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So, 6 weeks after the end of the season, we get to see the latest version of Arteta’s Arsenal. As every summer I can remember since early childhood, the wait for the pre-season to begin is bittersweet. On the one hand we have the long, warm evenings to enjoy, a blessed relief here in the UK, let me tell you. On the other hand, the advent of football heralds the shortening of the days and the slow decline into long cold nights, warmed only by the prospect of watching football.

The ground looked very busy, if not full and the weather was glorious.  Arsenal lined up for the first half:


Bellerin        Ruell Walters    Mari    Tierney

            Lokonga         AMN

        Nelson         ESR    Pepe


We started slowly, exhibiting the rust we should expect for a side comprised mostly of players 1 week into pre-season. However, there is slow and there is snail-like, and after a mere two minutes, Nurnberg showed they would be a threat with a very good cross from the right and a header from the striker which really ought to have troubled Turner, but went wide. This was repeated after 5 minutes and the more I looked at the team, the more I thought thus side was composed of players waiting to be called to the gate from the departures lounge. Nothing was clicking and in the 9th minute a fairly harmless deep ball into the box saw a little confusion between Tierney and Turner.  I thought the former was expecting the latter to come out and claim the ball, which he signally didn’t. Again, maybe just new teammates getting to know one another.

Our first significant action occurred on 14 minutes when Tierney advanced on the left. ESR made an intelligent run inside and was put in by Tierney towards the edge of the box, cut in and fired a curling effort towards the top right of the Nurnberg goal as he looked at it. The keeper made a good save. There followed a period of a few minutes only enlivened by the commentary team talking about Bellerin’s long hair, with co-commentator and famously shiny-headed former player Perry Groves opining, sagely “It’s very overrated, hair.”    Wise words.

On 23 minutes Nurnberg took the lead with a superb effort fired in from 25 yards. Now the ball did appear to swerve somewhat, but I rather thought Turner flailed around a bit in the manner of a hairdresser looking desperately for his comb, to maintain the hair-based motif. Again, not wholly convincing on his part.

At around halfway in the first half, I stopped to take stock and it dawned on me that I had barely seen Nketiah or Pepe. Things got worse in the 29th minute when some sloppy play in midfield, by Lokonga I think, gifted them the ball and allowed them to score on the break in the manner we have been used to seeing teams score against arsenal for the best part of the last 20 years. The attacker fired in from 20 yards after breaking from just inside our half and finished with aplomb. While I think it was the kind of angle from which we are used to seeing Ramsdale save, I can’t in truth blame Turner as it was a very well-directed shot across him into the bottom right.

Straight after the second goal, something strange happened. Tierney was subbed for Cedric. Now I couldn’t see any signs of injury or limping, and maybe it was pre-planned after his latest 6-month absence but even so.  In fairness Tierney had looked a bit off the pace, more so than the general ring-rustiness being exhibited by the rest of the team.

The first half continued in much the same vein with players – I thought ESR in particular – being sloppy and holding on to the ball too long rather than looking to move it quickly. We had one good break where Pepe fired a shot over just before half time, but overall, the first half could best be described as uninspired and uninspiring. It had been something of a trial (with thanks to C100 for that one).

The players came out for the second half and there were not as many changes as I had thought. However, our saviour was among them.

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    Gabriel        Mari        Cedric

        Lokonga     Elneny        AMN

    Nelson             Nketiah            Martinelli


As soon as the players came onto the pitch there looked to be more intent. Groves wondered out loud whether Arteta, no stranger to the tonsured look, had had the proverbial hairdryer out at half time.  Let it go, Perry, let it go…..

And we only had to wait around 90 seconds for the difference in approach to be felt. Jesus raised the pace and pressed the defender midway in their half into an error, having won the ball, he drove towards the box and played the ball into Eddie who played a first time pass back to Jesus on the 6th yard line but wide of the goal, who then lashed it in to the near post above the flailing keeper.  What a start.

Jesus then really began to show his class and perhaps some leadership, taking the game to Nurnberg, showing for the ball, and constantly harassing. 

In the 54th we drew level with Elneny absolutely belting home a shot from what must have been 30 yards, after Lokonga had galloped forward up the left and played the ball in for Jesus, whose blocked shot pinged out to Elneny to hit first time.

The passing and moving had now become fast, accurate and slick. Everything it wasn’t in the first half. And 2 minutes later we took the lead following a penetrative run by Eddie who knocked the ball back as the keeper advanced for Martinelli to put in a cross which looked like Jesus headed in, but which was given to the defender who scooped it into the top of the net. As this was the high point of his day, I shall call it Schindler’s lift. I’m here all week. Try the veal.

It turned out that from that point, more Nurnberg defenders wanted to get in on the comedy act and when, in the 63rd minute a shot from Eddie cannoned back off the bar it hit another one and went in to put us further ahead. I wondered at this point when the clown car would come on and whether there would be buckets of confetti tipped over the crowd but alas in vain.

We then had another round of subs in the 68th minute with Turner, AMN, Lokonga , Nelson and Eddie being replaced by Okonkwo, Patino, Salah, Marquinhos and Balogun, respectively. On 73 Nurnberg grabbed one back. One of their defenders was allowed to run the best part of 60 yards out with the ball, which was subsequently crossed in, hopefully hit back in the air to the far post where it pinged about in a manner which would have made Roger Daltrey proud before an entirely unmarked forward was allowed to hammer home from 6 yards. The ghost of Mustafi, it would appear, has still not been exorcised.

Then in the 74th minute another Jesus goal, a thing of beauty as he added a delicate touch to a finely threaded cross-cum-through ball from Martinelli to put it into the roof of the net from 6 yards.   


It is always difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from the first match of pre-season. At the same time, the difference between the first and second half performances can, I think shed some light. Jesus came on and was a real focal point and set the tone for the performance. His movement, energy and awareness enabled the team to pick up significantly and play some attractive football. This all rather draws attention to the absence of the above in the first half.   Pepe and Bellerin were pretty much invisible, although Bellerin does appear to have finally mastered the art of taking a throw in properly after a year away. Well done, you. Prizes for all. I won’t miss either of these if and when they leave.

So, it’s now onwards to the US tour where I imagine the team will be joined by some of the players still away following involvement in meaningless, post-season, contrived, non- tournaments like the Nations League.

22 Drinks to “Nurnberg vs Arsenal”

  1. 1
    North Bank Ned says:

    You launch pre-season with more panache than the team seems to have displayed in the first half, CER. Onwards and upwards.

  2. 2
    TTG says:

    This is an excellent and helpful account of a game I did not see live because , as a point of principle , 8 wouldn’t as a Gold member , pay an extra £5.99 for a pre-season kickabout .
    I’ve seen some highlights . There were plenty of them and some great goals.
    Obviously, Jesus made a heck of a difference. He galvanised a team, several members of whom have no wish to be at the club. Making Bellerin the initial captain was a crass move .
    I thought Turner was poor on the first goal and unconvincing on the second . It’s too early to suggest he is Runnarson Mark 2 but I’d expect better .Let’s give him time .
    Good to see Patino and Marquinhos making a decent impression
    The key now is developing a team style and bringing much more strength and experience into midfield

  3. 3
    OsakaMatt says:

    Up and running with an amusing report, thanks CER.
    MA saying that the plan was always to take KT off after 30 minutes and he’s all good apparently.

  4. 4
    bathgooner says:

    An excellent opener for the new season’s match report, CER. Having now seen the highlights on .con, I am pleased to see that the second half came up to the standard of your match report and am delighted by Jesus’ debut for the club and his impact on not only the outcome but the style of play. On the other hand, Turner was unimpressive on both goals and imho, should have saved both shots instead of flapping fecklessly at them. Perhaps he is still jet-lagged? As you imply, CER, we should give him more time.

    I am no longer a ST holder – that first season of Sr. Emery finally killed my enthusiasm for a financial investment in and commitment to fortnightly torture – but like TTG, I thought that £5.99 to watch that match live was piracy at any level. Not impressed, Arsenal.

  5. 5
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks for stumping up the £5.99 to watch this game for us CER. When we were 2-0 down at half time, I was saying chill, it’s a preseason kick about. I tend to take the same view when we won 5-3. Very pleasing that Jesus looked good, slightly concerning that Turner made a bit of a slow start. I share the bafflement that we were playing players who won’t be with us at the start to the season.

  6. 6
    Pangloss says:

    One drink, judged to be dodgy and/or sub judice, and four follow-ups deleted. Ed.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    I thought Turner’s positioning was a bit off for both goals. PL finishing is more clinical than in the MLS so keepers have less of a margin of error. He’ll adjust.

    Jesus took both his goals like a top-class striker. Very encouraging.

  8. 8
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Such an enjoyable read CER, thank you!

    Jesus rightly took most of the plaudits, that sharpness of movements and high tempo pressing from the front are his trademarks, but it was also nice to see that he has already built a bit of understanding with Eddie and the other Gabbie.

    Eddie’s game has been improving steadily. He came up with a few direct run at the defense with ball at his feet that I have rarely seen him try before and let’s hope he can continue this development towards becoming a more complete forward.

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    Stylish work CER and greetings from the German capital where my holidays have taken me.

  10. 10
    Trev says:

    Cheers CER, a very enjoyable read, some good laughs and insight as I have still seen nothing other than Jesus’ first goal.

    He does indeed look potentially like our saviour – something to which others have already borne testament. It’s going to be a looong season 🤣

  11. 11
    bathgooner says:

    Fantasy League 2022/3, chaps?

    Same simple rules as last season:

    1) At least one Arsenal squad member.

    2) No Spudz.

    3) Rule 2 always applies.

  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:

  13. 13
    Cynic says:

    Let’s be honest though, if we had those players we’d want rid of them as well.

  14. 14
    ClockEndRider says:

    Great point, C100. Still, it’s not as if one expects any better from the UK media.

  15. 15
    scruzgooner says:

    thanks, cer, great read and the same i partially saw. hopefully one or two of those looking for an out (amn, bellerin) will show brave and effective as squaddies.

    all four of those scum were, at one time or another, their saviors. buncha second-raters if i ever saw one…

  16. 16
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah, I’m in and also good with the same rules as last season.

    Any rule-breaking can be managed by the group.

    I will go in get it set up on the FLP site this week.
    Unless anyone else would like to be administrator?

  17. 17
    Sancho Panza says:

    Let’s hope their plane takes them to North Korea by mistake and they have to spend the rest of their lives in a hard labour camp. Just picturing Harry Kane breaking up big piles of rocks.

  18. 18
    bathgooner says:

    OM @11, you have been elected unanimously, sir.

  19. 19
    Countryman100 says:

    Excellent summary of the squad’s contract situation. It’s in the Athletic so paywalled (but I can’t think of better value to get Ornstein, gunnerblog, Amy Lawrence et al.)


  20. 20
    Cynic says:

    Paywalls are part of the conspiracy that keeps the masses uninformed. All news and information should be free.

    And so should tinfoil.

    Oooh, tenuous links to the previous drinks about the Reformation and Tyndale. Latin was the paywall of the Medieval world – Not a bad title. Not exactly rolling off the tongue, but it’s the Reformation so whaddya expect?

  21. 21
    Las says:

    Thanks, CER for excellent writing. I enjoyed it even without watching it at all.

  22. 22
    scruzgooner says: