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Tomorrow will see us turn our attention back to the Premier League with the visit of West Ham. Since we beat Everton in that eventful 3-2 win we have played in two cups, with contrasting fortunes. Our disappointing loss to Olympiakos in the Europa League can be offset against our win against Portsmouth in the FA Cup. I think we have a more realistic chance of winning the latter, even if Sheffield United away in the next round would be the first of three tough wins required to do so. The way history views the Europa League exit may depend on our league form until the end of the season. As Mikel Arteta prepares to face the first of two former bosses he will come up against in a week he is cautioning that we must keep our focus and take things game by game. When asked about possible Champion’s League qualification he said:

…if we beat West Ham it will look more likely. So that’s the only aim.

If game-by-game we go and start grabbing three points and three points and three points, and then we’ll have a chance in the last three or four games of the season.

Whilst many of us think we are unlikely to qualify outright for the CL we now have no reason not to give everything we have to climbing up the league and finding the silver lining in the home defeat by the uninspiring Greeks. As the boss notes, if we get a winning run together then we will have something to play for in those last few games and that is as much as we can ask for.

We will be without the unfortunate Lucas Torriera whose ankle was fractured against Pompey in what we must expect to be a season-ending injury. After fielding a much changed side at Fratton Park it will be interesting to see who gets the nod now there is no Europa League game to provide minutes to those who miss out. Will Mari be deemed fit enough to replace the resurgent Mustafi, whose time without making a drastic mistake surely cannot continue indefinitely? Will Laca start or will his form keep him warming the bench? I will have a guess at the side…

Bellerin – Luiz – Mari – Saka
Ceballos – Xhaka
Pepe – Ozil – Aubameyang

If we were to see Papa, Willock, Nelson or Laca get a start I would not be surprised so we shall wait and see what MA goes with.

Most of my mates are West Ham fans and I find them, as a club, a lot less objectionable than most in London, although Leyton Orient are the only other London club I have any real affection for. As a youngster I saw The ‘O’s play out many a grim 0-0 with football made out of parts that Arsene would not even have put in his sausages. There is no caviar at Brisbane Road. Recently there has been none at the London stadium either. David Moyes, who our current boss has a deep respect for after playing for him at Everton for many years, arrived in Stratford claiming that winning was what he did. It has not panned out like that since his December recruitment by the Two Davids and The Irons find only goal difference and the uplift created by all those bubbles keeping them out of the relegation zone. They bought Jared Bowen from Hull City in January in a bid for goals and I have heard he is one to watch. Antonio can be a handful with his direct, physical nature and Sebastian Haller is starting to score too. Mark Noble will captain them, and also wash the kits, make the tea and offer free haircuts to under-10s at half-time in his 43rd season at the club, whilst Lukasz Fabianski will return to The Emirates a far more consummate performer than he left it. Gooners will have forgiven him his recent horror show at Anfield after the heroics of Watford but we can still hope that he throws in a couple of clangers anyway. Go on Lukasz, for old times’ sake.

The holic’s pound

This is a tough call as there is very little value out there on a home win. The 2-0 win I fancy only gets you sixes, so, in search of some value, we will go with a 5-1 win to the good guys which you won’t find at worse than 40/1. Dave would consider it a Hail Mary but it is worth throwing to beat the mediocrity available on more staid bets you can make for yourselves. I shall be hoping for some backlash from Auba after his miss against the Greeks (hat-trick please) and a spirited display from our boys showing that the manager has got them well up for the fight until the end of season.

This result also has a personal appeal as I was present in the stadium for this fixture seven years ago when I witnessed a second half blitz when we scored four goals in what was certainly the most devastating ten minutes of football of I have ever witnessed live. More of that would be most welcome. Special apologies to Santi who cannot be seen in the photo header despite a beautiful performance that night (I think he is between Giroud and Big Per but too short to be visible!) We repeated the 5-1 scoreline away in 2016, so we are surely due another one by now?

As ever Holics, I wish you all the best for the game, and remind you to raise a glass to the Best Barman in Heaven.

125 Drinks to “Moyes’ Boys To Get Destroyed?”

  1. 1
    bathgooner says:

    Truly masterful, GSD. I’m sure the Guvna is chuckling at his protege’s brilliance. I love the sausage analogy. Your favourite tipple is on the bar, sir.

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    Top stuff GSD. Loving the rhyming rhythm in the title!

  3. 3
    scruzgooner says:

    savory, ya dinosaur. very enjoyable read. let’s grind them back into those bits…

    i always associate moyes with the 7-0 thrash we laid on his everton in 2005. i wonder what kind of odds we get on that score?

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    A rallying cry the Best Batman himself would have been played our to write. Optimism aplenty, exactly what we can use. Cheers, Dino Man.:)

  5. 5
    bt8 says:

    played our = proud

    (For fast aging eyes.)

  6. 6
    bt8 says:

    A nice picture too, but maybe Santi is a bit shorter than I remembered? 😉

  7. 7
    TTG says:

    Super preview GSD for a match I won’t be able to attend as I will be in my nurse’s uniform ( did I say that out loud? ) . I can’t believe we are playing a match at 3pm on a Saturday. Who plays then ?
    I saw the Hammers at Gillingham and they were woeful in the first half , a really Sperzy effort. They are ominously playing better in the last two games and I think we will be have to be eyeballs out to win 2-1 tomorrow. I think GSD has the team spot-on. Mustafi may come back for Mari but may struggle for fitness and I’d like to see Mari take on Antonio . My worry is Hector trying to handle Bowen . I wish all those going a safe trip. I suspect in a few weeks games will be played behind closed doors . COYG

  8. 8
    scruzgooner says:

    bt8@4, best batman? that means there’s a best robin?

    ttg, now i can’t say “nurse!” when someone says something that’s “ooh, er…” without imagining you in a short, white dress. no offense, but that’s distressing (thank god not dis-dressing)…

    has anyone considered we could use the resurgent mustafi with marí in the defense and move luiz up to DM? he’s got the gifts, and if we play a back 4 would give us a pretty solid foundation going forward. and if you don’t like mustafi with marí, how about holding with marí?

  9. 9
    North Bank Ned says:

    Good going, GSD. Splendid read.

    The odds on 2-0 are drifting and you can get eights now, as you can on TTG’s 2-1. The Guv’nor might have been tempted by the twelves on 3-0, but I like the boldness of 5-1. If it happens, it will be for only the second time ever. Ditto with Scruz’s 7-0.

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    And the answer to Scruz’s musing is 250-1.

  11. 11
    BtM says:

    That’s a good looking team, GSD. Mari needs to get a return to enable a decision on whether he’s a keeper. I’d start Nelson for Pepe but I don’t think MA8 will. The Irons have looked bent out of shape for most of the season but have been hammered into a more rigid and dangerous form lately by Moyes. I’ll be happy to be entertained by a further 3 dropping into th Arsenal points column.

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    5-1 would be helpful for our goal difference, too. That might be critical at the end of the season. As things stand, we are +3, with Sheffield Utd at +4, the neighbors and Wolves at +7, Chelsea at +8 and the Mancs at +12. Everton are at minus five and Burnley at minus six.

  13. 13
    bt8 says:

    Scruz, not being sure the Guv was a cricket man I refrained from calling him Best Batsman.

    Nah, just kidding. Best Batman is what it was intended to say, just like GSD. 🙂

  14. 14
    bt8 says:

    Barman I mean. This spillchucker is really out of control and must be vanquished. 😤

  15. 15
    bt8 says:

    There, spell check turned off with the aid of my 15 years old IT chief.

    Test: Best Barman.


  16. 16
    bt8 says:


    A pretty revealing article about the legacy of Ibrahimovich at his former MLS club.

    Watching Manchester United it makes me wonder if their team chemistry might not still be suffering some of the ill effects of his time at that club.

  17. 17
    TTG says:

    We went out of the Youth Cup 4-1 at Blackburn tonight.
    That should emphasise that there is not a conveyor belt of great young talent at the club just waiting to step up. ESR, John- Jules, Balogun and possibly Medley might be ready to step up then it’s Azeez from the U18s and that’s about it. The generation just breaking through are not being replicated by tye next group in fact the youth teams are quite weak this season . I believe the U16s are reckoned to be very talented

  18. 18
    OsakaMatt says:

    Excellent preview thanks GSD.
    5-1 will do nicely.
    Apart from Torreira the injury
    situation looks fine at the moment
    so probably a similar XI to the
    last couple of PL games.

  19. 19
    bathgooner says:

    Good news on Torreira tonight. No surgery is required. This presumably implies an undisplaced fracture, probably of the lateral malleolus, and no ligament damage. We can expect a full recovery.

    The late announcement of an ‘ankle fracture’ today suggests this was neither a fracture dislocation nor a compound fracture like those that destroyed the careers of Diaby and Eduardo which would have been more obvious on the day and would have necessitated early hospitalisation rather than a specialist opinion.

  20. 20
    scruzgooner says:

    so either it got buried in my response, or no one has much to say. i’ll ask again: what is the general consensus on luiz as dm in front of two from mari/holding/mustafi/papa?

  21. 21
    OsakaMatt says:

    thanks for link.
    Zlat The Twat would have been
    the headline if I was writing that
    piece 🙂
    It’s not a good sign when no one
    wants to sit with you at lunch

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    @20 scg

    I would have tried Luiz or even
    Calum as DM earlier in the
    season mainly because I don’t
    rate Xhaka. I still don’t rate Xhaka
    but AW, UE and now MA keep playing
    him and I doubt that’ll change now
    we’ve won our last couple of PL
    As a short term solution I still think
    it’s ok in front of Papa/Mari as a
    first option. Might help our set piece
    defending too.
    I hope we sell Xhaka come the
    summer but I’m not holding my

  23. 23
    TTG says:

    I think Luiz could definitely play there and as he is a better tackler than Xhaka and more mobile it might improve the side. Both are good long passers ( Xhaka if he is not under pressure ) . I wish Torreira was more imposing physically because I think him and Ceballos would make a good pair. Guendouzi is much better at recycling the ball than the other midfielders but he does lose it in key situations eg Watford’s Ist goal this season . I think midfield is where the focus is going to be in the summer but until then I’d be up for giving Luiz a try. Mari being left-footed frees Luiz up to play further forward and his probable partner this season is Mustafi. Blimey did I just pick Mustafi😁?

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG: Our current crop of outstanding youngsters is a once in a blue moon thing. Such generations come along exceptionally. Like most clubs, if we get even one youngster a year who will make it to Premiership first team football we will be doing very well.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    Luiz could play DM, but I don’t know what it would add to the team. He has become the leader of the back line under Arteta. We would lose that if he played further forward. The notion seems like an artifice to get Mustafi, Marí and him into the team and Xhaka out.

  26. 26
    OsakaMatt says:

    I’m all for artifices that get Xhaka
    out 🙂
    Though I must admit that AW,
    UE and MA all know far more
    about pro football than I ever

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    Match officials tomorrow.

    Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Lee Betts, Sian Massey-Ellis. Fourth official: John Brooks. VAR: Kevin Friend. Assistant VAR: Simon Beck.

    What does the assistant VAR ref do?

  28. 28
    bt8 says:

    “tomorrow” meaning today already in England, that is.

  29. 29
    bt8 says:

    I scanned through the VAR FAQ page of the Premier League website, and it didn’t explain what the assistant VAR ref does, that I could see, but it did come up with a handy acronym (AVAR) for that person’s title.


    Seeing as it seems to be up to me to fill in the blanks, here’s a start:

    Possible duties for the AVAR:

    1. Make the tea.
    2. Take telephone messages from betting firms offering bribes.

  30. 30
    OsakaMatt says:

    Sadly all my suggestions for what the AVAR
    does are not suitable for publication.

    Great work if you can get it though.

  31. 31
    bathgooner says:

    Luiz as DMF is an excellent suggestion as a stand-in in that position against the likes of Shitteh where we would almost certainly have deployed Torreira. He has better defensive instincts than our remaining candidates. I think he’s played there quite often for Chavski and Brazil, though not always to positive reviews.

  32. 32
    Uplympian says:

    Firstly thanks for a brilliant previewu GSD, you are maintaining a truly high standard.
    I also agree with your probable team selection – in my view Laca shouldn’t be picked given his current form, though the boss does give a lot of credence to how players are showing on the training field.
    The idea of playing Luiz as a DM ticks many boxes but as Ned points out he can be seen marshalling the defenders around him with quite good success ( Olympiacos excepted ).
    If this idea took place that would leave the CB positions with any 2 from Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding & Marí – not something that inspires utmost confidence.
    Back to today’s match we should be extracting 3 points from the Hammers if we have any pretensions of being a top tier side. A lot of perspiration will be required to overcome a battling side and unless Flappyhandski turns into Lev Yashin for the day a 3-1 win is my idea of a winning scoreline.

  33. 33
    Countryman100 says:

    North London bound.


  34. 34
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Many thanks for all the kind words gentlemen. You lot are discerning readers indeed and used to the very highest quality from Dave, so your opinions carry much weight with me. Cheers.

    Baff, I’ll keep that drink till Wednesday when I will need fortification for my visit to that pub that sometimes seems merely rural and sometimes seems like it belongs in Royston Vasey!

    In the meantime… Come On Arsenal!

  35. 35
    OsakaMatt says:

    Ake should have put Bournemouth
    2-0 up there.

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    Now 2-1 down instead.

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    You match day trivia: David Moyes’s managerial record against us: 33 games, won 4, drawn 8, lost 21. He has never won an away game.

  38. 38
    Bathgooner says:

    GSD, done! When you said you were going to view the match from that pub I recalled how surreal it seemed on your first description of it. I look forward to your report of watching the match with Worzel Gummidge et al!

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    Sokratis, Mari, Luiz, Saka
    Ceballos, Xhaka
    Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang

  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bench: Bellerin, Lacazette, Nelson, Martinez, Willock, Guendouzi, Martinelli

  41. 41
    North Bank Ned says:

    Three CBs on the pitch but none on the bench.

  42. 42
    bt8 says:

    Team selection feels right to me.

  43. 43
    BtM says:

    Must be hoping for another thunderbolt from Sokratis. Effectively a back three when we have the ball?

  44. 44
    bt8 says:

    I guess Xhaka would be first in line to move to CB, Ned?

  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    Or Bellerin on and Sokratis plays in the middle. Depends a bit on the circumstances in which a substitution would be made, bt8b.

  46. 46
    OsakaMatt says:

    Is Mus injured? I didn’t hear
    anything. If he’s dropped it’s
    been a fairly short revival.
    Anyway we’ll see how it works
    once we kick-off. Looks like 4-6
    with the 3 CBs plus Xhaka dropping
    to cover LB. Mari isn’t the quickest
    I think so if I was Wham that’s
    where I’d attack us.
    It’s an aggressive line-up, and bench too, so
    we’re not going to die wondering.

  47. 47
    OsakaMatt says:

    10 out of 11 for GSD’s team
    selection, I hope his pound
    is close too….

  48. 48
    Pangloss says:


  49. 49
    BtM says:

    More than our fair share of possession but we’ve managed to create relatively few chances. Sokratis should have scored from that header, but Hammers had good (one great) chances to be two up before then. Ozil and Pepe keep getting in each others knitting on the right side and frankly, Pepe’s end product is terrible. Nelson or Martinez for Pepe please Mikal. Ceballos doing well.

  50. 50
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I only saw about 20 minutes of that due to poor streams. What I saw was not excellent although a few bright moments. I like Mari’s passing. And Mustafi’s absence!

  51. 51
    BtM says:

    Scandinavian stream, I’m not a linguist but it sounds Swedish. Hints of Abba 🙂

  52. 52
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Agree with BTM about Ceballos. I trust Arteta but I’m getting keener and keener on keeping him. I’d jettison Xhaka, Torreira is injured and not kicking on anyway, and Guendouzi needs time. So our midfield needs some work and Ceballos is starting to show a lot of good things.

  53. 53
    BtM says:

    Are you at hesgoal.com GSD? Perfect, as always, but don’t go full stream – that causes gremlins.

  54. 54
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    What’s the stream called? Mine is rubbish.

  55. 55
    OsakaMatt says:

    Not creating much so far.
    Eddie and Auba struggling to
    get anything and pretty sure
    Eddie dived just before half-
    time. Careless passing at times
    is gifting Wham chances.
    Papa, Dani doing well and we
    are making space for Saka to
    attack. Hope MA can fire them
    up for the 2nd half. Agree with
    BtM – Nelson for Pepe.
    Mari is doing ok considering it’s
    his PL debut but we certainly don’t
    look any more secure.

  56. 56
    BtM says:


    Look for Arsenal game.

    DON”T go to full screen. Watch on the smaller screen.

    If you need to refresh at any time, immediately nuke the screen that will pop up behind the to screen. First hal has been perfect. Usually is.

  57. 57
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Top man. Cheers

  58. 58
    scruzgooner says:

    i’ve seen worse first halves, but we gave away the ball too much. and nothing really in the final third.

  59. 59
    BtM says:

    Brilliant, Saka. Class of your own, son.

  60. 60
    scruzgooner says:

    doesn’t look like they trust eddie to receive the ball with his back to goal.

  61. 61
    scruzgooner says:


  62. 62
    BtM says:

    We’re defending too deep!

  63. 63
    scruzgooner says:

    laca for eddie?

  64. 64
    scruzgooner says:

    come on LACA!!

  65. 65
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Well played Eddie

  66. 66
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    What is VAR doing?

  67. 67
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Penalty all day

  68. 68
    scruzgooner says:

    ugly. we give the ball away like a potlatch.

  69. 69
    scruzgooner says:

    how was that a xhaka foul on noble?

  70. 70
    ATG says:

    No foil by Xhaka now on Noble Atkinson at his best as usual. We are struggling like hell, passing is awful.

    We need to win this no matter what

  71. 71
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Atkinson is shite.

  72. 72
    scruzgooner says:

    gabi for auba? hecate for papa?

  73. 73
    OsakaMatt says:

    Whatever MA said at half-time
    hasn’t worked so far, just not
    falling for us. Poor crossing not
    helping. Lucky their finishing is

  74. 74
    scruzgooner says:

    gotta be a goal.

  75. 75
    scruzgooner says:


  76. 76
    ATG says:

    Get the fuck in ha

  77. 77
    OsakaMatt says:


  78. 78
    scruzgooner says:

    noble feeling hard done by. ha!

  79. 79
    scruzgooner says:

    leno saves our bacon again.

  80. 80
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Get in!

  81. 81
    OsakaMatt says:

    Silly by Papa.
    Long 10 minutes coming

    Some poor defending in
    the 2nd half but fuck it
    we’re winning so far

  82. 82
    scruzgooner says:

    ozil off, had a decent game, i thought.

  83. 83
    scruzgooner says:

    3 at the back, i guess.

  84. 84
    scruzgooner says:

    don’t lean back, reiss!

  85. 85
    ATG says:

    Where did they get 5 min from? All the VAR checks I guess

  86. 86
    scruzgooner says:


  87. 87
    scruzgooner says:


  88. 88
    Pangloss says:

    One nil to the Arsenal.
    Never in doubt.

  89. 89
    OsakaMatt says:

    I’ll take the points 🙂

  90. 90
    scruzgooner says:

    gotta love it. and another laca goal. nelson with a sharp cameo.

  91. 91
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Ceballos my motm. (not my ‘mother’ as autocorrect wants me to write)

  92. 92
    OsakaMatt says:

    Nicked it by a millimetre or

  93. 93
    BtM says:

    Good result, good all round performance. Mari had an impressive first 90 mins in the PL. Leno saved our bacon a couple of time. Ceballos had his best game so far, my MOtM.

    In the first half I thought we lacked midfield creativity and, because of Pepe, any outlet for attack on the right side. Both improved in the second half, I liked both subs, Eddie chickened out on two opportunities and was very naively offside when Pepe did break through once.

    We go under pressure fairly easily. Ceballos is the only midfielder who can tackle (neither Xkaka nor Ozil can) and that still allows exposure through the middle.

    Good goal. Good outcome. Win the next game.

  94. 94
    North Bank Ned says:

    That was a lot harder than it should have been. First half performance was pretty lacklustre. West Ham could have been two up in the first ten minutes, and it would have been a long way back from there. Agree with others that Pepe offered little in the first half; hardly ever running at their defence, which is his main threat, and Auba was anonymous. Our passing was woeful by our — or anybody else’s — standards: gave the ball away far too often. The team showed more urgency in the second half and the substitutions were the right ones. They say three points when you don’t play well is the sign of a good team, so that is the silver lining. That would have been a draw two months ago and a loss before that.

  95. 95
    bt8 says:

    Ceballos had a very good game, and he is indeed the only midfielder of the three who can tackle. But Özil was making things flow and deserved to finally get his assist. Big three points.

  96. 96
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah, I thought Ozil was ok
    today and I liked Dani too but
    he did put us under pressure a
    few times with poor passing
    or lost possession. Anyway, he
    was better than Xhaka and to
    be fair Auba, who had a poor
    A game to forget to be honest
    but a clean sheet, due mainly
    to Leno but also Wham’s piss
    poor finishing, and 3 points
    are always welcome.
    Hopefully the derby will knacker
    Shitty tomorrow.

  97. 97
    TTG says:

    Didn’t see any streams and was looking after Mrs TTG but had a pithy text from my neighbour at the ground ‘ Xhaka is utter shit’. He also praised Ceballos and Leno- fair?

  98. 98
    TTG says:

    Scummers losing 1-0 . 😢

  99. 99
    OsakaMatt says:

    @97 TTG

    Mostly fair, the “utter” is a bit
    harsh. Xhaka did some good
    defensive work at times. As well
    as his usual litany – poor and
    slow passing.

    Spuds losing at Burnley.

  100. 100
    OsakaMatt says:

    Raised bat or Tabs?

  101. 101
    OsakaMatt says:

    Glory and everlasting fame it is
    Could be level with Spuds today
    if they kindly lose again.

  102. 102
    North Bank Ned says:

    We have finally reached the 40-points mark. It has taken 28 games. Only twice before in the Premiership era has it taken more games, in 1994/95 and 1992/93, 30 games on both occasions. The fastest we have got to 40 points is 17 games in 2007/08. The Invincibles took 18 games.

  103. 103
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, OM.

  104. 104
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@97: Both Ceballos and Leno played well in a lacklustre team performance overall. Ozil had a decent game in the circumstances, as did David Luiz. Mari again looked solid and has a decent passing range. Saka was good going forward. Xhaka was Xhakary; giving the ball away far too often and being slow to see and make the incisive pass but otherwise OK.

  105. 105
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@17: I saw that Ian Wright’s grandson scored and got a couple of assists for Blackburn in that 4-1 FA Youth Cup defeat. Where do the years go?

  106. 106
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Moyes’ comments absolute rubbish. No idea why he thinks that won’t be given as a goal next season. If a change is made it will benefit attackers, not rule out legitimate goals that are already considered as such.

    If you don’t want to be a hard luck story I can respect that. I can’t respect that you follow up by saying that Martin Atkinson is one of the best refs in Europe and that you see no reason why his linesman’s incorrect decision should have been overruled. I’d love to hear what you would have said if it had gone against you. Double standards, David?

  107. 107
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@106: Can you lend any credence to someone who says that Atkinson is one of the best refs in Europe?

  108. 108
    Countryman100 says:

    Just back from the game. A tough afternoon but great to come away with the points. I thought Leno and Ceballos were excellent throughout. Saka again looked quality. Laca worked really hard when he came on and deserved his goal.

    But we were fortunate and West Ham deserved at least a point. Sokratis dreadful at right back – this experiment must not be repeated.I’ve read a couple of newspaper reviews and was baffled that they thought Ozil played well. Xhaka just slowed down our whole midfield again. Pepe once again was the one footed thing from one foot land.

    But still, 1-0 to The Arsenal. This week, City and Brighton away. I’d very happily settle for four points.

  109. 109
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Martin Atkinson is one of the best refs in Europe like what David Moyes does is win!

  110. 110
    TTG says:

    My normal travelling companions for games gave me a very similar rundown to you.
    They know I despair of Xhaka and am beginning to despair of Pepe . Pepe is the classic one trick pony , he always cuts inside. With Sokratis at right back there is no overlapping full-back to go wide . Why the penny hasn’t dropped re Xhaka I do not know. We can never progress with him as a focal point of the side . Nice to hear Ceballos played well, he is a player I see improving week to week . His attitude is good and he is creative or attempts to be. Did you rate Mari?

  111. 111
    Countryman100 says:

    Hi TTG
    I hope your patient is doing well. Marí is a tricky one because he didn’t stand out for me, nor did he seem to make any bad errors. Yet West Ham kept creating chances so the defence was far from perfect. The most egregious defending problems came on our right flank. That was down to Sokratis. Maybe a watch on MOTD will tell me more.

  112. 112
    bt8 says:

    Until he makes noticeable bad errors, are they bad errors at all?

  113. 113
    TTG says:

    Mrs TTG is resting at home and will have to take things very slowly but it’s terrific to have her home. She’s resisting the many offers from friends to visit her but we have the grandchildren popping in tomorrow . We have enough flowers to start a florists ! People are very kind.
    I was so preoccupied I didn’t miss the game and didn’t bother to find a stream to watch on. I’m finding it much more nerve wracking to watch Arsenal on TV and often wander around the garden at times of stress- which with our defence occur regularly! With the possibility of games being played behind closed doors I wonder if we will all see many more games at the Grove this season .

  114. 114
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m glad she is back home. I bet she’s still moving quicker than Xhaka. 🤣

  115. 115
    North Bank Ned says:

    Hope Mrs TTG is on the mend, TTG.

    On the right-back question: my 2-cents is that Bellerin is (a) not as fast as he was before his injury and without that blistering pace he can’t cover up some defensive weaknesses as he did before and (b) is struggling to pay the role that Arteta wants of his full backs.

    A lot of the time against Olympiacos and Everton he couldn’t get his positioning right, and was being got in behind on both the outside and the inside. Saka makes defensive mistakes, as you would expect of an 18-year old makeshift full back, but his positioning both defensively and offensively is good.

    That Bellerin’s hasn’t been of late is, I am guessing, why he was dropped to the bench today.

    Sokratis is not a natural full back and certainly not the wide offensive threat that can create the wing overloads that Arteta likes. On both scores, we’d be better off playing AMN at right back than playing Sokratis there, in my view. I hope he shows Arteta that he can buckle down in training.

  116. 116
    bt8 says:

    TTG, I’m glad to hear the Mrs. is back home and the family will be visiting to help you caretake. All the best for her speedy return to action.

  117. 117
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100: I think you got Mari right. He didn’t make any errors and was solid but not spectacular on his league debut. Given our recent history with the position, solid and error free aren’t bad qualities in a centre back.

  118. 118
    OsakaMatt says:

    Nice to wake up on a Sunday
    morning and enjoy my coffee
    with a 3 point chaser.

    I think a waffle with that coffee
    would be good too.

  119. 119
    OsakaMatt says:

    Even nicer to hear Mrs TTG is
    home again 👍
    Lots of bad health news just
    now so good news is doubly

  120. 120
    OsakaMatt says:

    Interesting to read C100’s
    views from the stadium – I
    thought Papa was ok first half
    to be honest. Struggled 2nd
    half but honestly overall a little
    better than Hector or AMN
    defensively. Pepe is about as much
    use as Theo or The Ox regarding
    defensive support and with Xhaka
    needed to cover for Saka on the
    left I can understand the thinking
    behind playing him there, though
    as Ned says he’s not a natural
    full back and it’s a far from ideal
    situation. Hector has had a lot of
    time off the last couple of seasons
    so I hope we will give him time to
    get back to form but it’s a worry.
    Fortunately we signed a RB with
    PL experience this winter who’s
    ready to step in and…….oh.

  121. 121
    OsakaMatt says:

    In the first half Mari missed an
    interception that left us exposed
    and Wham should have scored.
    Given it was his PL debut he did
    fine and passed generally well,
    though I must admit I’m a bit
    worried about his/our defence
    against Shitty.

  122. 122
    OsakaMatt says:

    Moyes is clearly on drugs, and
    not the good kind, he should
    seek help.

  123. 123
    OsakaMatt says:

    Our goal summed up the pros/
    cons of VAR quite well really.
    It was close and a very difficult
    call for the Asst Ref. so no
    criticism from me but on the
    TV replay it was clear after 5-10
    seconds that it was a goal.

  124. 124
    OsakaMatt says:

    Better finish waffling on an
    agreeable note.

    Agree with C100 that Xhaka was
    Xhaka, Pepe frustrating and we
    were lucky to get 3 points at
    home to a relegation threatened
    side. In his lucid moments Moyes
    has organised Wham quite well
    defensively and most of our
    attacking players looked ineffective.
    Onward we go, winning on
    Wednesday would be a huge boost.

  125. 125
    scruzgooner says: