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Ninth against tenth in the table, this match would be an excellent barometer of our progress. After three disappointing defeats at the beginning of the season, we had not lost in our subsequent six games but every one of these six games was against a small club that never wins trophies or hasn’t done so for decades. This was a match against another competitor for the top six. A true test of our mettle.

Despite rumours of infection in the Arsenal camp, Mikel Arteta started the same XI that started like a whirlwind against Villa: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Sambi, Partey; Saka, Lacazette, ESR; Aubameyang. 

Before the kick-off, wreaths were laid at the edge of the pitch by both coaches to commemorate the fallen in the world’s wars. The King Power Stadium appeared to be spectacularly bedecked with giant red poppies against a white background as fans held up white, black and red cards whilst a bugler played the last post and falling poppies appeared on the giant screens. A very impressive tribute.

Within a minute Arsenal made a declaration of intent. From a high throw in on the right, won as a result of Aubamyang’s high press on Soyunko near the touchline, Saka ran with the ball into the Lesta box, played a one-two with Laca and played a dangerous ball across the 6-yard box which was accidentally touched towards goal by Amartey but stopped on the line by a desperate Schmeichel. Just a minute or so later, White strode confidently through Lesta’s midfield after the ball broke loose from a coming together between Sambi and Soumaré and laid the ball off to Aubameyang on his left. Auba ran directly towards the box but his cross was blocked for a corner. ESR’s dangerous inswinger was cleared by Vardy for a corner on the other side.

Saka’s corner from the right was met by Gabriel towards the front post and his glancing header flew past Schmeichel, into the far side of the net . 

0-1 Gabriel, 5 mins

Shortly after the restart, Auba ran through on the left but his firm shot towards Schmeichel’s near post was blocked by the keeper. 

Once again, we had a fluid front four with Auba largely playing up the middle, Laca patrolling across the field behind him, showing his strength in possession and linking well with runners on both flanks. ESR was drifting left to combine with Tavares whilst Saka and Tomiyasu probed on the right. When Lesta attacks broke down, we played the ball out of defence confidently evading Lesta’s press with ease and moved the ball swiftly through midfield. The Arsenal fans were in fine voice whilst the home crowd was very quiet, apart from frequent disappointed groans. Quite like the good old days!

In the tenth minute, after a nice run, slip and pull back by Saka, Partey fired a 20 yarder towards goal but it was saved by Schmeichel. At least it was on target. Thomas’ aim is definitely improving.

Lesta’s first threat ony came after ten minutes when Maddison went down under White’s challenge outside our box but he fired the centrally-positioned free kick from 20 yards into the wall and punted the rebound straight to Ramsdale.

Arsenal were moving the ball quickly and confidently through midfield with excellent one touch interplay involving Partey, Sambi, Tomiyasu and Tavares. A very different looking midfield to the lumbering and laborious machine we have had to put up with in recent times.

In this period of the game, when Lesta won possession Arsenal generally regained the ball swiftly. From one such moment, Tavares received the ball inside our half, went on a run past two Lesta players, shaped to shoot on the edge of their box then laid it off to Lacazette on his right. Lacazette’s first touch pass across the box to Aubameyang near the far post was cut out by Evans and turned away for Arsenal’s fourth corner in the first 15 minutes. Arsenal were keeping Lesta penned back and Partey and Sambi were interchanging and recycling the ball smoothly and swiftly. When one Lesta foray broke down, Partey found Saka on the right running into the Lesta half. Saka squared to Lacazette at the edge of the box who moved right to make space for a shot but was tackled. The ball broke fortunately for ESR to fire it into the net from 18 yards. Lesta players looked as shell shocked as Villa’s players did last week.

0-2 ESR, 18 mins

It was only after 20 minutes of total Arsenal control and 60% possession that the Foxes had any prolonged period of possession but they failed to threaten the Arsenal goal. On the other hand, Arsenal’s high press was bothering the Lesta defence and midfield, rendering service to their forwards virtually non-existent much to the locals’ annoyance. However, after the halfway point of the first half, the opposition appeared to win more time and space on the ball and attempted some clever through balls in behind our defenders. However, these were confidently mopped up as a growing understanding between White and Gabriel was repeatedly displayed. 

Worryingly, after 21 minutes after a through ball from Lesta had rolled harmlessly through to Ramsdale, Gabriel went down in our box with no one around him. It appeared to be a right knee problem but happily he managed to carry on after treatment with the 21st century equivalent of the magic sponge.

Once again Ramsdale’s distribution of the ball from feet was impressive but as a result of a solitary misdirected effort the keeper had to leap at full length to turn a long range shot from Iheanacho round his right post. As Lesta began to be more assertive, Tomiyasu then made a vital interception to a through ball on the edge of our box as Vardy or some other rat faced varmint lurked .

From the half-hour mark Lesta pressed us back but our defensive shape of 4-4-2 worked well to confound them with lively interceptions and firm challenges and blocks protecting our goal and setting up counter attacks whilst Tavares and Tomiyasu were prominent in turning defence into attack and Sambi and Partey moved smothly and swiftly through the gears.

Our back four then sat deep with the midfield four patrolling in front of them and Lacazette and Aubameyang harassing opposition players recycling the ball just inside our half. Arsenal’s defensive organisation ensured that there was no space behind their back four for Vardy to run onto a through ball in his usual manner.

On 41 minutes as Lesta continued to dominate possession and kept up the pressure, Maddison went down on the edge of our D after challenging for a high ball with White. As Maddison lined up the free-kick one could see that the low winter sun was shining straight into Ramsdale’s eyes. The lad could have done with a traditional goalkeeeper’s cap (Christmas present from Bob?). Despite that, Ramsdale pulled off a world-class save, pushing up onto the bar Maddison’s curling shot to the side of the goal furthest from the keeper. Ramsdale then jumped up to block Evans’ close-range strike on the rebound from near his left post. The ball rebounded from the post to strike Ramsdale’s knee and spin along the goal-line to be cleared by Gabriel. Our keeper had earned that slice of luck. Top class goalkeeping! Apparently Peter Schmeichel tweeted that it was one of the best saves he had seen in many years.

The half ended with Lesta desperately pushing for the goal that would get them back into the game.

HT Lesta 0 – 2 Arsenal

A fine first half performance by the Arsenal, once again starting the match like a rocket and taking a deserved 2-0 lead but thanks to two fine saves by Ramsdale avoiding being hauled back to 2-2. Could we build on that first half and take all three points?

Lesta brought on Barnes and Lookman for Amartey and Iheanacho at the beginning of the second half converting to a 4-3-3 pushing Vardy through the middle with the subs on either side and hoping to challenge Arsenal with more pace and more width much as Villa had attempted, not without some success, to change the balance of our game against them last week.

In the early knockings of the second half, a brisk move through our midfield gears forced Lesta into a last-ditch tackle on ESR sprinting into their box suggesting that Arsenal were still prepared to play on the front foot. However, the Foxes then dominated possession and kept probing at our defensive lines and pushing balls through for Vardy. Barnes began to make some dangerous runs down our right flank. Lesta’s Thomas found himself free on the ball inside our box but his low shot flew past Ramsdale’s left post. Seconds later Gabriel had to clear a cut back from Lookman towards Vardy.

At 57 minutes, Lacazette was replaced by Ødegaard. Could the Norwegian match the Frenchman’s exemplary work rate both with and without the ball? Yes, he could.

A backheel from Vardy found Lookman running into the left side of our box but Ramsdale spread himself and blocked the firm drive at his near post when a goal looked on. 

At 59 minutes, your correspondent felt a Lesta goal was coming and promptly thereafter Tielemans’ shot from their right was turned for a corner.  As Ramsdale went up for a high cross, Evans came in and kicked out at the keeper, annoying the Arsenal custodian. Nasty! Promptly thereafter Ramsdale had to dive at the feet of Barnes, rushing into the six-yard box with a chance to score. It was all Lesta as the hour came up.

A period of nice interplay on our right gave our defenders some time to draw breath and seemed an early sign of Arsenal asserting themselves offensively again. It ended in Ødegaard’s heels being clipped but the free kick came to naught.

Yet we were to be treated to a further spell of excellent Arsenal defending and goalkeeping. A Vardy header from a Tielemans cross flashed wide but Arsenal began to assert themselves again. Evans wrestled Aubameyang to the ground as he turned onto a long through ball as the Arsenal defence cleared their lines. Was that a DOGSO? Not according to the VAR team. Then a Saka free kick to Aubameyang wide on the right was directed across the box just over Partey’s head and cleared for a corner. That corner resulted in a goal line clearance from an Aubameyang shot at the far post. Saka then had an attempt deflected wide as it became clear that Arsenal had weathered the Foxes’ storm unscathed. By the 70th minute, Arsenal had rediscovered their attacking drive but Saka’s attempt to curl the ball into the top corner went well wide.  For a spell Arsenal were camped on the edge of the Lesta box.

In a final attempt to change the course of the game Rogers sent Daka on for Maddison in the 71st minute. A speculative Tielemans cross was met by Barnes’ head in the centre of our box but though it beat Ramsdale, it drifted wide of the far post. Vardy was then booked for stamping on White as they clashed in the Arsenal box.

With 15 minutes left it seemed likely that the sting had largely been taken out of Lesta’s revival and Arsenal rediscovered their slick ‘pass and move’ style. At 77 minutes the cry of “49, 49 undefeated” rang around the King Power Stadium. Yet some work was still required to secure the victory. Somehow, Barnes got behind Tomiyasu, goal-side in the six-yard box onto a ball from Vardy but Ramsdale blocked his near post shot.

Lesta kept pushing forward, drawing clearances, firm challenges and brave blocks from Arsenal defenders who hunted in packs to close down ball-carriers. Pépé replaced Saka with 6 minutes left and in the game’s dying minutes Arsenal rediscovered their high press as Lesta ‘s momentum faltered. On 89 minutes ESR was replaced by Kolasinac. In Oliver’s 5 added minutes Arsenal saw the game out by playing some lovely passing moves and one touch football around midfield without threatening the Lesta goal or letting Lesta threaten ours. 

“We all follow the Arsenal over land and sea….and Lesta” rang out as the game reached its final minute.

FT: Lesta 0-2 Arsenal

Seven games unbeaten in the PL. Fifth in the table at the final whistle, before the weekend’s other games are played. If the remaining matches provide the correct outcomes, we will still be fifth on Monday evening.

It was great to see Gabriel and Ramsdale bonding with the fans at the end. The keeper spotted a kid, perched on his dad’s shoulders, wearing an Arsenal goalkeeper’s kit. Ramsdale ran over, gave the boy his shirt, gave another boy his boots, gave someone else his gloves and then ran back to the tunnel in his stocking soles. The ungenerous fella kept his shorts on!

That was an outstanding performance by everyone in an Arsenal shirt and a superb result. On one hand, we saw, in possession, a slick, fleet-footed and incisive Arsenal attack and off the ball, playing a high press to stifle Lesta’s offensive options and regain possession swiftly. On the other hand, when Lesta threw everything at us to get back into the game, we saw a well organised, determined and stolid defence with all ten outfield players engaged and working their socks off and a superb keeper in top form. 

Above all we saw exactly why Mikel Arteta wanted the club to buy Aaron Ramsdale. Unquestionably, that victory required a supreme team effort but to my mind, there was one key ingredient. Aaron won us that game today and more than deserved his MotM award.

They all earned their money today, as my old mate Steve T observed.


123 Drinks to “Rockin’ All Over The World (& Leicester)”

  1. 1
    TTG says:

    Thankyou for an excellent report on what was a very good victory and a very good measure of out progress. Football is so much about confidence, individual and collective. After the Brentford misfortune in the midst of a Covid outbreak we played the two best sides in the league and subsequently struggled to get past cannon fodder like Norwich , Burnley and Tottnumb!
    What we did in the summer was bold, measured and considered . As recently as a fortnight ago some of our signings did not totally convince me but there has been steady improvement and as Bath says with a midfield that moves the ball slickly and with purpose we look a good side . It underlines what so many of us have been saying about our midfield .
    The big personality of Ramsdale has had a huge impact on the club. He is a very impressive keeper and puts Pickford and co in the shade . 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 is an effective formation for us and I’m starting to think we have a real shot at fourth place this season

  2. 2
    Silly Second Yella says:

  3. 3
    bt8 says:

    Great match report Bath, many thanks to you. The first half of the first half we were buzzing like crazy. Ramsdale and our defenders shined thereafter. It feels good.

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    A question for our Japanese correspondent. How is the Japanese media coverage been, of Tomiyasu’s emergence on the Arsenal stage?

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    A report to match the performance,
    thanks Bath.

    bt8, I’ll have a looksee and find if Tomi’s triumphs
    are getting the credit they deserve.

  6. 6
    countryman100 says:

    A fine match report Bath, of a very enjoyable day out in Leicester. The BBC had forecast rain through the match, but it seemed to arrive earlier than expected. We left St Ives in the pouring rain, but as we turned off the A14 onto the A6 towards Leicester the sun broke through and remained out for the rest of the day. Leicester is a city we know well, my son went to University there and it’s only 60 miles from us. In general I don’t like 12.30 starts as you have to get up very early, but this one is a fairly easy drive. We found an industrial facility offering parking at £4 to support research into multiple sclerosis just ten minutes from the ground.

    Leicester boasts some of the finest Indian restaurants in the land (I particularly recommend Heritage India on the Welford Road) but 12.30 kick off is an awkward time to partake of on the road refreshment. So it was a tray of chips from a van just outside the King Power for an early lunch and on inside the ground.

    There we joined 3300 other Gooners. Leicester’s arrangements for away fans are very similar to the Emirates. We get a bit of the area behind the goal and wrapped around the corner flag. It does mean that the away fans can stay cohesive. This has not been a lucky ground for me, in my three recent visits I’ve seen two defeats and a draw. We won here last year, but naturally I wasn’t there because of Covid. I came with hope but not expectation. Vardy or Maddison or both usually seem to score against us and I have every respect for this splendidly run club.

    Bath describes the game so well above that I won’t well long on the football. Fast start, two good goals and then, in the second half, excellent defence and outstanding goal keeping against a resurgent Leicester. What I want to talk about is the away fans.
    This season has seen a real improvement in the atmosphere generated by the fans, both home and away. Yesterday it felt like we never stopped singing the whole game. Top of the pops was Saka and Emile Smith Rowe – we must have sung that 20 times. I remember reporting it as a new song in the league cup game away at WBA. Easily second were the two songs for our new top goalkeeper, firstly the recycled (because we are nothing if not green) Aaron Ramsey song, and also “England’s number one”, which I remember we use to sing for David Seaman at Highbury. I particularly enjoyed the recycle of the Rosicky song

    Super , Super Tom
    Super, Super Tom
    Super, Super Tom
    Super Tomiyasu

    But there were songs for Auba and Laca and others, old favourites like the Rocky song and So Paddy Got Up, as well as numerous renderings of “we all follow the Arsenal” with its loud namecheck for Leicester.

    At the end the whole team came to applaud the fans. Ramsdale hung back so he got cheers and songs all to himself and who can blame him after a performance like that. His free kick save from Maddison, which happened right in front of us, was frankly amazing.

    So off we went, happy, into the sunny Midlands afternoon. They shut some roads near the ground for a while so we had to sit and wait in the car park, but the cricket was on the radio and as Australian wickets kept tumbling it wasn’t a real hardship. Home by five just in time for another humbling of Sp*rs.

    Since that grim afternoon at the Etihad at the end of August, where even we left five minutes early after the fifth goal went in, following the Arsenal has been huge fun this season. For me this was one of the most enjoyable away days since the Danny Welbeck game at Old Trafford (we weren’t at the Martinelli game at the Bridge which also looked right up there). One game at a time, as the Boss says, but long may it continue.

  7. 7
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for that excellent and complementary supplementary report, C100. That must certainly have been great day out even if you missed out on the curry.

    🎶”Da da da da, Aaron Ramsdale!”

  8. 8
    21st century gooner says:

    Another excellent performance from The Arsenal, particularly pleasing to do it away from home against a direct rival for the top 4. I think this will be a significant moment in our season given that this was the day we finally broke back into the top six. Beat Watford at home next week and we can go into the 47th international break of the season fairly happy. Also @countryman100 sorry to hear you missed out on a pre match curry but Manchester is also famous for its curry’s if your heading up there for our trip to OT in a few weeks time. And that’s a night game so perfect for a pre match dinner!

  9. 9
    ClockEndRider says:

    Excellent report, Bath, and a nice follow up from C100. I look forward to going to away games again in the next few years.
    Got up, after an extra hour in bed due to the locks going back. And what a marvelous thing that is, and watched MOTD. This was the first I saw of the Citeh game and obviously the Laporte sending off is at the forefront of my mind. This wasn’t even as bad as the Evans foul on Auba given that the ball was essentially diagonal as opposed to going direct on goal for Auba. So now twice in the last 3 games we have had blatant red cards for the opposition not given by, apparently, top referees. And on both occasions VAR has done nothing to overrule egregiously bad decision making. At what point does this get properly called out? On BT sport we had the increasingly ridiculous Peter Walton doing his job, which appears to be to agree with the referee despite all evidence to the contrary by coming up with ever more nonsensical explanations for why the referee made the decision he did. Yesterday it was some moronic blather about how far the ball had travelled in the air. Answers on a postcard, please. I’m just sick of this rubbish

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    That was a joy to read, Bath. You captured the rhythm of the game and the ebb and flow of nervousness watching it perfectly. As you note, cutting off the supply to Vardy was one of the keys to keeping a clean sheet. Another was as solid a defensive display as we have seen in a long time. It is early days yet, but we may have acquired a world-class keeper in Ramsdale.

    C100: Glad the away day are putting you and your fellow travellers in such good heart and good voice. They seem to be bringing you as much delight as we get from reading your reports. The singing came through loud and clear on my stream from an early ‘Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal’ to several renditions of ‘Saka and Emil Smith Rowe’. Good early spot on your part that that would become part of the cannon.

  11. 11
    Steve T says:

    What a great day Saturday was. I think the vast majority of us have always accepted that this is a work in progress and something that will need time. I think we have all expressed our concerns and fears around are we heading in the right direction. There have been positive signs in recent weeks but this has to be one of the best displays under Arteta.

    The first half was full of running. Full of fluent, attacking football that resulted in a well deserved two goal lead. Are we actually getting better at taking corners? The second was a thing of beauty, and the type of thing we have been missing. I thought that ESR judged his run perfectly to be in exactly the right place and exactly the right time. What a player that young man has rapidly developed into?

    The second half was equally as pleasing. The way we stood firm and kept our shape was impressive. Leicester gave it their all and I think that in years gone by, we certainly don’t come away with a clean sheet. But this is a far different Arsenal side now. We weathered the storm well and finished the game looking more likely to get a third.

    There were No real weak links anywhere in my opinion. As Bath rightly pointed out, they all earned their money this week. Ramsdale was outstanding and provides a real platform. His distribution is as good as I have seen from a keeper. All of the back 4 were excellent. It also makes a massive difference when you have the likes of Thomas and Sambi playing so well, and do disciplined in front of you. The rest were all outstanding and battled to the end. Very impressive stuff.

    There will no doubt be bumps in the road, but we are now showing real signs of progress. We have a young squad that will hopefully just get better and better. They all very much seem to buy into it all. The pressing and general work rate were very impressive. Perhaps, and possibly most important of all, we actually now have a spine. I have always believed that any successful side needs a decent backbone. It appears that after many years, we might finally have the makings of one. Long may it continue.

    Great write up Bath. A very enjoyable read. Also C100. Great away day tales as always. Sounds like a fantastic trip. CER, I think you should qualify and take up refereeing. You are clearly tailor made for the job. Give it a go. A rapid rise up the ranks and you could soon be helping to right all of these obvious wrongs.

    One final point. I think a year out of Europe could be the biggest blessing of all. No stupid Thursday night trips to the back of beyond. A first developing first team squad that plays only one game a week could be a massive bonus when we hit the business end of the season.

    Onwards and upwards. Looking forward to next weekend already.

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER@9: There are no answers beyond it is plain inconsistency/incompetence. Same offence; two punishments.

  13. 13
    Cynic says:

    several renditions of ‘Saka and Emil Smith Rowe’.

    A song that has rapidly outworn its welcome. In this house anyway.

    Impressive half an hour in the opening period and then it was much more even. I said recently that Ramsdale reminds me of a certain ex United keeper, but that save yesterday reminded me of a couple of keepers. Gordon Banks and Ray Clemence both pulled off remarkable saves that have stayed with me ever since, where they changed direction in mid air to claw the ball away. Ramsdale’s wasn’t quite like that as he only had to go one way, but the clawing the ball away bit of the save certainly brought those two to mind. He’s been remarkable.

    So remarkable, I no longer pine for Martinez. Emi who? 😉

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    Steve T@11: The style of play Arteta is developing will mean some weary legs towards the end of the season. The absence of European football will mitigate that, as you suggest. So will winning games; never as tiring as losing. Nonetheless, Arteta and his team will have to be adept at rotating both within and between games. Taking Laca off five minutes before he ran out of steam was an encouraging sign in that regard. I worry for ESR and Saka in particular, as we don’t have ready substitutes for them.

  15. 15
    Countryman100 says:

    Twitter has reminded me of a chant I forgot from yesterday. Another recycled one, this time Ian Wright’s.

    Benny White, White, White!

  16. 16

    Now if I am wrong in my summation of events – that we continue to see poor refereeing decisions overturned by the simple expedient of qualified referees looking at the tv evidence which is there for the purpose of doing exactly that- please tell me where. Making ad hominem attempted smart arse comments are all very well but I’m afraid they don’t deal with the question I posed.

  17. 17
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Superlative review Bath! The off the ball hard work and discipline was eye catching indeed.

    And thanks everyone for the kind comments on the preview piece, as I didn’t get a chance to express my thanks there.

    Lots of purposeful performances yesterday. My special mentions go to Sambi and Tavares who given their youth and complete inexperience with English football have been impressive how seamlessly they have got in the rhythm. Tomiyasu too though he had a bit more of first team experience.

    Ned@14: Agreed. I think it is no coincidence that various talented wingers (Noa Lang et al.) are being linked for a winter move.

  18. 18
    Steve T says:

    “ So now twice in the last 3 games we have had blatant red cards for the opposition not given by, apparently, top referees. And on both occasions VAR has done nothing to overrule egregiously bad decision making.”

    I hate to make assumptions CER but I’m guessing you mean the challenge of McArthur on Saka? My understanding is that VAR did get involved. They suggest that Mike Dean go and review his decision. Dean, in a fit of his normal arrogance and whilst still massaging his ego, declined to do so. Why? I can only guess it’s just his total arrogance. It appears that a dim view was taken of this reluctance and as a result was relieved of his game last weekend.

    My understanding of VAR with regards to subjective decisions is that VAR can only get involved if there is a “clear and obvious error.” Was the yellow for Evans a clear an obvious error? Opinion will no doubt be massively divided. That alone, despite what anyone here may think of it, would suggest that it is far from clear and obvious.

    Ask yourself this CER. If it was the identical situation and that the two involved had been Ben White and Jamie Vardy, would you have been accepting if a red had been
    Issued to White?

    You are of course right when you say my comment was aimed at your drink above. I am somewhat disappointed that it only reached attempted smart arse, rather than fully fledged, smart arse status. The point I was trying to make was that after what I considered to be a great match, a great result and a wonderful team performance, that I found it incredibly bizarre that anyone would choose to ignore all of that and focus on one refereeing decision? Just my opinion of course. I just felt that if anyone appeared to be that infatuated, then there must be something to offer to those in the game who clearly do not benefit from such knowledge levels.

    Just my opinions of course and more than happy to be corrected by those more learned than I will ever be. Drink on the bar for you CER. A real one awaits if you are at The Grove next week.

    Up the Gunners.

  19. 19
    Cynic says:

    As far as the red cards and VAR go, Michael Oliver is supposed to be our top official and gave a yellow but the VAR on our game was the atrocious Jarred Gillett. We have history, VAR history at that, with this official. He was never going to overrule Oliver. I thought Oliver erred on the side of caution (baddum-TISH) and it was a definite red.

    The referee in the City game was Andre Marriner and I thought he was slightly harsh, but I can see why he gave it and thought he was brave to do so, considering who it was against. The VAR official on that game was Lee Mason.

    For some reason they have Assistant VAR officials and I would have been far happier having Sian Massey-Ellis in Gillett’s seat instead of assisting him, as she was.

  20. 20
    Countryman100 says:

  21. 21
    Steve T says:

    The one thing I did forget to mention is that the one area where officials can massively improve, is with consistency. For me, the inconsistency at times is the one thing that really frustrates me.

  22. 22
    TTG says:

    If Conte didn’t join then in the summer with United not interested and S***s not in meltdown why would Conte consider joining now ? Sounds like an Italian using his mate to placate the fanbase

  23. 23
    Countryman100 says:

    TTG maybe Levy would accede to his demands now where he didn’t before. But I agree, it’s unlikely. I mainly posted it because it suggests Nuno has had his chips. Rumours all afternoon from several that a crisis meeting underway. Levy has really fucked this up.

  24. 24
    TTG says:

    As your article suggests Levy fucks everything up .
    Talking to a long- term Spud this morning he suggested every Spud would have accepted Kane’s sale, indeed many felt he deserved a move . Through greed or a misguided sense that he knew best Levy blocked the sale. They’ve now got a demotivated player at odds with the fans and if any deal takes place in January the price won’t be what it was and they will find it hard to replace him in January.
    I sensed that the fanbase was divided on Levy until I read that article . Some fans revelled in the big shiny new stadium and the Poch years . Others wondered why the new boardroom needed a trophy cabinet and saw their local rivals who were also dipping in prominence win four FA Cups in seven years . But someone as obstinate as Levy will take some shifting . Sometimes KSE can almost seem appealing in comparison! ( I jest)

  25. 25
    TTG says:

    Interesting chart showing the 25 youngest goal scorers in Arsenal history . I saw most of these goals which makes me feel very old !

    Top 25 youngest Arsenal goalscorers

  26. 26
    bt8 says:

    TTG. Another useful thing about that chart is that it allows you to calculate their birthdays. Doing just that I discovered that Feo’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day thereby doubling the burden of greeting cards required. If you were so inclined of course.

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of Micky Boot but he certainly had a good name for a footballer

  28. 28
    bt8 says:

    If you were thrifty about it I suppose that could allow you to halve the burden.

  29. 29
    TTG says:

    Micky Boot scored on his debut at home against Newcastle, scored away against Leeds in his second game and then never played again as far as I remember . He was what they used to call a right half and faced competition from Mclintock for that role . I think he ended up in South Africa

  30. 30
    Uplympian says:

    A very pleasing review Bath.
    A faultless team performance – everyone contributed in a positive way. Has the team finally clicked and the manager found the best system for the players under his wing? It’s only 2 games in – the despair by many ( myself included ) at the Palace performance / result is just 2 weeks previous. Most of the angst was with the team selection / tactics which was all down to the manager. The last 2 performances have been full of energy & cohesion – the players seem to know what’s required of them and the success has bought a smile to their faces and, to the supporters as well. The latter have been brilliant in their support – the atmosphere they have conjured up has been most notable. Let’s hope we can continue run for the foreseeable future.

  31. 31
    Countryman100 says:

  32. 32
    Countryman100 says:

    So another manager will be in for Levy.

    Tottenham Hotspur sack manager Nuno Espirito Santo

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Countryman100 says:

  35. 35
    Countryman100 says:

    Who’s that team they call The Arsenal?
    Who’s that team we all adore?
    They’re the boys in red and white
    And they’re fucking dynamite
    And (insert name here)’s mother is a whore!

  36. 36
    North Bank Ned says:

    Micky Boot’s Arsenal playing career, indeed his senior professional career in English football, was brief — five appearances between October and November 1966 — and its brevity remains something of a mystery.

    He was a wing-half of promise as a teenager. He had played for England Schoolboys in 1963 and joined Arsenal as an apprentice that year, signing professional forms in 1964. He played in two FA Youth Cup finals, captaining the winning side in 1966 that also contained Pat Rice and Sammy Nelson.

    A few months later, he made his senior debut as an 18-year old in the 3rd round of the league cup. He then played in the next three league games. He missed the following one at Old Trafford but came on as a sub in the one after that. It would prove to be his final game.

    In his five matches, he scored two goals, both in the league, including the 30-yard strike against Newcastle that got him onto the 25 youngest Arsenal goalscorers list. That game was featured on Match of the Day, making its Saturday evening debut on BBC1 that season.

    In his five matches, Boot was on the losing side four times. The team was on a dreadful run of form, just three wins in 21 games between late August and mid-December. Boot, however, just disappeared from the reckoning after his handful of games.

    Perhaps there was an issue now lost to history between the teenager and Bertie Mee, in his first season as manager and a notorious disciplinarian. Maybe it was just Mee’s decision to push his strike force in the Newcastle match, George Graham and Frank McLintock, into deeper roles (with great success) that squeezed Boot out. In the MOTD commentary, Kenneth Wolstenholme mentions that Boot had been threatening to quit the game just three weeks before his league debut because he didn’t see a future for himself.

    Whatever the reason, Boot soon left Arsenal, sold to the South African club, Port Elizabeth, in March 1967 for a fee of around £5,000. It was a surprising destination for a player, at least on the basis of his MOTD performance, who did not look out of place in top-flight English football.

    If he intended the move to South Africa to be a fresh start, it seems to have failed. He reportedly couldn’t settle there and returned to England after a season, in which Port Elizabeth won its domestic league. He spent the next decade playing non-league football in his native Midlands (he was born and grew up in Leicester) before emigrating to Australia, where he eventually became a coach.

  37. 37
    Las says:

    Very enjoyable reading! Thanks, Bath and C100!
    It was the best Saturday for quite some time.
    Arriving late into the pub always tricky. The best case is you are in the middle of everything the worst is when you are already over it. Hope its not to late for a beer. 🙂
    You can only beat who is in front of you, not to mention that we didn’t even beat Brighton and Palace. But the results of this weekend somehow reframe these matches. Palace beating Shitteh, Brighton brilliant coming from behind draw against ‘Pool means there is no shame drawing with them. These are well-coached in-form teams who are able to surprised even the best. From this point of view the present run of seven unbeaten games is more valuable.
    Well it is true it was not a dominant peformance aganst Leicester but it neither was an aganst the wall. A determined but not heroic, a fighting chance but not against all odds. Very disciplined team performance.

  38. 38
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Ned for The Mystery of the Vanishing Boot!

    bt8, seems Tomi is getting some praise in the media here in Japan but there are a lot of Japanese playing overseas these days and sound defense is not a headline grabber so nothing major. I liked one industrial clearance into Row Z against Leicester and hopefully he’s a long-term solution as right back – done great so far and should get better as he and Benjamin settle in on the right.

  39. 39
    bt8 says:

    Thanks, Ned for putting the monks to work on that one. That’s an interesting and mysterious story of Micky Boot’s truncated big-time football career. In the end though his predilection for Southern climes seems to have won the day.

  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    The monks are always at your service, bt8. There was a lot of pleasure in watching the MOTD of the Newcastle game that brought back fond memories: toilet rolls thrown on the pitch; rattles in the crowd; full-backs on the posts at corners. You just don’t see any of that these days.

  41. 41
    North Bank Ned says:

    Conte to the neighbours would be bad news. Less bad news than Conte to ManU. But he is a first-rate manager and could make something of either team. It will take longer to do it in Middlesex because he would be starting from a lower base. If he is appointed then the best hope is that he will fall out with Levy over money before he has worked his magic.

  42. 42
    bt8 says:

    Matt, I guess there have been a number of Japanese who have been successful in the Bundesliga and elsewhere, including Okazaki at Leicester a few years ago, but I thought Tomiyasu would already be a sensation there for his Arsenal exploits. Maybe it’s the Taoist impulse in them expressing caution but careers being short I hope they appreciate it while he’s doing so well for us.

  43. 43
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM: Who are the stars playing overseas who get followed? Takumi Minamino at Liverpool, Maya Yoshida at Sampdoria and Takefusa Kubo at Mallorca come to mind.

  44. 44
    OsakaMatt says:


    This is a list of just how many players are overseas now, albeit most of them are not a high standard. Out of all of them probably the most interest is in the two young players, Abe and Nakai at Barcelona and Real Madrid even though they are not near the first team in reality. Brand image is big. Okazaki got big as he was popular in Japan anyway for his whole-hearted playing style and then the Leicester shock. We need to win the PL for Tomi to be a sensation😉

    The other thing is that baseball is still the biggest sport in Japan and for every story about a footballer there are 10 about Ohtani!

  45. 45
    OsakaMatt says:

    Levy and Conte is a match made in hell, perhaps Kane will be sold to Shitteh in a January sale and Conte has been promised the funds. I give them 6 months before a trial separation followed by an expensive divorce😀

  46. 46
    TTG says:

    Ned is right about Conte and I am flabbergasted he would join with much greater potential available in the near future at United and Nexcastle . An 18 month contract is interesting . It will take a long time to sort out the rabble that we saw on Saturday . It will also require a lot of money and it’s very hard to rebuild in January . So we can expect a splurge next summer and a much better 21/22 from them but we must remember he is by nature very volatile ( things soured badly at the Bus Stop) and Levy is Levy, the gift that keeps on giving to Gooners everywhere .
    It was a great moment for Arsene when we beat Chelsea at Wembley in 2017 and I wish he had departed then. Combined with the 3-0 thrashing earlier in the season he had a decent record against Conte that season but Conte’s achievements in a lesser league in Italy were remarkable .
    Financially things must be a mess at Tottnumb. Conte will command a huge wage relative to NES , and terms too prohibitive to agree to in the summer , and he was about the only person that Levy could turn to. We are bound to get a lot of the ‘ tears in me eyes’ and ‘ Champions in 21/22’ postings from the hordes of ignorant Spuds out there but many Marshdwellers feel that the club can’t move forward with Levy in charge . Certainly Kane, as one of the key assets will force an interesting decision. He won’t raise what he did in the summer ( another example of Levy’s ‘acumen’) but he is beneath the problems, a very fine player and Conte can recreate a topstriker . But how else do they fund the team investment needed elsewhere …and what if the Kane if this season us the Jane that you will see in the future ? I still think St.Totteringham’s Day is very much on the cards but it’s not a good day for Gooners in my view

  47. 47
    Countryman100 says:

  48. 48
    bt8 says:

    At last we know how many years it took for Spurs to appoint an Italian manager in the extended aftermath of lasagna-gate. PR conscious club.

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    So it is a done deal: Conte is the neighbours’ new gaffer, lured by ‘the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task’. We will see how much ‘contagious enthusiasm and determination’ Levy retains when it comes to dipping his hand into his wallet. I cannot shake off the feeling that the 18-month contract is as much about Levy protecting himself against the downside if it all goes pear-shaped before then.

    However, I note, with some concern, the observation by one Italian commentator about how when Conte managed the Italian national side at the 2016 Euros, he took what many Italians considered to be their least talented squad in living memory to the quarter-finals before losing to Germany on penalties. There is no shortage of lack of talent up the road if he thinks turning it around rather than flushing it out is the way to go. Which Conte is Levy getting?

  50. 50
    North Bank Ned says:

    Unai Emery is the front runner for the Newcastle job, apparently. What is the Geordie for ‘good ebening’?

  51. 51
    North Bank Ned says:

    To answer my own question, Calciomercato is saying that Conte has asked for a £240 million transfer budget to bring in six players, including Federico Chiesa and Matthijs de Ligt.


  52. 52
    bathgooner says:

    There’s little doubt that Conte has shown himself to be a skilled motivator but he also has demonstrated that he has a short fuse and his track record reveals a susceptibility to emotional outbursts that excoriate those around him. Levy may well decide that with the debts piling up around him he might as well go ‘all in’ on Conte’s desired transfer budget but does he have an asbestos suit for when his coach throws a nuclear wobbly?

    There’s also that old chestnut about seed and soil. There are many highly productive crops that will not bear fruit when planted in the wrong place.

  53. 53
    TTG says:

    Apparently S***s originally made an announcement in Spanish on their website before realising Conte was Italian !
    Re the CalcioMercato article
    1) It’s a bit unreliable as a publication . An Italian Daily Star.
    2) If Chiesa is up for sale he’s got bigger fish to fry than the Spuds! That applies to most of that list.Unless of course they want a EuropaLeague Conference medal ( runners up)
    3) Clubs are reluctant to let players go in January as they are hard to replace mid-season
    4) They can’t fund that especially if they keep Harry Kane. Will he leave ? If Citeh want him good luck to Levy in getting what he was offered in the summer
    Your point re coaching is germane .Famously he switched to three at the back at our place when 3-0 down and we were all hoping for a 6-0 victory and that formation propelled them to the title. I think their squad lacks quality but he can get a tune out of most teams he coaches

  54. 54
    TTG says:

    I’ve been reading that in eight games against Arsenal ( as Chelsea manager with a team that won the title and FA Cup ) Conte was triumphant once and lost four times including the 2017 Cup Final , the Community Shield and the following year’s Carabao Cup semi- Final . Nice to read

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@53: When reading and writing in a first language is a struggle, two will always be a stretch. 🙂

    I think you do Calciomercato a disservice. True, it trafficks in football gossip, but it is multiple cuts above the Daily Star.

    One thought that struck me is that Conte has taken an 18-month engagement because he thinks ManU won’t boot out OGS until next season. Too Machiavellian?

  56. 56
    Countryman100 says:

    As a bearded football supporter please see this. The author, Keith Flett, is a Spurs fan.

    Beard Liberation Front raises concerns over Spurs new manager

  57. 57
    bathgooner says:

    An interesting analysis of why Conte said yes to Tottnumb this time Levy flashed a bit of leg at him:


    [i].Italian journalist Gabriele Marcotti said: “There are two things that for me don’t fully make sense.

    “One is that it is reportedly an 18-month deal. That seems strange when you are talking a project and long term, manager security and clout.

    “The other obvious thing is that you look at why Conte has left his previous jobs.

    “He left Inter [at the end of last season] because they couldn’t invest money and they sold his best players. He left Chelsea because he couldn’t get owner Roman Abramovich to spend more money on players he wanted.

    “You’ve heard the famous line about him leaving Juventus when he said ‘they wanted me to eat out in a 100 euros restaurant with 10 euros in my pocket’. They weren’t delivering in the market.

    “You think of all the owners in the Premier League and the most likely to be cautious with his money is Levy. It is completely counter-intuitive.” [/i]

  58. 58
    bt8 says:

    Re: c100 @56. Nuno had (still does, I assume) a great beard. Nearly insuperable really.

  59. 59
    TTG says:

    I’ve been back-drinking ovtge many years of posts he, especially from the Guvna and trying to pinpoint when I became a Holic .
    In doing so I came across this very interesting and prescient post from Joe, an erstwhile frequent visitor , and proud Irishman who had this to say in the wake of our FA Cup triumph against Villa. Incidentally there are some some wonderful posts on that blog from many who still post regularly , including Steve T and Trev .
    This was what Joe said in May 2015.
    My non football moment of the day was the underrated yet utterly class manner in how Arteta handled himself as a Captain, player, ambassador and leader of this bunch of lads.

    The interviews he gave pre & post match, his coy reluctance to lift the cup despite not making the squad (let alone the bench) and his thoughtful involvement of Diaby in the post game celfebrations demonstrates the cohesiveness and inclusiveness of this bunch.

    He may have slowed down somewhat and struggled for fitness all season but he’s a smashing lad and one would seem to think he has all the attributes to become a really good coach one day.

    Joe knew !

  60. 60
    Pangloss says:

    ttg I believe your first drink, under your long alias, was this one from February 2010. It’s not your famous drink lauding Usmanov about which I was so cruel, but I should be able to find that one some time tomorrow.

  61. 61
    Pangloss says:

    …and I believe the “famous” drink was this one from January 2013 – it’s followed by some back and forth (with me in my earlier geographical alias) which we have repeated several times over the years.

    Night all.

  62. 62
    North Bank Ned says:

    Unai Emery has reportedly joined Conte, Xavi and Joachim Low in turning down the Newscastle job. Lampard and Gerrard also ruled themselves out, I believe.


    I remain surprised that the new Saudi owners didn’t have a manager, and certainly a director of football, pencilled in when they closed the deal to buy the club. In most takeovers, the operational senior management is usually waiting in the wings.

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    The U-21s were held 1-1 by Plymouth in the EFL Trophy, before losing the penalty shoot-out. They now need Newport County to lose to Swindon Town next week if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

  64. 64
    Potsticker says:

    Pangloss, you inspired me to revisit Goonerholic.com. So much amazing stuff there. I found what appears to be ‘Holic’s first post from September 15, 2006. I was wondering how you search the site, or if there’s a trick to navigating it (or an index).

  65. 65
    TTG says:

    Blimey how forensic a knowledge on someone else’s posts. Somewhat unsettling especially the use of apostrophes around ‘ famous ‘ . Famous to who ?
    Back drinking and looking at some of the Guvna’s style and messages has been extremely enjoyable and worth doing to see how thinking about the club has unfolded

  66. 66
    TTG says:

    You are absolutely right about the joy to be had in delving back into Dave’s writing . The body of work to be found on Goonerholic and I’ve not traced it back to 2006 yet is extraordinary. I consider Dave to be one of the most balanced , knowledgeable and friendly bloggers Arsenal has been lucky enough to have and I’ve been surprised by the number and variety of well known characters who commented on the old blog in the past, many of whom I know from the Gooner and general involvement with the club . Sadly some have departed this life and hopefully can be found enjoying a friendly debate in a celestial bar somewhere with the Guvna.
    Other regular posters of the past don’t frequent this bar for a variety of reasons but this still manages to be a really enjoyable and balanced forum that I think Dave would have approved of .

  67. 67
    Operational Senior Management says:

    Fuck Newcastle.

  68. 68
    North Bank Ned says:

    OSM@67: 🙂

  69. 69
    North Bank Ned says:

    Like Potsticker, I have been inspired by Pangloss to look back through the Guv’nor’s work. As TTG says, it is such consistently great blogging. Wise, level-headed and insightful, often funny, invariably humane and always infused with a love for the club.

    This was his ‘initial test post’: https://goonerholic.com/2006/09/arsenal-safe-from-takeover/

    The old site is not easy to search but, if it is of any help, this URL lists Dave’s first ten posts:


    Change the number at the end to get ten posts from a different set of dates. The pages run in reverse chronological order, so ~/page/1/ is the final ten. ~/page/100/, for example, is from September and October 2013.

    Dip in and enjoy.

  70. 70
    Pangloss says:

    potsticker@64 – No trick really, other than be a retired programmer with too much time on his hands. For what it’s worth, I navigated the site via the category indexes listed in the right side-bar.

    Back in the day, I seem to recall that there was an Archives section in the right side-bar – either on the home page only, or on blog pages only – that would take you easily to a list of Dave’s posts by month and year but that seems to have gone probably as a side effect when the site was archived.


  71. 71
    Countryman100 says:

    Ned @69. Fascinating to look at those early posts – and at the almost absence of drinks!

  72. 72
    Pangloss says:

    Back on Dave’s site…

    It’s scandalous that we have allowed so much time to pass with no reference to the sensational exposé of behind-the-scenes activity that was published in the drinks during the 2011 close season. Read the original here.

  73. 73
    Cynic says:

    Unai Emery is the front runner for the Newcastle job, apparently.
    Turned it down. Very wise.

  74. 74
    Steve T says:

    Some great trips down memory lane. Well done people.

  75. 75
    North Bank Ned says:

    Pangloss@72: Great series of drinks by tabs.

    And what a team he names at the end:

    Trev, BtM, Clive, H2H
    Lars, Dr C, Dr Z, True Storey
    Ollie, Wolfgang Smallballs

    Bench: Camberwell Gooner, Charlie, Snir Gueli, Matt, Noel73, Harsha, SteveT, Nasri (long-form bt8), Lonestar and And Lester.

    Legends all.

  76. 76
    TTG says:

    Thanks for this fine archiving work.
    Sadly ( looking on an iPad cos it’s all I’ve got ) I can see sweet FA of the various posts you have appended . Is there anything I can do to access them ?

  77. 77
    TTG says:

    My original aim in trawling through the series of blogs was to see where I was in terms of Wenger , Kroenke etc and how that might have changed over time. I’m doing an article for the Online Gooner about how Arsenal fan opinion has changed and why and wanted some reference points . I think Pangloss has given me some very helpful parameters . I’ve written for the Gooner since 1988 and it’s interesting that in 2000 and 2001 I was writing that we needed to give this guy Wenger some more time . He’d won the double in 1998 , almost repeated it in 1999, got to the UEFA Cup Final in 2000 and the FA Cup Final in 2001 ( both lost ) . I think we finished second from 1999-2001 in the League .
    Yet there were people saying that Wenger wasn’t a winner and we needed to do better!
    I think I started to believe we might need a change in 2010 but rowed back on that and flip-flopped for years . I’m interested in how the debate flowed on here because this was a more loyal and conservative house.
    I’ve never really been in favour of the Kroenkes. Strangely I think we may be about to witness their finest moments .

  78. 78
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@77: I was dipping into the Gov’nor’s work for the joy of it and, truth be told, searching for my first drink, but my impression from an unscientific sample of posts and drinks was that many of the same issues on and off the pitch that fire up fans today were inflaming tensions then, too, such as being owned by investors who were not, in Dave’s phrase, Arsenal men through and through, transfer spending (good, bad and non-existent), being perennially short of a couple of players that would make the difference in winning silverware, competing with the moneybags (then mostly Abramovich) and defensive shortcomings.

    By 2000, 2001, Wenger would have been there four-to-five years, not without success, but with greater success to come. Fergie once said something to the effect that the hardest thing for a football club in transition is to have patience. Patience stretched further in the pre-social media days, but perhaps not that much further than we might imagine. The loudest voices will shout louder these days because they can, and there will be many more voices because of social media, but I wonder if the distribution curve of anger, outrage and idiocy is that much different.

    Without getting too nerdy — actually, getting very nerdy — you could always run a social media sentiment analysis (or get someone to do it for you!). It is not a trivial task to do well and over such an extended time frame. Designing and collecting the data set alone would be challenging, but there must be ‘holics with the programming skills and maybe access to professional analytic tools. (Any postgrads familiar with R out there, lurking between us old lags?) There might even be some retired programmers with too much time on their hands who could help out 🙂

  79. 79
    bathgooner says:

    It’s a great pleasure to wander through the Guvna’s early musings. Such pearls of wisdom. Thanks for the link, Ned.

    As C100 observed, Dave clearly had to show great perseverance over several years to build his community of ‘Holics.

    I can’t remember when I first contributed on the Drinks. I know I first met Dave (and the management) in person at the launch of ‘So Paddy Got Up’ in the Tollie in 2011 but I had been posting for some time before that and deliberately sought him out at the launch

  80. 80
    Pangloss says:

    ttg – your first drink: https://goonerholic.com/2010/02/three-shots-2-tippy-tappy-0/#comment-13075
    your “famous” drink – https://goonerholic.com/2013/01/let-jack-be-the-conductor-at-the-bus-stop/#comment-297077 behind the scenes activity – https://goonerholic.com/behind-the-arse/

    Ned – your first drink was https://goonerholic.com/2010/06/will-fifa-ban-the-cheats-spain-lift-the-spirits/#comment-20058 on 22-Jun-2010.

    This is rather good fun, I wonder whether I should charge.

    I don’t know any R, but if you think I can help, you have my email address.

  81. 81
    Pangloss says:

    Sorry bath, I missed your speculation. You made your debut on 6-May-2009 with https://goonerholic.com/2009/05/arrivederci-roma/#comment-8138

  82. 82
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks, Pangloss. Gosh! Where do the years go?

  83. 83
    TTG says:

    That’s very kind.
    Thankyou .I shall go through them in the morning

  84. 84
    OsakaMatt says:

    I know what you mean cynic but I thought Newcastle was a free shot for Emery really. He’s been successful in Spain again and can easily go back. Everyone failed at Newcastle for the last 20 years or so and it’s easy to say the job is impossible if things don’t go well, with no hit to his reputation. If they do go well then of course he is the Messiah etc etc

  85. 85
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned@78: You no longer need to know R, you can use any programming language to leverage the APIs of various hosted ML services on Cloud, AWS Comprehend would be ideal for Sentiment Analysis. https://docs.aws.amazon.com/comprehend/latest/dg/comprehend-dg.pdf#API_Reference . If you want to use Java or Python you can just use the SDK which will make the underlying API calls to Comprehend. All you have to do is upload the data in AWS S3 buckets.

    Typically Sentiment Analysis gives you three categories: Positive, Negative, Neutral. For default Sentiment Analysis you can just use any document (in many languages, not just English) and get those classifications.

    If you want something more detailed, you can train a Comprehend Custom Classifier using some labeled input data set of documents that you can pre-categorize as you wish. For football related posts I guess the categories could be “Stupid”, “Angry”, “Offensive”, “Readable”, “Intelligent”, “Insightful”, “Goonerholic-esque” . 🙂

  86. 86
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Lest anyone gets the wrong idea, I do not work for Amazon. You can find such hosted services for NLP in Google or Microsoft Azure as well, and if you have enough computing power of your own can use something like TensorFlow stack…

    If anyone is willing to upload appropriately labeled blog comments (old and new) to S3 when I get free time I can try to get some NLP Sentiment Analysis done at some point of time over the holidays.

  87. 87
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@85: Thanks for all that. This is all for TTG’s benefit so he is the one who should be reading up on the documentation, but I suspect I won’t be able to resist a peek 🙂

    I am probably a couple of years behind the curve now — actually probably a couple of aeons as I am old enough to have used Fortran at one point (Google it, younger ‘holics) — but have some rudimentary experience of using R with third-party NPL APIs for statistical analysis (I am not a trained programmer, I hasten to add). As you note, it is going to be the data scrapping to get the text data set to analyse that is going to be the time-consuming part.

  88. 88
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@84: After his time with us, I would guess that Unai might feel the risk of a second flop in the Premier League was not worth taking. Yes, the kudos, if the new manager succeeded, would be immense, but far more likely is that the plug gets pulled on him long before that. Newcastle is going to be a long rebuild and especially if the team gets relegated this season, which is not inconceivable.

  89. 89
    Countryman100 says:

    While we’re wallowing in the past, here’s a great night in Manchester remembered with contributions from within the stadium from Bath, TaBS and myself. https://goonerholic.com/2015/03/strolled-trafford-gunners-heading-back-wembley-way/

  90. 90
    bathgooner says:

    Thanks Pangloss @81. Much appreciated! You are elected to the role of Official Archivist in addition to your other roles!

  91. 91
    bathgooner says:

    5 May 2009

    What a dreadfully disappointing night that was. I remember the night vividly – the flags, the hope, the optimism, the early disillusion.

    In retrospect it was a significant milestone on the road we traversed throughout the next decade.

    Early hours of 6 May 2009

    A significant milestone on my personal journey. Thanks again for the detective work, Pangloss.

  92. 92
    bathgooner says:

    An excellent link, C100 @89. Thank you.

    What a night! Nice memories.

  93. 93
    Trev says:

    A very, very late thank you, Bath – great work !

    A burst hot water tank and too much work have been preoccupying this week, so sorry for the late response.

  94. 94
    Pangloss says:

    Ned@87 – shurely shome mishtake.

    Do you not mean FORTRAN? Lowercase is for wimps.

    May I commend Real Programmers don’t use PASCAL?


  95. 95
    TTG says:

    That was a ghastly evening . Pre-match the most vibrant atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at the Grove . Within a few minutes it was funereal. I note we had a TT and a tg back then Neither was me .
    I’m also very grateful to Pangloss for his research . My first post is the one I was Lokonga for and it underlines that even back then we were very ambivalent nay pessimistic about the future . As for the ‘ famous ‘ discussion I still consider it very surprising that there was so much pushback about Usmanov especially when the alternative was Kroenke. I think we are probably more accepting of alternative opinions on here nowadays .
    But having said that although Usmanov has not properly resurfaced the travails of Everton under his mate Moshiri do not suggest he had the magic bullet either .

  96. 96
    TTG says:

    My auto correct now inserts Arsenal midfielders instead of the words looking for . Apologies for previous drink which converted post button push

  97. 97
    bathgooner says:

    No apologies for 95 necessary TTG @96. It’s always entertaining to see such mutations and a test of one’s interpretative skills to work out the original intent. My phone does the same for me.

  98. 98
    bathgooner says:

    Curls a long ball across to the left flank for…

  99. 99
    Pangloss says:

    TTG to echo my sentiments of 2013, although perhaps less stridently, I’m be no means sure,

    knocks the ball on to the onrushing…

  100. 100
    Countryman100 says:

    Bang! Top bins.

  101. 101
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, C100.

    Pangloss@94: 🙂 I am not a real, or any other kind of programmer beyond the most amateur of dabblers. Do pass the quiche…

  102. 102
    scruzgooner says:

    pang@94, what are you saying there, buddy? 😎. i’ve been running with the e.e. cummings crowd since well before i first bellied up to dave’s bar…2009? 2010?

    and another late thanks, baff. well done. hopefully that grit after a fast start will continue to obtain, and the clean sheet. or let’s just beat hell out of teams, and a clean sheet. that’ll do.

  103. 103
    bt8 says:

    This week’s pictures from the Arsenal training ground feature some unusually artistic shots, particularly of the clouds above the ground at #2 and of an arrangement of colorful footballs at #6. The rest of them seem to feature a bunch of football players and coaches.

  104. 104
    TTG says:

    I attended the Bobby Moore Annual Sports Quiz and dinner tonight in London . We met in a bar that was buzzing . Why I worry about attending Ars3nal and the requisite Tube I don’t know .
    I met Simon Thomas who is a friend of a friend and has a very tragic take to tell about the death of his first wife which he he has just related in his book . He tells me that he is hosting a number of games on Amazon Prime in December including our gsme at OT with ManYoo. I was not aware another UK broadcaster was in the mix although they did cover several games last year. I had also not realised Jeff Sterling was leaving Sky . He is a brilliant broadcaster especially in that role .
    Dave Seaman was heavily involved with the event and it was an enjoyable evening

  105. 105
    Countryman100 says:

    That explains why the game is at 8.15pm

  106. 106
    bt8 says:

    Lest we forget the Guvna was also a poet. Exhibit A:

    Ode To Joy

  107. 107
    bathgooner says:

    Well in for the ton, C100. Where did that term ‘top bins’ come from?

    I don’t think the Guvna would ever claim to be a poet but it’s a far, far better effort than I could produce.

  108. 108
  109. 109
    bt8 says:

    Bath I have to say that poem was both insured and inspiring. If you don’t believe me look below in the drinks where there are excellent poetic contributions from a number of drinkers most of whom are still with us, as well as an excellent effort from Oskar the Dog. The talent on display around here is awesome.

  110. 110
    bt8 says:

    Insured, maybe not, but inspired, most certainly. 😎

  111. 111
    bt8 says:

    Als worth a look for an appearance by Lord Byron himself. 🙌🏻

  112. 112
    bathgooner says:

    Well, who’da thunk it, C100?

    I’ll wander through the Poetic Drinks there later, bt8.

  113. 113
    scruzgooner says:

    that was a good time, bt8 @106. love to see the earlier post lars referenced. pang?

  114. 114
    bt8 says:

    A little bit of insight into what kind of place is Watford comes from the headline story, “New Greggs branch coming to Kings Langley petrol station” in the current issue of the Watford Observer. Sounds like it could be the event of the season.

  115. 115
    bt8 says:

    Not to denigrate their football club by any means. They usually catch us when we’re expecting three easy points, which we certainly should not be doing.

  116. 116
    TTG says:

    That would represent a very big deal in Watford . Especially if they are discounting the jumbo sausage rolls .
    I’ve rarely been there but do not consider this any cause of disappointment.
    My mate who is a season ticket holder at Vicarage Road tells me he’d be happy if they only lose 3-0 . I’m not buying it I’m afraid

  117. 117
    scruzgooner says:

    bt8, ttg, that sounds about right. they have three different articles on their club website whose purpose is to talk about the players who’ve scored goals against us in the past. danny rose, tom cleverley…plus a couple of others. definitely a lack of source material. if greggs sold jumbo sausage rolls it’d probably warrant a mention on the club site…

  118. 118
    bathgooner says:

    Watford was a nice town when we used to visit it for an afternoon shopping when we lived in Ickenham in the mid eighties. It had an excellent model shop from which my son got some historic electric trains as well as his favourite Thomas the Tank Engine. It may well have changed dramatically since then but I don’t think the residents deserve opprobrium. The club on the other hand…

  119. 119
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ickenham has a school named for the Douay Martyrs for reasons I have never fathomed. Perhaps you know of some connection, bath.

  120. 120
    TTG says:

    When I ran my consultancy I was asked by a CEO of a general insurer who I used to work with and knew well to find a suitable Non Exec. I knew just the man and he duly joined . My remuneration was split into three parts . Firstly a finders fee, then a year later a fee if he passed his annual review and finally ( gentleman’s agreement ) a payment if Watford reached the Premier League that season . That was his suggestion. ( As you can guess I’d costed my fee on the first two parts ) . Watford did reach the Premier League but the CEO had been fired by then and I never got the Watford bonus .I’ve resented them ever since although it’s hardly their fault.

  121. 121
    Pangloss says:

    scruz@113 – don’t hold your breath mate.

  122. 122
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@120: The infamous Watford Gap. Only Gaul should be divided into three parts. For everything else, it is a part upfront and the rest on delivery.

  123. 123
    scruzgooner says: