by .

Sometimes, the narrative isn’t about you… it’s about your noisy neighbors.

Arsenal beat AFC Bournemouth. It was so professional and cutting. I’d call it pleasant/boring. You know the afternoons I’m talking about. Invincibles era vs Derby. A surefire three points. Second gear into town to pick up a paper on a Sunday.

… you know who wanted a day like that? Manchester City. They lost 2-1 to Wolves. Their xG was less than 1. Wolves scored two off of 0.5 xG. It was DELICIOUS.

… you know who else wanted a day like ours? Erik Ten Having-a-mare. A manager who definitely took the ketchup out of the player canteen has slumped from crisis to crisis since finishing the season in the top 4 through sheer luck. Now his brand of football is on the struggle bus. His tenure there has entered a death spiral. Players are leaking, journalists are ganging up, his tenure looks dead… and losing his 4th game of the season to Palace really did not help this vibe.

Arsenal didn’t care for drama – they just did the job.

Eddie won a penalty – Odegaard finished with a sputtery Jorginho-style run.

Saka scored the second when he was first to the Jesus header that hit the post.

Odegaard won the next penalty in the second half, but instead of taking it himself, he gave it to Kai Havertz who scored his first goal in something silly like 17 Premier League games.

The fourth came so late in the game I’d already switched over to the City game to see what was going down. Martin Odegaard flew a lovely freekick into the Bournemouth box, the only player who challenged was Ben White who saw his looping header slip into the top corner.



There were some really nice bits.

I loved that the team rallied around Kai Havertz. You saw firsthand how the players feel about him. They know he’s a top pro, they rate him, and they can see he’s in a confidence rut. If you’ve slandered him recently, I hope you felt a pang of guilt. These guys on the pitch are human like you and me… sometimes you just need a bit of support. I loved how good the away fans were to him. All love out there.

David Raya got the nod despite Ramsdale having a sound game in the week. The Spaniard was excellent. His passing went from 66% against Spurs to 87%. Joe Willock doesn’t hit those numbers. He made one really excellent save down low where he held the ball. It just felt like the sort of strike Aaron might have palmed into danger. It was a basic game, but he did well. We need to see him on a run before we can truly judge… perhaps City will tell us more.

Declan Rice had another really good performance. I told you last week Arteta was making pointed comments to the player about flaking out after his back injury that wasn’t a back injury. Arteta expects his players to be beasts. Declan wasn’t last week when he flounced out of the Spurs game. This week, he dominated on every level. He’s just a brilliant player. He controlled the midfield, he was aggressive, he was ballerina-like, he opened the game up, and he didn’t let anything get past him. It was a MONSTER performance.

… now imagine Partey next to him for City?

The star of the day was our defense. We look so solid with our key men fit. Saliba and Gabriel are frightening. They looked scary. They play scary. They are forming such a monster partnership. The big test is Haaland next week – but for me, these two are a Hollywood pairing.

There was only one sour note to speak of – Bukayo Saka hobbling off with an injury



But most likely not.

Arteta should have prioritized resting Saka. He took Eddie off. A player who won’t play much over the next few weeks. Saka’s injury, if it’s serious, is on Mikel. You could say hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I think most Arsenal fans have been calling this injury for weeks. Our best player doesn’t have a legit back-up. That is so problematic for our season.

But let’s lean on hope. Saka is good at taking himself off. We’ve seen this move before. It’s not a bad injury until the .com tells us so.

Still, let’s be positive. We have City next week after they lost to Newcastle and Wolves. Martinelli and Partey COULD be back for that game. Finally, we have a fit squad to choose from against our biggest enemy. We’re also 1 point off City. It is wild to think that just a few weeks ago I was defending Arteta’s right to rotate players – now we could go top if we beat City. Remember the catastrophists who get it wrong over and over again about Arsenal.

Right, that’s me done. I’m writing this after a 19-hour day – it’s not my best work, so I’ll be back with something better a bit later.

Check out the pod below.

572 Responses to “BORING, BORING, ARSENAL”

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  1. Siddeeq

    Before reparations, We could start with remains of Prince Alemayehu, easy to find just like Patrice Lumumbas tooth.

  2. raptora

    Foxy: “almost another training ground injury there!!”

    It’s even worse on the widescreen video – turns out Big Gabby was waiting on the other side of the tunnel with a football in his hands that he kicks towards Partey after all the other players had slapped his back, quite hard by the look of it! Explains Rice’s recent back problems.

  3. Foxy

    At last watched the Bournemouth game.

    Was really surprised how little involvement Havertz had in our final third play despite being mainly in that area of the pitch. Our left sided attacks usually went through Zini and onto Jesus which makes me wonder why Zini being such a hopeless defender doesn’t actually start as our left 8.

    Havertz just doesn’t seem suited to our intricate tight area final third play and maybe would be better suited to a deeper role where he can play more vertically and better use his height, tackling ability and straight line speed. He could almost become part of a double pivot or even an inverted LB.

    Eddie looked a bit slow and clumsy with nowhere near the dynamism of Jesus.and not big enough to bully their defenders.

    Odegaard had a really busy game and was probably our best front 5 player on the day. Would like to see him move more central at times to vary our attacking lines as he is very much a right 8 at the moment.

    Defensively we are really solid especially when we have a proper LB on the pitch. Our key weakness is when Zini goes into left 8 mode and Havertz doesn’t fall back to cover him, or Rice/Gabriel do not move across.

    Nelson and ESR both suffered from Zini having gone off as most of our play then went down the left side but ESR to his credit did move across to get on the ball when he could.

  4. Dissenter

    From your manifesto , you’re not centrist, very right of center you are
    What even provoked the nonsensical babble and slavery and reparations ?
    People with centrist views don’t typically veer off into controversial talk unprovoked . They tend to stay away from politics as far as they can. You on the other hand can’t wait to go there.
    You’re overstating the viewpoints of others so that you can look grounded.

  5. jwl

    “The UEFA Youth League is an annual club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) since 2013.”

    I have never heard of this competition until five minutes ago while reading Jeorge Bird on twitter who giving updates on arsenal u19s versus lens u19s, where we are losing one nil at half time. Hopefully our seniors are doing better at half time six hours from now.

  6. China1


    “‘China you’d best be advised to stick to football.
    This is ignorance on the highest level.First of all how dya know which of those slaves were actually sold and not captured? Who defined the entity as Africa?
    You, him or her?”

    I don’t. And interestingly do you think those asking for reparations are only seeking them from former slave owners? No. It will be all the American tax payers being asked to foot the bill. Including all the descendants of those who never had slaves. Including the descendant of all those who fought for slaves to be freed. Including all the people who immigrated to America long after slavery ended and had nothing to do with it. Do you not see how the idea can’t be workable in a proper way?

    Let’s consider a an equivalent. The British fucked China *HARD* over the last 200 years. The Brits drove the opium wars, took concessionary land from downtown in major Chinese cities after overpowering their military, took Hong Kong for 99 years. So here’s a question for you. How much money should I give my wife to make things right? With my son being half of both should he also pay his mum something as an apology when he grows up? Or as a victim should I pay him?

    Do you not see how ridiculous the notion of reparations for things which happened 100+ years ago is? It’s batshit insane. I have nothing to do with taking HK any more than I do slave traders taking Africans. I don’t owe anyone money and neither does anyone else owe me money for historical crimes against my ancestors.

    “Africa is a foreign concept to the natives who saw themselves at the time as members of a community, an ethnic group or a kingdom, and not some European construct, created with the goal to divide, conquer and plunder.”

    I see. So did the local slavers see their own slaves as not part of their community? Pretty neat that those guys are off the hook imo…

  7. Janky

    “Biggest crime in history.”

    And he’s talking to China1…

    That’s just another example of why we should stick to football on this football blog.

  8. GD4

    “ I don’t. And interestingly do you think those asking for reparations are only seeking them from former slave owners? No. It will be all the American tax payers being asked to foot the bill. Including all the descendants of those who never had slaves. Including the descendant of all those who fought for slaves to be freed. Including all the people who immigrated to America long after slavery ended and had nothing to do with it. Do you not see how the idea can’t be workable in a proper way?”

    China, you seem like a reasonable fella, and I’ll also give you the benefit of doubt, cuz everyone has a blind side. I’m frankly uncomfortable going down this track cuz I’m not African and don’t want to speak for people of color.

    But I’ll address some of your points and localize it to African Americans.

    So, in your opinion, those ho lived though the horrors of the transatlantic trade, dealt with Jim Crow and segregation rules, were marginalized by white supremacy, thrown into ghettos who’s demise was preordained by government collusion in allowing drugs to infiltrate and destroy the very fabric of the community …. Should just grin and bear it?

    Are you joking or kidding?

    You can look at a person the wrong way in America and be sued for causing emotional distress and liable for compensation yet the biggest government sanctioned attack on a group of people should be allowed to pass without the victims and their generations being compensated … how sanctimonious of you?

    So why don’t you complain when tax payer money is paid out to victims of government misconduct, be it the police or health care systems? Oh I forgot it’s just those dark skinned people so they don’t really matter, right? Is that your attitude or position ?
    That’s a mind set that reeks of white privilege.
    Personally if I were advocating for reparations it would read as follows.

    No taxes of any kind
    Free health care and education
    And a zero interest mortgage for starters.

    For the next 100 years.
    That’s a start.

  9. jwl

    I agree, Kadibia. Le grove is meant to be a place to get away from politics but a bunch of clowns can’t help themselves today.

  10. Pierre

    W. Willy
    “Arteta is going to persist with Havertz. Why? Well it’s not the price tag forcing him. It’s his profile. Arteta wanted his profile. A tall player that could join the attack and offer an aerial threat that nobody else offers. An aerial threat arriving from deep is harder to track than a static striker between centre backs. A player who is versatile (like the others) that can play striker and offer a transition pivot that can compete with centre backs. A player who has goals in him. A player with a strong work ethic that can press and force turnovers”

    Might have well just have kept Joe Willock ، he would give you almost all of those above plus he has pace، strength and desire.


  11. China1

    Think it’s a shame if ramsdale doesn’t start as it’s a nice match for him to pick up imo

    But maybe arteta feels he wants Raya coming to city warm off (hopefully) a good CL performance and win.

    I’m not against that line of thinking, would personally go ram tho

  12. Wicked Willy


    I really liked Willock and saw a lot of potential in him, but I’m not sure he’s a good fit for our system. Nothing to back that up, just instinct.

    It’s also likely that Havertz’s ceiling is WAY higher than Joe’s, albeit it hasn’t been seen since he went to Chelsea.

    I would check out that Raumdeuter video I posted, would be really interested to know if you still feel Willock fits the bill having seen it.

  13. Nigel Tufnel

    I know I’m late to the discussion, but Willy posted something from Mike McDonald that I’ve been saying for about 2 months here…. and still people don’t look past goals and assists.

    Even some of my favourite posters ignore everything about his midfield play,, and again complain that he hasn’t scored yet..

    I get it.. the penalty goal was charity… can you let that go? It was still a great team moment for camaraderie. It wasn’t done for stats for fans to use.

    He hasn’t gotten into the goals yet, but he’s a CM and he’s doing a lot more than Xhaka did in pressing and breaking up play, winning balls for us.

    The goals will come, and it’s an important part of the game for him too.
    It’s just not fair to say that he’s playing badly, because it’s so obvious from all the comments that many fans don’t even notice the midfield game, since they only talk about goals or lack of.

    As I keep saying.. he’s not playing as a striker, so I’m not judging him solely on goals. I definitely want him to score and assist a lot too, but there’s a lot more needed from a midfielder.

  14. Markymark

    Nigel – the issue is of course it’s big money for a guy where we are keep on having to say , he’s good off the ball , the goals will come etc. I believe he was 1/2 goals per game in Germany. He needs to be 1/3 for us I’d say. However as Kai is here we’d better play him I suppose to see if it does build. I’m not against that but the ESR needs his minutes as well. I’d be amazingly happy if both are accommodated and hit great form. If I can only have one in form and one gone then it’s ESR staying all day long

  15. Nigel Tufnel

    “I think the difference is Xhaka played the position like a midfielder asked to get forward and also as player who had played deeper in mid his whole career whereas Kai to this point is still playing it like a forward asked to play midfield.”

    Well said.
    I think he will eventually find a good balance.

  16. Tom

    ” the issue is of course it’s big money for a guy where we are keep on having to say , he’s good off the ball , the goals will come etc. I believe he was 1/2 goals per game in Germany. He needs to be 1/3 for us I’d say.”

    Saka, our best player the last two seasons, didn’t reach (all comp)what you expect Havertz to deliver then.
    That’s why I said early on he’d be considered a failure by most no matter what he did.

  17. salparadisenyc

    Read something about Havertz the other day that stated he was better “off the ball” with his movement, think that thread was also echoed on the Patreon as well for its hilarity.

    Nothing like a mid fielder in a possession based side thats better off the ball.

  18. allezkev

    Might be too soon for this evening but it’s encouraging to see Thomas Partey joining in full training the other day, we may even see him on the bench vs Man City…?

  19. Markymark

    Tom – he’ll be forgiven I think if we start getting open play scoring from Kai – let’s hope it happens.
    Got nothing against the guy apart from my hatred of Chelsea and dismay over ESR… I’m trying to love him

  20. rollen

    lol slavery, do you guys know that there is over 50M slaves now? how about do something about present and future instead talking bullock about the past.

  21. Tom

    Marky, Havertz will start scoring from open play sooner or later but he’ll never be prolific at it.
    When I said I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Arsenal shirt when Sal first mentioned the rumors, I couldn’t imagine the club would pay what they did for him plus the high wage package.
    Arteta’s judgment and coaching is on the line a bit with this one and he’ll continue to play him hoping he cones good, but the carry on from some posters has been nothing short of – set my hair on fire- hysterical.

  22. Ernest Reed

    Boring Boring Le Grove

    Yep, tends to happen when you offer a new post once a week. Gives the usual cast of characters the opportunity to “wax poetic” whilst putting the others into a comatose state.

  23. jwl

    “The referees’ body, Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), has sent Liverpool the audio relating to the controversial VAR error that cost them a goal at Tottenham on Saturday. An interval review of the incident is ongoing but the relevant audio has been shared with Liverpool after the club formally requested a copy on Monday.”

  24. Tom

    I must be the only one here who finds the Liverpool VAR debacle funny, almost as funny as Tottenham fans gloating from that win that is.

  25. karim

    Lens have the best crowd in France. Can’t wait.
    Careful though, they’ve already beaten us in the past and will believe they have a chance. Remember Rennes ?
    Strong team please, it’s only game 2.

  26. Tom

    jwl, I’ve also gotten my hands on the audio from my sources, here it is.

    -Darren: Hey, Dan whats you make of that sweet UAE gig midweek?
    -Dan: Loved it. These Arabs really know how to treat you don’t they, free comps all the way.
    Not like these English FA tightwads.
    Bring your own booze a bit of a drag, though
    -Darren: Yea, drag. That and hiding it in soda cans.
    Hang on a minute, we’ve got a close one here.
    Never mind, it looks good.
    -Dan: Yea, looks good.
    – Darren: Yea, UAE is where its at I tell you.

    A phone rings and Dan picks up

    -Dan: It’s that prick Webb for you, Darren
    -Darren: Oh fuck, what does he want now?

  27. Positive pete

    GD4.Re Reparations or as I prefer to call it.” Taking the piss”.Think Clint had the right idea when quizzed on the subject.He’s response was “ I didn’t own any slaves & you didn’t pick any cotton.I don’t owe a damn cent”.As usual he nailed it.
    Let’s keep this a football blog & skip the Bollocks.

  28. jwl

    I was wondering what you were talking about, Samesong. Hopefully those fcukers haven’t migrated to Lens region yet and our lads are safe for now.

  29. Ernest Reed

    “ I’m w/ you there, Liverpool living and dying by the VAR sword brings a smile.‘

    Could have just as easily if not actually happened to Arsenal. The integrity of the game is very much at hand as the problem is not VAR, but rather a horribly inept PGMOL that should concern everyone.

    Getting harder to watch matches as you cringe at every questionable play now.

  30. MidwestGun

    Yep.. Sal.. it’s coming. Teta is a get in there play mofo kind of dude. And to be fair it usually works until it doesn’t.

    How y’all doing? ready for this… aren’t y’all sick of politics.. damn.. It’s everywhere. Used to be you went to the poll you voted… end of. Now it’s in your face 24 hours a day.

  31. Savage

    “lol slavery, do you guys know that there is over 50M slaves now?”

    I saw some institutions like A21 saying this, but I looked at their definition: Anyone who lives on the same property where they work is a slave. Hahahahahahahahaha.

  32. salparadisenyc


    Considering it’s Tuesday/Champions league we’ve time to rest, no harm in sharpening the tools ahead of Sunday’s big one.

    But for once though i’d love to see Saka chilled but have feeling he’s the first name on the team sheet.

  33. Tom

    Ernest, yea, integrity.
    Like players rolling around after minimal contact trying to get fellow professionals sent off?
    The Tottenham fans’ reaction is a perfect example why most football fans dont give a shit about integrity of much anything these days.
    And let’s not pretend they’re an outlier either.
    United fans gladly took the Onana decision from matchday one in stride didn’t they.
    Liverpool fans are no different either.

    It’s football, no one’s curing cancer here.

  34. MidwestGun


    You know Saka is doing 90. I bet he has never said .. can’t play coach. The anti-Ozil. Will be interested to see if Trossard is good to go though.

    I really want to beat Man Cheaty like everyone else but I feel like the CL is just too big to phone it in.. balancing act and timely subs needed.

  35. MidwestGun

    Embarrassing.. audio.. can’t do anything…? seriously… not that much time had passed, stop the game restart with a kickoff, add time at the end. done and done. Morons running the place is the problem.

  36. salparadisenyc

    That is far worse than envisioned, bunch of clowns.

    Makes me think of how buttoned up the CAA and FAA air traffic controllers are likely making less money than this lot juggling incredible levels of traffic.

  37. GD4

    XI LENS: Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Frankowski, Abdul Samed, Mendy, Machado; Sotoca, Fulgini; Wahi

    XI ARSENAL: David Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Trossard, Saka, Gabriel Jesús. #UCL 21:00

  38. GD4

    Why won’t Mikel give a banged up Saka a break and manage this man’s career. Seen many a young lads Career by being over played at a young age

  39. Dissenter

    If the VAR officials took pride in their work, they would have stopped the game
    The games gets stopped often, for all sorts of reasons
    One time they gave a penalty to United after the final whistle

    “I can’t do anything..I can’t do anything”

    Yes you could have you muppet.

  40. MidwestGun

    Kind of like a lifeguard watching somebody drown.. sorry can’t save him.. will take too long to swim out there.

    So you are gonna do nothing? Ya.. policy if you can’t save him let him drown. Are you ok with that? ya.. kind of tired, anyhow, almost time for lunch the sharks will probably eat him. Nothing I can do.

  41. salparadisenyc

    Strong indeed have to think very similar to lineup he’s rolling out vs City so may well lube the chain.

    Hopefully see some early exits with Partey, ESR, Nelson, Vieira and Eddie seeing some action.

  42. China1

    I can’t listen to the audio as it’s late here but read the transcript and it’s a hot mess

    Curious to see what pool day next

    Re the match. Strong lineup. A bit stronger that’s id have liked myself so fingers crossed for np injuries

    If we win today and the other game is a draw we’ll be 5 points ahead of second place already

    If we win the third match we’ll be basically qualified after 3 games lol

    Let’s hope it all plays out

  43. China1

    I’ll be very surprised and happy if saka is off at half time but I don’t think Mikel will do it

    He’ll really doesn’t like to bring his best players off early regardless of circumstances