SEASONED PERFORMANCE IN SPAIN

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I have to own it… when I said we’d drawn a Europa League group in the Champions League, I was wrong. I’m am very silly.

RC Lens beat us and Sevilla, with an average squad age of 56, gave us a really good game.

Arsenal exited the evening victorious – but my word, was it a hard-fought battle.

When you’re slumming it in Europa, you tend to forget that the Champions League isn’t flowers and champagne. The 90 minutes was hard to watch, it was cagey, it felt like a chess game for large parts. The big learning is domestic positions mean nothing when the tune of the famous song hits… players up their game, fans bring out their best selves, and games become extremely equalized.

That’s why a 1-2 win feels extra special. We are not an experienced European team, we’re a group of extremely talented boys, trying to find our foothold in the biggest comp in world football. To go away to the best outfit in our group and execute a really good game plan was very impressive. We showed a lot of patience, we didn’t fall for the Sevilla traps, and we didn’t let the emotion of the night get to us.

The finishes were superb as well. Watching Jesus pluck the ball out of the sky, turn Sevilla midfielders inside out, before sliding a galloping Martinelli in for a simple-ish finish was really special. To see him kill the game was raw individual talent just showed where he could go as a striker. He created his own space, used his dazzling feet to perfection, and rifled a Thierry-esque like strike into the top corner. Can I see this Jesus a bit more regularly?

We did have time to make it spicy. We conceded a sloppy goal from a corner. David Raya also kept the Ramsdalians on his back with a duff punch from a cross late on. He didn’t keep his eyes on the ball, the cross skidded off his fists over the bar, versus 40 yards up the pitch. The important conclusion here is it didn’t go in.

3 points is all you can ask for, but we got a lot more out of the game than that.

Tomiyasu tried his hand at left-backing and did a tremendous job. He looks really fit and sharp. Technically, he was extremely sound defensively. He won his duels, he made his presence known with his strength, and he showed that there are other options beyond Timber in that position. If the weekend is a form-based decision, why wouldn’t you opt for him?

David Raya is coming under fire again. I understand why. The punch put everyone’s bowels on the floor. But we have to give some perspective here – he’s 8 games in. He’s at a new club, with new players, being asked to do very ambitious things. He was literally partaking in rondos after 10 minutes. There will be errors – but at every club with a ballplaying keeper, there are errors. The player needs support and the detractors need to back off – just remember, the same folk begging for Ramsdale to return were the same folk that were telling us signing a keeper with 3 relegations under his belt was a bad idea. Writing off a potential Spain number 1 feels like a futile exercise, but here we are, some fans do not learn.

Declan Rice put in another monster performance. He’s going toe-to-toe with Jude Bellingham this season for the best midfielder in England. I am not a huge fan of him in the more advanced position, but overall, it’s hard not to sit in awe of his defensive positioning, and some of that explosive turbocharged running he can do when he sniffs out a chance to close in on goal. What a player – how did we end up bagging a generational talent like that?

The only real flatline moment of the evening was seeing Jesus limp off. Another hamstring issue. That’s quite the number we’re totting up this season. The club should be doing a better job with these soft tissue problems. It’s too early in the season for a young team to be dropping like this so regularly. Hamstring issues are the result of wear and tear – that can be too many games, but it can be offset by being a little less intense in training. What is the root cause here? TELL ME?

No one will tell me.

But it needs deeper investigation because if we can’t survive 5 games a month, we’re going to be in deep, deep trouble come December.

So, a great start to the week. We’re in the hunting pack for the league. We’re top of our group in the Champions League. There are minimal things we need to complain about. So why not check out our latest podcast?

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Paddy Gooner

MO assist

Mikel Coneteta

Habesha

I got pelters last season for claiming Rice would elevate us and that he had everything Partey didn’t for this team. He’s been exactly as billed with room to grow.

That’s who you build your midfield around. He’s never injured, has massive personality, talent, hunger, and leadership. Guy is a CM monster.

Elneny, Partey should depart in the summer. Patino and another CM should come in.

MidwestGun

Oh no … not another var check.. haha ok cool it’s good.

Un

This is the worst team I’ve ever seen in the premier league
Even Barnsley back in 1997/98 were better than this

Graham62

Tomiyasu is not a useless player.
My god, what are some of you on?

Aaron

Tomi, good on you mate!

Paddy Gooner

Love Tomi. Great player, if he could stay fit

goona

theyre on for shipping well over 100 goals..

Vickingz

Havertz will never come good

Paddy Gooner

One minute for Kai….

Tomi Tonkatsu helping with the GD !

GD4

OMG Havertz you scrub.
Yikes.

Dissenter

Had he scored that with the last kick of the game , the noise would have been deafening

Mikel Coneteta

Sheff United are an awful football team.

29 goals conceded in 9 games is unreal

WengerEagle

Havertz once again by far our worst player. I’m sorry but he’s a dud plain and simple.

Gonsterous

I thought havertz had scored

Un

Oh kai
That was it boy
🤦🏻‍♂️

Paddy Gooner

Almost

MidwestGun

Nice game.. took care of business… made up the goal difference think we are best diff now tied with Newcastle.

Habesha Gooner

MC
I still see value in Partey. He has these passes in between the lines and body feints that allow us to play higher up the pitch

Unlike Partey Rice is just a defensive monster. I had to defend the value of signing him all summer. People who actually watched him knew he would be a game changer for us. I don’t know if he will ever be as good as Partey passing the ball but he will definitely stop us from conceding goals. Beating City to him was massive.

WengerEagle

Coneteta

They’re the worst PL team I have seen since Derby County. I said today was one of the very few games in the season where I expect an easy win and for us to do it in style.

5-0 does the job.

Marko

Finally a shot. Look people keep harping on about him and at this stage it’s completely understandable because at 65 million I can’t see what the hell he adds to the squad

Dissenter

Habesha
Yea, you, Mikel and Nigel were the ones that calmed down my Rice hesitations.

Un

I think Kai is a 24/25 player like vieira is a this season player
I don’t think we are gonna see the real ESR until he gets a run of games either
They will click
But they need more time
Pleased for Eddie
Still not good enough to be at this arsenal for me
Great day for him
But we need better than him

Wegotsupermik

What a great day – FV and Tomi both genuinely delighted to score their goals and a class gesture by Eddie.

Gonsterous

Mid

how has Newcastle scored so many goals? They have scored more than us but we are tied in goal diff.

Gazza

This is the worst team I’ve ever seen in the premier league
Even Barnsley back in 1997/98 were better than this

Derby County 11 points & 1 win season were far worse

TR7

Tomiyasu reminds me of Nacho Monreal. Can play both side and occasionally as CB too and reliable although not flashy.

Spanishdave

Bellingham scores a beauty, if only

Habesha Gooner

Next week a real test. Great win going in to Wetham away and Newcastle away. If we win both games next week, we are set for a great first half of the season.

Dissenter

The best thing about Rice is that he’sstill learning and growing into what Arteta wants from his defensive midfielder
His starting baseline is stratospheric
He’s already the de facto vice captain not doubt.

WengerEagle

Great day at the office. Nice bump to put GD, clean sheet and 3 points.

Also brilliant for Eddie to bag a hat-rick, his confidence will rocket from this which can only help us.

Gommit

My daughter accepts the five goal win as a farewell to her first five.. (she is six today).. Was not optimistic at half time (I kind of promised her 5-6 goals to get the match in to the birthday schedule).. If only Kai could score from open play..

salparadisenyc

Ideal outing, Eddie steps up after Jesus big mid week performance and gets the flowers with great hat trick. 5 goals to the GD is just what the Dr. ordered. ESR put in 70 min, Ødegaard rested, Saka and Martinelli finally subbed off and Tomi Kamikaze finds the net.

Great stuff all around, was praying for Havertz to find net at the end but it was side netted. He’s so weak in the mid, kind of mental.

Safe to say Sheffield United will be the first side relegated, 0 shots on target absolute nothing performance. I’ll take it.

Dissenter

I think the Sheffield United that went down recently were worse in their second season

The laughable thing is they are thinking about bring back Chris Wilder

Mikel Coneteta

Habesha

Partey is a top player, that’s not a debate.

But he’s amongst the top earners, can’t stay fit, is the wrong side of 30, and he’s not the best #6 at the club anymore.

For me he’s gone. Needs replaced with someone who is durable, available, has quality, and an upside. I’d rather a 7.5/10 for 38 games than a 9/10 for 25 of them.

MidwestGun

Gonsterous.. not sure I think Newcastle beat Sheffield 8-0? so that is probably it.

Un

Gazza
This team is on course for 3-4 points
They are the worst

Vickingz

Bellinghammmmmmmm

Habesha Gooner

The clean sheet was also great. 8 goals conceded this season. 2nd best so far. Need to keep it there to win the league. Last season we conceded too many and that was our downfall.

WengerEagle

Oh my days, Bellingham

Un

2 best cm in the world are English
Boooom
The zizou and vieira of the modern game
Who else is even close

Mikel Coneteta

WengerEagle

Most lower sides have a sprinkling of players that have you curious. There’s not one Sheff United player I look at and go ‘ok he’s a talent’.

WengerEagle

13 goals in 13, single-handedly winning Real half of their matches this season and 2 in the Clasico now.

He’s 20. 😂

Seriously wtf.

Thierry Martinelli

Bellingham 2 goals away to Barca 👏🏾👏🏾

TR7

Partey a top player but next season we need a top quality DM to replace him. Still think we need to have Rice playing with Partey in big games. Harvertz/Jorginho not ideal partners for Rice in midfield.

Matt

Havertz needs to sort his overbite out, can’t be good for his self esteem or confidence!

In all seriousness, his mentality is awful. I will say it again, the signing goes way beyond incompetence.

Otherwise, a perfect day and result!

TR7

Un

Pedri is top notch, potentially a future Ballon D’or for me.

Johng

Well that was a lot better COYG

WengerEagle

Have literally never seen what is happening with Bellingham before in my footballing life.

To move abroad at 20 and carry the biggest club on the planet on your back from the word go and score 13 in your first 13 is beyond imagination.

And he’s a midfielder.

Un

Tr7

Gimme Jude and deco all day long

Habesha Gooner

You just knew Jude was special when he chose to play for Madrid instead of choosing the easy way out and come back to England. He has been insane for them.

Rich

Granted Sheffield United aren’t very good… But really enjoyed that.

Brilliant hatrick from Eddie… Also loved it when Saka went off, and we had an academy graduate pass the captaincy to another academy graduate.

So after all the bedwetting, and nonsense about big chances created…

Things are balancing themselves out, and we now have 23 goals in 10… Which puts us on course for 87 goals.

Unbeaten with 24/30 points, which puts us on course for 91 points if we sustain this trajectory… All while cruising in 3rd gear.

Lovely stuff.

Nigel Tufnel

When it was still very close in the first half, some beautiful distribution from Raya. Good use of subs to finally get White a few minutes to watch.

Happy for Eddie…. but I think Vieira should’ve handed the ball back to him for the penalty. I guess it wasn’t on his mind at that moment.

Habesha Gooner

Archer is a talent at Sheffield. He moved there from Villa. But other than him there is not much there.

WengerEagle

Yeah they are dogshit Coneteta. 1 point and they are conceding 3 a match, I’d be shocked if they pick up more than 20 points and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar output to Derby.

Danny

Havertz has got to be one of our worst signings ever, it’s like playing with 10 men.

Belfast Gooner

Tomi is our Shogun. He’s not even being played in his best position, as a left centre back. Plays with heart and 100% commitment. Delighted to see him get a goal.

WengerEagle

He’s already elite Habesha. There’s no limit to what this lad can do if he can keep his head on his shoulders and stay injury-free.

He’s gone into a dressing room full of grown men and seasoned winners and he’s their go to man and already a leader. They haven’t missed Benzema because of him alone.

Karsa

Another great result.

Very happy with defence, attack, and goal difference.

Wait till we truey bang.

Un

Eagle

It’s not just his goal but his game play
His turns and touches and flicks
The way he runs the game while floating around making it seem effortless but also drives his team forward when he needs to
Such ability coupled with such will power
Reminds me so much of Zidane only with more end product and turns up every single game
I actually think he could be the greatest midfielder of all time

Aaron

WE,

Crazy like Lampard type numbers…

However, over play the youngster and real will be in real trouble.

Just want to see Jesus, Partey and Saka totally healthy for at least 20 games..

Great day to be an AFC fan…

Karsa

Truly

Rich

Habesha

Last season we conceded 25 in 27… Then lost 2 right sided defenders in the same game… Then proceeded to concede 18 in 11.

TR7

No Messi or Ronaldo anymore in Europe, so Bellingham has a real chance of winning the Ballon D’or next in 2024 if he carries on like this the next 3-4 months.

WengerEagle

Un

It was laughed at before but Bellingham is marketable in a way that Kane never could be. He’s a perfect signing for Real Madrid.

Handsome, speaks very well, loves the limelight and the big stage as opposed to the vast majority and he’s clearly got leadership intangibles.

Anecdotal but where I live I’ve already seen a lot of Real shirts and he is the name on all of them.. He has superstar potential to carry a huge global brand like Real Madrid like Ronaldo did.

Un

Tr7
Neither stood a chance of winning it this year regardless
They are done

Un

Weagle

Yeah and he’s only 20
Have you ever seen a 20 year old midfielder play like this? I genuinely think he’s gonna be the greatest cm of all time
I think he will out do Zidane iniesta xavi and Bobby Charlton

Un

Handsome though? 🤷🏻‍♂️
Whatever floats your boat mate
I can see Sid slipping into your dms tonight

TR7

Un Messi is winning his 8th on Monday. And as I watch every game that Messi plays I can tell you he would be in contention for the next year if he were in Europe. He is a not a menace for entire 90 mins anymore but he comes alive in moments and is still very decisive. I remember everyone was saying Messi was done last season and I was telling people that don’t look at his numbers, he was still playing very well. Luckily he proved that in the world cup and people understood that you can never say… Read more »

Kpankulu

@Madhu
Looks like ESR with groin issue was much better than ESR without groin pain. On the evidence of first half I should probably stop making his case. Would love to talk to him for 10 mins and understand his perspective.

…and that’s why you are not the manager. He sees things behind the scenes while you simply want your favorite player to start.

Rich

Bellingham is this generations Zidane, he’s oozing charisma…

Could be the English player who finally brings football home.

WengerEagle

Un

Haha is it gay to acknowledge that he’s handsome ala Ronaldo which we know that Real as a global brand love (just take a look at their superstar signings of past years) ?

I should have thrown down a no-homo after it to be safe in fairness.

And no, never seen a 20 year old midfielder dominate like this and win games on his own.

TR7

Let’s go easy on Zidane comparison guys. Very good player Bellingham but let’s compare him with Zidane when he single handedly carries England against big teams in Euros, World Cup etc.

raptora

Not with Gareth though.

Un

Eagle

Just wait til Sid sees your comment
Longstaff incoming

WengerEagle

I love Messi TR7 but he’s not the best player in the world anymore, you’re going to have to let that one go.

It’s a joke he is winning the Ballon Dor for his involvement in a 7 match international tournament for which he was already awarded the Golden Ball.

Balloon Dor is supposed to be about who was the best player in the last year and it certainly wasn’t Messi who had a mixed season for PSG.

Habesha Gooner

😂😂😂 I am dying Wenger Eagle and un.

local

Nice win over a shockingly poor Shef UTD side.

Kai was poor again.
ESR was poor in the first half, okay in second.
Fabio was okay and could have easily got up after that foul.
Trossard was good but better teams won’t give him that much time or space.

Rest were mostly good.

Spanishdave

If only England had a decent manager

WengerEagle

I mean surely you forgive people for getting a little carried away with what Bellingham is doing TR7 as it is basically unprecedented.

Even Messi at 20 wasn’t doing this. Bellingham is literally outdoing prime Ronaldo ‘s start at Real Madrid.

Kpankulu

@Ben D
And before you say it’s just Sheffield United, how many did Halaand or Rashford score against them?

You are so right.

Ask them again, since talk is fucking cheap…it is so easy to bash players, and then obfuscate when said players show them up…yuck.

TR7

WE In 2018 Messi had the most goals, most goal contribution, 3-4 trophies but he was 5th in Ballon D’or simply because his team lost to World Champion France in QF. Modric who had like 4 goals won the Ballon D’or. So no WC is not just another 7 match tournament. CR7 fanboys on Twitter make that sort of argument. Messi not winning the World Cup was the only argument held against him for the longest time. He owned the biggest tournament and the biggest stage. By the way, Messi has the most goal contribution in Europe, the most number… Read more »

Dissenter

La Liga were dying for a major star to replace Messi and Ronaldo,

Then came Bellingham, and he’s only 20 years old.
He’s a marketing dream. They’ll use him to try to break into the Anglo market.

Un

Tr7 Zidane didn’t single handed my carry that France team
He was their best player but he had Henry vieira pires trezeguet Thuram desailly deschamps
Hardly single handed

raptora

I know fanboys but TR7 is literally next level. lool

TR7

Un

Point taken but all I am saying is we shouldn’t start comparing young bright talent with all time greats so soon.

Thierry Martinelli

Mbappe + Bellingham+Vinicius should be labelled illegal

raptora

Wolves should have been ahead by a couple but instead Callum “Nketiah” Wilson scores for 0-1.

Thierry Martinelli

Newcastle are so clinical

Dissenter

Happy for Gary O’nesl
Was had-done last summer

MidwestGun

TR7 is wearing a pink … Miami #10 shirt.. while he posts… you can’t tell me otherwise. 😀

Nigel Tufnel

Kiwior is definitely made for our ball playing system, but I doubt he’s got the same gritty game that Gabriel has. He was chosen for his natural talent in passing. I said at the time he was meant to take the place of what we wanted from Lisandro Martinez at LB and CB. He looks good moving wide from CB when Raya comes into the LCB position. I’d like to see him more as a sub at LB, letting Tomiyasu rest White more. Was that Whites first minutes rest all season? Some of Kiwiors long balls were a bit far,… Read more »

Kpankulu

@Marko
“Havertz, Trossard and ESR need game time not the shite Nketiah.”

Well, you inspired the guy with your nasty insult. All the other three played, so wallow or change the goalposts as you like to do so well.

TR7

I am a fanboy alright but see this video from last season and tell me there was anyone better than him. 7 match tournament you say, watch this :

https://youtu.be/12VEZExdOj4?si=m8FLW2RlWzvs-otw

Nigel Tufnel

Terrible penalty call. Attacker position facing away from goal, at the edge of the box, and to top it all you see on the close up Hwang kicked into the ground, not the player.

Goona

Bellingham is on a different planet….still a kid 😆

MidwestGun

Yep Newcastle.. get cheapest pk … ever. Another VAR fail.

Kpankulu

I love how classy Arsenal players are!

Saka passed the armband to his Hale End mate who had completed a hat-trick [Nketiah];

Nketiah allows expectant father Vieira to take the penalty he [Vieira] earned;

Nketiah pushes Tomiyasu towards the fans to get some well-deserved appreciation.

The class continues!

salparadisenyc

I’m pretty sure Messi will win his 9th Balon D’or next season as well as long he rocks up with a pulse and finds net a few times they’ll surely give it to.

Haaland deserves it this year, monumental effort in getting the treble, bit like Ribery in 2013.