by .

Mikel Arteta finally resolved his psychological issues with Pep Guardiola, putting City’s treble winners to the sword in an afternoon of extraordinarily high-level football – the likes usually reserved for a Champions League semi-final.

Arsenal nicked the game 1-0 – all four of Mikel’s subs combining for the winner. Thomas Partey found the run of Tomiyasu – the man from Japan felt bold enough to run at goal from central midfield – he nodded the ball to Kai Havertz who used his body to shield Ake’s incoming challenge, the big German then prodded the ball to Gabi Martinelli who struck first time and scored off the head of the Ake. A wondrous moment.

Make no mistake, this was an outstanding result and one of the best performances of Mikel Arteta’s career. He slayed the City monster without Bukayo Saka or Gabriel Martinelli. He went with an unorthodox starting 11 that most people were whinging about in their group chats.



No Partey?

No Martinelli?

This was a side that had four or five players that had been in 3rd gear all season – the idea they’d all come good and deliver a perfect game was outrageous.

Well, after 5 minutes, we nearly let them in with some disgusting defending. Raya was off the beat, Rice was lost next to Jorginho, no one looked like they believed they could execute the game plan.

But there was a game plan and it seemed to revolve around slowing things down – we were methodical. Slow. We made City come for us. This was a more mature Arsenal plan. It didn’t look good at times, our keeper was all over the place, some commented that his performance looked a bit like Petr Cech’s when he was asked to play with the ball at his feet and nearly scored an own goal. He couldn’t find people long or short. There was an altercation with Gabriel at one point after a very hairy moment.

The good news is the problems we were having weren’t because of a lack of bravery, it was a lack of belief. Things just weren’t clicking. The first half felt like two world-class heavy-weight superstars feeling each other out.

Kovacic wasn’t just feeling us out – he was trying to break ankles. He managed to dodge a red card after a nasty tackle, then moments later, he somehow evaded a second yellow for a very second yellow kind of offense. I don’t want to drone on here – by PGMOL mistakes seem to be getting normalized at this point. Like they’re part of the entertainment. Howard Webb should be called the CAO (Chief Apology Officer) because he doesn’t seem to do much beyond beg for forgiveness.

Lucky for us, we didn’t need an apology, just the three points.

The second half saw an uptick in intent and purpose. Arsenal moved things up a gear, we were more aggressive, Declan Rice moved into a more advanced position, and we took the handbrake off.

Arsenal looked like the dominant force. City didn’t really have answers. They resorted to sideways passing. They went into their shell. Big names didn’t step up.

Our players did. David Raya upped the level – he went from looking like a Brentford back-up keeper to the next-level vision of what that position could mean for us. He pinged a low crossfield ball to Gabriel Jesus into feet that was immaculate. His swagger moved everyone up a level.

Arteta rolled the dice, he brought on a set of players that represented the starting 11 we wanted to see. I’ve been through the goal, but I haven’t stated how good all the subs where. Thomas Partey reminded us all that he’s still a king in the world of 6s. Martinelli played like he’s been fit for 6 weeks. Tomi and Kai added control and aggression to a game that needed it.

We saw out the win, our first in the league since Pep moved over from Bayern, it was a beautiful, beautiful moment.

Before I get into some spicy takes – I thought the crowd brought the fire in the second half. They were loud, they met moment, and they showed that last season was no fluke. It was absolutely brilliant to hear!

The big star of the game for me was Mikel Arteta. He showed so much restraint to keep unfit players on the bench. These were things he wasn’t capable of last season and they cost him. It was so amusing to read all the fake ITKs try and best each other pregame with SAKA IS GOING TO START only to be felled by the sword of Arteta’s fake news. Saka didn’t train at all last week, he was never in contention for England, but the club let the story run.

It wasn’t perfection – Trossard had to roll off because of a hamstring problem – then Arteta played Martinelli who was not signed off by the medics. This sort of thing is funny when you win, but ideally, you don’t want to roll the dice on big players 8 games in. Still, a worry for another day. He has 2 weeks off along with Saliba, Trossard, and Saka. One side note worth mentioning – where are all the Reiss fanboys right now? I thought he was back-up for at least one player in our squad? Seems he’s not for Saka or Martinelli. Again I ask… why sign?

Declan Rice was double saucy again. He has adapted to our system at breakneck speed. His power is frightening because he combines it with speed. He was everywhere. I love his slide tackle block to run move he has, he did it twice, it’s definitely a thing. His presence in that midfield gives everyone so much security. He really does make the game seem so simple.

David Raya has had a rickety start to his time at Arsenal – but one thing is clear, Arteta loves him, and he’s our number 1 even with bad 45s in him. His first half was poor by any standard, amongst the worst we’ve seen over the last 5 years. Second half though, oh my, so much to love. He’s basically a third centre-back that has long ball-homing missile capabilities. Arteta was pretty brutal about what he liked after the game.

‘The height that he played. He’s got big ones. When the crowd go like this, other players, they start to kick balls everywhere. I said, make sure you don’t do that. He didn’t do it, and at the end he was rewarded’

He also celebrated his control of the box and his bravery when claiming the ball. It’s curtains for Aaron, he’ll be gone in January, bar a miracle.

Another side note – the ‘I WISH TO SUB KEEPERS’ comment was a comfort blanket for Aaron Ramsdale and tacticos who believe everything Mikel says these days. He’s not playing that game in a position that doesn’t need it.

Let’s talk about our defensive display and sum it up with three statistics:

Manchester City:

4 attempted shots

1 shot on target

Erling Haaland xG – 0.00

A relative told me before the game he didn’t believe in statistics – and I get it now, because I CANNOT believe we did that to the treble winners.

It is unspeakable how good those numbers are. Has Pep G ever been reduced to such a meek attacking output in his entire career? I have my doubts.

That requires the whole team to focus. But the key men for me were Gabriel, Rice, Saliba and our fullbacks. They were unreal all game. Saliba and Gabriel are wrecking ball defenders in ballerina outfits. A very progressive image, no doubt, but exactly what we’ve needed for years. They live for cleansheets and they want to entertain while they do it. That said, we’ve been BAD at home. Not yesterday. They set a new benchmark for concentration and control. Arteta needs to bottle that so we can see it more often as the season progresses.

So, to sum up – that was a very high-level game where there were basically three mistakes and one was punished. Arsenal showed they can mix it with the best in the world. They set a new standard. They slayed the boogie monster that’s been hiding under the bed for 12 City league games in a row. Arsenal offered up a world-class performance. We need to see more of those. But the fact we’re doing things like that so early in the season tells you all you need to know about where this project is going.

City is still the gold standard – we have a long way to go – but now we all know that we can achieve at the levels we want to.

Statement win, world-class performance, a message to every team in he world – this new Arsenal is coming for your prizes.

Enjoy the next two weeks – and get DEEP into the mixer with our latest podcast.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Madhu

    One more attribute is Penalties and Rams sucks at that. Not sure about Raya though. Either ways the thing that stands out to me is Arteta talking to Raya in between the game. Atleast I don’t remember seeing that with Rams. It could point to a lot of things though. Whatever it is Rams should be given enough chances to prove. Under similar condition then we would be able to compare and contrast both GKs

  2. MG42

    On MOTD2 they contradicted the village idiot when stating that Raya has problems with crosses as has been evident. Also what he did at Brentford has nothing to do with how Arteta wants him to play at Arsenal. So far that has not been very inspiring.

  3. Nigel Tufnel

    Gabeast on twitter:

    “The way Liverpool fans been trying so hard to make everyone care about Szoboszlai you’d think he’ll at least have a higher G&A than Havertz.”

    Not just scousers, lots of the legrove genius scouting department are residing in Szobo’s colon.

  4. China1

    If the only way we judge a CM is by G/A then you’re going to get some very good players getting underrated and some unremarkable players looking quite good

    Havertz hasn’t be slated primarily for his lack of goals or assists but far more importantly because he’s looked mostly inconsequential (good cameo at city tho).

    Szobozlai has been extremely influential in liverpools mostly good start to the season and he’s fresh off the boat. If you think havertz has been similar or better I dunno what to say lol

    Anyway hopefully he turns shit and havertz kicks on, but it’s fair to say there’s been a huge gap between the two players so far

  5. China1

    Ode himself doesn’t have that many goals or assists so far this season I think – no one paying attention is reading much into that

  6. China1

    Raya was poor and very nervy in the first half and solid in the second half, it’s really that simple

    The good thing is that by not taking him off and because he played better second half he’ll hopefully have regained his confidence and be fine for the Chelsea game

    If he’d come off at half time (would’ve been justified by mikels own logic) then his confidence would’ve been shot to pieces and would be much harder to rebuild

    That said it was also a gamble because if he plays the second half as messy as the first half we’d have probably lost. Can’t get away with that for 90 mins against city

  7. Markymark

    MG42 / GD4 – you could save yourself the trouble by just picking a room with a large mirror and just talk into it. I mean you are the same person right? This is the strangest double act since Jameson and his fake brother on the Gooner forum.

    What have you dudes got against village idiots? Do they cause you problems down in the Chalfont’s? Why does GD4 no longer say Bruv? Bruv! 👊 so many mysteries

  8. Markymark

    Pierre – when my desperation over Raya reaches your Odegaard and Eddie proportions I’ll take this on board.
    My chief concern is that very big characters in the squad may leave for a guy who is only there due to his intense loyalty/ Spanish culture link to Arteta. Raya may in future be a big influence moving forward we will see.

  9. Bertie Mee

    Couldn’t agree more with China1. Havertz has been a shadow of Szoboslai . Nowhere near him in quality
    The stat on Saliba is fascinating . 77% win rate with him, 46% without. That is why we didn’t win the league last season. He got injured

  10. Markymark

    China 1 – in most situations Raya wouldn’t have got away with it against any premier team. I have noted before , though it’s obvious so no great intellectual jump from me. That last season Ramsdale and the defence were sprung very early on numerous occasions at the Emirates. This nearly occurred again. Therefore is it also the set-up?
    We won so overall that’s great but we also got very lucky

  11. Wicked Willy

    Is that not the case with City and Rodri? They have similar win rated with and without him do they not? Almost all teams through history have a single point of failure player, which juts goes to show how big a factor Lady Luck is.

  12. Bob N16

    I think TT would do a more than credible job if a replacement is needed for Saliba. With Timber out we’re slightly short at FB cover but with BW and Kiwior also available at CB, I think we’d be ok.

  13. Markymark

    WW – indeed , though it’s taken an unusual suspension to show this with City. He’ll be back of course. City appeared to be blessed with lack of injuries or have some sort of incredible conditioning program. Liverpool were of course taken out by the VVD injury. Perhaps City are overdue a mishap or three

  14. Pierre

    The thing is with Havertz, there is no problem with his ability to hold the ball and bring others into play as he did v city, the problem lies when he has a chanc to shoot at goal as his technique of striking a ball with any power fails him and when that happens questions will be asked again.

    I would have been happy for him to start in midfield v city but Arteta surprisingly went for Jorginho who had an excellent game and showed what an inspired team selection it was from Arteta as apart from the opening few minutes city created nothing and much of that was down to the 2 in midfield Rice and Jorginho as well as our 2 superb centre backs..

    You can see why some thought that Odegaard and Eddie were not the right pick for the city game , both struggled to make any impact in the game although both worked hard off the ball, the city game certainly was a tough game for all offensive players from both teams as there was a fear of not wanting to lose , thankfully the return of Martinelli made the difference with his direct running and pace..

    After the international break Arteta will have some decisions to make as he will have almost a fully fit squad.
    Jesus for Eddie up top looks a certainty unless saka hasn’t recovered from injury , then the return of Partey and the performance of Jorginho gives Arteta fantastic options in midfield,against Chelsea he may even decide he likes Jorginho sitting at the base of midfield with Rice and Partey either side to give us fantastic control in the middle of the park..

    The thing is, most of our creativity comes from our 2 wide players as our no.8’s first instinct is to play the no risk pass to either saka or Martinelli which I’m sure either partey or Rice can do, where we will miss out is Odegaard’s ability to find space on the edge of the box and finish the move.

  15. AFC Forever


    “…who is only there due to his intense loyalty/ Spanish culture link to Arteta”

    Why do you keep repeating this insulting bollocks? You can’t possibly believe that.

    This is elite level sport, Arteta invests huge amounts of time & energy in developing the tactical disciplines within the team and you insult him like this!! Why does he play Saka so often, is it because he goes to Spain on holiday every year? I already tried to explain why Raya is playing, you’ve heard Pep & Arteta praise him after the game.

    Pep said: “It’s difficult to do it (high pressing) because Raya had the ability to play it short and long & it’s not easy to control those long balls to Gabriel.”

    Yes it was a shaky half hour but that’s the risk reward Arteta demands. He doesn’t want a goalkeeper who loses bottle & starts launching the ball. He wants Raya & the team to invite the press to create space & overloads but also be able to accurately play long. He selects Raya because he thinks he is best at doing that. You don’t agree fine but ffs cut out the ‘Nationalist’ insults mate.

    We have just beaten Man City and restricted them to the fewest shots since Abu Dhabi City we’re formed in 2008 & you’re on the rampage?

  16. Matt B

    AFC: Raya was very poor and we very nearly lost the game in the first half due to his mistakes and because of the effect his dithering had on the defence. We hadn’t seen anything like that since Leno and Emery days.

    Of course, it panned out well in the end and we all know that Raya’s kicking played a part in that. But let’s not rewrite history. Had Ramsdale had a half like that he would have been pulled at the break, so the question MarkyMark raises is a legitimate one…

    We’ve all had concerns about the goalkeeping coach, there have been many, many debates on here about Martinez, the bizarre signing of Runnarson, the amazing transformation of Leno since he left us and now this.

    Ramsdale will go and the question is, will his value now tank as Arteta freezes him out?

    The point is, there is an issue with our goalkeeping position — why are we burning through so many quality keepers?

  17. Markymark

    AFC – I do actually believe this based on his very sudden and intense relationship with Raya including these little Tete-a-tetes that Ramsdale has never been party too.
    Draw in a previously criticised GK coach Cana who appears to have at least been unpopular at some point Barcelona born with Catalan naming convention, Raya Barcelona born and Arteta born in the most Catalan of cities San Sebastián and goes onto to play for Barcelona. These are very strong cultural links.
    If say all three were born in Belfast and the keeper getting the dump was born in Newcastle would you be getting all traumatised by my comments? Is it just because I’ve drawn Spanish links and you are hooked on some can’t be rude about foreigners?
    Fulminate all you wish, keep shouting elite sport. I’m just saying culture runs deep, if Ramsdale feels he’s been given the short straw then this is a high risk point for the he dressing room which is not needed. The GK coach should have been sacked some time ago we may then have had a clear and level playing field

  18. Matt

    Arteta is definitely walking a tightrope with the keeper situation. What I really hope he doesn’t do is sub a keeper (either of them), part way through a game due to a poor performance. Can you imagine the fall-out from that.

  19. Markymark

    Matt B – you’ve set out better what I was trying to say.
    There have been some very odd going’s on around the GK coach

  20. FB

    Hi Markymark

    Not trying to be clever, rather a small correction, but you said “Arteta born in the most Catalan of cities San Sebastián”

    Actually, both Arteta and San Sebastian are Basque not Catalan.

  21. Raulishuss

    One more attribute is Penalties and Rams sucks at that. Not sure about Raya though. Either ways the thing that stands out to me is Arteta talking to Raya in between the game. Atleast I don’t remember seeing that with Rams. It could point to a lot of things though. Whatever it is Rams should be given enough chances to prove. Under similar condition then we would be able to compare and contrast both GKs

    Rams been playing for us for 2 years.

  22. Siddeeq

    “”Raya Barcelona born and Arteta born in the most Catalan of cities San Sebastián and goes onto to play for Barcelona”””

    Loool, ive got news for you. Invest in a world almanac

  23. raptora

    Raya has basically already signed. The transfer is branded as a “loan” because we would have had issues with FFP and Brentford agreed our terms.

    Btw Brentford have suffered greatly because of their current GKs, they’ve cost them many points already.

    Btw in that graph called PSxG-GA (Post-Shot Expected Goals minus Goals Allowed) is basically the xG but after the opponent takes a shot, minus the goals conceded. It’s based on how likely the goalkeeper is to save the shot. On the absolute bottom are:

    Olsen (Villa) -0.54 per 90 or -0.5 total in 1 game played
    Flekken (Brentford) -0.48 per 90 or -3.3 total in 7 gp
    Ramsdale (Arsenal) -0.46 per 90 or -1.8 total in 4 gp
    Strakosha (Brentford) -0.5 per 90 or -0.45 total in 1 gp
    Steele (Brighton) -0.34 per 90 or -1.3 total in 4 gp
    Verbruggen (Brighton) -0.26 per 90 or -1.0 in 4 gp

    All of the keepers above are having a horrendous season so far. It’s literally a meeting of all the bad performing keepers in the league – plus Ramsdale.

    Raya (Arsenal) +0.22 per 90 or +0.9 in 4 gp

    It basically means that statistically Ramsdale with the PSxG-GA of -1.8 should have conceded 2 goals less based on the chances he had to save the shots he conceded from. In 4 games he’s cost us 2 goals.

    Raya with the PSxG-GA of +0.9 has saved in total 1 goal more than what the stats would suggest. In 4 games, he’s saved us 1 goal.

    Last season Raya was 4th in the league with +5 PSxG-GA
    Ramsdale was 12th with -2 PSxG-GA.

    2 seasons ago they have very similar stats – Ramsdale +0.2 and Raya -0.8.

    Maybe that’s the issue Arteta has with Ramsdale. That he hasn’t progressed as much as he expected and hoped for. I certainly feel Raya is the better of the two right now and it’s not even that close tbh.

  24. Markymark

    FB – correct that San Sebastián is in fact the most Basque. If Siddeeq can contain his joy Inaki Canna with Inaki being Basque – certainly we are not talking Madrid hegemony

  25. Pierre

    I did make the point in the last couple of years that Ramsdale conceded a goal for every 2 shots on target which is not sustainable over the long run

    The soft goal he let in v fulham earlier in the season when he lost his bearings probably cemented his downfall in Arteta’s mind.

    At the end of the day we are getting Raya at a knockdown price and I would imagine that Ramsdale’s price hasn’t deteriorated and more than likely has increased so we have a better keeper for possibly half the price of Ramsdale and that 20 mil or so can go towards a striker if Arteta thinks we need upgrading.

  26. RJM

    Because Ramsdale did so little wrong the suspicions around nationality and cliques exist.

    Raya’s long kicking to Jesus was obviously very good 2nd half. Apart from that his distribution short and long since he’s played has been avaerage to awfuk for me.

    I’m a Ramsdale fan and nothing I’ve seen convinces me why Raya should be playing in front of him. Aaron’s ‘long kicking was also good.

    Aaron must leave end of the season. He will end up Eng’s No1., he just won’t be playing for us amd that for me is a great shame.

  27. raptora

    Yeah, if we look at last season’s PSxG-GA, Raya has saved in total 7 goals more than Ramsdale. 7 goals is a huge amount when we conceded 43 in total. Saving 7 goals would have probably won us a lot of points. Points that might have mattered.

    That’s in addition to dealing better with crosses, having more accurate long passing and being less emotional which for me is a big plus as well.

    Hard to see where Rams is better, feels like Raya edges it in probably all categories.

  28. Tom

    Well, at last we know why ESR isn’t getting minute……., he’s English.
    And we all thought it was because he felt up Arteta’s missus at the Xmas party
    Havertz does have a bit of a Spaniard look to him now that the cat is out of the bag.

  29. Tom

    “Hard to see where Rams is better, feels like Raya edges it in probably all categories.”

    Ramsdale leads the league in gin up the crowd category

  30. WengerEagle

    Is a shame to see Hazard retiring at only 32 (same age as KDB for reference) but has there ever been a worse value for money transfer than his to Real Madrid ? Maybe Coutinho to Barca.

    Absolute monster in his prime for both club and country. 2018/19 especially he was unplayable.

    Imo the best PL player of the 2010s when you factor in longevity (excludes Suarez).

  31. Dissenter

    The only stat that matters in the Ramsdale vs Raya debate is that Arteta has made up his mind.
    One keeper will be out the door next summer and we will be seeking a back up for Raya
    Ramsdale is too good and too well remunerated to be a back-up to anybody

  32. raptora

    I see there’s an interesting discussion on Twitter about Hazard vs Alexis. As usual Chav fans say Hazard was levels above Alexis.

    G+A in all competitions
    Alexis: 37 (14/15), 28 (15/16), 48 (16/17)
    Hazard: 32 (14/15), 14 (15/16), 24 (16/17)

    In his full 3 seasons for us Alexis had a total of 113 to Hazard’s 70 goal contributions. That’s massive.

    If we only count the Premier league Alexis owns him there too. If we add Alexis’ last half a season for us and the year and a half disappointment in his Manure stay, he’s still clear of Hazard. If we count their career goal contributions Alexis is clear there as well.

    National team? Chile with 2 Copa Americas, both won vs Argentina in 2015 and 2016.
    Belgium? Jack shit playing with the likes of Lukaku and De Bruyne.
    Alexis for Chile – 51 goals, 41 assists
    Hazard for Belgium – 33 goals, 36 assists

    Career goals + assists:
    Alexis – 434
    Hazard – 393

    Alexis is 2 years older but has actually been playing football on a solid level in the last years – scored 14 goals, 3 assists for OM last season.

    Unlike Hazard who has 19 G/A in 4 seasons for Real Madrid. I think he might be the worst transfer of all time – €100m deal rising to €150m on €450k pw salary.

    Also, a moment to appreciate Alexis’ mad, mad 48 goal contributions (30 G, 18 A) in 16/17.
    That’s 24 G, 11 A in the PL. Holy fkin shit!

  33. Chitrak

    I believe we are throwing money for raya. Ramsdale has a better ceiling imo. And we have been here with schzzer. Should treat ramsdale kindly as for a keeper 24-25 is very young. Except prime casiallas, donnaruma Or buffon, no keeper is mature enough at 25.

  34. Pierre

    Seems to me that City players had become a little cocky and needed to be brought down a peg or 2 and thankfully Arsenal have turned them over twice this season , albeit with 2 deflected goals but it certainly looks like the city players have had their nose put out of joint..

    The icing on the cake would be for Arsenal to win the league and wipe the smile off their smug faces.

    The return at city will be an epic game, City will be like a wounded tiger and will be looking for revenge after losing twice to Arsenal already this season …

  35. Pierre

    Iq would say that at his best , Hazard was certainly a better player than Sanchez, but for consistency i would put sanchez ahead of Hazard.

    Hazard was almost unstoppable at his best but his game would often fall off a cliff for months on end even at chelsea just like it eventually did at madrid.

  36. AFC Forever


    Good point.

    They’ve just come off a treble so perhaps that has affected their humility. Perhaps their desire too. They looked frustrated probably know we’ve got their measure. I thought we were too aggressive for them, at times they didn’t want to know, Kovacic aside. Might have been good for them to go down to ten, really stick it to them. Been a long time since we bullied teams like we bullied them.

    4 shots in the whole game, that’s control back to front.

    The big take for me was the maturity we now have. We don’t get involved emotionally, we’re a lot calmer. Previous years we’d have surrounded Kovacic after he tried to do Odegaard and we would have lost our composure – and focus. Not now. You can see a young group who are improving all sides of their game. We have City’s cards marked and they know it.

  37. WengerEagle

    Rap you should know better than to just base any comparison between the two off of G/A.

    Sanchez was world class for us and he was a stud, shame he fucked off to Utd but he had 3 excellent seasons here so he gets respect.

    Hazard though, come on. He was levels above Alexis in terms of footballing ability if we are honest. Magic in his pomp and the best dribbler I’ve ever seen in the PL by some distance.

  38. Pierre

    The next few seasons I think we are returning to the days of the epic united /Arsenal days when there was nothing netween us , except now it will be city/Arsenal.

    I’m interested to see if the pep/Arteta friendship shows any strain as we slowly regain our position at the top of the tree.

  39. TR7

    Alexis Sanchez is nowhere close to Eden Hazard. He could hustle but technique wise very limited.

    Messi on a different planet altogether, unparalleled and incomparable.

    Neymar, Iniesta, Cristiano- the second tier

    Hazard, Bale, Suarez, Robben – the third tier

  40. AFC Forever


    “The next few seasons I think we are returning to the days of the epic united /Arsenal days when there was nothing between us , except now it will be city/Arsenal.”

    Let’s hope so, they were great times. Like what we are building with these young lads, so I have very high hopes we are onto something big.

  41. raptora

    Yeah, I’m sorry I’m not rating players aesthetically…

    All I know is that Alexis gapped Hazard in the PL, also on a club level and on an international level. Hazard was a super talented but lazy player. I take the grafter with a bit less talent but unstoppable desire to win and to give his all in every game, every time.

    Alexis and co stopped Messi’s Argentina. Hazard couldn’t lead an incredible Belgium with Courtois, Kompany, Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele, Witsel, KDB, Mertens, Lukaku, etc team to shit. They were ranked as the #1 team in the world a few times but didn’t win anything – no Euro, no WC. Cause Hazard was no leader, no grafter.

    I just regret we were 1 DM and 1 CF away from being a title-winning team during the time Alexis played for us. Putting the aesthetics aside and counting the contribution for our wins, our best performing player in the last 10 years. No wonder we were about to cash £60m from City the Summer Wenger refused to sell. That would be around or over £100m in today’s market.

  42. Habesha Gooner

    Hazard was a better player. But alexis was a winner. he had heart. If Hazard had half the mentality he would have been alongside one of the greats. As of now he is a little down the pecking order.

  43. David.D

    Fucking delighted with the win.
    Went ballistic seeing the ball go in
    I loved the maturity of the performance. There was no panic.

    Almost as if we were happy to take the draw if we really had to but no gung ho stuff to see us lose the game.
    Very satisfying. Even after scoring we were comfortable and kept City at arms length.
    Martinelli certainly gave us a lift and great seeing all 4 subs play a part in the goal.
    How Kovacic doesnt get sent off i will never know.
    Saliba is an absolute monster and my worry is Real Madrid have started to look enviously at him.
    The next contract negotiation with Saliba will be very interesting as he will undoubtedly have us by the balls.
    For sure he will be the world’s most expensive defender one and will make us 100 million at least.
    I just pray thats 4 or 5 years away.

  44. David.D

    As much as that win was fantastic and long overdue I feel we will only have their measure if we can go and beat them on their own pitch or at least draw. This can’t be a one off.

  45. Zacharse

    PierreOctober 10, 2023 14:19:50
    I’m interested to see if the pep/Arteta friendship shows any strain as we slowly regain our position at the top of the tree


  46. Zacharse

    David D
    Last year i thought wed be able to snag the title because citys D was light and injuries would add up, i was off but not by much.
    This year its not defense or offense thats light, its leadership.
    I fancy we can do it away if saliba, rice and ode are fit

  47. Un

    What about santi? He could dribble through rock and tar and still come out with the ball
    Even hazard didn’t have that level of control
    And yeah hazard was great to watch in his pomp but sanchez produced striker numbers playing from the left. Worked hard and tracked back as well as any winger I’ve ever seen.
    It’s not just about technique but impact
    Giroud had support technique and skill to Drogba but who was the most impactful player? Drog.

    I wouldn’t have swapped sanchez for hazard
    I loved sanchez
    I prefer players with silk in their boots. I loved watching Jack Wilshere over Ramsey.
    But I’d never go for hazard over sanchez
    Maybe it’s tribalism talking but I just couldn’t

  48. rollen

    Raptors your keeper stats are bullshit. Raya has not been tested at all yet. I can remember 1 good save from him.
    The test will come in PL or CL for sure.
    Hopefully Ramsdale will learn from Raya and improve as I belive he is better and have highest calling.
    At the moment Raya is more suitable for what Tets want from his keeper that is why he is no1 now.