ARTETA IS A CRUEL MAN (AND I LOVE IT)

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I cannot overstate how impressive the Arsenal win against Newcastle was. Football seasons are defined by moments – and that moment was the sort that title-winning sides clock up. The context was a terrible loss midweek. How would the boys react? How would their legs feel? How would they cope with a brutal Newcastle side who had a week to plan their strategies? Exiting the home game with anything outside 3 points and the title felt over.

Well, the answer Arteta had was emphatic. There was no loss of energy, no lack of focus, no one behaved like a victim. The boys put on a brutal showing for a very sauced home crowd and it was spectacular.

I can’t remember a more aggressive approach to off-the-ball movement. Newcastle, a team that is good at playing out of the back, were boxed in, bullied, and demoralized from minute one. We didn’t give them time to breath, we squeezed them in every space of the pitch, the boys, in my opinion, were cruel.

The Bruno fan club that has sustained a lot of members in the Arsenal community found themselves asking how Jorginho could be dominating a game like this without any of the physical advantaged the Brazilian has. He was in masterclass mode and it was a thing of beauty.

You felt from minute one there was no other outcome outside a victory. The only question was, when would we break them?

Inside 20 minutes, which is absolutely ideal for breaking a sad deep block plan. How did we score? A beautiful setpiece. Saka swung a ball inside the near post, Gabriel was first to it, Karius saved by the ball ended up getting bundled in by Newcastle’s Botman in the scramble to clear.

The second goal was pure Arsenal. Jorginho floated a ball into the diagonal run of Martinelli, he brought the ball down at speed, hit the byline, and cut back for Kai Havertz to sweep home. Majestical. What I love so much about that goal is thinking back to all the criticism his signing came with – now he’s absolutely key to everything we do and no one can deny his impact. He’s a very well-liked player at Arsenal, he works incredibly hard, and he’s still a baby at 24 years old. That said, talk of him becoming our new #9 seems premature – we can’t get addicted to non-prolific #9s. Arsenal needs someone clinical in that role and I don’t think that’ll ever be Kai based on his last few years trying to do the exact same thing for Chelsea.

The only fault of the first half was the lack of a third goal. When you have Tierney refereeing, 2-0 is not a safe lead, because he’s always looking to impose himself on games, especially those that Arsenal have a stake in. We’re also prone to doing dumb things, which is quite a mad thing to suggest, given that we have the best defence in the league, but of our 23 goals, 5 have come from individual errors. No one in the top 6 has more individual errors that lead to goals… including United.

Newcastle did come out aggressively in the second half. They started to find Isak and Antony Gordon. There was one run by Isak, he beat what felt like our entire team, but then blazed over with a horrible shot that seemed to bobble before the strike.

We should really have taken the lead when Martinelli squeezed Kai Havertz through on goal, the German dragging his shot every so slightly wide of the post. Kai made up for it with an assist for Saka. Though it would be unfair to put too much credit on the pass. Our third was all Bukayo. He pushed into the area, checked his run, and unleashed a ball past Karius. It was brutal and yet another sign that he’s pushing into 5th gear at the right time.

Our final goal of the game came from… another set piece. Kiwior connected with a Declan Rice special at the near post and it bundled into the net.

We still managed to keep our 2 shots on target and 1 goal momentum going when Joe Willock scored a top corner header, but it didn’t take anything away from an incredible performance.

We now have the best goal difference in the league by virtue of having the best defence. We’re one goal behind Liverpool in the scoring rankings, which is incredible when you consider all the glancing eyes that were directed towards Klopp’s side earlier in the season. We have had 18 different scorers this season, the most by a distance. Everyone is stepping up at the right time, and it’s hard to avoid a compelling truth… by every metric, we should be favourites for the league, but we’re not in the court of public opinion; we’re 3rd place underdogs. That’s despite Jesus returning to the bench, Partey coming back for Sheffield United, and the very real chance of having a totally fit squad to choose from by the end of March.

We have managed through a laundry list of injuries and we have survived. There’s still the harsh reality that if we lose Declan Rice, Odegaard, Saka or William Saliba, we won’t be the same team. But listen, that’s the same for Liverpool if they lose VVD or Salah and it’ll be the same for City if they lose Rodri or Haaland. No team on the planet can handle not having their best players for long stretches.

Just look at what we’re doing on the pitch right now. Odegaard has kicked things up to World Class mode. Declan Rice gets better and more imposing in every game. Kai Havertz looks like value for money. Jorginho is looking like more than a decent plan B, delivering another MOTM performance. David Raya is showing everyone what he’s made of and it’s more valuable to the team than what we had before. There are 12 games to go, we are point off the top of the table, we have the youngest squad in the elite part of the league, and everything is clicking.

Then there’s the Arteta factor. He said after the game no one should feel sorry for themselves after what happened in midweek. It’s easy to say that, hard to inspire young players to believe it. Arteta is proving he has a name that can be talked about amongst the best. The team he has created is absolutely top tier, the system is the star, and we are going to taste the very biggest trophies over the next 5 years… but the thing we’re all wondering is if he can deliver early?

I don’t want to get too excited. Manchester City are still the benchmark, but over the long term, we are in an absolutely delicious position.

We have a 9 day break now. I’ve just watched Liverpool lose Gravenberch to an injury in a leggy Wembley performance from Klopps boys. They will fade, I promise you, there’s no way you can sustain this many games without a slip, even if you are on the Klopp-leaving-is-motivational train of thought.

City is the team to keep your eye on… they are in monster mode, they are who we have to keep up with.

Ok, see you in the comments. x

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Jonnygunner

Afternoon all.

Berg10kamp

1st

Berg10kamp

We winning the league this year!!! COYG!!!

Jonnygunner

Waiting for a goal in the cup…

Hitesh

3rd

Berg10kamp

And if all goes well the CL as well!!!! COYG!!!!

Berg10kamp

Tro4hy

Pierre

In 3 weeks time we will sit top of the league going into the city game ..

Ramdas

Liverpool Chelsea cup final – nil nil
Who’d have thunk it.

30 mins of hammy time. Regards Red Zone

Chris

For me as soon as we scored first I was very confident of the win yesterday and once the second went in I was relaxed even when Newcastle showed signs of life.

Teams are entitled to play how they like but one team just playing defence the whole game is really dull usually. Look at this Chelsea Liverpool game on low, two teams going back and forth and really going for it. It’s quite remarkable how it’s still 0-0 and it’s been a very eventful and pretty entertaining game.

Leandre

Big up to you

allezkev

Bring on the penalty shoot-out

JW1

(From previous post) Bob– regarding Raya, think it was that Arteta (and Cana) have had their eye on him since Brentford was promoted. Edu made a run at him then, Brentford rebuffed. Last Summer it looked almost certain Raya would be off to Bayern or Sp*rs for £40M– both balked at the price. Brentford had already signed Flekken– so right at the end of the TW, Raya was available on loan. This wasn’t long term planning– it was opportunity– with Arteta thinking either Rams or Raya would be excellent insurance if we were in with a chance at a title.… Read more »

Marky Mark

We still managed to keep our 2 shots on target and 1 goal momentum going when Joe Willock scored a top corner header, but it didn’t take anything away from an incredible performance. – I agree apart from swap Ramsdale and then a further paragraph would be added suggesting lack of concentration / wrong positioning / he’s always got a mistake in him. Let’s be honest here Raya should be better positioned and should have saved it

Rich

Chris We mostly create the deep or mid block that we play against… Then it’s for us to find solutions to that. Most teams are reluctant to press us high up the pitch. Arteta wants us to control the game with and without the ball in the attacking + middle third, for both attacking + defensive reasons, and we’re currently the best at it. The opposition can have the ball, but only in areas we want them to have it, where we can apply pressure, win the ball back in dangerous areas, and create direct goal scoring opportunities. Klopp believes… Read more »

Marky Mark

The pressing game played by Havertz is offsetting issues around goal scoring at the moment. This along with Marti being the first point of the press is imo the best in the Prem

Marky Mark

Yep it’s minutes expended in a high emotional game for Liverpool is excellent whilst we can sit back and relax prepping for the next game. Meanwhile City are finding that teams that they would usually swot are being hard work. All good stuff

Habesha Gooner

Defending setpieces isn’t what Chavs are good at anymore. They used to have Ivanovic, Terry, Carvalho and the like. These Clowill guy, Badiashille, Fofana, Disasi who are all soft.

Marky Mark

Nice for Chelsea to lose another Wembley Cup Final. They are starting to rack up nicely

X haka

We could have had Klopp.
We can’t miss out on Alonso.

raptora

Poch instructed his more experienced team to defend deep and play on the counter vs a Liverpool with about 6 teenagers.

Loser manager.

BacaryisGod

Marky Mark

‘We still managed to keep our 2 shots on target and 1 goal momentum’

This is expected because we press so high and aggressively up the field. It allows us to recover possession but on the rare occasion an opponent breaks our press then we’re exposed which is why we seem to concede a high percentage of goals from their shots on target. I’m pretty sure the same applies to Man City too.

BacaryisGod

Over the last 6 games, Mikel has us defending like a George Graham team and attacking like an Arsene Wenger one.

Habesha Gooner

Pochettino is still a bottler I see. You should be annihilating the kids klopp put out. Chelsea’s failed project needs a bit of revamp still.

Pool will have a boost from this. But they had 120 minutes in their legs. No that it will matter though with the amount of kids he put out. We have to be really good this season to earn our PL title.

Rich

I hate both those clubs and their fans, it’s a real travesty that both teams couldn’t lose.

Dissenter

Xabi Alonso will do well to avoid going to Liverpool
It’s hard to be the manager that comes after Klopp.

Pierre

Anyone who thinks that winning a domestic trophy is worthless is a fool..
The enjoyment the players and fans get from winning a trophy is something Arsenal really should be striving for.

We reached 6 cup finals in 7 seasons (winning 4) which was a fantastic achievement, an achievement that was ridiculed by many le groaners , they ridiculed the manager and they ridiculed the players but those players brought us success and there is not a better day out than cup final day, whether it is the league cup, fa cup or champions league..

Karsa

MarkyMark

Raya would have had to have been standing on the post to save the goal. It would have looped over him even if he’d been 6′ 6″.

allezkev

Mudryk was sensational

Habesha Gooner

I can see why Arteta wanted Mudryk. But I thank God that we brought in Trossard instead. That guy is too raw for this level. He should have had a step up at a lesser level before making the jump to the top level. He is a waste of money for Chelsea at this point.

X haka

Winning cups is what it’s all about.
Have to agree there 👍

Loved watching Sammy Nelson, Pat Rice and Pat Jennings winning the FA cup back in the day.

Arteta is proving mustard since Dubai, but would love a serial winner at the club like Klopp.

Madhu

Mudryk is a huge bullet we dodged. May be Arteta would have binned him if he has shown the hunger that he is showing ieht a plum 7 yr contract. What a shame. The difference between pool and Chelsea is the hunger. Mudryk did nothing when he came on barely did a run. What an example to all the young kids out there how not to be professional. He belongs to Chelsea no doubt.

BacaryisGod

Interesting strength of schedule for the last 12 games. Based purely on us, City and Liverpool’s opponents standings, here’s where we’re at: Easiest Home Schedule: Arsenal (opp.av 13th) 2nd easiest: : Liverpool (opp av 10th) 3rd:easiest: Man City (opp av 9th) Easiest Away Schedule: Liverpool (opp av.11th) 2nd easiest: Man City (opp av. 9th) 3rd easiest: Arsenal (opp. av 9th) Overall: Arsenal opp. av. 11th, Liverpool 10th, Man City 9th. Of greatest concern to us is that we have 4 games against traditional Big 6 teams and 3 of them are away. City away will obviously be the highest mountain… Read more »

jwl

From twitter –

Chelsea are the first club ever to lose 6 straight domestic cups finals.

2019 League Cup
2020 FA Cup
2021 FA Cup
2022 League Cup
2022 FA Cup
2024 League Cup

Bob N16

jw1 – I understand the opportunism of Raya’s purchase but almost all of the most successful teams have a GK that during a season will win games (or earn points) through making outstanding saves. I appreciate GKs now have to be outstanding distributors and have a great touch but fundamentally their main job is to stop goals going in and from what I’ve seen so far he’s not in the very highest category of shotstoppers.

Great stat jwl!

Rich

Bacary

Need Leeds to pull a shock at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, so that our home game against the Chav’s doesn’t get pushed back.

Would likely be moved to either before the NLD, or sandwiched between United away and Everton home.

Chelsea are always capable of a result… But I’d prefer to get it out of the way, as we play Porto at home on the Tuesday, and 2 games at home before the internationals isn’t too bad.

If Liverpool/City qualify for the FA Cup Quarter Finals, City’s away game to Brighton, and Liverpool away to Everton, both get pushed.

RAY in LA

Bacary…enjoyed your earlier comment — Arteta in defence, Wenger in attack 🙂

I have a suspicion that ManU and Spurs will determine the league winners this year, all three teams have to play them both — MU & TH are so inconsistent that they may show up or not for any particular game

In fact, I will wager that the team that does best against those two will be the league champs

Pierre

I fancy leeds to beat Chelsea in the fa cup, Daniel Farke is a manager I rate highly, leeds will go there without fear and on the attack

Major_Jeneral

Great win yesterday, I saw the highlights. I will like to watch the full match. Please do anyone have a link where I can do this as I missed the match so highlights is not enough. Thanks.

rollen

Good post. Great gameand good spanking of Newandertals.
Arteta can’t deliver early, it’s over 4 years, but if he delivers one big one noone will care.

Bilbo

Lovely performance. So much to like from the boys. Kai was a proper menace and he’s looked decent for a while. There’s something about his style that deceives; this definitely worked against him at the start. Now he’s coming into his own a bit and must be a nuisance to play against.

Re: that Isak run/shot. There were shades of TH14 when he took it down and came in from the left for the shot… before going peak Soldado putting it over the bar.

Nigel Tufnel

MarkyMark, A top poster in my book, but this campaign against Raya is too much. Also I disagree with Emiratesstroller. Every stat available says Raya is a top keeper, even though I believe Aaron has more spectacular saves in him. Raya stats on saves, claims are very, very good, and his distribution is there for every one to see. May be the best distributor out there.. Just ask Klopp.. but what does he know about football? Ramsdale has slight concentration issues, but worse, gets nervous and it affects the whole team in those moments. But whinging about 30 mil for… Read more »

Andy

@nigel totally agree on raya. he fits the way we want to play perfectly and there are so many things to like about him, especially how good he is on the ball and the calmness he brings to the defence. this has always been ramsdale’s big flaw imo. even when he was at bournemouth i saw him a few times and thought he was way too agitated/hyperactive. he could still be a top keeper if he can figure out how to manage his nerves but, if he doesn’t, he’s pretty much done at the top level of the game. even… Read more »

Why I Gunna

While I really liked KKs teams of 90s, Ginola was great, that’s a long time ago. I’m definitely here for these reps from Saudi to get a good pasting. But I don’t think Raya’s distribution was all that yesterday, in fact, poor except for obviously nailing the ref.

Kay

Looking at the rest of the fixtures against top 10 teams, title race is far from over i.e assuming that Man city would be crowned..

There will be a lot of ups and downs for us and city.

Somehow think Pool have slightly better set of fixtures remaining comparatively.

If somehow pool lose to citeh and we manage a miracle at citeh it would be awesome and be thrilling as hell

NJ Gooner

Yes, why I gunna, I also noticed that Ray’s distribution was well off. Too many punts going directly out of play. Ramsdale can do that for us!

I am giving up on predicting though. I thought yesterday was going to be a tough match. But then again I am so nervous at this point as a result of seasons past that I was still tense when we were 2 up. I remembered how to breathe when we scored the third.

Great post, Pedro

NJ Gooner

*Raya’s (damned auto-correct!)

Nigel Tufnel

NJgooner,
Same for me and most fans after the 3rd goal. Did you note Havertz role in it? From the interception in midfield to the simple assist, but then the run that opened up the shot for Saka. He really adds a lot of different edges to this already talented team.

Pierre

I suppose Arteta has a decision to make very soon , jesus is now fit and previously he would come straight back into the side even when we were on a winning streak.. We have gone from apparently being desperate for a striker to having an abundance of players who can play up top.. We have won our last 6 league games scoring 25 goals , the only game we struggled to make any impact up front was away to Porto.. It could possibly be a case of horses for courses as the season progresses similar to yesterday’s game where… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

One last point about Raya…
How many of you that are saying he’s not good enough were crying for us to get Onana?.. and crying even more when we didn’t get him?…..
It was a majority on legrove, so don’t deny it. You should be disqualified from even talking about keepers. I just watched the United/Fulham game. Did you see Onana on the winning goal? LOL.

For 2 years you lot said he can’t miss and made him sound like a Buffon/Neuer hybrid.

Canadian Gooner

I keep seeing us linked to Osimehn over and over again. The Serie A striker everyone should want is Martinez. Can’t understand how he hasn’t made the move for EPL money or to one of the top clubs from the other leagues who can afford to pay him more. On his current wages Lautaro would be like or 8th or 9th highest paid player and for several other teams not even a top 10 earner. Maybe he’s like batistuta back in the day loyal to a fault. I feel like Inter’s run last season was a bit fluky and talent… Read more »

Kpankulu

Though it would be unfair to put too much credit on the pass. Our third was all Bukayo. He pushed into the area, checked his run, and unleashed a ball past Karius. [@Pedro] As always, I look forward to reading from you, Pedro. One little thing I noticed is that if Havertz did not proceed into the box after making that “simple” pass to Saka and arrive between two defenders in Saka’s path, Saka would not have had the space to take that shot accurately/score the goal. Havertz definitely deserves credit for the pass AND creation of space for Saka,… Read more »

China1

Let’s all spare a prayer for our beloved friends over at shiteford bridge who have excited this season trophyless and no doubt midtable

Only way Poch was ever winning a trophy was at a team which can walk the league with its eyes closed (PSG). Back to the real world with a bump!

China1

Oh Chelsea are still in the FA cup?

It’s fine checked the other teams and Chelsea aren’t winning that. Liverpool, city, Maidstone…. No chance for Chelsea

Only trophies Poch will ever win will be gift wrapped in an easy league.

China1

I just checked and for us to be top going into the city game we do have a solid chance As long as we win all 3 games, not assuming we actually will just talking hypothetically City play Utd pool and Brighton Pool play forest city and Everton A realistic bad scenario for us is both teams win 2 and draw with each other which is enough for us to top the league on GD over liverpool if we win all 3 games. Meanwhile considering those opponents they could well drop more points in that space which would buy us… Read more »

raptora

Declan Rice: “Saliba is unbelievable, obviously I heard a lot of talk about him before I came here…”.

“But the one that really surprised me is actually Gabriel. He’s so aggressive, so strong, really wants it all the time, never loses a duel. Top!”.

skysports-declan-rice-arsenal_6330281
allezkev

Yeah, that was a good post Pedro, but as far as the ‘experts’ pretty much all dismissing our chances of the league, to me that’s a positive, let the other two take the spotlight and see where we are after March 31st..?

If we’re top on Easter Monday then it’s game on…

raptora

A couple of things I realized about Kiwior at LB that help us quite a lot: he runs a lot and can cover the left flank entirely allowing Marti the freedom we saw vs Newcastle he has that beautiful left-footed pass in him, the one we noticed in the youtube highlights when we had no clue who we’re bringing here… the benefactor is also Marti, also Kai as they have the speed and timing to make the runs behind the opponents defences. Kiwior at LB is quite effective and could work even better in time. With Jorgi in our midfield… Read more »

allezkev

Talking of banana skins you can’t look any further than Tottenham (a) and United (a), both of them would love to ruin our party.

raptora

In the next 5-6 games City play Manure (H), Pool (A), Brighton (A), Arsenal (H), Villa (H) maybe even Palace (A).

If City win between 13-15 pts out of the 6 games, the title will be theirs.

If not, the door will open for us and Pool.

We’ll have a lot of the information needed about where this title race is going by the end of March or the first week of April.

Last edited 1 month ago by raptora
China1

I think the situation with klopp leaving is an advantage for liverpool now re their final few games of the season

Liverpool will not drop a match when the finish line is in sight as they will be so determined to deliver for klopp

If they’re going to wobble it has to be now before the final stretch. Any cup finals they make will be won. The last game of the season is certain to be won.

China1

I bag on ETH as crap all the time. But if he wants to do us a massive and fluke another crappy ‘messiah’ win against city then I’ll be more than happy

Let’s go ETH… I’m a massive fan!!! lol…

China1

Allez I am not looking that far ahead yet

All I can tell now is we have to win these next 3 matches and see where it lands us relative to pool and city. This is a rare chance to eat into their lead and can’t afford to miss it

Nigel Tufnel

Kpankulu,
Havertz intercepted the ball in midfield to start the whole attack. The same midfield/false 9 work he’s been doing all season. Now that he has some goals people start giving him credit. I like that he’s doing both parts of the game, but some people should pay attention to more than just goal highlights.

Ustyno

New Post

Madhu

Regarding Kai, as always the players worth and his salary will come into play when you assess their performance. When he started he looked very tentative and did very basic thing. That’s when he got the stick. Now he is more assertive in the way he plays. He is more aggressive and makes runs into the box more often and you get the feeling he belongs to this team. What everyone expected is that assertive to be there from day one because of his fee and wages. He was also experienced in PL and a CL winner. So in our… Read more »

Kpankulu

Nigel: You are right – in fact I pointed that out on the Latte Firm podcast where the pundits there totally ignored the fact that Havertz assisted the Saka goal! It is most frustrating watching people here and elsewhere grudgingly accept that they were wrong – but they are doing so because they assume he was bought to replace Xhaka and that he wouldn’t score as many goals as Xhaka did last season [NOW HE HAS]. Also, they are doing so because of only his goals, instead of his all-around game, which is vital to the overall team success so… Read more »

TheLegendaryDB10

New post

philmar

We need to be honest Pedro. We only ended up with Jorginho and Trossard because Chelsea bullied us out of Mudryk and Caceido. It isn’t down to us purchasing and scouting on a higher level. Kiwior was great last year when Zinny was injured. He had a poor debut game in the Europa Cup and wasn’t trusted after that. When Arteta was forced to play him he shone. Arteta should have trusted him sooner and managed Zinny’s minutes better. Same thing this year. And Jorginho was great last year when Arteta was forced to play him when Partey broke down.… Read more »