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Danny Rose, winner of the All-England cake eating championships, clatters Lacazette 

Arsenal came into this game off the back of two straight league wins and were enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions stretching back to the end of August. Newly promoted Watford had predictably found themselves in a relegation dogfight and had already sacked their manager, replacing him with former Chelsea and Leicester manager, Claudio Ranieri who interestingly had never beaten Arsenal in the premier league. The Gunners knew that they could climb to fifth, three points above “title contenders” Manchester United with victory over the Hornets. However, if previous meetings were anything to go by, this would be far from straightforward for Mikel Arteta’s side. 

There was a very positive atmosphere around the ground at kick off, due to our upturn in both performances and results and that seemed to transmit to the pitch as Arsenal once again started fast and on the front foot. We thought we had the lead after nine minutes after Ainsley Maitland Niles, filling in for the injured Thomas Partey, played an incisive through ball to Lacazette, splitting the Watford backline. The Frenchman swivelled and shot but his effort was well saved by Ben Foster, who seemingly always plays a blinder against us, but it went only as far as Aubameyang whose poor touch fortuitously found its way to Saka to calmly slot the ball home. But wait! The replays showed that while Saka was behind the final Watford defender, he was beyond the ‘keeper when Aubameyang mis-played the ball to him, therefore VAR correctly disallowed the goal. 0-0.

The Gunners didn’t let that stop their flow. Arsenal continued to dominate possession and Lokonga had one or two long range efforts. Then after thirty-five minutes Arsenal earned a penalty and a golden chance to take the lead when Lacazette was scythed down by Tottenham reject Danny Rose following an aerial ‘duel’. Aubameyang stepped up to take it. He struck the ball well enough but unfortunately Foster guessed correctly and dived to his right to make an impressive save and there was to be no rebound for the skipper as there was in the win over Villa. The Watford fans celebrated as if they had scored. Watford then had a rare sniff of goal when Lokonga was robbed of possession and the Watford attacker’s shot was deflected wide by Benjamin White. At the other end we nearly scored when Gabriel rose highest for a corner and the Brazilian saw his header well saved again by the legs of the impressive Foster.

Half time. A disallowed goal, a missed penalty but no goals at the break.

The second half began in a similar vein with Arsenal dictating the play with lots of possession. The home crowd remained supportive, positive and confident; they sensed a goal was inevitable. Lokonga saw another effort gathered by Foster and then the inevitable goal arrived. As Benjamin White surged out of defence yet again, he was tackled just outside the area, but the ball fell to Emile Smith Rowe who stroked it home beautifully.

1-0 to The Arsenal.

Carnage ensued all around the Emirates. The home fans were delighted, Danny Rose was raging about something, possibly because he finally realised, he’s not as good as he thinks he is, but the Gunners took a deserved lead. How would Watford react? Not very well was the answer as the home side continued to dominate. Lacazette was replaced by Martin Ødegaard and the Norwegian almost made an instant impact. Saka fed him on the right-hand side of the box, he jinked it past a defender, onto his weaker right foot, and his shot went past the keeper and was clearly going in, before Aubameyang, understandably keen to make up for his penalty miss, rather unnecessarily prodded the ball over the line. He was clearly in an offside position and the goal was, once again, correctly ruled out. Ødegaard put his head in his hands as did all the Arsenal fans. Still only 1-0. 

Still only 1-0 indeed. As the game approached its final stages Watford realised they needed to attack if they were going to get anything out the game. There was one hairy moment when a long ball was pumped up towards the lively Josh King, who rounded Ramsdale, who was a mere spectator up to this point. Thankfully the angle was too tight as the Norwegian hit the side netting as he tried to squeeze in an equaliser. Then in the 88th minute the game was effectively won when the once again impressive Nuno Tavares embarked on another mazy dribble and was brought down by Juraj Kucka. The Slovakian defender had already been booked and the referee had no choice but to show him a second yellow card as the Hornets ended the game with ten men.

There was still time for Lokonga to have another stinging effort but at full time it was the Hornets who had a stinging sensation in their stomachs as they were consigned to a seventh defeat of the season leaving them hovering precariously above the relegation zone on ten points. The Gunners have double that tally on twenty points with this sixth win in eight league games taking them up to fifth, only two points behind Liverpool in fourth whom we visit next after the international break on the other side of England’s blockbuster clash with the 210thbest team in the world, San Marino. What an enticing encounter that promises to be. I digress.

For Arsenal it was another win and another clean sheet and three very important points as we remain well and truly in the hunt for a place in the top four and the holy grail of qualification for the Champions League.


147 Drinks to “The Stingers Stung”

  1. 1
    North Bank Ned says:


  2. 2
    North Bank Ned says:


    You were on the money with your report, 21CG. We really should have scored the goals that would have made the scoreline look as comfortable as the performance was.

  3. 3
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21st C – an excellent report on a game we really should have won 3-0. Anyway, a clean sheet and 3 points. Didn’t really want this interlull just now as we are in good form and a trip to Liverpool to come. For that one we need to stand Gabriel in front of Allison at corners😀

  4. 4
    TTG says:

    Your excellent reports have been welcome additions to the writing team we have and this is a fine account of quite a frustrating game . A Watford friend wrote this morning that he felt we should have won at least 4-0 and that they offered nothing in attack . Had Aubameyang not played like a drain we would have comfortably achieved that score .
    I was very impressed with both full-backs and the two centre backs caught my eye. As a fan of Carlito’s Way I now have an image of Benny Blanco from the Bronx striding forward to good effect and Gabriel is a good physical presence .Saka had Rose ( fat bastard) on toast and I liked Odegaard when he came on . AMN played well throughout .
    There is a real fluidity about this team recently . May we show our best side at Anfield .

  5. 5
    Countryman100 says:

    Another excellent piece of writing 21CG. There were nervy moments here especially the ten minute period when we couldn’t get out of our own half. For the first time these season, the crowd fell silent for minutes at a time. Fortunately we had two pantomime villains to boo and berate. At the risk of antagonising Steve, I had to say that the referee, Kevin Friend was dreadful. His use of yellow cards was completely inconsistent with routine fouls being punished and egregious fouls going unpunished. Watford were very poor, dirty, divey, cheaty and doing their very best to constantly halt play with Danny Rose at the middle of everything bad. How he avoided a yellow is unbelievable. Saka in particular came in for a really good kicking, with the return of rotational fouling. Still at least I now know that Danny Rose is the answer to the question “who ate all the pies”

    Auba had a real afternoon to forget. The most annoying was the third, when he spoiled what would have been a great goal from Odegaard by getting a touch from an offside position. We were right behind the line and can confirm that MO’s shot was going in unaided.

    But everyone else played well. Ramsdale scared me when he went full Almunia but the whole defence were terrific. We missed Partey’s passing and found breaking the press more difficult without him but I thought AMN and Sambi looked good together. Saka had a great afternoon, constantly torturing Rose (even Tottenham think you’re shit!). Excellent goal from ESR after a mazy run from Ben White. I’ve enjoyed my football since that miserable afternoon at the Etihad. Fifth baby!

    Added to my list of Arsenal celebrities when I saw Hugh Dennis (Mock the week inter alia) strolling out after the game.

    Next up Liverpool away. Another long motorway trip beckons. Just got another interlull to get through.


  6. 6
    Bathgooner says:

    A succinct and accurate report nicely summarising a mostly frustrating afternoon littered with offensive gamesmanship and violence from the first whistle, 21CG. We should indeed have won by 3 goals maybe even 4 (near miss Scruz!). You are right to question how Rose remained card free. I would question how he remained on the park in the first half!

    Sorry Steve but I’m with C100 on the referee’s performance. I think he had an even worse afternoon than Auba. I fully recognise the subjectivity of most decisions in football (even with the safety net of VAR) and the impossibility of consistency between different referees in different games. Indeed, I accept that we will get inconsistency in even the same referee on different days but it is not unreasonable to expect a significant measure of internal consistency from an individual over a two hour period.

    Well we got that, but perhaps not quite the way the Laws intended!

    The foul and card counts tell the story. Watford saw 4 yellows (including the second) while committing 17 fouls. Watford players were consistently allowed the freedom to foul without sanction until the late gesture of a second yellow for the least subtle of their midfield thugs. I presume this was a gesture to atone for earlier permissiveness but in truth it was late enough to have minimal impact on the outcome. Frankly I was surprised that Kevin Friend pulled out that card!

    Meanwhile Arsenal acquired 4 cards for challenges that were no worse than tackles Watford players had made without sanction and Arsenal committed a grand total of 6 fouls in the entire game. Just to contextualise that, the card-free Mr Rose had 4 fouls awarded against him including the airborne assault leading with his forearm onto Lacazette’s neck. Arsenal committted 6 fouls and received 4 cards! None of these fouls was worse than what had been waved away before.

    I accept the referee’s job is difficult and that there is probably no refereee who sets out to be biased in his decision-making but everyone has prejudices about this and that based on personal experience and I think we see that again and again in referee decision-making in Arsenal matches. Arsene’s accusation to Deane casts a very long shadow. The accumulated data (check 7amKO for a recent analysis) suggest that our eyes are not deceiving us.

    To exonerate Mr Friend of bias, I do think he had every opportunity to misinterpret the coming together of AMN and Sarr as a body check had he wished to disallow ESR’s excellent goal. He did not and that is creditworthy as if he was at all biased against the Arsenal then he would have taken that opportunity and been hailed as correct by a multitude of pundits.

    FYI I see no problem in not returning the ball when a player has been feigning injury for the umpteenth time. Live by the sword, die by the sword!

  7. 7
    Countryman100 says:

    On the day that Emile Smith Rowe got his call up for the full England squad, here’s an excellent article on his early years and how he developed.


  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    Splendid job 21C, thanks for your account of a game I was unable to watch. Important three points however they were gained.

  9. 9
    Ollie says:

    One would have thought Rose ate the cards…

  10. 10
    scruzgooner says:

    that’s a nice review, 21cg, thanks. rose was appalling all over the pitch, he’s even more shit than he was at scum. how he escaped censure for the foul on laca i am not entirely sure; can’t they give him something retroactively if pressed? oh, wait, pgmol. /eyeroll

    baff, yeah, 3-0 was definitely on the cards (that rose didn’t eat, i suppose), but, well, auba.

    c100@7, great article, much appreciated. i do wish db10 was coaching for us, he’d make a huge impact on esr. the lad’s the first player i’ve seen with such a good first touch since dennis retired, and while he’s not at the level of bergkamp at arsenal perhaps he can rise to it with the right coaching (i never saw god play pre-arsenal, except for that goal for holland, so i don’t know how much dennis developed on his way to being one of arsenal’s legends). congratulations to esr for the england call-up, now don’t go getting hurt!

  11. 11
    Silly Second Yella says:



  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:

    From tonight’s Wenger and Dein event

  13. 13
    scruzgooner says:

    brilliant. love the smile on patrick’s face in the monitor.

    that led me to a video of son’s goal against us earlier this year, which was taken when xhaka was laid out after a collision with a tottenumb player. funny how no one mentioned the ball should have been played out prior to son scoring. apparently it only became the right thing to do when it was arsenal scoring. right, redknapp the younger?

  14. 14
    Bathgooner says:

    That’s excellent, C100 @12.

    Good old Paddy diving straight into the culture! What a fine tutor he had in Ray providing memorable phrases.

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    SSY@11: and I never want to go Burnley either.

  16. 16
    Trev says:

    Cheers 21st CG ! Good write up of a horrible game.

    Watford are very reminiscent of Ranieri’s Leicester team that won the league in 2015/16 ?
    They have generally worse players than that side but show all the qualities that dear old Uncle Claudio, the Italian romantic, instilled in that team – they foul rotationally, they foul randomly if necessary; they go down at the slightest touch or no touch at all; they are very defence minded but lack the goal threats of Vardy and Mahrez, the ace divers and penalty winners for that side; they plead innocence despite their cynical fouling and in Fatty Rose seem to have found a moaner-in-chief who can get away with almost anything.

    Had they scored I’m sure we would have been treated to that Leicester’s ability to waste time at goal kicks, throw ins, faked cramps and any other possible ways to break up and ruin the game.

    Sorry Steve T, but yesterday they were aided and abetted by a referee whose performance has been detailed by Bath above.

    Watford are awful. Danny Rose and Ranieri carping on about injustice is beyond ironic. That animal Kucko belongs in a mixed martial arts ring, not on a football pitch. I used to have a soft spot for Ranieri prior to his Leicester days. No more. I hope they do us all a favour and go down.

    Now, can anyone give me a hand down off this fence …?

  17. 17
    Silly Second Yella says:

    neither do I

    Ned of the bank of north

  18. 18
    TTG says:

    I will dip into the referee debate with my two pennorth . There can be no argument that Kevin Friend was awful yesterday. As Bath outlines he was extraordinarily inconsistent and a performance that bad seems akin to bias . I was exasperated by him throughout the game . It was interesting how long he took to give our penalty. Why the hesitation? There was no advantage accruing and Rose knocked Lacazette senseless but he took some time to give it . Friend wasn’t biased he’s just crap.
    Steve often makes the point that criticising the referee is the resort of frustrated and disappointed fans and I agree with him in the case of some referees . I don’t think referees are corrupt or deliberately biased but the egos of some persuade them to make decisions that boost their sense of self importance . I have seen three appalling refereeing performances ( in my view ) . In December 2001 we lost at home to Newcastle . Graham Poll refereed and his decision to send off Parlour was the start of a night that utterly distorted the game . Not long afterwards in that month Paul Durkin sent off Van Bronkhorst at Anfield for innocuous fouls and then failed to punish Dudek when he brought down a player ( Ljungberg?) for a penalty when the rule was it was a red card if you prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity. His performance was riddled with inconsistency yet I’ve seen him control United / Arsenal games brilliantly . Another awful performance that distorted the result was Anthony Taylor’s performance at our place when we ‘ lost’ 3-1 to Aston Villa . He gave them two soft penalties and harshly sent off Koscielny . Of those performances I think Poll’s was ego – driven. He was a narcissist and it showed in his refereeing.The other two had bad games . Taylor has refereed two Cup Finals against Chelsea where his decisions strongly impacted Chelsea unfavourably .
    The other awful referee is , surprise, surprise , Mike Dean. His recent refusal to consult VAR over the McArthur kick in Saka cost us two points and highlighted the fact that he prizes his vanity above refereeing fairness . GSD describes him well .
    But Friend , Moss , Kavanagh and several others are not , in my view biased and they have a very difficult job. I think they do it as fairly as they can but very often they don’t do it well. I certainly don’t think the quality of English football refs is as high as top rugby refs or top cricket umpires but it isn’t because they have a bias against a team .
    However , Mike Riley’s performance at Old Trafford in 2004 in that infamous game was incompetent in the extreme and taken with the streak of penalties he awarded United when he reffed them I think questions could be asked . I don’t know what happened to him ……oh he runs the PGMOL now .And United still got more penalties over the last few seasons than anybody else . I think he was in thrall to Ferguson who intimidated a lot of weak referees .
    If we really believe referees are generally biased against teams the sport ceases to be worth following

  19. 19
    ClockEndRider says:

    Add to this list last seasons penalty decision at The Emirates in the Leeds PL game for the foul on Saka which was given, then after referee review of the tv evidence, overridden. However the tv monitor, clearly visible on the match coverage, showed the referee every angle but the one showed on the in match coverage which clearly showed Saka being bundled over by the Leeds defender. How can this happen?
    And Luiz’ sending off for making entirely accidental contact with the forwards backlift in the penalty area. In the light of the weekends penalty decision with Rose and that not even being a yellow, this just gets worse and worse.

  20. 20
    Bathgooner says:

    Thank you TTG @18 for a nightmarish selection of referee performances. All of those bring back the shivers.

    The nadir for referee integrity was Riley at OT in 2004. The number of decisions he made in that game that were simply indefensible were tantamount to being Fergusin’s stooge. How he got the top job at PGMOL, I daren’t ask!

    Poll as you observe was ego driven. I’m sure he’ll be on the after dinner circuit entertaining the naive with his ‘tales from the trenches’.

    Furkin’ Durkin was a pompous little shit. The epitome of the pumped up small man given a modicum of authority. I remember him sending Petit off for having the temerity to touch him on the chest, turning a yellow into a red – Emmanuel was a touchy feely kind of chap.

    That first game of the season defeat against a very poor Villa team was entirely down to Taylor. I think it was his first season at the top level; it was certainly the first time I had seen him referee an Arsenal game. He was clearly intent on showing he was not a homer. What a terrible series of decisions. I have to say I’ve been impressed with him since then several times and regard him as the best of the English referees at the moment. However he’ll always be remembered for that Villa game.

  21. 21
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent review 21st Century Gooner!

    I don’t remember us ever winning a game where we made four such big mistakes in key moments: Auba scuffing a simple finish (from which Saka scored but was offside), Auba’s penalty miss, his intervention in Martin’s goal-bound shot, and then Ramsdale’s immaculate Almunia impression… 🙂

    Benjamin White has been selected by the Goonerverse as the MoTM in the club website votes, he was excellent, but I thought between Lokonga and AMN we displayed a very strong midfield performance. AMN rarely does full justice to his impressive technical and physical qualities over the course of a match as there always seems to be a few moments of inattention and strange decisions, but this was different. As Mikel said afterwards there was a clarity of purpose. Hope he continues to show what he is capable of whenever given the chance.

    Sambi next to him impresses every time I see him play. He got an early yellow card — a rather soft one (lots of excellent comments about the abominable refereeing qualities in English football — but dealt with that with a maturity and craft well beyond his years. Dropping the physical aggressiveness just a few degrees he still managed his responsibilities with composure. He has just turned 22, and this is his first season in English football. It is no wonder that Kompany and Henry both had been so fulsome in his praise.

    ESR obviously is relishing living up to the challenge of wearing the #10 for the great Arsenal football club. His last two goals are sign of a player who has started to form a better spatial awareness to complement his high technical and physical abilities, and forming an instinctive habit of positioning himself optimally in and around the box.

  22. 22
    KenyanGooner says:

    Good to see all the familiar names. So glad it’s still running as Guv would have wanted it to. The write us are as excellent as ever!! Must admit I am pleasantly surprised.
    Actually feel bad that I haven’t kept up since….you know…
    Will be coming back more and more….just like the old days…
    Love this bar!
    Drinks for everyone!!

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    It is the inconsistency of the refereeing that seems to stick in everyone’s craw. Referees have a lot of discretion in interpreting what are broadly defined offences under the laws of the game. There is a huge need for common sense in officiating and I would not argue for narrowly defined offences within the laws, but as it stands, what referees take into account when they are deciding between a foul, yellow or red is too much of a black box. Was Rose being ‘careless’, ‘reckless’ or ‘using excessive force’ when he jumped into Laca? The sanctions are foul but no card, yellow and red, depending on the answer. What was the basis on which Friend decided it was careless but not reckless?

    Surely it would help if the directives and guidance given to referees (and players) each season in interpreting and applying the laws were made public. At least then we, as fans, would know the standards expected of referees in interpreting various incidents and could make better-informed judgements on their competence and consistency. Referees would know that we know what is expected of them. That might raise standards all round.

  24. 24
    Countryman100 says:

  25. 25
    TTG says:

    I forgot that Saka incident in my litany of awfulness but remember the game . It seemed inconceivable VAR could not give it . It’s interesting that we remember the same games because they highlighted very clear mistakes and as Bath says in Riley’s case the number and severity of mistake was mind-boggling. The treatment of Reyes by the Neville brothers was shameful . The whole game was an exercise in thwarting Arsenal’s unbeaten run and you just knew United were going to get a penalty .
    The season before when Van Nistelrooy hit the bar from the spot Steve Bennett who was another Ferguson stooge gave an incredibly harsh call on Keown which was never a penalty after just sending off Paddy . I don’t think I’ve ever roared with delight so much
    ( possibly in Villareal in 2006) when the opposition missed a penalty . Our team went bonkers after that and objectively it looked very bad but the sense of injustice in that game was such that the players wanted to murder Van Nistelrooy for his deceit .It was a similar scene to when Nutty grabbed McClair in front of the North Bank after he’d missed a penalty in the Cup tie in the eighties . So strong was the bias towards United when Ferguson was there that you were always fighting an uphill battle . Corruption or merely a fear of old Purple Nose ? I think the latter but it manifested itself in into very biased refereeing

  26. 26
    bt8 says:

    La Liga table is looking more interesting than normal at the moment with Real Sociedad edging the top spot and Barcelona barely making the top half. The only thing that could ruin it is Real Madrid turning on the afterburners and preventing a Cinderella story of one kind or another.

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    Granted, it’s far too early to say that much, but of such stuff interlull speculation is made.

  28. 28
    Bathgooner says:

    Great to see you in the bar, KenyanGooner.

    A large glass of your favourite tipple awaits your next visit.

  29. 29
    Potsticker says:

    In case anyone is wondering about Gedion Zelalem. He’s with New York City FC in the MLS and was sent off in their draw with the Philadelphia Union this past weekend.

  30. 30
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Nice to see Kenyan Gooner in.

    And Ollie. I was still a lurker in Dave’s bar last time you were in there, but I enjoyed your posts, which gave me a lot of laughs.

    Don’t be strangers, either of you. Drinks on the bar.

  31. 31
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Nice write up 21CG. What a welcome addition to this place you are. Top man.

    That Watford side were dreadful to watch and I hope they go down. I don’t know whether I dislike cheating or whinging more. But together they are a sickening combo. Urgggh.

  32. 32
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    As for referees. They aren’t biased. They are abysmal at their jobs.

    And Mike Dean is a runt.

  33. 33
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I apologise for my spillchucker. 😉

  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    It appears the secret to ESR’s recent progress is down to cutting down on chocolate and takeaways, and the club arranging a chef to cook for him at home.


  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    The U-21s advance to the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy as runner-up in Southern Group F after results elsewhere broke their way with Newport failing to get the point they needed to go second, losing 1-0 to group winners Swindon.

  36. 36
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ned, I thought Danny Rose had already won the Papa John’s trophy?

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@36: 🙂

  38. 38
    bt8 says:

    Re: NBN @34:

    Ya gotta love that salmon and stuff.

  39. 39
    bt8 says:

    It turns out the Papa John’s Trophy is not awarded to the winner of the all-England cake eating championships. Who knew? Did anybody tell Danny Rose?

  40. 40
    ClockEndRider says:

    Well, I’m sure Tubby Danny had a jolly good time anyway, BT……

  41. 41
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    To be fair to Danny Rose, it was an innovative and, indeed, valiant effort to eat every slice of cake wrapped in a slice of pizza.

  42. 42
    ClockEndRider says:

    GSD, that just gave me a mental picture of Rose as Henry VIII, ticking into a seven bird roast – a robin, inside a Guinea fowl, inside a pheasant, inside a chicken, inside a Turkey, inside an emu, inside an ostrich.
    And then Danny would move on to the main course…..

  43. 43
    TTG says:

    Ladies going well 3-1 up with 18 minutes left in Denmark

  44. 44
    scruzgooner says:

    forgot it was on, but just scanned the game on dazn’s youtube channel. that freekick by catley was gorgeous.

  45. 45
    Countryman100 says:

    And you thought this interlull was long

  46. 46
    scruzgooner says:


  47. 47
    bathgooner says:

    That extended break was inevitable when the FIFA delegates belatedly realised the consequences of allegedly succumbing to the generosity of the nice people from Qatar and awarding them the 2022 world cup. The alternative would be playing at the usual time of year in intolerable if not lethal temperatures. What a surprise! We couldn’t have footballers dying like migrant workers, could we?

    I wonder how our virtue signalling international footballers are going to square the circle of that world cup.

    I was interested to hear on the World Service this morning that the Lebanon FA were thrown into chaos 10 years ago when it emerged that their international team had thrown a world cup qualification game 0-1. Against whom, you ask? Qatar. The coach wondered why several of his players were suddenly exhibiting new found wealth!

  48. 48
    bt8 says:

    It sounds like FIFA should consider a rebrand to FICA, or Federation Internationale de Corruption Associée. Could be more reflective of their corporate goals.

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    The Qatar 2022 final will be played on December 18th, so barely a week of recovery for those involved before being thrown into the remaining 22 match weeks of the PL season.

    Heaven forbid the World Cup becomes biennial.

  50. 50
    bt8 says:

    Gratefully accepts the slide rule pass and taps in. Sometimes the game just seems easy.

  51. 51
    Las says:

    Cheers 21CG, excellent report.
    I just found an interesting analysis about Tomiyasus games against Leicester and Watford.

    A deeper dive into Tomiyasu and his role in Arsenal’s victory against Watford

  52. 52
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Las, good analysis of what Tomi is bringing so far. Watched him play as the LCB for Japan last night, he did fine though the opposition weren’t very good, several good cross-field balls into the right wingers feet opened up play well. A real find and credit to Edu or Mikel I guess for picking him out

  53. 53
    TTG says:

    I agree with you Bath it’s a disgrace.
    I find it sad that in his FIFA role Arsene Wenger will seem complicit in this tacky enterprise It is highly likely that FIFA have used the cloak of respectability and integrity that he provides to present this squalid affair in a much more acceptable light .
    I’d love to see a breakaway group led by England hold a rival competition at the same time and take all the top teams with them.( sound familiar ?) But the sanctions will be too spiteful and the FA have no balls

  54. 54
    North Bank Ned says:

    Balogun scored in his first start for England’s U-21s, who beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in a Euros U-21 qualifier.

    Well in for the half-ton, bt8. Easy does as easy is.

  55. 55
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I have an Interlull question for the bar:

    What do you think of David Platt’s time at Arsenal?

    I was fairly young when he played for us. I remember a technically gifted player who timed his runs from midfield into the box beautifully and plundered some lovely goals.

    Yet, when people reminisce about former players, I almost never hear anyone mention Platt. He was an England International, he played abroad and had a good reputation in the game, but he doesn’t seem particularly loved by the Arsenal Faithful.

    Is this a fair assessment? And, if so, why is that?

    Thoughts, anyone?

  56. 56
    TTG says:

    Your question on Platt is interesting . I was so excited when we signed him but his early contribution was overshadowed by Bergkamp s and he never became a major star for us, But he made important contributions, scoring pretty regularly including that great header against ManYoo which was hugely significant . He was also a bit overshadowed in midfield by Vieira who joined in his second season and Petit who came the season after . They were both immense . He was just good but he scored more regularly .
    I remember being taken to the Bus Stoo in his first season and he played really well as we beat them 3-0. Can you imagine how much fun that was.
    One funny story was when I rented a box at Highbury to take one of my then company’s bigger clients and turned up to find it virtually denuded with a few sandwiches and soft drinks . We normally had a full meal and lots of booze .
    I got somewhat aerated and eventually a chap turned up and said they had confused the boxes and we had David Platt’s for his mates ! I don’t think they had very lavish hospitality from him. Perhaps he befriended a lot of teetotal people in Weight Watchers
    Ken Friar was kind enough to phone on the Monday and apologise and at the end of the conversation knowing I was a season ticket holder he asked if I thought they should move from Highbury . We had a long discussion about the pros and cons of leaving Highbury . I was most impressed with him

  57. 57
    Countryman100 says:

    Sometimes TTG’s casual name dropping, all done without bragging, takes the breath away. Of course we’ve all been called on a Monday morning by an Arsenal Director. Haven’t we?

    Never change TTG! Truly as worthy of the title Mr Arsenal as Tony Adams!

  58. 58
    bathgooner says:

    GSD, signing Platt was an essential component of DB10’s agreeing to sign for a club that was somewhat in the doldrums at the time. He made several key contributions in his time at Arsenal, not least as TTG observes, THAT superb header against Manure. As TTG also observes he became marginalised by the arrival of Vieira and Petit and DB10 dropping back into an advanced midfield role. I think his memory is tarnished a tad by his time as assistant manager at Shitteh.

    Ken’s phone call comes from a different age when there was far more gentility about the club than there has been for some time and where there were people at the top who believed in customer service as opposed to exploitation. Contrast BtM’s experience in club level for example and that was several year’s ago now.

  59. 59
    bt8 says:

    Arsenal in sixth place among the youngest clubs in Europe’s top five leagues. Stuttgart, Sven Mislintat’s current club, are one of the handful of still younger clubs.


  60. 60
    TTG says:

    As Bath points out that call from Ken Friar was typical of the care he had for Arsenal’s reputation . Standing there in an empty box with seven very thirsty and hungry chaps was a bit embarrassing and Ken fully appreciated that . He is the man who deserves the title Mr. Arsenal , his commitment to the club is immense and well into his eighties he is still on the board .
    Those boxes were bloody expensive even in 1997!

  61. 61
    OsakaMatt says:

    We signed Platt towards the end of
    his career and though he was still a
    good player he wasn’t really the
    goal scoring force of old – terrific player
    for England in the early 90s.
    Also he and Vieira were the best suited
    CM partnership as early PV4 liked to
    get forward more same as Platt.
    Anyway, good rather than great by
    the time he came to The Arsenal,
    which is why he’s not remembered
    more fondly I guess.

  62. 62
    bathgooner says:

    Arsenal Women being frustrated by a Mourinho-esque defensive performance by Spudz Hussies after 45 minutes. Need to keep up the pressure in the SH and keep the backdoor locked.

  63. 63
    bt8 says:

    Just marking the anniversary of when we used to play football matches. Somebody said it’s the last interlull of the season but somehow I can’t quite believe it.

  64. 64
    bt8 says:

    Spudz Hussies. Sounds like some kind of long past-it exotic dance troupe.

  65. 65
    bt8 says:

    Come on the Arsenal women!

  66. 66
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@61: That is a fair assessment of David Platt in response to GSD’s question. Platt was a Bruce Rioch signing, arriving when still an England international but, at 29, probably at the apex of his career. if not just past it. He was certainly not the midfield goalscorer for us that he had been for previous clubs. Rioch brought Platt to Highbury to be the lynchpin of his midfield but he was sacked at the start of Platt’s second season with us and Wenger’s long-term plans for rebuilding the midfield did not include him. Platt played the rest of the season alongside PV4, but once Petit arrived the following summer, Wenger sanctioned Platt’s sale to Middlesborough. However, the transfer didn’t happen, and Platt spent his third and what would prove to be his final season with us mostly on the bench for the double-winning side. If Rioch hadn’t been sacked, Platt might have been a first-choice for longer and be remembered more fondly, but also we might not have won the double in 1997-98. Such are the caprices of football.

  67. 67
    TTG says:

    Absolutely right about Rioch and Platt. I was told by someone who was very close to events when Rioch was recruited that when he was appointed he was told that we had set up deals for Bergkamp and Platt . Going from Bolton to Arsenal was spectacular enough but to sign those two as well was very good news for Bruce . I think it suggested Rioch was a very dynamic decision maker but the subsequent close season showed exactly the opposite . Dein was the driving force in both those deals .
    Platt was a box to box player who was rather like Frank Lampard almost an auxiliary striker . Certainly he didn’t quite fit Wenger’s vision and when you think what his vision was you can’t argue !

  68. 68
    OsakaMatt says:

    Cheers Ned, I meant of course to
    say Platt/PV weren’t the best suited
    CM pair not were!

  69. 69
    Ollie says:

    I’m with Baff@58 on the Platt question. And That header is my abiding memory of him.
    Side question, do the name/mail fields always clear up for you lot, or is it just on my iPad?
    Bit annoying.

  70. 70
    Ollie says:

    An early rugby-fuelled session means I missed France scoring eight goals yesterday, I see.
    Against the mighty Kazakhstan…

  71. 71
    Trev says:

    Are we nearly there yet ? 😢

  72. 72
    bt8 says:

    Ollie, Yes the name and e-mail clear up on my i-phone so I have to type them in each time. Bloody annoying but maybe the techno wizards have a solution?

  73. 73
    bt8 says:

    Re: Chelsea midfielder Mount misses England’s trip to San Marino is recovering from dental surgery. Doesn’t he know he should have been flossing?

  74. 74
    Trev says:

    What, another week ?!

    Can somebody please arrange for Arsene to be released from his stitched up role in FIFA and get him back, with Ken Friar, in our boardroom.

    This club always had values and class. If Josh Kroenke is to be believed – and time will tell on that one – we might just be rediscovering some ambition but how we could do with Ken’s class and Arsene’s vision.

    It’s mad that he’s not involved with the club at all. He was understandably hurt by his departure and the club should capitalise on the recent Wenger and Dein evening and welcome him back with open arms – and sloppy kisses if that’s what it takes.

  75. 75
    bt8 says:

    Hey Trev, I’m all with you.

    Re: Mason Mount again, I’ve heard of playing players on retainer but this is ridiculous

  76. 76
    bt8 says:

    Paying not playing. Until now.

  77. 77
    North Bank Ned says:

    To pick up on GSD’s lead in posing interlull-filling questions, what is the bar’s opinion of William Saliba’s future? Is the young centre-back getting the transition season in senior football that Arteta said he needed or did Arteta misjudge his potential and make a mistake not keeping him with the club? In either case, where does Saliba fit in when he returns now that the White-Gabriel partnership is bedding in promisingly?

  78. 78
    bt8 says:

    Ned, I’ve been befuddled as anyone about Saliba’s lack of progress into the Arsenal first team. My befuddlement stems principally from the fanfare that surrounded his signing, my assessment of his physical qualities which all seem to pass muster including a very confident facial expression. In other words, a bunch of highly superficial factors but most pundits at the time seemed to think that in signing Saliba, Arsenal had pulled off a real coup. But if he does come good next season, our defence will be well stocked. Title challenging teams need such depth.

  79. 79
    Ollie says:

    Re: Mason Mount. I have a Franglish one only so carie on punning.

  80. 80
    TTG says:

    I’m breaking off from sating my utter hatred of the Australian cricket team to give my view re Saliba . I have nothing other than my instincts on Arteta to inform my decision .
    I suspect he will never play a first team game for the club. It was an extraordinary deal one of two that Sanllehi conducted that close season that seemed extremely ‘unusual’ . We were apparently short of funds and yet we paid £27 m for a player that we immediately loaned back to St.Etienne . If we sold him now we’d struggle to get any more than that so he wasn’t an investment . We are also letting Mavropanos go to Stuttgart for a pittance
    I sense that Arteta doesn’t rate him . Or possibly doesn’t trust his character . Loaning him out two seasons in a row after he took over and then buying three other centre backs in Mari, Gabriel and White suggests he didn’t feel he was ready . …or good enough. We know from White’s signing he likes centre backs who can bring the ball forward, as Saliba seems to be able to do .
    The loan spells have been quite impressive but in French football which is slower and much less physical . I’d love to see the lad given a chance but I sense we will probably sell him to Marseille for about £20 m ( perhaps a BOGOF with Guendouzi? ) My mate at Millwall tells me Ballard is handling Championship football really well but Premier League is a big step up from there . I’m a Rob Holding fan and hope we retain him but you can only have so many centre backs

  81. 81
    Gorgeous George says:

    TTG, you’re wrong for once in your last sentence.

    You can’t have too many centre backs.


  82. 82
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@80: I hope you have had a good vent and are over the T20 result.

    I think you are right that Arteta did not rate Saliba when he first saw him. Reports of the young French teenager’s performances for the U-23s were hardly glowing at the time. He was raw, and his inexperience of senior football was glaring. Getting him somewhere where he could play sufficient regular senior football to start to learn his trade made a great deal of sense. Arteta may or more likely may not have had great expectations of the outcome (your point about the subsequent acquisition of Mari, Gabriel and White is well made in that regard). Still, the risk was all on the upside, as you business chaps say, and it would be a nice problem for Arsenal to have if it turned out as well as it appears to be doing.

    Your mention of Arteta not trusting his character is intriguing. His early days at Arsenal would have been the first time his career had had any disruption to a rapid upward trajectory. Allied to his family circumstances and a move to a new country, that could have caused someone who was still a teenager to say and do things that would trouble Arteta, especially in the manager’s early days when he was determinedly changing the culture at the club. Two years on, one of the two should have matured, and the other one mellowed.

    I suspect he will return to us for next season on the understanding that White and Gabriel are the default first choice and that it will be up to him to show Arteta he is ready to dislodge one of them. To another of your points, Pepe has shown that success in La Liga does not automatically translate into similar success in the Premier League. Saliba’s other concern will be getting the minutes to show his worth.

  83. 83
    TTG says:

    GG @21
    Where are Pates and Linighan when you need them ? Struggling to get past Adams, Bould and Keown I suppose . Not forgetting Scott Marshall .
    You’re definitely right

  84. 84
    bt8 says:

    A handy list of the clubs whose fans are not enjoying this interlull as much as we are, because last weekend their clubs either drew thereby dropping two points, or lost thereby dropping three points in comparison to Arsenal and the five other clubs that won.

    Dropped two: Everton, Tottenham, Leeds, Leicester, Brighton, Newcastle, Chelsea, Burnley.

    Dropped three: Watford, Liverpool, Brentford, Wolves, Manchester United, Aston Villa.

    Enjoy the rest of the glorious interlull, folks.

  85. 85
    21st century gooner says:

    I can’t remember an international break as arduous and tedious as this one. Feels like it’s been a month already. Surely all these qualifying games should all be played in one batch either before or after the domestic season? I was under the impression that the nations league would reduce the amount of pointless international games but this does not seem to be the case unfortunately

  86. 86
    OsakaMatt says:

    Interesting analysis of Saliba on Arseblog,
    he’s been doing well as both left and right
    CB apparently. That versatility may get him
    a squad spot next season as you’d imagine
    Calum will move on with his contract up.
    If we’re in Europe may be a factor I guess
    as we’ll have more minutes for squad players
    if so.

  87. 87
    OsakaMatt says:

    An enjoyable list of non-winners

  88. 88
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@86: what caught my eye in that analysis of Saliba was how conservative he is as a defender, only committing to challenges he is likely to win, and how relatively poor he is in the air for a tall man. The former might speak to Arteta’s assumed character concerns, or it might speak to Saliba’s judgement.

  89. 89
    TTG says:

    We might have three Gooners starting for England tonight

  90. 90
    OsakaMatt says:

    The latter would have to improve
    if he’s to play in the PL successfully
    Ned. Of course he’s young and can
    improve more.
    But then White/Gabriel are young too

    Be nice to see three gooners for the
    England game TTG. They’ve all been
    earning it.

  91. 91
    bathgooner says:

    There’s beginning to be a bit of noise about us letting Pepe go in January. I can’t see us getting even a third of his purchase price but he did do rather better in Ligue Un than the PL.

    I wonder if Lille would take him in a straight swap for the Canadian CF Jonathan David whose numbers (goals per shot and goals per 90) are only beaten by Haaland? We could perhaps throw in a Curlywurly and a bag of Quavers to make it a more attractive deal for them.

  92. 92
    ecg says:

    I have a question for my fellow ‘holics. Given the recent play of Sambi and Partey, as well as AMN against Watford (his best match for Arsenal?), will Arteta bring his boy Xhaka back into the mix as a starter?

  93. 93
    Countryman100 says:

    Ramsdale, Saka and ESR all start for England tonight

  94. 94
    Countryman100 says:

    When was the last time we had three in a full England team?

  95. 95
    21st century gooner says:

    @C100 Think it was 2015. Wilshere, ox and Walcott if I’m not mistaken

  96. 96
    Countryman100 says:

    I think the chant at Anfield will be “England’s, England’s number 1, number 1, number 1.”

    Good lad Rambo

  97. 97
    Countryman100 says:

    You beat the monks 21CG! Impressive!

  98. 98
    scruzgooner says:

    flicks it across the field with a nonchalant diagonal pass…keeps running from defense.

  99. 99
    ClockEndRider says:

    Cuts it back from the dead ball line.,.

  100. 100
    TTG says:

    I was in a mellow mood awaiting the debut of Ramsdale and the three Gooners representing England and then you mention the X word !
    I’m regularly told I don’t appreciate what he gives the team and indeed I don’t.I’m also told that if three Arsenal managers picked him he can’t be all bad . I just point to not only our results but the speed and quality of our football since he has been out .
    To answer your question much will depend on when he is fit because we will lose Partey to the AFCON in January and we may also lose Elneny if he’s still at the club . So Xhaka may need to play unless we sign another midfielder in January . Much will also depend on how well AMN and Sambi play between now and then . I liked them against Watford but Saturday will be a much bigger test . We did very well in the summer in rejigging the squad but the decision to extend and improve X’s contract was a massive mistake .
    Finally I note Bath’s comment re Pepe . His recruitment was exciting at the time but we paid wildly over the top ( the deal smells to high heaven) . I think we will look for another wide attacker maybe Noa Lang of FC Bruges

  101. 101
    TTG says:

    Great assist CER and you’ve sired a researcher to give the monks a run for their money!

  102. 102
    ClockEndRider says:

    Thanks TTG.
    Now to train him to buy Dad a beer.
    Are you listening, 21 CG…..?

  103. 103
    scruzgooner says:

    well in, ttg for the ton.

  104. 104
    scruzgooner says:

    cer, if he hasn’t learned by now…

  105. 105
    ClockEndRider says:

    SG, I have failed as a father….!

  106. 106
    TTG says:

    I had a very interesting lunch today . One of my companions is close to Chelsea . He tells me that prior to Abramovich buying the club , Wenger had agreed a deal with John Terry to join us and Terry had told his teammates he was off. Terry and Campbell might have been a tasty duo . A lot of husbands at the club breathed a sigh of relief when he stayed at the Bus Stop

  107. 107
    ClockEndRider says:

    I suppose the class could have worked it’s way into his body by osmosis. But given his family background, I think that’s a long shot. Bullet dodged.

  108. 108
    ecg says:

    Oops, sorry TTG! Should have asked the question tomorrow!

  109. 109
    OsakaMatt says:

    Goals for Saka and ESR, and a debut for Aaron.

  110. 110
    scruzgooner says:

    cer@105, you and me both, brother…

    kane is a greedy cunt. end of story.

  111. 111
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER@102: If it is any consolation, it is the same problem with the monks…

  112. 112
    bt8 says:

    Stingers still stung it seems. Super.

  113. 113
    bt8 says:

    BBC story says this Vlahovic fellow is “born in Belgrade, flourishing in Florence”

    Seems factual enough but that’s a bit too much alliteration for my taste. 😒

  114. 114
    TTG says:

    This is an interesting table . How teams have fared in the PL since ESR made his league debut last year
    1. Man City – 86 points (36 games played)
    2. Chelsea – 68 points
    3. West Ham – 67 points (GD +23)
    4. Arsenal – 67 points (GD +22)
    5. Man Utd – 65 points (36 games played)
    6. Liverpool – 60 points
    7. Leicester – 54 points
    8. Leeds – 53 points (GD +7)
    9. Tottenham – 53 points (GD +5)
    10. Everton – 48 points
    11. Brighton – 46 points
    12. Aston Villa – 43 points (37 games played)
    13. Wolves – 41 points (GD -12)
    14. Crystal Palace – 41 points (GD -18)
    15. Burnley – 34 points (36 games played)
    16. Southampton – 33 points
    17. Newcastle – 32 points (36 games played)
    18. Sheff Utd – 21 points (24 games played)
    19. West Brom – 19 points (24 games played)
    20. Fulham – 18 points (24 games played)
    21. Brentford – 12 points (11 games played)
    22. Watford – 10 points (11 games played)
    23. Norwich – 5 points (11 games played)

  115. 115
    TTG says:

    Astonishingly Switzerland made light of Xhaka’s absence to top their group against all the odds . Fancy being able to handle a blow like that and still come through !
    I took in a match at Fiorentina three years ago when on holiday in Florence . Living in Florence or anywhere in Tuscany would be quite delightful although I’d like a bit of a rest from Chianti every so often . In my view there are better reds . Interestingly , the stadium in Florence was very lacking in atmosphere , surprisingly so . Vlahovic had not joined then and I don’t think he’s one we will sign .

  116. 116
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A good analysis of Saliba’s progress in Ligue 1 across his loan at Nice and now Marseille

    William Saliba – Data Viz

    Some very impressive performances.

  117. 117
    North Bank Ned says:

    Difficult to see Vlahovic coming to the Emirates. Really the only thing right about his profile that matches what Arteta and Edu have been scouting for is his age. He is more a Giroud/early Lacazette-like CF than an Auba-like one in playing style, which would be a less than ideal fit for Arteta’s rebuild. Nor probably is Vlahovic quick enough for Arteta’s liking. If the Serbian did come by some chance, he would have to sit out a season waiting for Auba to retire and gamble on neither Martinelli nor Balogun making the grade.

  118. 118
    bt8 says:

    TTG, I was lucky enough to be taken to Florence when I was 12 years old, but have been unlucky enough not to have been able to return since then. I still have great memories of staying there though, and hope the city hasn’t changed too much in the last half century. But complaints about Chianti are really best directed elsewhere. Wouldn’t complain too much about Chianti either.

  119. 119
    bt8 says:

    Guess those last two sentences say the same thing. Maybe try Valpolicella in the second?

  120. 120
    bt8 says:

    ESR’s approaching his first anniversary in the team so that is an interesting table, TTG. Particularly our position compared to Liverpool, Leicester, and (ahem) Spurs.

  121. 121
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@115: For the record, of the 19 matches Xhaka has missed for whatever reason out of the 117 that Switzerland has played since he made his international debut in 2011, the Swiss have lost just one, a friendly against Slovakia in 2015. Excluding penalty shootouts, they have lost 24 of the 98 he has played in.

  122. 122
    bt8 says:

    Ned. Having read your monks’ latest research, as well as the fact that Arsenal can’t seem to stop winning since Xhaka’s disastrous injury, I have a feeling the Xhaka defenders’ next argument could be that statistics are meaningless.

  123. 123
    bt8 says:

    Today’s Arseblog brings up our congested festive/January fixture list, if we advance in the C Cup, coinciding with a depleted squad due to four important players (Auba, Thomas, Moneny, Pepe) who will be leaving for a month or so at AFCON.
    Quite a test for Arteta, and a possible complication for our transfer window. The January
    fixture list follows:
    Jan 1st: Man City (H), Premier League
    Jan 5th: Carabao Cup, semi-final 1st leg.
    Jan 8th (weekend): FA Cup third round.
    Jan 12th: Carabao Cup, semi-final 2nd leg.
    Jan 16th: Sp*rs (A), Premier League

  124. 124
    scruzgooner says:

    ttg@115, when we’re in lucca and tire of tuscan reds, we enjoy vernaccia, malvasia, or the colline lucchesi, a local trebbiano/malvasia blend. always doc or docg (my father-in-law taught me that one early!). though i daresay the house litre at any given restaurant, assuming the food is of good quality and the preparation faultless, will suffice for day-to-day drinking. or day-to-night drinking, depending on the mood 🙂

  125. 125
    scruzgooner says:

    bt8@123, that fixture list and the afcon absentees is one of the reasons i’d like to see more of amn with sambi in midfield as the year ends. i think our biggest miss will be auba, and fingers crossed martinelli steps up and grabs those reins; laca playing that flexi-9/10 behind him with saka and esr on the flanks ahead of two from amn/sambi/mø could lead to a lot of goals. hopefully our defense will continue to gel and continue the current ratio of clean sheets.

  126. 126
    TTG says:

    Splendid advice I shall try them when we venture their next. We did a tour of Tuscan wineries on our first visit and found the Chiantis repetitive . I’ve scarcely drunk it in UK since we returned from that first trip .
    I’m seeing us linked with Renato Sanches in January . He is a BIG upgrade on Elneny and there are stories that Elneny is off on a free to Turkey ( they never pay anything anyway) . Pepe is also being linked with a move away for the first time . I do hope Arteta gives a chance to Martinelli to see what he can do . It’s difficult to improve squads in January normally

  127. 127
    OsakaMatt says:

    I think it’s pretty much certain Xhaka will be back in the team come January, with Mo and Thomas away. Though like most I’d like to see a CM come in this January.

  128. 128
    North Bank Ned says:

    My worry for the Dec/Jan fixture list is the wear and tear on Saka and ESR. They are already being worked into the ground. It will be a miracle if they make it to the end of the season without breaking down. Nor do we have any one-for-one replacements for either of them.

  129. 129
    bt8 says:

    It has now been a fortnight since Antonio Conte’s appointment as the manager at Sp@@s. Seeing as that club have hired and fired more managers, both caretaker and permanent, than any other club in the Premier League’s history, the sack could be just around the corner. I give him until after the derby though. It’s always the most fun when it’s the Arsenal that applies the coup de grace.

  130. 130
    scruzgooner says:

    ned@128, this is why i’d’ve liked to keep azeez with the first team, and willock. neither are direct replacements, but they each offer something different if one of saka and esr need a rest, say in the carabao cup, or against smaller clubs, like tottenham.

  131. 131
    North Bank Ned says:

    Scruz@128: Take your point about Azeez and Willock, but I don’t think we were in a position to allow ourselves the luxury of keeping the pair of them as understudies. Azeez needs playing time for his development, although it must be a disappointment to the club that he’s getting so little of it at Portsmouth. Willock didn’t have a future as a regular starter. The cord was always going to be cut at some point. If there is one youngster who could step in it would be Patino. Arteta seems to be making sure he is getting plenty of training with the first-team squad. The versatile AMN could also play in what he reckons is his best position.

  132. 132
    scruzgooner says:

    agreed, ned@131. i just thought maybe keeping willock and azeez through the january transfer window and letting them go elsewhere on the last day would have been more helpful to get through afcon.

    i also considered amn in that role, but he needs to show that he can do it consistently before he can really enter that equation (though patino is probably more of a good fit than amn tactically, he’s young and not battle-hardened…hence keeping willock through january would have been my preferred option, even if we lost money on him).

  133. 133
    scruzgooner says:

    excepting the bit about the second world cup at the end (which i didn’t think on, though it’s an interesting idea), this is how i felt about england’s game at san marino:

    Come on FIFA, give teams a chance

    well done, tim.

  134. 134
    North Bank Ned says:

    An alternative approach would be an FA Cup model in which the stronger sides enter the competition in the later rounds. Most of the weakest teams are eliminated that way but some survive to keep the possibility of a giant-killing alive. However, the 7amKO piece makes the salient point: FIFA’s political and financial interest is not to change the present format. In fact, it wants to double down on it by having a World Cup every two years.

  135. 135
    OsakaMatt says:

    If it was straight knockout I wouldn’t mind a World Cup every two years. Scrap the continental championships and have 18 team leagues and top players aren’t overplaying as there’s no need for qualifiers anymore.

  136. 136
    bathgooner says:

    Blogs has a piece this morning praising a DFB (Danish Football Association) statement and their excellent stance on the monstrosity that is the Qatar World Cup.

    Well done, Denmark!

    I very much hope others will follow their lead and take the opportunity to expose the Qatar WC for its corrupt origin and terrible history and Qatar for its offensive human rights record. An opportunity that good people should not overlook.

    Here is the essennce of the DFB statement:

    DBU’s move towards and during the World Cup finals in Qatar
    The men’s national team’s commercial partners do not participate and do not do commercial activities in Qatar – unless the initiatives are activist and part of the critical dialogue.

    The men’s national team’s commercial partners will relinquish their place on the team’s training clothes in favor of human rights messages.

    The DBU will greatly minimize its own travel activity to Qatar and will only participate in activities in Qatar that are related to sports or when it can contribute politically to improving conditions for migrant workers.

    DBU is in dialogue with fans and NGOs about Danish fans’ presence in Qatar, so they are informed about the situation in Qatar and know how to react when ticket sales begin.

    The DBU will continue the critical dialogue with FIFA and the organizers in Qatar and will continue to work in all contexts to improve and respect the rights of migrant workers.

    DBU will continuously conduct due diligence on our choice of hotel and other services in Qatar to ensure that applicable labor rights are respected.

    DBU is also continuing its collaboration with Amnesty International and will continuously consider the possibility of new initiatives to improve conditions in Qatar towards the final round next year. In addition, the DBU will follow up on the latest report from Amnesty International, so that the reforms will be fully implemented and enforced in Qatar – even after the World Cup is over.

  137. 137
    OsakaMatt says:

    Read that one Bath, a good piece from Blogs and I hope other countries will follow Denmark’s lead. I’ve got to admit I suspect that many won’t.

  138. 138
    bt8 says:

    While we are praising Denmark, there is also this item which should be praised.


  139. 139
    Steve Clarke says:

    I came to bury Denmark, not to praise them. 😎

    But the stuff on the Qatar World Cup IS good. 👏

  140. 140
    bt8 says:

    Give him an Arsenal blog and what does he write about? Banh Mi sandwiches. https://7amkickoff.com/index.php/2021/11/18/in-a-pickle/

  141. 141
    North Bank Ned says:

    Tasty deal for the PL from NBC who bought the US broadcasting rights to every league game for another six years for $2bn. That will buy a few sandwiches.

  142. 142
    North Bank Ned says:

    I undersold it: £2 billion not $2 billion. An extra $700 million worth of sandwiches.

  143. 143
    OsakaMatt says:

    Is that good for US gooners Ned? As in NBC is free to air?

  144. 144
    Countryman100 says:

    Following on from the famous renaming of the tube station Gillespie Road to Arsenal in 1932, Islington Council are renaming the Gillespie Road ward to Arsenal to begin in 2022. North London is red!


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    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@43: Come on! This is the home of capitalism, where you and your money are constitutionally required to be parted. A few games may be broadcast free to air, but watching most will require a subscription to cable TV or a streaming app or aggregator platforms like YouTubeTV or FuboTV, on top of paying the second most expensive internet access charges in the world. The new deal covers English and Spanish-language outlets (Telemundo Deportes). Peacock Premium, the NBC streaming service that carries all PL games, costs $9.99 a month. Fair bet that will go up.

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    North Bank Ned says:

    Arteta says Auba and Partey are doubts for the Liverpool game.

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    Pangloss says: