by .

Have a bit of that, Hammers.

Thought you were going to earn the right to be our bogey team? Not under Mikel Arteta. The message was delivered with a brutal destruction of a performance, capped, with Mikel whispering.

‘I want the West Ham fans to know, it was me’

The pregame chatter was focused on the weak bench and SEVEN players missing from the squad.

No one was talking about that by halftime.

Arsenal started slowly, then went into beast mode, ripping David Moyes’s squad to the pieces in a merciless 25 minutes for the record books.

Odegaard was imperious, Saka put on the big show performance, Declan Rice cut a 66 that looked like he’d been hurt by West Ham as a child.

We opened the scoring from another setpiece. Nic Jover, our setpiece specialist, has taken us to the top of the ‘goals from setpieces’ table. He’s done an extraordinary job. Gabriel and Saliba acting like traditional English #9s with two brilliant goals delivered by Declan Rice’s beautiful boots.

Saka scored a penalty, but let’s not ignore that the assist should have been credited to a beautiful ball from deep by Leo Trossard.

The Belgian capped the half by winning the ball in the final third, giving it to Odegaard, who reverse-passed him into a great position in on the edge of the box. The Belgian cut inside and curled a camera-ready goal into the top corner.

West Ham cleared the stadium faster than I’ve seen American stadiums cleared for tornado alerts. It was a sight to behold. The fanbase that told Declan he should move to City this summer were getting pummelled by their captain.

But it wasn’t over… they still had 45 to go.

Odegaard found Saka in acres, he received the ball, turned into zero pressure, and unleashed a low piledriver that was hit so hard, you could almost taste the his disdain for a team that had hurt him in December.

The final goal was the ultimate humiliation for West Ham. Declan was found outside the area and he belted a screamer into the top corner. It was a 2% chance type of strike. He peeled off for the no-celebration celebration. It was like getting beaten up in a fight and watching your girlfriend walk off with the attacker. The stadium went from 75% full to nearly empty. Salt of the earth hammers had seen enough.


There are not enough superlatives to capture how good that result was.

We broke our away day record for a result.

West Ham hasn’t been beaten that badly since the 60s.

We could have scored more if we had a proper #9.

No one was talking about the subs… well, they were, Ethan Nwaneri came on and showed that he’s really, really good. He looked very comfortable on the pitch. Carried himself like an adult and caused some problems.

Kiwior slipped in for Zinchenko again and did a brillaint job. We certainly have a player there, and I have my doubts he’s going to be sold to Milan in a cut-price deal.

Ben White showed his versatility inverting and overlapping. He bagged an assist.

Trossard, the master of pure output, should be keeping his place again. Another game-changing 90 for a player who seems to be getting better and better. Only Thierry and Robin Van Persie have better output records with over 1000 minutes played in a season.

We had seven players out and initiated a massacre.

That’s 4 wins in 4. We’re in the top 3 chasing down the league title. The team that couldn’t score now has the same goal difference as City and sits just one goal behind Liverpool.

We have the best defence in the league, despite being top 4 for errors leading to goals.

We’ve scored the most setpieces this season.

We have the most cleansheets this season.

Our players are celebrating blocked shots in the 87th minute.

This is a proper team. Just take a moment to remember all the people calling for Arteta’s head in December, taking victory laps because they thought Arteta wouldn’t get it right, they shrieked at folk pointing towards the underlying metrics or those that had the audacity to flag that we were getting really, really unlucky.

Remember those people as they try and reverse out of their shocking opinions.

Now, do I think we’re going to win the league? No. City are the best team, they have easy cup games, everyone is fit, and they are the only team in the top 3 capable of not losing for the rest of the season because they have muscle memory for that.

But can we compete? Yes. Will Jesus, Partey, and Tomi be in the mix for the next game? Likely. Do we have a nice run of games that’ll put us in the conversation for March? We do. Get to the final 8 games in the mixer and anything can happen.

Arsenal is heading towards greatness. We’re likely a little short this season. But football is a process. You have to put yourself in the best shape over the long term and trust that things will work out.

We are going to be a big trophy team sooner rather than later, the promised land is close, just enjoy where we are and keep an eye on the long game.

Right, that’s me done. See you in the comments. Also, just to remind you. The site is going under development, I’ll fix the comments and some other bugs. Also, if you really need some Arsenal goodness in your ears right now, sign up to The AOP Patreon now and get the On The WHistle early bird NOW.

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Nigel Tufnel

If I remember correctly.. Martinelli has always been poor at corner kicks… then Trossard started taking them and looked much better for a game or two…. then the quality of his also dropped.
Rice has been very good since he began doing it, but it’s a shame that we have to lose his size on the receiving end in the box. With the recent results, I won’t complain too much.


Tony2 .. of course… God has good taste.

Danny S

Really struggling to think of a striker that would excite me in the arsenal line up that would be available this summer. Don’t want Oshimen and Toney wouldn’t raise the bar much.
Houjlund actually looks like the sort of player we need right now.
Havertz also isn’t the answer up front. He’s like a Giroud without any goals.

Guns of SF

3rd and 4 doomed us in OT, shit whatever,
My arsenal is cruising


Not sure we will be after a true number 9 though to me Trossard plays it better than Jesus (and isn’t a diving Deva). Reading about the suggested clear outs one mustn’t forget the wages e.g Cedric 90K a week,value nothing.I see the policy has to change on players who are injured consistently like Tierney and Partey and probably Tommi I expect Ramsdale and ESR to leave (Man united are sniffing around ) and as often the case he isn’t an Arteta favourite.. I think we need a true LB and RB and a fit Timber will be an asset.CL… Read more »


Marbell. Why can’t we win it? Sure city got the t shirt, read the book got the terminator back and KDB and LFC have been around the block but so what???? Not having a pop at you or anyone but so what? Are we not good enough. Yes we are did we f*** up last season? Yes we did but safe for injuries do you not think we could’ve got across the line? Yes we could have. Do not look at the weakbesses we may have. Look at our strengths. Look at the team. Look at the ‘ over my… Read more »

Luteo Guenreira

I would prefer to keep and develop Kiwior as a squad player and potential starter at LB rather than keep Zinchenko who is getting older, has always been injury prone, and seems to keep forgetting that he’s playing LB for Arsenal instead of CM for Ukraine during matches.

Luteo Guenreira

Tom, Mid…..I know it’s an election year and you guys are excited, but no need to start bickering already it’s only February.


It’s all good Luteo.. Tom and I get along. He just cares a bit about Mr. Emery’s managerial honor then I do. I’m too busy enjoying our season and the downfall of Chelsea’s to do a deep dive into it, to be honest.


a bit more that is.


GunsOfSF– Shanahan was the culprit on both 3rd and 4s.

Knew Spagnuolo was going to send everyone on the one in OT– after the first one in regulation. Yet, Shanahan called a play with a three-step drop instead of five-step– on the the play in OT– when Jennings came open– if Purdy had another second to set/throw.

Micro margins…

Le Groove

Been reading this blog for years and first time commenting. Some of you may be totally cooked, but it’s guaranteed to be entertaining here and I end up reading all the comments because the discussion is great regardless and the community can’t be found anywhere else. Wenger and the invincible season won me as a fan and have held my enduring love ever since. I’m a few years younger than him but the emergence of cesc and the following years, despite ending with heartbreak, made me the lifelong arsenal supporter I am today. As everyone here understands, it’s been rough… Read more »


Why is comment section so quiet?


“Why is comment section so quiet?”

We won by a big margin. Nothing to moan about 😀


The biggest improvement is the movement amongst the front 4 including ode. Look at where Saka scored his goal from and won the penalty. This was missing earlier and something that a lot of us were wondering about. This match was perfect in the way it was executed. Particularly Trossard and Havertz were all over the place. What’s encouraging is that Martinelli was relatively quite and yet we won by a huge margin. That’s a good sign that we don’t need all our cylinders firing in every match


I made the case on several occasions that Arsenal should not recruit more than three outfield players this summer. The obvious replacement needed is a goalscoring centre forward. This is going to be difficult, because there are few decent options in market. Personally I don’t think that Arsenal will recruit Osimhen. He is not the type of player that we will choose to recruit. It is more likely that we will go for someone with a proven record in EPL. So the prime candidates are Toney, Watkins or Isak. This poses the question how we will play Jesus next season… Read more »


All the media, pundits and fans that were certain we needed a striker in January are looking foolish now. 4 games , 16 goals and only 2 conceded has silenced those who overreacted to a few games where the ball wasn’t running for us in front of goal. For me it’s Odegaard who is the key, he is now playing between the lines , he is now looking for the killer ball and he is delivering whilst still maintaining his fantastic energy around the pitch. His figures recently are very impressive and he deserves credit for the way he has… Read more »


What we need is a wide man striker who can play across the front three in our setup and score goals. It’s a reductive way of thinking that we need someone like Halaand. Unfortunately the strikers around the world are limited. Probably apart from Kane there are not enough consistent strikers out there. So it makes sense to bring in a front man who can play across the front three or atleast in two places out of 3 in the front line.


No point in talking about transfers in February…
Isn’t it close to 6 months before the window opens , so much can change between now and then.


Pierre Only a few weeks ago you were assuring us that Ødegaard wasn’t the creative genius some of us claimed… But now he is?.. You’ve written a barrage of hit pieces of our talented captain, wanted to sell him the last 2 summers… And were advocating replacing him in the team just a few weeks back.. But now he’s key?… After assuring us of all of his many shortcomings?… Can’t press?… Last season by far the best presser in Europe… Arsenal also currently have by far the best counter press in the league… Can’t play a through ball… Ødegaard currently… Read more »



Arsenal when they are playing well and scoring goals do not need a conventional

However, Arsenal are no different from any other football team. They all want a
conventional striker who is employed to score regularly goals.

Both Jesus and Nketiah are not prolific goalscorers at EPL Level. Jesus is a
useful forward because he can play elsewhere on pitch. Sadly Nketiah does not
offer that option.

So if we are looking for a conventional striker who scores goals on regular basis
then it is likely that Nketiah will be replaced.



Arsenal are not short of full back options.

Excluding Cedric we have got currently four on the Books ie White, Timber,
Zinchenko and Tomiyasu.

Timber would I am sure have replaced Zinchenko as our regular left back this
season. So our backline would have been White, Saliba, Gabriel and Timber.

Both Tomiyasu and Zinchenko would have been good full back options with
Kiwior as centre back to sit on bench.

All footballers get injured at some point in their careers, and Arsenal need probably another centre back.


Rich “Only a few weeks ago you were assuring us that Ødegaard wasn’t the creative genius some of us claimed… But now he is?..” I think you’ll find it was earlier in the season that I was critical of Odegaard’s productivity and his reluctance to play a forward pass, and no I don’t mean the simple 5 yard pass to saka. Unlike some, I have no qualms of giving credit where it’s due and I will be critical when it is deserved. Of course though, by making excuses for his average early season form you are agreeing with me in… Read more »


Pierre You’re so full of shit.. Just a few weeks back you were claiming we’d never create the required chances with Ødegaard + Havertz in the team… Arguing that I didn’t see it as a problem.. I didn’t… And I don’t.. But you did. You failed to recognise that the way we play is highly choreographed, that we’d changed two thirds of our midfield, and that patterns of play take time to learn… Ødegaard is now doing much more work in the first and second phase, and was adjusting to a new role, and 2 new midfield partners.. While you… Read more »



The whole team was “off colour” in the first half of season and not just Odegaard.

Odegaard is a significantly better player than Maddison in all departments of his
game. As Rich suggests he is the best AMF in EPL after De Bruyne.


ES All players get injuries… But when the same players keep breaking down and costing us over a significant period of time, that’s a problem we should probably address.. There’s no reason Tomi can’t get over his issues, I like him a lot, he’s the ideal squad defender, and apparently one of the best professionals at the club.. But based on the 2.5 seasons sample size we currently have… It would be a risk to tie ourselves back in for another 4.5 seasons on improved terms, before we get a significant sample size of his ability to play a few… Read more »

Bob N16

For what it’s worth, my take on MO8 is that he’s superb when the team is playing well but if the team is not functioning well, he struggles. Rice is a level above him in that sense. To be picky, Odegaard lacks acceleration and a right foot shot. His shooting tends to be streaky. His positives are many, technique, passing range, attitude, vision, leads the press etc. Win, draw or loss Odegaard is always the last player to leave the pitch, making a point of applauding all areas of the stands – class act! Not wanting to take sides on… Read more »


Rich What put a spanner in the works was the long term injury to Timber. At the start of this season our rb/lb options were almost certainly RB 1. White 2. Tomiyasu 3. Timber 4. Cedric LB 1= Timber 1= Zinchenko 3. Tomiyasu 4. Kiwior The injury to Timber put the spanner in works and highlighted our problems in left back position. There has been discussion about buying a new full-back. Personally I don’t see that happening unless Timber struggles to recover. Both White and Tomiyasu are expected to sign new contracts and I think that Arteta will add Walters… Read more »


Madison is faster and more skillful than Ode, his problem is,
Odegaard more focused and disciplined.


Bob N16 loves it up on the fence, theres no way both Pierre and Rich are right




It’s mad that Chelsea have fallen so far as a club that a player like Gallagher is starting every week This is the definition of a mid table player. Lots of huffing and puffing, constantly running but rarely any meaningful quality (2 goals the other day aside) At the top end of football players are supposed to have much more than work rate I’d say he belongs at a mid table team like west ham, wolves or Everton, but I guess it’s equally fair to say he belongs at a mid table club like Chelsea now lol But seriously you… Read more »


Jwl February 12 2024 12:49:11

” I would rather be dominating scoring charts with goals scored by our players ”

Not sure what you are about.

All goals scored thus far were by our players . !

16 goals from set pieces and 7 penalties (21) of 58 goals scored is a healthy return from a team without an out and out CF.

Tone down the critique mate.


Pierre is right, Richard is trying to prove him wrong and Not doing a good job.


Bob N16

As I posted the whole team was not playing particularly well in first half of season.

Odegaard is a “team player” and not someone who will win games on his own account.

For the record he scored 15 goals and provided 8 assists last season. Whilst he
may not replicate those stats this season it does not detract from his performance level and influence in the team.

I would point out that Arsenal are now just 2 goals short after 24 games of the
number of goals scored at same stage last season.


Jwl February 12 2024 comment:
53 goals scored for the Arsenal this season


The issue we have in midfield is that Ødegaard, Jorginho, Vieira, all struggle when the game becomes stretched. We have to put the right level of physical security around them. Partey is unreliable… We’ll-certainly need him to contribute when the schedule kicks off at the business end, but we’d be crazy to throw the dice on his fitness again next season. We simply have to pivot away from him. I like Smith Rowe, but he’s 24 next summer, and this situation is unsustainable for both parties, he needs consistent football. He’ll need to leave for the sake of his own… Read more »



I like Patino. However, I don’t see Arsenal adding two U21 players into our first
team squad this summer.

I think that the one spot will be allocated to Nwaneri.

Arsenal will buy a replacement for Partey most probablu Zubimendi. Both Luiz
and Onane will only be sold if the transfer fee is grossly inflated.

Bob N16

Sid ‘Bob N16 loves it up on the fence’ If you mean I’m willing to see both sides of an argument, then I agree with you! ES, I agree Nwaneri feels more of a sure thing than Patino. There has been a suggestion that clubs are interested in him and it may be that Arsenal will sell if terms seem right. I guess it depends on Patino too. If he is offered ‘Elneny minutes’ next season would he accept? No idea. The fact that MLS is also showing real promise in a similar role to Patino may influence the eventual… Read more »


ES Patino isn’t a complete novice, I was hoping he’d pick up at least another 2,500 minutes this season.. That looks unlikely now, but he’d still come back with some 4,000 + minutes. He’s still filling out physically, you often see that with players between the ages of 20-22. Smith Rowe has started 2 PL games since May 2022… The first game put him out for another 5 weeks.. Now he’s put himself in contention again.. He’s twisted his ankle in training. I wouldn’t see the issue with replacing Smith Rowe with Patino, seems like the most obvious internal solution,… Read more »


A journo on twitter saying ESR injury not too bad, he wanted to continue playing after he rolled his ankle in training but staff told him to rest it, so it sounds like his ankle just bruised and needs a week to heal kind of thing.


Pierre had it on odegaard from day one
It’s all about the Ozil obsession lol
There’s no way around it
Odegaard is the heart beat of this arsenal team
Top player, top professional, top captain
With Rice beside him, he could only get better


Love and support any player who wears the cannon on his shirt but having a bit of time on my hands I started to wonder which clubs would be best fit for some of our fringe.So here goes. Eddie best match up? Palace. Whether it be in Prem or championship Eddie, Oliese and Eze would be a potent front line Make no mistake. Reiss (3, hedging my bets here) Everton, WHam or Leicester (newly promoted) would get a decent run and be allowed to show his skill. Vieira and lower continental team in Spain or Italy. Rams (boo hoo, love… Read more »

Habesha Gooner

Pierre lying again about not giving Odegaard shit is funny. You have been spitting crap since the day Odegaard moved here. He has always been a superb creative player. It is now more than a a season and half with the same consistency. You will take the first chance to take another pop at him again though.

Habesha Gooner

I would say the key positions we need in order of importance are Striker, Winger, DM and Keeper ( both positions are expected to be vacated) and a CM if possible. I would love Pedro Neto. He can play both wings well. And we would move Trossard according to our needs to CM and LW as we see fit. A Striker is a necessity. It should be the first priority. Osihmen, Vlahovic, Toney all should be in the frame in consideration with our budget. Partey and Ramsdale should also be replaced. A CM can wait if we can’t do all… Read more »


Davey(real name Dave obviously but thinks Davey sounds cool)
“Pierre is FULL OF SHIT END OF.”

I’m Looking forward to reading something relevant from you …


From day 1 with Ødegaard theirs been a slice of this space that were not having him, TR7 springs to mind as the biggest hater. And thats what LG is all about strong opinions. What I fail to grasp is the immovable goal post as a player starts to really shine with some choosing to stick to that original agenda regardless of whats actually happening on the pitch. Pierre is a special case as he’s fashioned himself as the messiah of all things attacking mid – #10 / #8 – with Ozil the benchmark to what anyone should bring regardless… Read more »


“Pierre lying again about not giving Odegaard shit is funny.”

Obviously you are dumb or being deliberately dumb as a few hours ago i said and I quote
“earlier in the season I was critical of Odegaard’s productivity and his reluctance to play a forward pass,”


“”The issue we have in midfield is that Ødegaard, Jorginho, Vieira, all struggle when the game becomes stretched””

The Westham game suited Odegaard. Their tactic is switches(Passes that travel more than 40 yards of the width of the pitch).
Without Pacqeta they struggle to do this.

After 3 setpiece goals, there was No pressure and Odegaard was able to shine.


Pierre has said that lately, he has been okay with Odegaards performances.
Pierres critics are insincere


Sid How recently?… Within the last few weeks he was labelling him not a creative genius, asking for him to be dropped… But he’s created most chances from open play, and played more through balls than any other player in Europe’s top 7 league’s… It’s just like the time he assured us Ødegaard couldn’t press, and just ran around aimlessly pointing.. Assuring us that we’d never create the required chances with Ødegaard + Havertz in the team… This was in the last 2 weeks.. Now he’s predicting a flurry of assists, and calling him a key player… Earlier in the… Read more »


Hey everyone, I read the blog regularly and comment never. I really enjoy the conversations that go on here. Frequently I learn a lot. For some reason inconsistency has gotten under my skin this morning. Forgive my first (and likely only) post for being so pedantic. Rich said: RichFebruary 13, 2024 09:21:36 Pierre Only a few weeks ago you were assuring us that Ødegaard wasn’t the creative genius some of us claimed… But now he is?.. Pierre replied: PierreFebruary 13, 2024 10:06:28 Rich “Only a few weeks ago you were assuring us that Ødegaard wasn’t the creative genius some of… Read more »


Earlier in the season all I asked from Odegaard was for him to take more risks on the ball , play between the lines and look to play the killer ball instead of refusing it.
Thankfully he has taken my advice and has moved away from the constant recycling of the football and now his first thought is to look forward and he is a much better player for it…
Let’s hope he continues to play forward for the remainder of the season, have to say I really enjoy watching him atm now he is following my advice.


Haha. oh man.. Pierre the # 10 whisperer.


In other news, Mikel Arteta has just been charged by the FA for refusing to celebrate against West Ham last Sunday.


pseudo warrior

Lads, Pierre and Rich are just reaffirming their special love for one another during the Valentine week. Leave them be.


“The whole team was “off colour” in the first half of season and not just Odegaard.”

Thanks for agreeing with me about Odegaard’s ” off colour” performances earlier in the season.


Pseudo warrior
“Lads, Pierre and Rich are just reaffirming their special love for one another during the Valentine week. Leave them be.”

I think you’ll find that the obsession is him with me if you look back at the comments , i made the fatal error of praising Odegaard’s performances of late.



How of late?… literally in the last few weeks you were saying he wasn’t a creative genius, we couldn’t score the required goals with him in the team… And he should be dropped..

Now you’re claiming he’s vital to our chances, and predicting a flurry of assists…

You’re literally a parody at this point..

Which would be a really strange thing to happen to a player with the type of shortcoming he claimed he possessed just 2 weeks ago…

Thank fuck he’s reading your coaching tips in the Le Grove comments section… Absolute game changer lol…

You big dafty…


Pierres Valentine date is Ozil so Rich should make other plans.


I’m not sure what the problem is , let’s all agree with Rich and stroller that Odegaard was struggling earlier in the season and now he has found his mojo..


Odegaard’s performances for Arsenal are going to fuel this forum for years as he is such a divisive player: He is a creative Genius Only takes the easy pass Presses like mad Can’t tackle Huge chance creator Too predictable Makes our midfield tick Disappears in tough games. My own take for what it is worth is with the correct players around him Odegaard is key to how Arteta wants us to play being tidy on the ball, great energy and performs well in a restricted JDP keep the ball role. I Just wish he could use his right foot and… Read more »

Jazz Kuria

Great article. I’ll say it for Pedro and all those who have believed in arteta and the team from the off.. this season,we’re winning the league. There’s no way an article well written like this ends with no call to action. Every memorable speech always leads to a CTA. The English Premier League winners ,’23-’24, “Arsenal FC”. Mark this comment!!!


This Rich dude and his fellow girlfriends like Habesha and the rest are like teenage girls who keeps score of all the things you told them to try and use them against you.We don’t care what Pierre said before about Odegaard all we know is that his criticisms were valid concerning his form earlier in the season.Compared to you he has a better understanding of the game.