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Arsenal stumbled to a depressing and deserved defeat against a classy and very streetwise Brighton side who scored two avoidable (very avoidable) second half goals embellished by a late breakaway goal by Estupinan to earn a victory which delighted the ghastly Gary Neville. His enjoyment of Arsenal’s demise was tangible.

I have had a very strange, not to say unpleasant, last few weeks and my belief in our ability to win the title evaporated completely when we were outclassed at the Emptihad. So, the last few games have been played (for me) in a strange atmosphere where results, while ostensibly important, have been irrelevant. We’ve been certain of finishing second for a long while, but anything more exciting is out of reach. We’ve still produced encouraging moments leavened with some inexplicable ones (3-3 against Southampton).

Our game with Brighton followed Citeh’s comfortable win at Goodison and my sense from my sofa was that the atmosphere in the stadium had been killed a bit by events in Liverpool. If we had a chance, today was it and if Citeh had dropped points the Grove would have been rocking. 

Instead the game began in a soporific atmosphere. We had left out Zinchenko and retained Jorginho and within a few minutes had to replace Martinelli. The whinging Manchester turd, Gary Neville (backed up later by Roy Keane) saw much more offence in a mid-air challenge from Martinelli on Mitoma which Caicedo took umbrage to, than I did. Caicedo chopped down Martinelli a few minutes later and he was eventually replaced after 23 minutes by Trossard coming in to face his old club.

Brighton are a very capable side who dominate possession and were the more assertive side in the first half. They play possession football at speed and here we saw Mitoma skin White regularly while Caicedo provided the strength and thrust that would have been very useful to us and may be next season. Today we had a whole cluster of players who had shockers. Xhaka was pedestrian in midfield, White had no clue how to deal with Mitoma, nobody in midfield had the zip or quality to contend with Brighton. Trossard had a poor substitute appearance and Jesús lacked the physicality to take on the Brighton defence.

I will avoid reciting the litany of chances for both sides. Brighton dominated first half possession but created fewer chances although Enciso missed a great opportunity after Mitoma skinned White. Ødegaard drilled wide, Trossard had a shot deflected onto the bar and Steele saved from Jesús at the near post. The big difference between the sides was confidence. Brighton were assertive and positive; Arsenal, with Ødegaard subdued, had less rhythm and Saka who has worked incredibly hard this year seems to have lost his spark.

Arsenal’s best period was added time in the first half where they developed some momentum and saw Ødegaard and Saka go close. The referee Andy Madley confirmed the regular impression that he gives me that he is out of his depth in dealing with Premier League players. He misinterpreted several situations, and should certainly have booked Caicedo. Brighton were very quick to foul tactically (especially Enciso) but they probably felt the more comfortable of the two teams at half-time. 

Half-time Arsenal 0 Brighton 0

Arsenal began the second half quickly but soon lapsed back into the pedestrian and cautious approach we saw today. This was a cue for Brighton to dominate. They took the lead on 50 minutes when Enciso headed home from a central position with Kiwior seemingly injured after sustained pressure in the air from the Seagulls.

Arsenal 0 Brighton 1 (50 minutes ) 

Arsenal’s response was much more subdued than usual and involved a string of substitutions. Partey, Nelson, Nketiah and Smith Rowe replaced Xhaka, Jorginho, Ødegaard and Jesús. The reluctance to harness the drive that Smith Rowe gives us was hard to understand and he entered the game at a desperate stage. What are the plans for him? 

We started to take greater passing gambles and a weak flick from Trossard who had moved into midfield rebounded to Undav who lobbed Ramsdale on 85 minutes. 

Arsenal 0 Brighton 2 (85 minutes)

Neville was almost priapic as Brighton exploited the space Arsenal were leaving and may well have achieved orgasm in added time when Ramsdale pushed out a long-distance shot to Estupinan who joyfully netted. 

Arsenal 0 Brighton 3 (90 + 3 minutes) 

Arsenal’s effort did not drop and a couple of shouts for penalties (highly optimistic) went rightly unheeded by the hapless Madley. Sky seemed to want to turn the moment into a realisation that Citeh had won the title although in reality that happened weeks ago at the Etihad.

Final score – Arsenal 0 Brighton 3 

3-0 home defeats are thankfully rare and when they happen create huge concern. It is easy to overreact after a wonderful season where we have exceeded our expectations massively. But this was a poor performanceThe team seemed to lack energy, direction and personality. Partey was a bit part(ey) player today but seems to have radically lost his mojo. Xhaka was totally ineffective and the side generally lacked mobility and incisiveness. I suspect the anti-climactic atmosphere had something to do with this and this Arsenal team is still, lest we forget, a work in progress. Let’s view this result with that perspective and hope that the key deficiencies today are ones that Arteta can remedy. Certainly, despite a wonderful season there is always more to do. 

Let’s enjoy our last two matches and regard today as a blip, hopefully one from which we can learn. As for Brighton, they clearly have an extraordinary scouting system, a clear if pragmatic, tactical approach which produces exciting football and several players I’d like to see in red and white next season. I desperately hope we do not get the negative critics piling in having had to wait patiently for months to round on Arteta. Premier League football is demanding and I think we can excuse one shocker. But a good end to the season is very much required after this.

92 Drinks to “After the Lord Mayor’s Show”

  1. 1
    ClockEndRider says:

    A very fair summation, TTG. I do think the officials were at the very least, a facilitator of their victory. How they ended with 2 yellows is quite remarkable. At one point a linesman – apparently an assistant referee -flagged an offside. From an Arsenal throw in. Guys, at least try to disguise what’s going on. Even so, we were second best to every challenge, every second day ball was won by the opposition. It just felt like this was the end of a long season.
    We have won the non financially doped championship.let’s not lose sight of that.

  2. 2
    bt8 says:

    A very fair report and well measured assessment of where our season stands. We do need a pair of really good performances to round out the season, but we are a bit late to say it will be remembered as a “good end” to the season. But a very good season in its entirety, certainly.

  3. 3
    Goonersince54 says:

    Miserable day to be a Gooner, and credit to Arteta and the players, we have had very few of those this season, compared to recent ones.
    To say we have competed way above expectations would be a massive understatement.
    But unfortunately in consequence, after years of disappointment, it allowed us all to dream that we could achieve the impossible and win the Title.
    But a seriously disappointing April, turned all those hopes and dreams to dust.
    I really don’t care what other teams are doing, I only care about mine,
    Last 3 seasons, 8th, 5th, 2nd.
    CL to look forward to, and hopefully a good summer transfer window, will see us just as competitive next season.

  4. 4
    OsakaMatt says:

    Pretty much as you say TTG, we weren’t at the races and got punished.
    Been a great season and I won’t whine, on we go

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    Though come to think of it I will add that you’ve been a trooper Ollie and I hope you got back ok.

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    A similar take to TTG’s

    Although Ronay alludes to heavyweight pundits which I’d disagree with based on TTG’s mention of Neville and Keane, dimwits for the ages.

  7. 7
    Ollie says:

    Spot on, TTG. Cheers!

  8. 8
    Bathgooner says:

    That’s bang on the money, TTG. You sum up the day well and your diagnosis is, imho, absolutely correct.

    What a strange game football is. Last week, Brighton unaccountably lost badly to a team that has, apart from their home game against us in which they were energised by a ‘new manager bounce’, looked disorganised and ready for the drop whereas we put in one of our best ever away performances to beat a rabid Geordie mob – a performance that will live long in the memory. This week we play like somnambulists while Brighton don our mantle of determined, organised and focused team with aspirations. We clearly still have Arsene’s handbrake in our locker.

    You are correct in your diagnosis that the title challenge effectively died when we were well beaten in east Manchester and some of us have been whistling in the dark since then with hope of an Oiler slip-up (or two) sustaining that delusion. The flat atmosphere in the ground commented upon by C100 during the game suggests that that delusion was shattered for many by the result at Goodison. Cheaty’s machine-like dismissal of the energetic efforts of the Toffees certainly came as a disappointment to many of us and no doubt also to some of our players who, without the recent strong vocal support from the crowd, were unable to lift their game to beat the opposition.

    Nonetheless these players have given us a superb season, have exceeded all expectations and simply ran out of gas. We have to build on this achievement. A good time to start is now. As you allude, TTG, we must finish the season with two wins and then add the quality of re-inforcements in key positions that will take us up to the next level.


  9. 9
    Bathgooner says:

    Matt @6, another sensible take and a good read. Thanks for the link.

  10. 10
    TTG says:

    Typically proportionate and sensible reactions .
    There are worries – Partey’s form has fallen off a cliff ( and is deeply concerning ) Kiwior has been complicit in two goal concessions where he failed to make a basic challenge for the ball and I found Trossard’s performance dispiriting. But I’m sure many left the Amex last week bemoaning the collapse of the Brighton team . Football does that to you .
    We are the only team to make a contest of the League this season . It endured longer than we could have predicted .Chins up !

  11. 11
    BtM says:

    I was front row and absolute centre of the Clock End goal yesterday. Had Ramsdale been injured I was definitely first man up (I’d brought my boots for this possible eventuality).

    With the famous drum in my left ear and constant singing around me the atmosphere certainly wasn’t flat. I heard a distinctive Parisien version of ‘Super Mik Arteta’ from just behind me and there was Ollie a few rows back. No kidding!

    When Neville is commentating I switch off the sound so I never hear him. As he irritated TTG so effectively yesterday, I have to extend to him the hope that his next shit is a hedgehog and he falls back on it.

    We were poor yesterday, no doubt, but there were three glorious first half chances to score.

    On to 87 points.

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    One last BIG point
    We conceded 20 goals in 28 games with Saliba and 21 goals in 8 games without Saliba.

  13. 13
    Sancho Panza says:

    Well done to Ollie for beating the impromptu French strike. A real shame your efforts to get there weren’t rewarded.
    Everton normally take something from City, but it’s the hope that kills you.
    Was really hoping for 90 points to prove to lazy people that our team are strong in mind and strong on grass.
    Still let’s go for 87 and mind the gap to 3rd.
    Interesting Summer ahead. Who will go and who will arrive?

  14. 14
    Ollie says:

    Back at St Pancras (a little too early), today’s train not cancelled (announcements a little clearer, three trains cancelled each way). Nice to see you albeit briefly BtM, a half-time break when we were still hopeful of better things….
    Cheers SP. Well, every time I have missed a match due to transport woes (though I think that actually happened only twice, but both times I did get a train, only arrived aftet the match, I think there might have been another one I cancelled due to strikes but with advanced warning…that doesn’t create memories!), we have won, so I was slightly concerned than me making it would not herald three points.
    Still, to be perfectly honest, my reward was just to be there and have a great day with Esso and a few other people. Watching this at home and in a foul mood would have just been a lot worse.

    Hopefully two wins to see out the season indeed, and then keep improving the squad.

  15. 15
    Bathgooner says:

    Well played, Ollie. Super commitment.

  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    As much of a silk purse of a report as could be made out of a pig’s ear of a performance, TTG. Well done.

    It was one of those games in which we never got going, and nothing quite came off, no matter how hard we tried (75% passing accuracy v 83% season average tells its own story). It was not just that Brighton didn’t let us get going (and they are a more than decent team that played well), but as observed immediately after the game, we looked tired in body and mind.

    The competitiveness of the PL allows for neither.

    There was an aerial shot on the TV pictures I was watching of Gooners streaming down the road towards the Arsenal tube station with the score still at 2-0. That struck me as quite shocking given the way the crowd has been behind the team all season, but it seemed to sum up a dispiriting day in which hope had departed early, too.

  17. 17
    TTG says:

    I don’t normally involve myself with potential accusations of bias but I really did sense huge negative sentiment towards Arsenal yesterday and great satisfaction at Brighton’s victory from the Sky commentary team. Seems I’m not the only one !
    Martin Keown has made quite strong criticisms of Messrs Neville and Tyler and I think he is right

    Arsenal legend slams Sky Sports for blatant anti-Arsenal bias

    One of the things that has happened with the rise of various forms of media , particularly TalkSport is the dispensing with an independent perspective . Neville spent his career being outclassed by Arsenal wingers and Thierry Henry and could only cope by kicking lumps out of them. The 2004 game at Old Trafford was the nadir for PGMOL and the treatment of Reyes by the Neville brothers ( two odious lumps ) was little short of scandalous . Neville now plies his trade spewing bile at teams he harbours grudges against while United remain ( way) out of the title contest and I find his commentary repellent and biased . He was a disaster as a manager and I’m unimpressed by his insights .
    The surprise on Sunday was the attitude of Tyler , a commentator that I normally have respect for. His condemnation of Arsenal crossed a line, in my view and Keown clearly shares my view . Btm has probably got the right solution in turning Neville off .

  18. 18
    BtM says:

    Ned @ 16,

    A bit of context. There was a rail strike. There were two games on (Wembley FA Cup and ours). The M11 was badly backed up as most who would have travelled by train came by car. East London was a zoo (Damned sun brought out the frolickers). Parking was tough and we were a long way from the ground. I saw people leaving at 0-2 and my first thought was that they were doing so to avoid the traffic. I was tempted to do the same quite honestly but stayed until the (rather gloomy) death – but passed on waiting for the players to come over which I’d do normally. Queues to the three tube stations were a mile long (as usual) and no buses were stopping going west on Holloway Rd as they were already jam packed. Not a taxi in sight. Cue a long walk back to the car (via several hostelries en route, a pleasant bonus). The lads earning £60k for driving trains and TFL played their part in the end to the story of one of the less good days to be a Gooner.

    KKK Keown Knows K***s

    Esso – apologies, mate, I didn’t recognise you with Ollie.

  19. 19
    Sancho Panza says:

    There are 18 teams below Arsenal.

    What a complete bunch of bottle jobs all these teams are.

  20. 20
    North Bank Ned says:

    BtM@18: I will take your explanation at face value.

    TTG@17: You might have read the Lunch with the FT interview with Gary Neville, in which, to use the words of one of the comments posted online, he came across as ‘not smart/nuanced enough to deal with the real complexities that come with some of the topics he likes to serve a strong view on’. That also strikes me as the qualification for TV punditry. The era of reporting football matches in the broadcast media, as opposed to offering provocative opinions on them, is long gone. I would no more expect it than an unscripted professional wrestling match. All fans believe that the media is biased against their club, but in our case, just because we are paranoid about it doesn’t mean they are not out to get us.

  21. 21
    bt8 says:

    Us, paranoid?
    Them, out to get us?
    I really dunno what more to do other than to look at the evidence

    Map of Premier League Referees’ Place of Birth
    by u/GoonerGetGot in Gunners

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    I was just looking at an article about the pre-season predictions of 23 pundits on the BBC.
    None had us in the Top 3, eight, including Martin Keown had us fourth and the other 15 had us out of the top four.

  23. 23
    bt8 says:

    Anybody care to hazard a guess as to the score of Newcastle v. Brighton on Thursday?

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@22: You remind me of the words of Yogi Berra, ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future’.

  25. 25
    OsakaMatt says:


    The aggregate top six was
    Formerly known as Chelski
    The Mighty Arsenal

    I think the predictions will have a much bigger variation next season below the winner anyway as nearly everyone will tip MCMBD to win it. Quite a lot of uncertainty apart from the financially doped machine but perhaps I will leave that to the season preview……

  26. 26
    TTG says:

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that ultimately we will be champions this season. It may take several years and court cases to establish it but eventually Citeh will get their come-uppance .
    Re the predictions I take part in a competition for charity to work out who will finish where in the Premier League . After nineteen years of participation I won it last year and am locked in a photo finish with someone this year . I am just behind. We were the only two to put Arsenal in the top four

  27. 27
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@25: Those were my pre-season top-six predictions for this season, too, although not in that order, except for the red Mancs.

  28. 28
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@26: Impressive on the predictions. I also enter a top-to-bottom PL prediction competition each season but have never got anywhere near winning it, or even anywhere near to anywhere near to winning it. Curious to know how yours is scored. Mine has a weighted system of negative points, so zero is a perfect score and the winner is usually around minus 25-30.

  29. 29
    Bathgooner says:

    Ned @23, 2-8

  30. 30
    scruzgooner says:

    what a shitty way to end a shitty weekend. we were second best, for sure, reminded me of newcastle last year. of course, as someone has said, we’re first of all the non-oil-paid-for teams, or coming second to doped lance armstrong. still, it stings.

    ttg, great writeup. your ambivalence, or should i say mixed emotions are mine. i have enjoyed this season so much, from the pool game at the grove with CER after that wonderful ghf lunch, all the games that we were so, so good, bournemouth and united heart stoppingly last minute…the crowd home and especially away, the players performing at such a high level: ramsdale v. salah, mø coming across the middle to score, partey’s screamer v scum, saka dependable and so, so skilled defenses triple team him, saliba (saliba!), the transformation of granit and on and on and on…

    between the posts here and the drinks here we’ve captured a season in its glory, in depth and with passion, and i am so grateful for having gone through this, with everyone who comes on here, everyone i’ve met (did you find your glasses, uply?) when i was in england during fun and not so fun times for me personally, and all the rest. we’ll be back next season, and by god we’re going to be good. COME ON YOU GOONERS!

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@29: That was bt8’s question, not mine, but I was going to ask if he meant goals or body count.

    scruz@30: Well said. More highs than lows to the season by a country mile.

  32. 32
    North Bank Ned says:

    In Balogun news, FIFA has confirmed Flo’s switch of international allegiance from England to the US.

  33. 33
    TTG says:

    Ned @28
    Its run by very senior actuaries and I think he uses squared differences as the benchmark . I will send you one of the spreadsheets . Its ending this year after 20 years . The creator lost his wife a few months ago and he is 86 . Hes a delightful Fulham fan and we invited him to the RAC Club recently to hear Tony Adams . I was indisposed but it was a great evening. He is a grest Fulham fan who got our tickets for the recent game at the Cottage

  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@33: Thanks. One can never have too many spreadsheets. 🙂

  35. 35
    TTG says:

    We’ve been here before with the end of. Xhaka but it really does look as if Granit is leaving (Romano says so ) . Ironicall6 we’ve waited years for him to produce a great season and when he does he’s off . I think it’s an interesting move and I hope we wee real quality replacing him .
    Whatever the case, thanks Granit- you certainly cared.

  36. 36
    Goonersince54 says:

    Out with the old, in with the new.
    Leverkusen have reportedly offered him a 4yr deal, which apparently he has agreed to.
    Best to go out on a high, as he won’t get a better offer.
    Fee around 13 – 15ml, which is a decent price for him in my humble opinion.
    As for replacements, people keep mentioning Caicedo, but having signed a new 5yr deal with Brighton after our aborted attempts to sign him in Jan window, quite how we prise him away from the seaside I have no idea.
    I suspect that ship might have sailed.
    With Rice supposedly having agreed in principle to join us as he wants to stay in London,
    I’m not sure how that works either, if other Clubs outbid us, does the same outcome happen as with Mudryk. ??
    Given the very late end to season, and as a consequence a very short summer recess,
    Arteta has stated he wants transfer business wrapped up as soon as, so I expect June to be very hectic and not only for us.
    Cue us being click baited to about 50 different players at the very least.
    One final point re CL,
    Given we have finished 2nd, does that automatically mean we will be in pot 2, behind Title winners from other respective leagues in Pot 1.
    I seem to recall someone posting a while back that because of our non appearance in CL for several years, our quotient might be an issue, and we could end up relegated to pot 3.
    Some clarity would be appreciated,
    Calling Ned’s Monks.

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@36: The 32 clubs involved in the group stage of the CL for 2023-24 will be seeded into four groups of eight.

    The first group will comprise the 2022-23 winner (top seed), the Europa League winner and the domestic champions of the six highest-ranked national associations based on a five-year formula.

    If either or both the CL and EL winners are the domestic champions of one of the top six associations, the top group is completed with the champion(s) of the next highest-ranked association(s).

    The other three groups will be composed in accordance with the club coefficient rankings that will be established at the conclusion of the current season. Finishing second in a domestic league will carry no weight in the seeding.

    For each club, its coefficient will be the higher of either (a) each club’s five-year ‘sporting club coefficient’, which is the sum of the past five’s season’s annual coefficients calculated by adding the total number of points a club obtains in a given season from its Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League games in accordance with a set formula, or (b) 20% of a club’s national association’s five-season coefficient, calculated by a different formula. In both cases, each season has a discrete points system.

    UEFA won’t calculate the seeding rankings for CL groups two, three and four until this season is completed and it knows which clubs have qualified for the CL, and which ones will comprise group one.

    As things stand now, it looks like we will be in seeding group three. Finishing second in the PL counts for nought in CL seeding. There is an outside chance we could sneak into group two, but it would depend on a lot of results going our way, including both Newcastle and Brighton qualifying for the CL and none of Man U, Liverpool and the neighbours.

  38. 38
    Goonersince54 says:

    Many thnks Ned.
    So Pot 3 looks like our destination.
    Avoiding the so called Group of Death will loom large,
    Most dangerous if La Liga positions stay as is, would probably be PSG and Real Madrid, good luck getting out of that one.
    It will be a whole new ballgame for most of our young team, so experienced quality additions in summer is imperative.
    I suspect there might be a few surprises on the list of players we have to offload.

  39. 39
    OsakaMatt says:

    According to the De Zerbi the Brighton manager they are expecting to lose McAllister and Caicedo this summer but want to keep Mitoma and Estupinan. The new 5 year contract is just to protect Brighton’s position in the negotiation I assume. It is doable I think but
    if Xhaka is leaving we need both Rice and Caicedo and it will certainly be expensive.

    It’s a bit early but just my feeling is I want us to consolidate at the top of the league more than anything else next season. By that I mean another credible title challenge. Of course I would like to win the CL but I am happy for some of younger players to get CL experience
    and prioritize the PL. I have 2025 pencilled in for our first CL 😉

  40. 40
    Goonersince54 says:

    Hi Matt
    That’s a good explanation, although I assume Caicedo, like Rice, will be expensive.
    But like you, i agree we cannot afford to waste this seasons achievements, so serious upgrades required.
    That’s why I think some of the current squad are going to get a rude shock about their futures.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Trev says:

    Thanks for an excellent report, TTG.
    It’s Wednesday now and I am only just commenting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, work. Second, I was actually really angry at the end of the game – not at our performance, but at the behaviour of the commentators, some of the pundits, if you can call the half-wit Neville a pundit, and especially some of our fans.

    The performance I can excuse. We have had to rely on basically the same starting eleven for most of the season as, despite a lot of “pundit” opinion to the contrary, we have suffered several long term injuries to very important players in a squad that is comparatively shallow and still under reconstruction. The absence of Saliba has been key. With him, our xG against (expected goals against) was the 2nd best in the league. Without him, that dropped to 19th best ! His loss also affected the positioning of the whole team, we lost our ability to press and consequently out control of games. Look at the scores !

    The players who have carried the load have given us a season we didn’t expect and that we have been generally thrilled with. Without the cheating sheiks we would have walked the league this season – look at the gap between 2nd and 3rd.

    I have not been able to get to the ground this season due to knee and hip problems and I have really missed being in the wonderful atmosphere that has come across loud and clear on TV. The away support has been magnificent too – and well done, Ollie, for whom every match means a trip overseas.

    That’s why it made me so angry to hear, predictably, the pundits, some celebrity fans – stand up as usual, Piers Bloody Morgan – and others saying “we bottled it” or “we haven’t turned up “ on Sunday. Well, we turned up with plenty of bottle at Newcastle last Tuesday, at Tottenham, at Chelsea, at Liverpool to take a brilliant lead at least.

    The players do look mentally and physically spent. They are, for the most part, still quite young or in this challenging situation for the first time. Lee Dixon said he could barely breathe through his first successful title win.

    The manager and players have not quite managed perfection this season and against the cheating City, that is unfortunately what is required. No complaints here. We have simply run out of steam. It happens. We are human and don’t have eleven £50million players in reserve. We will come again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get there.

    (Written on a phone so sorry for any typos)

  43. 43
    Countryman100 says:

    Well said Trev. Every word.

  44. 44
    bt8 says:

    Well said Trev, and extremely informatively contributed every drinker in particular those from about #35-42 which were notably raosed in quality by the fine twin contributions of Clive. I’ll shut up now as I can’t match that quality which reminds me of the old days in the drinks.

  45. 45
    bt8 says:

    The CL format described in c100’s link actually does pique my interest. The old current format has needed jettisoning for quite some time in my opinion.

  46. 46
    bt8 says:

    Ned, Heh @31 re body counts. I think. 🧐😛

  47. 47
    Gooner_KS says:

    Nicks the ball on the right, looks up to find a mate in midfield

  48. 48
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@42: echoing what C100 said.
    And another top season of punning from you, too.

    Clive@38: I should have mentioned that at this point, technically, it is still possible that we could be in group one as league champion of one of the top six national associations but it would take a miracle for that to happen.

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    The new, expanded format for the CL from 2024-25 will be a dramatic change, particularly the switch from eight mini-leagues of four at the group stage to a single league for all 36 teams, with each playing eight fixtures based on the Swiss model. It will mean more (money-spinning) games overall (189 matches instead of 125 under the current system) and potentially more (even more money-spinning) games between the big sides. The new format also means that it is likely that five Premiership clubs will qualify for the CL most seasons.

  50. 50
    Countryman100 says:

    A thought provoking transfer piece from Le Grove as we enter the silly season


  51. 51
    Countryman100 says:

  52. 52
    OsakaMatt says:

    A fine informative 50 C100 👏👏

    I had assumed we’d seen the last of Gabi M this season so not a surprise but I hope he makes a sound recovery.

  53. 53
    Ollie says:

    Great post, Trev. Well in for the half-ton, C100.
    Can’t read the CL article and haven’t look that far in the future, but judging from Ned’s 49, does that not mean it’s slowly morphing into the Super League? 😉
    God bless UEFA, football’s saviour from all commercial evil.

  54. 54
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, C100.

    I thought the transfer speculation piece to be a good round-up, although corralling mostly the usual suspects. The discussion in the comments about how quickly non-PL-seasoned players can bed into a new PL team was interesting. However, I suspect what Arteta/Edu do and what they are speculated to do will be much different.

    Ollie@53: no question in my mind that the new CL format is at least partly in response to the demands of the big clubs.

  55. 55
    bt8 says:

    Re: The early end of Martinelli’s stellar season. Thank you (not) Caicedo for that awful tackle that was unbelievably not carded by that awful referee.

  56. 56
    Countryman100 says:

    Ivan Toney suspended for eight months for betting transgressions. Take him out of any summer transfer speculation.

  57. 57
    Goonersince54 says:

    Another excellent win on the road by Arsenal Ladies tonight.
    Comfortable 4 – 1 win only marred by a disgraceful tackle that saw Lia Walti carried off on a stretcher to add to our ever increasing long term injury list.
    Destiny re CL in our own hands with 2 games left to play.

  58. 58
    OsakaMatt says:

    Impressed that the team have stepped up so well after the disappointment of the CL loss to Wolfsburg. Big game against Chelsea coming up I think.

  59. 59
    OsakaMatt says:

    @54 my own thought too Ned, the only basic is that MA/Edu will do something I don’t expect.

  60. 60
    Goonersince54 says:

    And in good news for Countryman on his away day travels next season.
    He can add Turf Moor and Bramall Lane to his confirmed trip options, and incredibly one of
    Luton Town or Coventry City, who will play off at Wembley for the 3rd promotion spot.
    Ned’s Monks can I assume, confirm the last time either of those 2 sides were sighted in the top division.

  61. 61
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@60: In 1991-92, Luton finished 20th out of the 22 clubs then in the old First Division and was relegated. Coventry finished a place above them, thus surviving to compete in the inaugural Premier League the following season. Coventry lasted there until 2000-01, going down with Manchester City, would you believe, and Bradford City.

    Luton dropped all the way down to the Conference and didn’t return to the Football League until 2014-15.

  62. 62
    TTG says:

    Clive ,
    If it’s Luton I suspect the away allocation won’t be very big!
    I know tye family of Matty Godden the Coventry striker . He has worked his way up from local non-league football although his first club was Scunthorpe! Lovely family and Marty’s wife’s grandfather ( long deceased) was a huge Arsenal fan who I took to the Emirates with me once .
    Matty got married recently and knowing that the minister was a Fulham fan got Mitro to sign a shirt which he had framed for him . Lovely lad and good to see him celebrating tonight. If they get PL football I suspect Matt may be the sort of player they may not think of as a PL player . But he will be thrilled to be at Wembley . I enjoyed a previous Coventry triumph at Wembley very much in 1987!
    Re the ladies we make the. Champions League with three more points or if City lose either of their matches . Monumental achievement with such a huge inhury list which increased tonight .I’m not certain that women’s bodies were designed to withstand the intensity of football at Premier League level .

  63. 63
    Goonersince54 says:

    Thnks Ned
    Long time between drinks for both Clubs, but kudos to Luton, who in 8 seasons have clawed their way back from obscurity, to the brink of the promised land.
    Having mentioned a lovely story about Coventry per se, and then their subsequent triumph at Wembley over our neighbors in ’87, you clearly weren’t game enough to mention a more infamous win by Luton at Wembley the following season. !!
    Re your comment about ticket allocation for Luton away day, I think I read somewhere that their home ground at Kenilworth Road is not fit for purpose for EPL. ??
    I don’t think it has changed since my Dad and I travelled there back in the day. !!
    Again, the Monks might have more info on that.

  64. 64
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@63. Luton would need to spend about £10 million on Kenilworth Road to make it Premier League compliant, mainly rebuilding one of the stands to accommodate the broadcasting facilities PL clubs have to supply. The 1905 stadium is antiquated. Even with the improvements. it would, at 10,356 capacity, become the smallest ground in the Premier League, behind Bournemouth’s 11,379-seat Vitality Stadium. Note for C100: the entrance for away fans is through a row of terraced houses at the Oak Road End.

    However, the club has planning permission for a new stadium at Power Court in the city centre. This would be a £100 million commercial and residential development that would include a 23,000-seat stadium. The club has sold some land it owns near the M1 to help fund the project but Premiership football would make starting work more urgent and provide additional funds to pay for it. Yet, even if work started later this year, the soonest the new stadium is expected to be available would be for the 2026-27 season.

  65. 65
    North Bank Ned says:

    Here is a picture of the entrance at Kenilworth Road for away fans.


  66. 66
    OsakaMatt says:

    I went to Luton away in the 80s, dump then, dump now it looks like. We had a terrible record away to them and then there was cup final that need not be named. Come on Coventry!! Their ground, long gone now, was a bit of a dump too and miles from the station but at least we used to win there sometimes.

  67. 67
    OsakaMatt says:

    I just jumped on the train with a couple of mates and rolled up to the ground when I first went to Luton. Later it became almost impossible to get a ticket i remember, something to do with their owner and a big fight with Millwall. Was that the game with the horse charge by the police? Madness and mayhem.

  68. 68
    bathgooner says:

    Unsurprisingly the-expensively-assembled-€itzens-of-(allegedly)-Off-Balance-Sheet-FC (™Lonestar Gooner) gave a pasting to the now declining team that used to win the premier European trophy every year (talking 1950s here) due to subtle financial support from their Fascist El Jefe but still continued to win it regularly due to clever internal financial arrrangements and strange sales and reacquisitions of their training ground.

    There were some nice goals but the whole context of the creation of this ‘wonder team’ leaves me cold. Credit must go to Bellingham who declined their offer because he did ‘not want to play for a plastic team’. I do hope the FA investigation decides to hang, draw and quarter them but I very much doubt whether anything will happen.

    The-expensively-assembled-€itzens-of-(allegedly)-Off-Balance-Sheet-FC (™Lonestar Gooner) should move into their own super league where they need not play anyone who doesn’t have comparable levels of funding. They should simply play the Saudi club, the future Qatar club and anyone else owned by a oil-funded national treasury or mafia crime family. This will be a small very select group (that might appeal also to those clubs keen on the ESL concept. though there would have to be financial qualification criteria) and the repetitive nature of the matches will swiftly become so boring that attendances and TV audiences will decline. In that case they may decide that they could dispense with the players, coaches and stadia and have shoot outs between teams of accountants with spread sheets showing how they have been the most successful nation state club at raising large sums through cleverly concealed routes. The nation state or mafia crime family who produce the largest concealed financial bung of the year wins the trophy. Sorted.

  69. 69
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Top report TTG. Nailed it.

    And loads of great comments.

    One thing I have not seen anyone call out clearly is the foul on Kiwior before their first goal. Some bloke rasps his studs down the back of his ankle, taking his boot off in the process. It is such a blatant foul that I am not surprised he goes down, presumably both injured and fully expecting that no goal will be allowed to stand after such an obvious foul.

    I suspect it would not have changed the result, but first goals are important, so if we’d nicked a bobbly one then who knows?

    But I don’t get how VAR has disallowed some goals for fouls in the buildup (that Odegaard ‘foul’ at Manure that they later apologised for springs to mind, but there have been plenty that were not seen as errors and were taken as good decisions) but completely ignored this one. It is a clear foul which is the reason our defender is not standing in position to head the ball they score from away.

    Howard Webb looks like he is trying his best, but I hope he feels that the close season is a good time to get a few things sorted out so we can see a more consistent approach next year. When there is a VAR check I honestly have no idea what the decision will be, no matter how many times I see a replay or how clear it is to me.

  70. 70
    Countryman100 says:

    A superb contribution @68 Bath. Nailed it with forensic precision.

  71. 71
    TTG says:

    It’s looking very exciting as we contemplate inwards acquisitions. I’m certain we will be very active this summer .
    This will have a downside . We may part company with the likes of ESR, Tierney, Hokding and even Patino and Balogun. It is becoming harder and harder to breed your own talent even if you have the wherewithal. Arsenal have always had home-grown talent in their first eleven but if you can’t design a career path for talents like Patino or Balogun one wonders what the point of a youth system is. I’ve watched a bit of Norton- Cuffy and he looks a very capable and credible deputy at right-back. But woukd tgat satisfy him and woukd we make use of him there ? So we are linked with Fresneda an 18 year old Spaniard instead of one of Hale End’s finest . I think it’s sad and will lead to an even greater disenfranchisement of fans if all we do is buy in talent

  72. 72
    bt8 says:

    Re: Ned, “ Note for C100: the entrance for away fans is through a row of terraced houses at the Oak Road End.”

    Just wondering which room you have to walk through, the kitchen or the parlor? 😁

  73. 73
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@66: Your memory is good. We’ve won only three of 16 league visits to Kenilworth Road, last winning there in 1984.

    bath@68: 👍

    bt8@72: You walk under their bedroom and through what used to be their garden.

  74. 74
    Sancho Panza says:

    Yes the houses were built before they decided to shoe horn a football pitch and stands into the gardens of the same houses. Interestingly they retained the greenhouses along one side and turned these into a suite of executive boxes.

  75. 75
    Trev says:

    Bath @68, a match report that perfectly sums up the state of the top level of the game.

    If you’d written that 30, or even just about 20 years ago, people would have thought you’d either lost your mind or found a secret stash of Class As.

  76. 76
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A perfectly articulated report and lots of great comments!

    While I completely agree with Bath, Countryman and all others about the inexcusably unethical state of affairs in football financing and share your disdain, and all of your nuanced perspective of Arsenal’s success/failure (that dualism in itself is problematic in my humble opinion) resonate deeply, at the same time I also like to look at each of these matches purely through the prism of our own performances and tactics, and I thought this provided some key lessons that I am sure we will absorb into our preparations next season.

    Martinelli’s early sub — a nasty foul that should have seen a yellow — deprived us of the speed in transition and some relentlessness in pressing. Even then we forced quite a few turnovers on their defensive third in the first half that we should have really made more of. In our away match too Brighton had more possession and gave us a lot of trouble on the wings, but in that match we took our chances well and Martinelli was instrumental.

    White has been excellent all season in his relatively unfamiliar role but there have been a few rare occasions where an opposition forward gave him real trouble. Rashford did that in the first 45 minutes at the Emirates and last Sunday so did Mitoma. Mikel had made a very effective sub in that United match bringing Tomiyasu in who in tandem with Saliba completely shut down their left flank. We have missed both of them — even considering Tomiyasu’s relatively inconsistent form this season — in these last couple of months, especially Saliba.

    I thought we missed Zinchenko too. Not that Tierney played particularly poorly but Zinchenko allows Xhaka to stay up and make runs into the box which frees up one of our attackers, and recycles balls in the midfield much more creatively than any of our midfielders. We missed that incision and variation. It will be interesting to see if Tierney indeed evolves his game to be able to do that as well or if Mikel brings in someone who is more readymade for that.

    It has been a wonderful season. I do my best to pay no attention to the football media or their incessant regurgitation of cliches. We have played some extraordinary football, had a few remarkable comebacks, and sometimes outplayed oppositions with a combination of silk-and-steel that brings promises of a new era in our great club’s journey. The rest doesn’t matter.

  77. 77
    bathgooner says:

    Nice analysis Dr F @76. Your favourite poison is on the bar.

  78. 78
    Goonersince54 says:

    I have a very dear friend who has been an Owls supporter for even longer than I’ve been a Gooner.
    They’ve been through some very tough times in recent years, but his support has never wavered.
    To see him distraught last week, after their 4 nil loss away in the first leg of Division 1 playoffs against Peterborough was very distressing.
    Incredibly this evening, they have completed the greatest comeback in semi final playoffs history, since the system was introduced.
    They levelled it up to 4 -4 at full time, only to go behind again in extra time, before incredibly clawing their way level again to 5 – 5, and take the match to penalties which thy won 5 – 3.
    A truly amazing comeback and he is off to Wembley for the playoff final against either Bolton or Barnsley.
    I couldn’t be happier for him.
    Also a big shout out to another long time mate Mr Subway, a mad Hammers supporter who has had a miserable time this season.
    He’s just watched his team qualify for the Euro Conference Final tonight, defeating AZ Alkmaar away by 1 goal to nil, winning 3 -1 on aggregate.
    He is now off to Prague next month for the Final against Fiorentina, their first appearance in a European final since 1976.
    They now both have massive games to look forward too, hopefully they get the happy ending they deserve.

  79. 79
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@78: Delighted for your Owly friend. Club loyalty deserves rich reward, although that game sounds like a heart-stopping way to receive it.

    West Ham will face Mourinho’s Roma in the final, which is reason enough that the trophy should end up in East London.

  80. 80
    North Bank Ned says:

    Oops. My bad. I got my Europa’s in a twist. It is Sevilla that needs to deflate the Special One. Moyes’s mob take on Fiorentina.

  81. 81
    TTG says:

    You might have noticed some correspondence between Ned and I in the bar earlier in the week. I was mentioning a very enjoyable prediction competition that I enter every year where, at the start of the season you put clubs in the order you think they will finish. The results are worked out by looking at the squared differences in your predictions.
    It is far too mathematical for me but Ned is happy to run it next season.
    It would be a nice way to generate some money for charity and ideally we would support something that was very close to Dave Faber’s heart .
    It requires an entry in August and then you track how your prediction works out over the season. A basic entry fee of £10 shouldn’t prove too taxing and may generate a nice sum for our chosen charity.
    The prize is simply the glory of being the Goonerholic prediction master . Given that some people are also in the Europey League a massive double is on offer and it provides interest and a lot of surprises through the season.
    I’d be happy to collect contributions and pay the charity and Ned is happy to send out the spreadsheets on a regular basis .
    Can I ask who would be happy to take part on this bass.It’s a lot of fun and a good test of our ability to pick the surprise teams of the season . Can you register your interest here so we can see if there is a real interest in doing it

  82. 82
    can’t be arsed says:

    eff off [courtesy of brendan – eds.]

  83. 83
    brendan says:

    please post this
    Himself would’ve loved it

  84. 84
    bt8 says:

    TTG, Please count me in for the PL prediction contest. I’m game even though as Yogi Berra said, and I paraphrase, Predictions are tough, especially if you are predicting the future.

  85. 85
    bathgooner says:

    Happy to participate. Confident that I will fail.

  86. 86
    Countryman100 says:

    I’m in!

  87. 87
    OsakaMatt says:

    I will give it a shot as well TTG

  88. 88
    Trev says:

    I’ll give it a go !

  89. 89
    North Bank Ned says:

    Come one. Come all. Lay your inner pundit on the line for a good cause and the ultimate GHF bragging rights.

  90. 90
    TTG says:

    Thanks to those who have entered
    You are very welcome and it’s a lot of fun
    In the one I’ve been in for years I’m fighting tooth and nail for the final title . Just ahead but it’s very tight .My good showing owes much to my relative optimism on Arsenal ( I had them as 4th )

  91. 91
    scruzgooner says:

    i’m in, ttg.

  92. 92
    scruzgooner says: