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Conventional wisdom advises that the extremes of pre-season performances and results be faced with, if not quite the stoicism of a sage (for no sage would voluntarily raise their blood pressure in a balmy summer evening), at least with a degree of measured nonchalance.  But conventional wisdom is also a complete killjoy, so I decided to immoderately, unwisely, ecstatically celebrate the mighty red-and-white thumping an old (and rather dislikeable) enemy with a performance of breathtaking physical intensity and footballing savoir-faire in a hot and humid Florida night. Yes, this performance and result may “mean nothing” at the end of the season, nonetheless it was a memorably joyful display that hinted at tantalizing possibilities.  

If you haven’t seen the full match and just want to see the highlights and skip the rest, I suggest that if you can manage to carve out ninety odd minutes from your schedule to see the full match recorded you will find the experience to be worth your time. 

The starting line-up included the new face of Oleksandr Zinchenko, the Ukrainian international captain, having just recently joined Arsenal from Manchester City, following the same steps taken by his good friend Gabriel Jesus who has already shown us the kind of superlative technical abilities and elite professionalism the club is trying to bring in to move us to the next level. The versatile newcomer started in left back, whereas White started on the right in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 


White – Saliba – Gabriel – Zinchenko 

Partey – Xhaka 

Saka – Ødegaard – Martinelli 


If we don’t sign any other players in this transfer window, I suspect this would be our first choice starting line-up while Tierney and Tomiyasu are still recovering. If both are fit, it will be a toss-up between Saliba and White in the right side of the central defense, while Zinchenko is likely to play the left-sided 8 role that Xhaka now holds. 

Chelsea fielded mostly the same familiar faces, with a few additions that have somehow managed to up their annoyingness quotient even higher. A few of them, for some inexplicable reasons, decided to gleefully hack down any and all Arsenal players from the get-go. I guess the change of ownership hasn’t yet really transformed the culture. 

Arsenal started with a high tempo, pressing from the front in well-orchestrated patterns and moving the ball quickly and vertically. In defense Saliba and Gabriel complemented each other well, maintained positional discipline and appeared comfortable in possession. Saliba stopped a Chelsea counter-attack with a precise and clean tackle and from the resulting Chelsea corner Martinelli won possession and ran down the middle of the pitch – rather reminiscent of his memorable goal against the same opponents at their home in the Premier League – in a blistering counter-attack and released Saka. A peak-condition Saka would have surely scored from that opportunity, but this time Mendy blocked his goal bound attempt. 

Zinchenko appeared well at ease with the formation and his teammates, showing great control in tight spaces, combined well with Xhaka and Martinelli on the left and once released Saka with a sumptuous cross-field pass. Physically, he did not look as sharp as the rest of the Arsenal players and was beaten by the pace of James a couple of times down their right wing, which is only to be expected as he joined the squad a few days back, after starting his pre-season late following his participation in world cup qualifiers. 

Gabriel Jesus, since his first minute in an Arsenal shirt in this pre-season, has indicated that he means business.  His movement, close control, understanding with Ødegaard, Martinelli and Saka and then his relentless front-foot pressing in tandem with his fellow Brazilian was troubling the Chelsea defense to no end. Such a concerted Arsenal press forced a mistake from the Chelsea defense and Xhaka pounced on the loose ball and unhesitatingly set Jesus up with a lovely slide-rule pass. Jesus finished with an imperious chip over the advancing Mendy. 

Arsenal 1 (G. Jesus 15’) – Chelsea 0

Arsenal kept the pressure up, the forward four superbly assisted by Partey and Xhaka in the midfield. It was noticeable how progressively and quickly both were willing to pass after winning possession – they both were winning most of the 50:50 challenges — and how much of a natural understanding of the half-spaces they have grown into. Their sharpness may have been highlighted more because of Chelsea’s relative sluggishness, which might simply mean that these two squads are at different stages of pre-season preparedness and nothing more, but it was highly noticeable. 

The second goal came through an eye-catching combination of technical abilities and physical sharpness. We won possession high up the field, Martinelli drove at the box with the ball, swiveled around to make space and then set up Ødegaard – who had made a disguised run into the box — with a clever pass that Martin finished crisply. 

Arsenal 2 (G. Jesus 15’, Ødegaard 36’) – Chelsea 0

After the second goal Chelsea enjoyed a stretch of possession but without offering any significant threat to trouble Ramsdale. There was a cross that deflected off Zinchenko to loop up in the air and our goalkeeper had to scramble to ensure safety. Towards the end of the first half another flowing Arsenal move saw Partey attempting one of his trademark long-rangers – and keeping with the spirit of positivity, I must say match by match these attempts are inching closer and closer to the goal! It feels that once one of those goes in he would be scoring a few each season. This effort just curled wide. Just before the half-time whistle Mount’s excellent attempt from the edge of the box crashed against the far post, Ramsdale was completely beaten. 

Chelsea made a few changes at the beginning of the second half whereas we only brought in Nuno Tavares for Zinchenko, whose debut in an Arsenal shirt promised much. I hold a somewhat contrary opinion about Nuno compared to most of the Goonerverse. Even if Tierney gets back to full fitness before the season starts, I think we should still keep him and not let him leave on loan. In Europa group stages he can be a difference-making player with his aggression, physicality and attack mindedness. His defensive frailties are tactical and positional, not technical, and hence can be coached out of his system; especially with Zinchenko more likely to ply his preferred midfield role in Arsenal colors Nuno may yet get the opportunity to contribute significantly. Tavares played rather well in his forty-five minutes in this match, keeping his focus defensively and a few times progressing rapidly with the ball in speedy counter attacks. 

Chelsea looked better in the second half, playing with more purpose. The needlessly crunching challenges continued, and Mount earned a yellow card for his tackle on Partey. Jesus drew a few fouls because of the sharpness of his movements and quick feet, and around 56thminute Mikel decided to bring in Nketiah for the Brazilian. Eddie kept up the intensity and pressing, but earned an unnecessary yellow card for not allowing a quick restart by Chelsea. 

The third goal came from a curious combination of high technical quality and a bit of good fortune. Saka enjoyed a bit of luck down the right to skip past his marker, and from the resulting attack Martinelli’s fierce shot was palmed away by Mendy. Xhaka then displayed a delightful bit of control and technique to keep possession of the ball in the air before releasing a powerful right-footed volley that was again saved by Mendy but this time Saka was close by the finish from the rebound. VAR, if it were present, might have chalked the goal off for a potential offside by Saka. 

Arsenal 3 (G. Jesus 15’, Ødegaard 36’, Saka 65’) – Chelsea 0

Mikel rang the changes around the 70th minute.  Turner replaced Ramsdale – whose distribution was inconsistent throughout the evening – and Elneny came on for Partey.  Pépé, fighting (or not) for his Arsenal career, replaced Martinelli to play down the left. Another member of our Brazilian contingent, young Marquinhos from São Paulo, replaced Saka. Cedric took on the right back role which White had performed with consummate ease.  

Martinelli had played seventy minutes of non-stop, high quality, high intensity football with a rapidly growing tactical sophistication that must have pleased Mikel. 

With a pinpoint cross-field pass Tavares released Marquinhos who was brought down by a Chelsea player who received a yellow card. A few minutes later, Nuno himself, on one of his rampaging runs, drew another yellow card as Ampadu was forced to bring him down. Soon after captain Ødegaard saw a yellow for a tired tackle. 

That was likely the indication for Mikel to make the final set of changes. Maitland-Niles came on for Xhaka, who I thought had a very influential game. And Sambi replaced a superb Ødegaard, who especially in the first half combined scintillatingly with Gabriel Jesus. 

I think Sambi has all the tools to become a world class midfielder. His technical abilities and tactical awareness are top notch, and without overly relying on physicality he smartly uses his quick speed over short distances to good effects. He can get overwhelmed and starts committing mistakes under pressure, but the psychological maturity will come with age and experience. He has been consistently good in the pre-season and this cameo appearance was no exception. In a somewhat advanced midfield role he combined well multiple times and once released Nketiah with a perfect through ball only for Eddie to be fouled. 

Eddie was clattered once more following quick combination play around the Chelsea penalty box. Sadly Pépé’s excellent free-kick was saved by an acrobatic Mendy. 

The final passage of play saw Cedric curl in a perfect cross from the right. Sambi was left completely unmarked in the box and he guided a cushioned header inside the far corner past an outstretched Mendy. This was Sambi’s first goal in an Arsenal shirt and the joyous reception he got from his teammates offered an insight into the spirit inside the camp. 

Arsenal 4 (G. Jesus 15’, Ødegaard 36’, Saka 65’, Sambi 92’) – Chelsea 0

Afterwards in the interview Mikel was rightly cautious about not reading much into the performance and result. It is of course his job to look at this evening’s happenings through a more realistic prism. But for supporters like us, especially those of us who refuse to be easily seduced by the charms of cautious pragmatism, performances like this – even if it is in a pre-season “friendly” – indicate a clear evolution that we can all stand behind.    


Maria Petri

The team at Goonerholics Forever send their condolences to the family and friends of Maria Petri, Arsenal fan extraordinaire, who will be missed by thousands of match-going Gooners and whose support for the Arsenal was second to none. Maria was an example to us all.

121 Drinks to “Blowing Away the Blues”

  1. 1
    Tasgooner says:

    A cheeky thirst

  2. 2
    Tasgooner says:

    And all my respects to Maria’s family and to a legendary Gooner, if only we could all be so positive.

  3. 3
    ClockEndRider says:

    A superb report, Dr. F. I may well find time to tear myself away from my holiday light reading (Wodehouse’ Blandings series – no point taxing the little grey cells on holiday, is there? ) to watch the full 90.

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    Great stuff Dr F and I can’t wait to watch the playback on .com. It really does sound like the team is gelling nicely. Thanks also for adding the tribute to Maria (added by Bath?).

  5. 5
    Countryman100 says:

    Thomas Tuchel’s not happy. I feel his pain 😂😂


  6. 6
    Trev says:

    Great stuff, Dr F !

    I stayed up and watched here in the UK. It was worth every minute. Chelsea were not treating that as a friendly judging by their on pitch behaviour. And judging by our pace and intensity, neither were we.

    The Florida Cup – another big trophy Tottenham have never won 🤣🤣

    We are rapidly turning from a quality team into a quality squad. Apparently there are more still to come ……

  7. 7
    Pangloss says:

    Excellent stuff, Faustus.

    Roll on August 5.


  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    Wonderful report on what sounds like a greatly enjoyable game to watch. Thanks so much for your report Dr. Faustus. Particularly enjoyed your method of repeating the identities of all our goal scorers in each successive header, providing the reader with three additional opportunities to be reminded about Gabriel Jesus’ sumptuous opener. Great stuff. RIP Maria, I imagine she saw this one in heaven.

  9. 9
    Bathgooner says:

    Great report, Dr F, of what sounds like an excellent performance against the vermin from the bus stop. I was in dreamland at the time. However your report plus the all-too-brief highlights on .com leave me gagging for an opportunity to watch the whole game.

    The Arsenal are back – and so too, it would appear, are pre-money-laundered Chelsea!

    Maria will have been watching from a front row cloud alongside our good old mate, Dave.

  10. 10
    scruzgooner says:

    faustus, thanks. we saw the same (pre-season) game. one thing to note is that one of saliba or white will release sterling from their pocket upon their return home. i completely forgot he was on the pitch most of the game. granted, perhaps he hasn’t had time to bed into the pile of moldy sheets that is the chelsea team, but they were stellar guarding that right side of our defense.

    drinks for everyone on the bar; even though he is rarely seen in these parts anymore we do still have lars’ wallet to cover the tab.

  11. 11
    Bathgooner says:

    Nice link, C100 @5.

    A pretty fair assessment by Tuchel:

    “Given our last two weeks, our game today, we should not mention the two teams in front of us. We got absolutely beaten by a team that does not play Champions League football next season and finished behind us. But at the moment, they seem far ahead of us.”

  12. 12
    Ollie says:

    Back to being able to watch matches again soon, but I must admit that despite not having watched any of the pre-season, I’m looking forward to the new one. Not long to go.
    Cheers all.
    And RIP Maria, a true Legend of the club.

  13. 13
    Countryman100 says:

    Anyone else remember driving back from football with your Dad, pulling up at traffic lights and buying a copy of the Pink Un?


  14. 14
    Bathgooner says:

    There were two such papers in Glasgow. The Green Citizen (which generally appeared first) and the Pink Times. Neither have been around for many years.

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    Just excellent, Dr F. Your opening paragraph alone is worth the price of admission. Being of monkish mind here at Castle Ned, we whall not get over-excited by three preseason wins, but take quiet pleasure in much of what we have seen and try to stay cool in the summer heat. Tuchel is right in saying we played the team and formation that will start the PL season. In retrospect, it seems that Arteta was using the tour to integrate our new arrivals and prep his first team for a fast start in the early games of the season. Leaving the youngsters at home now makes sense in that context, and I doubt that Arteta would have learned anything about them he did not already know.

  16. 16
    TTG says:

    Firstly , a massively classy touch to include the tribute to Maria. Dave’s spirit and class lives on
    Dr. F,
    I’ve only seen the highlights – and there were many from an Arsenal perspective , but this was a fine performance. There were many plusses. Saliba looks like a RollsRoyce defender, Jesus looks exactly what we needed last season when we were sending out poor old Laca and Zinchenko is quality as well.
    If we are playing 4-3-3 this season we have many left and right 8s but we need an understudy/ alternate to Partey at 6. We also probably need a wide attacke4 who can play through the middle. If we get the right players we will have the best squad we’ve had for a very long time

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@13: Thanks for the link. Another little piece of the past erased. Like rattles.

  18. 18
    Cynic says:

    Even Cynic would have enjoyed that.

    I doubt it. Playing like Brazil in a friendly does nothing for me, I’d rather play like Stoke in a game that matters. As long as we win obvs. 🙂

  19. 19
    Countryman100 says:

    As I’ve always said Cynic, it’s been so cheerful that keeps you going mate!

  20. 20
    bt8 says:

    Great to hear that about Saliba, TTG. Not having seen any of our preseason games I am bursting to see him in the heart of our defence. Gabriel however is also very classy in my mind. I’m thinking they could be quite capable of forming the Rolls-Royce partnership. 🤛🏾🤛🏾

  21. 21
    bt8 says:

    Just looking at drinks #1 and 2 above I was just wondering, do we have a Tasmanian Gooner in the bar. It would buoy my spirits being a lover of geographic diversity.

    No worries, I won’t be too disappointed Tasgooner if you’re from elsewhere.

  22. 22
    Esso says:

    Cheers Doc!

    Remember going away to Middlesborough late 90’s, midweek evening league cup game. We lost on penalties. I was 1 of about 500 gooners present. Sat right behind Maria. Never stopped, “Come ON you GUNNERS!”, all night long.

    #RIP Maria.

  23. 23
    TTG says:

    It’s very fair to not get carried away with friendly results but so many Gooners would have started moaning if we’d lost 4-0 to the Chavs.
    I remember watching us beat Norwich 6-1 in a friendly at Carrow Road at the start of the 97/98 season. It was obvious this was a team with huge potential. I have similar feelings now. I like to try and enjoy the good moments

  24. 24
    scruzgooner says:

    totally agree ttg@23. for me it’s *how* we beat them that makes me happiest. and how we denied them. excellent portents.

  25. 25
    Bathgooner says:


    It’s been a very promising pre-season and we have every justification for optimism as a result of the way MA8’s team building exercise is developing.

  26. 26
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks for a superb match report Dr F, it’s full of optimism after a very encouraging tour of the team across the pond. There’s every sign we will hit the road running at the start of the new season less than 2 weeks away.
    The incomings have improved the squad in the areas most needed – the management appear to be on the ball in in their plan for future success.

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    Hey there Uply, I’m hoping your optimism is not misplaced. It certainly matches mine at the most Kent, and our preseason performances have given us every reason to expect Mrs of the same when things get real. Hope you’ve been enjoying the summer.

  28. 28
    bt8 says:

    most Kent = moment
    Mrs = more

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Dr F! A fine report of an enjoyably decent thrashing of an oafish Chelsea XI. Tuchel summed it up quite well, though he might have mentioned that his expensively assembled shower of shite were reduced to clogging to try and stay in the game.

  30. 30
    OsakaMatt says:

    The return of Saliba and signing of Zinchenko makes Cedric/Nuno our Plan C now.
    Progress of a sort and the widely mocked signing of Saliba for a large sum of money
    is looking like a smart piece of work these days.

  31. 31
    bt8 says:

    The best thing about wins like that one? The feel good factor lasts all the way until the next one.

  32. 32
    bt8 says:

    Come on the feelgood factor.

  33. 33
    Countryman100 says:

    Really interesting and long interview with Edu in The Athletic (££) by James McNicholas

  34. 34
    bt8 says:

    That’s an excellent read and a very revealing interview with Edu above. Many thanks for the link, c100. Edu’s language: “when the player is 26-plus, big salary and he’s not performing” could have come right out of the mouth of the missus in reference to certain unnamed persons.

  35. 35
    bathgooner says:

    That’s an excellent article, C100. Thanks for the link.

    There’s an ‘exclusive interview’ on Sky Sports that overlaps that (sometimes in the same words) but touches on other ground and is complimentary:


    I think the observation on ‘investing’ in clearing the dressing room of obstructive or underproductive or simply too expensive individuals is a very sensible way of looking at some of the outgoing transfer dealings in recent years. It mat reassure TTG that there’s method in Edu’s ‘madness’.

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for the links gents.

    I agree investing in the future sounds better than cutting our losses though I’m struggling to see the difference. Anyway, it needed to be done and if we stick with the new transfer principles we shouldn’t end up in such a bad position again. Still 5 or 6 weeks of the transfer window to go, see where we are then but so far so good.

  37. 37
    scruzgooner says:

    i’ve been thinking about this game, and about the start of our season, and our start last season.

    i’m happy that we pasted chelsea, and have done so well overall this summer, both on the pitch and in the boardroom. i worry, however, when we play teams not as bad as everton, not lacking in nous as orlando, or not trying to play actual football as with chelsea. teams like brighton, fulham, forest, or bournemouth, when they just sit back with 10, clog up the box, and try to hit us on the break as we’re pressing for a goal. that was one of our biggest challenges last year, and we usually failed to either score or prevent being scored upon.

    will jesus be our savior, creating chaos (a la ted lasso) and drawing defenses to him opening up gaps for mø or saka or gabi? will the addition of saliba and zinchenko (in either the left back or the left 8 role) give us the steel in back and the transition on recycling the ball where incisive passing can yield dividends?

    i think we raise our game for teams of quality, but i really want to see us wipe the floor (as we did v. chelsea 🙂 ) with the lower-echelon teams. show our ruthlessness and assert our dominance. is this the team for that? or do we need to rid ourselves of the last of the (relative) slackers and bring in one or two more with actual grinta they exercise on the pitch?

    palace and leicester should be challenges that will show us which way we’ll go, but each of them have tended to try to play actual football against us in the past (too successfully, in cases). bournemouth, fulham, and villa will be the ones most illustrative of how we’re going to do this season, i think. even if we draw against them so long as we’re not beaten and we show how we’ve improved in either defense or offense i’ll be content with seeing excellent effort and maybe just not enough to win. too many games last year we went in thinking we were just going to roll and we choked on the roll. let’s not see that this year.

  38. 38
    scruzgooner says:

    c100@33, thanks for that athletic link. illuminating read. a bit different than bath’s link @35 but read together they show something neither really expresses:

    in the sky piece edu discusses zinchenko and says he was planned “six months ago”. but in the athletic piece mcnicholas says we pivoted to signing zinchenko when martinez went to united. it looks, rather, like we were in for zinchenko regardless, and when martinez went to united it was our loss, rather than we found a replacement signing at that time in zinchenko. and that means if we could have had martinez AND zinchenko that we’d’ve had our left back (martinez) and our left 8 (zinchenko) rather than one player who can do both duties.

    that seems a much more aggressive posture in the market than we’ve had recently.

  39. 39
    Countryman100 says:

    I have to say, the Kroenkes have dipped their hands in their pockets (even if it is in the form of a loan) to support Arteta recently. With their Super Bowl and Stanley Cup wins, maybe they are getting to enjoy winning and want more of it?

  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    Two Edu interviews about transfer policy smell like a PR campaign. The question is, who is trying to send what message to whom?

  41. 41
    scruzgooner says:

    not sure about underlying strategies, ned, but taken together they’re certainly illuminating.

  42. 42
    scruzgooner says:

    apropos of nothing in particular i mistakenly did a google search for our site (meant to type it into the location bar, rather). and in the three pages of hits i found this:

    Arsenal sites to bookmark

    we are towards the bottom of the presented list, and he is very kind in his remarks. his site looks like a once-per-week thing, and the posts i read look interesting and clear-eyed. shall we add his site to the list at right?

  43. 43
    bathgooner says:

    Good foraging scruz. He is very complimentary, isn’t he.

    Yes we should. I’ll follow him from GHF if he’s on Twitter.

  44. 44
    bathgooner says:

    I find we are already following each other!

    And that he wrote the excellent book ‘Almost Invincible’.

  45. 45
    scruzgooner says:

    i’ve added his site to the “friends” list above right.

  46. 46
    TTG says:

    It was very gratifying to see those nice comments on Up the Arsenal .Well done Scruz.
    Re Edu- as Ned says it is clearly an orchestrated campaign and his timing is very good !
    My criticisms of him are purely about the huge waste in our disposing of players . Today we are letting a current German international go for £8m and have agreed a loan to buy deal with a Turkish side for £4.8m to move on Mari . Being a Turkish club expect further negotiation down the line . They are notoriously bad at coughing up the readies .
    You can’t divorce incomings and outgoings. If you sell well like Liverpool tend to you have more money to buy better players . If you can never move on players you haemorrhage money .
    But Edu and Arteta and one assumes Tim Lewis and Josh Kroenke are working very coherently and one has to believe they have huge faith and belief in Arteta , On Saturday night it was very easy to see why

  47. 47
    TTG says:

    Peter Wood’s take on the Edu interview is balanced, positive and insightful. Here is today’s Le Grove . I like his positivity and logic


  48. 48
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@47: It sounds as If Edu is setting expectations for a bit more ‘investment’ in clearing out the remaining unwanted.

  49. 49
    Countryman100 says:

    What’s the Twitter name of the Up the Arsenal guy?

  50. 50
    TTG says:

    I think accounting can be an arcane business and amortisation of fees and unravelling of contract clauses can make it very hard to get a full picture but I’ve never heard writing off large amounts of capital value referred to as ‘ investments ‘ before !
    When you sign for Arsenal it seems your value depreciates at a rate that it certainly doesn’t at other major clubs .
    We also seem to have players who believe it is their right to be given free or deeply discounted transfers if a bid comes in during their contract . I’ve heard a little bit about the Bellerin situation. He is trying to get Arsenal to almost give him to Betis when they can get a much bigger fee if they sell him to other clubs
    I can understand that a loan to buy can work reasonably well. If Mari is on £50 k a week we save £ 2.5m from a loan and if there is a £1m loan fee with an onligation to buy priced at £4.8 m he actually effectively generates about £8m plus for our coffers . But I never expect Turkish clubs to ante up just as Fiorentina reneged on the Torreira deal

  51. 51
    TTG says:

    Isn’t it @jokmanAFC ?

  52. 52
    bathgooner says:

    An interesting read TTG. Thanks for pointing it out. It’ll be interesting to see if we do buy the additional players he suggests. Keenos, in contrast, believesthat we have completed our purchases for this window and we will now concentrate on clearing the decks of the unwanted, saving our resources for key signings next summer:


  53. 53
    bathgooner says:

    TTG@51, it is.

  54. 54
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks TTG and Bath. Like Bath I was already following him.

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, TTG.

    I thought that Edu was gilding the lily at times in those interviews. Describing impairment as investment would be one of those. It is certainly a through-the-looking-glass way to shrink the balance sheet.

    I wonder to what extent other top clubs have the same problems of shifting unwanted players on high salaries, but we are just not as aware of it.

  56. 56
    bathgooner says:

    Ned @55, Manure and the Chavs both have exactly the same problem with overpaid underperformers whom they are struggling to get off the books.

    I think Edu’s view that paying off underproductive expensive players to leave the club is an investment in the future is exactly right and it clearly convinced the board. I once had to do the same in an organisation in which I was an executive, to encourage a difficult and disruptive senior employee to leave by paying over a year’s salary (though the number was several logs less than Arsenal has to deal with). The organisation never looked back, key employees withdrew threats to leave and it has gone from strength to strength.

  57. 57
    OsakaMatt says:

    In Japan you basically cannot fire people for low performance so negotiation is standard business practice. From that point of view it is easy to understand what Edu is saying.
    He’s just framing it in a corporately acceptable way though the purpose and end result are exactly the same as any other business. Perhaps he took a HR course.
    Anyway, how ‘generous’ you are will basically depend on how dire the situation is at the company – i.e. one or two low performers and the negotiation is slow and the company can take a harder line. If major surgery is required then you have to pay for your recruitment / retention management mistakes. Football has some industry specific details but in the end it’s the same thing. We made a lot of mistakes.

  58. 58
    OsakaMatt says:

    Ned@40 &55
    I did wonder if Edu was getting out in front of some news that would not go down well with the fan base but hopefully it’s all just PR. Anyway, he came across well I thought and if he does sign one or two more the fans will forgive him anything. Until the first few games of the season that is….

  59. 59
    North Bank Ned says:

    I don’t disagree at all with the policy of clearing out the troublemakers regardless of the cost. Sins of the fathers and all that.

    Bath@56: you should clearly have been handling our recruitment…

  60. 60
    Countryman100 says:

    Speaking oh very highly paid under performers I see Ronaldo was having crisis talks at OT today after refusing to turn up to preseason.

  61. 61
    OsakaMatt says:

    Aaron released by Juventus, best of luck to him as he looks for a new home.

  62. 62
    OsakaMatt says:

    Congrats to England and Golden Boot Beth on making the final!

  63. 63
    bt8 says:

    The plans for a statue of Ronaldo at Old Toilet could be on the verge of getting a mighty flush.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    North Bank Ned says:

    Looks like both teams were fielding 2nd XIs, bt8:

    Arsenal: Turner, Cedric, Walters (Awe 46), Holding, Tavares (Souza 76), Elneny, Lokonga, Maitland-Niles (Patino 85), Marquinhos, Nelson (Sagoe Jr 90), Nketiah.

    Brentford: Strakosha (Cox 62), Stevens, Bech, Crama, Henry (Racic 62), Onyeka, Ghoddos (Yarmolyuk 75), Peart-Harris, Trevitt, Lewis-Potter, Mbeumo (Gilbert 75).

  66. 66
    bt8 says:

    There were rumors a few weeks ago about the possibility of Gabriel leaving to sign woth one of the European giants. Good news on that front today as reported by football365:

    “Gabriel Magalhaes, who was one of the Gunners’ best players last season, has been linked to a £40m transfer … but that now looks unlikely to happen.

    And former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell, speaking earlier this month, has always doubted Gabriel would move to Juventus. Campbell told Football Insider: “No chance. There is no chance. Listen, it is flattering when a club like Juventus are talking about signing you.

    “It is not happening though. He is at Arsenal. We are building. Gabriel is a left-footed, Brazil international. He is a stalwart centre-half. This is the rock, the foundation that the team is built on.

    “[William] Saliba, [Ben] White and Gabriel are three centre-halves who are only going to improve and get better. You need to keep them and develop them. It is flattering that Juventus are interested but go elsewhere!”

  67. 67
    OsakaMatt says:

    Looks like a possible League Cup/EL XI.
    No Leno, Mari, Hector or Torreira so I guess they are the ones we are confident of selling somehow or other.

  68. 68
    Countryman100 says:

  69. 69
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@67: Makes sense, although when you see the team laid out like that, you is can see there is still work needed on squad depth. No Pepe, either.

    It looks from the pix from the Brentford friendly that Capitola Rob has gone blond.

  70. 70
    scruzgooner says:

    it’s all that time in the capitola sun, ned.

  71. 71
    bt8 says:

    Is this a Capitola Rob fan site?

  72. 72
    Rob says:

    Hey!! What’s not to love?

  73. 73
    scruzgooner says:

    it’s THE capitola rob fan site, bt8.

  74. 74
    TTG says:

    I had arranged to take my Fulham – supporting brother-in – law to the game on 27/8.
    I was 76 in the queue when I started and all sections were sold out before I got anywhere near an operator .
    I have got two Club Level tickets and have told him to bring a tuxedo !

  75. 75
    TTG says:

    RIP Terry Neill – a true Arsenal man both player and manager . His death has just been announced

  76. 76
    bt8 says:

    RIP Terry Neill who shares a significant distinction with Mikel Arteta, having been both Arsenal’s captain and Arsenal’s manager. Are there any others who did that, Ned?

  77. 77
    TTG says:

    A good question
    I’m guessing Jack Crayston may have done both jobs
    Don Howe certainly did and George Graham may well have skippered us on occasions

  78. 78
    North Bank Ned says:

    RIP Terry O’Neill, always a young giant in Arsenal history.

  79. 79
    North Bank Ned says:

    Crayston was never formally club captain; nor was George Graham, although they might have skippered in individual matches, especially Crayston during the war. Terry O’Neill would have been the first club captain to be appointed manager and Don Howe the only other apart from Arteta.

  80. 80
    OsakaMatt says:

    Nuno is off to Marseille for the season it seems, worked for Saliba I suppose.

  81. 81
    bt8 says:

    Marseille’s stadium has a cauldron atmosphere so the weak and the strong must get sorted pretty quickly.

  82. 82
    North Bank Ned says:

    Providing not to much Guendouzi rubs off while Nuno is there, OM

  83. 83
    bt8 says:

    Reiss Nelson back in the picture? It would be great to see him make it at Arsenal.


  84. 84
    OsakaMatt says:

    Would be nice bt8, but a long shot now I think. If we sell Pepe then he could get a chance in the EL games. But the article said he’s out of contract at the end of the season. We aren’t going to get a lot of cash for him though so might be worth seeing if he can take one last chance.

    Isn’t Guen a much changed man these days Ned? Or so the papers say😉

  85. 85
    North Bank Ned says:

    If it is in the papers, it must be true, OM. 🙂

  86. 86
  87. 87
    scruzgooner says:

    her authoritative, elegant play. exactly. she is just a stud on the ball and off it. saliba has a little of that, he could learn from watching her.

  88. 88
    TTG says:

    Would those of a religious persuasion join me in prayer that there is nothing totge rumour that we are interested in Timo Werner!🙏

  89. 89
    TTG says:

    Thanks for attaching that article.I watched the ladies NLD at the Toilet Bowl in 2019 and my comment the was that she was a female Bobby Moore. Would that she emulates him by lifting a trophy at Wembley on Sunday

  90. 90
    Countryman100 says:

  91. 91
    Countryman100 says:

    Could be the starting lineup v Palace. Tomi and KT3 in full training. Vieira slightly behind.

  92. 92
    Countryman100 says:

    Intriguing how Reiss Nelson is coming back into the picture. Good luck to everyone at the ground. Have a blast.

  93. 93
    Countryman100 says:

  94. 94
    bt8 says:

    Dunno how Arsenal manage to keep me on coming up with these difficult starting times. Difficult either for you or for me, but definitely difficult for somebody.

  95. 95
    bt8 says:

    Come on you Gunnas.

  96. 96
    Countryman100 says:

    Hopefully you’ve got the coffee on bt8

  97. 97
    bt8 says:

    Emile looks a mite sprier than kt3

  98. 98
    bt8 says:

    That reminds me, it’s time for coffee cup #2

  99. 99
    bt8 says:

    This Gabriel Jesus fella doesn’t much fuss about, does he?

  100. 100
    bt8 says:

    Coffee cup #2 consumed I come back to see we’ve gone up 3-0 in the firstb15 minutes. WTF??

  101. 101
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, bt8. A nonchalant finish with coffee cup in hand.

    C100@91: That is the line-up I have pencilled in to start the Palace game. ESR on the bench, but it may be a game too soon for KT3 and Tomi to return even as subs.

  102. 102
    bt8 says:

    This preseason we have nigh on demolished Chelsea and Sevilla with a double salvo barrage of goals. Summer signings looking magnificent and please step up center stage Gabriel Jesus

  103. 103
    bathgooner says:

    A superb display and the exuberance of youth and pace up front is exciting for our future. Jesus clearly walks on water, Zin adds vision and control on the left but, today on my first sight of Saliba, I am astonished by his calm authority at the back. He could be as big a game changer for us as Jesus.

  104. 104
    Countryman100 says:

    David Baddiel’s new lyrics for Three Lions are the mutts.

  105. 105
    Countryman100 says:

    We appear to be in better shape than for many seasons as the Premier League opener beckons. What more needs to be done?

    1. First priority – back up to Partey. For lesser games e.g. EL group stages and League Cup, Elneny is a perfectly good rotational replacement. But if, for whatever reason, like the long injury last year, Partey is unavailable for many weeks, we need atop quality back up. Parter’s absence as the holding midfielder capable of line breaking passing last year cost us CL football.

    2. Back up to Saka as a right winger. I don’t think that’s Pepe. Is there a young, sparky replacement within the squad? Reiss Nelson? Marquinhos? Or do we look outside?

    I’m happy with the rest

  106. 106
    Premier League Countdown says:

    Six more sleeps

  107. 107
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Saliba may turn out to be as important an addition as Jesus and Zinchenko. That loan spell in OM proves to have been good planning by the club.

    Countryman@105: Even though Sambi doesn’t necessarily need play as centrally as Thomas, so not a like-for-like replacement, but he may be ready to take more responsibility this season in the center of the midfield. I think he has great potential.

    Our attack no longer would be as right sided as it was last season relying heavily on Ødegaard-Saka as the fluid left with Zinchenko-Xhaka-Martinelli-Jesus can cut open defenses.

  108. 108
    Countryman100 says:

    In big games last season Dr F, Sambi really struggled e.g. Liverpool away where he gave away the ball continuously when pressed. Sambi is not ready for a solid run in the first team as a replacement holding midfielder. I think we might loan him.

  109. 109
    bathgooner says:

    Unless we sign someone with Thomas’ holding skills, we have to rely on the double pivot of Xhaka (in a deeper position than when Partey is playing) and Elneny which will of course compromise our offense on the left side. However as pointed out by Keenos on She Wore, no-one who is almost as good as Partey is going to be a) prepared to sit on the bench when Partey is fit or b) be cheap. We didn’t sign Bissouma because he met all those criteria. It’s tough but it’s down to the coach to adjust the team to cover Thomas’ absence.

    Lokonga has huge potential but he isn’t yet experienced enough to slot into Thomas’ position to play as a single pivot . Nor can Zinchenko play that role. Perhaps Ben White can do it but I suspect MA8 will rearrange the team formation to cover any Thomas absence.

  110. 110
    TTG says:

    C100 makes a good point about what we need .
    We certainly haven’t got a Partey replacement and 8 favour someone who is flexible enough to play deeper or who can push further forward ( play as a 6 or an 8) .Tielemans can do the 8 job , AMN at his best could do the 6 but we need someone to don that mantle because Partey can’t last a whole season without injury . Neves might fit the bill but is expensive and Kante doesn’t fit our age profile even if Chelsea would sell him to us and Bellingham is way too dear. I think Ben White could do the job but the best short-term replacement is Douglas Luiz
    I don’t think we just need a wide man. We need another striker who can play wide if necessary . Two strikers is not enough and my suggestion would be Gakpo if Bowen is out of reach

  111. 111
    Countryman100 says:

    Two strikers TTG? How about Gabigoal?

  112. 112
    Bathgooner says:

    I don’t think AMN could fill those shoes. He has never convinced me that he has the concentration or discipline to do that job. I would select Elneny over him every time. It’s a shame because he looked to have the potential but it’s unfulfilled to date. However he remains the most nonchalant penalty taker I have ever seen and, if he would do the job, a very reasonable backup fullback on both sides.

  113. 113
    OsakaMatt says:

    Can’t ask for much more than a 6-0 thumping. We look much better prepared than last season. MA said the obligatory “on the lookout for new signings but happy with what we’ve got” so no real clue to whether we will sign anyone but if Sambi does go on loan I’d like another player in midfield.

  114. 114
    OsakaMatt says:

    Bit late but I’ve only just read this – it’s a nice piece on Terry Neill, who wanted to sign Maradona.

    Terry Neill – RIP

  115. 115
    C says:

    My two cents: if my read of our squad is correct, Sambi is neither going on loan nor being groomed to be Partey’s backup. Sambi is Xhaka’s back up. Ben White doesn’t have the tools to be Partey’s back up(he can’t dribble his way out of midfield pressure). I believe our target for Partey’s competition/backup/long term replacement is Youri Tielemans. Most people think of him as an upgrade to Xhaka and someone who isn’t defensive enough to play 6 for us. All I can say is; think of where Arteta played for Everton, then think of where and how Arsene used him when he signed for us.

  116. 116
    bathgooner says:

    C, I think your two cents are bang on the money. Lokonga is by nature an offensive midfielder. I too doubt Ben White’s abilities to function effectively in that high pressure zone in deep midfield and think it is more likely that Arteta would reorganise the team’s shape against serious opposition to cover the inevitable absence of Partey.Your point about Tielemans and the way Arsene changed Arteta’s own role is well made. Time will tell.

  117. 117
    bathgooner says:

    OM @114, that’s an excellent piece on Terry Neill who I always thought wasn’t given sufficient recognition for his work for the club.

  118. 118
    TTG says:

    I’m not sure Gabigol is as effective playing through the middle . He has rarely played there and didn’t last season. Arteta starts him wide.

  119. 119
    bathgooner says:

    This is an absolutely superb analysis of yesterday’s match (link courtesy of Amy Lawrence’s excellent Athletic article – https://theathletic.com/3462923/2022/07/31/arsenal-sevilla-jesus-saliba-saka/ (£ – but 30 day free trial available currently):

  120. 120
    bathgooner says:

    TTG, I tend to agree. He was unimpressive on the few occasions I have seen him there in the past two seasons but he drifted in there frequently yesterday much to the confusion of the Sevilla defenders. He is also young and was relatively slight last season. I think we will see constant spontaneous positional interchange between our dynamic front trio this season.

  121. 121
    Bathgooner says: