Dani’s Dazzling Debut .. against the new Stoke!

Arsenal 2 -1 Stoke

I can’t take the credit for our opposition’s name (nice one LBG) but Tony Pullis has shrunk 6 inches, put on 3 stone and gone ginger and balder. Apart from that, all’s well in The Potteries.

We started with a different line up to last week. I had Torreira and Chambers with either Ozil or Miki in my pre match. Liam had Ceballos. We thought Xhaka might not make it because of the injury. So full debuts for Ceballos, Luis and Willock, Guendouzi and Nelson also included. I liked the line-up I must admit.

We started well and for 15 minutes, I was drooling !! Laca had just missed what I thought was a really straightforward header but from the resulting corner, he scored such a Laca goal. It was awesome.

After we scored, we lost the initiative and struggled with stopping them doing what they’re good at and gave away far too many set pieces.

Guendouzi on Tarkowski at said set pieces was hard to understand but I guess we were zonal for the most part. Their equaliser wasn’t a huge surprise but I was literally mesmerized by our midfield.

Even though we went in level, at no point did I ever think we wouldn’t win this game (in fact in the end I was a little disappointed we didn’t win by more).

The second half seemed a lot more comfortable and I can’t really put my finger on why. I know Pepe came on and so I have to attribute it to that in some part.

Everyone seemed confident on the ball and after an Auba miss from a sublime ball by Pepe, he did exactly what Laca did earlier and scored a great goal almost immediately.

I thought the rest of the game was solid and the subs came in to help shore us up but we never really looked in danger of conceding.

Player Ratings as follows:

Leno – 7 : Could maybe have helped the defense out a little more but Stoke is such a hard team for keepers. Mark my words, they’ll terrorize quite a few keepers this season.

AMN – 7 : Wasn’t outstanding, wasn’t bad. I rate him at present based on the fact that he’s playing out of position and will give him the benefit at the moment. No concentration lapses.

Nacho – 7 : Nacho. What more is there to say. Tierney will probably be an upgrade but this guy doesn’t hurt us in any way.

Sokratis – 8 : He did miss a couple of headers in the first half but he was very good in the 2nd. A couple of crunching tackles and I wonder if he fed off Luiz a little.

Luiz – 7.5 : Probably as good as Sok but I’m going to be a little harsh here and say he was at fault for the goal. I know it took a deflection but he was a yard behind the line and that’s going to cost us against better sides. Looked like a Gooner and led by example and was very animated. Awesome debut.

Guendouzi – 8 : I think he showed what a disciplined DM should be. This kid is such an asset to us and I think he’s going to get better and better. Hardly put a foot wrong (I’ll take corrections on that if I’m wrong – maybe I have an agenda !!). Let’s see how he does against better teams for sure, but did everything that was asked.

Willock – 8 : I love this kid. He’s strong, powerful, confident but not arrogant. I said a while back the mark of a good player is how his opposition views him. In no time flat, teams are going to hate playing against this lad. He’s got it all. Again, he gets his grade based on the fact he’s a 19 yr old rookie. Wasn’t perfect but always showed and covered.

Ceballos – 10 : I can’t really say enough about how well he played. My son Liam has been raving about him and I think most of the comments on here have been tempered by the fact that he’s a fairly unknown quantity especially in the PL. Well here’s our answer.

Nelson – 6.5 : Didn’t have his best game but looks like he got a knock. Wasn’t scared to play against a rugged team. He’s exciting and I love the fact Dick is playing him, he’s well worth a punt. Not his best game but he’s 19. There’s a lot more to come from this kid imo.

Laca – 7.5 : Very good comeback after injury, maybe not 100% match fit but did all that could be asked and scored a very good goal upon return.

Auba – 9 : Stoke were terrified of this guy. At the moment he’s almost unplayable and the biggest surprise is that he only got 1. I guarantee he’s creating space for others right now just by being on the field.

Subs :

Pepe – 7 : One world class ball, one world class dribble and a little inconsistency. He’s going to be fun and hard to watch all at the same time but if this guy doesn’t excite you, maybe you’re not a football person !! Kidding but I think he’s going to be special for us.

Torreira and Kola – No grade, but came in to do a job and got it done.

Summary : This is very important so let me say it – we beat Burnley (the new Stoke) 2-1 at home. It’s tempting to read into all of the excitement and positivity and think we’re Spuds of 5 years ago. So let’s not be that. Instead I’ll say this. For the first time in a while, I expected us to win. I saw a midfield trio that would run through walls for each other. For their team mates. For Us fans. For the Badge. There was an attitude about Arsenal today that we’ve been missing. We gave Burnley a run for their money, struggled for a while, then beat them. We’re a work in progress with a lot of work to do for sure. But I finally think we have a map, a destination and the means to get there.

Our current squad, allowing for the loss of Ramsey but adding Pepe, Ceballos, Luiz and Willock plus the continuing improvement of Guendouzi, the top class Laca and Auba and a very good keeper in Leno is the foundation of a new era at Arsenal. That’s not really up for debate. The question is, can we go down the new road successfully.

Two games into the season against two mediocre opponents would lead most people to think it’s fanciful at best to make such an assumption. I probably agree. But I’m happy to go on the record as saying I am very optimistic for our next two games. The fear we have often displayed, the mental frailty seems a little foreign to this current crop. So if I’m wrong then it’s going to be a little longer road. But I for one can’t wait to see.

Go Gooooooooooooooners!!!

Mike M


64 Responses to Dani’s Dazzling Debut .. against the new Stoke!

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks Mike … I’m still drooling over Ceballos’ performance 🙂

    I can’t remember a more impressive debut (as a starter)

    When has a player ever had a song dedicated to them on their first appearance … and it was Santi’s old song, the Emirates crowd picked up on the similarities.

    Any idea that this might be a year to take it easy for our loanee was dispelled as although slight in stature (David Silva sized), Dani held off numerous challenges from men twice his size and miraculously not only came away with the ball .. but followed it up with a killer pass.

    The pass/interception when he tackled back after having lost possession that led to Auba’s goal was pure genius.

    Am I going on too much? This guy is worth the ticket fee alone.

  2. Rasp says:

    … and a big thank you to Kozzer for refusing to tour. We saw the best of David Luiz yesterday. He immediately took over the running of the defence. Sokratis seemed happy for him to take the lead role despite having been with the club for longer.

  3. This great comment from fgg last night deserves to be re-read today

    fatgingergooner says:
    August 17, 2019 at 10:26 pm (Edit)
    Well, I actually found myself enjoying watching Arsenal today. When Wenger left, it was clear the team needed a new identity and had lost its way, but today it felt like we may had found it again. It wasn’t perfect, and we are still very much a work in progress, but the age profile of the team and the enthusiasm with which this group play gives us real cause for excitement. We saw a glimpse into the future with Geundouzi and Willock pairing up in midfield. We had a look at the present with Pepe and Ceballos showing what they can bring to an already world class forward line (such a shame that we’ve only got the Spaniard for 12 months). Plus, we are even getting a helping hand from the past with Ljungberg influencing things on the sideline. It’s exciting times at Arsenal, and I don’t even think a poor result next time out against a good Liverpool side should dampen the spirits.

    As for the game, absolutely no issue with passing out from the back. It’s the modern game and it’s something we must continue use to do and improve upon if we are to take the next steps. There will be the odd mistake and maybe even the odd goal conceded, but I remember laughing at Pep when City buggered it up a few times on his arrival and look at them now. We must stick with it.

    Luiz had a good first game but I do have a slight concern with some of his headed clearances. Too often they were to the edge of the box and to feet rather than being up and wide. It’s only a matter of time before an opposition player rifles one of his headed clearances into the back of the net from the edge of the box. He needs to sort that out. I loved his enthusiasm and his covering ability when we looked in trouble a couple of times, plus his distribution will be a massive bonus for us in an attacking sense. He’s also got some physical presence in and around both boxes which we need.

    The energy in the middle from Geundouzi, Willock and Ceballos was fantastic, and even more enjoyable was their willingness to defend. Burnley is always a game where you have to earn the right to play, and we managed to get through a tough first 45 minutes reasonably u scathed and as they tired we started to dominate more. It was a long battle in midfield but after the hour mark we dominated for the most part. Fair play to the 3 young lads who could easily have been bullied but these days are made from strinfer stuff.

    Auba and Laca are world class. No doubt about that. They had 2 decent chances each today and both grabbed a goal. (Laca header tipped over, Auba strike at the keeper when put through by Pepe). That’s clinical and exactly what we need given that our defence isn’t rock solid just yet. Hopefully they can keep it up.

    Pepe showed glimpses of his dribbling but as I said when we signed him, the thing that impressed me most in what I’ve seen of him is his vision for a pass. The ball into Auba that forced Pope into a good save was fantastic and I cannot wait to watch this guy once he gets a real understanding going with our strikers. He’s going to create and score a ton of goals.

    Ceballos was so good today. An absolute joy to watch. As many have already said, he’s got similarities to Cazorla in the way he holds onto the ball. Having only seen him a couple of times I don’t have the trust in him yet that I had in Santi and I do feel he could have a mistake or 2 in him (losing the ball in bad areas), but if he carries on like today it won’t be longer before I trust him 100%. I hope we’ve saved the £100m it’s going to cost to buy him after this loan!!! 😂

    It’s only Newcastle and Burnley, so I don’t want to get too excited, but the signs are really promising and the energy in the team is like a breath of fresh air. Liverpool away might be a bit too soon for us, but we should be looking forward to that game and to the rest of the season with anticipation. We haven’t even got close to playing well yet. Imagine what will happen when we do…

  4. ……………. also Fred sent some player ratings that I’m going to add on here ……………

    2 games 6 points apparently this is the first time we have won our first to game in 10 years, if true that really shocking. Another great game when we went 2-1 like last week we were ashored on the ball and you didn’t think we would concede again. Nelson might have just lost his starting spot with 2 hard game coming up I expect Pepe to start. Ceballos brilliant and this is what I have been wanting to see from the likes of Mesut and Henrik.


    Leno – was a bit uneasy with the corner … 5
    AMN – good have defend a bit better but the equalizer but good all-round game … 6
    Sokratis – solid game … 6
    David Luiz – Solid game his long ball to the forward should be able to get us a few goal in future game I hope … 6
    Monreal – solid game if he wasn’t wearing any socks he would have gotten and assist … 6.5
    Guendouzi – great game of the 51 passes he attempted he completed 48 should have score his first prem goal today though … 8
    Wiilock – another outstanding game … 7
    Ceballso – 2 assist on his home debut and brilliant all-round game … 9 MOTM
    Lacazette – took his goal wonderfully, faded a bit … 7
    Aubameyang – another great striker hoping he could break the 100 game to goal ratio also … 7
    Nelson – great work rate but didn’t influence as much as I think he should … 6

    Pepe – poor pass for PEA but other than that was great … 6
    Sead Kolasinac – went to back 3 when he came on … 5
    Torreira – should have scored, how come keeper become super human when the play against us … 5

  5. us gooner says:

    xhaka should be sold, because i personally can not justify him playing over the 3 who started or torreira

    ceballos is something else…willock is going to be a club legend

    let me say this…..matteo guendouzi for 8m is the best purchase we have had in 20 years

    this kid will be our and the french captain very soon

  6. Great match report Mike, thank you.

    I think there are going to be a lot of positive words written about our team this season and as others have said, it’s such a nice feeling ………… long may it continue.

    The loan move for Ceballos was inspired, look how he lapped up the applause from the Emirates crowd. A great opportunity for the young man to play in a competitive league in front of 60,000. He’s going to grow and grow. Hopefully he’ll love us so much that he won’t want to leave ……. wishful thinking there.

    I was one who was happy with the David Luiz signing, although he’s a bit of a madcap sometimes he was able to show yesterday that he can add stability to our team and I think we’ve been lacking that for a while.

    Gotta love being a Gooner 🙂

  7. Sue says:

    Brilliant read, Mike 👍
    What a game! Was absolutely buzzing on the train home and that hasn’t been the case for a little while!
    Yes I know it was ‘Only Burnley’ but i thought they played well, especially what was his name – Mike Dean? 😂
    Great team performance, had it all – even a cheeky lil nutmeg!! Things are gelling quite nicely & I am rather excited right now. Loved seeing Luiz in red & white… and Dani.. oh boy, take a bow, Sir! If he plays like that every week, jeez, we’re seriously in for a treat!! I didn’t want him to go off 😄 how on earth hasn’t it worked out for him at RM??
    I am, as always, bricking it about next Saturday… but…. from what we’ve witnessed in these last 2 games, I think we’ll put up more of a fight!!
    Happy days….. 😎

  8. Sue says:

    Also, Dani’s reaction when Auba scored 😍😍

  9. RC78 says:

    Great Post and summary. Very nice ratings full of optimism and I would have been a bit more harsh but who cares? We have won and there were a lot of positives to be taken from this game. I wonder how we will fare vs our next two opponents but at the moment, am cautiously confident that we will be harder to beat than last year

  10. Sue says:

    Rasp.. how about putting those 3 precious points in the chart?!

    Does anyone know what happened to the drum??

  11. Rasp says:

    Bloody hell Sue … you’re a hard taskmaster … you do know I’m at work today and I’ve already spent time preparing the post … but it’s done anyway 🙂 … feast your eyes!

  12. Rasp says:

    I’ve got to agree with us goner … Xhaka wasn’t missed 🙄

  13. Els says:

    A decent game with flashes of what could be. Ceballos has had his plaudits deservedly. But Geun is a future world class player. We’ll sell him for 100m + in a couple of seasons.

    There seems to be a lot more enthusiasm around everything Arsenal.

    I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get top 4 this season.

    Great write up and some whopping scores for the ratings. I like that.

  14. Sue says:

    😂😂 Rasp… spot on, thank you! You can get back to work now 🤣

  15. kelsey says:

    All round a good performance but hard fought at the same time.

    AMN has played well in both games and one can see Dani has a natural ability that can’t be taught. I am concerned that it is only a loan move for 10 months at £7 million. Hopefully we privately have secured a deal with RM otherwise if he has a good season for us and is available the price will shoot up.

    Leno is getting better,a safe handler of the ball and Guendouzzi’s energy is amazing. The next two games will tell us more.

    Now onto my conspiracy theory about the moped attack and security at both players houses. Both train Friday we are told then one comes on and plays while the other is deemed ill but was sitting in the Stands. Can’t get my head around this.

    Have Auba and Lacca signed extensions though Lacca has three years left, as I haven’t seen confirmation by the club anywhere only that there are on going discussions.

    LB from the last post who are the two players you refer to as being available to be sold ?

  16. LBG says:

    Thanks for the name check, although the new Stoke approach really got to me during the game, because for so long we have had to put up with the “soft Southerners”, or “get into them and they will wilt”, that when we are trying to play, fast, attacking, attractive football with young players making debuts, delighting us as those who have travelled to get there and paid our money, I believe THEY SHOULD GET SOME PROTECTION. But of course then there is Mike “he’s so respected” Dean! Well he’s not respected by me. (Any idea about the tackle from behind, or the professional pull back or trip, Mike?)
    And as for the ginger Moaninho complaining of ” cheating” in the game, not Arsenal of course!! F*** o**. Sorry.
    Between you and our own talented Ginger I think you could make big money (well a few pennies) from top quality footie analysis and writing. We who delight in reading you both, salute you!
    PS Must tell the blog of the text contacts between me and Ant at the end of the Manshitty v Spuds game. Both watching carefully. Me, as I had a massive £1 at 20-1 on a 2-2 draw. Three mins into extra time. Oh shit!! 3-2. Lost again! Now wait a minute. ” We/I love you VAR, I do”. Text from Ant….”bloody VAR just cost me £100, £5 @20-1!!🤣🤣🤣.

  17. RockyLives says:

    Excellent write-up Mike – I would like to say I agree with everything but I didn’t see the game 😦

    However, after reading your report plus great comments and ratings from FGG, Fred and others I almost feel like I was there.

    Best of all, was Rasp putting up the compilation reel of Dani: it finally allowed me to see what you’ve all been raving about. Blimey he’s a player, isn’t he? A real Lamborghini on the ball.

    But… I want to inject a tiny note of caution. Every season new foreign players arrive in the Prem and some make an immediate splash and everyone sings their praises. Then fast forward a few months and other teams have had a chance to figure them out and plan ways to counter them, the knocks and kicks of the (famously physical) Premier League are taking their toll, the weather is appalling… and suddenly the sweet rose of summer is the wilted bramble of winter.

    Lest this sound negative, that’s not my intention. Just looking at that performance yesterday you can see that Dani has it all and, given his footballing pedigree at Betis and Real Madrid, there is every reason to expect him to go from strength to strength.

    I’m just cautioning a bit of perspective and patience, because he is bound to have quieter games and go through a period of adjustment however promising his start was.

    I’m really not being an Eeyore – I’m as excited about him as everyone else.

  18. RockyLives says:

    I found both Mike’s and Fred’s rating essentially similar, except that you both started out with a slightly differently calibrated ‘ratings engine’.

  19. RockyLives says:

    “feast your eyes”

    That phrase always make me think of an interview the Sunday Times journalist Andrew Duncan (I think) conducted with the Country & Western singer Dolly Parton many years ago.

    Dolly, of course, is famous for, er, shall we say her “embonpoint”.
    (Basically, she’s very well endowed in the chest area).

    When Duncan was doing research to prepare for the interview he found that she had once said no man could talk to her for more than 30 seconds without letting his eyes wander south to her ample bosom.

    Taking this to heart, Duncan began his interview, asking the usual sort of questions that journalists do. But he never once looked anywhere apart from in Dolly’s eyes.

    After about 15 minuted he ostentatiously checked his watch, then looked back at Dolly (at the eyes again of course) and said:
    “I read that you once said no man could talk to you for more than 30 seconds without looking at your bosom. Well, I have been talking to your for over 15 minutes now and my gaze has not wavered. What do you say to that?”

    She smiled, then in that wonderful Southern drawl said:
    “Honey, you done real good. Now feast your eyes…”

    True story!

  20. Rasp says:

    🙂 brilliant Rocky … Dolly is my kinda girl

    Back to the overkill on Ceballos (and taking into account your words of caution), some said on here after the game that he is a cross between Cazorla and Cesc and I can understand why. His close control is as good as any Arsenal player I’ve seen. The weight, precision, timing and lazer guided accuracy of his passing was mesmerising. You get moments like that from good players once or twice a game … he just kept producing.

  21. RockyLives says:

    That’s my point Rasp… he just kept producing. But when he has a couple of games where he doesn’t produce (or at least not at the same rate) I hope people don’t get disillusioned.

    Like any player, he will take time to fully settle into a new team and a new league.

    And if he just carries on from yesterday’s performance and ends up being the Premier League player of the season, no-one will be more delighted than me.

  22. Rasp says:

    I agree Rocky, we can’t expect him to get the time and space he had yesterday against pool at the weekend … but they have a problem too … they don’t know what to expect from him.

    What I thought was really great was the whole team’s ecstatic celebration for the first goal, the team energy and cohesion seems to be very strong … and then the moment when Ceballos just turned to the crowd at the corner flag, arms outstretched after his assist for the second … he was saying ‘love me’ …and we did.

  23. RockyLives says:

    I too enjoyed that reaction to the goal Rasp.

    I also liked that Ceballos had at least three attempts at shots from outside the box – he seems a very confident player from whom goals will flow.

    We haven’t had a reliable scoring midfielder for quite some time, but Dani could end up bringing us a Pires/Ljungberg type of return.

    Oops, one minute I’m urging caution about him, then I’m adding to the hyperbole by likening him to Bobby and Freddie 😳

    Anyway, when you start thinking of the attacking firepower in our likely ‘First 11’ – Auba, Laca, Pepe, Ceballos (maybe Ozil?) – it’s very encouraging. No defence will look forward to facing them.

  24. fred1266 says:

    True rocky this happened to torreira last season

  25. RA says:

    Excellent Post(s) by all concerned and some really bubbly and incisive comments too.

    I can add nothing to the chat – yo all seem to have covered everything, especially the hard working, Rasper, who has been neglecting those poor Koy Carp — but I do have a couple of items that might need embellishment.

    The only specific reference to the most delicious nutmeg seen at the Ems, was by Sue, and it might have been the most lingering moment in my mind – goals and Ceb, apart, was when Pepe came on and tied Mee up like a kipper, as he sent him one way then another, before putting it thru his legs and said ‘see you next Xmas’.

    The other was Rocking Chair when he said, ‘suddenly the sweet rose of summer is the wilted bramble of winter.’
    Got to say that when he used the past participle to describe the nefarious, vicious, man eating bramble as wilted, I thought to myself ‘that’s a man who has never had to clear a garden of the shitty things’.

    Wlilted? Only if you think a thorny, malevolent shrub, with millions of prickles as sharp as the shiny pearly whites of a great white shark’s can be described as wilted!

  26. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Mike and some great comments yesterday and today. Loved the Dolly story Rocky.

    Well I think Burnley will be a tough proposition for many teams this year so that was an excellent determined win against the type of side we sometimes struggle with.

    Our 2nd half performance was very good and in reality we were worthy of winning by a 2 goal margin at least but Pope was on good form and kept them in it.

    Wow, Ceballos. I thought he was just going to look slick on the ball but lack something defensively and not look too much of a goal threat. Well I was wrong. He was uber slick on the ball but put in his defensive shift and looked a real goal threat. Everything was on show

    I can only hope like others that we have some secret clause or deal based on that. But here is another thing he is from the Seville area so doesn’t have Madrid DNA running through him. If this team and him hits its potential this year and the fans love him and he falls in love with playing for the Arsenal then you just never know.

    A players wishes will still carry some clout. He wouldn’t be cheap but we may only need the 1 expensive player next summer. With 2-3 top youngsters emerging, Saliba to arrive, and if Chambers shows good form and Holding and Bell can get back to pre injury form, then where do we need to spend? 1 very expensive Dani Ceballos may be all we need

  27. RA says:

    How about Burnley’s manager, the lugubrious Dyche’s, complaints about Arsenal players diving all the time?!

    I never saw or even thought about either team diving — but I was peed off about what I have previously described as the cro-magnon neanderthal thuggery of his own Burnley team.

    Anyway, here’s what the Daily Canon had to say about it;

    On Saturday, Sean Dyche claimed to be worried that diving was ruining the game of football after he lost to Arsenal yet again.

    Since Dyche took over at Burnley in 2012, they’ve had pretty much the worst possible record against Arsenal. 10 games played, 10 games lost.

    For a while, Dyche put that down to bad refereeing. In every post-match interview, he’d blame one decision or another as the sole reason his team still haven’t picked up a single point against the Gunners.

    With VAR in place, it’s a lot harder to argue that the big decisions went against Burnley. Arsenal had a goal correctly disallowed, but the two they did score were perfectly legitimate. Fear not, however, as Dyche has found his new go-to excuse: Diving!

    “I don’t know any sport where they tell you that you can cheat once a game. I’ve never seen that in sport before,” Dyche said after Saturday’s match. “The game is in a really poor state with players literally falling on the floor.

    “It’s got to the level where it’s every week now. It’s not about Arsenal. It’s about the greater good of the game.

    “Tony Adams, when he was captain here (at Arsenal). Can you imagine? Do you think he would have accepted it? Do you think he would have accepted it if it was his own players, let alone the opposition? I doubt it.”

    Diving is undoubtedly a bad thing, but it’s not as if the FA aren’t taking steps to address it. They’ve brought in two-match bans for successful deception on an official, and VAR should pick up any incorrectly-award penalties.

    If Dyche is worried about ‘the game of football’, I’d suggest he looks a bit closer to home.

    In Dyche’s ideal version of the game, goalkeeper Nick Pope time-wastes from the very first minute of the match. Star forward Ashley Barnes thinks a knee in the back is a good challenge. Right-back Matthew Lowton almost causes serious harm to Lucas Torreira by pushing him into a dangerous clash with Bernd Leno.

    If my team held the record for the shortest amount of actual playing time in a Premier League match for the last half a decade, and thought a free-kick from anywhere on the pitch was an opportunity to launch the ball into the mixer, I’d certainly be worried about the direction the game of football is going.

    True word!

    For the record — Dyche is not the most erudite of managers, which might explain why he seems to specialise in such verbal flatulence.

  28. GoonerB says:

    Also have to say that Ceballos has changed my mind regarding the Pool away game and does straight onto the team sheet. I am one that believes we can beat Pool away.

    They are an excellent team. They press, have pace, energy, physical presence, technical ability, a formidable front 3, and have counter attacking ability while we press, have pace, energy, physical presence, technical ability, a formidable front 3, and have counter attacking ability………. ooh ditto.

    Our key is to get our combinations right. I buck the trend in feeling that Willock us slightly ahead of Gouzi for a game like this during to being slightly quicker and more dynamic, and Liverpool play at a very fast pace. Also he is probably ahead of Torreira fitness wise at the moment.

    I dont think we can get away with 2 BTB type midfielders working out who goes and who covers with Pool at Anfield and this is a game to play Luiz in front if the back 4 at the base of our midfield.

    I see it as 2 triangles or pyramids in a mirror image sharing an apex point, that being Luiz. It is a variation on the 4-3-3 but is more a 4-1-2-3:

    AMN, Chambo, Soc, Monreal
    Ceballos, Willock
    Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang

    I believe we can topple the mighty Pool at Anfield with that. It has everything covered in shape, defence, pace and high energy, ball distribution, and goals

  29. RA says:

    Hi GB,

    It is a little bit of a potential contradiction that if Ceb plays well, it is unlikely that Real will sell him to us.

    Alternatively, if he plays poorly, and we have a poor season, Real would be happy to sell him, but we would not want to buy,

    I think it is too early to worry about it now.

    AW would never take players on loan, presumably for that reason — me? I am all for it — yesterday’s performance by Ceb was worth the loan, just for itself, and every reason to think there will be more to come,

  30. RA says:

    I like your confidence GB, and it would add something to it that we would beat last season’s CL winners.

    My view is that our defence – and the changes to it – does not fill me with confidence – or perhaps I could say, the defence will stand up to the 2nd best attack in the Premier league — however much I would like it too.

    Still, where there is hope there’s always a chance.

  31. RA says:

    Think I missed out a [not] there! 😁

  32. GoonerB says:

    I am sure you guys understood the predictive text errors.

    RA, I wanted to congratulate Burnley on making it tough but the whingeing ginge has changed my mind. I agree in total with your view. If football in this country is going to move forwards and have a chance at international level then it is time for the media and pundits to criticise the likes of Dyche.

    The usually fawn all over the snarling belt and braces British manager and his get stuck into them early on and they won’t like it approach. At the same time they decisively laugh at anyone trying to bring a more technical and sublime approach to their team.

    These same pundits then moan when England aren’t technical enough and get embarrassed at international level. Hypocrisy of the highest order. Fir once can they be brave enough to call managers like Dyche out on this.

  33. GoonerB says:

    RA, that is a key reason for playing Luiz at HM. He can form a hard to break down triangular central defensive area with Luiz almost acting as an advanced sweeper.

  34. RockyLives says:

    No Ozil in your line-up then?

    (Not disagreeing, I just think it’s weird how quickly Ozil has almost become invisible when fans contemplate their preferred starting elevens).

  35. RockyLives says:


    Fair point re brambles. If Ceballos turns into a bramble we’ll just have to stick him at DM where he can entangle opposing players with his tentacles and thorns.

  36. LBG says:

    Now you’re talking.
    Agree with that 11 for next week completely.
    Dick has asked for realism regarding the next two games, and even two points would not be too disappointing for me, but four wod be a statement of intent.
    We will try to be realistic Dick, but give the Dippers something to think about from us not just us worrying about them. Give Pepe a stage to keep a fullback on his toes. Cant wait myself!

  37. Rasp says:

    England declare 266 ahead leaving Australia to survive 48 overs with overcast conditions, a swinging ball and Archer providing some 90+mph chin music and down to 10 men – no Smith due to delayed concussion … it could get tasty!

  38. Rasp says:

    13 for 1 ….

  39. RockyLives says:

    Time for TMS…

  40. Rasp says:

    19 for 2 now Rocky …

  41. Rasp says:

    … both wickets to Archer … hostile bowling …. giving the Aussies a bit of their own medicine …. (apologies VP 😉 )

  42. Rasp says:

    … correction, Australia have the full 11 batsmen, Labuschagne has come in for Smith

  43. RA says:

    I really like the fiery GoonerB. 😁

    It is annoying that the Burnley Whisperer can say such outrageous things, bereft of proof, and no one in the media challenges his nonsense.

    I suspect that as they did not see any such diving, they do not want to deny it happened in case they look stupid for not seeing the King’s trousers.

    Arsenal were always diving claimed Dickie Dyche.

    Well, the truth of the matter is, there was no Arsenal diving there at all, but a grovelling journo trying to be smart, said, “Your Fatness, to a wise man these awful dives are the work of the devil, but to a foolish Arsenal fan, they are absolutely invisible.”

    Naturally, the media not wanting to appear foolish joined in and said;

    “Isn’t it grand! Isn’t it fine! Look at that dive, the
    style, the line!
    The dreadful dives are all together
    But all together, they’re all together
    The most dreadful dives that we have ever

    Tomorrow, Your Fat huskiness, your divine edict will be all over the back pages …….

    “The Arsenal are cheating divers, cheating divers, the most cheating divers that Dyche has ever seen ….

  44. Sue says:

    Super Sunday… not going by the first game! Nearly fell asleep 😄 Zaha didn’t have a very good game, not sure if that’s down to the fact that he doesn’t want to be there, and I know it’s only one game… but comparing his performance with that of Pepe’s yesterday.. I have to hold my hands up & admit we did the right thing! As much as I like Wilf, I said he wasn’t worth more than 40m and i think he proved me right!
    Anyway on to the Chelsea game.. thought Leicester were going to nick it at the end! What on earth were they wearing though?? I know they say only real men wear pink, but man, that was gross!!
    Still makes me laugh (hard!) that Chelsea spent 71m on Arrizabalaga!!!
    Oh well a point ain’t bad 😜 now just hope Wolves win tomorrow!

  45. kelsey says:

    I forgot to say hello to RA Gooner B and all.

    I must say the level of conversation and debate on here has gone up a notch or two.Well done to all concerned.

  46. Anyone got any ideas for posts this week …… I think we’ve covered Ceballos and David Luiz 🙈

  47. The diving thing is quite interesting, I’ve never thought that we were a team of divers, is it just an accusation that gets levelled when a team loses?

  48. fred1266 says:

    Think Sheffield defended well against him double teaming him everytime he got the ball

  49. fred1266 says:

    Yea sue Leicester uniform was horrendous

  50. Sue says:

    Defo on par with our gross green kit from last season, Fred! 🤢

  51. fred1266 says:

  52. fred1266 says:

    St Ethienne not even playing saliba why didn’t they just give us him one time

  53. Sue says:

    He’s injured ain’t he, Fred? Thought I saw he was out for about 6 weeks (?)
    Was just going to ask you if you’d seen Dat guy Welbz’s message! 5 years.. didn’t seem that long, but then i guess he was really unlucky with his injuries!

  54. fatgingergooner says:

    Saliba has had surgery and is out for 6 weeks.

    As for Dyche, it’s interesting that he says Tony Adams would never tolerate diving in his teams. Let’s not forget that Tony Adams played alongside Robert Pires. 😂

    I rewatched the game last night after a few beers and there is a moment in the game when Barnes is running away from our midfield around the halfway line and Nelson is chasing him down. Knowing he doesn’t have the pace to get away from Nelson, Barnes falls over and wins a free kick the moment he feels Nelson anywhere near him. He’s already on the floor before he’s even touched. I’ve actually got it saved on my phone but unsure how I would post it on here! 🤷‍♂️ The fact is that this is normal in football now. If the powers that be had done something when it first became rife then maybe it could’ve been reduced, but they left it for far too long and allowed it to become part of the game. Dyche whinging about Arsenal players isn’t going to change shit, and he should have a look at his own mob before pointing the finger. If he’s the big ‘anti-diving spokesman that he claims to be then he should ban Barnes for a few games and dock his wages. I won’t hold my breath whilst I wait for that to happen.

  55. LB says:


    There is something in drafts, it is not time sensitive and feel free to change the title.

  56. fred1266 says:

    Ok didn’t know

    Also bamford scoring goals for fun keeping our boy Eddie on the bench

  57. Thanks LB, I’ll have a look.

  58. Have to get this going at The Ems

  59. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post …

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