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Courtesy of BATimes.com

Coming into this game, I think there was a real sense of anticipation that this would be the benchmark of just how far the side had progressed or otherwise since that harrowing start to the season back in August. And there was genuine hope given the “injury crisis” Liverpool were supposed to be suffering. Unsurprisingly, when the team was announced most of the sick, lame and lazy had managed to rise, Lazarus-like, from their sick beds. At the same time, they were starting Oxlade-Chamberlain, their equivalent of hitting the panic button and a sign that, while they have a formidable 15-man squad, go much beyond that and there isn’t a lot there.   For our part, the two main worries were injury to Auba and Partey, both of whom started, with Tierney benched to allow Tavares to continue his impressive run in the side.

From the off, Liverpool settled into their possession and pressing-based pattern and really controlled the game. Mane, a man who seems to be competing to take over Raheem Sterling’s mantle as “Most Odious Man in Football” only took a minute to get in his trademark jump at the defender with no intention of winning the ball, a template he was to repeat repeatedly during the game until even the referee had enough of it.  At the same time, for all the possession they enjoyed, Arteta had set up The Arsenal very well, notwithstanding an early run with the ball out of defence from Ben White which resulted in his losing the ball and led to Salah having a shot which went wide. Liverpool were pressing with a ruthless efficiency matched only by that of the Lottery Winners from East Manchester. They persisted with their playing out from the back despite a very good high press from Arsenal. Both of these traits Arteta is clearly trying to inculcate in his side and to be fair for the initial quarter of the game you could see his efforts made flesh.

As time passed however, Liverpool’s grip on the game continued to grow and we found it harder and harder to exert any real control in midfield, with the hitherto hugely impressive Smith-Rowe and Saka at best peripheral and in truth almost invisible. We couldn’t hold on to the ball and found it coming back at us with metronomic regularity. However, proof of our improvement since the chasing in Manchester was that in truth for much of the first half, we really hadn’t been threatened a great deal. Salah, who must be one of the best players in world football now, was being well controlled by Tavares, a considerable achievement for the young man. In the 29th minute, however Liverpool crafted an overload on the right side of midfield with Matip finding Alexander-Arnold in space for just about the first time. His cross was a little high for serial snide fouler Mane whose glanced header came back to the impressive Thiago 12 yards out on the left-hand side of the box. He connected with the ball, not perfectly, on the volley and Ramsdale had to make a smart save low to his right but couldn’t hold on to it, allowing Mane to slide in and shoot. The still-recovering keeper made an excellent stop on the line from the scooped effort of the striker and kept us in the game. His performances continue to be of the highest level.In the 31st minute we had the ball in the net following a turnover from professional makeweight Oxlade-Chamberlain which led to a smart counter-attack with Auba receiving a delicious back heel pass from ESR before squaring the ball for Laca to hammer home. Unfortunately, Auba was clearly offside. It did show though that Arteta’s plan was sound and gave some hope.

Immediately following this, a long ball from the Liverpool keeper, forced by some excellent pressing from our forward players, led to Mane, again, deliberately jumping at Tomiyasu. Arteta had clearly had enough of this serial cheat’s antics and went ballistic at the referee and then Liverpool bench. Some handbags followed with our pocket rocket manager clearly incensed and determined not to be cowed. Good for him. Repeats on tv showed just how spiteful the challenge by Mane was jumping in deliberately with his knee into Tomi’s midriff. Both managers were given a yellow, which was quite right. Predictably, the compulsory Scouse apologist co-commentator Carragher saw nothing in the devious foul. This sparked Liverpool into life and in the 35th minute a cutback from the byeline from Tsimikas was played perfectly into Salah’s path and from 6 yards out he hit a shot which Ramsdale saved excellently low down to his left on the line. His save was made even more impressive by his reactions to scoop the ball off Salah’s feet from the resulting rebound. Really excellent reflexes. The Liverpool pressure by now was incessant. If we could just hold out until half time it would be one heck of an achievement. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. An excellent free kick delivered into the box by Alexander-Arnold found Mane perfectly despite the solid defensive set-up. The pundits were spouting voluble nonsense about how the defensive line was too high, but this is now the way the most top-level coaches prefer to play. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge when you have been outdone by skill and quality.

In the 42nd minute Mane clattered Tomi again after the latter had played the ball, with Tsimikas following through on Saka for good measure. Barely a minute later, Mane finally went into the book for yet another snide, spiteful foul, this time on Ben White who wasn’t even ion the field of play when this nasty piece of work assaulted him. He knew he was in bother and having had a pass for the first 40-odd minutes the referee finally booked him. In truth it could well have been red and falls squarely into the “If that had been Xhaka….” Category.

Coming out for the second half, hopes were still high that we could at least restrict them and hopefully make use of our impressive bench as the game wore in, given that their bench looked very weak. It was not to be. They started very strongly, exactly where they had left off and we managed to self-harm our way to a heavy defeat. I won’t detail the second half performance. It was disappointing but we succumbed to a particularly good side, and we won’t be the last that they administer a beating to.

Conclusions

Much has been made of Arteta’s “trust the process” statement. At first glance you could look at the score and say that there is little evidence of progress. In my opinion, this would be not only wrong but an egregious misreading of where we are. Unlike the first month of the season, Arteta now has his players playing his system. For 40 minutes we managed the threat of one of the best sides in Europe and restricted them to very few attempts on goal. There was a clear plan and structure to the way we lined up. At the same time, what became evident, as if it really needed saying, is that the process is not complete. The “Design” phase is approaching completion with a much healthier culture and attitude now permeating through the club. Much of the flotsam and jetsam which the previous two managers had managed to accumulate has been discarded and the change in quality is apparent for all to see.   We are firmly into the “Build” phase We need to acknowledge that a job like this is a process, as opposed to a destination. It will reach its end point after yet more hard work, both on and off the pitch.  We clearly need to continue to add a few quality players to reach the level of the likes of Citeh, Chelsea and Liverpool. To my mind, this manager must, and I am sure will, be backed by both the owners and the supporters. Or at least those who are not inclined to knee-jerk, self-indulgent, entitled caterwauling every time we suffer a setback.

Onwards and upwards. Come on, you Gunners!

58 Drinks to “It’s A Process……”

  1. 1
    Pangloss says:

    Great stuff CER. I have no doubt you are right on the money with much of what you say.

    COYG

  2. 2
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for a very thoughtful report on a difficult evening, CER. I hear echoes of the Guvna in that take.

    Just one quibble. Surely our process should be cyclical? Reaching ‘The End’ seems a tad apocalyptic even after that second half?

  3. 3
    ClockEndRider says:

    Thanks Pangloss, Bath.
    You’re right Bath. Strictly speaking I suppose the process ought to be one of continual change. It’s just a bit too close to the concept of Trotskyist permanent revolution for me though. And I think at some point, the change needs to stop to allow the players, and indeed us, some respite. At the moment, it’s as though there are no non-moving parts in the change process. Which is as it has to be given just how sclerotic the club had become, but sooner or later change fatigue sets in.

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    Change fatigue must surely what is besetting Spurs, Manchester United and a host of other clubs I could add if thought enough about it. An excellent account of the match and an astute description of the status of our rebuild. Thanks CER.

    A tonic for your troubles?

  5. 5
    ClockEndRider says:

    Love it!

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    A level-headed assessment, CER, of where we are, and, as Bath notes, very much in the spirit of the Guv’nor. It would be unrealistic to assume constant upward progress, and setbacks along the way are inevitable. As long as they are occasional and the direction of travel is maintained, that is fine.

    The textbook antidote to change fatigue, I read, is for the managed to trust their managers and for there to be team cohesion around common goals. Clear communication is key to achieving both. Arteta seems to be doing well on both scores, and one gets the impression that the players are in no doubt about their roles and what the manager expects from them.

    And more cause for change fatigue at OT with OGS being shown the door. The Liverpool fan I was talking to after yesterday’s game ventured the opinion that the worst appointment for all the other clubs would be Zidane. The Frenchman is a serial winner, knows how to manage prima donna stars, and would quickly sort out an underperforming squad.

  7. 7
    Trev says:

    Good stuff, CER,

    a fair and balanced report and opinion on where we are.

    I have seen some fairly nasty criticism of Arteta for his touchline outburst which, to be fair, did seem to rule the crowd and home team into life. Anfield though is a very difficult place to go and play and when your tactics have been decent and your young players have weathered the onslaught quite well, it must get right up your hooter when a serial tripper, kicker and elbower of your team is getting away with it yet again.

    In retrospect Arteta would probably not choose to explode like that again but those “antics” cannot be blamed for the suicidal starts that Lakonga and Tavares made to the second half. They handed Liverpool – a team that needs no favours – a goal and the impetus to take us apart.

    They are better than us and deserved their win. We are a couple of redesign and build cycles away from where we’d like to be. At least we now have a recognisable structure to both phases, which hasn’t been the case for a while.

    The important thing after such defeats is the reaction in the next game. We’ll see…..

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    CER
    A quite excellent report which sums up our situation very well . I’m broadly in agreement with your conclusions and it was good last night to discuss the game without the ‘ Arteta Aht ‘ theme permeating debate .
    Dividing the game into thirds we were arguably feeling more comfortable than they were in the first third , we lost the game in the second ( the Tavares mistake was pivotal) and we were out of it in the final segment and had lost our mojo by then . But you are quite right to underline the progress that Arteta has made .
    If I’m being ultra-critical I do have some reservations. I’m not at all convinced by Partey and he is designated as the hub of our engine-room . I think he’s a talented player but lacks physicality to an alarming degree. Let no one ever mention him in the same breath as Paddy please . Ben White is a fine player but seems to have a mistake in him particularly when bringing the ball out of defence. I think he will be all right but I’m not totally convinced ( I am about Gabriel) . My third worry is that we need more power and quality upfront. I’m sure Arteta realises this. Maybe Martinelli should be given a chance to see what he can do . I trust the process but it will take some time.

  9. 9
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Balanced, fair, and insightful review CER. You are right that the performance in this match — including a couple of youthful mistakes by two players who I think will both turn out to be excellent signings — didn’t tell us anything new about where we stand in our journey and neither did it present any reason to knee-jerkingly reject the justified optimism that this team is steadily helping to build in the minds of many of us supporters.

    I do think we need to start looking beyond Lacazette (and Auba as well, but that comes after this season) and give more responsibility to both Martinelli and Ødegaard. They won’t get better at PL by not playing. Yesterday we were a little hesitant in attack. Playing ESR down the middle and Gabi on the left, moving Auba centrally, may have given us more impetus in attack. Anyway, it’s just an opinion and I am sure that over the course of the season we would start seeing a transition away from Laca (I think he has been a very good player for us but he can no longer play every weekend at high level) and eventually from Auba, who has been excellent for us.

    I had expected a bit more tactical nous from Partey in a match like that and a bit more orchestration. Probably he wasn’t 100% fit but he will need to become the leader of that midfield and in difficult times guide the kids around him.

  10. 10
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers CER. That’s pretty much what I saw.

    I think the Doc is right that we will need to transition our attack next. Personally, I’d love to see us go after DCL. If not him, then someone in the same mould, who can make runs in behind as well as provide some physical presence. And score headers. We really miss having an aerial threat from open play.

    And we still need a partner for Partey (who needs a good run of games without injury to get settled in to his role).

    I don’t think that it is just idle talk to say we will have learned a lot from yesterday. Especially once Arteta has been through the videos with them. Lokonga and Tavares in particular made mistakes- but young players do.
    In a way, it might be a good thing to make errors in a match that we were unlikely to get anything out of anyway, rather than in a game where those errors genuinely cost us points.

    Anyway, it is good to be able to see a base we can build on and improve, even after a heavy defeat, rather than the dispiriting performances we have sometimes put in at Anfield.

    UTA

  11. 11
    Las says:

    Thanks CER, you calmed me down with this well balanced report.
    But it was hard to watch especially the second half of being unable threatening their goal seriously.
    Despite the four goals our defense looked solid enough but the midfield transition and the attacking division of the team looked out of sort. We need to do more on these two fronts using AMN and Martinelli or buying new players who could be capable doing this against even this excellent L’pool side.
    I actually liked Artetas theatrics he fought with the team.

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    A lot of the transfer gossip connected to us is around forwards. Not by happenstance, I would suggest.

    I am baffled by the lack of minutes Martinelli is getting. If he is going to be a core part of our future, he needs more playing time to hone his craft.

    Auba would benefit from having Ødegaard to feed him. Still, I suspect Arteta has seen the Auba/Laca 4-2-2-1-1 has mostly been working, making it tricky to fit our Norweigan into the starting lineup.

  13. 13
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks CER, a good report and spot-on conclusion.

  14. 14
    bathgooner says:

    Ned @12, I think the explanation of the lack of game time for Martinelli is the old one. He’s just not showing himself to be the best option MA8 has, either as a starter or a game-changing sub. Despite his impressive start to his Arsenal career, he probably is just the precocious youngster we signed who performed above expectation when thrown in at the deep end but still has a lot to do to become a reliable PL performer.

    Much more concerning is our lack of goals emphasised by Arseblog’s excellent analysis this morning. My own view is that it’s a result of our midfield’s failings as much as our ageing strikeforce’s failings and both areas require attention in the next couple of windows. I share TTG’s disappointment in Partey, see Sambi as an excellent medium to longterm prospect but hope we will see a fleet of foot upgrade to Xhaka before too long with an eye for a defence splitting pass.

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@14: You may well be right about Martinelli. The simplest explanation is often the correct one.

    I agree with your point about our goal scoring and chance creation. If you take a longer view than Blogs did today, back to the start of the century, we averaged (excluding this season) 6.13 shots on target per 90 mins with 29% of those shots being goals (which is a low conversion rate for top clubs, who are typically in the 30-40% range). This season we are at 4.33 shots on target per 90 mins with a 25% conversion rate.

    Just getting back to the long-term averages would add a goal every other game, sufficient to make our goals per game this season higher than our goals conceded per game, which is, self-evidently, a game-changer.

  16. 16
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned@12: My simple explanation for Gabi’s relatively low involvement is that Mikel is still working out how to best accommodate players and performances that are less scripted. Last season he struggled with that as he ended up relying on another Brazilian who have him the confidence of playing as planned but lacked the cutting edge, and this season I think he is figuring out how to balance between the tactical certainty that Laca and Auba give vis-a-vis the unpredictability of Gabi (or Pépé, but I feel Nico’s career with us is probably coming to an end soon, and a move maybe best for both him and the club, and we would probably sign a more consistent youngster to replace him, or wait until next season and see if Reiss can live up to his promise).

    Gabi is chaotic — the way Alexis was, but of course at this stage with much less end product — but that chaos actually can help. He scored a completely unexpected set of headed goals (neither Auba nor Laca score goals like that) in his first season where his Brownian motion in and around the penalty box perplexed the defense and worked to our advantage. He may be unstructured but he makes up for it by a tremendous workrate and single mindedness — again reminiscent of Alexis but not of that level of decision making — which I think at this stage would help the team.

    Auba’s pressing has improved lately but neither him nor Laca any longer have the legs to maintain high press and still be able to drop down and be part of counterattacks. Against ‘Pool for instance we gave VVD, TAA and Matip a lot of time on the ball, Laca looked unsure whether to join in the press or drop deeper to cover for the midfield (another problem with that 9-and-a-half role), and even when we were defending well in the first half we didn’t put enough first line of pressure on their defense. Gabi is the best we have in pressing, he remains a good finisher (even a poacher, for example his goal against Palace last season), and from the left he delivers high quality crosses in the box.

    Over the busy winter schedule I am looking forward to seeing him play more and make his case. 🙂

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@16: I’d agree that Martinelli makes his own chaos by dint of his work rate. Chaos-making is not unhelpful against a well-drilled defence and every team needs a player who can score the proverbial goals out of nothing. But, to Bath’s point, he is still a raw youngster.

    I think one of Arteta’s ‘learnings’ this season is to be less absolutist in his tactical rigidity and more accommodating of individual skills and attributes. Thus he has found a way to play both Auba and Laca without giving up on his general positional play theory. He will have to come up with something similar for Martinelli if the young Brazilian is to get more regular playing time.

  18. 18
    TTG says:

    This article contains a table ( the first ) which provides a different view of our progress so far and the article argues well against the negativity it engenders.https://i2.wp.com/le-grove.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/FEpyVVAWYAMSsgh.jpeg?ssl=1
    Worth a read and nice to see Le Grove biting back against a negative view

  19. 19
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@18: xG is both overhyped and understood. It is a model, not a statistic.

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    Ned @19
    Well said . There are those who are starting to use it as a stick to beat Arteta with. Often xG can make a nonsense of a game you’ve watched and appreciated as a contest

  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@20: xG measures the quality of a chance, putting a number on the likelihood, on average, of a goal resulting. It says nothing about the context of a particular chance. A good example is Maddison’s free-kick in the Leicester match. The xG for a free kick in that position was 0.05, ie, on average, one in twenty scores. Maddison’s shot was skilful enough to beat the odds, but Ramsdale’s save even better. Great football all around, but statistically, having been a fingertip from +0.95, Maddison was -0.05 on his xG performance. Rodgers out!

    This video from Opta is a good explainer of what it can tell you about a player and a team and its limitations.

  22. 22
    TTG says:

    Ned
    Thankyou for this input which is helpful and at the same time underlines the pointlessness of some statistics .Sadly it destroys some of the magic that football generates .

  23. 23
    TTG says:

    The U23s won 3-2 at Blackburn last night .
    They were winning 2-0 at half-time but Norton- Cuffy was sent off in the second half and Blackburn equalised and came close to taking the lead but close to the end Balogun scored a winner for us . His progress is excellent but the boy we signed from Fulham, Biereth scored a well-taken goal and he looks a decent player . Hutchinson also scored a good goal .Arsenal are currently top of the table

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@22: Others have suggested that there would be a lot less nonsense talked about xG if it had been called CQ, for chance quality. The suggestions have merit.

    And to flog a dead horse, the number refers to the chance, not the player taking the shot. You, I or Messi could take a similar shot from a similar position. The xG for all three of us would be identical. Yet the probability of the ball ending in the back of the net would be a lot higher for Messi’s shot than yours or mine — well, certainly mine.

  25. 25
    bt8 says:

    Nothing quite like corporate flow charts to really get my blood flowing. 😵‍💫

  26. 26
    Cynic says:

    Expected goals is a load of old bollocks.

    In other news, the NFL settled its legal case with the city of St Louis. If Stan Kroenke keeps his promise to meet all legal costs, including any damages, he now faces a bill of at least $790m

  27. 27
    bathgooner says:

    Last night I watched the Chavs take Juventus apart without Lukaku or Kovacic and they look every bit as fearsome as the Dippers. I reckon those two will finish 1 & 2 with Shitteh a close third. We are nowhere near competing with these three teams unless they have a very bad off day.

    I also watched Manure scrape a win over a remarkably unambitious Villareal and there’s not much between them and us at the moment. That may change to our detriment if they get someone who can organise them better than Ollie did and to our benefit if we can bounce back from the Anfield debacle and find a way to make chances that Aubameyang can finish.

  28. 28
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cynic@26: The NFL has settled with the city of St Louis for $790 million, but has the NFL settled with Kroenke, is the outstanding question.

    Kroenke’s threat to sue his fellow NFL owners to get out of his obligation to pick up the tab for the legal dispute with the city may well have hastened the NFL into the settlement rather than let the whole thing get out of hand in what would likely have been an unseemly manner, especially with the Department of Justice now poking its nose into the league’s investigation of sexual harassment and bullying accusations at its Washington franchise.

    Given there had been earlier talk of a $1 billion settlement, the NFL seems to have got the price down a fair bit — I would guess with a side promise of giving the city an expansion franchise.

    There have been reports that Kroenke will be allowed to pay off the settlement by having it deducted in instalments from his part of the revenue the league divvies up among its franchisees and that the other owners would swallow a bit of the cost as a gesture of solidarity, providing Kroenke drops his threats to sue them.

    Then again, NFL owners are a breed apart, so who knows what might happen?

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Here is the Associated Press report of the settlement with the background on the dispute for anyone wanting to catch up.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/790m-settlement-in-lawsuit-over-rams-st-louis-departure/ar-AAR5QuX

  30. 30
    Ollie says:

    We’re still waaaaaay behind the top three but work in progress. Saturday was a good indicator, and we held our own during most of the first half.
    I still believe we’re in within a shout of fourth this season (though maybe they sacked Ole a little bit too early for us).
    On a side note, I hate ‘trust the processs’ like I hate all buzzwords/corporate bollocks.
    Design/Build/(Test?), I can however get behind. Maybe that’s my engineering background…

    Midweek without European football is a bit shit, but on the other hand means less stress.
    I shall be watching the Oil Derby between Manchester d’Abu Dhabi and Qatar Saint Germain just for the ‘football’.

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    This is worth a read, director of football operations, Richard Garlick, on what he does:

    https://www.arsenal.com/news/official-voice-richard-garlick

    No great revelations, but it does give a sense the place is being run by grown-ups.

  32. 32
    TTG says:

    Bath,
    I note your comments on the top three .
    Terrifyingly, Citeh took the Chavs apart at the Bus Stop and outplayed the Dippers at Anfield . I think they have more quality through the team but lack a focal point to score goals and this may cost them .
    The three top English sides are the three top sides in Europe . But how to get to that level? That is a massive challenge

  33. 33
    bathgooner says:

    TTG, agreed.
    What gives me hope is Liverpool’s canny buying and selling over the past 5-6 years to build their current team. There’s no doubt that the hiring of Klopp is also a key part of their recent success but their current quality does demonstrate that you don’t need to sell out to an allegedly criminal petrodollar-fuelled concern and spend billions to reach the top level. Or maybe they just got lucky?

    The Arsenal have to buy and sell strategically to build a team of that quality – not something we have been good at since the early noughties until perhaps this past summer (though it’s far too early to tell and the jury is very definitely still out). And we have to hope that Arteta turns out to be the coaching genius that Pep said he is!

  34. 34
    Ollie says:

    Citeh all over QSG. Huge mismatch. Will Pochettino sign for the Mancs at the weekend?

  35. 35
    bathgooner says:

    It’s a tough call whom to support if no meteor strike is to occur to mete out retribution for being the willing pawn of a medieval state. Which is more detestable as an illiberal regime? Qatar or UAE?

  36. 36
    Ollie says:

    Tricky one indeed, bath. Having been to both for work, I’d say Qatar are more medieval and overall worse, but perhaps it is just that the UAE have refined their hypocritical game a few years earlier.

  37. 37
    bathgooner says:

    A choice between cholera and typhoid.

    These expensively assembled, highly-paid, trophy footballers are the 21st century equivalent of the troupes of much admired slave-girl dancers in the ancestors’ tents.

    Ironic that both goals so far are the result of a lucky deflection.

  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ollie & Bath: If it is of any assistance to your debate, Qatar ranks 126th in the Democracy Index produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the UAE 145th out of the 167 countries and territories ranked. On the University of Wurzburg’s Democracy Matrix, Qatar scores 0.06 on a scale of zero to one, where one is a full functioning democracy, and the UAE 0.18. The EIU categorises both as ‘Authoritarian” and the UoW both as ‘Hard Autocracies”. Rock and a hard place comes to mind.

  39. 39
    Ollie says:

    Thanks Ned.

  40. 40
    OsakaMatt says:

    More comments from MA today that he would like Arsène to
    be much closer to him – i.e. back at the club. It’s been three
    years now and I hope AW will think about returning in some
    capacity after the World Cup.

  41. 41
    bathgooner says:

    Matt @40, it does sound as if olive branches have been exchanged. If Arteta is comfortable with AW being in the hierarchy and there are clear demarcations of responsibility and authority, it could be beneficial.

  42. 42
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM, Bath: If Wenger is to have a formal role, the only one I would suggest that would work would be as a non-Executive Director. I can’t see how he could be inserted into the administrative and footballing hierarchy without it ending up being uncomfortable for someone. As a non-exec, he could informally mentor Arteta, if that is what Arteta is hinting he would like, and players, generally or specifically. He would just have to be disciplined in accepting that Arteta is the manager now. Having Wenger as a non-Exec would also bring some proper football experience to the board, which pace Richard Garlick, is sadly lacking.

  43. 43
    bt8 says:

    Meanwhile, in the Europey Conference League, the BBC reports this:

    NS Mura 2-1 Tottenham
    Amadej Marosa
    Unbelievable!

    NS Mura win it on the break with the last kick of the game.

    Amadej Marosa breaks free down the right, turns Davinson Sanchez inside out and then sees his deflected effort loop into the near corner.

    What a win for the Slovenians.

  44. 44
    bt8 says:

    Amadej Marosa, hallowed be thy name.

  45. 45
    bt8 says:

    NS Who?

  46. 46
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I kinda feel sorry for them to be honest, bt8.

    It must be hard having to schlep all over Europe playing no mark teams.

    I mean, even when they win, it is just against some shit club no one gives you any credit for beating.

    Personally, I reckon NS Mura have got things pretty rough.

  47. 47
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@46: 🙂

  48. 48
    OsakaMatt says:

    Bath, Ned,
    Yeah, a board role of some kind seems good. We are not short of candidates for mentoring I think but agree it needs to be handled carefully as I would like it to be a lifetime thing for AW now as he is an Arsenal man.

  49. 49
    OsakaMatt says:

    GSD,
    😂😂
    Conte says he’s not a magician and it will take time, but magicians just do two shows a night, it will take a wizard to make spuds successful

  50. 50
    HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED says:

    NOT I FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN THE FIRSTBORN OF EVERY SPUD NOW AND FOREVERMORE.

  51. 51
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Trust Voldemort to be a Spud.

    Ironic, given that everyone else at the club is just so Hufflepuff.

    (I hope there are a couple of lurkers who liked that one. I don’t think many of the regular drinkers are into Harry Potter gags.)

  52. 52
    Peter Hill-Wood says:

    Harry Potter? Didn’t we give him a trial once? Utterly hopeless, if my memory serves.

  53. 53
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Absolutley PHW.

    His positional sense was the worst you’ve ever seen, he avoided the ball like an out-of-work manager dodging phone calls from Daniel Levy, and when anyone inquired just what the hell he thought he was up to he began blathering on about searching for something called a ‘snitch’.

    Frankly, it was bizarre.

    Also, I had never seen anyone play football in a robe before.

    He was a very odd chap. Still, I think he ended up doing quite well for himself.

  54. 54
    Las says:

    GSD @53 LoL you really made my day :)))

  55. 55
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Completely agree with this analysis: https://arseblog.com/2021/11/odegaard-has-to-do-more-but-its-time-to-give-him-the-chance/ .

    I think we would gain more over the course of the season by playing Ødegaard regularly in his #10 role. It was understandable how after the palace game we needed a short term boost by using a motivated Laca for a few matches, but his pace, movement and sharpness in the box all have been declining and we need to start building the connections between Ødegaard and ESR/Saka/Gabi . Laca can still be very effective as a super-sub (in the last 18 months or so if his Arsenal career Giroud was used rather well in that capacity by Arsène).

    I saw a stat that Martin tops the PL this season in both number of pressures applied per 90 minutes and distance covered per 90 minutes, so it’s not only the skills and creativity. There were times when he was physically outmuscled on the ball but he will get better at it soon.

  56. 56
    OsakaMatt says:

    Whoever manages spuds will soon be slitherin out of there anyway

  57. 57
    Gandalf says:

    @49 OM

    There is not enough magic in all the realms of men.

  58. 58
    Pangloss says:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>