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Le Professeur 

Le Disciple

[A large rectangular table with 5 chairs exactly in the middle. On the longer side of the table three chairs facing the audience. Two other chairs on the two shorter sides. A thin rectangular cardboard box is hoisted high up next to the curtain. On one side of the stage there is a road sign with “Rue de Chevaleret” written on it. On the other side on the stage a single red Arsenal flag with cannon printed on it. The flag and the road signs are exactly opposite each other and are in front of the table.       

Estragon and Vladimir are sitting on two chairs facing the audience, Estragon on the left. The third chair in between them is empty. On the table some empty plates with bones, a bottle of red wine, and two half-filled glasses. They both are wearing wrinkled ill-fitting clothes, but not torn.] 

Estragon: [Taking off his hat] We are never going to meet him, are we? 

Vladimir: Don’t say that. He sent us here. So he will come too.  

Estragon: Among all these madmen? In this noise? No…he likes quiet.  He must like quiet. 

Vladimir: We don’t know that. 

Estragon: You don’t. I do. He likes quiet. He has to. 

Vladimir: You don’t know that. 

Estragon: Well he made sure we won’t go hungry. (Gulping down the rest of the wine from his glass) Or thirsty. 

Vladimir: So he must come. 

Estragon: What if this was a test?

Vladimir: A test?

Estragon: Yes… we should have refused the boy. And stay there. Waiting for him. Hungry and thirsty. It was a test. And we failed it. 

Vladimir: Gogo, don’t say that. You are cruel. 

Estragon: He is cruel. 

Vladimir: I don’t believe it. 

Estragon: I don’t believe it either. Let us drink. (Gulps down the rest of the wine from his glass).

Vladimir: So this is not a test? Didi, this is not a test! 

Estragon: We will never know that. 

Vladimir: Unless he is here. 

[A few minutes of silence when they both pour more wine from the bottle in their glasses. The bottle is empty, and they both raised their right hands. A man dressed in stained clothes come by and gruffly replaces the bottle with a new opened one. Vladmir and Estragon, their hands still in the air, take off their hats and give theirs to each other. They each peer inside the other’s hats, put their hands inside, smell them, and put them back on their head. They are now wearing each other’s hats.   

Le Professeur walks in from the side of the stage displaying the road sign. He is immaculately dressed in a traditional fashion, wearing glasses, carrying a leatherbound notebook in his hand. Estragon & Vladimir notice him simultaneously and jump to their feet.]

Estragon: [In a shaking voice] Must be him … 

Vladimir: He is coming this way! He is here Gogo, he is here!

[Le Professeur looks around, approaches their table, puts his hand on one of the empty chairs on the side of the table.] 

Professeur: Bonjour messieurs!

Estragon: Bone-jaw sir!

Vladimir: Bone-jaw!

Professeur: May I join you at this table? Sorry to impose on you but this is the only free one. 

Estragon: Yes sir, yes! We were waiting for you. 

Vladimir: (Alarmed, whispering loudly to Estragon) Don’t tell him that Gogo, don’t tell him! 

Estragon: (Whispering loudly to Vladimir) Why? 

Vladimir: He will think we are blaming him.

Estragon: No, no, no, no, no! (Turning towards Le Professeur who has now sat himself on the chair and is opening his notebook) Sir, we are not blaming you. 

Professeur: (Smiling) Very kind of you! Some fans still think I am to blame for everything. 

Vladimir: Not us!

Estragon: And thank you for the food and the wine. 

Vladimir: They are delicious. 

Professeur: You should thank the owner. 

Estragon: (Whispering loudly to Vladimir) He is so polite.

Vladimir: (Whispering loudly to Estragon) He is so kind. 

Professeur: So, gentlemen, who do you think Mikel will start today? I think he has a surprise or two up his sleeves. I had done that once or twice…keeping who is fit and who is not, secret before a big match. 

Estragon: We are no match for you sir!

Vladimir:  We are nothing! Is Mikel coming too? (Whispering loudly to Estragon) Who is this Mikel Gogo? Will he take him away? 

Professeur:  Ha! You gentlemen are funny! Is Mikel coming too? Ha ha! Wild horses won’t drag him away from the theater of scream today. I think he will play Tomiyasu today at right back. And move White to the defensive midfield. I really like Tomi-san. A perfect player for us. Don’t you agree? 

[While Vladimir and Estragon consult with each other in an inaudible voice, huddling their heads on the empty chair between them, Le Disciple walks in from the back of the stage, dressed sharply, busy zipping the fly of his jeans, and after taking a few steps he looks up, notices Le Professeur, smiles, walks towards him, smiles again, and stands behind his back. Le Professeur doesn’t notice him, but Estragon and Vladimir do. They become silent and look afraid. That makes Le Professeur turn around, stand up, and now he smiles and shakes hands with the younger man.] 

Professeur:  Ahh, I had hoped to see you today!  Sit down Thierry, there are no other empty chairs. These gentlemen won’t mind. 

Vladimir: Of course, sir! Not at all. 

Estragon: This is your table after all! 

Vladimir: We are all yours too. 

Professeur:  That’s all very kind of you. But please let’s not exaggerate. 

[Le Disciple walks towards the other side of the table, takes the chair, brings it next to the chair on which Le Professeur was sitting, then says something to Vladimir and Estragon, who quickly scuttle with their chairs towards the edge of the table, Le Disciple puts his chair on the end next to Le Professeur, making a ninety degree angle with him, and facing the audience. ]

Disciple: Thank you boss! (Looking towards Vladimir and Estragon) Thank you gentlemen! (Turning back towards Le Professeur) I think we should win today boss. 

Professeur: We absolutely should. I like this team. (Jokingly) Reminds me a bit of your days. 

Disciple:  We were much better! (Then realizing the joke) Ha ha! Nice one boss. But we are now still very good. And better than them. Much better.  

Professeur: But you know how things happen out there. Nothing fair, always cheating. Everyone. 

Disciple:  But we still used to beat them. Even there. I think this team can do that too. 

Professeur: I was telling these gentlemen that Tomiyasu may start at the right back and White in the midfield. 

Disciple: Well you know I think the world of Sambi! He deserves a chance today after his performance last time. 

Professeur: Very talented. Intelligent. But this may become a bit too physical and scruffy a game. 

Disciple: That’s true. We really miss Partey in games like that. So, White, Granit and Martin in midfield? 

Professeur: Of course! You know I am really happy that Ødegaard finally joined us. I asked him to come to us even before Madrid knew about him. Perfect player. 

Disciple: I think this is the kind of match, away at a tough place, where he really needs to show his class and dominate. Until then some of us will have some doubts. 

[While the two of them were talking, a neatly and cleanly dressed waiter has come by and left two glasses and a bottle of mineral water in front of them. Le Disciple poured them two glasses of water, they clinked their glasses and went back to talking.]

Vladimir: (Excitedly) We don’t have any doubts! (Pushing Estragon) Tell him Gogo!

Estragon: None at all sir! None at all! We have been waiting for you. 

Disciple: (Puzzled) Me? Why? 

[Vladmir and Estragon shake their heads dejectedly, look at Le Professeur pleadingly, and speak in unison.]

Vladimir & Estragon: We are waiting for you sir! 

Professeur: Very kind of you.  But how did you know I would be coming here today? I am usually not in Paris these days. 

Vladimir: (Worriedly) So this is Paris!

Estragon: (Whispering loudly in a pained voice) So it cannot be him! It cannot be him! He is not here! 

Vladimir: (Suddenly cheerful) No, no, no! It is him! He has sent us here! He called us here. 

[While Vladimir and Estragon were arguing, Le Professeur and Le Disciple have both turned their chairs sideways and are looking up at the thick cardboard rectangular box hoisted up near the curtain. There is loud crowd noise that can be heard. The noise is noticeable but is not strong enough to drown out the conversations.] 

Professeur: (Smiling) It is the team as I suspected! Clever boy, Mikel. Always was. 

Disciple: Zinchenko at left back! That’s a surprise. I thought he was injured. 

Professeur: I think he brings out the best in Granit and Martinelli. I really love this kid. A bit like Alexis. 

Disciple: Great energy! And the new Gabriel really looks to have inspired him too. I like that forward line. Saka can become phenomenal. 

Professeur:  Needs to push on to the next level. But great maturity for such a young player. 

Disciple: Like this team. 

Professeur:  Big test for Saliba today. Gabriel and Aaron will need to help him. You know how this place is. The crowd, the referee, all the decisions that would be against us …

Disciple: He played for a season in Stade Vélodrome. Nothing beats the noise there. Or the madness. He is a cool kid. 

Professeur:  Can become one of the best. 

Disciple: What do you think of them this season? (Jokingly) Did you talk to your old friend about this team? 

Professeur: (Jokingly) That’s a secret! But I think they brought in some good players. Casemiro I think will make a big difference over the season.

Disciple: But hopefully too early for him to settle in for today. I think if we can press as well from the start as we had done in the first couple of matches this season we will rattle them.

Professeur: Good game for Jesus to remind everyone of his class. His old derby enemy as well…

Disciple: Lovely technique, right boss? 

Professeur: The best in that position for us after your days. 

Disciple: You think it will be an even match. A good one? 

Professeur: If the officials don’t ruin the game, it has the chance of becoming a classic. They are trying to establish the new team, have lots of talents and quality. A good test for Mikel and the team to show the world how much they progressed. 

Disciple: A win today will give us a big push. 

Professeur: We really should find a way. 

[Vladimir and Estragon have been following their conversation eagerly, nodding their heads, sometimes consulting between themselves, and now they both jump up together.]

Vladimir: But you said this is the way!

Estragon: And we will find you here! 

Professeur: (Surprised) But I never met you gentlemen before…

Estragon: Didi, he says he never met us! Of course, you never met us sir! We have been waiting a million years to meet you …

Vladimir: Since the nineties.

Estragon: A million years…

Disciple: (Annoyed) Who do you think he is? 

Estragon: You, young sir, please don’t torture us. Please don’t joke. We know who he is!

Vladimir: He is! Of course, he is! (Suddenly he freezes, a painful grimace appears on his face, he turns slowly towards his Estragon) But Gogo, what if he is not?

Estragon: Didi! So he sent us here but didn’t come!

Vladimir: Maybe he knows when he will come. Maybe he is the messenger. 

Estragon: He doesn’t look like a messenger. 

Vladimir: You don’t know that.

Estragon: That’s true. I don’t know that. How does a messenger look? 

Vladimir: Let us ask him.

Estragon: Yes, let us ask him. 

[Turning towards Le Professeur and Le Disciple]

Vladimir: Are you the messenger? 

Estragon: (Horrified) Wrong question! That is the wrong question. No, no, sir, sorry … but are you Godot? 

Vladimir: (Horrified) How stupid of me! Yes, yes, .. are you Godot?

[Le Professeur and Le Disciple, both were busy looking at the thin rectangular cardboard box hoisted up near the curtains, now are distracted by this sudden questioning, they both turn around. Then turn their attention back to the thin rectangular cardboard box hoisted up near the curtains]. 

Estragon: (Whispering loudly to Vladimir) Let us wait, let us wait. Let them finish what they are watching. It seems like a bunch of men running around on that box. 

Vladimir: Maybe that’s what Godot wants us to do. Stop asking and look at that box like everyone else. 

Estragon:  Yes, let us be silent and let us hear what they are saying. 

Vladimir:  Yes, let us wait. And be silent. And watch.

Estragon:  And watch…

Vladimir:  And hear.

Estragon:  And hear. 

[Le Professeur and Le Disciple can now be heard talking as the chatter between Vladimir and Estragon become quiet.]

Professeur: 3-1 for us today?

Disciple: I think a 2-1 is likelier boss. For us, of course. 

Professeur: I have a feeling it would be 3-1 for us. 

Disciple: Let us hope so. 

Professeur: I am optimistic. 

Disciple: Come on Arsenal … 

[Vladimir and Estragon stand up]

Vladimir:  I don’t think Godot is coming today. Let us go. 

Estragon:  Let us go. 

Vladimir:  Maybe we should just stay and wait. And wait. 

Estragon:  Shall we?

Vladimir:  Let us go. 

Estragon:  Shall we? 

[They both sit down and stand up a few times. They start doing it silently. ]

Disciple: Come on Arsenal!

Professeur: Yes, come on Arsenal! 

[Vladimir and Estragon stop moving.]


59 Drinks to “As the Waiting Ends”

  1. 1
    Countryman100 says:

    Absolute genius Dr F. Samuel Beckett (who was a decent left half for Sligo Rovers) would be very proud.

  2. 2
    Pangloss says:

    Excellent preview Arthur. Congratulations and many thanks.

    C O Y G


  3. 3
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Magnificent Doc. Just superb.

    If the team match your standard we will win by a hatful.


  4. 4
    ClockEndRider says:

    Truly inspired, Dr F. Thanks vm.

  5. 5
    TTG says:

    I once went to an exhibition of Beckett’s paintings in Dublin after drinking eight pints of Guinness . I’ve no idea why I mention this but this is a great preview Dr.F and intellectually well ahead of the pack .
    This will be a tough game . United have found some form , will be fired up , we have one of the worst referees in the PL in charge ( from Wigan) and a man on VAR who deemed Vardy’s recent preposterous dive a penalty ( he’s from Barnsley) . We are short in midfield but I think we will start the same team as we did against Villa . I would be happy with a point which would maintain our lead at the top .

  6. 6
    TTG says:

    It gets better . The man in charge of VAR tomorrow is from Bolton. The bloke from Barnsley was in charge on Wednesday and deemed Mings’ challenge not a penalty . But with refs from Bolton and Wigan all will be well. Some worry about another unbeaten run coming to an end in 1990 at Old Trafford when United kicked us off the pitch ( without sanction) and were awarded a joke penalty .
    The ref was Mike Riley who set up PGMOL . At the time of the OT debacle he had refereed 23 United games .He gave 12 penalties for United in that period but only three against them. And he sent off five of United’s opponents, while booking 44, as opposed to dismissing two United players – Roy Keane for raking his studs down Gustavo Poyet’s leg in the 2000-01 Charity Shield, and Luke Chadwick for a professional foul at home to Liverpool in the same season – while booking 36. The average penalties over the PL period is 97 which is about one in every 4 games . Up to the Battle of the Buffet he gave 15 in 23 and one in every 2 games in favour of United .Mike Riley hails from Leeds

  7. 7
    Pangloss says:

    Bollocks; of course it;s Becket and not Miller. Excellent preview Sam, etc,

  8. 8
    Sancho Panza says:

    And rapturous applause as the actors take a bow.

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    You’ve outdone yourself Dr. F! Truly creative stuff encapsulating an excellent preview. I hope Le Professeur and Le Disciple are right. One thing’s for sure, I know they’ll be watching. Hoping this Arsenal eill make them proud.

  10. 10
    Cent says:

    Excellent preview, Dr. F. Take a bow.

    This is one of those game where I don’t see a middle ground; I think we will either batter them and win well (3-0, 4-1kind of wins) or shit ourselves and lose in a way that makes us all sick.
    I love that the PGMOL are, finally, coming under fire by what seems to be a majority of fans and other stakeholders. Hopefully, this lead to more transparency, accountability and more consistency in the way they officiate games.

  11. 11
    Boff says:

    PGMOL to be more accountable!
    Not in our lifetime.

  12. 12
    Bathgooner says:

    Congratulations Dr F, on producing quite the most imaginative match preview I’ve ever read, – it’s quite surreal and very entertaining. Somewhat more entertaining than the original I must say.

    Manure seem to have found a modicum of form since they shocked the world and their opponents by beating the Scousers though since then they’ve won a couple of games without setting the heather on fire. Our record of failing to do ourselves justice against dysfunctional Manure teams hangs over us like a dark cloud. I hope that we can rectify that this time and take all three points by performing as well as our first half against Villa scoring a few more goals but a scrappy score draw wouldn’t be a surprise.

    However the way things have been going in many matches this season I fear we might be done over by the officials unless we produce a level of performance that renders their incompetence irrelevant to the result. There’s nowhere more likely than OT for something like that to happen.

    Remember what blogs said, “You can’t trust the officials, even with VAR!”


  13. 13
    scruzgooner says:

    wonderful work, dr. faustus. i hope like hell v and e are still waiting for at least the near future.

    refs notwithstanding, we have some new characters in the squad who know what it feels like to beat united. or even better teams. so i’m hoping that’s enough to break the hoodoo we seem to have going into their house with the better team.

    radio silence until tomorrow afternoon, about 7 hours after game end.


  14. 14
    scruzgooner says:

    oh, and ttg at 6, 1990?

  15. 15
    ClockEndRider says:

    Interesting fact. At the upcoming World Cup, PGMOL provides 2 referees out of 32. France provides 2 and Italy, Spain and Germany provide 1 each.
    PGMOL also provides 4 linesmen out of 69. Italy, France, Spain and Germany again provide only 2 each. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with the quality of match officials produced in England.
    Of 24 VAR officials, PGMOL provides 0. Not one. Germany and Italy provide 2 each. As does France. Spain has 3.
    FIFA knows.

  16. 16
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Dr F, very amusing and I hope we are and are not Lucky today.

    I hope we can bully them in the middle today and take advantage at
    some set pieces. I fancy Gabi to have another productive afternoon too.
    I’ll go with the optimistic Prof at 3-1.

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    Watched the Wham robbery yesterday and would like to recommend Mendy for an Oscar.

  18. 18
    Las says:

    Thank you Dr. Phd Faustus! Awsome preview. I would’nt be surprised see it in the Old Vick next week.
    I’m a bit uncertain still as the “waiting never ends” in the original piece the . But just like MA8 said if you don’t beleive you should better stay home.
    I don’t understand how is this obvious and glaring cheating culture against the Arsenal can run through years after years in a country of “fair play”. It is painful seeing that Arsenal is punished again and again. How is that normal to see lesser teams breaking our players legs again and again.
    OK, I finished this moaning… but still a bit worried and not on result but on the players on the injuries we will have.
    3-2 to the good guys!

  19. 19
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Doc,
    I’m optimistic for 2-0 but pragmatic for 1-1
    Either way, UTA.

  20. 20
    Ollie says:

    Absolutely fantastic preview Dr F. Question. Rue de Chevaleret? I don’t remember it in the original play. Is this random or….?

    Because on Rue de Chevaleret is this pub where a lot of Arsenal fans watch the matches in Paris.


  21. 21
    'desi'gner gooner says:

    Cheers to everyone in the bar. Posting after quite a while but have been reading the posts and drinks quite regularly, and I have to say everything is top top top quality in this fine establishment. Quite an imaginative preview from Doc Faustus – his writing is taking a martinelliesque curve when it comes to sharpening technique and creativity in the past few months. I would disagree on one bit from the preview though – if the officials don’t ruin the game, I think we would be clear winners and dominate majority of the game instead of it being a classic.

    Even though United haven’t been anywhere near a formidable side since a long time now, one hasn’t felt as optimistic heading into a game at Old Trafford as this one. Apart from the usual caveat about the referees ruining the game, there’s another one that applies to a young side such as ours. We have to play the opponent and not the occasion. It is going to be a great test of character on a tough away ground and one hopes Mikel would have grilled into the players to expect every decision to go against them and also the importance of silencing out the crowd in their heads.

    I also think we would have the same starting eleven from mid week. This is too big a game to try and experiment with White in a position he hasn’t played before for us in the premier league. Arteta would probably have preferred Zinchenko ahead of Tierney but again for someone coming back from an injury, we probably would not risk him starting in a high intensity clash. Ten Hag has almost taken a leaf out of the Arteta playbook by wanting to shore up the defence after their rocky start. Their approach in the last three games has been to stay solid at the back and play more on the counter than trying to dominate possession. I just wish we have a fast start and get the first goal which would rob them of their game plan and open up spaces for us even more. The base of midfield is where we have our obvious weak spot with the injuries to Partey and Elneny and United will surely target that area. Despite the vulnerability there, we have too much quality and technical superiority today against a side with plenty of new faces and learning to play under a new manager. I would go with the Professeur’s 3-1 prediction in our favour. Handbrakes off, COYG.

  22. 22
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words! It was fun to write knowing that you all esteemed readers will at least enjoy a knowing chuckle or two.

    Ollie@20 : Yes, it’s not random! 🙂 Good catch …

    Everyone traveling up north to the match, looking forward to your hearing you all on the TV!

    Come on Arsenal!

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    Such an imaginative preview, Dr F. I hope it leads to happy days.

    Your match day trivia: Beckett is the only winner of the Nobel Prize for Litterature to have played first-class cricket.

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    …although probably not the only one who can spell literature correctly. Where’s Spillchucker when you need him?

  25. 25
    Ollie says:

    It’s all right, Ned. We’ll just say that influenced by the preview you just used the French spelling (minus acute accent).

  26. 26
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks Ned! Thanks for the trivia as well.

    Beckett, fielding at forward short leg, to the batsman: you know this match is a theatre of absurd, right? And you are simply prolonging your inevitable exit and end of this shitty agony of desperation, clinging on to the hope of the next delivery being a full toss …

  27. 27
    Uplympian says:

    Well Dr F, there’s an alternative career awaiting you should you feel so inclined. That was a most entertaining read.
    Since Sir Whisky’s retirement, each year we come to Old Toilet with them in certain disarray and there for the taking. Sadly ( apart from the FA Cup win ) we have managed to fall below even their level and play as dismal as we think possible. The boss is doing his best to give them the confidence to reverse this trend and the team looks quite capable of this, so, apart from the match officials doing their worst, a 2-1 win is ours to cheer.

  28. 28
    North Bank Ned says:

    Piss-poor refereeing, you say? This must be the ultimate:

    FA Cup: Blackfield & Langley FC goalkeeper sent off for urinating in a hedge

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ollie@25: Très généreux (if my schoolboy French, learned in the days of de Gaulle, remembers its accents correctly). Waiting for Godot was first written in French, which may explain everything or nothing.

    Dr F@26: You must have seen me bat 🙂 Beckett never took a wicket in his first-class career (admittedly, only two matches in which he bowled 23 overs). This may be the root of his literary explorations of failure and despair.

  30. 30
    TTG says:

    Ned @ 28
    That’s a strange one !
    Was it Billy the Wizz in goal ?
    What was the reason given for the red card- Ungentlemanly conduct or Indecent exposure?

  31. 31
    Bathgooner says:

    Given that PGMOL is still chaired by Lord Mike Riley of the Old Toilet, we cannot expect much change but it’s a welcome shot across their bows. Today’s officials, please take note.


  32. 32
    TTG says:

    Interesting story
    Arsenal made a 30m euro offer for Spain forward Ferran Torres a few days before the summer transfer window closed but it was rejected by Barcelona, with their manager Xavi wanting to keep the 22-year-old. (El Nacional – in Catalan)’

  33. 33
    Ollie says:

    Parfait, Ned @ 29.
    Balogun can’t stop scoring. Top of the non-PSG scoring charts in France now.
    Strong line-up for the Arsenal today, hope they are all properly fit.
    Let’s win this!

  34. 34
    Ollie says:


  35. 35
    Ollie says:

    Weird. I have tried to post something three times and it didn’t work.
    Is it the ‘at’ in symbol form? But I see it above.
    So trying again differently.
    Parfait, Ned at 29.
    Balogun : five goals in six, top of the non-PSG scoring charts.

    Strongest possible line-up for us, let’s hope they’re all fully fit.
    COYG, let’s win this!

  36. 36
    Trev says:

    Late but sincere thanks, Dr F !

    A bit nervy about this one – they always raise their game against us, whenever, wherever.

    Ramsdale, Zinchenko and Odegaard all start after injury worries.

    Come on you Reedddssss ! (Blacks, pinks …?)

  37. 37
    Bathgooner says:

    Strong team.

    Let’s see what we are made of.

    Winning this will be about mental strength as much as dynamic and creative football.


  38. 38
    Las says:


  39. 39
    Las says:


  40. 40
    North Bank Ned says:

    Very disappointing, given there was a lot to like about the performance for passages of play, but too many pivotal moments were got wrong or didn’t go our way. Not being able to score when we are on top is this team’s Achilles heel.

  41. 41
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned@39: Fully agreed about lack of ruthlessness. We are still not scoring enough when we are dominating, and not creating enough chances yet. But I am hoping that the willingness to take more chances in the penalty box will get better with some of these players.

  42. 42
    Ollie says:

    Yeah, good summary, Ned. That flaw came back to bite us…in the arse.

  43. 43
    Cent says:

    Just in case anyone was wondering, that’s exactly what I meant by “lose in a way that makes us all feel sick”. I just forgot to write “physically sick” instead of just “sick”.
    Anyway, we are still top of the league, let’s take the lessons and hurt from that and channel it positively for the rest of the season. COYG.

    And, yes, the match officials did a number on us.

  44. 44
    TTG says:

    A lot of us get queasy about going to Old Toilet and today showed why . We played really well in spells, but there was a defensive naivety compounded by Mikel’s rather gung ho reaction with his tactics ( such a high line) and three subs at one with consequent effects on the shape

  45. 45
    TTG says:

    Very good point about scoring while on top.I’m also concerned that defensively we are far from sound . We’ve conceded seven goals in six games so far this season. That is too many , especially given who we have played .We really missed Partey today in front of the defence

  46. 46
    Sancho Panza says:

    A big concern must be the poor defensive errors and yet again the wasted chances. We need to find t’ back o’ net otherwise nothing really changes.

  47. 47
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Even though Partey is definitely our first choice midfield anchor and is a very good player, he too is forced into mistakes and sometimes his clearing passes can be frustratingly erratic. It’s very hard in PL football to play aggressively, with one pivot and yet get a flawless performance from that role. Today one of the world’s best in that position, Casemiro, was forced into a mistake by Vieira (I think) and could have led to a goal.

    To win matches like this consistently and take the next step we need to make the periods of dominance count. It was a very good marker for us about the things we need to fine tune. Martin with a left foot like that absolutely needs to get more shots away. And more of our midfielders need to make late runs into the box when Saka and Martinelli are tormenting opposition fullbacks.

  48. 48
    Las says:

    What Ned @39 and TTG @43 said.
    We need to be more cynical e.g. expecting the worst from both the oppositons and the referee.
    We have to be ready for the dark arts used against us it should be a part of the tactic. Playing well and being naive very rarely a winning combination. Nor gung-hoo approach. Being brave is not enough. And of course we need to be clinical in front of the goal and score.
    It was painful but also encurageing.

  49. 49
    Bathgooner says:

    That result is so disappointing after such a bravura performance. The double standards of officials not penalising two fouls on Saka in the box while chalking off Martinelli’s goal for a challenge that referees have been waving through all season is sickening but par for the course when we visit the Old Toilet. Ødegaard really should have scored from that cut back. We were defensively slack on the left for their first and naive for their second and third goals. But Ned and Cent hit the nail on the head – we really have to score when we are dominating possession and territory. I guess that’s why MA8 was prioritising more firepower.


  50. 50
    North Bank Ned says:

    I thought Ramsdale got his body position wrong for the first goal, or Anthony duped him into thinking he was going for the near post. But he was unlucky with the second as the deflection off Ben White (I think) made the ball bounce over him. What did us for the third was losing the ball in their third. Playing with a single pivot means makes more vulnerable to counterattacks and sucker punches. It is the price for having more possession higher up the pitch. If we could turn that into chances and goals, it would be a more than fair trade off.

    I am guessing that Arteta’s triple substitution was preplaned to manage MO8 and Zin’s injuries, but it disrupted our game for a while allowing the Mancs to put the game out of reach with their third goal.

  51. 51
    OsakaMatt says:

    Bit unlucky too that Rashford suddenly stopped missing. No luck involved in the crap officiating but that was to be expected. Anyway, back to training for some more finishing practice and we’ll be good to go. I think that Manure game wasn’t the real test for us this season, that comes next game when we see if we can stop losing in clusters.

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, OM. More clinical finishing than we could mange at OT.

  53. 53
    bt8 says:

    Well in @50 OM, and an excellent point made in the doing of it. Last season we could have done much better if we just had not gone on those two or three losing streaks. A draw here and there at the right moment can make a big difference.

  54. 54
    OsakaMatt says:

    Coincidentally we lost to Manure last season and then played Everton next….. At home this though

  55. 55
    OsakaMatt says:

    Though I did forget about Zurich!

  56. 56
    bt8 says:

    It’s all about chopping the chocolatiers down to size Matt.

    Wearing out the watchmakers?

  57. 57
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Balogun scored his 5th goal of the season for Reims this weekend. He has now more goals than Messi in the current Ligue 1 season. 😉😂

    Jokes aside, let’s hope his good form continues and next season he brings in another option and dimension to our attack.

  58. 58
    bt8 says:

    Doctor, Jokes are jokes but facts are facts even if they seem to be odd ones.

    BTW: Have the tabloids picked up on this one yet? 🤪

  59. 59
    scruzgooner says: