Saka MOTM, just brilliant

I haven’t written a match report about a win for ages. It’s actually quite a test to not go overboard 😉

Watching Arteta’s controlled post match interview was interesting. His body language is soooo calm and his words are well chosen delivered statesman like from that handsome chiselled face when I’m sure that inside he was jumping up and down with excitement at a plan executed ….. for a while …… to perfection.

Rio Ferdinand and Martin Keown, in the studio for BT Sport, were excited at what they saw. Very young players carrying out the instructions of their new very young coach.

The point they both made about how the belief in Arteta’s system builds confidence in each player is an important one. They are playing to a system now and each time it works they’ll want to do it more.

Saka has been a revelation, he’s a winger, playing as a left-back and Arteta’s system allows him to play as a winger when we have the ball. We don’t have another left back at the moment with injuries to Tierney and Kolasinac and Arteta has persuaded Saka that he can be both. A MOTM performance, a great goal and an assist. Brilliant, just brilliant.

The curse of the ‘centre-back injuries’ struck again and Mustafi’s looked nasty. I don’t wish him any I’ll will but many won’t miss him. Can Luiz, Holding and Sokratis keep us going or will we be able to add a CB before the window closes.

All in all we played the first half brilliantly going in to the break 2 up but knowing that Bournemouth would come at us second half. We did well to stop them scoring until late on. Having a bit of a wobble is part of football but oh how fabulous is the good stuff now 😁

I can’t wait for our next game.


If anyone wants to write some player ratings I’ll add them on.


61 Responses to Saka MOTM, just brilliant

  1. Didn’t notice the FA cup banner there yesterday Rasp, well done 🙂

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    The youngsters are starting to look the real deal. Saka stood out with a wonderful goal.

    Saka along with Martinelli and Guendouzi are potentially all world class players. Arteta seems to be channelling their energies in the right direction. We could be on the verge of something very special in the next few seasons.

  3. RockyLives says:

    Well done Peaches – captured the mood perfectly.

    This paragraph is key:
    “…Arteta’s system builds confidence in each player… They are playing to a system now and each time it works they’ll want to do it more.”

    Whether it was a communication issue or tactical confusion, Emery seemed unable to send players out with a clear understanding of what they needed to do.

    When you know what’s expected of you it does, indeed, build confidence. I remember in my playing days back in the black and white era there were occasional games where I was given the task of man marking the opposition’s most dangerous player. I loved it and applied myself to the task 100%, to the point where the player in question hated the very sight of me by the end of the game.

    The clarity of my mission made it easier to enact.

    A simple example from a long ago era of Sunday morning footy, but there’s an essential truth in there.

  4. RockyLives says:

    On balance Saka does indeed edge MoTM, but Guendouzi was nipping at his heels in last night’s performance.

    Although Gwen always seems on the verge of picking up a card or giving away a silly free kick, his display in the middle of the park was terrific last night – notably in the second half when Bournemouth were finally trying to have a go at us.

    I assume it’s down to Arteta’s approach, but he had more positional discipline than we’re used to from him. Under Emery he showed lots of talent but there was a ‘headless chicken’ element to the way he played.

  5. Sue says:

    Spot on, Peaches!
    Saka was my motm… just edging out Guendouzi, who was also superb!
    Pompey, we’re coming for you!! Sandwiched between City and West Ham… busy week! I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but how delightful would that be to walk out at Wembley in May?!

    In good spirits.. we won.. the sun is shining… and the bin dippers are very quiet… lovely jubbly 😀

  6. Rasp says:

    Great work peaches … you’ve said it all.

    Analysis of why we went off the boil for a while on the second half is important and Arteta alluded to the fact that we didn’t maintain the level he demands for the full 90 – as you say, that’s just what we want to hear.

    He also seeks to calm the enthusiasm over Martinelli and Saka and emphasises that they need to keep their heads down and continue to work hard on the training pitch.

    I’d be interested to know what happened in Xhaka’s head when he marred a good performance with 5 minutes of returning too the old Granit where he played his teammates into trouble 2 or 3 times with sloppy passing.

    Poor Mustafi was putting in a very good performance befoire his injury. He was stronger and more aggressive in his defending and won a lot of 50/50 headers. It’s interesting that Mikel had ‘bigged’ him up before the game believing he could turn him into a better player – up until the injury it looked like he’d achieved that.

    I questioned before the game if Mikel had improved Douzi …. well going by that performance, it’s a big yes.

  7. fatgingergooner says:


    Not sure I totally agree with Arteta improving Gwen. It’s easy to give Arteta all the credit for our good performances at the moment and I’m more than happy to jump on the Arteta bandwagon, but I do feel that Gwen was putting in similar fantastic performances early in the season under Emery but then went off the boil a bit as is usually the case with younger players. There is no doubt though that Arteta is improving our overall play and as someone mentioned before, we seem to have some sort of plan and idea when we take the field these days.

  8. RockyLives says:

    I’m quite enjoying the fact that the identity of our next young superstar keeps changing.

    At times it seemed like Guendouzi was the stand-out, then Willock, then Saka, then Martinelli, then Nelson…

    I stand by my Post from a few days ago that Martinelli looks to me to have the highest ceiling, but if they all turn out to be tall poppies, then who’s complaining?

  9. RA says:

    A fine Post-match Report, Peaches, thank you.

    You got the feeling of the game just right – winning an easy game would have been good, but frankly when there is a bite to the game too, as B/mouth increased the shirt tugging and laying low our players whenever possible made it so much more valuable – we showed we can stand up to the strong arm stuff, at last.

    We weren’t perfect, of course, but few games are, however Rasper was right to say that for a brief period Xhaka, who is talented in his way, started to play silly passes that put us in danger of conceding – then he played well in central defence clearing shots that were becoming dangerous in their own right, and then emulating Mustafi in making classy cross field passes to the wing – is that Mikel’s influence on the pair of them, too? – and finally abandoning his defensive role and going too far forward by joining the forwards in the opponents half.

    See – not perfect – but a damn sight better than he has been – like all the other team members.

    I was pleased with all of them.


    Leno: 5

    Gwen, Saka, Willock, Gabriel: 9

    Everyone else: 8

  10. RockyLives says:


    Leno 5. I thought he was much worse than that, given that he sat on his backside for the entire game. However I would certainly give Martinez a 5 😀

    At half time last night you predicted that the Cherries would throw the kitchen sink at us in the second 45.

    You were absolutely right, but fortunately their sink-chucking was distinctly wayward and I never felt we were going to blow it, even when we conceded with 10 minutes to go.

  11. RA says:

    Hi Rocky,

    Having come under pressure by the dynamic duo of Fred and Sue, I have changed my mind, and will, after all, return the loan you made to me and clear my debt.

    I will return the 7 pence I borrowed, together with 1p interest in the near future!! 😜

  12. RA says:


    Thank goodness you are alert (and I have nothing against a lert, of course) and you spotted that I was Leno towards the wrong GK.

  13. RA says:

    All I can say is —– LUNCH beckons —– yippee!!

  14. fred1266 says:

    Sue I think the city game will be postponed cause they should be playing in League Cup

  15. fred1266 says:

    Mustafi injury to me seem to be because Martinez didn’t trust him to control the situation or was it just poor judgment by Martinez who had a very poor night

  16. fred1266 says:

    Surely Leno deserve a 10 he had nothing to do whole game

  17. fred1266 says:

    RA I will be coming to England December, I expect all debts to be paid

  18. LBG says:

    You would have to move for me anything worth moving, I’m afraid.
    What a plea5to wake up to sunshine and a warm fuzzy feeling about your, THE, footie team.

  19. LBG says:

    A pleasure even!

  20. Sue says:

    Nice one, Fred… fixture overload!! City should win, 3-1 up…. and at home tomorrow 👍
    Coming back to the UK in December, that’s it Fred, put your foot down about that debt, as trust me, you don’t want to go anywhere near RA’s pocket (& all those moths in his wallet, it wasn’t pleasant 😆) hehe!!

  21. fred1266 says:

    On a not so bright note what going on with pepe, this is the type of game I thought would have been right for him to show us what he is made of

  22. fred1266 says:

    Good thing am a moth killer, no way he is getting away from paying his debt

  23. RockyLives says:

    Fred 😀

  24. LBG says:

    I dont think there is much of a puzzle.
    There is no doubt Pepe has some excellent skills, including goalscoring, BUT his proving ground so far has been in a relatively weak French League. He is young, Mikel is the perfect mentor to “teach” appropriate decision making ( see an ex Liverpool failure, now regarded as one of best in world), the right time to “arrive”, to shoot, to pass, the right move and time to make it.
    The comparison I have made before is Robert Pires. He needed a season, and he was more experienced than Pepe. I predict a dynamic explosion of ability during next season, and, in the meantime, I stand by, he is not ready.

  25. Sue says:

    🤣🤣 Love it, Fred!!

    With regards to Pepe, damn, so bloody frustrating!! But I’ve been told time and time again that he needs time and will come good… before his contract ends in 2024 would be nice 😜

  26. RockyLives says:


    All debts cleared, excellent. You and the horses are very reasonable people (even if it took Fred and Sue’s combined efforts. By the way, does that mean they count as ‘out of pocket expenses,?).

    And I feel guilty having highlighted your little Leno/Martinez mix-up given that I managed to propose a team in a headline post that included two players currently out on loan 😳

  27. RockyLives says:

    Pepe clearly has skills but he seems very, very unformed as a Premier League footballer.

    If Arteta can do the Sterling treatment on him, great. I certainly hope so given what we paid for him.

    If you ran a team and were told you could have one of the following players in your team at no cost – Pepe, Saka, Martinelli, Nelson, Willock – I doubt you would choose Pepe.

    I’m afraid I don’t see the Pires comparison at all, apart from a bit of a slow start. Pires looked a class act from the beginning and just got better and better.

  28. fred1266 says:

    Ex Liverpool failure?

    Are u talking about salah (ex Chelsea failure)

    Ok LBG will take your word on this,

  29. RockyLives says:

    He means Sterling

  30. LBG says:

    The world of footie has changed dramatically.
    How much did Robert cost? Young talented players cost ridiculous sums, believe the publicity surrounding them, believe their agents, live a popstar lifestyle.
    Pepe is unprepared for the Premier League and it will be his character that decides if he is ever to justify his transfer fee.
    I am surprised at your recollection of Pires. He did not show me any of his brilliance for the whole of his first season. He was physically bullied and I was unsure he had the gonads required to make it in our League. I believe Arsene wondered also. Opinion of course.
    I believe Pepe should be protected from fan criticism and given a chance to prove himself.

  31. RockyLives says:

    Whilst I agree that Pires was bullied early in his EPL career, it was still possible – even in that first half season – to see his footballing brain at work. It was obvious he could anticipate play brilliantly, could see difficult passes and execute them beautifully.

    Pepe seems much more of a ‘head down and go’ type of player (indeed the Sterling comparison seems more apt to me than the Bobby one). If Pepe can be made to improve in the way Sterling has, all will be well.

  32. Aaron says:


    Another post to capture many peoples feelings on here.
    Saka motm and Mikel’s system.

    Agree with LBG on Pires and Pepe. Pepe will come good under Mikel, if the fans give him the time. His return this year is already higher than Zaha’s, who many wanted.

    Regarding Guen, he was ridiculous under Emery, as was most of the team per Emery’s instructions, which I might add were counterintuitive and just plain did not work. Guen would run around trying to press, as no one else did, and left huge wholes in the teams shape, not his fault as it was what he was told what to do. Mikel now has the team playing a higher line, compressing space, and pressing in packs to nick the ball higher up the field. Guen now looks so much more assured in his positional sense.

    Mikel is doing what Emery was supposed to do, and it is a pleasure to watch!

    Really hope Mustafi is ok, not just from a sell on perspective either, he is actually playing better under Mikel.

  33. fred1266 says:

    Ok I seriously don’t consider sterling great, I can put sue in that city side and she to will score 20 goals a season

  34. RockyLives says:


    Good analysis of why Guendouzi is able to perform better in the new set-up.

  35. LBG says:

    Cant believe a man of your ” caliber” would even consider putting Sue through the indignity and mental hardship that would be required to pull on a light blue Shitty shirt!
    Watch out, RA will be on your back over that suggestion ( and from what I can gather, RA on your back could prove demanding!)

  36. LBG says:

    Having watched the game again, two further comments :- Understand the comparison between Willock and Rocky ( the original one). It is the stride length and elbows out running style.
    Secondly, Martinez was absolute crap last night. Missed or miss punched virtually all crosses, AND injured our “quality” centre back!

  37. fred1266 says:

    So u guys think we should keep Eddie or send him back on loan

  38. LBG says:

    Keep, keep, keep!

  39. LB says:

    A very enjoyable read, thanks Peaches.

  40. RA says:

    It seems Arsenal have neared agreement with Shaktar for Mykola Matviienko [CB] because of the problem signing Pablo More – and Mustafi’s injury.

    The problem for me is that he is only 5’11’ which is a bit lacking in height for a CB.

  41. We’ve got a few days until our next game so if anyone fancies writing a post that would be great ……

  42. Good news about Mustafi’s injury

  43. fred1266 says:

    We just can’t keep mustafi down, no matter if we want to

  44. Aaron says:


    Maybe we are in for both.

    Glad for Mustafi!

  45. Sue says:

    Fred.. Guess what? Saliba is playing tonight!!
    Put me in the City team 🤣🤣🤣 Thanks, Fred 😜

  46. Sue says:

    Just saw this on Twitter – Arsenal’s hierarchy should turn off all of their phones and lock the doors, because there’s a real possibility that Barca will come knocking. #AFC

  47. fred1266 says:

    Thanks for letting me know he playing will check it out

    Yea imagine they saying sterling good oh please

  48. Sue says:

    What a game.. Villa and Leicester! Really glad Villa won… how good was Grealish?! And that cheeky little assist 😉

  49. Wow!! Well done Villa

  50. Rasp says:

    I’d take 80m for Auba if it meant we could buy our own VVD …. after all we have a lot of emerging young attacking talent. It should be noted that none of Auba, Laca or Ozil featured against Bournemouth

  51. RockyLives says:

    That’s a radical but brave comment Rasp. Worth expanding into a post to see whether other AA-ers agree?

  52. Sue says:

    Looks like Mari will be signing for us….according to all and sundry 😀

  53. LBG says:

    I would take 60m for Aubang.

  54. LBG says:

    We have our VVD……..Saliba.

  55. Sue says:

    Very true, LBG… they’re unbeaten every time he’s played this season!
    And going back to yesterday, I could think of a worse shirt to wear, well, actually make that 4!!

  56. Rasp says:

    Morning all, well it is now 70% we will be getting Mari (at least until the end of the season) … so if we do take the 60-80m for Auba, maybe we should buy Cesc/Santi Mk II

  57. RockyLives says:

    New Post…

  58. fred1266 says:

    Yea really hope villa can pull off a shock in for finals

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