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.

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As usual, the loudest and equally the Dumbest!


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


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.

Nigel Tufnel

He @’s himself now 🤣

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.


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… Read more »


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


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… Read more »


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


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.

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


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


Bertie Mee – yep if we lose Saliba over an extended period of games we effectively give up the title chase

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.

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.


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


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… Read more »

AFC Forever

MarkyMark “…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… Read more »


Havertz is an impact player from the bench. Nothing more and nothing less.

AFC Forever



International breaks are the worst, somebody shoot me in the face already.

Or at least Nigel failing that.

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,… Read more »


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… Read more »


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.


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


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.



Dominating midfield has always been the key to Arsenal success. So yes, I like your suggestion of Jorghino central, and Rice and Partey on either side.


I’d say the likelier of the 2 GKs to leave at end of season is Raya, not Ramsdale. Ramsdale is on the bench watching Raya, learning what Arteta wants from him.


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.


“”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


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… Read more »


Is Giroud better than both Raya and Ramsdale?


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


Raptora 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… Read more »


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.


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.


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.


“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



Would that be at the same time Tets was fondling Cedric’s missus.


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).


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


I always suspected Ozil was English, didnt get along with Arteta and couldnt win a fight.


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… Read more »


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.


And no to toney. He is a marginal upgrade and we should go big on a CF. Our rest needs are catered for


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… Read more »


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.

AFC Forever

Pierre 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… Read more »

Josip Skoblar

Eden Hazard retires from football. In his pump, what a fabulous player he was.


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.


“Sanchez was world class for us ”

And we know why.


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.


I rate Hazard very highly.

Up there with the likes of Luis Suarez, Arjen Robben etc.


Special shoutout to Olivier Giroud for making the Serie A team of the week as a goal keeper.



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

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.


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… Read more »

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.


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… Read more »


*one day


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.


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



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

Nigel Tufnel

New post


I hope you are right!
Keep those 3 fit plus Partey and even Ben White then definitely have a chance.


Eagle 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… Read more »


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.


Pep and Tets is more master and the aprientice than friends.