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Readers who have no interest in a strange foray into the genre of ‘magical realism’ to explore the roots of our fraught relationship with tomorrow’s visitors should begin below the heading, ‘Them’. I should add that no hallucinogens were used in the writing of this piece. 

A long, long time ago (on a millennial’s time frame), in a land, far, far away – actually, no distance at all but it was so different then that it now seems like a different place – there were contests lasting many years between two warlords and their retainers that recalled conflicts between medieval barons for territorial suzerainty or for influence over weak kings which were, indeed, a long, long time ago. 

A time-honoured, somewhat chivalric competition that involved every parish in the land was transformed by removal of its ruling council and replacement of those elderly placemen from every parish, no matter how obscure, by ambitious and imperious epistocrats focused on building an empire, accumulating wealth for elite parishes, extending their power and influence and on harvesting tribute globally.

Gooneria, a southern tribe, had recently slain the northern ‘magic dragon’, Scousia, that had dominated the land for 16 years. However, Gooneria then lost its charismatic leader, Georgio the Gorgeous, in a palace coup amid allegations of misappropriation of bags of gold properly belonging to tribal coffers. As a result, the tribe’s elders subsequently spent the early years of the new contest in search of an effective new leader.

Meanwhile, an aggressive new war-lord, Demento, emerged in the north.  Having miraculously led the Dandies, a previously unknown far northern tribe, to dominance unparalleled in the history of Alba, and to the acquisition of European silver, he was lured from the far, frozen north to join Mancia. This not quite so northern tribe had languished in the doldrums for over a quarter of a century despite retaining an inexplicable spell over peasants in southern shires. Through a reign of terror, elimination of internal challengers, an uncanny ability to influence law-givers in his favour and a thirst for silver, this red-nosed barbarian led Mancia to prominence while Gooneria regrouped.

Then, lo, a visionary, silver-tongued, younger member of Gooneria’s Council of Elders spirited a relatively unknown Magus from the far east to become their new leader. The Magus immediately transformed Gooneria’s fortunes, adding warriors from his homeland, girding the loins of the defensive rearguard and elevating the tribe to third strongest in the land in his first part season. Thereafter, for the next eight years Gooneria was either strongest or second strongest in the land, hailed strongest three times, though by universal acclamation the most elegant and skilful of tribes throughout that period. They fought 49 consecutive parochial battles without defeat and for the first time in the modern age were unconquered throughout a season. The widespread praise for Gooneria’s style and their invincible season were like salt in a wound for Demento and his warriors. Inevitably, it was against Demento’s horde and one of his tame law-givers that this unparalleled run came to an end.

In this golden age, the contest for strongest tribe was simply a battle between Gooneria and Mancia with other tribes rendered mere onlookers. As a result, the vitriol and black magic of Demento were focused relentlessly on Gooneria and its Magus whilst Demento continued to wield influence over law-givers to gain advantage. Contests between these tribes saw major gladiatorial battles between warriors, and Mancia frequently adopted brutal tactics to thwart Gooneria artistry. Some moments have entered Gooner mythology as in Cesc’s flying pizza and Keown’s leap over the spineless Horseface.

Sadly, after the invincible season, diversion of Gooneria’s reserves into construction of a new stronghold, meant that ageing heroes were not replaced by warriors of equivalent stature. Progressive decline in tribal achievements followed and was aggravated by defection of many of the best young warriors. This decline precipitated civil war amongst Gooneria’s followers. After years of internecine strife, poison and vitriol despite the acquisition of silverware three times, the Magus was deposed in a palace coup. His roles were replaced by a motley crew of dysfunctional peddlers of false remedies who produced confusion until they were ousted. Recruitment of one of the Magus’ former battlefield captains as the new leader has since revived Gooneria fortunes.

Meanwhile Demento maintained Mancia’s strength after Gooneria’s penury-induced decline but contests remained full-blooded affairs. The emergence of a hitherto mediocre Chavia boosted by Russian loot and then a minted Caliphate stronghold on his doorstep changed the landscape and proved too much for Demento’s fading powers. He too left the fray and Mancia have since struggled to find another effective warlord, stumbling from one faker to the next until unearthing the Egghead. Bizarrely, during the years of diminished stature, Mancia’s mediocre horde has invariably excelled themselves when confronting Gooneria’s warriors who, far too often, have failed to do themselves justice.

And so, we come to this fixture with both tribes firmly convinced that they are on the way back. This contest can be confidently predicted to become a battle. Have we come far from primordial instincts?


Manure beat us in an early preseason friendly in the USA by exhibiting a degree of aggression and determination that surprised our undercooked players. This is not the first time that Egghead has adopted physical tactics to neutralise a more talented team and we can expect the same approach. He is being hailed as their best coach since Demento and is clearly adopting his predecessor’s mantra that, ‘if you can’t match the opposition for skill, kick ‘em off the park!’ Despite beating us, they were unconvincing in that preseason game, in their other preseason matches and also in their Premiership games to date: a lucky 1-0 home win against Wolves who were robbed by officials (familiar, eh?); a drubbing at the Lane; a 3-2 home win against 10-man Forest after being 0-2 down in 5 minutes.

From post-match interviews, Egghead fancies himself as a ‘tough guy’ and, having rid himself of Ronaldo in January, spent the summer trying to eject de Gea, Fred, Elanga, Telles, Williams, Jones, van de Beek, Maguire, McTominey and Martial to raise money while he pines for a Qatar takeover and cash injection. At the time of writing, the last four are still on the books. A familiar problem, eh? To date, Egghead has brought in ex-Ajax keeper Onana for his footwork, Jonny Evans, on a short-term contract to add subtlety to his thuggish defence, Mount to pep up his pedestrian midfield and an unproven Dane called Hojlund for €75m in a pathetic attempt to acquire a Haaland ‘sound-alike’ – this lad has recovered from a back problem and is available for this match. Varane and Shaw will be missing from their defence. Reguilon, a late loan signing, from a small club in Middlesex is likely to replace the latter and perhaps Maguire will get a chance to redeem himself.  Apparently, Mount will also miss the match so their midfield creativity will rest with the whiny Fernandez and ageing Eriksen but they have also just signed the Moroccan midfielder, Amrabat, on loan from Fiorentina; this lad is a definite midfield upgrade on Fred, and we may well see him at some point on Sunday.

Whether these changes improve Manure remains to be seen. There is no early evidence of transformation. By getting third place last season, Manure overachieved relative to their quality and performances, winning games they should lose which was one of their characteristics under Demento. Another major factor was Rashford’s goal-scoring form after the world cup break; hopefully, this will revert to his mean this season. What we can expect is the same overweening desire to win the game at all costs without any concern for method.

The Good Guys

We have seen only flashes of last year’s early season fluidity and our new defensive line up has been disturbingly porous. Arteta has clearly decided that we were far too predictable last season and, as well as adding depth in key areas to avoid running out of steam again, he has added versatility. Sadly, Timber’s ACL tear and resulting long absence has impeded Arteta’s plans as he is probably the most versatile of the incoming quartet. 

To add to the unpredictability of the team, Arteta has also devised a ploy which wasn’t used in pre-season but emerged in the first Premier League game. We are all now nervously familiar with Thomas Partey attempting to play a right-sided inverted fullback role. This relies on Ben White, Saliba and whoever gets the left back gig to defend the width of the pitch and leaves even more space than we have become used to seeing behind Zinchenko. It also demotes defensive stalwart Gabriel to the bench. Arteta has employed this strategy to get an extra man in midfield and to confuse the opposition but it may actually be more confusing to our players. The automatisms that made us so fluid last season break down as players pass to where a player isn’t, as in Saka’s pass to the absent right centre back that gifted Fulham their first goal. This must compound the difficulty of integrating new players into Arteta’s allegedly complex playing system. On which point, the unfortunate Timber seemed to have hit the ground running and looked a ‘made to measure’ addition to the system, Rice appears to be growing into his new team and was outstanding against Palace but unfortunately Havertz is struggling to impose himself, a man for whom Arteta clearly pushed hard and in whom he must see qualities he can utilise. I’m not sure what Havertz’s role is and I’m not convinced that the player is yet either.

We have had a less than convincing start to the season despite taking 7 points from 3 games. In the opening game we had almost total dominance against Forest but sat back at 2-0, let them back in and ended up clinging on at 2-1.  In the second game, we dominated again against Palace, took a 1-0 lead only for a bird-brain ref to swing the game’s momentum but fortunately not its result. The gifted goal early in the draw against a hitherto unconvincing Fulham was followed again by total domination, 19 shots, 11 on target and recovery to take a 2-1 lead, only once again we sat back and left the back door open. In each of these games we have dominated possession, looked very good in spells, scored some nice goals but invariably then chosen to defend a lead rather than killing the game. We have also proved vulnerable to rapid breaks with too few defenders covering too much territory. Partey at right back ‘inverting’ in midfield clearly aggravates that vulnerability as does Gabriel’s absence. But what do I know? I do know that a more effective forward line than Forest, Palace and Fulham possess would harm us more than those teams did. This is our first match against one of the contenders. We have to take it seriously. I shudder when I anticipate the acres of space on our right flank that this system offers Marcus Rashford. “Freedom of London, sir?” “Why, thank you!” Hopefully the Partey experiment is shelved for this game.

The Team

Ramsdale was criticised in some quarters for the first goal against Fulham but he made a crucial save late on in a one-on-one against Traoré to save a point and should keep his place. I would have no hesitation in selecting last season’s first choice back four and a midfield of Partey, Ødegaard and Rice with the latter playing the recent Xhaka role rather than Havertz. The German has not convinced me that he is ready for that role in this game though I suspect he will start for Arteta. Eddie Nketiah should start (if he has recovered from a rumoured knee injury) as he has produced some red-hot performances and goals. He deserves to lead the line until Jesús proves his match fitness which looked questionable in the Brazilian’s brief cameo last Saturday. Performances in training this week will clearly determine Arteta’s decision. Trossard was surprisingly poor against Fulham had several terrible first touches and, for me, delivered his poorest performance in an Arsenal shirt. He needs to recapture his pre-season form to regain a starting place.  Trossard wasn’t the only sub-prime player against Fulham: the captain was surprisingly erratic but, excellent though Vieira proved (and I’m sure he will be an early sub if we need to change the game), the captain naturally keeps his starting place. Our brilliant young wingers are equally undroppable. Hence my starting XI would be (though it certainly won’t be Arteta’s):


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko

Partey, Ødegaard, Rice

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

We do have a habit of not doing ourselves justice against this mob, nor have we been free scoring, so I don’t expect a high score, much though it’s long overdue, and we just can’t keep a clean sheet at home so my prediction is a sweaty, nerve-jangling 2-1 to the Arsenal. No odds are offered as the ‘Holic pound is again going to Ukraine and gambling’s profile in the game these days is far too high.

Enjoy the game, ‘Holics – if you can. I’ll be behind the couch with a bottle of Shiraz though I understand that drinking alone to cope with stress is a pretty bad habit too! Here’s to a famous victory!


56 Drinks to “When Two Tribes Go to War…”

  1. 1
    TTG says:

    Fine and amusing preview Bath.
    Your hallucinogens are powerful and exotic.
    I’m filled with uncertainty about this game . I watched the friendly from a hospital bed with my perceptions spiked by strong hallucinogens and painkillers. It didn’t make good viewing and I sense Arteta needs to go back to basics to build our challenge.
    I very much like your team and hope we can repeat the wonderful performance we gave in this fixture in January . Saka tire Shaw a new one and it would be great if he meets the same treatment to the Spud Reguillon .
    I’d love to see Eddie repeat his acts of derring-do . Expectation has created a different feeling around the club and we need to find that unstinting support tgat the team enjoyed at home last year . I’d love a win but I have in my mind it will end 1-1

  2. 2
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Bath, great photo to start and a fun read.
    I like your team (Gabriel not Partey at CB was I think
    your intention) and I think it’s quite close. With
    another week’s training I expect Jesus to return.
    Feel fairly confident about this one and a morale boosting
    3-0 would be nice to take into the break.

  3. 3
    Bathgooner says:

    Gabriel was indeed my intention, Matt. Amended. Thank you for your eagle eyes.

    It’s scary how Partey creeps into one’s subconscious. 3-0 would be superb!

  4. 4
    ClockEndRider says:

    Top notch preview, Bath. You clearly turned on, tuned in and nailed it with your intro piece. A glass, or indeed vial, of your favourite hallucinogen is on the bar.
    Completely agree with the proposed team and the reasoning behind it with one change. I imagine Them will start with Rashford on one wing and either Antony or Garnacho on the other. I would prefer a quicker, physically stronger player than Zinchenko at full back and plump for the now-returned-from-wrongly-imposed -exile Tomiyasu. Last season he did a great job of taking Salah out of the game against the Hub Cap Stealers. Given that Salah can go both ways, but prefers to cut in from the right, Tomi ought to have a very good chance of snuffing out the far more predictable Antony, who makes Arjen Robben’s unipedality ( I may have made that word up) and predilection for cutting in look like a random walk. The thought of Rashford running at Partey, or the space vacated by Partey, on the other side, fills me with dread. I have lost count of the number of breakaway goals Mancia have scored against us over the last 20-odd years and feel this is still their best chance. What we lose in inversion, we gain in solidity. In theory, at least.

  5. 5
    bt8 says:

    Cheers, Bath, that was a highly entertaining read. Hope the game matches your quality, and Arteta’s shape shifting sees some timely gelling. Fingers crossed.

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    The window is closed and overall I thought it went well though of course that is just a feeling and 3 years from now it might be seen as the great disaster / triumph of ‘23.
    Still some time to find homes for Cedric / Pepe in some far-flung fields though in Cedric’s case i am doubtful he has any motivation to move.

    We sold well in Xhaka / Balogun’s cases as they had good seasons and looked sparkly in the shop window, with the inverse obviously being true in the cases of Sambi / KT / Nuno. That’s my admittedly simplistic conclusion anyway. TTG made a fair point in the previous drinks that their value will be reduced in a years time as their contracts will be a year nearer the end. On the other hand, if they have good seasons their desirability will increase and outright sales will be more likely.

    We also loaned out the usual numbers of young players and moved on / loaned some of thr low cost punts – Turner, Trusty, Runarsson. Best of luck to them all.

    Last and not least, it is goodbye to Roberto Holdini – we will always have those FA Cup Finals Rob, thanks for being a great guy to have around,

  7. 7
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Great preview thanks Bath,
    I like your team and hope that “the experiment” can be shelved for at least one game although I have my doubts it will.
    Not sure who the referee is for this one but it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be allowed to let the Mancs get ott physical in a game at the Emirates. the crowd need to be really up for this one.
    I’m thinking 2-0 to get our season seriously back on the road even at this early stage.

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    I believe it’s Anthony Taylor, mercifully freed from the ‘ assistance ‘ of Mike Dean

  9. 9
    Countryman100 says:

    Utterly hilarious Bath! Let’s spank the Mancs again!

  10. 10
    Sancho Panza says:

    Whatever problems we have losing money on players I’m glad we didn’t spunk 20 million on the loan of Felix last season. Chavs can’t sweep that one under the carpet.

  11. 11
    BtM says:

    Having just pre-ordered The Armour of Light set in Kingsbridge in the 1790s, I thought for a moment it had arrived instantly in digital format rather than the hardback version I wanted. Grand preamble to an excellent piece.

    That’s the team I’d play. The last home game was fantastic and I’m disappointed that my friends from Singapore are finding it easier to get tickets for home games than those homers who live within 20 miles of the ground. Strange times.

    I’m optimistic. Home win.

  12. 12
    Trev says:

    Epic, Bath – and fascinating how the history of medieval Britain so closely resembles the rivalry between the Arsenal and Manchester United. Who’d a thunk it ? 😳

  13. 13
    TTG says:

    The big question is …which route will Mikel take to the ground? We now know why he was so savage in punishing for Auba for using Muswell Hill Broadway in contravention of C100’s strictures on the subject . The boy might have had a gold wrapped Ferrari but he had no clue on the navigation of North London
    Will he touch the North Circular? No school traffic on a Sunday does that mean he can ignore detours ? What time will he arrive in Holloway Road with pre-match traffic ? These are the big decisions .
    Deploying an inverted left back, a diamond midfield or a false 9 are mere details . Mikel knows

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    Fabulous, Bath. Epical. Beowulfian, even, in its epicicity (if that is a word).

    TTG@13: Mornington Crescent?

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    Best of luck to Capitola Rob in his new home south of the river. I hope his career has the late blooming all good guys deserve.

  16. 16
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for the kind words, guys.

    Update on the opposition: Amrabat’s move was not completed in time for him to play against us on Sunday.

    Great point, TTG @13. Drink on the bar for you for such an astute observation. No wonder Aubameyang’s feet didn’t touch the ground. With a boss who has such a detailed knowledge about the routes from home to Colney, a clear understanding about which route to use on any particular occasion and no doubt a similarly profound knowledge about the choice of routes to the Emirates, Aubameyang’s lazy choice of Crouch End Broadway will have been his final egregious error.

  17. 17
    ClockEndRider says:

    TTG @13 – Forward Finchley Road, right North Circ, right Archway Road, right North Road, forward Highgate High St, right Magdala Avenue by the hospital, Left Dartmouth Park Hill, forward Brecknock Road, forward York Way, right Market Road, forward Mackenzie Road, forward Drayton Park, left Benwell Rd, ground in the right. Mikel knows.
    Old man’s a cab driver. It’s genetically transmitted.

  18. 18
    ClockEndRider says:

    Left York Way. Typical cab driver, taking the long way round….

  19. 19
    ClockEndRider says:

    Market Road, not York Way. Jeez.

  20. 20
    North Bank Ned says:

    I see why you didn’t follow the family line of business, CER. 🙂

  21. 21
    ClckEndRider says:

    Left..right….all the same, Ned….

  22. 22
    North Bank Ned says:

    Very metaphysical, CER.

  23. 23
    Ollle says:

    Cheers, Bath. Brilliant stuff! Nearly didn’t want an actual normal preview after the opening tale, but that was fine too.
    Very strong rumours that Partey is injured so at least he won’t start at right-back, but then it won’t be your line-up either. Jorginho in the middle might seem the natural choice, but I, like you, suspect it won’t be Arteta’s line-up….
    Not travelling but I am nevertheless still taking Monday off to recover….

  24. 24
    Ollie says:

    And heh, Ned @ 14. Brings back old memories.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    Just don’t play on the same team as CER, Ollie…

  26. 26
    ClockEndRider says:

    The Ghana FA appear to have been a right bunch of Wayne Kerrs in broadcasting that Partey is out.

  27. 27
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    A tale as old as time, Baff! Well done and inspiring as ever.

    Can’t we just be rid of the Ghanaian influence (FA or otherwise) altogether? It’s so tiresome.

    As usual, we go into battle with the dark magicians understrength and with not a small amount of trepidation. As Texans young and old will recall, “Remember the Alamo,” I shall invoke “Remember the 8-2”. We owe these f*ckers.


  28. 28
    OsakaMatt says:

    @26 that’s an ex-Spud manager for you.
    If TP is out then last seasons defence or Tomi in one of the two full-back positions.
    No biggie for me, still 3-0 to the good guys!

  29. 29
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks Bath for such an amusing and detailed preview.

    Going back to last year’s template may work well in this match, not the least because of the problems faced by the right side of our defense until now. We might even want to use Tomiyasu as the traditional right back and allowing Zinchenko to play more freely, for which we will need Gabriel to Saliba’s left.

    We need to start it with the right mix of discipline and adventure… and if we get an early advantage we shouldn’t drop back trying to protect the lead.

    Come on Arsenal!

  30. 30
    Pangloss says:

    I dread this game more than most others. My dislike of Manyoo, I realise, surpasses that for all others.
    Of course, I keep a special place somewhere other than my heart for my feelings towards the neighbours, but the past 62 years has lent something of the pantomime to their villainy. The feelings inspired by today’s visitors, on the other hand, have no such mitigation. I suppose I must pay them the compliment of conceding that they have, in the recent past (certainly more recent than 62 years), been quite a good footballing outfit and have achieved an amount of success not incommensurate with their talent.
    It will be several years before I entertain any thoughts of forgiving the antics of the Visitor’s fairly recent long-serving manager and his undoubted mastery of the black art of influencing officials. I also find it hard to believe that the club has worked other than assiduously to foster the somewhat one-eyed attitude displayed towards them by the good gentelemen[*] of the meeja.
    I hope we stuff them and that we stuff them good and hard. I wish I were more confident that we will.


    [*] Heavy irony.

  31. 31
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks Bath for the historical context of an auld enemy – it was a terrific read. The trying of new formations is proving trying for some – this will be all set aside with a win this afternoon. A Kai Havertz hat trick would do wonders all around but I’ll happily settle for any old win for the good guys.

  32. 32
    North Bank Ned says:

    What Uply said @31.

  33. 33
    Esso says:

    Cheers Baf!

  34. 34
    Esso says:

  35. 35
    Esso says:

    Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Havertz, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Nketiah

    Subs: Raya, Tomiyasu, Kiwior, Jorginho, Vieira, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Trossard, Jesus

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    Strong team, strong bench

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    First choice defence.

  38. 38
    Bathgooner says:

    Good team.

    Now go win, Arsenal!

    I hear ya, pangloss @30.

  39. 39
    Gooner_KS says:

    Who’s the Manure player in the yellow jersey?

  40. 40
    OsakaMatt says:

    Great response! Good man Ode
    I can’t talk about their fucking goal

  41. 41
    North Bank Ned says:

    The manager that gets his 2nd-half subs right will win this game.

  42. 42
    North Bank Ned says:

    Breathe out, now.

    Looked like we had the best of last season’s Arsenal back. Might it have had anything to do with playing Saliba and Gabriel?

  43. 43
    bt8 says:

    Routine 3 points. 😗

  44. 44
    Bathgooner says:

    Never in doubt. 😉 💪🏼 🎉🎉🎉

    Huge result for this team. Battled on despite the setbacks. Quality won out in the end.


  45. 45
    Ciarán and Brendan says:

    Heaven is heaving COME ON YOU REDS !

  46. 46
    Esso says:

    Never in doubt.

    *sparks up large cigar*

  47. 47
    Countryman100 says:

    Just home from the game. What a crazy last 20 minutes!

    A deeply satisfying win.

    Rice, Rice baby.

  48. 48
    TTG says:

    This didn’t feel like a top Manure side today , very defensive, they finished with Maguire and Evans at centre back ( quite amazing ) and they created little . I’ve seen us play United for a very similar period to Pangloss and many of those games were epic with huge atmospheres. This had a great atmosphere although it was very tense and it wasn’t to my mind a high quality match. We deserved to win and it was glorious to win that way but we will improve a lot as a side as the season develops .
    Arteta must make some decisions on the shape of the side but this win will focus attention away from some elephants in the room ( Havertz, Partey at RB, they were speaking on my tube this evening about Raya replacing Ramsdale ?) If we’d held on against Fulham it would be very satisfactory.
    The big plus is that Rice has already settled into the club and today he was superb

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@47: I think the team that started today is probably near the one Arteta would consider his first choice, even if Timber was fit. Jesus for Eddie might be the only change. There is no doubt that having Saliba and Gabriel playing together gives the whole team balance, not just the defence. Martinelli got much better service today than he did in the first three games. Rice, as you imply, already looks as if he has been running our midfield for years, and Havertz showed more signs of why Arteta paid so much for him. It was a shame in more ways than one that he air-kicked the golden chance that fell for him in the first half.

    As for Manure, they have sufficient individual skill to offset being pedestrian as a team. Ten Hag has a lot of work to do. However, Højlund is going to be a handful once he settles in. He is much more of a physical presence than he looks (something Utd have lacked in their No 9s since Horseface), and he is lightning quick.

  50. 50
    OsakaMatt says:

    Took a while to get to sleep last night as I was as happy as a gooner who just rolled over a shit Manure side that just sat back gutlessly most of the time. Still happy this morning, how we and they both deserved what we got.

  51. 51
    bathgooner says:

    Half-ton. I thank you.

    Rice does indeed looks as if he has been running our midfield for years. Worth every penny.

  52. 52
    bathgooner says:

    And I agree Havertz is making progress. I thought he made several very important contributions off the ball – a pity, indeed, about the air-shot and the square pass pre-assist for the opposition. He will come good.

    Importantly Rice showed that he is more than capable of playing the single pivot role formerly that prerogative of TP5.

  53. 53
    bathgooner says:

    Matt @49, I can understand the difficulty getting to sleep. It used to be a problem for me after a long drive home from evening games. Tired but too wired.

    However, I do hope you’ve sent your sheets to the laundry after rolling over Manure shit before bedtime.

  54. 54
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half ton, Bath.

  55. 55
    TTG says:

    Interesting data on who earns what at Arsenal, length of contracts etc.
    I’m dubious if the data on Gabriel is correct and up to date

  56. 56
    scruzgooner says: