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My lucky Christmas mug – played two, won two

I have never been to the Amex stadium, although I had a ticket for the game that was postponed before lockdown. We had it all planned, fish and chips on the seafront before the game and a curry in Lewes on the way home but sadly it was not to be. I did however visit the Goldstone ground a number of times. My parents had friends in Brighton and, when we visited them, if Albion were at home, the men and boys would go to the game. A great cavernous bowl as I remember it.

Even though I was looking forward to visiting the Amex, I doubt that the team were. In our last five games against BHA we had won none, drawn two and lost three. However, they had not won at home in the league in eleven games stretching back to their game against …..Arsenal.

After our highly cheering win against Chelsea on Boxing Day, Arteta made just one change from the starting eleven that day, bringing in Auba for Laca. Brighton, with 24 hours less rest than us, made six changes, leaving Maupay (booo), Danny Welbeck and Solly March on the bench. Three of the Brighton XI were making their first league start of the season in a curious, rather left field, line up without a recognised striker.

Arsenal XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka, ESR, Martinelli, Auba
Subs: Runarrson, Mustafi, Cedric, AMN, Ceballos, Pepe, Willock, Eddie, Laca.

So no Balogun or Reiss Nelson on the bench. It does seem like Balogun is angling for an agent driven out of contract free transfer in June and Reiss Nelson has somehow incurred the wrath of Arteta (© Ozil and Guendouzi).

The first ten minutes was all Arsenal. Brighton were playing a low block, passing the ball prettily in midfield, but with zero penetration. We were seeking to break quickly and were not afraid to use the ball over the top to Martinelli and ESR. Elneny gave the ball away (I must find a shortcut for that phrase) which led to BHA’s first foray into the area, but it all petered out. KT3 broke down the left, easily outpacing his opposite number. He fizzed the ball in but it was well defended.

Brighton got their first corner from a counter and a mismatch was immediately apparent as the 6’7’’ Dan Burn (cue North Bank cries of “it’s Lurch!”) lined up against Hector, possibly a foot shorter. Burn got his head to the ball, but it sailed harmlessly over. 22 minutes in and frankly not a great game. Several times Xhaka looked up at Auba making a great run and then looked across to make a square or backwards pass. Leno decided to alleviate the boredom by playing keepy uppy from a back pass with a Brighton forward advancing on him, to a collective sharp intake of breath from all Gooners watching.

On 35 minutes Elneny again gave the ball away to the curiously named Mac Allister, who should have slid Gross in. But he went for glory and again blazed over, much to the disgust of his teammate. Brighton stormed back, the ball somehow evaded three men in blue around the six yard box and then Bernd Leno made a great double save. It was all Brighton and we were looking nothing like the team that beat Chelsea. There was no evidence of the space being created wide for the full backs and Auba cut a lonely figure as run after run  was ignored. Xhaka was dwelling on the ball and ignoring forward runs in favour of square passes. Oh for Thomas Partey.

As the half time whistle was blown, the better chances had fallen to Brighton, who grew in confidence as the half went on. We, after a bright start, were frankly dire. Work to do. On another forum, a wise man was telling us that the key stat was nil in our goals against column.

HT Brighton 0-0 Arsenal

No changes to either team at half time. Immediately Hector was called upon to defend well and force the ball out for a corner. From it, the ball fell in a melee to Dunk, who seemed to miss his kick but claimed a penalty (cheating little Herbert). No, said referee Atkinson and VAR agreed.

From this point on the game turned. On 50 minutes we had our best move of the game to date. Saka made a lovely right to left diagonal run which pulled the defenders apart and left him in space on the left. He squared the ball beautifully for Auba who, six yards out, should have scored, but the ball hit Sanchez’s knee as the goalkeeper stood up bravely and it deflected over. Moments later ESR, who was becoming increasingly influential and demanding the ball, squirmed like an eel to beat three tackles before passing to Gabi who hit a lovely shot just over the bar. Much, much better Arsenal!

ESR played a lovely one-two with Saka and then was hauled down by Lewis Dunk. Free kick which led to Martinelli getting his head to the ball but it sailed over. Saka made ground into the box and could have slipped it to Auba, but took on the shot which was wide. We were battering them.

Smith Rowe was clattered by Jahanbaksch who was shown a yellow card. Gabi was taken off, understandably after three games in a week on his comeback from injury and was replaced by Laca. The change worked immediately. The ball was played to Saka in his own half. Dan Burn was touch tight to him (it reminded me of an instruction I once heard a coach make in an U14 game. “Son get into his shorts – and stay there!”). Saka rolled the big man with ease and was off, Burn trailing in his wake. He reached the edge of the penalty area on the right before cutting the ball across to Laca, in yards of space. He took one touch, before firing in a clinical shot, just inside Sanchez’s near post. He had been on the field for 21 seconds. A truly wonderful, pacy, technical, clinical, memorable goal on all levels.

Brighton 0-1 Arsenal (Lacazette 66)

Maupay came on to a chorus of boos (at least in our living room). On 74 minutes, Brighton subbed on Trossard for Jahanbaksch and Ceballos was stripped and ready to come on, probably for ESR. But Saka went down in some pain after a corner after it seemed his foot had been stepped on. He rose to his feet eventually and walked, or rather limped off under his own steam. He returned and seemed able to run but was subbed off a few minutes later, hopefully just to protect him, to be replaced by Dani Ceballos. Saka went to the bench, rather than the dressing room, and seemed in good spirits so fingers crossed no serious damage was done.

ESR moved forward with Ceballos into midfield. With 86 minutes gone AMN was ready to come on. Brighton were pressing forward as we kept giving the ball away in midfield. Bellerin made a lung busting run after nice interplay with ESR in his last contribution. Emile was replaced by Ainsley after a great game. Five minutes of added time were announced.

Laca corner flagged and had his legs whipped from under him. Free kick but no yellow card.  With 90 seconds left, Rob headed away a Brighton corner. We saw out the remaining seconds comfortably and we had two wins in a row!

This was a very different win to Boxing Day. A good old fashioned 1-0 to The Arsenal with a cracking goal, made by Saka and finished clinically by Laca. We are up to 13th in the table. Saka and ESR were outstanding, and Leno was very good, claiming the ball comfortably from crosses and with Martinez like sticky hands. Everybody else put in a solid, if not fault free shift, except for Elneny who gave away the ball far too often and Auba who wasted the several chances he had and is still woefully short of confidence. We were much, much better in the second half. Mind you, we needed to be.

Next up, WBA and Fat Sam, who after a draw at Anfield, were spanked 5-0 at home by Dirty Leeds, including an own goal of a quality to recall Lee Dixon chipping Seaman against Coventry in 1991. I’m giving my new mug all the credit for our turnaround.

64 Drinks to “Saka, Laca – Boom!”

  1. 1
    North Bank Ned says:

    Excellent report, C100. Treasure that mug.

  2. 2
    Steve T says:

    Great stuff C100.

    6 out of 6 is probably a far cry from what any of us were expecting a few days back so they are more than welcome.

    I do think you are a bit harsh on Auba with the chance in the second half. It was an excellent run and from behind the goal you get an idea of how tight the angle was. Such a shame that didn’t go in as it would have done his confidence the power of good.

    My big worry as I said in the other drinks was what we do off the ball. At times we seem incredibly laboured and the work rate just drops off. Xhaka and Elneny are a liability and bring very little to table. They are a real issue. To counter that the difference that ESR, Martinelli and Saka has been a pleasure to watch. Martinelli highlights what a £72 million problem that Pepe is. Those responsible for a lot of the recruitment over the last 5 years have a lot to answer for.

    Here’s to giving Fat Sam a good old kicking in a few days time. That will really show we are back on the right tracks.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    Great report C100. I saw very much the same game . I have been to the Amex. I went to a nine year-old grandson’s birthday outing with his mates from the Academy there. They lost 3-0 and I thought it was a pretty soulless bowl .
    I felt our back four was solid and we get forward better with a back four provided we don’t give the ball to Xhaka or Elneny in midfield. Auba sharpened up after the break but wasn’t his usual ruthless self but he will be back . I hope we concentrate on central midfield and don’t stifle ESR’s development .
    My Arsenal jumper is 2 for 2 also . Mikel can relax .

  4. 4
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for an excellent report, CM100. Very much the match I saw.

    We had to suffer a very shaky first half but enjoyed a much better second half. Auba is a shadow of his former self and more worrying than his bluntness in front of goal was his failure to beat a lumbering oaf in a late foot race for the ball. Elneny seems a nice chap, works hard but just isn’t good enough for a top team. Hopefully we have a plan to complete the upgrade of that pedestrian midfield in January.

  5. 5
    Trev says:

    Thanks, Countryman for a fine report.

    It was indeed a turgid first half after an encouraging opening ten minutes. Xhaka was his usual, painfully slow passing self while Elneny combined that particular quality with a propensity to give the ball away sloppily in dangerous areas. The slowness of everything they did killed the movement ahead of them, as our attackers fell asleep wondering if and when the ball might finally be played up to them.

    That also gave an increasingly adventurous Brighton side the time they needed to reform their defensive ranks. Partey, when fit, and anyone else must be a better option – we have Smith-Rowe, Willock and Maitland-Niles to choose from, without even looking at the transfer market, and the fear must be, as the old saying almost goes, if you don’t use ‘em you’ll lose ‘em.

    The second half was a welcome transformation and shows what this side can do when you bypass the treacle-bound sloths in our middle.

    The young guns look great. The old guard simply grate.

  6. 6
    TTG says:

    You raise a good point about Auba but he is a finely tuned athlete and is returning from injury . I watched his movement for the chance that Saka set up and he showed the instincts of a top striker and hit the shot in the only place he could . The goalkeeper made a very good block . The issue as Tim Stillman points out today is whether he and Martinelli can play in the same forward line . One must hope they can as the potential synergy is very exciting .

  7. 7
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    A wonderful report Countryman. Concise, witty and insightful. Very well done. And to Countryman junior who I believe was responsible for the win-bringing mug!

    I’d agree with TTG that Auba’s instincts are not in question. Although, like Baff, I did note at the time his failure to win that foot race and I hope he sharpens up after tweaking his calf. I reckon Martinelli and Auba will be gold. When Gabigol goes central Auba drifts into the space on the left that he loves to cut in from. Defenders won’t know who to mark. One early knockdown from Gabi was just headed away. If the defender had missed it Auba would have received the ball on the left of the box with no defender within 10 feet of him. I quite fancy him to score from that position!

    Trev summed up our midfield. Turgid. We might be better playing without one.
    What do you mean we already do?

  8. 8
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I know it is nuts to get excited about youth players ahead of time. But…

    I wanna see Miguel Azeez in central midfield. The kid looks absolute quality. Cesc-esque. And I would like to see him get some game time. None of us think Xhaka or Elneny are the future. So, when Partey is fit, and if we are ever looking comfortable in a game, just bring the kid on for the last 15. Get him in the squad. Cesc was our captain and talisman at a very early age and it was only because we began playing him when he was so young. If you are good enough, and someone we can develop, then I wanna see you in our team. Not more of Xhakneny.

  9. 9
    BtM says:

    Very average first half. Cruised the second. Should have scored more.
    Good stuff, C100.
    Keep winning. Play better.

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    Jorge Bird reports that Azeez is training with the first team, as is another highly regarded youngster, Catalin Cirjan. You may get your wish, GSD. Yet Balogun, who is readier for prime time than either Azeez or Cirjan, to my mind, cannot get on the bench for Premier League games, which shows how difficult it is for a youngster even to get near to first-team playing minutes.

    As a random aside, ESR’s loan spell at Huddersfield seems to have toughened him up physically and mentally. The ability was always there, but now he looks both stronger and more determined in using it.

  11. 11
    North Bank Ned says:

    Also from reading Jorge Bird, it appears that Zak Swanson, the U-23’s right-back last season who has just returned from a loan at MVV Maastricht, has suffered a major knee injury (leg in a brace serious) and that Ryan Alebiosu, who took over from Swanson in the U-23s, is also training with the first team. I assume Arteta is running his eye over his options for that position.

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    I get the impression MA8 might bear a grudge and Balogun might be being frozen out because he isn’t going to commit . I’ve heard he’s going to go to Stuttgart with Mislintat but don’t know how true this is . I like the look of Aziz and Cirjan who I saw play in the EFL Trophy. He won the shootout with a Panenka!
    My other bit of info was that we are interested in Sabitzer the skipper of RB Leipzig . I see this has been picked up by one or two sites so this might be true. If it is he would form a terrific midfield with Partey. I’m not keen on Isco or somebody very high maintenance . We need a pivot and should have faith in ESR at no.10 .

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@11 🙂

    Huddersfield made ESR walk to games through Yorkshire winds (Joe Willock’s brother, Chris, too). Made a (cold) man of him.

  14. 14
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    If Balogun won’t commit then there is no point playing him. But I hope he has sensible people around him who are advising him well.

    With Eddie doing okay, but pulling up no trees, and Laca and Auba both getting on, for all that they clearly both have much still to offer, I would’ve thought this was a good time for Balogun to extend and see how things play out at Arsenal.

    I also note comments from Arteta a little while ago when he said Flo told him he wants to stay with us.
    Personally I hope he does stay. He is one of our own, seems a good lad and one with something about him. I hope Eddie goes great guns for us but right now I reckon the lad Balogun is the better prospect.

  15. 15
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Maybe Balogun might not put pen to paper when we were in the middle of a terrible spell? But some better results and a January window where we do not get anyone in ahead of him (see Diego Costa – human bellend) might see him commit?

    If not then I will wish him well and not be surprised if he goes on to good things. But I also would not be surprised if he looks back and realises that leaving the Arsenal prematurely was the daftest thing he ever did.

    Like I say, I hope he has good advisors.

  16. 16
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ned @10.

    ESR also looks tall. The more he fills out he looks like he will have a strong physical presence for a 10 with such good movement and feet. You are tight that he looks tougher physically and mentally than the player we saw a couple of years ago.

    I’ve heard good stuff about Cirjan. Charlie Patino is also meant to be as hot as anything we have had in years. But Azeez can play centre mid. If we cannot fund a move for someone to partner Partey I’d love to see us give a little bit if time to a hot prospect. I’m just fed up of seeing us play average players who we would ideally sell, without using those minutes to bring on talented guys we could have playing for us for years. I’d give him a look in.

    Or, you know, just play AMN there. But stop with the Xhaka/Elneny Axis of Average.

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@12: Sabitzer would tick a lot of boxes, complement Partey well and give us some goals from midfield. The neighbours were apparently after him last year to replace Dele Alli. My only concern is that he might be slight for a midfielder in the Premier League.

  18. 18
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@16: Fair point about ESR’s height (although the Grealishesque roll of his socks makes him look stockier). Only Xhaka, Partey and Willock are taller among our midfielders. Sabitzer, if he came, would be our shortest.

  19. 19
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    @7 me.

    I think what will allow Gabigol and Auba to work so well is the way that Tierney and ESR can both link play on the left flank. It’s not like G and A have to make all the passes. They have two players who like to use those spaces and who can feed them when overloads have created space for their runs.

  20. 20
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    If we did sign the Austrian then we might go on to win the champions league after he scored from thirty yards in the final. And a journalist might do an award-winning, in-depth piece about it.

    That could lead to a Pulitzer for ‘A Howitzer from Sabitzer.’

    Runs out at top speed, disregarding coat.

  21. 21
    scruzgooner says:

    great review, c100. thanks for that. just be sure your mug doesn’t get chipped. my arsenal mug brought about the invincibles’ season, but it got chipped when i dropped it prior to that game against manure. we’ve never been the same since.

    esr is only 20. my son gained 2” and 30 lbs of muscle between 20 and 22. if esr can keep his wits and ball control with any added height and mass, he should be a rock with partey in future arsenal midfields…IF he isn’t played up front on the wing.

    i just watched and rewatched our goal from yesterday. the pace on holding’s pass, and its placement, allowed saka to roll dunk like a barrel hoop. and laca’s run was perfect, keeping him in the middle of wide open spaces. great, great goal.

  22. 22
    Osakamatt says:

    enjoyable report, thanks C100.
    Good 20 minute spell in the 2nd
    half basically won it for us.
    Enjoyed Hector’s run forward
    at the end too, though I felt
    he should have cut inside and
    curled a 25 yarder into the far
    Next, let’s chew up Fat Sam.
    Just the sight of his bovine
    face annoys me so it’d be nice
    to stick it to him.

  23. 23
    TTG says:

    If Sabitzer has a young Jewish nephew we could have

    ‘ a Pulitzer for ‘A Howitzer from Sabitzer on his nephew’s Barmitzvah, he celebrates with Omer Riza at Domino Pizza’ .
    I need a coat at my age but I’ve already left 😃

  24. 24
    Countryman100 says:

  25. 25
    Countryman100 says:

  26. 26
    Trev says:

    TTG, trying for a Pulitzer butitzer long way off ….. 🤪

  27. 27
    Countryman100 says:

    Kola to Schalke as the moving game starts

    Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinic set for Schalke return

  28. 28
    TTG says:

    I kneel to Trev the Pummeister
    Foritser well known accolade

  29. 29
    TTG says:

    Great news Re Kola
    The car is a bit frosted up so could you drive him to the airport ? I promise to take Xhaka when he leaves for Inter Milan !

  30. 30
    Esso says:

    Cheers Countryman! I have been to the Amex 4 times, 2 FA Cup wins, a League draw and a defeat. Went to the Goldstone at least twice from memory, but they were only in Division 1 for a couple of seasons. Remember a cup game from the mid 80’s. We won with Charlie Nicolas scoring.

  31. 31
    Countryman100 says:

    Righto TTG. Wonder what Ozil will do without his mate/bodyguard. Props to Kolathough, he’s taken a 50% drop in wages so he can play. As we are paying half that it’s 75% of his wage bill for us.

  32. 32
    Esso says:

  33. 33
    Uplympian says:

    A very tardy thank you c100 for an excellent match review – you were spot on throughout.

    Let’s hope our executive team can be spot on with the winter sales season now upon us.
    In these COVID times they have to be realistic in off loading the players who are clearly excess to our requirements – hopefully Kola is the start of the exodus. We do need to be able to give more opportunities to the yoof – some are already showing their worth.

  34. 34
    bt8 says:

    Thanks for a great report c100, augmented by some very good comments above by many of the usual suspects. As GSD mentioned I too thought the header from Gabigol was going to set up Auba for a quicker opener until the defender intervened but that combo has enormous potential especially with ESR greasing the gears. Throw in Partey and you have got a party. 😎

  35. 35
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Great report Countryman!

    Auba just needs couple of his attempts to hit the back of the net. The curler he tried when closed down by two defenders generally goes in when he is playing well. It was a good sign to see him try it because for last 4-6 weeks he kind of stopped making these “difficult” attempts.

    Surely the youth brigade demonstrates what type of players we need to strengthen the team in a way that serves us well and doesn’t create “how do I get rid now” challenges. Sign young players with obvious talents and right attitudes who have lots to prove, and when the inevitable one or two such signings don’t work out even after a period of time at least have the opportunity to move them on. No deals — not even loan — for rejects from other clubs, however “big” that club might be.

    Bellerin when given proper defensive support by his right winger looks a significantly more effective player and Saka on the right worked very well with him. ESR’s awareness of space is reminiscent of Ozil as he seamlessly drifts out to the wings whenever needed to fill in for Gabi or Saka as they cut inside. Couple of more young midfielders who can provide technical security, verticality and quickness of feet and mind and we will be close to getting a starting eleven that can challenge for top 4 next season.

  36. 36
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Happy New Year everyone!

  37. 37
    Countryman100 says:

    Dr F. We will not buy major players in this window. Arteta said this morning this window is dedicated to moving on excess members of the squad. There may be some loan deals in, possibly one purchase. Don’t hanker after a £50m signing before the summer, then you won’t be disappointed.

  38. 38
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Countryman @ 36: I am never disappointed at players we don’t sign, but sometimes disappointed at players we do sign. 😂

    I don’t care much about the price tag, but more about the type of players we are getting. My point was that we should strengthen ONLY with players of a certain age group and profile and not go for any short term solution that can easily backfire.

  39. 39
    TTG says:

    Tommy Docherty has died at the age of 92. He gave fine service to our club and I had the pleasure of chairing a dinner he spoke at in 1998 just after our second double .A great football character who rebuilt Manchester United after their relegation .
    RIP Tommy

  40. 40
    Countryman100 says:

  41. 41
    Countryman100 says:

    TTG as so often you have schooled me in the history of Arsenal FC. My first cognisance of Tommy Doc was as the Chelsea manager. Wikipedia tells me he made 83 appearances for The Arsenal between 1958 and 1961. Well I never did, as my old Nan would have said.

  42. 42
    TTG says:

    I started supporting Arsenal in 1958 and in our first game we lost to Preston. W3 then signed Tommy from Preston and he made a big impression at Highbury . He was a tough , ball-winning midfielder .
    I had a long chat with him at the Belfry before our dinner in 1998 and reflected with him on his time at Arsenal and his time as manager at Chelsea . As you know I am a Sarf Londoner and was surrounded by Chelsea fans at school . I used to pitch up at Stamford Bridge quite often and they were a very good team . They supplied about 7 of the original 40 for the 1966 World Cup squad .
    He told me that before a Arsenal/ Chelsea game at Highbury in the sixties ( they were our bogey team then) Dennis Hill-Wood pointed to the ground and said ‘ Wouldn’t you like this ground Tommy ?’ His reply was ‘ Wouldn’t you like my team Dennis?’ They beat us 4-1 I think in that game .
    We had just won the double and he was very impressed with Wenger and the quality of the football we played .He left United under a cloud after bonking the physio’s wife ( an ex- Arsenal man, Laurie Brown was physio at United when he was manager )
    Sometimes it helps to be as old as Methuselah!

  43. 43
    Esso says:

    I remember singing;

    Who’s up Mary Brown
    Who’s up Mary Brown
    Tommy Tommy Docherty
    Tommy Tommy Docherty

  44. 44
    Esso says:

    and always rated the Doc. Football man through and through. #RIP

  45. 45
    Trev says:

    Esso, Me too ! 😆

  46. 46
    BtM says:

    Criminals of Schalke beware.

    Farewell, Harpo.

  47. 47
  48. 48
  49. 49
    TTG says:

    The streets of Gelsenkirchen will be a safer place .Perhaps he could take Mesut with him ?

  50. 50
    Cynic says:

    When I was a kid we had blokes in kilts singing about troosers and young ladies dancing about with swords on the telly on a New Year’s Eve, now it’s Jools Holland and Tom Jones.

    They call that progress?

    And then one year we had…

  51. 51
    Countryman100 says:

    Hootenanny Cynic!

  52. 52
    Uplympian says:

    TTG / C100 / Esso. The Doc was a grand after dinner speaker – I also met him at such an occasion and found him a very pleasant & modest person. He lived a few miles from where I lived in Berkshire ( Crowthorne – home to Broadmoor). I recall him joining us from Preston – he was a stocky tough tacking hard midfielder – you didn’t mess with him on the field. I was disappointed when he joined Chelsea’s coaching staff when he hung up his boots – I really hoped he would fulfill that role at Chelsea.
    Laurie Brown was a famous amateur player in the late 1950s – originally a centre forward who converted to a centre half. He signed for The Arsenal after a short spell at Northampton – his first professional club. He stayed for a just a few years before moving to the shite end of Seven Sisters Rd ( one of the few players to do so ). Amazingly this transfer was made the day before an NLD where he made his debut for the marsh dwellers. He never shined for the old enemy and moved onwards / downwards.
    Happy New Year everyone.

  53. 53
    Osakamatt says:

    Happy New Year Gooners near
    and far 🥳

  54. 54
    bt8 says:

    Happy new year to all and in particular to EST stalwarts Ned and Dr F. to be timely about it. 🎆🎇🎆🎇🏙🏙🌃🌃🎆🎇🎆🎇

  55. 55
    Doctor Faustus says:

    bt8@53: Thanks! See you in a short while in 2021. 😂

  56. 56
    scruzgooner says:

    happy new year from california! COYG!

  57. 57
    bathgooner says:

    Happy New Year to one and all. Wishing you all health and happiness in 2021.

    I’ll add a toast to absent friends and success for The Arsenal. 🥃

    And a wee traditional offering from the home country (omitting the urban squalor and corrupt politicians):

  58. 58
    bathgooner says:

    And here’s one that cba (God love him!), might have posted,

  59. 59
    TTG says:

    Liam Brady is one of my all-time favourite Arsenal players .
    Mesut Ozil is not . I know who I believe
    Happy New Year!
    You reminded me about the Laurie Brown transfer. I remember we signed him the day before the season started from Northampton but he never really lived up to expectations.
    I also remember the bizarre swap deal where we acquired Jimmy Robertson and S**s took David Jenkins off our hands . Robertson never really threatened to dislodge Geordie Armstrong permanently . Jenkins never really did anything for them either

  60. 60
    North Bank Ned says:

    Happy New Year to ‘holics everywhere.

  61. 61
    North Bank Ned says:

    As the historians are afoot, the young Liam Brady started playing in the bottom-half of the table teams of the mid-70s. Is Saka the new Chippy?

    Tommy Docherty succeeded another Arsenal man, Ted Drake, as manager of Chelsea. Never saw The Doc play, but remember well Who’s Up Mary Brown?. That said, they were together for for the rest of his life.

    In news from the living dead, Kola off to Schalke and Papa possibly off to Turkey. The clear-out is underway.

  62. 62
    bathgooner says:

    I see rumours that we are keen on Ryan Christie. He’s a good player at SPL level but a bit of a punt if you’re looking for a creative midfielder for a top PL team. Probably no more so than Aouar or the Hungarian fella with the unspellable name so perhaps we need to take that punt.

  63. 63
    ClockEndRider says:

    Happy new year all, especially to Cynic. Thanks for providing the concert link t9 the great Big Country. Happy memories of a happy time.

  64. 64
    Bathgooner says: