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Classic mid-period Revie-ry, 1968 League Cup

Sunday teatime (or breakfast-time, if you’re on the West coast of North America) sees Arsenal host the long-disappeared club from the relative flatlands of the Aire at the Emirates for what promises to be an interesting clash. If perhaps you’ve had a rough day, bring the yardarm lower and partake of something stronger while you watch the game. Given the success of our Arsenal in the last couple of weeks, the latter choice might yield more enjoyment…even at breakfast time.

Sitting one place, one point, and one game-in-hand above us in the table, they come to visit on the back of a mixed run of League form. Since their 6-2 thrashing at Old Trafford in December, they have beaten Leicester, lost to Tottenham, thrashed West Brom but lost to Brighton (and Crawley Town in the FA Cup). Marcelo Bielsa has them playing some dynamic, varied, attacking football. It means they have goals in them, hitting for 3, 4, and 5 on a number of occasions this season. But, their defense, led by ex-Arsenal schoolboy right back Luke Ayling, has been ransacked for similar amounts, leading to a goal difference of zero.

And so, dirty, dirty Leeds. That taint, long emanating from that club, has been glossed over in this, their first season back in the Premier League since The Arsenal were Invincible. While Bielsa was considered a tactical genius before coming to Leeds, his star has risen further along with Leeds place in the FA pyramid. His dedication to actual football rather than pushing the boundaries of the referee’s competence (god forbid!) has made them enjoyable for a neutral to watch, good or bad.

Leeds have tended to veer away from Bielsa’s patented 3-3-1-3 formation to a 4-1-4-1 this season, so we can expect to see the latter against Arsenal’s 4-2-1-3. Patrick Bamford leads the line and the team in goals and assists, but they have scorers all over the pitch (excepting their defense, who have only scored one goal all season). Defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips is a question mark, though according to his latest Tweets his injury substitution in Monday’s game against Crystal Palace was only precautionary. They will be without Rodrigo, Robin Koch, and Diego Llorente; Koch’s absence may force Bielsa to use the 3-3-1-3, though Pascal Strujk could deputise in a back 4 alongside captain Liam Cooper, Ayling, and Ezgjan Alioski. If they stay with the 4-1-4-1 Rodrigo’s absence could push Raphina into an advanced midfield role alongside Stuart Dallas, Mateusz Klich, and Jack Harrison.

Arsenal, coming off two games wherein we played at times well and at times not so much, our choices are still limited by injuries to KT3 and Thomas Partey. Their absence means (most probably) the Xhakneny Axis of Average ahead of the returning Luiz and Leno. Mikel could perhaps field the following team:


Bellerin — Holding — Luiz — Cedric

Xhaka — Elneny

Smith Rowe

Saka –Aubameyang– Pépé

Given the mistakes Luiz seems to regularly bring with him (not to mention the red cards and penalties) I hope Mikel brings in Gabriel, rather. Gabi, Willian, and Laca will sit on the bench alongside new boy Ødegaard, Ceballos, one of Luiz or Gabriel (or perhaps Marí!), and Ryan.

The Holics Pound

It really depends on which Arsenal team, and which Leeds team, show up. In any case, I hope to see the Dirty Leeds dream shattered by a resurgent Arsenal. To that end Arsenal winning 3-0 is offered at 12s. But if you are already considering 3-0 as likely, drop a fiver on a 4-0 win for The Arsenal at 22/1. 3-2 is at 16s, and 4-2 is (amazingly, given the teams’ potentials) available at 33/1!


130 Drinks to “Let’s wake them from their Revie-ry, shall we?”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    Excellent preview Scruzgooner, and many thanks. Can’t remember exactly the circumstances but didn’t Alioski do something in our previous game that lived up to the Dirty Leeds moniker? They are an entertaining team to watch, and Harrison is one we have to keep our eye on in a defensive sense. No more injuries please. Hoping Pepe continues his recent upward run of form, and Auba does what we all know Auba can do. COYG

  2. 2
    TTG says:

    Excellent preview Scruz.
    For those of a certain age Leeds bring back memories of a team that were way better than the current incarnation. The game you picture was the awful 1968 League Cup Final . We lost 1-0 to a goal that would never be allowed nowadays . It was the first time I had seen my team at Wembley .
    We badly need a win tomorrow and we are missing two of our most important players but we still have it in us to beat this lot . We will need much more mobility in midfield than Xhakneny gives us so I think Ceballos will return and we may see Saka moved to left back while I fancy Arteta might try to squeeze ESR and Ødegaard into the side to help provide the movement we will need to press them effectively and stretch a dubious Leeds defensive unit . Pepe should stay and I think he will start Auba . I agree Gabriel should depose Luiz .
    All things considered I hope we will move three points closer to the Totts with a 2-1 win

  3. 3
    bathgooner says:

    A fine preview scruz. I do hope whatever team MA8 fields manages to throw off the funk that caused the individual errors against Villa and Wolves. I think Luiz, brain farts notwithstanding, brings experience and organisation to an often somewhat shaky defence. I expect MA8 to select Laca to lead the line as he is far more effective than Auba at linking up throught the middle. I would be inclined to start Auba on the bench in view of his indifferent performances lately and Pépé’s building momentum and confidence as a starter. I would also prefer to see Ceballos alongside Xhaka rather than the amiable, willing worker Elneny.

    You’re getting carried away talking of 3-0 or 4-0 as betting options, sir. It’s sure to be a tight affair with a close scoreline. I suspect 1-0 or 2-1 is more likely than 3-2. I hope it’s for the good guys.

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    Scruz, I’m loving the Dirty Leeds memories from the early seventies. A fine club, but a nightmare to visit. No colours, unless like Esso you like to take them on! Let’s do this.

  5. 5
    Pangloss says:

    Excellent preview scruz.

    It’s a brave man who makes a prediction for any match this season, particularly one featuring the Arsenal. It could be anything between 5-0 and 0-5. I’m in full-scale “any win will do mode”, I fancy an edge of the seat 1-0 to the Arsenal.


  6. 6
    Goonersince54 says:

    Well we certainly won’t be able to hide behind the excuse that the opposition
    ” put 10 men behind the ball and made it very difficult for us ” excuse that gets trotted out after every mind numbing, sleep inducing, lack of attacking ideas performances, that have been our lot at the Ems in recent times.
    Indeed with City here next weekend, we will have a positive riot of exciting attacking football to look forward to, well at least from the away sides we will.
    Quite how we will cope with that unusual occurrence is anyone’s guess.
    I have been impressed by Leeds this season, they have a way of playing that they stick to no matter what, and Bisela has clearly decided that attack is the best form of defence.
    Any Arsenal supporter who bothered to watch the highlights of their excellent away win at Leicester recently, will not be looking forward to seeing them run at and through our ponderous midfield of Xhaka/Ceballos/Elneny, and our less than speedy central defenders.
    Defensively they are as dodgy as we used to be, but if we don’t start on the front foot and let them get up a head of steam, we could easily be looking at 3 straight defeats.
    The old analogy of ” getting the early goal to make them come out and play “, doesn’t apply tomorrow and won’t apply next weekend either, so it will be very interesting to see how Arteta approaches this strange phenomenon.
    If anyone had said to me at the start of the season that with almost 2 thirds of the season gone, that Leeds would be above us in the table with a game in hand, i would have laughed at them.
    So let’s see which Arsenal turns up, will it be the one that was playing some good football pre the frustrating defeats at Wolves and Villa, or will those 2 losses have sapped the confidence out of the squad and have us reverting back to the bad old days pre the Chelsea win on Boxing Day.
    What’s left of this very frustrating season could hinge on it.

  7. 7
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks Scruz for a fine report. Along with TTG & others of a certain vintage, that moniker of dirty Leeds was most apt. They were the most nasty cynical bunch of players you could meet on a football pitch ably led by Jonny Giles & Billy Bremner. Unfortunately they had a high quality of skill in the team to mstch and they were highly successful in the late 60s. Their supporter were a reflection of the team so a visit to Elland Road was not for the faint hearted. The Wembley defeats at that time still rankle today.
    Now in their return to top level football the play some good open stuff under the wing of their eccentric but much admired boss Marcelo Bielsa. On their day they are a very dangerous opponent but more of a pussy cat on an off day – let’s hope it’s the latter we come up against.
    I hope it’s either Gabriel or Mari to keep Luiz out of the starting line up and would like to see Ceballos rather than replace Partey – he will ( should ) give us more momentum going forward. The only other conundrum is whether to leave Laca in the starting line up rather than bringing back Auba. On recent performances you would have to go with Laca. It will be interesting to see if Odegaard gets a good run out and what he brings to the table. With both defences a little suspect I think there will be goals in this one 2-1 or even 3-2 to the good guys. COYR

  8. 8
    Uplympian says:

    Whoops…should have proof read before sending…Ceballos rather than Elneny to replace Partey of course 🙄

  9. 9
    North Bank Ned says:

    Excellent preview, Scruz. I fancy this as a game that will be end to end and thus our creativity deficit will count for less. As games expected to produce a hatful of goals rarely do, I am going for 2-1 for the good guys. That said, this is a six-pointer so any win will do.

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    The tragedy of Revie’s Leeds was that they were a great team that were good enough not to need to be as dirty as they were.

  11. 11
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent preview Scruz! It in indeed difficult to predict Mikel’s starting eleven for this game. I won’t mind seeing Saka as left back — with Xhaka providing cover for him as he goes forward freely — and the Auba-Laca-Pépé combination with Auba and Pépé both playing more as inside forwards. Another exciting possibility against a team like Bielsa’s Leeds will be to play ESR in the #8 role and Ødegaard further advanced. ESR is excellent in operating at half spaces, has solid defensive awareness and workfare and both him and Martin are press resistant.

    Should be an interesting match. It’s amusing how much British press used to write about the tactical acumen of “Jose” when in his Chelsea days when all he did was to primarily come up with a very effective execution of counterattacking football relying on some attacking stalwarts, whereas not much get written about the continuous tactical innovations of Bielsa (some of which doesn’t necessarily always work) .

    They gave us a very hard time in last season’s FA cup match and let’s hope the team remembers to not start slowly.

  12. 12
    bt8 says:

    A game that would’ve been fun to watch.


  13. 13
    Countryman100 says:

  14. 14
    Countryman100 says:

    Posted for the second one. 🤣🤣

  15. 15
    Steve T says:

    Cheers Scruz

    Just need 3 points today. Partey will be a miss. Need him to get back fully fit. If it takes a few weeks then so be it. But he will be vital towards the end of the season.

    3 nil to the good guys

  16. 16
    Trev says:

    Thanks, scruz – great work !

    Yes, dirty Leeds – a horrible team to play back in the seventies. Bremner had the reputation but Giles probably had the nastiest moves.

    Those days seem to be gone however, and they are generally a good side to watch these days. What a game it could be if we set up to really go at them. I do agree with Bath that Lacazette is the better bet up front at the moment. He has been linking well with Saka and ESR while Aubameyang’s mind still seems to be partly elsewhere. To be fair to him, Xhaka has been better of late and I would be tempted to play him with Ceballos if Partey is out, and hope that he has been storing up his energy, as it will be needed against this not-quite-so-dirty Leeds. Just please, please not the utterly useless Willian. Please. Please. Ple……..

    Reds 3-2 – but not risking any money 😏

  17. 17
    BtM says:

    Good preview, scruz with many thoughtful bar builds. I’m looking forward to a home win with Gabriel for Luiz, Ceballos for Elneny and Odegaard for ESR in your team. I think we’ll win it. Hopefully no poorly judged red cards to change the outcome (like yesterday’s at Murrayfield, cough).

    @10 Ned, ‘good enough to win without the shit-housing’. Indeed.

  18. 18
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers Scruz. I really enjoyed that preview.

    I think this is a tough one to predict either the team or the lineup.

    So I’ll just say that the comments above are all sensible and thoughtful. And I don’t care what else we do as long as we WIN!


  19. 19
    bt8 says:

    Yea-time? Breakfast time? I guess that would make it an early brunch time for me. Don’t mind if I do.

  20. 20
    bt8 says:

    Yea time at tea time, and hopefully a couple of hours later too.

  21. 21
    Esso says:

    Cheers Bill!


  22. 22
    Esso says:

    Heh Countryman @ 13.

    I know Darren as well, an Arseblogger of long standing and a general top boy.

  23. 23
    Esso says:

  24. 24
    ksn says:

    A fine preview, Scruzgooner. Didn’t know what to expect from Leeds, so thanks for telling us. Any win will do.
    Odegaard gets a start and Ceballos is back. Auba starts as does Gabriel.

  25. 25
    Esso says:

    Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Cedric, Xhaka, Ceballos, Odegaard, Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang

    Subs: Ryan, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Elneny, Willian, Pepe, Martinelli, Lacazette

  26. 26
    Countryman100 says:

    Odegaard and Smith Rowe!

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    Holding not starting in quite a while, taking a spot with Chambers and Pablo Mari in the subs. Come on our Brazilian central defenders.

  28. 28
    bt8 says:

    for the first time in quite a while, that is.

  29. 29
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Harsh selection on Pepe. Especially after the boss spoke well of him in his presser. But I’ll look forward to watching the team. As Countryman says, ESR and Odegaard should be exciting!

  30. 30
    bt8 says:

    Team a bit heavy on Real Madrid loanees.

  31. 31
    bt8 says:

    But I’ll see your clean sheet wih a spicy feijoada.

  32. 32
    bt8 says:

    Gabriel strength and size good for keeping Bamford and compartir under wraps. They are a mobile group though. Run Dani run!

  33. 33
    bt8 says:

    Pepe coming on for sure at some point.

  34. 34
    Moran Gooner says:

    C’mon you gunners!!

  35. 35
    scruzgooner says:

    thanks, all. i enjoyed learning more about what bastards they were, and what they’ve become. i only remember them from the o’leary era (fuck mark viduka). glad you liked it.

    we too have a pretty mobile team, probably our most creative, too. xhaka the exception to the rule, of course, i surely wish partey were there instead of granit. still, if he shields the back four, he can anchor the base of a fluid, interchanging front six. ødegaard on the left, saka right, auba up front, esr nominally middle and dani recycling to start.


  36. 36
    Osakamatt says:

    thanks scruz, enjoyable memory jogger
    of a preview.
    Interesting side today, hope it works
    but I’ll take my 3 points any old how
    – just win please lads

  37. 37
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


  38. 38
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Bright start

  39. 39
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Oh dear Hector

  40. 40
    scruzgooner says:

    why do we blaze over? no art to either of our first shots.

  41. 41
    ksn says:


  42. 42
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


  43. 43
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Get in!

  44. 44
    Osakamatt says:

    get in Auba!!

  45. 45
    ksn says:

    Fine shot by Auba to fool the goalie. Need to build on the good start.

  46. 46
    scruzgooner says:

    he pulled a wee willie keeler and hit it where they ain’t.

  47. 47
    Countryman100 says:

    This is lovely flowing football.

  48. 48
    Osakamatt says:

    trademark Auba goal – nice to
    see him back

  49. 49
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    We are looking good. We need to keep this up

  50. 50
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    ESR and Odegaard watch David Luiz create a great chance for Auba 🤣

  51. 51
    scruzgooner says:

    oh dino 🤣🤣

  52. 52
    ksn says:

    Auba almost makes it two after some great work in taking the ball forward by Luiz.
    Luiz shouldn’t be too adventurous venturing forward.

  53. 53
    Countryman100 says:

    Great block by Luke Ayling, formerly of this parish

  54. 54
    ksn says:

    Penalty won by Saka.

  55. 55
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Saka earns a penalty

  56. 56
    ksn says:

    Fucking Mariner asking for ref to view the action. They will probably reverse it.

  57. 57
    ksn says:

    Fucking Mariner asking for ref to view the action. They will probably reverse it. No penalty.

  58. 58
    Osakamatt says:


  59. 59
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ludicrously overturned.

    How does Luiz get a red for a touch and we get that penalty cancelled?

  60. 60
    Countryman100 says:

    Absolute joke. Clear penalty

  61. 61
    Moran Gooner says:

    Fucking bollocks!! Hows that not a penalty and Luiz’s was a red card?? I’m so angry with these refs

  62. 62
    Steve T says:

    Dino beat me to it @59

  63. 63
    ksn says:

    Refs have a different yardstick for Arsenal.

  64. 64
    ksn says:

    Another penalty earned by Saka. This one is clearer. Will their goalie be sent off?

  65. 65
    bt8 says:

    The bar moves lower for overturning a clear and obvious error.

  66. 66
    ksn says:

    Auba!!!! Second goal.

  67. 67
    Countryman100 says:

    Justice is done!

  68. 68
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Andre Mariner must be gutted he couldn’t overturn the second one.

  69. 69
    Osakamatt says:

    2-0 thank fuck

  70. 70
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Come on lads

  71. 71
    ksn says:

    Bellerin, what a great shot. Saka again involved.

  72. 72
    Countryman100 says:

    What a passing move for the third!

  73. 73
    ksn says:

    Saka running Leeds ragged. Great nutmeg by Ceballos to set up Bellerin.

  74. 74
    ksn says:

    We absolutely dominated them in the first half. Should have been 4-0.

  75. 75
    scruzgooner says:

    man, what a beautiful half of football we played.

  76. 76
    bt8 says:

    Enjoyed that.

  77. 77
    Esso says:

    The referee’s a wanker

  78. 78
    scruzgooner says:

    esso, could be said about every game. oh, wait…

  79. 79
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    The referees are seriously screwing us.

    How that penalty has been disallowed is beyond me. They should be ashamed.

  80. 80
    Moran Gooner says:

    Man I like the way we seem to have so many bodies in their box, like for the 3rd goal.

  81. 81
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Still, great half.

    The third goal an absolute beauty. Let’s rack up a big score here

  82. 82
    Steve T says:

    Good first half. Great to see Auba back in form. If he gets close to the heights of last year then we are really off and running.

    Dani linking up play really well. Probably the most creative midfield we have put out in years and we are playing some really nice stuff at times. Let’s hope it continues.

    Is it wrong to say that I’m looking forward to the second half?

  83. 83
    Countryman100 says:

    Saka is absolutely running them ragged. He just gets better and better and better. He’s not 20 until September!

  84. 84
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    So far Sky have showed no replay of the overturned penalty and mentioned it once in passing. What the fuck?

  85. 85
    Osakamatt says:

    same again will do me 😄

  86. 86
    ksn says:

    Auba, hattrick!!

  87. 87
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Auba has 3!

  88. 88
    Osakamatt says:

    First Arsenal hat trick for
    Auba. Great stuff from ESR

  89. 89
    Countryman100 says:

    Our pressing, pace and precision is a joy. Arteta ball at it’s best.

  90. 90
    Countryman100 says:

    Due to popular request (not) Willian is on

  91. 91
    scruzgooner says:

    and amazingly our game has tailed off.

  92. 92
    Steve T says:

    Shocking from Hector. We need to properly get a grip of this game.

  93. 93
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    What Steve said

  94. 94
    ksn says:

    We are chocking. Need to stop them from scoring.

  95. 95
    ksn says:

    Auba hits the crossbar.

  96. 96
    ksn says:

    Elneny on for Odegaard. Some defensive reinforcement.

  97. 97
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Very open game. We have to keep it tight at our end. And play the game in their half

  98. 98
    Steve T says:

    How is it you can be 4-2 up with 8 minutes to go, and still feel you need a 5th?????

  99. 99
    Osakamatt says:

    doing it the hard way

  100. 100
    ksn says:

    Saka offside, as he hits the post.

  101. 101
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    This could be about 7-4

  102. 102
    ksn says:

    We are leading a charmed life. Almost 4-3.

  103. 103
    ksn says:

    Holding on for Ceballos.

  104. 104
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Well played Dani Ceballos. One of his good days. He needs to be consistent though…

  105. 105
    ksn says:

    That was one heck of a game, though how we allowed to let them score two is beyond me. Great three points. We are into the top half at 10th and Leeds are eleventh.
    MoM Saka.

  106. 106
    North Bank Ned says:

    Glad their keeper gifted us a three-goal cushion. It was all a bit nervous-making after we went down to 10 men when Willian came on.

  107. 107
    Countryman100 says:

    We are just three points off fifth. But City and Lesta up next. Full strength team for Benfica please !

  108. 108
    ksn says:

    NBN @106 😀. I would have got Pepe on for Willian as he would have stretched them further with his pace. We flagged once Willian came on.

  109. 109
    Moran Gooner says:

    I really liked ceballos today! And I like his enthusiasm too. His reactions to every arsenal goal is just lovely

  110. 110
    ksn says:

    A game every three days from now on, Benefica (A), City (H), Benefica (H) and Leicester (A), till 28th Feb.

  111. 111
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    After the last couple of results all I wanted today was 3 points.

    Job done.

  112. 112
    North Bank Ned says:

    Lots more signs today of the emerging Arteta ball, especially in the first half when the passing was pacey and precise. Like the first half against Wolves in that respect, save we put the ball in the net three times. Their keeper will not be happy about being twice beaten at his near post and giving away a penalty.

    Great to see Auba back on song. Odegaard looks a natural fit for Arteta’s plans and he has an eye for a pass. ESR is growing in stature as the heartbeat of the team; the drop in team performance was noticeable once he went off. Saka had another top game, and Ceballos was impressive. Xhaka was defensively solid as the second string in the pivot. Hector had his best game for a while.

    David Luiz’s pairing with Gabriel may suggest that he and Holding will be slugging it out for the right CB position next season unless Saliba makes a spectacular return. A contract extension for David Luiz may be more on the cards than many in this bar might have expected.

  113. 113
    TTG says:

    Good post Ned. I agree re Luiz, I would not be surprised at all if he was offered a one year extension, Everything I hear from people close to the club is that Arteta rates his character and influence highly and he is highly respected by colleagues and younger, emerging players . He is far from perfect as a centre back but he also played a great part in our Cup Final success last year . Today his passing accuracy was only 61% but he was trying some very ambitious passes and he very nearly set up a goal for Aubameyang.If Saliba returns he will be a very good mentor . If he doesn’t we have several other young CBs who can benefit from his experience .He divides opinions but he illustrates the point that supporters can’t always appreciate exactly what players contribute .

  114. 114
    Countryman100 says:

    My post @107 should of course have said that we are five points off fifth, not three. Getting over excited.

  115. 115
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@113: Good point about the intangibles a player can offer a club. As fans, we get to see only 90 mins of each workweek, and the least typical 90 mins at that, albeit the most important ones.

  116. 116
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@114: What makes it so annoying — being five points off fifth, not your post — is that had we not dropped the points at Wolves and against Villa, we would be in fifth.

    At least today’s result makes it feel like we have moved up into the bottom of the top half of the table at last, rather than being at the top of the bottom half.

  117. 117
    bt8 says:

    Saka and Luiz orchestrated masterfully today.

  118. 118
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    If Arteta does decided to keep Luiz then I can totally see the sense in that. But he would have to take a serious pay cut and accept a role as mentor/backup (albeit still a senior squad member with more winning pedigree than most of them put together).

    If the younger CBs are ready to play then we cannot take their opportunities because DL has been told he will play. Cups and backup in the league if he is around next year.

    His mistakes are infuriating, but I do like the guy. His interviews are good and i have no trouble in seeing how valuable his contribution is to the squad.

  119. 119
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    England just finishing off India’s tail.

    Then we will have a 400+ run chase or over two full days of batting to get anything out of the game.

    Oh goodie.

  120. 120
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ned @ 112

    Hector was in good forward positions. He also wasted a couple of good opportunities with a poor first touch. And failed to do the defensive basic of tracking his man for their second goal.

    The fact that this was his best performance for a while highlights that we need a better first choice right back. KT3 at LB also highlights that we ‘settle’ for Hector (partly because he has grown up with us and most of like him a tremendous amount). Given the way it appears Arteta wants to play, a top class RB would add a huge amount.

  121. 121
    bathgooner says:

    Well summed up, GSD @120. All true.

  122. 122
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Take a bow son.


  123. 123
    bathgooner says:

    An excellent analysis of the Leeds game and our improving play from Mike McDonald here:


  124. 124
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@120: No disagreement with you that we could upgrade at right-back. Hector is not the player he was pre-injury. I suspect Cedric would be starting there if KT3 was fit.

    Independent suggesting that David Luiz will get a contract extension, as TTG and I were speculating. https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/arsenal/david-luiz-contract-news-mikel-arteta-b1802204.html

    England getting a paddlin’ in the cricket.

  125. 125
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks Bath, an interesting read.
    I hope his conclusions are right.
    After the game Bielsa said they
    were prepared for what we would
    do but my players didn’t seem ready
    for what they would do – I’m
    paraphrasing their but he summed
    it up quite well I thought.
    On to Benfica.
    Benfica are currently 4th in a three
    horse race so we’ve every chance
    to our last years disappointing exit
    behind us. Be interesting to see who
    MA selects for this one – I know many
    of you think this our best chance and
    would like to see our strongest XI but
    I am doubtful MA will see it that way.

  126. 126
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@123: The eye-opening paragraph in the link you furnish is the one that suggests Willian’s contract contains a provision that he has guaranteed playing time or gets an additional payment if he doesn’t get it.

  127. 127
    North Bank Ned says:

    David Luiz’s is the only contract expiring this summer, save for those of the loanees, Ryan, Odegaard and Ceballos. But there will have to be some hard decisions made before the summer transfer window opens on Lacazette, Elneny, Nketiah, Chambers and Iliev. They will be entering the final year of their contracts, as will be Kolasinac and Guendouzi, both out on loan. There is a case for selling the lot — save perhaps Nketian unless Balogun goes — to fund new full-backs and permanent deals for Ruan, Odegaard and possibly Ceballos.

  128. 128
    North Bank Ned says:

    …save perhaps Nketiah if Balogun goes…

    Damn auto collect…

  129. 129
    TTG says:

    Bath @123
    Thankyou for attaching that excellent analysis . I’ve been holding off from commenting too much until Dr.F’s analysis but I was hugely encouraged by the quality of our performance yesterday . Interesting that the delightful Bielsa commented effectively that Arteta outcoached him in the first half.
    I was massively disappointed by recent defeats – Southampton in the Cup because of rotation which I appreciate , Wolves because we were massively superior 11 v 11 and Villa because they got a lucky opening goal and are a team who are hard to break down when ahead . But we are playing so much better than we were in October and November . I think we are better than Everton , Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham and I think we might upset Leicester in a couple of weeks .
    I also think Mike is right about Willian’s contract . If we agreed to that clause Joorabchian exercises too much power . Willian should be nowhere near this team

  130. 130
    Pangloss says: