.

Defensively, we were shambolic at times. Gabriel and Ben White clearly had Ronaldo posters on their wall as kids, they were petrified of a man 12 years their senior. Cedric was getting roasted all game by Sancho, he had no confidence moving the ball forward, and he struggled. Nuno Tavares was a mess, his decision-making was poor all game, and he had some real donut moments despite the great goal. Aaron Ramsdale read too much into his good press and now he’s suffering, because he’s just not the same guy he was 4 months ago.

That’s mostly down to inexperience.

But you know what? They did enough. They will learn so much from being under siege playing below par.

Attack-wise, I thought we were really sharp. League One Eddie has transformed our attack, he runs the lines, he’s a nuisance, and he, you know, does striker things like shoot. Does anyone doubt he’s Premier League levels? They don’t. I hope we sign him to a new deal.

Our two best players were Big Mo and Granit Xhaka. They were sensational for the second time in a week. Elneny just does the simple things, he reads play well, breaks it up, then plays the simple pass with an 88% success rate. Granit was a monster, the man bleeds Arsenal even though we don’t credit that reality, his pass completion rate was 96%, and that goal was fucking outrageous. The kisses he blew to the fans felt very, very special.

Defensively though, we were a bit of a car crash, we let Ronaldo connect their wingers in the same way Lacazette has done for us during the dry times. You know United are in trouble when they can’t even ride a narrative. Ronaldo is dealing with an extreme mental toll, he comes out and scores from nothing, the winds of inevitability start blowing, United wins a penalty… and Bruno gets it? What the hell was that about? He put it wide and United struggled for anything after that.

Bukayo Saka was key to Nuno’s opener but looked in trouble all game. Arteta said he was in pain but insisted he start. The gamble paid off with the three points, but at what cost to his body?

Still, let’s worry about that next week. Right now, we can celebrate a monster win. 7 goals against United and Chelsea. We’re now leading Spurs in the table, that will likely change after Brentford, but the point here is we’re going to ask questions of them.

Game the next 5 games out with me:

Assume Spurs win today. They have to beat Leicester next Sunday, Brendan’s team has been awful this season, but they are more than capable of doing a job, don’t count on it though.

West Ham will likely lose to Chelsea tomorrow, if that happens, Europe via the league is a pipedream. The Europa is where it’s at for them. They have Frankfurt on Thursday. If they don’t get beaten 3-0, chances are, they are going to rest all their stars for the Arsenal game. It would be fucking nuts to do anything else, beating Frankfurt then Rangers or Leipzig is a lot easier than lucking out in the Premier League.

If Arsenal can take max points there, then we go into a hero weekend. We play Leeds, who will be safe. Spurs go to Anfield, who will 100% be in the title race needing a win at home.

We could go into that game at the bowl ahead on points now. Get a point there and we are in very, very good shape for our final two games against an in form Newcastle and an out of sorts Everton.

This is where we wanted to be this season. Competing for top 4 until the final games of the season. All the muppets that spent the last three weeks telling me we’d finish 8th, where are you now? We’re 10 points from hitting 70. I’m not sure we’ll deliver on that, but getting 10 points from 15 feels a little more achievable than it did 2 games ago.

Then factor the bigger picture so many have refused to see…

Rio Ferdinand was on TV earlier saying United need to be honest about where they are and copy Arsenal. He also said it’s stupid to buy a striker that isn’t perfect for your long-term vision. That’s Rio Ferdinand purring over what we’ve done. Ralf Rangnick thinks United needs 10 new players and at least 6 years to get to Liverpool’s level. Arsenal has done the hard work, we’ve cleared out 20+ players, signed in a load of young players with high ceilings. Whether it was a visionary plan or an accident is another question. Point is, we’ve stumbled on the smartest way to get back to the top. We have been honest about who we are and everyone is noticing.

Now let’s talk about another stupidly obvious point that no one wanted to hear after 3 losses. Arsenal are 4th in the league with 5 games to go without a recognized certified banger of a striker. We’ve scored 52 goals. Joint bottom of the top 7 with West Ham. But… we’re 4th and we don’t score goals. How can anyone that claims football knowledge not recognize that if we put an elite striker in that side we are a Champions League level team?

Edu is talking about one or two signings this summer. That will be a striker, that scores more than 10 goals a season, that will cost in the range of £60m+. Jesus isn’t going to be that guy, even though he’s not managed his 5th goal in the Prem this season. It’ll be a proper name that is tall, can score goals, that can run the line, and bully defenders. Hopefully Eddie can show enough this season to prove he can compete with that player. That’d save us spending on a back-up.

The second player will be an elite midfielder that can compete with Thomas Partey. My hope is it’s Neves. Did I see that Declan Rice refused a contract at West Ham? I did. Arsenal like him, who doesn’t. I’m not sure we’re rich enough for either. Whoever it is will reduce our reliance on our Ghanaian superstar. Those two players alone would have us taking Chelsea’s 3rd place this season.

I doubt we’ll leave it at two, but we’ll be smart with our other signings. Free transfers and players with 18 months left on their deal will fill out the remaining holes.

Arsenal are not far from being a title-challenging team. Liverpool will dip post-Salah/VVD. City will dip when Pep packs it in. Then we’ll be there, ready, with a team of young players that have transitioned to experienced players in their prime.

The overarching point, is don’t listen to the doom prophecies that happen after every blip. Don’t listen to the folk that say we should let Arteta run his deal down next season or think it is insightful and disqualifying to say he makes errors. Don’t listen to people that believed Arsenal were considering firing Arteta if he only made Europe. This is a long-term plan, it is on track, and I will maintain that regardless of the finish this season.

… but, a top 4 finish would be epic. That is the stretch goal. That would be us a year ahead of schedule. It would be sensational considering what we don’t have in the squad. The system is solid, the young players we have are developing Arsenal IP every single game, this project will be the benchmark for how you rebuild with limited funds.

Enjoy your day. Get your Brentford shirt on. Pray for something Spursy.

Podcast will happen later today, I’m flying to New Mexico! x

394 Responses to “ARSENAL RIDE THE LUCK TRAIN TO TOP 4 – WHAT DID WE LEARN?”

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  1. Positive pete

    B the way.Should Conte jump ship.Expect the return of The Poch.So not necessarily good news.Or they may turn to Graham “ Harry” Potter.Also not good news.

  2. The Bard

    Pierre of course he has less influence when we have low possession as do most of the attacking players, its common sense. I dont think that should be held against him. Its like saying Ramsdale doesnt do much when we dominate possession. Im a massive fan of ESR but he doesnt see pass like Ode does.

  3. englandsbest

    AFC Forever

    Arsenal have long suffered at the hands of referees. An explanation might be that most of them grew up north of London where they regard us as ‘southern softies’. What is clear, though, is that professionalising’ refs has not improved them.

    As for VAR, it has created more problems than it has solved.

  4. salparadisenyc

    Peak Le Grove, Dissenter breaking down the flaws in Nuno’s (clearly flawed) and Xhaka’s (pristine) knee slides.

    Still buzzing from that Xhaka laser.

  5. Youdaman

    Cos we won not enough is being made of
    Nuno’s horror show performance.
    Gave away 1. Peno and could easily have been
    2 more.
    A nice lad I’m sure but no way in hell
    He should be near an Arsenal team right now..

  6. salparadisenyc

    Said it at the start of the season after maybe game 6 or 7, Nuno’s performance’s essentially encapsulate the Arsenal experience over past decade plus. The ups and downs are mental, the PCP metaphor above quite apt.

  7. DivineSherlock

    Still buzzing , that win just keeps my Utd and Chelsea friends quiet for a while . Cheers . Analysis can come later , a draw today for Chelsea – West Ham would help us massively .

  8. Robert Pires

    West Ham will be knackered after their Thursday Europa game.
    I think a draw at Spurs will be enough for top 4. Need a 3-5-2 for that game and hit them on the counter or it’s happening to us.

  9. Nelson

    It is good that the Pool is fighting for the league. The need to up their goal difference also. Hopefully, they can give Spuds a good spanking.

  10. Naija+soccer

    I m surprised I haven’t seen enough Eboue/Tavares comparisons. Looks eerily obvious to me. To the point that when Tavares is having a bad game or making bad decisions, I m usually praying that he does experience a boo day like Eboue did.

  11. Naija+soccer

    Having said that, I love the attacking aspect of his game. When he takes the ball upfield like he does sometimes, he put ‘ghost rider’ kind of fear in opponents and opponents defences.

  12. Leedsgunner

    Because of his injuries I think Kieran Tierney is a squad player.

    I know it’s flavour of the month to bash Tavares but remember, he was putting in good performances earlier this season when Kieran Tierney was injured.

    Hindsight is 100% right but we should have negotiated a deal with the Scottish national squad over these friendlies. It’s clear that KT is not robust enough to last a whole season for club AND country.

  13. Leedsgunner

    Tavares does not deserve to be written off just yet, I think he could become a very good attacking fullback with the right coaching.

  14. Naija+soccer

    Leeds

    I would say that Nuno has huge potential/ability already but he needs someone to help him refine his game and obviously he needs experience to hone his game himself.

  15. WengerEagle

    ”Depending on how he’s handled, he can be world class or just average.”

    Nothing about his game screams world class potential to me.

    At best he is an Andre Santos/Aly Cissokho love-child.

  16. Topside Northbank

    What a horrendous pen! Pulisic good finish,

    Dawson banned for our game he’s been their best CB this season.

    Anyone seen the Everton CB pair today Holgate and Godfrey they are going to get torn apart.

  17. Bertie Mee

    Eboue played in a defence that conceded the fewest goals in getting to the CL Final..ever. He was light years better than Tavares who is a diabolically bad defender . Our other big problem is Ramsdale. Very unimpressed with him over the last few months

  18. Topside Northbank

    andy1886

    Pen on Saka was enough imo Lukaku was clean through pulled back middle of goal was a red for Dawson no doubt.

  19. GoonerDave

    Fantastic turnaround.
    Twice this season, Arteta looked like a dead man walking. And twice he has turned it around. These bad spells are the price we pay for project youth.
    On the positive side, they will be a year wiser next season. But a few 25 year old experienced players would help us too. Qualifying for the CL is all that matters now. And we have reason to expect it – we made it through our bad patch and look focused again.
    Do it Arteta. And don’t Lampard your Summer if we qualify for CL.

  20. UTarse

    How red cards get handed out by these referees is a joke, potential leg breakers against nuno yesterday, saka v palace, face stamp on tomi…nope nothing to see here, a little tug on an arm of bull sized striker and you’re off son.

  21. Naija+soccer

    WengerEagle

    Yes his defending is bad and needs work but I m talking about his ability to carry the ball from one half to the other. When he does it well, he puts the opponent under so much pressure.

    He played pretty well earlier in the season. So much Tierney couldn’t get in for a few games. The potential is there

  22. Nelson

    Burnley is making the bottom of the EPL table. interesting. We may have a chance to send Frank’s team down in our final game. In that case, I want Richarlison and not DCL.

  23. Karsa

    ‘Saka out of the west ham game possibly Leeds too. 100% confirmed.’

    Has SAGG revealed the source of this information yet?

    I’m thinking of replacing our boy with Mane in my fantasy team.

  24. China1

    I’m still buzzing from the amazing result we got yesterday

    Feels GOOD

    But also feels bad. The stress my heart was going through when we were under pressure in the second half was painful. I was convinced they were going to get back level until the xhaka one flew in.

  25. Almuniasaynomore

    Hey Tony,
    How are things? I’m fine thanks, enjoying the excitement of the last few weeks though yesterday was tough on the blood pressure, I’d imagine it was the same for gooners everywhere. Kroenkephobe is in the bin at the moment, you’ll find him on londonisred, mb’s site. I hope you and the family are well,the summer is almost on us,I’ll have plenty of time for writing silly stories then. Mind yourself.

  26. Batistuta

    Why are the commentators moaning about Everton’s approach to the game?

    You can almost hear them willing a Liverpool win

  27. Batistuta

    Have to say though for all the plaudits and conversations about a rivalry, it’s still just the one league title for Liverpool.

    Pep has absolutely dominance of the league at this point

  28. G

    ‘’ m usually praying that he does experience a boo day like Eboue did.‘’

    You want an Arsenal player to be booed by his own supporters

  29. Leftside

    I was at the game and Saka was moving around fine, limp free on his long walk off the pitch and at the end of the game. Arteta didn’t sound worried post match either.

  30. Robert Pires

    Refs clearly want Liverpool to continue in the title race.
    Embarrassing really how the refs help the top 2 teams who are better anyway. The only other league I’ve seen this as blatant in recent years was Italy — Juventus.

  31. Batistuta

    Everton seemingly going down would be so surreal. They’ve been around for the longest but but there’s been some horrible money spent on some very poor players

  32. Batistuta

    Not sure I’d take anyone at Everton. It’s such a horrible set of players they’ve got.

    Maduekwe the English lad at PSV would be a great Pepe replacement. He’s had a very good season over there

    Jordan Ramsey from Villa another i wouldn’t say no to

  33. Naija+soccer

    G

    “I m usually praying that he does experience a boo day like Eboue did.‘’

    I meant praying he *doesn’t experience boos like Eboue. I corrected myself with a correction post right under my original error post. But you didn’t bother to check because you were too busy fishing for something.

  34. TheBayingMob

    Pickford is a serious cunt. A fevered ego if ever there was one. No one deserves a relegation more. Apart from Tottenham.

  35. Nigel Tufnel

    Richarlisson, Mikel Antonio, Watkins, Bissouma especially… garbage overrated premier league players who get called for here all the time.

    None of them are Arsenal quality. Old Arsenal or the current version.

    Remember Edouard was going to be the next Thierry Henry lol.

    On the other hand, intriguing calls for Podence, Tielemans(years ago). I think Harvey Barnes is a player too.

    I still think Buendia would’ve fit our system well, but the difference between him and Ødegaard is enormous. I just didn’t think we’d be able to get Madrid to sell him, after seeing his talent last year.

    The only way we got him so cheap is because he must’ve had his agent tell Madrid he’s had it, so you might as well take what you can get. Credit to Arteta for selling him on the project.

  36. Almuniasaynomore

    Nigel,
    Normally I ignore petty people whose sole purpose in posting is to insult and bait others but for you I will make an exception. You were not addressed in any manner by myself or Tony yet you arrive spewing your insults as is your wont on a daily basis. You are obsessed with labelling people as ‘haters’ yet never I my life have I encountered someone who reeks of anger and bitterness to such an extent as you do. You insult people calling them perverts and friendless yet you lack the self awareness to see how that reveals more about you and your existence than about anyone you think you’ve come to know.
    You are desperate for attention even if its the wrong type and that too speaks volumes about you. You genuinely believe that you can criticise the team while remaining a fan but no one else can yet you contradict yourself even in your attempts to ingratiate yourself with the owner of the blog. I genuinely cringe when I read some of your posts.
    Now,it’s really quite simple. If you don’t like what I or Tony or anyone else is saying,and they haven’t addressed or referenced you,then scroll past it because it is not your concern. It’s shocking that this has to be explained to you as I presume you are an adult….Swallow your hate or see a psychologist.

  37. SAGG

    Saka is out. Same guy that told me Partey would be out 4 weeks after the Crystal Palace game.

    Massive game against West Ham and then Leeds, if we can manage to get through that 2 we will have a stronger team against spurs with Saka and Partey back into team (hope Saka just miss WH game but seems difficult)

  38. SAGG

    Arsebal will reveal the info tomorrow or tuesday, as they always does. Probably with some assessment blabbery, but 100% he will miss West Ham.

  39. andy1886

    Barely a day after a terrific win and Nigel you’re back on here slagging off other posters yet again. Give it a rest for crying out loud. Concentrate on the football and leave the hate at home.

  40. Batistuta

    How has Mane not gotten a red card by the way. Poking players in the eyes consecutively and only gets a yellow

  41. CG

    Arsenal v Everton looks tasty.( final fixture)
    Arsenal/ Arteta relegating Everton and getting top 4 at the same time.

    £€¥$$$$….

  42. 68Batesy

    Let’s not be silly ? Drop Ramsdale ??? He does not make big saves ? He made a very good one at his near post that saved us. He should have saved the goal is just madness. Ronaldo was 4 yards out and had he missed that. He would have got hammered.. He is not playing as well as he was but the team is happier with him in goal as we can play out from the back with more confidence.

  43. CG

    Tavares v that young Everton player Gordon – and Tavares will get x 3 red cards in the final game

    He can play.
    Tavares can’t.

  44. David.D

    Bloody Brilliant win yesterday!!!
    Not that I give a fuck because it went for us but I didn’t realise you could get a positive decision from a negative decision/phase of play.
    Eddie was offside annoyingly by VAR so was dumbstruck and delighted when they incredibly gave us the penalty in the same phase of play. How is that??? Delighted it happened!
    When Ronaldo pulled one back I seriously starter to worry and was convinced they would get it back to 2 2.
    I felt so nervous worried and sick all rolled into one.
    Utter relief Ronaldos goal was ruled offside but the sick feelings came back when they got the penalty.
    Massive moment and had they scored I feared they could have gone onto win.
    Fernando’s missed.
    Fuck yeah!!! What a massive moment that was. Just brilliant and such a let off.
    We were still under the cosh so it was just soo ooo fucking sweet to see Xhaka arrow in that shot.
    What a goal. WHAT A GOAL!!!
    Was perfect timing because we may have caved in without that goal.
    Typical US.
    Lose against 3 midtable teams then come roaring back v Chelsea and Utd.
    Still not taking anything for granted even 2 points clear because had spurs beaten Brighton last week we could have been 6 points behind.
    Beat West Ham next week and we secure at least top 6 and europa league minimum.
    Then we can focus on getting top 4.
    Still buzzing!!
    Nice to see Xhaka get some love from the fans yesterday.
    His booking just before for booting the ball away was plain stupid though. Luckily didn’t cost us.
    He has to cut out these brainfarts.
    Let’s end on a positive though.
    Arsenal 3 Man Utd 1
    Yessssssssss
    Fucking get in there!!!!!!

  45. Nelson

    The coaching staff should remind Eddie that he should always watched out for the defensive line moving up. For his offside goal and Xhaka’s goal, he was offside both of the times.

  46. Mr Serge

    LeedsgunnerApril 24, 2022 17:21:57
    Any news on Saka’s injury

    He is definitely out the next two games unfortunately

  47. Samesong

    I think Tavares is trying too hard to impress hence the mistakes he is making. There is a player in there. Just need to calm down and not panic too much. I said we needed to score early in that game and Tavares did.

  48. Matt

    I think people are looking through rose tinted glasses with Tavares because we got a result. The guy gave away one penalty and on another day one or possibly even two more. That happens and we lose the game and I doubt many would be saying don’t write him off yet.

    It’s not like he has been flawless before yesterday either. The lad has zero composure.

  49. Pedro

    Nigel, last warning on abusing people. We don’t do that on here. Everyone is a winner when Arsenal spank United. Calling people names is not cool. Don’t do it.

  50. Matt

    I really hope Everton can pick up some results before we play them on the last game. Would be great if they didn’t need anything from that game to stay up.

  51. Dissenter

    Matt
    “ I really hope Everton can pick up some results before we play them on the last game. Would be great if they didn’t need anything from that game to stay”

    I was thinking along the same lines too
    Even a bad team is due a good result with the type of hustle they showed today.

    Either, they sink so low that they are already out by the lag game because their schedule is hellish (which is more likely)
    or
    They’ve already qualified by the last game (unlikely because the bastards at Burnley are built for this life)

    I suspect that Everton will be relegated by the penultimate game so they come to the Emirates like uncooked hotdogs.

  52. Leedsgunner

    I’m pleased that the likes of Cedric and Elneny have done well recently but if we are looking to become an elite side capable of chasing titles and cups on multiple fronts we do need to say good bye and upgrade in those positions.

    Bellerin and Torreira are both having great loans so I’m hopeful that we can get about £25m for Hector and £15m for Torreira. As we all know AMN’s loan hasn’t been as successful but even so I would hope that we could and should be able to get about £10m for him. So that’s £50m for three players on the fringe… and even before we open the summer transfer war chest.

    That’s of course before we sell on players like Leno, Mari and Pepe. Even being pessimistic I would hope we could get about £40m for these players.

    So even being conservative that’s £90m from getting rid of some more of our fringe players.

    £90m surely should be enough to get us started on a quality striker and a midfielder?