by .


Pete, local bar, St. Louis, 1am

Arsenal unleashed pure brutality on a very young Burnley side that has accidentally found themselves in the Premier League in the same way a squirrel finds itself in a bear enclosure at a zoo.

The outcome was too gruesome to bear witness to. Mikel Arteta took his boys to Dubai, made them watch SHIT GONE WILD TikTok videos, and the result has been ‘nature isn’t kind’ output in all five games. Craig Bellamy, a player I had no love for back in the day, was hopelessly perched on the touchline watching the monstrosity unfold like a guinea pig owner who’d accidentally dropped a rattlesnake into the hutch.

I was worried Arsenal might make a mess of this game – my word was I wrong.

Martin Odegaard, fresh off a December of ‘he can’t do it in big games’ or ‘he takes too many touches’ seems to have done it in every game since. He sets the tempo, the aggression, and the mood. Arsenal were decisive in every phase of the pitch. The scoring opened when Martinelli found him just outside the 18-yard line; the Norwegian teed himself up and smashed an outside-of-the-boot fizzer past James Trafford. It was a technical delight. Almost arrogant. But a reminder that this 25-year-old hasn’t had the gift of a proper #9, and his form in front of goal has been a little off.

8 goals, 7 assists… feels better, right?

Burnley had a crack down our end; Odobert found some space in our area, ripping off a shot against David Raya, who did well to save. I only mention this because it was the sort of surprise strike Ramsdale had a habit of letting in.

Weirdly, the best part of the first half defensively was Kiwior sweeping up a Saliba mess by using his body to shield an attack. Boring, but a sign that the Polish defender might be a bit decent. Remember, we signed him a year early to avoid a Lisandro Martinez transfer fee (and the competition we had for him). He was under-cooked coaching-wise… but man, he’s starting to look the part. Tall, strong, creative… I like him.

That was the last we’d hear of Burnley for a while.

The second goal was a penalty of dubious contention. Saka barely slipped it past Trafford, but it killed the game.

The third goal was Kai finding Odegaard, Odegaard putting Saka in on the right, resulting in a powerhouse right foot thunderbolt past Trafford.

The fourth goal was Trossard finishing up a lovely move that came from some great work from Kiwior.

The fifth goal came from the Pole taking a quick throw that rolled into the run of Kai; he clunkily cut inside his full-back and bundled his finish to end the game.

I couldn’t be bothered to give you a blow by blow, you’ve seen the goals… I just wanted to say WE ARE BACK BABY.

Spurs lost.

City dropped two points against Chelsea. If they win their game in hand, the title race looks extremely tight between three teams.

I can’t remember the last time a Premier League title race was this close between 3 teams that were, you know, really f*cking good.

So the good news is I can take a victory lap against all the bores that said underlying performance metrics didn’t mean anything.

It turns out we didn’t need to spend £190m in January to get a turnout of players who were free-scoring last season.

The lesson here? History is a good determinant of the future. Top-tier young players who have shown they can score in the past tend not to lose that skill.

Second lesson here: If underlying performance metrics and the eye test show that you’re probably quite good… don’t doubt it.




How many more Ls do these people need to take before we stop giving them our likes and attention when we have a bad month?

Arsenal weren’t bad in December, but our results were. Luck is a factor in football. Sometimes, things just don’t go your way. Arsenal were getting punished to the MAX for any defensive lapse… and they weren’t being rewarded for an abundance of chance creation. It wasn’t a stretch to say that was unsustainable.

Feb 18th… we’ve scored 21 goals in 5 games. We’ve conceded 2 goals. What has happened? Results have caught up with performance. Arsenal has been performing at this level all season. Now we’re being rewarded for it.

We didn’t need a £100m striker.

We didn’t need a random winger from Holland.

We didn’t need to change the manager.

We just needed the luck to change.

Big players are stepping up now.  Martinelli, Saka, Jesus, Kai, and Declan are all trying to be the hero of our season.

David Raya has decided he’s going to be the same keeper he was at Brentford. He made all 21 passes yesterday. He dropped a big save. He caught all the balls that came into his box.

Arsenal aren’t messing around now, they want to be in the title conversation, and the team is now playing like wins are the standard.

Will we win the league? I still have my doubts. But Chelsea nicking a point against City has me dreaming. Liverpool losing Jota, Allison, Curtis Jones, and TAA inside a week keeps me going.

The big challenge we have to overcome isn’t quality… it’s can Arsenal deliver this sort of form with a Champions League game every other week? City played an away game against FC Copenhagen this week and butchered them… then drew to a terrible Chelsea operation. How do you think we’ll fare against Newcastle this weekend after an away day at Porto?

Yesterday was a brilliant moment for Arsenal; it showed this group of boys are now killers.

The question is no longer: ‘Can they do it on a cold night up north?’… it’s, ‘Can they do it with a Champions League game midweek’ for the rest of the season?

We’ll find out soon.

Check out the On The Whistle Podcast via our Patreon. The check has cleared for a new comment section. So fingers crossed that lands soon.

Big love x

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Trophy 🏆


Missed it!

Nice one TT





I’m the Lord of the Le-Grove ring nowadays


Pedro surely you don’t see any difference between the play before the break and after. Few things have changed and it’s clearly visible. 1. The pace of passing has increased and passing between defence and midfield has reduced. It’s taking faster time to reach the front four for sure 2. The movement and changing between the front five is much better. Trossard and Kai are all over the place and we see Saka coming in more centrally. Martinelli has been a bit of but he will on another day when others are off will be hot. That only nodes well… Read more »


Pedro when will you take your L after saying you were sure we aren’t going for the league? That we were waiting for city and pool to lose their managers? Kept telling you we had it within us to fight the league off Liverpool and city. No team has shown this season to be heads and shoulders above us in terms of playing material and results. The only difference between us and city or Liverpool is the coach. If Arteta keeps his mistakes at the minimal we are definitely in with more than a fair shout of winning the league… Read more »


Yea Madhu. The biggest improvement has been from the coaches instructions to the players. We definitely improved a lot of the tactical side. We didn’t play this good before the break. At time, we see very ordinary and dire. You wondered where the goal would come from if not from set pieces. We barely made vertical passes, Saka barely found space. It’s not just luck that changed. The coach gave better instructions. He’s looking and learning 👏 all we have been asking.



I understand you’re trying to measure expectations and also create ready made excuse if we don’t win the EPL this season.
You are a good PR man

However, Manchester City has secured only 𝐎𝐍𝐄 victory against the 𝐁𝐈𝐆 𝐒𝐈𝐗 in the Premier League this season.

Shows if we’re serious, we should be winning the EPL. City aren’t all that.


I’d say Arteta is definitely rotating more so hopefully that helps. I think he’ll play Jorginho midweek as due to his experience in champions league.


Pedro it’s not true that we’ve played this level all season We’re playing better since the new year than we have since about 2008 or whenever that amazing title challenge ended in tears with Eduardo The first half of the season we were good but offensively clunky. Literally all our attackers looked a bit tired (understandable) and we were mainly only scoring chances that were really good ones, very few half chances were being taken. What’s happened since Xmas is we’re seeing: 1) literally all our players have hit form at the same time including those who looked tired earlier… Read more »


One other big positive I forgot to mention is Raya has settled It’s really hard to play keeper in a team that doesn’t give away chances because you’re playing the whole match cold. Then after 70 mins someone bangs a shot at you and you have to suddenly be warm for it. Very tough and now he’s doing it very well Pedro you mentioned last season ramsdale would’ve let in that cross shot in the first half – yeah but so would have Raya. He let in 2 in about 2 games flapping at them earlier this season. The flaps… Read more »


“ Martinelli, Saka, Jesus, Kai, and Declan are all trying to be the hero of our season.” Jesus being a hero from the treatment table !! “ Luck is a factor in football. Sometimes, things just don’t go your way. ” Yes. That’s why City has won 6/7 league titles. Because they’ve been lucky. Stop playing both sides of the coin mate. Call it out for what it is. We’re a very good side who will compete for the title but not win. Not because we’re not “lucky”. But because we’ve made some bad decisions on talent. When the champions… Read more »


City should be considered favourites for every match until the end of the season – in all comps. They have the best squad and have done it time and again But it’s too soon to say we can’t or won’t do it. City were big favourite against Chelsea but drew. No matches are won before a ball has been kicked. Shit can happen – a big ref mistake against them, a one off shit performance, a fluke performance from their opponents. There are a dozen scenarios by which you can drop points regardless of if you have a better team/manager/are… Read more »


Aasim how can you bag on the talent identification is not as good as it could be when it has us in this position as a top 5 team in the world. Which team has better talent Id than us at the moment? Liverpools squad isn’t as good as ours. Only city’s is better in England… in Europe which teams have a better squad than ours? If you can name 5 I’ll be impressed but also think you’re fibbing. Arsenal are in 2024 probably the best defensive unit in world football. We also have an attack which creates chances for… Read more »


Offcourse we have a chance and city and pool next are fav as they have done it earlier. When this team wins a PL and automatically next few seasons Arsenal would be talked as contenders because they have done it once. It’s the way it works but for that we have to stay within distance and just work on our squad.


Even if you look at the injury prone players we have, which ones were injury prone before they arrived and can be considered a failure of talent Id? Partey never used to miss a game at atletico. His issues appeared after we got him. Tomiyasu wasn’t injury prone before he joined us. ESR has always been but isn’t a central member of our starting 11 anyway so not a huge miss. Vieira wasn’t injury prone before and this season is the first time he’s had some issues I don’t recall Jesus being injury prone at city. Zinchenko was, he’s also… Read more »


things have changed. while we played well in terms of controlling games in first half of season we weren’t really clicking going forward. understandable given jesus absences and fact we were bedding in two new midfielders around odegaard as well as a new style of play. since “the break” it now looks like everyone knows exactly what to expect from everyone else and knows their job well. we are seeing much more of the “automatic” arsene loved to opine on. i have to say it’s super exciting to watch. one big difference i see to last season is a ruthlessness… Read more »


Save us from fucking armchair wannabee managers, who all know more than the professionals, and can’t enjoy the moment

Steve Vallins

IMO MA plays a very orchestrated game and when you change 2 of your midfield it’s going to take time . Both Kia and Declan were playing well but were learning how to play the system MA wanted , control , stifle and eventually score goals .
Earlier in the season when we beat MC 1 nil we reduced MC to 1 shot on goal , this was things to come , look since the start of the year , the new players are comfortable with the system and that includes Raya .


“Save us from fucking armchair wannabee managers, who all know more than the professionals, and can’t enjoy the moment”

Comment of the year.


If Odegaard plays well then so do Arsenal simple as that. Also please stop the constant Ramsdale criticism it is not necessary


Leading PL goalscorers without a true No 9 and personally I think when Odegaard is on song makes a massive difference and although a different type of player I pick Trossard over Jesus every time and he (Trossard has hardly had a decent run) add Rice into the combination with Odegaard and we have a lethal pairing. In these days of inflated prices and wages how much is Saka worth ?


Save us from fucking armchair wannabee managers, who all know more than the professionals, and can’t enjoy the moment

Same thing across everything in life we might stop having any sort of conversation.


It was good to see Kiwior have another good game. He’s starting to look quite the player now, and it was a shame he was written off by so many without really giving him a chance.


I don’t just say this in hindsight, I was arguing the exact same thing at the turn of the year, when the bedwetters were out in force.. Securing a top class centre forward isn’t easy, even if we’ve got money to burn, which we haven’t… There’s very few around. There’s very few centre forwards who can do the lot… I’m flat not interested in a low touch centre forward… Havertz kinda already does that in a different way, he was involved in all 5 goals yesterday though… But I’m not convinced we can get away with 2 simultaneously. Unless we… Read more »


Arsenal are most definitely in the frame to win the League Title. There are two other teams who are in frame namely Liverpool and Man City. All three will be expected to finish in top 3 in EPL. The fourth spot will be contested between Spurs, Aston Villa and possibly Man United. Arsenal’s prospects in winning title are dependent on keeping our best players match and mentally fit and also minimising injuries. The squad has suffered a number of injuries most notably to Jesus, Partey and Timber, which have impacted on our performance level in the first half of season.… Read more »


Odegaard is a Rolls Royce of a midfielder
He’s mustard
He’s at a different level
What a player!


Why would we source a RB when we have White Tomiyasu and Timber? That would be bonkers. The first two are also cover RCMs I get the CM as Partey is not reliable and I agree we need to be careful with the CF, who needs to be adaptable to our system and not a one trick pony I can’t however see us buying a top CF and a top CM is same TW. Arsenal will need a striker to allow for different systems of play and enable Jesus to cover on the flanks when he’s fit We need to… Read more »


So impressed with Kiwior – he looks the real deal and we must not sell him under any circumstances


Northbanker you bedwetter. How dare you suggest we need a striker???


Northbanker Why do you think we need to go big on a striker?… I like Eddie, think he’s unfairly judged by some. But he’s 25 this summer, and at the stage of his career where he likely needs to leave for regular football. Think there’ll be PL interest in him, and we could potentially get £25 – £30 million. We’ve been linked with Zirkzee, who’s apparently most of a false 9 type who operates in the pockets… £34 – £43 million are the prices being quoted, and likely wouldn’t cost big wages. Incomings will likely be based on outgoings, I… Read more »


Great to see Odegaard looking forward now, his last 2 performances have been elite and I don’t seen any reason for him to return to the recycling Odegaard of earlier in the season.. I’ve said all season that now we have Rice protecting we can afford to take more risks with our creativity as Rice is the master at reading the game and snuffing out the danger at source. I’m sure Arteta has emphasised the importance of taking more risks in the final third. Porto will be tougher that’s for sure and they will probably try and suffocate us the… Read more »


Feels like we are on a sustainable run of form, the goals are flying in, we’re also looking largely good at the back again. The fixtures look very favourable until we go to City at the end of March. I see no reason that we can’t win every game until then. I think we are looking very assured, and other teams we are set to play coming up will not be looking forward to playing us. The question is how will we handle the City game and after that, April and May. Does it feel different this time around from… Read more »


Very true Chris, it was a long time in the wilderness, let’s hope the team believes this time round. Think we let the pressure get to us last year as well as the injuries

Marky Mark

We owe UTD one at Old Trafford. Spuds always a toss up but there capacity to concede a goal from their own corner shows defensive naivety and a likely rich source of opportunity for Martinelli and Saka
I fancy is at City but still say it’s anyone of 3 with us being 3rd favourites


If Chelsea beat Leeds, our game gets moved, likely before Spurs away, or between United + Everton. That means we’ll have 10-14 games in 7 weeks after the internationals. That’s when we need all hands on deck, there’s no way we can play the same team repeatedly through that type of fixture list. The Jesus/Trossard debate at that point is a silly one… Because we’ll need both consistently available to take minutes across our front 5. It’s why Partey + Tomiyasu’s fitness will be key, because Rice + White can’t play all the minutes… And White is currently our Saliba… Read more »


In my opinion, we already have Nketiah’s eventual replacement on hand…Mika Biereth. He is currently on loan. I don’t have any beef with Nketiah but merely believe he is more like to leave than anyone else in the summer due to the chance of pure profit, in favor of a wide forward. The gaffer has built this team to excel with a central “false 9” striker who puts in a shift in just like everyone else on the pitch including the goalkeeper – total football in attack and defence, not merely a player who waits for the ball in the… Read more »

1971 Gunner

Does anyone know what has happened to 7amkickoff?


Solid point from Andy– ‘liking trossard as our “centre forward”. he has been on fire since start of last season with brighton and i have been desperate to see him have a run of games. the way him and kai swap positions and the way trossard links up so well with everyone else gives us an extra dimension i think. and he scores very regularly.’ Which is a lead-in to why we’re not likely to go for a nailed-on starter at #9 up front– there’s not one banging in 30Gs who can press at the front like Kai– or Tross,… Read more »


lol It’s not luck, we play bit faster and more forward. Little less of this pointless back or side passing. This result in much better chances. We still wasted quite few chances last 2 games, it could have been double digits.


Rich, just to say that I enjoy reading your analyses, even if I might disagree on occasion. Good job!


@jw1 thanks. yes. i tend to agree with you re. a new striker. not sure i see one out there that would do all the other things as well as scoring regularly. ferguson would be a project but a very expensive one with a big risk. i do like the look of him though, but worried he has gone backwards a bit this season. i have always been a big fan of trossard and really saw him developing into a full on striker at brighton before he came to us. but we seem to have only played him there intermittently… Read more »


I can’t buy into the hype of this Evan Ferguson kid.
He’s not even at a young Andy Carroll level …


You have to question our talent ID. There was a previous comment I made which looked into all the contracts and deals we’ve done in the MA regime. But very quickly… Cedric, Mari, Willian, Auba contract, Sambi, Tavares, Marquinhos, Runnarson, Riess contract… Then selling assets for free or on the cheap or at much lower prices than earlier bids, ie Auba, AMN, Martinez. Getting assets with a useful life of one year like Chenko and Ramsdale. Again, what MA has done has been amazing and I love the guy. But when I think about what we could have done different… Read more »

Thierry Martinelli

Those players never look winded and tired after delivering such performances. I haven’t seen players making lung bursting runs trying to defend. Everyone is calm. That’s my biggest positive


Remind me of the earlier higher bid for Martinez?


Yes we are scoring again because our players legs have energy. They had the week off in Dubai and the week off during the FA Cup matches. So we have the energy. When rested we have the best XI in the league. Problem is Arteta will play them and they will get fatigued. He should have given either Saka or Martinelli the day off. And one of Rice or Odegaard. FFS we were playing Burnley. We need fresh legs for Porto and Newcastle. Now these guys will be playing 3 games in 8 days. We stuttered in January because our… Read more »


Xhaka used to get 2nd yellows, for the foul that Casemiro just committed, every single time. Casemiro, of course, stays on the pitch. The same is valid for Rodri btw.


Ten Haag has to hang his head in shame
How can Luton get 58% possession against United


Pedro, I posted under a different email and name about another Arsenal blog writer who has disappeared. Is that allowed,why has it not appeared?


Great article.




wow, good article.