On the Bubble – Man U Ratings

Heading up the M6 to the Old Cowshed in the middle of a Europa Semi was always destined to be one of the least tasty sandwich fillings. Adding some match fitness to Mkhitaryan’s comeback and giving the youngsters a run out while hoping the scoreline didn’t do them any lasting damage, seemed to be the main aims. Fairly lowly expectations for a trip to our old adversary they were. The presentation to Arsene before the game was all very lovely but giving credit to their fans for applauding a man they’d abused quite hideously for so many years seemed a bit rich for my liking.

Two of football’s greats alongside a pimple on the backside of the game

First Half

The game began in fast and furious fashion with both sides closing down quickly and buzzing toward either goal without there being too many clear cut chances.

The Manc goal came after a quarter of an hour and we all thought it might herald the opening of the flood gates. When Hector was waiting for the cross to come in, he glanced behind to see Sanchez in acres of space behind him, but, inexplicably, did nothing to close the gap. By the time the ball was delivered to the back post, his only option was to attempt the block Sanchez’ goalbound header. He did manage to touch it on to the post but the rebound favoured Pogba.

Was Nelson fouled in the build up to the goal? One thing was certain, the ref wasn’t going to be giving us much of anything during yesterday’s game.

Micki nearly brought us back level 5 minutes later but failed to bend the ball around De Gea into the far post corner. A couple of headers from Aubameyang and Nelson were our other reasonable chances in the first period, the first powder-puff and the second wide of the target. 1-0 at half-time which was as good as most expected; with our defence largely untroubled with Mavropanos looking confident and assured.

Photo REUTERS/Phil Noble – Alex prays that Ashley Young will see some justice

Second half

The second period got off to a fine start with Henrikh squeezing a shot into the corner of the net through the defender’s legs, fooling De Gea. The assist came from Granit winning the ball back high up in the manc half – wonders will never cease!

Some of the Arsenal football was very encouraging with swift interplay, the youngsters enjoying their moment in the limelight.

Lukaku went off and was replaced by the ineffectual Rashford. Martial and Fellaini came on for the excrescent Herrera and lively Lingard. So, Maureen’s plan B was to put their most skillfull forward on to have a crack at our right flank and if that failed, hoof it up to microphone head. When Rashford was waiting to come on to the pitch, he was shown a book of photos, presumably detailing team layouts. I wonder what Fellaini was shown?

Danny came on with fire in his belly and had a fine driven effort after winning the ball back, but it was straight at the keeper.

The final stages of the game saw us unable to hold on to the ball, so it seemed like a non-stop procession of balls humped into our penalty area. Could we hold on for a deserved point, all things considered. No, was the answer as a Young cross skimmed Xhaka’s head and skidded off the afro beyond Ospina’s left arm. The keeper just touched the ball but the combination of short arms and the proximity of the post meant that he couldn’t keep the ball out. Fellaini celebrated as if he’d won the Cup which was a depressing end to what turned out to be a rarity for the Gunners this season, a fine away performance.

All in all, it was a case of job done as Micki seems fit, the kids did not get hammered by any stretch of the imagination, our new Greek colossus had a fine debut and youngsters Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Willock and Calum Chambers all played well.


Ospina – Didn’t have to produce too many saves – I wish his arms had been longer for the second … 6

Bellerin – Thank heaven he didn’t get injured for Thursday as we have no obvious back up – no idea what his thought process was for the first goal  … 7

Chambers – Seemed to respond to being the senior partner of the CB pairing and played very well   … 7

Mavropanos – Had Lukaku in his pocket, not afraid to inflict a little bruising; in a most cultured Arsenal way, of course – excellent debut … 8

Kolasinac (Monreal) – The Beast seems to always pass the ball back from whence it came with his arm raised that it needs to go over the other side of the pitch – Nacho came on and perked up the left flank for the last half an hour  … 6/7

Maitland-Niles – Still not sure what Ainsley’s best position is, but he looked classy in Arsenal’s midfield yesterday … 8

Xhaka – Got a bit of a clumping but one of his strengths seems to be his durability – great turnover and assist for the equaliser  … 7

Iwobi – Scampered around probing for an opening and looked more comfortable than recently – perhaps being surrounded by other youngsters helped  … 7

Nelson – Still looks a bit lightweight and was sometimes bullied off the ball too easily – a summer in the gym will do him some good; muscle and his undoubted ability could be a potent combination  … 7

Mkhitaryan – Looked dangerous and accomplished, though Ashley Young attempted to ruin his recovery by kicking him at every opportunity (why wasn’t Young booked for persistent fouling at the very least?)  … 8

Aubameyang – I get the impression that Pierre is in a period of stasis at present – he’s playing in meaningless league fixtures but not in the games which matter – doesn’t look as though he’ll get us a goal out of nothing for the time being, but I’d imagine he’ll explode as an Arsenal player from the start of next season  … 7


Willock and Welbeck both contributed but sadly not enough to help us avoid defeat 6/6

This game was an annoying mosquito buzzing around the Club’s ears with Thursday looming on the horizon. However the team produced a very good performance, so much so that, when we finally conceded to the mancs’ route one tactics so late on, it was bitterly disappointing for at least a few seconds after the final whistle.

Hey ho, on to the big one.


51 Responses to On the Bubble – Man U Ratings

  1. Good work, except Aubameyang … 8.
    I’ll agree with the rest, though.

    Keown’s moaning. He’s been doing a lot of that lately.

    BREAKING: Liverpool No.2 Zeljko Buvac quits Anfield just days before Roma clash amid dispute with Jurgen Klopp.
    That’s the long-haired bloke.
    He’s been alongside Klopp for yonks.
    At Mainz, Dortmund, and Liverpool.

  2. LB says:

    Quality report.

    Thanks for the read.

  3. chas says:

    Well spotted Big Al.

    I copied an old report and forgot to change Auba’s rating. I was going to give him 7.

    Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

  4. Eddie says:

    thanks chas, good report. I suppose you are right – it was a good game with decent display from our lads. The result doesn’t reflect what happened, as usual when we meet the mancs at their turf.

    Scary staff about Aube, you are right, he must be disappointed playing meaningless games up north and in the rain. Shit, I hope he doesn’t lose heart! We will definitely need him next season. Or maybe not, perhaps Allegri brings his own striker with him?

    New bubble looks like young Clarke Gable

  5. Eddie says:

    oooh, Juve strikers are: Dybala, Higuain, Mandzukic, Cuadrato and D Costa. ooooh, we could do with a couple of them

  6. 7 is still too much, Chas.


    Allegri won’t be bringing anyone. Not even himself.

    Did anyone see the Real Madrid vs Juventus match some days ago.
    I did. The whole game.
    For 2 hours I was pretty certain I was watching the world’s best team.
    And I don’t mean the home side.

    The difference between Juventus and Arsenal is the difference between Premier League top 6, and the Championship bottom 6.

    Half our squad (at least) to be replaced, and (allegedly) 50m only to spend?
    Will Enrique and Tuchel (both be available at the end of this season) consider Arsenal over Chelsea or PSG?
    And Simeone has ruled himself out of joining us (allegedly).

  7. Eddie says:

    that only leaves Brendan Rogers, fecking terrific

    Big – nobody, absolutely nobody knows what the new manager will be given, what powers, what budget, length of contract, none of it.

    For crying out loud, they don’t even know the new manager yet and you think they have already assigned him a budget??

  8. Eduardo
    Look at my post again.

    This bit to be specific…
    “replaced, and (ALLEGEDLY) 50m only to spend?”

    So, NO, I don’t necessarily “think they have already assigned him a budget??”.

    Hard work you are, sometimes.

  9. chas says:

    And you’re a smart ass twat but who’s counting? 😆

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Chas. Another excellent read.

    Agree that we played a decent game with much spirit.

    I think Xhaka is improving and has become an essential member of the team, evidenced by the fact that he is the only player who has started each game.

    M-N looked comfortable against a very physical midfield with Herrera and Young most at fault.

    Not sure Nelson will make the grade, he can develop physically and strengthen but he is unlikely to gain pace and pace is essential for a striker.

    The New Bubble looks top quality. This should be tempered by the superb debuts by Chambers and Holding, both of whom I believe have a good future at AFC, but have needed time to bed in.

  11. GoonerB says:

    Cheers Chas. Would have given Aube an 8 🙂 To be fair to Auba we really haven’t changed our system from the Giroud days to suit a quicker front man. We are setting up exactly the same as we did to play to Ollies strengths and I feel Laca has also suffered from that this season. We will have to see how the new man develops the system.

    I really didn’t care too much about this game as long as we didn’t disgrace ourselves with an 8-2 defeat or something like that. As long as we saw something decent from the youngsters, gave a good account of ourselves and didn’t pick up injuries then that was enough for me. The only important thing right now is Thursday.

    Your bit about Bellerin interested me. He shows poor judgement / falls asleep, which is arguably the key factor in their goal, but still gets a 7 for decentish play outside of this. I wonder if this is something we could say has been endemic in Arsenes sides of recent years. It seems this scenario has been the shoe that fits for pretty much all our defenders at different times.

    It made me wonder whether our defenders just aren’t good enough and that we need to purchase better quality, or whether they are actually better players than the ones we see but are just not coached appropriately?

    it may be that the new man has a massive job just to change the mind-set and education of our squad, because they are in fact arguably good enough but just don’t show it often enough. It would certainly be sensible to see what a new coaching style brings out of them before replacing the whole back line. We probably still need at least 1 new defensive body though, even if a different coaching style improves our defence significantly.

  12. Eddie says:

    Big – wrong, i am not hard work sometimes, but always. I do my best.

  13. Eddie says:

    GB – of course our defenders are not good enough, 48 goals against in EPL alone.

    chas – I felt dirty when the mancs and Fergie paid their respects to Wenger, two faced twats. I am sure Arsene puked after he left the grounds

  14. I said it in a humourous way.
    At least that’s what I intended, Eddie.
    And Chas, read it as I intended and perhaps you’ll see tht comment was made light-heartedly.

    Surely you know my style by now.

  15. Eddie says:

    of course 🙂 we are joking too

  16. GoonerB says:

    Eddie, 48 goals against so far is really bad and this year we will likely be setting a new low in that area, even though we have been poor statistically for a few years. However, have the personnel changed that much to account for this even further deterioration, of what was already a poor area season on season, or could other factors be at play?

    Do we need to give consideration of what protection we have in front of the defence? Are our midfielders too similar? Where is the invisible wall, as we once called it, as the first line of defence, or is it that this type of player is obsolete in the modern game?

    Do we need to consider whether our FB’s playing much of the game as wingers positioned high up the pitch, (and often at the same time), is a factor that leaves us exposed when we lose the ball? Is this how top modern teams mainly get their width or should there be other ways to get width in our play? Do we have the players that can give us this? Is getting width in our play even important anymore?

    Just thought it may be an area worthy of discussion

  17. I understand Al. When dating a petite oriental women with a boyish figure you are looked at with suspicion. I have the same problem, but in my case suspicions are heightened because her name is Dave.

    Cheers chas. I was delighted by our performance and really pleased with our new Bubble. My contacts in the Greek ministry of Agriculture have given glowing reports of his ability and humane treatment of Goats and Ass. Looks like the kind of Greek who during the 2nd world war killed a few SS by use of his teeth.

    Felt sorry for Arsene. Has any one else noticed that Moronio does a lot of unnecessary touching? I would hate to be stuck in a packed Japenese tube with him.

  18. LB says:

    It’s quite interesting that still none of us have a clue as to who will be the next manager, I wonder if the club do? A wish list I would imagine.

    I think Alegri is pie in the sky, if you were Italian and you managed Juventus why would you want to take a step down (and step down it is) to manage Arsenal? Makes not sense.

    Luis Enrique, is credible but I find it hard to see from his view point why Arsenal would be more attractive than Chelsea. The Chavs are the spanner in the works right now. The new manager will be promised much more money to spend on transfers.

    There are all the ex Arsenal players but I cannot see that any of them would be more than a stop gap and on a hiding to nothing to boot. No, the only way one of those will be picked is if Arsenal cannot land anyone else, a plan Z if you like.

    The snippet that Big Al posted above caught my eye. “Liverpool No.2 Zeljko Buvac leaves after 15 years working with Klopp”. Now this really is up our street. In fact right now this is where my money would be.

  19. LB says:

    “but in my case suspicions are heightened because her name is Dave”


  20. GoonerB says:

    By the way, what has happened to Fred? All we get is little sarky comments now. Who actually is Fred anyway? I actually thought he was one of the Vines having a bit of fun but it seems Ant thought he might be fictional. Can we now officially consider Fred our very own little Troll?

  21. jjgsol says:

    Our vulnerability to crosses has been a major problem for many years. I suspect that the majority of the goals that we have conceded have been because of that.

    We are also guilty of attacking too strongly leaving our defence exposed to counter-attacks, which is how a lot of the smaller clubs play nowadays.

    Buses are parked with a quick runner or 2 ready for the long ball which catches us out so many times.

    It is a mindset that perhaps a new manager will be able to tackle rather than the lack of skill, which I think cannot describe our players.

    I am convinced a new manager has already been appointed but will not be announced until the season comes to final end

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    Definately a “mosquito” of a game

    Thanks Chas 🙂

    What was in the box Arsene got?

  23. mickydidit89 says:


    I agree the new man has already been appointed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t party to the club getting Auba and Miki, which leads to Tuchel

    Just a guess of course

  24. I don’t think the new man has been appointed. This still gives Arsene a chance.

    i wonder if Arsene is harbouring a romantic illusion? Gazidis, dressed in a rather fetching dressing gown breaks his door down in the middle of the night “Arsene come back, we all love you” before removing the dressing gown causing Arsene to break into a cold sweat and glad of his sacking

    We all have these dreams. Over the years I have on many occasion seen Liam Brady disrobe.

    Mind you, I stiil think I’m going to get back together with some bird i met at college who never went out with me? But, a relationship reunion with some you once never shared any good times with is always the most satisfying.

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha Transplant

    Only you dreaming of a comeback 🙂

  26. chas says:

  27. chas says:

  28. chas says:

    It’s a real shame that the spuds corporate noose doesn’t go all the way around their new shithole because of that single terrace behind one goal.

  29. I admit to been someone who takes perverse pleasure in others financial misfortunes, particularly friends, but I find Totnumbs financial predicament thoroughly exhilarating.

  30. chas says:

    The yute are on ITV4 tonight.
    Second leg at the Emirates, though we are 3-1 down after the first leg.

    Monday 30th April 2018
    Arsenal U18 v Chelsea U18
    FA Youth Cup Final 2nd Leg

  31. LB says:

    Tuchel had slipped my mind when I was writing my mini summary. He obviously makes a great deal of sense and has probably been approached if not already on board.

  32. LB says:

    Excellent, I shall enjoy watching the Yute tonight.

  33. GoonerB says:

    Its a shame that Mourinho’s name had to be on that presentation. The modern EPL was shaped by Wenger and Fergie’s rivalry where they both spurred each other on to greater things. It was probably their era as direct rivals that made the EPL the most sought after league to watch and ergo richest league.

    Those 2 went through a whole journey of emotions as adversaries eventually resulting in the mutual respect and even friendship you see today. I can’t think of anything particularly respectful about Mourinho and don’t think he really has that trait. I feel his name on it tarnishes it and it should have just been Ferguson’s to denote a special rivalry from a special period.

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    I think Allegri and other big managers would jump at the chance to come to Arsenal and other PL teams. Firstly, it pays massive money. He’s currently on around £6m a year. Sam Allardyce gets that at Everton! All the top 6 currently pay more than that to their managers.

    The other reason is the challenge of the PL. It’s a huge league all over the world and managers and players want to be in it. Allegri has nothing left to prove in Italy so might be ready for a change.

    Id love him to come to Arsenal.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    “I have the same problem, but in my case suspicions are heightened because her name is Dave.”



    I pray they prove me wrong, but I don’t trust this Board to make the “right” appointment. My fear is that they are to wrapped up in the brand and are convinced pretty football attracts world wide support and satisfies the knobs who occupy the corporate boxes.

    The philosophy, style of play, and winning strategic ambition, is a lot more important than the man who implements it. Values are pervasive and pass through generations.

    We need a culture shift but it must be done delicately. You can’t go from an arm round the shoulder ala Arsene after defeat to a Simione dishing out a slap and letting loose his fat assistant who apparently reacts to a defensive error by removing his trousers. Why do you think Athletico hardly concede a goal.

    I am watching this Owner and Board closely, and if I feel they are prepared to sacrifice winning for the illusion of pretty football, I will take action.

  37. Big Raddy says:

    I have said for the past few years that PV4 is the best fit for AFC. He is a winner and he knows Arsenal.

    However, I fear he is MC bound after Guardiola, with Arteta as his No.2.

    Tuchel is going to PSG.

    Could it be a left field choice?

    Unlikely to be a PL manager unless AFC want Benitez until they can get their real target. Howe and Dyche are possibilities, Rodgers as well or could he be going to the CHavs 🙂

  38. Eddie says:

    and i sincerely hope you will be saying that for the next few years Raddy. Good players don’t always make good managers. We cannot place our lives in the hands of PV4 because we love him, this is not a marriage you know, it’s much more important than that.

    I am confident it is going to be Allegri.

  39. VP of Oz says:

  40. Rasp says:

    Evening all, sorry for my late arrival, I’ve had an unmitigated bitch of a day 😦

    Superb report again chas. I think utd were playing at 80% for most of the game …. but I’m very proud of our young boys. Maybe Mavropanos has leapfrogged Holding in the CB pecking order …. he looked very much at home next to Chambers ….. I can’t honestly say those two looked inferior to the Koz/Mustafi combo.

    How come that scumbag Herrera gets away with routinely scything down players every time the opposition get a chance to attack on the break?

    I bloody hope we have a shortlist of quality new managers in place …. and that we’ve sounded them out in principal instead of just assuming they’d want to come to Arsenal. As I said last week, I have no idea how good, or bad, Gazidis is … he only talks ‘spin’ … I have very little faith in The Board to choose the right manager. I hope they prove me wrong, or IG has a masterplan in place and we will se a smooth succession.

  41. mickydidit89 says:


    I’m slightly confused, and I think you are as well. We have been playing pretty boy stuff and the corporate lot have deserted. pPerhaps the on-field action is less important than having an assistant coach who removes his trousers. Probably worth trying and if things go belly up you could do your taking action with the assistant 🙂

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    thanks for pic of what’s in the box, although I now kinda regret asking. agree Maureen’s name on it ruins the thing

  43. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s odd listening to pundits praising Pochettino for doing slightly worse than what Wenger has been getting slated for for the last 10 years.

    At least Arsene managed 3 FA Cups, and a few League Cup Finals alongside his top 4 finishes in the last 10 seasons. Pochettino gets top 4 with Spurs whilst falling short in Europe and the Cups and he’s the best thing since sliced bread.


  44. mickydidit89 says:

    So FGG, who would be your first choice as manager and who do you think is favourite

    I reckon Tuchel or maybe that Jardim fella from Monaco as he appears good at developing players as well as decent football

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Does anyone understand Fred’s “yaw yaw”?

    Could it be patois?

  46. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent pic. Two top men

  47. Eddie says:

    Yaw definition:
    The value of the angle between the tip of an erect penis and its neighboring testicles squared.

  48. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

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