by .

Arsenal finally moved towards earning their diploma in the dark arts by withdrawing the following players:

  • Gabriel Jesus
  • Big Gabriel
  • Martinelli
  • Thomas Partey
  • Tomiyasu

By withdraw, I mean, the players themselves have told their county they cannot play.

These moves are sensible and needed. The only injury-prone player we’re sending away is Zinchenko, and given the political context for him, that’s not a surprise. He also needs some good minutes under the belt to help him get back to full fitness. A sharp Zini might be needed for the City games.

Clubs like Liverpool have been playing these games for years. United were absolute masters back in the day. Even peak Wenger didn’t do this, so it’s refreshing that the club and the players are getting serious about success at him.

No one needs to know if any of those players are good enough to play for their country. It’s nice to see there’s a bit of give and take with the managers who didn’t demand their players check-in.

So where does this leave us?

Potentially heading into the final run of the season with a fully fit squad. What a turnaround from last season. Praise to the performance staff, praise to the players for doing their stretches, and praise to Mikel Arteta for avoiding his seasonal crush of his best players.

We might not win a major trophy this season, but my word, we’ll have given ourselves the best possible chance.

In other news, Big Ange over a Spurs sent some fans into a spin, claiming that top 4 wasn’t his objective, nor was the outcome of the season the only thing he’ll judge success by. Love him or hate him… he’s bang on.

Outcome thinking is celebrating Unai Emery’s first season without assessing the horrible underlying stats. Raul tried to give him a new deal, he was stopped, and the regression to the horrible landed the season after.

Mikel Arteta finished 8th in his first full season. It wasn’t pretty for the first 3 months, but after we introduced ESR into the fold, we were comfortably a top 4 team when judging performances by underlying metrics.

A massive chunk of fans called for his head, they said 8th wasn’t good enough, that underlying metrics could NOT be used to judge a manager, and out of principle he should go. How wrong were those people?

Outcome-based decisions just don’t happen at big clubs in 2023. They might keep managers in jobs – because Ange ain’t going nowhere. But more often than not, they keep managers in jobs these days. He’s been good for Spurs, he brought back pride in their club, he plays nice football, his teams score a lot of goals. He’s staying whether they finish in the CL spots or Europa.

The red flag will be underlying data… they play high-risk football, and they have gotten away with it, but next season, I doubt he’s going to overperform XG, and you can be sure he’ll get sussed by the other managers in the league. If things regress, like they did for Emery at Arsenal, there could be a rude awakening for him.

Put it this way: Arteta said if you put better players in his system, better outcomes would follow. He has delivered on that.

Better players in Angeball are not going to necessarily deliver better results. They are too open, the game he plays burns players out, and you can’t solve for that with new names. His system just isn’t top tier like those deployed by Pep, Arteta, and Klopp.

Add European football to them, and they go from chasing the Premier League (like Newcastle) to flopping around in 8th (like Newcastle).

Remember, this is the number one blog for predicting how things will go for Spurs managers.

Right, that’s all I have today. We have a free podcast out that turns into a Patreon Q&A for those who subscribe.

Hope you like it! x

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Yes, Rich. Exactly. Indeed having an injured player in a position puts additional pressure on the player/s playing all the minutes. It really is like a domino. We cannot keep doing that to White. We cannot keep doing that to Rice. Jorginho has shaped up as the perfect squad player. Never injured, model professional, has a fantastic relationship with everyone, looks very invested in helping us. I wanted to keep Partey because he’s an unbelievable player but it looks like we went out and bought another unbelievable player in Rice to lessen the pain. I don’t think either of Zina… Read more »


I definitely prefer Tomi to Zina as a player. A player with better defending nous can also help in moving the ball forward, it doesn’t have to be defensively inept as Zina.

I don’t want to start next season with both of them. It will be a mistake. That’s why I wanted Tomi gone as he was the easier one to move imo. I don’t see Zina accepting to leave. It’s probably a bummer.


We have a conundrum for next season. Do we consider Kiwior a LB now? If yes, then we could sell Zina and be perfectly fine. But we’ll need a LCB. Do we consider White a RB? The plan might have been to have Timber there and Benny to be 2nd choice in both RCB and RB. In any way, we’ve done well to get flexible CBs able to play on the flanks. Predominantly CBs Gabriel, Saliba, White and Kiwior are having an unbelievable season. If we consider one or two of them as full backs, and the rumours are we’re… Read more »



I think Arteta’s moves in the last 15 months, bringing in Kiwior and Timber, were designed to reduce our reliance on Zin.

We were unfortunate with Timber, but with Tomi and Kiwior able to play there (admittedly Tomi is also v unreliable), I feel Zina’s role has been sufficiently reduced to keep him around as a luxury option for certain types of matches..


Arsenal have a small squad of players.

On paper we have 8 defenders. However that includes Cedric who is frankly redundant and his contract expires this summer.

I don’t see Arsenal offloading any of the other defenders on the books.

If Cedric is to be replaced it would make sense promoting a player like Walters from the Academy who is CB/RB.

Our transfer budget should be focussed on replacing players in midfield,
attack and of course a second string goalkeeper.


After offloading Tomi and Zinc, the next one should be Jesus.


Tony and Raptora amazing comments.

Zinchenko, Jesus and Sterling have all justified their sale from City. The level they have dropped is interesting.


but fortunately for Arteta smith rowe arrived on the scene and basically he and saka saved us from possible relegation [@Pierre]

If you really believe the above, then you are even more deluded than I thought re: your incessant and unjustified attacks on Odegaard.

Arteta was NEVER in danger of losing his job. Additionally, relegation was never on the cards. What a load of twaddle.


No need to overhype Timber.

He is coming back from a very serious injury, and we cannot assume that he walks right back into the first team. People are deifying him on the basis of pre-season games. I agree that he looked great pre-injury, but now we need to stay level-headed and hope he can get back to that form – because if he doesn’t, I predict he will replace Zinchenko as the scapegoat of the moment when and if Arsenal has a blip with him in the team.

Just a thought.


Arsenal need to sign a GK, if Ramsdale leaves, a DM, a central defender and a lethal striker: Priorites should be a striker and DM

zubimendi £50m or Onana (£50m)

Osimhen £110 or Vlahovic £55m

Nigel Tufnel

Kpankulu: “so far, Arsenal have scored five late winners [85th minute or later] so far this season. ALL of them have involved a goal contribution from either Kai Havertz or Declan Rice.” Maybe some credit to Arteta for choosing these 2 players who have secured us a vital 15 points so far with late game heroics. One was the best midfielder available in the market in the summer.. Arteta convinced him to come to us, and we’re blessed to have him giving us consistently great performances. We are envied for having him. …the other, is a unique talent and weapon… Read more »



Caicedo vs Rice was a non-starter as a debate. One had years of PL experience, as well as being the best player within a top half PL team for the last couple of years he was there. The other, a handful of games in the PL.

Caicedo slipped in seamlessly to a well oiled Brighton team who were on an upward trajectory. Many of their players have been overrated due to looking good in this system, before underperforming at different clubs (Cucurella, Caicedo, Bissouma etc.).

Caicedo was a gamble, Rice was a sure thing.

Last edited 23 days ago by Ollie

Via Squawka:

“Martin Ødegaard compared to all players across Europe’s top seven leagues this season:

◉ Most through-balls (27)
◉ Most open-play chances created (62)
◉ Most successful passes into the penalty area (77)

At the peak of his playmaking powers.”

Nigel Tufnel


I think there may be more choices for a forward, but Onana is a one dimensional, midtable player at best. Arteta will never consider him, and I’m glad for that.


Via Whoscored:

“Most key passes in the Premier League in 2024:

◎ 29 – Martin Ødegaard
◎ 28 – Bruno Fernandes
◎ 27 – Pascal Gross
◎ 26 – Kevin De Bruyne
◎ 25 – Andreas Pereira
◎ 25 – Ross Barkley

Arsenal’s captain leading by example”

Nigel Tufnel


On top of all the incredible stats for Ødegaard, there’s even more that can’t be quantified so easily. He is the incredible OUTLET for any time we need to retain possession or progress the ball. He’s as slippery as Ozil, but makes himself available 100% of the time for teammates, by always finding space in midfield , or even joining in tight spaces with Saka and White to terrorize defenders around their box. Then his leadership in the press also sets the tone for our 11.

One of the best players in the world.


We might not win a major trophy this season, but my word, we’ll have given ourselves the best possible chance.

Hahahahahaha, say it again.


Albert Stuivenberg was Ajax’s top target when Hetinga was sacked. Albert declined the opportunity for his first real managerial role, saying he had unfinished business to achieve with Arteta & Arsenal. Ajax will be back in for him this summer.

Interesting cause I read somewhere when Mikel was first going into the arsenal job he asked Pepijn Lijnders to join him and lo and behold klopps number two will be available this summer


Marko That would be convenient. Fergie once said “If you don’t change your team every 5 years, then they’ll change you”.. Fergie + Pep would regularly change their coaching staff as well, in order to bring fresh ideas and fresh voices onto the training ground. There’s a fine line between stability + cohesion, and stagnation + malaise. We changed our set piece coach, shuffled around our medical staff.. Steve Round left and we didn’t replace him. But much of that coaching staff will have been there 5 years next December. Having talented coaches will inevitably mean other clubs might be… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

Sacha Boey hamstring TEAR according to Fabrizio.

From research I did when we were linked in early summer before Timber, he seems to be a wicked defender.
Could be good news for us.


‘unique talent and weapon’…YES Nige’


I read Neuer has torn a muscle fibre and will be out for the next 2-3 games. We shouldn’t revel in this type of stories. Chances are a couple of our players will also come back injured from the shitty NT break…

Danny S

I really hope the rumours of Southgate to united are true. What an amazing double whammy that would be. England could get a proper coach and united will get a shitty, negative boring manager.

Maguire will be playing at united into his 40’s!


Southgate really did a number on BW
Seems like he’s sullied his image


Man U would have to pay substantial amounts to get Southgate and there would in fact be :
4 Consequences:
1 English game gets money
2 Man U get poorer
3 England appoint a manager who doesn’t pick Maguire and Henderson
4 Man U stay shit for longer

Last edited 23 days ago by Northbanker

I want Ten Hag to stay at United. He’s very good at spending their money without getting value, and he flatters to deceive.

He’s also good at making excuses when his team loses. Long may that continue.


Might even watch the England v Brazil game this weekend. Midfield surely got to be Rice-Bellingham-Foden and attack Saka-Kane-Palmer and maybe see Mainoo coming on somewhere second half

If Henderson plays then I might look to see what’s on another channel


If you spent 1.25 billion to buy 25% of a club, would you keep a manager like Ten Haag?
It’s a foregone conclusion that Ten Haag will get sacked.

The silver lining is that United may get Southgate to replace Ten Haag which will be epic banter.


Just listening to the Pod.. Pedro, Matt, Jacob, are a bunch of pussies..

Saying if we lose at City the titles gone..

We certainly won’t be making it easy for ourselves, but the idea we’d throw the towel in 2 points behind City, and potentially 3 behind Liverpool, with 27 still to play for?..

Really weak sauce..


Apparently Ten Hag started babbling on about Man Utd’s defeat at Arsenal last September in his post-match presser after beating Liverpool a few days ago.

That guy is a weirdo


Chill, Dissenter:

I could care less what Man Utd does, except that they lose to Arsenal at every opportunity.

If they want their former player Bebe as manager for example, what do I care?


Well well well. The junta finally coming around to accepting that Chenko is an excess. A liability. And needs to be on the out list come TW.

Canadian Gooner

Rich agreed on the city game. This is the premier league. There are potential banana skins everywhere for all of top teams the rest of the season. There is so much talent in this league on mid table squads that unlike other leagues nothing is a foregone conclusion. The result of the city arsenal game will obviously play a huge role in which of the 3 sides takes the title. However to act like it we lose that game our season is sunk is just crazy. If city lose is their season sunk? If Liverpool lose their next game is… Read more »


Please don’t send me any more emails Peter I maybe old but don’t need the insults from many of your so knowledgeable younger members. Le Grove has changed from 10 years ago.Not nice either being ignored or insulted so cheers.

Last edited 22 days ago by Marbellaron

Kpankulu “Arteta was NEVER in danger of losing his job. Additionally, relegation was never on the cards. What a load of twaddle.” Easy to say now , but when Arsenal are 4 points off a relegation place after 21 games and the team is on a run of 8 defeats in 10 games , scoring a paltry 4 goals in those 10 games with little or no creativity on show, playing the most insipid football imaginable , then relegation should always be considered a possibility. . Fortunately the club stood by Arteta but at any other club a manager would… Read more »


Kpankulu “deluded than I thought re: your incessant and unjustified attacks on Odegaard.” I’m not sure that wanting your team’s most creative player to be more aggressive on the ball and take more risks with his passing should be regarded as an “incessant attack” and they certainly were not unjustified.. Wanting more than 2 big chances created in the first half of the season is not a crime Thankfully Odegaard has turned his season around and it is right and proper that he should be regarded as in the top one or 2 in 2024 for creativity, he has been… Read more »

Positive pete

See that ‘ Snake’ Neville is up to his old tricks with his prediction that Arsenal/ city will conveniently pull Saka,Rice or Foden from the game against Belgium.Thereby attempting to put pressure on Arsenal/city & Southgate to select them.Knows full well what he’s up to.Of course the hypocritical c**T wouldn’t dare mention his old club & Fergie were masters at it


Imagine how boring this NT break is (just like any other) that Benny Blanco’s the biggest news rehashed over and over for 4 days straight.


Pierre, people don’t forget that you doubted Odegaard’s actual ability to improve creatively. Yes you pointed out areas for improvement, which is fine, but don’t act like you always wrote like you thought it was possible that he would improve. Throw in your constant comparisons to Ozil and there you go, mystery solved.


“Southgate really did a number on BW
Seems like he’s sullied his image”

It’s turning into Southgategate.

Last edited 22 days ago by spanner

Pierre did have a downer on Ode for a long while but personally I accept that as part of being a football fan. You can only go by what your eyes and brain tell you and we’ve all had ups and downs on players – most of us e.g. with Kai (for me – started as open minded but underwhelmed by his signing turning into disdain and despair turning into absolute relief and joy that he could still play at a decent pre-Chelsea level)


lol liers, noone supported Arteta here at the lowest, even Pedro give up for a short while. Absolutely relegation fight was on cards at some point. Luckily execs didn’t pull the trigger. 95% of big clubs would 100%.

City away will be huge. Would take draw now no questions asked.


An attacking midfielder who’s creative who isn’t afraid to shoot and score goals and who actually presses and shows effort…of course Pierre always has some issue with Odegaard he’s the complete opposite of Ozil. Not to mention that he’s looking like a fantastic captain he leaves it out on the field.

Nigel Tufnel

Ødegaard always showed the potential … even in his initial loan I could see he was a magician. I was so happy we were able to buy him (at a reasonable price too)… I think Arteta knew what he had and put on the same magnetic charm he used to attract Rice and Havertz to the project. This way Øde pushed from his end to go to us permanently. Pierre and other doubters were blind. You could see the players foot skills and creativity clearly. Anybody who did research could easily see him scoring and pressing from his loan to… Read more »


seriously – who the fuck cares whether someone has a change of mind or has rigidly stuck to the same view. Neither is necessarily right or wrong. Some of you need to get your head out of the past – this debate aboyut whether coming 8th was good or bad is now pointless. We’re 1st so ffs enjoy it

Positive Pete

Nortbanker.Exactly.A pointless debate.


What I love about Arteta and didn’t know was that at city he never celebrated a goal if it was v Arsenal..
He is Arsenal through n through and we’re lucky to have him..


All the younger posters insulting senior citizens here are uncouth and deserve to be slapped by Sids longstuff


Pierres criticisms of Ode were valid.

He had / has the tendency to occupy the same half space as Saka which is counter production for our overall output.

He’s naturally a conservative passer.

His body shape, being left footed again is not ideal for combinations with Saka.

He does a lot of amazing things. His engine and his pressing is amazing. It’s almost like he’s the Declan Rice vs your Partey for his position. Safer, more industrious, great team lad, etc. But lacking that sth super special.

He’s behind Bruno and KDB for special sauce.


No way Ode is behind Bruno. Bruno is trash these days.


Now Saka out…looks like we are reinforcing seriousness of run in to the end


edit…out for injury…guess I don’t remember him with one recently.since Porto

Nigel Tufnel

The Saka thing is just Arsenal getting wise to the ways of our title rivals. Now we take no chances and pull them back for the run-in.


Now we just need Declan to pull out as well…”to continue his rehabilitation”


Saka is one smart dude though, he showed up, got free publicity for his Nando’s peri peri sauce..and then bounced to hang out with BW.

Nigel Tufnel

Kiwior says Szczesny still loves Arsenal. Can barely watch our games because he gets stressed like a fan.

I like stories like that. I know Podolski loves Arsenal and always posts about it.

Last edited 22 days ago by Nigel Tufnel
Positive Pete

Guess ‘ Snake’ Neville was right then.He probably hates the fact that Arsenal/ Arteta have finally wised up & pull the same strokes our rivals have been pulling for years when it comes to international call ups & it’s pissing him off.He called it out to put pressure on Arsenal & Southgate.Wanker.


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