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A comprehensive win on a great night for Arsenal saw us prevail 5-1 over a spirited and enterprising Sunderland side. Eddie Nketiah made a very big statement with a predator’s hat-trick but the biggest cheer of the night came just before the end when Charlie Patino slid home our fifth goal. Arsenal’s history is studded with great stars called Charlie – Buchan, George, Nicholas and now, Patino?  I was greatly impressed with Cédric, Ødegaard and Pépé whose immediate opponent, Hume had a case of twisted blood.  If Nketiah wanted to strengthen his hand in contract negotiations he has done so emphatically. We are into another semi-final and as pre-Christmas entertainment it was almost perfect. 

On a cold, dank night Mikel Arteta chose to make a number of changes to personnel from the Leeds game. Balogun and Nketiah came in upfront and ESR and Ødegaard played in attacking midfield roles looking to play between the lines. The defence was completely altered with Ben White the only survivor from Elland Road. 

It meant a change of shape with only one holding midfielder – and that was Mo Elneny! But the team settled quickly and played some enterprising, attacking football. Embleton almost put through his own net under pressure from Tavares on 10 but the first was only 6 minutes further away. A good out-swinging corner was met by Holding’s header. Birch saved but Nketiah poked in the rebound with his knee inside the six-yard box. 

Arsenal 1 Sunderland 0 – Nketiah, 16

We then saw Balogun in a couple of promising attacking situations which also illustrated his inexperience. One reverse pass by ESR should have been converted but the second goal was not long delayed. The much-maligned Cédric was combining well with Pépé and cut the ball back to him inside the area. Pépé’s shot was slightly deflected past Birch and we assumed that we had attained a comfortable lead. 

Arsenal 2 Sunderland 0 – Pepe, 26 

Sunderland with Pritchard, an ex- Marshdweller, particularly prominent had already looked lively going forward exploiting the fact that we only had one holding midfielder. On 30 minutes, they broke through the centre and Broadhead dinked a good finish over Leno to halve the deficit. 

Arsenal 2 Sunderland 1 – Broadhead, 30

Sunderland were looking very effective going forward although Broadhead had to be taken off with what looked like a hamstring injury. Arsenal retaliated with a fine left -foot volley from ESR but the interval came with Sunderland well in the game. 

Half-time: Arsenal 2 Sunderland 1 

Sunderland moved to a back four at the start of the second half.

The first moment of significance in the half came when Tavares skipped down the left and whipped in a fine low cross which Nketiah darted in to touch past the Sunderland keeper. Two goals both in the six-yard box. Eddie the predator!

Arsenal 3 Sunderland 1 – Nketiah, 50 

Embleton came charging back with a curling left-footed drive that struck the outside of the right-hand post. A super effort! Balogun had just been booked and he was then hooked (see what I did there?) for Granit Xhaka to provide a more conventional shape.

Then a great moment! Odegaard played a superb ball into Pépé who nutmegged his full-back Hume and laid the ball across for Eddie to complete his hat-trick from seven yards with a brilliant flick. Something for Mikel to ponder with the Aubameyang situation unresolved.

Arsenal 4 Sunderland 1 – Nketiah (hat-trick), 58 

Lee Johnson would probably not have wanted his team to try to take on Arsenal in an open, very stretched game but his team showed considerable offensive quality. Their problem was coping with the movement and quality of Arsenal’s front men.

Pépé was enjoying himself tying Hume in knots and he nutmegged him again before finding Ødegaard who fired straight at Birch. Arsenal started to turn on the fancy tricks with Ødegaard underlining his creativity and flair with some delightful passing vision. Tavares whipped a great cross over and Nketiah’s great anticipation and movement was not matched by his finish. I was really starting to wonder if Eddie might be the answer to the big questions facing Arteta! We decided to show no mercy and brought on Martinelli for Ødegaard who was quite superb and Gabriel for Ben White. If Sunderland wanted a respite they weren’t going to get one.

“Would we see Charlie Patino?” was the question on most Arsenal fans’ lips. That was superseded by whether Bailey-Wright might have seen more than yellow for an agricultural challenge on Martinelli who thankfully seemed ok. Then on 79 minutes, Patino gave the game an exciting patina (see what I…….ok don’t bother!). He replaced the excellent ESR. Martinelli was in the wars once more when he clashed heads with a Sunderland man. Again, both seemed ok after treatment. 

We looked as if we’d earned a penalty on 84 minutes when Nketiah was brought down. It would have been a harsh award and the referee looked much more capable than the idiots who controlled (?) the match at White Hart Lane on Sunday.  Talk about being damned with faint praise! 

Arsenal’s ability to attack with width using both full-backs who were excellent saw them dominate the latter stages.

And then we had the most delightful moment of the night when Pépé set up Charlie Patino for a crisp and hugely popular finish. 

Arsenal 5 Sunderland 1 – Patino, 90 +1

This means Charlie has a goal every eleven minutes of his first -team career! It was the last significant moment of a very enjoyable night. One sensed even the Sunderland fans had a great evening. 

Merry Christmas Gooners! 

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27 Drinks to “Eddie Notches a Hat-trick as a New Star is Born”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:


    (Sees stars emerging on the screen.)

  2. 2
    bt8 says:

    Excellent, enjoyable and edifying (Eddiefying?) report you’ve done there, TTG. And, I saw what you did. 😉

  3. 3
    bt8 says:

    And what of Chaka Khan?

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    That score makes our goal differential +15 in the four games of our cup run. Not too shabby. (16 scored, 1 conceded)

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    Quick and excellent report of an entertaining night, you’ve excelled yourself sir.
    Oh, and a merry Xmas to you too TTG!

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@previous drinks: Jan 10 & 24, 2018 v Chelsea. League Cup.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    A report at pace and with panache to match the match, TTG (see what…I’ll get my coat…)

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    Couple more from the days of yore for your (see…stop it!) Charlie pantheon, TTG: Charlie Satterthwaite and Charlie Jones.

  9. 9
    Las says:

    Hey TTG, I know what you just did!
    Oh and thanks for the quickfire report emulating the team performance.
    Merry Xmas.

  10. 10
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for a report with the velocity and verve of the Arsenal’s performance, TTG.

    That was another entertaining evening at the Emirates and it was delightful to see Charlie Patino’s debut and even more delightful to see him score a debut goal. He is a talented and assured young man who looks likely to have a great future.

    From his interview, Nketiah is off. Despite his hat trick in this game he has failed to grasp his chances over the last two years to impose himself on the first XI. He has a role in the squad but the way this Arsenal team is heading he isn’t going to be the starting striker.

    I thought Arteta was masterful in his interview and batted off banana skin questions with aplomb. The stars were aligned for Arsenal last night. Even Paul Merson talked a lot of sense!

  11. 11
    Bathgooner says:

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, grandma gets winged by the ASA…


  12. 12
    Ollie says:

    That was an enjoyable win.
    We seem to be back on a good trajectory at many levels (except when advertising tokens then…)

  13. 13
    Trev says:

    Nice one Speedy Gonzales !

    Things are feeling very positive right now. Eddie is a tricky one for me – took his goals brilliantly but as yet has poor strength in the challenge. He’s still young but wants to play regularly. He demolishes opposition like last night’s but is he up to the Premier League. It would be nice but presumably Mikel does not think so yet.

    Congratulations to Charlie – what a way to start your first team career !

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    Patino looks like the proverbial boy among men on the field. How will he stand up to the physicality of Premiership games?

    Bath@11: Good. These crypto fan tokens will end in tears with a lot of fans losing a lot of money. I am not opposed to crypto by any means, but this scheme with Socios is just investment speculation in another guise.

    Trev@13: Fair point about Nketiah. I did wonder at the time if Premier League defenders would have let him make the runs of get off the shots for his second and third goals, wonderfully taken as they were.

  15. 15
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers TTG. Great report and certainly the match I saw.

    We will certainly have to cook Patino slowly (love it!) but most fans have known about him for a few years now. In the scheme of a player’s development a debut for the first team is a big thing. To cap it with a goal is wonderful. So, no pressure on the lad, but an acknowledgement of another step taken.

    And, when a player is ready, he is ready. Wilshere was a solid first team squad member at Patino’s age. Charlie doesn’t look there yet, he definitely needs to bulk up, but he is in excellent hands with Arteta and I’m sure he will get chances at a time he is ready to make the most of them.

    Gabi Martinelli looks a far more rounded player than when he went on that great vein of form a couple of years ago. He has improved at the stuff he was already good at, and looks much stronger in the areas he needed to work on. Arteta has resisted calls from many, including me, to give him more chances this season, and has brought him in at what appears to be just the right moment.
    (I love the idea that Arteta does his team sheet thinking “I’m gonna ignore those chaps on GoonerholicsForever again this week…”)

    I expect that Arteta will do a similar job in outlining a pathway for Patino but it isn’t one size fits all. Loans helped ESR a lot. Saka didn’t need them. And Balogun looks in desperate need of a loan. Azeez is on one and we await his return to see what he’s learned.

    What I love is that despite having some of the most exciting under-23 talents in the country, we are already producing the next generation!

  16. 16
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    All hail Hale End!

  17. 17
    TTG says:

    I produced a lightning report deliberately so that it could go up ahead of the Christmas special . On reflection of a very enjoyable night there was a continuation of the feelgood factor but it posed more questions than answers .
    Is Eddie the solution to the striking conundrum set us by Aubameyang’s fall from grace ?
    Can Pepe continue to ‘ meg’ his way through Premier League full-backs in the way that he did Division One editions yesterday ?
    Can ESR and Odegaard fulfil roles in the side together in the way they did last night ?
    And is Charlie Patino a candidate for more first-team action soon ?
    I won’t answer them exhaustively but in order I asked them my answers are –
    I don’t think so but Eddie deserves more immediate game time although he seemed like a man in the departure lounge when interviewed
    No Pepe is unfortunately a bit of a flat-track bully
    You can’t play only one holding midfielder against PL sides ( it caused us problems yesterday)
    I agree with GSD. Charlie is a talent but still immature physically. But what potential he has !

  18. 18
    OsakaMatt says:

    Those look like reasonable answers to your own questions TTG!
    We’ve had a tough December but now with the two games to come against
    Liverpool it is looking like an even tougher January. One positive is
    I think Salah and Mane (?) will be away at AFCON for those two games.

  19. 19
    bt8 says:

    OM. If they can make Portugal a late entrant at AFCON then Jota could be out too 😉

  20. 20
    scruzgooner says:

    nicely flung up, ttg. i rewatched the first half and you’re right, while pepe was hot better defenders would have cooled him off.

    lovely goals from eddie. i’m more convinced by flo in spite of his play yesterday, i think he has a higher ceiling. eddie seems to have just gotten to his; he’s not going to get any bigger!

  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    To answer your questions, TTG:

    Eddie is a predator striker and needs to play in a team that will let him dart around in the box and not worry too much about what he does elsewhere. That would not be Arteta’s Arsenal.

    Pepe can probably beat most Premier League full-backs one-on-one, but not when they triple-team him, which is what invariably happens so he ends up running into cul-de-sacs.

    Ødegaard and ESR can certainly play in the same team. The snag is getting a balanced formation that makes room for the pair of them and the double pivot that is necessary for the Premiership.

    Arteta can afford to be patient with Patino. He hasn’t got to throw him into games like a Hail Mary as he had to with ESR. Patino looks physically very slight for a Premier League player, so blood him gently and slowly, and bulk him up, so he doesn’t get battered early on. GSD mentioned how Wilshere was a regular at Patino’s age, but he got injured young and never fully recovered or had the career that he might have.

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    Don’t know much about geography bt8, but what a wonderful world it would be if Jota was out too😉
    On the the other hand, I gotta agree with sg @20, it’s always easier to go with the flo.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Bathgooner says:

    TTG, in answer to your questions @17:

    Nope, not yet and then very sparingly.

    Apologies for the long-winded final answer.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@24: 🙂

  26. 26
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Nicely summarized review TTG!

    Patino’s debut goal was delightful indeed, but my moment of the match was Eddie’s sumptuous backheel finish from an excellent flowing team move, and the goal set-up by a memorable assist. Irrespective of the opposition that was altogether a sublime piece of football. Cedric was surprisingly good throughout the match and combined very well with both White in defense and Nico and Ødegaard in attack.

    This was Pépé’s 100th match. 25 goals and 12 assists — definitely underperformed especially given the huge expectations. In PL the ratio is similar, 15 goals and 8 assists in 68 appearances, though a good few of them from the bench. The numbers aren’t strong enough to overlook the relative lack of contribution in the build-up play, especially compared to the completeness and consistency of players like Saka or ESR.

    However, last season, especially towards the end after the Wilian experiment (obsession?) was finally jettisoned and he got a consistent run in the games he played well and delivered output consistently. In one of our worst season’s in recent memory he was the highest goalscorer even without not being played regularly.

    Frustrating though he is I think he is a very useful player to have because in the final third he makes things happen. But in Martinelli we have a better chaos merchant now, hungrier and technically and physically with a higher ceiling. If we get into Europe next season I can see Arteta keeping Pépé because of the options and variations he can provide and some European football experience, but if Reiss comes back from Feyenoord with a season of consistency, and we end up buying one or two more young talents in the forward set-up, we would probably try to sell him.

  27. 27
    Bathgooner says: