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They said we’d never be here again, Wenger was gone, so was our future… LOOK US BABY! Tuesdays and Wednesdays mean something again. We are back with the big boys.

Kind of…

PSV is a staple of European competition and a team I have bad memories of – remember THAT performance from Brazilian Alex back in the day? Remember Cody Gakpo in our Europa phase? Prior to those years, it’s interesting to note that some of the greatest strikers EVER have had stints with them in Holland.

Romario did 5 seasons there, scoring 165 goals in 167 appearances.

OG Ronaldo scored 54 games in 58 games.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy, a player Wenger was in for, scored 62 goals in 67 for PSV.

They have heritage.

But, they aren’t a beastly Champions League club the likes Newcastle (Milan) and United (Bayern) are facing. We have been blessed by Champions League standards. No long trips, not mega clubs, 2 of the teams are in the gutter domestically.

It is VERY arrogant of me to underestimate teams in the big comps, PSV has started strong with 4 wins in 4, but the reality is Premier League is monstr0usly strong compared to the Dutch league.

The question is whether Arteta reads things that way. Does he take the opportunity to rest some of his core names? Or does he go big in the first game at home to get some points on the board.

One name I fully expect to start is Aaron Ramsdale. I’m sure part of the soft exit from the starting 11 was geared around the consolation prize of playing the Champions League. It was interesting reading the debate surrounding his exit from the starting 11. Arteta said there were two games last year when he wanted to sub out his keeper on 65 and 85 minutes. People are pointing towards Arteta being the first manager to normalize subbing keepers during the game.

A few reasons that I find this line of innovation a bit weird are as followed:

  1. The soft landing people are trying to give Ramsdale is that this switch is tactical. Well, if Arteta is talking about subbing a keeper last season, he’s almost certainly talking about taking Ramsdale off for Matt Turner. What advantage could that possibly have given us bar Aaron having a poor game and a fresh pair of gloves giving us more security? However you cut it, this regret seems to aimed at squarely at Aaron not having a good game, because Arteta has labeled this as a DEEP regret, like a top 5 type thing. Matt Turner hasn’t played a game of consequence that would merit that kind of regret.
  2. David Raya is a better shot-stopper, he’s better with the ball at his feet, and he’s top-tier for claiming crosses. That’s by the numbers – not my opinion. So based on hard data – what game state would benefit from changing keepers? What type of opposition would Aaron be more suited towards?
  3. You’re 1-0 down against Brentford chasing the game in the 70th. You have a deep bench of lock-pickers and goal threats. This defensive shape needs breaking down. What keeper on the planet is giving you something you couldn’t get from anyone else? What is the unlock a keeper gives you?
    1. You’re 1-0 up late in a game, you’re getting battered, the keeper looks a bit shaky, but he hasn’t conceded yet, but you have a feeling. Are you going to pull the rip cord and bring on a keeper to see out a game – with cold hands? Someone experienced in football talked to me about the penalty shootout when Gareth Southgate let 3 of his subs take penalties – ‘how the hell do you expect a player to score a penalty when they have no feel for the game.’ I would say this is even more relevant for a keeper. I watched a keeper in MLS get sent off the other week – the home keeper who hadn’t been sent off ran the length of the pitch to tell his best ball striker to shoot on sight. Why? Because that keeper knows how hard it is to come into a game late with cold hands.
  4. Occam’s razor. The simplest answer is usually the right one. David Raya is not here because Ramsdale was knocking it out the park. He’s here because Arteta had doubts, those doubts were realised in the first 4 games, and the change has arrived far sooner than anyone realised. People are flapping over the decision because it’s shocking and painful to see a fave hit the bench. But be real – no elite manager is making things complicated for the team if they have a keeper the manager thinks is the best. We didn’t bring in a keeper Arteta thinks is equal to what he has – he brought in one he thinks is better.

I’ve also seen some people say ‘well, we just gave Ramsdale a new deal’… guys, this is exactly what Arsenal should always be doing. Arsenal tied down a club asset to a long-term deal to secure his value. We did the same with Balogun, a player we probably didn’t think would make it in our starting 11. What we’ve done is smart business. The point of having young players is that if they don’t work out, you can get a big fee. If we’d let Aaron run down his deal because we didn’t fancy him. we’d be out in the cold fee-wise. This is an evolution of our off-the-pitch thinking – not an endorsement for a forever spot in our starting 11.

Back to the game – it’s at home. Is this a chance to bring Kiwior into the mixer? Can we give Bill Saliba a rest? Will we give Jesus a run out on the right side of midfield? Does Jorginho come into the midfield to give us control?

I’m expecting rotation for this one with a killer bench if we need to lean into it.

We have Spurs at the weekend – that’s going to require an explosive 11. Spurs has momentum, a manager everyone loved, and they have no European football game this week. They have a week to prep – we don’t – that’s a big club problem we’ve not had to deal with.

Final point, for the fans going, and the fans watching – soak it up people. We’ve been to some dark places of the past decade, but now we’re back in the big time with a squad actually capable of doing damage in the competition.

We’ll be dropping a Before the Whistle Champions League addition tomorrow.

See you in the comments. x

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Nigel Tufnel


“I’m one of the people who wanted Caicedo over Rice. Now I’m eating humble pie and I must confess I’ve never eaten anything more delicious. Long may it continue.”

Class comment!

Still waiting for some people that were constantly whinging about the Rice price to admit they were short-sighted.


Diss I can understand why Arteta put a full team out, certainly wouldn’t have been my preference though. It’s a marathon and not a sprint, we haven’t had what it takes to get over the line in just one competition at the business end in the last 2 seasons. We’ve now got enough firepower in the final third in our squad. We play 7 games in 22 days from last Sunday, and some of these players did long trips, and played 2 internationals. We’re going to have to dig into our squad, and PSV at home was an opportunity to… Read more »


Don’t disagree with the workload thing but I think it was important to get off to a good start in the Champions league, bank some points and look to rest / rotate in match day 4,5 & 6.

Just hope the supporters keep the faith with Havertz, there is a player in there, his confidence is just shot. I can see him being a difference maker with his size as he gives us an out ball over the press & he should cause problems in the air at the far post.


Just got back COYG – and put a tenner on 4-0 at 13-1

Happy days although want sure if I wanted the 5th out of loyalty!!


130 buckaroos? Easyyyy!



When it went 4-0 I was thought of you straight away, and was thinking that if anyone way going to screw your bet with a 5th, it was likely going to be Havertz.



When it went 4-0 I was thought of you straight away, and was thinking that if anyone way going to screw your bet with a 5th, it was likely going to be Havertz.


Funnily enough Rich those were my exact same thoughts 😂


Actually was quite impressed with him today although still quite a few shades of a 65m man

But let’s hope ……

Nigel Tufnel

Can we all take a moment to laugh at Onana?

Another Grove fan favorite because we didn’t buy him, like every other United, Newcastle, spurs, Chelsea- loser player that we never had any interest in.

You can see now why we didn’t. Can’t you finally?

Bertie Mee

Havertz had his best game today or his best 20 minutes. Putit in context. He was playing in a team winning 4-0 with his team bossing the midfield . He showed some nice control but also showed he hasn’t got the oace to lead the line like Jesus . I asked several people tonight what they woukd have liked to sign him for. Tge consensus was £20 million. If we’d got him for £20 million we’d have been delighted because he may provide different qualities to decide key games . . But £65 million is a ridiculous fee for him.… Read more »


Got back not too long ago from a very wet Emirates. So good to have CL nights back, been far too long


The only 100+m transfers who (so far) look anything close to resembling value are rice and Bellingham

That both play for England is one hell of a good thing

Rice is a rolls royce… a rolls rice… 😃


Under Southgate! Haha

Nigel Tufnel

“I feel for Havertz because the twats over at the bridge keep posting stats of him 0/0/5. Today will be 0/0/6 or 0/0/7. Goals/assists/games played.” He’s not a striker or a forward. He’s a CM. Idiotic Chelsea fans are not even aware of this….. Arsenal fans SHOULD be aware of that simple fact. It seems Grove geniuses are not. Chelsea spent 99 mil on Lukaku whose stats were 0 and 1 for touches in some matches. Don’t concern yourself with chav shite talking. How are your beloved Murdick and Caicedo (Grove fav) faring so far? Let’s look at some wins… Read more »


Actually Kane will likely be value for Bayern But I’ve not seen anything to suggest that the 230m Chelsea CMs are in that bracket for quality Imo therein lies a key difference Rice Bellingham and Kane have done the business at an excellent level for ages now. 100m was expensive for all of them but at least you can be reasonably confident of the player you are getting Let’s be frank here, Fernandez was bought for 100m only because he was on the winning team at the World Cup, not because he ever once looked like a 100m player. The… Read more »


Nigel, both would have worked way better here than at the damned bridge and you know it.

We had super high offers for both Mudryk and Caicedo rejected (record breaking), I doubt I was their only fan now, was I… unless it was me who made the offers… maybe…


Rap there’s no doubt any player would look better at arsenal than Chelsea but if you turn that around, do you think Bellingham and rice would look lost in a Chelsea shirt?

I honestly very much doubt it

Rice would’ve been a stabilizing influence on their midfield and I really doubt he’d have given away a penalty and got a red card, along with gifting another goal to the opposition all in his first 4 games of the season at Chelsea


trossard has quickly become my fav player. the quiet humility dogged work, dude has it all, congrats to him on his first champs league appearance and goal. guy is a natural

Nigel Tufnel

Raptora, True. And I didn’t mean you were the only Caicedo proponent…and I remember you were not against Rice at all. It’s partly Arsenals fault that Brighton got so heady with the ask price. We offered too much in the January window because we were fighting to win the league. Arteta wanted a luxury of a great “defensive” DM, a FB stand in, who probably would have been a utility player, not a starter when we’re a fit squad now. He’d be used a lot more often than Jorginho.. 50 mil max would have been a lot still for his… Read more »


China, you really underestimate the difference between – being just another cog in a team already in motion, in a feel-good moment under a stable manager and owner compared to – joining a team that has to build from ground zero under a new manager and a 1-season old owner. Again, Arteta wanted both players. It’s cool to judge my wishes but some people rate Arteta’s judgement but now flame me for me rating Caicedo. It’s weird. If you gonna flame me, flame Arteta as well as he wanted both and was ready to cough up some stunning money for… Read more »

Montana Gooner

3 pints later and still riding the wave. Man, did I miss this! Now that I’ve had time to think: 1) Havertz played well in the second half. He truly is unlucky and there is a player in there somewhere. Do we have the patience for him? Obviously many here do not. I feel like he is one goal away from a resurgence. Needs the ball to drop for him. Hope it does but Arteta will make the call based on his view in training. ESR played a great cameo. Best he’s been in an age. 2) Jesus changes the… Read more »


Also re mudryk stylistically in our squad we already have a similar player in Nelson who can roast people for days with acceleration and pace. I’ve seen enough of Nelson to think he should be utilized more often at arsenal (especially as an impact sub against tired defenders) where he can cause a lot of damage Wouldn’t trade him for Mudryk if we had the chance Zacharse yeah Trossard is a proper throwback player because he’s probably the only player in this squad who looks like a pure 2008 wenger signing. He’s got that hleb, rosicky, nasri, cazorla shit going… Read more »


Mudryk’s off-the-ball game is very bad and green btw. He would have had to be cooked on a very slow fire cause, yes, I liked his highlights and I decided to back Arteta on his wish to sign him. He looked to me like Bale’s second coming. I still believe there is a huge player in there. But the work he’ll have to do, in everything he does really, we’ll see if he’ll be up for that cause he’s long way off of it. I do rate a lot of Chavs’ young players btw. They’ve collected some high quality talents.… Read more »


Rap I’m not flaming you just disagreeing with you. Always respect your opinion even if I passionately disagree sometimes And I agree with you that I should direct that disagreement to artedu as well, which I 100% do. They’ve signed lots of fantastic players and got far more right than wrong but with mudryk they were miles off the mark and we dodged a bullet imo. Chelsea entering the race spared our blushes Caiceido would’ve been a very good player but should’ve cost 60m. Even when we bid for him at the time I said it was getting mad how… Read more »

Montana Gooner

Mudryk and Caicedo made the wrong choice of managers and clubs. That simple. We are stable and people want to play for our manager. Poch was on the beach.


Imo the key indicator of how far off the mark we and Chelsea were with mudryk is I think he came close to joining brentford for something like 20m last summer. Didn’t happen but I don’t think that offer was laughed out of the room So if we guess that maybe a 30m offer would’ve been enough last summer to at least be taken seriously, what did Mudryk do in the 6 months following to inflate his value from 30-90m? I think we really liked what we’d seen of him and saw a lot of upside but we lost our… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

I just watched an every touch video of Havertz PSV game, and he had a very good match for the team. Geniuses keep thinking of him as a striker like Chavs do.
Watch a video like this and see how he helps the team in midfield, defence and progression, pressing, disrupting opponents with his long legs and size… and being a target for Raya.
This is Arteta’s vision for him as a versatile number 8. Goals will be a nice bonus.

Montana Gooner

The goals will come. Xhaka didn’t score any until last season.


Enjoying both sides of the ball today!

Gabriel back in defense does it for me, and apprantly the squad. The defense looked calm and not even bothered again tonight! More of that please!

Even liked the rotations, Nigel you listening?

Oh, and I could be wrong on Raya among other things…

Just a very good performance.

Let’s get ready for the scrubs..

Solid W today.

Montana Gooner

Nelson was fire and showed his strengths tonight as did ESR. The boys were all up for it. Lots of depth and options up front. We need a non crocked Partey replacement. Did feel for Ramsdale tonight. He must be gutted.


I shake my head at all those who were calling Havertz names. They watched his performance with bias-filled tinted glasses. FOR THE FREAKING POSITION HE WAS BROUGHT TO ARSENAL FOR, HE PLAYED WELL! Trying to break down what the manager asked him to do [said manager was happy with his performance, so up yours] would be an exercise in futility.

Wicked Willy

Well said


I hope havertz played well. I didn’t see the game. Sky sports have him a 6/10 and had him out only player rated under a 7, which is not great, but their ratings are often bunk so don’t know what others on here think


For his overalll game it wouid be 6 but 2nd half a 7.

Biggest difference with tonight is that PSV we’re the least defensive team that has come to Emirates

Anyone manager watching that will realise now unfortunately not to try to make a game of it but do what Forest etc did and just pack your defence with a deep block or 2 layers of deep block and hope for the best

Wicked Willy

China Havertz is playing exactly the role we bought him for. Brilliant off the ball. Solid but unspectacular on it. I suspect that’s the issue. It feels like people are expecting him to bring flair to the position but I’m not sure that’s his role, and 3 years at Shitshow Bridge has shorn him of the confidence he would need to play with pure expression. Jesus took it off his toes in the first half with the goal begging. Jesus could and probably should have given him a tap in in the second half. He keeps finding very dangerous positions… Read more »


New post!

Wicked Willy

My sense is that Odegaard is going to be better than KDB, and I’m absolutely sure Saka will be better than Salah. It wouldn’t surprise me if Martinelli ends up superior to Mane, Rice will be better than PV4 and Saliba will be the greatest CB English football has ever seen. What a team we are building!

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