Feed on

The penultimate away fixture for this season takes us to the other end of the Seven Sisters Road, to finally play the COVID delayed north London derby at the Armitage Shanks Arena – that name is official, by the way – just try Googling the aforementioned arena and up pops our header photo!

We go to the Armitage Shanks four points clear of our rivals, knowing that a win will guarantee us Champions League football next season after a five year absence, and a first St. Totteringham’s Day since 2016. Chelsea sit a mere one point ahead of us as I write this, and look eminently catchable in third place. Who’da thunk that after our injury and COVID ravaged start to the season that saw us bottom of the pile after the first three games? A draw would mean we would need one more win to be sure of a top four finish, and after that it becomes too complicated and too tense to even warrant thinking about.

End of season fixtures with “top” facing “bottom” are a lottery, as top teams have to deal with the pressure of winning a seat at football’s top table and the commensurate financial gains, while those at the bottom are fighting for their lives and don’t much care how they do it. Throw in the ever present inconsistencies of the referees and VAR and a season’s dreams can go up in smoke in a few mad seconds.

I have to say I took the Arsenal’s offer of a season ticket holiday this season due to COVID, the threat of infection from a 60,000 crowd and late, overcrowded trains – but it seems I’ve missed a lot of fun. The atmosphere has clearly been much improved this season, according both to those who have been going to matches and the noisy evidence from the TV coverage. Maybe those taking the holiday have opened the door for other supporters to take their chance to attend matches, and they have enjoyed the experience, an emerging team and the new unity within the club, and have sung out loud and proud.

The Arsenal appears to be a happy club again and that is great to see after too many years of turmoil at the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign, and four years of challenging transition under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta. Arteta has now accepted a contract extension until the end of 2025, which is great news for stability in the upcoming transfer window and the longer term plans for the club. He has done a terrific job in remodelling the squad, setting the standards for those who want to play for this club, rejuvenating the team and giving it a new identity with the way he insists on playing. It hasn’t been easy, and not always wonderful to watch, but a lot of lessons have had to be learnt and there is now the genuine prospect of something very exciting happening with his new young team.

This season has been, in Arteta’s words, “a rollercoaster” but it has certainly been more fun – so here are some links to even more fun to get us in the mood for the trip to the toilet bowl –

Dancing monkeys – on oldie but goldie, always worth a watch, and as well as Tottenham, has a dig at Chelsea too

Fine Wine – by The Laughing Gooners – an Arsenal take on the Morecombe and Wise theme, featuring some great wins over the Spuds, and others

A New Generation – an absolutely brilliant video and soundtrack (Sweet Disposition, by The Temper Trap) telling the story of this season. If you don’t mind a large lump in your throat and tears in your eyes, watch this!
(there is probably an advert to clear first)

The Angel – by Louis Dunford If there’s anyone who still doesn’t know, this is Louis Dunford’s autobiographical song about the Arsenal, the surrounding area and what growing up in it means to him. There’s a lot of hope that at least the chorus of this song could become the new Arsenal anthem. Enjoy!

The Teams

It appears to be only Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey who will be unavailable for us. Ben White and Bukayo Saka are both ok. I imagine Tomiyasu will revert to right back to defend against Son, so the decision for the manager is whether to move Cedric to left back for his experience, or go with Tavares in his more natural position?

Update: White and Saka to face late assessments – dot com saying today (11/5) there are some doubts about the pair. I would expect Holding and Smith-Rowe to come in if necessary – not Pepe after last weekend.

Granit Xhaka and Mo Elneny look certain to continue in central midfield – the latter has just signed a new contract until 2025, which completes for him a remarkable comeback from his loan spell at Besiktas. Not many players re-establish themselves having been told they should look for a new club, but he has stepped in at a crucial time for us and played really well. He is an uncomplaining, loyal squad member and deserves his extension on current form. My main worry, in what is bound to be a fierce encounter, is that Xhaka will retaliate against a bit of treatment designed to wind him up and get sent off. Please, please just don’t. Rob Holding also deserves a shoutout for the way he has played while Ben White was injured. Another uncomplaining, solid squad member, and I hope he will be here next season to complete our compliment of centre backs with a returning William Saliba.

In attack it seems unlikely that Mikel Arteta will deviate from his recent first choice quartet of Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli and Nketiah. I would expect this side to start –

Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Cedric; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Nketiah.

Tottenham are definitely without the quartet of Reguilon, Doherty, Tanganga and Skipp for the rest of the season. Harry Kane will hopefully be suffering mentally from the knock-back of knowing that Manchester City, where he’s yearned to be for almost two years now, have signed Erling Haaland, so he’s maybe looking at yet another year of trophy-less life in the toilet bowl. I have also taken the liberty of sending a little gift to Son Heung-Min. It’s a specially prepared lasagna from spin-off recipe box company Hello Not So Fresh!


The Holic Pound

Paddy Power have Spurs at 11/10 to win, Arsenal at 23/10 and 5/2 the draw. Ladbrokes make Spurs 21/20 favourites to win, with Arsenal at 5/2 to win the match but 2/5 to finish in the top four. Our new striking sensation Eddie Nketiah is quoted at 14/1 to net at least twice, 5/1 to be first goal scorer, and 2/1 to get on the score sheet at any time.

Match referee

Paul Tierney has been appointed referee for this one. That’s the same referee who didn’t send Harry Kane off for this – if you like old bollocks, there’s a lot of it being talked right here by Dermot Gallagher (tap to unmute).

Cross everything you can right now, especially as the VAR is …. wait for it …. the referee who danced an outrageous little jig when the Spuds scored against Arsenal at The Emirates …. yes ! it’s Mike Dean!

The game kicks off on Thursday 12th May at 19.45 UK time, and is on TV on Sky Sports. By 22.00hrs we could be back in the Champions League.


Come on you Reds!

82 Drinks to “Carry On At Your Convenience”

  1. 1
    ClockEndRider says:

    Inspired intro pic, Trev!
    Now off to read the blog….

  2. 2
    ClockEndRider says:

    You’ve smashed this one out of the park. I hadn’t seen the songs, apart from The Angel- all top notch.
    The Dermot Gallagher sophistry really is something to behold, Frankly he might as well says there’s a hidden rule saying you can’t send off the England captain. Vide Shearer on Lennon many years earlier for the exemplar.
    Also wasn’t aware that Mike Dean, who is to Little Man Syndrome as Atlas was to giants, is VAR. Ok, so everything will be against us. Good. Bring on those LWC’s.

  3. 3
    Countryman100 says:

    Wonderful preview Trev! Bring it on!

  4. 4
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for a top preview Trev. I look forward to checking out those funnies.

    The Marshdwellers have achieved astonishing results against top teams this season by playing a deep block and breaking swiftly through Kane and Son to score with nauseating efficiency. We used to fall into that ‘rope a dope’ tactic against Mourinho’s teams with irritating regularity simply by persisting in ‘playing our game’ under Arsene Wenger.

    I hope that MA8 has noticed this and that this season in the absence of a creative ’10’ other than Kane when he drops deep to spring Son, the Marshdwellers have struggled to overcome teams who themselves play a deep block and challenge Tottnumb to break down a well organised defence that blocks all the passing channels. I also hope that he therefore chooses to adopt the same tactic and suck Tottnumb forward, playing a flexible 3/4 at the back with, if fit, Ben White at RB/RCB, keeping Holding alongside Gabriel and Tomiyasu at LB/LWB, and asking Saka to drop back to RWB when White moves to RCB. We could then defend in depth when required with Elneny and Xhaka shielding the back line and strike through swift breakaways through Ødegaard, Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah.

    We come into this game with a 4 point advantage and, with so few matches left, the Marshdwellers have to win the game. We have to be smart and exploit their need to go forward. Keep it tight until they begin to get desperate then strike hard. Hopefully we were saving the goals for this game that those chances we spurned on Sunday should have delivered!

    I expect a draw but hope for much, much more. COYG!

  5. 5
    Esso says:

    Cheers Trev!

  6. 6
    TTG says:

    I suspect that the toilet may be frequently used tomorrow as supporters of both sides are likely to be cacking themselves so hyped and so important is this match .Im always pessimistic against them away . I fear Son and Kane and pray we can starve and subdue them.
    Frankly I’d sign for a draw now because that would be an enormous step towards the CL but we’d all love a third great occasion at their place and we need to ensure we don’t get a complex about playing at the Armitage Shanks .
    What a climax to the season and what an opportunity. St.Totteringham come in and draw up a commode

  7. 7
    ClockEndRider says:

    Completely agree, Bath, with your tactical analysis. 21CG and I have been screaming out all season at the teams getting caught on the break by Son and Kane. We absolutely mustn’t give them the space in behind. Which in turn means not conceding early.

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    That’s a wonderful preview . Tgat should have been my first comment

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    Thanks Trev for a magnificent job of setting the stage. To me Bath’s strategy sounds the right one but there are only two things certain, that we are in for a lot of drama and surprises. Oh, and I forgot to mention the twists and turns. With any luck at all a great season is about to get even better. Come on the Red and Whites. Or the color of their choice.

  10. 10
    OsakaMatt says:

    A fantastic job of the preview, from Armitage Shanks to the Weasels Weasel and the Incompetent Peacock at the end there, you’ve nailed it.

    1-0 to The Arsenal after a cagey 90 minutes will do just fine.

  11. 11
    ecg says:

    OM, I’m not sure I can take another cagey match. How about 2 early goals and we park the bus for 80 minutes just to irritate the Spuds, the Sky commentators, and the MOTD pundits?

  12. 12
    bt8 says:

    No bus parking should be considered unless and until we are two goals up in stoppage time and their first six goal scoring threats have limped off with injuries. Thank you.

  13. 13
    ecg says:

    How about we score 4 early goals, have both Kane and Son sent off each with two yellow cards for diving in the first 20 minutes, and we park the bus for 70 minutes etc.?

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    Tremendous, Trev. I think it will be a cagey but thunderous game. Conte knows he has to win this one to have any hope of CL football next term and will come up with novel tactics. Big test for Arteta’s in-game management. But let’s just win it and get the job done.

  15. 15
    Sancho Panza says:

    This has to be 3-1 to the Arsenal.

    Are any of you lucky or unlucky enough to be going?

  16. 16
    Trev says:

    Thank you, fellas ! It was fun to do – really pleased you enjoyed it.

  17. 17
    And Lester says:

    Thanx Sir Trev – fingies crossed ‘ere xx

  18. 18
    OsakaMatt says:

    @13 I’ll go with that ecg hahaha, I’d love to see them sent off for diving

  19. 19
    Trev says:

    Cheers AL ! Good to see you !

    Don’t forget to uncross’em afterwards 😏

  20. 20
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Guillem Balague has his say on Arteta. A good read.

    I’ll read the post later Trev, I’m a bit busy, but that photo is golden. Perfect for that golden shower up the road!

  21. 21
    Las says:

    Thanks, Trev, this is a top-top preview!
    I can’t wait for the kickoff.

  22. 22
    bt8 says:

    Re: ecg @13. If Kane and Son are sent off in the first 20 minutes I would see it as as positive but not conclusive development. Just remember it is Mike Dean on VAR so no lead is safe.

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    AL@17: Good to see you in.
    GSD@20: Thanks for the link. Guillem Balague’s profile of Arteta is an engrossing and complimentary read.

  24. 24
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks for the link GSD. Excellent piece.

  25. 25
    scruzgooner says:

    trev, fine preview. i do hope we can keep son and kane quiet; i look forward to seeing what tomi is going to do to one, the other, or both.

    btw, i highlighted the links in the piece, i think that makes them more obvious to click on. i’d not seen the third one, and even though i am not from norf london the angel brought up strong emotions in me, perhaps because it easily transposes to the neighborhood i grew up in and the changes time has wrought there. well, that and associating it of late with the arsenal…

    will, thanks for that balague article. interesting, but a bit of a puff piece as informative as it was. and as ned said, engrossing.

    welcome back, reverend @17. don’t make it so long next time!

  26. 26
    Uplympian says:

    That’s a great preview Trev – if the boys play at that level tonight then at the end we’ll all be grinning like the biggest Cheshire Cat Eva!
    I’m naturally very nervous about the outcome as it’s 13 x 11 ( Paul Tierney as ref and Mike Dean as VAR, what could possibly go wrong! ). Even if the worst happens 4th place is still in our own hands.
    A very big COYRRR.

  27. 27
    Trev says:

    Cheers all, and scruz for the fix !

    Can’t wait for this but wish it was over already !

  28. 28
    scruzgooner says:

    no doubt, i’m in my 1971 yellow double jersey and beginning to shake with the nerves. trying to work, trying not to think on it. COYG!

  29. 29
    Esso says:

    Singing i i yippie
    i i yippie
    i i yippie yippie i


  30. 30
    Esso says:


  31. 31
    Trev says:

    Essoooo !

    What do we think of Tottenham ?

  32. 32
    Esso says:

  33. 33
    Esso says:

    No Ben White.

  34. 34
    Esso says:

    Sorry just seen him on the bench

  35. 35
    scruzgooner says:

    @31 SHIIIIIT

  36. 36
    scruzgooner says:

    @34, esso you can see him in the video @30, too.

  37. 37
    Silly Second Yella says:

  38. 38
    Esso says:

    Trev @31


  39. 39
    bt8 says:

    It feels really good to be feeling his excited this late in the season. COYG 🙏🙏🙏

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Cynic says:

    Dreading this game. Absolutely dreading it.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    Cynic says:

    Not been this nervous since my doctor took his wristwatch off just before a prostate exam.

  44. 44
    Bathgooner says:


    Just win, Gunners!

  45. 45
    Esso says:

    Well this going really fucking well.

  46. 46
    Cynic says:

    Game over.

    Why he didn’t get the sub on before the corner I have no idea, it looks like he doesn’t know who to take off and is still trying to make his mind up.

    Pathetic performance defensively.

  47. 47
    Cynic says:

    He has to take Cedric off and go with a three or take Saka off, as he’s been average and doesn’t look right.

  48. 48
    Silly Second Yella says:


    ref is payed or told to do this

    i’ve never seen anything like this

    rip OFF!

  49. 49
    Silly Second Yella says:

  50. 50
    Bathgooner says:

    Shocking first half.

    Was it naiveté or is there an agenda?

    Massive task in this second half.

  51. 51
    Silly Second Yella says:

    no penalty and not even the first yella for ROB!

    not even the second

    Fuck Off!

  52. 52
    Silly Second Yella says:

    an agenda?



  53. 53
    Silly Second Yella says:

    “He has to take Cedric off”

    oh god, ya poor fella

  54. 54
    Silly Second Yella says:

    This is just a fake
    Make no mistake

  55. 55
    Gooner_KS says:

    Bloody disgrace of a referee
    Fuck it, it will be sweeter when we win our 2 next matches. COYG

  56. 56
    Gooner_KS says:

    Watched replays of all incidents, Tierney is a c.nt

  57. 57
    Silly Second Yella says:

    witness to murder


    accessory to a crime


  58. 58
    Gooner_KS says:

    Kane is a fucking cheat, asking for handball from his own player, you mf

  59. 59
    Cynic says:

    Blaming the referee for our own stupidity is… mental.

  60. 60
    Bathgooner says:

    A very disappointing evening.

    I never expected us to win that game and clinch a CL place tonight – it would have been very nice but that’s not how we do things.

    We are depleted, young and naive.

    If we are good enough for the CL, we will win the next two games. Just do it, Arsenal.

  61. 61
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Shit result but still in our hands.

  62. 62
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    It’s pointless taking a knee at that stadium.

    We all watch as the Premier League makes a show of its anti-racism stance.

    Then 50,000+ cunts sing a racial slur that is clearly audible even on TV and no-one says a word.

    Fucking disgrace.

  63. 63
    TTG says:

    We kept too high a defensive line against Son with Rob and Cedric there. We have to win the next two . Hope we have a defence left. We didn’t have much of one tonight

  64. 64
    Trev says:

    Well I did warn about Tierney as ref in the preview.

    We didn’t do ourselves any favours at times but some of the stuff we got cards for was ridiculous.

    There was a clip of Son on the floor elbowing Holding right under the chin but apparently that’s ok.

    Tierney couldn’t deal with the Tottenham crowd – should never have been given a game like that.

  65. 65
    North Bank Ned says:

    Courage, mes braves. We never do anything the easy way.

  66. 66
    bt8 says:

    I have seen the replay of the penalty call several times and still have no understanding of how it could have been called a penalty on Holding or on Cedric. Mike Dean, the VAR referee, should have overturned the call but who would expect Mike Dean to rule in Arsenal’s favor? I haven’t heard anyone explain it and don’t expect anybody will.

  67. 67
    OsakaMatt says:

    A real bastard of a game. MA defiant afterwards, now let’s get up to Newcastle and right that fucking wrong.

  68. 68
    TTG says:

    That’s very true Ned @65.😀
    I think the Burnley game will be a very intense one as Burnley are in a real battle to stay up but they’ve lost their centre backs . I think the way to play a Conte side is a deep block and bring on pace in the last twenty minutes . Brighton did it perfectly a few weeks ago. Let’s hope Newcastle and Everton have their flip flops on ( unlikely) . I expect the Spuds to win 5-0 at Norwich

  69. 69
    Cynic says:

    There was a clip of Son on the floor elbowing Holding right under the chin but apparently that’s ok.

    At the time I thought Holding did him a favour, but if he’d held his face and played it up I’d have been disappointed in him.

    Anyway, bin this shit and win the next two. Do them on the last game and it will be sweet. Not as sweet as doing them tonight, but sweet nonetheless.

  70. 70
    Silly Second Yella says:

    ‘It’s pointless taking a knee at that stadium”

    The rest of this post was beyond the line of acceptable. You’re now taking a break, SSY.
    – The Editorial Staff

  71. 71
    Silly Second Yella says:

    “I can’t speak, I’d be suspended”


  72. 72
    Silly Second Yella says:


    i can

    FUCK OF*!!!


  73. 73
    Silly Second Yella says:

    ” I can lie to you, which I don’t do, or if not I will be suspended and I really want to be on the touchline against Newcastle.”

  74. 74
    Silly Second Yella says:

    “Blaming the referee for our own stupidity is… mental”

    another idiot.

  75. 75
    Silly Second Yella says:

  76. 76
    OsakaMatt says:

    I usually ignore SSY as he is what he is and not worth the bother but I don’t want @70 to be on our site without a response. It is never pointless to protest racism, it is never acceptable to sing racist garbage. I am proud that The Arsenal take the knee to show our support.

    Slagging off your fellow supporters when we lose says a lot about you SSY and none of it is good.

  77. 77
    TTG says:

    Hear Hear Matt
    Try telling that to Saka, Gabriel , Nketiah, Partey and Tavares

  78. 78
    Cynic says:

    I haven’t heard anyone explain it and don’t expect anybody will.

    The penalty or the lack of intervention?

    Penalty was a penalty. Son sold the push like a real pro, but the nudge wasn’t necessary. With things like this I always think that if I’d expect it at our end, without added bias, it’s a penalty.

    As for VAR they can’t get involved unless it’s a clear error and it wasn’t.

    With Holding’s second booking I didn’t think it was one on first glance, but on replays there’s a bit more to it than simply blocking the run. Taken in isolation you could possibly say it was a little harsh, but he’d been asking for a yellow on three or four occasions and I don’t think the game was too big for the referee, but it was for Holding.

    I like Rob Holding and I want him to succeed at Arsenal, but if he looks back on that game with a clear head he will know he got caught up in it and played like a kid.

  79. 79
    bt8 says:

    Cynic, I saw no push by Cedric and no handball by Holding that could possibly justify the referee’s decision to award a penalty for their first goal. At the first several viewings the NBC announcers thought Tierney must have given it for a handball by Holding. But his decision to award it for a nonexistent foul by Cedric continues to baffle me, and completely changed the game. As for the rest I agree that Holding had a nightmare and do not disagree with his two yelllows. As for the “penalty” I remain completely unconvinced.

  80. 80
    bt8 says:

    Agreed with Matt @76. This site must tolerate no racist abuse and that post crosses the line. Grounds for dismissal I’d say.

  81. 81
    bt8 says:

    The astonished look on Cedric’s face as he pleads his case with Tierney says it all for me.

  82. 82
    Bathgooner says: