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Arsenal and Liverpool kicked off their late afternoon title tilt (or whatever you call a 6-pointer at the top of the table) in front of a capacity crowd at Ashburton Grove. The teams provided a hell of a game for the fans both at the stadium and those watching on screen, including your humble scribe. In the end Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners, having suffered somewhat but through the course of the game nearly dominated a strong Liverpool side.

In somewhat of a unsurprising surprise Jesús was a late scratch, being replaced on the pitch by Havertz in the middle, with Rice slotting into the 8 and Jorginho holding. Mo’neny returned from his unsuccessful sojourn at the AFCON to anchor our bench.


White – Saliba – Gabriel – Zinchenko

Ødegaard – Jorginho – Rice

Saka – Jesus – Martinelli

Pool remained without Mo’Salah, and started with Nuñez on the bench, Klopp preferring Gakpo with Diaz and Jota up front.

Liverpool took the kickoff, and within a minute modeled the route that they would favor towards our goal, with a long ball over the top and our center halves just not quite dealing with it. I was afraid I’d barely settle into my coffee before we’d be down a goal. Then we slowly grew into holding Liverpool into their own half, and our pressing forcing mistakes by their ball carriers, leading to us winning it back in threatening positions.

We were continually interactive down the right, and had a couple of promising moves blocked out for corners or throws. Martinelli was a constant threat down the left, playing as he was 1v1 against Alexander-Arnold or Gomez. In our first real forward action Raya caught a ball from a ‘Pool shot and bowled it out to Gabi on the left, racing with it past Gomez to cross short of the byline to an onrushing Saka, who put his header wide right with the goal functionally unattended. It would have been a stellar goal, alas.

We nearly suffered after a series of longer passes, over the top, got Gakpo free to fire off a shot that avoided both Gabriel and Raya wide left. Gakpo was otherwise marshalled well by our central defenders and Zinchenko, earning hardly a sniff at all in the first half aside from that. Diaz was shut down by White nearly all half; this, combined with our mastery in the midfield, is why Liverpool were going over the top. On only one or two occasions our box-and-one in the middle of the field showed its soft center, but Mac Allister couldn’t take advantage of it before we got reorganized on defense. Our midfield shut theirs down, with Mø always forcing the ball away from Mac Allister and forcing his teammates to look for other (unproductive) options.

And then we broke through. We played some passes in defense back left, which ended up with Zinny on the ball at midfield. He passed to Mø in the center circle, who first-timed a bobbling but perfect throughball into the path of Havertz, who was sprinting between their center backs. Havertz put a hard shot into Alisson’s torso, which rebounded to the onrushing Saka; one touch to settle, and Saka put it into the top corner with aplomb.

Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool (Saka 13′)

After the goal the game settled into the pattern it would take for most of its final hour and a quarter, wth Arsenal defending stoutly from the front and Liverpool probing, occasionally trying something over the top. Arsenal could afford to play this way due to how Jorginho was absolutely bossing the space ahead of our defense, continually directing traffic and showing as an outlet. It was his best game for us since he came over from those mid-table Blues, I think. By ceding posession we controlled the game, and by and large Liverpool never really threatened; they did not have a shot on target all half.

Just before the half-hour mark Gomez pulled back Havertz and got a yellow for his troubles. Havertz had the ball from defense and was on his way with little ahead of him. Van Dijk missed a header from a TAA cross, then White was given a yellow for time-wasting at a throw. He is really poor at throws, takes long deliberation (this was not his first yellow), and often gives the ball right back to the other team. I wish someone would sort him out, it’s a continual source of frustration.

We then had a series of attempts that were blocked or missed, as the half wound down. As we entered stoppage time Gabigol took a shot that was blocked, and it was cycled by Liverpool downfield. A 1-2 between Gakpo and Diaz led to Diaz losing the ball in the box, shielded for Raya by Saliba. However, Raya was both slow to react and not brave enough to dive for the ball, and Saliba let Diaz get a foot on to it. He dinked a pass across the mouth of goal, which Gabriel’s hand inadvertently knocked into our net. If Raya had dived rather than wait for the ball to roll to him, and if Saliba had been stronger shielding Diaz off the ball, there would have been no goal. It was our worst moment of play in the game, and it came at perhaps the worst moment of the first half.

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (Gabriel OG, 45+3′)

Halftime: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

During halftime Mikel decided he’d opt for defense rather than passing prowess, in hopes of containing the expected flush of Liverpool’s second-half start, and brought on Kiwior for Zinchenko. And indeed, Liverpool’s energy was higher and they moved the ball more quickly, forcing Arsenal to the back foot for the first quarter hour. They could have scored twice in the first five minutes, but just couldn’t make their efforts, or their overall advantage of possession, count.

There were, however, some Rayas of Arsenal sunshine in spite (or because) of Liverpool pressing us back. Raya gathered, then came out of goal and put a fine ball to Gabi. After Arsenal did some ball recycling Havertz (who had a really good game himself, making repeated trouble for Konate and Van Dijk winning headers and threatening to break through their lines) fed Mø at the center top of the box for a hard shot that Konate deflected out for a corner, which came to nothing. Mac Allister bought a cheap freekick in the middle of our half, and Pool pushed much higher up into our defense in search of a goal.

On 55′ Konate drew yellow from referee Taylor, throwing Havertz to the ground when challenging for a long ball from Saka. The resulting freekick was taken from 40 yards out by Mø, and Gabriel sent a free header wide right. Two minutes later Gabriel saw yellow for a hand in Gakpo’s face. Nonetheless, our defense started to exert more and more pressure on the ball, and Liverpool’s only option was, seemingly, to substitute players: Nuñez for Gakpo, Robertson for TAA, and Elliott for Gravenberch. While they were coming on we saw lovely cameos from Theo and Giroud in the stands to watch the game. Welcome back!

Rice also had a really strong game. He was consistently winning the ball in the middle third of the pitch, occasionally driving the ball forward into the offence, other times cycling it within the defense as we sought to understand where to attack Liverpool’s weakest point. Rice did just the former on 60′, intercepting the ball in midfield, then driving forward before passing to Saka out right. Saka brought it in and fired a shot from the top of the box, deflected past Alisson’s goal; Havertz nearly turned in corner from Rice, but sent his header over the goal.

Allison and Raya trading long balls and possession until Kiwior hit it into touch with a poor touch under light pressure. It was his only real mistake of the day, otherwise he supported Gabi nicely, and played fine defense down their right. If we can keep getting him big game time he can develop into an even better option for our left back position. His passing range is, however, monotonic compared to the Symphony of Zinchenko; one can only hope as his game develops he can become more effective on the ball.

Gabi put a sweet ball into Havertz over the top, and Mac Allister took Havertz down in the box. Penalty? Not given on the field, and not overturned by VAR…though to be fair it was certainly a debatable call. Until that point of the second half Arsenal had played neither with flair nor control. Balls were being played first time that should have been trapped and sent along, passes were miscued, and with Liverpool upping the intensity of their press it was a bit of the fox among the chickens through 65 minutes.

And then the fox jumped off a box and into the farmer’s trap! From a free kick in our defensive half Gabriel sent a long, speculative ball over the top for Gabi to run onto. He went shoulder-to-shoulder wth Van Dijk, who could easily have cleared the ball. Van Dijk chose to leave it for the onrushing Alisson, who kicked his defender rather than the ball. Gabi was watching all of this with big eyes, and when the ball fell to his feet he simply turned and stroked it into the open net.

Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool (Martinelli, 67′)

Needless to say the crowd, who had been loud all game, stepped it up a notch from then on. That brought energy to our defensive effort again. Kiwior got a yellow for going through Jota (not-so-singularly anonymous all game), and in spite of continuing the nice interplay down the right with Saka Mø was consistently harrying Mac Allister, giving him no time on the ball or forcing his teammates to pass the ball back to defense and into a Liverpudlian horseshoe of death.

In the 74th minute Trossard came on for Gabigol, who had a really beautiful game. His freedom on the left was constant, and his decision-making showed a refined quality that will only make him better and better as he implements that quality more and more. Mø took a while to get up from a foul in their final third, and while he was down Pool got a corner. Mac Allister hit the result just wide after a fine Arsenal header away. During that sequence Saka went down, and was subbed after walking gingerly to the sideline. It seems he wasn’t hurt badly, but Arteta took no chances and brought Nelson on to finish the game.

By the time there were ten minutes left of the 90 Arsenal had regained a full measure of their earlier control, and all Liverpool could muster were a Mac Allister potshot from outside the box and a poorly-taken snaphot by Nuñez from within the box. A long ball to Havertz came to nought, but to a man Arsenal continued to play stellar defense: Mø was everywhere, Jorginho reminding me of Gilberto Silva, and Kiwior was battling Gomez and other comers again and again. White kept Diaz in his back pocket. From a Liverpool corner Gabriel headed it to safety, and we broke slowly, moving the ball out right where Mø fed in a cross to Kiwior just above the penalty spot; his header was straight at Alisson, though it could have been the third goal had Kiwior headed it nearly anywhere else on frame.

In the 85th Thiago returned from hip surgery to replace Gomez, and we allowed Liverpool the run of the ball, pressing lower until they were past the center circle, then jumping on them. A fine defensive clearance to Havertz left Konate with few options; Havertz slipped the ball neatly by Konate to drive forward, and the Liverpool defender had to put his arm up onto Havertz to stop the break. Konate’s second yellow meant he was gone, and suddenly Arsenal were playing against 10 men.

After a foul was not called on Gabriel in the center circle (it was a foul, should have been called, and possibly resulted in a second yellow for Gabriel) Nuñez received a yellow for arguing. I think we were lucky there. The board was raised announcing 7 minutes of stoppage time, which got the heart going even faster. Saliba was given a yellow for time wasting over a free kick, which resulted in a useless long ball.

In the second minute of stoppage time we got the ball down the left to Trossard, who was martialled by Elliot and Diaz. Some neat footwork and a dink and run forward by Trossard and he was free of the Liverpool men, bearing down on Alisson’s goal. He snapped either a shot or a cross (I think a shot, but two Arsenal players were haring down to the far side of the box…) that hit the underside of Van Dijk‘s boot and nutmegged Alisson for a laughable, exciting, and relieving third goal. It was f&#!ing AWESOME. Van Dijk gave only a half-assed attempt to block it, and that it 5-holed Alisson was glorious. Arteta’s reaction (à la Usain Bolt) illustrated just how important was this goal!

Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool (Trossard, 90+2′)

And that was it. In the 94th we saw some yellow Rice for his scything down of Diaz, and in the 95th for Havertz, having knocked the foul flag out of the linesman’s hand. Pool scrambled in the remaining minutes, but Arsenal’s defense remained well-organized. Kiwior was again called upon to keep Diaz in check, and he did, with the last kick of the game going into their half.

Full time: Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool

Liverpool are a great team, deserving of their first place standing. And Arsenal are a great team, deserving of both their win and current second-place standing. This was a game of high intensity, the teams forcing mistakes on their opponent, a game with moments for Arsenal of both team and individual brilliance making up the nature of the final scoreline. Arsenal rose to the occasion with a grit and determination that we’ve seen at times this season, and with a fluidity of thought and play that we’ve seen at times this season. But this was really the first full game in which those were alloyed with an adverturous spirit and the racous support of our supporters into a steel that could lead us to the title come May.

Our defensive play, from front to back, effectively neutralized Gackpo, Mac Allister, Jota, Nuñez, and Diaz as scoring threats, it was a masterful job of team setup by Arteta and execution by every single Arsenal player to nullify Klopp’s strategies. As noted above Liverpool didn’t get a shot on target in the first half; they had only one all game! Arsenal’s team had no passengers today, no one hid: it was such a pleasure to watch *this* team at *this* time mix the overall game control with moments of fluid brilliance.

And at the end, who couldn’t love Mø taking pics of Stuart MacFarlane with the latter’s own camera, then grabbing it back when he wasn’t satisfied with his first effort. That’s our captain!

78 Drinks to “A long day’s journey into the light”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    Boom! Cheers, scruz

  2. 2
    ecg says:

    Nice summary, scruz. Just a couple of thoughts to add. Zinchenko was tasked with playing as a left back instead of an attacking midfielder, and it seemed to open more space in the middle of the pitch. I wonder if when Zinchenko is playing in the middle of the pitch and with Jesus dropping deep when he is playing, if it makes it easier for the defenders with a crowded midfield.

    I thought everyone played well today, but I think this was Havertz’s best match (although not MOTM). If he can just develop more confidence in the box, he could a very good player for us. After watching ESR start last week, I can see why Arteta selects Kai over ESR. Kai does his defensive duties extremely well while ESR doesn’t show the aggressive pressing.

  3. 3
    North Bank Ned says:

    You captured the game to a T, Scruz.

    I am guessing Arteta intended to start the three midfieldrrs that he did all along and Havertz would have started on the bench had Jesus been fit, although we don’t know when small-sized Gabi became unavailable. Havertz, though, is starting to be Xhaka-like in as much as managers play him even though fans are not always sure why. As ecg notes above, he had a good game today and ecg is also right about why Havertz is ahead of ESR in Artet’s pecking order.

  4. 4
    TTG says:

    A great and very evocative report of a breathless game Scruz , many thanks.
    I was pessimistic before the game but we outplayed and overpowered Liverpool and shoukd have been 2-0 up at the break.
    We had good performances all around but of many fine displays I would pick out Rice , Jorginho and Martinelli who had TAA on toast . Rice is a quite superb signing, putting out fires all over the pitch but the intelligence of Jorginho’s passing was very important in finding space and angles and our counter-press was excellent . Havertz was very effective at holding the ball up but his failure to finish the first goal underlines why he isn’t the answer as a striker . His work on and off the ball was selfless and very hard for them to counter and I suspect he affected VVD who struggled all game .
    Just one point to take issue with Scruz. White was booked for delaying the taking of a free kick . Two Liverpool players encroached to within five yards. It was appalling refereeing by the officious Taylor who gave us no advantage from the free kick at all.
    A fine result. May we kick on from here towards the title

  5. 5
    BtM says:

    Great review, Scruz. Very much the game I saw. Excellent tactics, superb all-round performance, wonderful stadium support. Jorginho deserved the MoTM award.

    Much of the chatter on the airwaves this morning is of the “Arsenal would have been 8 points behind…” type. Imagine how far ahead we’d be if Timber/Partey (and to a lesser extent Jesus/Tomiyasu) had been fit AND we hadn’t suffered that brain fade week in which we dropped six points courtesy of the Spammers and Fulham.

    Win the next one.

  6. 6
    Ollie says:

    Cheers scruz. What a game, what an atmosphere.
    I know this is a polite and civilised blog, but as Freddie once famously said : it was fuckin’ excellent!’

    Now I won’t even be bothered if there are Eurostar problems later (famous last words…).

  7. 7
    TTG says:

    It’s worth reflecting on the quality of last year’s mid- season window . We took in three players . All played a big part yesterday. Jorginho MoTM , Trossard a scorer and Kiwior who played well at LB in the second half
    I endorse our decision not to buy this window because of FFP but they used the money well last year

  8. 8
    Countryman100 says:

    Many thanks Scruz. My mind went back to that memorable day last season when a whole gaggle of GHF Gooners gathered together, including your good self and your lovely wife Ali, broke bread and drank the wine you had brought all the way from California, before strolling down to TNHOF to see us beat Liverpool 3-2.

    You would have so enjoyed yesterday. The atmosphere was white hot and off the scale loud, with singing from the beginning to the end (except for 30 seconds just before half time). Definitely the loudest this season and following on from the loudest away support of the season at Nottingham Forest last Tuesday. Football is just so amazing when it’s like that and after 60 years of going to matches it never ceases to thrill.

    I thought Arteta got this bang on tactically, perhaps helped by not having Jesus to call on. With a Jorghino/Rice holding midfield, and Havertz playing as a fairly orthodox 9, we set up 4/2/3/1. We pressed the bajaysus out of Liverpool. They just couldn’t get out. Martinelli was amazing. His best game this season by far. We’ve been decrying the lack of through balls to use his speed. Not yesterday. In my Forest report I said I would like to see him in the centre, with Jesus outside. I still stand by that, but thought Havertz was outstanding as a target man.

    As has been said, Rice and Jorghino were fantastic. Ben White was right on it. Odegaard was in the middle of everything. But every single player played their best and left nothing out there, urged on by that crowd.

    The Martinelli goal was, frankly, hilarious. The Saka goal was glorious (that quick through ball by Odegaard …..). But the one we enjoyed the most was Leo’s. Having left Elliott for dead, he drove in and nutmegged Allison. That released all the tension. Crazy, crazy limbs. Then the VT operator driving the big screen replayed it again. And again. And again. Each time, as Leo closed in on goal the crowd went Wayyyyy, then cheered as it went through Allison’s legs.

    Virtually the whole crowd stayed to cheer the team off, to the echo. Walking back down Holloway Road, everyone was animated, very happy and very proud of their team.

  9. 9
    Countryman100 says:

    I should also have added my best wishes to TTG. We were supposed to be lunching together, but he was feeling the effects of his radiotherapy treatment and sensibly decided to stay in Kent. We raised a glass to you mate, over the Stella and the chicken milanese and hoped you enjoyed the game on tv.

  10. 10
    Sancho Panza says:

    Just wondering how the Scoucers took the defeat? Were they silenced by being outplayed? Always a knowledgeable bunch but I imagine their confidence beforehand was quickly shattered. We have been better than them for the majority of the last 5 games between the 2 sides.

  11. 11
    Countryman100 says:

    SP @10. That was one of the quietest Liverpool away supports that I’ve ever heard. Apart from their goal, we hardly heard a peep out of them all game.

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    Thanks for your kind good wishes C100. Your counsel during this difficult period of diagnosis , surgery and treatment has been extraordinarily helpful as has Bath’s advice and reassurance.
    I’m 15 treatments ( of 20 ) through now and look forward to the rest of the season at THOF . Glad you had such a great time and saw such an epic performance. I shall return !

  13. 13
    Esso says:

    Cheers scruz!

    Also to my shame I hadn’t even noticed TTG was currently undergoing treatment. Hope you feeling tiptop again as soon as mate. Another long-standing gooner mate of mine (Big Steve Manning – known to Ollie), finished radiotherapy for aggressive prostrate cancer in December and has just got the results – not quite in remission, but consultant well pleased with the improvement and doesn’t need to see him again for a year.

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    Virgil van Dijk appears to have a different view of the game yesterday:

    “We had opportunities, we were dominant and I think the atmosphere started to become a little bit more nervous. Arsenal is a very good team and they will always try to stay in the game, but we were very dominant, especially in the second half.”

    Klopp was more realistic in his post-match comments:

    Arsenal deserve the three points, there is no doubt about that: they scored three and we had one shot on target, so that’s obviously the one stat that shows the most.

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    Best wishes, TTG. Stay strong. Hope you are back to being fighting fit as soon as possible.

  16. 16
    TTG says:

    Thanks Esso and Ned for your kind good wishes . My PSA has dropped from 30 down to 1 so things are heading in the right direction

  17. 17
    Ollie says:

    What they said, TTG, all the best.
    Also what C100 said @ 11, they were very quiet. Just heard them at some point in the second half briefly (to be fair, this time I was block 92 so a long way from them), which triggered a very accurare response of what I was literally thinking ‘We forgot that you were here’!

    Also same as C100 for Leo’s good. Long time since I’ve truly celebrated a goal like that (well, perhaps Nelson v Bournemouth to be fair, and I wasn’t at the City match).

  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    The shine of an important win is doubly bright the day after as reflection sets in.

  19. 19
    bt8 says:

    And if not exactly doubly, then nearly so. COYG

  20. 20
    bathgooner says:

    Top report, scruz, of a superb performance by everyone in red and white yielding a critically important victory. If we can retain this level of performance, we will be right in the mix at the season’s end. Maintaining that will be a tall order but, given the standard of our two main competitors, we will need to do that to take advantage of any slip-ups.

    Well done, you Gooners.

  21. 21
    Esso says:

    @ TTG 16

    My mate Steve’s news was similar – his PSA down to 0.03. Specialist wants him to have a bone density scan later this year, and he has to continue the hormone treatment, but Specialist also reckoned 50/50 chance cancer completely gone, but even if not any future reading under 2 would be OK.

  22. 22
    Doctor Faustus says:

    That’s a wonderfully evocative report Scruz! It’s almost like you were there at the ground.

    It was definitely one of our best performances this season. One of those occasions where all of Mikel’s tactical decisions were near perfectly executed by the team, and the decisions themselves were of very high quality.

    Everyone played their part. As others mentioned, likely Jorginho’s best for us. Two of our summer signings who have been often (including by myself) criticised for not being able to live up to their responsibilities were both instrumental yesterday: Raya’s distribution with feet and hands were superbly accurate and executed with perfect timing. His keeping was very assured as well, though for the goal he and Wilo share the responsibility for their miscommunication. Havertz played a perfect false nine role, winning balls and pressing relentlessly in an advanced midfield position, unsettling their central defensive partnership and thereby enabling both Gabi and Saka to find themselves in space and with time.

    I don’t know what VVD was smoking back in Liverpool, but our midfield completely dominated theirs from the first minute to the last. That xG difference is eye catching.

    However, my choice for MOTM is a little unusual probably. From the first minute of the match to the 75th when he was subbed for Leo, medium Gabi absolutely terrorised their right side. With Trent starting their plan was evidently to exploit Zinchenko’s lack of recovery speed and his unorthodox midfield positioning. We countered that plan flawlessly with Kai dropping deeper to add the extra man in midfield and Zini stayed closer to the flank than usual (and later Kiwior did very well as well after Zinchenko’s injury), but Martinelli so completely frightened Trent, Gravenberch, Konate and VVD that they lost their usual composure and inventiveness on the ball on the right side. Gabi has an excellent record against ‘Pool and yesterday it was again a demonstration of his unique combination of qualities— pace, quality on the ball, fearlessness and a singular intensity and positivity. That run and cross in the first few minutes from which Saka should have scored set the trend and Liverpool had no answer for him.

    As Wrighty later said so passionately (making a mockery of the anti-Arsenal brigade), the game is all about moments like these. Whatever happens at the end of the season, this was a performance of guile, commitment, quality and maturity that would live in memory.

  23. 23
    bt8 says:

    Indeed, Dr. F. As somebody (you, even?) posted elsewhere Wrighty hit the nail on the head with this criticism of the celebration police: “The negativity towards my manager, man. What has he done apart from celebrating the goals, celebrating his team, celebrating a team that is trying to beat these juggernauts, Liverpool and Man City, you know, and because he’s celebrating. Because Martin Odegaard, he’s taken a picture with Stuart the photographer, a lifelong Gunner – this man’s been supporting Arsenal since he’s what five or something ridiculous like that – taking a picture in front of the North Bank, what’s wrong with the captain doing that? It doesn’t mean it’s got anything to do with the fact we’ve beaten Liverpool, that’s just an opportunity. Why is everybody trying to kill the joy, don’t kill the joy. There’s so much of the season to go as soon as Arsenal do anything they just come under the pile on. It’s like we can’t have any joy. Don’t let them spoil the joy. Keep doing what you’re doing. Whatever’s going to be, will be. Do not kill the joy. Keep doing what you’re doing. My manager, celebrate with passion like you do because that’s what it’s about, man. People are expecting us to bottle it and lose these games and we’re going through it, we’re getting ourselves through, through injuries and everything. And the hatred is just so intense. Just leave us alone, man. Leave us alone in the joy. Enjoy, Arsenal fans. Enjoy our moments. Because that’s all this game is, moments. And we had one tonight. We beat the great Liverpool, who are top of the league. Up the Gunners.”


  24. 24
    Countryman100 says:

    Courtesy of Gunnerstown, the new premier league rules, as drafted by Sky Sports.

    The new premier league rules (as instructed by Sky Sports)

  25. 25
    Ollie says:

    Well, it’s possible for The Arsenal to win AND the Eurostar to win. Who knew?

  26. 26
    Ollie says:

    I mean….’be practically on time’ in the second case.

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    It couldn’t happen to a more richly deserving club:

    Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez will be out until April at the earliest after suffering knee ligament damage during his side’s 3-0 win over West Ham on Sunday.

  28. 28
    Countryman100 says:

    George was right

  29. 29
    Goonersince54 says:

    Sorry to hear of your misfortune with prostate cancer, but glad to hear you are well on the road to recovery.
    My long time Hammers mate of 40yrs standing, was diagnosed with the condition by sheer fluke, old school, never went to the Doctor, but made an exception for Covid jabs.
    Doc took the opportunity whilst he was there, to do some blood tests, and they came back positive.
    Interestingly he took the option to have the prostate removed, had it done by Robotic surgery.
    But in the 6wks between diagnosis and getting in for the op, the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes, so they had to come out as well.
    2 yrs on, he is fighting fit, his PSA is near zero, and he is back playing football at the age of 70.
    He convalesced at my place for 2 wks, breakfast in bed, morning paper to read whilst partaking of eggs/bacon and toast, and pot of tea.
    Yet the cheeky bugger still had the temerity to give me enough grief to last a season after the Hammers won at our place late last year.
    Hopefully if we play as well as we did against Pool, he will get his comeuppance next Sunday.
    All the best for the rest of your treatment.
    Take care mate

  30. 30
    TTG says:

    Clive and Esso,
    Thanks for your good wishes . I thought I was in royal company tonight but it appears King Charles has another form of cancer . I wish him well.
    Esso’s description accords with what I was told by the hospital this very day . The estimable C100 shared his recovery with us over the last year and has been immensely helpful to me . His explanation of what awaited me took a lot of my apprehension away.I’m undergoing daily radiotherapy hence my absence from the game yesterday. I’m listening to my body and it’s saying ‘ you’re an old bastard , stay at home and
    be sensible !’ An Arsenal win was a marvellous tonic for me !
    But if I can claim everyone’s attention please don’t ignore any urinary symptoms and for all men over 50 please get a PSA test if for no other reason than to put your mind at rest .
    Lovely to hear from you Clive. Hope you’re in good form

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    The GHF Predictathon Leaderboard for Match Week 23 is posted. You know where to find it…

  32. 32
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@29: A heartwarming story. Your breakfasts sound just the tonic. Do you deliver, by any chance?

  33. 33
    Uplympian says:

    A thoroughly accurate review of the match Scruz which was pleasurable to read / recount the deserved victory against the scousers. Every player contributed to totally snuffing out any prospect of a different result with Arteta’s tactics & substitutions spot on. Let’s put the hammers back in their box next.
    TTG wishing you continued progress to a full recovery and back to form soonest.
    Clive, nice to hear from you and trust you are keeping well.

  34. 34
    OsakaMatt says:

    Great to hear the news sounds encouraging,
    and like your many friends here I wish you all the best
    for many seasons to come

  35. 35
    bt8 says:

    TTG, Wishing you continued steady recovery and many healthy years still to come.

  36. 36
    TTG says:

    Bless you both, thanks

  37. 37
    Esso says:

    Totally echo what TTG said in 30.

    There is no national screening for prostrate cancer; a PSA test is the best possible indicator of condition. A ‘normal’ PSA reading does not definitively rule out cancer, but a ‘raised’ PSA level is the best early indicator of possible prostrate cancer currently available.

    All over 50’s should be routinely called in for possible diabetes blood tests at least once every 2 years. It is quite possible (I do it every time) to insist that a PSA reading is taken as part of those regular tests.

    TTG is 100% right lads – as we get older we have to recognise that and do as much risk assessment as we can. (except when you’ve had 6 pints already and someone insists on a 7th)

  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    The footballing gods must be feeling particularly mischievous if there is anything to the stories, unlikely though they seem, that Boehly can’t sack Pochettino and his staff for failing to clean up the spending spree mess at the Bus Stop because the severance payments would cause a breach of the PL’s profit and sustainability rules.

  39. 39
    Ollie says:

    Had some blood tests as part of a sort of health-check a few months ago (when I decided to do the half-marathon), PSA reading was prescribed by default.
    The only screening that seems to be done here (obviously not compulsory but they do send you something spontaneously when you reach 50 so it’s free and recommended) is for colorectal cancer.
    Once every two years too.

  40. 40
    Esso says:

    Yes – that’s the same in England Ollie but for over 60’s. Now send you a ‘shit test’ to complete every 2 years. However this is much less intrusive than a colonoscopy (camera up your arse) which was the previous method.

  41. 41
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Esso, yeah that’s what they sent me.

  42. 42
    Goonersince54 says:

    TTG @30
    All good my end thnks.
    I am interested to know how your diagnosis was picked up.
    Was it from a routine blood test, or from something else. ??
    I heartily endorse Esso’s observations re screening tests.
    Bowel and prostate are the 2 biggest cancer killers of men.
    I religiously get tested for both once a year.
    Also important to know your blood group just in case, as it isn’t provided with the test results unless you get Doc to specifically ask for it.
    Thankfully touch wood, I have been given the green light every time.
    If my Hammers mate hadn’t gone to Doc for Covid jab, and Doc had done blood test because he hadn’t seen him for 3yrs, he would be dead by now.
    Specialist told him after the Op that his Prostate was 60% compromised.
    So get tested for both for your own peace of mind.
    Ned @ 32 sadly not mate, hope the monks are all well.
    Uply @33 all well thnks, and trust same with you and yours.

  43. 43
    Trev says:

    Thanks, scruz – a comprehensive review and I completely agree with your conclusions.
    Arsenal played a very clever game against Liverpool and aside from their 15 minute burst after half time, were well controlled both by our press and later on by our deeper defensive formation which ultimately even yielded our third, breakaway goal.

    A nice friendly, supportive set of drinks too. All the usual best wishes to you, TTG, for your ongoing treatment. Always good to see Clive drop in too.

  44. 44
    TTG says:

    I’m anxious not to turn the blog into a medical bulletin but this stuff as you rightly say is important and men don’t tend to be good at getting tested . I had an enlarged prostate ( similar to the King!) which caused me urine retention problems .
    I had an op and the biopsy showed an aggressive tumour but one that had not spread . My PSA was 30 and I’d never had it taken before . A doctor friend many years ago suggested it was very inaccurate as a predictor and told me not to bother unless I had symptoms. Not the best advice I’ve ever had !

  45. 45
    TTG says:

    C100 and I have been requested by the Gooner to produce a piece on Prostate Cancer for the Gooner online and ultimately the print version . Appropriate given the fact that the club devoted the day on Sunday to awareness of Prostate Cancer

  46. 46
    OsakaMatt says:

    If Chavski beat Leeds in the FA Cup then our game against them on 16th March will be postponed. As that is just before the interlull it would give us a break of 19 days before the game against Shitteh. I was wondering whether that is an advantage or disadvantage though I suppose several of the team will play some international football during that break.

  47. 47
    bt8 says:

    Arsenal 3 Liverpool 1

    The score will be good all week.

  48. 48
    North Bank Ned says:

    A half-ton is on…

  49. 49
    OsakaMatt says:

    Definitely on 😊
    After Azeez last week I read a piece
    about Zelalem in The Athletic. He is
    apparently enjoying a late flourish to
    his career in the Dutch 2nd division.
    I say late but in fact he is still only 27

  50. 50
    TTG says:

    Thunders it to the boundary

  51. 51
    OsakaMatt says:

    A fine boundary for thé half-ton

    In local (to me) news Messi playing a friendly in Japan a few days after not playing one in Hong Kong has infuriated the murderous HK government to my great amusement.

  52. 52
    Ollie says:

    Well in, TTG, and good stuff on the Gooner article. Fine assist by Matt!

  53. 53
    Ollie says:

    With a mention for Ned Raya-ing it to Mattinelli for the pre-assist.

  54. 54
    Trev says:

    TTG, C100, will writing for the Online Gooner instead of Goonerholicsforever make a vas deferens to you ?

  55. 55
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, TTG.

    Ollie@53: 👍

    While every other newspaper reporting on the Premier League’s assessment of VAR ran headlines along the lines of ‘the league says VAR needs improvement’, the Mail’s headline was ‘Liverpool and Arsenal slammed over VAR moans’. At most, the PL’s chief football officer, Tony Scholes, made a passing reference during what I assume was a press conference to his ‘disappointment when clubs made public’ their complaints to the PGMOL I await the Mail’s follow-up ‘PL slammed over VAR moans’ with no great expectation.

  56. 56
    Trev says:

    A good piece by Tim Stillman on Arseblog today about the goalkeeping situation.
    I think my hip and knee pain is getting to me cos I was quite grumpy – it turns out – during Sunday’s game.
    I had a go at Havertz early on but later apologised as he had clearly done all the unspectacular things very well – I just can’t help expecting a few more goals for £65 miilion quid – yes, I know !!
    I also had a go at Raya for their goal. I still think Raya could have done a lot better than he did and , in all probability, saved the goal. However, I seem to be at odds with the rest of the Goonerverse who blame Saliba.
    The thing is, I quite like our home grown players and feel very protective of ESR, as well as continuing to believe that he is a special talent. Maybe he WAS a special talent but will never recover that level of ability. I still want him to though and I do like him being forced out by yet another bloke from Chelsea, all of whom bar Jorginho have been pretty bloody awful.
    I also quite like emotional players, in an emotional game, and I really liked Ramsdale. It does seem though that the stats are slowly backing up the decision to replace him with the far cooler Raya.
    So basically I have no idea what I’m talking about as evidenced by my slow but sure sinking to the bottom of the Predictathon – only 3 more places to drop !

  57. 57
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cheer up, Trev. You have stayed above the dreaded dotted line for three match weeks in a row now. Upwards and onwards.

    It is indeed a good Stillman piece on Raya v Ramsdale. For what it is worth, I agree that Raya could have done more to prevent Liverpool’s goal. Saliba wasn’t faultless, but Raya did not come out purposefully enough to smother the ball once the Liverpool forward got round Saliba.

  58. 58
    TTG says:

    Excellent anatomical pun Trev .😃
    I’ve been writing for the Gooner for well over thirty years so not much deferens to me

  59. 59
    TTG says:

    The Stillman piece is very balanced . I’m with Ned and yourself on the goal . I used to play centre back ( at a marginally lower level) but most of the good goalies I played with would have called ‘ goalies ball’ and expected me to let the ball through while holding off the attacker .
    The one area of clear superiority for Raya over Ramsdale is, as Tim says , the taking of crosses . Raya does a decent job on taking crosses but Ramsdale is very flakey on them . I’m still amused that the big modern quality that seems 5o be most sought after in keepers is if they can play with their feet !

  60. 60
    Countryman100 says:

    So what do we think of this blue card malarkey?


  61. 61
    Bathgooner says:

    C100 @60, while there are theoretical arguments in favour, it adds yet another opportunity for our inadequate whistlers to exert their subjectivity and inconsistency and adds an opportunity for pundits to argue, “Was that not just a yellow?” and “Was that not a red?” Their inability to manage two cards consistently suggests that adding a third will utterly confuse them.

    The powers that be should stop fiddling with the game and concentrate on training their officials properly

  62. 62
    Ollie says:

    I’m pretty much with baff on that one.

  63. 63
    BtM says:

    Last night’s charity gig in London. Prince William in the middle, Tom Cruise (Top Gun) on his tight, Mikel Arteta (Top Gunner) on his left. All eyes on Mikel’s wife.

  64. 64
    bt8 says:

    When I was growing up in Southern California and turning the AM radio dial at night, in very clear weather conditions I was able to pull in a station from Ciudad Juarez, over 900 miles away. That was exciting for a sheltered young boy like me. Years later they wrote a song about it.

  65. 65
    bt8 says:

    Or a song very parenthetically related. 🎵🎵🎵

  66. 66
    ecg says:

    A total earworm of a song. Yesterday was International Clash Day, which was started by the best radio station in the world, KEXP, 12 years ago. Here’s one of my faves (cba would not approve!):

  67. 67
    Esso says:

    and one of mine, which CBA would definitely not approved of;

  68. 68
  69. 69
    North Bank Ned says:

    Merse and bath make good points about blue cards. More needless fiddling with the rules that won’t fix the underlying problems.

  70. 70
    Ollie says:

    If you want to contribute to the club’s transfer funds, not only can you buy new training gear every single week, you can also buy a piece of history. Well, it’s hardly Highbury and is a complete rip-off, but….

    Yeah, the rampant exploitation of fans is truly reaching incredible levels…

  71. 71
    Bathgooner says:


  72. 72
    TTG says:

    Ollie @70
    I went to a couple of local clubs this season . Our marketing department hasn’t yet cottoned on to the revenue that could be produced by sponsoring Bukayo’s Shirt or shorts or socks or boots and the rest of the squad notwithstanding that they are all millionaires who are wearing kit and boots sponsored by Adidas et al . And what about the multiball possibilities of sponsoring the ball(s) even though there are loads of them and I’m sure the ball suppliers give them free. We could sponsor the corner flags , dug-out , goalposts and bar , the halftime break could be sponsored and what about the programme? – lots of ways of parting fans from their money there .
    Frankly we are commercial slouches . We’ve got an international fan base gagging to inject more money into the club and own all sorts of things . If we want to be able to afford Ivan Toney why don’t we sell bits of him to fans ? He’s a big lad and we could raise a lot of money if we auctioned off bits of him. I’m in full flow now. Why can’t fans own their own floodlight for a season or have one of the refreshment stands named after them. What about the ultra violet pitch lights? We could rent out bulbs to individuals . And I’ve not started on Colney yet ( or whatever it’s now called ).. Own a training pitch for the day . Create your own menu in the cafeteria . C’mon now Josh get things moving or I will have to come out of retirement to show you how it’s done mate . Pathetic . They’re letting the fans off way too lighlly .

  73. 73
    Trev says:

    I can see it now over the toilets at half time – “PEE with TTG”

  74. 74
    OsakaMatt says:

    A tenner a cup sounds fair for premium
    matured season ticket holder special
    reserve pee

  75. 75
    Ollie says:

    Shhh, TTG, don’t give them ideas. 😀

  76. 76
    bathgooner says:

    All good ideas, TTG @72 and all being done by many clubs up and down the land. Meanwhile given the unfulfilled demand for tickets, why not build a third tier to the stadium? – nothing is impossible for a modern structural engineer.

  77. 77
    Sancho Panza says:

    At Spurs they even sell horse shit in a Tottenham branded bucket at a fiver each.

  78. 78
    Pangloss says: