Slugging it out at the Bridge

 That was exhausting, in a kind of reaffirming way. All the passion and desire that had been missing from this Arsenal team was on show last night.

We didn’t win but boy it felt like we’d moved into a new era. Coming from behind against 10 men is about as good as it gets when you’re on a run of drawing games. This was a good draw.

Arteta’s decision not to add Holding when Luiz got sent off was so important for the confidence of this team. If we want them running through brick walls for each other and Mikel then they can look back on this game with pride.

Player ratings from RC78

Well well well…2 shots in the whole match, all in the second half and 2 goals and an unexpected draw playing 10 vs 11 🙂

MoTM = Martinelli

Sub of the match: Guendouzi

Opponent of the match: Hudson-Odoi

Player ratings

Leno  6; good on his line but poor in the air (tale of his season)

Bellerin 7; a goal and a shift but needs to gain defensive sharpness.

Mustafi  4.5; a first half to forget but played fine in the second half

Luiz  not fair to rate him…although he could have done better

Saka  6.5; what a shift and he is really good going forward

Xhaka  6; did well in the second half as CB

Torreira  6.5, we have our defensive pitbull.

Ozil  5; totally absent for 30 mins and then played ok

Pepe  5.5; poor first 30 minutes and then a good shift but he could have done better in some attacking situations. A talent that needs more time than expected to shine

Lacazette  5.5; A for effort and then the rest was not there

Martinelli  9. A goal, a shift and a constant threat.


Guendouzi  6 – did well and added grit to our team. Needs to be better when defending set pieces…

Holding  5. He comes in and we concede a goal. The guy needs to play in reserve for a few games to regain sharpness.

Willock  N/A

Arteta  6.5. His grit is now rubbing off on the team but thought he did not set up the team properly until we had a player off.



59 Responses to Slugging it out at the Bridge

  1. RockyLives says:

    Nice one Peaches

    Re-posting a couple of my comments from the end of the last thread:

    In 78 minutes of open play we beat Chelsea 2-1 with 10 men.

    It’s a significant bonding experience for the group and will only reap dividends moving forward.

    I know everyone will fulminate about Mustafi, but his contribution to our fightback last night was significant (even if it was his mistake that dropped us in the doo-doo in the first place).

    Here’s a thought: what if Arteta and his coaches could iron out the psychological tic that makes Mustafi commit a howler about once every game? Would he then be an asset rather than a liability?

  2. LBG says:

    Peaches, we all love you even if you are missing bits!

  3. LBG says:

    Sorry Rocky, I left a response to your last on last post!

  4. John says:

    Harsh ratings.

  5. RockyLives says:

    I read it – it made me smile.

  6. RA says:

    Well done, Peaches, it’s there, and it is a neat trick to get everyone to give the post lift off.

  7. RA says:

    Rocky Doodle,

    My reply to your ‘tic’ comment on the previous Post —

    — Good point, Rocky, and good morning,

    I agree that Mustafi without the ‘tic’ did throw himself into defending, even taking a goolie shot for the team.

    But I am not sure that coaching qualifications require a pass in psychology. Actually, I am not at all sure his ability to misjudge passes is anything more than that.

    As a boy, I was required to work to earn ‘pocket money’ and was sometimes surprised that an item that seemed OK was relegated to the ‘seconds’ at a knock down price, because there was a small problem with it, and it could not be sold at the full mark up because it was unreliable.

    Rather sums up our CB.

  8. Thanks all ….. I had planned to include others’ comments in the post too but it just proved too difficult to manage on the phone 🙈

  9. RA says:

    Sorry Peaches, I missed the smiley whatnot at the end of my 9:52. 😁

  10. Just putting this up there again

  11. RockyLives says:

    “I am not sure that coaching qualifications require a pass in psychology”

    Au contraire, mon ami rouge, I reckon the most successful coaches have all been masters of psychology (whether formally trained or just having an instinctive grasp of how to motivate their fellow men).

  12. RockyLives says:

    Kante’s slip feels like the first bit of good fortune we’ve had in ages.

  13. Sue says:

    Kante did a John Terry 😂😂
    I am still buzzing – my colleagues have told me to calm down, it’s only a game – to come back the way we did felt like a win!! So I’m on cloud 9!! We’ve suffered so much against them over the years, so to silence their fans and put that smacked arse look on fat Frankie’s (& Azpilicueta’s) face was sweet!!
    And as for Arrizabalaga being the most expensive GK, don’t make me laugh 😂😂
    I’m sorry, but today is let’s hate on the Chavs day, and I’m lurving it!!!!!
    Nice one, RC & Peaches 👍

  14. RockyLives says:


    I was getting really wound up by the TV cutaways of Chav fans laughing and leering (including laughing at one of our players – Pepe? – when he went into the advertising hoardings and clearly hurt himself).

    So when we got that second equaliser… oooh, it was lovely. Just lovely.

  15. Sue says:

    Hi Rocky.. and listening to them singing David Luiz, he’s one of our own! I reached boiling point then!!
    When Azpilicueta (that little s-bag 😉) scored, they thought they’d done it, so the euphoria (in my living room 😝) when Hector scored was amazing!! And I can’t wait for MOTD later to watch it all again!!!
    Very lovely indeed, Rocky 👍

  16. RA says:


    You are magnificent in your outrage — not just a Gooner, but a Warrior!! 😜

    The Chav GK is referred to as ‘Kepa’ is that a reference to his role as [‘Keeper’] in English?

  17. RA says:


    I did know you were going to Kansas, a couple of years ago, mainly because you emailed me and told me so.😁

    And yes – it is awful flat. 😁

  18. RA says:

    Rocky, @ 10:29

    You may well be correct, but most of them are bonkers themselves, a la ‘One flew over the Cuckoos Nest’. 😜

  19. RA says:

    And by the way, Rocky, I will have to give you a demerit mark, as you clearly paid no heed to my brilliant working in of [exam] passes with inaccurate football passes.

    I worked hard at that for quite a long time — maybe at least a second!! 😩

  20. RA says:

    Another appointment is calling me — see you, and Sue, in a while. 👀

  21. RA says:

    David Luiz, he is one of theirs, he is one of theirs, he is one of theirs, David ………. 😁

  22. VP says:

    Martinelli is the Remco Evenepoel of football

  23. LBG says:

    Interested in RCs further opinion on Kurzawa.

  24. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Peaches, and well cobbled together from your phone.

    I watched the game with a couple of very pleasant friends, who are avid fans, armed with a mix of old school and new school crisps and nibbles and, thanks to bloody dry January, alternating between a ginger ale and a fine Bavarian non alcoholic beer…….is there even such a thing as a fine non-alcoholic beer?…… a thoroughly enjoyable evening though.

    RC, I have to say that I partially agree with John that your ratings are a bit harsh. However RC, on the flip side, it shows that you are not about settling for second best with Arsenal and will not embelish or sugar coat things, and that does resonate with me in the bigger scheme of things.

    That said, I think I would look at where we have been in recent years and where we have been heading, and in what state the team was in when Arteta took over both performance wise and psychologically.

    Those considerations in addition to the unfavourable run of games Arteta had when he took over, and the significant injury list would make me look at last nights game as something more in the grand scheme of things rather than in a pure individual and compartmentalised way.

    The collective trumps the individual in this game so all players should be graded at least a point higher in my humble opinion. Even, as some have said, Mustaffi.

    Even the greatest players make mistakes. We know he habitually has those mistakes in him more so than other players. Eventually he may not be here and we may have found better solutions but right now he is here and we are not a club that can spend our way to perfect solutions in the short term, so while he is pulling on that red and white shirt we need to support him. Our support to him and the superior coaching now in place may eradicate some of those errors.

    I saw how gutted he looked when Luiz was sent off. He knew that was all on him, and on reflection now, I felt for him at that moment. After that though he managed to psychologically put it to one side and put in as warrior like performance as all the other players did. Arguably with the responsibility he felt for the penalty and sending off, his performance after that was individually even more impressive than many others.

    If time had permitted and I had managed to get my derriere in gear and was going to headline a post about that game I think I would have titled it “spirit(ual) enlightenment at the Bridge”.

    For me this new era under Arteta is about an adventurous long journey. There is an anticipated eventual destination, but there are experiences and discoveries along the way that all help towards that final destination.

    There may be some difficult moments on the journey, ones that test character but need to be overcome in order to progress on the journey. Faith must be kept though that these obstacles are temporary, and that all the lessons along the way, both good and bad, add to the knowledge and understanding so that when we are approaching the final destination we do not fail at the last minute.

    To me that draw last night was far more important than many (undoubted) wins to come because it is an experience that you just cannot replicate on the training ground or in just talking to players about how to react in those circumstances. It is a moment that just has to be lived rather than spoken about as a possibility.

    Our psychological profile as a club has been questionable for a long while going back before Emery, and Arteta emphasised more than anything else that he wanted to change that psychology and focus at the club. Even our more experienced players will have been enlightened by that experience but just think about how many young players we have that experienced that and what this will do for them.

    There was evidence of our greater mental fortitude when down to 10 men against Palace, but that wasn’t Chelsea at the Bridge. I haven’t seen that resoluteness, fight, refusal to give up, and belief that we could still get something since the era of DB10 and winning games with 10 men at Anfield.

    Mark my words, last night was the biggest turning point for this club. Way bigger than the Utd win. If you had offered me a 2-1 win last night with 11 men but in a scrappy lucky way I wouldn’t take it over that 2-2 draw with 10 men. I would still sacrifice the 2 points right now because the realisation it will have awakened in our players will be worth 30 points in forthcoming seasons, so those 2 points dropped will turn out to be like a gold-dust investment in our future.

  25. LB says:

    Oooh a Remco reference, like it and totally agree.

  26. LB says:

    Really good read RC, thanks.

  27. Sue says:

    I saw on Twitter that Luiz has been sent off twice…. once against us, for them… and obviously for us against them!

    Haha, RA… Kepa is his name 😜 Easier to use that than Arizza…….zzzzzzz 😴😴😴 too much of a mouthful!!

  28. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m going to skip past Sue talking about mouthfuls and discuss the best bit of last night, which was Lacazette going upto Mustafi at the end of the game and giving him a few wise words. I’d like to think it was something along the lines of ‘don’t worry about the mistake, we’ve got your back’. There is no doubt Arteta has got the team in the right headspace. I just hope the performances and results follow. We’ve had hardly any luck (sorry Rasp) this season but maybe the Kante slip is the start of a run of good fortune. We are definitely due some.

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, apologise for absence but it’s tax return season.

    Anyway observations:

    Saw a post recently about needing a Giroud, watching Martinelli last night I think we already have Giroud + speed. He is tall and at a young age shows a willingness to compete aerially even though he has time to grow physically. Add to that ability to see a pass and turn and run at goal. I can see him being an out and out centre forward and dare I say it as effective as Aguero.

    Xhaka, I think RC78 your rating above is on low side, we should recognise the fact that his performance at centre back meant Arteta did not have to waste substitution and take off Martinelli, and even though it took us 10-20 minutes after Chelsea’s goal we finally found a way to get into the game with 10 men, some of that was down to him. And he actually gave a pretty impressive centre backs performance, stayed on his feet more than he does in midfield and was able to use the ball well from the back. I’ve never seen him as a centre back before but last night his performance put that thought front and centre. The fact that it does not require the same pace as a midfield role and he can’t get sucked up the pitch. He seemed to be also more able to read the game coming towards him being that bit deeper. Food for thought. Even on from the decision not to bring off Martinelli it also meant in the second half we could still make relatively attack minded substitutions.

    I liked that Arteta was able to change his mind on substitutions and wasn’t frightened of looking indecisive by reacting to the way the game was progressing.

    Guendouzzi/Mount- have I missed something? Clearly these two have a little grudge against each other, seemed to be there before Guendouzzi pulled and then kicked him, and Mount got his own back later although somehow didn’t earn a booking?

    Overall performance, what I liked most was that the players seemed to work a lot of it out themselves, it didn’t appear that Arteta was doing a lot of organising from the sideline, encouraging yes, but the players found a way to impose themselves, and for good majority of the second half you wouldn’t have known we had 10 men and the same goes for the last 15 of the first half.

    Pepe…I know we have to give him time, but I find his decision making poor and time to play too slow, he really needs to speed up his game for PL football, something that Martinelli and Saka have learned in their own short PL careers, but neither of them cost £72m. An example of the difference between him and others is that I don’t think he could spot the pass Laca played out to him from the left side of our own half to Pepe on the right wing, Pepe had similar opportunity to set Martinelli away with a similar pass but he didn’t even get his head up to see it.

    Finally Attwell was keen to get cards out to us and not so much Chelsea.

    I would actually give Xhaka the MotM for the performance in an unfamiliar role that led to less disruptive substitutions.

  30. Gööner In Exile says:

    Oh and I really loved how we played on when Tammy Abraham’s was down injured as Chelsea themselves decided not to put it out, and it was a limping Abraham’s that Bellerin used to guide the ball into the bottom corner.

    Maybe we have found our professionalism.

  31. Sue says:

    “He.comes from Sao Paulo, and he plays for the Arsenal”…….loving Martinelli’s chant!!

    FGG.. 😂😂… yes, the Kante slip was even better than Stevie G’s…..

  32. RC78 says:

    I looked at the full 90 mins and for about half hour or a third of the game, players like Xhaka and Ozil were not doing anything particular. Xhaka then did well at CB so maybe we could have gone a bit higher but I couldn’t rate him higher than Saka…

    On reflection, I add half a point to all 👍

  33. RC78 says:

    Hi – for those interested, we should not sign Kurzawa. He is surely talented but he is injury prone and also tends to disappear in big games or when it s time to train hard. But when is fit and is playing with the right attitude, he is good. If we need a quick fix, I d rather invest in an older player that is happy to also contribute to Kola and Tierney s development like Criscito or Fuchs or Baines.

  34. Sue says:

    RA…@12.10…. 😂😂😂 (cheeky sod!)

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    Something tells me Kola will be moving on soon. He’s starting to grow on me a little bit but his ankle is becoming a problem and maybe he won’t have taken too kindly to us bringing Tierney in. There was also that incident with Özil. I just get the feeling he will be moved on, hence the Kurzawa rumours.

    I have to slightly disagree about Pepe’s passing. If you watch his videos online he’s actually had some impressive assists with great through. He seems to be able to spot the attackers runs, but as you say, maybe long balls aren’t his game. I do agree though that he’s slowing the game down too much. He should have a look at Tralee at Wolves who has suddenly adapted his game and started concentrating on running at defenders and getting to the by-line. He could be just as effective if he just ran at defenders more.

  36. fatgingergooner says:

    *Traore at Wolves

  37. Aaron says:

    Thanks to all who put together something for us all to think about.

    GoonerB, I liked what you said, all of it.

    Now, about Mustafi, he was culpable for both goals, could have picked up chav’s player at the halfway line before the corner, but did not. Then somehow both our cb’s let that aZZ get in front for a tap.
    No matter how one looks at it, Mustafi is clearly a liability. Laca was gracious to speak to him at the end. I really do not think even Mikel can coach out his brain fades, however I would gladly be proven wrong.

    That run from Martinelli was just straight up spectacular, the kid has got deceiving pace! Saka was a beast, and Pepe actually dragged players around in the oppositions half, and I will say it, Xhaka was a game reader as a cb, unreal.

    What a game for Hector, and I wanted AMN to start, he will now have to work much harder to get his place back!

    Mikel just got it right, and I can’t wait to watch each game as an evolution of our great club.

  38. RockyLives says:

    Some top comments today.

    Xhaka could potentially have a real career at CB, but I doubt that’s what he wants.

  39. LBG says:

    “Xhaka could potentially have a real career at CB”
    Mr Magoo has good observational skills.

  40. RA says:

    Ooops — I meant to have got back earlier – but I happened across GB’s 12:33, and it was like watching the snake’s spinning eyes in Jungle Book — and there I was – gone man, gone. 😛

    Good one tho, GB; altho I am beginning to think you are a student of Dr Franz Mesmer, and you can hypnotise anyone whose eyes alight on your comments – and make them sleepy – and believers. 🧐

  41. Sue says:

    Now you know how I feel once you start singing, RA… gone man, gone 🤣

  42. RA says:

    If you ever heard my singing, Sue, you would think I was a frog croaking in a sophomoric bass. 🥺

  43. LBG says:

    Lampard says his players found it hard to cope with the movement and positioning of…….Mesut Ozil.
    Never has there been a player who goes under the radar quite as much!

  44. RockyLives says:

    Interesting LBG
    Ozil is a very intelligent player and I can well believe that a lot of what he contributes goes over the heads of we laymen (and women, Sue).

  45. LB says:

    I think the club are going to have to set up some kind of help line for people who can’t stop watching Martinelli’s goal. I am up to about 45, it’s so addictive.

  46. Sue says:

    Sweeter each time, LB 👌

  47. LBG says:

    Matviyenko seems like an interesting possibility. Sweet left foot.

  48. Sue says:

    Burnley 2 up 😎

  49. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB I like the view from behind their goal when is face goes from “oh shit that’s a heavy touch” to “afterburners on” when he realises Kante has slipped.

  50. Gööner In Exile says:

    Looking for the replay this gave me a giggle

  51. Sue says:

    Very good, GIE 😂 Love Wrighty!!

  52. RockyLives says:

    That’s great GIE. Someone went to a lot of trouble!

  53. RC78 says:

    Given the results over the last few days, We should do a poll…

    Who would you rather Not see clinch Top 4 this year and why?

    1. Chelsea
    2. Man Utd
    3. Tottenham
    4. Others

    There is a real chance that Mourinho s Spurs move to 4th before the end of the season given Chelsea and Utd poor form… Horror 😢

  54. GoonerB says:

    If it’s not us as 4th then let’s hope its Leicestet and Wolves RC with us winning the EL and being the 5th team.

  55. LBG says:

    An Alan Brazil classic!
    “Did you know Martinelli had four trials up there at Man Utd?. Whose the Chief Scout…Mr Magoo?

  56. Sue says:

    Please win tonight, Wolves 🙏

  57. fatgingergooner says:

    We’ve won 4 of our last 22 PL matches….😂

    How did that happen? And why do I still have a good feeling about this squad and the season ahead!?

  58. GoonerB says:

    FGG, that is because we can see the massive positives in performances that we know will equate to points soon. We haven’t got what we deserved with the improvements under Arteta in the last 6 games, but it will come.

    Our last 6 read DLWDDD which at face value looks bad but if the right decisions had been made in the 1st Chelsea game and the Sheffield game both of those would have more likely been wins and it would then read DWWDWD.

    The two readings couldn’t look more different or further apart but we know there is a gnats whisker between one being the other and all this in a trickier run of games during a horrendous injury period.

    Under Emery I felt we were going to lose, and even wins sat uneasy because you kind of felt we were winging it and the stats were pointing towards something different. Under Arteta we can see the massive positives in the draws and even the Chelsea loss and that we have been very close to having 5-7 extra points over the last 6 games.

    Just think what we could be like when both Holding and Bellerin are back to full sharpness and we have Tierney and Kola to chose from again.

  59. RockyLives says:

    New Post…..

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