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Stuart MacFarlane
 / Contributor

Drama is part and parcel of the FA Cup and was very much present in a pretty mundane tie tonight. Emile Smith Rowe was sent off and then reprieved and then perhaps inevitably scored the decisive goal as the holders progressed through to the fourth round on a cold North London night.

If you were looking for pre-match omens the sight of Gabriel Martinelli collapsing to the turf in the warm-up was disturbing with potentially long-term implications for Arsenal. 

Arteta went with 4-2-3-1 with Leno retained in goal, Tierney retained at left-back and Willian and Pepe returning with Willock taking over the ESR role – or would Willian perhaps play further forwards? Early indications were that he would and he did but to no positive effect whatsoever. Reiss Nelson took over Martinelli’s place.

In the first minute Nelson cut in from the left but hit a tame shot at Dubravka. Then Pepe tested the keeper from the right. Willock was playing deeper in an unfamiliar role. On five minutes Pepe was brought down outside the area about thirty yards out. Willian hit a poor low shot which scarcely got off the ground. 

On eight minutes Nelson was scythed down by Lascelles who earned a deserved yellow. Just after, Pepe set up Nelson but he failed to control the ball when in a great position. Twelve minutes in Tierney got in behind the Newcastle defence but was ruled offside. Pepe was conspicuous both chasing back and looking to inject some flair in attack. Just as I wrote that he sloppily miscontrolled in a good position! 

Some nice looking attacking play precipitated by great control in mid-air by Pepe came to naught. Newcastle seemed content to sit deep but Arsenal understandably lacked  the swagger of recent games with no Saka, ESR or Martinelli. Aubameyang as has so often been the case this season was starved of action in the first quarter. But he found himself in space after a great ball from Luiz. His shot was saved by Dubravka. The rebound fell to Willian who skied pathetically. No improvement yet from the disappointing Brazilian. Andy Carroll was then booked for elbowing Willock to no- one’s  great surprise. 

Great play by Tierney on 27 set up Nelson but he failed to control crisply. The Scotsman is a huge asset at both ends of the field. 

Pepe was played in after a neat combination with Aubameyang but he was a little greedy and Hayden tackled him superbly. From the corner Carroll nearly embarrassed Dubravka with an unnecessary clearing header. Tierney was the only threat on the left as Nelson and Willian failed to make any impact. Tierney floated over another excellent cross which Newcastle knocked out for a corner. Carroll then cleared a dangerous cross from Willian for a corner. Arsenal were applying a decent grip without looking really dangerous. 

Cedric was yellow carded on the cusp of half-time conceding a potentially dangerous free-kick but Leno grabbed it as the half-time whistle went.

Half-time Arsenal 0 Newcastle 0 

The first half performance was eerily reminiscent of Arsenal pre-Chelsea. 

Tierney had been notably better than most even in that period but he skied a chance  way over on the restart. Willock conceded a free-kick which culminated in a Carroll header going wide. Then Mari cleared well under pressure from a left-wing cross. 

Our first chance on the restart fell to Pepe who from a central position hit a desultory shot wide. How long would Arteta wait to take out the non-performers? Carroll then hit a flying volley which tested Leno. Thus far Newcastle were the better side in this half.

Those who see Willock and Nelson as prospects for the future were seeing scant evidence of that so far. Nelson was hooked for Smith-Rowe on 56 just after Carroll missed a sitter which was not offside despite the linesman’s flag. A narrow escape.

Aubameyang then missed a good chance set up by Elneny with a rather casual flick. A promising move broke down when Willian failed to control a simple pass from Tierney. Could he play any worse? And could he continue to stay on? 

At last we produced some quality on 64 when an early Pepe cross saw Dubravka at full stretch to save from Willock.

On 65 we decided to bring on Saka and Xhaka for Willian and Willock. Neither substituted player could possibly complain. One sensed Newcastle were increasingly fancying their chances. Could our substitutes breathe life into a flaccid display? 

Pepe had a creditable effort go just wide on 71 but could have played in Aubameyang. Tierney did reach Aubameyang on 73 minutes but his header was weak. A minute later he hit a speculative volley just over from twenty five yards. A minute later Tierney set up Saka whose fine strike was just over.

As we entered the 80th minute it was a very even contest. Tierney chipped in a great ball to Aubameyang which he deflected onto a Newcastle defender. Hendrick flicked a corner wide after a Carroll drive was blocked. In injury time heroics by Leno with a brilliant double save kept us in the Cup as Carroll and Elliott went close. Then to our horror ESR was red carded for an innocuous challenge on the right flank but thankfully VAR (God bless it) saw it rescinded on review. It didn’t even merit a yellow.

After a late Newcastle corner we went into extra-time. 

The game had been dire and the Arsenal performance had been profoundly disappointing.

90 minutes – Arsenal 0 Newcastle 0 

The obvious apparent change was Lacazette. Would we see him? 

The reprieved ESR went close early in extra time after a bright run.

Then Xhaka produced a superb volley which Dubravka touched over – a wonderful effort. Elneny tried to reproduce that quality from the corner but hit a lamentable shot. Luiz then stepped in with two bits of defending to thwart Carroll.

Aubameyang was blocked in the area but VAR (useless idea) wasn’t interested. Then Saka wasted a good position with a cross which Dubravka took easily. Then he got in on the left but his cross was blocked. A great ball from Mari found Pepe who was squeezed out.

The first period of extra time saw no breakthrough.

HT – Extra time – Arsenal 0 Newcastle 0 

Lacazette replaced Pepe at the break. Would we be spared penalties ? 

At last we had a goal on 106 minutes with a beautiful piece of interplay between Lacazette, Saka and Smith-Rowe, ESR finished off the post from an angle. Isn’t football great at bringing dramatic headlines to humdrum games? 

Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0 

Lacazette’s presence was very important with the goal. He was an energetic addition to our ranks. We scored a beautiful second with a goal clipped in from close range by Aubameyang after superb play from Tierney who was set free by a lovely weighted pass from Xhaka.

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0

Good defensive play by Cedric saw him injured as he blocked Gayle in the area. He was injured and replaced by Maitland-Niles. 

Lacazette, who added great vigour and penetration then hit a fierce shot over.

After two minutes of injury time the referee brought things to an end.

Full Time – Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 

A plucky and in some ways lucky win which underlined the huge difference between Arteta’s best talents and the appalling Willian and underwhelming Willock and Nelson. No team wins the Cup without luck and close calls. The Carroll miss, the superb double save from Leno at the death and the totally justified reprieve for ESR from the referee who sent off Nketiah for a similarly harmless challenge last summer,  were examples of things that went our way tonight. Arteta will have learnt a lot about his strength in depth tonight and frankly we haven’t got enough. We had a terrific performance from the admirable Tierney, all our substitutes played well, and I thought Luiz and Mari had effective games. But we were saved by youth and VAR tonight after more experienced players had failed to grasp the nettle… again.

Good luck Marine !

112 Drinks to “ESR Reprieve Proves Decisive As Holders Go Through In Extra Time”

  1. 1
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I just came in to nick 1st.

    I’ll have to read the report a bit later…

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    Terrific stuff TTG. Super fast, super accurate and not afraid to call it like it was. I was increasingly worried that Carroll was going to score at 0-0 and he so nearly did. We rode our luck a bit, and Newcastle were the better team for about fifteen minutes after half time.

    Positives: the magnificent Tierney; ESR of course; Saka; Leno – superb; Mari

    Did OK: Side show Bob; Xhaka, Auba

    Tried hard but: Pepe; Cedric; Elneny; Nelson

    Unspeakably awful: Willian

    Remember, still to come into the team, Partey, Gabi and Gabriel (and Laca for more than a few minutes).

    The mug is four for four and it’s wearing a yellow ribbon.

  3. 3
    Goonersince54 says:

    Very concise summation of a very mundane Cup tie TTG.
    Very tricky game for us, EPL opposition, 3rd round of Cup where statistically the upsets occur, and a balancing act required using some players that are clearly not in the first eleven for the foreseeable future, which is clearly down to them.
    Disjointed would be a kind description of our performance today, but what matters is we got the job done, and move onto the 4th round as we seek to retain the Trophy.
    We will know both our 4th and possible 5th round opponents on Monday night as for some reason best know to themselves, the FA are doing both draws on the night.
    On Martinelli, unfortunately according to Arteta, the lad was in tears in the change rooms, and it looks very much like possible ligament damage, which would be a great shame both for him and the Club.
    Outside of the Cup tie, young Saliba played the full 90 minutes again tonight for Nice in their 1 – 1 draw away at fellow mid table side Metz.

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    Oh that’s terrible news Clive. Let’s hope it’s not the full 9-12 months out that ligaments can be.

  5. 5
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Well written and incredibly speedy report TTG! Well done.

    Personally I think you are a little harsh on a returning Nelson. He has been out of contention and if he looked a little off the pace I’d be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt after a few games injured.

    Willock is interesting. Ramsey looked brilliant when he had technically secure players on the wings. Willock is a similar style player. If he is asked to play deeper (especially next to Elneny and with Willian ahead of him) I’m not sure it is his fault if he doesn’t shine. Especially given the lack of technical security of our wide players.

    When ESR came on it was not a show of what difference a better player makes but a sign of how much we need a 10 who can link play…

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    We controlled the game and had many chances to the few Newcastle created. But having said that I wanna give Leno huge credit for a wonderful double stop that could have seen us out of the cup. He did brilliantly and needs to be acknowledged for another telling contribution.

    Well done that man!

  8. 8
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I hope Gabi Is okay.

    If he is injured for any length of time that is just terrible news.

  9. 9
    bathgooner says:

    Fine and very swift report, TTG. Very much the match I saw.

    “You can’t win anything without kids!”

    Terrible news on Martinelli. Best of luck to the lad.

    What did she wear?

  10. 10
    TTG says:

    I think it is worth noting that to the very best of my recollection Willock has never played well in first team football against Premier League opposition. Nelson has also produced very little in first team colours against PL opposition . Both players flatter against the likes of Dundalk and Molde but don’t do it at a higher level . Nevertheless I take GSD’s point about Nelson although I’m led to believe there are doubts at the club about his ability to progress .
    ESR produced a linking display that appears beyond Willian, although it is appropriate to ask what isn’t beyond Willian at present ! As Wrighty pointed out ESR’s ability to play on the half- turn which enables us to progress play and move forwards makes a big difference. Previously the team worked the ball so slowly and predictably from side to side putting no pressure on defenders who can stay in position and let midfielders fill in the gaps ahead of them .
    We do hope Martinelli is not seriously injured. It is his ankle not his knee but ankle ligaments can be very tricky .

  11. 11
    Pangloss says:

    Excellent report TTG, delivered at high speed.

    I have little to add to what you say above. I think Pepe showed some good quality at times and with a little more luck might have delivered handsomely. On the other hand, with a little less luck he might have looked completely awful, like another recent arrival.

    I haven’t seen any comment anywhere on how important Aubamayang’s first goal for ages might turn out to be. Highly significant, I would hope, signalling a return to regular scoring.

    Do the monks maintain records on consecutive FA Cup games won by managers at the start of their tenure? Mikel’s seven must surely bear comparison with any.

    COYG. What did she wear?

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    Good points . Pepe is frustrating. There is a player there but I wonder if he benefits from being played as an inverted winger or if he is better on the left. Tierney would be much less effective on the right . It’s all about tucking inside and letting the full backs overlap but you become a one trick pony if you always have to make a move inside .
    Auba will get goals when he gets service . He was much better when we started to move the ball forward quicker and his natural movement for his goal was a mirror image off his winning goal in Vienna .
    I think Arteta left us after the Cup win in 2015. He therefore won two Cups in succession as a player ( although injured in 2015 for the Final ) and last season’s Cup as a manager plus tonight.
    That’s even more impressive than the new C100 mug!

  13. 13
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    If Tierney was a right back how good would Pepe be?


  14. 14
    Silly Second Yella says:

    …from the man whose wife is not impressed with the late start for Casualty…
    oH my goD!

    (Sell the house. Sell the car. Sell the kids (Reiss & Eddie). Find someone else. Forget it. I’m never coming back. Forget it.)

  15. 15
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks TTG, very quick sir👏👏

    Nice finish for the first and great
    to see ESR getting it. Quick thinking
    and accurate passing for the second.
    We could have done without extra
    time but we’ve an extra day before
    the Palace game so hopefully all will
    be well. Onward we go.

  16. 16
    Osakamatt says:

    Good to see Laca has come back.
    I assume he went somewhere because
    I kept reading comments that he had
    “gone” in November and should be
    sold in January.
    And a shout to Bernd “dodgy” Leno
    too – saved our 🥓😉

  17. 17
    bt8 says:

    VAR 1 Kavanagh 0

    It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

    Thanks for the report, TTG.

  18. 18
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Good point about Laca – one I was also trying to make a couple of drinks ago. He has a role to play for us.

  19. 19
    Steve T says:

    Nice stuff TTG. I very much agree with you re Nelson and Willock. Their lack of progression at this level is even more glaring when you see how far ESR and Saka have come in such a short space of time. I would also add Eddie to the list. I’m far from convinced that he has it at this level.

    Apart from the result, there were loads of positives yesterday. Leno again proved he was world class. Why people doubt him is totally beyond me. Mari seems to be growing in strength and confidence. KT3 is just an Arsenal legend in the making. What a player. Xhaka looks as if he can play the game if he’s only asked to do it in 20 minute bursts. Saka and ESR are definitely the future. ESR links the play superbly and gives us something we’ve been missing for ages.

    As mentioned by Pangloss above. PEA’s strike will hopefully see him start to return to form. A great run abd a typical strikers finish. I hope that is the start of a goalfest for him.

    Final word for the much maligned Luiz. I must admit, I like Luiz. He’s a leader and has authority. He organises what’s around him and I think he’s excellent for the younger players. I also think he’s one of the most creative players we have. His ball to PEA in the first half was excellent. He had another good game yesterday and for the first time in that don’t know when, I actually feel that we at last have done decent central defenders to call upon.

    All the best to Martinelli. Such bad luck. I sincerely hope it’s all just a matter of a few weeks rather than anything more serious. I just hope that he’s not another one destined to spend too much time in the Wilshere and Diaby suite at London Conley.

  20. 20
    BtM says:

    Good summary. Enjoyed your VAR Jekyll and Hyde play within the play.
    More plucky than lucky for me. We won. We go into the next round.
    Keep doing that.

  21. 21
    Steve T says:


    In answer to your question. He would still be shite. The sooner he goes and we try and get at least some of the ridiculous fee we paid for him back, the better. He constantly plays as if he is a kid in the park who has been asked to join in a game where he doesn’t know anyone, only because they are one short. He just looks so out of his depth

  22. 22
    TTG says:

    Stan K will be a happy man today with his Rams ( his main interest) progressing beyond the Seahawks . When he sits down to look at the money pit he has established in North London he might reflect on his ,level of scrutiny ( which he may have rectified through Tim Lewis belatedly ) . The Pepe deal is almost biblical in its profligacy , one struggles to think Donald Trump wasn’t in on the deal . While I was a big critic of Emery I noted him comment that his three recommended signings were Maguire, Partey and Zaha . I’m not sold on Zaha but it is ironic that he was felt to be too expensive …and then we pay £72 m for Pepe who is at best a £25-30 m player in this league ( he may fare better in less physical leagues). This compounded the drip, drip of cash into Mesut’s bank account, the unsellability of Mustafi and Sokratis because of their deals and then the peach . Three years of a declining Willian at peak rates ( I’m told £220k per week with bonuses ). If ever you needed evidence of the unhealthy relationship with an agent the Edu/ Joorabchian tie-up most clearly manifested here by Willian but also responsible for a FOUR year deal for Cedric shows up the lack of proper supervision . And don’t get me started on how we signed a plum like Runarsson!
    To be more positive and to echo Steve we have made some excellent purchases . Tierney is the best left-back in the League , possibly in Europe . I’m really very impressed by Mari, he was calmness personified yesterday with passing success of over 93% over 120 minutes and Partey and Gabriel are excellent as is Martinelli who we hope is not cursed by the shadow of Jack and Diaby . And big plaudits to Xhaka- when he tries to push forward ( aided by the likes of ESR and Saka and Tierney who give him options he looks a much better player. He’s now an impact sub! We need a back-up keeper and someone like Bissouma or Sabitzer if Stan will ever allow us to spend money again . Don’t rule out Aaron Ramsey returning on loan. You heard it here first

  23. 23
    Cynic says:

    I think it is worth noting that to the very best of my recollection Willock has never played well in first team football against Premier League opposition. Nelson has also produced very little in first team colours against PL opposition

    We saw lat night that they lack the spark the likes of Saka, Tierney and the sadly crocked Martinelli have. They can’t see a run to be made or a run that’s to be passed to and they’re both second level players of the Iwobi persuasion. And perhaps a shade below that level. They’re not rubbish but they’re not going to be part of a future Arsenal if it is going to get back to being challengers.

    I know Willock’s was something of a forced appearance, but I was surprised they both played yesterday as it Cup ties them and the injury to Martinelli means Nketiah may not be going anywhere either, although I would sell him if West Ham followed up their rumoured interest with a nice healthy bid.

    Which is unlikely I suppose.

  24. 24
    Esso says:

    Cheers TTG!

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    Sharply observed report, TTG. I thought the game was too open because the starting XI did not get control of midfield. As you noted, while we threatened, we weren’t dangerous for large parts of the game.

    The biggest plus of the day for me was the smile on Auba’s face after he scored. It was the broadest for some time on the Auba smilometer. I thought the shot he had from Luiz’s through ball in the first half and the volley he put over the bar from distance in the second were signs of returning confidence. I hope the goal has fully restored it. We need him scoring regularly.

    All the plaudits above for Leno are completely deserved. His double/triple save near the end of regular time kept us in the Cup. He has fully justified Arteta’s faith in him as our No 1.

    Nelson, Willock and Nketiah will all have decent Premier League careers, if not necessarily at Arsenal. They may all fall short of the highest quality. The jury is still out on all of them at this point. It isn’t easy to assess their futures without them getting regular games to show their worth.

    Arteta sounded very down on Martinelli’s injury. Ankle ligaments never repair 100%, as I understand it, though the impact on performance must depend on the tears’ severity. (Trev, that right?). I hope he comes through it OK and there is a talent and energy there that we need.

    Willian is on a salary of £100,000 a week and got a £14.4 million signing-on bonus being paid out over three years. Taken together, he makes £10 million a year, which averages out to a smidgen shy of £200,000 a week before any other bonuses. We are not getting value for money. I thought he was trying harder yesterday to justify his place than he has been of late. The problem is that he doesn’t look up to it. He falls into that category of professional athletes whose biggest contracts come after their best years.

  26. 26
    Trev says:

    Thanks, TTG,

    Not an easy report to write given the paucity of the fare on display for most of it. Chuck in the injury to Martinelli and there wasn’t much to shout about, bar ESR’s goal, the continuing rejuvenation of Lacazette and to be fair, a pretty decent substitute performance from Xhaka. Oh, and Tierney – but that almost goes without saying these days. But it shouldn’t because he is one hell of a player and surely a future captain. I hate to say it but we need to get ourselves back in the Champions League pretty damned quick, or it is hard not to think that the Madrids and Barcelonas will be waving their cheque books in his direction.

    On the question of Martinelli’s injury, Ned, I switched on yesterday seconds after he hit the turf in the warm up and so missed the incident. From what I could see on the replays – which wasn’t a lot – I didn’t notice a great deal at ankle level and guessed, wrongly it seems, that he must have suffered some sudden bad pain from his knee. There didn’t appear to be any great inversion or eversion injury at the ankle so, hopefully, it won’t be too bad. Obviously I have nothing to go on, other than a poor view of a TV replay, so don’t get your hopes up on my account. Everything crossed here for a potentially special player. He needs to break this unfortunate cycle of events though, before it becomes a mental problem and his natural commitment and tenacity is impaired.

    Supporting the Arsenal is never a smooth ride, eh ?

  27. 27
    MiddleArse says:

    Evening gents. Long time lurker, second time drinker. May I commend your efforts in carrying on the Maestro’s legacy with this new blog and honoring the standards he set with your positivity, objectivity and congeniality.

    Excellent and swift write up TTG. I was not particularly concerned by a lethargic first 70 minutes considering the absence of the catalysts of our recent resurgence. I agree with North Bank Ned re Auba. He scored a good goal against Southampton but his body language was not of a man relived. After this goal you could almost see the weight lifted off his shoulders. I think it is because he realises he is playing in a much improved team and has reassured himself more than anyone else that he has a place in it.

  28. 28
    MiddleArse says:

    For your expert consideration Trev. To me the challenge looks innocuous and I think/hope our Brazilian wonder kid has a flair for the dramatic.

  29. 29
    Pangloss says:

    A fine second drink MiddleArse, be even less of a stranger in future. I don’t recall getting you one after your debut, but fair’s fair, pull up a stool and order a small one of your choice on my tab.


  30. 30
    Trev says:

    Cheers MiddleA,

    Tried to run that with my very fastest finger on the Pause button – again it’s far from conclusive but the most I can really see is that left ankle probably twists while the studs on the front of the boot are planted.

    That honestly only makes it less likely that certain things have happened – lateral ligament sprain, Pott’s syndrome fracture, malleolar fractures – than give any clear indication to how serious a twisting injury might be.

    As you’ve probably worked out by now, I don’t know !

  31. 31
    TTG says:

    Middle Arse
    You are most welcome . Come back regularly please
    You’ve got almost as much pressure on you re injury severity as Arteta has re the team ! One very simplistic comment is that most injuries now tend to be serious and consequential not things that can be run off .Might this be because players are more finely tuned? I suppose we are more protective now but it also suggests in days gone by players were sent back into the fray risking more serious long-term
    injury . In the days before substitutes players would be sent back on to limp along ( the left wing usually ) just to make up the numbers . We did a lot of damage to old players didn’t we what with this sort of treatment and the absence of concussion protocols ?

  32. 32
    Trev says:

    TTG, I’m not sure fine tuning has much to do with the severity of injury.

    Over played might be more to do with it. The high demands and number of matches elite level footballers are subjected to does leave their bodies susceptible to overuse and strain injuries. But top level players are now multi-million pound assets and clubs cannot afford to take unnecessary risks.

    What may have happened currently at Arsenal is that the drastic shortage of creativity might be putting pressure on the manager to bring players like Martinelli and Partey back from injury before they are completely ready. Thereby taking necessary risks !

    Martinelli’s ankle is probably just bad luck. We don’t know the full ins and outs of what’s happened at training during the week, so there might have been a slight strain there already. I did read a quote from Arteta somewhere to the effect that he always wants to play regardless of pain.

    He needs to be very careful and we fans need to be very patient.

  33. 33
    TTG says:

    Thanks Trev .
    I can remember the 79/80 season when we lost two Cup Finals in five days . The last was in Brussels on Wednesday and we returned to play Wolves away on Friday night ( and won) and then lost 5-0 to Boro on the Monday. That was our 70th game of the season , on awful pitches, with tackling from behind and little protection from referees . There was little squad rotation either . So it’s not a new phenomenon and those lads earned nothing like players do now .
    I was privy to a conversation with Bob McNab many years ago which amazed me. In 1970/71 he said he got injured in the second game of the season but didn’t let anyone know (I think it was a deep-seated groin strain ) because he was worried he would lose his place . He was virtually ever-present all season and must have played sixty games . Ironically his manager was an ex-physio!

  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    Pangloss@11: Ruud Gullit won the FA Cup in 1997 in his first season at Chelsea. That took seven games, although one was a draw.

    I wondered if the Wanderers’ hon sec might qualify as his team won the first two FA Cups. However, in the first year of the cup, Wanderers managed to get to the final despite winning only one tie in the four rounds they played to get there. Both sides could advance to the next round in the event of a draw. None of this modern replay malarky, or at least until the semi-finals. Both were draws, so the organising committee ordered replays. Wanderers’ opponent, Queens Park, couldn’t afford to travel down from Glasgow to London for a second time, so withdrew. The second year, Wanderers got a bye to the final, under the then prevailing rules that the knock-out competition was to select the team to challenge the holders, hence FA Challenge Cup.

  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev: Thanks for the various above. Some cause to believe from what you say that Arteta may have been overly pessimistic. Let’s hope.

    Ankle ligament damage ended my career. Never played pedal steel guitar again…

    I’ll get my coat.

  36. 36
    ecg says:

    Will the neighbors give themselves a trophy for beating Marine? Or will their trophy case remain an empty piece of dusty furniture?

  37. 37
    bathgooner says:

    ecg, they’ll certainly produce a DVD.

  38. 38
    Osakamatt says:

    “We’ll always be Shit” would be a
    cracking title for their DVD

  39. 39
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks Ned/Trev for all the info
    Fingers still crossed.

  40. 40
    Cynic says:

    David Ornstein reporting that Rob Holding has signed an extension to his existing contract beyond 2023

  41. 41
    TTG says:

    Good to see Rob Holding signing on . Like Mari he has suffered a grievous injury and like Mari he has played with steadiness and solidity and spirit . Steve T praised Luiz yesterday and I agree that he forms part of a group of good central defenders who are certainly one of the better areas of the squad . It will be interesting if Arteta who likes left- footed central defenders thinks that Mari and Gabriel can play there together.
    We have a lot of left-footers in the squad , more than I can remember before – Mari, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka , Pepe and Saka.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    North Bank Ned says:

    Sounds from Arteta’s press conference today that Runarsson was lined up as a No 3 before Martinez left. Reading between the lines, Arteta seems to be thinking of bringing in another keeper in January and possibly sending the Icelander out on loan.

  44. 44
    North Bank Ned says:

    Arteta also said Martinelli is getting his ankle scanned today, that ‘it looks like’ Rob has signed a new contract, that Nketiah is not going out on loan this window and that Thomas Partey is available for the Palace game, but it will be too soon for Gabriel to return.

  45. 45
    TTG says:

    Ned/ C100
    Good work chaps . Let us hope Martinelli is spared serious injury . I rolled my ankle walking in the nature reserve a couple of weeks ago and it didn’t affect my pace one bit😀
    Re Runarsson I hope he enjoys his loan so much that he stays with the loan club . We need to sort that problem in this window as a priority. I’d rather sign a proper back-up keeper than a midfielder .
    Gabriel sounds like he had a few Covid symptoms I’m amazed how quickly most of the affected lads come back after having the virus.

  46. 46
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent review TTG!

    Not much to add to what everyone already have commented upon. Bernd Leno clearly demonstrated his true pedigree of an excellent goalkeeper suited perfectly for a top level team in this match. Many goalkeepers play very well when the defense is under constant attack throughout the match, showing their reflexes, athleticism, and technical qualities. However a lot of them fail to become great keepers in top teams because they often lack the concentration and consistency of focus throughout the match: as they are mostly idle and the team probably faces just a few goalmouth threat. Leno — not for the first time — pulled off an incredible double save at the end after spending nearly 90 minutes without having almost anything to do. He also has another noticeable quality — he quickly moves on from the odd inevitable mistake (especially when playing out from the back) and those don’t impact his decision making afterwards.

    Pablo Mari in his quiet and unassuming ways is turning out to be a dependable acquisition.
    I still don’t see the point of Cedric with AMN on the bench in an FA Cup match. As Kola has left I guess AMN will find more chances on the left wing in the cup matches.

  47. 47
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well said about Leno, Dr F. I would echo every word. We tend to forget that it is only because Germany also has Neuer that Leno isn’t the nailed-on starter for the German national side.

    TTG: The Runarsson signing makes some sort of sense if he was meant to replace a departing Matt Macey as the No 3 keeper, rather than Martinez. I agree we would be better served by bringing in a veteran keeper as back-up to Leno and pushing Runarsson down to No 3 or loaning him out to make his learning mistakes elsewhere. There are hopes for both Arthur Okonkwo and Karl Hein coming up through the ranks, though neither has turned 20 yet

  48. 48
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks Ned. Yes, let us appreciate the player we have, a very good one who can become one of the best. Has all the potentials to be.

    On another note, Saliba won the MotM in only his second match, an away 1-1 at Metz. Not bad for a 20 year old after six months of no first team football.

  49. 49
    bt8 says:

    Re: Osakamatt @38. They oughta know. 🤣

  50. 50
    bathgooner says:

    Foolish to spurn the half ton. Raises bat towards pavilion.

  51. 51
    Countryman100 says:

    Southampton or Shrewsbury away in the fourth round.

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    We play the winner of the Covid-delayed Southampton v Shrewsbury tie in the next round of the FA Cup and then the winner from Chorley and Wolves in the 5th round if we get through the 4th. At least, I think that is the outcome of the confusing double draw.

  53. 53
    North Bank Ned says:

    Both ties away.

  54. 54
    North Bank Ned says:

    Two winnable ties, but also loseable ones if it is Southampton and then Wolves, both away. At least one of ManU and Liverpool have to go out in the fourth round, but City, Chelsea look to have relatively easy rides through both rounds, with the neighbours and Leicester probably fancying their chances, too.

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    Matt Macey making his Hibs debut today against Celtic. In at the deep end.

  56. 56
    Goonersince54 says:

    Not going to be easy path to the last 8, with 2 good sides to get through on their own patch.
    But will suit our counter attacking style, so i am optimistic that we can overcome them both, and give ourselves every chance of retaining the trophy.
    Still, two very important league games at home to Palace and Newcastle to come before we worry about the Cup, win those and we will go to the Saints in very good heart.

  57. 57
    North Bank Ned says:

    Indeed, Clive.

    Matt Macey had a decent debut for Hibs, looking what TTG calls ‘a proper goalkeeper’. BBC report says he is on-loan there, but I thought it was a permanent move, albeit on a free.

  58. 58
    Cynic says:

    It was a permanent move supposedly because Arteta has faith in Hein to fill the number three spot (he apparently becomes a home grown player in the summer). If we are signing a back up keeper this month, Runarsson looks like having the shortest Arsenal career for some time.

  59. 59
    Osakamatt says:

    I thought Okonwo was the one
    promoted to 3rd choice keeper
    for now?
    Caballero is now 3rd choice at
    Chavski, although many of us
    may be wary of signing any more
    players from them🤔
    We only need someone experienced
    for the rest of the season I think
    and then get Raya in the summer

  60. 60
    North Bank Ned says:

    Hein does qualify as homegrown from July this year. Okonkwo already does. Both have trained with the first-team squad this season. Hein is a full international (Estonia; protege of Matt Poon). Okonkwo has England U-18 caps.

  61. 61
    North Bank Ned says:

    Mart Poom. Spillchucker!

  62. 62
    North Bank Ned says:

    Both Hein and Okonkwo can play Premier League games regardless of whether they are homegrown as they are both under 21. Same reason that Saka, ESR, Nketiah, Nelson and Willock are not in the 25-strong PL squad list.

  63. 63
    Countryman100 says:

  64. 64
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Congratulations Rob!
    That (receding) hairline alone deserves the recognition for all the maturing. 🙂
    The performances haven’t been bad either…

    Looking forward to seeing various world class strikers fighting for space in his pocket…

  65. 65
    Countryman100 says:

    Rob Holding
    He’s better than Cannavaro!

  66. 66
    Countryman100 says:

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Trev says:

    Good news on Martinelli this afternoon.

    I’m going to take the downright liberty of patching in what I posted at @26 on Sunday –

    “ There didn’t appear to be any great inversion or eversion injury at the ankle so, hopefully, it won’t be too bad.”

    A big relief to be proved right – for a couple of reasons 😏

  69. 69
    Countryman100 says:

    How long to fully recover to full contact and pace Trev? Two to three weeks?

  70. 70
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Great news about Gabi!


  71. 71
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Holding has thoroughly deserved a new deal. Although unlike the Doc I reckon his receding hairline is less a sign of maturity than of years playing in defence with Mustafi, Sokratis and Luiz.

    If next year we have Gabriel with Mari backup for left centre half, and Holding and Saliba fighting for right centre half, then I’d be more than happy. We might need one more player, preferably one who can play either side, depending on how ready we think academy players are (we have a couple of defenders currently on loan that we will need to make decisions on). But central defence next year looks like an area we won’t need to do much more than possibly buy in a third choice cover player.

    It has not looked so healthy back there in years. With a bit of luck Rob will still have some hair left when his contract ends!

  72. 72
    Doctor Faustus says:

    GSD@71 : Chambers could be the 5th player. He is also versatile enough to play right back if needed, has even played left back for us, can play DM, and between the five of them will comprise a reliable, quality, athletic group of central defenders with years to come in front of them.
    That will be ideal. Things rarely work out that neatly, but that will be ideal.

  73. 73
    Trev says:

    C100 @69,

    There’s an update on Arsenal dot com that says it is ‘hoped’ that Martinelli will return to full training with the squad in the next few days.

    There is someone on Twitter apparently called @zrafc – I don’t do Twitter so have no idea who he is – who says Martinelli could be back for next Monday night’s game against Newcastle.

    I would be very surprised to see him play in that one. Even a grade 1 tear, if that’s what it was ( the scan revealed no “significant damage”, so we can assume there was some ) would need 21 days to be fit for PL football.

    It’s possible there wasn’t a tear, so he could be back in around 14 days. Something clearly happened for him to be so upset at the time. It’s also possible that he twisted or jarred the ankle and momentarily felt some movement which jarred a nerve. That can be quite alarming but can pass off quite quickly. I would imagine he would do 7 – 10 days strengthening exercises as a precaution after such an incident. That would be my recommendation, but I don’t work there 😏

  74. 74
    Esso says:

    RIP Andy Gill

  75. 75
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks Trev. Always great to have your professional opinion, even though we know that you are not privy to all of the facts.

  76. 76
    TTG says:

    Sounds like there is very welcome news about Gabigol. His ankle injury does not apoear be too bad and while he appears to be in possible contention for Thursday he is more likely to be fit for the Newcastle league game . The other Gabriel is fit for that game and may play as we will trigger a £1 million payment to Flamengo if Mari plays . Surely we just have to bite the bullet there as we have to play the lad sometime and he has been doing very well . Partey sounds like he might start from the bench

  77. 77
    TTG says:

    I’ve sent a rather redundant post ( not for the first time😀) . Your insights on his injury were spot on , not for the first time . While there is positive news about his prospects for Monday I agree we need to be very careful with the lad . I’m assuming after a serious injury his body is out of alignment and he is especially vulnerable to further injury?

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Trev says:

    TTG, that’s possible as his gait would be bound to have been affected by a serious knee injury that required surgery.

    The cartilage operation was on his left knee and this latest ankle problem affected the right ankle. It could be that given how upset he was about the knee injury in the summer, that he subconsciously avoids putting full weight through it and overstepped onto the right foot, landing awkwardly. That’s all part of the mental problem that can arise due to serious injury.

    But this is all supposition and it could have been pure bad luck. You would expect there to be physios checking his running gait and alignment. Our injury history would suggest that hasn’t always necessarily been the case.

  80. 80
    Esso says:

    Pissed and a bit stoned. Loverley

    Much love to all – especially to Cynic! Thinking of the old days mush.

  81. 81
    Esso says:

    Had me first jab today. 2nd booked for 30 March

  82. 82
    TTG says:

    Great stuff Esso.
    Keep safe until 30 March . It’s nice to see the vaccines rolling out now

  83. 83
    Trev says:

    Nice one, Esso !

    Stay safe, mate !

  84. 84
    TTG says:

    So Draxler is linked with us again. For about the fiftieth time . He is the Andy Sinton or Salomon Kalou of the current age . He is a high maintenance player who hasn’t been good enough for PSG . Layth Yousif suggests we are much more likely to sign an Israeli Manor Solomon from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer . He is a wide player who tends to play on the right.
    I’m interested that we seem likely to move Runarsson out and if we can get a decent back-up keeper in I’m not desperate for us to sign a midfielder unless he is what we need. Draxler isn’t it .

  85. 85
  86. 86
    depressedgooner says:

    Sorry for my late reply to many games but I’ll just sum up here.

    Well who would have thought the kids could change things for The Arsenal…….well me and virtually everybody in this fine bar for a start.

    And boy have they, we can occasionally still look a little lost but it is no longer for an entire game, heads do not drop and never lift again and we actually look like we are having fun again, and selfishly I am enjoying watching The Arsenal again, with everything happening at the moment, little things that bring you pleasure really do need to be treasured.

    I’m now actually looking forward to our matches whereas just a month ago I felt duty bound to watch but was getting no pleasure just a growing sense of sadness and indifference, but now I feel we are revived and raring to go, I do not suddenly think we are winning the Europa League or getting top four just because of this, but now I no longer see it as impossible.

    A few have asked about me so I’ll just do a mini update, I’ve been told that my minor heart attack has done no more damage than was already there thanks to covid and I have been put forward for a long covid clinic, although at the time of writing this had been put on hold due to the new variant of covid.

    I’m in a strange situation at work now where they are not paying me anymore but also will not discuss a phased return or dismissal until they know what is going on……..could be a weird year still.

  87. 87
    North Bank Ned says:

    Hang in there, DG. Everyone in the bar has your back as best we can in these circumstances. But there is always hope, help and support for you here.

  88. 88
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev: Tip of the hat to you for your early call on Martinelli. And right, again, to say he should not be rushed back.

  89. 89
    North Bank Ned says:

    Good news on Rob’s contract extension. Deserved.

  90. 90
    North Bank Ned says:

    And with that to 90. I’ll leave it to others to make the cba memorial run to the ton.

  91. 91
    scruzgooner says:

    ttg, great result above. you captured it quite well. thank you.


  92. 92
    scruzgooner says:

    and excellent re esso, capitola rob, and gabigol.

  93. 93
    scruzgooner says:

    welcome, middlearse. a not-so-wee dram on the bar for ya.

    not-so-welcome, draxler.

  94. 94
    scruzgooner says:

    mooooooing my way through the fields of sodden, muddy stockport, wondering if the fireworks are for meeeeee.

  95. 95
    scruzgooner says:

    now’s about the time cba would post a music video:

  96. 96
    scruzgooner says:

    booting the ball diagonally a la luiz to kt3…

  97. 97
    scruzgooner says:

    and ned/faustus/bt8 are abed, the ingerland crew yet to pour the first cuppa, and matt still at work in osaka. so it’s really more like henry picking it up in his own half v scum…

  98. 98
    scruzgooner says:

    running full tilt up the right, cutting inside near the top of the 18-yd box…

  99. 99
    scruzgooner says:

    past one defender, then a second, fakes a shot, then shoots…

  100. 100
    scruzgooner says:

    and scores!

  101. 101
    scruzgooner says:

  102. 102
    bathgooner says:

    What a fine memory, fine goal and fine ton, scruz!

  103. 103
    Osakamatt says:

    well in sir scruz😄

  104. 104
    Steve T says:

    I just wish that Rob Holding had been playing in the same era as Dave Seaman. The comedy opportunities would have been endless

  105. 105
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, Scruz

  106. 106
    TTG says:

    Balogun appears to have signed a pre-contract agreement with RB Leipzig . They signed Szoboslai earlier in the month so have had a good window . Let’s nick Sabitzer from them.Gabigol wain training this morning
    I think our activity is dependent on what Ozil does .

  107. 107
    North Bank Ned says:

    It would be disappointing, to say the least, to lose Balogun. He looks a talent. I can see that he might feel RB Leipzig would give him more playing time to showcase it than staying with us. Arteta can hardly pick him ahead of Auba, Laca and Martinelli, and the manager clearly rates Nketiah. Rock and a hard place for Balogun.

  108. 108
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Good to see MiddleArse back in the bar.

    Lots of love to DG. Ned @87 got it spot on.

    And well in for the ton Scruz. Henry-esque!

  109. 109
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’d be gutted to lose Balogun. Personally I’d have given him more opportunities in the Europa and the League Cup. Eddie has never looked as good as Flo, yet has had more chances.

    However, Arteta seemed clear that he wants the player to stay and that the player wants to stay. So until it is on .com I’ll hold out hope that we haven’t parted ways.

    If we do let him go then Edu better have a buyback clause in the contract.

  110. 110
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Oh. I should have read TTG’s post more closely. It is a possible pre-contract agreement, not a transfer.

    If he does sign such a thing then I guess he won’t play for the first team with us until he goes. We have no incentive to develop a guy who has signed for another club.

  111. 111
    MiddleArse says:

    Thank you Pangloss and Scruzgooner for your generosity. Help yourselves to your favorite brand of Whiskey. I assume Lars is picking up the tab anyway. Just flexing my ‘long term lurker’ credentials 😉.

    I agree with TTG. We are an injury or close COVID contact exposure away from losing Leno and with him any hope of continuing our progress. A back up keeper is a priority.

    A creative midfielder would be nice. But with the current financial restrictions, in no small part due to COVID, and the difficulty of securing our no 1 targets in January anyway, I would rather we didn’t gamble on another aging or underperforming crock from the Spanish league. I think Pepe has shown some improvement in recent outings and if Smith Rowe can’t play every game, I can see Saka excelling in the number 10 role with Pepe outside of him.

    Sorry to hear of your struggles Depressedgooner. Hoping for good news for you health and job wise in the new year.

  112. 112
    Bathgooner says: