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Down South We Go

Hello again everyone and welcome to a quick preview of our antepenultimate game of the season – a trip, as the image above suggests, to a bus stop in Fulham. Fresh from two wins in a row against Newcastle and West Brom we now face a step up in class – or of course a step down depending on how you interpret class – against a Chelsea side which I must, through gritted teeth, say have done ok since Tuchel arrived to replace the pleasingly mediocre Lumpard. Having mentioned Tuchel, I suppose at this early point in the preview I should acknowledge that some of my fellow Gooners will no doubt see parallels there with our own current situation, however, to me the fundamental difference of our not being willing to spend 200 million quid or whatever it was in a summer makes the comparison meaningless. Without going into tedious detail, I am, for myself, perfectly happy to give Mikel and our youngsters another season to develop without the distractions of second-rate European midweek games and see where we stand at the end of next season. Disagree? One of the very best things about this bar is that you are free to do so in the comments below and I sincerely hope we always remain a broad church.

Back then, to tonight’s game and when asked what he wants from the final three games of the season MA said “I think it is the pride in the shirt that we wear, and that we want to win”. That I think is a sentiment that we can all agree on and one I hope to see fully demonstrated by whatever XI is selected. We have already beaten Chelsea once this season, a 3-1 win in December that promised briefly to turn our league form around and so another win tonight would give us a first double over them since the 2003/04 season – far too long. Talking of too long, it also now nearly 10 years since we won at the bus stop a 5-3 win of happy memory in which a certain Mikel Arteta got an assist for Van Persie to put the cherry on top in the final minute.  Though it would almost certainly be largely meaningless in terms of our league position, a win in a London derby is always welcome.

The Opposition

I will deal briefly with Chelsea as we all know who they, what they are and who they represent – in my opinion an odious ownership, a largely shameless and shameful support, and the exploitative values of a sad-faced cutthroat.

They will pick a team with one eye on other games I expect but will also want to win tonight. It will be up to us to put whatever dent we can into their confidence going forwards. Given the probability of an unfamiliar line-up it is quite possible there will be a few goals in the game tonight even though Chelsea have been accumulating clean sheets at home over the last couple of months – who then are the men to get them for The Arsenal?

The Line Up

As has been the case recently it is again very difficult to know who will start.

I do know Luiz is definitely out and that fitness doubts surround Xhaka, ESR, Auba and Mari as far as I am aware at this stage. I believe Auba was just rested for WBA and I expect to see his return for this one. Short of an injury update from the club your guess is as good as mine for the others.

For what it’s worth I’m expecting a few changes for this one and an XI something like to the team below…


Chambers – Holding – Gabriel – Tierney

Thomas – Elneny

Saka – Odegaard – Pepe


A fairly experienced side in other words and with a midfield designed to offer added protection in defence rather than attack. It is not the XI I would pick at this stage of the season and if Xhaka is fit it will not be the one that MA picks either. With that proviso I think it is fairly close, and also that we will attempt to hit their still suspect defence on the counter using Pepe, Auba and Saka’s pace.

The Holic Pound

Having grown up in South London I have always enjoyed beating Chelsea and few things would give me greater pleasure than nailing the score with the Holic Pound this time. Tempting as it is go with a 10th anniversary 5-3 to The Arsenal, that score does not grow on trees and in the circumstances I will go even further back for a Kanuuuu inspired 3-2 win for the good guys at the highly lucrative odds of 66-1.  

I wish all of us all the best for the game and will finish with COYGs!!!!!!


And again…the second part of the conversation, and the second part of our Double Celebration!

GHF.com are pleased to release this, especially considering the Arsenal events of these past couple weeks. Lift your spirits by watching the second episode of two video conversations with Bob Wilson and Pat Rice about Arsenal’s 1970-71 Double year, on the 50th Anniversary of our FA Cup win over Liverpool at Wembley. Remember to donate to Willow, or bid on the GHF.com Auction!

Click on the image below (or on the Youtube link below that) to watch

“Episode Two: Double Glory — The 1971 FA Cup Run”

Or, watch here: Episode Two: Double Glory — The 1971 FA Cup Run (on Youtube). This is especially helpful if you’re having any loading issues with the link to the one the site is serving above.

Let us know what you think in the “drinks” section below!


We are also pleased to remind you that our auction of signed 1970-71 Double memorabilia is now open for bids! For full information, please visit The Double/Willow Auction tab above.

Just a taste…the lots offered are as follows:

Lot 1: A 1971 Cup Final replica shirt signed by Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock, George Graham & Charlie George.

Lot 2: A 1971 Cup Final programme signed by Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock, George Graham & Charlie George.

Lot 3: A second 1971 Cup Final programme signed by Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock, George Graham & Charlie George.

Lot 4: Bob Wilson’s autobiography, ‘Behind the Network’ signed by Bob Wilson & Arsène Wenger.

All proceeds from the auction go to the Willow Foundation.

171 Drinks to “Down South We Go”

  1. 1
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks OM
    As we’re in the final stretch I’m sticking with my recent 3-0 and hoping for a hat-trick from that new found scoring machine hitherto known as Willian.

  2. 2
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks OM for a noble effort in drumming up some enthusiasm for a trip to the Bridge. It’s not been a happy hunting ground for many a year so that wonderful 5-3 win there is just an isolated memory but a very fond one. I’m not expecting a happy ending tonight but this season has been one of many surprise away wins across the league, let hope this match can follow the pattern.
    There is little consistency in team selections – it’ll be difficult to guess correctly who will start the match. Whoever is wearing the shirt, wear it with pride and put in a performance
    that merits your selection.

  3. 3
    bt8 says:

    Thanks Matt for an excellent pre-breakfast read. Now off to feed the growing puppy. Noosa Gooner’s good humor is also on exhibit @1, I see. 🙂

  4. 4
    North Bank Ned says:

    Good going, OM, in wringing some enthusiasm out of the fag end of the season. I’d take any win in a heartbeat.

    Time for a tune

    Chelsea. Oh Chelsea
    Money cannot buy you history.

  5. 5
    North Bank Ned says:

    Guillem Balague’s analysis of what Guardiola has done with City this season is well worth the read. It could be a description of Artetaball. If only we had a squad of the quality of City’s squad to play it…


  6. 6
    Bathgooner says:

    Great stuff, OM.

    One of the most irritating aspects of the last 15 years or so has been the very diffferent trajectories of these two clubs. We used to have an Indian Sign over the posers from west London but those days are long gone. Their recent surge under Tuchel has added to the pressure.

    Let’s hope whoever mA8 selects can rise to the challenge and that we further celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ’70-71 Double by doing the double over the Chavs tonight. 3-2 would be very acceptable. 1-0 to the Arsenal would be equally satisfying.

  7. 7
    TTG says:

    I share the same Sarf London credentials and have many mates who spend time at the Bus Stop. I was once sent there as a prefect to check on how many boys were there when Chelsea had a Monday afternoon game ( v Preston in the Cup) and the head thought a lot of errant boys had absconded as some forms were missing large numbers . I saw about ten in the Shed alone . But I didn’t rat on anyone .
    I detest Abramovich and his model and the classlessness of his club but it produces strong football teams . They are much more better run off the field than we are . Yes they have lots of money but they spend it properly .
    We might do well tonight. We are away , they have a Cup Final on Saturday and we have most of our team fit . Maybe we could squeeze a draw ?

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    We beat Chelsea away today at U18 level completing a double over them as we also beat them in April. Maybe this is an omen? Azeez was one of our scorers

  9. 9
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Another one of your amusingly dismissive reviews Matt! Love it.

    I agree that a season of domestic football alone with a smaller, more efficient squad, and lots of training ground work will give Mikel a better chance of instilling his ideas in the team and to build a consistent style and performance. Perform in the league with an attitude that every single dropped point must be felt by the team to be catastrophic, each weekend, irrespective of the opposition. No excuses accepted.

    I think today we will win, and play well. Another 3-1 with a brace from the captain.

    Come on Arsenal!

  10. 10
    ksn says:

    Thanks for another well written preview, OM. I feel Chambers together with Holding in defence against a side packed with pacy players is asking for trouble. I would prefer Bellerin for this game. Arteta may play Ceballos instead of Elneny in the midfield, though I hope Xhaka will be fit to play and will slot in with Partey. If you are going with a 3-2 win, who is scoring our hat trick? My wish is that the team turns up and puts it across them, whatever the score.

  11. 11
    bt8 says:

    ksn, It wasn’t written by OM but the clue could be in Noosa’s @1. If it doesn’t happen Noosa will be held responsible. 😉

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@7: Watching Chelsea should have been punishment enough.

  13. 13
    ksn says:

    Bt8, thanks to whoever has written it. I don’t think Noosa is too worried about being held responsible for a non 3-0 score. Both 3-2 and 3-0 are improbable scores, and I feel 0-0, 1-0,1-1,2-1 are more likely. I only hope we play well.

  14. 14
    Countryman100 says:

    An exceedingly gloomy Athletic piece (££) on the current state of the nation at Arsenal from James McNicholas, Amy Lawrence and David Ornstein – all very well connected and informed.

  15. 15
    Trev says:

    Cheers Matt,
    Games coming thick and fast – like Aaron Lennon.

    Preview is short, sweet and hits the spot – also like Aaron Lennon – well, apart from the sweet and hits the spot bits.

    Come on You Redddssss !

  16. 16
    Countryman100 says:

    Tasty stuff from Azeez in the U18 game against Chelsea earlier today. Arsenal won 2-1.

  17. 17
    ksn says:

    Thanks for @16, that was tasty. Azeez is a real talent and I hope Arteta gives him a few chances to show what he can do.

  18. 18
    Countryman100 says:

    Arsenal:Leno, Holding, Gabriel, Pablo Mari, Tierney, Thomas, Elneny, Saka, Odegaard, Smith-Rowe, Aubameyang.

    Subs: Bellerin, Ceballos, Lacazette, Willian, Cedric, Pepe, Chambers, Ryan, Martinelli.

  19. 19
    bt8 says:

    I’d feel better if we had more midfielders to choose from on the bench

  20. 20
    bt8 says:

    And better ones I might add.

  21. 21
    ATG says:

    Team sheet

  22. 22
    Countryman100 says:

    So what formation is that? Three CBS, a left wing back, two DMs and ….

  23. 23
    Cynic says:

    Another messy looking team selection. Clever or clueless? The result will tell all.

  24. 24
    Bathgooner says:

    What a bizarre team selection. Cedric has clearly blotted his copybook. Bellerin being kept fit for the firesale? The process is looking a tad dodgy, Mikel.

  25. 25
    Sancho Panza says:

    3 right backs on the bench and not an obvious one in the eleven. Might just work.

  26. 26
    ClockEndRider says:

    I see it as 3 at the back with Sara and Tierney as wing backs strengthening the midfield to ensure we don’t get overrun and enabling the team to get width going forward while helping out at the back. Let’s see.

  27. 27
    scruzgooner says:

    huh. i hope the azeez goal better not be today’s arsenal highlight.

    thanks for the sassy preview, matt! i’ll take 3-2 so long as we win. i can’t keep hiding behind the couch, either.


  28. 28
    Bathgooner says:




  29. 29
    Countryman100 says:

    What Bath said!

  30. 30
    scruzgooner says:

    two passes from partey in our half we could do without.

  31. 31
    scruzgooner says:


  32. 32
    ksn says:

    What was Mari thinking. Lucky to not fall behind.

  33. 33
    ATG says:

    Mari fell asleep and Auba should have done a lot better with his passing

  34. 34
    Steve T says:

    Just this minute got in.

    No recognised right back and three right backs on the bench????? Mari desperately tries to give Chelsea the lead…

  35. 35
    Countryman100 says:

    Looks like you were right on the formation CER. I think the only position Saka hasn’t played this season is in goals.

  36. 36
    ATG says:

    Get in ESR

  37. 37
    ksn says:


  38. 38
    ClockEndRider says:

    For once not us with the comical defending!

  39. 39
    scruzgooner says:


  40. 40
    Countryman100 says:

    What a Chelsea fuck up! One. Nil to The Arsenal!

  41. 41
    Bathgooner says:


    Now concentrate!

    And build on that.

  42. 42
    ksn says:

    Horror defending by Jorginho and ESR makes space to receive Aruba’s pass and tucks it in the corner.

  43. 43
    Steve T says:

    Brilliant. Chelsea defending like we do???

  44. 44
    Countryman100 says:

    Marinner – brilliant refereeing for playing the advantage rather than blowing up for a free kick one yard out for handling the back pass, or did he just not see it?

  45. 45
    ATG says:

    Why the fuck are we allowing Azpilicueta to run unchallenged like that ffs

  46. 46
    ClockEndRider says:

    I can’t really see us not conceding tonight unfortunately

  47. 47
    Countryman100 says:

    They are slicing through us rather easily.

  48. 48
    ClockEndRider says:

    Partey is currently controlling the ball further than I can kick it.

  49. 49
    Bathgooner says:

    Partey is almost as big a disappointment as Willian in truth. So sloppy in dangerous areas.

  50. 50
    Countryman100 says:

    Our wing backs have barely touched the ball. Unusual.

  51. 51
    ksn says:

    We had two close calls and Holding and once Leno have saved well. According to the commentators, Chelsea is the better team; they have created two really good chances.

  52. 52
    Steve T says:

    Spot on Bath

    We look so disorganised at the back without Luiz.

  53. 53
    ClockEndRider says:

    He does some things so we’ll and then just more often than not has the patented Arsenal midfield brain fart. Not a 45m player so far or anywhere near

  54. 54
    ksn says:

    We are not able to carry the ball to the half way mark and we are defending desperately with Chelsea hogging possession.

  55. 55
    ksn says:

    Saka makes a mistake and Chelsea almost score. Lucky.

  56. 56
    ClockEndRider says:

    The first thought of our players is always to make a backwards pass.

  57. 57
    scruzgooner says:

    esr doing it all.

  58. 58
    ClockEndRider says:

    Not sure having Odegaard getting outside Saka is really working. The defender knows he won’t go outside him and has to cut inside onto his left.

  59. 59
    ATG says:

    We are winning but not showing attacking intent here, we are hoofing the ball out and that’s about it

  60. 60
    ATG says:

    2 attempts on goal and one of those from their mistake.

  61. 61
    ksn says:

    Gabriel is a shitty passer and gives the ball away so often. Not the player I thought.

  62. 62
    ksn says:

    Lucky to stay ahead at half time 0-1.

  63. 63
    scruzgooner says:

    nice ball esr to auba. got out of the first half alive, with all those defensive errors.


  64. 64
    ClockEndRider says:

    Ill take that at half time

  65. 65
    Steve T says:

    How we’ve managed to get to half time winning 1 nil is beyond me. Still, it is what it is. Let’s hope we haven’t used up all of our luck in the first 45 minutes.

  66. 66
    Bathgooner says:

    We’ve worked very hard to defend our extremely fortuitous lead but oh what a dismal performance. I can think of only one attacking move and that ended with an offside flag. All perspiration and no inspiration. This won’t sell many season ticket renewals.

  67. 67
    Trev says:

    Good HT score but hope we’re not going to try to get away with this for the entire second half.

    Saka is a complete waste at RB. Surely one of the three in the bench must be able to do a job – either rest Saka or play him where he belongs.

  68. 68
    Bathgooner says:

    Good call Trev. Can’t see MA8 doing it before 70 minutes though.

  69. 69
    Countryman100 says:

    I agree Trev.

  70. 70
    ClockEndRider says:

    Agreed Trev. A proper full back with Saka playing outside right. I would sacrifice Odegaard.

  71. 71
    TTG says:

    Just worth pointing out we are playing the best team in the country on current form . What sort of guns blazing performance did you expect?

  72. 72
    scruzgooner says:

    i’d sacrifice ødegaard too, cer. he has been a hole in our game, a complete one-footed passenger.

    get chambers in there in right back, tierney to left back, get gabriel off, and put in laca up front. move auba front left, saka front right, and esr in the middle with partey and moneny. otherwise it’s going to be 45 minutes more of the same, and we have used our rub-of-the-green.

  73. 73
    scruzgooner says:

    fair point, ttg. but they’re playing their kids and second string, for a lot of it. we are playing our best players, or so it would seem. partey, gabriel, and ødegaard have really not been at the races, though partey has made some good tackles.

    so the big question: can we defend, only hitting on a rare counter, for 45 minutes and win the game? or do we stop with the parked bus/let them play on the wings and try to force them to play some meaningful defense, as well?

  74. 74
    Countryman100 says:

    Got to say, I am less than confident as we start the second half. Got to get a second goal.

  75. 75
    ClockEndRider says:

    Good point, TTG. It just goes to show the huge gap between us and the top teams.

  76. 76
    ksn says:

    Our players can’t even pass the ball with any assurance. Sorry state.

  77. 77
    Countryman100 says:

    This is agony.

  78. 78
    ClockEndRider says:

    I do hope Havertz gets thatinner ear problem sorted. It’s sad seeing a man fall over with such regularity.

  79. 79
    ksn says:

    Looks like a top team playing a mid table team, attack vs defence. Scruzgooner has some decent suggestions but is Arteta listening.

  80. 80
    TTG says:

    I’m suffering too but they are a very good team with high confidence . We lack the quality in midfield to hold the ball and control it. And this is not the Chelsea juniors this is a big game for them . They have a strong team out

  81. 81
    Bathgooner says:

    Call me a traditionalist but I do much prefer to see my team play he ball around in the opposition half.

    Is there room behind the couch, scruz?

  82. 82
    Trev says:


  83. 83
    Steve T says:

    At the moment we have absolutely zero attacking threat. Someone somewhere needs to put some authority on this game. It’s getting a tad embarrassing to watch. I know we are 1 up but we need to get a grip of this game somewhere on this pitch.

  84. 84
    Trev says:

    Oh right in cue

  85. 85
    Trev says:


  86. 86
    ATG says:

    FFS offside but we need proper full backs on the pitch please

  87. 87
    ksn says:

    Chelsea score but is of side, fortunately.
    Saka is wasted as right back. Need to get Bellerin in and get Saka forward and bring Laca who holds the ball up well.

  88. 88
    ATG says:

    This is Arteta ball I’m afraid

  89. 89
    ClockEndRider says:

    Even the farrago that is VAR couldn’t allow that one. And they try really hard.

  90. 90
    ATG says:

    Jesus what is he doing

  91. 91
    Bathgooner says:

    Saka knacka’d?

  92. 92
    ClockEndRider says:

    Strange sub. Surely Odegaard to come off…?

  93. 93
    ksn says:

    Saka taken off for Bellerin. Arteta is mental.
    Giroud is on and that is scary as he is very effective.

  94. 94
    ClockEndRider says:

    As if to make my point. Odegaard right leg is most definitely of the tin variety.

  95. 95
    Countryman100 says:

    I think Saka has been completely ineffective at RWB.

  96. 96
    ATG says:

    Mental sub that one

  97. 97
    Countryman100 says:

    Getup you cheating Septic

  98. 98
    ClockEndRider says:

    Pulisic has Havertzitis, poor lamb.

  99. 99
    Steve T says:

    Another massively positive substitution.

    Perhaps Arteta is going to follow that change with Cedric, and then Chambers to become the first manager ever in the history of football to bring on three right backs in one game??

  100. 100
    ksn says:

    Odegaard is so limited. I hope we don’t buy him. Our defence continues in its careless ways.

  101. 101
    Bathgooner says:

    Ødegaard another Ceballos. Flattered to deceive on arrival, lapsed into mediocrity recently.

  102. 102
    Countryman100 says:

    Well in for the ton ksn

  103. 103
    Steve T says:

    Elneny couldn’t trap a bag of cement.

  104. 104
    ksn says:

    He may do it too, Steve. Arteta wants to give us very unusual things which we won’t get with a normal manager.

  105. 105
    Trev says:

    He and we need more physical strength Bath.

  106. 106
    Trev says:

    What a nutmeg from ESR

  107. 107
    ClockEndRider says:

    Steve T,
    In fairness we have stunted their wide play in large part, which is down to the formation. It’s not been pretty but then we’re playing a better team.

  108. 108
    Steve T says:

    What the fuck was that free kick about?????

  109. 109
    ksn says:

    Laca on for Auba.

  110. 110
    ClockEndRider says:

    Auba has ploughed that line furrow manfully tonight. Taken one for the team.

  111. 111
    ATG says:

    Auba not happy

  112. 112
    Countryman100 says:

    Auba not happy at being subbed.

  113. 113
    ATG says:

    I’m surprised Odegard is still on the pitch

  114. 114
    Bathgooner says:

    Not a happy BamBam.

    Not seen that from him before.

  115. 115
    ATG says:

    Brilliant defending from Bellerin

  116. 116
    ksn says:

    Bellerin stretches his foot up in time and clears in the nick of time but has injured himself in the process.

  117. 117
    Steve T says:

    Arteta is a genius. You can never have too many right backs on the subs bench.

  118. 118
    ksn says:

    Chambers getting ready as Bellerin probably can’t continue.

  119. 119
    Countryman100 says:

    Right backs dropping like flies

  120. 120
    ksn says:

    They hit the bar twice.

  121. 121
    ClockEndRider says:

    Impressed with Tierney. Not impressed with Gabriel.

  122. 122
    Countryman100 says:

    Jesus. Chelsea hit the bar twice. SIX BLOODY MINUTES!

  123. 123
    Countryman100 says:

    Great save from Leno.

  124. 124
    ksn says:

    We need to keep hold of the ball for some time and run the clock down.

  125. 125
    ksn says:

    Partey booked for diving.

  126. 126
    Countryman100 says:

    That’s a penalty

  127. 127
    Steve T says:

    Never a dive from Partey. He just shit himself.

  128. 128
    ClockEndRider says:

    Luisa was sent off fo4 accidental co tract. Partey gets a yellow for being in the end of it.

  129. 129
    ksn says:

    Odegaard uses his right foot to clear! Corner but saved.

  130. 130
    Countryman100 says:

    Well that is a great, very hard fought win against the form team in the league. Well played Arsenal!

  131. 131
    ksn says:

    1-0 to the Arsenal!

  132. 132
    bt8 says:

    3 points is the joints

  133. 133
    Bathgooner says:

    Amazing. Hard work earns victory. Elneny a worthy MotM. St Totteringham’s Day is still on.

  134. 134
    Countryman100 says:

    We do the double over the chavs. Have some of that!

  135. 135
    ksn says:

    We were shit but did we fight. Saved Arteta’s blushes.

  136. 136
    Osakamatt says:

    wot C100 said @130
    Well done to MA and the lads👍👍

  137. 137
    Uplympian says:

    Easy peasy – never in doubt 🙄

  138. 138
    Steve T says:

    Well fuck me. At least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask.

    I’m honestly not quite sure what happened there. It’s certainly a bet I would have lost.

  139. 139
    ksn says:

    .. but we fought.

  140. 140
    Countryman100 says:

    One point behind Spurs. They have three to play we have two. Shitting yourselves yet marsh dwellers?

  141. 141
    Cynic says:

    Clever it was.

    Weren’t shit, played a very good side with all the effort and application you’d want from the Arsenal. No passengers tonight, which as nice to see.

  142. 142
    Osakamatt says:

    Nice to see the bar lively but blimey
    you’re a tough crowd 😁

  143. 143
    Countryman100 says:

    Forever in our shadow you will be
    You know where you can stick your celery
    Oh Chelsea
    Oh Chelsea
    Money cannot buy you history

  144. 144
    Bathgooner says:

    There will be some weary, weary legs tomorrow morning. Ibuprofen all round tonight after cocoa.

  145. 145
    Bosnian Gooner says:

    Agree with Cynic @141. Beating this lot gives me enormous pleasure… and we did it twice this season! ESR is my man! COYG

  146. 146
    TTG says:

    What happened was that we played with determination and organisation and defended with courage . The bar would have been up in arms if we’d capitulated like we have in the past here .I’ve watched the Chavs school Atletico , Real , West Ham and Citeh ( twice recently ) and we beat them the only way we were ever likely to . Credit to our lads especially Elneny and ESR who ran their legs off and our central defenders . We’ve got more points than them since Christmas! If only we could play at home

  147. 147
    North Bank Ned says:

    That one definitely goes in the hard-fought three points column. The team dug deep and deserved all the luck they got. And a hat-tip to Arteta for setting us up to blunt a team that has found a rich vein of form.

  148. 148
    North Bank Ned says:

    The way things are, TTG, we only want to play away…

  149. 149
    ATG says:

    Hats off for the effort from the lads, attacking wise and possession when it really matters still long way off.

    Much needed three points indeed!

  150. 150
    ksn says:

    We are away to Crystal Palace but we don’t play well against them and then Brighton at home. Win both and hope other results go for us.

  151. 151
    Countryman100 says:

    We are so close to being a top team

    But if my aunty had balls she’d be my uncle

  152. 152
    bt8 says:

    Well in ksn at the tonhalf

  153. 153
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A league double against Chelsea after 17 years is enjoyable indeed.

    I just hope our footballers will recapture sometimes in near future basic football abilities like trapping, passing accurately, holding on to the ball under pressure etc.

    ESR my MOtM. He was the only one showing courage on the ball while never neglecting the defensive duties. Elneny running him close …

  154. 154
    scruzgooner says:

    had to stop watching at 85 minutes, then just finished the last ten or so. wow. i thought we were done with zouma’s header, leno mis-hit that, but a save is a save.

    i guess we opted for “defend, only hitting on a rare counter, for 45 minutes and win the game”. my heart is still racing.

    esr and mo’neny dual men of the match. they were excellent. partey redeemed himself from his early passing failure until his dive, which was a bit shit. that pass from laca was sweet, though. if auba is unhappy, that could be a problem, but we won the game, so he should be happy now. i wasn’t pleased with bellerin for saka, but getting on a real right back opened up the game on the left, oddly enough. our best spell was those five minutes where tierney, auba, and esr interchanged well, once hector was on.

    and we defended stoutly that last ten minutes. i am very proud of our team. well done, arsenal.

  155. 155
    scruzgooner says:

    whisper it, but that’s three straight victories in the pl. imagine if we’d started that sort of streak a couple weeks earlier…we might already be in the europe places at this point.

    who has to win what for 7th place to be an europa league spot?

  156. 156
    ksn says:

    C100 andBt8, thanks, very lucky today to win with the way we played and further evidence of luck with the ton and tonhalf.

  157. 157
    Countryman100 says:

    Scruz I thought that was a penalty as did smudger. Ankles clearly tapped. Far more of a pen than Luiz.

  158. 158
    scruzgooner says:

    yeah, not so sure C100; they may have been tapped, but then he takes a step or so and collapsed…not a good look, and certainly not enough doubt for var to step in and overrule.

  159. 159
    Steve T says:

    Just saying.

  160. 160
    Countryman100 says:

    Our man Henry of The Times

  161. 161
    scruzgooner says:

    both henry winter and george allison spot on this evening. and stevet. 🙂

  162. 162
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Scruz — 7th will not get us Europa but the next (new) tier, Conference League. ManCity already win the league cup.
    Assuming both Chelsea and Leicester keep their position in the top 4, 5th and 6th will get Europa. We will need to win both of our remaining games and hope at least two of the teams in 5-7 as well as Everton behind us with games in hand all slip. Possible, but unlikely …

  163. 163
    Osakamatt says:

    Our new bunny Dr F 😃

  164. 164
    Osakamatt says:

    And just my own opinion but
    I don’t want to be in the Conference

  165. 165
    scruzgooner says:

    thanks, faustus! i’ll pass on that. let’s get 8th, and start next season on a winning streak of 5 league games…

  166. 166
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Matt @ 164: I think a season out of Europe to really focus on the league with the midweek distraction — and especially with the Europa the sense of a fallback if league positions don’t get better — will help a lot with the rebuild. The football is too unpredictable, formless and inconsistent…

  167. 167
    TTG says:

    With the greatest respect we weren’t shit . We were forced on the defensive by a side that I think will win the Champions League and the FA Cup . But we didn’t concede and we’ve beaten them three times in a row . What I think you mean was that we didn’t play sparkling attacking football . Did you see the two Madrids here ? We played MUCH better than they did . If we had defended like this all season we might have reached the Champions League

  168. 168
    Doctor Faustus says:

    @166: I meant “without” the midweek distraction.
    Think of the top 4 as an absolute minimum and don’t let the team slip up. Any lost point in the league should lead to massive reaction by the coaching staff and players. The mentality of every game is a must-win one needs to be inculcated …

  169. 169
    TTG says:

    Gooner Henry is right . The big area to improve is central midfield. Partey may be ok but we need much more mobility .
    Interesting to read the Athletic today- So Xhaka, Bellerin , Willian and Leno want to leave . That’s just about the list I’d like to leave as well

  170. 170
    Osakamatt says:

    If players want to leave then by all
    means let’s help them on their way.
    Perhaps they could help us by
    finding someone who wants them.

  171. 171
    scruzgooner says: