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Most of us expected a tough game away at Brighton this evening and we were not disappointed as the rugged team in blue had the better of a bruising encounter.

The team selected by Arteta was a popular one, containing only the enforced switch of Sambi coming in for the injured Xhaka. To be fair, we started very well. Barely had the clapping to mark the sad death of Roger Hunt subsided when Saka was racing between two defenders and through on goal. His shot was somewhat tame and easily saved. Although, for all the pressure they were able to sustain, it took Brighton until the 80th minute before they managed a shot on target of their own.

Our front four moved well for the first ten minutes. The away fans were in great voice, clearly audible through my TV. Tottenham Get Battered got a good airing today as the supporters provided the entertainment that was missing from the football.

After about ten minutes we just tailed off. Brighton took charge of the match and fashioned a series of chances, none of which was particularly good, but cumulatively could well have built enough pressure to see us go behind. Maupay was a yard behind a dangerous ball across our box; White got across his man to head a dangerous ball over his own bar, the same player made another good block on his return to his erstwhile home ground, Maupay missed a volley from about 8 yards out and the giant Dan Burn missed probably the best chance of the lot when he headed over, unchallenged, from a similar range.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, Ramsdale had a dangerous moment in more ways than one. Being kind, we might suggest the pouring rain did not help him out, but he spilled a cross instead of catching it with his usual assurance. Replays showed the shoulder barge from Duffy was brutal. Ramsdale was face down, flat out and I was fully expecting concussion protocols to be followed. However, our keeper stood up and seemed okay. Dunk had missed the chance from the loose ball. I hope it would have been disallowed if he had scored it but who knows what VAR will do?

Auba did hit the post with a header from a Saka cross, but it was a fleeting moment of danger created by the young England international chasing a ball upfield from Tomiyasu and creating a bit of havoc.

Our new Japanese right-back had a torrid half, definitely his toughest test in red (or yellow) so far. He also chucked in a foul throw, just because, well, you know, someone should, right? However, that annoyance aside, to get out of the game without making any costly errors and, indeed, even with a clean sheet, will stand him in good stead going forward. I get the sense that the whole backline will learn from today.

We had a better last five minutes of the half, but we were all desperate for the whistle. However, before we reached that sweet stay of execution, the hopeless Jon Moss (who seemed to have decided that tripping opponents up was not something he was going to penalise today) managed to make me chuckle by doing the most Jon Moss thing he could think of. In the last seconds of injury time, he spent 20 seconds not allowing Tomiyasu to take a throw-in until he had moved back 5 yards on the half-way line. When he was happy that the position was correct, he let Tomi take the throw, before immediately blowing his whistle for half-time. Well played, Jon.

Aside from that, my other first-half highlight was when the Sky commentary dropped out and I got to watch a couple of minutes of football with full crowd noise but no commentary. Years ago, that was a red button option. I have no idea why they cancelled that choice and we are forced to listen to unwanted commentary. For two or three minutes there was a reminder of how nice it would be if paying extortionate subscription fees actually secured the service we want. 

We came out for the second half and it was more of the same really. Auba went through one on one but a defender got back before a late, late flag went up anyway. They should have called it earlier and I’m glad Auba was not caught more badly.

Brighton played robustly. They kept the ball on the floor a lot more than, say, Stoke or Burnley but they were very physical. That is a good test for our young side, and for all we lacked creativity and cohesion, our lads worked hard for each other.

Graham Potter appeared to have spent most of the summer focusing his energies on growing out some increasingly impressive facial hair, however, at some point he must have taken a break from that to pull his finger out and sign Marc Cucurella. The new lad had an excellent game and Alan Smith on Sky gave him a MOTM award that I doubt many would argue with. Although, from our side at least, that may be because we are all busy trying to forget this match as swiftly as possible. The Spaniard showed more guile than most on the pitch today.

We had a slight upturn in our performance on about 75 minutes but, in truth, we went from pretty bad to okay. Woohoo!

Partey, whose shooting today was so bad I was more amused than upset, played a killer ball to ESR. Our best player on the day, the young man ran it into the area and got a shot away which the keeper saved comfortably. I quite fancied a smash and grab 1-0 to The Arsenal but it was not to be.

Brighton began to have a couple of efforts on target but Ramsdale saved them without concern. He did however, produce one absolutely brilliant moment to keep us in it, springing forward to intercept a ball that was on its way to Maupay and into our net. It was a moment of top quality.

Both sides had nothing penalty appeals. Saka went off for AMN with a worrying injury and the game ended honours even.

A few impressions:

Partey had an underwhelming match but produced a couple of passes of real quality and got out of a couple of tight spaces with lovely touches. He needs a run of games to find his best level with consistency.

Sambi looks a good player. We struggled as a team today but I like what I see every time he plays. Our defence worked hard but had a tough game. The commitment was high from them all. Tierney needs to keep improving. Bellerin was an excellent player who stagnated and then went backwards. Tierney is a top player and we all love him, but he is not the finished article and he is nowhere near his ceiling. I want to see him push on as this defensive unit gels together.

Saka and ESR were both good, especially the latter. Odegaard and Auba quiet. We have the youngest team in the league, and I expect we will see a few more games like this. Young players will not play like they did last week consistently. I thought the attitude and spirit was encouraging today. I am bloody glad that we got a point, which I don’t think is anything to be sniffed at. We got another clean sheet and adhered to the truism that if you can’t win, don’t lose.

If we win most of our home games and don’t lose most of our away games, then we will be where we want to be at the end of the season.

Some will see this as a glass half- empty situation, others glass half-full. I am a glass half-full kinda bloke, but, wherever you stand on this, everyone is invited for drinks in the bar. First round is on me…

126 Drinks to “A Point Scavenged From The Seagulls”

  1. 1
    Cynic says:

    A point was ok but the performance was such a contrast to last week and very disappointing. But not at all unexpected really, this is what The Arsenal is.

  2. 2
    Trev says:

    Cheers GSD, I’d go along with all that.

    A very young team, away from home, filthy weather, a very physical side against you constantly fouling to break up play and a referee who let them.

    Tough ask, big learning curve. In the circumstances a clean sheet and a point is ok. Horrible watch though.

    Hope Saka is ok but does not play for England. He looks tired.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    That’s an extremely fair summing-up of a tough game GSD . I’m of very similar opinions to you on most of the issues you raise.I put Brighton down to finish between 8th and 10th this season . If they had better strikers they might finish higher .
    On our players Tomi and Tierney really struggled , Partey reminded me …again …that he is not Patrick Vieira , but Patrick couldn’t shoot either . He does produce some great moments . Sambi is a very good addition. I’m waiting for some clever dick Arsenal blogger to claim how much we missed Xhaka but I’m very much of the opinion that he would have made no difference in a positive way at all. We didn’t concede and he never creates assists anyway . Auba was poor again and Odegaard worked incredibly hard but had an off-night .
    My last comment relates to the commentary . I’ve taken Mrs TTG to our bolthole in Norfolk and was watching on my IPad. After ‘ losing’ the commentary I spent ages fiddling with the IPad and cursing Apple not realising it was Sky’s fault. Thankfully it wasn’t a more memorable game .
    Onwards and upwards.

  4. 4
    bathgooner says:

    Bang on the money GSD. A very accurate report.

  5. 5
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Superbly balanced and fair review GSD! I am of the half-full type as well. 😉

    In the Emirates era we have rarely played well away in conditions like this against teams that excel in playing a highly physical (not complaining) style of football. Though we have got a few good wins — man down, 2-0 down against Bolton, back with a 3-2 win was good fun — in situations like this generally we find it hard to impose ourselves. In addition to their physicality Brighton is also tactically a rather sophisticated team with sprinkling of quality on the ball throughout. I thought the way their defense narrowed the distance to their midfield and then by positioning themselves in narrow angles cut off the passing lanes was a smart tactical ploy which they evidently had worked on over the week. Good coaching that!

    Ødegaard just couldn’t come to terms with the combination of the horrid conditions and their manic pressing (well done there too Brighton). He will learn from this match.

    Defense and ESR was good-ish, Sambi grew in the game (though the Xhaka role of the auxiliary left back with ineffective KT far up on the left is a tattered old playbook that Mikel really needs to throw away in the rain), rest all looked a few degrees undercooked, Partey included.

    In matches like these a bit of creative chaos — not Mikel’s favorite thing — in the final third would come handy. Lacazette, Pépé and Martinelli for Auba, Ødegaard and Saka around 60th minute and the two wingers running off Laca whose better first touch and holdup play in these conditions may have made a difference in the opposition final third.

    The clean sheet bodes well.

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    A very level report, GSD, and your points are well made.

    A clean sheet and a point ground out on a wet evening in Brighton is not to be sniffed at. Potter set up to snuff out our creative flair and was successful at it for most of the first half. We were more in the game in the second half but never really got going with any consistency.

    I am not sure that playing Auba as a target man makes the best use of him. He is more dangerous making runs in behind. I can see the passing patterns Arteta is trying to build off him, but today he got little quality service to feet, head or in behind.

    Ødegaard’s first touch deserted him today and without it, he will always be at risk of losing the ball.

  7. 7
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks GSD, a very fair report.
    On the one hand it was disappointing
    to see the attack so toothless but on
    the other the stout defense in miserable
    conditions bodes well for the winter
    Good win for the Arsenal Women again
    yesterday and a big game against
    Barcelona coming up midweek- best
    of luck to them.
    And good news that Saka’s injury is
    not bad according to MA.

  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    Excellent write up GSD.

    Elsewhere yesterday Saints manager Hassenhutl laid in on the line saying “ It’s always a little bit of a problem when we know Mike Dean is VAR because we have not had a good history with him to be honest.”

    How many other managers essentially have said the same thing over and over again?

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    A quirk in the schedule has us playing next on Monday night and the following Friday night in matches against Palace and Villa on 18 and 22 October, both at home thankfully. 6 points please.

  10. 10
    Countryman100 says:

    An excellent report of a poor game GSD. An away point and a clean sheet is never a bad thing. I was driving back from my holiday in the North just prior to the game and it really was a filthy day. Potter really does look like a coach destined for greater things.

  11. 11
    Las says:

    Cheers GSD, very good report from a very tough evening.
    Our creativity struggled under the weather and Brighton phisicality. We still could nick the game but at the end we didn’t. Brighton’s “extreme pressure” tactic was perfectly executed resulting no time and partner to move or pass forward that’s why Odegard looked poor.
    But overall if this is when we are playing badly that’s ok for me.

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    First Premier League manager of the season to be sacked: Munoz out at Watford.

  13. 13
    Trev says:

    Potter looks like a coach destined for the barbers 😱

  14. 14
    Countryman100 says:

    Brentford beat West Ham with last kick of the game.

  15. 15
    21st century gooner says:

    Still only 4 points off top 4 and top 6. Beat palace and villa after the international break and we’re right up there. If you offered me 10/12 points after the city game we’d all have taken it.

  16. 16
    Las says:

    One more thing about Arteta decision making, he was slow to react to Brighton superiority and our midfield struggle. This was not the first time when he should have reacted sooner.

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    Las@16: What do you think Arteta should have done when it was clear that Brighton was on top from early in the first half?

  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    Ned, Sorry to butt in on this conversation but isn’t it obvious that Srteta should have negotiated himself a contract at halftime, put himself in as a substitute in the 85th minute, and scored the pile driver of a match winning goal in stoppage time?

  19. 19
    OsakaMatt says:

    There was an option to move to
    three CBs at half time I suppose
    – to give more protection to Tomi
    especially – but I’m glad we didn’t.

  20. 20
    Countryman100 says:

    I remember that game against City. Posnan on the North Bank.

  21. 21
    Doctor Faustus says:

    C100@20: Yes! They showed that on TV after spending 30 seconds on a furious Mancini gesticulating wildly in an inimitably Italian style. Super goal … Joe Hart could do nothing about it.

  22. 22
    Doctor Faustus says:

    This video clip doesn’t include the wild celebrations on the ground on in the stadium … but just a fantastic goal, stealing the ball by pressing high and a thunderbolt in the near post.

  23. 23
    Doctor Faustus says:

    While there have been a lot of agitated recent conversations about Saliba (who is continuing to prove his class at Marseille) we have forgotten a bit about Mavropanos who too is enjoying a solid season at Stuttgart. Check out his solo run and goal against Hoffenheim

  24. 24
    Las says:

    Ned @17
    Thanks 🙂 I would have changed the formation and also the players on the pitch.
    It was clear even for an amateur like me that the transition from defence to attack was stuttering. Long balls were obviously out of scope because of the height of the Brighton defenders so we needed a stronger midfield (4-3-3) and as Auba was out of his depth and Saka looked tired Arteta could have gone for the changes at halftime.
    Later on, after the changes were finally made, we had a good spell.
    (don’t be too cruel when you tear apart my thoughts).
    Drinks on me 😉

    p.s Arsenal Women playing tonight against Barcelona

  25. 25
    Las says:

    bt8 @18
    my other idea was exactly like this, except I thought about sending Viera and Ljungberg on the pitch.

  26. 26
    Cynic says:

    Unfortunately the WUCL is on DAZN.

    Fortunately, some of the games are being shown on their YouTube channel for free.

    Even more fortunately, Barcelona vs Arsenal tomorrow night is one of them.

  27. 27
    OsakaMatt says:

    I have DAZN, thanks for the heads up Cynic. Be a good game I hope.

  28. 28
    OsakaMatt says:

    Arseblog taking stock with his usual reasonableness yesterday.
    In the flimsiest of links, I’ll take stock of the HolicsRopeyLeague
    to say Uply is setting a fierce pace ahead of a large chasing pack
    and to give the gentlest of reminders that all squads should have
    at least one Arsenal player and no spuds.
    Wildcard anyone?

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@22: Arteta could certainly give Partey lessons in long-range shooting. Most of Partey’s shots end up so high they should have flight attendants on them.

    Las@24: My read on the first half is that Brighton was using a 3-4-3 high press to nullify our attacking midfield threat. The textbook way to break a 3-4-3 press against a 4-2-3-1 is for the 10 (Ødegaard) to drop deep and get into the opposition’s 4 to give an additional outlet ball for the back four. But it requires the attacking midfielder dropping to be technically skilful enough to hold and turn with the ball under pressure and those around him to move quickly into new positions to receive the next pass. We didn’t have the movement or pace and Ødegaard was having an off-day. I think that is why our transition from defence to attack was stuttering. It was also why Arteta, according to the commentators, was urging more intensity from the team during the first half; I assume he felt the tactics were right but the execution was not. He could have got Saka or ESR to swap positions with Ødegaard, but that would have cost one of the two players best able to make the break out from the press in the half-channels. Or he could have pulled Ødegaard, moved ESR to the middle and brought on either Pepe or Martinelli, which is what he did early in the second half. Should he have done that in the first half? I don’t think many managers would have taken such drastic action so early in the game.

  30. 30
    Potsticker says:

    Is it possible to be relegated from the HolicsRopeyLeague? Just asking for a friend.

  31. 31
    OsakaMatt says:

    🤣🤣 Potsticker, absolutely not,
    we’re a closed shop soon to be
    known as the HolicsSuperRopeyLeague😉

  32. 32
    Uplympian says:

    OM 28 – my DVD is out later this week, before I go all Spursy 🤓

  33. 33
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Auba is currently nowhere near as prolific a scorer as in the past.
    None of Saka, ESR or Odegard seem full of goals.
    If our current player formation cannot deliver the goals required to move us upwards, what needs to change?

  34. 34
    Las says:

    Ned@29 Thanks, I am convinced. 🙂

  35. 35
    Pangloss says:

    Potsticker@30 – Based on personal experience, please tell your friend “no”.

  36. 36
    Countryman100 says:

    What a great film clip. Even. More so after our 50 year double celebrations here last April. https://twitter.com/thecentretunnel/status/1445143713769050121?s=21

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    NG@33: You are correct that Saka, Ødegaard and ESR have not scored the goals they ought and that we need from them. Arteta is setting up the team to address that by getting all three into more forward positions and taking more shots.

    Average number of shots per 90 mins:
    Last season: Auba 2.20, Saka 2.13, Ødeergaard 1.56, ESR 0.80;
    This season: ​Auba 2.92, Saka 2.16, Ødegaard 0.44, ESR 1.50.

    Save for Ødegaard’s, the numbers are moving in the right direction, even if they are still not great. De Bruyne, Sterling and Mahrez all average more than four shots a game, for example.

    Saka, Ødegaard and ESR scored six goals between them last season. This season they have got three in seven games. It’s still way short of what’s needed — De Bruyne, Sterling and Mahrez got 27 between them last season — but, again, suggests progress in the right direction.

    The new formation needs to bed in. One area of concern is that it requires Auba to play more with his back to goal and hold up the ball for the midfielders to run onto, which is not his strength. It also limits our ability to use the long high ball out of defence if we are successfully being pressed high. Auba is, to his due, working hard at it, but he has probably headed the ball more in the past two games than his entire career.

  38. 38
    TTG says:

    A very nostalgic clip C100. Thanks for sharing

  39. 39
    Potsticker says:

    OM and Pangloss – thanks for your replies, which set my friend’s mind at ease. He’s a first time manager.

  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    Seems the Arsenal Women got a pasting from Barcelona. Thirty-five shots to six in the 4-1 defeat.

  41. 41
    TTG says:

    I watched some of the game and we didn’t start to compete until we made the three substitutions in the second half. Sadly Barca were at a completely different level. Barca had a penalty saved in injury time as well

  42. 42
    Noosa Gooner says:

    NBN @ 37
    Thanks for the stats. The conundrum with Auba is probably the key and may not have a happy ending.
    Damn – where are Pires and Lungberg when you need them.

  43. 43
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers all.

    Now we have another bloody interlull to sit through. I dunno if Arsene has cracked the new formula or not, but the situation, as it stands, is shite.

    Also, hello to 21CG. I missed the shutters on the bar of your excellent debut, so a belated welcome from me.

  44. 44
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Countryman @36

    That’s special. Cheers.

  45. 45
    bt8 says:

    Countryman @36. Up the Gunners indeed. 👏🏼

  46. 46
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for @36 C100, Bob was
    good at interviews😀

    Agree @43 GSD, the as-is is crap. I asked
    5 or 6 supporters here about a World Cup
    every two years and no one liked it. Natural
    instinct against change maybe? Anyway, at
    least it’s a proposal and better than UEFA’s
    head in the sand usual bollocks.

  47. 47
    TTG says:

    We played two games yesterday beating QPR in a behind closed doors friendly in which Martinelli ( whose is us rumoured to be unhappy with the number of starts he is getting under Arteta) starred in a 3-2 win .
    We also played at Bournemouth in this rather hard to understand Premier League Cup 2 . We were leading through a Swanson goal into extra time and apparently stopped play so that a Bournemouth player could receive treatment. The ball was not given back on the resumption and Bournemouth equalised ! A twenty man brawl ensued !
    Not quite sure how we are in a ‘ Premier League ‘ competition with two non Premier League teams in our group but what do I know. Anyway we’ve drawn twice away and West Brom too our group. As we dispatched their U23s 6-0 in the Carabao Cup, all may not be lost

  48. 48
    North Bank Ned says:

    Not surprised to read that Martinelli is frustrated. He gets talked up, but that is not translating into much playing time. The emerging formation does not do him any favours. He is not going to displace ESR as the first choice on the left. Replacing Auba down the middle is more likely, but not before Laca has left and Auba is fading out.

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    I hope the PL has a good chiropractor, given the contortions it seems to be putting itself through to allow the now-on-again Saudi takeover of Newcastle United. To suggest that the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, which will become the Barcode’s majority owner, is separate from the state and therefore lets the proposed takeover to pass the fit owners’ and directors’ test is nonsense. The only silver lining is that the deal’s completion will mean the departure of Mike Ashley, though with a hefty wodge of Saudi cash in his pocket.

  50. 50
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Jack is back training with the team to stay fit, but also to work on his coaching badges, and if I understand Mikel also as a kind of inspiring guidance to the academy players.

    Wish him the very best for this phase of his career.

  51. 51
    OsakaMatt says:

    Is that how they’ve done it Ned? I wondered. As you say utter bollocks but money spoke loudest as usual

  52. 52
    Silly Second Yella says:

    i moss jonathan miss

  53. 53
    bt8 says:

    Martinelli down the middle in Auba’s place may be fast becoming an attractive option considering how comparatively seldom we see Auba’s customary burst of pace that makes the difference in getting good scoring chances. Auba’s conversion rate of “expected goals” seems also to be down. Nothing would please me more, however, than to see Auba go on an extended run of games scoring goals. If he does I hope Faustus Jr. will issue a commemorative drawing.

  54. 54
    bt8 says:

    So long as we’re talking about referees If there’s any one of them I think would be a candidate to unretire I would consider Clattenburg. https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/premier-league-referee-study-jonathan-moss-leicester-city-jamie-vardy-a7004621.html

  55. 55
    Silly Second Yella says:

    international duty?

    f off

    I mean it man

  56. 56
    Silly Second Yella says:

    The Newcastle takeover completed

    me too

  57. 57
    North Bank Ned says:

    Geordie Arabia?

  58. 58
  59. 59
    Countryman100 says:

    Here’s arseblog on the same topic. If you didn’t read his majestic column yesterday on the same point, there’s a link in today’s piece.

    A bit more …

  60. 60
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@58: Thanks for the link. Little to disagree with in David Conn’s piece. As a country, you are who you sell your football teams to, it seems.

    I thought Blogs hit all the right notes yesterday. Perhaps saddest of all, his piece was not shockingly revelatory, just a matter of fact statement about the moral bankruptcy of the rentier class of the modern game.

    In an interview he gave in 2020, Newcastle’s new chairman, Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and a close advisor to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said “PIF is becoming the main engine of Vision 2030, which is the vision of the nation”. Welcome to Geordie Arabia.

  61. 61
    TTG says:

    I thought Blogs’ article yesterday was extremely well written and telling. Not so sure if I think today’s is in the same league . He made all his good points yesterday and I really don’t see any advantages for Arsenal from this situation . We’ve just been pushed down the new UK football hierarchy a bit further . When the richest men on earth are involved you can’t outspend them. Can you outsmart them though? The lessons from Blackburn/ Chelsea and Citeh suggest it is highly unlikely .

  62. 62
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Speaking of referees I suggest watching the Arsenal U-23 away at Bournemouth highlights. It’s up in Arsenal site. I won’t spoil the surprise. 😉

  63. 63
    Cynic says:

    Arsenal fan Rick Jones of Fingerbobs fame has died aged 84. Thanks for the childhood memories, Rick.

  64. 64
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@61: We’ll have to wait to see how the PIF operates its investment in Newcastle United and how much capital it is prepared to inject into the club.

    In its own words, the PIF pursues an ‘investment strategy in line with Vision 2030, to drive Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation’. To that end, it has a more hands-on development role than many sovereign wealth funds, but one it has hitherto exercised within the kingdom through its ‘Giga projects’ like the Neom and Red Sea greenfield developments and by creating new industries for Saudi Arabia such as waste management and cinemas.

    PIF’s foreign investments are financial investments to generate long-term returns that will be reinvested in diversifying the Saudi economy. Frequently, it works through other investment pools such as those run by the likes of Softbank, Blackstone and Uber Technologies.

    Entertainment, Leisure and Sports are one of 13 key investment sectors for supporting Saudi diversification. Hitherto, PIF has focused on developing arts, cultural and sporting events inside the kingdom to grow the internal tourism industry. As far as I can tell, a sports investment outside the kingdom is a first for it. Still, I would be willing to bet that the club will be restructured and run on commercial lines — or as much as any football club can be — though probably with a generous budget on the footballing side.

    It is, by the way, nonsense to describe Newcastle as now being the world’s richest football club; the PIF’s $430 billion investment portfolio is not a piggy bank that has been dropped off at St James’s Park replete with contracts waiting to be signed by M’Bappe, Haarland and the rest. That is not to say it won’t be spending its way up the PL table.

    Given that the Reuben Brothers are part owners alongside PIF and Staveley’s investment group, itself an active real estate investor and advisor, I also expect the club to develop a significant affiliated property business.

    The other signal of intent to watch for is whether the Saudis follow the Qatari and Abu Dhabi ruling families in building ownership of an international chain of football clubs and how that is positioned.

    Oh for the innocent days of jumpers for goalposts…

  65. 65
    bt8 says:

    A month ago people were anticipating (advocating?) the possible sacking of Arteta.

    Respect where respect is due.


  66. 66
    North Bank Ned says:

    And may he win many more manager of the month awards, bt8.

  67. 67
    bt8 says:

    Telegraph sez the Barcodes may already be sniffing around Kane and Mbappe apparently. Probably the reverse is also the case. None too seemly, the lot of ‘em.

    Sniff sniff sniff.

  68. 68
    North Bank Ned says:

    This is how the Financial Times’ business of sports newsletter summed up the Barcodes deal:

    Everyone’s a winner.
    Qatar ends a conflict with its Gulf neighbour in time for next year’s World Cup. BeIN can operate again in Saudi Arabia, its biggest broadcast market. The Premier League protected its biggest overseas TV deal. And Saudi Arabia has its prize.
    The losers are anyone without a commercial incentive.
    Those include human rights activists, who wanted the Premier League to block the deal on moral grounds, and people who believe football clubs should be repositories of civic pride, rather than playthings for the world’s rich and powerful.

  69. 69
    North Bank Ned says:

    On more wholesome subjects, I thought Saka’s finish for his goal against Andorra was excellent.

  70. 70
    Las says:

    The Saudi takeover is nothing new. All that could be said were said above. Only one question left, what do we do? What is our the football fans answer for all this? To be honest, I am already suffering in daily basis from the Kroenkies ownership. For me it would be easier to cope seeing our belived Arsenal playing in second or tbird tier football then in the hands of a greedy and psycpathic family like we have now.
    I know The Arsenal is ours, not theirs but I have the fear we are loseing each other.
    I am open your opinions!
    Drinks on me.

  71. 71
    North Bank Ned says:

    Might Boris Johnson’s reluctance to weigh into the Newcastle deal, in contrast to his ready condemnation of the ESL, be in any way connected with the UK’s attempt to strike a post-Brexit trade agreement with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states? I think we should be told.

    Roberto Martinez and Antonio Conte are the bookies’ favourites to replace Steve Bruce. The Saudi Crown Prince is a big fan of Conte. Had a Saudi deal to buy Inter Milan from its Chinese owners earlier this year come to anything, Conte would probably still be employed there. Lukaku, too.

  72. 72
    North Bank Ned says:

    Las@70: I fear now that the only thing worse for a football club than being a pawn in a geopolitical battle for influence and soft power is not being a pawn in a geopolitical battle for influence and soft power. We cannot stuff that particular genie back in the bottle.

    Nor can we retain a romantic notion that the top professional clubs are — if they ever were — local institutions whose owners are infused with civic pride and whose fans live within walking distance of the ground. The difference between the butchers and bakers and candlestick makers who used to own Football League clubs and the sheikhs, oligarchs and billionaires who own them today is only the scale of their wealth, ambition and intent. As fans, we have accepted their opium of studding our teams with stars; when the team is playing badly, we chant for the owners to spend more of their money.

    Sixty thousand people fill the Emirates for our home games, with millions more around the world watching on screens, while even the best local non-league teams struggle to attract a few hundred spectators at best. We have made our choice.

    Ashley’s history as an employer is not exemplary, but his human rights record is considerably better than Saudi Arabia’s. Yet Newcastle fans wanted him out because he was a skinflint and are delighted to have an owner in PIF whose chairman is accused of ordering the murder of a critical journalist. They, too, made their choice.

    You ask what we can do, to which the answer is not a lot. Our alternatives are limited.

    Fan-ownership in England is now beyond the reach of fans in the UK. Our power as consumers — boycotting matches, not buying merchandise or cancelling premium TV subscriptions — is limited. Others all around the world will step in to replace us. Nor can we easily switch brands as we can do from Nike to Adidas or Coke to Pepsi.

    All we can do is remain a moral force, creating an environment in which owners have to pay at least some attention to our interests as fans and pressing governments and governing bodies into ensuring that football and its moneymen adhere to the same basic societal responsibilities and norms of behaviour, however minimal, that any business or state must.

    Time to start thinking of ourselves as more like a pressure group than a supporters club, perhaps.

  73. 73
    TTG says:

    You have written very insightfully about the PIF deal to buy Newcastle and I find myself very much in agreement with your conclusions . A few seasons ago I made my way out of the Grove after we had beaten Newcastle en route to the tube . Next to me a Newcastle fan was singing to the tune of ‘ Now you’re gonna believe us’ , ‘ We’re going to have a party, we’re going to have a party , we’re going to have a party…when Ashley fucking dies’ All of us winced a bit such was the severity of his feelings but in chatting to him he said that he felt like Ashley had sucked the lifeblood out of the club and most Geordies had a visceral hatred for him. Ironic that Ashley has probably trousered a huge amount from the deal.
    It would be naive to think that they will shoot to the top of the league next season ( they have to stay up this season first !) but it’s hard to believe they won’t turn the club around either . As one of the more passionate outposts in English football without the arrogance of Liverpool, the Chavs and the Manchester clubs I hope they enjoy the transformation in their fortunes . But to Las’ s point I haven’t felt the same connection with Arsenal since the Kroenkes took full control and I suspect I never will again. It’s genuinely not the Arsenal I used to know and love .
    A few Champions League titles might ease the pain but they aren’t coming in our direction until the Arsenal ownership changes hands again …and the options for that both in financial and morally acceptable terms are extremely limited( would we accept purchase by say the Quataris ? Not much moral high ground there. My modest hopes for Arsenal are that we become competitive again and play beautiful football once more . The sort of things that Wenger used to achieve routinely every season

  74. 74
    TTG says:

    Ladies beat Everton 3-0 today . Two good strikes from McCabe and Manaam. The stepdoen in class post Barcelona was very evident .

  75. 75
    bt8 says:

    Retirement flap in the news. Flappy retirement?


  76. 76
    OsakaMatt says:

    Couldn’t believe Flappy was 36 already.
    Where’d that decade go?
    Was playing crib with a Toon supporter on
    Friday. He was actually sorry to see the
    Toon sold to a murderer but he also said
    he was possibly the only Toon fan who
    thought so. I asked if he’d have my hand
    chopped when I beat him at crib.

  77. 77
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@73: I share much of your sense about what has been lost, though perhaps, for me, it goes beyond and predates the Kroenkes, and thus has been a more gradual dulling. ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there’, to quote a wistful LP Hartley.

  78. 78
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@76: Fabianski has played 254 PL games since leaving us after playing just 32 across seven seasons and never looking likely to become our first choice. Szczesny, who perhaps is one we should have hung onto although I know he fell out with Wenger, is 31 now, too. As you say, where do the years go?

  79. 79
    North Bank Ned says:

    Disappointed to read that Parry is ruling out B teams playing in the Football League.


    This quote from him sums up everything (correction: one of the many things) that is wrong with the head-in-the-sand governance of football:

    I’ve spoken quite a lot about fresh ideas, new thinking, not having preconceived ideas, but I’ve got a preconceived idea about B teams, and that’s not within the boundaries.

    Just the sort of fresh thinking football needs.

  80. 80
    bathgooner says:

    *watches tumbleweed rolling down Main Street*

    *spots Ned sitting on his porch, whittling himself a flail handle*

    TTG & Ned, the game certainly isn’t what it was! Its guardians at many levels (I love the label ‘rentier class’) have undoubtedly sold the game’s soul and most of them, for personal enrichment. It is difficult to pinpoint precisely the point at which the game changed for me but in retrospect a critical point was the sale of the Premier League to Sky which of course did bring benefits as well as beginning the slide into a global Money Game. Is this not how Beelzebub classically works his charms? Immediate benefits that take the victim onto a slippery slope … better televised coverage followed by the Glazers, Abramovich, UAE, Kroenke, Saudi, the 39th game and who knows what next?

    Things fall apart (as Achebe observed) and the game wasn’t even what it had been for old timers when those of my vintage fell in love with it – a perspective that allows me to be sympathetic to those arrivistes who don’t understand or are hostile to the point of view that in a more parochial era there was a virtue that has been lost by this globalised version.

    I am repelled by a competition encapsulated by the playground-like phrase, “Our owner is richer than your owner!” For several years I have been on the brink of choosing to watch the honest toil of the lower leagues over the self-regarding artistes of the Premiership. The effect of the obscene wealth now flexing its muscles to distort the competition inherent to the sport may even revive interest in the International game where, until the Saudis (by some magic – surely not money?) subvert the rules of nationality so as to create a Saudi ‘national side’ replete with Galacticos in every position, there is at least a competition untainted by lucre.

  81. 81
    bathgooner says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch….. this is an excellent read from our friends at Gunnerstown:

    How Mikel Arteta is Changing Arsenal Football Club – Part 2 – Mikel has a way of making you want to follow him!

  82. 82
    North Bank Ned says:

    Nuttin’ else to do, bath, though my flail may end up being used just to flog a dead horse.

  83. 83
    Countryman100 says:

    Tickets for the home game against Crystal Palace a week from today are on general sale (no membership required). Very unusual for a league game.

  84. 84
    ClockEndRider says:

    Monday night and televised, C100. Who wants to go out on Monday? Especially when we’ll all be going out on the following Friday night for the Villa match…

  85. 85
    Countryman100 says:

    CER – me!

  86. 86
    Countryman100 says:

    Bath @81. Great link. Consistently good stuff from a variety of writes on Gunners Town.

  87. 87
    Countryman100 says:

    Villa on the Friday also now on general sale.

  88. 88
    TTG says:

    I’m considering my return to the Grove but am still concerned about the level of community infection given my family situation. I sold my Tottnumb ticket because the game was a sellout. This won’t be possible for these games .
    While I’ve enjoyed the banter on here I’ve found it difficult to get into such a fragmented season and it’s hard to get very enthused about our situation until we get some continuity.Two very important and testing games coming up. I think we will struggle to take six points from them. Last season we took one from the corresponding fixtures

  89. 89
    TTG says:

    Azeez gets a wonderful strike for England U20 tonight

    Video: Arsenal talent Azeez nets wonderful goal for England U20s

  90. 90
    bt8 says:

    Not sure what language he was speaking but the announcer didn’t sound too excited about Miguel Azeez’s goal. Great strike though.

  91. 91
    bt8 says:

    Excellent strike by Partey too. I wonder why he didn’t put that one in row Z though.

  92. 92
    bt8 says:

    A goal and two assists for Nuno Tavares. But I guess the game is relatively easy when you’re facing Lichtenstein rather than Manchester City.

  93. 93
    Bathgooner says:

    And what about our young Mr Sed Rate?

  94. 94
    North Bank Ned says:

    That strapping on ESR’s left knee looks worrying.

  95. 95
    scruzgooner says:

    gsd, a belated thanks for the fine review. my turn to buy a round.

    and a nice way to spend 12 minutes: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pgJxIERmeGY&list=WL&index=5

  96. 96
    Cynic says:

    TTG – It’s clearly time to splash out on a box. It’s the responsible thing to do 😉

  97. 97
    North Bank Ned says:

    Has TTG been playing for all these years without one?


  98. 98
    TTG says:

    My performance as a mezzo soprano in La Boheme was a direct consequence of playing without a box !

  99. 99
    TTG says:

    ( written in a very high voice )
    Meant to thank you for the excellent article from Gunners Town albeit that it was writte by Arteta’s agent ! But it makes an excellent point about targeting character as well as ability. Only quibble is where ‘ Xhaka’s stupendous 2020 form ‘ came from ? Could I have fallen asleep for a year and missed it ? He played really well in a couple of big cup matches . But last autumn he was execrable

  100. 100
    bathgooner says:

    Curls the ball into the top corner!

  101. 101
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, bath, with an assist from TTG that hit all the high notes.

  102. 102
    bt8 says:

    Well in the Bath gent.

  103. 103
    bt8 says:

    With an excellent set of high-pitched pre- and pre-pre-assists by the TTG gent.

  104. 104
    bt8 says:

    Mis-spelling players’ names. It gets me peeved. To commemorate this I came up with a top two list of the Arsenal players whose names have been mis-spelled the most often. Not to propagate the most-spellings I will only give the correct spellings (I think): 1. Vieira ; and 2. Ljungberg

    That is all.

  105. 105
    bt8 says:

    most-spellings = mis-spellings

    Apologies for doing the very thing I was peeved about. In my case I blame autocorrect 100%.

  106. 106
    TTG says:

    Incredible come from behind win by the U23s tonight in the EFL Cup. Two very late goals after they trailed 2-3 gave them a 4-3 victory tonight

  107. 107
    TTG says:

    Ghana seem to have an incredible goalscoring midfielder .
    He scored on Saturday and here is a great free-kick today . A player like him is just what we need

  108. 108
    bt8 says:

    @107. Sign up the mystery man. We can use someone of that calibre.

  109. 109
    North Bank Ned says:

    Apropos the conversation above about disenchantment with the game, Hector Bellerin makes a point in this interview (in Spanish) about how the love of the game and club is getting lost among all the money.


    He confirms he took a pay cut to join Bettis on loan, consulted an analytics company to help choose the best fit among the clubs interested in taking him (seems a typically thoughtful Hector thing to do) and says he wouldn’t have joined Betis in the first place without expecting to stay longer than his year-long loan.

    He will only have a year left on his contract when his loan ends next summer. It doesn’t seem likely he will return to Arsenal, so will the club let him leave for free or next to nothing? His transfer value must be down to a little more than 10 million euros at best now anyway, which is less than the two years of his wages the club is saving.

  110. 110
    Las says:

    I am as a born Hungarian feel sorrow for what is happening within (not just) football in Hungary.
    I had the privilege (if it is) playing against Viktor Orban many times in a Hungarian amateur Ligue. He was always a moron.
    Here is a very good article about how and why it happened the football madness in Hungary.
    I am sorry.

  111. 111
    TTG says:

    You have nothing to apologise for . There are plenty of people who follow the England football team who make me feel ashamed . But one can’t be held responsible for their repugnant views and behaviour .
    I’ve spent time in Budapest touring and working in the past It is a wonderfully atmospheric city

  112. 112
    bt8 says:

    The wife has been to Hungary but not me. I can’t remember for sure but think it was the Pest side of the river that she liked best. In any case, the side with the less monumental architecture. Agreed with the spirit of both drinks on the subject. Spirits of choice on the bar.

  113. 113
    bt8 says:

    Welcome back to the Premier League new Watford manager Claudio Ranieri. I hope he wins all his games against Leicester and the Chavs. https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/58903368

  114. 114
    Cynic says:

    There are plenty of people who follow the England football team who make me feel ashamed

    Sam Matterface is hardly Brian Moore, but that’s a bit harsh 🙂

    Las – If you’re apologising for not kicking Orban up in the air more often when you played against him, fair enough. But as for the rest of it… TTG knows.

  115. 115
    Silly Second Yella says:

    Public Investment Fund

  116. 116
    bt8 says:

    It seems like quite a while ago that we scavenged that point from the seagulls.

  117. 117
    bt8 says:

    It’s about time somebody previewed the frauen. https://arseblog.news/2021/10/arsenal-v-hoffenheim-frauen-preview/

    It looks long like the match will be streamed live on DAZN’s YouTube channel – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wP1WrEO9Trg – free of charge, and I like free stuff.

  118. 118
    Silly Second Yella says:

    He’s coming home

    He’s coming home

    He’s coming

    Paddy’s coming home


  119. 119
    bt8 says:

    DAZN seems to mean the commentary is in German. They sound like sad Germans though, quite likely because we are leading 3-0.

  120. 120
    bt8 says:

    4-0 now.
    Great header by Williamson from an excellent corner. The kind of corner the men need to be putting in.

  121. 121
    bt8 says:

    Not sure but that left footed corner must have come in from
    Katie McCabe. If so it’s the second consecutive game Arsenal have scored direct from one of her corners.

  122. 122
    North Bank Ned says:

    I wonder what Joe Willock is thinking now about moving to Newcastle to get regular playing time.

  123. 123
    OsakaMatt says:

    Players like Hector are not the norm
    unfortunately Ned, so I imagine most
    of the Newcastle players are thinking
    about a salary increase

  124. 124
    bt8 says:

    Questionable, Blogs’ inclusion of “maybe” in this sentence from today’s blog: “Unai Emery would have loved the next Vieira, and Arteta himself would probably even sacrifice Granit Xhaka (in metaphorical terms, maybe even literal) if there was another Vieira to be had.”

  125. 125
    TTG says:

    Katie McCabe has a very good left foot . I won’t comment on her anatomy beyond there but she crosses superbly and in women’s football a ball put with whip and pace into the six yard box is a huge weapon because defenders and goalkeepers don’t deal with crosses that well ( generally )
    That was a very good result yesterday

  126. 126
    Pangloss says: