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Remember how you felt after the Manchester City game? #Arteta Out was trending on the less responsible Twitter feeds and C100 was wondering if he could invoice the club for a non-performance, a tank of petrol and two full English breakfasts. Middlesex Wanderers were amazingly top of the table and loving it. We were bottom with no points and no goals. Tonight North London is proudly, overwhelmingly RED after a first-half performance as good as we have seen from an Arsenal team for a very long time.

I watched today’s game from my sickbed. Please forgive a slightly truncated report which may lack a little cohesion but I haven’t been at my best today. I’ve posted two negative Covid tests so maybe NLD nerves played a part! I really didn’t expect such a tonic but the quality and vibrancy of that first half was wonderfully uplifting. We began with pace, zip and intelligent movement. Goals looked inevitable. Let’s look at how they arrived.

On 12 minutes Saka bewildered the S***s defence before turning the ball across for ESR to pass the ball home 

Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0 – Smith Rowe 12 minutes 

After the goal Tottenham had a bit of possession but a blistering Arsenal counter-attack on 27 minutes began with Xhaka who received a hospital ball from Ramsdale. He turned the ball on to Tierney who passed it to Aubameyang, who held the ball up today better than I’d ever seen him do. Auba was on the halfway line when he received it and he simply flicked it into the path of ESR and made for the S***s box. ESR tore through the Middlesex right flank and turned the ball across for Aubameyang to direct the ball into the far corner. Sky chose to make an issue of what I thought was a foul on Xhaka.

Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0 – Aubameyang 27 minutes 

The Grove was in ferment as the score reflected the vast superiority that Arsenal were exercising over a pedestrian, dispirited S***s side. Things got even better after Kane lost a challenge on the edge of our box and crisp passing from Thomas and Odegaard found ESR, driving out of our half. ESR passed the ball to Saka on the right of the S***s half and he drove at Dier in their box. Harry Kane desperately tried to get back into the game by sliding in on Saka but his challenge on Saka was incomplete and more of an assist than a tackle and Bukayo rolled the ball across Lloris and into the net.

Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0 – Saka 34 minutes 

In addition to the goals, we’d seen Partey foiled at the near post by Lloris and Auba crack the ball narrowly over. Apart from a missed free header by Kane, Tottenham created nothing. It was the biggest interval lead in a North London Derby since Sky started keeping records 

Half-time:  Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0 

The second half began with two shouts for penalties, one at each end and neither given. Gabriel was charged into as he attempted to meet a Tomayisu cross. Then to most Gooners’ amazement, White’s ill -timed challenge on Kane who as ever made a massive amount of it was not awarded by Craig Pawson. We were fortunate there and it may be Kane’s colossal overacting counted against him.

Arsenal dropped off to protect their lead, S***s brought on Skipp to replace the ineffectual Alli at half-time and many Arsenal legs seemed to tighten as their first half efforts took their toll and maybe a realisation of what they were achieving hit them. 

Kane forced a low save from Ramsdale, cleared by Tomayisu, and our new keeper tipped a Moura effort onto the angle of post and bar before he conceded his first goal as Arsenal keeper when he could only parry a Son drive into the corner 

Arsenal 3 Tottenham 1 – Son 79 minutes

The late concession led to a few nerves but sensible substitutions providing double coverage out wide enabled us to see out time without too many alarms 

Full-time: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 1 

So what conclusions can we draw? 

I may have mentioned in the blog being disconcerted late last season when the Marshdwelling element of my family suggested that only Aubameyang might get into the Tottnumb side. I think most of us saw an Arsenal nucleus that has been built on carefully that suggested much better times. Today was an affirmation of that. Most top sides have seven outstanding players of quality and character. Today we had Saka, ESR, Auba, Partey, Tierney and the superb Tomayisu who fitted that description. In addition Odegaard took up some wonderful positions though he coughed the ball up a little too much, Gabriel and White showed promise as a central defensive pair ( my concern is whether in a two White is physically strong enough) , Ramsdale looks everything that Leno isn’t and even Xhaka today played with strength and exuberance.

I think there has been a very good reaction from most Arsenal fans who actually support the team rather than troll from the sidelines. We’ve bought into a longer-term project which will require patience and resilience. We need clear signs of progress and a new generation we can believe in. I think we have exactly that in the squad Arteta is building. There will be setbacks and beating a very average Tottnumb side is not a complete vindication of what has happened since Arteta took over. But it is a very encouraging start 

That first eleven which we’d not been able to put on the pitch before is much more interesting, exciting and better coached than Tottnumb’s eleven. NES is an underwhelming coach who will find the flaccidity of this performance very hard to recover from.

Not only is North London RED but we may be on the cusp of a real revival of our fortunes. Arteta has certainly earned the opportunity to initiate his brand of football which was discernibly exciting and progressive today. 

Enjoy your bragging rights, Gooners! They are well-deserved on the basis of a fine afternoon in North London which is currently drenched in RED

89 Drinks to “Arsenal Blow Tottenham Away with Stunning First Half Performance.”

  1. 1
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    And proud.


  2. 2
    Bathgooner says:

    Second and equally proud.

    Great report at epic speed.

    Get well soon, mate.

  3. 3
    Esso says:

    Cheers Baff!

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    It’s a joyous day TTG. Do get well soon.

  5. 5
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Yesterday, i was chatting to a friend who I have got to know in the last couple of years through completely non-Arsenal connections.

    Yet, he is a guy of my own generation (in his 30s) who used to be a Highbury and Emirates regular. And he is pretty disillusioned with the way the club is going.

    That is a huge topic. All I wanted to say here, was that in response to his pessismism, I told him that I agreed with most of his points about the direction of modern football…

    but I love the craic on this site!

    I don’t wanna give my money to the Kroenkes. I get why he feels that the club has become a corporate entity, lacking in the identity that mattered so much to him.

    And who knows how the big picture will play out? Will we ever get that back?
    Honestly, I doubt it.

    But I do love the people in this bar. You lot are worth my time and effort. I am privileged to share this space with you all.

    So, when I spoke to a (very understandably) disillusioned Gooner recently, it was nice to acknowledge that I still care about the club so much because, in actual fact, I care about the GoonerHolics Forever crew.

    Football has changed so much. I tried to let it go for a while. But I came back into the fold.

    “Just when I thought I was out…”

    I guess all I wanna say is that when I was challenged by a ‘lapsed Gooner’ about why I still cared about what football has become… my answer was that I care about you lot and this place.

    Simple as that.

    All my love to Dave. But he has a lot to answer for. He taught me that an online forum could actually matter in my life. Bless him for that.

    P..S nice report TTG. I think of you inversely to how I think of Xhaka…

  6. 6
    Cent says:

    Good stuff, Ttg. Get well soonest.

    It was indeed one of our best performances under Arteta. What pleased me most was our bravery and directness, especially in the 1st half. COYG.

  7. 7
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Aww, hell.

    I lay my appreciation for all things on this website on the line… and then Cent turns up!

    Welcome home bro.

  8. 8
    Bathgooner says:

    GSD @5, you’ve brought a tear to my eye, mate.

    Much as I feel. I too feel somewhat detached from an organisation that has failed in recent years to demonstrate the qualities and traditional values of “the Bank of England Club”. But the tribalism runs deep and occasionally comes to the surface particularly when we face a traditional enemy.

  9. 9
    Countryman100 says:

    Lovely thoughts GSD. Hear hear to all of them.

  10. 10
    scruzgooner says:

    well laid on, ttg. sorry to hear you are ailing! be well, mate.

    oh, and what color is north london, again?

    gsd, you’re so right. thanks for putting it beautifully.


  11. 11
    scruzgooner says:

    and welcome back cent! lovely to see you.

  12. 12
    Cynic says:

    So what conclusions can we draw?
    None really. Only to be cautious with the optimism.

    I was reminded of the “We’ve got our Arsenal back” joy under Emery and we all know how things went.

    If that’s a true indication of how Tomiyasu plays, not just a one-off, we’ve found a proper defender.
    I was impressed with Ramsdale. I like his aggressive attitude and he seems to already have formed a bit of a bond with the blokes in front of him.
    Partey had a very good game, as did Xhaka, and Aubameyang looked like someone had plugged him into the mains today. Very lively, loved the Henry pose with the goal celebration.
    We look a far better team playing at pace. We always have and that’s why the tippy tappy shit drives me mad. We do half the opposition’s defending for them.

    Thierry Henry wearing a 93/94 replica was cool, until I noticed it was a replica replica and not a genuine Adidas replica from the era. I have always regretted eBaying mine.

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    First, I hope you are rapidly on the mend from whatever ails you, TTG.

    Second, well said, GSD@5.

    Third, good to see you in, Cent.

    Fourth, fair play to Xhaka, who had a good game, and to Arteta for getting his team selection right.

    Fifth, Cynic’s caution is well placed. We have to make the first-half performance today the norm, and not let it be the high-water mark of the season. The quality has now been assembled to do so, however. The potential in Arteta’s fast-paced, quick passing positional style is there to see, although I doubt many PL league coaches would take as long as NES did today to counter it tactically. His team just surrendered midfield until half-time. The challenge will be to keep playing at that pace deep into games and to the end of the season. There are only so many miles in ESR, Saka and Ødegaard’s legs. Some deft in-game and between game rotation is going to be needed on Arteta’s part so we can stay on the front foot and not just defend deeper and deeper to see out games.

    But for the next few hours, we can bask in the rosy-red glow of a most satisfying win.

  14. 14
    Silly Second Yella says:

  15. 15
    Bathgooner says:

    Cynic, you rightly temper the optimism generated by a stirring victory over the noisy neighbours.

    The game yields only three points but, given the circumstances in which we find ourselves, it has far greater significance than that. After starting the season with three defeats, despite the extremely extenuating circumstances on match day one followed by dispiriting defeats against the European Champions (who apparently know what they are) and the League Champions (with 10 men), we had a massive outburst of mass wailing and gnashing of teeth and cries for Arteta’s scalp. Two subsequent wins against Only Norwich and Only Burnley were then dismissed in many quarters as meaningless.

    In that context this match is a barometer of what this team can achieve. The slick passing and movement of the first half was a joy to behold as we blew the Marshies away and while the second half showed we are still a work in progress, we can be proud of our boys tonight, as TTG urges. It is just another three points, no guarantee of a turned corner (as you allude), no guarantee of a successful outcome to Arteta’s project and there’s a lot more work to be done to bring this team back to where we want to see it, but imagine where we would all be (players included) had we lost this match?

    One more brick in the wall. Onward!

  16. 16
    Tapera Doma says:

    A good day for the Kroenkes – Arsenal, Arsenal women & the RAMS (NFL – American football) all won their Sunday games.

  17. 17
    bt8 says:

    Great stuff, Arsenal.
    Ditto TTG, GSD and crew. COYG

  18. 18
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks TTG, hope you are well soon. A match report with the speed of The Arsenal second goal was a pleasure to read😃

  19. 19
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent review TTG! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    That first half performance most likely was the best football we played under Mikel. He had guided the team through some excellent tactical football on our way to the FA Cup win, especially against City and Chelsea, but the mixture of verve, pace, efficiency and tactical nous in that 45 minutes was unprecedented and offered a tantalizing glimpse into what might be possible if we continue to bring in new players with this kind of focus in scouting and Arteta continues his own evolution. There was a palpable sense of bravery and positivity in the team today, and full credit to Mikel to be able to send the players out in that mindset and getting the tactics spot on.

    Whereas the old old boy Auba and the old new boys ESR and Saka got the goals and assists, playing superbly, all the new new boys impressed too. Ødegaard was magnificent in everything he did, from pressing up front to dropping deep to offer outlets. Both him and Partey are perfect players to turn defense into attack in the blink of an eye. One of the nearly world class moment of the match was when Partey sent a perfect cross-field overhead pass to Auba and the captain’s first touch failed him. If he had cushioned it he would have been through to goal. Ramsdale’s fingertip save onto the bar was as memorable as the goals. The three matches that Tomiyasu has now played he has been completely unbeatable in the air (all the teams tried), and except for once or twice unbeatable on the ground. His attacking qualities will need to improve — which given what seems to be an incredible work ethic by all accounts would happen sooner than later — but defensively we haven’t had a right back this rock solid since Sagna.

    Auba deserves special praise for what he did today. He played in a role that he has rarely, if ever, has been asked to play: a target man. We played out from the back quite a few times — most notably for the second goal for which Xhaka handled Ramsdale’s poor pass with great alertness to turn it into attack — but we mixed it up equally with Ramsdale kicking straight to Auba and I don’t think I have ever seen him winning so many headers. I have been watching Auba play for a long time now, since those early raw days for St. Etienne, have never seen him perform in that role so well. He earned his right to pay homage to the Henry slide tonight: his outside of the boot — Giroud-esque, if I may say so, those flicks being one of the best part of Ollie’s game — flick to set ESR up on his run and then following up to place himself perfectly for a really smart finish was a great piece of football.

    Watching ESR and Saka accelerate in and around penalty box and attack the space thrillingly reminded me of their mentor throughout their academy days. I think Freddie deserves immense credit for the growth and maturity of those two sensational talents. There is a long way to go for them yet, but I am looking forward to them becoming Arsenal legends like their mentor …

  20. 20
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Arsenal women’s team crushed Man City 5-0 to go top of the league as well…good day for the club!

  21. 21
    Las says:

    Thanks TTG, Great report and great win. The best cure for whatever illness. Get well soon.
    That was what I missed most recently, playing with determination and disciplin, knowing what to do and stick to it. And the fighting spirit, mate .. when Xhaka run thruogh the whole pitch to press the ball … hats of.
    All was said above about ESE, Saka, Auba, Tomi san, Partey excellence, just one more praise to KT3 as he was quietly perfect as a left back even witout the usual runs and crosses, he was unbeatable. And credit to Arteta for the well choosed tactic.

  22. 22
    ClockEndRider says:

    Great report TTG. Get well very soon.
    Despit3 the fabulous football, great team play and spirit, the highlight of my day, from watching in Sky, was seeing a beaming Tony Adams just laughing at the ever more ridiculous, Easter Island- headed Graham Sourness , behaving like a 6 year old having a tantrum in the post match analysis. I will watch the game again today. And then watch his performance at least twice. He is the footballing equivalent of Violet Elizabeth Bott.

  23. 23
    Bathgooner says:

    CER @22, I had to look VEB up, having only ever read the original ‘Just William’ book some 60 years ago and never having seen any televised or movie adaptations from which the following clip presumably comes. A perfect analogy, I must add.

  24. 24
    Las says:

    I just checked the fixture list and there are four tough but winnable games ahead of us.
    Starting with Brighton away, then Palace and Villa home and Leicester in away.
    Dream on.

  25. 25
    Cynic says:

    Apologies if I rained on anyone’s parade yesterday, the Drink of Caution wasn’t meant in that way.

    Las – from previous drinks. If you enjoyed that video, his YouTube channel is full of good stuff and his MP3 page linked in the video description has free downloads of all the tracks he’s made, including some belters not on YouTube.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Trev says:

    Excellent report, Peter,

    and thank you for doing it all from your sick bed. I have clearly missed whatever your suffering from but here’s wishing you a speedy and full recovery.

  28. 28
    Uplympian says:

    An excellent match report TTG – sickness has not diminished your skills, wishing you a speedy recovery.
    It’s always pleasurable to put the Middlesex Mediocrities back in their box and playing some mesmerising football in doing so is the icing on the cake. 10/10 for everyone involved, even the Toblerone ( there’s a first time for everything 😉).
    Let’s hope the absence from europe this year can be turned into a benefit with more time on the training field & less fatigue.

  29. 29
    bathgooner says:

    Agreed C100 @25. Mike McDonald’s analyses are always excellent and extremely informative. Always a ‘must read’.

  30. 30
    ClockEndRider says:

    Bath @23 – yes exactly. That performance from the 70s Just William tv show is etched indelibly on my mind!

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@26: Thanks for the link. I thought the point about being composed when shooting and getting the right combination of power and accuracy was particularly well made. All three goals yesterday reflected that.

    Dr F@19: Spot on about Auba’s link-up play. Plus there was a spring to his step and a smile on his face that has been missing of late but were good to see back.

  32. 32
    Steve T says:

    After a manic few weeks I was very much looking forward to the NLD. Even more so as it was the first time that my 17 year old would get to experience it with me. The walk up from Highbury and Islington was engulfed in a sea of optimism. The mood was definitely positive and was only tempered slightly by the ridiculous queues at the turnstiles.

    Once inside, the mood was buoyant. It was clear that everyone was more than looking forward to what was about to unfold.

    I’m not going to summarise the game. That has been done extremely well by TTG and others in the drinks. I do have several other observations. The first goes to the crowd. From start to finish, the atmosphere was as good as I can remember. Positive from the very start and just non stop. A chorus of “Tottenham get battered “ at one stage in the second half went on for about 10 minutes. The rest was just electric.

    On the playing side, this was probably the first time that Arteta has been able to pick his preferred starting 11. For me, there was not one week link. Every single player put a major shift in and did their job. I’ve mentioned more than once about us playing with no direction, playing as if we were strangers and lacking any real direction. None of that was evident in this game. There was drive, passion and a cohesion that I’ve not seen for some time now.

    At the back, Ramsdale looked assured. His distribution decision making needs to improve, but I’m sure it will over time. The back four looked generally very solid. We now have a right back who can win balls in the air and who actually wants to be a right back.

    Partey looks to be the player we had hoped for. A few more games like that and he will be more than a force. One cross field pass to Auba was sublime. Saka and ESR were just brilliant all game. Auba worked as hard as I’ve ever seen him do. His goal celebration was fantastic.

    Ødegaard was also fantastic. His fitness levels must be through the roof considering the amount of work he had put in. He epitomised the effort and work rate of the whole team with his constant running and pressing. The final word goes to my old favourite, Xhaka. I’d still swap him for a toaster, but he probably had his best game in an Arsenal shirt. Now I know that’s not setting the bar too high, but credit where credit is due. There were a couple of his famous ridiculous attempts at a tackle, but on the whole, he was very good.

    For me, it was a fitting way to end that manic couple of weeks. To be able to share it with Ben was also special. I know his Monday at school will now be far more enjoyable.

    This side will always need time. As will Arteta. I know it was only the Middlesex Comedy Club but you can only beat what is in front of you. We are right not to get over excited, but for the first time, we have seen what could be. Patience may well be the key, but there was enough on display for more than a degree of optimism.

    All in all, a very enjoyable day out. Get well soon TTG.

  33. 33
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks Steve. Top eye witness report.

  34. 34
    scruzgooner says:

    get in, steve. i enjoyed reading that! i’m glad you and ben got to witness it, and share it.

  35. 35
    TTG says:

    Many thanks for the numerous good wishes . I’ve not felt sick and poorly for some time and it did diminish my ability to celebrate last night . But that’s a small price to pay .
    I find myself as a TV viewer of events yesterday very much in agreement with Steve T.
    I think there are several very important gains this season – Ramsdale has got a lot more presence than Leno and interacts well with the crowd most of whom should hang their head in shame for what many said before his signing ‘ Tomi ‘ is a huge find . We’ve so missed a good right-back for years ( I’ve never been a huge fan of Bellerin ) and he has a lot of personality too. Partey is real quality . Let us hope he stays fit .
    The real revelation was Auba. He played superbly as a target man and looked reborn . In that form he’s a major asset and he will now realise with the quality of out passing through the team he will get some major chances this season . Hopefully that was a watershed in the development of Arteta’s Arsenal

  36. 36
    MiddleArse says:

    Thanks TTG for the excellent write up and Steve for the first hand account. Must say I have a hint of jealousy for anyone that experienced that atmosphere. I could feel it even from the comfort of my couch.

    The most important thing for me is a that I think the performance is replicable. You could see the seeds of it in the Norwich and Burnley games with good approach play squandered by poor execution in the final third.. Yesterday our decision making and technique was excellent and we ripped them to shreds. This is a blueprint of what Arteta wants his style to be. The fanbase needed to see a vision they could buy into. The players are already bought in. You don’t get that Auba performance from an unhealthy dressing room.

    They won’t all be like yesterday but there’s a lot to get behind and like.

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    Steve T@32: Excellent post, and pleased you could share the game with your son. It is one you will both remember for a long time.

    You are right that we shall need patience and to be realistic when defeats and draws come, as they surely will.

    I like to look at the season in blocks of three games as a benchmark for progress, and set expectations for each. I thought we came up three points light in games 1-3 but were at par for games 4-6. With two matches as home in games 7-9, (Brighton (A), Palace (H) and Villa (H)), I am looking for another nine points with a minimum of seven. Wining those three would give us 18 points and put us on pace for what I reckon would be a successful season, winning an average of two in each block of three, which should amass sufficent points (70+) for a top four finish. I only see a couple of blocks between now and the end of the season where two losses look likely.

    A big part of it is going to be keeping the first team fit and not exhausted, particularly ESR, Ødegaard and Saka. They are the side’s Energizer Bunnies, and have no like-for-like replacements. Everyone else in the first team can be covered for a game or two, but Pepe and Martinelli, in for Saka and ESR, are different types of player and presumeably one of ESR or Saka would take on the Ødegaard role in the event of him being out unless AMN discovers yet another layer of versitility.

  38. 38
    bathgooner says:

    Nice one Steve T @32. I’m over the moon that you and ST Jr had a very enjoyable day out. I understand that the win was a birthday gift for blogs so win-win all round except, of course, for the usual suspects.

  39. 39
    bathgooner says:

    Good points Ned @37. This is where the absence of European competition has to be a key advantage in the development of this squad and most particularly for the young players already in the first eleven. You are right in observing that with all 3 of Odegaard, ESR and Saka have no natural replacement in the squad apart from each other. I guess each of them can be rested individually every now and again when the other two are available and, fitness permitting, when the opposition means that 2/3 are sufficient creativity and replacement by Pepe or Martinelli is strategically appropriate.

  40. 40
    21 st century gooner says:

    Well I thoroughly enjoyed watching yesterday’s performance. That’s the best we’ve played for 5 or 6 years, shades of united in 2015 and Chelsea the year after, the way we took Spurs apart with ease in that first half was mesmerising. I did expect us to win but not like that! I also enjoyed the despondent look on Kane’s face every time one of our back 4 left him on his backside. I thought Spurs looked clueless all game and I do feel sorry for Nuno as he has inherited a very poor and thin Spurs side. I think the key thing to take away from yesterday is that these are two sides currently locked together in mid table but in terms of the future, heading in totally opposite directions. And it’s great to see. You get the sense that this game was a preview into the future, and what a bright future it promises to be…..

  41. 41
    Countryman100 says:

    Bath @39. Surely Patino is a natural attacking midfield replacement, albeit two years behind Saka and ESR?

  42. 42
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@39: In- and between game rotation is going to become critical for Arteta to master.

    21CG@40, to your point, when we were bottom of the PL, the neighbours were top. Quite the reversal in fortunes. In a good way.

    C100@41: I hope that in two years time, ESR and Saka will have become so good that Patino will have to be the second coming of Messi to get a look in. And if he is, Wowsers…

  43. 43
    OsakaMatt says:

    Swerved our Super League fine it seems,
    many a mickle and all that.

  44. 44
    Trev says:

    Steve T, great account, cheers 👍🏻👏🏻

  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@43: It may come back. UEFA has just suspended the collection of the so-called goodwill payments pending the outcome of the various legal proceedings. It has appealed the Madrid judge’s ruling that it does not have the right to punish the clubs under EU competition law to a higher court, and the whole matter has been referred to the European Court of Justice, which means it could take years to resolve if the ECJ decides to take up the case.

  46. 46
    North Bank Ned says:

    RIP Roger Hunt. Another of the ’66 World Cup winners gone.

  47. 47
    bathgooner says:

    Xhaka out for 2 months with knee ligament damage. It didn’t look like being a minor knock the way his knee bent sideways on the lateral impact from Moura’s body. I hope Sambi can step up to the plate in his absence and that Thomas can remain fit throughout that period (a longer bet). It’s a bigger blow to our season than his critics will realise.

  48. 48
    bathgooner says:

    St Michael has certainly made a couple of top signings for the forward line of the Empyreans this month.

  49. 49
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yes, it may certainly run and run. The clubs to the left of them and FIFA to the right, UEFA looking a little beleaguered 😉

  50. 50
    bt8 says:

    UEFA appear to have hired a phoneticist. Or something.


    But will the announcers pay any attention?

  51. 51
    bt8 says:

    You could be right about Xhaka, Bath. But if I had any money to wager I’d say it’s more likely that his injury will not cause our season great harm. A lower likelihood of pointless red cards is one certainty, and a good chance for Sambi and others to step up.

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@48: Heavens above! For a moment, I thought you were referring to a trolley dash at M&S.

    OM@49: But never doubt the stickiness of UEFA’s fingers…

    bt8@50: Well in for the half-ton.
    I bet Christian Pulišić is delighted with ‘Police-sick’.

  53. 53
    North Bank Ned says:

    Xhaka’s unfortunate injury will show whether it is his detractors or supporters that are the more correct about his value to the team, but best wishes for his full recovery.

    It does give the opportunity for games for Lokonga and AMN to see if either can strike a partnership with Partey, or perhaps for Arteta to start with a 4-3-3 full time. As Bath notes, really important for Partey to stay fit now.

  54. 54
    Steve T says:

    Thank you all for your comments. There were lots of positives from the game that have not been apparent in earlier matches. There was organisation for once. There actually seemed to be a game plan and they all seemed to be singing from the same song sheet. There was a togetherness that had been lacking previously that will hopefully improve game on game. There is a long road ahead, but there are definitely reasons to optimistic.

    Sad news about Xhaka. Whatever my opinion of him is as a player, that is the last thing I would wish on anyone. What it does say to me is that in January we should make every effort to get Bissouma in. I hope that in the meantime that Sambi is given his chance. He has certainly shown promise in earlier matches.

  55. 55
    TTG says:

    I’m sad for Xhaka , despite my long-held view that he is the biggest problem in the side. I will be astonished if results drop off a cliff as a consequence of his absence . He’s never been that crucial to our success before and he’s been here for five seasons ! His role can be replicated after a fashion by Sambi, AMN or Elneny . He is not an assist machine but allows Partey the freedom to move forward . I thought he played very solidly on Sunday but was very lucky not to be booked in the second half and when Xhaka is booked all bets are off.
    Anyway we wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he does not sustain major problems. He has been very resilient before .
    Thus far this season he has played against –
    Brentford- lost
    City – lost ( and red-carded )
    West Brom reserves – won
    ( We won all of the games we played in his absence )
    Sunday was the first league win this season that he started in . So far the evidence is not suggesting an imminent crisis but as a recently departed sage used to suggest ‘ football is a funny game ‘.

  56. 56
    North Bank Ned says:

    Georgios Athanasiadis either had the game of his life against Real Madrid or is the most underrated keeper in Europe. Simply sensational in Sheriff Tiraspol’s shock CL win in the Bernabeu.

  57. 57
    Cent says:

    Good morning, all.
    Hi, GSD, thanks. I popped in right behind you and missed your first post. Like everyone else, I totally agree with the thoughts you expressed there. Dave does indeed have a lot of lovely stuff to answer for.

    Hi, Scruz and Ned, good to see you too.

  58. 58
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cheers, Cent. Always good to see you in.

  59. 59
    scruzgooner says:

    cheers, cent. hope it’s all going well for you, hope to see you here more!

  60. 60
    Cynic says:

    Just a quick reminder that the women’s NLD in the FA Cup is on BBC Four tonight.

  61. 61
    MiddleArse says:

    @TTG I agree that Xhaka is possibly the weakest link and sets a limitation to the ceiling of this current new look first eleven. I think it would be a unfair to suggest that he was such a thing when he was playing next to Holding, Mari, Willian, El Neny… etc. A different profile midfielder may have faired better but Xhaka was far from our worst player.

    Of the two CM’s on Sunday he was the more penetrative and had a hand or in the case of the second, a bum, in all of our goals. Provided Partey stays fit I’m sure we’ll be okay without him with Arteta either deploying the faux 4-3-3 or with Sambi coming in for him.

    Interestingly I cannot recall Xhaka ever getting sent off with two yellows. The man does everything full tilt. If he’s getting sent off he’s going off with straight red and 3 match ban. I’m sure the monks will correct me if I’m wrong.

  62. 62
    bathgooner says:

    A trailer for the forthcoming World Cup (sort of):

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    MA@61: Xhaka has had eight second yellows in his career. The most recent was when playing for Switzerland against Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in September 2016. His other seven second yellows were all in club football, most recently when playing for Borussia Monchengladbach against Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga in December 2015.

    His record for us is 58 yellows and four straight reds in 225 games played. Intriguingly, he has only had one other straight red in club or international football, again when playing for Borussia Monchengladbach against Darmstadt in December 2015. That was in the season before we bought him and in which he missed a total of six games with suspension (three for the straight red, two for each of the second yellows and one for cumulative yellows), so we must have been aware of what we were buying.

  64. 64
    bt8 says:

    Well coined “Nuno Dispirited Santo” by 7amkickoff in his appropriately titled match review, North London is Still Red.

  65. 65
    bathgooner says:

    Like me, you may have thought that Sheriff’s victory over Real Madrid was a romantic tale of ‘David’ getting one over ‘Goliath’. It’s a little more complicated than that.


  66. 66
    bt8 says:

    A very interesting article indeed, Bath. Seldom have I felt this poorly about a Real Madrid loss.

  67. 67
    scruzgooner says:

    baff @62, spot on. what a travesty.

  68. 68
    TTG says:

    Whisper it very quietly but for the second time in three years The Totts U17 team has beaten an Arsenal U17 outfit 9-0! The video must be in production as I write .
    Let’s hope the ladies can take revenge tonight !

  69. 69
  70. 70
    bt8 says:

    It seems like we can’t help but beat them into submission. 🤣🤣

  71. 71
    Cynic says:

    Amusing moment after the third goal when Stephen Warnock almost called Nikita Parris Paris Hilton. Just stopped himself halfway through the surname.

  72. 72
    TTG says:

    I thought the performance by the ladies team ( which was heavily rotated ) was very good after a difficult start . They have a whole lot of silky and talented attacking, creative players and tonight we saw Tobin Heath for the first time properly . Miedema didn’t even take her tracksuit off . I saw a video on Pravda yesterday welcoming Tobin to the club. It was at pains to show how invested Vinai and Josh Kroenke were in her signing .They are taking women’s football very seriously this season . The manager communicates well and the players have forged a real link with the fans . They might be a better watch ion Saturday evening than the men’s team ! They are playing live on TV at the same time .

  73. 73
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for @62 and @65 Bath.

  74. 74
    scruzgooner says:

    i watched the first half of the ars-scum women’s game last night and they were indeed impressive after a disastrous first couple minutes. they played so well together. williamson in defense absolutely ran the game.

    in truth it didn’t look much different than the men, except for marginally better football from the women. and the women should have had 2-3 more goals (2 for sure, parris missed a couple).

    it was a great watch.

  75. 75
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM & bath: This AFP report gives a less glossy view and, to my mind, a more realistic view of Transnistria than the BBC one.


  76. 76
    North Bank Ned says:

    Congrats to Aaron Ramsdale for being recalled to the England squad. Saka included, too, as to be expected but no place for ESR or Ben White.

  77. 77
    North Bank Ned says:

    Intriguing comment from Arteta about Xhaka: He will evolve and develop in other areas. What might that mean? Coaching role? Player-mentor for the U-23s? Non/occasionally-playing mentor for the first-team youngsters?

  78. 78
    North Bank Ned says:

    That should be:

    Intriguing comment from Arteta about Xhaka: He will evolve and develop in other areas. What might that mean? Coaching role? Player-mentor for the U-23s? Non/occasionally-playing mentor for the first-team youngsters?

  79. 79
    scruzgooner says:

    ned@75, the quote of the piece: “Litskay said the region’s leadership “did not track who killed whom,” conceding, “yes, it’s not very pretty, but that’s the reality of economic life.”


  80. 80
    bathgooner says:

    Ned @75, thanks for posting that useful further background on Sheriff. I didn’t think the BBC piece was rosy but this piece makes the criminal nature of that regime much more explicit and Viktor Gushan sounds like a cross between Vladimir Putin and Reggie Kray.

    Eastern Europe has made the Wild West look like the Magic Roundabout before but Transnistria, Sheriff and Viktor Gushan do make Dodge City and Wyatt Earp look like a model society run by an honest citizen. It’s somewhat ironic that they chose the name Sheriff and the 5 pointed star as their logo. Freudian – huh?

    Sheriff’s rise to the top table makes you wonder what we might have achieved under our own erstwhile oligarch part-owner.

  81. 81
    Countryman100 says:

    Good article by Tim Stillman on Arteta. This establishment has not featured calls for his head, even after played three lost three, so I’m expecting broad agreement, especially after sending Spu*rs packing last weekend. https://arseblog.com/2021/09/faith-of-convenience/

  82. 82
    bt8 says:

    Sp**s clinging to a 2-1 home lead against NS Mura but things could be less rosy in the rematch when the Slovenians will have a full capacity crowd of 3,782 cheering them on. Big time clubs and all that.

  83. 83
    TTG says:

    Thankyou for appending the Stillman article . It is like most of what he writes – coherent, balanced and measured . He writes with the handbrake on. Anything beyond that moves into different territory where enthusiasm rears it’s ugly head . Bloggers rarely get publicly enthused now so negative is the response if their positive vibes are deemed too OTT .
    The Goonerverse is divided between the true club supporters who love the club warts and all and accept the road to success is a rocky and uneven one and the many trolls who veer from critical to ultra-critical to a very negative and sometimes destructive stance . On GHF the mood is hugely supportive of the club. Even the doubters are still very pro- Arsenal and as far as I can tell the paying spectators are overwhelmingly positive about the direction the club is taking . But it doesn’t take long to change. Two defeats can derail a season but if we win the next two a lot of momentum will build and faith in Arteta will grow significantly .Stillman is right that it’s a fragile confidence but it’s largely what most proper Arsenal fans expected when they saw our early fixtures .

  84. 84
    TTG says:

    We dodged a colossal bullet when we didn’t qualify for that farce they are in . Tonight ( I saw about ten minutes ) showed how weak their back-up is and how massively dependent they are on Kane . He must be desperately fed up turning out on alternate Thursdays to ensure they don’t get embarrassed by the Pygmy clubs of Europe in a competition that couldn’t be less prestigious

  85. 85
    bathgooner says:

    Thanks for linking Tim’s latest article, C100. As is usual he’s bang on the money.

    I don’t think any of the denizens of this fine hostelry were calling for Arteta’s head when we found ourselves rock bottom after 3 games with no goals scored and a minus-9 goal difference. There was concern about our performance against Brentford, the first half against Chavski and against Shitteh, our failure to create and take chances and Xhaka’s indiscipline but also unanimous recognition that the fixture computer had thrown us a very difficult start to the season while we were bedding in (or trying to get in) a significant number of new players.

    The Brentford game was the only one from which we could legitimately expect a fair chance of three points but even before the extenuating circumstances of the last minute Covid-related obstacles, we had to address the challenge of a club on an emotional high of its first game on its return to the top tier after some 70 years. Our lacklustre performance was explained by the later news of the Covid outbreak and last minute changes interrupting preparation. The next two games against the oil-doped European champions and League champions were too much too soon for a team in transition to handle. No reasonable person could call for Arteta to be sacked on the basis of that sequence of results.

    A lack of flair in the first five PL games (despite two narrow wins) may be a reason for concern but not for the sack. However, had we failed to take at least 4 points in those next two games, the knives would certainly have been out. Whether Sunday’s stylish demolition of the Marshdwellers represents a turn in the road or merely a false dawn remains to be seen but as many have observed, that was Arteta’s first opportunity to play a team comprising the players he had signed or to whom he had given contract extensions.

    I sincerely hope Arteta’s project succeeds but there will certainly be more bumps on this road and the rabid cries for his head that have been muffled by Sunday, will undoubtedly be heard once again. As Tim so neatly observes, who do they think is out there waiting to take over and wave a magic wand? I guess that if we lose to Brighton, the angry brigade will be calling for Potter to be appointed just as they once called for Owen Coyle, Eddie Howe etc., etc…

  86. 86
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@81: Thanks for the link. Stillman makes a measured assessment of a measured man and a measured appointment. Absent a serious threat of relegation, the club has little option but to continue with Arteta, and the more so given the money it has spent on his toolbox. No one will be happier than me if it all works out.

    I do, however, think there are more managerial options out there than Stillman allows. There are a good handful of young coaches dotted around Europe who have the potential to end up as elite coaches. Nagelsmann at Bayern is clearly one, although admittedly probably difficult to detach from there. Marco Rose at Borussia Dortmund, De Zerbi at Shakhtar Donetsk, Seoane at Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Julian Stephan at Strasbourg are others that come to mind. All are a year or two either side of 40, have recently taken over new clubs, but would probably see a move to a yet bigger club as their next step. Diego Martinez, until recently at Granada, is another name to throw into the hat.

    Plus the way things are going at Juventus, 54-year old Massimiliano Allegri may be on the market before long.

  87. 87
    Silly Second Yella says:

    A new life awaits you…

  88. 88
    bt8 says:

    Brighten, not Brighton (with any luck)

  89. 89
    scruzgooner says: