by .

Going away to Everton should be easy. It never is. So when we left there yesterday evening with 3 points in hand for the first time since 2017, you’d best believe I was over the moon.

That result was huge. Mikel Arteta added so many dimensions to that game that are worth talking about. The main one for me? We offered up the sort of mature performance we’ve been begging for over the past decade.

No nonsense, total control, calm under pressure, players stepping up to the plate, a victory you feel could be important if we can keep in the title conversation come the end of the season.

Arteta shook things up pre-game. I wrote on Twitter, in the haze of a light hangover, that the selection of David Raya was both unexpected and expected at the same time. I stand by that. Most of us knew change was coming, I’m just not sure we expected it right after the break. You kind of imagine the best way to bring keepers into the mixer is to give them easy games, not long nightmares against bogey teams.

Arteta also did what the haters (using it for lols, calm down) wanted – he dropped Kai Havertz for the imperious Fabio Vieira. Part of me loved the move, Fabio hasn’t been asking questions of Arteta politely, he’s been banging the table with BIG performances. The worry was his size… could he handle being rag dolled by one of the more powerful midfields in the league?

The game was total control from minute one. Everton didn’t fly at us. We flew at them. Our passing was crisp, movement was sharp, and we totally dominated the ball. You knew it’d be a rough afternoon for Everton and there was no doubt that we’d shown up for the three points.

We scored first – Gabriel had a pass cut out by an Everton player, it landed at the feet of Eddie, he laid it off to Fabio who clipped a lovely weighted pass into Martinelli… then BANG, bottom corner. VAR had to intervene, they insisted Eddie was off, despite it being an Everton player who touched the ball last. It was another farcical subjectivity-layering-exercise that was ultimately wrong and the goal was chalked off. Referees in England are so, so desperate to be the story, they should favor the goalscorer, not how clever their mates will think they are.

Arsenal didn’t let their heads drop. But we did lose Martinelli to some sort of muscle tweak. It looked like a hamstring, which would be annoying because you really can’t help but want to point the finger at the international break and fatigue associated with it. He was replaced by Trossard.

The second half started strong, you could see that fatigue was influencing Everton’s game more than ours, chasing shadows gets hard after a while. When it got to 65 minutes, normally you’d fear we were heading for a draw, not with Arsenal this season. We had so much quality off the bench, it always feels like the last 20 could be party time for us, especially with Qatar overtime rules.

Our moment did come – from a short corner masterpiece engineered by Niko Jover. Saka and Odegaard worked the ball into the box, Odegaard found Saka, Saka caught the run of Trossard, the BOSS man hit a sumptuous side-footed shot in off the back post. WHAT A GOAL. Truly dreamy.

The game really opened up after that, but Everton didn’t have much to offer. Not even Calvert Lewin in a face mask could change the dynamic of the game. We had the better chances. Gabi J and Odegaard were guilty of big misses. But who cares, we took the three points and exited a scary ground with the booty (treasure booty you animals).

Before we exit into some spicy conclusions – wasn’t it great to see the wild celebrations after the game by our players? Declan Rice fist-pumping like we’d just toppled City, Saliba losing his shit, Saka jumping around, Jesus getting in the mixer. It was a thing of beauty. This isn’t a group of professionals – this is a group of friends who truly believe they are on the journey to something special together. They knew the importance of that result.

So what else did we love?

Our defensive performance really did feel like a response to some concerns.

Above is Everton’s pass map. Blue passes are successful. Look at how few there are. Look at how our positioning mostly left them with one option: Long balls. They had no luck there. We gave them 1 corner all game, they had next to no long throws, we didn’t give shit freekicks away in soft areas. They couldn’t really get near our box. They had nothing. 0.3 xG was their lowest output of the season so far. That was a defensive masterclass in a preseason/season we’ve been giving up a lot of dim slop.

Let’s talk about David Raya because the Ramsdalians are fuming and in some deep, deep denial about what’s going on here. Ramsdale wasn’t rested, he was dropped. Arteta will call this a rotation thing and he might play that game for a bit, but the reality here is very, very simple. He has lost faith in Aaron, spent a lot of money on a keeper he thinks is better, and he has wasted next to no time getting him in the team. Arteta played the same game when he binned Leno and when he upgraded Tierney. He’s not going to tell you what’s going on because he has to protect his players, but they all know what is happening.

Ruthless. Barbaric. Horrible to watch. Yes, yes, and yes. But this is just more of the same, but with a player we all love.

Aaron will probably start against PSV, but I don’t think he gets back in for the Spurs game. David Raya will be outright number one if he doesn’t make any mistakes and I think the Champions League cup keeper thing changes in 2024.

So what did we make of Raya? Well, he had nothing to do. But we can talk about vibes. The AOP live watchers all said it – the man is ICE cold. His face gives off so little emotion it looks like there might have been a botox accident. He radiates calm, controls his box, and boy oh boy is he outrageous with the ball at his feet. That low fizzer he pinged out of his hands to Bukayo was naughty.

It’s early days, let’s see how his shot-stopping is, and what he’s like in a big game… like the North London Derby. But it doesn’t look good for those that thought he was here to be an expensive back-up. Ramsdalians drawing hard on the copium are going to be disappointed but I don’t think the next big reveal in football is rotating keepers like number 8s not matter how hard Arteta pretends one of his deepest regrets in his managerial history was not having the courage to sub a keeper. I can think about about 50 worse things he’s done.

Let’s keep with Arteta – some other tactical bits I liked.

  • Arsenal players didn’t get pulled into a brawl and that kept the Merseyside crowd painfully quiet
  • He pulled off Zinchenko before he started gassing – giving him no room to make a late fatigue-induced mistakes
  • Instead of pinging aimless balls into small players – we offered up a dangerous corner routine that ended up breaking the deadlock.

Our attacking performance was getting some pelters during the game. We seemed to be a little conservative, perhaps in a bid to keep our defensive side locked down? A simpler answer might be that it’s really, really hard to break down a double deep block enacted by the master of them. Eddie was eaten up by a packed central area and the chance-creating machine wasn’t exactly at its peak. But if you break it down, we scored two legitimate goals and had enough chances to probably do a bit better considering our quality.

Key message: When the defence does its job, you only need one goal, and we nearly always have that in the locker. 12th away clean sheet since the start of last season. Is it time to start talking about why we have a problem at home? Do we need to bring back that Elvis song? Do we need to tell the fans to stop being so supportive? Are the musicians in the concourse causing the problem? A post for another day.

I didn’t think it was Eddie’s best game. He got a little lost. Arteta hooked him quite early. So cutting propaganda for my client ain’t gonna cut it. I think it’s time we saw more of Jesus. He came on and looked lively in his cameo. We really need him to be razor-sharp for next Sunday, so an outing in the Champions League might be needed.

Fabio Vieira had a really solid game. My failed breakout star prediction of last season seems to have ignored all the advice to get bigger – instead, he’s added aggression to his game. He wasn’t a physical match for Everton players, but he was there for speed, and yappiness. He played in our midfield and we controlled the game. Fabio wasn’t a weak link. Say it quietly: I think he might have landed as a player.

Bukayo Saka is still adapting to his reality: He’s going to have players target him whilst trebling up – and the color of his shirt means he’ll not get much protection. Mykolenko fouled him too many times for it not be picked up, but this is his reality now. He was quiet by his own high standards, but still exited the game with an assist. Face it, he’s a slow starter – but that’s all good if he bangs in April.

There was some chatter post-game about the timing of the game. Gary Neville, who has been team Arsenal this season, complained we took too long from corners. A weird angle to go at us about – we are chasing a title, not a point at Goodison. The bigger WTF moment for me was the ref only putting up 4 minutes of added time. That’s gotta be the lowest in any game all season. Not sure how he landed that number, but maybe it was a make-up for chalking a legitimate goal?

So – to finish out. That result was massive, especially given the context of the weekend. Now we can enjoy the PSV home game this week – and a monstrous, monstrous North London Derby against a resurgent Spurs with a painfully likable manager. It’s gonna be a banger of a week. Can’t wait to spend it with you!

Get on our latest podcast below! Sub, follow, like, leave a nice review. See you on the comments. xxx

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Dixon looked about 50 when he was 30
Can’t see much difference myself


With ESR Eddie Havertz and neslon on bench
Not bad at all in my book


Saka rested tomorrow,Nelson in


I’ve not seen Dixon on the tv in a while but last time I did I thought he looked good for his age (he’s a keen cyclist I read somewhere)

I remember Platt let himself go a bit, enjoying the pasta in his retirement. Then of course there is Razor Ruddock. He was the twice the size he used to be at one stage.


Nobody let themselves go like overmars


Hope to see esr get some game time Tomo
Hopefully he can offer a performance that puts him back on the map
I can’t bear to see him waste away
Not after jack


“I saw Dixon on tv the other day and he’s aged so much” I’ve always thought these ex-players don’t do very well once their careers finish. Maybe we have a nostalgic image of them at a young age because we watch them so much in their early to mid-20s; most of the time once they hang their boots up it looks like someone attaches them to a garden hose, turns the tap on and walks away for a day or so as they fill up like a blimp. Maybe for us mortals we have to work hard to keep in… Read more »


“Saka rested tomorrow,Nelson in”

Hard one to swallow, first CL game back for seven seasons you get put on the bench; I get it game day 2,3,4 but game day 1? Nah, full first team and those who deserve to feel that atmosphere.


“I remember Platt let himself go a bit, enjoying the pasta in his retirement. Then of course there is Razor Ruddock. He was the twice the size he used to be at one stage.”

Google : Neville Southall … my my myyyy ,,,


Arteta made 6 changes from our away game at Leeds to our 1-0 win at home to PSV last season. This was our starting 11 against PSV: ……………Turner ……Holding Gabriel …Tomi Sambi Tierney .…….Vieira Xhaka Saka……………..Eddie …………..Jesus We could put something like this out tomorrow: ……………..Ramsdale ……White ….Rice…..Kiwior ……..Jorginho ..Tomiyasu Jesus Vieira Havertz Nelson …………………Eddie Offensively we’ve got plenty of quality options now, it’s at the back we’re slightly short. Big Gabby played twice for Brazil, Zinchenko twice for Ukraine, and I’d be inclined to rest Saliba ahead of the NLD…. Saka needs a rest, and Ødegaard played twice for… Read more »


I don’t see Arteta resting anyone for the first CL back in seven seasons; this isn’t the Carabao cup here; we get in a good position in the group, then the resting will come. 100% he is going strong first XI out of the gate.


Tets aint gonna rest any of his favourites for tomorrow night, who are you kidding

Nigel Tufnel

“we renewed Ramsdale so he’d retain value” Dissenter replies: “That’s makes no sense considering that we doubled his wages which will make it very difficult to move him on, if so desired. It’s like we never learn from our mistakes No one else will pay Ramsdale 120k weekly so the retaining Md value makes no sense” Dissenter wrong as usual. At least you’re consistent. Mokbel reporting that Ramsdale situation being monitored by Bayern and Chelsea. That salary is nothing for a number 1 keeper to any successful club. Top 10 keeper in the world last season. PFA team of the… Read more »


The Baying Mob,
Check out Frank McLintock.
He must be going on 80 and looks better than many 50 year olds. I met him 7 years ago and there’s hardly a line on his face, stands tall and straight and is razor sharp mentally.
Sammy Nelson looks really good too.


I don’t see wholesale changes tomorrow personally, every win is worth £2.5million in the kitty. Getting maximum points in the group stages is worth 15 million so I think we’ll see similar squad with Trossard instead of Martinelli and maybe Rambo back in goal.

X haka

Hope to see esr get some game time Tomo

I’ve heard they have nicknamed the boy Lord Lucan at the Colney complex,

That dog gets treated better than ESR these days. He certainly gets more attention.

Needs to get out of the club and playing some games, not robotic enough for Mickel.


I 100% agree that Arteta will go with the full line up.

I mean it is our first CL game in 7 years!!!

Saka is 100% playing. So will Rice.

I think the usual back 4 will be lined up.

I hope to see Fabio play to. He was excellent against Everton and needs to get the feel of the CL roller coaster of emotions that it will be.

Do we know whether Martinelli will be back or is he still injured?

Josip Skoblar

We need a strong team to beat PSV. They were difficult opponents last year.


Our biggest game of the week is the NLD, it’s our most important fixture of the season, at least for me, it’s the one that gives off the most anxiety. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a minimum of 5 changes from Sunday. It’s not like we don’t have the attacking firepower to change things up, none of Jesus, Havertz, Trossard, Nelson, Smith Rowe, started on Sunday. That’s some serious attacking talent in reserve, the likes of Saka, Ødegaard, will get their opportunities to play in this competition, but we need them fresh later in the season when we need… Read more »


Santi’s last ever game for us was vs Ludogorets at home btw.


“Mokbel reporting that Ramsdale situation being monitored by Bayern and Chelsea.”

You’re one funny dude
So the basis of me being wrong is what the sports reporter of the Daily Mail wrote. What does “being monitored” even means?

At least you gave me a good guffaw from that post.


“Our biggest game of the week is the NLD, it’s our most important fixture of the season, at least for me, it’s the one that gives off the most anxiety.“

Jesus, Rich, every Cl knockout round will be bigger, not to mention both City games, if title challenge is on the cards.

So Arsenal trash Tottenham in the NLD but get dumped out of CL early and City run away with the league but you’ll be happy as pigs in shit?

G o H isn’t wrong about Arsenal fan’s mentality is he.

Positive pete

Wish posters would get off Doris the tea lady’s back.She does a wonderful job & never fails to be on time with the trolley with everyone’s favourite digestives & custard creams.Even the chavs have tried to tap her up with the offer of 7 year contract.Sought after Lady.

Positive pete

The Ramsdale ‘ situation’ is mostly the media latching on to an opportunity for a bit of shit stirring.Astorm in a tea cup.Something a few of the posters on here regularly attempt.In fact one them has posted right at the same time as me.


“What does “being monitored” even means?”

Diss, I’m assuming Bayern monitoring Ramsdale situation might be a tad different from Nigel monitoring Legrove comments section.


I agree with Rich, NLD is more important than PSV first leg.

If any of the important players get injured and are then ruled out for the Spuds game that would be disappointing.


Imagine us approaching the NLD with a rested team, after a poor outing against PSV at home

Every game is important, I don’t think the NLD is more important than out first game in the C;L after 6 seasons of beg out.
Start the best team on Wednesday and rotate with 5 changes.
The NLD will take care of itself after we get the job done tomorrow.


Start with our strongest 11 tomorrow and take all 3 points. The earlier the game is wrapped up, the earlier the fringe players everyone thinks deserve a start can be subbed on to bring it home in the final 35 mins of the game.

Hope Tets makes full use of the 5 subs (and doesn’t waste one of the keeper).


Diss beat me to it.


We should not be testing most of our best 11 for our first CL game in 6 years

We can’t assume we’re just going to stroll the group

Rice at CB? Just so we can get Jorginho in the team? No thank you

Imagine if we put out that lineup and dropped points, would be a really pointlessly bad look

If you want to rest players in the group stages the best way to do it is to win your first 4 matches and make the final 2 games dead rubbers. Let’s not Fanny about in our first match

Bob N16

Tom, don’t think you should question the importance an Arsenal fan gives to a NLD win. Someone saying it’s the ‘biggest game of the season’ is completely relatable and no amount of sophistry can challenge that!


Our bench now is not the kind of bench we had during Wenger days.

ESR, Viera, Trosaard can easily come in and replace Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard without any significant drop in quality. A couple of changes in our starting line up won’t do us any harm.



Yeah the ramsdale situation has been blown so far out of proportion it’s quite comical

Dude plays very well but has an error in him

Club signs good alternative and after a few weeks gives him a chance to see how he does

The media ‘ramsdale has been humiliated!!!!’

Fml lol how do they come up with these narratives that buying competition for a player and letting them play a game is humiliating? What are we managing a crèche? How entitled I mean seriously 😂


Sure , Bob, is this where you and Marky give me a lesson on the most important rivalry in world football?

Arsenal lose the Cl final to , say, Bayern, but Bob comes on here defending the position we won the most important game of the season , the NLD, so it’s all good.

Bob N16

Tom, You’re conflating. It’s not about.’Would you rather we won the CL final or the NLD’. That’s puerile nonsense. Why do you question the importance of beating our local rivals? Why can’t you accept the partisan nature of being a football supporter. It’s not always about logic and reason, it’s also about passion and visceral feelings. It’s a shame you can’t come to Sunday’s game – you might understand it better. I’m not suggesting that you should feel that the NLD is the most important game of the season but hold off from questioning people who do put their importance… Read more »


New post fellas

Why Pedro can never put a note here I don’t know


Mikel Arteta will be without Gabriel Martinelli for Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven. Martinelli was forced off the pitch in our 1-0 win against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday in the 24th minute.

“He felt something in his hamstring and we need to do some further tests to assess if there is any big damage or not,” Mikel explained, “but he will be out for tomorrow’s game, that’s for sure.”

AFC Forever

Bob / Rich Tom has never understood the rivalry. Or he’s pretending not to. Once sneered at me with his words because I celebrated Conte failing flat on his ‘elite manager’ face. If you don’t understand what the NLD means to both sets of fans then you must live on the moon. The tension in the crowd is palpable. For Spurs fans it is their Champions League Final, their nada. It’s all they ever think about. It’s obsessional hatred for them. Losing to that lot and hearing them going on about it for ‘forever,’ is just a horrible thought. The… Read more »


Tomorrow keep the keeper and the back 4 the same with Rice sitting in the middle ، as for the rest it makes little difference who starts as there is enough quality to choose from
smith rowe

Any 5 from that group can start، which will leave a quality bench.

Nigel Tufnel

X haka says:

“1. Martinez
2. Leno
3. Raya
4. Ramsdale
5. Runnarsson.”

Somebody knows nothing about distribution and ball playing keepers.
-Also watches Arsenal play but doesn’t understand our tactics or style.

Looking at that listing and you just know he gets excited only by diving save highlights… not by winning football games or having control.

The common, overly simplistic view of football.

Nigel Tufnel

Dissenter, I agree about the daily mail, but Sami Mokbel was on the money all throughout this past summer. He was first to a lot of stories, and accurate too. We have to give the man his due, especially if he has developed some good sources in the past year. Also I agree with: “This is why I wasn’t for this Raya move in the beginning. It’s generating unhealthy debates that are distracting.I fear it will be a Pyrrhic victory at best, with Raya only providing marginal improvements that will come at the price of team cohesion” Well said…Part of… Read more »