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Beer, fine company and The Arsenal.  What it’s all about. Goonerholics Forever….

The 2022/23 Premier League campaign drew to a close on Sunday as Arsenal concluded their splendid season with a 5-0 mauling of Wolves on a sun-soaked early summer’s evening in North London. The Gunners already knew they were guaranteed a second place finish but a win would see Mikel Arteta’s side beat their previous Emirates era points tally by a point (83 points achieved in 2007/08) and do that they did. 

Arteta named an unchanged starting eleven from the side that finally conceded the title to the (alleged) financial dopers of East Manchester at Forest last week. That has been a common theme for Arsenal this season, Arteta has made just 38 alterations to his 38 starting line ups this campaign which is the lowest in the division. Compare that to a certain mid table club in SW3 who have made a whopping 131 tinkers to their comical excuse for a football team. We got off to a flyer as the soon-to-be departing Granit Xhaka nodded us into an early lead following an excellent cross from Gabriel Jesús from the right-hand side. It has been widely reported that the Swiss international will be signing for Bayer Leverkusen after seven rollercoaster years in North London. Few players have divided opinion quite like Xhaka, the outrageous character assassination he has endured from the parasitical English media, most notably the odious Gary Neville, most definitely affected him to some extent. And who can blame him? Xhaka accrued an unfair reputation as a dirty player who often lunged into reckless tackles. He was once branded by Neville as “a brainless idiot” “(ironic) and “uncoachable”. You decide which of these comments is the most idiotic. But Granit soon had another goal on his leaving party. Saka drove into the box, his cross took a nick off a Wolverhampton defender, and Xhaka passed the ball into the net to double his tally. 

Arsenal were now in party mode and their opponents were on the beach. We made it three on the half hour following some precise exchanges between Trossard and Ødegaard. It was the Belgian whose ninth assist of the season found Saka, who took one touch to push the ball onto his left peg before blasting an emphatic finish into the far bottom corner. Not a bad way to celebrate signing a new contract. We were well and truly on Easy Street. 

No changes were made at the break as we looked to add to our lead. We thought we had a fourth after Partey scrambled home following a corner but it was disallowed for a push on Jose Sá from Ben White. Replays showed VAR had got it right for a change. But moments later we did have a fourth. Jorginho played a sumptuous ball over the top for Trossard to run onto. He checked his run a couple of times, and swung in a teasing cross to the far post with his “weak foot” and Jesús was there to head home from a difficult angle. A really high quality goal from start to finish. We made a few subs, the game plodded along at the pace you would expect for a dead rubber game on the final day but there was time for a fifth as Jakub Kiwior notched his first goal for the club, scrambling in from a corner. Sá probably should’ve kept it out, and you could argue it was actually an own goal but life is too short for all that faff and nonsense. That was our eighty-eighth goal in the league this season which is a club record for a 38 game season. Our 19th different scorer too. Not too shabby.

So there we have it, another season done and dusted. A season where we led the way for some 249 days before the Financial Fair Play Oil Riggers of Middle East Manchester, eventually showed their quality. But the history books will read: The Arsenal in Second place with 84 points, 26 wins, 6 draws and 6 defeats. We are finally out of the Thursday Night Ropey League and after a long exile we are back in the Mostly Not Champions League which is no longer brought to you by Gazprom. We collectively look forward to being drawn in a group with our old friends Bayern Munich, Barcelona and of course, Olympiakos. Is that possible? Well no, but I’m sure those honourable trustworthy guys over at UEFA will get the hot balls out. To be perfectly honest we’ve been out of it for so long we’ll probably turn up on a Thursday and go to Baku instead of Barcelona. But at least we will be in it, and we didn’t make a song and dance about it unlike the Marshdwellers did a year ago. I wonder what European competition they’ll be in next year. Anyone know? Thankfully the continent will be safe from those gormless oddballs for the next twelve months. 

I suppose the end of a season does provide an opportunity for some evaluation. Did we achieve our preseason objective of finishing in the top four? Yes. With quite some distinction. Have we progressed from the previous season? Massively. Are we coming out of the campaign with a touch of disappointment we did not achieve more? Somewhat, yes. It goes without saying that if you had offered any rational Arsenal fan second place and a title challenge before the season began you would’ve been laughed at even by the most optimistic Gooner. But then the season kicked off and right from the first minute of that warm evening at Selhurst Park we could all see something had shifted in these players. We were playing with a swagger we had not seen at this club for bordering on two decades. And we demonstrated this was no fluke. We won our first five games for the first time in a long time. Nine of the first ten became sixteen out of nineteen. Fifty points won from a possible fifty-seven. Not even The Invincibles could boast such a rapid start. Had we continued at the same rate for the second half of the campaign we would’ve won the title by a comfortable margin. It was an incredible ride until the start of April and that ought to be remembered. Throughout the season we on GHF have basked in the warm glow of being proud supporters of a club which is well and truly on the up after a gradual but elongated demise. We have perhaps grown closer as a small community in the ocean that is the Arsenal universe. Pre-match we met up with GSD (as illustrated above) and we all enjoyed great conversations and laughs on both Arsenal and non-Arsenal related topics. And this is what football is about; bringing people together who would otherwise be strangers to one another. And I suppose this has been aided by the positive vibes around our club right now. 

I will finish by wishing you all an enjoyable summer. Try not to spend all day refreshing Arsenal NewsNow waiting to see if we’ve agreed a fee for Gonzalo Higuain or if Yann M’Villa has completed his medical yet. Now we face the prospect of two long months without The Arsenal and we must attempt to lead lives outside of the seasonal calendar that runs from August-May. I hope you have all enjoyed this season as much as I have. We go again in August.


62 Drinks to “Final Day Flourish”

  1. 1
    Ollie says:

    Cheers CER! Excellent report and season assessment. Enjoy the summer too and hopefully see you again next season!

  2. 2
    ClockEndRider says:

    All 21CG’s work, Ollie. But I’m happy to take the credit!

  3. 3
    Bathgooner says:

    Bang on the money, 21CG.

    As is the phrase “FFP Oil Riggers”! Well coined.

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    Thank you Nic for that splendid report. I wish I could’ve been there to celebrate the day and season with you. Have a great summer!

  5. 5
    Ollie says:

    hell yes, cheers 21CG. *checks for brain*

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    A romp of a report to match a romp of a game, 21CG. Your assessment of the season is spot on. Enjoy the summer break.

    The first game of the pre-season tour of the USA is in Washington DC on July 20, only seven and a half weeks away.

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    A well-deserved shout-out for the away support this season from the board.

    To which we should add C100 for his away-day match reports.


  8. 8
    Bathgooner says:

    Great link Ned @7 and if you keep scrolling down, there’s an excellent summary of this season’s achievements follows that shout-out for the away support. Take a bow, C100 (and Aidan). Great commitment.

  9. 9
    Countryman100 says:

    A wonderful report, a wonderful day and a wonderful season. Sadly I couldn’t join the gathering in Canonbury for pre match beers, but after getting to the ground, just before kick off, it was a joy from start to joyous, packed out lap of appreciation at the end. Everyone was in fine voice, the sun shone and the goals flew in.

  10. 10
    Countryman100 says:

    Home and away supporters all. From left to right, Alex, me, Aidan and Andy. Aidan and I don’t get to go away every time, but we managed 32 games in total, 24 at home and 8 away. Being in that crowd has been an utter joy.

  11. 11
    bt8 says:

    Bravo the two great pictures above!

  12. 12
    bt8 says:

    Spurs quote of the season by Antonio Conte: Tottenham’s story is this, 20 years there is the owner and they never won something … They can change the manager, a lot of managers, but the situation cannot change.”

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    Kane to the Bus Stop, then?

  14. 14
    bathgooner says:

    They’ll have to pay a king’s ransom to convince Levy.

  15. 15
    bt8 says:

    Probably an unneeded reminder to read Arseblog’s take on yesterday’s game.

    Arsenal 5-0 Wolves: A fun way to end a fun season

  16. 16
    bt8 says:

    Re: TTG and NBN’s league table prediction contest for next season. Taking Phil McNulty’s pitifully inaccurate predictions over the season just ended, I go in with a feeling of confidence that I could hardly do worse. Famous last words. 😆


  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@14: I am not sure that Boehly knows any other sort of transfer fee.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@16: Just to lower the bar further for you, of the BBC’s 23 pundits making 2022-23 pre-season predictions, 43% got first place wrong, 100% got second place wrong, 96% got third place wrong and 100% got fourth place wrong. All of them failed to predict the top four in any order, and only 48% managed to get even two of the top four in any order.

    And these people are paid for their expertise?


  20. 20
    OsakaMatt says:

    A belated thanks for your report of a fine last day 21CG, and also to you and C100 for the photos. I even recognize some of them after this season 😃👋

  21. 21
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for the various links! I was going to say the Monty Python was of course the funniest and then I read the experts predictions 😂
    Although I saw in the article that the BBC asked the fans for their top 4 and overall they came up with Leicester in 3rd so perhaps I shouldn’t mock too much…..

  22. 22
    TTG says:

    21CG , you’ve been one of our most prolific, knowledgeable , humourous and enjoyable to read writers all season and this is a great season swanning . Our statistics at home are very impressive this season and this was a great way to sign off .
    As one of Granit’s biggest critics I’m glad it all ended in cuddles rather than cold shoulders and he became the player he manifestly wasn’t in some of the 5imes past. His figures from this season are mighty impressive and he goes with our live.
    There are huge personnel decisions to make.
    Let’s hooe we get the big ones right

  23. 23
    Ttg says:

    I’ve just invented a word or autocorrect has- ‘ swanning’! I meant swansong but we certainly gave those Wolves a fierce swanning

  24. 24
    bathgooner says:

    TTG @23, I’m sure that you’ve been swanning around for years. At least I know I have been.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@21: I will ‘fess up that my own pre-season predictions only got two of the top four right and none in the right position, but then I am not paid for being an expert.

  26. 26
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@22: I agree with you on Xhaka. He turns 31 in September and represents the past, not the future. He has had a wonderful season to cap his Arsenal career but it was probably an Indian summer. He — and we — can look back on it with fond memory foremost and wish him well. So much better that way than him departing in acrimony.

  27. 27
    bathgooner says:

    I rarely, if ever, go as far as to make predictions, as they will inevitably be wrong, but last July I expected (and hoped) that this past season we would be fighting for 3rd and 4th place with the Marshdwellers and FC Jeddah, well behind a first pair of FC Abu Dhabi and Dippers in first and second place respectively.

  28. 28
    OsakaMatt says:

    Ned@25 I am fairly sure that Leicester were only in 3rd on the fans prediction because fans of the bigger clubs and spuds could not bring themselves to put rivals in the top 4 so Leicester were a default choice. Good learning for our own far more august competition – I can indulge my dream of Spuds, bus stop and manure going down or try to win 😂

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    Agree with everyone on Xhaka, he had a very good season in a very good team. Best not to dwell on the first five seasons and just wish him well in all his future endeavours.
    Now, who next for the coveted No 34 jersey?

  30. 30
    Bathgooner says:

    Matt @28, good point. I too must control my desire to see Manure, Chavski and the Marshdwellers relegated. It’ll just have to be the Oilriggers.

  31. 31
    TTG says:

    Winning the prediction competition came down this season to getting the surprise teams less wrong than others . Brighton, Brentford and Chelsea were the hardest ones to predict . I line up the teams in a ladder and switch them around until they look vaguely right . How they finished the season, who the new manager is and the quality of their purchases are among the things I look for . I tied with a teenager this year but it took me years to get remotely right

  32. 32
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM @29: No 34 has a surprisingly illustrious lineage. Francis Coquelin wore it before Xhaka, as did Kyle Bartley, Keiran Gibbs and Ashley Cole, each for a season, before them.

    Who will get the vacant No 2 shirt? A promotion for Tomi? One of the multiple new right-backs we are linked to? Thomas Partey?

  33. 33
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@31: Congrats on two years at the top. Who’d have predicted that, eh? 🙂

  34. 34
    bt8 says:

    The Guardian has a fun quiz on some of the oddities of the season just completed, and I got 14/23 questions right. If you want to give it a try go to


  35. 35
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks bt8, a miserable 12/23 for me.

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    Outstanding work from the monks Ned!
    I don’t remember any of them in the No 34 shirt, which is a bit worrying.

    And thanks TTG for the advice @31, generously shared.

  37. 37
    OsakaMatt says:

    Just read a piece in The Athletic about how ESR is not going anywhere this summer.
    Hope they are right.

  38. 38
    Ollie says:

    Same score as Matt for me.

  39. 39
    bt8 says:

    Over here across the pond, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s soccer writer thinks St. Paul’s stadium is the best one in North America but ranks his favorite 10 here:


    Allianz Field, as it’s called, is a great place to see a game. Among the players I’ve seen there are Grealish, Mings and McGinn in the summer before Aston Villa’s return to the Premier League, and Auston Trusty (back at Arsenal after his loan to Birmingham City) and Brenden Aaronson (part of Leeds relegation crew) who played for Philadelphia about three years ago. I’ve never been to any of the other MLS stadia so feel fortunate to be so close to this one.

  40. 40
    ClockEndRider says:

    13/23 for me. And sone of those were partially educated guesses!

  41. 41
    bt8 says:

    News report: “Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is emerging as the preferred candidate for the vacant Tottenham job.”

    To my knowledge, the last time a Premier League team hired a manager away from one of the Glasgow clubs it was Steven Gerrard at Villa and we all know how that turned put. Btendan Rodgers at Leicester was a bit better but I suppose he did his part in getting the Foxes relegated.

    Speaking of relegated and Spurs at the same time? Interesting. 🧐

  42. 42
    Countryman100 says:

    Good piece in the Athletic about how slow the Premier League are at prosecuting financial charges.


  43. 43
    OsakaMatt says:

    I have just a smidgen of sympathy for the PL on this particular issue as I think they always have to look at how it will play out down the road in court. Hasty judgments may please the crowd (including me) but if you lose the case in court because of it then that is actually worse. Or perhaps the PL owners think it best to cross the T’s and dot the i’s especially if they, for example, want to collectively sue for many billons in lost revenue as a result of systematic cheating over a 10 year period by a nation state owned shower.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    bt8 says:

    At least the Spuds have shown enough judgment not to rehire that idiot. Unless I’ve spoken too soon of course.

  46. 46
    bt8 says:

    That makes only two people I have ever called an idiot in the drinks. I won’t repeat the name of the other one but it was some years ago. That guy hasn’t acted like an idiot recently but last year there were rumors in the press that Mourinho wanted to buy him.

  47. 47
    Depressedgooner says:

    What a season!

    Disappointment at how it ended is understandable but this was an amazing season with far more high points than low.

    Farewell to Xhaka?, he was improbably good this season but could he do it again, Best to leave on a high with grateful fans praising your name methinks.

    21st Century Gooner, Trev, Doctor Faustus, North Bank Ned, TTG, scruzgooner, Bathgooner, bt8, Lonestar Gooner, ClockEndRider, OsakaMatt, Gunnersaurus Stunt Double, Countryman100, thank you all for intriguing and illuminating, educational and hilarious previews & reviews, during the good, the bad (VAR) and the ugly (pointless WC) you all kept me entertained and made me feel like I was there.

    Another shout out to all the regulars and surprise returnees who keep this place the sweetest and safest spot to be for a die hard gooner.

    My health took some backward steps this year with new problems piling on top of the old, I feel like Saka every game getting unfairly tackled with nary a yellow card for the assailant.

    Too many wonderful performances individually and as a team to pick just one, but for skin tingling goosebump inducing moments of elation then Reiss Nelson’s goal will take some beating.

    I apologise for my lack of posting time but bloody hell is this exhausting 😊 I am always reading, appreciating and enjoying, thanks for everything everybody in the bar.

  48. 48
    Countryman100 says:

    DG thank you so much. I’m sure I speak for all of us you were kind enough to name check when I say we love contributing here and if you enjoy it that just makes it all worth while. I’m so sorry to hear you still have challenges and I wish you well. COYG!

  49. 49
    Ollie says:

    Get well, DG, take care of yourself.
    *casually passes ball through the lines*

  50. 50
    Depressedgooner says:

    Taps in…..

  51. 51
    Trev says:

    Depressed Gooner,
    Good to see you in again but sorry to see your health problems have worsened again.
    Glad you still manage to visit, enjoy and even have a chuckle at our efforts and thank you for your appreciation.
    Hope you find some improvement in those health problems,
    Take care.

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    DG@47: What others have said above. Take care of yourself and stay strong. And well in for the half-ton.

  53. 53
    OsakaMatt says:

    Well in for the half-ton DG! Agree with you on Reiss’s goal as a great moment in a season with an awful lot of great moments.

  54. 54
    bathgooner says:

    Great to see you in the bar, Depressed Gooner. Your rare contributions are distilled like a fine malt. Here’s to an upturn in your health, sir. Sláinte mhath! 🥃

  55. 55
    ClockEndRider says:

    As already said by many others, thanks vm for your kind words. This bar is a haven of rationality and measured writing in an internet sea of hyperbole and knee jerk reactions. It’s our pleasure to write here, Glad you enjoy our efforts.
    Sorry to hear of your health problems. Here’s to a summer of rest and recuperation and to “speaking” with you again next season.
    All the best.

  56. 56
    Ollie says:

    Well-timed finish, DG!

  57. 57
    bt8 says:


    Thanks so much for your kind wordss about this place, which mirror my feelings about it too. May your health improve and your drinks become more frequent.

    Also, well in at the half ton.

  58. 58
    bt8 says:

    Re: This news item: “Jose Mourinho: Roma boss charged for using abusive language towards official at Europa League final”

    In this day and age when almost everything involving famous figures can be recorded and spread instantaneously around the world, as Mourinho’s vile behavior (“fucking disgrace” indeed), the sanctions against such behavior should be multiplied just as the impact such vile behavior has become.

    (End of rant, but not the depth of feeling.)

  59. 59
    bt8 says:

    I should add that I didn’t watch the Europa League final until the last 10 minutes so my point is completely regardless of Taylor’s refereeing which could have been good, bad or indifferent. It goes more to Taylor’s humanity.

  60. 60
    ClockEndRider says:

    I did watch all the game – 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back- and thought Taylor was very good. In fact, it made me wonder why he, and almost all the PGMOL referees, don’t apply the rules so rigorously every week in the Premier League. The rotational fouling and timewasting of, say, Newcastle would be reduced drastically, and the momentum stopping professional fouling of, say, Oil City, would also be curtailed, providing a far better spectacle. I suspect that Mourinho banked on the English officials being as supine in the Europa final as they have been for so many seasons in the PL and hence much of his irritation is that he prepared accordingly.
    Absolutely no excuse for his disgusting behaviour. He is the disgrace. A suitable penalty would be to ensure a seasons ban from the touchline across all leagues and cups.

  61. 61
    OsakaMatt says:

    As you say it really doesn’t matter that Taylor was his usual fairly incompetent self. Maureen was the same d**k he has always been. I feel very sorry for his family as the incident at the airport is just horrible but sadly none of it is at all surprising.
    Maureen will probably get a touchline ban, which will be no deterrent, and then carry on talking about dignity and respect.

  62. 62
    Bathgooner says: