by .

This international break has gone from feeling like a breath of minty fresh air, to smelling like sitting next to a hangover on the London Underground.

We thought that Saka, Big Gabi, and Martinelli were all engaged in some dark arts preservation for this weekend. It turns out that might not be the case, and there seems to be a concern—it’s touch and go.

Now, what you have to remember here is this: Mikel uses uncertainty as a weapon. He doesn’t want Pep to know who is available and who is not. Pep will be doing the same. Is Kyle Walker fit? Did John Stones walk off the pitch inside 20 minutes because he got the call from his manager?

No one knows. This is what mind games look like at the very highest level. It’s actually terrifying and a little bit annoying. I don’t want to go into the game feeling like we’re once again below full strength; I need certainty in my life, even if this is an Art of War stategem. But that is my cross to bear… yours too. We are basically martyrs for the game.

My guess is Martinelli is genuinely touch-and-go. His foot injury looked like a stab wound apparently. The healing could be 10 days, but that’s in a perfect world we don’t live in. You can’t run if your foot is split open. Aggravating a wound like a second time is never good.

Saka has apparently been carrying an injury for a while (Twitter, not anything verified), so who knows there.

What I can tell you for free… if there’s a game to roll the dice on, I think Arteta will do it for this one. It’s do or die. If City scalps us, our best hope is Liverpool falter. If we win, the fumes of glory could carry us all the way.

The problem for Arteta is that if you do roll the dice, and someone breaks down inside 20, you’ve screwed the game plan, you’ve dented morale, and City will smell the chum in the water.

Still, at least the league sorted us out nicely with an impartial crew of referees. They served us up Jarred Gillet, who is a Liverpool fan, and has presided over some absolutely shocking Arsenal decisions, the latest was disallowing the Kai goal at Villa and denying us a stonewall penalty. He was also shocking in the Chelsea game.

But more to the point here – if you give a shit about impartiality, why would you put a Liverpool fan in the VAR room for the City vs Arsenal game? It’s absurd.

Not as absurd as giving the game to a referee from Manchester in Anthony Taylor. If you grew up in that area and don’t have an opinion on either side, you probably don’t like football at all. I’m not calling him a bad ref (we win a lot with him), I’m just saying that it is crazy to me that PGMOL doesn’t consider the optics in games this huge.

Is it too much to ask to have a non-Liverpool supporting ref in the VAR room – and a ref on the pitch with no affiliation with the city of one of the teams?

It shouldn’t be.

This is the first post of the daily run in for the BIG game. I’ll be back tomorrow with more words. I also have a bunch of good pods for you.

We’re going podcast crazy this week – Johnny is back with Matt and they’re having a lovely old reunion. Check that podcast out when it drops at 6am UK time.

big love xxx

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What is the meaning of life according to your daughter/son, Felix?

Let’s see if it’s anything like what I think it is having gotten my degree from theTrump University.


Nwaneri’s contract means there’s one less midfielder we need to sign in the summer
Sadly, it also means that ESR will be sold


Nigel’s life was meaningless until he stumbled on Legrove and decided policing it.

Guns of SF

Shit man, game is coming up. Getting that nervous feeling about now. I hope we nick one there and win it.

Guns of SF

Players need to get Rodri in trouble. This ass throws our guys around, does the violent shit and gets away with it. Have to sell those fouls and get him in card trouble. I agree, having TP in there would help to nullify him somewhat. The shit he does on the pitch would be assault off the pitch. Fucking bastard, Cunt!

Guns of Hackney

I’ll be brief. Arsenal are going to lose out on the title against city. They will comfortably beat Arsenal.

I’m going back to my original home on the weekend, the toilet aka, London. I can’t avoid it. I’ll be in Camden on a crawl. Starting at the Black Cap and ending at the Black Cap. Come hook me up.

Bob N16

Hope you’re wrong Guns. Enjoy N London, I’ll be in Margate!

Brian Muff

Here he is…GoH.

I guess you’re bored again eh? On a train? Alone in the pub?

Solution? Throw grenade and have something to interact with. You’re such a turd. Why anyone would want to hook up with you is nonsensical to anyone who reads this blog I should think.

As I said last time, I sincerely hope you deploy a similar trolling to our enemies blogs??? If not, please consider it.


David Ornstein on Arsenal striker targets: The likes of Sesko & Gyökeres are well thought of. As is Ferguson but the price Brighton would want & the season he has had so far perhaps makes him less likely at the moment. I don’t see it being an Osimhen or Toney. There will be other options too. ______________________________________ I don’t think Southgate should have called and started Toney. He’s not that good and also because of the scandal around him. Imo we should target a super CF talent and bring him here at 17-19 yo. Way cheaper and can be thought… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by raptora

Guns…do they sell a nice rosé in the Black Cap?
Don’t forget to get your man bun sorted out- appearance is everything.
It might deflect from the Totnum shirt you wear….


GoH back to infect us with his negativity – what a waste of digital space


Just got news I have my 2 tickets for the Bayern game today so cant wait (one for one of my two sons I apparently don’t have)


Well done Northbanker- that’ll be a cracking game- hopefully we can serve them up a hiding- it’s long overdue.


Rap If the club has a definitive No1 striker target, then they’d keep that name under lock + key. Last summer Declan Rice was the obvious choice, rarely do players of that profile come on the market, and when they do, we haven’t been in the running for that profile of player since 2013, when we were in for Suarez. You don’t need to be a football scout though, to know that there’s a huge shortage of top class centre forwards. You just need to monitor the market, 3 of the biggest clubs in the world have gone without a… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

I hate this game coming after a long break including internationals.

Our guys were in excellent form, winning tight games we’d have lost or drawn in the past, and slaughtering the teams that are weaker.

We have the best training possible, and it sucks that our guys have to go play shite football for their countries and take us out of our groove. Any game after the break would have been ok except Man City. Let’s see if the refs can stand the pressure of the treble winning home fans without edging a key play their way.

Bertie Mee

It’s sad and very pathetic to slag off Arsenal at every opportunity whilst purporting to be an Arsenal fan . Why would Arsenal fans want to spend time with someone who hammers the club every chance he gets ?


Whatever rustiness we face on Sunday…city will face it too

I’m optimistic about the game because the way we play is perfectly suited for games against city

It will be a grindfest

Like Nigel said, the only thing that can spoil the spectacle is the referee or the VAR.I really wish Michael Oliver was in charge, at least you know he will refrain from doing something catastrophic.


Like sending Martinelli off with two bookings in ten seconds?


oliver would be a disaster all in all it doesnt matter as they are all terrible as the officiating standard is so bad. i would even say taylor is the best we could hope for, he actually sent off moses for the dive in the fa cup final. he doesnt seem to hate us like basically all others do VAR is fraud, whether its gillet or whoever is in there. cant wait to hear things like ‘cant see any reason for him to go down like this’ in micd up when haaland presses big gaby down with two hands in… Read more »


He also send off a Diogo Dalot with two yellow cards [against Liverpool] in added time for the same act of dissension so it’s not an Arsenal thing
Oliver is still by a wide mile, the best referee in the league.

Last edited 15 days ago by Dissenter
Guns of SF

All these refs have some sort of bias I think. Would be best if refs were from overseas and not having some personal bias, loyalty to certain cities or teams, etc. Just take as much bias out of the game as possible. EPL refs do games overseas, not sure why the same cannot be applied to EPL


It would be great if we beat Cheatty on Sunday just to shut up GoH.


The City vs Arsenal game will be the biggest game in world football this weekend.
I won’t be surprised if it beats viewership records everywhere
The size of the spectacle means that the referees has to put their best foot forwards. It’s not some average game between Wolves vs Arsenal in 2022.
The referee will have a big spotlight on him.

Last edited 15 days ago by Dissenter


I really wish Michael Oliver was in charge, at least you know he will refrain from doing something catastrophic.

I used to think the same of Oliver until his bullshit double yellow card on Martinelli that resulted in him getting sent off a couple if seasons ago vs Wolves.

Now I am not to sure about him these days, but he used to be good with us.

Guns of SF

Diss, I hope the ref does a good job. There is usually one or two blunders that sadly can lead to a goal in these big games. I really hope the ref keeps and eye on Rodri. Guy gets away with murder.

James wood

GOH. Would not have thought that was a Gooner pub from my recolections.😂


Man buns of ‘ackney..

Last edited 15 days ago by Jonnygunner
Guns of SF

I think Martinelli comes as a sub for Trossard. His presence changes how City will defend. Late on, this could really help us.


I wouldn’t start with any of the ex-city lads
Zinchenko wont get any game time in any big game where the odds of vastly out scoring the opposing team is low. He’s defensively frail in big game situations.

Last edited 15 days ago by Dissenter

James – too right but that’s because GOH is not a Gooner


I think my Silver Ballot success rate is just under 50% so far this season but a couple of games I have had to buy on Ticket Exchange inc next weeks game v Luton
The midweek games seem to be more successful- failed to get Sevilla tickets but have succeeded with PSV Porto and now Bayern.


Last year I failed to get a single ticket under that virtual queuing system other than the League Cip match v Brighton

So my personal conclusion is that this change of system has been a massive success. I still have an issue with the number of tickets released and turn complete block on away games

There are far too many tickets going to old boy networks inc former players and all their entourage


Contrasts so heavily with my life in the 80s when I and a few mates had season tickets for the North Bank and one season we did every game home and away


Northbanker My experience with the ballot system is the total opposite as a Red membe. It is a total disaster as I haven’t been able to go to a single game so far this season. Fair’s fair that I haven’t applied to all games due to family and the schedule not suiting my time table, but it would I have applied for the Bayern CL game and I hope, thanks to the Bayern supporters ban, that I go to the game. If not, i think I will lodge a complaint and escalate it as high as I can. When I… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

David Raya has the best Crosses Stopped % in EUROPE by a distance, with 14.9% of opponent’s crosses claimed/stopped.

PL Average is 6.7%.

The next best in each European League is…

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Martinez: 11%
🇪🇸 Lunin: 10.6%
🇩🇪 Zentner: 10.8%
🇮🇹 Maignan: 10.9%
🇫🇷 Diaw: 9.4%

Oh yeah… and his distribution is excellent too.

Replacing Ramsdale made me “uncomfortable”.. but that only lasted a couple weeks.

Arteta was right again. And the kicking the keeping coach by grovers, by people who don’t even know what the job is… classic.


If walker had a tight hamstring and if stones felt something in his groin, then there is no way pep would risk a player missing the rest of the season for the sake of one game no matter how important The same could be said for Debruyne and grealish who both may not be 100% match fit. Pep will have to look at the bigger picture , and yes he won’t want to drop points to Arsenal but more importantly for him he won’t want to lose either Debruyne, walker or stones for the rest of the season.. It will… Read more »


I hope Pep risks Stones, KDB and Walker on Sunday and they break down over the next 1-2 games
This is a 6 week marathon, not a sprint.
The title isn’t going to be won or lost on Sunday. I don’t want ‘Tets to risk any of out players who aren’t fully ready. .

Last edited 14 days ago by Dissenter

DB10. – think the formal probability ratio issued by the club showed silver being much higher than red. Just glad now I got the silvers way back in 2002 I think

Wish I had also kept my Travel Club membership as that is now a closed shop

But last year system was impossible as bots meant queue was a waste of space

Real issue now is the number of tickets not the system


Safe to say the Raya ramsdale debate is over

Raya was very shakey for a good while earlier on but that’s now gone. What you have now is the player Arteta wanted.

There’s something supremely satisfying when you’re defending a cross with a one goal lead in the 90th minute and the keeper holds it. It’s as satisfying as any great tackle for a CB for amazing pass from a midfielder


GOH don’t think too many arsenal fans on here and going to make the effort to spend time drinking with someone who hates Arsenal and London. What’s innit for them…?


Northbanker Interesting what you say about the Silver membership. This may explain why it is difficult to get a ticket. I also suspect that the ability to add mates to the process multiplies ones chances to go. To be frank, I was hoping that the ballot system would work in a way they would rotate with those who have already been last time with another person who hasn’t. Yet, they haven’t done this. I am hopeful that the BM CL home game with the full stadium allocated to Gooners should help with that chance to finally go back to the… Read more »

Logie Bear

NB and DB10: really interested to hear your views and experiences about the ticket “system”

I’m also a Red member but have also had zero luck in the ballot which is just frustrating and annoying. The only thing better than last year is at least you don’t waste an hour on the bot nonsense only to be informed all tix had gone in 7 minutes or whatever! But not noticeably fairer with the ballot system.

Good luck getting Bayern tix. I’m in the US so hoping to find a pub with the game showing!


Arsenal changed the ticketing this season. I am a season ticket holder in the central blocks on upper tier and a gold member. Historically gold membership covered all home games in EPL, FAC and European Games. The Carabo Cup was excluded and of course if Arsenal reached Cup Finals you had apply through ballot system, which prioritised supporters who went to away games. This season Arsenal’s Season Tickets cover only Home Games in EPL and Champions League in preliminary round. The FA Cup and D/E Champions League are charged separately and only automatically allocated if you apply and/or provide club… Read more »


One big signing for the summer, break the bank and sign Alex Isak off Newcastle when they struggle to make Europe and have to cover their FFP failing backs. Keep him fit and he’s next level for a team like us, it’s what we are missing.
Wilfred Ndidi on a free to replace Elneny and give us extra cover in the middle for the season.
We would have a great squad for next year


Logie Bear Thanks for your input and for wishing me good luck. It’s good to know that I am not the only one in this situation. I recall contacting Arsenal’s customer service team at the start of the season, and they said that Red members had an 11% chance of success in getting a ticket. To me, at the time, and still now, this looks like a number that they pulled out of their arse. As for last year, it was indeed very frustrating with the TX system. You would see these available seats, and anytime you clicked on any,… Read more »


You have to keep renewing the silver tickets or you lose. I have had to do this since 2002 and it has cost me a small fortune over the years with almost zero benefit This is the first season when Silver Membership has finally meant something and provided a proper benefit Nevertheless I still believe there are a huge number of tickets that are not going to genuine fans and are being released in a favours market. The club meeed to be a lot more transparent about who is getting what The system for allocation was terrible before due to… Read more »


This interlull has been seriously dull. Thankfully the EPL is back in action tomorrow and so are we on Sunday. We are slowly getting there!! I wonder whether Partey will play vs Cheatty on Sunday. It would be great if we could have one last monster performance from him before we sell him. It would be the perfect game to have him, alongside Rice and Øde to lock out the midfield. What “annoys” me (and what a great dilemma for Tets to have) is that Jorginho also deserves to be selected as he has become increasingly important for the team… Read more »


I’d say there’s very little chance of Partey starting at City, he hasn’t started a competitive game since August. Unless our hand was forced through absences, it would be a massive risk to throw him straight into a game of that significance from the start. I was looking at Luton at home as a possibility to load him up with 60 minutes. To navigate 12-14 games in 7 weeks, we’ll certainly need to gamble and throw Partey in at some stage, we’ll need him to take at least some of the workload. But City away after not starting a competitive… Read more »


Apparently Stones + Walker both ruled out for City on Sunday.

Could just be smoke + mirrors from Guardiola, not sure why he’d reveal his hand 2 days out from such a big game.

Maybe Guardiola operates differently?.. But Arteta rarely gives much away, and when he does, it’s to be taken with a giant pinch of salt.


Fab Romano on twitter –

Pep Guardiola: “Ederson is doing much better, Manuel Akanji will be 100% ready and available to face Arsenal. Walker and Stones will be out”


I think this big story, there should be managerial merry go round this summer with a bunch of coaching vacancies. Also from Fab Romano, I think de zerbi going to ‘pool in the summer but who knows.

“Understand Xabi Alonso has just informed Bayer Leverkusen squad about his decision to stay at the club. Xabi told the players that he’s staying, he wants to win with them and ready for Champions League football next year.”

Positive Pete

Expect a full strength Cheaty on Sunday.Not expecting Martinelli which is a major miss.He would have terrorised them.Now they’ll comfortably double up on Saka.The expectation is Rodri getting away with murder which will give them an edge in the midfield dominance.
If we can nick the first goal & hold it for a good length of time we’re in with a shout.
Just about every single pundit outside of Arsenal doesn’t give us a prayer.


Journo on twitter –

Arteta on Saka, Gabriel and Martinelli’s fitness:

“There is a chance [they could play against Man City].

“They haven’t trained but tomorrow we have another session.”


No way can Partey be in the starting line up – that would be madness to play someone who cannot be match fit in this type of game. Rich – agre that Luton would be a sensible intro but even then we’d have to be prepared to only give him 60 – 70 mins.


Walker being out and Martinelli potentially back could be huge.


We’ve outgrown Partey. Should have been sold last summer and will definitely be off this summer


Yeah, I agree with you all re Partey. Just some wishful thinking on my part really. He’s appearing in the training videos/ photos which was what was giving me this faint hope. He was classy in our previous seasons but as we all know, we haven’t missed him at all this season with both Øde and Jorgi really stepping up and with Rice being the Rolls Royce of a player we all hoped he would be. I think that is the sensible idea to wheel him out against Luton to put him in the shop window and get him off… Read more »


Great news yesterday that Nwaneri has signed his professional contract. It was effectively a done deal from his 16th birthday but all the same another massively encouraging step. Most of our Hale Enders are going to be released for no consideration sadly. The better ones we will nurture and get a transfer fee which will help offset our Academy costs. And then we will have 1 or 2 tops from each year group who will be the next big thing. That’s probably as much as we could absorb anyway with a relatively youthful first team Nwaneri is going to be… Read more »


Not going to get more than 25M for Partey. Which will be good for both parties. He should go to someone in Italy or back to Spain.
Would love Bajcetic in to replace him and be an understidy to Rice…But Liverpool probably won’t want to sell.


understudy *


Many are acting like Arteta will change his formation. If saka is fit (he is) he will play. If not Jesus replaces him. Martinelli will be replaced by trossad. Simple Raya: white saliba Gabriel kiwior/zinchenko: rice, odegaard, jorginho: saka/Jesus, havertz, martinelli/ trossard. Matt mentioned something on podcast. Our best form comes when we play once per week. This run we had, we were playing a game a week. We had our biggest scare when we played every 3 days. That is telling. We will see how it goes. City game doesn’t determine our season lots of drama ahead for us… Read more »


I think we’ve probably reached the point where our acquisitions of players should be focused on the very best 18-20 year olds – old enough to form a proper view of their potential – with loan backs to their current clubs for another year of development.

That’s the deal I’d love us to offer Ajax this summer for Jorrel Hato.


The table below shows why City are interesting. They aren’t better than they were last season. Nevile said, City can loose against us and you cannot rule them out.


I saw the news about Nwaneri signing his first professional contract and this made me wonder: could we replace Partey with him in the sense that Ethan takes up his squad place to become an understudy to Rice? He is very highly rated by the club, so this could be an idea? Or do you think we should still buy someone who can sit on the bench and be called up if needed? Or do you think Ethan has the ability to step up, and as mentioned skip the loan stage and go straight to being eased in like Saka… Read more »


Nwaneri and Partey don’t play the same position.
if anything Nwaneri is the understudy to Odegaard and If he is replacing anyone in the Team that could be ESR.


Stones and Walker are mediocre, its nothing to celebrate if they are Not available.


Thanks zaco!! Interesting. So we will need to look for someone to replace Partey then. I wonder who Eduteta have on their minds. And by what has been said, they have their shortlist all ready. I am guessing once the season is over, it may that we get the CF in first before getting a MF. It probably all depends on the outlay that we will need to put on the table to get that CF that may determine who buy aa a MF replacement. If I recall, we are close to the FPP limit which means that we have… Read more »



I decided to dig around on our current financial situation and found this excellent (and free) article from The Athletic.

It is not as bad as I initially thought.

Thanks to increased revenue, all thanks to finishing 2nd and Europa League participation, has helped us a lot.

With us being in the CL now and being well positioned on the League this season should equally help more comes next season.

What was interesting to read is that the club is really keen to become financially sustainable and be less dependent on (favourable) KSE loans.

Positive Pete

Sid The Greek.you’re wrong I’m afraid.The two are very important.With Stones Cheaty would have played a double pivot on Sunday with serial fouler Rodri.
Walker as guardian against the pace of Martinelli should he play.Not to mention his overlapping & crosses.His pace allows them to play further up the pitch & press.
Means they now have to compensate & alter their approach.


Daily run in Pedro????



It’s still the Interlull technically with nothing to write about really. And any news, like Ethan’s signing was mentioned by posters so no loss here (certainly if you have the Arsenal app where all news like signings are posted and a notification popping up to highlight the news).

And I guess he’d rather milk that time off to be with his young family.

I am sure we will get some new posts considering football is back tomorrow!!!


DB – yes Ethan has played in multiple positions. Zack’s point about understudy to Ode not entirely accurate . He can play any position across the front and also as a left no8 which may be the position he’s destined for Lewis Skelly however is a deeper midfielder , has already signed professional contract (a few months older than EN) and certainly could be the understudy to Partey. Progress will depend on the view towards Patino who also tends to favour that position (although can be an AM too). While Ethan getting all the plaudits the emergence of MLS could… Read more »


There was a time Walker was pacy but not at 33 yrs
This season Guardiola seams to prefer Rodri and Akanji double pivot over Stones.


NB Thanks for the further insights. This is looking like we have a really interesting pipeline of players coming through. How exciting this is! It looks like we are slowly modelling our Academy on the Barca days when their youth became seniors in their Team A setup (Xavi, Iniesta, etc) And that can only be beneficial to us in terms of cost and development. I know it is never easy and that it is a massive gamble with young players, but if we can pull this off, it will help us massively financially in the long run. Per and Jackie… Read more »


DB – totally agree – it’s but a small sliver of our Academy but that’s all you need

Eboues Bank Account

Doesn’t matter who’s absent for City as long as KDB is present. Out defenders just show too much respect when he has the ball.

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Thanks for that post.

I can only smile in glee at the sight of Chelski’s demise.

A scumbag club in my book (whom I hate with absolute passion) who deserve this downfall for financial cheating.

Long may the shit hit their fan as long as possible as they have never deserved to be so successful thanks to all that dodgy russian money that was pumped into the club ad infinitum.


Sid, you’re nuts.
Walker when fit is still bossing whoever lines up against him on the left wing, and if we have Martinelli back for a Walker less City, it’s advantage Arsenal.

Stones is very versatile but not as crucial as Walker on D.


I still tend to think of Eddie Nketiah as a young player but he is in fact a couple of weeks older than Kai Havertz! There is now no contest as to who would be selected


Come on Arsenal, let’s drain the Swamp!!! To those who travel up there, we are with you, we will be watching!!!

Come On You Rip Roaring Reds❤️


Watched Kobbie Mainoo a lot lately, he’s definitely quality. But would he have broken into Arsenal’s first team at the moment? Is he better than Nwaneri and Lewis Skelly?


As much as Pierre will dislike this, you are right re Eddie, Northbanker. There is nothing wrong with Eddie other than he is your typical classical fox in the box player, which an old schooler like Pierre would appreciate. Unfortunately, he is not suited to our style of play. He will be sold and should get us north of £40 – 50 million which any club who needs a CF with such a profile will be happy to pay. Will he flourish wherever he goes? Yes, he will. But he doesn’t fit our style so he will be no big… Read more »


Hope you’re right on the price DB – I had imagined much lower than that (25-30) but if it is 40+ then that is funding half the new CF cost (probably)


Kadibia – not really fair to compare as Mainoo is almost 2 years older than Nwaneri and MLS- at that age the difference is huge


In 2 years will Nwaneri be playing 15 games a season under Arteta?

Yamal is 16 years and playing for Barca and Spain. Endrick is 17 and playing for club and Country and signed for Madrid. Cesc, wilshere etc.

Different players develop at different age. If you are good enough you play or if the manager believes enough in you. Do arteta believe in Nwaneri enough or is he not good enough?

I just know that Arteta hasn’t given less academy players game time than pep, klopp, and ten hag in the last 2 years


Typo, “… arteta has given academy players less game time than pep klopp and ten hag in the last 2 years



My valuation is based on the club learning from their past mistakes and selling a player with a UK premium…

If we manage to do that, we have finally learnt a lesson on how to sell a player.

Eddie should easily fetch the sum of £50 million considering that he is now a premium player.


What a great time to be a Gooner.
Haven’t felt this excited since that young 07-08 team.
praying that we will close the deal this time.
We are due a win @ the Etihad.


@Tom, When Walker plays RB in a back 4, at home they drew with CP and Chelsea( away team scored 1st Pep had to make adjustments).

He is used as a CB in a back 3 formation, so doesnt offer the attacking threat.


Also started as RB at home against Liepzig,
away team scored 2 goals Pep had to adjust formation at half time.
Game ended 3-2