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Arsenal fizzed back into the season with dazzling style by pummeling hapless Crystal Palace with 5 goals. The Le Grove narrative during the break was that results would catch up to performances and that the entire team would get their confidence back again, and that kind of came true in the smallest of sample sizes.

The doom and gloom was out of place in the extremist world of online opinion and we all got a bit of a reality check on the nature of football. Sometimes things don’t go for you in front of goal, sometimes they don’t work in your own box, and every now and then it happens at both ends.

The xG score was well and truly represented with a clean sheet and no drama in defense. In front of the goal, we were worth 3.84 xG. If anything, you could say that things went a little too well for us, 5 goals from 6 shots on target is quite the achievement. Arsenal played better football against Liverpool and West Ham and we got nothing. This is the nature of sport and it’s why we love it.

It’s also worth pointing out how early goals can work for a team like Arsenal. After the second goal, Palace had to come for us, and our remaining 3 goals were blistering transitions. Arsenal don’t get those sorts of opportunities because we haven’t had the same early game fizz we had last season. Hopefully, this represents a turning point with finishing, and an uptick in chances to deliver BIG results.

There’s also a conversation to be had about goal difference. It’s +22. City and Liverpool are at +25. We’re one goal shy of chance creation machine Liverpool and we’re 5 behind City who have literal goal cyborg up front. Things haven’t been perfect, but you’d never guess that by the general sentiment around the broken attacking system we have. Spending £100m on a striker will give us a lot of benefits, but we can’t use that as an excuse not to have a good run this season. We have the players to score goals.

I thought the performance was a touch functional if I’m honest. It was far from free-flowing and swashbuckling, but no one cares for that conversation the day after. We also can’t have the conversation about what changed because people will imprint all sorts of reasons that don’t really stand up to rigor. Things rolled for us when they haven’t been. Martinelli doesn’t get a clean strike on his first goal and it squeezes into the bottom corner. We get an own goal from a corner. Gabriel decides he wants to score a world class header. Trossard finds his shooting boots. None of that was a byproduct of Dubai, it was a result of doing the right things again, and getting rewarded.

To be honest, who gives a shit? We don’t have to argue the toss because we’re back up to 3rd in the league and the team looked buzzing after the game.

The one negative of the day was Declan Rice walking off with a ‘hammy’… but Mikel said after the game it doesn’t seem too serious. The important thing is he wasn’t rolling around on the floor in agony. Hopefully it’s precautionary. Thomas Partey should be in the mix for the next game, but I’d prefer it if he was part of a squad that had a fully fit Declan. I also don’t want to be heading into a massive game with a key player out again.

The David Raya doubters might also want to be removing the options they put on David Raya stocks. He was very good. He made 5 saves, he got a pre-assist for the Trossard goal, and he commanded his box really well all game. It wasn’t really a drama game for him, but he needed to look solid and bar one bad backpass, he delivered on that.

We should also doth the cap to Mikel ‘rotation guru’ Arteta for his early subs. Runs out for Smith Rowe, Eddie, Jorginho, and Kiwior. He needs to be doing more of that on the regular. The team that does the best in the back half of the season is always the team that has the freshest players. Our players are always gassed and broken by March. Rotating when we can should be a priority and it certainly was yesterday.

Finally, shoutout to the club for letting Ashburton Army drop a TIFO pregame, and to all the fans that brought out their scarves to wave via Red Action messaging. Not sure the impact was that pronounced, but at least there appears to be a concerted effort from the club and supporter groups to have a go. Accepting a mediocre atmosphere is weak sauce and it comes from the same people who said it was impossible to ever have noise at The Emirates. ‘Too many media types, too middle class, it’s just not part of our heritage.’ Well, we’ve seen that was nonsense. If away fans can do it 95% of the time, so can a portion of the home fans. If American supporters can do it, so can the English. Focus attention on those that want to sing and make noise regardless and build from there. On a personal note, I’m invested in this because I cannot watch Martin Odegaard flapping around the pitch, trying to rally the fans for some noise. Just give it to him.

I’ll talk more on this later in the week, but United just pinched the COO of Manchester City as their new CEO. This is a shrewd move. Manchester City hire the best people and keep them around for a longtime. He’s bringing a lot of valuable IP to the club. It’s a worry United is getting its shit together. BUT, I’ll give some perspective on the magnitude of that job later in the week.

Ok, big day. The Podcast is on Patreon for the early birds. It’ll go out in the AM tomorrow for everyone else.

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Signing Toney is the same as employing an alcoholic as the barman.


‘The throw in scenario, with Ben White, drives me up the wall.’

The Athletic–
“Arsenal’s clever throw-in pattern that has turned into a signature move.”
Free link:

Read this. Seems probable it was someone other than Ben White who missed their assignment on a set throw in play.


James McAtee of SHU looks like a promising little winger. He’s only 21.


Moyes-Ball is brutal..

Sheffield United have played well, but lacking quality, well deserved point.

Bob N16

Pierre defending Ozil. Is this stream on some sort of weird time loop?


I’m watching the end of the West Ham/Sheffield game and I just can’t understand the stupidity of so called professional football players.
The one gifts West Ham a daft PK and then the defender rugby tackles Bowen at the whistle and only the clueless ref and VAR save the Blades ..

This kinda foolishness gets clubs relegated and managers sacked.
Just don’t get it.


We had a good win against Crystal Palace, and I hope that can lead to more wins. The game also proved what many people complained about. If you create great chances for our attackers, they’ll score goals. I know many people say we have issues with chance creation because we face deep blocks, but it’s not as simple as that. There are many times during games where our attackers are trying to make a move and our midfielder just passes to the back or sideways. Or delays passes so long that the attacker is already covered. If Raya’s throw was… Read more »


@ bendabrah and Brian Muff,
You obviously didn’t understand the point I was making. But that’s ok.

Brian Muff

Yes Kenneth, I did, you were complaining after a win. I assume your point was that our goal scorers weren’t scoring, a defender was.

But why divide the game in half? just to be negative?

The game as a whole produced 2(ish) goals from a defender, and 3 great goals from open play from 2 attackers.

That’s pretty decent isn’t it Kenneth?


Wow. Calm down Brian. All I was saying is that if it had not been for Gabriel, who you correctly point out is a defender and not a player I personally think we should have to rely on to score our goals, we would have been going in at the break 0-0 with no shots on target. After our recent run of form the crowd would have been nervous and it would have been a completely different atmosphere and who knows how things might have went. I apologise if my opinion offended you. I hope that’s ok with you.

Bob N16

Ken, I think we should ‘rely’ on our CBs to be a threat at corners.

Brian Muffy

No offence here Kenneth. You carry on flower…my bad for taking the bait.

Brian Muff

No offence here Kenneth, you carry on flower…my bad for taking the bait.


Ken – the only reason a defender can score is because the attack have forced a set piece. Of course the focus is then on the biggest players to be the key chess pieces once’s the set piece has been won and that would in most cases be a CB or if we had one a big CF

So your point is pointless !


Harry Kane might not win even with Bayern in Bundesliga. Too funny. Cursed for leaving Arsenal for Spuds.


Most corners in the PL this season:

Arsenal – 164
City – 141
Liverpool – 136
United – 134
Villa – 129
Bournemouth – 120
Spurs – 120
Burnley – 112
Luton -107
Chelsea -107

The amount of corners we generate, is the result of the consistent pressure we apply, we then need to be equipped to take advantage of the set-pieces generated.

Least corners conceded per game:

Arsenal – 2.2
City – 3.6
Villa 3.8

Most corners conceded per game:

Sheffield United – 6.9
Spurs – 6.4


Bob, yeah that’s fair enough. I just think in 45 minutes of football it’s not ideal for that to be our only threat, at home, to a depleted Crystal Palace. Again, apologies if that causes offense to anyone, it’s just my opinion, no need to get bent out of shape over it.


All that said I don’t feel how I would normally feel after the team have crushed an opponent. Raya stil looks and makes me nervous and fantastic throw to Tross aside, he just isn’t at the level we need Havertz just isn’t good enough. He is so ordinary it is scary as to why Arteta got this transfer so badly wrong We have gone backwards from losing Xhaka and I didn’t ever contemplate that was possible Jesus cannot own the penalty box and seems to be disinterested in doing so. Why did he want the no 9 shirt so badly… Read more »


100% Olumide. Rice will never be able to replace Partey, completely different type.
We need to play forward and faster, none of this shitty back and sideways flacid fake controll.
This game was easy for us not a real test but great result .


Gutted that Eze was on our books as a youth player

Put him in our team instead of Havertz and we would be far more exciting and effective going forward


Pierre isn’t completely wrong about midfield he just focuses on the wrong player. You need a good recycler, shooter, technically sound player with good vision like Odegaard. You just can’t pair him with a player like Havertz. It works better with a player like ESR or Xhaka … because they aren’t concerned with playing the position like a withdrawn striker making off the ball runs that nobody passes to because he is marked or running into spaces already occupied by the winger.. which yesterday was Trossard. Stats from game illustrate this. Passing… Ode 3 key passes, 3 crosses. 1 long… Read more »

Bob N16

Agree Northbanker, Eze was excellent yesterday- technical, hardworking and always looking to get on the ball and take responsibility. Dare I say it – he’s too good for Palace!


Damn it.. Pool.. pretty well beating Bournemouth now, while playing worse then them.. Go figure.


Arsenal controlling the game in the attacking + middle third, both with and without the ball, is as much about our defence, and how we limit opposition chances… As it is about our attack. The spaces opened up 2nd half, due to game state, as once Palace went behind, at some stage they had to gamble. This tactic worked for them in their 2-2 draw at City, and they clawed back a 2 goal deficit. The spaces weren’t there in the first half yesterday, Palace were setup well, and didn’t do much wrong.. Goals often change the direction of travel… Read more »


Havertz is seriously frustrating to watch because not only does he seem to have poor technique and execution despite bright runs/ideas but he is incredibly risk-averse and passive.

I’ve never seen a forward so happy to go sideways or backwards.


Jota the rat scores a brace. Liverpool’s title to lose.


Yesterday was a great result, 5 goals and a clean sheet against a side who are rarely throttled is no mean feat.

Hopefully it will kickstart Martinelli back into form just like his goal at the end of the Villa game did last season (4-2 IIRC after Jorginho’s strike) because we desperately need him back amongst the goals.

Eze is a lovely player to watch, him and Olise won’t be at Palace for much longer. Would take both here in a heartbeat.


Liverpool have more than one of these clinical finisher/killers
City have more than one of these clinical finishers/killers
Arsenal have not even one of these clinical finishers/killers


Diego Jota has to be one of ugliest players ever… and I’m not talking about just his face. hahaha Ugly playing style with not much nuance to it.. but he always knocks it in when he the ball falls to him.. very annoying.



When was Eze on our books?


We have to rectify a lack of individual goal scoring threat in the squad, come summer


Give klopp his due , he us prepared to put academy players in the starting line up..

Bradley, Elliot , Jones being trusted today .



He has that Bruno-esque rattyness to his game and his face all right.


Mid totally agreed. He’s a dirty player at times too when he needs do be🥊


“Eze is a lovely player to watch, him and Olise won’t be at Palace for much longer. Would take both here in a heartbeat.”

Me too , though I have a sneaky suspicion that tottenham will be sniffing around for one or both in the summer.



Liverpool have world class Keeper CB and Front man in Salah also with a few killers. Konate looked the business this season also.


Ya I would probably get red carded defending Jota… just too much temptation to retaliate on him.. when he leaves his foot in one too many times.


Bournemouth completely collapsed.. the last 20 mins.. no on the ball pressure at all.


Capitulation from B’Mouth in this half, completely different from the first half


Yep.. Leftside… Well our goal diff looked good for 24 hours anyhow..7 goals back now.


This Liverpool seem like a second half team they do ramp it up then. Must be them Sloppy half time team talks.





Eze was 2006-11


Mid “Pierre isn’t completely wrong about midfield he just focuses on the wrong player.” Not really , here is my comment earlier “Havertz had a tidy game but probably the most intelligent thing he did in yesterday’s game was to not attempt a shot or attempt a killer pass , this meant his game went under the radar as he could happily recycle the ball without fear of criticism.” This was not a compliment by the way. As for Odegaard I highlighted 3 times he was found wanting against palace when he should have played jesus in from good positions… Read more »


Even though we won yesterday, I still can’t help comparing us and the other top 5 sides, looking at the forward players signed in the last 4 to 5 seasons and see the difference it has made to them in the attacking sense. So Man city, have signed , grealish, alvarez, Harland, dorku. Liverpool, jota, nunez, gakpo,Diaz, Spurs, richarlison,Johnson, kulusevski, Solomon, maddison , werner Aston villa , Bailey, diary, zaniolo,Watkins. Duran We on the other hand, have signed Jesus and trossard, we have not invested enough up top were it matters, yes we are lucky to have 2 very good… Read more »


Jota is level above all other Pool attackers intelligence wise bar Salah.
He is peak Firmino and Mane level.

Recall how disgusted we all were VAR gave the three points to Spurs in what has been so far Pool’s only defeat?
The way they’re going we might have to send VAR flowers for that particular fuckup.


Pierre Jesus’s goal came just after we’d taken the lead in injury time, up until that point United had rarely ventured up the pitch, they were happy to sit back and counter. Once they went behind, they had to gamble, and as a result, space opened up in behind in the 97th minute. Havertz 88th minute against Brighton at 1-0, with Brighton throwing bodies forward trying to get a late equaliser. 3 goals yesterday all after Palace pressed higher, pushed up the pitch, and as a result the spaces opened up in behind.. I actually called this at half-time, if… Read more »

X haka

Solanke made no impression today.
Liverpool winning games with ease.

who said it , we didnt need Jurgen but had Arteta?

really gets on my nerves, how we kept Wenger for so long and missed out on him.

Arteta is the new Wenger= stale

X haka

And Arteta has completely fucked up , letting Xhaka go for Havertz.
Xhaka passed through the lines, Havetz gets in the way.

Levekusen well clear now.
Alonso the real deal if he wins Bundeliga in his first job.


“Alonso the real deal if he wins Bundeliga in his first job.“

I think he’s the real deal whether he wins it or not.
Definitely a better watch than Tuchel’s Bayern.


“The amount of corners we generate, is the result of the consistent pressure we apply…”

Rich – The problem is that we leading the league in corners won but are fifth for shots on target. It would be much better if our forwards shot more instead of ‘applying pressure’ for a corner.

X haka


Whats trust the process in German? 🤣
Alonso is clearly mustard.

And Bayern lost at home today

Amazing, if Xhaka wins the league at Levekusen in his first season and not at Arsenal in 10 years and under three different managers?

sort of sums us up.

Nigel Tufnel

Even though I have some disagreements, I enjoy the analysis of Pierre and Rich among all the typical boring comments drooling over Xabi Alonso amd other teams players. Now all legravers are up the arse of Alonso. Let’s just put his team in the premier league competition for 38 weeks and see if they make top 4. About Havertz.. not a standout yesterday, clearly.. but on a day where we win 5-0 the Grove children shit on him because he should’ve had a brace too I guess. He did his job in midfield, but didn’t threaten to score… so we… Read more »

London gunner

Hate to beat a dead horse but we completely fucked it last year we bottled it when we were in the league losing/drawing against lower table/relegation fodder teams. It was our best chance in decades and I had said we wouldn’t get another one in another decade.

Man City are most likely to win the league but I also think Liverpool are really coming into form.

Best we can do is qualify for champions league a tournament we have no hope of winning.

Nigel Tufnel

Liverpool are great again, but they are overdue for a bad patch. Man City had theirs, we had ours, and City are basically 3 points ahead of us.
No shame in our position at this point.

Liverpool have had almost everything go right in most of their games… they are likely going to even out a bit over the second half. There will be 1 or 2 dips for them.

Nigel Tufnel

Good stuff from Brian Muff.

Where’s Kpankulu lately?


Odegaard 1 assist from open play ( a cross into the box)
Havertz 1 assists from open play.( a 5 yard pass)
Rice 2 assists from open play .

So our midfield creative hub have 4 assists from open play in 53 starts between them , none from defence splitting passes, and we wonder why our striker struggles in front of goal.
Eddie and vieira have 4 assists from open play in the league , all defence splitting passes, and they have only started 12 league games between them…

Steve Abraham

Fortnite came out in 2016 according to my son. No coincidence that’s round about when ozil stopped being interested in his football career.
Absolute road-man


Pierre 3/4 of those assists were late in the game with the opposition needing to throw bodies forward and gamble. It’s not hard to understand why those spaces open up in those periods in the game, with the score-lines as they were.. Havertz isn’t in the team to play defence splitting passes, he’s there to give us a different way to get up the pitch, play percentage football, crash the box, and provide a physical presence in both boxes at set-pieces. Ødegaard’s number in the PL this season, and across all comps in the last 365 days, look really… Read more »


Agree with Pierre about our midfield but it’s not the players that are the problem is this Arteta desire for control. That control makes it easier for teams to get into a low block and so much harder for us to score from open play. Playing as an attack minded player in this system this season must be so frustrating. Havertz simply was not needed. Arteta has made so many of these “not really needed” signings. Lastly, I see Klopp brought on 3 youth team players yesterday…if I was Ethan Nwaneri I would be casting very envious eyes at Anfield.… Read more »


Rice- is a strong and good athlete, lacking in technique

Odegaad -above average technique( Not exceptional like Cesc, Rosiky, Cazorla), good stamina, weak physically.

Havertz – a zeedonk. Nobody knows what he is good at, not great aesthetically(zebra) can kick once in a while(donkey)


A midfield of Partey, Xhaka, Ode had better balance than
Rice, Havertz, Ode