Opening Day

Last season’s champions versus this season’s. The PL couldn’t have a better opening.

Man City were magnificent in winning the title, possibly the best team since the Invincibles. They showed in the thrashing of Chelsea in the Community  Shield that they remain highly impressive, BUT we will beat them.

Why? Because We Are The Arsenal.

Who will be lucky enough to pull on the red and white this afternoon? TBH I have little idea.

GK? Cech or Leno? Cech for me, but we do not know who is to be our regular gloveman, nor do we know the quality of Leno. I will go for the experience of Cech in this important game.

Bellerin/Lichsteiner?  Hector struggled against Sane last season but who didn’t? The Swiss fellow is a fine defender and will hopefully inspire Hector to achieve his undoubted ability.

CB’s? GIven the startling decision to ship Chambers, one must assume Emery has confidence in our new signings. Mustafi was a liability and made some very strange decisions which cost us points, I don’t trust hm but the management does. No point signing the Big Greek unless we play him.


LB? Beast crocked, Nacho half-fit, Either we play a Back 3 with Holding or M-N gets the shirt. Hardly what we want in such a tough challenge. We all love M-N, he has huge potential and has played this position in the past. Let’s hope

Midfield? We cannot go gung-ho at City, we need to maintain some defensive discipline in front of what is a shaky Back 4, hence my choice of Terrier, Ramsey and Xhaka. I expect Xhaka to become the on-field leader of the team, he has the talent and appears to be maturing as a man and a player. If Ramsey is not fit then we can trust Elneny to be tidy and responsible. Torriera could be the player we have been waiting for, much rests upon his diminutive shoulders.


Upfront? Ozil and PEA, but who else? Some fine players are going to have to ride the pine as our new manager experiments. Today I would play Mhiki, he is just too good to leave out. But this team lacks width and neither Mesut nor Mhiki have the pace to trouble City’s excellent FB’s. We will have to rely upon skill, cohesion, cute-passing and rapier like finishing and if that isn’t working, we have Iwobi, Welbeck and, above all Lacazette on the bench.

My Team:


Bellerin   Mustafi   Sokratis   M-N

Ramsey   Torreira   Xhaka

Ozil   Mhiki


And what of City? Guardiola has improved an already excellent team, another PL win is expected (even with Klopp’s spending) with the CL the club’s main priority. However, we have a new manager who is well versed in Pep’s tactics, a man who will want to show from the outset that his team have the beans to compete.

Excited? You bet, it couldn’t be a better opening game.

On an AA note, does anyone have a theme for this season’s PM’s? It makes it more fun to write when I have a non-football focus.


72 Responses to Opening Day

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Thank you Erik

    God it’s good to be up and running. By my calcs 4-0 will take us top 🙂

    Chas has a theme 🙂

  2. LB says:

    Top read BR while killing time in an airport.

    That really should be the team.

  3. Eddie says:

    thanks Raddy

    it is always reassuring to know there will be a PM on match days. Never mind the result, the PM is solid as usual.

    As I asked befor: stand up if you think we will win today.
    No, not you chas.

    Me arse is firmly on the chair.

  4. Rasp says:

    Great work, thanks Raddy, I can’t wait for this season to get under way.

    We’ve got the players, all we need now is the team. I’ve been very happy with what I’ve seen in P/S.

    I’m lucky to have a ticket today. The biggest improvement I’d like to see is in the supporters. We’ve all sat amongst serial moaners … they’ve got what they wanted, so there is no excuse for not giving 100% support.

    Two nil to the Arsenal is my prediction.

  5. Rasp says:

    Suggested themes? ….. comparison with another great event in history? The Alamo, Rourke’s Drift, The Damnbusters, The Rumble in the Jungle?

  6. chas says:

    Cheers, BR.

    Best Wishes for the Season to everybody.

    Theme – Great musicians?

  7. Eddie says:

    theme – famous/infamous leaders. Guinness book of records pointless winners.

  8. LBG says:

    Thanks BR
    What about a possible “Dick” bombshell to scare Manshitty – Welbeck at left back!!
    Loved the Parlour howitzer at the last game Arsenal played before the Wenger era.(See BBC)
    Theme:- most interesting places you have visited in the World.

  9. Eddie says:

    LBG – can’t have that, all AAers would vote for Highbury

  10. LBG says:

    “apart from Highbury!”

  11. LBG says:

    Merson (spit, spit)
    Says: “Arsenal could be in relation zone after first two games this season”.
    Always was a Chelski fan. COYG, prove him wrong and do it for us this aft!!

  12. LBG says:

    “relegation” ffs.

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all.

    An exciting day started off with an excellent PM by our own Big Raddy – thank you.

    As a theme maybe a flash back to a previous game against our opponents – could be very interesting.

    I’m afraid that even in my dreams I cannot see us beating City, I’m just hoping for the signs that we have the right players to be competitive and play some exciting football.

  14. chas says:

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    Unai Emery exclusive: My Arsenal blueprint

    Arsenal kick off against Man City on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 3.30pm
    By Gerard Brand

    Unai Emery spoke exclusively to Sky Sports about his blueprint for Arsenal going forward

    Arsenal are thought to have interviewed 10 candidates before deciding on Unai Emery, and just 11 weeks into the job, his approach is becoming clearer.

    In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Emery gave more than a glimpse into what that job-winning presentation in front of the Arsenal decision-makers would have comprised of.

    “Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to do things with combinations, to control the match with the positioning of the ball. And then when we have the space, to be aggressive going forward.

    “Defensively: first it is to be organised, recover the ball quickly. But in these two moments in the match we need to work. To say it here is easier than doing it on the pitch. We also need time, but now I am happy because I think the players are improving.

    “We need two things: quality players, which we have, and then organisation. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play.”

    Arsenal under Arsene Wenger were so often criticised for being too top-heavy and neglecting defensive responsibilities. When necessary, Emery wants defenders to think like attackers, and attackers to think like defenders, and for the chasm in the middle of the pitch to be filled with agile, hard-working players.

    Referring to his summer signings – goalkeeper Bernd Leno, defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis Papastathopoulos and midfielders Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi – Emery insists balance is the aim.
    New season offer

    Upgrade to Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Football now for just £18 a month. Cancel any time.

    “When we are thinking in an attacking moment, I want the goalkeeper thinking for that, he is the first. The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: ‘We need to protect the goalkeepers’. I want those two moments to feel the same for all players.

    “Each player has this quality, this characteristic to help the team as a collective. For me, that is very important.”

    As his English drastically improved, so did pre-season performances and the general feeling around the club. A bow against the champions in front of a hopeful Emirates crowd is about as tough as it gets, but Emery repeatedly referred to the importance of a connection between players and fans, a relationship often fractured in recent years. A title would help, of course.

    “It’s clear, the aim for the club is to arrive as champions, play for titles. But for me, I want to enjoy the way [we do it].

    “I want the players and supporters to feel that together, and also enjoy each match, each moment in our stadium, and in this way the team transmits to the supporters the passion.”

    After finishing so clearly sixth-best last season, what is success this term?
    Emery starts his Arsenal career against Manchester City at the Emirates on Sunday

    “Success is to improve, grow up, build one team with personality, and then I want to win. I want to do it one way with this personality, enjoying with our supporters. We are looking in this way, one team with a passion, with a quality, organised, and in this way we are near to winning in the future.”

    Judging by pre-season, the blueprint has been laid down firmly. Now, it comes down to results.

  16. Eddie says:

    LBG – that’d be Emirates 🙂

  17. Eddie says:

    raddy – what about the Hairy One? I really want to see him. Somehow I think he is the one who could make huge difference to how we play

  18. Rasp says:

    I really don’t understand why everyone is being so pessimistic, I can easily see us beating city. It’s a new season, and we now have a manager who will have prepared very carefully for the team we are about to meet, and that means looking at ways of negating their strengths and exploiting ours

  19. VP of Oz says:

    Emery not beating Guardiola in 10 previous meetings does lower ones expectations.

    and Emery comments further lowers my expectations –
    “I am 46, he is 47. He started his career as a bigger player than me. His career as a coach is bigger than me. His statistics are better than me.”

    but I take heart in the famous quote in Star Wars Rogue One by Leia Organa – “Hope.”

    Other quotes from Star Wars that could work –
    “Never tell me the odds!” — Han Solo
    “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” — Darth Vader
    “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda

    and so on


  20. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp. my particular reason for rationalizing that we cannot beat City is based purely on footballing capabilities – no pessimism is involved.

    City are the best team the PL has seen since our Invincibles and have only improved over the summer. They are a highly skilled mature seasoned team while we are a team in transition from the manager down – that does not mean that I’m at all pessimistic I’m simply being realistic.

    I will be overjoyed if I’m proved to be wrong.

  21. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5, we did well against City last season (not by winning, but by competing) and I expect us to be better this season …. so there is reason for optimism

  22. Red Arnie says:

    Lovely stuff, Raddy. 🙂 Cannot wait to get down to proper action.

    Themes? You have done places, you have done songs. How about food? Is that done as well?

    Shitty. Yes, we will win. Not going to be easy. But sweet revenge for last year beckons. 🙂

  23. fred1266 says:

  24. mickydidit89 says:

    Awesome team selection
    Ouzi starting

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    Hope that’s 4-2-3-1

  26. fred1266 says:

    Yea ramsey playing Cam though

  27. Eddie says:

    guendozi on 🙂

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    Just remembered this, if you’ve just spent time and money going to the game, you’re sitting next to some fat know it all in a tight football shirt and we lose, I’m lying near the azure blue sea in Italy with my nose four feet from the best ass I’ve seen in my entire life
    I’ll be fine
    Min two goals from us
    Come on you gunnnners

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    Iwobi on the bench
    So that’ll be two managers of arsenal football club who don’t think you know what you’re talking about 😎🌴🌞

  30. mickydidit89 says:

    New season

  31. Red Arnie says:


  32. Aaron says:

    The French Kid, Guendouzi starts! Was hoping Leno and Torriera to play from back, but soon enough.
    Let’s get ready to roll…

  33. Eddie says:

    who’s the geezer next to Emery?

  34. Aaron says:

    Same bs, foul on the break- should be 2 yellows!

  35. Aaron says:

    Someone needs to put sterling on his a$$, geez…

  36. fred1266 says:

    Lol yea micky probably with the owner daughter

  37. Aaron says:

    AMN hurt, damn, maybe LItch can put an body on one of these guys.

  38. Rasp says:

    City have been surprisingly dirty. Apart from the mistake for the goal, we’re playing very well

  39. chas says:

    Need a goal to spark the season

  40. Rasp says:

    They’re not handling our press that well when we push them back

  41. fred1266 says:

    Yea playing good only got nervous after the goal, I will give sterling 29 shots like that and that would probably be the only one he scores

  42. fred1266 says:

    We not pressing together I find

  43. Rasp says:

    I’d bring on Lacazette for Ramsey …. who has been pretty anonymous and is not a CF

  44. Aaron says:

    They are actually pressing the way Emery’s wants them to, and causing $h*ty to cough up the ball in bad spots. Now, the Arsenal just need anyone to make that one solid pass on the break, and finish the shot, and the Arsenal could grab an unexpected point!

  45. Eddie says:

    Juan Carlos Carcedo is the geezer next to Emery

  46. chas says:

    Unai Rasp!

  47. Rasp says:

    Instant improvement

  48. chas says:


  49. Rasp says:

    The mighty Man City playing for time

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    Another 10 mins then Iwobi 😀

  51. fred1266 says:

    Fot away there

  52. fred1266 says:

    Lol we want to win micky

  53. Rasp says:

    We could have scored 3 this second half …. lazy off sides …. and lack of confidence in front of goal

  54. Jjgsol says:

    Disappointing but not surprising.

    I daresay ua was not too pleased.

    2 pretty clear penalties ignored.

    Are we likely to do any better next week?

    I doubt it.

  55. Gööner In Exile says:

    Cech Captain ? – who signed Leno guess Emery didn’t or hasn’t seen enough? Seems a strange signing if he isn’t going to start?

    AMN – shame got hurt
    Lichtensteiner – solid, unfussy
    Mustafi – still not good enough
    Sokratis – too soon to judge
    Bellerin – with Ozil in front and Mustafi to his left I feel for him defensively

    Guendouzi – eager, but would benefit from being calmer in possession
    Xhaka – lacked direction
    Ozil – not a right winger
    Mikhi – not a left winger
    Ramsey – not a number 10 or in the hole player if that’s where he was supposed to be

    Aubameyang – isolated and trying to feed off scraps.

    Emery – “We need two things: quality players, which we have, and then organisation. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play.

    It’s clear, the aim for the club is to arrive as champions, play for titles. But for me, I want to enjoy the way [we do it].

    I want the players and supporters to feel that together, and also enjoy each match, each moment in our stadium, and in this way the team transmits to the supporters the passion.”

    Well we just played the champions, they didn’t really have to break sweat to beat us, I haven’t been watching pre season, this was first chance to judge the way we are going to play, hopefully we will look to enjoy the game more against other opponents.

  56. Jjgsol says:

    I do feel that Lacazette should be a starter eith auba on left.

    We looked more likely to score when he was on but all the shooting was pathetic.

  57. Red Arnie says:

    in the relegation zone. been there done that. expectations management time. onwards and can only be upwards

  58. Rasp says:

    Bollox …. we created 4 clear chances in the second half. Once we pressed them they conceded possession. Things I learned …. Ramsey is either injured or not good enough. Torriera is a brilliant passer of the ball. Mhiki hasn’t got the stomach for a fight, he should have tracked back and prevented the second goal. Stick with Guendouzi …. he’s a precocious talent and completely fearless. We’ll beat Chelsea next week

  59. Rasp says:

    Oh and drop Mustafi for Mavropanos. Mustafi should have been sold and keep Chambers

  60. GunnerN5 says:

    My feelings are pretty much the same as GIE’s.

    Mostly I feel very sad.

    Lets me say right off that City are in a class of their own and will be extremely hard to beat. That said we were obviously in another class – the lower level!

    Even when a few half chances came our way our “top” players fluffed their lines, even if we had lucked out and put one in the net I had the feeling that City would simply have gone into a higher gear.

    Cech is now and embarrassment and should be put out to pasture and take Bellerin with him, the old man in our defense (Lichtenseiner) came on and gave him a lesson in how to play the position of defender.

    We have a long way to go and playing Chelsea away next week is not good news.

  61. Aaron says:

    Next game, Leno, Torriera, Guendouzi, Litch, Laca, and AMN if fit. Xhaka, Miki, Ramsey and Cech need to be watching from the sidelines.

  62. fred1266 says:

    Yep mkhitaryan doesn’t have the fight, shame to admit this but wish we still had sanchez just for that pressings

  63. Gööner In Exile says:

    Jigsol if we have Laca and Aubemayang we should I believe start them both, no matter who the opposition, but probably more so when playing sides with the attacking mindset of City, another player to worry about just might convince afull back not to go bombing forward for fear of space left behind, or at least provide another outlet when we do have the ball.

    Our transition with the ball was poor today we didn’t seem to be able to muster a counter attack worthy of the name. I think Laca on less one of Rambo (half fit), Ozil (out of position), Mikhy (out of position).

    For Emery to find this organisation he speaks of he will need to pick different players and probably upset some senior ones, can he do that? We will see….

    Unfortunately today players looked a little unsure of their roles, or too stuck inside them. Organisation is all well and good but if players are not allowed to think for themselves it will limit us, it’s the first game of a long season, but not the most auspicious start given the new era that has started.

    Oh and still seats empty five minutes or more before the end. Disappointing.

  64. fred1266 says:

    All those training video with us shooting and no improvement

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Having watched a recording of the game and with a little distance I thought we did well for a transition team. The injury to M-N was unfortunate.

    There were 6 players in front of Sterling before he scored. We should have dealt with it. Cech’s positioning was poor.

    Mhiki had a shocker and I would certainly start either Iwobi or Laca next week.

    Very impressed with the Hairy One. He could be a superb find.

    Anyone going to write a post match report?

  66. LBG says:

    Thank God for some calmness/reality amongst the doom merchants (Rasp, excluded).

  67. LBG says:

    Sorry, “Akinzo”

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    I have taken Akinzo’s comment to use as today’s post – unless someone has an offering

  69. chas says:

    I’m just about to publish it with the addition of your photos, BR.
    is that ok?

  70. chas says:


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