by .

Arsenal signed off for International duty with a carefully crafted win against a Burnley side I thought were very impressive. Vincent Kompany and Mikel Arteta were cut from the same Pep-G-athleisure-wear material and battled it out with two teams leaning heavily into the DNA of the great one.

It was always going to be a rough afternoon with Vincent Kompany, the gulf in class was deep and wide, he admitted as much after when he said you need to be ‘perfect’ against this Arsenal side.

Mikel Arteta went through the same phase of not having the right bodies to deliver on the vision. It’s really hard for newly promoted teams that want to entertain. They rarely have the players to sustain it in a league as Brutal as the Premier League – and once they realise that, the coach is asked to play deep block football by the masses, and the ownership group sacks them shortly after. I hope that doesn’t happen to Kompany. He simply doesn’t have the players to decide to move back to Dyche-ball.

Arteta has been given the money to get who he wants and the players are delivering the results, even in third gear. It was an odd approach that he took to bury Burnley. He decided that they don’t like looped crosses into the box, so we battered them for 90 minutes with setpieces and diagonal balls. I didn’t like it to look at, but it’s hard to deny the success of it.

Trossard scored our first, putting his body on the line after Saka nodded a deep cross at the back post. The Belgian nodded in but took a knock so nastly, even the adrenaline of a goal couldn’t get him off the floor. Luckily, nothing was broken, and he continued the game.

Our second goal came from a setpiece, but that was right after Burnley equalised. Tomiyasu wasn’t strong enough on the ball in the box, the impressive Koleosho nabbed the ball off him, cut back to Brownhill, who smashed a deflected shot in through sea of legs. Almost immediately, Arsenal equalised. Trossard found Bill Saliba for a goal in his 50th Premier League game. The man is a colossus. It was great to see him on the scoresheet.

There was time for one more goal. A loose ball from a corner kick looped up on the edge of the box, Zinchenko sniffed out the chance to do something saucy and dropped a ‘special occasions’ scissor kick into the top corner. Very, very naughty.

There was still time for a little more drama. Fabio Vieira, who replaced a drab Kai Havertz, managed to get himself a straight red with a studs up challenge. He deserved it. Shame that sort of punishment isn’t dished out consistently for fouls like that. But we can’t expect any favors from VAR or refs after Mikel led a one-man charge against the awfulness of the officials.

A comfortable afternoon, tactical perfection, and some upward movement in a Premier League that saw bad results for Newcastle and Spurs.

Kai Havertz didn’t drop the performance we were hoping for. It was a limp afternoon for him. It’s not that he’s poor, he’s just been bang average all season. What you can’t take from him is we’re doing really well with him on the side. You can’t have 10 players and do what Arsenal are doing. What you can say is he needs to find his confidence and produce more than 1 goal and 1 assist in all comps. He’ll come good, I’ve no doubt, just wish he’d go a little faster.

Jorginho has quietly been doing the business. He had a great game in the week and did another very good job against Burnley. The errors have been concerning over the past year, but it does feel like he’s finding his footing in this Arsenal team. He also landed a call-up to the Italy squad.

There’s still a bit of a feeling that our front three haven’t really clicked this season. It’s not bad, it’s just not at the level we know it can be. Again, this is good, because the fact it feels like third gear but the output is a lot of wins means there’s still more to come from the team. I am increasingly of the mindset that we’re going to have to add a forward player in January. We’re a long way from one-dimensional going forward, but we lack a killer mode. In games like yesterday, you’re kind of begging for a Haaland/Toney/Oshimen-like target man to eat up those crosses. We said something similar last year… we play with our food, City strikes like a Komodo dragon eating a baby goat. There’s only one outcome. We need some of that in our game.

Overall though, I’m very, very happy with Arsenal. We’ve had a very rough 3 months with injuries to key players and we’ve adapted really well. No Partey, no Jesus, Odegaard has been out, we’ve played HUGE games without Bukayo, Martinelli has done his hammy… but the results keep rolling in. After the international break, we’ll have Jesus, Smith Rowe, Odegaard, and hopefully Ben White all ready to go. That’s a very good set of players that’ll give us some extra bang-bang over the December period. No one has noticed that we’ve been shapeshifting and winning. That’ll come in so handy in the backend of the season when we can rotate heavily and still hit the heights with output.

Ok, great. What a lovely day. I’m going to direct you to listen to the latest podcast RIGHT NOW.


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Rich


    High standards are a good thing, you don’t improve just by trying to make others worse… That’s just a lazy at of “improving”

    Equality = Levelling down.

  2. Madhu

    My point is that the players are sold to Artetas vision and what he is trying to do. But sooner than later it will need to show some trophies to cement the vision. Kane’s career is learning for most professional. Imagine the amount of trophies she would have won if he had left even a couple of years earlier. Eventually the vision will have to be cemented with an end product.

  3. Kpankulu

    Calling other leagues pub leagues is funny considering Man city are doing exactly what the big teams in those leagues are doing in England as well

    Say it louder for those in the back!

  4. Rich


    Don’t stress… Part of becoming competitive again is that we’ll be in possession of some exceptional players… And the result of that is top clubs will cover our best talent….

    Which is infinitely preferable to either having players that other big clubs wouldn’t touch with a barge pole….

    Or being uncompetitive… And then having our 1-2 quality players consistently heisted… So our platform to build a competitive team from, is then ripped out before we can build on it….

    You can drive yourself nuts about losing our best talent, or you can enjoy being competitive again while it lasts.

  5. Matt

    ‘I really can’t wait for Kai Havertz to hit a good vein of goal scoring form and confidence’

    Best of luck with that. And when this doesn’t happen, I’m sure you will be first to hold you hands up and say you were wrong…

  6. Spanishdave

    I suppose Harland grabbing doesn’t count
    And he stamped on the spot to improve it which is not allowed
    Rigged by the Beheaders

  7. MidwestGun

    I know Habs.. I meant it’s not exactly shocking City would be given a pk.. could have put money on it. The same referee that just got sent down to the Championship.. for screwing up.. gives a 50/50 pk to City .. first game back to the PL. Hmmmm

  8. Gommit

    Haalands pulling was just as much an offence as the pull on him. And he was going down anyways… As the pundits will say “clever play” by Haaland.. If Arsenal player does it.. Disgraceful cheating

  9. Dissenter

    This referee was demoted to the championship for being shite, now he’s officiating the biggest game of the weekend
    What was the list of his demotion then?
    Wink0wink punishment 😉😉😉

  10. Rich

    Manchester United were the dominant team in the 90s + 2000s

    Liverpool the dominant team of the 80s, winning 6/10 titles, and won 5/10 in the 70s.

    Arsenal were the dominant team through the 1930s, winning 5/9 before the war…. Football has always been this way.

    The reality is that FFP like most protectionist policies, just created more of the very issues that it was designed to prevent.

    Since FFP was implemented, Bayern Munich have won 10 in a row..

    However in the decade before FFP…. Bayern won it 5 times, and there were 5 different winners. In 11 seasons.

    Investment into City + Chelsea broke United’s stranglehold… It made our league more competitive, not less…

    The established clubs just don’t like their power structures and revenue streams threatened…

    There was a reason the bigger clubs gleefully signed up to FFP, because all it did was help to restrict investment into other clubs…

    The more competitive the landscape.. The harder established clubs will have to work against those trying to topple them.

    Before City + Chelsea… United would do what Bayern Munich do, which is vacuum up all the best domestic talent.

    But it’s difficult to do that now in the PL… Because the financial rewards are so big, it pays to keep your talent on the pitch.

    Sheffield United seen their revenue go from £27 million in the Championship, before they came up with Wilder and finished 9th, and their revenue went up to £153 million.

    The financial rewards have since increased…

    CL qualification is worth between £45 -£100 million directly… But indirectly in terms of sponsorship, retaining best players, and attracting the best talent… It’s worth so much more.

    It’s not like public ownership has been good for Barcelona.

    The best way to create a more even landscape, is to create more quality players in higher quantities.

  11. TR7

    Chelsea have looked better than City so far, the best I have seen Chelsea play in a while really from the samples of games I have watched.

  12. Gunnernet

    city shockingly bad. Chelsea playing physically. It works. Lack of possession for city leads to mistakes and defensive imbalance

  13. Nigel Tufnel

    “On one passage he had an open route to the goal, chose to pass to a covered player.”

    I also mentioned this yesterday as it really bothered me as someone who staying positive on Havertz.

    Rice gave him the ball in a promising situation, and I’m sure he was annoyed with what Kai did.
    Disappointing for me because he was showing signs of life taking some shots in the previous match.
    No pressure to score from me, but shying away from attempts is not acceptable.
    I said he’ll be a great Xhaka replacement and upgrade because of perfect attributes. He’s been better in midfield than I expected, but I wanted someone aggressively making runs and shooting from that position.
    I think Arteta gave him the hook to send him a message.

    I defend him against the negative obsession here, but I’m honest when I see worrying signs.

  14. Habesha Gooner

    Cheslea having been playing well all season. And they are finally seeing some fruit of their labor. They have been missing chances while creating them. And to be 2 – 1 up after that joke of a decision is superb.

    I hope they don’t progress much more after this though.

  15. Rich

    Guardiola will be delighted with that, won an inexplicable penalty, been thoroughly outplayed… But still go in level at the break, with a chance to reset.

    These officials are making it up as they go along.

    I thought Poch would like Gallagher, plenty of industry, and a decent amount of quality alongside it…

    One of those Monreal/Lauren type players, where they rarely give less than a 7/10.

  16. GD4

    The DNA of Thiago Silva needs to be harvested to see if he is an alien life form. How the hell is this man playing in the EPL at his age??

  17. MidwestGun

    The thing about the var call.. is it was clear as day that Haaland had as much shirt as Cucurella on the replay.. and was holding him off initially..

    So at least let the ref on the pitch go over to the monitor and get a second look to see if he still agrees.. and then if he does .. fine. The game has already been delayed what’s another 2 mins.
    For Var to say nothing to see here.. move along when there was… something to see is the issue. for me

  18. raptora

    Cucurella has negative IQ there but should have been saved by the push on a Chavs player before the cross. But a decision in City’s favor. Is anyone surprised one bit? Not me.

  19. Habesha Gooner

    I disagree on that. Caicedo is a top player in the making. I just didn’t agree with people who preferred him over Rice when the latter has been performing for years instead of just a year. But I can’t deny how good a player Caicedo is. Can play that 6 role so well.

  20. Nigel Tufnel

    Funny how no Arsenal fans ever get out the microscope on Ederson positioning when they concede, or when he kicks the ball out of play.
    But when it’s Ramsdale or Raya it all gets dissected.
    Ederson is the best, but he takes plenty of chances to get to that level.

  21. Rich

    Caicedo is quality, not sure how anyone could watch him and think anything different, he’s just turned 22 and already one of the best.. His ceiling could be massive.

    He just went to a dysfunctional club, with a dysfunctional team… Liverpool or Arsenal would have been much better moves for him in the immediate.

    So happy that Klopp never got him.

    Chelsea overpaid, but if he sits in their engine room for the next decade, they can still extract value.

    Ricedo in and Xhaka + Partey out was the dream… But Zubimendi at less than half the price, would be an acceptable compromise if we can pull it off.

  22. GD4

    Honestly it’s gonna take some going and a massive effort to dislodge City from their perch while Pep is in charge ..: that’s one tough juggernaut of an outfit

  23. GD4

    Enzo is a 30 million pound player at best.
    What a waste of money but this outfit managed to con two clubs to pay almost 120 mill for Havertz and Mount.
    That’s grand larceny