DECLAN KILLS UNITED IN FERGIE TIME

by .

Call the emergency services, my EKG is still off the scale, and the game has been finished 12 hours. Arsenal took a cagey game against United into a marathon of overtime and put EtH to the sword with two MASSIVE goals.

It’s hard to know where to start – but we should address the bullshit narratives that have been peddled all week. Just flick through your twitter feed or your group chats and remember all those characters that have spent the last 5 days complaining about the world caving in because we drew against Fulham. How are Arsenal fans so damaged? What did those cold nights during the banter years do to them? How can putting Thomas Partey at right back trigger a reaction so bad I had to keep double checking we didn’t lose that game?

Who knows… but those people were ready with the knives out when Garnacho broke through on goal in the 87th minute.

Kai ain’t right…

Arteta has regressed the side…

United are going to surpass us this season…

WE SHOULD NOT HAVE SOLD HOLDINHO!

Then BANG… those pre-written obituary notes went in the bin and all the carry-on last week was forgotten and brushed under 180 pivot carpet with platitudes like: ‘well, he picked the team I wanted.’

Mikel Arteta tactically outsmarted EtH, again. The Dutch manager offered up the ultimate sign of respect by doing absolutely nothing adventurous all game. He parked the bus, instructed his team to waste time, and he thought his bland plan had worked when his sub broke free of the offside trap late on.

It wasn’t to be.

Garnacho was played offside by some incisive body-shifting from Gabriel.

Arsenal made the 12 minutes of added time count with two brilliant goals.

But let’s talk about the shape of the game because it’s important to remind everyone how good we were. The first half was totally dominant from Arsenal. We did well in the duels, we hoovered up second balls, and we kept United looking very ordinary. Our defenders stopped United’s main attackers from turning with aggressive pressing and hustling.

Gabriel was welcomed back into the side and he showed no signs of being upset about missing the first three games. He kept Antony at bay, not allowing him to fidget spin or cause other problems.

We were very buttoned up, but United snapped at us first the only way they know how: Marcus Rashford, in transition, with Aaron Ramsdale conceding from the first shot on target in the game for the 7th time in 2023. No team concedes more first-time shots in the league than Arsenal. The super annoying part about the goal was the error came from Kai Havertz sloppy pass. He looked upset, Saliba comforting him. Those feeling were likely exacerbated by his air shot early on when he had time and space. When it rains, it pours. No amount of off-the-ball work or defensive stability down the left (noting that all our goals are leaking down the right) will assuage some fans from planting a tombstone in his 4-game old career.

Back to conceding… My life was flashing before my eyes; what would the narrative be if we lost? How could I exist after pumping the side all week? But before I could even pen a single piece of propaganda onto Twitter, Martin Odegaard was found alone in the penalty box by Martinelli and he drilled home to level things up. Captain Fantastic at it again. There are some players that hit a certain level of consistency that is so top tier, you barely comment on them. That is Martin these days.

The second half was a little more cagey. We controlled, but it felt like a less confident performance because United were catching us in transition every error we made. Arteta will no doubt be looking at that this week, because against good teams, we’re going to get put to the sword.

The offside goal happened in the 87th minute. I sent out Whatsapp messages saying ‘TUCKED UP, AGAIN’ but I needn’t have worried. The big man in VAR heaven blessed us by putting down the magic graphical lines – showing that Gabriel played the offside trap to George Graham levels of perfection.

That gave Arsenal the chance to go for the jugular. United had nothing to offer. Arteta rolled on the chaos crew.

Vieira (assist)

Jesus (goal)

Reiss (brilliant)

Jorginho (can’t remember)

Tomi (also brilliant)

It worked. The structure we had most of the game disappeared – Arsenal became ungovernable. United shot off green and white panic flares and tied white pieces of cloth to the corner flags. EtH, the manager who has spent £340m on players, rolled on Jonny Evans and Harry McGuire. We kept pressuring, poking, and ragging United left to right.

The moment came from a corner. Bukayo, fairly anonymous all game, found Declan at the back post, he brought the ball down on his chest, no one pressured him, WHACK on the half volley, GOAL, in off some United legs.

THE CROWD WENT WILD! RICE, RICE, BABY!

We still had time to play out – and there was enough of it for another goal. This time Arsenal broke on the counter, Fabio Vieira picked up the ball on the halfway line, most thought he’d roll it into safety to kill time, but the hot 8 slipped the ball into Gabriel Jesus, he powered down on goal, chopped the ball back, sent Dalot sliding down Holloway road, then he curled the ball past the extremely annoying Onana.

BEAUTIFUL.

So where have we landed?

Are Arsenal back to being a good team after a week of doubt?

I think so.

There are certainly some areas to work on.

Kai Havertz looked a little lost. His confidence has been shot to pieces, things aren’t rolling for him, but I’m telling you, he’ll be a great player for us. If you think Arteta is going to give up on him, you’d be totally wrong. I’ve been told that Kai is a top professional, he’s great at training, he’s well-liked by everyone, and Arteta thinks he has incredible qualities. Clock the people that relentlessly bag on him over the next few months – and when the time comes to take vengeance, do not tolerate ‘I was kidding, gotcha.’

One thing that might impact Kai is the great form of last season’s ‘he should go on loan to Swansea’ meatbag, Fabio Vieira. The Portuguese came on again and delivered when it mattered. 2 assists in 50 minutes of game time. He’ll be eating up some of those Champions League games, no doubt. But fair play to him, he hasn’t had an easy ride, now he’s starting to look the part, even if he does still boast the frame of a medium build 15-year-old boy.

Aaron Ramsdale has conceded quite a few goals from very few shots on target. I’m just not sure how long his run is going to last with David Raya at the training ground. My prediction is Raya is going to start against PSV – then the countdown clock begins for Ramsdale. At the level we need to be at, you need your keeper keeping out the impossible, Aaron hasn’t been doing that consistently for a while.

Johnny said on the Podcast that the standard back 5 from last year did a better job than the group that was put forward for Fulham. I don’t agree at all. We limited United to two shots on target and still managed to concede. But the bigger worry is United carved through us numerous times after picking up erroneous passes. It was basically their strategy – refuse possession, wait for a bad pass, cut through us. On a different day, we’re paying a heavier price than one goal. I doubt the coaching staff will have missed that, regardless of how solid some of the individual performances were.

Eddie had a really powerful game. His movement was brilliant, he showed great strength all game, and he worked tirelessly. But when Jesus entered the fray, you could see the difference. Defenders stood off him, his skillset has a little more shine to it, and when he was presented a chance, he took it with gusto. Jesus is still number one, but now Eddie is a meaningful option to rotate.

Declan Rice. What a player. Matt said on the podcast he’s a blend of Granit and Partey and it’s hard to disagree. He was a boss yesterday. He has on pitch presence and charisma, his passing is outrageous, those switches are NSFW, he offers up composure well beyond his years, and now we’ve just been shown he’s a big game impactor. What a way to announce yourself to the Arsenal faithful. Not many players over £70m represent value for money – that ain’t going to be the case with Rice. He looks worth every penny.

So what about Mikel Arteta? He showed once again, he is a top 3 manager in the Premier League, and he reminded anyone that is willing to doubt him they are likely going to end up eating their terrible opinions. EtH was probably the last of the ‘we should have hired him over Arteta’ and I think we’re now seeing that that can go on the scrap heap with Carlo, Jose, Antonio, Allegri, and Potter.

The vision for Arsenal is clear – we’re going to use certain games to try new ideas and give minutes to players who are on the fringe. That keeps players fresh, it gives them experience in a live environment, and it makes Arsenal unpredictable.

There will still be big game teams like today that require us to play our best / most familiar 11. That starting 11 wasn’t the realization that we’ve been doing something wrong. That was Arteta matching the players, formation, and system to an opposition that merited it. Arteta needed Gabriel today to deal aggressively with a brilliant forward line. He was always going to revert back to Ben White and Zinchenko against the best teams because they are first choice. Our midfield picked itself based on the physical requirements needed against United – Fabio Vieira has been in great form, but are you really putting him in from the start against United? Kai did his defensive duties better than Vieira likely would have (and Vieira did switch off as part of the Zinchenko mishap against Fulham).

Everyone is entitled to bang the table and scream – but it feels like people are far quicker to do it than ever before. Writing Havertz off after 4 games is a fool’s game – I honestly can’t believe it has so much traction. Complaining Arteta has regressed the squad this summer is just silly talk. Loudly proclaiming the solution to moving the club forward is to do exactly the same as we did last season is beyond parody. It’s not criticism, it’s folly. We’ve gone from spending 15 years in the doldrums of European football to Premier League contenders – and our manager had to spend the last 3 days justifying new players and ideas he’s trying to implement because the reaction has been so bad he can hear it in the stadium.

It’s going to be a very unenjoyable season if people can’t be realistic about the challenge ahead… let’s hope that win was a sharp reminder that those who scream loudest these days tend to have the worst takes. We’re trying to topple a Manchester City team that has the best manager, best striker, and the best technical staff building a beast squad for 10 years. That’s not going to be easy and getting there won’t be smooth. But we have a powerful idea, we have a crop of young players up to the challenge, now we just need the timing to work out.

Arsenal did a brilliant job today – never underestimate this group. We’re on the righteous path. Now go and get screenshots of the naysayers and think of all the ways you’ll make them pay in the future. x

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jwl

Chris – I was 100% convinced that Wenger was leaving and Klopp was lined up to replace him when the German took his sabbatical from Dortmund. I believed that Wenger would quit like Fergie, just announced out of blue, and Klopp was taking a year off to recharge his batteries like Pep did.

dSidstathopoulos

Wengers biggest mistakes was winning too many trophies, Arsenal super fans prefer process, culture and inverted FBs

Northbanker

Un – completely agree (although not sure it was his biggest mistake). I actually met Keown once at an Arsenal event and had that very conversation with him (Wenger had been in the conversation with both of us just before that – left that point until it was a one to one)

He agreed with me! He had already agreed though with AW it was a one season gig to help with his UEFA coaching award.

Northbanker

This was btw the night after Henry handled fro France v Ireland. First thing Henry did was phone Wenger as he was distraught and Arsene in turn told Keown (and me as the hanger on). A totally surreal night!

Guns of Hackney

It’s 30 degrees in my midland town and you know what that means…sexy beast time. Sun, guns and guns topping that mahogany top up tan.

What’s cooking losers?

China1

Rich if we were so constrained financially then why did wenger come out constantly saying we had money to spend if he found a super quality player?

The club execs and gazidis all said the same thing

When you strip it all down, either we had no money in which case he shouldn’t have bare faced lies to the fans during every transfer window during that period. Or we did have money and he was refusing to spend it.

It doesn’t even matter which is true because he was doing the wrong thing in either case.

Raulishuss

MadhuSeptember 5, 2023 12:26:55
Rich agree with you. always respect the man and a dignified way how he walked away and never has said anything about his Arsenal days. That shows his class.

Pretty sure you were one of those who insulted Wenger non stop. Cunt

China1

And you can’t seriously consider getting top 4 repeatedly off a low net spend more of an achievement than going unbeaten over 38 games playing some of the greatest football the world has ever seen with a squad also built affordably

I bet you absolutely anything if you asked every manager in the PL bar none if they’d want to be known after they retire for qualifying consistently for the CL with a low net spend or being INVINCIBLE there wouldn’t be a single manager entertaining the former. Not one!

China1

Pep has won everything there is to win but if you asked him tomorrow what other achievements would he love to get before he eventually retires

Do you think he’d say

‘Go invincible in the PL (the only real achievement someone else has done in England which he hasn’t)
‘Win the quintuple + world club cup and the charity shield in a single season’

Etc

Or do you think he say

‘I wish that before I die I can oversee a period of repeatedly qualifying for the CL many years in a row off a tiny net spend’

Cmon lol

Chrispy

What loser is cooking?…..just you Guns’, just you 😉

raptora

Tom Canton Media
Arsenal received permission from Brentford for David Raya to feature in the Carabao Cup clash against his parent club I’m told | @Football_LDN

Carabao Cup rule required the Gunners to get permission before getting the all-clear, which they have.
_____________________________________________

No clue why Brentford have been so nice to us. Toney might be a real option if the two clubs are in such a good relationship.

Guns of Hackney

Toney. The 28, soon to be 29 year old that can’t train or play and is a degenerate gambler.

Should have just bought greenwood and be done with it.

Rich

China The landscape moved… Chelsea spent £700 million, which is 100 x what we spent in that decade…. When you take into account for market inflation in the following decade, then that would be much higher now. Also taking into account that in spite of what City + Chelsea are reported to have spent…. There’s allegations that they still bent around those numbers. We also had to finance our move to the Emirates, and put up guarantees against that financing. Chelsea + City then moved the goalposts, with billionaire owners who were willing to throw money around like confetti. Success… Read more »

raptora

GoH,
He’s 27 and 5 months. He gives us a solid plan B and he’ll have one year left on his contract in the summer of 2024. If Brentford are so nice to us, they might sell him for a cut price. I’m not his greatest fan but the CF market is kind of dead and there if the price is right, why not?!

Madhu

Raulishuss – mate I can only laugh at your comments. Unfortunately it’s only recently you have been stalking me, that’s why you are saying like that. I pity you as your are delusional. Thanks for making to laugh mate.

dSidstathopoulos

I have a permanent tan and the sun is no big deal over here

Un

Northbanker

But surely wenger saw what a hugely positive impact Keown had on our defence and how we become the most solid unit since his playing days which allowed our attackers to play with more freedom
For me it was a massive oversight and his biggest mistake as arsenal coach
Imagine having a water tight defence behind the 07/08 side just one year after Keown left
I’m certain we’d have made up those 4 points on the title that year
Best footballing side I’ve seen in the premier league that season on a budget with largely kids

Rich

Watch Big Gabby again in this clip as the ball goes over to the far post, the final tussle between Gabby + Evans is 6 to one, and half a dozen to the other…..

But it’s Big Gabby shielding Evans, alongside Tomi’s run to the near post, that drags the marker with him, that creates all the time in the world for Rice.

https://x.com/afcstuff/status/1699072317282996421?s=61

NORG

Wenger may not have gone large on player purchase however he did on players wages – mainly to mediocre players. A practice that continued under Raul.

Un

China Nobody said we ever achieved less during his first 8 years Rich is saying that wenger was at the peak of his powers after 2004 and produced to teams on a budget filled with youth and playing the best football this country has seen. Competing with both arms tied behind his back with financial behemoths Chelsea were literally signing the players we wanted at twice the price, inflating the market in the process, often just to spite us while we had comparative pittance to spend Looks at the 2011 team that beat Barca Sczezney £0 Sagna £5m Djourou £0… Read more »

Northbanker

Un – I’m not disagreeing. I just put the 100m blow out on Xhaka, Mustafi and Peres as a bigger mistake. Which is probably why they never let him get too close to the cheque book in his dotage years. His rolodex of unknown future big names was now out of date and irrelevant whereas in the first 10 years it was his main edge.

Pierre

It will be interesting to see if Arteta has learnt his lesson from last season. Bringing a less than 100% fit jesus back into the side towards the end of the season when the team was firing and winning games had the opposite effect to what Arteta desired.. Our first game after the break is Everton away ، a ground where we often struggle، bringing jesus back for such a tough physical fixture could prove to be a mistake as it is a ground where our strikers receive little protection from the officials… Why not just ease Jesus back into… Read more »

Northbanker

Pierre – I agree with all of that 100%.

Dissenter

I’m not sure that Wenger net spend number is a compliment I think it was an indictment of his indecision and lack of drive. At some point, he just lost his way and was staying in because…he could stay on. Wenger stayed for so long that at some point he existed just for himself There was money to spend and he never spent it to avoid creating expectations on himself. This was about self preservation. Who can forget that we submitted a £92 million bid to Monaco for Thomas Lemar in Aug 2017. He was a notorious tire kicker who… Read more »

Emiratesstroller

I think that the consensus of opinion was that Arsenal recruited well at the start of the transfer window and the squad was expected to be stronger in depth than last season. RAYA is in my view a ‘superior’ goalkeeper to Turner and will offer better rotation/cover. TIMBER would in my opinion have taken over from White as our first string right back. RICE is without question our long term DMF. The other three options are in their 30s. HAVERTZ was recruited as a replacement for Xhaka. I remain to be convinced by this acquisition. So if these four players… Read more »

Emiratesstroller

NANWERI This player will be 17 in the New Year and it would not surprise me that at some point this season Arsenal will include him in first team squad. By all accounts he is an exceptional player and the fact that every major club was looking to recruit him confirms that point. Rather like Saka he appears to be a “versatile” player capable of playing in most attacking positions. He is also left footed like Saka so maybe he is the “potential” understudy. Arsenal need to sign this player on a full contract at age of 17. So this… Read more »

AFC Forever

Mr Serge “Are there no negotiators in our management team ? Ridiculous.” Firstly, Nicolas Pepe is in the final year of his contract, so he leaves for free at the end of the season; which affects his value. Secondly, he’s on wages of around £140k pw, £7.28m per year. Any prospective buyer knows these things, so we’re not in a strong negotiating position. But thirdly, and the elephant in the room, he’s not very good. If he was we would get interest. He returned 8 goals in 28 games for Nice in a pretty poor league and they didn’t want… Read more »

Markymark

Wenger stayed for so long that at some point he existed just for himself – I’m liking the existentialism vibe from Dissenter. This could spin off into a whole new field of Wengerism and study of this subject!

Wicked Willy

AFC with sage comments as always. Also loved Northbankers anecdote about Titi!!

FoxInTheBox

Why? Why Kai?

Zacharse

we bought pepe cuz raul and DOF at lille were homeys and took a cut of an inflated price. josh and stan ok’d it.
then they were both let go season after, lille guy sooner if i remember right. that’s when stan put on his cowboy boots imho. arteta hired months later.

Zacharse

i’m for a hard rotation for everton away. tomi, reiss on the left, gab jesus on the right, fabio veira drawing multiple yellows… we’ll see.

FoxInTheBox

Personal attacks so widespread here in this blog. It’s a shame. Guys, we all come here for the love of Arsenal. Everyone wants Arsenal to succeed but maybe in different ways. Why curse and swear at your mates?

In fact, i have been called several names. Even by Pedro himself. But for me everyone here is a bro because of a common vein running through all of us here. So, i forgive. Stop getting personal please…

FoxInTheBox

Wenger was more an owner whose yardstick of success became financial than footballing glory.

andy1886

Taken in isolation the ‘net spend’ argument is valid, however you also have to look at the wage bill and we were consistently in the top three or four the whole time and paying some very average players huge sums that were not merited. Wasn’t it always said that the best correlation with league position was spending on wages?

Zacharse

dSidstathopoulosSeptember 5, 2023 16:16:28
I have a permanent tan

this is no place to flaunt ownership of a tanning bed bukake boi,
thats strictly GoH territory

raptora

AFCF: “So it’s not a transfer negotiator we need, it’s one of Harry Potter’s mates from that school of Wizards.”

You mean the people working over at Chavs?! Noted.

Matt B

AFCF: Pepe had a lot of end product but he wasn’t an Arteta player, so he was frozen out. AFC tanked his value by not playing him, same as we’re doing with ESR…

Pierre

Fox in the box
“Wenger was more an owner whose yardstick of success became financial than footballing glory”

If you take away the fact that he won 10 trophies with 10 runners up then yes you would be right..

If however you include the 10 trophies and the 10 runners up then it could be said that you are not talking sense.

Emiratesstroller

The main reason that Arsenal bought Pepe at such an inflated price was that he was offered on a
5 year instalment payment plan.

One saving grace is that we have not fallen into the same transfer trap with Mudryk. Buying untested one year wonders is always high risk.

Arsenal’s most intelligent recruitment in recent times was Odegaaard. We took him on loan for
one year and then were able to buy him at a decent transfer fee. We appear to have adopted a similar plan with Raya.

Dissenter

Emirates
“One saving grace is that we have not fallen into the same transfer trap with Mudryk. Buying untested one year wonders is always high risk.”
Yea, fate and Bully Boehly saved us from disaster.
Mudryk is less accomplished than Pepe and will certainly go the same fate. Every winger they’ve brought in after him in their spending spree has been played over him.

Reggie

How is this Arsenal fan getting pilloried in the press,and keane the big hardmam who screamed for the police to help ,after winding everyone up ,getting away with it
Seems most sky pundits think their above the law
Funny seeing as most of them are thugs,sexists and racist

Dissenter

Isn’t there a reason why they separate home fans from away fans

If a regular United fan was tucked away amongst 100 regular Arsenal fans at the Emirates, I bet that United fan wont have celebrated the (disallowed) Garnacho goal in a disrespectful manner.

If a TV commentator wishes to behave like a rival fan at a time of great emotion, then that TV commentator deserves what comes his way

AFC Forever

Ben matt “AFCF: Pepe had a lot of end product but he wasn’t an Arteta player, so he was frozen out. AFC tanked his value by not playing him, same as we’re doing with ESR” So it’s Arteta’s fault Pepe only scored 8 goals for Nice, right you are. We can’t give him away for a reason mate. He’s not a very good player, what’s he done since he left us? Very one-dimensional player. Saka is a whole different level, several levels above. As I said, Pepe lacks the basic ability to play off the ball. He often gets caught… Read more »

Dissenter

It’s not hard to make a very credible argument that Pepe’s meagre Arsenal record is equal or better than Havertz’s record at Chelsea before we bought the latter. It’s almost as though we bought the Pepe of Chelsea.

Pepe is a very talented player, the problem had to do with his mentality and application. He’s a decent player who made the wrong big move, maybe too quickly.

Waylander

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