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Earlier in the winter when Mikel was asked if Arsenal could sustain their excellence towards an originally unpredicted attempt at winning the league, Arenal manager had surmised that we would need to be perfect until the end of the season in every aspect to sustain such an ambition. One suspects he knew what he was talking about, especially given his past proximity to the title-winning machine – I am intentionally keeping aside the discussions about the ethical/legal dimensions of how that machine was built, for the Arsenal manager and the squad can have no control over the arc of that development – that was at that time chasing us, a few points behind and with a couple of games in hand. 

The prescience in that observation has lately been demonstrated as Mikel’s young squad – especially after losing a few of their key personnel to injuries – had started to falter at the final weeks of an exhilarating campaign, whereas the machine kept up its inexhaustible march. 

Arsenal traveled up to the land of Robin Hood (and Friar Tuck) with the hopes of a final twist in this league season’s tale, a twist that was to be no less legendary in proportion than one of Robin’s escapes. While the silk-and-steel dominance over high flying Newcastle had rekindled such a hope just a couple of weeks back, last Sunday’s capitulation at home against a clever and spirited Brighton side highlighted the difficulties of sustaining that level of excellence in the closing days of the campaign. 

Saliba’s back injury has turned out to be season-ending and his absence has proven to generate a negative domino effect along the spine of the side, earlier forcing Partey to take up more responsibilities and covering more space in the middle which most likely had contributed to his mistakes, and subsequent loss of form. Whereas Jorginho has played very well indeed in place of Thomas, he doesn’t quite provide the incision and verticality of the Ghanaian and we had started to look more labored in transition. Then came the loss of Zinchenko and only in his absence came we to appreciate truly why Mikel persisted with him even when the odd defensive mistakes started to pile up, sometimes even leading to conceding goals: a tight technical control of the midfield, variety of passing, and clever manipulation of spaces. Whereas Tierney is a wonderful left back, the Arsenal team this season had become used to relying on the creative unpredictability that the Zinchenko — Xhaka – Martinelli axis of controlled chaos brings. Gabi too has now been sidelined for the rest of the season after being hacked down in the Brighton match. 

Credit to Mikel to try to solve this problem with tactical innovation by deciding to play Partey in a kind of “right flank Zinchenko” role, weighing the loss of Saka-White understanding on the right flank against the potential gain in midfield control by playing Partey-Jorginho-Xhaka together.    


White – Kiwior — Gabriel

Partey – Ødegaard –Jorginho — Xhaka

Saka – Jesus – Trossard

The bench didn’t include Reiss-Nelson due to illness, but in addition to the usual suspects had three academy players: Walters (who is indeed not an entirely unfamiliar sight anymore), Bandeira and the highly promising Cozier-Duberry. 

We were playing against a team that for a long time this season seemed to be headed straight back to the championship, despite (or maybe even because of) amassing a significant number of experienced and quality players, albeit some of them past their primes. However, a recent run of good performances and results especially at their City Ground home had brought them to a stage where they just needed one more win to stay up, and as the match started it was evident that they were determined to make the home advantage count and ensure their survival without having to stay in the fight through the final day madness. 

In contrast, Arsenal looked labored on the ball and surprisingly bereft of confidence in their movements and passing. Possibly that was due to the change in shape, or the pressure of knowing that a win was absolutely necessary if we were to retain any hope of winning the title, or loss of confidence because of last weekend’s result, or tiredness of body and mind that had now started to take over as the adrenaline of hope rapidly recedes, or maybe a combination of all of these.

The Nottingham Forest players were faster to react to fifty-fifty balls, and more alert on transitions, especially the pair of Gibbs-White and Awoniyi who combined to score their goal at the nineteenth minute, the former interrupting an uncharacteristically lazy cross-field pass from Ødegaard to release the latter on the outside of Gabriel, and even though our Brazilian defender used his pace to cover the ground well and put in a well-timed tackle, the ball bounced against the Nigerian’s shin and bobbled up and past an onrushing Ramsdale. There may have been an element of fortuitousness in the manner of the goal, but it was a well-deserved one from Forest who had started well and by then had sensed a tentativeness in Arsenal’s approach that they were ready to exploit. 

Nottingham Forest 1 ( Awoniyi 19’) – Arsenal 0

Arsenal was dominating possession, but much of that dominance was wasted in possession without purpose or penetration, moving the ball around in the now dreaded horseshoe shape which had at times still crept into our game. We missed Martinelli’s directness, White’s overlapping runs (Partey refusing or unable to combine with Saka in that role), Zinchenko’s movements and passing, and it seemed we would need a moment or two of individual brilliance to bring us back into the match. 

Though Saka, Jesús, Trossard and Ødegaard all tried their very best – and there were a few times when some of the passing around the penalty box did resemble the best of Arsenal this season – there was a degree of turgidity and sloppiness on the ball that stopped us from building any sustained goalmouth pressure.  Even then we should have earned a penalty as Jesus – trying to latch on to a well-placed long pass from the deep – was hauled down in the penalty box when he was the closest to the ball and was going to find himself in a goalscoring position. I would like to say that it remained a mystery why VAR didn’t take a closer look. But we all know that ineptitude, when demonstrated repeatedly, loses its ability to surprise. Power often resides on the barrel of low expectations. 

The first half ended without much of a hope for Arsenal. It was felt that Mikel may want to switch the formation/personnel to bring back a modicum of fluency to our play. The beginning of the second half showed that unless he did so the match was likely to slip away. Around the 63rd minute he made his first substitutions: bringing in Tierney for Kiwior and Nketiah for Xhaka. In Tierney we finally had someone willing to combine with his forward on the outside and stretch their defense away from the congested central areas. His wing-play inspired a few decent crosses from others as well, though Keylor Navas (Joel Campbell’s Costa Rican teammate, a pointless bit of Arsenal trivia) was dominant enough in the air to handle all those assuredly. Saka tried his best, and maybe a few years from now when he is at his absolute peak he will be able to manufacture a moment of pure individual magic in a match like this to haul us back into contention when we are playing this poorly, but even his best efforts didn’t create enough to swing back the momentum. He did bring out a good save from Navas, and Jorginho had an attempt from a corner that was deflected over. Martin – so often the orchestrator extraordinaire, demonstrating abilities, desire and intelligence – and Trossard both were disappointingly well below their best, and the well-known limitation in Jesús’s otherwise well-rounded game, the inconsistency in his ability to create scoring chances for himself even when things are not going well, did not help. 

We earned a flurry of corners that we didn’t create much from, and the only other substitution made by Mikel – Vieira for Trossard – failed to influence the game. Fabio is a wonderful talent on the ball, but the questions remain if he can really handle the pace and physicality of this league. We Arsenal fans have had seen fair share of diminutive young playmakers with supreme abilities on the ball, and even though you would choose none of them to defend you in a fistfight, on the football pitch they were not at all easy to push off the ball the way Vieira is. I am sure Mikel’s coaching staff have a special plan for him in pre-season. 

As the game ended in the loss that ended our title challenge – and the Forest fans and player erupted in joy at their own survival in the top flight – and much of the football media started to masticate on regurgitated cliches, I myself have nothing but love, pride and admiration for this team. Not many people are mentioning the immensity of their achievement, the fact that we are likely to end up with a points total that is bettered only by one other team in Arsenal’s glorious history, a points total that in an era of a more level-playing field of financially un-doped teams would have been more than adequate to win the league, that while the pre-season predictions had us mostly outside the CL positions we had secured Champions League football with weeks to spare, that we had played some of the most scintillating, innovative, enterprising football the league has ever seen, and put on more remarkable comeback performances in one season than most clubs would need a few decades to combine. All with the youngest team in the league, and the youngest (or second youngest) manager in his first managerial job.

Thank you Arsenal! Looking forward to an old-fashioned final day thumping of Wolves, and the continued upward curve in the seasons to come. 

54 Drinks to “Perfection in Progress”

  1. 1
    Bathgooner says:

    Top report, Dr F. Much more enjoyable than watching the game, for sure.

    I’ve watched that bizarre pass by Ødegaard several times with incredulity but Mike McDonald explained it very convincingly in his match analysis on Gunnerstown. One of the features of our game at its flowing best has been automatisms between players, notably Ødegaard himself with Saka and White and, on the other flank, Zinchenko, Xhaka and Martinelli. These have become spinal reflexes for these players and allow rapid interplay and the creation of opportunities. Ødegaard fired that pass to the centre circle where under normal circumstances you would see Zinchenko or Partey ready to recycle it. But no-one was there because our positional structure had been shredded. Que sera, sera.

  2. 2
    bt8 says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Dr. F. A very enjoyable read, and well-balanced assessment. Along with the Mike McDonald report in the last drinks both of your reports have helped to digest the indigestible and to move back to focusing on hope for the future of this young team. One more game to go so let’s make it and the Summer count.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    Thankyou for an insightful and fluid report Dr.F . Your ideas and analysis are of a high order and open up a good debate .
    Let me be very frank about this game. I thought Arsenal were execrable . As soon as the goal went in , even against a team fighting relegation we were beaten . Nobody to my mind scored more than 4/10 other than Ramsdale who barely touched the ball. I’ve never seen a team with 81% possession have so little impact on a game . It was lateral passing with no ultimate penetration and I found the game profoundly depressing
    I just didn’t want such a wonderful season to end this way with so many doubts planted in our minds . It made me re-evaluate our transfer business , our temperament and our strategy . I’d rather I’d been called away and missed the whole affair .
    Penultimate games in our season have not gone well recently . Roll on Sunday and let’s finish with a bang ….please

  4. 4
    BtM says:

    I enjoyed your report, Dr F which provided a very fair and insightful summary of what I consider to be our worst performance of the season. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy a single moment of the game itself.

    Our first team have played some of the very best football in the League regularly this season. Sadly, our bench doesn’t enable that standard to be maintained, particularly in the formation with which Saturday’s game began.

    I have to echo your comments on Vieira. It’s perplexing that he’s preferred constantly to ESR. I have to assume that doesn’t augur well for Emile’s future at the club. Tierney’s appearance certainly changed the tone but again, his style isn’t what MA8 desires of his LB and I wonder about his future too.

    Execrable, TTG, is a word that I don’t often come across in my corn flakes and, unless you’ve used it before and I missed it, I know I haven’t ever come across it in an Arsenal blog post either. This place certainly sets the standards. My visits inevitably improve my vocabulary.

  5. 5
    TTG says:

    Pleased to help with the expansion of your vocabulary .
    A lesser blog would just have used the word ‘shit ‘ and be done with it .
    But we have standards to maintain

  6. 6
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Dr.F. I was trying to forget how horrible this match was, and then you all rammed it home…;-)
    Still, on the bright side, I got treated to Champagne by Forest-supported mate who celebrated their survival….
    In other news, I see the last ‘mural’ with fans on it has been revealed, and I saw a partial picture of it where ‘holic was.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bravo, Dr F., yet again. A well-measured report in your finest tradition of treating triumph and disaster as the impostors that they are.

    I subscribe to neither the bottling-it nor the threw-it-away view of the season. We just faded, lacking the resources to go the entire season at the intensity that had propelled us to the top of the league for so long. Arteta mentioned the need for teams to have a full squad of 24 to challenge for the title, and many have said we had the best team in the league but not the best squad. We didn’t have that for reasons of injury, squad depth (numbers and quality) and perhaps other events behind the scenes of which we know little. Mike MacDonald described Arteta as trying in those circumstances to squeeze the last drops out of the orange to get through April and May.

    Had we not had the run of three draws against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton in mid-April — not to mention the additional six points — that conceivably could have been enough juice, but perhaps not against a team that buys its oranges by the orchard.

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    BtM@4: To paraphrase the late, great Barry Cryer, this bar is very educational. Every time you come here, you go away again saying, that’ll teach me.

  9. 9
    North Bank Ned says:

    Since so many are in, let me repost TTG’s @81 from two drinks back gauging interest in a proposed prediction game for next season. We’ve had in to double figures of responses so far, so it looks as if this will go ahead, but the more the merrier.

    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 basis? 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?

  10. 10
    Trev says:

    Fine report and sound analysis, Dr F.

    Ned speaks for me @7. We have been badly affected by injuries that have disabled key areas of the team, and the way Arteta wants us to play, actually for most of the season.
    We lost Gabriel Jesus when at the top of his form for several months. Zinchenko has had two spells out with injury, which basically wrecked the manager’s midfield strategy, and then the deal breaker for me was the loss of William Saliba.

    The loss of his pace, strength and positioning affected the entire team, leaving us unable to press effectively, control the ball or, therefore, the games in the way we had previously. Our defensive performance went from almost the best to almost the worst in the division and we conceded 11 goals in 4 winless games against Man City, Liverpool, Southampton and West Ham. The loss of Tomiyasu at the same time as Saliba meant we couldn’t even replace the latter with Ben White as he was forced to continue at full back.

    Those strategic losses make it even more remarkable that we led the league for the large majority of the season. Ultimately they proved too much as we don’t have a full squad of £50 million internationals in reserve.

    I’m going to follow Dr F’s example and say no more about City’s alleged financial fiddling at the moment, in no small part because I have a preview to fill with something this coming weekend.

    I didn’t actually find the performance against Forest surprising regardless of how disappointing it was. It must have been very dispiriting for the players to see Man City win again and take with them our very last chance of the title.

    Without City we would have walked this League – and even a second place finish is an amazing achievement at this stage of Mikel’s process.

  11. 11
    Goonersince54 says:

    Fine comprehensive report Dr F, of a match that probably only deserved a couple of paragraphs at best.
    I think our herculean task of toppling City this season is best summed up by this depressing stat.
    City made 88 changes to their starting eleven during the season,
    We made 38.

  12. 12
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Dr F., as others have already noted it was a fine report.
    Be nice to finish the season with a decent performance and a win
    at home.

  13. 13
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Doc
    I’m disappointed but not downhearted given the obvious and noted improvement in many areas this season.
    As Ned alluded to @7, I believe the title slipped away from us at Anfield (ironically) when a morale boosting 2-0 win was wasted and almost certainly led to what has unfolded in subsequent games. A win there and the title was ours.
    An interesting Summer awaits but first let’s send those pesky Wolves home howling.

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@11: That is what teams have to be able to do to make the workload manageable for the top players when going deep in multiple competitions. Saka and De Bruyne have played about the same number of minutes overall this season, but Saka has started all but one of our PL games, whereas De Bruyne has started only 27 of City’s, and Pep has had to make do with makeweights like Foden, Mahrez or Alvarez in his place.

  15. 15
    Ollie says:

    Saka’s new contract confirmed. Ah yes, the old ‘it’s ST/Memberships renewal time’ timing :-p.

  16. 16
    bt8 says:

    Re: Noosa. Yes, the second half at Anfield was a huge turning point, as well as the moment when all of our momentum seemed to start slipping away, but it certainly wasn’t determinative because we had a lot of chances to make a stand and get the momentum back on our side.

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    Confirmation of Bukayo’s new contract is certainly good news!

  18. 18
    BtM says:

    At 9, Ned – please include me.

  19. 19
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Get in!

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    Talking to a knowledgeable Gooner he believes we are genuinely interested in Gundogan and …..Zaha . Reason is they are free transfers ( whatever that means nowadays) and it may fit into their financial structures more easily .
    I think we need a number of players including a striker but I will reveal more in my review if the season

  21. 21
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks for a nicely poignant review Dr F. The last few games have been disappointing
    ( Toon excepted ) but overall the season has been swell with the quality of football and our 2nd position well above hopeful expectations. An interesting summer of transfer activities awaits.
    Ned @ 9 above – kindly include me in this scheme.

  22. 22
    Sancho Panza says:

    Squires cartoon in the Gruaniad is well worth a look. Don’t know how to link to it though.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    BtM@18 & Uply@21: Officers and gentlemen, both. You are in.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ramsdale and Saka are in the England squad for the Euro qualifiers in June but still no redemption for Benny Blanco. Rumoured targets Guehi, Rice and Maddison are all called up.

  26. 26
    Sancho Panza says:

    Maybe Benny said no because he doesn’t want to work with Holland. He seems quite principled.

  27. 27
    OsakaMatt says:

    Just read a long piece in The Athletic about why we should sign Mason Mount to replace Xhaka. I am not convinced to be honest and it seems Liverpoo and Manure are also interested so he might be expensive even though he only has a year on his contract.
    He is several years younger than Gundogan so that’s a plus.

  28. 28
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words.

    Ned/TTG: Please count me in for the prediction competition. I have already started to train my ML models on last 20 years of results. 😂

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    It seems Slot has turned the spuds down to stay at Feyernoord 😂😂

  30. 30
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@28: Good man. I will crank up my random order generator to take on your AI. 🙂

  31. 31
    Trev says:

    Disappointed to hear that Arne Slot has turned down the Totts. That seemed to have decent punning potential 😉

  32. 32
    bt8 says:

    There’s certainly no suggestion he would have turned that club around, and more likely would have slotted right in to their long line of failures

  33. 33
  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@33: Thanks for the link. A wonderful piece indeed that will resonate with everyone of a certain age.

  35. 35
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah it was a good piece thanks C100 for the link.
    And true enough that expectation will be higher next season, the surprise has made it such a pleasure this season.

  36. 36
    bathgooner says:

    A very good piece by Tim Stillman. Thanks C100, for the link. If only those expectations could be controlled. As Arsene once said, “When people get used to steak, it’s hard for them to accept sausages”, or words to that effect.

    This team has both surprised and thrilled us this season and deserve huge plaudits from the crowd on Sunday. They have had an excellent season but I don’t expect us to hit the ground running next season at the level achieved in the early part of this season. If we make the number of changes to the squad that some are currently predicting that is even less likely, no matter the quality of the players we bring in. If we add 2-3 players of the quality to start in place of current first choice players then we may take another step forward. It will be a huge feather in Edu and Arteta’s caps (one thinks of Princess Anne at the Coronation 🤣) if they can achieve that.

    This summer is probably going to be an emotional rollercoaster if one is foolish enough to get hooked on NewNow. I think it’s probably best to trust them and let them get on with it and enthusiastically welcome whomsoever they bring in once they are officially announced on .con.

  37. 37
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Bath @ 36: I love how instead of quoting Arsène verbatim you substituted a food item to avoid unnecessary associations with a certain nation … 🙂

    About Arteta, a nice article … https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/65646318 … I like the photos on the walls of his boyhood club.

  38. 38
    Goonersince54 says:

    I’m hearing we will earn approx 160ml for finishing 2nd in the league.
    Very welcome input to the Club’s coffers if true.
    Can Monks confirm. ??

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@38: The payment/prize money for 2nd place this season is £41.8 million. Bottom team gets £2.2 million and there is a £2.2 million increment for each place above; thus Man City will get £44.0 million for finishing first.

    Then there is the TV money. Half the pot gets shared equally among all the clubs. That was worth £84m to each club last season. A quarter of the pot is ‘merit payments’ and the other quarter depends on how often teams are televised. We won’t know those figures for a bit.

    The third element is whether we have any position-based terms in our sponsorship agreements that give us bonus payments. I would imagine that qualifying for the CL would count for something in that regard.

    Adding that all up on the back of an envelope, being in the PL is worth £100 million, even for the club that comes bottom. Coming in the top two would typically be worth around £150 million, but £160 million is not inconceivable, depending on the total TV revenue and sponsorship deals. Plus, of course, being in the CL will be a massive boost to revenue next season.

  40. 40
    OsakaMatt says:

    Certainly be helpful if we really want Caicedo and Rice and those other twenty players I have already seen us linked to………..

  41. 41
    ecg says:

    Remember this isn’t an unexpected windfall and has probably already been spent. Looking at the monks numbers, the difference between first and last place is about 50 million, so about 2.5 million per place. And jumping up from 5th to 2nd in going to get us an additional 7.5 million. Not chump change but the 150 million total is probably just enough to cover first team player wages.

  42. 42
    North Bank Ned says:

    ECG@41: First team squad wage bill is a tad under £100 million for this season and is likely to be close to £120 million for next season with the new contract extensions. But you are spot on that we haven’t suddenly found a suitcase full of used fivers on the Holloway Road. This season’s revenue will have been forecast and earmarked months ago. The unknown variables around broadcasting income and the like, while not exactly rounding errors, don’t make a huge difference. That additional £7.5 million you mention doesn’t quite cover Zinchenko’s annual wages, for example. What will matter is how much we get in the transfer market for the players we sell this summer. Looking at you, Edu.

  43. 43
    TTG says:

    Ned@42 . Based on past history I’m not deeply optimistic !
    We might sell Xhaka , Partey , Holding , Sambi Lokonga ( more likely loan ) , Tierney ( please no ) , Pepe will terminate his contract , Edu won’t get money for him , Balogun ( please no) and Smith Rowe ( please no – would we keep Vieira and sell ESR ?)
    There’s some saleability there but it’s a limited market. If we sell everyone on that list we’d raise about £125 million ( this is Edu ) and save about £35 million off the wage bill but we’d need a lot of incoming players . It strikes me we could end up a lot weaker in some areas .
    On Sunday we are likely to be without Saka, Nelson ( is that man ever fit ?) and Trossard .
    That might see starts for Nketiah and ESR and Cozier- Duberry on the bench

  44. 44
    North Bank Ned says:

    ESR and Tierney feature in the photographs for the launch of next season’s new kit, but not, as far as I can see, Nelson, Partey, Xhaka or Holding, if there is anything to be read into that.

    TTG@43: I would share your lack of optimism over sales. We got £21 million for players with a market value of around £86 million last time round, so I would discount Edu’s hoped-for £125 million by 75% on that basis.

  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    Stat of the day: This season, of 850 teams in the top division of the top 60 leagues around the world, 487 changed their head coach during the season, a 57.3% sacking rate. For the Big Five European leagues, the rate ranges from 55% in the PL to 35% in Serie A, but Italian clubs act quickly, getting the old tin-tack out with barely a third of the season gone on average. In the PL, it is just before the halfway mark (17 games). India has offered the best job security for coaches. Only one of its 11 top-flight clubs has changed manager. Tunisia is the place to avoid. All 16 clubs have fired their coach during the course of the season.

    (The measure is whether the coach that started the season is still in place, so doesn’t account for multiple sackings during the season, though that is the sort of thing that only happens at the orbless end of the Seven Sisters Road.)

  46. 46
    bt8 says:

    Summing up the Arsenal season in one word may sound like fluff but I didn’t think so after reading the whole article

    “Connection” – Arteta sums up Arsenal’s season in one word

  47. 47
    bt8 says:

    Come on Dortmund. Every single neutral must be sick to death of Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga every year.


  48. 48
    Ollie says:

    The way football has been going this season, I expect Coventry to lose and Bayern to still be champions. Bordeaux more or less fucked it up last night, so this is turning out to be an extremely frustrating season.

  49. 49
    bathgooner says:

    Sorry to hear about Bordeux, Ollie. However, I have to confess I don’t give tuppence about which of Coventry or Luton win today’s play-off. Neither register on my radar as clubs to despise or for which to have sympathy. FMDIDGAD.

  50. 50
    Ollie says:

    I’ll smash that one out of the park for six.

  51. 51
    bathgooner says:

    Thunderous applause. 👏👏👏

  52. 52
    Sancho Panza says:

    Stephen Yaxley-Lennon supports Luton. Cov all the way for me.

  53. 53
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, Ollie. In other circumstances, I would raise a glass of claret to you.

  54. 54
    Bathgooner says: