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Picture courtesy of Daily Express

Arsenal kicked off their Europa League campaign with a 2-1 win against FC Zurich away in Switzerland on Thursday afternoon. Arteta named a strong side whilst giving full debuts to Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira. The Gunners made a shaky start before composing themselves after about ten minutes. Martinelli saw a glancing header flash wide following an excellent cross from Marquinhos. Then on 16 minutes the deadlock was broken following a fast break. Vieira gained possession just outside the Arsenal box spraying an exquisite pass out to Nketiah. Our number fourteen drove forward before his deflected cross found Marquinhos who was arriving like a steam train into the box and the Brazilian teenager finished emphatically with his right foot. He then set off on an emotional celebration following his first senior goal for Arsenal on his debut.

For the rest of the first half Arsenal had nearly all the ball without creating an awful lot. You could tell the intensity wasn’t as great as it would be for a league game and there was almost a pre-season friendly feel to proceedings. Then, right on the stroke of half time we gifted Zurich a way back into the game after Nketiah conceded a penalty following a tangle of legs. The penalty was converted, and the Gunners went in level at the break.

However, at half time the significance of the game was put into perspective when it was announced by Buckingham Palace that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away at the age of 96. Earlier in the day news had broken that the Queen’s doctors had placed her under medical supervision so for many this was the news they had all been dreading. But the news still came as a huge shock, not just to us in the UK but in the Commonwealth and around the globe. She had reigned for just over seventy years; it was merely a couple of months ago when we were all celebrating her Platinum Jubilee. For the majority, she was the only monarch we had known; there is not one person on the planet who hasn’t lived most of their lives under her reign. But this morning we wake up under the reign of a king for the first time in seven decades and it will take some time for the nation to process this ground-breaking news. May she rest in peace.

In the meantime, there remained a football match to be completed. The players would have been told of the news in the dressing room and before the start of the second half a minute’s silence was held. Arsenal began the second half on the front foot with a lot of possession being had. Tierney saw his low drive saved, Nketiah also had an effort saved. And on 62 minutes, we restored our lead. Martinelli switched the play to Marquinhos on the right who cut inside and sent a delicious floating cross over to Nketiah at the far post who nodded in for his first goal of the season. The first Arsenal goal under the reign of King Charles III was scored by an Englishman.

Arteta made a raft of substitutions with Sunday’s encounter with Everton in mind. Off came Tierney, Vieira and Marquinhos, on came Zinchenko, Odegaard and Saka. Arsenal continued to dominate without extending their lead. Jesus then came on to replace Nketiah and the Brazilian saw his left footed effort well saved by the Zurich ‘keeper. But the game was won on an emotional day. It was a low-key affair where the events of the game paled into insignificance following the death of Her Majesty.

Next up for The Arsenal, we face the visit of a winless Everton at the Emirates at lunchtime on Sunday. That is if the game does go ahead. [All Premier League fixtures were postponed by publication time – Eds.] But in the meantime, Arsenal now sits on the top of Group A as well as the Premier League. Long may that continue.

RIP Your Majesty.

82 Drinks to “Endings and Beginnings”

  1. 1
    Countryman100 says:

    Nice job 21CG. There are some occasions when a football match just isn’t the most important thing and this was one of them. I didn’t see the game so can’t comment. But delighted that we won and that we are top of two leagues.

    Until we play again.

  2. 2
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21CG, as you say we won fairly easily but it didn’t really seem very important by the end.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    You consistently turn out top quality reports leavened with a light touch that perfectly capture the mood and the occasion . That’s a heck of a task given yesterday’s situation but you’ve done a wonderful job again.
    It wasn’t the most vital game we’ve ever played anyway and I didn’t watch it from start to finish ( in full disclosure I’d just arrived back from an abortive day at the Oval ) . But what I did see convinced me that Marquinhos looked a terrific prospect, Vieira was encouragingly good and Turner wasn’t! He looks very nervous to me .
    I’ve just listened to a discussion about whether we should postpone sport at the present time . As a rule of thumb my way of approaching this is to take Piers Morgan’s stance …and do precisely the opposite . He thinks sport should go ahead. I don’t . I think the atmosphere at the Oval will be very muted . They’ve lost two days already. Play it another time or just consider the series a draw.
    Let’s show some respect to a remarkable and important lady

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    Excellent job 21cg on a big night for our three starting debutants. Three points dcraped when they might have been devoured but our EL campaign is off to a good start. PSV is next at home. One for the monks: Have we ever played two consecutive European matches with no domestic matches played in between?

  5. 5
    bathgooner says:

    Excellent and very well balanced report given events, 21CG.

    TTG on the money with his assessment of the debutants.

    RIP E2R.

  6. 6
    bt8 says:

    Turner looked very shaky and used poor judgment in that sequence when he was pressured. Hein is challenging for no. 2.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@4: February 2019. Back-to-back Europa league games against FC BATE Borisov.

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    A very well-pitched report, 21CG. You struck the perfect balance between the occasion and the event.

  9. 9
    Trev says:

    Well played, 21CG.

    A game we could and should have won by 5 or 6 but we’re off to a winning start away from home. Vieira and Marquinhos looked good – Turner looked nervy and too often had a poor starting position which made our defence generally a bit jittery whenever Zurich attacked.

    However, as said above, other events inevitably overshadowed this game.

    Personally, I think a game on Sunday could have gone ahead – rugby and cricket are apparently set to continue and I don’t find that, of itself, disrespectful.

    However, the Queen has always actrd and spoken with calm and grace. RIP

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@3: An excellent rule of thumb.

    I concur with the decision to cancel the weekend’s fixtures. As discussed in the previous drinks with Ollie, the FA/Football League’s decision to play on just three days after George VI’s death in 1952 with a ‘simple but sincere tribute’ before the matches was taken in a different time. Holding a minute’s silence at half-time in a European game in Switzerland with just three Brits on the field was an illustration of Elizabeth’s significance beyond the shores of the United Kingdom. 21CG noted that an Englishman scored our first goal of Charles’s reign, but even more fittingly, an Englishman of Commonwealth descent.

  11. 11
    scruzgooner says:

    21cg, excellent report, a fine look at the game and a respectful remembrance of her majesty. thank you.

    i keep thinking of what vieira did to get free of two defenders to make that gorgeous pass to eddie. i happened upon a little zidane video today and realized the move vieira made was similar to those zidane made (all the time, mind). i’m glad he plays for us.

    and i heard comparisons of marquinhos with gnabry. not on your life. at 19 gnabry wasn’t as developed as a player or in his body, which kept breaking down. still, if marq comes good as did serge, i will be very happy.

    if next weekend’s games are cancelled as well as this, we won’t have a game after psv until scum on october 1. here’s hoping that gives our injured a chance to get better, and that they take it easy (partey and more especially) while with their national squads.

  12. 12
    Ollie says:

    Cheers 21CG. It was a strange game to watch. I still think there were ways to mark respect significantly at the games this weekend rather than postpone them, especially in light of other sports going ahead (though I agree with TTG on the cricket, for practical reasons just because the first day was rained off), very much in agreement with arseblog there (never mind Piers Morgan, a stopped clock sometimes unwittingly gives the correct time but there’s no telling what day it is).
    Anyway, tomorrow will be the weirdest day trip. But hey at least I won’t be stressed if the train to London is late…

  13. 13
    Trev says:

    I read somewhere (Twitter, which I don’t do) that the FA are worried that a single disrespectful shout during a period of silence would attract headlines and bring football into disrepute. Imagine, on the other hand, the sound of 60,000 people singing the national anthem as a tribute to the deceased queen. Far more memorable, to me, than a cancelled game.

  14. 14
    Ollie says:

    Yeah, I can’t really see that as a motivation for the cancellation, Trev. A single disrespectul shout would bring the shouting individual into disrepute (and no doubt public twitter or else vilification). Agree on your version too. I get Ned’s view about a lot of people being non-Brits in the Stadium but I don’t think that would be a problem. Sure it might mean 50,000 people singing rathet than 60,000, but I think there would be respect there too. And a lot of emotion.

  15. 15
    Trev says:

    Ollie, Ned, TTG, Bath,

    I get everyone’s feeling’s and preferences – this will affect everyone differently for a variety of reasons. I’m not trying to persuade anyone to change their mind – merely expressing my own feelings.

    My attitude to the matter is “respect” but not to cancel everything. I believe the queen’s own attitude to life was ‘keep calm and carry on’ which is why I don’t believe it would have been disrespectful to play.

  16. 16
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellently described match report 21CG!

    It was important to get the European campaign going with an winning start. Topping the group is a key target in the first half of the season to avoid play-offs against any of the third placed CL teams.

    Marquinhos was surprisingly good on the ball. The pace, energy and the tenacity I expected, but the finish and the assist (and a few other such deliveries in the box) were of high quality.

    Vieira came with a reputation of great spatial awareness, technique and vision. He didn’t disappoint even though in a few moments of transitions he found himself lacking physically. But that can be improved.

    Eddie continues his upward curve.

    Eindhoven, even at the Emirates, is likely to be a sterner test. Not having a PL match this weekend would allow Sambi, Xhaka and Martinelli some rest and maybe in the defence we can give Gabriel a break and play Holding on the left of White.

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@15: Quite understood. I still think it was the right decision on balance, but I acknowledge that the kingdom wouldn’t have collapsed if the games had gone ahead.

    It seems that non-league football will resume from Monday.

    I read that one of the reasons for the FA’s decision to suspend was potential policing shortages but that it was also concerned about damage to its reputation if there were anti-monarchist or other disrespectful displays at games. It would have been a craven motivation if that is even remotely true (and I have no idea whether it is).

  18. 18
    bathgooner says:

    One wonders whether the Dipper fans’ persistent booing of the national anthem recently has influenced the Premier League’s decision which I agree is somewhat extreme. I believe the basis of their booing the anthem is that they believe that their city is much put upon. Perhaps they should speak to the good folk of Odesa? Therefore if there is anyone to blame for a weekend without football it is probably the Red Scouse hordes.

  19. 19
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@18: Militant Tendency redux?

  20. 20
    bt8 says:

    Would the Queen, a known Arsenal fan (kaf), have agreed to the cancellation knowing that Arsenal had a home game against Everton, one of the worst teams in the league?

    Speaking purely personally, Everton have been on a downward spiral ever since they jettisoned Chang as their shirt sponsor, but enough about Everton.

  21. 21
    Ollie says:

    First time this season with a lot of space in the Tollington…😀

  22. 22
    North Bank Ned says:

    Make good use of it, Ollie.

  23. 23
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Ned. Just waiting for a couple of mates so it will all be good.👌

  24. 24
    TTG says:

    This is probably one for Ned and came from a conversation with a cheeky grandson this afternoon . I note that we won the league in the season that followed Elizabeth ll ‘s accession to the throne . But the King died in February 1952 ( 6th I think) . Do we know who topped the First Division on that day . It would be quite something if we’d been top then and top when she died !
    The 1952/3 season was one my father often talked about. We beat Burnley 3-2 at Highbury in a very tense final game and in triumph one of his friend threw one of their colleagues’ tribys triumphantly into the air on the final whistle .Consequence was tye loss of a treasured titfer but nobody minded given the circumstances

  25. 25
    Ollie says:


    PSV potsponed too. We’ll see for Brentford, but surely it’s in big doubt too.

  26. 26
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@24: We were third in the old Division One on the day that George VI died and Elizabeth became Queen, with 37 points, one less than eventual champions Man U (their first title since 1910-11) and Pompey, who would end up fourth. Twenty-nine of the 42 league games had been played at that point. The previous weekend had been the FA Cup fourth round so the table was unchanged from January 26’s league games, when we had drawn 2-2 against Manchester City at Highbury.

    The neighbours would make up a four-point gap on us at that point to pip us for second on goal difference. We rather Sp*rzed up the season by losing our last two league games, 3-1 to West Brom at the Hawthorns, which put the title out of reach, and then 6-1 to the Mancs at OT, although we fielded sides weakened by injury in both games. Winning both matches would have given us the title, and one of them second. Compounding the disappointment, we then lost the last FA Cup Final not to have been broadcast live to Newcastle, 1-0.

  27. 27
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ollie@26: This must be a policing issue. Other mid-week European games involving British sides are going ahead. There are three league matches in London next weekend, so your concern about the Brentford game seems well-placed.

  28. 28
    Ollie says:

    Yes, I think so re: policing issue, Ned.
    There will be a serious fixtures pile-up at some point.
    I wonder if we’ll consider forfeiting PSV, considering we could still qualify and top the group with a loss. Probably not but we’ll see.

  29. 29
    ClockEndRider says:

    Surely it is not beyond the wit of man to simply reverse the fixtures @nd play this game away, even if i5tis with no away fans?

  30. 30
    North Bank Ned says:

    Probably not beyond the wit of man, CER, but the wit of UEFA is a different kettle of fish.

  31. 31
    Countryman100 says:

    Arsenal.com reporting that the Brentford game on Sunday will go ahead with a kick off time of 12 noon. https://www.arsenal.com/news/brentford-fixture-confirmed

  32. 32
    Ollie says:

    Ha, moved forward so I shall not be going to the pub to watch it, heh (too early).
    Looks like they really are improving as they go along. Doesn’t make too much sense in view of Thursday’s cancellation.

  33. 33
    Ollie says:

    ImprovISing, certainly not improving.

  34. 34
    bt8 says:

    Ollie. Stability and predictability were objectives of the second Elizabethan age. Improvisation and chaos seem to be more highly valued now, meaning the departure time of your train next weekend may have particular emphasis on the E in ETD. 😉

  35. 35
    Ollie says:

    Not taking any train but local next weekend, bt8. Spurs next for me.
    But I enjoyed your post. 😀

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    At least our cancelled games are home games so a bit less travel time for the players when we try to catch up the extra games. Good thé Brentford game is going ahead and at a civilized kick off time of 8pm on a Sunday evening 🍷🍷
    TP and ESR should be available again after the international break.

  37. 37
    OsakaMatt says:

    Looking at the cancellations overall, you can see why from a policing perspective and it all seems sensible enough, to me anyway. I did wonder why the dippers can play Ajax but we can’t play PSV but I expect there is some logistical / geographical basis. Or the PSV support is particularly thuggish?
    @18 I laughed out loud, thanks Bath. I will now remember to weep thrice daily for the poor, oppressed people of the Greater Merseyside.

  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@37: The sad truth is that the CL trumps EL by a country mile. Btw, your civilized 8pm is 7am on this spit of sand in the Atlantic. Barely gives the monks time to observe Lauds.

  39. 39
    scruzgooner says:

    which means, ned and matt, it’s pre-sparrowfart for me, 4 am…. sigh. it will be nice to take in a game after a proper lunch rather than before breakfast!

  40. 40
    Ollie says:

    Matt at 37. I’m more surprised that Chelsea at home on Wednesday evening can go ahead. This one certainly not for geographical reasons.

  41. 41
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Given the schedule congestion in October it’s nearly impossible to find a day for the PSV home match before the final group match to be held on November 3.

    Given that it’s Arsenal who had failed to host the match I think UEFA ruling may be that we will forfeit the game, and PSV will be awarded 3 points. Unless we can convince them to play on another day that they can accommodate in their calendar, given Eredivisie probably has a similar schedule congestion they may not.

  42. 42
    Countryman100 says:

    Dr F @41, the Evening Standard confident the game will be rearranged.

  43. 43
    Countryman100 says:

    Demand for tickets is at levels not seen since Highbury. Every home game to and including Zurich on November 3 sold out. If you are still looking for a ticket try Ticket Exchange and keep trying. Something will probably pop up.

  44. 44
    Ollie says:

    C100. ‘Probably’ for Tx may also be a thing from the past. You’ll need a lot of luck.
    Might keep trying for Liverpool, but I’m not that fussed anymore.
    Not seen a single one for that since the schedule has been confirmed. Not even a ‘oh one was available, I clicked and it wasn’t there anymore’. Plenty of time left, but still.

  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    Scruz@39: you have my sympathy. Reminds me of days gone by when one had to go to a bar to watch the games with early KOs. I never knew which was worse, a bunch of fans who were starting to drink at 6am or ones who had been out all night drinking to 6am.

  46. 46
    scruzgooner says:

    when i go to our supporter’s bar for a 6am ko i prefer starting the guinness with the other sober folks 🙂

  47. 47
    Ollie says:

    Good luck on Sunday, scruz!

  48. 48
    scruzgooner says:

    ollie, thanks. but i will not watch it live at 4 am. i’ll wait until i wake up at a relatively civilized hour, not look at any electronic devices until i turn on the dvr of the game and finish watching it. 👍

  49. 49
  50. 50
    OsakaMatt says:

    My apologies for my unseemly gloating over the early kick-off gentlemen – an early morning stiffener on the bar for you all.

    @43 that isn’t the best news C100 – I am finally back to the UK in October and while I thought there was no chance of a ticket for the NLD, ManCity, Liverpool games I had a vague hope that Bodo Glimt would be doable! I suppose on the bright side it’s great that we are successful again 🙂

  51. 51
    Countryman100 says:

    Keep checking ticket exchange Matt, especially for the EL games.

  52. 52
    Countryman100 says:

  53. 53
    Ollie says:

    Given that there are (I guess?) no European matches that week, and that there already was an Arsenal home match planned on the 19th, I wondered why they rescheduled the European tie for the Thursday not the Wednesday (unless PSV put a veto to that for any reason).
    Would have made a lot more practical and logical sense to me.

    I’m sure there’s a good reason, but I fail to see it with however little information we have.

  54. 54
    Countryman100 says:

    You’re right, there are no other European games that week but there is a full programme of premier league matches mid week.

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@50: No apology needed. All us far-flungs Ned to take the breaks where they fall.

  56. 56
    North Bank Ned says:

    Need to take the breaks. Spillchucker!

  57. 57
    Ollie says:

    I was wondering if there was a collective of ‘far-flung Neds’ :-D.

  58. 58
    scruzgooner says:

    we all wish we were far-flung neds!

    and i didn’t take it as gloating, matt. you so often get the late end of the early stick.

    and nice half ton!

  59. 59
    North Bank Ned says:

    If there were, Ollie, the collective noun would have to be a splatter.

    Be careful what you wish for, Scruz. 🙂

  60. 60
    North Bank Ned says:

    The collective noun for Trevs would have to be a punnet.

    I’ll get my coat…

  61. 61
    TTG says:

    Forgive my failure to acknowledge your answer to my question about our position when the Queen acceded to the throne . It spoils a great line ,imagine if we had been top in 1952 . I’ve been led astray in Portugal this week, my iron discipline failing in the face of strong drink .

  62. 62
    Countryman100 says:

    “Led astray” Of course you were TTG. 😇😇

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@61: Strong drink has brought down lesser men.

  64. 64
    OsakaMatt says:

    I wonder about Southgate sometimes, who
    would put Dier in instead of Ben White

  65. 65
    North Bank Ned says:

    Or Maguire, come to that. OM

  66. 66
    North Bank Ned says:

    At least, Benny Blanco is a starter.

  67. 67
    Sancho Panza says:

    Yes that is a really strange decision.

    In nautical terms Ben is a catamaran and Eric is an oil tanker.

  68. 68
    Sancho Panza says:

    And Henry is an oil tanker rammed into some rocks.

  69. 69
    Sancho Panza says:

    Henry, Harry whatever his name is.

  70. 70
    TTG says:

    I continue to be led astray and am disappointed that representations from GHF coukd not preserve our fixture with PSV. Actually I’m not because I can join my fri3nd Scruz when it is played .

  71. 71
    scruzgooner says:

    well, i count on you to lead us astray pregame, ttg. especally if i can learn to type like that once so led…

  72. 72
    bt8 says:

    If Ben is a catamaran Saliba is a yacht. And not one that belongs to a Russian oligarch either.

  73. 73
    bathgooner says:

    White and Zinchenko are both crocked therefore have respectively not been selected for and dropped out of their forthcoming international squads.

  74. 74
    OsakaMatt says:

    I’d forgotten about Maguire. Much like Ten Haag
    has in fact. Blogs makes the same point today.

  75. 75
    OsakaMatt says:

    That’ll mean Zin out for Sunday at least. KT can play – Scotland have three games in the interlull it seems. Robertson is out injured but even so I will be annoyed if KT plays all three. Actually, I’m being polite – I’ll be fucked right off if he plays all three.
    TP h will join the Ghana squad for their two games

  76. 76
    North Bank Ned says:

    Arteta says Ben White will be fit for selection on Sunday. Zinchenko will be assessed after Saturday’s training but Arteta’s gnomic comments suggest he won’t be available.

  77. 77
    bt8 says:

    Thanks for interpreting Arteta’s comments about Zinchenko’s availability Ned. I wasn’t really sure how to take his words, but I guess that was probably his hope.

  78. 78
    bt8 says:

    Arsenal women open the season scoring four goals. It would be nice to see the men match that tally.

  79. 79
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@77: There was a Japanese prime minister in the late 1980s, Noburu Takeshita, who reputedly said, my words are clear but my meaning is obscure. Arteta is much the same in his public pronouncements.

  80. 80
    OsakaMatt says:

    Let’s hope MA is not as corrupt Ned 😉

    I wonder if we will risk brining TP straight back, given the NLD is next week as well.

  81. 81
    scruzgooner says:

    i know it has been a bit, but what a lovely article. and it has a link to a wonderful twitter video, in case you missed it. rip maria!


  82. 82
    scruzgooner says: