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Arsenal welcomed themselves back into the Champions League with a backside blistering spanking of PSV. Their biggest in Champions League history. The performance was… very good.

The biggest shocker in the starting line-up was seeing David Raya on the teamsheet again. A lot of Ramsdalians collapsed on pub floors up and down the country knowing full well they’d been in my mentions and DMs telling me Raya was a passing phase. They’d been hoofing copium after he was dropped last week, knowing full well Rambo would at least get cup duties – wrong. Occam’s razor sliced their narrative with brutal precision – the simplest answer for Aaron not being in the team was always this: Arteta rates Raya over him. Though I have to say, I thought he’d give Rambo a soft landing, but it wasn’t to be.

We saw Kai back in the side, Eddie dropped out for Jesus, Trossard kept his place, and everything else was pretty strong.

Arsenal dominated from minute one until the end. We sliced PSV to pieces with beautiful build-up play that felt like choreographed chaos. The Dutch team weren’t equipped technically to deal with our talent on the ball and they couldn’t match our power.

I don’t want to explain each goal – but key facts:

Saka scored a goal and got an assist.

Trossard had another sublime finish, rekindling his pre-season form

Gabi Jesus celebrated his return to the starting 11 with another great goal

Martin Odegaard showed last season’s taste for long-range efforts was no fluke

There were lots of great individual performances. I know it’s not fashionable to say it, but Kai Havertz had a really strong game. His finishing right now absolutely stinks – it’s like watching Kaba Diawara out there – but his all-round game is getting sharper by the match and you can see the green shoots of a monster beanstalk in the making. The doutbers should get the jabs in the now, because I think claims that he’s going to be a huge waste of money will look very dated, very soon. He was good in midfield and offered a lot as a striker later in the game. Once that first big goal comes at Spurs, he’ll be up and running.

Declan Rice is just a total beast of a man. He showed his fangs last night, but also showcased his outrageous talents by pinning the midfield on his own like he’d been with us for 10 years. He has so much personality on the pitch. His range of passing and the accuracy is so sharp and I love the way he has a 6th sense for sniffing out danger. He was everywhere.

David Raya didn’t have a lot to do – but everyone in The AOP comments on Youtube said the same thing: he was great. He’s our new number one. He has an icey calmness about him the best keepers have. Some keepers want to be noticed – others don’t. Raya wants to be the Spanish iceman. He brings tranquilo to every moment, collecting crosses with no drama, picking out 70-yard passes in his stride, and making neat work of the basics. The eye-test shows you all you need to know about why Ramsdale is where he is at the moment. Even the little tactical talk Arteta gave him after the first goal told a story. What we really haven’t seen yet is a BIG game. No doubt he starts against Spurs and there will be more to deal with that he’s had in his first two games. Two clean sheets though – not bad.

Benny Blanco put in a dogged performance. He covered a lot of ground and did a lot of dirty work. He’s in an interesting space, because part of you think he might have been sitting next to Rambo right now if Timber had stayed fit… but part of you also wonders if that might have been Zinchenko? Whatever the future state is – it’s hard to imagine a world without Benny Blanco in our starting 11. He has so much character and offers 110 percenters every game.

I also want to just say that I think William Saliba is going to end this season with no doubt that he’s the best centre-back in the world. The man has too much sauce. Did you see some of the showboating today? Disgusting.

Hard to say we learned too much today – we played a weak European side and battered them at home. No one is engraing the Champions League trophy with your name after that. What you can say is we’re taking it seriously, every player wants to step up, and other clubs will be taking notice.

Final point – the crowd was great. Particularly with Havertz after a few of his misses. Arsenal are better when the crowd is with them. They’ll be needed this Sunday for the Spurs game. I can’t wait.

Ok, hit up the latest podcast. x


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They said we’d never be here again, Wenger was gone, so was our future… LOOK US BABY! Tuesdays and Wednesdays mean something again. We are back with the big boys.

Kind of…

PSV is a staple of European competition and a team I have bad memories of – remember THAT performance from Brazilian Alex back in the day? Remember Cody Gakpo in our Europa phase? Prior to those years, it’s interesting to note that some of the greatest strikers EVER have had stints with them in Holland.



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Going away to Everton should be easy. It never is. So when we left there yesterday evening with 3 points in hand for the first time since 2017, you’d best believe I was over the moon.

That result was huge. Mikel Arteta added so many dimensions to that game that are worth talking about. The main one for me? We offered up the sort of mature performance we’ve been begging for over the past decade.

No nonsense, total control, calm under pressure, players stepping up to the plate, a victory you feel could be important if we can keep in the title conversation come the end of the season.



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Well hello, my darlings… it’s Sunday; we’re playing Everton away from home; tell me why you shouldn’t be worried?

I can’t.

We should be panic-stricken.

Everton – is obviously a terrible outfit, but unfortunately, they’ve been underperforming their xG.

Yes, they have played mostly poor teams. But the people that are actually tuned in… you know, the folk that read the game purely on dataless vibes will tell you this… we could get smacked up.



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Arsenal made the shock announcement that Vinai is exiting the club after 14 years. It might feel like an odd move – we’re winning, everything on the shop floor looks good, fans are happy… but I don’t think his exit is particularly surprising. Arsenal doesn’t have a normal corporate setup and titles aren’t always what they seem.

He leaves the club better than he found it – which will look good on the resume for whatever he does next. He seems to have put his name to a lot of soft projects that the fans have enjoyed. The atmosphere rebirth has his name on it, the fan artwork around the stadium seemed to be a point of pride, his relationship with supporter groups has been top tier, he drove a deeper relationship with under repped communities, and developing the fandom in key markets like America seems to have been a key push by him. Another commendable trait is he has kept his profile low through the rebuild. Ivan G was a much more front-and-centre type character – you don’t see much of Vinai, which considering the Ws we’ve been hailed for of late shows great restraint. I’m sure he’ll have people ready to snap him up worldwide when he takes his next steps.



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Fancy a guest post today? Why not. How about from Jon over at Woolwich1886? Sounds good, but why? My dad used his work to calm people down in the family GC. If you can calm my dad down, then you have me curious… so here it is, enjoy!

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Two signings—Declan Rice and Kai Havertz—have had introductions about as opposite as one can imagine. Rice, the Prem-proven talisman, has promptly picked up right where he left off with West Ham, Fresh off of winning whatever the European Conference League trophy is, Rice has slotted in seamlessly, turning in four confident performances capped off with a dramatic late winner against Man U just before the international break. Havertz’s transition has been—how do I put this delicately?–somewhat more of a muddle. For as much as a romp as it would be to revel in Rice’s exploits, let’s not be afraid to get our hands dirty with a closer look at Havertz.

That transfer fee. The “Chelsea reject”. The flop. Havertz has come into an ambitious Arsenal side determined to go one better than bottling the Prem last season. As such, each new signing has to step up and deliver. We’ve seen it from Rice. We’d seen it from Timber. We may yet see it from Raya. Havertz, however, hasn’t taken his chances and, instead, seems to be struggling with that three-part burden. It’s not that £62m is in and of itself a monstrous fee. It’s large, to be sure, and we have to feel like we did Chelsea a favour given their ridiculous spending and possible violation of FFP, as if that were a real thing that exists. That fee, like our own history of taking in Chelsea’s rejects, from Jorginho to Willian to Luiz to Čech, has saddled Havertz with a burden that is perhaps unfair. It’s not his fault that we’ve a history of disappointing transfers from the wrong side of London to the right, but it does feel like he has to break his duck and fast if he’s to shake the “flop” label.

There is good news to be had even if it isn’t quite as satisfying as seeing him actually make contact with the ball for a gilt-edged chance in the thirteenth minute. Havertz is second only to Saka for key passes per 90. He’s making intelligent runs into space, offering support to teammates with the ball, getting between the lines, and finding positions from which to score. Of course, the fact that he hasn’t scored is what stands out to most fans, but do him a favour. The next time he plays (which will probably be against Everton on Sunday, don’t watch the ball. Watch Havertz. Is he lolly-gagging à la Özil, or is he finding those spaces from which he can create chances for others or perhaps score? I’d wager that it’ll be the latter.

Let’s step back and consider the fact that Havertz, while at Chelsea during three very formative years, played under no less than four managers—Lampard, Tuchel, Potter, Bruno, and Lampard (again). Maybe that’s five. With the Die Mannschaft, he’s had to endure the tumultuous tenure of Hansi Flick. Imagine or remember the confusion, frustration, and doubt you’d feel when a minor change occurs where you work—maybe there’s a new sign-in procedure or different way to request a sick-day. Maybe there’s a new cover sheet to put on the TPS reports. You get my point. Havertz has been on an odyssey that Odysseus himself might respect. Ever-changing managers, ever-changing tactics, ever-changing positions…is it any wonder that this one-time wunderkid looks like a baby giraffe on roller skates?

Back to the present: Havertz has been playing for the most part behind Martinelli and Nketiah because of Jesus’s injury. Martinelli has been guilty of a little too much hero-ball to start the season, keeping the ball and looking to shoot rather than pass, and Nketiah has been similarly guilty of looking to score first. That’s understandable to a certain degree. However, given a chance to play behind Trossard and Jesus, two players who are both more-willing and more able to create for others, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Havertz score a goal or two.

I’m not here to say that Havertz is definitely worth what we paid. All I’m saying is that, after four matches, it’s far too early to label him a flop. The flip-side to that coin, I acknowledge, is that the positive take-aways I’ve offered come after just four matches. Hell, it took Dennis Bergkamp, an established world-class talent, a half-dozen matches to make a positive impression. Hold that thought—I’m not suggesting that Havertz will follow in Bergkamp’s footsteps. Depending on whom you ask, he is either the best or the second-best player to have ever played for this club. My point is this: if it took him six matches to break through, it might take Havertz just as long if not longer.

He picked up a nifty assist for Germany against France, playing Sané through on goal. Sané, perhaps still recovering from being pocketed by Tomiyasu a few days prior, finished the chance that Havertz created. It’s hardly a stoppage-time winner against Man U, but it may just give Havertz the confidence he needs to go into Goodison Park and score that first goal. From there, the floodgates shall open.

If you enjoyed this post, you can find more like it on an almost-daily basis at You can also follow the author on Twitter (X?) at @LeftLegOfLiam.



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Well good evening my darlings – it’s an international break, and we are all struggling.

I saw Harry McGuire get ruined by Scotland fans… watched Balogun score against Oman… saw that Newcastle striker earn game time over Eddie… I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t.

Trossard scored for Belgium – in a game that saw Lukaku match Pele for international goals.

Neymar moved to 56 assists at international level – he’s just two behind the record – SET BY LANDON DONOVAN. Who saw that coming? Not me boss, not me.