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The Unbridgeable Divide

From: https://www.reddit.com/r/soccer/comments/q6syo/do_mind_the_gap/

Who is best placed to prosper out of Arsenal and Spurs going forward? 

I’ve found the last few weeks very dispiriting from a football point of view. Some people compartmentalise seasons and believe that everything is wiped clean at the end of a campaign. Unfortunately, that’s wrong. Football nowadays is a continuum. Occasionally there are breaks in the playing of matches and occasionally you have opportunities to change and hopefully improve your team. But how and if you do this is increasingly dependent on how you did last season and whether you have the right sort of appeal to the right sort of players who can improve your team.

The disappointment at the end of the season was compounded by the fact that we were overtaken and replaced in next year’s Champions League by our biggest rivals, the Marshdwellers. The 3-0 defeat in the North London Derby was one of those nights that lead you to hate football temporarily. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong and what made it worse was that it looked awesomely predictable from the kickoff. I will return to that awful night later but what I want to do is to look at Tottenham as they are currently placed and how we stand and give an opinion on who will do better next season and why, then project on what the futures of the clubs might be beyond that. 

Let me make it clear that despite my huge bias in favour of Arsenal I’m going to try to be objective. Don’t expect me to be a cheerleader automatically for Arsenal out of loyalty. I’ve always tried to be honest about my team. It’s fair to say that when things look wonderful there is usually a problem looming around the corner and when things look gloomy and negative hope very often springs up as the club regenerates itself. We are going through that process now after some volatile years which, to use an Arteta phrase, have been ‘like a rollercoaster’. It’s a fair, if obvious, analogy. Tottenham have seemed to be in that situation for a large part of the time since George Graham was appointed manager at Arsenal and they began a succession of appointments to try to compete with us. For something like thirty years there really wasn’t a competition.  It was a rivalry based on tribal loyalty (of course it always was) and spite, usually from N17 or from wherever they come.

If that is the first suggestion that my bias is showing, look at the trophy hauls of the clubs. Arsenal have won 13 league titles and 14 FA Cups (a record). Our record in the League Cup and in Europe is modest. So is Tottenham’s. But whereas we have 13 league titles, they have only 2 and as the clock on our website shows, the last of those was won over sixty years ago. Only about 10% of their fans were alive when they last won the title. Clubs like Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland and Blackburn have more top-flight titles. 

While Tottenham have won 8 FA Cups, they haven’t won one for over thirty years and they haven’t been in the final for thirty years either! In that time we’ve  been in ten finals and we’ve won nine of them . So historically, despite Tottenham achieving the first modern domestic double in 1961 and becoming the first English side to win a European trophy, Arsenal dwarf Tottenham in terms of achievement. There is no comparison. That massive divide explains a large amount of the motivation that Tottenham have to overhaul us.

It was common practice for Arsenal fans to celebrate St.Totteringham’s Day when Tottenham could not overtake Arsenal in the league . Arsenal celebrated that landmark continuously from 1997 to 2016. But in the last six years St.Totteringham has not been seen. Tottenham have finished above Arsenal and in the last two seasons have clinched that honour on the last day of the season. It was much easier to take them excluding us from the Europa League Conference than it was from the Champions League! 

What caused this shift in fortunes? 

Since 1986 Arsenal have had four permanent managers. Tottenham have had ?……it’s 21! That’s about one every eighteen months! George Graham was much more successful against Tottenham than his predecessors and then came Arsene Wenger. Wenger at one time racked up a 21 game unbeaten run against them and lost only 9 league games in 22 seasons. Mauricio Pochettino kidnapped St. Totteringham but the perception for many years was that St.T lived in Wenger’s garden shed and emerged every spring to join in the festivities.

Drilling down a little it’s possible to put some context beyond the numbers. I think the clubs were very well-matched for many years until the mid-80s. Arsenal were superior in the 70s when Tottenham got relegated and when they came back with Ardiles and Villa they went through a purple patch in the early 80s. It was George Graham who drew Arsenal away from the Spuds after David Pleat was sacked for kerb-crawling. George won most of his derbies and Arsenal won 2-1 at the Lane four times in 1987! One of those was the Rocastle game which took us to Wembley. We then became title winners and David Dein proved a much better business brain in football terms than Alan Sugar. Arsenal prospered and Tottenham played catch-up. Except they never caught up! The exception was the 1991 semi-final at Wembley when Gascoigne was phenomenal and scored that goal. But we won the league that season and only lost one game despite having a two point deduction and a skipper in prison for a few months! 

Sugar removed Venables and pooh-poohed much of the strategy that Arsenal were adopting. Tottenham embarked on a managerial quest that took in such luminaries as Shreeves, Ardiles, Perryman and Francis. Having rubbished our incursions into the continental market, they went Romanian and then brought in Klinsmann who was the first of their centre forwards with severe balance issues. The labyrinthitis that so affected the German still lingers on. Son and Kane have fallen prey to the virus in current times. Meanwhile after George’s demise due to accepting unsolicited gifts from Rune Hauge, Sugar derided the purchase of Dennis Bergkamp which was one of the most enlightened in Arsenal’s history. Klinsmann departed and Sugar claimed he wouldn’t wash his car with his shirt. It was a bit embarrassing to sign him back a couple of seasons later in an attempt to save them from relegation!

Bruce Rioch had a season at the helm at Arsenal and then gave way to an unknown Frenchman initially derided by Sugar – one Arsene Wenger. Tottenham worked their way through the likes of Christian Gross, David Pleat several times, George Graham even. George actually delivered the League Cup for them but gave way to Glenn Hoddle. Hoddle presided over possibly the most bitter moment in Arsenal/ Spuds rivalry – the defection of Sol Campbell. When Sol was revealed as a Gooner it laid bare the huge difference between the clubs in attraction for ambitious players.

Sol was inevitably derided bitterly by Spud fans for his defection and in many instances the level of bile went way beyond what was fair and reasonable. His decision to join Arsenal saw him win the Double in his first season, become an Invincible and score in a Champions League final. In many ways the wounds from his departure from the Lane have never healed. 

Over at Tottenham an offshore investor ENIC bought an initial 27% stake in the club and installed an ambitious young man, Daniel Levy, in the chair. He remains there to this day, and has the longest tenure of any current chairman in the Premier League. We will return to Daniel later and try to assess just how well he has done.

The Wenger years were even tougher for Tottenham than the Graham years. He won 3 titles, 7 FA Cups and took Arsenal regularly to the Champions League year after year, reaching the final in 2006. The accumulated revenue generated by that level of success has bankrolled the club in leaner times. We took a decision to move to Ashburton Grove and that move took place in 2006, ironically just after the Lasagnagate fiasco where the Totts blew a golden chance to edge us out of Champions League qualification.

Meanwhile the Totts were still regularly changing managers – Santini, Jol, Ramos (who delivered another League Cup in 2008, their last trophy) and then ‘Arry Redknapp who at last took them into the Champions League. The lack of stability at White Hart Lane was a product of the desperation to compete, Levy’s impatience and poor judgement and the dubious activities of one or two of their managers. To general surprise, Redknapp escaped with a not guilty verdict in a tax evasion trial but was replaced by Vilas-Boas who had already failed at Chelsea. It was not until Mauricio Pochettino joined from Southampton that we saw a sustained upturn in Tottenham’s fortunes. This coincided with a perceptible decline in Wenger’s powers exacerbated by the loss of his confidante Dein. In 2017 St.Totteringham failed to call even though Arsenal won the Cup for the  third time  in four seasons. Furthermore Tottenham had a potentially world-class striking partnership forming between Harry Kane (who had been with Arsenal as a young boy) and the Korean, Son Heung Ming. 

The rise of Pochettino and the decline of Wenger marked the first time that Spuds fans had sustained bragging rights in North London for around thirty years. Those years had been brutal if you were a Lilywhite and the pain intense. Understandably there was rejoicing in the Spud kingdom. They started to think realistically about winning league titles but surpassed their own expectations by getting, albeit very fortuitously, to the Champions League Final. Amazingly, they scarcely raised a whimper in losing to Liverpool. The Spuds had moved into their own mega stadium after almost two seasons of renting Wembley – The New White Hart Lane (aka the Toilet Bowl to Gooners everywhere) and this was for many Spuds fans a reason to crow. It is marginally bigger than Ashburton Grove presumably because they haven’t had to allow space for a trophy cabinet? 

Wenger’s departure to be replaced by Unai Emery saw a fabulous match in his first derby at our place, which resulted in a 4-2 win for the Gunners, but we could not overtake Tottenham that season. When results started to decline for both clubs, Pochettino was replaced by our nemesis, Mourinho, a spent and malevolent force and we brought in Mikel Arteta for his first managerial role. Mourinho initially had the better of their limited encounters but a 2-1 win for the Gunners was one of the reasons Levy fired Mourinho just before another losing a League Cup Final to Manchester City. If the Champions League Final was a tepid performance, this effort was quite pathetic . 

Levy vacillated about who to choose to sit on the managerial conveyor belt and alarmed by Antonio Conte’s demands made the appalling decision to employ Nuno Espírito Santo. A humiliation at Arsenal led to his demise and eventually Levy had to bite the bullet and finally employ Conte. The Italian made an immediate impact and shortly we will evaluate his likely future career at the Totts.

Recent developments 

Since the season ended with Tottenham finishing agonisingly ahead of Arsenal there has been a marked difference in acquisition activity, although as I write this appears to be changing. Conte has made it clear that he hasn’t come to Tottenham to develop a long-term project. He is coming to try to win silverware immediately. He has acquired the 33-year old Ivan Perisic to be a left wing back, looks likely to acquire Djed Spence as right wing back, has signed Bissouma to play in midfield with Bentancur who, with Kulusevski was acquired from Juventus to very good effect and they are being strongly linked with Richarlison of Everton. Fraser Forster has become their back-up keeper. Tottenham now look a more pragmatic and solid side than they have looked for some time.

These are decisive moves but very little long-term appreciation of the asset acquired is likely to happen  in  most  cases.  The likelihood is that they may hit the ground running when the season begins. Arsenal have begun the window cautiously but the only purchases so far are Matt Turner the American goalkeeper, a new Vieira – this time Fabio a young midfielder from Porto, and Marquinhos a winger from Brazil whom everyone is filing as ‘one for the future’. We may also have William Saliba back at the club next season for the first time since we signed him in 2019.The internet is awash with rumours, the strongest of which suggest we may sign Youri Tielemans in midfield, although Sky are now suggesting that Vieira is the only midfielder we will sign. If this is the case my levels of pessimism will rise dramatically. If Xhaka remains a first choice midfielder we can wave any hope of serious progress goodbye. 

We are also linked with Gabriel Jesus upfront and Aaron Hickey as a back-up left (or right) back. Arsenal’s buying modus operandi is very clearly to acquire younger players with high sell-on value who fit into a prescribed style of play. Tottenham used to, pre-Conte, have a similar philosophy but Paratici their Director of Football has obviously got a much more open cheque book than most Spud managers have. The financial rigour for which Levy is famed is giving way to a dash for honours acquired at what may prove to be an unacceptable price. Uncertainty around both clubs’ transfer activity several weeks before the season begins means lots of judgements about how next season will unfold are rather wild speculation. Nevertheless, I have tried to look at the pros and cons of each club’s situation 


The plus factors:

There is a really positive feeling among regular supporters and new belief in what might lie ahead. The stadium is fun to visit. Arsenal made progress last season winning 22 games and amassing a points total that would have given them Champions League qualification in several previous seasons. Arteta is possibly going to be a generational coach and has a clear vision which he communicates well. Their transfer template largely worked well and Ramsdale, White, Tomayisu and Ødegaard are good acquisitions who should get better. We have plenty of talent to sell who could be of interest to other clubs. It would be reasonable to expect we might raise £80 million in transfer fees. Our wage bill has already been substantially trimmed. Homegrown talents like Saka, Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Martinelli (sort of) all improved markedly last season. Gabriel had an excellent season and Tierney was very good until seriously injured. Thomas Partey began to play like a world class midfielder and Charlie Patino made his bow. We have many exciting talents bubbling under most notably Norton-Cuffy, Hutchinson, Flores, Cozier-Duberry and Biereth. Arsenal, with a good transfer window should be a stronger team next season. They might have a better chance to secure a place in the Champions League through victory in the Europa League.

The minus factors:

Arsenal were four points ahead of Tottenham with three games to go and blew it. Their performance at Newcastle in particular was execrable. They only won one game where they conceded the first goal last season and scored a total of three equalisers all season (still losing in one of those games). If this team goes behind it loses and it loses in clumps – the first three games of last season, United and Everton, Palace, Brighton and Southampton and finally Tottenham and Newcastle. Performances are very inconsistent, we lack a regular goal scorer and we need more dynamism in midfield. We will hopefully / probably play at least a dozen games more than we played last season when we still finished with four key players injured. We have several very injury-prone players.

We need to find a twenty goal a season striker and build a more flexible squad. Arteta has made a porridge tactically of some key games and it is hard to believe we can perform so poorly in some vital matches ….and then there’s the equalising issue! Do we have the spirit that successful sides engender and have we got the right sort of character to succeed? My conclusion at the moment is that we do not. We also get many more red cards than other teams despite a lack of vicious, undisciplined players. A recent calculation suggested we got a red card every eight games under Arteta. So there may be an unconscious refereeing bias against us. 

Next season we can expect an improved Manchester United and Newcastle who may challenge us hard for Champions League places. The top three are likely to be unchanged. But there will be five CL places on offer. 

The World Cup falling in mid-season will create massive disturbance but will give a mid-season break to players not participating, 

e.g. Holding, Tierney, Ødegaard and Elneny. But we could have as many as 15 or maybe more players in Qatar. 


The plus factors:

Being in the Champions League will give them opportunities to sign some players we can’t attract, plus it will provide extra finance. They have an elite, proven coach who has radically improved their performance in games against top teams (they didn’t lose to either of the top two last season and did the double over the champions). Their Technical Director has a strong track record at Juventus and has already acted very decisively in this close season. They are asking over £20 million for Harry Winks whereas we sold a significantly better player in Guendouzi for £9 million. That suggests an ability to horse trade that we don’t seem to possess. They have an intimidating stadium and one of the best attacks in European football. They scored eight more goals than us and also conceded eight less. Their midfield is currently much stronger and deeper than ours. Bissouma is likely to strengthen them enormously.

Conte has unsurprisingly improved the defence, especially players like Dier, Davies and Romero. 

The minus factors:

Possibly the biggest is that they are Spursy but that’s hard to claim after our end to the season and our last opportunity before that under Unai Emery to qualify for the top four. Certainly S***s do not have trophy winning DNA. There was a big risk that the club would implode if they failed to qualify for the Champions League last season with players like Kane and Son looking to move and Conte realising that rebuilding them was a long-term project under a Chairman who has no idea what winning silverware looks like. That risk has largely evaporated and the feel-good factor has been intelligently maintained by their transfer impetus. Morale at the Toilet Bowl is probably higher than anywhere but at the top two clubs. But a poor start may set off Conte’s inclination to moan, other big European clubs may come looking to see if he wants to jump ship, he may get fed up living away from his family in the Landmark Hotel and S***s may not have the same luck with injuries they had last season when neither Son nor Kane suffered serious injury and his chosen first team was available to him almost completely during the run-in. Tottenham are hugely dependent on Son and Kane who scored 40 of their 68 goals between them. Their third top scorer was ‘own goals’! 

The World Cup will involve Lloris, Davies, Romero, Bentancur, Kane, Son and maybe Richarlison and Perisic. They could have similar numbers of players to us out in Qatar. It puts a particularly great strain on their precious striking resources.

Conte suffered second season syndrome at Stamford Bridge although he won the FA Cup and then departed. His idea of what is a reasonable spend for an ambitious club is highly likely to diverge from Daniel Levy’s! Almost every other Tottenham manager has found this over time! If that does happen we’ve seen the film before … at Chelsea, Juventus, Inter Milan and it started to happen after the defeat at Burnley. Tottenham are loaded down with debt. It’s interesting that they didn’t sell out a lot of home games last season and the combination of a glitzy new stadium and a pandemic has created a financial burden that no amount of NFL games, Rugby League finals or pop concerts will reduce significantly for a while. Levy has always been miserly/sensible (delete what you think is less applicable) on setting wages and that can’t change given the financial pressures on them. Tottenham fans fluctuate in their views on how good a job Levy has done but everyone is ecstatic at the job Conte has done. The fact remains that until you bring silverware home consistently you can’t be said to be a big or successful club. Unless ENIC sell the club and that must be a long-term goal, it’s hard to see them becoming a football superpower and if/when Conte leaves they are likely to be plunged into another crisis. 

I would predict with some confidence that Conte’s Tottenham is not a long-term project. They can’t aspire to the sort of success with their resources and the age of their squad that Conte would desire. He doesn’t want to reach the quarter finals of the Champions League – he wants to win it. If Tottenham did win it, it would be equivalent to Leicester winning the Premier League in 2016. The question is how long he waits before he jumps ship to a better project with more immediate hope of instant success. PSG sounds like a very possible move. How about a job swap with Poch? 

So, what does the future look like? 

My honest view is that I’m increasingly fearful that we won’t make the top five next season. It is by no means impossible and we might find the transfer window works out better than I expect it to but Conte is currently a more experienced and stronger coach than Arteta and he has two great strikers at his disposal. Arteta hasn’t got any and if Jesus and Nketiah are our strike force next season they won’t score the same number of goals that Son and Kane will. Arsenal fans have been patience itself as they have responded to the positivity of the Arteta regime. But another season without the CL will increase the risk of Saka or ESR or Martinelli looking for a more immediate elevation into top European football. I think we may win the Europa League next season but finish below Tottenham. That’s not what you wanted to hear but I believe the evaluation I’ve made makes sense. I just hope I am being far too pessimistic.

 But there is a real silver lining. In three years time, if we can retain our top talents or replace those who leave with comparable quality we might be significantly ahead of Tottenham as we reap the benefit of careful husbandry of our resources and an exceptional group of prospects. And one final point. While the rivalry with the Spuds is intense we must not let it define us. Tottenham are not a club we should be focusing on. We could finish above them and still be far short of being title winners. While it will always be exquisite to beat them and agonising to lose to them, Arsenal are a club that focus on the top table. Even if Tottenham pull up a chair there next season I don’t expect their fragile superiority to last long. We have much bigger fish to fry than the sprats down the Seven Sisters Road!

Appendix – Trophies won 


Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – 1969–70 (1)

UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup – 1993–94 (1)

FA Community Shield – 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2020 (16)

FA Cup – 1929–30, 1935–36, 1949–50, 1970–71, 1978–79, 1992–93, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016-17, 2019-2020 (14)

First Division (until 1992) and Premier League – 1930–31, 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1937–38, 1947–48, 1952–53, 1970–71, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04 (13)

League Cup – 1986–87, 1992–93 (2)


Football League Champions: 1950/1951, 1960/1961 (2) 

 FA Cup Winners: 1900/1901, 1920/1921, 1960/1961, 1961/1962, 1966/1967, 1980/1981, 1981/1982, 1990/1991 (8) 

Football League Cup Winners: 1970/1971, 1972/1973, 1998/1999, 2007/2008 (4) 

European Cup-Winners’ Cup Winners: 1962/1963 (1) 

UEFA Cup Winners: 1971/1972, 1983/1984 (2) 

Football League Division Two Champions: 1919/1920, 1949/1950 (2)

FA Charity Shield Winners: 1920/1921, 1951/1952, 1961/1962, 1962/1963, 1967/1968 (joint), 1981/1982 (joint), 1991/1992 (joint) (7)

Since Tottenham last won the League title, Arsenal have won it six times

Since Tottenham last won the FA Cup Arsenal have won it nine times. 

277 Drinks to “The Unbridgeable Divide”

  1. 1
    North Bank Ned says:

    An excellent analysis, TTG. I don’t disagree with a word of it. Conte is the signing that has made the difference to the neighbours, and if/when he leaves, it will be game-changing for them. Next season will be a critical one for Arteta’s project in as much as we could kick on and make the top four or kick on, but by less than rivals and end up anywhere from fifth to ninth.

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    A considerable research effort TTG, written with your characteristic style and polish. However it won’t surprise you (because we rehearsed our arguments several times at the season’s end in this bar) that I am rather more optimistic than you. Conte is clearly making a difference, but I wonder how much longer Son and Kane can avoid, at 30 and 29, either injury or loss of form. We have more goals from across the squad than do the Spuds. Arteta is steadily strengthening the first team (Saliba, Vieira and Eddie done, we hope Jesus and several others looking likely) and we are hopeful that Partey and Kieran stay injury free (if not then back ups become important. Bissouma on footballing grounds is a fine and cheap buy for them, but they must have their fingers crossed that his off field activities do not run foul of the Brighton police. Having had six years off, I am hopeful that St Totteringham May feel the time is right for her return.

  3. 3
    Cynic says:

    I don’t think it will really matter about Tottenham if Newcastle’s dirty money makes them the force they want to be, and United somehow manage to perform the about turn of all time under their new manager. We’ll be scrapping between ourselves in North London to see who plays in Conference One and Conference Two of the Ropey League.

    That’s glass completely empty thinking. 🙂

    I’m probably going to be alone in this bar by being unexcited by Nketiah staying. I’d much rather have upgraded to a 20-25 goal striker of real quality.

    The glass is not only empty, it’s been dried out in the sun, rubbed around with a paper towel to make sure and then smashed, just in case.

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:


    I agree completely about Eddie and am hopeful that Jesus will shortly be added. With Europa League and domestic cups we will need two out and out strikers. After his efforts in the latter half of the season, with five goals from seven starts, and evidence of growing maturity, I think he deserves his chance. I would start him in the group games of the EL, and in the League Cup, and see how we go.

    Still enough in the glass for me to refuse a top up at the moment .

  5. 5
    Sancho Panza says:

    A very thorough and fair report. A- from me.

    Can’t really see Newcastle being anything more than mid table even with all the money they now have.

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    My 2¢ is that ten Hag will need more than a season to turn round the Mancs. He will do well to better last season’s sixth-place finish. Howe is building for the medium term. Seventh to tenth would be my prediction for Newcastle, fighting for those slots with West Ham, Leicester, Villa, and possibly Wolves. The split season because of the World Cup will make the Premier League especially unpredictable. Keeping squads fit and avoiding fatigue will be key.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    Re Eddie. Once he eventually got a run in the team last season, he scored at close to a 20-league-goals-a-season rate. Of course, whether he can do that across a full season is another matter.

  8. 8
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for a well researched, comprehensive and entertaining analysis TTG. While I share your disappointment at the late collapse that scuppered our hopes of fourth place, I see signs across the trajectory of last season for cautious optimism.

    That optimism is of course contingent on the key signings that we all agree are necessary. I think the signing of Nketiah as ‘number 2 striker’ (not intended as a pun though others may take that view despite his recent form – familiarity does breed contempt) makes financial sense as his replacement as back-up striker would require diversion of at least £20-30m more from our transfer budget this summer to sign someone equivalent or better – and nothing is assured. Signing a first choice proven striker now is clearly essential. By all accounts Jesus is the clear first choice but then so was Tieleman for number 8. Personally, I would prefer a tall pacy leader of the line like Scamacca or Calvert-Lewin but if Arteta is convinced that Jesus is the man for him then so be it. Vieira, about whom I and most others had never heard any murmurings, looks a good addition as an attacking midfielder who makes things happen and I wonder if Tielemans is still on the menu. It’s clear that not all the names with whom we have been linked will be arriving this summer but there are noises that if Xhaka were to leave then Tielemans would be the target.

    I fully agree with your prognostications for the Marshdwellers and ourselves and, if we sign a decent striker, I expect a close battle with them next season for a top four place. However I am not convinced that the Chavs will be a shoo-in for third place as there will be budgetary adjustments to be made as well as a substantial rebuild. I do expect the Mancs to be hovering nearby, with their traditional, resources but success in Holland doesn’t necessarily translate to instant adaptation to the Premier League and their squad looks a mess. I think (and hope) that it will take the Barcodes some time to catch up and it will be interesting to see to what extent large salaries will be seen as sufficient compensation by top players for getting into bed with the somewhat unattractive ownership in a remote and windswept location.

    This season may be a ‘sliding door moment’ for this Arsenal team. Hence the importance of adding those key players (a fact of which I am sure, from his own statements, that the boss is well aware). As you observe, our talented young players will need to see clear progress in 2022-3 and be convinced that they can achieve their ambitions at Arsenal if we are to see them strut their stuff in their prime at the Arsenal and compete for silverware at the new Home of Football while the gerontocracy up the road concentrate on finding a reliable walking stick and try to remember where they left their Zimmers.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Cynic says:

    Looking at a plus from the Nketiah deal, they haven’t given him the number nine, which suggests we’re going to sign a proper striker.

    Too optimistic?

  11. 11
    Las says:

    Thanks, TTG! A truly excellent and very well-written analysis. Hats off!
    We look competitive and strong enough with Saliba at the back and the new shiny Viera and Tielemnas in the middle. But Eddie is nowhere near strong enough for the top 4 not even with Jesus. None of them is a no-BS type of striker who we need.
    What we missed the most is a real leader on the pitch, who has fire in the belly and is not brain-farting in critical moments like Xhaka but can lift the team spirit when we need it most.
    It won’t be easy to find a striker who could fill the uniquely shaped hole in our team. He has to score goals but comes back regularly to do defending duty who is young but also a proven regular scorer.
    The window is open so let’s hope Edu and Arteta still have cards on their hands.

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    Thanks for the kind comments
    I’d like to endorse what Las says. He highlights a really key point that I tried to make in my article . We’ve got a very young team that’s possibly becoming younger. We lack real fighting spirit as a side and this is why we struggle to recover when going behind . And as Las suggests that deficit needs to be specifically filled with a better and more psychologically mature player than Xhaka. It’s all very well needing a crèche at training cos the players are so young but you need players with the right stuff and we don’t have it in anything like the quantity we need. I’m much more positive about Nketiah than some but less positive about Jesus . I think he’s no better as a finisher than Eddie . I also think the Martinez deal is strange when we have so many CBs. We might yet lose Saliba or Holding if we sign him .
    The other issue is selling. All of our ‘ available ‘ players are being sold off like remaindered stock or believe they should be given away. We are haemorrhaging huge amounts of money because we can’t negotiate proper sales

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cynic@10: Eddie will wear 14, a number that has graced the back of the shirt of some prolific Arsenal strikers.

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@12: Your point is well made about the leadership/experience needed to rally the team when it falls behind. My guess is that Arteta can’t buy it and is instead trying to develop the camaraderie of a young team coming through together in its place.

    The Lisandro Martinez rumours also struck me as curious on first sight. However, assuming that neither Pablo Mari nor Auston Trusty will be in the first-team squad next season, Gabriel would otherwise be our only left-footed CB. Also, while primarily a CB for Ajaz, Martinez has played at left-back so would provide cover, if necessary, for KT3, as Ben While can at right-back, and provide a left-sided option for when we need to play a back three.

  15. 15
    TTG says:

    I see ‘super-agent ‘ Mendes saved himself from the breadline by earning €5m from setting up the Vieira deal. That’s a serious commission .If that’s in addition to the €34 m we paid almost €40 m for a lad who didn’t start regularly for Porto last season and if I’m correct never started in the Champions League .
    We are being told how good this lad is and I pray this is right but it seems a very toppy fee to me .We flogged Guendouzi who is a full French international for £9m .

  16. 16
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Great overview of the history of this enmity and analysis of the current squads. For those of us who have started following Arsenal in the early Wenger years it’s difficult to take the Spuds seriously, even though objectively speaking they have improved considerably in the recent years and it’s us who have thrown away in the final months our league advantages in the Spuds-like fashion a few times in the recent years.

    We need a consistently great season, uninterrupted by injury, from Partey and we need two established goal scorers in the forward line. Ødegaard-Saka-Gabi-ESR are fantastic talents and I have high hopes that all of them over the years will establish themselves as genuinely world class players but they are not yet consistently reliable goal scorers. But whereas Eddie is a decent third striker option (maybe even to start in Europa group matches) he is not one of the two established goal scorers — one of whom must be able to play on the flanks as well — that we need to get back to CL and win a trophy or two.

  17. 17
    bt8 says:

    Bravo TTG. Truly great stuff.

  18. 18
    OsakaMatt says:

    Belated thanks for a very well-written piece TTG.
    I mostly agree and won’t be so picky as to pinpoint
    the minor things I disagree on. In general I am more
    optimistic about next season, Manure are in disarray,
    there is uncertainty about the Chavs, Liverpoo have replaced
    Mane but no guarantee the new signings will be as effective
    over a season and Salah is getting older (pity Egypt didn’t make
    the World Cup as the mid-season break can only help him).
    The rest are meh so that only leaves Shitty. Once we sign
    Jesús and De Bruyne the title is ours – anyway I’d better go
    as the men in white coats are at the door 😉

  19. 19
    OsakaMatt says:

    It seems Lisandro Martinez is a done deal according to the PL transfer centre so welcome to him. Looks to be another decent young player and versatile as well, which will be handy with our injury record.

  20. 20
    Cynic says:

    Who are we going to immediately send him out on loan to?


  21. 21
    bt8 says:

    Cynic. Either some Greek club would be suitable, or maybe Sparta Prague. 😉

    Lysander (d. 395 BCE) was a Spartan statesman and general who famously defeated the Athenian navy at the Battle of Aigospotamoi in 405 BCE, which finally won the Peloponnesian War. Lysander gained a reputation for a fiery personality, daring strategies, and a ruthless treatment of prisoners and subject cities.

  22. 22
    North Bank Ned says:

    Harry Clarke’s loan is being switched from Hibernian to Stoke.


    Does that count as a downgrade, an upgrade, or just a move South?

    Bruce Buck is also being replaced as chairman at the bus stop by one of the new owners, Todd Boehly. A cleansing of the Abramovich stables.

  23. 23
    bt8 says:

    As to the topic of the blog: FUCK TOTTENHAM.

  24. 24
    Tapera Doma says:

    Let me just say this – if L Martinez signs for us, he will not be loaned. He can cover for Tierney or also deployed as a left biased DM.

  25. 25
    Cynic says:

    Anyone else shitting themselves in case the rumoured interest in Raphinha and Richarlison is genuine?

  26. 26
    OsakaMatt says:

    Can a move to Stoke ever really be considered an upgrade Ned?
    I wonder how many years of penance they have to do for Pukis.
    Then again, Hibs did sell us Marinello. Maybe it’s time to forgive and
    forget for that one though as it was more than 50 years ago now.

  27. 27
    North Bank Ned says:

    Peter Marinello, the next George Best who never was. There’s not many who remember him, OM.

  28. 28
    OsakaMatt says:

    Lisandro means Liberator apparently, so I assume we’ll loan him out to the BBC for
    a Blake’s 7 remake.

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    There won’t be many who remember Blake’s 7 either Ned😉

  30. 30
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@29: the older you get, the more you forget.

  31. 31
    OsakaMatt says:

    Well, the less there is worth remembering.

    I’m thinking I’d prefer Raphinha over Richarlison and both over
    Morata, who is the other rumour I read. Though I’m usually
    optimistic, signing Morata would make me think WTF are we

  32. 32
    ClockEndRider says:

    Matt @28 – from the Greek. Λύσις ( transliterates as lysis, as in electrolysis) meaning freedom and the genitive form of the noun ανήρ meaning man.
    I have nothing better to do at 6.54 am it seems.

  33. 33
    OsakaMatt says:

    Pretty good for the crack of dawn.
    More liberated than liberating then I suppose….

  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    Tickets for the US summer tour friendly against Everton in Baltimore have gone on sale, the cheapest is $55; the most expensive is $165. That seems a bargain compared to the Florida Cup game against Chelsea in Orlando. Top asking price for a ticket to that is $2,000; seats behind the dugout are going for $700.

  35. 35
    bt8 says:

    Those ticket prices in Orlando should help us to fund a few of our Summer signings. Unless, as I suspect, the proceeds will be destined for the wallets of corrupt local officials.

  36. 36
    North Bank Ned says:

    Or Ticketmaster, bt8.

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    Our new Vieira sounds like the anti-Xhaka:

    no matter the situation, [Vieira] refuses to play the obvious ball and pass backwards or sideways.


  38. 38
    scruzgooner says:

    well done, ttg. i don’t think the potential for a surging scum and a dropping in the table arsenal are quite as dire (mind the gap, eh?). but hell’s bells, man, that’s a piece of work.

    i was rather hoping, ned, for *fabio*:

  39. 39
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I think Edu has got the wrong end of the stick after years of hearing Gooners lament that we need a new Vieira. 🤣

  40. 40
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ned. I do like the sound of the Anti-Xhaka though.

    And, of course, welcome to The Arsenal to the young man. I hope he does very well.

  41. 41
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I wonder how much we have to spend?

    I’d be perfectly happy with Raphinha. He is a good player. But we need a first team, top quality Central Midfielder and Striker, and if we don’t get them because we spent money on Raphinha I’ll be unimpressed.

    This Martinez chap looks interesting. I’d be happy with Tielemens. I’d be chuffed with Gabriel Jesus. Zinchenko might be a good fit.

    Personally, I’d love to sell Xhaka but that means we would need a second signing in MF of at least his quality and with some decent experience.

    So, this Vieira transfer will be easier to evaluate at the end of the window, in the context of what else we do. And, err, after we’ve actually seen the kid play!

  42. 42
    Countryman100 says:

    Good thoughts GSD. At least we’re being proactive.

  43. 43
    Cynic says:

    Thing about Raphinha for me is that he’s one of those players I get a vibe about. He’s supposed to be good but whenever I’ve see him, he’s played for himself, dives about at any excuse and just doesn’t really fancy it. Not a team player.

    I get the same sort of feeling about Benrhama, Lanzini and Fornals at West Ham. They’re supposedly really good players but most of the games I’ve seen them play I’m left with the feeling they’re the reason the Hammers aren’t pushing on and doing better.

    You know the sort I mean. All fur coat and no knickers, as the saying goes.

  44. 44
    TTG says:

    There is no doubt that we are genuinely trying to upgrade the quality of the squad . We are looking at some very classy players but GSD’s point is key , that we prioritise the most important areas . Raphinha is an exciting player but something of a luxury if you gave Saka and Martinelli and ESR already.
    We must get a dynamic CM because Partey must be used sensibly and is clearly relatively fragile . Vieira looks a bit lightweight ( Dennis Suarez lite ) but let’s see him bewitch us with his skills before we judge .
    I’d like IN
    ( to add to Vieira , Marquinhos and Turner )- c£ 145 million
    Pepe and reluctantly AMN
    We’d recoup about £120m if Edu wasn’t giving them away
    That net spend is very affordable because we have a much reduced wage bill .I’d send Ballard, Hutchinson and Balogun on loan to teams like Southampton , Norwich and Fulham but keep back Patino and Azeez. Balogun might be useful in the Europa League so might go after Christmas.
    I’d sign Ben Foster as a third keeper and put the goalies on loan
    I’d spend anything left on a farewell party for Xhaka

  45. 45
    Cynic says:

    I’d spend anything left on a farewell party for Xhaka

    Packet of Monster Munch and a bottle of Sprite that’s been left in the sun.

  46. 46
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Lukaku has fucked off back to Italy having had, by my reckoning, one game in a Chelsea shirt when he looked like a world-beating monster striker. It had to be against us.

    I’d laugh if, having destroyed Pablo Mari’s career in English football, Mari does well against him in Italy.

  47. 47
    bt8 says:

    Re: A bottle of Sprite left unopened in the hot sun. I would propose donating a used mini fridge for Xhaka’s going away present to prevent such an eventuality as his Sprite going bad in the back seat but on second thought couldn’t really bother.

  48. 48
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Watching Xhaka play football is like watching a lad play football with a bottle of sprite that has been left in the sun. It might go okay for a while, but at some point it’s gonna explode and end in tears.

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    No one is going to pay Leeds £50 million for Raphinha.

  50. 50
    Trev says:

    TTG – thank you for a thoughtful and comprehensive piece – and sorry I didn’t have time to finish it sooner.

    I like the final analysis and agree that while we may have to swallow one more season finishing behind the Spuds, we will eventually find ourselves with a much better structure in place. I’m not quite as down as you on the immediate future either.

    One point of detail on Nketiah – once he was starting “regularly “ he turned in 5 goals in 7 appearances. Maintained over a season that would eclipse even the two cheats down the road. He has regularly scored at every other level so here’s hoping.

  51. 51
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, Trev.

    I lean more towards your view on Eddie than TTG’s. Given regular starts, I believe he will come good, but equally, I accept that the jury will be out until he shows he is a 20-league-goals-a-season striker.

  52. 52
    bt8 says:

    Hoping our summer signings leave us with a full deck of top quality players.

  53. 53
    bt8 says:

    Seeing as we’re looking for a player who can actually stick the ball in the back of the net, there’s one paragraph in particular from this story:


    that caught my eye:

    “Since his City debut five and a half years ago, Jesus has the second-biggest negative differential between actual goals scored and expected goals in the Premier League, behind only Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke.”

  54. 54
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@53: Not only that, but he also seems to be a striker in numerical decline. The numbers below show his non-penalty goals per 90 mins in the PL over the past five seasons compared to the expected number.

    Gabriel Jesus
    Premier League npG/90 npXG/90
    2021-22 0.34 0.45
    2020-21 0.39 0.38
    2019-20 0.62 0.78
    2018-19 0.52 0.80
    2017-18 0.70 0.70

    Eddie’s numbers for last season make an interesting comparison. He scored 0.54 of a goal every 90 minutes and was expected to score 0.49 of a goal. Jesus score 0.34 and was expected to score 0.45. Where Jesus shone over Eddie was in assists: 0.38 per 90 mins v 0.11.

  55. 55
    OsakaMatt says:

    Well, as my old mate, a Brit, Vic said, let the buyer beware. Jesús seemed to be used wide quite a few times last season, might’ve increased his assist numbers I suppose. To be honest neither Jesus nor Eddie fill me with confidence but then I have no better alternatives, and decisions needed to be made, so I will see what Edu can do,

  56. 56
    North Bank Ned says:

    Indeed, OM. Vic knows!

    Some nifty goals from our loanees this season:

    It is a pity Guendouzi fell out with Arteta; there is a player there. And Harry Clarke has got a shot on him for a CB.

  57. 57
    TTG says:

    It seems we are buying Jesus because he is the best pressing striker in the league . I’d be astonished if he got more than 12 League goals next season. I think Nketiah will grow in confidence and improve significantly .
    The big fish still out there is Osimhen. He could be an elite striker . Morata isn’t a prolific scorer and the player who most appeals is Schick , the Czech . He’s razor sharp😀

  58. 58
    North Bank Ned says:

    I’ve heard Schick is a cut above the others, TTG.

  59. 59
    OsakaMatt says:

    It’ll be Sheffield United for him then.

    Thanks for the link Ned. How great they all look on the
    highlight reels 🙂
    Nelson looked a little bigger than I remember, wonder if
    he’s been hitting the weights.

    Agree on Guen. Also, though I tend to agree with TTG that
    we accepted too little for Guen at 9m, the public falling out
    did significantly weaken Edu’s negotiating position.

  60. 60
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    For once, I disagree big time with TTG. I think Gabriel Jesus would score an absolute ton of goals for us. I’d be very happy to sign him.

    I think the way Arteta would manage him would be the key. He’d be our clear number one, whereas at City he’s a way down the pecking order of star names, in a side that doesn’t always play a striker anyway. I think being the main man, at 25, with something to prove and a manager who would both support him and make sure he worked his balls off would be great for him. Also, to be fair, a 9 who presses well generates goals across the team, and means you concede less goals, so that’s nothing to be sniffed at.

    Arteta wants players who will run themselves into the ground for the team, yet still have the quality to make a difference. Think Aguero, Suarez, Sanchez etc. I think he sees Jesus as a player in that mould, who hasn’t got anywhere near his top level yet. As a coach, I think he’s excited about working with Jesus, as he has a clear plan how to develop him.

    I’m chuffed Eddie has signed, good luck to him at 14. Whoever else we sign he’ll be pushing them all the way.

  61. 61
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ned @49

    What about £65m? 😵

  62. 62
    TTG says:

    I’d be quite delighted if Jesus does become a big hit with us. He’s a very skilful player who I’ve never seen as a deadly finisher but maybe a main striking role in a team creating lots of chances will see him prove me wrong. I’d be delighted if he did and of course Arteta will know him well. Maybe there is something of a Thierry Henry blossoming to come ? Let’s hope so.
    I note Liverpool are hoping to get £16 m plus for Miniamino and S***s well over £20 m from Ajax for Bergwijn . Both are very underwhelming players in my book. Broja is priced at about £35m by Chelsea. I must admit I thought Mane’s price was lower than I expected but he is rising 30.
    If we sell Pepe I hope we could get £25 m, Reiss Nelso should generate £15 m but as I’ve said before selling is not a strength . I would have thought players like Bellerin and Torreira would be useful in part exchange deals but they seem to believe we should virtually give them away to specific clubs

  63. 63
    Trev says:

    The Arteta connection with Jesus should be very interesting.

    Arteta was credited with a lot of the work that turned Raheem Sterling into a far more clinical finisher when he joined City from Liverpool.

  64. 64
    TTG says:

    I sat with several Millwall fans ( who I knew already !) at the Oval last Friday . They were raving about Danny Ballard who was on loan there last season . They discounted retaining him and thought we’d integrate him into the first team but felt he was worth about £20 million .
    They’d be very disconcerted to know that Burnley have had a £2 million bid accepted by Arsenal . Amazing

  65. 65
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG: I’ll give you first dibs on the Edu house giveaway if he gets more than £65 million in total for the unsold players on your list @44.

    Re Jesus: The way City spreads the goals around may provide some context to his scoring rates. These are the top six clubs’ leading PL goalscorers last season (excluding penalties), and the number of players in their squad who scored at least seven goals from open play.

    Top scorer ≥7 goals
    Man City 15 8
    Liverpool 18 3
    Chelsea 10 3
    Arsenal 10 3
    Tottenham 23 2
    Man Utd 15 2

  66. 66
    Trev says:

    We’re obviously not as hard up as many of us assume we are.

  67. 67
    TTG says:

    I’ve had an offer accepted on Edu’s 8 bedroom pile in Hadley Wood, complete with swimming pool , sauna and stable block plus 2 acres . He twisted my arm and I’ve had to up my offer to £120 k.
    And I can keep the Koi in the pond

  68. 68
    Trev says:

    I’ve just gazumped you, TTG, and got it for £99,000 !

  69. 69
    North Bank Ned says:

    You were done, Trev. He should have paid you more than that to buy his house.

  70. 70
    bt8 says:

    Robin Hood wherefore art thou?

    Benefits of the Premier League ‘golden age’ have not been equally shared

    (Spillchucker wanted art to say Arteta.)

  71. 71
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I finally got round to finishing TTG’s piece. It’s a wonderful piece of writing and a fair analysis.

    I’m a bit more optimistic for the upcoming season, but only if we don’t start it with Xhaka as first choice in midfield.

    Then again, I say that every year!

  72. 72
    OsakaMatt says:

    Best of luck to Osei-Tutu and Ballard at Bochum and Burnley respectively. Didn’t know Kompany was at Burnley now but he should know something about centre-backs so I suppose it’s a compliment to Ballard’s potential really.

    Couple of loans sorted out for John-Jules and Bieroth as well, so things getting done.

  73. 73
    OsakaMatt says:

    My own estimate of TTG’s list @44, without checking transfermarkt, is about 100m.
    Not including Guen and Mavro as they’re already sold. I certainly hope Edu gets more than 65m Ned!

  74. 74
    TTG says:

    I’ve gone in with a cash offer for £85 m and Edu bit my hand off. And he invited me to his Sunday BBQ. I also got his new Porsche for £2,500

  75. 75
    TTG says:

    Thanks for your kind words GSD . I strived for balance , maybe something England’s batsmen might do! Boy is this Test series entertaining!

  76. 76
    TTG says:

    Kelvin Philips for £42 m, Raphinha for £65m. Surely some mistake ?
    City look immensely strong next season already

  77. 77
    TTG says:

    I understand the deal for Jesus is agreed with City . Signing very close

  78. 78
    Cynic says:

    Can we please stop at one Brazilian signing this summer if this goes through? Ta.

  79. 79
    Cynic says:


  80. 80
    Sancho Panza says:

    I can’t see Jesus really being an answer to our lack of goals. 8 from 28 and 4 of those against Watford.

  81. 81
    Countryman100 says:

  82. 82
    North Bank Ned says:

    Only ESR and Saka scored more than that last season.

  83. 83
    Countryman100 says:

  84. 84
  85. 85
    North Bank Ned says:

    Smart move for Bale to prepare for Qatar. Little point in being kicked to bits in the Championship, though I have a sneaking suspicion he will end up in Cardiff as a part-owner.

    As for Riley leaving the PGMOL, Goodbye. We’ll get the door…

  86. 86
    scruzgooner says:

    espn are reporting gabriel jesus to arsenal for €45 million plus up to €10 million in performance add-ons. it is apparently all done but for the medical and the filing of the paperwork.

    if arrest can improve his game as he did sterling’s, i’ll be leased.

  87. 87
    OsakaMatt says:

    Spill bucket strikes scruz on that last sentence.

  88. 88
    OsakaMatt says:

    Riley’s successor can at least know it will be easy to be a less useless wanker than Riley

  89. 89
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Scruz@86: That last sentence made my weekend. Beautiful. The first bit of automatic poetry in football talk, Andre Breton’s ghost pleasingly hovering over those words. 😊

    It may happen that one day next season Arsenal will lineup with three Brazilian forwards: Martinelli, Jesus, Marquinhos…

  90. 90
    scruzgooner says:

    lol, spillchucker indeed! too funny 🤣

    glad riley is gone. now for dean.

  91. 91
    North Bank Ned says:

    Howard Webb to replace Riley at year’s end when Webb’s contract with the MLS expires, the rumour mill has it, OM.

    Dr F: this whole establishment is surrealistic.

  92. 92
    North Bank Ned says:

    If only dear old cba was still with us the run to the ton from here would be over in a flash.

  93. 93
    TTG says:

    Or possibly Raphinha, Jesus and Martinelli – which might be their front three in Qatar too!

  94. 94
    bt8 says:

    NBN. Summoning the spirit of cba could be a dangerous game

  95. 95
    bt8 says:

    Almost like playing with fire really

  96. 96
    bt8 says:

    One thing I can say about the fella even though I don’t ever think he used the phrase is on here

  97. 97
    bt8 says:

    He had a certain gift o’ gab

  98. 98
    bt8 says:

    Could say a lot, or a little, by saying a lot

  99. 99
    bt8 says:

    Or a little if he chose

  100. 100
    bt8 says:

    Not sure he ever cared about self assisting mind you.

  101. 101
    OsakaMatt says:

    He was not a man who minded stealing a ton

  102. 102
    bt8 says:

    Ah, don’t mind me. And anyway I just realized TTG’s image at the top of the page says to mind the gab, not to mind the gab.

  103. 103
    bt8 says:

    Or the gap

  104. 104
  105. 105
    TTG says:

    Dr. F
    A good job it was a ridiculous deal .
    But they will sell him for peanuts somewhere else
    Gabriel Jesus effectively confirmed tonight

  106. 106
    bt8 says:

    Jesus effectively confirmed. Possibly an adverse development for the other religions.

  107. 107
    bt8 says:

    Arsenal reportedly phirm phavourites to sign Raphinha.

    Report: Arsenal ‘firm favourites’ for Raphinha, new talks planned

    Some of these other clubs must be wondering what the phuck is going on

  108. 108
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, bt8. A big MOO from the man above. He wouldn’t have cared a tinker’s cuss about a self-assist.

    I’d feel a bit sorry for Danny Ballard if his transfer to Burnley falls through. It would be a good move for him. He is already Championship hardened and Kompany seems a decent manager to play for (ie, not Dyche), and a young CB should learn a lot from him. Burnley probably has a decent shot at bouncing straight back up, too.

    If Jesus does arrive, will his first game be a baptism of fire? I’ll get my coat…

  109. 109
    North Bank Ned says:

    If Citeh does sell us Jesus, Pep will have effectively swapped him out for Phillips at no net cost, and have a stronger team for it.

  110. 110
    Cynic says:

    I find it hard to believe we’re serious about such a deadweight as Raphinha, for a fee that means he’s going to be a starter. Unless we’re selling someone else and not just Pepe.

  111. 111
    OsakaMatt says:

    Getting him would give us ESR, Gabi, Jesus, Saka, Eddie and Raphinha to rotate in the front three roles with MO and Vieira just behind them. It’s a large enough group to cover us through a long season and give us options in case of injury or loss of form. Important to move on Nelson and Pepe if we can.

    Of course with the attack done early, we still need another defender – Martinez seems the one, though I read that was a done deal a week ago and haven’t seen any announcement from the club since.

    The xhaka elephant remains in the room and doesn’t seem to have packed his trunk

  112. 112
    OsakaMatt says:

    The 45m is oddly synchronistic isn’t it 🙂
    Actually of course Shitty have replaced Jesus with Haaland and Phillips replaces an aging Fernandinho. To your point though, it does give them a stronger squad than last season, an unfortunately sobering thought.

  113. 113
    Cynic says:

    Has any other team got six players to rotate through three positions? I can’t be arsed to look but my impression is that a team like Liverpool has four quality players (or did have) and then they had players like MiniMe and Origi to chuck in when things got desperate.

    Are we really going to have ESR, Martinelli etc benched for long periods or continually chopping and changing the side? If we are, I hate that.

    What you need is four top quality players who will be carrying the load and two reasonable players for the minor competitions to rest your starters. That way you have continuity of selection, your best players play and don’t get itchy feet and the two makeweights get enough game time, with possibly a medal at the end of it all, for a couple of years before you move them on. That’s my understanding of how it goes thesedays anyway!

    Raphinha makes no sense to me at all, but then neither does signing Jesus or giving Nketiah a new contract, so what do I know.

  114. 114
    Sancho Panza says:

    Cynic maybe the last sentence of your previous post rings true. If Saka is stalling they will have to sell next Summer so get somebody in who is available now but who won’t be next Summer. Know what you mean about Raphinha though. Seems to be raved about a bit too much for my liking.

  115. 115
    Las says:

    It’s painful to say but Cynic@113 pointed out very well that all three are (Raphina, Jesus, Eddie) second-string players in any big team. And we put our faith into their hands.
    I’m afraid hiding-behind-the-sofa times are back.
    Missing CL place can do this.

  116. 116
    North Bank Ned says:

    With five subs allowed for next season, it is becoming a 16-a-side game with substitutions being used to manage the minutes of star players. Citeh’s top attackers and attacking midfielders played the full 90 in less than half their games last season.

    Pep spreads the minutes around more than Klopp; 16 City players logged more than 1,000 minutes last season versus twelve for ‘Pool, but whereas four City outfield players had more than 2,500 minutes, seven Liverpool players did (including Mane and Salah). Yet, using the average minutes played by each club’s eleven most used players excluding goalkeepers as a proxy for the first team, there was only a 45 minutes difference across the season.

    Klopp seems to rotate more between games and Pep within games, so you can guess what Arteta will try to do and it makes sense of recruiting two ‘starters’ for every position.

  117. 117
    Countryman100 says:

    I do wonder how many of those complaining about the purchase of Vieira and Jesus would have been moaning about buying a failed winger from Juventus for £11m in 1999. I’m backing Arteta’s judgement over the nay sayers.

  118. 118
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m with Countryman all the way.

    I am very excited about Jesus. As Raphinha seems to be a deal we want to do, I had more of a look at his stats, and they show that he works his balls off. I’m on board.

    I don’t get the negativity at all. People complain whenever they think someone has not put in the effort. It’s a cardinal sin and nothing causes more outrage. Then, we try to sign two members of the Brazil squad who are both known for their work rate. And people complain about their attitude. Or whether they score enough goals. I don’t get it.

    Unless we’d signed Haaland and Mbappe, I don’t see how Edu could please anyone with this sort of attitude.

  119. 119
    TTG says:

    C100 makes a very good point about Henry . We were also thought to have bought a crocked winger from Ajax in 1997, an AC Milan reserve the year before in midfield and Bergkamp didn’t pull up any trees at Inter Milan.
    I’ve voiced concerns about Jesus but he is a quality striker with a huge opportunity to make his mark. Vieira and Raphinha could have very high ceilings and although we have Saka the purchase of these players shows great ambition.
    No one has been more critical of KSE than me but with the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup, the Rams the Super Bowl and I believe their lacrosse team was also triumphant it is clear that they want to win and know how to achieve that. My big concern is that we need another quality central midfielder but please show some positivity when we are blowing rivals out of the water in the transfer market !

  120. 120
    ClockEndRider says:

    Firmly with C100 and Dino.
    Reading some of the comments on our transfer business, I am out in mind of the great Chas ‘n Dave – There ain’t no pleasing you….!

  121. 121
    ClockEndRider says:

    – out
    + put

  122. 122
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m chuffed with the focus on attack. We should score a lot more goals next year.
    Also, the plan is clearly to press hard, and that is so demanding in the PL that you absolutely need 2 players for each position to prevent burnout.
    We have 4 competitions to play next year. We won’t win the PL, but you play 38 games no matter what results you get. In the cups, the more you win, the more you play. I’m glad to see us building a squad designed to go deep in the cups.

    My concern, as usual, is in CM. If we get Jesus and Raphinha, then Tielemans looks a better and better buy. Maybe we are playing hardball over the fee, which I’m not against, but I hope we get it done. There’s no point having a mobile attack that presses all day if Xhaka is leaving great holes in midfield for any team that breaks the press. He becomes even less compatible with the team’s style than he already is.

    And, for the sake of numbers, I’d buy Tielemans as an addition to the midfield. Then sell Xhaka, and buy another CM as a replacement anyway. I’m a huge fan of Elneny, and think it was a great move to extend his contract. However, I’d like him to be one player further away from being needed to start matches in the PL.

  123. 123
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks for the supportive post CER but how very dare you bespoil the blog with quotes from Spuds supporters! There will be a penance from you that will involve buying beer!

  124. 124
    ClockEndRider says:

    Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, C100!

  125. 125
    ClockEndRider says:

    Actually, it will be a pleasure to buy you a beer. I am desperately trying to lose the weight put on about my middle in order to get into the trousers I need to take on holiday. Not having worn them for more than two years, I have recently discovered exactly what beer and wine do to the midriff, hence I have had no alcohol pass my lips for a fortnight and another fortnight to go.
    Not that I’m counting, every minute, day and night, you understand…

  126. 126
    Countryman100 says:

    CER, You were also on the waggon in January when we partook of luncheon on Holloway Road before a game. The luncheon also involved TTG, your son 21CG and my son. The looks you were giving our red wine (pints of lager for the lads) as you sipped your Diet Coke had the look of a monk watching Love Island

    One month off is understandable. Two is concerning. A third is enemy action.

  127. 127
    Countryman100 says:

    Can I propose a better strategy? Buy bigger trousers.

  128. 128
    North Bank Ned says:

    To GSD’s point, we could have anywhere between 46 and 65 games next season, depending on how deep we go in the Cups. Many of our internationals will be playing a further three to seven games in Qatar. We are going to need plenty of legs.

    Talking of which, what special trousers does anyone need to go on holiday?

  129. 129
    ClockEndRider says:

    The damn trousers fitted perfectly when I bought them. In an array of jaunty colours might I add.
    I’m hoping to get back into the office more regularly so I can burn off a few more calories than I currently do following the sedentary life of a management consultant working from home. That way I will be able to resume normal drinking practices with nary a fear about incipient portliness.
    Of course I could indulge in more physical activity but that seems something of an extreme course of action.

  130. 130
    Countryman100 says:

    “Nary a fear about incipient portliness”

    I see your Chas n Dave and raise you Dylan Thomas

    “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”

  131. 131
    ClockEndRider says:

    It’s all bloody annoying as I have never had to think about my weight until the last couple of years. I’m not used to not eating and drinking what the heck I like. It is quite an eye opener for a confirmed ectomorph I can tell you!

  132. 132
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    CER @ 129.

    I call plagiarism! Your last line is clearly lifted from Granit Xhaka’s Memoirs!

  133. 133
    Countryman100 says:


  134. 134
    ClockEndRider says:

    I left out the bit about giving up thinking as I thought that would be the giveaway, GSD!

  135. 135
    bt8 says:

    Ectomorph Smectomorph. Whatever happened to just going on holiday and not worrying about it?

  136. 136
    ClockEndRider says:

    I’m sure you’re right, BT8. I guess I’m vainly, in both senses, raging against the dying of the light, as C100 says.

  137. 137
    bt8 says:

    🍷 Generous glass ‘o red for the meaty management consultant. 😆

  138. 138
    Cynic says:

    We’re not signing feckin’ Ectomorph as well are we? 🙁

  139. 139
    Countryman100 says:

    I hope not. His EG stats are pony.

  140. 140
    Cynic says:

    As Raphinha seems to be a deal we want to do, I had more of a look at his stats, and they show that he works his balls off. I’m on board.

    Ah, the “Ozil is a good player because he can run a lot.” argument is back 🙂

    Seriously though, I’ve watched him play a lot and been very unimpressed. He’s one of the players who is supposed to be good that I just don’t get.

  141. 141
    Cynic says:

    But enough of my shite, I’m off to watch Z Cars. Have a fun night, chaps.

  142. 142
    Countryman100 says:

    “BD to Z victor one. Go ahead BD.

    Cue teams running out at Goodison to the Z cars theme. Brilliant.

  143. 143
    TTG says:

    Now I am on holiday and am having no trouser problems at all as I’m wearing shorts . If you’ve got it flaunt it say I and Angela Rayner ( even if in Scotland it’s bleeding cold)

  144. 144
    ClockEndRider says:

    Shorts in Scotland? You’re a hardy man, TTG!

  145. 145
    Countryman100 says:

    Why not a kilt? I think we should be told!

  146. 146
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cynic @ 140.

    Ozil ran a lot but rarely won the ball back! I’d hope for more from Raphinha.
    I haven’t watched him play that much. But I do rate Arteta, so I’m keen for him to be given the players he wants.

    I know what you mean about there being some players who get rave reviews for reasons that I don’t get. All I can hope is that, if we do buy Raphinha, he doesn’t turn out to be one of them.

    Watching Z cars is probably a better plan than following the transfer window bullshit that will keep flying around until the window closes.

  147. 147
    TTG says:

    I washed my sporran and I can’t do a fling with it 😀

  148. 148
    bt8 says:

    c100. Being the calibre of gent he is, I am willing to put down a river to say that before he holiday is out TTG will be sporting a fine tartan kilt for all the fair ladies to examine. 🫢

  149. 149
    OsakaMatt says:

    Roamin in the gloamin TTG?
    Sampling some decent single malts I
    Anyway, I’ll thread a through ball to….

  150. 150
    OsakaMatt says:

    Ace new striker Tim E. Difference who rattles home the winner quicker than the England cricket team on a run chase

  151. 151
    OsakaMatt says:

    On the new transfers I must admit I have some doubts but then I did last season about Benny, Tommy and Rammy. Yet they turned out very well I think and so I’m happy to give MA/Edu the benefit of the doubt. So far Turner, Maquinhos and Vieira will get a little time to learn what’s expected of them and Jesus will already know from his time in a similarly fluid system at Shitty. Should be able to hit the ground running and the change in attitude of getting our business done early is just fantastic.

  152. 152
    bathgooner says:

    Excellent repartee there, chaps. Reminiscent of the old bar.

  153. 153
    North Bank Ned says:

    What bath said @152.

    TTG channelling both his inner KT3 and his inner Trev. No easy feat, even for a man in shorts.

    Well in for the ton and a half, OM. You must have been wearing your time-travelling trousers.

  154. 154
    Doctor Faustus says:


    Quoted from the article (about the autobiography and the film):
    “The football industry’s a buffet of absurdity and strangeness,” says Sandahl. “It’s a world of often extreme masculinity where you can actually buy and sell humans.

    “Media and fans all over the world are putting these young players in a really strange position. A 15-year-old in Manchester United’s academy can actually be famous. You can suddenly be worth €40m (£34m) so the pressure’s just tremendous. Particularly with social media.”

    The book is set in 2004 but the film, although heavily biographical, is fast-forwarded almost two decades. The advent of Instagram et al apart, much remains the same. “It’s super-strange,” says Sandahl. “The most frequently recurring comment I’ve got from professional players who’d moved abroad is that they’re not taught the language. They think they’ll get all these lessons and it doesn’t happen.”

    I know in Arsenal academy as well as the first team set-up there is a lot of focus on language and cultural acclimatisation, but I wonder how it is beyond the top clubs in PL…

  155. 155
    TTG says:

    Thanks for all the supportive remarks/ best wishes / abuse on my Scottish sojourn . Although I have extraordinarily fine looking legs I’m not going to display them in a kilt as I believe these should only be worn by bona fide Scotsmen like the boy Bath .
    Nevertheless the shorts have come out and I’ve drunk an awful lot of them
    It’s very nice to be back in the Cairngorms after three years .A quite delightful place and stunning in the sunshine which we occasionally glimpse through the clouds

  156. 156
  157. 157
    bathgooner says:

    It sounds like Raphina has chosen to beome a Chav rather than a Gunner. The new regime at the bus stop is clearly using the old Mourinho playbook: see who Arsenal are trying to sign and move in to gazump them.

  158. 158
    Countryman100 says:

    For £65m. Can’t say I’m too angst ridden. Hopefully we have another Pepe replacement as plan B.

  159. 159
    bathgooner says:

    Me neither. We should sign the exciting young lad from PSV whom Leeds are hoping to sign as Raphina’s replacement. Seems justice.

  160. 160
    Countryman100 says:

    I’d love to see Serge Gnabry.

  161. 161
    TTG says:

    You’re both espousing good choices . I think it’s a very high fee for something of a luxury player in Raphinha . Gakpo is likely to get more goals and Gnabry will be a sensational signing with more goals and if he comes clearly unfinished business . I think Olise at Palace and Bowen at West Ham ( unlikely ) would be great signings too. If we sign Martinez and a top CM I think a wide player is not such a priority . Certainly Hutchinson could be blooded in the Europa

  162. 162
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@156: Interesting comparative stats. Martinez looks well in red and white.

  163. 163
    North Bank Ned says:

    If the Chavs really are paying £65 million for Raphina, perhaps they would also be interested in a bridge I have to sell…

    Nonsense money. And it is not as though they are short of right-wingers at the bus stop, unless Clearlake Capital is planning on a, er, clear out.

  164. 164
    ClockEndRider says:

    I have to agree with the clear minded comments above. I would have liked Raphinha, but not for 65m. Im sure there are right sided attackers just as good and available for much less. I’d have been more disappointed if we hadn’t got Jesus. And I’m not even particularly a fan, simply trusting in the judgement of Arteta and Edu following last summer.

  165. 165
    bt8 says:

    Sounds like watching Raphinha fail at Chelsea, if he does, could be one of the potential hilarities of the new season. A bit like watching Vardy failing with Leicester after he flirted with us. How did that one work out again? Oh. 🫣

  166. 166
    Sancho Panza says:

    I wonder what our bid was? 45m presumably.

  167. 167
    bathgooner says:

    I can’t say I’m too distressed by the Chavs gazumping us on the Raphina purchase. I’m not ‘all in’ on his talent like some others appear to be. I thought he showed extremely questionable temperament when he played against us and that kind of player in an Arsenal shirt will get a lot of early baths. I also didn’t see the benefit of spending so much on a player whose best position is that of our best player. OK, Saka was played into the ground last season but we can surely give him some relief from the fray with some other options in the squad. I would far rather we take a punt on a far cheaper Cody Gakpo than sink a ton of money on Raphina. I would also rather spend that money on someone who can stiffen our midfield.

  168. 168
    bt8 says:

    Between the money we save on Raphinha and on Xhaka (hopefully, as ever it were) I would be hoping we can afford a Thomas on steroids type to stiffen our midfield. Stainless steel shins at the very least.

  169. 169
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m also not too bothered about losing out on Raphinha. I do think he would have been excellent for us, but we all know that Chelsea have money we can’t compete with. I’m happy that we’ve upped our game in terms of what we are doing in the transfer market over the last few seasons, but we have to be realistic that if one of the megarich clubs comes in for a player, then we will lose out, unless he is willing to take a less lucrative offer to play for a club who haven’t been finishing as highly in the league. Unlikely.

    Anyhoo, I’d laugh if clever old Leeds, who have cunningly held out for the huge money offer from Boehly Big Bollocks, lost out on Gakpo because we went in for him. If Chelsea are seen as a better option than Arsenal, then I can understand that. But who is choosing Leeds over Arsenal?

  170. 170
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I do wonder what Saka’s best position is? He’s great on the right, although I wonder if our willingness to sign Raphinha showed that at least one of them was viewed as potentially starting somewhere else.

    Of course they could have covered each other on the right wing, but I don’t think we were gonna spend £50m+ on a player who we didn’t think could also start in the same team as Saka.

  171. 171
    North Bank Ned says:

    Raphinha’s stats for last season are more comparable to Saka’s than I had imagined, although our boy’s are slightly better on the whole. In aggregate, they show him clearly to be the better player. We do need someone who can take some of his workload, however. Pepe has disappeared off the planet, Reiss Nelson seems to come up a tad short in Arteta’s eyes and Omari Hutchinson isn’t ready yet. Raphinha would have been a reasonable buy to that end if acquired for a sensible price. I would put that at no more than £35 million, plus perhaps performance-related add-ons. However, he is not worth breaking the bank for especially if that drains off funds for buyng a CM.

  172. 172
    North Bank Ned says:

    Gakpo looks promising as an attacking threat; he certainly tore up the Eredivisie. If he can make the step up to the PL, his age and price fit our new transfer profile. He is right-footed, however, and Arteta likes to play left-footed right-wingers.

    GSD@169: Who chooses Leeds over Arsenal? Someone who wants to start regularly.

    I would imagine that one of the hardest things for a top player who has always been used to being one of the first names on the team sheet to adapt to when they join a big club is that their playing time will be rationed.

  173. 173
    TTG says:

    I’m violently agreeing with the comments above . The trouble at this time of year is that you get idiots who regard the transfer market as a war of attrition rather than an opportunity to add appropriate players at the right price . Unless I’m very much mistaken Chelsea are offering at least £10 m over Raphinha’s real value and I’m actually with Ned in assessing his worth . When we bought Pepe I was similarly incredulous at the price we paid It looked to be almost double his actual value and leaving aside concerns about whether he has had a fair shake at Arsenal it’s very hard to argue that we overpaid substantially. Reasons for that are a matter for speculation but let’s just say it was the main reason we parted company with Sanllehi . Some fans thing staying in a stupid auction is a sign of virility .It’s actually nothing of the sort
    Pulling out of a deal that gets unrealistic is absolutely the right thing to do . There are many alternatives to Raphinha who will come much cheaper and Bath’s sentiments are mine . Gakpo and Tielemans instead of Raphinha looks a very sound idea. I’m happy to trust Arteta in his judgment of players as he works with them or has very good inside track on them

  174. 174
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    We signed Matt Turner months ago, but didn’t officially confirm it until the contract came into affect. Fair enough.

    The unexpected upshot of this was that Edu realised how much he enjoys signing players and then holding off making any sort of official announcement for as long as he can.

    I shall look forward to our deadline day deals with great interest this year. We should get clarity on them by November! 😜

  175. 175
    Doctor Faustus says:

    GSD@174: The explanation could be more prosaic. Longer you delay the announcement more and more people will more frequently access the website or check the app (to feel the certainty of official confirmation) which leads to a spike in traffic leading to higher advertisements related revenues and also more merchandise buying…

  176. 176
    bt8 says:

    “Some fans thing staying in a stupid auction is a sign of virility.”

    That’s the old thinking. Now, to use a 16th century word that I didn’t know until today, it may be a sign of muliebrity, pronounced as in stubborn as a …

    Merriam-Webster chiming in: “Muliebrity has been used in English to suggest the distinguishing character or qualities of a woman or of womankind since the 16th century. (Its masculine counterpart, virility, entered the language at about the same time.)”

  177. 177
    bt8 says:

    My main concern about Gakpo is his name which sounds like gecko. I do admit to not being a gecko expert but it is to be hoped that Gakpo would be capable of darting for loose balls a bit quicker than most animals of the reptilian persuasion.

  178. 178
    bt8 says:

    But a story in the Mirror today suggests he may be going to Leeds as a Raphinha replacement. If we’re really going to sign a right winger that’s fine with me so long as we identify a decent alternative and Saka isn’t injured (a very big if can’t considering the kicking he received consistently as sanctioned by the Mike Riley regime at PGMOL. Reminder to Howard Webb to remind his colleagues to dole out multicolored cards when Saka is serially butchered game after game.)

  179. 179
    bt8 says:

    Any news on the Tielemans front?

  180. 180
    bt8 says:

    Progress on the jettisoning ox Xhaka front?

  181. 181
    Las says:

    I read the Arseblog (Stillberto) about Gabi Jesus. It is well-written and I feel there is food for thought (for me especially). So I just happily contradict my earlier self and start to support the idea of playing the second Gabi as our main forward.

    Can Gabriel Jesus Rise Again?


  182. 182
    TTG says:

    Thanks for linking the Stillman article which taught me much about Gabriel Jesus , who I must confess I haven’t followed in huge detail before . I always warm to players who join Arsenal when they could go elsewhere with potentially greater glamour in terms of CL football or higher league position in the past .
    My reason for confidence in his likely development at Arsenal is that Arteta knows him very well and has coached him for several years . He has seen him in match situations and he has coached him, probably intensively, at a technical level . I hope he can flower like one of Stillman’s ‘ broken eggs’ , Dennis Bergkamp who needed the right stage to flourish .
    The week before’s Stillman column is about how we support/ ease the pressure on, Partey in midfield . I think that is our biggest challenge and we must solve it to achieve the success we are hoping for next season

  183. 183
    bt8 says:

    Thanks for the article LAS and your reconsideration of his potential at Arsenal. It sounds like he can use a resounding show of support from the Arsenal fans right from the off.l so let’s give it to him and hopefully reap the rewards.

  184. 184
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I very much agree with Tim S.

    I think he will score a ton of goals.

    And, for once, we’ve signed a bloke for less than £50m who has just turned 25 and we can probably sell for at least £50m for the next three seasons (if not longer), unless he does score a shed load of goals and a megarich club wants him, in which case we will make a profit.

    Seriously, anyone upset that we’ve spent £45m on his 1 year contract is mental. He’s a top player, costing a lot less than we’d expect to pay. He has chosen us over Champs League teams, so he presumably fancies a bit of whatever Edu and Arteta are selling, and the contract he has signed is already worth £60m.

    We’ve bought a top player, with the potential to be a great one, at a good price point, with excellent resale potential, and he genuinely wants to be at our club. Happy fucking days!

    Personally, I do still fancy Tielemans. I hope the club aren’t being complacent because we look like the only ones interested. There are clubs out there who can outbid us on fees and contracts anytime they like…

  185. 185
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Richarlison and Spurs is a match made in heaven. I’d be a bit gutted to lose out on Raphinha, but such is life.

    But Richarlison is a bloke I’d swerve like Ashley Cole dodging a 55 grand weekly contract.

    No thanks.

  186. 186
    OsakaMatt says:

    Absolutely I’d prefer Jesus over Richarlison, and he cost less hahaha.
    Less arsed about Raphinha as he looked an exciting nice-to-have but
    not essential and it’s looking like he might give us a late chuckle with
    Barca trying to gazump the gazumpers. Chavs paying over the odds
    for a player who’d rather be elsewhere.
    On the other hand, Tielemans, or someone like him, is essential I
    feel. And I am a bit baffled as to how Ballard is only 2m. To be fair,
    we’re not talking significant sums in the wider picture.
    Anyway, best of luck to him at Sunderland.

  187. 187
    Trev says:

    Just catching up after a week of COVID induced throbbing headaches and lethargy to the point where the iPad was just too much to pick up !

    Some good laughs back around @125 and >

    Cynic – still watching Z Cars, eh ? I used to watch that with my old mate Colin Allcars 😏

  188. 188
    Trev says:

    Transfer windows do produce some confusing and often surprising views amongst fans, and even in a group as sensible – yours truly excepted – and balanced – depending entirely on wine consumption – as this one.

    The thing that ultimately cost us a Champions League place last season, over the course of the season, was a lack of goals and a bit of a shambles in the striking department. Now as the club shows a preparedness to pay premium prices for the players it really wants, we see concerns that X is overpriced, and if we do sign X, where is Y going to play. Five subs next season – this is going to be a squad game more than ever. Nobody is going to play all the time. For far too long there has been too big a gap in quality between the first team and squad players. It’s great to see this being addressed.

    I remember when a lot of fans were furious that we wouldn’t pay the extra £2 million – or similar – to sign Xabi Alonso, who would have “made our team” at the time. Conversely, there’s no way we should pay so much for Raphinha because he isn’t worth it. He is worth exactly what someone is prepared to pay which, in Chelsea’s case, is a lump more than our valuation. Personally, I don’t think we should pay £65 million for him because it is well known that he wants to play for someone else.

    We have criticised the Kroenkes for an unwillingness to spend – amongst other things – and now it seems because they want to spend too much !

    Overall, again despite a lot of criticism, I think Arteta and Edu have done a pretty fair job of reshaping and definitely rejuvenating our squad. Remember our recent league positions have not left us in strong positions in transfer windows. We sell players for “far too little” even though we think they are not good enough and there is no room in the squad if we don’t get rid. Our business in recent years has been hampered by players being too old, showing no kind of form or motivation, having little time left on their contracts, and in too many cases being on crazy wages that massively affect the fees we can demand.

    That situation should improve drastically with the acquisition of younger players with big potential on long contracts. The whole selling situation becomes much easier, provided that decisions are taken at the right time.

    I’m giving Arteta, Edu and the Kroenkes a chance to do their very best in this window, which they seem to be. I, we, have no choice anyway. If they really want to be successful, neither do they.

  189. 189
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@187: Hope you are fully over your Covid bout.

    GSD@185: Agree with you about Richarlison and the neighbours. Occasional moments of high threat, lots of show ponying and the rest of the time sulking or can’t be arsed.

    OM@186: Ballard will be running into another of our old boys in the Championship next season, Cohen Brammall, who has joined Rotherham from Lincoln having gone the long way round after leaving Colney via Colchester and Birmingham City. Ballard will do well, I suspect, and if Sunderland has got him for £2m, they have bought well.

  190. 190
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@188: I agree with most of what you say about our transfer business. Your point that it would be foolhardy to overpay for Raphinha as he really wants to be at Barca is astute. Leeds has been deft at ramping up the auction for him.

  191. 191
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Lots of great comments above. Gabriel Jesus is an astute, intelligent signing. Someone who combines technical skills with a very high work rate consistently. Thinking of the forward line as an unit of 6 to choose three players from, we now have Gabi, ESR, Jesus, Eddie, Saka, Pépé. I guess replacing Nico by an established upgrade is the main thing left to strengthen the forward line. Maybe if Reiss (who progressed well in the second half in Feyenoord) impresses Arteta in training he will get a chance?

    Last season had shown clearly that the club is following a plan in getting new players, and for the most part the outcomes are impressive. Tomiyasu, White and Ramsdale have been fine signings, Sambi and Tavares both showing promise but with a lot of room for growth, and I am happy to not worry about every individual signings but just wait for the squad that appears on the match day 1.

  192. 192
    bt8 says:

    I have been informed that the meaning of richarlison in Brazilian Portuguese is “dumb and uncomprehending facial expression”

  193. 193
  194. 194
    bt8 says:

    Second coming of Jesus in England by the way. Much as predicted.

  195. 195
    bt8 says:

    Apologies to all, didn’t mean overly to lower the bar. Or underly either.

  196. 196
    bt8 says:

    Kicks it sideways in a Denilson-like maneuver hoping a more deft hand can dazzle the oppo.

  197. 197
    TTG says:

    Picks ball up on touchline

  198. 198
    ecg says:

    Runs in behind a befuddled Mustafi (sure, everyone has done that but it works)…

  199. 199
    scruzgooner says:

    nips in and drives it goalward…

  200. 200
    bathgooner says:

    Fires the ball into the net

  201. 201
    bt8 says:

    Fine finish bath. Back o’ the net’s where I like to see it

  202. 202
    scruzgooner says:

    nice, baff!

  203. 203
    Bathgooner says:

    I would like to thank everyone involved in the build up to this spectacular goal, starting with my mother and father…..

  204. 204
    bt8 says:

    Grandpa and Grandma shut out? Surely not.

  205. 205
    Countryman100 says:

    The spirit of cba is in here tonight.

  206. 206
    ecg says:

    Hopefully the new attacking lineup will be as efficient in front of the goal as the ‘Holic bar…

  207. 207
    bt8 says:

    The latest Tielemans rumor sounds relatively positive even as the source may not be the most reliable.


  208. 208
    ecg says:

    Can anyone educate me on Tielemans? I don’t give a flying f**k about LC so I have no idea what is best position would be with us. A replacement for Xhaka?

  209. 209
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the double ton, bath.

  210. 210
    North Bank Ned says:

    ecg@208: Tielemans plays as the left side of the two in Rodgers favoured 4-2-3-1 at Leicester City, so in that regard, he would be a one-for-one Xhaka replacement. But he plays further forward when Rodgers plays 4-1-4-1 with Mendy being the single pivot. For Belgium, he plays as one of the two middle CMs on either the left or right side in a 3-4-3, though he is used as a DM on occasion. So he looks a good fit positionally for Arteta’s desired 4-3-3, is used to a 4-2-3-1 and could play alongside Partey or in place of him in either formation.

  211. 211
    bathgooner says:

    It is with regret that I have learnt that Andy Goram, for a period vicariously a regular in the Guvna’s bar, has died. RIP, Goalie.

  212. 212
    bt8 says:

    As reported on the official site today: Arsenal 5 Ipswich 1
    Goals by Nketiah (3), Balogun and Sambi Lokonga
    Notable appearances by Bellerin (with flowing locks), Pepe, AMN and Nelson.

  213. 213
    North Bank Ned says:

    Some reminders from the Ipswich game of those still on the books.

    First-half team:
    Bellerin, White, Mari, Cedric
    Partey, AMN, Lokonga
    Nelson, Nketiah, Pepe

    And of the up and comers.

    Second-half team:
    Walters, Kirk, Awe, Sousa,
    Matt Smith, Salah Oulad M’hand, Patino,
    Hutchinson, Balogun, Flores

  214. 214
    TTG says:

    Flores is a mighty talent who had three countries he could choose to play for . He chose Mexico and may well go to Qatar. Barca were so impressed with him they offered to discount the price of Coutinho substantially a few months ago if we’d let them take Flores . His contract ends in a year but we have a two year extension option which we look certain to trigger .
    He may well follow a similar career path to Saka ( he has been on the bench for a PL game already) and we may well see him in the Europa League. But he is apparently a huge Barca fan so we had best try to get him on a much longer , more lucrative contract. Not a bad free transfer from Ipswich!

  215. 215
    ecg says:

    Ned@210: Thanks for the background. If he’s a replacement for Xhaka I hope we are going all in!

  216. 216
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@214: Flores has been a bit under the radar, but he is a talent. We seem to be stacking up wide out left even more than we used to with CBs.

  217. 217
    North Bank Ned says:

    Flores’s sister, Silvana, formerly of this parish, has been capped by the Mexico women’s team, making the pair members of a very limited club of brothers and sisters who are both full internationals.

  218. 218
    TTG says:

    Yes he has two sisters who both play and they switched to us with him from Ipswich but they have moved on to Chelsea . Dad is a Mexican international and is proactively managing his talented offspring’s career .
    Your point about wide left players is well made. Flores and Hutchinson are behind Martinelli and this bodes ill for Nelson and of course Pepe . Wide players given that ESR is effective there don’t seem to me to be a priority but it would be useful to get a decent fee for Pepe

  219. 219
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    The deal for Gabriel Jesus has finally been announced!

    Brilliant signing in my view, I’m very happy with that.

    Welcome to The Arsenal!

  220. 220
    Noosa Gooner says:

    I see the signing of Jesus is confirmed.
    Welcome Jesus.
    Will his dad now become a season-ticket holder?

  221. 221
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Nice one Noosa!

    I suspect that Gabriel Jesus will have to put up with a lot of gags like that until we all get over it and settle down.

    Still, we all have our crosses to bear.

  222. 222
  223. 223
  224. 224
    bt8 says:

    Well in Countryman at the big 222. There’s nary a nicer number

  225. 225
    Pangloss says:

    A good, and interesting read C100@222. Thanks for posting.


  226. 226
    North Bank Ned says:

    Delighted to see the Jesus deal announced. Could have done without the Cristo Redentor pose high above the Ems in the official pics, though.

    C100@222: Thanks for the link. An insightful read (though brutally harsh on Laca). I hope our new No 9 lives up to his billing. In the friendly against Ipswich, you could see our midfielders practising threading through those vertical passes inside the full-backs for Jesus to run onto in behind.

    We don’t need another 30 goals a season to be competitive. Half that number in the right games will make all the difference. If Jesus can get a dozen and provide a couple of assists for each of the rest of the attackers, we shall be in a good place.

  227. 227
    Ollie says:

    The drinks numbers is edging into England innings territory.
    Are we all ready for seasons of Jesus-based puns?

  228. 228
    Countryman100 says:

    Worry not Ollie. Soon we will start reviewing our pre season games, complete with the three Gabriels.

  229. 229
    Ollie says:

    Archangels puns! 😁

  230. 230
    North Bank Ned says:

    Just wait until we play the Saints.

  231. 231
    bt8 says:



  232. 232
    North Bank Ned says:

    Unnamed 29-year old PL player arrested in Barnet on suspicion of rape, according to the Daily Telegraph.


    That is concerningly close to home.

  233. 233
    scruzgooner says:

    we have 3 29 year olds: xhaka, partey, mo’neny. scum also have 3, moura, davies, and son. very concerning: we can only hope for the latter three.

    ok, according to the independent it’s an “international star” going to qatar this fall. knocks out moura and mo’neny. not really looking good…


  234. 234
    OsakaMatt says:

    Best of luck to Zak Swanson, who has gone to Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee. The manager is Danny Cowley who I think managed ESR at Huddersfield.

  235. 235
    TTG says:

    Xhaka and Partey are both married .Partey got married very recently . It might be a West Ham or Brentford player .But it is a worry

  236. 236
    North Bank Ned says:

    Two at WHU fit the profile. One at the bus stop and one at Villa. No one at Brentford.

    Still, there is a reason that those arrested in rape cases are not named until they are charged. So we should probably leave it there until a charge is brought, or the player or club involved makes a public statement.

  237. 237
    Sancho Panza says:

    There was a website naming the player APPARENTLY involved this morning but it has probably been taken down by now.

  238. 238
    TTG says:

    Contrary to earlier reports Partey is still in London and did not travel to Germany

  239. 239
  240. 240
    ecg says:

    Maybe we should be more concerned about the rape victim than whether it is one of our players or one of their players…

  241. 241
    OsakaMatt says:

    Looks like Kos retired just in time. Didn’t we get Wiltord from them too?
    Bordeaux I mean.

  242. 242
    bt8 says:

    Administrative relegation sounds pretty bad even in French. They must have done one or two naughty things. https://www.transfermarkt.com/girondins-to-be-relegated-to-the-third-division-club-to-challenge-quot-brutal-quot-decision/amp/news/406008

  243. 243
    Cynic says:

    Has the gerbil powering the ‘new posts’ machine died?

    Just filling space to push it on to the 250.

    Carry on.

  244. 244
    North Bank Ned says:

    ecg@240: your sentiment is well placed. Once the facts are established, the player and the club involved will have some challenging moral decisions to take. The latest reported developments of further allegations do feel like a case in the making.

  245. 245
    North Bank Ned says:

    Six of our early league games have been rescheduled to accommodate TV. This is the updated fixtures for August & September:

    Fri Aug 5: Crystal Palace (A) 8 pm – Sky Sports
    Sat Aug 13: Leicester City (H) 3 pm
    Sat Aug 20: Bournemouth (A) 5.30 pm – Sky Sports
    Sat Aug 27: Fulham (H) 5.30 pm – Sky Sports
    Wed Aug 31: Aston Villa (H) 7.30 pm – BT Sport
    Sun Sep 4: Manchester United (A) 4.30 pm – Sky Sports
    Sun Sep 11: Everton (H) 2 pm
    Sun Sep 18: Brentford (A) 2pm – Sky Sports

  246. 246
    North Bank Ned says:

    Six of our early league games have been rescheduled to accommodate TV. This is the updated fixtures for August & September:

    Fri Aug 5: Crystal Palace (A) 8 pm – Sky Sports
    Sat Aug 13: Leicester City (H) 3 pm
    Sat Aug 20: Bournemouth (A) 5.30 pm – Sky Sports
    Sat Aug 27: Fulham (H) 5.30 pm – Sky Sports
    Wed Aug 31: Aston Villa (H) 7.30 pm – BT Sport
    Sun Sep 4: Manchester United (A) 4.30 pm – Sky Sports
    Sun Sep 11: Everton (H) 2 pm
    Sun Sep 18: Brentford (A) 2 pm – Sky Sports

  247. 247
    North Bank Ned says:

    Oops, unintentional duplication, but think of it as the pre-pre-assist-assist as the ball ricochets to…

  248. 248
    TTG says:

    Slips around the defender, forced wide but plays tempting ball across the face of the goal

  249. 249
    Countryman100 says:


    What would you like to write about?

  250. 250
    Bathgooner says:

    Picks up the double ton and a half with a deft flick.

  251. 251
    Countryman100 says:

    Assist from Cambs to Somerset. Well in Bath.

  252. 252
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Matt/bt8: It’s sad to see one of the great traditional clubs of French football going through this crisis.
    Matt, yes we got Wiltord from Bordeaux and then later Chamakh. At that time we were linked with a few others in that Bordeaux line-up but back then it was the norm for Arsenal to be linked with players in successful teams in Ligue 1.

  253. 253
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the double ton and a half, Bath.

    C100@251: Now that is what I call a long ball…

  254. 254
    Countryman100 says:

  255. 255
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@254 🙂

  256. 256
    OsakaMatt says:

    @254 😂😂

  257. 257
    ClockEndRider says:


  258. 258
    Cynic says:

    What would you like to write about?

    The Reformation of the church in England and the unrecognised genius of William Tyndale.

    Bit short on tactical chatter, but all that false nine God stuff might please those who like a bit of faux intellectualism in their reading. 🙂

  259. 259
    Countryman100 says:

    Delighted to accept your offer. When could we have your copy?

  260. 260
    Cynic says:


    I don’t suppose anyone knows of a really good t-shirt printing company that can do drop shipping, print on demand, good quality and capable of doing white on black print economically? So all you need to do it upload the design and sit back to count the readies? Football club I know of wants to do their own range of merch but operating on a budget of pennies.

  261. 261
    Countryman100 says:

    Tell you what Cynic, how about we run it when the World Cup is on and there are no games to report on. So late October?

  262. 262
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cynic@258: I am not sure that William Tyndale was an unrecognised genius. He made the list the BBC published around the time of the Millennial of the 100 greatest Britons.

    ~@260: I know folks who have used Cafe Press in the US. They also have a UK operation, if that is where your football club is. The products/services were fine and the process relatively painless, but they also got only a slither of the sales price on each item. But that is the cost of sitting back. You still have to promote your products to generate sales. There are lots of similar firms to be found online, so worth searching around.

  263. 263
    Cynic says:

    Cafe Press have been considered and rejected. Thinking more of a smaller company which employs people for a penny an hour so they can pass more profit on to their “partners” 🙂

    It’s a dog eat dog world, but the way things are going it will be an everybody eat dog world quite shortly.

  264. 264
    Trev says:

    Have you seen the price of dogs lately ?l

  265. 265
    TTG says:

    I’m with Ned re Tyndale’s reputation. In ecclesiastical circles he is highly regarded being the first man to translate the Bible into English – centuries before Google Translate
    He was also a martyr and went to his death bravely as I recall
    I await Cynic’s piece with interest . It confirms my long-held view that Cynic is actually Archbishop George Carey , a well known Gooner . I once saw him at Arsenal on a Sunday !

  266. 266
    Countryman100 says:

    The Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard, played county cricket for Sussex and Test cricket for England. He was having a bad morning in the field and dropped several slip catches off Fred Trueman. When the third one went down, Trueman paused, hands on hips and said “for f**ks sake Rev, pretend it’s Sunday and keep your hands together!”.

  267. 267
    Cynic says:

    Misread that as George Clooney for a moment. More Formby than Carey.

    I don’t really want to write about Tyndale, Melvyn Bragg beat me to it. William Tyndale: A Very Brief History is well worth picking up, should you spot it whilst wandering.

    I’ve always wanted a copy of Foxxe’s Book of Martyrs for some reason.

    Anyway. Football. The women’s Euros have been extremely average so far and playing in big, empty looking, stadia is a mistake.

  268. 268
    Cynic says:

    Foxe’s. He wasn’t the founder of Ultravox, he was a 16th Century clergyman, so only one x

  269. 269
    OsakaMatt says:

    Graham is the only George to be, though I’m forgetting Armstrong there. Hmm, call it a draw then. Both are better than two Bush’s in a hand 😉

  270. 270
    North Bank Ned says:

    If we are going dissenting Foxes, then we should go George Fox.

  271. 271
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cynic@263: You will probably have to time travel to the 16th or 17th centuries to find those rates.

  272. 272
    Countryman100 says:

  273. 273
    North Bank Ned says:

    Jack hangs up his boots for good.


    It feels like a significant milestone.

  274. 274
    North Bank Ned says:

    The Athletic reports that Jack will be our new U-18s coach.

  275. 275
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned — some lovely tributes coming in for Jack, liked the one from Santi! A superlative talent, and best wishes to him in his coaching career.

  276. 276
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Jack – top top player and Gooner. Cruelled by injuries.
    I hope he succeeds in the coaching role with us.

  277. 277
    Pangloss says: