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All we all needed to do today was take three points and that is exactly what we did.

Frankly, I’d be happy enough to leave this report there as I’ve already covered all the important points.

However, there are probably a few more things that can reasonably be said about a strange game of football that was a far cry from the blood and thunder clashes these two clubs used to be famous for.

We started unchanged for the fourth time in a row, just as bt8 predicted. It was not his only correct prediction on the day. 

We began brightly before United asserted some control of the ball without getting it into threatening positions. For us, Partey dropped deep, between the central defenders, and tried to find passes forward. A couple of times we were lax in midfield and Raya came out quickly to clear up the danger from loose balls.

On twenty minutes, Casemiro failed to get out fast enough (due to slowness of thinking rather than lack of physical speed) as Saliba headed an Onana clearance to White, who helped it onto the conveniently onside Havertz in space on the right. He made his way into the box, holding the ball until Trossard had got across his man before playing a perfect ball for the Belgian to sweep in from a few yards out. It was poor from United and clinical from us and, ultimately, this moment decided the match.

I won’t go blow by blow, the game does not deserve such minute analysis. It was not great fare. United sucked us down to their disjointed level. The Old Trafford pitch is large, and at times it looked enormous, with both teams stretched when pockets of space became acres opening up in front of players with the ball at their feet only for a distinct lack of quality to prevent them taking advantage. I do wonder if United look less compact than they would do if they didn’t play on such a gigantic surface.

As half-time approached, I was unimpressed by a sly push in Saliba’s back from the ineffective Hojland. Our defender was in the air and landed awkwardly. This kind of foul is not even allowed in rugby, lacking in any sort of sporting legitimacy as well as being potentially dangerous. The refs need to cut it out, not ignore it. Thankfully, Paul Tierney did not make any match-changing decisions today, but he was bad in a characteristically low-level way, favouring United with a string of nothing decisions (he seemed especially keen to let United take throw-ins from wherever they fancied) and managing to book Raya for timewasting at the end as our keeper was in his run-up to take a goal kick. At that point, Paul, you’ve probably missed your window.

He did correctly ignore a penalty claim from Diallo when Partey got the ball. His subsequent treatment gave Arteta the time to get his troops into a huddle and impart a few words…

“Just ‘cos they are fucking eh-shit, doesn’t mean you lot have to be!”

The second half had a little more incident but nothing hugely exciting.

Onana made some saves. A good shot from Rice and a corner flicked on by Wan-Bissaka were both going in before he got a hand on them. Rice rolled it across the goalmouth but Martinelli, on for our match winner Trossard, failed to get on the end of it. He continues to look rusty and could have been away at the end but his control was poor. The one time he did get released over the top he cut inside and delayed too long but still managed to force another decent save from Onana.

On 67 minutes Casemiro shot tamely from fully thirty-five yards. It was United’s first shot on target.

Raya made a few good grabs from crosses. Garnacho ran at White and Saliba a couple of times. The former let him go when cutting inside on one occasion, but the nasty little w(h)inger shot well over. On another occasion, Saliba made a beautiful, perfectly judged tackle in the box. Deschamps is a fool if he cannot see how good that kid is.

Generally speaking, we had the better chances and certainly deserved to win, poor as United were. However, we were not particularly good. Rice was our best player, Trossard also pretty good. Havertz worked hard but had a few loose touches, which is pretty much true of all of them.

We did not give much away defensively, and despite a nervy last ten minutes when we all knew that conceding would be disastrous, we saw the game out without any real scares against a toothless Manure side who are going to finish out of the European places.

The final whistle was greeted with relief more than anything (apart from in bt8’s gaff, where it also received a judicious nod of satisfaction). Our record at this ground is bad, we have often failed to take advantage of having a better side than them to improve it, so today it was good to see us take the points even if the performance was rugged rather than imperious. We shut them out and made the most of a relatively early chance to score, and then we played the game that was on offer, as Clive Palmer is fond of saying.

The result ensures that, whatever happens, we will go into the final day of the season with a chance of being champions. It has been a long road, and we need one more big push, but today was an opportunity to keep ourselves in with a chance of a famous league win by beating old rivals at a ground we’ve messed up at before. We did that, and now it goes to the final day.

I feel dirty saying it… but I’ll be rooting for the spuds on Tuesday.

On a personal note, let me just say that, after my last two assignments were the losses to Villa and Bayern, I am chuffed to have proved that I am not the jinx who has blighted our season! I was worried for a while there…

Have a good week and we will be back for the final showdown. All to play for. 

Until next time ‘holics.

119 Drinks to “Taking It To The Wire”

  1. 1
    BtM says:

    Good work on an appropriately concise summary of a game that will not live long in the memory. Agree with pretty much all of your observations other than that Rice was our best player, he had a big off day in my opinion which contributed to MU’s midfield superiority (still can’t believe I’ve had to type that!).

    But before the game I’d have taken an old fashioned 1-0 to the Arsenal all the way to the bank.

    Win the next one and…………wait for it………………COYS! (Can’t believe I’ve typed that either).

  2. 2
    ClockEndRider says:

    Spot on report, Dino, all the more impressive considering the speed of turnaround. Not much to add. It wasn’t pretty. At times it had me thinking I was on the Rocket – that massive rollercoaster at Universal in Florida. Perhaps, much like that particular experience, the impression of danger is more in the mind than reality, as the combined Sky pundits of Keane, Fat Wayne and Merson all agreed that we were in very little difficulty.
    Onto next Sunday and the final Goonerholics lunchtime get together of the season ahead of Everton.
    I’m out on Tuesday night so will not bother watching the Supreme Bottlers doing what they do best, against C115y. Whatever happens, it’s been a fabulous ride this season.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    Great and fair report GSD . I wonder if C115y supporters switched off after Trossard’s goal as we did yesterday when they took the lead .
    Frankly I’m amazed at the comments I’ve been reading since the game finished suggesting we could have strolled to a 6-0 win or avenged our 8-2 defeat . United are a poor side but they still have dangermen who could have seriously rained on our parade just as the rain cascaded down on their crumbling old stadium .
    The result was the only thing that mattered . We have a 15-20% chance of the title . Apart from C115y nobody else has any and their chance is clouded in infamy
    That’s progress let’s not be mealy mouthed about a wonderful achievement

  4. 4
    BtM says:

    No doubt whatsoever that the result was the only thing that mattered, TTG.

    However, our team playing at their best and unburdened. by the pressures of young title contenders were very capable of an avenging, high scoring result against the eleven in red they faced today.

  5. 5
    Pangloss says:

    Spot on GSD.

    Personally, I still have hope for Tuesday. The tinies are putting it about that they are going to come close to throwing their game, and as has been observed elsewhere, they are as capable of Sperzing that up as anything else.


  6. 6
    Bathgooner says:

    Good stuff, Dino and at record speed too. A wise decision to glide over proceedings given that the highlights reel will be rather short.

    It was torture to watch live but the retrospect-scope adds the observation that our goal was unthreatened and Raya barely had to break sweat. Given that, after we scored that lovely, lovely goal, we pretty much conceded possession to Manure apart from sporadic unrewarded forays that delivered the best but sadly unrewarded efforts of the game, that speaks volumes for the defensive work of everyone on the field not just the back line.

    Those three points could be vital and were by far the most important target today and while revenge for the 8-2 fiasco against this pitiful United team would have been exquisite, we have done our job.

    Over to the 115ers. Can they, with all their declared and undeclared resources, beat that shower of shit?

  7. 7
    bt8 says:

    Thanks for the very fair and readable report, GSD. As you say, not at all an easy watch nut a huge test of our mettle, in a historically unfavorable hunting ground, passed with flying colors. One more to go.

  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    One more thing. Spurs have lost four straight games. It’s mathematically impossible for them to keep on losing forever. Isn’t it? 🤫

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    Apparently Sputs broke their four game losing streak by defeating Burnley last time out. Is it mathematically possible for Spurs to win two games in a row? Probably not…

  10. 10
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for a good match report Dino.
    Unlike many it seems I quite enjoyed the game
    as I never felt they were going to score and
    winning ugly at the old toilet is something I
    would have happily settled for over the years.
    Currently, we are so much better than them that even
    when we don’t play well they have no chance
    in their own house. That makes me happy to

  11. 11
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Never in doubt.
    I think that Citeh will properly mash the Spuds but, funnily enough, I sense that the Spammers may cause the upset we need. A draw to say farewell to Moyes.
    Beat Everton and it is ours.

  12. 12
    Trev says:

    Well done, GSD – still an enjoyable read even if not an exciting game.
    I imagine we sussed out pretty quickly that the one thing ManUre had was pace up front and decided to go safety first which, in fairness, worked out well even if it did little to excite. Three points was the only consideration and that’s exactly what we got.
    Our record in 2024 is amazing and it seems unfair – actually, unfair is exactly what it is – that it might well not be rewarded with the league title.

    Merson said on Sky that “if we need to rely on Spurs to win a game, … well !” and laughed mockingly as he puffed his cheeks out. Co-pundits Rooney and Keane sniggered in the background.

    Whatever happens from here, this is a team to be proud of. We have pushed the Manchester 115 to the final day of the season with skill and honest endeavour. No-one can ask you to give more than your all. We have had that from every single one of our squad all season. After all this time it is wrong that we feel we are still in an unfair fight.

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    Have only seen highlights so far, but your first sentence seems to say it all, GSD.

    Viv Miedema’s leaving of the club marks the passing of an era.

  14. 14
    GSD's Dad says:

    We should not overlook the significance of tonight’s match. If AV win it, Spuds will be in the Europa League and will have nothing to play for. A draw or a loss and Spuds are in with a slim chance of CL football. They should take 3 pts on Sunday – so safe from Newcastle. Support Liverpool tonight to give Spuds impetus to win tomorrow and support AV on Sunday to shatter Spuds’ dreams.

  15. 15
    Ollie says:

    Cheers GSD. It was indeed a strange game. Fairly stressful, though at the same time, after a while in the second half, watching our warriors in defence, I thought we’d never concede. So good.
    GSD’s Dad. Spurs being Spurs, does it make any difference whether they have anything to play for.
    The thing is, if we go by ‘team who have nothing to play for won’t bother turning up’, then it’s over, as Liverpool don’t have anything to play for tonight.
    So I’m not overly concerned by tonight’s result even if I know what the narrative will be.
    Either way, we’ve done brilliantly, I’ll be both gutted and proud if we don’t win the league now, it feels like this season would be the best to win it in, but I’m mostly still keeping away from online Arsenal interactions until Wednesday. And then, I don’t know. A draw in the c***fest on Tuesday would make for a rather tense final day. I hope but don’t believe that the club from the wrong end of the Seven Sisters road win, whatever happens tonight. And can enjoy getting booed by their own fans during whatever lap of appreciation they have planned.

  16. 16
    Bathgooner says:

    Ollie, the scum up the road had their lap of appreciation on Saturday after their win over Burnley. This no doubt encourages people partial to conspiracy theories to believe the club, let alone the players, are already planning to throw their final home game against the 115ers. A lilywhite flag is clearly being run up the flagpole.

  17. 17
    TTG says:

    I don’t know if you heard Angie’s interview today. He claimed the only thing that matters is trophies and he suggested that bragging rights are irrelevant .( The man is clearly at the wrong club) . Clearly their fans don’t want us to win the league but if they get CL football it will add £40 million minimum to their coffers ( possibly more with the new format next season ) . That will have enormous appeal to Daniel Levy .
    Tottnumb will almost certainly lose tomorrow to C115y but it won’t be because they didn’t try . It will be because they are nowhere near good enough to beat them . The interesting thing will be if they did take the lead what the crowd reaction would be . It’s a very nasty predicament if you’re a Spud .

  18. 18
    Countryman100 says:

    As I’ve finally dried out and pricked out my last seedlings in the green house, I thought I’d drop a few lines on my visit to Old Trafford. I left St Ives in glorious sunshine and 26 degrees. First stop was at the Donnington services on the M1 to pick up Aidan, who’d been on a lads (9 of them) weekend in the Yorkshire Dales. I was expecting a hungover wreck, but he looked remarkably compos mentis.

    We motored easily into Manchester and parked up near the ground about 3.15. A ten minute walk to the ground and there it was. Minimal security, done with a smile and we were into the away section. The last time we went to OT was pre Covid. The main (only?) difference from them is that safe standing bars had arrived. A change I thoroughly approve of as at the Danny Welbeck FA Cup game, when Danny scored, I tumbled down three rows of seats. I still have the scars!

    20 minutes before the game the Arsenal fans were singing. Dino has told you all about the game really well so I won’t go into details. Saliba was magnificent. One tackle on Garnacho was a dead ringer for Bobby Moore in the 1970 World Cup. Absolutely superb. Thomas Partey picked up high scores in the press. Not for me. He always looked likely to lose the ball. Around me we were all calling for Jorginho. Garnacho was giving Benny a torrid time on our right. Lucky he couldn’t shoot straight. When our goal went in I was worried it was offside. Luckily it proved not to be, thanks to the idle Casemiro. I thought once we got the first goal, they would crack, but it just never happened, leading to a rather tense second half.

    Our away fans were quite superb throughout. We just never stopped singing. Of the away games I’ve been to this season, this was the best – and that’s a very high bar indeed. Every players song was sung, usually when they’d just done something good. Then Paddy got up made an appearance. I really think we dragged them over the line. Magnificent support that I was very proud to be part of. I honestly didn’t hear a song from the United fans.

    With about ten minutes to go the expected thunderstorm arrived in spades. It was of truly Biblical proportions with thunder, lightening and an absolute deluge of rain which continued for the next 90 minutes. Through the rain we held out for a magnificent win. Let’s face it, with our record there, any win is a good win. Let alone given the pressure we’re under. Those us who have been in this situation before know that at this stage of the season, it’s the result, not the performance that counts. The players and staff came over to our corner, and were cheered to the echo.

    As we left the arena two things were happening. Firstly the rain was pouring through the roof and running down the terraces. Secondly the pitch was becoming more and more like a boating lake. I honestly think if the storm had come 30 minutes earlier they would have had to call the game off.

    Off out into the torrential rain. Ten minutes back to the car, at which we arrived soaked to the skin. Soaking wet jeans, shoes and socks. Yuck. The usual hour plus delay to get out of Manchester. Home by 10.30, still wet and ready for a change of clothes, a large whisky, some pizza and match of the day.

    I love this bloody team. I have convinced myself we will finish second so anything else will be a pleasant surprise. I won’t be watching City Tuesday night. But I have absolutely loved this season, and am so lucky to have seen so many games live.

    We’ve been to OT three times in recent years, including this one. That makes it two wins out of three for us.

    A special day.

  19. 19
    Ollie says:

    Ah right, cheers bath @ 16. Makes sense with tomorrow being a rescheduled match, I guess.
    Points well made, TTG.
    Great report from the frontline, C100. A day on, I hope you are dry and in good health.

  20. 20
    Trev says:

    Nice one, C100, I’m very envious . Once this blessed hip is done …..

  21. 21
    Uplympian says:

    A belated thanks Dino for a concise report. Nothing really to say other that it is 3 pts obtained – job done. Also thanks to C100 for his report from the front line.
    Unfortunately Man C115y are way ahead of the tiny tots and however hard the spuds try I expect they will get well & truly mashed.

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks C100, glad to hear you’re safely home and well sans any Mancunian trench foot
    but with the three points. As it was the last away game of the season it’s time to say thanks for the many enjoyable front line reports from around the country, always a pleasure to read and particularly so this season as we have travelled so well. Several well-earned drinks are on the bar sir 🥃🥃🥃🥃

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Depressedgooner says:

    GSD firstly thanks for your awesome review of the match, definitely the same one I watched with etra appreciation for just how good Saliba actually is.

    Secondly to everybody else who had the misfortune to read my posts on the previous drinks, I’m having possibly the second worst experience in my life at the moment all converging at once, I usually know better than to go online at these times but I lacked the common sense I needed and I apologise to all and especially bath as I don’t actively look to upset anybody although I seem quite good at it accidentally.

    I’ve been told my memory and concentration issues combined with my brain MRI are showing markers for eary nset dementia or alzheimers and my follow up appointment with neurology is set for September 2025 which absolutely staggers me but I guess the NHS is struggling under the weight of everything.

    I’ve had a fall and torn up my knee like hamburger.

    I asked my family for help and got completely ignored, help had been offered but when I took them up on that offer it was apparently a time limited offer.

    It should not matter what my problems are as nobody has the right to be as arrogant and unpleasant as I was with my comments, I’m truly genuinely sorry and I will do my utmost to refrain rom any type of posting when I am in my darkest periods in the future.

    I will still try and post when I can, this post has taken a little bit of time to compose, edit and add a few things to, TTG I will reply to your lovely email as soon a I can now.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    DG@24: no need to apologise; you’ve been dealt a tough hand and are among understanding friends here, even if all we can do is offer support from afar.

  26. 26
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100: What OM said @22. Your awayday reports are required reading — one of the joys and delights of this place.

  27. 27
    ClockEndRider says:

    C100, great report from the very nearly literal, by the sounds of it, trenches. 21CG and I have been lucky enough to attend the odd away game over the last 3 years and it really is something. Short of getting a ticket, your reports back are the next best thing.
    DG , Sorry to hear about about your troubles, but so glad you’ve found the time to come back and add a drink. Keep fighting the good fight.
    Re last Sunday, I saw somewhere that Havertz has more goal involvements in the 30-odd games he’s played for The Arsenal than in the 90-odd he played for the S.W.6 Pretenders. Arteta knows.
    For anyone interested, I still have plenty of Havertz Humble Pie left after my purchases of said comestible. I find it goes down well with a nice glass of red.

  28. 28
    North Bank Ned says:

    Fascinating stat in Mike McDonald’s review of the game: Ferguson’s Man U won seven PL titles with fewer points than we have accumulated this season.

    Not losing, (while trying not to lose…) (Positives Needs & Hopes) [MUN 0-1 ARS]

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    Wot Ned said @25.
    See you when you can

  30. 30
    Trev says:

    DepressedGooner – no need to apologise, especially as you’ve been open and honest enough to share the nature of your problems with us.

    Distance dictates that we will be Virtual Friends but we will also be Real enough to understand and support you when the going is tough.

    Just turn up whenever you have the energy or need – an understanding welcome awaits.

  31. 31
    bathgooner says:

    DG @24, it’s good to see you back in. No apology to me is required. You did not upset me. I was simply attempting to police the tone of the Drinks, felt that you had crossed a line and that I had to respond. You were man enough quickly to request withdrawal of the statement and I thank you for that. I am sure that all here have transgressed in one form or another (TTG has all our case files) and no-one here has anything but huge respect for you in dealing with your troubles. Courage, mon brave.

  32. 32
    TTG says:

    Interesting to note that significant changes appear to be happening with the women’s team. They have parted company with Miedema ( will that impact Beth Mead’s continued involvement with us?) . She is apparently going to Manchester City . I note she earns £380 k pa . So she earns in a season what most of our make stars earn in a fortnight !
    Today they have announced that home games will be played at the Emirates next season – a big departure , although home games there were an increasing trend , and a friend who is closer to developments tells me there are big transfer plans , fuelled by increased gate revenues and they expect to sign a World Cup winning Spanish winger , a new international goalkeeper and have been in discussions with Fran Kirby although that isn’t proceeding further . With Emma Hayes leaving there is a feeling that we are well placed for next season

  33. 33
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Nice one Countryman. There’s a drink on the bar and huge thanks for another season’s worth of evocative away day reports. I’ve only been able to go to one match this season, and your reports have helped me feel closer to the fan base, which is such an important part of being a fan. As we all know in here, that doesn’t happen in isolation.

    Same thought to DG, really. Being a fan is, in part, about being part of a tribe. For better or worse, you’re one of us!
    Ned@25 nails it for me. There are limits to what we can offer each other in this forum, but when it comes to some understanding and a warm welcome, as well as a place to talk the club we love, then the day we can’t offer that is the day I’ll not be here anymore either. And definitely no need for any apologies. Nothing you wrote was a drop in the ocean compared to loads of stuff people routinely write on other forums every day; it’s nothing to think twice about when you put it in perspective.

    I daresay that if cba were still here he’d have a few choice words for you about how staying away from this place after a post you end up regretting doesn’t work anyway…

    Just when you thought you were out… we pull you back in!

    It’s been a great season and I’m fairly sanguine as we build towards the finale. Drinks all round ‘holics!

  34. 34
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for the link Ned @28.
    After reading I noticed a link to a column he wrote just after a Liverpool away defeat in September 2020. An interesting read though almost all the players have gone and at the end he mentioned why we needed Jorginho to my amusement. He is much smarter than me about this football lark – I will have to send off to CER for some humble pie as I thought Jorginho a very iffy buy when we got him

  35. 35
    TTG says:

    Lovely posts welcoming DG who is an extremely valued member of our community here at GHF . The emotion of following a side , especially one close to glory can lead us to saying things we later regret or regard as untypical of what we would have said without the emotional pressure that football loads onto us.
    It’s the reason that if I’m watching a match I rarely comment, either here or anywhere else because one goes through the wringer , fears the worst and tends toward the pessimistic . That was very true on Sunday evening .
    We’ve had a wonderful season, we’ve conducted ourselves as a club with dignity , enormous skill and as far as we can be aware total honesty . I’m really proud of that and I’m certain every Holic wherever they are is too. Even if the Spuds and Wet Spam fold, as we very much expect them to do , what we have achieved this season has been wonderful. And we’ve created the most wonderful dilemma for the Spuds which is so amusing to behold .
    I’m lucky enough to have lived through some wonderful moments as a Gooner but I’ve rarely been happier about Arsenal than I am now. I don’t think supporters can ask for any more from their team than this lot have given and it’s been a tremendous ride, however it ends .

  36. 36
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@32: It strikes me that a lot is being left unsaid about Miedema’s departure. She is a star Dutch international and, at 27, should be coming into her peak playing years. Perhaps her ACL injury has been more debilitating than we know; perhaps there has been some falling out with Eidevall, who never seemed quite sure where to play her (9, 10 or 8?: the Havertz hybrid positions, all of which she has the technical quality, physical presence and intelligence to play), and who seemed noticeably absent from the praise for her in the valedictory statements; perhaps she felt Russo’s signing was a sign her time at Arsenal was coming to an end; perhaps the Blue Mancs just flashed a lot of cash in her direction. Might your well-placed friends on the inside have some insight?

  37. 37
    Countryman100 says:

    Today is my 67th birthday. How the hell did that happen? At 6pm precisely I shall pour myself a celebratory negroni 🥃.

  38. 38
    Bathgooner says:

    Many happy returns, C100. Hope you are having a thoroughly self-indulgent day and that the Marshdwellers put the icing on your cake this evening.

    Sláinte mhath!

  39. 39
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Cheers, ‘Holics. This is a good video from the 442 lads showing why we all love Trossard (and Anne Hathaway 😎).


  40. 40
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Huzzah, C100! Many happy returns, you old git!🫣😂

    Hope you receive a very special gift later this evening.


  41. 41
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Ned @36 (and TTG @32)
    The boys at Arsenalvision publish a somewhat regular “One Club” podcast discussing the ins and outs of the Ladies’ first team. In today’s offering, Tim and Clive went into great detail (and Tim is well-connected with the club on the ladies side of things) regarding Meidema’s not being offered a contract. Both the severity of the injury (with cartilage damage) and incompatibility with Jonas’s plans for the team’s attack were cited as precipitating factors. The feeling was this season will be make-or-break for Jonas. It was a good listen.


  42. 42
    Rev AL says:

    “tottscum, tottscum no one can stop thum …” ??? UTA! Xx

  43. 43
    OsakaMatt says:

    Happy Birthday C100, hope the negroni went down well
    and the spuds hold on for another half

  44. 44
    Pangloss says:

    Belated thanks for the report from the trenches C100 and many happy, less belated, returns.


  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    Many happy returns, C100. And many more to come.

    LG@41: Thanks for that. It makes perfect sense.

  46. 46
    North Bank Ned says:

    Looks like a half-ton in the offing, so plays it out square to…

  47. 47
    Bathgooner says:

    who shimmies round an opposition midfielder, tantalises him with a deft turn and drawback and pings the ball wide to…

  48. 48
    Uplympian says:

    …….the on rushing tricky ball juggling winner. He bounces the ball against the defender 3 times, nutmegs him, turns around and nutmegs him again for pleasure ( he is a spuds defender ) and lays a tantalising ball across the 6 yard box to…………

  49. 49
    OsakaMatt says:

    An exhausted CF who, as the game enters the 2nd period of extra time, falls flat on his face
    in front of the keeper allowing……

  50. 50
    Lonestar Gooner says:


    Celebrates by singing It’s Happened Again… (Tottnum are shit.)


  51. 51
    OsakaMatt says:

    Well in LG!

    Unlike the useless spuds of course but that’s no surprise.

  52. 52
    Pangloss says:

    Congratulations bt8 on the Doggies overwhelming semifinal victory, and good luck in the final.

  53. 53
    ClockEndRider says:

    Happy Birthday, belatedly, C100. I went out to a comedy club in Bethnal Green last night with 21CG. More fun than going to the N17 comedy club.
    That club is an utter waste of space. 60,000 oxygen thieves

  54. 54
    Uplympian says:

    Well in for the half ton LG.
    Belated birthday wishes c100. No surprise in last nights result, Man C115y always odds on against the battered ones. I’m sure the Tiny’s will be looking forward to Thursday nights later in the year. We have progressed again this season and the club is in a very good place now – next season promises to be superb.

  55. 55
    TTG says:

    I don’t take the Times online so can’t upload it but there is a superb piece today by Martin Samuel in which he calls out the ‘ fans’ at Tottenham for their approach/ reaction to the C115y game . Well worth a read and if there is a subscriber perhaps you might share it ?
    He also points out that it is conceivable that if they lose at Sheffield United ( well it is Sperz) they could miss out on Europe completely . Don’t know if I prefer that or see them playing in the Vanarama Conference South on Thursday evenings while we are in the Champions League. I certainly hope they miss out on the Europa League-it’s too upmarket for them
    Ange’s press conference demeanour was very interesting yesterday . A decent man disillusioned by his club culture . Still they gave the video sales of last night’s losing Poznan ( a unique moment) to comfort them

  56. 56
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Belated happy returns Countryman. I hope it was a good one!

    I’ve always enjoyed our rivalry with Spuds. Both teams have been in the same division for as long as I can remember, so we play them twice a year, at least. We have generally had the upper hand and certainly won more trophies, but they have had some good (for them) results and little pockets where they’ve actually been quite good.

    All of those things made it feel like a real rivalry, not just a regular drubbing we give them. The matches themselves are intense affairs and that goes a long way roo. There is a lot more I could say, but I don’t want, or have time, to say it all right now.

    The point I want to make is that the last few days have left me pretty disheartened. Having a crappy rival is a bad look for any sports team, or, frankly, any other entity. And we have the crappest of rivals.

    As Ange laid bare before the media, in as stark terms as a manager who doesn’t want to be fired can, the entire club is petty, small-minded and perfectly willing to sacrifice even the facade of integrity or self-respect in front of the entire footballing world.

    I didn’t expect them to get a result last night, but losing wasn’t even the bad part. Only Spuds could have losing a football match be the best thing they did on the night.

    As always, there are some proper Spuds fans who will have been dismayed by the last few days, but they are in a minority. The general attitude of the club is one of ingrained losers. We talk about players ‘playing for the shirt’ but that doesn’t mean anything when the shirt has a basketball chicken on it and your own fans want you to lose.

    I’ve hated Spurs my whole life, but the club has found a way to sink to new lows in the last few days (shown its true colours, perhaps), and they barely seem worth hating anymore. They are either a joke club to be laughed at, or something that’s actually quite sad and rather pitiable. But they aren’t worth taking seriously and don’t deserve the respect that comes with hate.

  57. 57
    Countryman100 says:

    Here we are TTG. Paywalled of course.

    Daniel Levy didn’t build country’s best stadium to house mocking fans


  58. 58
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half ton, LG

  59. 59
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@56: Good post. Combined with Angie’s comments, it seems that the neighbours have got the fans they deserve and vice versa.

  60. 60
    OsakaMatt says:

    That was probably about as much as I expected from the spuds.
    Two years ago the two sides were about level in the league and
    now they are miles back. It was a bit like the Manure game really,
    even though 115ty were off their game spuds still couldn’t do
    anything though they were home in the New Toilet.

  61. 61
    Bathgooner says:

    If you’d just arrived in North London from Mars (or Oz) and wondered which side to follow, you only need to watch the pathetic display of a large proportion of the home fans last night. Would you choose to follow a club with ambition and an attractive playing style or another for whom envy and schadenfreude runs throughout the organisation and the fanbase and has been their raison d’être for four generations? Or you could just ask Big Ange for his advice this morning.

    Two excellent reads today:

    A final day miracle required, but …


  62. 62
    Countryman100 says:

    As Tim Stillman remarked this morning, I’m warming to big Ange after he went in studs up on the Spurs fans.

  63. 63
    Trev says:

    Belated Greetings, C100 – and many happy returns !
    I’m with you and Stillman on Postacoglou – “fundamentally fragile inside and outside.”
    Wow, and good on him for calling them out rather than some mealy mouthed explanation which would have fooled no-one.

  64. 64
    Countryman100 says:

    Interesting. Premier League clubs to vote on whether to keep VAR or not.


  65. 65
    bt8 says:

    Re: Pangloss @52. Thanks for your courteus sendoff, and particularly for not parking the bus in the semifinal.

  66. 66
    TTG says:

    This article treads where no other seems to want to in looking at the potential consequences if Citeh are found guilty of most/ all of the 115 charges against them

  67. 67
    Up4GrabsNow! says:

    Man City* (just like Lance Armstrong*).

    As for Spurs fans celebrating Son’s miss, I hope we hammer them 2x next year and they get relegated. Even Ange doesn’t understand them.

  68. 68
    OsakaMatt says:

    @66 TTG,
    50 million is surely a joke.
    I hope that our trusty legal eagles, Mssrs Sue, Grabbit & Runne are spending this absurdly long investigative period on a daily girding of their respective loins for the long battle ahead once a fair trial has been concluded with a guilty verdict. I would suggest an initial claim of not less than 10 billion quid on behalf of the club and its supporters to reflect the grievous pain, suffering, shock and residual ill-effect engendered by Shitteh115’s cavalier disregard for the precepts of a civilized society.
    Then we can move on to punitive damages.

  69. 69
    OsakaMatt says:

    Conte came to a similar conclusion about the spuds culture though he blamed Levy more.
    I am doubtful Ange will survive long after that outburst, hopefully they get Moyes next.

  70. 70
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Very interesting analysis on 1) Raya’s contribution to this season’s success and 2) Mikel’s managerial excellence. Levels man…


  71. 71
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@64: my understanding is that it only takes one club to call for a vote and a vote has to be held. Wolves — surprise, surprise — are the one calling the vote. I wouldn’t bet on it securing the two-thirds majority it would need for VAR to be scrapped. The PL is not like a Labour Party committee meeting where you would never call a vote unless you knew you had the votes to win. In any event, the PL clubs have approved semi-automated offside calls for next season so it would be weird to scrap VAR at the same time.

    When it comes to governing bodies discussing big changes, I would be more concerned about FIFA’s proposal that leagues can stage regular season matches outside their home country. You’d better start saving up for some really long-distance away days.

  72. 72
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for the link LG, a good listen and I am happy to say most of us in the bar seem to have enjoyed the journey this season whatever happens Sunday.

  73. 73
    ClockEndRider says:

    Ned@71 – as you say, I suspect that if a premier league shareholder seeks to table a vote, then it has to be observed.
    Personally I don’t understand the idea of scrapping VAR. It was brought in because referees were making so many egregiously wrong decisions. I’m struggling to understand how reverting to referees only helps to ensure correct decisions are arrived at. The issue is not with technology. It is with placing an organisation which is deliberately opaque and unaccountable, and already provides a poor service to the game, in charge of using the very technology which can help them to provide a better service. Who knew that could possibly go wrong? We live in an age of technological marvels. Papyrus scrolls carbonised by the force of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., hidden under metres of solidified lava until the late 18th century are now being “read” through utilising a combination of nuclear technology and AI. And yet we can’t use tech to improve decision making in quite possibly the simplest game ever invented? It doesn’t stack up.

  74. 74
    Bathgooner says:

    CER @73, totally agree. VAR procedures have to be improved, rather than the system scrapped. Removal from the clutches of the same, largely Lancashire-based, cabal of largely incompetent on-field officials would be a huge step forward but I don’t see that happening. However, introduction of automated offside decisions rather than relying on a clown choosing when and where to draw a line would be an improvement plus a rule that if the VAR official can’t make a decision to at least ask the referee to review the monitor within 30 seconds of the event in question then the onfield decision should stand.

  75. 75
    Bathgooner says:

    Another informative piece from Keenos about the way clubs finance transfers:

    Player sales to finance 65% of Arsenal’s £180m summer spending spree

  76. 76
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Excellent video @70 Lonestar. Thanks for the link.

    I agree with CER and Baff over VAR. It would be weird to scrap it but the system needs improving. And the refs need to be replaced by a new, competent, generation with much more diversity.

  77. 77
    Bathgooner says:

    Great link LG @70. Thanks for sharing.

  78. 78
    TTG says:

    Thanks for the Keenos article Bath
    It’s very helpful . Let’s hope we get sensible prices for our players and don’t just loan them all out again
    I agree with the comments on VAR . The biggest problem has been the stupid rule changes eg handball – that Saliba handball at Chelsea still grates . If we have semi-automated offsides next season it doesn’t make sense to scrap VAR . But some of the protocols and speed of decision-making need looking at

  79. 79
    Bathgooner says:

    This is well worth an hour of your time. It gives a clear insight into Mikel Arteta the man, his character, drive and ambitions. We are fortunate that he has a strong bond with our club and that his current ambition is to realise its full potential. It underlines that Arteta is going to have the equivalent impact and ultimately the historic stature for this club of Chapman and Wenger:


  80. 80
    bt8 says:

    Re: TTG @66: very interesting article and this sentence approaches the issue in the way fair minded folk might anticipate: “It’s unlikely that if they are found guilty, they’ll only be hit with a financial penalty, with punishments such as the stripping of any Premier League titles won within that time span also on the cards in such an unprecedented case.”

  81. 81
    bt8 says:

    A strong vote of support for Bath Gooner’s proposal above for a “rule that if the VAR official can’t make a decision to at least ask the referee to review the monitor within 30 seconds of the event in question then the onfield decision should stand.”

  82. 82
    Trev says:

    Logically VAR should result in fewer wrong decisions and, therefore, greater satisfaction amongst fans that greater fairness has been achieved.
    There’s much talk of improving the quality / ability of those operating the system and that is fair and vital. But it is only half of the problem.
    The scope of VAR needs to be carefully defined and adhered to. The initial “clear and obvious error” criterion is a distant memory.
    Measuring 1/2 millimetres to determine offside decisions is a nonsense when you consider that the moment of release of the pass is not / cannot (?) be measured as precisely. However, if the technology is capable of measuring 1/2 millimetres then some will demand that it does so.
    How does VAR decide on malice and intent in a late / bad tackle – can it read minds ?
    Why can it interfere in the awarding of red cards but not a second yellow card.
    Why does VAR sometimes go way back in the lead up to a goal to look for fouls and not at other times.

    Decision making technology in sport works well where “ line decisions” can be made – No-one ever argues with goal line technology, do they ? – and there are natural breaks in play. But the time taken over VAR decisions in stadia, with no communication to paying, anxious fans, is ruining the spontaneity of the game.

    Expectations of accuracy also increase with technology. It should be achievable too, but it must be used in a very clearly defined and sensible context. Otherwise it just makes everything worse than not having it at all.

  83. 83
    North Bank Ned says:

    Sensible words above on VAR.

    The penultimate GHF Predictathon leaderboard, for Match Week 37, has been posted. You know where to find it…

  84. 84
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@82, on marginal offsides, since the 2021-22 season, offside calls that fall within that margin of error you mention have been deemed to be onsides by default.

    But your bigger point is spot on. We need a clear and public statement of principles for VAR and then consistent adherence to them with well-communicated transparency into how every individual decision is reached. It would also go a long way if the informal guidance that referees give to clubs each season about how the laws of the game are going to be interpreted were made public. You wouldn’t expect to buy a tin of beans that didn’t have the ingredients listed on the label.

  85. 85
    bathgooner says:

    I stumbled across this article by the excellent Miguel Delaney from four and a half years ago. It gives some perspective to the qualities revealed in MA8 by the above interview (Drink 79) and underlines what a mess the club was in behind the scenes when he was appointed. I will be eternally grateful that MA8 decided to re-apply for the Arsenal job having been rejected the first time. It’s a decision that says a great deal about him as a man, his love for the club and his determination to succeed as a coach. His vision, leadership qualities and inspirational style come through in the interview above. We are so lucky to have him. Enjoy him while he is here!


  86. 86
    TTG says:

    A late acknowledgment of Bath’s attachment of the fascinating interview of Arteta by Balague . Balague understands the Spanish football scene very well. It underlines what a strong and intelligent character Mikel is . We are extraordinarily lucky to have him as manager
    A few weeks ago I looked back at the debate on here when he was appointed which sadly coincided with the loss of the irreplaceable Holic . It makes interesting reading but I am pleased to say most of us were very supportive of his appointment

  87. 87
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for the various links Bath

    A link here to a story about Lucas Perez, once, not very successfully I must be honest, of this parish. It’s a nice story though.

  88. 88
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Thanks for the link @79 Baff. That was 45 minutes very well spent, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet had a listen.

    And thanks for the link @85.

    Perhaps you could teach OM a little about how links work? His @87 has not really nailed it…

  89. 89
  90. 90
    OsakaMatt says:


    Shocking incompetence on my part.
    My job application to PGMOL is in the post already.

  91. 91
  92. 92
    North Bank Ned says:

    Some enjoyable morning reading from the links above. Thanks to those who posted them.

    I always thought Lucas Perez looked like an old-fashioned centre forward — baggy shorts and a low centre of gravity. I assume he was bought over Wenger’s head as Wenger hardly ever played him. He still managed a goal every 135 minutes, more than decent, especially for a striker not playing regularly.

    Props to the Deportivo fans who turned out in greater numbers when their team was in the third tier than when they were in the first.

    Carragher is right that City bought their way to the top (fast-tracked themselves, as he puts it), but once there, being top brings its own rewards and a club can then afford to pay the very best to stay there — and it takes the very best to stay there.

    In 2022-23, City’s squad accounted for the highest wage bill in the PL (£423 million; ours was £235 million) and Pep reportedly was paid £20 million plus a £5 million bonus; Arteta was paid £9.5 million with a £1 million bonus and two-thirds of PL managers that season earned £5m or less, including bonus. Of course, a labourer is arguably worthy of his hire. The question is, could any other manager, given that squad, have won a quadruple or did it take Pep to make the difference?

  93. 93
    North Bank Ned says:

    Small correction to my @92: the wage figures quoted for City and ourselves are total wages; player wages account for 70% of that at both clubs. However, if you look at the total of player wages, amortisation and agent fees—the three elements being considered as total squad costs for the PL’s prospective salary cap—then City, at £468 million, was second only to Boehly’s Bus Stop, where money flows like water under Stamford Bridge; our total squad cost was fifth largest at £311 million. To my mind, those numbers reinforce Carragher’s point that had City not ‘fast-tracked’ its way to the top in the beginning, it would not have created the platform that lets it afford that level of spending now.

  94. 94
    OsakaMatt says:

    Quite agree Ned, it’s all fruit of the poisoned tree as far as I’m concerned.

  95. 95
    OsakaMatt says:

    On a happier note it’s Cup Final time for our leading fantasists. Can the doggies round up the sheep? The sheep have run away with the league so it’s a tall order for the nearly defunct but they do say that every dog has its day.

  96. 96
    TTG says:

    I have been informed by a friend who has extensive financial contacts that Ramsdale is definitely joining Newcastle next season. If so I wonder if he thinks he can hold a place ahead of Nick Pope who should be fit by then . In my opinion Pope is a better keeper but Ramsdale may be a better distributor. But it may be out of the frying pan into the fire for young Aaron

  97. 97
    Bathgooner says:

    In a farewell interview, Klippity is rightly proud that Liverpool did things the right way financially and casts nasturtiums subtly in a certain direction:

    ““We never tried too hard and then you don’t get the guarantee to reach it then and then you get punished years later, these points deductions and stuff like that,” says Klopp.

    “It’s horrible, I am not sure (those found guilty) cheated on purpose but somehow they knew. Mmm. It’s probably not 100 percent right, but (they thought), ‘maybe we can get through that’ and obviously they couldn’t, and I really like the way we did it.”

  98. 98
    Bathgooner says:

    Takes the ball from the keeper and sends a Jorginho-esque low ball past the pressing opposition attackers and through their midfield to…

  99. 99
    TTG says:

    Decrepit , tubby striker who rounds the keeper but falls over as the ball rolls towards an unguarded net

  100. 100
    TTG says:

    But gets up to score !

  101. 101
    Sancho Panza says:

    Greedy bar steward. I was right behind for a tap in!

  102. 102
    VAR says:

    This one could take a good deal longer than 30 seconds to teview but there could be something fishy about drinks 99 and 100 being by the same poster.

    (Review continues)

  103. 103
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@96: Ramsdale is ahead of Pope in the England pecking order. I can’t imagine Ramsdale moving anywhere where he won’t be starting.

  104. 104
    OsakaMatt says:

    I hope Aaron doesn’t go to Riyadh Rovers

  105. 105
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@104: I don’t see Newcastle Southeast as being the lesser-spotted Ramsdale’s natural habitat.

    VAR@102: Review still ongoing?

  106. 106
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    As usual, none of us know what the hell VAR is doing!

  107. 107
    Uplympian says:

    VAR eventual notices he is wearing an Arsenal top so automatic disqualification normally follows.

  108. 108
    OsakaMatt says:

    In shocking news VAR has been fired!
    The PGMOL announced ‘due to an oversight in the vetting procedure we were unaware that Sid Bonkers was not from Lancashire. Mr Bonkers has been summarily dismissed without honorary golden spectacle payment. In these unusual circumstances the alleged foul by Mr.TTG has been considered Not Proven and the case closed’

  109. 109
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@108: But what of Doris?

  110. 110
    OsakaMatt says:

    Safe and sound in Neasden one hopes Ned.
    Though I am not sure if the current state of Neasden in safe and sound to be honest. It certainly wasn’t when I left the UK 😃

  111. 111
    OsakaMatt says:

    I suppose belated congratulations are due to TTG, despite his lucky escape on a technicality.

  112. 112
    Sancho Panza says:

    Newcastle want Ramsdale and are willing to pay 15 million according to the Torygraph.
    I presume we have willingly told them to fork off.

  113. 113
    ClockEndRider says:

    I presume £15m is purely the PR flummery game rather than anything close to the actual asking price….

  114. 114
    OsakaMatt says:

    They’ve just got 15 and 50 confused over the phone

  115. 115
    Bathgooner says:

    In case anyone has missed it, Tim Stillman’s column this week is one of his best ever and it’s good advice too!

    He Knows Exactly What We Need

  116. 116
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I just saw £15m mentioned as the fee the Barcodes want to pay for Ramsdale and came in here to mock it. Fortunately, that’s already been done. Good work, chaps.

    Personally, if Ramsdale is okay taking Saudi money, then I think it would be a good move. Those fans would love him and I think it’s a club that would really suit him. I also think he’d potentially do for them what he did for us – help them get into the four. But he won’t be a keeper who helps them challenge for the league, and it’s only a matter of time before their money gets them there, so I’m going to enjoy every season before they get that good, and support their efforts to buy players who won’t help them win the league.

  117. 117
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Phil Foden is cleaning up individual awards this year and, whilst he’s had a good season, he wouldn’t be my pick and I think he’s a bit lucky.

    He doesn’t always start like some of his rivals do. He goes missing for whole matches sometimes, but it isn’t as noticeable because his teammates bail him out. If Cole Palmer has an off day for Chelsea then the whole team looks crap in a way that City never do.

    Foden also loves to put 2 or 3 goals past poor opposition and that adds to his stats (Palmer has done the same). I don’t know how many of his contributions have been decisive, probably a fair few but I doubt more than the other contenders.

    I don’t think there has been a standout player in the league this year, in the way that Haaland or Salah have been in recent years, so Foden has got the nod, not least because goals are flashy and he’s scored a bunch.

    Saliba has played every minute of the league in the best defence. And poor Odegaard would have better numbers if his teammates hadn’t missed quite a lot or good chances he’s produced.

    Palmer has been a revelation, and done a huge amount to get Chelsea into the top half of the table (I don’t think they’d have managed that without him).

    Ollie Watkins has got incredible numbers and deserves a shout out.

    Anyway, Foden is a top player but I don’t think he’s been better than any of those I’ve mentioned above, and he’s lucky to have gotten the votes just by being an obvious choice.

  118. 118
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@115: thanks for the link. Stillman’s column is an excellent read and echoes the sentiment expressed by many of the senior members of this fine establishment who have seen Arsenal teams, good and bad, to cherish what we now have while we have it.

    OM@110: Neasden then, if not necessarily now

  119. 119
    Bathgooner says: