NORTH LONDON DERBY – THFC GOING BIG, CAN AFC HANDLE IT?

by .

It’s North London Derby Day eve and I’m feeling pretty bullish about the home game we have tomorrow. On The Arsenal Opinion, we mused whether Big Ange would keep doing what he’s doing, or revert to the safer option of a dirty deep block so they could catch us in transition. Well, the very nice Aussie Spurs manager who always says the right thing… said the right thing about how he wants to play tomorrow.

“How do you know if you want to be that kind of team? That’s the question. If you want to be a team that challenges, you know you have to play that way irrespective of the opponent.

“There’s no point not using a game like Sunday as a measure to see where we’re at.

“If we shy away from it, don’t play our football, manage to get a draw and survive the experience, what have we really learned? Apart from surviving 90 minutes of football? Nothing.

“The players already know that’s what will be my message to them. We’re going to go out and play our football.

“If we’re short, we’re short and we need to make it up. If we match them it’s great isn’t it (because) we know we have a long way to go and we’ve already established ourselves and on the biggest occasions we’ve shown we’re prepared to play our football.”

This is the type of attitude I like to see in football. Tactically, it’s a risky roll of the dice for Ange. Spurs aren’t anywhere near the level Arsenal is, they are away from home, they haven’t had any bad luck this season, and they’re playing one of the best teams on the planet.

‘Do it out way’ vibes could lead to a spanking… but he has no choice. He’s a new manager with sexy football ideas – if he backs away from his vision of how the game should be played, it tells the players he doesn’t really believe in them. You can’t get away with that when you’re a manager with a small reputation – you have to be militant about your vision, just like De Zerbi has been with great success at Brighton.

It is interesting though – Mikel Arteta was an absolute pragmatist when he joined Arsenal. Our football wasn’t free-flowing and interesting for a while. His first job was to address the lack of structure; then he added bits to the playing style as we built out the side with better equipment.

Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that people were saying things like ‘he plays drab football because he was a drab player’ or ‘I honestly don’t think he’s capable of setting up an attack.’ These were moronic statements from clueless people, but on the face of it, the football we were playing was sad… but it was because Arteta was always very clear about the capabilities of his team.

Big Ange saying ‘fuck it boys, let’s have a go’ is great news for Arsenal – but only if we’re disciplined. PSV tried to come at us in the week and we sprung a trap. Spurs will try the same thing tomorrow, but they have better weapons going forward than most Champions League teams. Son will start as their loan striker, they’ll have Kulu in the system who has caused us issues in the past, and Manor Solomon will start with two assists to his name. That’ll be backed up by James Madders, who is on fire this season.

The key thing we have going for us? We’re better than them. By a long way in a post-Kane world.

Spurs are scoring more goals than their xG suggests they should be and they’re conceding less than their defence should be. You can say you don’t believe in xG and I’ll allow it… but every club in the world with professional coaches uses it, so we have to accept its existence and relevance to the truth. Teams always revert to the mean with xG. United were 13 points better off than they should have been last season, now we’re seeing the slow death March of EtH. Spurs play very nice football, the passing is sharp, and the desire to move the ball at speed is admirable… but they get wrecked through the middle often. Milk and honey to our players.

I don’t know how our luck is going to ride out. There are rumblings on Twitter that there’s another injury in the mixer. It’s quite nice that our ITK crowd these days aren’t revealing names because they know it’s part of the Arteta strategy to keep things to himself. Regardless, it’ll be annoying to lose another player.

Mikel was keeping his cards close to his chest regarding Martinelli, I would guess he’ll not be about. But we have plenty of options to come in behind him. I could imagine a surprise move in the front three against Spurs. Maybe Kai gets a run as a 9 after impressing in the week, perhaps we see Gabi Jesus take up a wing option, or maybe Luther Van Tross as a false 9.

The only thing we know for sure is Arteta likes to keep people guessing and there’s no reason to think he’ll stop this weekend.

There’s a 95% chance David Raya starts in goal. He’s not put a foot wrong so far and we can all innately feel what he’s offering to the team despite not really seeing him tested yet. I’ve been over this, but the clarity I have on the upgrade is unmatched right now.

He claimed double the high take crosses of Ramsdale last season.

Aaron Ramsdale doesn’t dominate his area consistently and sometimes he hasn’t looked as confident coming for corners. There was a period last season when teams were shooting from corners. I don’t think you’ll get that with a man who has trained with Brentford for half a decade. Raya is in the top 97th percentile for crosses stopped – Aaron is in the 18th.

Raya was 4th for saves last season

We’re yet to see Raya be heavily tested in a goal-peppering day out – but last season, after facing more shots, he save percentage was a whopping 10% higher than Ramsdale. No way Arteta hasn’t looked at the ‘conceded from the first shot’ stat and not thought hard about why that is.

Launch Passing

Under pressure, Aaron Ramsdale puts the short to midrange passing in the bin, and he goes for the launch. This puts us under pressure because he’s not that accurate. David Raya is in the 97th percentile for launch pass completion in the league – Aaron is in the bottom 10%.

The more you look at what David Raya offers the team – the clearer it is that this is a big upgrade we’re making. I don’t see a way back for Aaron, even if there’s a howler tomorrow. There’s more confidence in every department of Raya’s game. It’s a shame, but I guess that’s the type of club we are now… you get a chance to improve, if you don’t do it fast enough, there will be an upgrade.

Our keeping department has seen a lot of turnover – and at some point, someone is going to point the finger at the person coaching these players. Aaron Ramsdale started strong, then faded. We’ve also seen Martinez, Runarson, and Bernd Leno pass through the club and 2 of them got better (Bernd one of the best in the league last season). David Raya absolutely cannot fail at Arsenal without there being a deeper question as to why everyone falls out of favor and tanks in form under the current regime.

The game should be good tomorrow – Spurs can’t defend but they can attack. The first goal will be very important, but both teams have goals in abundance. Is Ange more than good press clips? Are Arsenal able to move past the emotion of a derby game? Can Arteta spring a surprise and another tactical masterclass? We’ll see.

Ok, bit of a long one today. Let’s hope that the game is a BANGER. We’ll be LIVE on the whistle after. It’ll be a BIG one. Cannot promise we will be sober!

Check out our before the whistle podcast below.

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TitsMcGee

Anyone that has payed attention to Havertz the last few seasons would NOT be disappointed with his performance so far because they’d know it’s par for the course with him. He really is living off off that UCL Final goal .

Mr Serge

Havertz and Eddie were shocking today

Josip Skoblar

Reminder: we emphatically defeated a very very mediocre PSV side on Wednesday. I was euphoric like everyone but I was careful enough not to think that we were back on the top of the world.

Ben D

We didn’t play well, but didn’t win this game because Jesus didn’t take that chance and Jorghino had an uncharacteristic brain fart….

Onwards and upwards

Gonsterous

ThelegendaryDB10

Saka looks like he will be next. He is literally being overplayed.

You’ve sort of answered your own question on why players are dropping like flies.

WengerEagle

Imagine a sole goal that he scored 2.5 years ago and his Bundesliga form of 3-4 years ago being the only reference points for justifying the Havertz move. A guy we have had the opportunity to watch largely stink out the league week in and out in the 3 years since.

Arteta has a bit of mad professor in him and this was an ego move/pet-project of his. He’s basically admitted as much

Northbanker

GD4 – most sensible fans wouldn’t be on here posting when the game is on so you’re talking shit

TheLegendaryDB10

Pierre

I agree with you re Øde, he was nowhere to be seen today.

At one point I was urging the back line to pass it to Øde in midfield, and he was far too high up the pitch for some reason, breaking the connection between the forwards and the back line.

Øde was not doing too well in the first half but the moment Rice was injured, we lost our wheels completely in midfield.

Ben D

Ange has got Tottenham playing well, but even so they couldn’t live with us early in the first half… it’s not all doom and gloom

Wegotsupermik

GD4

“Notice who was missing from the forum while the game was in session? Watch and see how many posts critiquing the opinions of those who were here in real time come spewing out. That’s the epitome of a keyboard coward!”

Or they were at the game

Gonsterous

Remember the time arteta pushed an injured partey back on the pitch before we conceded? That’s how little he thinks of players health. He wants them all running every second we don’t have the ball chasing shadows like ode did today may have given arteta a semi and filled him with some adreline. He needs to calm down and learn to soak pressure and hit on the counter. Or learn to give the opposition the ball till they reach our half where we conjust and suffocate the attack. Pressing the opposition head on looks exciting but more of then than… Read more »

Josip Skoblar

Havertz has consistently been an average player with limited skills the past three years. It is not a matter of confidence (although he may lack some at the moment). He is just not a great player.

salparadisenyc

Arteta going Jorginho in the sole pivot lost us the game, big Mik gets the praise but that cost us 3x points.

Hard not to agree with Eagle on Havertz, host of other options in this window that would of fit in seamlessly adding to our system. Kai ran around like a wet fart leaking thru in a NLD ffs, so meek.

David Smith

People saying Partey has been broken by Arteta, but has he been available for sufficient games for that to happen?

psuedo warrior

I can’t understand why Arsenal have to play with so much overloaded ‘Pashun’ at the Emirates. We are far better away from home.

Completely delves the game into chaos. I think a lot of blame for this has to go on Odegaard (probably instructed by Arteta). The bizarre madman pressing isn’t helping

Northbanker

Havertz – trying to give him the benefit of the doubt but each game is making this difficult. He can’t shoot, he seems to be brushed off the ball quite easily for a tall player, and he is painfully slow. If a turnaround is possible then I’d be delighted but I don’t see how at the moment Nketiah – why did he play the whole game? Completely ineffective – has no positioning sense at all for supposedly an instinctive striker. We desperately need to upgrade – new first choice CF with Jesus playing as no 2 or alongside if we… Read more »

TitsMcGee

We broke with no UCL last season. Will be interesting to see how we fare with cups + prem this season.

Guns of SF

65 would have landed Kolo Muani,
Less than that for Vlahovic, or others spouted on LG .
LM LW was covered but Mike drank too much kool about Kai.
Some of us were calling for a striker last summer. but all was glossed over with Rice and kai

Karsa

Playing FB didn’t break Partey. He breaks wherever he plays.

Mento

I have tried to understand the reasons why we signed havertz, this signing is on arteta
I have never seen any player that we signed that looks so ordinary like havertz.

X haka

Whisper it but….
De Zerbi is better.and takes us further than the attritional and egotistical management style of Mick.

zaco

the worst decision of the last transfer window was giving Chelsea 65 million to Chelsea for a player who is not as good or better than any of ESR and Fabio Viera.

David Smith

We’ve had a lot of injuries going back to Wenger time.
He has old school fitness staff, but this injury trend seems to continue.
Over training? Materials in pitch/ training pitches? Our eminent head medic leaving?

izzo

You get what you pay for. Constantly buying Chelsea players needs to stop. I’ve been banging that drum for years. Mikel already overplaying and not using all the players at his disposal. next to no mins for Nelson or ESR.

We fucked up in our transfers bar Rice and Timber. both injured now. Its coming back to bite us already. We’re not competing for the title this season. Man City already ahead. They don’t slip up and we’re already dropping points. Not looking good for the season.

Gonsterous

David Smith

People saying Partey has been broken by Arteta, but has he been available for sufficient games for that to happen?

Yah, definitely on the manager. The RB clowning was just crazy, especially when everyone connected to arsenal in anyway (even the janitor) knew how fragile partey is. We were saying he needs to be handled with gloves and should be rested in the 2nd half so we have a good chance with him. Instead he’s been instructed to cover so much ground that it was inevitable he would get broken.

Madhu

Rice was so robust he comes to Arsenal and is broken. Left calf injury apparently

Marko

Xabi Alonso one to look out for at Leverkusen. Has them looking like challenging this season

Gonsterous

Partey did not break last season. He was over played and had to handle the mid alone. He did for 3/4 of the season and we were top. After he got injured, our season slowly unraveled. That’s why many here was citing how partey was crucial to win the league this season.

Thierry Martinelli

What a tired performance. Wish we were playing midweek to rinse my eyes off what I just watched.

TitsMcGee

Chelsea can’t hit water if they fell off a boat right now and they got rid of Havertz , tells you all you need to know.

GD4

Lol surely you lot aren’t looking to replace Arteta, right?
De Zerbi, Xavi Alonso???

GD4

Newcastle carving up Sheffield United.
3-0 first half

FB

For a game that we were never behind in, and ended up drawing, I wonder what percentage of comments in the game were positive in any way.

We were under strength, played mid-week, missed some chances first half, but still drew.

It’s not the end of the world.

salparadisenyc

One things clear, Arteta took over and top four looked a stretch. Now contending for titles so maybe put that energy elsewhere.

Habesha Gooner

I thought this game was going to be difficult. And I said before the game, spurs were the most threatening they have ever been in recent years. They play positive football. And we needed to defend better.

A lot of players dropped stinkers today too. I hope some of our players are fit for City because we can’t afford to drop any further.

Goona

Playing midweek isn’t an excuse for that shite performance, if they play twice a week they can train less….

Eddu

Its been a while since I witnessed Arsenal that careless in possession. We still need Thomas Partey to keep things neat and tidy in the engine room.

Chris

I’m concerned about the accumulated injuries ahead if the City game and 2nd CL game coming up.

Hopefully only short term absences for Rice and Trossard.

Samesong

We were under strength, played mid-week, FB really disappointed with this comment. Spurs will be even better in the home fixture. We’ve beaten Spurs with worse teams in the past. Jenkinson at RB springs to mind. So are people not allowed to comment during games now? I don’t understand why le grove has to be a place of constant positivity. The North London derby is a cagey affair. And people are nervous. We were the home team and ended up looking like the away team. It doesn’t matter how good the Spurs were today. We needed to bring them down… Read more »

Marko

No one is saying he should get sacked… just best keep our options open in the future if he fucks it up

GD4

Marko,
Would be shocked if Alonzo or De zerbi barring an unexpected. serious dip in form will be staying at Leverkusen or Brighton next summer

Guns of SF

Samesong,

Some folks on here are so full of rainbows, unicorns and never wet the bed.
They generally tell you all you need to know after a loss of tie

salparadisenyc

Alonso looks set to replace Don Carlo whose in last season at Madrid. Fully expect De Zerbi to be at Chelsea or United by Christmas.

MarlinGunner

Entire team was poor today, including Arteta. That being said, Eddie ain’t it. We drop a few levels when he starts. We just are not the same team as with Jesus. Nelson should have come on for him at halftime.
Next “ruthless” upgrade absolutely has to be for Eddie. Edu needs to offer him+cash for Toney on the first day of the January window (if not sooner).

Pierre

On the plus side ، at least Rice was injured playing in a football match ، the majority of our injuries normally occur on the training ground.

FB

“So are people not allowed to comment during games now? ”

Of course they can, and moan, just that there’s never anything remotely positive.

EdTheRed

Another four seasons and another £700 million and we’ll get there.

Guernsey gun

Havertz was a fucking embarrassment second half, a Turkey of a signing 65 million what a joke.

psuedo warrior

Eddie is just hopeless. He was not that good last season and he’s gotten worse this time, somehow.

Needs to be sold

LoveSausage

We’ve bought ourselves a massive problem in Havertz. Whatever else an 8 is supposed to do, his first responsibility is to transition the ball into dangerous zones. You can do that by passing or by carrying. KH’s carrying is non-existent. His passing isn’t PL-level, which can’t be a surprise considering he’s not actually a midfielder. And the whole 8-10 / boxcrasher idea makes a lot of sense in theory until you actually see him attempt a finish. An incredibly arrogant purchase considering that players like Maddison, Szoboszlai and Mac Allister were on the move this summer. There was absolutely no… Read more »

Chris

LS

It’s really hard to disagree with what you are saying there about Havertz.

I’m all for giving players time but the signs really do not look good, and I’m sure we would all love to be proven wrong, but Havertz needs to improve considerably and fast. He had little to no impact when he came on today and his body language is also not the best.

Guernsey gun

Arteta peaked last year, it’s downhill from here. Those 2 chelsea cunts coming on 2nd half summed it up. The arrogant cunt will never win a major trophy.

Pierre

Eddie should have gone off at half time as he was clearly struggling، maybe he left all his energy at the training ground in trying to impress Arteta

Samesong

Of course they can, and moan, just that there’s never anything remotely positive.

Well when we score, good passages of play. there’s plenty of positivity.

I agree with you on some of the comments, but who really gives a toss???

Markymark

GD4 – oh I’d say about 3 hours between your return and the first aggressive and purine post. Well done keep it up

TR7

Never say never in football and life but it would be a miracle if Arsenal ever won the league title with Mikel Arteta in charge. I have always said the only thing he has changed at Arsenal is that he has convinced the owners to spend money. Apart from spending a lot of money he hasn’t changed anything at Arsenal. 3 seasons of massive spending and one top 4 finish…no big deal. The guy only plays his favorites, makes dumb decisions during games especially in terms of substitution and gets outsmarted tactically far too often. When Odegaard signed a mega… Read more »

Graham62

Sorry, am I missing something here?
Did we get stuffed by Spuds?
Rice, Saka, Trossard, Martinelli injured.
Yes, we haven’t hit top form but why all the doom and gloom?

GD4

“ Eddie should have gone off at half time as he was clearly struggling، maybe he left all his energy at the training ground in trying to impress Arteta”

Pierre never knew you had this kinda humor in you🤣

Thorough

So we needed an attacking midfielder, an 8 or 10 if you will, and decided that in an European market where we had Dani Olmo, Kudus, and Maddison, just to mention a few, we’ll rather break the bank for Havertz. And all those 3 were much cheaper. Make this make sense.

Graham62

TR7

Omg, we had to endure years of false dawns under Wenger from 2010 onwards and after 6 games, some fans are throwing in the towel.

TR7

Graham

Well it’s not 6 games, we have a sample size of 3 seasons. Arteta is not the guy, he never was.

Samesong

How was this Sheffield United team beating Spurs up until the 90th minute? They are shit.

Guns of SF

G62
NLD today, big expectations but again we see the questionable subs from Mike.
He clearly has his favorites and its hurting the team.
ESR cannot get a look. Nelson too Jesus spot, and Eddie stayed on.
Who was going to threaten their goal? Was he trying to stop them scoring? head scratching again. but hey it is Mike A . so more of the same.

Pierre

Trippier knows how to put the ball on a sixpence that’s for sure ، similar to Maddison

Guns of SF

Sheffield are getting pummeled

LoveSausage

Chris, Yeah, he’s our player and I’d love to see him come good. But there is too much squinting and clutching for straws right now. Declan Rice adapted to our system much faster than he has any right to. So did Timber. Havertz shouldn’t be this far off. And if we’re serious about competing for the title, he can’t get the Xhaka treatment with a 2-year adaptation period. Another issue is that his backup is nowhere near good enough either. Vieira looks a different player from last season – kudos to him. But that’s a very low bar. He’s not… Read more »

Johng

We have the nucleus of a very good team but Arteta will have to put his ruthless hat back on in a couple of positions
Left 8 and striker being the two I can see

Samesong

“Trippier knows how to put the ball on a sixpence ”

Pierre that sixpence term my late father used to use the term all time. Brings back some good memories

Pierre

I’m not sure it’s too clever saka taking the piss out of Maddison by mimicking his throwing the dart celerbration ، that kind of thing normally comes back to bite you on the arse.

Samesong

6 and 7s

Samesong

10 -0 Newcastle will win

salparadisenyc

Throrough Hard not to be a fan of Arteta taking all into account, the backlash on this site after a weak performance is mental. TR7 putting up a white flag in late September. That said the Havertz signing with options available showcases Arteta’s biggest weakness of being too clever/Galaxy brain whatever we want to label it. Whoever said we brought more problems than solutions with Havetz is spot on for me. I don’t think it’s a hill Mikel will die on due to other options available in the squad. But lets just hope it doesn’t undo our season to get… Read more »

Johng

Viera is not it, he has vision and skill but no strength and more importantly no pace. 2 out of 4 are not enough

Samesong

I thought Viera was ok until he got injured.

Johng

Just think he cut back too much because he has no pace to run past people

Pierre

Arteta said taking off Vieira at half time was tactical، this tells me that Arteta still has his favourites as Vieira certainly wasn’t our worse player in the first half and we played pretty decent until just before tottenham scored their first. So he takes Vieira off whilst Odegaard remained on the pitch despite having a nightmare.. I can understand Eddie staying on up to a point as jesus is still coming back from injury. I thought we should have started with nelson on the left and jesus up top as it would have allowed a better use of the… Read more »

X haka

Suspected the injuries would pile up, the exact moment we returned CL.
Europa League is a picnic in comparison

That’s why last season was our chance to win the league.
Leicester did it, so no effing excuses.
Its such attritional with Mick and that’s why Rice , Timber and Partey are all injured.

I guarantee Havertz won’t get injured all season. LOL.

Guns of SF

Pierre
Vieira hit the deck a lot this game. maybe that was why, Spurs looked strong, played physical and dare I say won a lot of the 50 50 and other tackles.
IT does lead to the question, ESR is far stronger than both Kai and Vieira. Would have been better used earlier

TR7

Emile Smith Row should hand in a transfer request in January if Arteta continues to ruin his career for making his Harvertz project successful.

Un

Do t know why everyone is on Havertz

Eddie Nketiah did nothing. How on earth he was kept on the pitch while Rice was taken off I’ll never know
Sorry Pierre
He was horse shit

LoveSausage

X haka,

Mikel deserves some criticism for today but I really don’t see how you can blame him for Timber’s, TP’s and Rice’s injuries. Last season was unprecedented in terms of having a winter World Cup. You see players paying the price across Europe now.

rollen

Sal Arteta fucked up this game big time, when he perform shit ots ok to criticize.
He got a lot of glory on Wendnesday, today was a fail.
Make no mistake spuds are shit.
This was must win game if we want to compete for top 4 not even a title.

Mr Serge

Exactly love sausages

Un

Pierre
Honestly what are you talking about?? Vieira is his pet project and a favourite
Leaving Eddie on was the issue
Your pet boy
He was shit
Absolutely shit
t

Johng

Un Rice was injured but Eddie was poor

Madhu

It’s 6 games and we are 4 points off top. So early in the season against Man City is now a must win gane otherwise we will have to fight to stay in top 4. I am not sure why we have to keep being positives when the performance and the result says otherwise. It’s realistic to be critical right now. The question is back on what is the target for this season? Spurs gifts is two goals and we gift them back again. Ridiculous performance

Samesong

8-0 what a battering.

Mr Serge

Timber, partey, martinelli, trossard not available plus rice and Vieira off at half time
This is not on Arteta put those 5 players in the team and we win easily

Guns of SF

13 / 6 for shots for us
13/ 5 for Spurs
54% possession for Spurs
435 passes for Spurs, 375 for us.

Stats dont lie. We did not dominate this game at all. 2-2 is fair some say, but we relied on an OG and a handball to get 2 goals.

Spurs score 2 from open play

We have to do better than this. My worry was a slow start this season, and it gonna up uphill now. True we were missing key players but in game tactics was woeful

salparadisenyc

Rollen

I literally said up comments we dropped points in this game due to Arteta mistakes, going single pivot with Jorginho. In fact his subs were very suspect across board.

Spurs are shit, tactically naive. Going to get slaughtered against in form sides at the business end of table like incoming Liverpool. Had we put in the performance we did mid week scoreline would of been similar.

X haka

Havertz is not injured though
Why?

Lazy fucker don’t put a shift in

Chris

8 different scorers for Newcastle

local

“How was this Sheffield United team beating Spurs up until the 90th minute? They are shit.” – Samesong

Because Spurs are average at best. They will finish in top 8 not because they are good.

It’s because they only have PL and FA Cup games to care about whereas others like West Ham and Villa are still in 4 competitions.

We made them look good today.

Paul Mc.

Proper Manager ASAP.

psuedo warrior

Spurs had more of the ball because they played with more emotional maturity.

Arsenal are far too intense and helter skelter.

I thought Carragher was spot on in his assessment. Henry had made similar comments last season
https://firstsportz.com/football-news-jamie-carragher-calls-out-mikel-artetas-arsenal-for-being-emotional/

G8

We looked jaded and drained from the start
How Saka is kept on for the whole game is a mystery.
He should have got sunbed of at half time.
Spuds were all over us
Midfield was a disaster
Nketiah was rubbish
Havertz say no more
We were lucky to get out with a point.

G8

Subbed off**

WengerEagle

I just tuned in for the last 30 mins of that one and I literally don’t recall ever (barring that infamous 08′ Derby side) seeing a worse PL side than this Sheff Utd.

They made Newcastle look like Heynckes’ 2013 Bayern Munich.

Chitrak

Eddie is a limited player, but he is homegrown so ok. Havertz is galaxy brain fucking our chances. And what’s the process btw?

Johng

Golf in levels between championship and Premier league really showed there. Sheffield utd seem to have decided to tskd thd money from a season in the prem and then go back down having not really spent and changed their wage structure