Feed on

And so we come to the end of the pier.

Metaphorically, at least. Brighton and Hove Albion are our opponents for the final game of the season on Sunday, but we — and it is we as 10,000 lucky fans will be present — take on the Seagulls in landlocked N5, not Sussex-by-the-Sea.

Arteta’s team has seemed more candy floss than a stick of rock more often than we would have liked, too fluffy a confection to hold together for any time, especially in the first half of the season. There are signs, though, that he is slowly changing the recipe for the better.

We began the season with three wins in four games. However, a bad run from the middle of October to the middle of December — P10 W1 D2 L7 — coinciding with the internal problems Arteta mentioned in his pre-match press conference, proved a significant setback. A solid recovery over year’s end — P6 W5 D1 L0 — was followed by a mini-slump to mid-February — P5 W1 D1 L3. Then came a middling patch of five games comprising two wins, two draws and a loss, followed by a strong run-in — P7, W5 D1, L1 that we can make P8 W6.

The glass-half-full optimist would say those numbers show improvement post-cabal clearcut, albeit halting, and that the team would have qualified for Europe comfortably with a couple more wins in games they should have won (Villa, Wolves, for example). The glass-half-empty pessimist would point to an Achilles heel of inconsistency and a lack of depth and quality throughout the squad.

There will be post-mortems to come from some of this bar’s finest pens. Suffice it to say here that the manager, the management and the owners still have some heavy lifting ahead of them this Summer.

Premiership Permutations

Beating Brighton will guarantee ninth place in the table that does not lie. Against all the odds, it could get us eighth and even seventh. With the latter would come a spot on UEFA’s new charabanc tour of the less pronounceable parts of Europaland.

We do not control our fate. Everton and the neighbours finish above us if they win at Man City and Leicester, respectively, regardless of our result. If they draw or lose and we win, we leapfrog them. If we all draw, the status quo ante prevails.

If we draw and Everton lose, we’d swap places on goal difference, but with a similar combination of results, unless Leicester can beat the Marshdwellers by eight clear goals, there would be no St. Tott’s day. That game may turn on which of Vardy or Kane has the more severe inner-ear infection on the day.

A loss and a Leeds win would drop us to tenth. A draw would probably be sufficient to retain ninth on goal difference in the event of a Leeds win.

The Opposition

Graham Potter likes to set up a 3-5-2 formation or a close variant against the big teams. That is how his side defeated the ten oilmen of City on Tuesday. However, Potter has had success for both Brighton and Östersunds against us with a back four. He scrapped that for a back three and lost in December’s game at the Amex.

I fancy he will return to a back four at the Ems, with captain Lewis Dunk set to return from suspension and his first choice wing-backs in a five, Solly March and the promising, 20-year-old Tariq Lamptey, out injured.

Joel Veltman and Davy Propper are also off games because of injury, as is Danny Welbeck, formerly of this parish. The Guendouzi-baited/baiting Neal Maupay will be serving a red-card suspension. Brighton is the only club to receive more reds than us this season.

The Seagulls have struggled to convert their chances all season, scoring just 41 goals. With top-scorers Maupay (8) and Welbeck (5) out, hopefully, that will continue for one more game.

The Line-Up

Hector Bellerin is our certain absentee, having bruised a bone, possibly while packing. The definitely departing David Luiz faces a late fitness test for a valedictory appearance. There has been radio silence on KT3, who came off early against Palace, and Aubameyang, who looked like he was still suffering debilitating after-effects of his malaria. No news is good news, one hopes, but doubts.

Matt Ryan is ineligible to play against his parent club. Rúnarsson on the bench? We can only hope for Okonkwo or Hein.

With nothing to rotate for and barely more to hope for, I would expect Arteta to start the strongest team fitness permits. He will want to end on a high in front of fans for the first time in what seems like forever.


Chambers — Luiz — Gabriel — Tierney

Partey — Xhaka

Saka — ESR — Pépé


Holding for David Luiz if the Brazilian fails his fitnesses test. Xhaka to play left-back if KT3 is out, with Elneny partnering Partey in the double pivot. Lacazette in if Auba is out, though I’d prefer Martinelli.

The Holics’ Pound

The house favourite 3-0 is available at 27/2. If you reckon we will not add to our miserable tally of three home clean sheets this season, 3-1 is available at fourteens.

I am plunging in off the end of the metaphorical pier with a forward six somersault, half-twist dive to end the season with a splash — 5-0, available at 85-1. It has been five seasons since we’ve gone through a campaign without scoring five in at least one game, and Brighton is the only Premiership side that we have never put five past. It would be so typical of this team for it all to come together with a final, if futile, flourish.

Wherever you are, enjoy the final game, ‘holics. Next season has to be better.

If you haven’t yet read ‘Fan Memories of the ’71 Double’ Part 1 or Part 2, Clive’s ‘Personal Memories of the Road to the ’71 Cup Final‘, or Ray’s ‘Personal Overview of the 1970-71 Season‘, click on the links to catch up with these wonderful reminiscences. And be sure to watch both Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the video conversations with Bob Wilson and Pat Rice; Episode 2 is also linked below. Our auction of signed memorabilia is still open and about to enter its final week – check out the items below.


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 few 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!

THE AUCTION: It’s nearly OVER! Less than 12 hours to go…

We are also pleased to remind you that our auction of signed 1970-71 Double memorabilia is open for bids through 23 May! 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.

114 Drinks to “All Things Brighton Beautiful”

  1. 1
    Bathgooner says:

    A delectable seaside preview, Ned. It brings back memories of inedible rock and candy floss from Portobello and I can almost smell the sea air and hear the skirl of the gulls. Brighton should certainly be on the beach already (despite the weather) so I do have a small shred of hope that we can achieve your 5-0 prediction. No dissent on your line-up except I can’t see Luiz starting – he’ll get a 10 minute farewell run out at most and Auba will be bloody lucky to retain his place after that shit show on our last outing.

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    A fine job Ned! Here’s looking forward to an uplifting end to the season.

  3. 3
    Countryman100 says:

  4. 4
    TTG says:

    Great preview Ned for a game few Gooners can decide about . Of course we want to win but do we want another excruciating campaign of Thursday/ Sunday matches in a competition that is almost embarrassing to enter , especially if you don’t win it ?
    I think we will do extremely well to win tomorrow. Brighton are well-drilled and we are pretty appalling at home . I’m going to suggest we will win 2-1 but my head tells me 1-1 .Whatever I do hope we play with some dash for the 10,000 fans who will be there

  5. 5
    Trev says:

    Excellent, Ned !

    What will we find at the end of the pier ? Hopefully a rollercoaster ride to that 5-0 win.
    We could do with a bit more punch and a little less Judy from our attack, which should see either Lacazette or, hopefully, Martinelli given a start. I agree Aubameyang looks anything but fit right now.

    Can’t see the point in playing Luiz at this juncture personally and I’m glad but not surprised
    You’ve found no place for Willian. They, and their wages, should both be gone by the autumn and some of the savings might be used to persuade Joe Willock to forget the Toon and bring some energy back to our midfield.

    Thanks to the monks for another season of stats.

  6. 6
    TTG says:

    If there are any Holics who haven’t contributed to our Willow Double Appeal and would like to do so all you have to do to access the fundraising page is to touch the Willow button on this page . It’s a very fine charity and has strong Arsenal associations

  7. 7
    Countryman100 says:

    Dear all. What TTG said @ 6. If you haven’t given yet, please do so. Any amount, no matter how small, is hugely appreciated.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    TTG says:

    Anyone who takes the ‘ what a classless club we’ve now become, sacking a club legend’ approach clearly hasn’t been watching the U23s this season . I watched a recent game against Blackburn at home and the team was totally dysfunctional, very unbalanced in its set-up and many of the young players looked demoralised.

  10. 10
    bt8 says:

    Great stuff Ned. Hoping we end this up and down season on the up to dial up the optimistic tinge to the monks’ Summer holiday plans. Not to suggest actually giving the any time off of course. 👍🏼

  11. 11
    bt8 says:

    the = them

    Good thing Danny Welbeck is not playing to prevent any recurrence of the curse of the ex-Gunner. Would have liked to see him running around out there but they probably have others who can haunt us quite effectively. 5-0 is the bet of an optimistic punter and one that would make the tinge all the rosier but it’s 3-2 for me to account for the same number of goals by both teams.

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cannot say I am surprised by the Bould news. The U-23s barely avoided relegation this season. Balogun and Cottrell apart, none of the regulars appear to be knocking on the first team door. The highly-rated prospects (Azeez, Patino, Cirjan, Hart-Taylor, Hutchison, Flores, Monlouis, Norton-Cuffy) all seem to be pushing up from the U-18s.

  13. 13
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks Ned, a fine preview with
    every permutation laid out for our
    Like the 5-0 and the side looks about
    right too. Hopefully Luiz will get a final
    game as moments of madness aside
    he’s been a class act.
    Ideally, a St.Totts day and no euro
    competition for me

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    And thanks to all above for the kind words.

    Plenty of KT3 in the pre-match training photos, so that is encouraging. No clues about who will be on the bench with the spare pair of gloves, though. Perhaps it will be Saka. It must be the only position he hasn’t played yet this season. I’d go with Xhaka, except those second-nature backwards passes would be costly…

  15. 15
    Osakamatt says:

    Always liked Bouldy and wish him
    well with whatever he does now.
    Thanks for the link C100

  16. 16
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A supremely enjoyable preview Ned, especially how you evoke the seaside references with just the right degree of generality for the rest of us “never-visited-Brighton” gang to not lose our way into. 😊

    Arsenal this season though can be said lost their way into a morass of unease that despite the last few weeks of results still finds us wading our way back into the solid ground of serenity that this club had lately made the mistake of taking for granted.

    I am strongly in your camp of let’s end the season as well as possible to help with the rebuild that’s essential for the long journey way back into the top. Along with Luiz and Bellerin I think we are most likely to see Xhaka, Willian, Cedric, Dani and even Ødegaard and Lacazette too for the last time in an Arsenal match day squad.

    5-0 would be marvelous. Here’s to ending the season reminding everyone — especially us the fans — that Arsenal is still capable of playing scintillating football.

    Congratulations everyone who will be going to the match tomorrow! I will cheer for you while joining you in cheering the team.

    Come on Arsenal!

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    Jorge Bird on Bouldie’s departure:

    Arsenal sack U23s coach Steve Bould – the right decision

    Respectful, but not too difficult to read between the lines.

  18. 18
    Osakamatt says:

    Iceland fourth, an each way win TTG?

  19. 19
    TTG says:

    I think I would rather someone took a dump on my head than watch Eurovision but I did watch the voting. The zero vote for Britain was no surprise but underlines the enmity that Europe has for a country that consistently produces a range of music way superior to any other country in the EU .
    We didn’t have an each way bet and we have threatened our record producer mate with friendly violence . He won’t be suggesting the winner next year !

  20. 20
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Nice preview NBN
    Goal machine Willian to miss out? Unbelievable.
    4-0, no worries.

  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@16: Thank you. I put in just enough seaside references so you wouldn’t think it was the Brighton near you. 🙂

  22. 22
    bt8 says:

    Congratulations to St. Johnstone on their Scottish cup double, and a great coup for the underdogs.

  23. 23
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned@21: 😂 The landlocked Brighton here that’s a bit more than a stone’s throw away used to rather resemble — say around 15-20 years back — Greene’s pre-war Brighton in it’s unrelenting seediness. It has improved significantly in recent years.

    I will be interested to know who will take on Steve Bould’s role. Freddie did a good job at the academy mentoring players like Saka/ESR/Joe … some other ex-Arsenal player? TR7 I think has his coaching badge now and some experience with Sparta, and given his footballing intelligence and cool head can be a good candidate. Santi is still playing …

  24. 24
    Osakamatt says:

    😄 Haven’t heard any of the songs
    so I can’t comment on whether
    Britannia should have ruled the
    airwaves this time

  25. 25
    Osakamatt says:

    Nearly nailed it Ned.
    Rob in as you said for Luiz but
    Odegaard starts instead of

  26. 26
    North Bank Ned says:

    I don’t begrudge Saka a rest, OM. He deserves it.

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    Cheers all. Let’s win this.

  28. 28
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks for seeing the season off in style NBN – an excellent preview. Now let’s see the team see match your effort. A good team selected to win against a dogged opponent – a hard fought 2-0 to the good guys. COYR

  29. 29
    Bathgooner says:

    I really cannot see Everton beating Shitteh. So it’s a choice between the Intertoto Mk2 or St Totteringham’s Day. Que sera, sera. I want us to crush Brighton as a prelude to a renaissance season. If Lesta freeze against the Swampies and St Totteringham remains six feet under then so be it.

    Go win, Arsenal!

  30. 30
    ksn says:

    Thanks for a very positive review, NBN. I would love to see a 5-0 win but my head says that is very unlikely. I don’t see us keeping a clean sheet, so i am going for a 2-1 win for Arsenal. COYG.

  31. 31
    scruzgooner says:

    two shots from outside the box in the first six minutes. nice.

  32. 32
    Countryman100 says:

    Everton and Spurs both losing.

  33. 33
    ksn says:

    Leicester lead 1-0 off a penalty by Vardy.

  34. 34
    ksn says:

    Man City 2-0 Everton.

  35. 35
    scruzgooner says:

    destined for europe and st totts? COYG!!

  36. 36
    Countryman100 says:

    For the seventh game in a row, Joe Willock scores for Newcastle.

  37. 37
    scruzgooner says:

    come back, joe!

  38. 38
    ksn says:


  39. 39
    ksn says:

    £40 m for Willock!

  40. 40
    Trev says:

    Crying out for Martinelli to turn these big defenders.
    Auba still not looking fit.

  41. 41
    scruzgooner says:

    the goonerholicsforever.com/willow auction has ended. congratulations to the high bidders!

  42. 42
    bt8 says:

    Totteringham’s to play for. COYG big second half.

  43. 43
    Steve T says:

    Yet another laboured, uninspiring half of football it would be nice to see us go up a few gears and inject some urgency into the second half.

  44. 44
    bathgooner says:

    Auba has looked distinctly under the weather. It sounded as if he had a serious dose of Malaria the diagnosis of which was delayed. Malaria isn’t just like a dose of the flu so it’s no surprise that he looks even further off the pace than he did at the beginning of the season. I can’t see him raising his game today. I see no point making him run around in the cold rain.

  45. 45
    Steve T says:

    And getting a few into the box? That would be nice.

  46. 46
    bathgooner says:

    Scruz @41. It hasn’t. It’s 4.03 GMT at the moment and has another 57 minutes to run. Rules is rules!

  47. 47
    bathgooner says:

    Well done Pépé!

  48. 48
    TTG says:

    I agree re Auba Bath .
    He is really suffering and I suspect this may be something he’s suffered for a long time . But we have PEPE

  49. 49
    scruzgooner says:


  50. 50
    bt8 says:

    Pepe definitely has two legs to stand on. Brilliant !

  51. 51
    scruzgooner says:

    baff, when did it change from 8 to 7 hours difference?

  52. 52
    bathgooner says:

    Scruz, it hasn’t changed. GMT has been 1 hour behind BST since the clocks went forward.

  53. 53
    scruzgooner says:

    fixed, baff.

  54. 54
    scruzgooner says:

    huh. pain in the butt, these time differences.

  55. 55
    Osakamatt says:

    Penalty for me.
    Still St Totts on COYGS!!

  56. 56
    bathgooner says:


  57. 57
    ksn says:


  58. 58
    bt8 says:

    Pepe Pepe

    En Fuego

  59. 59
    scruzgooner says:

    pepe on fire!

  60. 60
    Osakamatt says:

    pepe on 🔥🔥🔥

  61. 61
    scruzgooner says:

    and a hell of a nutmeg.

  62. 62
    Steve T says:

    2 top finishes from Pepe.

  63. 63
    Countryman100 says:

    See all it took to get Pepe scoring was Cynic dissing him in this bar. Hold my beer, he said.

  64. 64
    scruzgooner says:

    time for five?

  65. 65
    scruzgooner says:

    i think it was being negatively compared to theo…

  66. 66
    scruzgooner says:

    and leicester up again! oh st totts, we beseech you.

  67. 67
    ksn says:

    Partey hits the bar! Saka on for ESR.

  68. 68
    scruzgooner says:

    nearly partey time…

  69. 69
    ksn says:

    Odegaard doesn’t have the strength to hold off players; twice he was pushed off the ball in the last five mins.

  70. 70
    ksn says:

    Spurs equalise 2-2.

  71. 71
    ksn says:

    Auba off Laca on.

  72. 72
    Countryman100 says:

    Tots 2-2

  73. 73
    ksn says:

    Martinelli on for Odegaard.

  74. 74
    ksn says:

    Bale scores and spurs lead 2-3.

  75. 75
    Countryman100 says:

    Fuck. Spurs score

  76. 76
    ksn says:

    Shit, shit, shit.

  77. 77
    scruzgooner says:

    fuck bale.

  78. 78
    ksn says:

    2-0 win for us but not enough to get us Europe.

  79. 79
    ksn says:

    We did our bit but other results didn’t go our way.

  80. 80
    Osakamatt says:

    4-2 Lesta really are useless to man
    or beast

  81. 81
    bathgooner says:

    A better than average performance for this season. But still only a shadow of our former selves. We threw a European place away long ago this season. We simply haven’t been good enough and that must change.

    If the Scum have won at Lesta they deserve the Intertoto Mk II for better or worse. If we can only bemoan St Totteringham, we’ve fallen a long, long way. We should bemoan our hopeless management of the club and its resources for at least 5 years. Que sera, sera.

    Bissouma and Pépé look best of mates as they walk off. The former would make a big difference to our midfield. The rebuild of a smaller but higher quality squad starts now.

  82. 82
    bt8 says:

    All next season we don’t have to travel to Shitzograd whereas Sp@rs do. Results didn’t go our way, my arse.

  83. 83
    ksn says:

    Chelsea lost but got into Chsmpions League because Leicester also lost.

  84. 84
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ain’t that the truth, OM.

  85. 85
    ksn says:

    Bt8 @82, see your point, we can concentrate on our league but qualifying would have given our youngsters some experience playing in the Conference league and helping them step up to the first team. I feel bad that for the first time in twenty five years we didn’t qualify for Europe.

  86. 86
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8: Europa Conference football will mean a two-legged tie for the neighbours before the end of August.

  87. 87
    bathgooner says:

    There’s definitely an upside to not qualifying for the Intertoto. However the decision makers in the club have to make the right decisions about signings, departures, investment and youth development. The coach has to learn from his mistakes this season and develop a bit more courage and be prepared to give the attackers more freedom to express themselves as circumstances dictate. Otherwise, the slide will continue.

  88. 88
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@81: Bissouma and Pépé will know each other from LOSC Lille, where they overlapped in 2017-18. They also have a Côte d’Ivoire connection. Although he was born in France, Pepe has Ivorian citizenship and plays his international football for Les Éléphants. Bissouma was brought up in Mali and plays his international football for Les Aigles, but he was born in Côte d’Ivoire and is a dual national.

  89. 89
    Cynic says:

    Missed it all thanks to Virgin Media, which decided to go off for just over two hours. Still… did Josh Kroenke make it out of the stadium in one piece? 🙂

  90. 90
    Countryman100 says:

    Really? I watched on Virgin media and it was fine. Must have been a local thing. You missed a master class from Pepe. Do watch MOTD.

  91. 91
    North Bank Ned says:

    We are where we are, which is where we ended last season in eighth. Five more points than last season and four games more won. Twenty-five points off first place instead of forty-three. Six points off a top-four place instead of ten. But 13 games lost against ten and 55 goals scored against 56. Thirty-nine goals conceded against 48. Only Man City and Chelsea conceded fewer. End of term report: Showing some signs of improvement but could do very much better.

  92. 92
    Cynic says:

    There was a number of areas that went pop on their network today. Still it wasn’t a dead loss, I popped next door to check theirs was dossed up as well and got molested by two miniature bulldogs, then was given a 13 Amp fuse for my toaster, which also died this morning.

    Which is a better Sunday than usual.

  93. 93
    bt8 says:

    Everton had a good half season. Unfortunately for them, the good half was the first half. Arsenal’s good half season exactly the opposite, and the second half is the time to switch in rather than off. Hats off to Carlo

  94. 94
    Steve T says:

    Everything that Bath said @81

    It’s been a strange old seasons due to it being strange and difficult times. But we are so far short of where we need to be. I’m not convinced by Arteta. I will happily give him a proper season to see if he is up to the task. But as Bath says, the hierarchy of this club is a total shambles. I have little to no faith with regards to them being able to run The Arsenal.

    It would have been nice to raise a glass to St Totts. However, I for one am not disappointed in the slightest that we are not in the Ryman Europa.

    Season ticket renewals out soon no doubt. Anyone fancy a seat in block 4?

  95. 95
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@93: Remember all the chatter at the time about how we had made the wrong choice over Ancelotti and Everton the right one?

    On a separate note, it was our home record that was so lamentable
    W8 D4 L7 GF24 GA21 GD3 Pts28
    But it was a weird season. That was still the ninth-best home record in the Premiership, and our away record, W10 D3 L6 GF31 GA18 GD13 Pts 33, was only seventh-best.

  96. 96
    ATG says:

    We have not been good enough this season and there are number of factors that have caused this. Our EL exit summed it up for me. Strange times for everyone but the way our owners have neglected this club for years is the true reason for our shortcomings. This has been years in the making and if they are not willing to put this club back where it belongs they need to sell and leave. The SL fiasco has surely given a kick up the arse on that front you would hope.

    I’m also not convinced by Arteta, however I’m happy to give him another full season. Edu needs to pull his socks and get decent players in the summer. It wont be easy by any means especially with us not being in Europe.

    Busy summer ahead of us! Let’s hope we can still get some decent players and no Chelsea rejects please!

  97. 97
    bt8 says:

    Chelsea 2015/16 Final league position
    Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
    10 Chelsea 38 12 14 12 59 53 +6 50

    Maybe nobody needs reminding but it’s not a bad time to point out that it is possible to follow a season like ours, or that one, with a great summer’s preparations and a huge improvement the next season.

  98. 98
    TTG says:

    That awful run between October and December and then terrible performances against Fulham and Everton are the reasons why we finished where we didAuba and Willian had awful seasons . I strongly suspect Auba has been physically ailing with Malaria for some time before it was diagnosed. If he hasn’t been ill then we need to find a buyer for him .
    Today I thought Odegaard was back to his creative best and I felt Holding was very good again as he has been all season. We have the third best defence in the league a fac5 which has passed a lot of people by .
    I think we could recruit most of our needs from Brighton- Ryan, Lamptey and Bissouma but we need another 10 and we won’t be able to do that without selling off a lot of deadwood

  99. 99
    TTG says:

    I meant a number 10 not ten more players

  100. 100
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cheeky ton?

  101. 101
    North Bank Ned says:

    I don’t mind if I do.

  102. 102
    TTG says:

    If only we had a cheeky striker like that Ned!

  103. 103
    Osakamatt says:

    A fair summary of things TTG, And not sure
    if we even can but I wouldn’t sign Ødegaard.

  104. 104
    Osakamatt says:

    Well in Ned, them eggs were
    well-poached 😃

  105. 105
    North Bank Ned says:

    Channelling your inner Trev, OM?

  106. 106
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@98: Not unnoticed at Castle Ned. See @91.

    I agree that Holding has had a good season. He is not a flashy, last-ditch do-or-die defender, but he is quietly efficient. He has played a lot (30 games), which must have helped. His Opta stats show him a better defender than David Luiz, Mari or Gabriel this season, but his overall performance index number is the lowest of the four.

  107. 107
    bt8 says:

    Ned. The only thing that tells me is that either the Opta stats or the overall performance index is nothing more than a bunch of hokum, and possibly both of them. Either way, Rob has had a good season, become an important member of the squad and usually the first team, and ought to be pleased with his season.

  108. 108
    scruzgooner says:

    about future captain rob, it’s the capitola effect, folks. it takes a couple years to manifest, in some cases. 🙂

  109. 109
    Cynic says:

    We have the third best defence in the league

    Which is a miracle when you think of how many times we’ve managed to give the opposition cheap goals and how often the manager has been in a post-match presser moaning about it.

  110. 110
    OsakaMatt says:

    I was Ned😁

  111. 111
    OsakaMatt says:

    Rob has had a good season. He, Calum, Mari and KT have all been better than I was expecting back at the start of the season way back when.
    Gabriel and Luiz have been fine too, all of them have made mistakes at times but I believe the table doesn’t lie and we have a good defence. Personally I thought Cedric did ok too though obviously MA didn’t. Hector failed to hold down a place and I guess will be leaving this summer.

  112. 112
    ksn says:

    TTG @98, agree about buying Ryan and Bissouma from Brighton but I would stay away from Lamptey. Lamptey is a good, speedy player but he is short (5’5”) and very injury prone. Max Aarons from Norwich is a better right back option.
    I still think Buendia from Norwich would be a good buy, though I take on board Osaka Matt’s caution that he is still to prove himself in the EPL. He had a terrific season and helped Norwich win the Championship and he has also been called up to the Argentine national team ahead of Dybala. Buendia is a very good attacking midfielder who also loves getting back defending and winning the ball back, just what we want.

  113. 113
    ksn says:

    I agree with OM @103, I wouldn’t buy Odegaard. He had a few good games, but goes missing very often, doesn’t appear to have the strength or grit to play in physical EPL, though he is undoubtedly a top talent otherwise.

  114. 114
    Bathgooner says: