Feed on

Money talks at the Emptihad

That wasn’t much fun, was it?  Arsenal continued their teetering end-of-season form with their fourth consecutive game without a win, as they were thoroughly beaten 4-1 at the Emptihad by the-expensively-assembled-€itzens-of-(allegedly)-Off-Balance-Sheet-FC, as our Texas correspondent rightfully calls them.  But regardless of the outcome, a wider perspective is necessary, and shows how far Arsenal have progressed this season, and how much promise this team holds with young stars in nearly every position including Martinelli, Saka and (hopefully) Saliba who would walk in to starting berths for just about every other team in the league.  So it was not a good day at the office to be sure, but a wonderful year at the office without any question.

The €itzens came into this game after defeating Sheffield United in an FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, while Arsenal were humbled by bottom side Southampton in their 3-3 league draw on Friday.  After Citeh’s home win against Leicester in their last league game, manager Guardiola said his team would have to play “a final” against Arsenal.  To be fair, play a final is exactly what Citeh did as Arsenal struggled to stay in the match from beginning to end.  Midfield master DeBruyne scored two sumptuous goals while cyborg striker Haaland continued his scoring exploits with his coup-de-grace strike in injury time extending his tally to 48 goals in 40 matches.  Haaland also contributed an assist on the first of DeBruyne’s goals after muscling a ball away from Holding in midfield and creating enough space to spot the Belgian streaking downfield.

Not only were the Gunners outclassed on the evening, this was Arsenal’s third loss to Citeh this season.  In the reverse fixture, the Gunners fell behind 0-1 on De Bruyne’s 24th minute goal before a Saka penalty equalized matters before halftime but late Citeh goals by Grealish and Haaland clinched the points for the Blue Mancs in a match played two weeks after Citeh defeated the Gunners by 1-0 in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.

I got to the pub at about ten minutes to kickoff, or 5 minutes before the proprietors switched their screens away from Chelsea-Brentford (final: 0-2 amusingly leaving the Chavs 10 points off the relegation places) and I procured my first pint.  Sitting next to a guy in an Ødegaard shirt, all I could do was to hope for the best.  I thought it was a good omen when the crowd seemed to break out in a round of “Tottenham get battered everywhere they go” but a few minutes later realized that the room was dominated by Citeh fans so I probably mistook the Tottenham part of that chant for something else.  Fewer friendly faces to share the misery of what was to come.

Arsenal XI


White — Holding — Gabriel — Zinchenko

Ødegaard — Partey — Xhaka

Saka — Jesus — Martinelli

Haaland easily could have scored two goals in the first half, and came much closer than Thomas when the two of them had chances from distance one after the other.  Both players sent their shots the wrong side of the post and could have done better as you might expect Haaland, possibly the most expensive player in the world, should do, but unfortunately Thomas did not come close to replicating his lovely goal against Spurs from an identical position on Arsenal’s only chance of the half.  DeBruyne’s goal, an unstoppable blast from distance, was the kind of stuff you might expect from another of the most expensive players in the world, and it came from a great pass by Haaland who had impeccably controlled the keeper’s goal kick.  Stones’ header for their second goal came from a corner just before halftime and drove a stake through every Gooner’s heart when VAR showed an Arsenal foot playing Stones onside.

Xhaka had, I believe, Arsenal’s first shot on goal early in the second half, and for a long time it looked like it might be the Gunners only one of the entire game.  Haaland should have scored Citeh’s third on the 50 minute mark when he was alarmingly left alone to run at Ramsdale from the keeper’s long ball, but Ramsdale made his third or fourth big save of the game before DeBruyne, nutmegging Holding, did score Citeh’s third a couple of minutes later after Ødegaard’s bad backward ball in midfield.

On 60 minutes Arteta sent on Trossard and Jorginho for Xhaka and Martinelli, and on 71 minutes the lesser spotted Smith Rowe came on for our Norwegian captain, before Nelson and Nketiah replaced Saka and Jesus with 10 minutes remaining, but those changes had little impact on the flow of the latter stages.  When Nelson came on for Saka he looked like a breath of fresh air, as he often has this season when called upon, and he made a great midfield run feeding fellow substitute Nketiah on the left but the latter’s effort went past the far post.  Nelson then won a corner and Trossard bungled it but the lads stroked it around a couple of times before the Belgian fed Holding who knocked it home making it 3-1.  Cue the Citeh fans in the bar singing “It should have been ten” and to be honest it felt like they weren’t far wrong.

Haaland unfurled his abundant hair in the 94th minute, seconds before scoring Citeh’s fourth on the stroke of Michael Oliver’s final whistle.  The truth is, Citeh pummeled Arsenal from start to finish, but on a variation of what the Citeh fans sang in the bar, if you spend that much money it probably “ought to be ten” on a weekly basis so there’s no shame in it for the valiant young Gunners.  I left the bar thinking about what the last four weeks might have been like if Saliba had not been injured, but right now the end of this season feels remarkably similar to the end of the last one, unfortunately.  Thank Dennis the first 30-odd games went so well.

71 Drinks to “Money talks at the Emptihad”

  1. 1
    North Bank Ned says:

    Your match report is certainly on the money, bt8. A fair and honest reckoning of what, as you say, was a game in which we came up a shilling short. De Bruyne and Haaland looked ruthlessly determined to justify the £775,000 City is paying them this — and every other — week. We have a lot to be thankful to Ramsdale for in keeping it to four.

    I had intended to post this comment on bath’s chart in the previous drinks but got chevroned out, so here it is instead:

    The wages are the more meaningful indicator of the quality of players. City’s current squad may have cost 1.8 times as much as ours, but our total spending on buying players over the past five seasons was 687 million euros v City’s 708 million euros, which is a relatively slight difference. Arguably they don’t buy many, if any, duds, and they sell infinitely better than we do. They’ve raised 449 million euros from sales over the past five seasons, whereas we made just 137 million euros. Our net spend over the past five seasons, at 550 million euros, has been more than twice City’s, 260 million euros. That difference helps pay the 206 million euro annual wage bill for their first team squad against our 111 million euros, which works out, switching to pounds, an average salary for them of £146,000 a week against £82,000 a week for us. We have only three players who earn above City’s average; they have only six who are paid below our average, two of whom are backup keepers. No contest.

  2. 2
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers bt8. Fair and measured.

    They were just too good on the night. It was truly one of the best performances I have ever seen. If any team can match them whilst they play at that level… then that’s a match I wanna see.

    But it wasn’t us last night.

    No shame, no complaints, we have had an amazing season so far, far outstripping all expectations and we can expect to finish second, which is exactly what we deserve.

    And we will be better next season.


  3. 3
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ned, and Baff in the last drinks, are completely right that it is money that makes the most difference. For our points tally to be so close to this monstrous behemoth is a remarkable feet. (Kudos also to Liverpool, whose brilliance over the last few seasons has gone some way to mask the sustained brilliance of City’s sides in recent years)

    If we had a £50m backup to replace the injured Saliba it would have made a big difference since his injury. But we don’t, and we won’t any time soon. We will have to keep battling the odds, and, as fans, enjoying the ride.

  4. 4
    TTG says:

    Great report Bt8.
    Very sensible comments all round as one would expect from this bar.
    I hope and believe Citeh will be punished for sustained financial irregularities. This will tell us much about what actually natters to the people who run the game.They may get off Scot free but if they do tye game would not be worth playing .
    But whatever, please do do not denigrate our side who gave restored enormous pride to our fan base and who will ger even better . But will our better ever be comparable with an organisation that mired in corruption and dirty tricks ?
    I think GSD sums it up very well. They are a superb side, almost impossible to compete with . I believe they are also the most flagrant cheats the game has ever seen. If you.are a Citeh fan what mixture of your feelings is pride and which guilt? Their reckoning is coming….but how quickly ?

  5. 5
    BtM says:

    Sadly, we weren’t at the races last night, apparently much to the delight of all of the media (our bloggers excepted). I had hoped that we might et lucky and go in at only 1-0 at half time. VAR completed scuppered that with an incorrect decision. There have been much better days and there will be again – hopefully starting on Tuesday.

  6. 6
    ClockEndRider says:

    Top quality report, BT8, even more so for the speed with which it was produced post match.
    We were thoroughly outplayed as, and I hate to say it, I expected. They play brilliant football and we just can’t match your strength in depth. Yet. They will go on y9 do the domestic double. I just hope they don’t win the CL as it will be the ultimate in sportswashing. The financial finagling just turns me right off and I have no expectation that the powers that be will do anything about it. As someone in another place said, only 102 financial irregularities until we win the league….

  7. 7
    Las says:

    Cheers, bt8! A measured and honest report however painful it was watching and writing.
    What GSD said.

  8. 8
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    BTM. Yeah, I found that VAR call very odd given the original angle showing Stones’ position when the ball was kicked, and the subsequent one that they drew lines on and called him onside did not show where De Bruyne”s foot was relative to the ball, but it is hard to look at the picture you’ve posted and not feel it was rolled on a couple of frames before they got their slide rule out.

    I also reckon Haaland should have given away a penalty. He kept his arm bu his side, but the ball was not going to hit it until he lurched his whole body sideways. I reckon the VAR officials went with an interpretation of unnatural arm positioning that only looked at how close his arm was to his body, not the fact that his arm is actually attached to his whole body, which clearly made a deliberate jerk towards the ball, and the six inches he moved to block its path make it a clearly unnatural position, at least to my eyes.

    Before anyone questions whether I am suggesting these decisions would have changed the result… no, I am not. They were miles the better side. But they were still frustrating calls.

    Although, even though VAR was it’s usual shite standard, I thought Michael Oliver had an excellent game in the middle of the park. If he could perform like that consistently, and drop the erratic calls he sometimes goes in for, he might start to emerge as the top-drawer referee he is too often touted as.

  9. 9
    Bathgooner says:

    An excellent, accurate and swift report, bt8, of a difficult game to watch. We came with hope but were summarily dismissed with aplomb. In truth, we had deluded ourselves into underestimating the extent of the gap that remains between these two sides despite the good work of Arteta et al and the wonderful football we have been privileged to enjoy this season. There is no question that the better team won and the scoreline could have been far more embarrassing. And why does that gap exist? Simply the different expenditure on players and players’ wages, the latter being highly correlated with player quality and ultimate success, as illustrated by the excellent Keenos in his blog on shewore.com yesterday:

    TTG is hopeful that the FA will take action over the documented breaches of financial regulations by the Oilers over the past decade. I am less hopeful. Wealthy organisations have an uncanny way of oiling the wheels of justice to ensure an outcome that is in their favour. However the continued domination of the Premier League by this tarnished outfit will have an impact upon the attractiveness of the product and those at the top of that organisation should be very concerned. The worldwide attraction that has brought extraordinary riches is based on the competitiveness of the PL over decades and is the reason money for global TV rights flows in far greater quantities to the PL not to one horse outfits like the Bundesliga, Ligue Un or even two horse outfits like La Liga and Serie A. The PL is now firmly in that stable and this season it is only the endeavour and brilliance of this young Arsenal team that has prevented a procession for the sportswashers of the Sheiks of Araby.

    As ‘Feverpitch’ said last night on Twitter, “We are only 116 broken financial rules away from winning the league!”


  10. 10
    Bathgooner says:

    Herewith the illustration of the gap posted by Keenos on she wore.com yesterday:

  11. 11
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks bt8, as others have said an accurate report of a sad evening for us. Great season though and I do believe we will strengthen and be back next year to challenge the doped fiends.
    Time to enjoy the remaining games, starting with a return to winning ways against a similarly doped bunch of fiends, happily now fallen on hard times.

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@9: Sadly, it looks like the PL’s reaction to the risk of the competition being dominated — and diminished — by a financially doped team is not to root out financial doping but to have multiple financially doped teams.

    And what GSD said.

  13. 13
    OsakaMatt says:

    I must admit I am curious which way the PL teams will jump when it comes down to it. Initially I thought they’d take the chance to shaft Shitteh but perhaps they will be worried about setting some of ethical standard they might have to adhere to in the future.

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@13: While there is a difference in objective between the Middle Eastern and US private equity owners of PL clubs, I suspect that at this point, they have a shared interest in retaining as much financial freedom to flash the cash as they think best suits their purposes.

  15. 15
    bt8 says:

    BtM’s picture @5 is convincing evidence of no offside for me.

    The TV networks and VAR’s immediate fixation on one angle when deciding offside calls needs serious looking at. At no time is the assistant referee consulted, and the AR has probably the most important information to share. After all, technology isn’t everything, or have I missed something?

  16. 16
    bt8 says:

    Convincing evidence of offside I should have said, having been taken from a spot directly adjacent to the infraction. The only problem is, Holding’s foot, which was the crux of the issue, is hidden in this view behind a Citeh defender.

  17. 17
    bt8 says:

    It’s quite a dramatic nip and tuck race going on at the top of the You Ropey fantasy league with the two contenders being High Bar, a Japanese entrant and defending champion if I am not mistaken, and the mysterious Ultimate Sheep. High Bar are back in the lead for the moment. Let’s hope nobody (ahem) lowers the bar.

  18. 18
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks bt8
    The most disappointing thing for me today is not that we lost at Citeh to a team that was clearly better on the night, but rather that the title may instead still be lost mostly because of the six points dropped in the three games before. Four points given away from two goal leads and two points against a side that everybody beats.
    We’d still be 8 points ahead.

  19. 19
    OsakaMatt says:

    It is indeed tight at top of the Holics Ropey League. The mysterious Ultimate Sheep has retaken the lead. High Bar is a new team though, renamed from last seasons Low Bar to reflect the author’s change in expectations at the start of this season. The defending champion? Mucking Muckers if I am not mistaken! Currently, the Muckers are holding on for a Ropey League finish in the Ropey League. Just behind the Vikings of Kent and the er…. Bytoms of Polonia.
    As we operate on strictly Super League principles there is of course no relegation.

  20. 20
    OsakaMatt says:

    Though the mysterious Ultimate Sheep is actually the son of High Bar so it is all in the family as they say. However, I have no clue about the bloody silly team name.

  21. 21
    Countryman100 says:

    Wonderful Arseblog this morning. I am firmly of the “switch off” school after a numbing defeat. Consequently my admin is up to date and my garden is well ahead!


  22. 22
    Gooner_KS says:

    @21 Thanks C100.
    A very nice read and a great quote from KDB.
    “The way that Arsenal press is top … it’s almost impossible to play from the back,” Kevin De Bruyne explained after the game.
    “We know we had to play longer, we tried a couple of things in training, I got a little deeper and then tried to run off of Erling when he kept the ball. We found that a couple of times and in the first half we created some chances that way, it was important to set the tone.
    “Normally we play with two number eights, I think he wanted a bit more control because of the way they press, so Gündogan was (in) a double six. I had to choose the moments depending on who was pressing out of Xhaka or Partey. If Partey was pressing I would try to go (behind him) and the other way around, it’s difficult for Holding and Gabriel then – do they go with me or stay with Erling.”

    As I mentioned in the previous drinks, I felt, in my humble opinion, and by now means can I measure to Mikel’s heel, that tactically they were hammering us. Of course it’s easier said than done but we simply had no answer.

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks for the link, C100. Taking a few days to decompress after Wednesday is definitely the way to go. (Other options are available).

    The Lewis Ambrose tactics column today is worth a read, too. https://arseblog.com/2023/04/tactics-column-dont-adapt-dont-survive/

  24. 24
    Gooner_KS says:

    I am still very much keeping the hope, until the very end, even when there’s 0.01 chance, the boys have done us proud. It’s just this sickening feeling I still have from the last 4 games, like suffering from a bad food poisoning that goes on weeks.

    P.S. I tend to watch goals/chances during matches @arsenalist, but smiled when I saw for the last game he didn’t want/couldn’t upload them. Maybe there was another reason, but totally understand him.

  25. 25
    bt8 says:

    Ned, Thanks for de link. I liked the upbeat note Ambrose ended on: “There are hundreds of uncertainties, but this season can at least leave us confident that Arsenal will be back in a game this big before long.”

  26. 26
    bt8 says:

    And thanks KS for the KDB quote at 22. Arteta has room, and more importantly the capacity to grow as a manager and tactician.

  27. 27
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I just popped in to link the Lewis Ambrose tactics column but I see Ned has already done so. It highlights brilliantly how City exposed our, usually devastating, press and nullified Saka and Martinelli.

    I hope we can land Declan Rice, he really would be a perfect fit for us. Perhaps we are also still interested in Caicedo too? Partey may have a niggle but he has looked leggy recently, and can’t play at this level forever (even though, on his day, he still plays two positions simultaneously better than two blokes play them in most other teams).

    Of course we won’t get our own Haaland, there is only one of him, but I would like to see us buy a big guy we can use up top when we need something different.

    We have to make a call between Eddie and Flo, the latter of whom may fancy pastures new and generate decent money.

    We have a call to make with ESR. Either sell him, or trust him to play.

    I find it hard to see where Vieira is gonna fit in to any team other than a League Cup one. He can talk about going to the gym, but what is he doing in there? What is he eating? Look at Eddie’s physique and the huge effort he has made to become stronger and fitter. Vieira needs to knuckle down or he will be gone next summer. If we could recoup our money for him this summer then I’d cut our losses. Arteta seems to like him though, and the first season in England can be a tough one, so perhaps he will emerge as a more viable option next year. I just still don’t know what position he fits in this team. Maybe we will tweak our tactics more next year, a la City, and he will find a niche.

    We also need to upgrade Holding. And keep a close eye on Tomi’s fitness next season. Perhaps blooding the young Norton-Cuffy in the cups might help alleviate the need for a new right back understudy, but we will have to see.

    As ever, I trust Arteta and Edu with recruitment (although we still need to sell better!) but there is a lot to do to take us to the next level. The club has the desire to do it, but there are a huge amount of tough calls to make, and some canny business is needed to add at least five players and shuffle out a few too. That’s a lot of work over the summer.


  28. 28
    bathgooner says:

    It feels like another interlull with the echoing silence in this establishment, the unwashed empties on the bar and the tumbleweed rolling across the floor, with the only sign of life a couple of hunched bodies hiding below one of the tables.

  29. 29
    Ollie says:

    Would have been a good idea to end the season at half-time of the Liverpool match.

  30. 30
    OsakaMatt says:

    It is quiet Bath, yeah. Apart from Ollie’s excellent suggestion @29 😃
    GSD’s review of the summer needs is good too. Personally, I think we need
    three rather than five but like Dino I will leave it to MA/Edu. My 3 would be
    two CMs and a CB but that depends a bit on whether Kieran stays.

  31. 31
    OsakaMatt says:

    It’s looking like three from five at the bottom of the CL.
    I would like Soton down for annoying me immensely this season, Everton too.
    Out of Leicester, Leeds and Forest it would have been Leicester automatically
    for me but they fired Rogers, so now Leeds I guess as it’s a trek for the away
    support and they are dirty Leeds after all.

  32. 32
    OsakaMatt says:

    Burnley and Sheffield United up already and it will be weird watching Burnley trying to play
    nice football after years of the dreary crap that Dyche served up.
    There’s a whole host of play off candidates but I think Coventry would be my choice to come up as they’ve been through some tough times financially I think. Not Luton as I can never forgive them for my worst day at Wembley ever.

  33. 33
    bathgooner says:

    OM, I think we will need four or five depending on outgoings.

    We need two mid-twenties, big, strong, assertive, technically proficient and mobile central midfielders who can replace Xhaka and Partey, one of whom, probably the latter due to lesser consistency and to date unresolved off-field issues, will probably be sold if we can sign two top-class midfielders. If we can sign both Rice and Caicedo our midfield will be imperious – sadly, I can’t see us getting both but one of those two plus a PL-experienced alternate would be a step up – hence, perhaps, the rumours about Kante though at 31 he only has a couple of top level seasons left in him (and we already have a (only) half decent superannuated ex-Chav midfielder). Perhaps Kante is seen as a stop-gap until Patino is ready to take the role.

    Loyal though he has been, we need an upgrade on Holding as back-up right footed CB back-up/alternate to Saliba as the drop-off in our defensive solidity has been dramatic with the resultant drop-off in points haul. I have no idea who that will be.

    If, as seems likely, KT3 leaves (which would be a pity and if he does, we need to squeeze as much cash out of his new employer as we can) we will need cover at left back. Tomiyasu cannot simultaneously cover right back and left back and this season is a reminder that lightning can, after all, strike twice.

    If Reiss doesn’t prove in the remainder of this season that he can consistently be relied upon to be an able alternative to Saka or Martinelli next season. I suspect MA8 may already have a view. Fati would be a superb option in multiple positions up front and Barca may well be willing to sell.

  34. 34
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    OM, I just don’t see 3 new signings making the difference to get us closer to City over the course of a season. Especially as we will have CL football where we can’t field a second eleven, and there will be less calm acceptance if we chuck the cups as we’ve raised expectations.

    And, if we aren’t trying to get closer to City then we are just inviting the chasing pack to get closer to us. I think 5 is a minimum, including at least 2 who go straight into the first team, and all of whom upgrade what we have.

    I think Baff is right that KT3 will leave. He no longer offers much from an attacking perspective and he is the wrong type of LB for our team. If Newcastle pay what we want then I’d sell him, but I’d not be remotely surprised when he puts in great performances for a side much better suited to him than we are.

  35. 35
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I can’t see us keeping Flo and Eddie. Flo will go if he is told he will be 3rd choice, and Eddie is ahead of him in the pecking order, and on too high wages to be third choice. So, I think we will sell one of them, and thus need a striker. Like I say, I’d like us to get a tall guy who is good in the air so we have another string to our bow.

    And Mikel has been trying hard to get another wide forward with similar energy to Saka and Gabi for a while. Trossard is a great signing, but he isn’t that type of player. So, if we add those two to the 2 CMs and one CB that you suggest then we’ve signed five players without covering the LB position if KT3 does move on.

    I’d rather have 6 in than 4. We will have the games to give them playing time.

    Wenger spent years signing 3 players when we needed 6 and it always cost us as our squads could not compete. Arteta was in the dressing room for some of those years and I doubt he will make the same mistake.

  36. 36
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Measured, insightful and keenly observed bt8!

    A lot has already been said. One thing I will add is that there is no great genius in the tactics of using Haaland to cushion balls onto KDB with Gundogan covering for transitions. Many other teams try that same against our press but not with any noticeable success — because they don’t have three of the best players in the world in these key positions.

    Congratulations to the team for achieving the CL qualification.

  37. 37
    bt8 says:

    Re: Bath @28. It looks like several people have dropped in since you brought up the image of that tumbleweed so I might be a bit late, and for that matter my video might have a few too many tumbleweeds for some people’s taste but here goes:

  38. 38
    bt8 says:

    Never mind, it looks like the censors didn’t like it for one reason or another but you can take my word for it there were a lot of tumbleweeds.

  39. 39
    bathgooner says:

    That sure is a lot of tumbleweeds, pordna.

  40. 40
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah, a tumbleweed tornado. If you just click on ‘watch on you tube’ the video still shows

  41. 41
    OsakaMatt says:

    GSD/ Bath

    Well, if KT goes then four new signings but as you say it depends on the outgoings.
    At the beginning of the season MA said we needed to score 90 – 100 goals a season
    to challenge, 78 now with five games to go so 90 is certainly doable. For me we have
    the players to score the goals already and will be adding Flo. I’d keep both Flo and
    Eddie until January at least and see how it goes.
    We will have budget limits to consider and as I think we need a step up in quality and depth next season in the centre of midfield and defence I’d spend big there.
    Of course I am also assuming that apart from Flo the returning loanees including Patino (one more loan at a step up from the championship?) won’t be factors in the squad.

  42. 42
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Our league tally of goals is decent, although I suspect an extra 10 could be the difference between 1st and 2nd next year. (Or lower positions depending on how those behind us strengthen)

    But i am not sure we can just expect our current scorers to be responsible for the additional 30-40 goals we would need for a run in the domestic cups and progress to, say, the CL quarter finals.

    Failure to take forward steps has proved time and again to be the same as going backwards, and i think Mikel is very aware of this.

  43. 43
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I agree that 2 CMs should be the priority. As for CB, we needa cover, not a first teamer, as Gabriel and Saliba (whose new contract is as important as any signing) have those roles sown up. Obviously, we need a quality CB though, not just a body. Even more so depending on what happens at RB, as White is a top CB if he can be shifted across as necessary.

  44. 44
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Our owners have the bit between their teeth. They realise how good our manager is and that this is the best chance we will have to push on for a title. We have CL money coming in and plenty of money we could potentially generate from sales.

    We won’t be paying wages like City do, but in terms of transfer fees, I wouldn’t be surprised if we break our own record this summer.

  45. 45
    Countryman100 says:

    Incredibly, Arsenal have sold out the Emirates for tomorrow’s women’s CL semi final second leg. My London based daughter will be there with six friends. That’s my girl!

  46. 46
    bt8 says:

    Congratulations to Toulouse on winning their first major trophy


  47. 47
    Ollie says:

    To lose is to win. Or something.
    The slightly weird thing is their newish badge mentions 1937 when the original TFC (who won the Cup too in their time) was founded, but the new one founded in 1970 has absolutely nothing to do with it and only inherited the name in 1979.

    Not sure who I was rooting for. Nantes was always a historical rival in the early 80s, while Toulouse is the ‘local’ rival (well 240km away).
    Still, five matches to go in Ligue 2, three points ahead of third (but with a lesser GD), it’s going to go to the wire.

  48. 48
    Trev says:

    Great, difficult job, bt8 !
    Sorry I didn’t want to read anything about it sooner.
    Have to remember we’re still top but it was an illustrative defeat – even if they have bought it all unfairly, we have to try to find a way to compete.
    Here’s hoping their CL efforts will cost them domestically.

  49. 49
    Ollie says:

    I doubt it will cost them, Trev, but as hope springs eternal, I’ll still cross that ball into the path of the onrushing…

  50. 50
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Me! All the way from India!


  51. 51
    Trev says:

    .. with a bang-galorious shot

  52. 52
    Ollie says:

    Stunning finish, GSD!

  53. 53
    Ollie says:

    Heh, you can always count on Trev to deliver a pun-jab.

  54. 54
    Trev says:


  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, GSD. Long-distance shooting at its finest.

  56. 56
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers all.

    Ollie, have a drink on me for 53!

  57. 57
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Trev for 51 too!

  58. 58
    North Bank Ned says:

    No salvation at The Cottage.

  59. 59
    OsakaMatt says:

    Could the Spuds fire three managers in a season?
    Anyway, I appreciate their efforts to cheer me up.

  60. 60
    OsakaMatt says:

    We pretty much agree it seems and I absolutely don’t mind if we do buy another attacker.
    I’d just like to concede 10 less…. Personally, I think Rice will come but the ship may have sailed on Caicedo. Need one more but not Kante I hope, dunno who. Plus a RB/RCB type.
    Do that and we are certainly moving forward

  61. 61
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thoughtful comments on the summer needs above, as to be expected from the illustrious company here.

    I agree with the consensus that we need a Partey replacement and that a long-term Xhaka replacement would be nice to have sooner rather than later. We will also need a left-back to cover for Zinchenko if, as seems likely, KT3 leaves. I would argue that we should buy a top-class starting right-footed CB as I suspect Saliba’s back, even if repaired, will have to be nursed through next season. Using Benny Blanco as cover for Saliba as needed, with Tomi at right back, and buying a backup right back, or hoping Reuell Walters, who can play RB or CB, breaks through, is a Plan B for me.

  62. 62
    bt8 says:

    Phil McNumptie of the BBC writing in the aftermath of Liverpool 4 Spuds 3: “Spurs fans made their discontent known loud and clear hear as they chanted “Daniel Levy Get Out Of Our Club” with Liverpool running riot early on and the chairman possibly fearing he may have to pen another public apology to a long-suffering fanbase.”

    1.) Wonder how he will sign that apology this time.

    2.) The look of disbelief on the face of Harry Kane’s face when Liverpool’s fourth went in was priceless.

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    To add to my @61, we also have Norton-Cuffy out on loan who is a possible backup right-back who can also play RCB.

  64. 64
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    bt “The Face Of Harry Kane’s Face” sounds like the title of an unauthorised biography!

  65. 65
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    bt8, not bt, obviously. Sorry to miss the 8 ball!

  66. 66
    bt8 says:

    GSD. You are quite right to point it out, but may I just say for emphasis, the look of disbelief on Harry Kane’s face when Liverpool’s fourth went in was priceless. 😎

  67. 67
    Gooner_KS says:

    Watched the penalty on Alvarez against Fulham a few times, super soft one IF it was one, we usually don’t get those. Hoping for the next slip up

  68. 68
    OsakaMatt says:

    Best of luck to the Arsenal Women tonight….a Champions League Final against Barca if we can keep the wolf from the door.

  69. 69
    Trev says:

    So Harry Kane’s face is so ugly it now has a face of its own with which to share the burden 😉

  70. 70
    bt8 says:

    Either that or another face to disguise his disgust at the continual failure up with which he must put, playing tor that shower.

  71. 71
    Bathgooner says: