Another rollercoaster …… Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 2

This was such an interesting game. The first half was really poor, we didn’t get going and we conceded (of course we conceded). The bright spark was Saka who took a couple of marvelous shots that on another day would have been great goals – he is going to be a great addition to the squad. Late in the half, Maitland-Niles, already on a yellow, got himself sent off for a second yellow and we saw out the half with Xhaka playing at right-back.

 

The second half also started slowly, Emery had (sadly) had to take off Saka to bring on Chambers at right-back. He had done well earlier in the season so that felt like a good move. Still we huffed and puffed. Guendouzi’s energy was beginning to trouble the visitors and then he was brought down while slaloming into the box. Pepe fired home the resulting penalty. Phew ………. but then we conspired to give Villa another goal.

On 71 minutes Torreira and Willock came on for Xhaka and Ceballos and then the fun started. Guendouzi has energy  to burn, I love that guy, Willock must be terrifying to play against when you’re getting tired and Torreira was snapping into tackles. Chambers showed he wouldn’t give up the chance to score by equalising to 2-2 and then Aubameyang put us ahead with a beautiful free kick.

Now I love snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and we did just that. We had played poorly for 70 minutes and conceded 2 goals, gosh we do make things difficult for ourselves.

I have to say something about Guendouzi – did I mention that I love him. His energy is amazing but what I love also is the way he engages with the crowd while the game is going ahead. I don’t think we’ve had a player that recognises the part the crowd are playing while the game is going on. Most players play with their heads down doing their job (which is fine) but this guy urges the crowd to join in. It’s fantastic. The Emirates was still nearly full at the full time whistle, supporters were staying behind to applaud Matteo as he walked around the pitch. I love him.

Player ratings from RC78

Leno – 5. Let’s in 2 goals but did well.

AMN – 3. Started the match well but squandered a glorious chance. Then gets a yellow and another one. Clearly more at ease going forward than at defending l.

Sokratis – 4. Nothing spectacular and almost gave away another PK.

Luiz – 5. Sober and had some decent passing.

Kola – 5. Struggled going forward but defended OK.

Guendouzi – 7. This guy is a pure Ray of light this season. Doesn’t hide. Wants to win. Drives the ball forward and defends with passion.

Xhaka -4. Another lacklustre performance. Not leading by example.

Ceballos – 4. Anonymous.

Pepe- 6. Chances, a goal and lots of runs at opposition. Needs to improve but at least he played well.

Aubameyang – 6. A goal and a great effort for the team. What a player we have in Auba.

Saka – 6. Great start by the youngster. Fantastic debut and unlucky to be subbed.

 

Chambers – 6. The goal and the passion he showed make up for the second goal we conceded. Pure warrior attitude. Must be a starter.

Willock and Torreira – 5. Slotted in well. Great attitude too.

 

Emery – 5. A tough win and I hope that he’ll now drop Sokratis and Xhaka and let Chambers and Torreira or Willock start.

A win is a win 🙂

peachesgooner

61 Responses to Another rollercoaster …… Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 2

  1. kelsey says:

    May I give my opinion in general about where we are as a club as of now.It does take time to build a championship winning side but as it is today if we could get top 4 that would be an achievement in itself by earning it or by default.. You try and be civil to one another on here and I respect that but looking around the sites I see posters using the word hate when refering to Emery.but there is a growing camp of people doubting Emery’s abilities to organise a midfield or defence and why have 5 captains and then one of them promptly gets booked again and is subbed.Xhaka regardless that he is the Swiss national captain is and has always been a liability and is no leader and only occasionally has a decent game.Now Emery has inherited a lot of players who were badly bought by Gazidis,Laws and co and given astronimical wages so why should they move, Mustafi still has just under two years left on his contract as does the enigma that is Ozil. AMN was playing in his wrong position and hope he isn’t badly injured but he just isn’t the quality for a top side trying to get back amongst the elite. Of course there has been a massive turnround in players coming and going and Auba who has 2 years left and Lacazette who has 3 years left need to be tied down and then in the worst possible scenario if they are in demand with other clubs which frequently happens to some of our better players we sell to our direct competition but in this case at a good profit as we don’t want a repeat of the Ramsey situation. Money has been promised by Josh in January I believe Kolsaniac will want to go back to Germany as his wife won’t come back to London after the moped attacks and quite frankly every time he plays I never know his exact position, so to me he is n los. The kids Saka and Willock show immense promise as does Guendouzzi who has a terrific motor and is improving and I can actually see him being our captain in a few years but that’s just my opinion. If Tierney is half as good as they say he is he will be a huge asset at LB, but a word of caution on Holding and Bellerin who both sustained the same injury which can be career ending so they have to be brought back slowly.Emery is now a head coach not a manager like AW who appeard to be not answerable to anyone so it’s not fair to make a comparis but from every single game I have seen this season we look just as vunerable in defence bar two good keepers, and midfield is just now working with any fluency. I have more than a feeling that Emery has his favourites as opposed to playing those in form in their right position and f it was a clever gesture by Auba to let Pepe take the penalty and hope he kicks on from here.Early days but Dani is not impossing himself, Torreira and the manager don’t see eye to eye so we don’t get the best of him and have we ever got a good deal from Chelsea. Martinelli I hear is looking good and Saliba was a strange buy to me but he is back home in France injured. Allegri would be my man as to me Emery won’t cut it in the most competive league at least in Europe and i question his defensive tactics.Player ratings are an individual choice but to me Auba and Guendouzzi were the outsatanding players yesterday.

  2. VP of Oz says:

    Great write up Peaches
    Now to read Kelsey

  3. Rasp says:

    Brilliant work peaches. I’m going to go against the media thrust and concentrate on the massive plus from the game …

    We were down to 10 men … then up to 12!

    Guendouzi covered every blade of grass. He has seemingly unending energy. He shows for the ball. He shores up the defence. He is the go-to player from the back … and when we are lacking inspiration he takes charge.

    I haven’t seen an Arsenal midfield player take charge of a game like that since Cazorla against Man City.

    He wasn’t going to give up. The more wasteful his colleagues became, the more determined he was. When we failed to penetrate their defence (by being scared to take on their players ) he said “right, give me the ball, I’ll do it if you can’t”.

    This may seem like an emotional response, but at a time when Sokratis’ plan was to turn every tackle into a greek tragedy, and when Pepe and ceballos were ineffective, a 19 year old life long Arsenal fan took centre stage and showed them all how to do it.

  4. RC78 says:

    Rasp – agree with your view on Guendouzi.

    Also agree about the earlier views on Xhaka and other deadwood and some players not playing in their favoured position and I think that Emery could definitely deal better with playing players where they belong

    Soon Holding and Laca will be back so thst will add some steel to our team.

    Holding, Luiz – Chambers, Douzi – Pepe, Laca, Auba

    Doesn’t look too bad to me

  5. Rasp says:

    Morning Kelsey 🙂

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I do believe the structure of the management now is such that it will address the problems you identify.

    The last thing we want is to become just another club who fires their manager routinely after a few bad performances. I think it is likely that Emery needs to get us into the top 4 to keep his job for next season, and I think once some of the players return from injury that can happen.

    If I could get him to do one thing, it would be to play Chambers and Holding (when fit) as CBs and play Luiz in front of them in the same role as he did at Chelsea. I’m pretty sure our goals conceded would plummet.

  6. RA says:

    I was really enjoying Rasps excellent match report, until he said he loved Douzy at least 3 times — nothing wrong with that, but …. then it became apparent that the doyenne if football reporters, no less than the delectable Peaches was the author, and the world righted itself! 😀

    Loved the report Peaches, thank you, and like the Rocky man, I was unable to see or hear the game, so you made it come to life for me.

    I clearly missed a belter of a 30% game.

  7. Rasp says:

    Morning Redders … I greatly admire Guendouzi but not in a pythonesque lumberjack way 🙂

  8. I had had quite a lot of alcohol pre-match RA so the first half was a bit of a blur.

  9. RockyLives says:

    Thank you for the report Peaches and the ratings RC.

    Now, to spread a little mischief around AA Towers, I seem to recall not that long again that RC authored a Post suggesting that our fuzzy-headed Gwen was not ready to be a first team regular just yet.

    In the comments I begged to differ (although promising to scrutinize his performances more carefully in case I was seeing more in him than was truly there). I added this:

    “Why do I think he’s a star in the making? Well, in certain games last season and already this season he has had performances that put me in mind of players like Paddy Vieira and Yaya Toure. I don’t mean to say his performances were at that level, but that they were of a nature that, if he continues to develop, could reach Vieira/Toure levels.”

    Although I didn’t see the game yesterday, the descriptions of his performance outlined above hint at validating my enthusiasm for the young lad.

    But patting oneself on the back is not a good look and I’ll probably regret it in our next game when he plays like Gwen-dozy rather than Gwen-doozy.

  10. RA says:

    Rasper,

    Your summation of Douzy’s attitude, and endless energy, blends in nicely with what Peaches said in her report – and altho no one likes a show off – (moi?? 😛) – I was often surprised that people were saying he was not up to the quality required, and needed to go out on loan etc — I have always had high hopes for him and his gutsy performances — so when he did eventually ‘burn out’ slightly at the end of last season, it did not bother me, given his youth, and the lack of quality in midfield which he, and Torreira, were continually having to cover for.

    Nice one, king Koi. 😜

  11. RockyLives says:

    Haha – Redders, are you patting yourself on the back as well?

  12. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, RC has it right in his player ratings.

    Guendouzi became a leader and an inspiration yesterday. He’s 19, and inconsistency is part of the process of growing into the best footballer you can be. What he has is a big heart, an unbelievable engine, self belief and he’s improving before our very eyes.

    I see your earlier assessment as prophetic … Moses has arrived!

  13. Rasp says:

    Ok Redders … kudos to you too … I could point out that I’ve been championing him from his first appearance…. but modesty forbids 😆

  14. RockyLives says:

    The reason I made the Gwen comparison with Vieira/Yaya a few weeks back was that there are times in a game when he seems to be everywhere and to be able to drive our play from defence to attack with thrilling, powerful surges.

    I can easily picture Paddy and Yaya doing the same on countless occasions.

    At his age his potential for further growth is massive. It will come mainly in his decision making, physicality and probably (in time) in him developing a solid eye for goal.

  15. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    You, me and Redders and the power of prophecy! We’re like the three witches in Macbeth.

    “When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or in the Bank of Friendship.”

  16. RA says:

    Peaches,

    Maybe your quaffing of the alcohol, before the match, explains why the first half was a blur — it also might explain why the whole game is a blur to Ant and Duck and is the source of the inestimable pleasure they give us when they ‘rock to the game – by train’!! 😁

  17. RockyLives says:

    Kelsey
    Thanks for your analysis.

    I share some of your concerns about Emery but on balance I would err on the side of giving him more time.

    As Rasp says, if we don’t make top four this season he’ll probably be out on his ear.

    Or if we go on a really bad run and start slipping down the table then I could imaging the club being ruthless about cutting him adrift.

    But right now we’re joint 3rd on points and some of the encouraging things about our team are getting really, really encouraging:
    Auba and Laca – top, top strikers.
    The rapid development of young players like Willock, Gwen, Saka.
    The potential for Pepe and Ceballos to improve as they settle in to a new club and new league.
    Better defenders on their way back from the sick bay.

    Defence is still the big question mark (not so much our Achilles’ heel as our Achilles’ leg) but let’s give UE a bit more time to sort it out when all his defenders are available.

    That said, I agree with Rasp that I’d love to see Chambers and Holding as CBs with Luiz in front of them…

  18. Sue says:

    How nice is it, to wake up on a Monday morning with 3 points in the bag?! Although, the only downer is my hands still hurt – but i can live with that 😄

  19. RA says:

    Sheesh — Oh, my — Rasper, Rocky — you two are soooo incorrigibly vain!!

    Fancy trying to imply that you were every bit as good at talent spotting the boy Douzy, as I am?? Sacre bleu.

    Before we know it — every blighter on here will write and say they are the real deal talent messiahs.

    Anyway, you are right Rocky, I did pat myself on the back in congratulations — but not in a common, low brow sort of way, by putting both hands over the shoulders and tamely flapping away — no, no — not for me.

    Discretion is key in these matters — a gentle and surreptitious bending from the waist, with arms akimbo, and after checking no one is paying attention, carefully inserting first one arm, and then the other between the artfully widened legs and reaching up to the shoulder blades and enjoying a pleasureful, and prolonged patting of the back for being so smart about Douzy!!

    Sheer class!! And no one will notice!!

  20. Rasp says:

    None of this deserved praise for Guendouzi should detract from the inescapable fact that of the 14 goals we’ve scored in all comps so far, half have been scored by Auba (more than half in the league) – those goals have won us more than half of our league points … the guy is unbelievable.

    See the new widgets in the side panel for the stats ….

  21. RA says:

    Hi ya, Kelsey,

    A very closely argued case for the ailments that many fans see as being caused by Embers.

    To be fair, if the team had shown a little more resilience at the end of last season, and stopped ridiculously throwing away games when playing relative minnows, we would have been in this season’s CL and not condemned to the EL for the want of a single point.

    I actually like his grimacing and gurning physiognomy and his electric eel like prancing on the side lines, however, he does show a similar shielding of players to that of AW, even in the plurality of a poor team display, or the singularity of an individuals cock-ups, which frankly can seem to be a dismissal of the fans concerns in those circumstances.

    That cussedness is also reflected in his insistence on retaining a tainted tactic, such as playing the ball continuously in and around the penalty area, even when it clearly does not work, with the players we have.

    But — I am prepared (as if he could give a stuff) 😜 to give him some rope, as it cannot have been easy to come into a dispirited club, following the lamentable end of the AW era.

    P.S. When Peaches called for a post-match report, I was hopeful you were going to say your famous words ‘I did not see the game – but I could write a Post”. 😳 Quite brilliant!!
    It is not the same without you being on here more often.

    Anyway, I hope you are feeling better, and will be on here as often as you can!!

  22. VP of Oz says:

    Top 6
    1) Liverpool
    2) Manshitty
    4) Arsenal
    7) Spuds
    8) Manure
    11) Chelsea

    game on 1st Oct will be a real test for the progress of our team

  23. RockyLives says:

    Redders

    Forgive me if I find your technique for self back-patting to be somewhat alarming.

  24. RockyLives says:

    VP

    ManUre are there for the taking… but if we continue our suicidal defending I fear it will be we who get taken.

    In our last four league games (in reverse order) we:

    Villa – Had a man sent off.
    Hammers – Gave away a penalty.
    Spuds – Gave away a penalty.
    ‘Pool – Gave away a penalty.

    We’re well capable of beating ManUre, but not if we give them presents.

  25. Rasp says:

    Hammers = Watford?

  26. RockyLives says:

    Whoops – thanks Rasp.

    Watford indeed.

  27. Sue says:

    I agree, Rocky, about beating the Mancs… but how many times have we been in this position before?! Against a poor United team, of course we’ll win, what could possibly go wrong?! 🤪 Needless to say, it’s been a while since we last did up there! And that was without gifting goals!! Be a cracking game… but first, we have to get past the mighty Forest tomorrow… i won’t be going, i won’t get home until at least 12.30.. then with a split shift the next day 😳 it’s not on live, but I’m hoping to catch it on hesgoal

  28. RockyLives says:

    Exactly Sue.

    My heart says we should be more than capable of getting a long overdue 3 pts at Old Toilet, but my head tells me we’ve been in this position too many times before and thrown it away.

  29. RC78 says:

    I reckon that I thought Douzi would need another year to settle in But I was saying thst about a DM role.

    In any case we need to beat Man Utd next!

    Emery still doesn’t know his best XI or his game plan to be honest. Alarming but at least some players r given a chance to grow like Douzi, Willock, RN and Saka.

    For the cup game, am hoping Jules will be featured and Martinelli as well.

  30. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Peaches for your blurry report, and RC for the ratings 🙂

    Thoroughly enjoyed that (in the end). It was one of those games that you only reflect on whether you have enjoyed it once the final whistle goes due to the nature and manner of the result. Within the last 10 minutes of the game my enjoymentometer could have been anywhere from 15% to 95%. As it was, I ended up on the higher end of the scale.

    It was a game of 2 halves yesterday (all puns intended) and RC’s ratings look quite accurate to me. The first half all the players were a bit pants, including Douzi. In the first half even he looked a bit pedestrian and slow, jogging around casually a tad too much, and often looked to be playing constant catch up to cover their midfield runners. RC’s 7 rating is probably the mean score of a 5 in the first half and a 9 in the second.

    Reflecting more on Douzi, he does indeed have great potential. When he really plays well it is when he becomes a more all action BTB CM, equally covering defensive duties and also driving us forwards. He looks better winning the ball back in the heart of the pitch rather than just screening the back 4.

    For That statement I would say ditto Willock, ditto Torreira, and even ditto Emile Smith-Rowe (who I really like and feel has something of the young De-Bruyne’s about him). What makes those players better all action CM’s is in having the freedom to do this.

    Yesterday Douzi just went and did it and took a chance, because we had to chasing a game while down to 10 men, but under normal circumstances a midfielder can only play with this all action freedom if they have sufficient defensive cover tucked in behind them. Are we providing that?

    I mention Willock, Douzi, Torreira and ESR because I feel it is those 4 we should be building the heart of our midfield around, more so than Xhaka, Ceballos and Ozil.

    Ozil really feels like the remnant of a failed period. Having said that he still has this year and next with us (I believe), if he sees out his contract, and I feel alienating him too much is not the right thing to do. His ability is without doubt and I still wonder that if we get the right midfield and front line set up he could thrive with us in the remaining period.

    A proper holding midfielder and BTB player and 3 pacey front men with overlapping FB’s could see the best of Mesut. Frankly I would still prioritise his inclusion more in the first team than Ceballos and Xhaka.

    I questioned the Ceballos signing when we did it, but backed off somewhat as I was in the minority. I was as ooh ahh as everyone else after the Burnley performance, but he was really not at the races yesterday, and he seems to be a 1 good game 1 bad game player at present.

    He likely needs time to fully settle and play with consistency in the EPL, and his potential ability is undeniable, but where is that taking us. There are rumours (I know, I know) that it wasn’t just Madrid who didn’t want an option to buy put in the loan agreement but the player himself.

    I can’t shake the feeling that we have less than a 5% chance of him being an Arsenal player after this season so why prioritise him in the 1st 11, especially if he can’t currently provide that consistency game to game. Surely we should prioritise Willock, Douzi, Torreira, ESR and even Ozil before him, as they either all represent the clubs future or are still likely to be with us next season (in Ozil’s case). Ceballos could be an excellent option from the bench at the moment when we need some possession and control in a game.

    So onto Xhaka. I feel this is a subject that will, or already is, fast becoming repetitive and tedious. It wasn’t boos yesterday at his substitution but more an ironic cheer. Personally I really can’t see what first AW and now UE see that is so special and important.

    He is by no means a bad player but just doesn’t seem to play the role needed effectively and is not dynamic enough for this league. On the ball he often looks decent enough (although I feel there is something of the constant safe pass sideways and backwards Denilson about him).

    In order to properly see the whole picture with him you need to look at what he does or doesn’t do when not on the ball. Most of us don’t do this as we mostly follow the action or the ball but the coaches should. If you do watch games again, or sometimes even highlights, with that focus you will see that constant poor positioning, mostly always being the wrong side of the midfield runners and quite often training ground stroll around the midfield.

    He doesn’t seem to see himself as the lynchpin in this midfield, and plays as if that is someone else’s job, and that he should be slightly further forwards in the BTB heart of the midfield. However he doesn’t have that ability to carry or run with the ball for the BTB heart of the midfield (at least in the EPL), but Douzi, Willock, Torreira and ESR do.

    Xhaka doesn’t compliment or allow any of those others to play that all action role because he he constantly positions himself too high and can’t recover quick enough. Whenever midfield runners are running at our defence Xhaka always seems to be 1m to 2m behind playing catch up, in a race he never usually wins.

    More importantly our players that could play more all action BTB have to sit more to cover for what he doesn’t or can’t do thus thwarting their game effectiveness. We would all love to see combinations of Douzi, Willock, Torreira and ESR playing that all action game at a high technical level, and we could, if UE gets that lynchpin position right.

    For me he still has to try Luiz (preferably) or Chambers to see if that changes the whole dynamic of our midfield to a higher level. Luiz could (no absolute guarantee) literally compliment all those other more dynamic midfielders and give them that freedom to play. Will Emery try this? Probably not. He has come out in support of Xhaka and describes him as a “very big and very important” player for us. This sounds like something he will not abandon soon.

    I didn’t agree with the ironic cheers at Xhaka’s substitution but, looking at Emery’s refusal to try something different and the fans increasingly negative assessment of Xhaka, I expect this particular problem to run and increase in intensity. I do hope not, but I just wonder whether this will be the key area that negatively shapes our season to some degree and also Emery’s tenure with us.

  31. RockyLives says:

    GoonerB

    I am often in awe at your analytical skills. Your description of the way Xhaka’s off-the-ball movement negatively impacts our play is fascinating (and frighteningly persuasive). I will watch out for it in future games.

  32. GoonerB says:

    With regard to the returning defenders, I expect them to improve our defence a bit. However, I don’t think it is just about our defenders individually, because I feel the bigger problem is how we defend as a whole team, starting in front of the defence.

    It seems we have talked for the last decade about not having good enough defenders and hoping player y or z will make us so much better, but one consistent in this period has been the lack of a lynchpin midfield destroyer in front of the defence.

    Arsene, seemingly, never believed in it (in his later years), and now it seems Emery doesn’t place high importance in it. I do get a lot of what Kelsey is saying because we still look like a side that has the potential to play much better but is still quite often unbalanced and disjointed.

    A bit like the Cologne game, the most immediately important stat is the scoreline but yesterday we were still second in the shots on target stat, although we bested them in most of the others. We are still conceeding more shots on our goal than any other team it seems, and are also very reliant on Auba’s goals (as a kind of get out of jail free much of the time), rather than dominating games as we should be (barring a couple of sides).

    Genuine question. Do we think 2 different FB’s and a different CD will stop the shots tally raining in on us? Will this be the answer to us being more resolute and less frail defensively? To me I feel no right now, and it will still be that our back 4 is called into action far too often or maybe just as frequently, but maybe just called into action with slightly better quality players to deal with many of those defensive moments.

  33. GoonerB says:

    The Villa fans probably feel aggrieved that they didn’t get a penalty when the ball hit Socratis upper arm . This isprobably enhanced by the unbiased pundits at the BBC saying it was a penalty because he moved towards it. He didn’t. If you look at it in slow motion his arm is down by his side and moving slightly forwards before the shot is hit. Once it leaves the attackers foot you can see that Socratis doesn’t raise his arm (it still being by his side) and is actually trying to pull it behind him.

    Jon Moss also showed yesterday why he shouldn’t referee at this level anymore. I actually thought AMN was really unlucky to be sent off. The first yellow was nothing deliberate and was just 2 chasing players where the attacker in front catches his foot on Ainsley. Ainsley is at that time trying to change his angle and doesn’t commit a deliberate foul. This normally results in a free kick but no yellow.

    On the second one, again you need to see it in slow motion. Ainsley is the only player trying to win the ball cleanly and sweeps his leg around to try and win it. Yes his studs come up but he does this in a sweeping motion rather than going in studs up in a linear direction. That should be a legal challenge.

    However if you look at the Villa player he actually goes in straight with the studs showing and stamps on Ainsley’s other leg. It doesn’t look as if he has any intention of trying to get the ball with that leading leg, and the rest of his body motion indicates someone pulling out of trying to genuinely get the ball, but at the same time to leave a leg in there in a stamping down, studs showing motion.

    You have to see it in slow motion to appreciate that….but hang on a second, VAR can do that and probably did. Once re-looked at it looks more a red for the Villa player than for Ainsley, and I have no idea what VAR is about if it can’t see those subtleties and act on them. Ainsley went in harder but with fairer intent to genuinely sweep his leg around and win the ball, while the Villa player was sneeky with a dangerous studs showing lunge that was way more dangerous.

    His play acting at that moment won the day but it was Ainsley that came off genuinely injured for that stamp and the Villa player was soon up without a care in the world.

  34. GoonerB – you clearly didn’t have enough alcohol if you can write this much about that game 😉

    I should have grabbed you for the match report 😂

  35. RA says:

    Hi G Bee,

    I agree mostly with what you say at 13:25, and specifically about Xhaka. That is no surprise as we have discussed it in general terms many times as you said.

    Specifically, we agreed, I think, that he is too slow for a BTB player (and in m y opinion – he is just too slow); he is too one footed, and his right foot in a tackle inevitably results in giving away a foul; he frequently goes beyond the halfway line and even the tea lady and the ballboy canter past him when there is a counter attack; when he is involved in the penalty area passing, he just gets overwhelmed, and either loses the ball or passes it to a teammate in an even worse position.

    He also has a short fuse, and when riled he argues with the ref and is often a split second away from a red card.

    On the plus side, he has a good long range pass, and a cracking shot, but we never see much of them.

    He may be fine at another club, who knows, he is an International level player for the Swiss after all — but not for us.

    I hope the above will be seen as support for your point re Xhaka.

    However, we diverge when it comes to;

    “Ceballos: we have less than a 5% chance of him being an Arsenal player after this season”

    That in my opinion is wide of the mark — can I say a gross exaggeration.

    The chances of him staying with us are far closer to 6% — far away from your rubbish 5%.

    How’s my friend, the camel?

  36. RA says:

    Rocky,

    I perfected that technique for back patting, because it is an essential remedy for a condition I became aware of.

    1. The reason d’être for that, I shall explain below, and that might convince you to give it a go. 😜

    This is the second and concluding part.

    Well it is the same part really, but snuggle up and concentrate. Big Bertha told me – when we were an item – that in her work at Cambridge Uni, her team had researched a well known theory, and developed it further, to establish who was likely to go bananas as they got past their 50s.

    You and Bee might like to give it a go.

    First, stand on both feet, or all four if you are a camel, and slowly raise one hoof, and try to maintain that posture for 20 seconds. You should find that easy.

    Second, once you are comfortable doing that, you will then do the same thing, but this time with your eyes closed.

    It is really important that you are close to a wall, or a fat girl friend, in case you start to topple over.
    Bertha performed both functions ably.

    If you cannot do this for more that 20 seconds (i.e you wobble and have to put your foot/hoof down or topple like a tall timber) — then you are likely to lose your marbles at anytime once you are ancient in your 50s or 60s.

    True word!

    If you report back the results – it is forgivable that you might feel the need to tell porky pies — we will be so sad otherwise. 😳

    The patting technique, mentioned above, if you manage it, should give you some hope of keeping your marbles, if you master it.

    Micky, who done did it, might well be reading this, and it gives me a smile, as he loves doing tricky things like making a circular move around your belly button with one hand, while simultaneously making a circular move with the other hand around your head.

    You canary that too. 🥺

  37. Mike M says:

    Morning all. There are some good comments above and the length of them leads me to believe that the result isn’t really the focus here, more the manner of it. Which seems fair enough. However I want to say that this is a team and there are element within the team that affects it, either negatively or positively. It feels like a culmination of the opinion that we are getting results in spite of certain elements not because of them. And of course we’re salvaging games because of some elements. Again very true. So my question is, will removal of certain players allow others to play better and the team to improve (not just the ones that come in, but the entire team).
    At the moment I think there definitely are at least 4 from yesterday’s starting line up that at least need a rest and time to regroup. For the other 7 and the 3 subs, I want to say it’s so refreshing to see Arsenal players play with such heart and effort. Thanks Boys !!! What a performance and what a result !!!!!!!!!

  38. Mike M says:

    @ RA – did you start on the sauce a little early today??!! Pretty funny stuff !!!!

  39. Mike M says:

    Lastly – Cheering for Willock and Torreira coming on at 2-1 down in a game where we needed changes is not the same as booing Xhaka. There may have been an element of being happy that Xhaka was departing but let’s be honest, the only thing we all want is for Arsenal to win. If those substitutions make that a more likely prospect, why not cheer??

  40. Rasp says:

    I only heard cheering Mike … I was the opposite side of the pitch. The crowd were pretty quiet for the first half and until the Guendouzi show started in the second. The crowd support is a chicken and egg situation … at one point Guendouzi started waving his arms to encourage the crowd…. and we all responded. Peaches observed that it has been many a year since a member of the team engaged with the supporters during a game …. but it definitely worked.

    After the game it was Guendouzi and Luiz we went to every corner of the ground clapping the fans and receiving the response they deserved.

  41. Would anyone like to write a pre-match for tomorrow’s game v Nottingham Forest?

  42. Sue says:

    I heard boos, i was in the family enclosure.
    I have to say, i thought the atmosphere was brilliant.. and i really like the drum… we stayed behind to applaud Matteo 👊 (& the others 😂)

  43. Rasp says:

    Good on ya Sue … so did we. I can never condone booing of one of our players … how is that going to help Xhaka to play to his best level?

  44. RA says:

    Mike,

    How dare you sir? I have a rare blood condition and have been unable to drink either sauce or alcohol for more than 10 years.

    No — that was just me being me.

    If you are a temperance man, you might like to speak to Susie Q — at the game, she heard the booze – it must have been calling to her. 😏

  45. RA says:

    A young girl, called Sue, attended a Salvation Army band belting out some good old hymn music.

    When they had finished, the conductor turned to the crowd and said, “which hymn would you folks like” and Sue put her hand up and said, “I’d like him with the big drum”.

  46. Sue says:

    Very good, RA 😂😂😂 sometimes when I’ve posted a comment, i then wished I’d rephrased it, as i know you’ll pick up on it (yes, the amber nectar was calling me 😂)
    Speaking of big things, jeez the size of Grealish’s calves!!! Omg i haven’t seen calves like that since i climbed the O2!! Sheesh!!! I like Jack though, not only is he a fantastic player, i saw him go over to the gooners by the tunnel & had selfies taken with them… plus i liked him even more when he moved out the way for Auba to score 😂😂

  47. Sue says:

    Spot on, Rasp.. as much as he does my head in, he’s still one of us!

  48. Mike M says:

    RA – good man, although I’m not sure this Arsenal team won’t drive many former teetotalers to drink !!!!!!!!
    It’s a shame there was booing. It definitely wasn’t apparent on tv. I did hear some discontent the 2 times in the 2nd half when Xhaka got the ball trapped under his feet. Once when we were trying to break and another in the box. Both were understandable and I had a few choice words myself. For anyone who’s a regular, you will probably be familiar with my stance on Xhaka. He doesn’t play well enough or try hard enough (maybe it’s due to his limitations) for the team we’re trying to become. Just because we’re fans, doesn’t mean we can’t criticise poor play when we see it. Booing – no but he makes enough of a living from the fans that watch to be subject to criticism.
    Maybe instead of hollow praise for a player that almost everyone can see is struggling, Unai should take him out for a while and see how it works out. That would be what a good manager who wants to protect his player would do.

  49. GoonerB says:

    Sorry for the lengthy comments today all, and yes sorry Peaches it should have been a post really. Wouldn’t have got it to you quick enough anyway.

    Mike, what you say about the manner of the result being important I suppose is true in my case. I am delighted with our last couple of results but also see some trends and traits that worry me and I feel will eventually catch up with us if left unaddressed.

    Utd coming up and there for the taking as things stand. However their current strength seems to be about quick counter attacks, something we don’t currently deal with so well. Will Unai work them out and set us up to be at our strongest and win the day?

  50. Mike M says:

    Gooner B – or not to B, that is the question !!!!!! – er actually that isn’t the question – sorry, guess RA is rubbing off on me !
    No the question you ask is unanswerable. Who the hell knows what Unai is going to do. We’re somewhat an amusement of the football world right now, a bit of a sideshow if you will. The answer to your question is obvious and unfortunately quite simple to implement too. But I have no clue what Unai’s going to do. Other than start Xhaka and probably name him captain.

  51. fred1266 says:

    Sue u never Ann me what games u attending in December

  52. Sue says:

    Fred.. I’m aiming for the City game

  53. Sue says:

    Peaches.. you may have already sorted something for tomorrow, but I’ve sent an email, just in case 🙂

  54. fred1266 says:

    GB u referred to we not having a linchpin in midfield, from the other top teams who are the linchpin in there side?

  55. fred1266 says:

    Ok me to sue , I really hope they arrange it to Sunday 15th so see how in lower tier

  56. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    I just wanted to say that I am no guru but peaches and I are friends for years and I have a family member who works with a number of players at Arsnal several times a week and I assure you that several players want out and the main reason is the head coach and there is a serious problem with Ozil which is a mixture of his immune system, mental health and his connection with Emery.

    All this leads to disharmony on the field and a lack of consistency besides the fact that some players just aren’t good enough and I strongly believe Emery hasn’t got much of a clue about defending in the PL and for all those reasons I believe he will be gone by Xmas.

  57. Morning all

    We have a New Post from the lovely Mrs Kolasinac …………..

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