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A patient, pragmatic and unpanicked Arsenal played just well enough to earn a deserved victory away at Everton after a rather inexplicable six years gap of not willing at a ground that historically has been rather profitable for the Gunners. Such patience and pragmatism are necessary as Arsenal continues to strive towards becoming a more multifaceted team, capable of sustaining consistency of quality across the inevitable changes in personnel – through injury and/or loss of forms – in a season that is expected to be tougher physically and psychologically, especially following the much deserved, and much awaited, return to Europe’s preeminent tournament.  

Last season Arsenal had started with an unexpectedly ferocious, and breathtakingly virtuosic performance of technically accomplished and tactically sophisticated football. The preexisting Ødegaard-Saka-Martinelli triangle of motion and verve took one step forward towards world-class excellence, energized and inspired by the arrival of two old friends of Arteta in Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Whereas the effervescent Jesus with his inimitable amalgamation of ballet dancing and street fighting had allowed Martinelli and Saka to express their creativity more assertively on defenses reeling from a whirlwind of ball and men moving around them in everchanging patterns, the Ukrainian captain had used his technical quality on the ball and his sophisticated spatial awareness to invent an entirely new role for himself – his heat map more often than not resembling a kind of abstract expressionistic shapes all over the canvas of the pitch – that the delighted manager made astute use of by inventing newer way of creating overloads in the attacking third.

And then there was the return of William Saliba from his loan spell at Marseille, where he had continued to catch the eyes and imagination as one of the most exciting young defenders in world football. No one watching French football was surprised that he was voted Ligue 1’s best young player of the season, and no one who had watched him in his early days at Saint-Étienne was surprised at this either. He had settled in very quickly at the heart of Arsenal defense, combining with Gabriel to great effect providing a composed and reliable defensive foundation of controlled aggression that had allowed Arsenal to dominate both possession and space.

It was a small squad, with a precisely identifiable first eleven when everyone is fit, under little pressure of winning any silverware apart from the expectations of returning to the Champions league. The team played the best football in the league for more than half the season, but the concerns that they might find it difficult to sustain that level of quality — especially when compared to the eventual champions who could field two first eleven of world class players  — when faced with the inevitable challenges of fatigue, and more importantly injuries to key players as the season nears its end, had eventually proved to be well-founded. Maybe in another era not so long ago, in a time before football finance and governance were corrupted beyond redemption, Arsenal circa 2022-2023 would have gone down in history as one the most thrilling young sides to have been crowned the English champions. But whereas the wistful nostalgia for a time less disreputable than ours is a fine exercise in self-healing for the fans, but the football club have no such luxury. Arteta, Edu and co. have to be ambitious and brave to find ways to continue to move the team forward.

The signings made by the club to strengthen the team were a clear indication of the scope of that ambition. All young players with already established profile of technical excellence, tactical maturity and enough experience at the highest level – and all with a very high ceiling of becoming some of the best players in the world in their respective roles. And from the very first match of the season the bravery has been in display too – maybe not exactly the way that we fans may find it to be the most endearing, but the manager’s willingness to experiment with both personnel and tactics towards the goals of creating a higher degree of unpredictability, and also a greater degree of resilience against loss of certain players, has been admirable.

Arteta persevered with that theme as he chose to start Raya for his first ever appearance for Arsenal, whereas Fabio Vieira was rewarded for his excellence cameos until now in place of a somewhat struggling (but nowhere close to way it has been painted to be catastrophic in media) Havertz.


White – Saliba – Gabriel – Zinchenko

Ødegaard – Rice – Vieira

Saka – Nketiah – Martinelli

I myself would have liked Gabriel Jesus to start this match, given that we knew exactly what we could expect from this Everton side: deep and narrow blocks with the Everton attackers essentially doubling up with their defensive counterparts on Arsenal players, overt physicality off the ball, and little to no space to spin, turn and attack. Eddie has improved the technical side of his game greatly in the least year or so, but he still is no comparison to the nimble-footed turn-on-a-handkerchief mastery of Jesus.   

Once the first eleven was published there were a lot of concerns among the pundits and commentators about what kind of negative impact this decision may have on Aaron Ramsdale. I am sure Aaron Ramsdale would be fine. He has not established himself as Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper by responding negatively to every single challenge in his playing career. The pundits would do well to remember that it was them who had originally questioned Arteta’s decision to bring Ramsdale to Arsenal, with some Arsenal fans joining in. Short memories and all that.

Arsenal dominated possession from the very first minute. It was a controlled possession, mostly in the Everton half, and often in their final third. It was not the futile purposeless type of possession that one point of time in not so distant past this team used to produce. However, it was just not penetrative or imaginative enough to unsettle the Everton defense, but neither was it careless or undisciplined to allow Everton any chance on transition to launch counter attacks. It was noticeable that Saliba and Gabriel stayed back just a little deeper than usual whereas both the full backs in White and Zinchenko stationed mostly in the opposition half. I find Saliba-Gabriel to be our best defensive pair since the peak days of Koscienly – Mertesacker, but with the potential of becoming even better than them:  confident on their own and each other’s ability to cover vast amount of space, technically strong and physically powerful, they both have an excellent passing range and good readers of the game. I find keeping them just a little bit back gives us a significantly more protection against the kind of counter attacks that we suffered from in the last season, without losing much in our attacking play given how vertical and mobile they both are, and especially given how quickly Rice and Zinchenko (and for that matter, Partey) can transition defense into attack. We used the long diagonal passes to great effect in creating such transitions. Martinelli particularly showing some lovely skills to receive those passes and turn and ease past the Everton defense, especially their right fullback who I thought looked old but familiar.

We scored our first goal via Martinelli as well. Gabriel tried to pass towards Saliba/White, the Everton striker Beto tried to interrupt the pass, the ball ricocheted off his feet and fizzed forward towards Everton penalty box. Eddie dropped back in space to receive the ball, laid it off to Vieira who provided a sumptuous pass to his friend Martinelli on the inside of the Everton defense, Martinelli sprinted past and after a lovely first touch opened his body up to finish clinically past Pickford. It was one of those goals that in their beautiful simplicity remain everlasting memories.

Unfortunately, VAR chimed in to rule the goal out. Eddie was in an offside position when the ball changed its direction following the interception of Beto. The offside rules in this area have had seen so many changes over the years that it is not inconceivable that even the best referees in the world – playing their trade in the best football league in the world, obviously – may sometimes make mistakes. Wasn’t the deflection off Beto the consequence of the Everton player’s deliberate attempt to play the ball? If so, does Eddie’s starting offside position in that case really count?

And immediately after Gabi had to be replaced because of a hamstring strain, which he had felt while or just after scoring the goal, his uncharacteristically subdued celebration giving a clear sign that he mustn’t be feeling at his best. This may have been something he had picked up away in international duty. Whatever it is, let us hope that his forced absence is very short-lived. He is one of my favorite players in this Arsenal side, and he combines his qualities on the ball and his directness with a kind of relentless intensity in every action that defenses find hard to live with.

Martinelli was replaced by Leandro Trossard, who given his pre-season form may think of himself a bit unfortunate to have been missing out on playing time. A very different type of player than either Martinelli or Saka – subtler, less direct, not so prone to attack the space in front, but a wonderfully creative and inventive technician especially within the tight spaces of the penalty box.

The match continued with the same rhythm, Arsenal controlling possession and space, often playing some pleasingly intricate football in the Everton final third but just not fast or inventive enough to create any genuine problems for Pickford or his defense. The corners continued to pile up, and while Saka and Vieira both were initially sending quality deliveries in the box, Arsenal failed to create any genuine goalscoring opportunity from any of them, and the team started to opt for short corners.

On the other hand, Everton was very poor in possession. While without possession, defending deep and in numbers, they showed admirable grit and discipline to keep the likes of Ødegaard and Saka away enough from the danger zone, any time they won the possession back a combination of Arsenal’s high press and their poor quality on the ball made for a somewhat dull viewing. To Arsenal’s credit the few times Everton did break forward the defensive duo, ably supported by Rice – who had another good game, with his trademark anticipate-intercept-bring forward interpretation of screening midfielder role in display – nullified any semblance of threat. The first half ended goalless.

Arsenal needed to speed up the tempo of their passing and forward movement and make their dominance on the ball really count. They started second half with a greater sense of urgency and purpose, Ødegaard and Zinchenko being particularly influential on the ball, with Trossard — steadily improving on his understanding with Vieira and Nketiah – started to better resemble his form from the second half of the last season after he had joined us in the winter transfer window. Ødegaard drew a fine same from Pickford and Nketiah was stopped from making a goalbound attempt by a defensive clearance.

Eventually the pressure paid off, and the goal came via a moment memorable for both collective excellence and individual brilliance. Jesus had replaced Eddie around the 65th minute. A few minutes later from another short corner there was a dizzying sequence of exchanges involving Saka, Ødegaard, Zinchenko and finally after Saka passed ball back towards Trossard – who had created for himself a bit of empty space in the penalty area, a skill he is rather adept at – the Belgian scored with a perfectly executed side footed volley from his left foot. The technical quality of that finish – it reminded me of the kind of goals that our beloved Croatian-Brazilian Eduardo was capable of scoring – will remain in my memory for a long time.    

Everton 0 – Arsenal 1 (Trossard 69’)

Arsenal, thankfully, didn’t drop back and invite pressure as they sometimes do after scoring the first goal, but continued to try to score. Ødegaard drew one more fine save from Pickford —  though on another day the Arsenal captain would score by placing the ball farther away from the center of the goal — and Mykolenko blocking a goalbound shot from Vieira immediately afterwards.

Arsenal brought in Havertz and Tomiyasu for Vieira and Zinchenko around the 80th minute mark. Everton brought in a few more attacking players and was marginally more adventurous in the last 10 minutes or so. But nothing that Saliba-Gabriel couldn’t handle with composure. Raya had no big saves to make, but he looked a calm and assured presence, good in the air and commanding the penalty box, and very accomplished with ball on his feet. As Mikel said at the end of the match interview, if in every other position we can have two or sometimes even more than two first team contenders, why not for the goalkeeper?     

The game ended without any further causes for excitement. There were a few attempted long passes to release Jesus one-on-one with the last defender and in each time the execution didn’t quite match the brightness of the idea. Everton managed to attempt a few shots, mostly wayward, and Trossard had one Martnelli-esque run with the ball from Arsenal’s defensive third.

1-0 away win with 74% possession at a ground where we haven’t won for six years. However ordinary the opposition might have been, a potential banana skin of a match early in the season handled calmly without fuss or chaos. It is too early in the season to form any narrative of deep insight from Arsenal’s performances. But a few themes do start to emerge: starting games with a kind of patient pragmatism and not over exert ourselves either physically or tactically, focus on creating a consistent level of baseline performance all throughout the match, choosing moments to be adventurous instead of playing a high octane football all throughout, becoming less and less predictable about the attacking patterns. This season it is likely to be less of a thrill ride for us Arsenal fans from one matchday to another, there will likely be more such quotidian victories like this weekend’s, but that degree of playing a bit within ourselves may also be a vitally important contributor towards finishing the season with the kind of success that we haven’t tasted for a while. There is a steady evolution of the team in the works, and as a supporter I am happy to live that journey.

38 Drinks to “An Evolving Arsenal”

  1. 1
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks for an excellent review Dr F. We had an triumphant 12 hour day out to L4 and the Old Lady of Goodison. Tucked underneath the overhang of the Bullens lower, for the first time in three visits we could see most of the pitch.

    The away faithful were very loud, aided by that overhanging roof. Virtually every players’ song got an outing, but predominant were two new songs, one for Odegaard and one for Saka. The Odegaard one is sung to that song they sing at the darts at Ally Pally

    Been dreaming all day
    ‘Bout our number 8
    Martin Odegaard
    Oy! Oy! Oy!
    When he’s on the ball
    He’s fucking magical
    Martin Odegaard
    Oy! Oy! Oy!

    Not sure what the tune was for Saka’s breakaway song from ESR but it went something like

    Running down the wing
    Hear the Arsenal sing
    We’re gonna win the Premier League!

    Both worked really well. Listen out for them against PSV!

    Great goal by Tross. Gabriel and Saliba saw off the joint giants of Calvert Lewin and Beto with ease. Rice just looks as though he’s been running our midfield for years. The skipper was class. Saka was kicked to death as per usual. Not a thrilling game, but we got there against a team with zero ambition to go forward, bar lumping it up to the big men.

    No curries this time, we dined at motorway service stations full of Gooners both ways on the contrasting delights of KFC one way and a simply M&S sandwic

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    Cut off in my prime!

    Last thoughts after the M&S sandwich on the way back.

    First away day of the season done. Goodison hoodoo laid. Conundrum. Why do we defend so much better away from home?

  3. 3
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Dr F.
    Absolutely superb analysis of the team and the match.

  4. 4
    Ollie says:

    Great stuff, C100. Looking forward to actually hearing the new chants.
    Maybe next week, likely in the pub, I may be doing my first day trip without a match ticket (I have done day trips to cancelled matches :-)).

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Dr F, you have covered the main talking points very clearly.
    Never offside, it’s up to Aaron to respond positively and a cracking
    finish from Leo.
    Thanks C100 too, always nice to hear the away support are in good

  6. 6
    ClockEndRider says:

    Superb review, Dr. F. Watching the game was particularly fraught as the collection of Victorian circus freaks that makes up the Everton first team sought to foul and frustrate us. The only character missing from their side is the Bearded Lady.
    I still can’t understand how Eddie was offside seeing as Gabriel didn’t pass the ball forward in the first place, regardless of the deflection it took from an Everton player who can’t have been doing anything other than try to make contact with the ball to change its destination. Enjoyed watching Walcott and Hasselbaink make mincemeat of the ramblings of the Sky Sports anchor as she ever more unintelligibly tried to find reasons why the rules had been applied correctly. Apart from the fact that the ball has to be passed forward for an offside. Or has that underpinning of the rule been changed?
    Glad your day out had a good conclusion, apart from the M&S sandwich, C100. I suspect we will need to up our game considerably from this point on for the next month starting on Wednesday night.

  7. 7
    TTG says:

    Dr F
    Thanks for a very well observed report which captures all of the key moments very well. Your preamble is also right on the money charting the evolution of the squad . Arteta is a man with a ruthless agenda . Most of his calls are brave and perceptive .
    My thoughts are
    Totally agree with CER. I’ve been watching and playing football for sixty years and it never occurred to me that the goal would be ruled out. The Sky analysis was pathetic and nonsensical and if THAT IS the rule…it is an ass. It was a perfectly good goal.
    You need a first goal against scufflers like them . Hiring Dyche has just made them even more set on a clogging path. Everton were a big club that has been allowed to rot .
    Raya looked good but I think we all feel sad for Ramsdale . Rice looks like he has been at the club for years . I thought Vieira improved us in the left 8 position but I’d like to see ESR given a chance there as his dynamism energises the side . Trossard was a very good acquisition and took his goal superbly .
    I thought Ben White had a terrific game . He’s only behind Walker as the top English right back now. He attacks really effectively . Zinchenko adds so much but his passing can be sloppy .
    Big week ahead . Lots for Arteta to ponder . He won’t bottle tough decisions !

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    Great input from C100, the curry king forced to slum it in M& S . I thought the away fans were terrific and were very audible .

  9. 9
    North Bank Ned says:

    A thoughtful and perceptive analysis, Dr. F., especially the notion that Arteta is having the team pace itself for a long season. Our goal came from one of the moments of quality you allude to, but we could have done with more (moments of quality and goals) given our dominance of territory and possession. Yet, job done against one of the poorest Everton teams I can recall.

    Watching the rugby World Cup, I am struck by the difference it makes having the ref mic’d up throughout the game so viewers can hear his decisions and instructions to players in real-time, and by the way video reviews are handled; viewers get to hear the conversation between the referee and the Third Match Official (TMO, rugby’s VAR) as it is happening, and see the replays the TMO is looking at at the same time he is reviewing them. I am in no position to judge whether the decisions are correct or not. Yet, the transparency of the process demands coherent reasoning from the officials rather than matey banter and makes it clear to all how and why they reached their decision.

    I also like the way TMO decisions are made relatively quickly, with no searching for incidents two weeks previously and three postcodes away. Mic’ing up the referee might also improve players’ behaviour if they knew their every whine, whinge and profanity was in global earshot.

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@1: Sorry to hear you had to slum it on the way back from Goodison. Taking one for the team…

    The away support came through loud and clear on the stream I was watching, noticeably (audibly?) Vieira’s song and 1-0 to the Arsenal.

  11. 11
    Pangloss says:

    Re VAR:

    1) I’ve never been sure why it was ever introduced. I suspect that there was a belief that the game would be improved if there were perfect decision making, and that VAR would help towards that perfection. Well, I was never convinced that perfect decision making was possible, that VAR would help or that it was desirable in the first place. The experience of the past few years has only reinforced the idea that VAR has not helped. I think it’s likely that we are in for several more years of discussion and tweaking to improve the way VAR is implemented without any thought as to whether its desirable.
    2) The only reason I can imagine for not mic’ing-up referees and VARs and broadcasting the whole conversation live is that the authorities are not confident that discussion between the officials would uphold the reputation of those officials in particular and the whole system in general. I would take a perverse satisfaction if the powers that be were forced to admit this.
    3) I don’t understand the relationships within “the authorities”. Why are the Premier League and PGMOL distinct entities? Is there a contract between them, and if so, what are its terms? Imagine a situation where it is established, without question, that PGMOL is not effectively and impartially applyng and enforcing the rules. What would the Premier League do then? I suspect that there is no sensible alternative to appointing PGMOL officials to run games – if that is the case then in whose interests is it to pretend that the organisations are genuinely seperate?

  12. 12
    Ollie says:

    Re: 4.
    Finally came up trumps on Ticket Exchange. Bit high up in the Gods but I’m in for Spurs!

  13. 13
    OsakaMatt says:

    Congrats Ollie – good time to come up trumps🎉🎉

  14. 14
    Ollie says:

    Cheers, Matt. I’m ecstatic!

  15. 15
    TTG says:

    Re Pangloss@11
    If technology can improve the situation as it has in tennis ( and it has in football with goal line technology ) I’m for it . Arsene has been espousing the notion of automatic offsides ( a bit like Hawkeye ) and I’d be happy if it operated automatically – could a red light go on straightaway when a player is offside ?
    You are offside or you are not it is ( or should be ) a clear cut decision .
    Otherwise I agree that in matters of opinion eg penalties the referee should make a decision . VAR has not helped this aspect of the game . I’m not sure handballs are clear cut given the crazy decisions that are often made .
    The last area is serious foul play . In Rugby this creates a problem because of the nature of the game , but if it is not picked up by camera football players will often foul deliberately if the referee is not looking and if TV covers incidents that referees miss the game will descend into ( more) chaos . So we might have a TMO system that covers foul play; offside and goal line disputes are dealt with automatically by technology and the referee adjudicates everything else . I’m not sure I found the recording of the Havertz penalty incident helpful or edifying but miking up works well in rugby
    I agree that transparency is key and the PGMOL’s status and relationship with the League should be clearer . Why don’t we seek to get the best referees around the globe rather than restrict ourselves to picking them from England ( and the majority from one region of England ?) That situation encourages the sort of cronyism that Mike Dean demonstrated in relation to Anthony Taylor

  16. 16
    ClockEndRider says:

    I believe that the PL turned down the opportunity at the stat of the season to use the automatic VAR system used in Europe and preferred to use the tried and tested patented Mike Dean and his mates guaranteed fault-free system we have now. Curiously, as with so much to do with the PL and PGMOL, there is absolutely no transparency in the reasons behind the decision. One has to wonder exactly what the reason is for this.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    Thanks Dr. F for your thoughtful insight on our team’s development in this young season, and your recounting of the Everton game, which matches my recollections to a T. There’s not much reason for joy in being an Everton fan at the moment but there’s an abundance of joy in the away fans and it’s infectious for the rest of us. Thanks to that great goal the points are ours and the Ginger Testicle has been remanded to his cubicle one more time. 😎

  19. 19
    Countryman100 says:

    I’m seriously impressed with Brighton this season. Are they title contenders?

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    Brighton are a VERY good team and have remarkable operating model . But I saw them lose 3-1 at home to Wet Spam. Title winners don’t lose 3-1 at home to Wet Spam . But they could finish top four

  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    It would be challenging to write logical rules for an automated system to decide even something as seemingly clear-cut as offside when the laws of the game allow a player to be in an offside position but not commit an ‘offside offence’. You could use telemetry to track when a player was offside and then an AI to determine if the player was committing an offside offence. Still, if the AI’s training set was past Premiership refereeing decisions, I doubt you would be any better off.

  22. 22
    Ollie says:


    I haven’t bothered reading as I am feeling lazy tonight, bht I’m guessing that one of the key points of the current technology is that it is called ‘SEMI’ automated.
    My interpretation of this particularity would be that the positional decision is autimated, but the laws of the game indeed remain with the human.
    So yeah, as Ned points out, full-auromation would need some next-level AI, presumably not based on the not-so-artificial stupidity prevalent at PGMOL.

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG’s@15 and my @21 make me wonder if football’s laws of the game are more ambiguous than those of other sports, or is it just authorities’ constant and often reactive tinkering with interpretation that makes it feel that way?

  24. 24
    Bathgooner says:

    Good stuff, Dr F. A game in which we had total control and prevented any serious attempt on our goal was a surprisingly tedious watch. As you imply, we could generally have moved the ball more quickly between our attackers. The two occasions on which we had the ball in the net were the result of two of the fastest interplays all game. Props to the away fans who drowned out the grunts of the Goodison throng. Good points on VAR, Pangloss – I fully agree. Glad you made it back down the road C100. Have you checked you’ve still got all your hubcaps? BTW there’s nothing wrong with an M&S sandwich!

  25. 25
    TTG says:

    The Ramsdale / Raya situation puts me in mind if a similar situation in 1990 ( older fans will remember ) when John Lukic who had been keeper when we won the league in 1989 was replaced by David Seaman.
    George Graham just felt that Seaman was the better keeper and would give us an incremental improvement defensively . His judgment was proved right as Seaman was magnificent in the 90/91 season and probably ( in my opinion) played better than any Arsenal keeper I have seen before or since .But Lukic went to Leeds and won another title before returning as back-up to Seaman a few years later .
    I remember Lukic’s last game and a lap of honour where several fans wondered why he was going to be replaced . There are similar feelings towards Ramsdale now although in modern football you need a second top keeper .
    I had forgotten who Seaman’s deputy was and found no record as he didn’t play in Dave’s first two seasons . I’m wondering if it was Vince Bartram . Any ideas ?

  26. 26
    TTG says:

    I’ve found in 1991 it was ….Jim Leighton. But he never played a first team game . Lee Harper joined from my local club Sittingbourne and had one career appearance

  27. 27
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words!

    TTG — this might be naive but I am inclined to take Mikel at his words regarding the keeper situation. I think we will see both of them play (hopefully never together at the same time, ha ha) depending on the match. Now what all criteria Arteta will use to determine suitability for a given occasion is likely to remain as inscrutable as his stare …

    Saliba – Gabriel – Rice – Zinchenko all were quite comfortable passing the ball around in the back through Raya, which tells me that there are no problems about the defenders trusting the keeper.

    I hope to see ESR and Reiss against PSV. At least one of them starting?

  28. 28
    North Bank Ned says:

    There is a new leaderboard for the GHF Predictathon after Match Week 5 — and a new leader of the pack as the leadership has changed hands again.

    Click on the GHF Contests tab to see who it is and all the other ups and downs.

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@27: Arteta said after the Everton game that he has twice been tempted to sub his keeper during a game and regretted not having had the courage to do it, so perhaps we shall see both Raya and Ramsdale appear in the same match.

    I am trying to work through in my mind which sorts of games would best suit both keepers. Perhaps Raya will get the games where Arteta expects to face a deep, low block. Raya would then become part of the ball-playing back three, allowing both full-backs to play as midfielders, as Zinchenko and White were doing in the second half against Everton. Ramsdale would get the games where the keeper is expected to have more conventional shot-stopping to do.

    Also, if we manage to go deep in all competitions, both keepers could end up starting 25-plus games each, which should keep both happy. As Raya is on loan, if Arteta’s experiment of having two number ones doesn’t work out, it can be unwound at the end of the season with relatively little financial impact.

  30. 30
    OsakaMatt says:

    C100, @19

    Brighton have started well but lets see how they cope with regular European games for the next couple of months. Quite challenging squad wise especially as it’s their first time. They did well this weekend, and I enjoyed watching Welbz stick another one in at Old Toilet.

  31. 31
    Esso says:

    Cheers Doc!

    And I remember when Terry Neil dropped Pat Jennings for George Wood, but that didn’t last.

  32. 32
    Bathgooner says:

    Excellent observations from Keenos today on https://shewore.com/ including a quote from the laws of the game that demonstrates the bias in their mis-interpretation to disallow Martinelli’s goal. Apology please, PGMOL. I’m not holding my breath. I expect to see more of the same when it comes to us. Thank goodness it didn’t cost us the points….this time!

  33. 33
    Esso says:

    So when player1 takes a shot and keeper saves it, pushing it out to player2 completely unintentionally, who was in an offside position when the original shot was taken, and he sticks it in the net – should the goal stand? At the moment its offside and rightly so in my opinion.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    ClockEndRider says:

    Esso @33 – but that isn’t the application which the VAR used. The ball wasn’t even passed forward to Nketiah but sideways. On their application, an attempted back pass by player 1 cannoning off a player from the other team and forward to a teammate of player 1 in an offside position would be offside. They appear to be sayingthat the ball doesn’t even need to be passed forward. It’s ridiculous.

  36. 36
    Trev says:

    Good work, Dr F – I’m entirely with CER – and others – in that the first time the ball was played forwards was by an Everton player, therefore Eddie cannot have been offside.
    The Everton player must be suffering from some bizarre form of muscle spasms if that was not an intentional movement to intercept the ball.

    And if the referee didn’t realise any of that, then surely that is why we now have the curse that is VAR. Oh, hang on – it was ONLY VAR who insisted on disallowing the goal in the first place !

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Pangloss says: