Enough of Your Moaning … Now For The Positivity

There were mixed reactions to Arsenal’s loss to Liverpool at the weekend, but most subscribed to the ‘work in progress’ theory and looked for the positives … here are some of the more constructive appraisals:


Many are now blaming Emery for his team selection (debatable) and tactics but if he is to be a top manager for us he will hopefully have learnt something and the key areas where to strengthen. Luiz was stupid but you see that in every game. In all probability without pulling Salah’s shirt, he still would have scored

Xhaka again didn’t stamp any authority on the game and Monreal yet again got caught out of position.

Maybe Pepe should have scored but he will be awesome and no mean task to make your debut at Anfield.

We were always second best but one can’t fault our work rate.


The first goal is always key in these games. If Pepe had scored when through then this could’ve been a different story, but to concede just before and just after half time will kill any side. It’s even worse when you gift them the goals.

I thought our shape was actually ok. We played a diamond with Ceballos at the point and Xhaka deep. Yes, we were very narrow and allowed their full backs space, but actually they didn’t test Leno really from the crosses that came in and it was other parts of our overall play that cost us.

Pepe was fantastic and if you don’t get excited watching him and Auba linking together then I don’t know what to say. I really hope we see the trio soon with Lacazette coming in to see what we can really do. His finishing needs work but his running and eye for pass were on show again.

Willock was outstanding and looks every bit a new star in our midfield and exactly what we need. What’s not to love about his energy, composure and ability. Love him.

Geundouzi’s energy was also a joy but he lacks a bit of refinement. Hopefully that will come with experience and I think his and Willock energy just takes a bit of pressure off Xhaka. Before the first goal I actually thought the midfield 3 were giving us good protection and we looked pretty good until that Pepe miss and set piece lapse in concentration.


Yes, we gave away the wings but did well protecting our centre and the crosses and I’d say we had the best of chances in the first half. I’m not sure if we were back to full concentration when Luiz saw Salah slip in and grabbed his shirt. I can’t blame him for that. Despite the rule change with VAR all players are still grabbing shirts and it will take time to get this habit out of their game, especially one that’s been playing the whole of his career like that!

So, 2-0 down and then 3. At this point I thought we looked doomed to another bashing with half hour to go but not sure whether Pool lost the desire a bit knowing the game was won or maybe they tired too – maybe a bit of both.

We played out the game and our heads didn’t drop, gained a bit more confidence and got a consolation, one back. I thought on the day we were just not as well oiled or confident as them. We have 3 first teamers waiting to join the crew and I look forward to a better match next time, maybe with better tactics by then if all goes well.


Another thing to bear is mind is that ‘Pool had pretty much their strongest team on the pitch yesterday.

It’s quite likely that UE’s strongest team later in the season will be something like:



The positives from this game were as follows:

1. we can see that we have the depth and variety to change things from our bench, and Pepe I think will soon start to terrorise teams.

2. Willock indeed looks a great BTB player completely suited to the EPL and with quality as well. Scarily (good for us) he will also improve further.

3. We have some great players individually and I feel this will be a stronger EPL campaign for us overall. We should have enough to beat most of the teams that we should beat with less banana skins.

4. Torreira has again shown he has an eye for goal and the ability to drive forwards in addition to his tackling and defensive tenacity. He looks another great potential BTB player, but this raises the conundrum of who plays the holding midfield position to allow him to play to his peak.

So all in all, an away loss to the team that only lost one game last season and whose home ground has been the proverbial fortress is not a disaster.

We’d all have taken a loss at Anfield if we get the 3 points this weekend wouldn’t we?



49 Responses to Enough of Your Moaning … Now For The Positivity

  1. VP says:

    we lost away at Anfield
    Manure lost at home to Crystal
    Spuds lost at home to Newcastle

    We are sitting 3rd so its onwards and upwards

  2. VP of Oz says:

    at my futsal whatsapp chat, a scouser comes out with “fun fact, Arsenal haven’t beaten a top six side away in the Premier League in 23 games”
    I reply, “another fun fact, Liverpool have not won the league in 29 years”. well that got him going nuts, ranting on about how much better Lpool is etc.
    So I said that setting a record for the most points in coming 2nd is not actually winning the league, its still coming 2nd.

    Anyway I am confident that we will finish at worst 3rd. COYG!

  3. Rasp says:

    Nice one VP … yes, I’ve got us down for 3rd. After we beat the miscreants this Saturday I can see us staying ahead of them for the rest of the season.

  4. Rasp says:

    Nice to see the spuds ease our pain by losing to the toon yesterday. They really lack creativity without Eriksen, it will be interesting to see if he starts against us … I very much doubt it, whoever the potential buyer is, they are leaving it right to the last minute to get him as cheaply as they can.

    It seems that totnum are following our previous business model closely with 5 ‘assets’ (players) about to go into the last year of their contracts.

  5. LBG says:

    Well done! It’s amazing how those cheerful, all singing, all dancing, best joke tellers, best banner and song creators, get their little Scouser knickers in a twist when you remind them of 29years. How on earth AW took so much stick for 10+ is almost unfathomable.
    Cricket and rugby made up almost completely for mildly disappointing Sat evening, for me.

  6. Can’t say that I’ve seen much moaning TBH. The result was predictable, Spurs & United also lost, we’ve only dropped one place, have players returning from injury & the national press are still giving us a fair shake.

  7. Malaysian gunner says:

    The great thing about the epl is its unpredictability.Teams at the bottom can beat the top teams.
    Spurs and Mu both lost .On paper both were at 70 % home bankers.
    I agree with what the CP manager said. They have to absorb the attack and hit on the break .
    To Wenger its anti soccer. That’s why he always lost the big games. His kamikaze attack was the main reason why Arsenal lost repeatedly to MU .
    I don’t care about beautiful soccer. As long as the gunners win that’s
    what counts. But to the French guy Arsenal must win with style which is impossible.In a way he asked for it. Lets hope Emery can more often start winning

  8. RC78 says:

    For me the positives were:
    – Pepe and Willock
    – Torreira and Lacazette
    – Attitude
    – Spurs losing

    I think it is clear that it will be a two-horse race for the EPL title again this year so D. Luiz needs to wake up…City and Liverpool are on another planet but I give Klopp full credit for transforming this team little by little and getting it to a world-class level with young talent as well as experienced players. Really doing an awesome job.

    I think that then there are 5 teams really fighting for the Top 4 places:
    Spurs, Chelsea, Utd, Arsenal and Everton while Leicester, West Ham and Wolves can sneak in but less likely.

    I think for me the question is to know, what is our best set-up and our best line-up. And that s another positive from this game – as soon as we reverted to a 433, we were a lot more incisive and productive. I think we have the squad to play in different formations but what is out best one?

    For sure, some players will be better in a 3-4-3 set up and I can name Luiz, AMN, Bellerin, Tieney and Kola – mostly our defenders. So is defensive stability the basis for our success?

    Leno – Luiz, Holding, Sokratis – Bellerin, Torreira, Chambers?, Kola – Pepe, Laca, Auba

    With currently available players:
    Leno – Luiz, Sok, Monreal – AMN, Torreira, Chambers, Kola – Pepe, Laca, Auba

    OR is our success to be based on more about possession and pressing? If the latter, shall we play a 433?
    Leno – Bellerin, Luiz, Holding, Tierney – Torreira, Chambers, Willock – Pepe, Laca, Auba

    With currently available players:
    Leno – AMN, Luiz, Sok, Kola – Torreira, Chambers, Willock – Pepe, Laca, Auba

    Now that begs the question on what do we do with Ceballos, Ozil and Mkhy. Apparently one of Ozil and Mkhy may leave but at the moment, it seems that with Emery’s philosophy and the surprising Willock, Ozil and Mkhy may find it hard to get playing time.

    Was a long response…sorry if I derailed a bit from the original conversation

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s actually been an enjoyable start to the season and it would be even better if we go into the international break with a win against Spuds. My worry is that we lose a few games on the bounce and everything goes back to the negativity and bitching of the last 5 years. I feel this blog has really benefited from the positive start to the season and some of the conversation and analysis has been really strong, with everyone on the same page (that we are an exciting, energetic team again). Ultimately it’s up to the players and the boss to give us something to cheer about and get excited about. I hope they can deliver as it would be nice to be a settled top 4 side again with aspirations of winning trophies.

  10. LBG says:

    Leno – Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney-
    -Willock Luiz Torreira-
    Pepe Laca Aubang………..for me.

    Dani in place of one of front three on occasions, and Saliba next season. A M-N, Smith- Rowe, Saka in background as essential up and coming squad players.

  11. fatgingergooner says:

    Maybe something to discuss another day, but what do people actually think would be a successful stint at the club for Emery? As is usually the case, people were questioning his future and his ability as soon as he signed, but I do wonder what people actually expect from him? Personally, I think winning the PL is quite a way away, although I must say our transfer business and attitude around the club has renewed my faith and makes me think it’s not totally unachievable in the next 5 years if we were to get a lot of luck in the market and some of our promising young players really push on.

    Realistically though, I think getting cemented back in the top 4 (2 or 3 continuous seasons), getting to last 8 of that competition, winning a domestic trophy, developing the young players, and giving the team an identity on the field (pressing, quick passing, enjoyable to watch) would all add up to a very successful spell at the club. Am I asking for too much or not enough!? I’m not sure….

  12. RC78 says:

    For Emery, I think as of this year we want Top 4 finish and a cup win at national or European level. He is hitting target (for me) in terms of trimming the squad down (especially if Mustafi and El Neny leave) and in using our young players. Also, I could not be more delighted with the addition of Pepe to our team.

    LBG – I can live with your squad easily

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    Just another quick one whilst I’m rambling on, did anyone see the none penalty against David Silva yesterday? He went down in the box and the ref waved play on despite big appeals and then VAR checked it and gave no penalty even though David Silva clearly got to the ball first and then the defender clearly stood on his foot causing, I imagine, a bit of pain which made Silva go down. Now I’m confused as to what constitutes a clear and obvious error by the referee as it was pretty clear to me that the defender got none of the ball and a lot of Silva so why is it not given? I’m wondering if when it goes to VAR and the ref is in contact with the people watching the video that he’s maybe saying to them that he saw the contact with the foot and didn’t feel it warranted a pen and therefore VAR are reluctant to overturn it.

    I think it’s time that referees and the VAR were mic’d up, as they are in Rugby League, so that when a decision goes to replay we can hear the dialogue and can understand a little more as to why a decision is given or not given.

  14. RC78 says:

    Bordeaux asking about El Neny again. Looking at 10 Mln

  15. fatgingergooner says:

    I’d take that for Elneny. £20m for Mustafi and I’d keep Monreal until January.

  16. RockyLives says:

    I lean more to the side of the positive thinkers based on our start so far this season (and am thankful for an upbeat Post today Rasp).

    Which is not to say that people who feel more concerned are being “negative” – they are perfectly entitled to share their worries and some have done so in very articulate and persuasive ways.

    For me, there are so many factors beyond our tactics to explain why we were second best on Saturday (new players in key roles, players in key partnerships who have hardly played together before, likely first choice players missing through injury, players new to the EPL, young players with little experience of a big away game like that, the intimidating atmosphere at Anfield, the confidence and quality of this Liverpool team, their excellent home record).

    When you take all that into account, a defeat was neither unexpected nor embarrassing… although it could have been if we had let our heads drop at 3-0.

    Instead we carried on fighting and got a consolation goal. And even though ‘Pool had certainly eased off by then, they still did not like conceding it and it will positively affect our psychological take-out from the match.

  17. fred1266 says:

    FGG VAR and city seems not to agree at the moment

    What did u think about the one with lacelles and Kane FGG

  18. fatgingergooner says:


    I’ve not seen it. Tbh I don’t watch the shit teams. Just tend to stick with Arsenal, Liverpool and City as they play good stuff. Not impressed with VAR so far though. I understand the desire to have offside be black and white, but I feel there should be an advantage to the attacking side and the 1 inch offsides are a piss take. I also don’t agree with the accidental handball decisions that have been given so far. 2 perfectly good goals ruled out.

    There is a place for VAR, but just keep it simple and only use it for the glaring mistakes where someone is 4 yards offside or it’s been put in with a hand etc

  19. RC78 says:

    FGG – Monreal wanted to stay but asked for 2 years and was only given 1 year…Mustafi could also end up in Ligue 1 (Monaco) or in Turkey but Italy and Spain cannot be discounted either. I think the club wants 25 Mln for him but he ll go for 20.

    The VAR is an endless debate…The moment you have room for interpretation, there will be disagreement.

  20. fred1266 says:

    I actually FGG go back to the old rule giving the attacker the benefit

    Seems like the people making these rules never played football in there life

  21. LBG says:

    FGG 1.11
    A perfect, realistic wish list for me, then Vieira in two and a bit seasons for me!
    Did anyone see VVD’s apparently equally blatant pull back on the shirt of one of our Angel’s in the box? I didn’t obviously!

  22. LBG says:

    Not in the box, apparently. And no longer available as video. ( Obviously deleted to continue the impression VVD is god!)

  23. Mike M says:

    Morning all. I have avoided the “other” sites as usual but especially because I’d imagine the level of bile and vitriol about the worst manager in Arsenal’s history playing a park the bus strategy and accepting defeat against a team we now match up favourably with is rife. So instead as many on here point out, we should really take quite a few positives and I’m not going to repeat them all, just say I agree. I was one of the last group of fans to say AW needed to go (about 2 yrs before he did) because I think the older you get, the less black and white everything seems, so you live a little in the grey and look for more measured and credible conclusions over the longer term. In that vein, I think we’re in for a little bit of a “grey” season. If we keep the faith and support our team, we may see blue skies in our future. As Rocky points out, there’s nothing wrong with being critical but for me, the overall trend and feeling is still very positive.

  24. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rasp

    As I was likely the biggest whinger yesterday I am pleased you only used the positive first part of my first comment for this upbeat post 😀

    Actually I think FGG’s comment on expectations is very reasonable and the suggested expectation is spot on.

    I would add one further expectation, that we show we are far closer and more competitive against the likes of Pool and City as the season progresses.

    Not necessarily expecting victories but any later season game against one of them should see us significantly more competitive in those head to head games than we saw yesterday.

    I just felt yesterday that we had the quality of player to have been more competitive than we were. So accepting the reasonable suggestions by others on A.A that have been put forward as to why we were not, and that we are still a work in progress and gelling the players together, then I think a significant bridging of the gap to the top 2 is a reasonable expectation later this season.

  25. RA says:

    FGG, @ 1:58,

    And there I was blaming you, as an ex-representative of Sky and their ancient cameras. 😁

    Why do I say that?

    Well we are all well versed in the complaints about VAR, and those will hopefully get addressed as time goes by, but one of those was the claim that the cameras used by Sky (and presumably BT et al) only show images at 50 frames per second, and in the case of the Sterling/City offside, which you mentioned, the cameras are unable to accurately show the exact time that a pass started to be made to an “offside” player, or for that matter, the exact time the supposedly offside Sterling received the ball.

    What does that matter?

    Well, at the speed Sterling travels when running onto a pass, he would cover 13cms between the frames, whereas he was adjudged offside by only 2.4cms.

    It does not take a genius to realise that there are ‘blind areas’ when the camera does not know where the hell the player’s body or the ball are — and to say he was offside, or not, would be a bit like the ref wearing a blindfold and sticking a pin in the tape.

    There’s roughly 10cms between the frame speed and the distance Sterling covered. (10cm is roughly 4″) – so dependent on where the defender was at that exact moment, he could well have been onside.
    Who knows? Not the Referee, or his assistant, and certainly not the VAR technology.

    Solution? Until Sky, BT et al get better cameras – any minuscule measurement which is under 5cms (say) should be ignored — they are not material, and are bound to be wrong for the reason given, and guesses at best.

    Finally, Slim, I was not really blaming you for VAR. 😛

  26. RA says:


    Rocky added a caveat to the ‘critical’ point, in that he said (my words not his) fans are entitled to express their genuine concerns.

    We can all say ‘this or that’, and inevitably, there will be others who say ‘that or this’ — provided it is done respectfully and without bile or rancour — that is definitely Ok, or what is the point of a blog? 😳

  27. fatgingergooner says:

    Funnily enough RA that’s the exact point I was making the other day when Sterling’s goal was disallowed (but without the maths and science that you’ve added of course!). Maybe that part of my comment was in your 5cm blind spot 😉😂 all jokes aside though I totally agree that there should be some sort of allowance given to the attacker to allow for shit cameras (i actually work for Openreach now, still part of BT if you ask some people, so I’ve switched sides! 😂).

  28. fred1266 says:

    Yep exactly even when we scored against Burnley it should have stood

  29. fatgingergooner says:


    I may find myself disagreeing with you again a little bit here (what’s happened to us!!!😂).

    I actually think last season that one of Emery’s improvements was that he made us competitive again against the big teams. Liverpool away aside, and bearing in mind that we played City home and Chelsea away the first 2 games of his arrival whilst missing a lot of key players, I thought we did pretty well in the PL against these teams. Obviously the EL final put a dampener on things but when you ignore the top 2 due to their dominance, we actually won 3, drew 2 and lost 1 against United, Spurs and Chelsea.

    Of course we want to get closer to the top 2, but right now I don’t think we can have any confidence that we will be beating them away from home. At the Emirates however, I’d like to think at least a point is reasonable and we should be beating the others as we did last year.

  30. fred1266 says:

  31. RA says:


    I normally find myself in agreement with the great GB too. Much tho I try to find something to debate with him.

    And I am not quite uptodate with what has been said — some damned thing called work keeps demanding my attention, but I agree with your 5:23.

    People often exaggerate when they are making a point, and factual evidence is oft ignored, and if we won 3; drew 2; and lost 1, outside the top 2 clubs, that will be gently ignored by some. 😜

    And for clarities sake, I do not include GoonerB in that musing!! 😎

    [I recall you saying you had moved on from Sky, and that was a quite a good time ago — that’s why I felt safe pulling your leg about the Sky FPS.
    Incidentally, I cannot claim credit for the ‘slow’ cameras — it was discussed on an iPod chat between a cross pundit and one of the ex-refs.]

    You and Sue will be able to compare legs, and see if either of you have one longer than the other — like GB’s!!

  32. Sue says:

    Fred.. love that clip of Podolski… i still miss him!

  33. RockyLives says:

    I know much of the VAR debate has been had (and unlike Redders I don’t have a slide rule, protractor and spirit level 😀 ), but my main takeaway from the VAR incident in our game where there may or may not have been argy bargy in our penalty area was that it was an unacceptably long delay to the game for a load of old nothing.

    They should have a 15 second time limit to make a decision on a VAR review: if it’s egregious, it will be spotted in that time; if not, go with whatever the ref called in real time.

    We don’t want to start going the way of North American sports where the game is stopped by the officials every two minutes. (No offence to our American friends, including Sir Redders 😳 )

  34. Mike M says:

    @ RA – agreed. Rocky used the words “genuine concerns”, I used the word “critical”. If there’s a huge difference in the two then I stand corrected. What was clear is that we both agree that while some people have “genuine concerns/ criticism”, there’s nothing wrong with that, however we both lean on the positive side of things. Hope that clears up any confusion.

  35. fred1266 says:

    Hmm kolasinac while have somehow to say about that trying to put yourself in trouble

  36. LB says:

    That idea of a 15 second rule is really good Rocky

  37. RockyLives says:

    Spot on Mike.

  38. Pat7 says:

    My tenpennyworth on the Kane VAR was that the defender fell/threw himself down relatively forward, the natural way but spreading himself as long as possible whilst Kane threw himself over the player trying to give the impression that the defender had fallen across him so to me if anything Kane should/could have been booked…..
    I feel UE has a short tenure unless he does something special. If he gets us back into the top 4 he will keep his job unless a ‘better’ manager becomes available (judged by Edu etc). For me his communication is not good enough and we’re in waiting.

  39. Mike M says:

    Here’s a question. If you lose a game does it by definition mean the tactics are flawed? I’m sure I’m wearing my rose colour specs here but I think we were the better team in the first half. More possession? obviously not. More crosses and corners. No. More shots? (not sure but maybe !!), maybe not. More clear cut chances created Absolutely. Liverpool’s only clear chance was from a mistake by Ceballos. We had two great chances from fast counters when Liverpool were committed forward. Here’s what I will say.
    1) We’ve had more games that I can remember where we dominated possession, had a team on the back foot and we went on to draw or lose the game. We didn’t like it but that’s how the opposition set up to get a result.
    2) If you’re a Liverpool fan you’d probably admit you were getting frustrated at not scoring and the lack of clear cut chances for 40 mins.
    Their goal came at just the right time as has happened for us in many games like this in the past. So did we get it wrong tactically by playing 4-4-2 or did we just fail to execute the plan?

  40. Rasp says:

    Hi Mike, my answer to your question is … No … at least not just the tactics and not always.

    Surely the main factors the manager can influence are preparation (analysis of the opposition and emphasis in training), tactics and team selection.

    If he gets all three of those right and we still lose, either the team has failed to execute the plan, or the opposition were just better than us.

  41. fatgingergooner says:


    I know others have disagreed with this view, and I understand why, but my opinion is that it’s up to the manager to set up the team in a way that gets us the first goal, or to adjust the team if we go behind in a way that gets us back in the game. It’s not his responsibility to put the ball in net. I believe his tactics put us in a position on Saturday whereby we could’ve and should’ve scored first (regardless of how much possession and territory we gave up), and I don’t think you can ask much more than that, especially against such a good side. One area he may have failed is that he didn’t get us back in the game, but given that we conceded 3 minutes after he’d had a chance to speak to the players and tweak things, I’m not sure too much blame can be put on him for that.

    I appreciate that’s a very simple way of looking at it, but it’s just how I feel about Saturdays game. Had that been Norwich away and we’d dropped that deep then of course I would have a different view, as I don’t think playing on the counter like that would be our best chance of getting a result against a lesser team, but I feel you have to take into account who the opposition are when looking at the tactics used, and given Liverpool are such a good side and usually dominate at home, counter attack was our best chance I think.

  42. LB says:


    There are a few words in drafts should you need.

  43. fred1266 says:

    Sue zaha going PSG

  44. Mike M says:

    @ Rasp and FGG – then we are all of the opinion that Saturday wasn’t the unmitigated disaster that it has been purported to be in some circles. To be fair to those who are upset, we did have the opportunity to get something out of the game and we didn’t take it. However I think the important distinction is that the players on the field were responsible for that. And while not being hyper critical of them because of the quality of our opposition, on another day we could have won.
    If you’re skeptical of UE (and I think there’s reason to be in the interest of fairness) I’m not sure that’s the game to judge him on. If you want to use it, consider that we could or should have been at least a goal ahead when we reverted to type. Maybe that’s his fault too because he signed Luiz and he’s responsible for the collective defending of the team. So that would be a valid argument too. just not one I happen to subscribe to.
    Anyone remember watching the 2001 FA Cup final? I’ve never seen such a miscarriage of justice in terms of a result. But they won and we lost. It happens

  45. Sue says:

    😳 Fred!!! Surprised at that…although that means I’ll have to watch them a lot more then, which suits me fine!

  46. LBG says:

    Mike M
    2001 Cup Final in Cardiff!! Never have the whole Vines Contingent- Vines LJ very, very old, and JC very very, very old, included, been so dumbstruck at a miscarriage of justice. Michael Owen – little runt!

  47. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post …

  48. Rasp says:

    LB, we had a post from RC78 lined up for today, we will publish yours tomorrow with a minor adjustment to the ‘day’

  49. Uwot? says:

    Plenty of matches in the past.where we’ve had 70% plus possession.oppsosition has 1 poss 2 shots scores both & we’ve been undone.As for VAR & the offside rule.why not make it BOTH FEET have to be offside for it to register.NOT this business of an elbow,big toe,somebody’s nose! It’s ridiculous.

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