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We got out of Anfield with a nil-nil draw and so many positives that I am going to enjoy writing about them.

But first, let’s just dive into Granit Xhaka’s performance and get it out of the way.

I do not like the guy, and anyone who has read anything I’ve written before will know that. Yet, before the game, even I said that I hoped he was available to start. My reasoning for this was that I thought it sensible to play two professional central midfielders in central midfield against Liverpool.

Of course, our erstwhile captain (Mr. Burns style shudder) only managed twenty-four minutes of passing dangerously back to Ramsdale whilst under little pressure himself, and charging upfield to ‘press’ the Liverpool centre-backs, in a way that had Sambi Lokonga wishing for the positional experience of Charlie Patino next to him, before he delivered his coup de grace and got a thoroughly deserved red.

Pool played a long ball over the top, Xhaka kicked out ludicrously at Jota, catching him in the belly, and got as clear a red card as you will see. The guy has no head for the occasion – he has to use up one bottle of shampoo at home before his wife lets him open a new one; she knows he can’t handle making the decision if both are open at the same time.

The only issue was whether Michael Oliver gave his red for dangerous play or denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. I believe he went with the latter, which carries a lighter suspension, although whether that’s a good thing for us or not, I honestly could not say.

Xhaka is an idiot who does stupid things that damage our club and I hope he leaves soon so I do not have to watch him hurt our team anymore. If I were a Spurs fan I would want Granit Xhaka to stay at Arsenal forever. What more can I say?


Right. That’s it. Moving on. Nothing to see here.

Every other human being associated with Arsenal tonight was an absolute hero.

First up, a shout out to our amazing away support.

Our very own CER had made the journey up to Scouseland for this one, and I am sure I was not alone in imagining the gut shot he, and many others, must have felt when we went down to 10 men with over an hour still to play.

Yet, the away fans were magnificent. They did the entire club proud tonight, and the lads on the pitch knew that our fans were right there with them.

Those same lads on the pitch sure as hell gave them something to cheer about. The performances we saw today were stellar. They played their hearts out for the shirt, the club and for their manager. Whatever we see from the outside, inside that squad they all give it everything they have and they back Arteta to the hilt.

None more exemplified this than Callum Chambers, who was thrown in after ten minutes and an injury to Cedric (I can’t have been alone in feeling this might have been a good thing for us?) and played a blinder for 80 minutes. I don’t see what more he could have done – it was a wonderful effort from a player who has been on the fringes of things but showed up big time when it mattered.

After The Moron had left the pitch, we restructured; Eddie had to be hooked and Rob Holding came on as we went to a strange 5-1-2-1 formation. It was a back five, with Sambi in front. And then Saka and Gabi on the wings with Laca up top. Holding anchored the back three and, fortunately, has recaptured and locked up his evil twin, who played the Forest game at the weekend, in the attic at Holding Towers.

The odd formation was fluid enough for one of the defenders to step into midfield occasionally, or the wingers to track runners across the pitch. At times, as Liverpool tried to apply the pressure their dominance of possession begged for, we had Laca about 5 yards outside our box as the furthest man forwards and every other man and his dog lined up in, err, dogged defence of our box.

A lot of this one was not a pretty watch. Even before the Leaden One xhakploded on us, we looked nervy. Ramsdale had an unusually off-colour night, mixing some good things with some poor decision-making that we have not seen much of from him. As a 23-year-old keeper playing in a big game trying to deal with a series of dodgy back passes he has my sympathy, but he contributed to an opening twenty minutes where we never really settled.

White got a touch to prevent a Firminho chance, but it nearly went past Ramsdale for an own goal. In the first fifteen minutes Liverpool had four corners, and only stout defending prevented them from making their fast start count. We had one good run and cross from KT but were struggling to get forward in the opening stages.

After we streamlined our formation on 24 minutes there was a predictable spell of Pool pressure. On 40 minutes the stat came up on the TV that we had had 11% possession in the preceding 15 minutes. I don’t remember seeing a team get 10% or less over five minutes, let alone fifteen. We could not get our collective foot on the ball (you gotta love that turn of phrase! I mean, imagine if we had a collective arsehole. Oh, wait…)

However, pressure was not being converted into chances, as our forward lads buzzed about chasing everything, and our defenders showed admirable positioning and communication. Liverpool probably should have gone wide more often, as we did a good job crowding them out as they tried to play intricate central balls, but hey, for Gooners, it was kinda nice to see another team fail to make the dream ball through the middle as bodies kept getting in the way.

Out of nowhere, we had the better of the last five minutes of the first half. Saka had a few moments where he just looked like making something happen. He got through into good spaces a couple of times, won a corner from nothing, and managed to get close enough to the captain, leader and absolute superstar Lacazette that a few things nearly came off for them.

At half time neither team had registered a shot on target. And only one team was happy about that.

The Liverpool fans are generally excellent, yet even they were subdued as it became clear that this Arsenal side were digging in, mounting a rearguard action, and might not be so easy to turn over as previous incarnations had proved. When Saka ran through and had a shot blocked a couple of minutes into the second half, I’ll bet there were a few hearts in mouths.

Saka caught Matip a little late on the hour, but Michael Oliver did nothing. He ignored quite a lot of fouls, but none of them were particularly dangerous, and he was consistently myopic; I’d rather have a consistently poor ref than one whose inconsistency costs one team but not the other.

We settled into a gentle time-wasting rhythm. We took time out of the game without over-stepping the mark and getting any cards for it. Again, it cannot just have been me that was damn glad to see that Arteta has managed to bring the sort of Dark Arts know-how that marks out the nice teams from the bloody-minded ones?

I would rather we were covered in guts and gore, intellectually speaking, of course.

In the 68th minute, Minamino flashed a great ball across goal that, in all likelihood, Salah or Mane would have tapped in. But they weren’t playing, so they didn’t, and there is not a small enough violin in existence for me to play my Concerto For a Missed Liverpool Chance.

Four minutes later Lacazette fed Saka as he burst through the middle, and a heavy first touch meant he was reaching to hit the shot but Alisson still did well to get out fast and smother the chance.

I thought Liverpool’s subs on 75 mins were a bit odd – Ox, Gomez and Neco Williams coming on for Fabinho, Matip and the man who Jamie Carragher is only legally allowed to refer to as “Trent”. However, five minutes later Saka went down, and although he did a wonderful job of continuing for another two minutes before going down again (all good time-wasting) he was subbed for Nuno Tavares, who got on to the pitch at the third time of stripping off his kit.

Now, I am thrilled that Nuno got right back into the action, and that there appear to be no issues between him and the manager, but he did have a difficult spell as Neco Williams got forward well and put a few crosses in the box.

In the last five minutes Liverpool seemed to wake up. Lacazette had given everything he had; only Gabriel Martinelli was still chasing lost causes like St. Jude on amphetamines. Ramsdale made a couple of punches that screamed of a goalie trying to be dominant but just not quite at the races; Ben White with a good clearance after one of them was booted straight back into the box past the keeper as he made a valiant diving effort to recover from his own weak punch.

The let off that we thought we might need came two minutes into extra time. After Ramsdale tried to claim a cross but was blocked by his own defenders, the ball fell to Minamino about 8 yards out. He should have scored but he skied it. This observer reckons we thoroughly deserved that break.

The game ended honours even. We could not have asked for more.

As this is already a long report for me, I won’t give you chapter and verse on each individual player. They were all brilliant. Ben White got MOTM but you could have picked any of them. They did not have the greatest quality, and they were up against a great team who made it hard. But they showed so much character. They worked their balls off. And there were a surprising number of situations that nearly broke for us. We did not create many clear cut chances but don’t let that fool you; our counter attacking had some teeth, even with ten men.

The travelling faithful responded wonderfully to the effort the players put in. They buoyed them up, and, at times, shouted down all of Anfield. That’s proper support.

After the difficult game against Forest, we needed a performance tonight. And, although a scoreless draw might not be a classic result to demonstrate a performance (and leaving aside the daft actions of one daft man) we could not have asked anything more from everyone in that stadium tonight.

Victoria Concordia Crescit

111 Drinks to “All For One, And One For All. Except Granit, Obviously.”

  1. 1
    TTG says:

    Very fine and fair report GSD. I echo every word about our superb fans , the resilience of the team and what an utter prat Xhaka is. You and I saw him at his worst a couple of years ago but since then he’s cocked up all over the place and usually with dire consequences. It’s hard to say what Xhaka’s nadir is.He keeps surpassing it ! In a couple of games time a few blind loyalists will be asking for him back. I’ve supported Arsenal for over 60 years and he is the most annoying Arsenal player I’ve ever known .
    You make a good point about Ramsdale. His keeping was sloppy tonight. He is very macho and supercharged but tonight his handling and judgement were often awry . He might have saved Xhaka if his starting position had been better .
    I really liked White, Gabriel and Chambers tonight but everyone except YKW deserves a bouquet for tonight . It reminded me of the Parma final

  2. 2
    Bathgooner says:

    Rapid and excellent, GSD, much like Martinelli. A night to remember and a hugely formative experience for those young players. A heroic performance by all bar one, fit for a heroic travelling support.

  3. 3
    Noosa Gooner says:

    This is not (yet) a great Arsenal team but tonight was reminiscent of some of the great performances from the past. In particular, the way the front three assumed defensive duties as well as chasing everything they could across the pitch. As satisfying a 0-0 draw as you might see.

  4. 4
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks GSD, great report and a great result, We’ve put in two excellent, if in completely differing ways, performances against the two best teams in England in the last three games. We deserve to go through next week.

    Come to think of it, I suppose it’s three completely different performances in the last three games really…..

  5. 5
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Excellent report, GSD. Thanks for making the effort.

    Xhaka is simply misunderstood.

    I’ll let meeself out! 😜

  6. 6
    Ollie says:

    Cheers GSD, great write-up!
    Proud of the boys. Sets us up nicely for the second leg.
    The spirit will probably stay high for Sunday too, let’s hope the limbs recover before then.
    As for Xhaka, I’ll just say he’s not very bright…

  7. 7
    ClockEndRider says:

    Excellent report. It is hugely to your credit that you managed to put together such a well considered and written account of proceedings that I was able to enjoy while still on the coach back last night somewhere north of Birmingham. We finally arrived home at about 3.15 this morning, tired but elated. We don’t often get the opportunity to go away and usually wait to enjoy C100’s reports. I might post my thoughts a bit later once I have had several dozen more cups of tea but I heartily recommend an away trip to any of those lucky enough to be able to arrange it. Fans were brilliant. After the internecine atmosphere which developed during the latter years of Mr Wenger, the atmosphere has completely changed. There is a real bond between the fans themselves and between the fans and the team. I can’t help thinking that much of this may be down to the fact that the demographic has changed, noticeable at The Emirates too, with a lot of younger fans taking the place of those of my vintage and beyond who may have given up their season tickets. New blood does seem to have begotten renewed vigour and energy.

  8. 8
    Gooner_KS says:

    Great write GSD, well done sir, you just matched the performance of the lads

  9. 9
    Gooner_KS says:

    @5 LG close the door please 🙂

  10. 10
    Ollie says:

    Good work, CER. You all came out loud and proud on the telly.
    Great to hear the atmosphere was as good as it sounded.
    Away trips are often better experiences than home.

  11. 11
    Countryman100 says:

    Excellent, rapid and comprehensive report GSD. It was a game that we started nervily, and Liverpool were dominant. That pen Xhaka did what Xhaka does and we all settled back and awaited a hammering. Yet it didn’t happen. Time and again a cross came in and White or Gabriel headed it away. Chambo put in a terrific shift, as did Tierney. Laca chased and chased and chased. Saka was our best player on the pitch but as well as the pretty stuff he scrapped and scrapped. Martinelli chased lost causes all night.

    I’m so glad you had a good night CER. Watching our team home and away this season has been so much better, and more fun, but away games are the best. The way all you hear was Arsenal fans on the tv was marvellous and heartwarming. Long may that continue.

  12. 12
    Bathgooner says:

    This is SUCH a great picture:

  13. 13
    Ollie says:

    Is it just me or does he look a bit like David Bowie on that photo?

  14. 14
    Countryman100 says:


  15. 15
    Las says:

    Thanks GSD for this excellent and lightning quick report! Your speed is matching with Gabis!
    What a great performence and a very good result as well. Just what the doc prescribed. We needed this result to make justice against that shady Poodlian side.
    Heart warming performance equally from the pitch and from the stand!
    Very proud!
    We should not forget that not just the team is very young but our manager is also just started and very much on his learning curve.

  16. 16
    Las says:

    And credit to MA8. A couple of matchdays ago I was arguing about his slow reaction to obvious situations not changening in time, but not this time. He had his plan B ready (he might have learned his lesson about not so Granit) and he never hesitated changing not just the players but tbe formation as well.

  17. 17
    bathgooner says:

    At C100’s request:

  18. 18
    ATG says:

    As per request

  19. 19
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks Bath. I just love the composition of this, right down to JVT in the corner!

  20. 20
    ClockEndRider says:

    Fun trip up and back to Liverpool Last night on the Travel Club coaches. Unfortunately “health and safety gone mad” ensures no hot drinks, as there used to be, dispensed on the journey. Probably shows how long it is since I’ve been on an away trip though.
    Arrived at around 6.30 and made a pilgrimage to the Hillsborough Memorial. I was at the Arsenal on that day in April 1989. The scene from Fever Pitch where the protagonists learn of what was going on up at Hillsbrough is exactly how we found out on the day. In those days, we’re we’re treated like expendable proletarian scum on away trips. Watching that awful footage later in the day, we ruminated on the fact that that could have been any of us, at any game in the 70s and 80s. That thought has always stayed with me so I wanted to pay the visit. There was a beautiful silence being observed at the memorial. I said a sotto voce De Profundis and left my Arsenal scarf there, which the attendants were kind enough to place for me, insisting they put it at the front. I didn’t want to intrude but they were so kind and said that’s what they did. Classy.
    Onto the ground and the away boys and a significant number of girls ( that never used to happen in the old days) were in good voice, ably assisted by the beers which those who had made their own way up there had clearly been enjoying for a while before we arrived! Some of the old songs, some rather newer (to me at least) including one for Martinelli to the tune of that 70s ( well I certainly remember it from my childhood but it might have been late 60’s) classic “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies.
    Into our seats in row 7 and clearly the crowd were up for it. I won’t seek to add to GSDs excellent description of events other than to note a couple of observations. Firstly that even before The Moron was sent off, Arsenal seemed very happy to allow Matip to hold the ball. It became obvious to me that this was a ploy since he seemed the only player on the Liverpool side incapable to doing anything creative with it, and rather reminded me of Coco The Clown with his giant shoes and lumbering gait. Secondly, without Salah and Elbows Mane, they are light on finishing power. Highlight of the first half was the Anfield Road end, which we had been ceded in its entirety, singing “Juergen , Juergen, you’re a c*unt”! during a break in play and one of the many long lasting silences emanating ( can a silence emanate?) from the home fans. Make no mistake, even if the directional microphones in use by the broadcasters were muffled as they usually are for the more obscene and or scatological chants, Klopp heard this, loud and clear. As did the likes of Alexander-Arnold when he came close to the away fans hear individual cries of “ glad to see you recovered from covid so quickly you effing cheat”.
    Anyway, the game played out and we had a ball and then walked back safely along the boundary of Stanley Park to the coaches. Conversation was all about The Moron when we boarded, unsurprisingly. Safe to say, he has few if any supporters left among those who travelled yesterday. We arrived back in London at around 3 am to find the temperature considerably colder here than the relatively balmy Merseyside weather and managed to get back to the warmth and comfort of our beds around 3.30.
    All in all, a day well spent.


  21. 21
    bt8 says:

    Excellent GSD, well done.

  22. 22
    Countryman100 says:

    Great stuff CER. Your experience at the Hillsborough memorial matches my own when I was at Anfield for the league game. It’s a special place with it’s always lit flame. Although we are reviling Liverpool FC and their manager at the moment due to their postponement antics, I found the welcome at Anfield to be exemplary and far better than many other grounds. Were the bar staff in the away fans concourse wearing Arsenals shirts? They were on my visit.

  23. 23
    ClockEndRider says:

    C100, the police and the stewards outside were all excellent. Not sure about the bar staff – I’m on Dry January, so 21CG went to the bar and I gave it a miss – I’ll have to ask him.

  24. 24
    bt8 says:

    Equally excellent and well done, CER.

  25. 25
    Countryman100 says:

    I should say they were Arsenal tee shirts , not replica.

    Lots of chatter on Twitter about discussions of postponement of Sunday’s game ongoing right now.

  26. 26
    Countryman100 says:

    Our magnificent away fans

  27. 27
  28. 28
    ClockEndRider says:

    Well certain other clubs seem to have had no diffficulty in cancelling games so it’s about our turn…….

  29. 29
    bathgooner says:

    That certainly sounds like an unforgettable experience, CER. Well done, sir. I hope you’re not too hoarse.

    I’m very impressed that you managed to adhere to dry January. The temptation to wet your whistle with a tasty beverage when there were no hot drinks on offer on the coach must have been huge!

  30. 30
    ClockEndRider says:

    Thanks Bath,
    It’s really very easy when you’ve had a very wet December!

  31. 31
    bathgooner says:

    Probably very wise then!

  32. 32
    Countryman100 says:

    CER, I’ll have to drink both our shares of the red wine before we meet before Burnley then!

  33. 33
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Wonderful, impressive review GSD. And a beautifully atmospheric recollection by CER.

    There was an innate belief in that performance by the players that if they do the things they work on they will get a positive result even when numerically disadvantaged. Which does show how much alignment there is in this young team towards their manager and coaches’ tactical plans.

    Ramsdale has been superb for us but he does have the odd Almunia moments in him, yesterday there were a few but thankfully a combination of our resilient defense and one miss by them we weren’t punished. He is a very young keeper and I would expect these types of mistakes would be a part of his game now and then.

    I thought Chambers demonstrated yesterday again, on both ends of the pitch — despite not playing for a while — that he is a more capable alternative to Tomi than Cedric.

    With 10 men for most of the match we didn’t conceded even a single shot on target. That should give these players a lot of self-belief for the rest of this season.

  34. 34
    Cynic says:

    Castigating Xhaka for “charging upfield” and pressing before he got sent off is a bit daft, seeing as both the left back and left sided centre back doing just that is precisely why he was left exposed for the red card. They were the idiots.

    If one goes, ok. If the cover goes as well, that’s stupidity.

    I get people don’t like Xhaka, and I don’t much like him either, but he’s being harshly treated over that red card.

  35. 35
    TTG says:

    Thankyou CER for your account of the match . I’ve been to plenty of away games but have usually made my own way . My club organised travel has been in Europe . While I was very unhappy about the postponement and the chicanery around it I still remember the remarkable generosity of spirit that they showed in 1989 when we won the league there. The vast majority of the crowd stayed to applaud what must have been a very bitter defeat and in very emotional circumstances a few weeks after Hillsborough ( a ground that I always thought was very dangerous )
    I also remember Big Raddy running their back four ragged at Anfield in 1973 in a game between the then top two . We won 2-0 and he got the second and was subbed right at the end having run himself into the ground. He got a standing ovation from the whole ground as he came off .
    I’m hoping the game in Sunday is cancelled as we aren’t in great shape to play it and fixture congestion is not a problem for us !

  36. 36
    TTG says:

    You make a good point but Xhaka always covers for Tierney on his excursions . My criticism was that he looked at Jota about four times before he attempted to tackle him ( I use that word advisedly ) . It wasn’t a challenge he needed to make like that as Jota still had a lot to do and it was a very rash and foolhardy manoeuvre . I’ve seen our players sent off for violent play for less aggressive challenges . He hit him in the chest . I would have thought a player of his experience could have tried to ensure Jota stayed on the far side of him and bought time to either look at a block or for Ramsdale to try to deal with him . Ramsdale could have dealt with it if Xhaka had let Jota run but he didn’t want to challenge him with Xhaka steaming back .
    A red mist descends on Xhaka under pressure . My biggest grouse is that I think he is incredibly overrated and slows our play but while yesterday saw him exposed through no fault of his own he took the wrong option

  37. 37
    Esso says:

    Cheers GSD!

  38. 38
    Esso says:

    Evening All

  39. 39
    Countryman100 says:

    We’ve requested a postponement of Sunday’s game. Awaiting PL decision

  40. 40
    Countryman100 says:

    PL Board to meet tomorrow to make decision

  41. 41
    Ollie says:

    The postponments have become a bit of a joke really.
    PL squads are or should be big enough. Whichever way, the competition this season is not completely ‘fair’ given that COVID ‘randomly’ strikes teams at different times.
    But take into account injuries and suspensions (self-inflicted) and teams suddenly ‘don’t have enough players’ to play.
    But recovery time post Covid is not taken into account anyway, a player becomes eligible even when maybe they shouldn’t be.

  42. 42
    scruzgooner says:

    dino, an excellent report. yours is clear and gives me the same kind of excitement i felt during the game. and what a game to report on. thank you!

  43. 43
    TTG says:

    Gary Neville , the repulsive Manc who spent his career kicking Arsenal players says tonight that our game with S**s should not be postponed. He makes the point that clubs will take advantage of the situation( Just like Liverpool then ) and that Covid should be the only reason for postponing .
    If Arsenal are the only team refused a postponement it will suggest a huge degree of bias but apparently the return of Azeez may count against us .

  44. 44
    North Bank Ned says:

    At late to the party as Xhaka to a tackle, but a joyous report, GSD. Great going. So heartwarming, too, to read CER’s account from the terraces.

    As Ollie mentioned, props, too, to Arteta for making a decisive and quick change to the personnel and formation after the red card.

  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    Auba has been found to have heart lesions following his recent bout of Covid-19. That does not sound good. The learned medical members of this bar may be able to enlighten us further.


  46. 46
    Cynic says:

    If we’ve only got two or three players out with Covid, we should be made to play, as should every other club who has tried the “Covid plus injuries” excuse. Injuries are all a part of the game, the only reason to postpone for Covid is if you have an outbreak, and that means a large number of cases which I don’t believe we have. Unless we announce numbers and make clear that injuries are not the reason. If we’re short because of AFCON, well that’s our own fault.

    This should have applied in ALL cases to date it’s not just me being a grumbly contrarian. The league should have laid out concrete guidelines on this, not just done things seemingly on a whim. Guidlines were asked for, they haven’t been given.

  47. 47
    Uplympian says:

    A most speedy and interesting take on the match GSD, your thoughts are well considered.
    The team showed some real backbone / steely determination to get a draw after going a man down. If they can maintain this mindset then the supporters will be behind them all the way whatever the result.
    Props also to CER for his report on the trip up to Anfield – what a great time you had.
    Disturbing to see the early reports on Auba’s heart concerns – sincerely hope it is nothing serious / career threatening.

  48. 48
    bt8 says:

    How many games has the league already canceled due to Covid plus injuries? I wouldn’t want to argue for the league to start being extra stringent now just because it’s Arsenal.

  49. 49
    bt8 says:

    Interesting wording in that article cited by Ned: “Gabon forward Axel Meye and midfielder Mario Lemina were also prevented from playing against Ghana after they also had cardiac lesions, the Gabon federation said. They had also been in isolation after positive virus tests.”

  50. 50
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@48: It would be helpful if some of our estemed medical men in the bar could enlighten us whether such lesions are a common occurrence with Covid, or in Auba’s case, perhaps, malaria, too, or whether it is something unusual and to be concerned about.

  51. 51
    ecg says:

    Doesn’t seem like anyone else wants it so I’m in for the half.

  52. 52
    Trev says:

    Finally got to read it, GSD – excellent work,

    and pleased to see Xhaka hasn’t upset you too much !

    A performance of spirit, grit and determination which actually became quite fun as Liverpool were thwarted time and again. As you said, any of our players could have won the MOTM award but White and Gabriel were monsters in our defence.

    Superb support from the travelling Gooners- including CERider with his great account – actually drowning out You’ll Never Walk Alone, and delighting the television audience with a rousing rendition of Your Support Is F&*#ing Shit !

    Mikel Arteta reorganised and did a great job last night. It’s heartening to see that after every kind of setback we suffer, the team always rallies and goes out to give “absolutely everything” – to quote the great man – for the manager.

  53. 53
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, ecg. Someone had to do it.

  54. 54
    Ollie says:

    What Ned said @52. Because ‘someone’ clearly can’t be an England batsman today…
    (But not @43: I don’t remember who said it, but I can’t take credit for something I didn’t say).

  55. 55
    OsakaMatt says:

    It was Las who mentioned MA’s quick action over the substitution.

  56. 56
    bathgooner says:

    I think it is most probable that Auba has persistent evidence of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) in the form of elevated cardiac enzymes (released by damaged muscle cells), MRI changes or less probably, ECG or cardiac function anomalies. This quote from a NIH article summarises the incidence.

    The myocardial injury appears to be a common feature in COVID-19 and portends a poor prognosis when present. A meta-analysis of six published studies from China found that 8% of patients with COVID-19 had associated cardiac injury.


    Of note, evidence of myocarditis can occur without significant respiratory symptoms i.e. after relatively asymptomatic Covid-19 infection but it has yet to be described after a false positive test. As false positives are rare, there is an opportunity for a bright young researcher to study and report on a small case series of false positives in the Liverpool area.

  57. 57
    bathgooner says:

    An observation on prognosis from Professor Wendy Post, Professor of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins :

    Still, heart imaging can reveal minor changes in the heart muscle of some COVID-19 survivors. Post notes that some studies on athletes recovering from the coronavirus have shown some scarring, but stresses that some of these studies did not compare these results with those who had not had COVID-19. How long these minor changes persist — and how they affect heart health — are not yet known. Experts are developing protocols and recommendations for which athletes should get cardiac testing before returning to play.

    COVID-19 can also affect the strength of the heart pumping, Post says, but subtle abnormalities in heart pumping are not likely to cause people problems.

    A person recovering from COVID-19 may benefit from physical therapy, breathing exercises, and most of all, time. Post advises anyone recovering from COVID-19 should expect a gradual course of recovery, and should not expect a rapid return to their normal activity levels.


  58. 58
    ClockEndRider says:

    Thanks vm for this, Bath. Makes the situation a whole lot clearer. And it looks as though Auba won’t be playing for us for a while, even if we wanted him to…..

  59. 59
    Cynic says:


    TRANSFER FRENZY!!!!!! as they used to say on ClubCall

    Arsenal reportedly looking to sign Diego Costa on a free transfer.

  60. 60
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers everyone.

    When are the PL board gonna make a decision on the Spuds game? It is 1pm in the UK and people need a decision as soon as possible. What on earth are they up to?

  61. 61
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I loved the account of the away experience CER. Thank you.

  62. 62
    bathgooner says:

    GSD @59, the longer the delay in the announcement of this decision, the likelier it is that Arsenal’s request will be rejected. They are probably struggling to find a form of words that masks the inconsistency in their ruling with their previous permissiveness. At this point they are probably on the phone to Gary Nevile for advice. I look forward to reading the mendacious Sophistry that their lawyers come up with. I have no expectation of success for any Arsenal appeal based on precedent.

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    Apologies to Las for the misattribution.

    Bath: thanks for the background on myocarditis. The pandemic has been such a crash course in coronaviruses that we forget how much we still don’t know, especially obviously about long-term effects. I wonder if Auba’s lackadaisical performances earlier in the season resulted from unrealised lingering effects of his malaria or previous Covid bout.

  64. 64
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    I agree, in that I’m not hopeful the game will be cancelled.

    And, in general, I agree that matches should only be cancelled for Covid issues, not injuries, suspensions, AFCON, etc.

    However, there has been no clarity in transparency about how this rule has been applied so far, and I don’t think it is fair to move the goalposts at this stage of the season. They should stick with their precedents and cancel the match.

    I thought Blogs wrote well on the subject this morning.

  65. 65
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    @63 “clarity OR transparency”

  66. 66
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@61: I suspect your assumption is correct.

  67. 67
    North Bank Ned says:

    A tidbit that caught my eye in the FT’s Scoreboard newsletter about Fiorentina’s Vlahovic, which suggests if we do land him it will come with a lot of hidden costs:

    People briefed on the talks [to renew Vlahovic’s contract] say Fiorentina offered Vlahovic a salary worth €5m a season, more than any player in the club’s history. That sum has been rejected as too small. Still, the real problem appears to be the demands of Vlahovic’s agency, the Belgrade-based International Sports Office.

    Those familiar with the talks said the agency wants; an €8m fee to renew Vlahovic’s contract with Fiorentina, an “exclusive mandate” to sell the striker in future, a 10 per cent commission of any transfer fee and a further 10 per cent fee from any buying club. In other words, a payday worth tens of millions of euros to facilitate just one transfer.

  68. 68
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I don’t have any idea whether we are likely to sign Vlahovic. But I do think our current setup are much less likely to get caught up in messy transfers with dodgy agents than the previous lot. Arteta won’t like it, and Tim Lewis won’t be game either.

  69. 69
    ClockEndRider says:

    The Italian press, Corriere dello Sport in particular, are really down on the player and his agents. They seem to be a real money grubbing, mercenary group, if CdS is to be believed. That doesn’t bode well for 2 or 3 years time should we sign him.

  70. 70
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@67: A fee that is 60% larger than the underlying salary to renew an existing contract seems unconscionable, especially as the agency will be taking a percentage of the salary off the player as a fee for representing him. Football agents make Gordon Gekko look parsimonious.

    FIFA needs to find a way to cast this particular set of moneychangers out of the temple or regulate their fees to remove the incentive to distort the transfer market. I have no expectation that it will.

  71. 71
    ClockEndRider says:

    Agents impact clubs only. FIFA wants weaker clubs as, united, they would represent an existential threat to the corrupt nest of vipers that is FIFA. Hence, nothing will happen.

  72. 72
    bathgooner says:

    Ned @66, I hope Arsenal have the moral integrity not to get involved in any such arrangement. No player who comes with that amount of baggage is worth puttting in our dressing room. There are plenty more fish in the sea.

  73. 73
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER@65: My very point.

    The Weekend FT has a profile of Rocco Commisso, Fiorentina’s owner, who opens up on the iniquities of agents.


    The piece contains the depressing line that Vlahovic’s agency, the International Sports Office, is saying that the terms it is demanding for the player are “in line with the industry specific standards”.

  74. 74
    bathgooner says:

    Ornstein says the NLD is off.

  75. 75
    Ollie says:

    Looks like the match is being postponed (according to The Athletic). They are at least being consistent. Unlike a few it seems, I am not surprised.

  76. 76
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’d like us to sign a striker, and at least one central midfielder, both of whom are high quality. Whether that means loans, or permanent transfers I suppose depends on availability. Its good to think that we have some decent people with a sensible plan trying to get deals done.

    We are gonna struggle big time to get top 4 without reinforcements.

  77. 77
    Ollie says:

    Downside, Sunday will be boring!

  78. 78
    Ollie says:

    I agree GSD. Now to get the ‘right’ deals.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    Ollie says:

    And now officially confirmed confirmed on the official website.

    I admit I did chuckle a bit at the opening ‘We are disappointed’.

  81. 81
    ClockEndRider says:

    Sky and BBC now confirm.

  82. 82
    ClockEndRider says:

    I hope this is another sign that we are no longer going to be pushed around as a club by the melange of self interested parties who run football. Well done to the management.

  83. 83
    bathgooner says:

    Tonight we should announce the signing of a top striker and a top defensive midfielder to really boil the piss of the vermin up the road.

  84. 84
    Ollie says:

    That would be hilarious, bath!

  85. 85
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Good to see us get the same treatment as everyone else has gotten, for once. I agree with CER @81.

    And yeah, we should definitely get a couple of signings in before the match gets rescheduled.

  86. 86
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Has anyone watched Vlahovic play?

    Is he any good?

  87. 87
    Countryman100 says:

  88. 88
    Ollie says:

    Heh, good find C100. I think this is spilling over the Channel now.

  89. 89
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@85: Looking at the various statistical ratings, Vlahovic is an exceptionally clinical finisher. The rest of his stats look OK but not exceptional for a striker playing for a top-half team in one of Europe’s five big leagues.

    With the exception of his shooting, his stats this season look similar to Laca’s, with Laca’s distribution being slightly better. Comparing him with peak Laca, Vlahovic is still the more potent striker but not as all-round a forward. Comparing him with peak Auba, he is just about the more potent goalscorer, an a wash in all-round play. That said he has to to where he is at a younger age than either of our two forwards.

    Given we have needed for some seasons now someone who can put the ball in the net on a regular basis, Vlahovic would seem a good addition. The questions are, how Arteta will integrate an out and out striker into his team, given the struggle he had doing that with Auba, and what will it mean for Martinelli and Balogun as potential future centre-forwards?

  90. 90
    TTG says:

    I think it is worth giving credit to KSE for a very much better approach to running the club than we have seen up to the ESL debacle . It seems clear to me that they are in for the long haul and have taken a view that they want nay need the club to be competitive.
    The loss of Dein as a confidante to Wenger diminished Arsène . Edelman who effectively took that role was a banker with a brief to oversee the transition to tge new ground . The big decline took place under Gazidis . He did very little right and his appointments like Sanllehi ( especially ) and Mislintat were disastrous . The culture around transfers became sleazy and most of the deals were dreadful .
    The appointment of Tim Lewis to oversee the governance of the club has led to more coherence and stability , a long-term strategic view that makes economic sense and it appears to have created a much more refreshing and optimistic mood at the club. Whereas we winced at some of the deals we were involved with ( Luiz, Cedric, Willian ). I think most of us are prepared to back the judgement of those selecting new players on the basis of much sounder recent activity. We are spending more money than almost anyone in Europe and we have a number of brilliant youth players coming through. One feels much more confidence about the future .

  91. 91
    bathgooner says:

    TTG @89, couldn’t agree more.

    C100 @86, brilliant!

  92. 92
    North Bank Ned says:

    By my count, the only way we could put eleven senior players on the field on Sunday is if Ramsdale and Leno both played as outfielders and Okonkwo kept goal. I read somewhere that youth players in PL squads don’t count towards the 13 minimum until they have played in a senior game, perhaps even a Premiership game, but, of course, there is no clarity about the PL guidelines.

  93. 93
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers Ned. Much appreciated @88.
    I am still wondering of his hold up play is any good? He is tall and strong, but that doesn’t seem to be his game.

    TTG @89. Agree with all of that. Especially Gazidis being such a poor appointment, and one that led to so many more problems. Its great to be rid of him and things are starting to shape up

  94. 94
    bathgooner says:

    Acccording to Ornstein we’ve had another player test positive – after the PL confirmed cancellation.

  95. 95
    TTG says:

    Worrying that Azeez and Moller have been recalled from loans and that John Jules may be recalled after not playing for several months . Ballard has been seriously injured although Millwall fans love him . Osei Tutu has returned to Arsenal after injury .Not sure how Matt Smith is getting on . These boys are not playing at a rarefied level either. Ben Knapper who handles loans has to do better. The overseas loans are aimed at getting people off the books like Torreira and Guendouzi . But Saliba has done well although Marseille have received a two window transfer ban today

  96. 96
    ClockEndRider says:

    The question I would ask is whether the lack of game time/success of the above youngsters is to what extent this is down to the quality of the players themselves, the nature of the clubs the6 we’re placed at or just bad luck. It isn’t necessarily all down to Knapper. Also, ESR wasn’t a huge success in Germany when he went on loan. Another factor could well be down to their lack of readiness to step up.

  97. 97
    ClockEndRider says:

    Apologies for mangled grammar above. Only half concentrating. I am sticking to Dry January, contrary to evidence as above…

  98. 98
    TTG says:

    When ESR went to Leipzig he was injured most of the time. He was only fit for a handful of games but they tried to buy him! I think it was simply growing pains . But he had an incredibly successful subsequent loan move to Huddersfield . He was hugely regarded at the club and it really toughened him up.
    I agree with your point that Serendipity plays a big part . I also think that for young lads who have never been away from home before it can be a tough gig. While that is part of the intended process homesickness can be hard to deal with for 18 or 19 year olds . I’ve spent a lot of time in Portsmouth and I’m not sure I would relish being billeted there . I’d prefer a loan to Malaga , Benfica or Milan !

  99. 99
    Potsticker says:

    Ned @91: I guess it’s moot now, but I would have kept Ramsdale in goal and put Okonkwo in the outfield with Leno.

  100. 100
    TTG says:

    We are all a bit sick of the Xhaka debate but this piece from the Athletic is very instructive It looks at each of his red cards for Arsenal and why they occurred . It also refers to the fact that he suffered SIX red cards in Germany before he came to us . That is extraordinary and suggests Arsène did not do sufficient due diligence before he signed him

  101. 101
    Countryman100 says:

    Side foot finish.

  102. 102
    ecg says:

    In for the half ton, in for the full ton.

  103. 103
    ecg says:

    Darn! C100 beat me to it! Nice finish.

  104. 104
    TTG says:

    Arthur was taken off with an injury after playing 30 mins for Juventus tonight

  105. 105
    Silly Second Yella says:

  106. 106
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, C100.

    Potsticker@98: Leno and Ramsdale could be the solution to our midfield problem. I see Leno as a cool Beckenbauer type and Ramsdale as a Ray Parlour with a 70-yard crossfield pass and a touch of Eboue.

  107. 107
    Ollie says:

    Huge match this afternoon. Oh.
    Arseblog hits the nail on the head today.

  108. 108
    bt8 says:

    Sure wish I had been there.

  109. 109
    North Bank Ned says:

    As Ollie said @106, Blogs hits the nail on the head. The point about the PL declining to postpone the Brentford game is well made.

  110. 110
    Countryman100 says:

  111. 111
    Bathgooner says: