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Arsenal thumped a sorry Everton 5-1 to finish the campaign with a flourish but Tottenham’s win at Norwich condemned us to yet another season out of Europe’s elite competition. Disappointing to say the least but only because of the unexpected position we found ourselves in due to our own merit. 

Despite our likely failure to finish 4th, the fans generated a raucous atmosphere before, during and, indeed, after the game. We began brightly and Martinelli forced a save from Begovic. On 25 minutes we were awarded a penalty following a lengthy VAR check for a handball from ex-Arsenal man, Alex Iwobi. Perhaps slightly contentious but the ball had travelled from a fair distance away and the Nigerian did appear to move his arm towards the ball. Martinelli stepped up to take it and calmly sent Begovic the wrong way. 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Just four minutes later we doubled our lead. Saka, who is our only player to appear in every league game this season, whipped in a corner, Xhaka got a flick on, and Nketiah reacted quickly to nod the ball home. That’s 5 goals in 7 starts for Eddie. It may well be his last appearance as his contract is up although I don’t think I’m alone in saying I hope he gets a new deal. Right on halftime, the Toffees pulled one back. Iwobi played a through ball to Calvert Lewin whose deflected cut back wrong-footed Holding and Ramsdale as it found Donny Van De Beek who tapped home to half the deficit.

Arsenal started the second half quickly and on 56 minutes we restored our two-goal cushion. Saka rolled the ball to the edge of the box from a corner and Cedric slammed the ball into the back of the net with an exquisite finish. His first goal since his Arsenal Debut in July 2020. There’s something about the final day of the season where someone who hasn’t scored for ages always scores. And just three minutes later it was 4-1. Once again it came about following a corner situation. Saka’s ball was half cleared by Calvert Lewin, but Cedric was able to find Gabriel whose shot hit Begovic’s leg and looped in. Gabriel is the highest scoring defender in the league with five goals. That’s more than Lacazette. We should probably sign a striker. Or three! Then on 82 minutes we made it five. Pépé, who had come on for Saka, found Ødegaard on the edge of the area, the Norwegian jinked inside a defender, shifted the ball onto his left foot and bent it into the far bottom corner. Goal of the day by a mile and a wonderful way to end the campaign.

So, there we have it! The 2021/22 campaign has come to an end and we finish in 5th place. So what’s the key take away from this season? Well, I think generally speaking this has been a year of progression. Certainly, a vast improvement on the last couple of years. For one thing we’ve gone up three places from eighth to fifth, qualifying for Europe via our league position for the first time since 2019 under Emery (also fifth). I think the main reason for some disappointment is the fact that we’ve missed out to Tottenham’s benefit. If it were Man United or even Chelsea, I doubt there would be as much deflation as there is. 

Ultimately the battle was lost in January where we failed to strengthen, and they went out and got Kulusevski who does look like a talented player. We may never know the reasons for this. Perhaps the documentary will shed some light in that regard, but ultimately it cost us. But only just! It was in our hands this time last week which makes it even more painful but finishing fifth in the most competitive league in the world is far from the end of the world. We will learn from this. We have a young playing squad and a young manager. Add just a bit of experience and depth and we will get there. The gap has been significantly reduced this season; we just lacked that little bit of oomph to get us over the line. 

Arteta is here to stay, it would be a major shock if we were to lose any of our key players this summer, so let’s see who we bring in now. In just a couple of weeks we will be back to refreshing Twitter every 3 seconds to see if we’ve agreed terms with Yann M’vila or if Higuain’s brother’s uncle’s dad’s cousin’s dog’s third wife twice removed has told the press that he has always dreamed of playing for Arsenal, but his mum said he can’t go anywhere until he’s unloaded the dishwasher. And thanks to FIFA and their infinite wisdom (and some bulky looking brown envelopes) we don’t even have a World Cup this summer to distract ourselves from this nonsense. So, find yourselves a park bench to shout at some pigeons and maybe some clouds and stare into the abyss as we wait for the fixtures to come out because for some strange reason we find ourselves so emotionally attached to watching a dozen multi-millionaires kicking a ball about. Quite often not very well! Football, eh? 

Have a great summer all and try not to think about Arsenal too much. It’s been a hell of a ride this season and we all collectively look forward to August when we get to do it all over again! 

Until then…..

62 Drinks to “We All Love Thursdays”

  1. 1
    Bathgooner says:


  2. 2
    OsakaMatt says:

    Fine review of the game, thanks 21CG, I have decided to unilaterally award you the Under 30 young writer of the season award👏👏👏

  3. 3
    Trev says:

    Well done, 21CG – nicely encapsulated and all with a bit of humour – always a good thing !

    OsakaMatt – Oi ! I was after that award …. oh, hang on a minute, it says Under …..

  4. 4
    Ollie says:

    Cheers 21CG!
    Heh Trev!

  5. 5
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers 21CG.

    Last match report signed off with aplomb. Well played.

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    From the old man who wrote the opening preview to the young man who wrote the final match report — and doesn’t that match the arc of our progress? — bravo. The perfect note on which to sign off this season.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    As for Mondays…

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    I had searched in vain for a ticket for a couple of weeks and had stalled when Mrs TTG suggested that I take her shopping for a dress on Sunday . Finally I agreed on Saturday evening and guess what at 11 am a friend texted me to say he had a spare ticket . When I declined ( as a dutiful husband would) my friend commented that I would have more fun dress shopping !
    I clearly missed a high quality boozeup with CER , C100 and co and a match where with the pressure off we put Everton to the sword . 21CG’s report is quite excellent and captures the mood of the day well ( I should imagine )
    A few random thoughts
    – 21CG describes the penalty award perfectly …but in my book that isn’t a penalty . Th3 current law is an ass. Martinelli took it beautifully though
    – We have to shift a lot of players this close season . Pepe , Cedric , Xhaka (🙏) , Laca , May have played their last game yesterday . Eddie may have too but I agree with 21CG that we should try to keep him I hope Edu hasn’t planned any holidays or barbecues
    – Odegaard took his goal beautifully. Is he to be our new skipper ?
    – I hate S***s. I hate them even more than I did ( which was a lot ) . They have some awful players and about three world class ones but they had a coach who steered them through the end of the season better than ours steered us . I hope Levy cocks up the close season as usual
    -Mrs TTG didn’t buy a dress but she did buy a couple of nice tops and a pair of jeans . I won’t say any more in case it inflames the passions of Scruz who is a well-known sex maniac

  9. 9
    Ollie says:

    Feels like Sunday here but then I’m on holidays. Downside of Thursday football is more Sunday football (plus Mondays which is a big no), so more Sunday day trips with little time to enjoy post-match libations, and very difficult Mondays….

  10. 10
    Sancho Panza says:

    Surprise, surprise KT unfit for Scotland play off games. Maybe Clarke might learn not to play him for 180 minutes in friendlies next time.

  11. 11
    scruzgooner says:

    21stCG, well done. breezy, bright, and fun, just like the game. agree about mø’s goal being the pick of the litter, everything about it was lovely.

    on to a summer of (dis)content, depending upon how you view our glass’s fill. i’m happy enough with our situation. next year our tyros will be another year older and stronger (especially the ones who’ve already crossed the barrier into their 20s). our defense will be another year more experienced together, and have a summer (with no world cup) to figure it out even more. hopefully saliba stays, though it sounds like he’ll not. if we get the goalscorer (i’d be content with one plus eddie, then a second in the january window a la JAR, RIP), the partner to partey, and a left back backup/starter to work with tierney’s injuries, i think we’ll be in a much stronger position.

    and ttg, tell the mrs. not to worry. ever since you turned 70, your own mania has been more than satisfactory 🙂

  12. 12
    Esso says:

    Cheers 21CG!

  13. 13
    Cynic says:

    Needed – A back up keeper, at least one right back who’s good enough for the first team because of Tomi’s fitness issues. Ditto left back, but much more so.

    OK at centre back.

    At least one top quality central midfielder, two if Xhaka leaves.

    A striker capable of 20 goals in the league. A wide player or two.

    Not much then, with the league season starting first week of August.

    Prediction – We’ll fanny around until mid July, at the earliest, and still need players when everything kicks off again.

  14. 14
    OsakaMatt says:

    Haven’t we already signed the keeper?
    Agree with the rest though, especially a wide player on the right to lighten Saka’s load.

  15. 15
    OsakaMatt says:

    On the penalty, Iwobi leans in to stop the ball with his shoulder but misjudges it’s path slightly and it’s stopped with his arm in the end. Ignoring the current horlicks of a rule, I think I’d still want that. Pity for Iwobi who seems a nice lad and is getting a good run of games as a starter now – not his fault Everton foolishly overpaid.

  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    Iwobi tried to make himself ‘big’. The arm went out sideways and the ball hit it. A penalty under the current interpretation of the rules, regardless of what one thinks about the guidelines on ball to hand, or arm in this case.

    Wenger had great expectations of Iwobi. But would he be staring in our current XI?

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cynic@13: Not much to disagree with your shopping list. As OM notes, we already have the backup keeper lined up in Matt Turner. We probably need just one right-sided wide player to cover for Saka. Talent is coming through the ranks in Hutchison and others, possibly including Reiss Nelson, but I suspect he comes up just short. I’d bite your arm off for a 20-goals a season striker, and your other arm for a second one.

  18. 18
    North Bank Ned says:

    Balague’s BBC column on Pep is worth the read. You can see a lot of what Arteta is trying to do in how Pep has adapted to English football.


  19. 19
    bt8 says:

    Thanks for an excellent report on a bittersweet occasion 21cg. Fine margins between the bitter and sweet components but maybe it would be at least as accurate to coin a word and call it sweetbitter. Have an enjoyable summer everyone, and don’t be shy about hanging around to discuss the ins and outs of our latest supposed transfer target’s “brother’s uncle’s dad’s cousin’s dog’s third wife twice removed (who) told the press that he has always dreamed of playing for Arsenal” as the blogger said above. 😂

  20. 20
    Cynic says:

    I’d forgotten about the keeper. The passage of time has taken the gloss off Matt.

  21. 21
    Cynic says:

    As for Reiss Nelson, I think we can all take it for granted that he’s out with the washing. We’ll be lucky to get £5m for him.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cynic@20: 🙂

    ~@21: Not even 5 million euros let alone pounds.

  24. 24
    TTG says:

    €5 million ! With Edu selling him ? €2.5 million max

  25. 25
    ecg says:

    We’ll probably ask for €2,500,001, be told they won’t go a euro over 2.5 million, and then end up letting him go for free next summer.

  26. 26
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@24: Edu might throw him in with the house if you ask nicely.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Elneny has signed his extension!

    I’m genuinely chuffed. We have so much to do this summer, including 2 bodies in midfield (and please God sell Xhaka) that the stability of keeping him will be really useful. Of course, i hope he doesn’t actualy have to play too much, especially in the league, but he is a safe pair of hands when we need them.

    However, what I really love is the bloke’s attitude. He loves the club. He works his balls off, is relentlessly positive, never complains, always gives his best and is hugely popular in the dressing room. He’s part of the glue that binds a squad – not glamorous, not a great player, but someone that you can rely on. I am a big fan.

    Plus, every now and again, he puts in an absolute blinder of a performance. Partnered with Partey in a game (I think against Manure) he looked like a world beater. Now, you might only get one of those a season, but watching Elneny dominate at Old Trafford is priceless!

    And he loves a long range goal out of nowhere. He’s the closest thing we’ve had in years to the Romford Pele!

  29. 29
    Countryman100 says:

    Elneny signs new contract. Good.

    Confirmed: Elneny signs new Arsenal contract

  30. 30
    Countryman100 says:

    GSD beat me to it @28, but I agree with all of his points.

  31. 31
    Sancho Panza says:

    Spurs only scored 8 more goals than us with nice but dim Kane and Dirty snide smiley face Son amounting to 40 (58%) of their goals. In comparison Saka and ESR scored 21 (34%) of our goals.
    What can be deduced from this?
    Spurs will always be a bunch of wankers.

  32. 32
    Sancho Panza says:

    Actually what it does show is relying on one or two to get the majority of your goals doesn’t mean the team score loads more.

  33. 33
    North Bank Ned says:

    SP@31: Eight also being the number of goals Auba and Laca scored between them in the league last season.

    As a matter of arithmetic, if Nketiah and ESR had played as many PL minutes as Kane and had continued to score at the rate they did, they would have scored 19 and 17 goals respectively.

  34. 34
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A very enjoyable last match review of the season 21CG. You have become one of our most prolific writer and with consistently high quality. Apologies for not commenting earlier.

    Maybe with the right squad strengthening we can really go after the Europa this time and finally win an European cup in this century.

    We have had some great performances this season, none so more than in the home loss to City, and if that’s the level we can consistently perform at the rejuvenated fanbase will have many more things to cheer about.

  35. 35
    Countryman100 says:

    Currently rumours flying around that Eddie will stay and Gnabry will come home.

  36. 36
    scruzgooner says:

    countryman, yes, please.

  37. 37
    bt8 says:

    The Athletic published a David Ornstein article about Nketiah being on the verge of staying which sounded crédito my ear. An article about Gnabry’s situation published in The Boot Room indicated that his situation is unclear but that Arsenal, Spurs and Real are all interested.

  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    If Eddie has the potential to be a 20-goals a season striker, as per my @33, and given our propensity to buy high and sell low, it would make a lot of sense financially to keep him as the second of the two strikers we want for next season. Getting even one will be a challenge. We don’t have the bauble of CL football that other clubs can offer, plus the very best strikers are expensive and it is a seller’s market.

  39. 39
    TTG says:

    This of course is season ticket renewal time ! Not that I’m a disbeliever but there are some silly rumours around. But Eddie staying is not one and I think he will . His agent is also Balogun’s and he eventually stayed after looking likely to be off . If he is our second striker I’d be happy and I’d like to see us go for as elite a striker as we can get – Osimhen or Nunes seem to fit the bill . But I discount the Gnabry rumours because we haven’t got the Champions League to offer him and his wages would be mega . I think the PSV lad Gakpo is more likely .

  40. 40
    TTG says:

    Gnabry has been ripping the piss out of S***s for some 5pm on Twitter and scored a hat-trick there in the CL. He won’t go there but he will look at all the other big sides . And there’s always West Brom of course . He has unfinished business there .

  41. 41
    TTG says:

    The Gnabry approach seems to be to take him on a Bosman at the end of next season . We might be back in the CL by then especially as five English clubs will qualify . That might make a deal more feasible

  42. 42
    OsakaMatt says:

    “If Eddie has the potential to be a 20-goals a season striker”

    It’s such a big if Ned. And based on a small sample of games.
    Before that run I think the general consensus was that he could
    leave with our best wishes, same as Mo really but the difference being
    we know exactly what we’re getting with Mo. Also Mo is a short-term
    deal, whereas the story I read is a 5 year deal for Eddie.
    Financially it does makes good sense though and MA has consistently
    said he wants him to stay.
    Ok, I’ve talked myself into it even though it’s at the riskier end of the
    spectrum to me 🙂

  43. 43
    bt8 says:

    An insightful and fair assessment of the season.

    5 key reasons Arsenal finished 5th

  44. 44
    bt8 says:

    Also, Arseblog’s assessments of the players’ seasons individually: https://arseblog.com/2022/05/squad-assessment-in-140-characters-or-less-ish-2022/

  45. 45
    bathgooner says:

    Interesting thoughts from Keenos this morning:

    Finding logic in Nketiah’s new deal

  46. 46
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks Bath. Food for thought from Keenos indeed. If Gabriel Jesus is as good as signed that would be huge.

  47. 47
    bathgooner says:

    I think Jesus would be an excellent signing for us and hopefully his relationship with MA8 will make a move to Arsenal preferable to a move to his other PL suitors though I have concerns that an overture from the now Haaland light Real Madrid or even Dortmund might get in the way. I do think that signing Nketiah up to a new contract makes a lot of sense – we know what he offers and how he fits – he will get plenty games – and allow us to concentrate resources on the key acquisitions we need up front and in midfield.

  48. 48
    bt8 says:

    Re: bathgooner link @45. A very interesting analysis of our squadron of strikers, and potential signings in that area. Keenos ends the piece saying this: “Do many clubs across Europe have two top strikers any more? Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham all rely on just one. And then invest heavier into wide forwards that fill in down the middle when required.”

    I don’t really know how relevant it is but upon reading that I couldn’t help thinking about this season’s relatively higher points totals accumulated by my FFL players who were classified as midfielders (wingers, often) as compared to those who the FFL classified as forwards. This “imbalance” came about because midfielders generated the larger share of goals and assists, certainly in comparison to other seasons when forwards were better buys. Exhibit A was Saka who, playing as an FFL midfielder, accumulated the most points of any Arsenal player.

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@42: Justifiable reservations about Eddie. I just scaled up his league goals per minute to a full season’s worth of games to get to 19, rounding up to 20. Punching a calculator is easier than putting a ball in the net. 🙂

    bath@45: Keenos makes a logical argument for keeping Eddie, which boils down to, we won’t necessarily find a second striker who would be materially better than him, we know what we have with Eddie, which limits the downside, so let’s save what would likely be a rich transfer fee to spend on strengthening the team elsewhere. All makes sense — providing we secure a top-class no one striker.

    Arteta has said all along that he wanted Eddie to stay. So he must see potential in him. I also suspect Arteta has long-term development plans for all his young players, but won’t be rushed in implementing them. If he thinks it will take a season and a half to get a player trained to play in a particular position, he will take the time (see Saliba, Martinelli, Lokongka, et al).

    I am not sure about the top clubs having only one striker point. That might apply to Man City, but Liverpool has several, and so do the Mancs. Even the neighbours have a couple. They may not necessarily play alongside each other every game, but they are there to mix and match as game situations demand.

  50. 50
    scruzgooner says:

    “it’s up for grabs now”.

  51. 51
    bathgooner says:

    33 years ago tonight! 😱

  52. 52
    bt8 says:

    Re: Ned. You’re absolutely right that it would have been more accurate, and a point better made also, to say that most of them play only one bona fide striker with various other attackers lurking in or near scoring positions but not playing a traditional striker role. Chelsea, etc., clearly do HAVE more than one striker. Lukaku knows.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    bt8 says:

    A coupla minutes more

  55. 55
    Doctor Faustus says:

    If our central striker positions are someone plus Eddie, it surely means Balogun will go out on loan again. Hopefully to a mid-table PL club that plays attacking football. Maybe Palace?

    Eddie needs to improve his technical abilities to become a striker for a CL club. He has good attitude and hopefully will apply that to improve his skills.

  56. 56
    bt8 says:

    An opportunity to vote your preference on the gaffer. Personally speaking, I voted in the affirmative (in case you were wondering).

    Poll – Now the season is over, it is time for another vote on Mikel Arteta

  57. 57
    Cynic says:

    There doesn’t appear to be a link for the poll, unless you have to be a member to vote. But it’s irrelevant anyway, we jumped the gun with the new contract so we’re stuck with him at least until next summer. They might shove him out the door at the end of next season if we end up lower than fifth, as that would prove the ‘progress’ was illusory, but who knows.

  58. 58
    bt8 says:

    What if everything doesn’t go wrong, as it indeed did not go wrong this season.
    Maybe the voting link will be restored tomorrow so you can cancel out my vote.

  59. 59
    scruzgooner says:

    i voted. currently running 56-34-10 y/n/undecided.

  60. 60
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, Scruz.

  61. 61
    scruzgooner says:

    cheers, ned. it was an unbelievable climax to the first half ton…

  62. 62
    Bathgooner says: