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As we speak, Arsenal has qualified for the Champions League next round. Sergio Ramos has Sevilla ahead of PSV (2-0). This is great news and might affect how Arteta manages the game this evening. It’ll certainly allow us to take players off early.

It really has been incredible to witness the progression of the side so far this season. The pain I expected us to have when building towards the next phase of development has mostly been visual pain. The football doesn’t feel as fluid, namely, because it’s not.

Mikel Arteta has put the issues down to teams parking buses and taxis. You can’t deny him there, it’s hard playing against top-tier teams like Newcastle, and having to deal with Joelinton dropping in at left back to double up on our wide players.



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It’s been quite sad to watch some of the videos of Aaron Ramsdale after the Brentford game. The thing we miss as fans is the emotional stress that comes with losing your place in a team. He joined Arsenal with the vision of being our keeper for 10 years. Arteta probably told him Champions League and big trophies were in his future. This summer, when we gave him £120k a week, he probably thought he was a made man.

Then the bite happened.

Arteta never forgets.

He signed David Raya and the rest is history.



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Yeah, we can go there people.

No one, not even me, can escape the humble Kai we’re choking down this morning.

The German played left-back in the week and scored a goal but he was on the losing team. The situation would be very different against Brentford. Mikel Arteta only had one idea left to try – that was Kai coming on in the 79th minute. There were fans all over the country in the Whatsapp groups huffing at the move. But it was inspired. Bukayo Saka, after a rough 90, spotted Kai at the back post, he clipped a beautiful cross, Kai attacked it, and nodded a waste-high ball into the net from a yard.



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Well good morning my darlings – football is coming home. 10 games in 36 days. It’s going to be pure joy. I’ll be going to a few of them as well. They’ll yell ‘PEDRO, YOU’RE A TOURIST’ and I’ll show them I’m not by flashing an Arsenal vs West Ham half-and-half scarf. I won’t be beaten when it comes to superfandom.

Who might not be there by the end of this run?

Aaron Ramsdale. I made a shocking error in the podcast suggesting Brentford was s BIG game for Raya. It’s not. He can’t play because he’s on loan from Brentford. So that means maybe one final game for Aaron before he’s jettisoned in January.

Fabrizio Romano was given the news that Arsenal will be signing Raya on a perm deal. This should come as no surprise to people, especially if you’ve been reading this blog. I don’t know who leaked to Fabrizio or why they did it… but the message to Aaron will be clear.

You’re leaving in January, so get your agent working on a deal.

A few fans have suggested that telegraphing our intentions to sell means we’ll get less money. I’m not sure it makes much difference, the fact he’s been benched since September is a pretty strong sign he’s not rated by Arteta. Key for Arsenal is he’s on a long-term deal, so if clubs come knocking with £5m offers, we can pass. I don’t really buy that there was a strategy for keeping his value high. If you play him and he keeps costing you goals, he’s costing you points, and he’s devaluing his own price tag. He hasn’t worked out, we probably overpaid for him in the first place, so I’m not sure I’d be banking on getting a big fee for him anyway. Other clubs can access the data – his poor shot-stopping ability is going to be a problem at £40m.

Still, Aaron is 24 years old, he has loads of experience, and he can play out the back like the best of them. He’d be better for Chelsea than Sanchez, but outside that, it’s hard to see who has a keeper problem they’d like to solve this January. Maybe he gets a move to the continent? More likely… a loan.

Mikel Arteta gave us the good news ahead of the Brentford game – Ben White will be back in training, but it’s not certain he’ll be available. Martin Odegaard is back and Gabi J should get minutes.

Those three players totally change the dynamic of Arsenal. It’s amazing we didn’t really notice their absence over the break. The main frustration injury-wise continues to be Thomas Partey. He’s a Diaby-like enigma these days and it doesn’t seem like it’ll ever get better. We need to have someone in our midfield for the long term who can step in and do things like he can.

The great thing about this weekend is there are a couple of games of interest in the top 4. The biggest is City vs Liverpool. This is the game we’re all waiting for because we’re all dying to know if Liverpool is actually going to be good this season. Has Klopp rebuilt a masterpiece? Or is it a cheap knock-off? I have a sexy feeling Pep G might get his arse handed to him.

Newcastle vs Chelsea will be interesting as well, I’m hoping Eddie Howe drops points in this one – Newcastle worries me. They are the stalking horses of the league and they haven’t had much luck this season (bar the game against us). Spurs also have a rough game against Aston Villa. Don Unai will rip apart a highline with average players – and there aren’t many good defensive options Big Ange can face up this weekend.

There’s been a lot of noise coming out of Germany regarding Tomiyasu. Bayern likes him, they see him as a player of interest because he can play across the backline. Arteta doesn’t normally comment on transfers, but he stepped into this one.

‘I really want him to stay. I value the player a lot, I really like him. I think he’s loved and respected by everybody at the club. He’s getting a lot of minutes now, he’s getting his availability to the level that we need for him to make an impact in the team and I think he will continue to be with us.’

The key word in that sentence is ‘availability’ because Tomi hasn’t had a lot of it. I don’t have any inside information, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see us sell him if a chonky bid came our way. His injury problems aren’t going to get any better and I don’t think he’s the long-term solution to any of our positions. So if you can get £40m for him, you could find someone younger with less wear and tear. But we’ll see… I’m loving what he’s doing for us right now.

Arteta is going to find out his punishment for being a bad bitch when talking about referees. He had an interesting point on the subject.

‘I think it’s good that we are communicating. We want to improve the game, all of us, referees, managers, officials, owners, sporting directors, you guys, we all want a better game, that’s it. To have a better game we have to have freedom of speech, respectfully, in a constructive way, but we have to promote that. If not, you don’t get better. That’s for sure. It’s good that they are talking in front of the media and explaining the situation because it brings clarity.’

I kind of agree… if no one ever speaks out, nothing ever changes. We can’t live in a world where refs are beyond reproach. Gary Neville and his gang telling the fans they have to get on with it doesn’t move the needle in the game. Telling managers to suck it up also doesn’t work. Managers would prefer points over private apologies. If behind-the-scenes conversations aren’t getting the action clubs need, they have to use the bully pulpit to maximum effect.

… but know this, Arteta is gonng get smacked with a big wet fish over his outburst. The combo of the aggression and the club statement is a massive thread to PGMOL, so he’ll get the big sentence to make sure revolt is not seen as an option in the future.

Ok, that’s me done. See you in the comments!


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The beasting of Kai Havertz has been brutal. But for every amateur analyst demanding we know he’s terrible, another top pro manager pipes up and says they think he’s high qualidee.

This time, it’s Julian Nagelsmann – a manager a lot of Arsenal fans fawned over back in the day. He decided to go toe-to-toe with Mikel’s big galaxy brain and probably knocked him to the canvas by dropping him into the left-wing back position.

“Kai won’t always be in this position. I have a great idea, he’s an exceptionally good footballer. This is a very good option. He won’t always play as a classic left-back.”

Well, Kai opened the scoring for Germany and they went on to win.

Ok, they didn’t win. But that’s not the point. He scored a goal. THAT’S the point. Right?

Who knows where Kai’s Arsenal career is going to go, but hearing top footballing minds talking about how good he is does skew my view that he’ll probably come good. He’s a players player. A manager’s first pick. Clearly he has attributes that top coaches seem to love. We just need to see him bring a bit of bang-bang to proceedings.

My biggest takeaway from all of this is the thing that everyone said he’d be rubbish at (defending) seems to be the only thing he’s currently good at. I’m happy to put chips on his attacking game coming good when considering the managers that played him as a striker.

Arsenal are being linked with players this January — the list of players at the moment seems split between midfielders and strikers.

On the striker side, it’s Ivan Toney and now Dusan Vlahovic.

On the midfielder front it’s Douglas Luiz and Ruben Neves.

Let’s talk midfielders. Those two players, in a normal market, are £50m players. Both are versatile midfielders that can play as 6s or 8s… but the deeper role is where they thrive. For me, the only way you make that kind of deal happen is if Thomas Partey leaves the club. Neves is an outrageous technician who can’t go to Newcastle and Luiz is a free-scoring midfielder who is very unsexy but he’s never injured and he’s keeping an Unai Emery midfield going. He’s also exCity.

Midfield wasn’t where I saw Arsenal investing in January, but I think Arteta really wanted Thomas P involved this season, especially without Timber, so it would make sense.

The striker position is clearly a massive target for Arsenal, but £100m for Ivan Toney isn’t acceptable, and though Dusan Vlahvoci is a good player, what change out of £100m are we getting for him? 4 goals in 10 this season. 14 in 42 last season. Hard to say he’s banged.

If we can’t find a bonified goal-scoring freak this January, we should just pass. No point wasting good money on someone we’ll be lumbered with for 5 years. The player we sign needs to be pure glory. I’m not sure we’re getting that in 6 weeks time.

Arsenal have a new hype-child: Chido Obi-Martin

The Dane scored 10 goals against Liverpool U16s this weekend. He’s a U17, which is kind of cheating, but regardless, that is a big goal haul at a level in which you would not expect a scoreline like that.

Is he the next Jack Jebb?

The next Fran Merida?

Is he Arturo Lupoli?

Who knows… but it does seem like Arsenal’s production line continues to churn out the big names!

David Raya made his Spain debut against Cyprus… he conceded one goal off three shots on target.

Martinelli scored a lovely goal from a Vini Jr assist.

Saka did NOT get injured in very boring England win against Malta. 3 shots on target. How embarrassing.

Ok, a painfully slow week. The last international break is always the worst. So if you’re bored, check out the latest Patreon podcast below.


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The Premier League moved with brutal force on beleaguered Everton over their breach of profit and sustainability. Sean Dyche sees his team drop into the bottom two after an 10-point deduction. They’ll appeal the case, but it seems pretty cut and shut, the points deduction will stick.

Now, remember I told you about 6 months ago the Arsenal strategy was to be ready when something bad might happen to Manchester City?

Well, stories are now dropping in The Daily Mail that both Chelsea AND City could face relegation if they are found guilty on the charges leveled against them.

That would be a wow moment, but we are entering extremely dicey territory in elite-level sport where entities with the power of nations are imposing their will on our beautiful sport, and the output has been debilitating unfairness.

There are stories doing the rounds that Eden Hazard had his move to Arsenal canceled because Chelsea gave his agent £7m. Was that move the difference between Arsenal going on the same run of dominance as them and not? Highly doubtful. But hard to imagine a world where Eden Hazard in the system wouldn’t have helped. Even the knock on effects – who is banging the door of Arsenal to play with Gervinho? What was the cost of us not having a superstar like Hazard in the ranks?

Why do I raise this point? Because cheating the system won certain clubs’ mega trophies. It made clubs that stuck by the rules look like chumps. It lost people jobs.

Is simply relegating clubs enough here? Do Olympic gold medalists keep their golds if they are caught with an ice cream van full of PEDs?

This is a question for The Premier League.

If cheating for sustained periods of time can allow you to accrue a mass of trophies, plaudits, and money… and the punishment when you get caught after 12 years is relegation. Is that enough?

The cost of two seasons out of Champions League can be absorbed by nation states. Relegation is making anyone at the top end go bankrupt and have to sell up. It’s a mere annoyance.

The biggest companies in the world bake the fines they get from regulators into their business models. A billion-dollar fine for bleeding an industry dry and killing competition doesn’t touch the sides if the profit you accrued during that period is 20x the fine.

If the punishment for cheating lacks bite, guess what, everyone will cheat. There are plenty of experts saying the Chelsea strategy is exactly that… take the fine and the smacked wrists because the progress on the pitch will be worth it.

The telegraphing of these punishments also gives the said clubs the opportunity to strategise around their escape. Lots of players will have relegation clauses. You’re not going to get the greatest players/coaches in the world slumming it in the Championship, but if you have the time, you. could sign all the best young players in the league, use the Championship to get them up to speed, then hit the Premier League with force the next season.

Football is at a weird tipping point. You have nations moving in on the game. We have toothless regulators. Fancy lawyers filibustering cases. The rulebreaking is happening at such a pace no one can keep up. Is this going to be good for the sport long term? Will anyone care? Are we fine with the doping of the game? Will fans enjoy it as long as the best players line up in their club colors?

Always remember: City fans held up a banner and sang songs about their beastly lawyer.

I can’t think of a parallel in history. Everything is entertainment these days. The illusion of fairness might be all we need to be satisfied because we’re fat and happy on a diet of mega transfers and investment in a game that is so far ahead of every other league I don’t think we’ll ever see a cycle of dominance outside England.

Back to Arsenal.

The strategy of wait for those above you to fail is looking more and more like it was a very smart move.

We aged down this summer.

We’re working on our craft this season.

These young men are learning how to manage Europe and the Premier League at the same time.

In the next two years, something brutal is going to happen that will shake the league, then we’ll be ready to bang.

Quite exciting.

Ok, see you in the comments. x