January 26, 2023

So we just registered the arrival of Polish international Kiwior. A young player who has been used as a Centre-Back and Defensive Midfield, he is known for his ability to play out from the back and pick out a pass. He played in Poland, Slovakia and Italy. He has a good interception record.

The question I am asking myself is why are we recruiting him (also instead of Ndinka)? We have White, Tomyasu, Holding, Saliba, Gabriel and Tierney that can play there…Are we trying to get rid of one them? If so, which one? Cedric is leaving for Fulham so I am thinking that White and Tomyasu are staying…Saliba and Gabriel are safe too imho so that leaves us with Holding but he is a club’s lad so…

Maybe he is coming in to play in midfield in the end…? Maybe as a support player to beef up our defensive mid or as the back up to Xhaka…

Or he could just be recruited to make sure we are covered adequately for each position

Turner – Tomyasu, Holding, Kiwior, Tierney – El Neny, Lokonga – ESR, Vieira, Trossard – Nketiah OR

Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – Jesus

Not too bad, not too bad…knowing that Balogun will come back next season…I think that the big question is about Lokonga’s credentials to be a solid enough squad player. If we are going in for Declan Rice in the summer (which I doube), it will also make things interesting for Xhaka…but I believe we may try to lure Ruven Neves, Mikel Merino, McAlliser, Fofana or Tielemans…


50 points…after 19 games and back-to-back wins against Top 6 rivals…the road is still long but hope is permitted…

January 23, 2023

Top of the League. 50 points, 19 games…

Two convincing, gritty and well-earned wins against Tottenham and then Man Utd. We can smile at the first half of the season and look at the second half with a bit of optimism. Of course, Man City have a deeper (better?) squad that is used to winning the EPL and they have a freak goal-scorer (Haaland – what a player!) but we are more than giving them a run for their money and now they have to catch us….

So against Utd, the positives:

  • Zinchenko, Xhaka, Ode, Saka and Nketiah. What a difference does Zinchenko make to our team? A clever player. Xhaka is like a new player, providing assists, pressing high and not indulging in silly defending…Ode, even when not at his best, is aggressive defensively and decisive offensively. Saka hit another level this season and Nketiah has provided more than adequate cover for G.Jesus;
  • The fans and Arteta’s fire.

So against Utd, the less positives:

  • Ramsey’s shakiness against Utd was a bit scary;
  • White and Tomyasu really struggled against Rashford and Tomyasu also at fault on Utd’s equalizer. We are looking at Fresneda, a young right back…
  • Partey – at fault on first goal and then did not reassure throughout the game
  • Saliba and Gabriel need to also cover Ramsdale better. A wake up call.
  • Martinelli, off day at the office.

Ramsdale – 4.5

White/Tomy – 3.5

Saliba-Gabs – 5.5

Zinchenko – 8

Partey – 5.5

Xhaka – 7.5

Ode – 7.5

Saka – 8.5

Nketiah – 8.5

Martinelli – 6

Was a nice game to start for Trossard. COYG! Keep going strong.

Poor Chickens! Red London! Arsenal Ecstasy!

January 17, 2023

Random thoughts on a glorious occasion.

Where to start? The players, maybe:

Ramsdale – dominant performance, saves, clearances, catching, punching – and best of all, shithousing Poorarlison, who swallowed the bate, and I’m waiting for his citing by the FA, but I won’t hold my breath

White – was… Whiter than White, does almost everything brilliantly, but needs to master his crossing

Saliba! – error free

Gabriel! – monster with exquisite distribution

Zinchenko – out and out baller, and one of the heartbeats of the team

Partey – the lean controller, very Vieira-esque

Xhaka – master of all he surveys

Odegaard – wow! Just wow

Saka – silky first touch, tormentor in chief

Martinelli – seems to have Velcro attaching the ball to his boots

Nketiah – if his first touch was as magnetic as Saka’s, he would have had three goals, but in everything else, fierce and combative

The manager: I think people – both supporters and those outside the club, are beginning to realise what a special person we have in Arteta. His tactical acumen, his technical knowledge, his teaching ability, and his player-management, are scary. In his first job as a manager. He has distilled the best of Moyes, Arsene and Pep. I hope he stays for years.

The referee: it seems unfair to criticise Pawson, considering we didn’t concede a penalty (!), and he got most of the big calls right; but how was Romero still on the pitch, after six, maybe even seven, bookable fouls, AFTER being booked.

As to the narrative of the match, all Arsenal in the first half, beautiful control and link-up play; Sp*rs resurgent in the second half, but Arsenal maintained defensive control. I was on edge until Odegaard scored, but sanguine and relaxed thereafter, so much confidence do I have in this group of players.

As noted last week, I still think a deep midfielder is more of a priority than another forward (both would be nice, of course). There are players to come in if Saka or Martinelli are injured. The fall-off if Partey’s out again is too much.

Mudryk: I can’t let it pass without a comment on that transfer. I actually feel sorry for the guy. He looks so unhappy at Stamford Bridge, one can’t help speculating that Shaktar told him “it’s Chelsea or nothing”. If he doesn’t prove as spectacular as his transfer fee, his career is almost over, tied as he is by high wages and a long contract. He might, but Arsenal were absolutely right to walk away. In fact, I think they should have abandoned talks after the second bid was rejected. And let’s face it, at that club just now, players are more likely to underperform, given the chaos between owner and manager. When Potter was asked about Mudryk, he didn’t confront the question of whether he wanted him, and was insipid in his praise.

London is red. Let’s wallow in it, and anticipate the meeting next Sunday with Manure.


Mudryk to Chelsea but we will win the NLD!

January 15, 2023

So Chelsea hijacked our deal with Shaktar for Mudryk by paying 88.5 Mln pounds + add ons…crazy…

Apparently, we are turning our attention to Raphina now…potentially Diaby (but he is not worth it to be honest)

BUT they are bigger fish to fry including a savoury NLD against a resurgent Tottenham team that can now count again on Romero, Betancur and Kulusevsky…The 3 players that changed their fortune last year as they edged us in the Top 4 race. Kane is in scintillating form and Son is always dangerous against us so while we may be top of the league and playing well, we are in for a very tough and contested match today…

The key will be to really exploit some of their defensive lapses especially their full-backs and center-backs sometimes miscommunicating. There be room in between the lines so Odegaard may be able to find some space to shoot…If Partey-Xhaka and our back 4 do well today, we should come home with at least a point…

I am gonna go for a 2-1 loss to the Spurs though as I can see us lose our patience and form at some point in the game. Most likely score according to pundits is a 1-1 draw – if it is a draw, I think it will be a 2-2…Now our scorer will be Martinelli and for them, Kane will be on the scoresheet.

COYG! Make sure I get the result wrong today!

Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko – Partey, Xhaka – Ode – Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

Lloris – Romero, Dier, Lenglet – Doherty, Betancur, Hojberg, Perisic – Kulusevski, Kane, Son

Let us not totally discard the FA Cup…

January 6, 2023

Our squad is of course thin and has been made thinner with the injury to G.Jesus and is prone to becoming too thin if Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Ode, Martinelli or Nketiah get injured…Their back ups are just not at the same level…so risking an injury to them may be just too risky…YET, the FA Cup is a fantastic competition and we have a good record in it. We have to respect the competition and give it a go – a trophy is a trophy…

We are playing Oxford, not the biggest name in football so we may have a bit of room for rotation but let us not rotate the whole team and keep some first squad elements in it to put the game comfortably behind Oxford’s reach at half-time…This will allow us to bring in some youngsters to the fold…

Ramsdale – Tomy, Saliba, Holding, Tierney – El Neny, Xhaka – Vieira, Ode, ESR – Nketiah

Second half:

Turner – Tomy, Saliba, Holding, Tierney – El Neny, Lokonga – Marquinhos, Vieira, Taylor-Hart – ESR

Let us win this tie and let us keep looking at options to improve our squad’s quality and depth.

Keep calm and carry on…although it is hard not to get excited

January 3, 2023

The last matchday’s results were quite kind to our beloved club and we are now sitting with a 7 points lead at the top of the EPL…

Yet, we are still a young team that has quite some room for improvements especially in defensive phases or when facing an agressive press. Our defensive set-up sometimes loses its shape and calm when put under pressure.

We have now quite some fixtures coming up:

  • Newcastle at home
  • Tottenham away
  • Man Utd at home
  • Everton away
  • Brentford at home
  • Man City at home
  • Villa away

It is all about building a strong series so we really need to win the first 3 games of this series and then we can go in the next 4 with some confidence and less pressure. All 3 games are tough with Newcastle having a wonderful season, Tottenham who will want to play their best against us and a Utd team with a resurgent Rashford who always bothers us…Bag 9 points by hook or by crook and then we can serenely prepare for Everton, Brentford and City…If we come out with 16 points out of these 7 games, we will still be leading the EPL BUT we would still have to play City, Liverpool and Newcastle away and Chelsea at home so the road is long and while hopes and expectations are raising, we need to keep calm and carry on…starting tonight against a strong Newcastle team.

Neutralizing Trippier, Guimares, Joelington, Almiron, Maximin and Wilson. Theryare very good at set pieces with Schar and Botman in the air so that will be a tough battle for Gabs and Saliba. We need to dictate in midfield and also bully Schar and Botman’s lack of pace. Burn is great going forward but Saka can take advantage of his defensive lapses. I think this game is in Party-Xhaka’s hands to be honest – if they control the midfield, we will be ok but if not, I can see us suffer a lot…


Happy New Year fellow bloggers!


December 29, 2022

We now have an undisputed hot first eleven – make that first sixteen, with the top players who can’t get into the starting line-up at the moment. I think it’s fair to say there’s not one player in that group who is not worth more than when he got into the squad. Some, if we had to move them on, would make the club massive spondulicks.

However, as the Gabriel Jesus situation has illustrated, when injuries happen, as they surely will, it’s who’s behind the superstars that make the difference to success chasing honours.

Arsenal supporters don’t seem over enthusiastic about some of our back-up players, but I would like to put in a good word for some of them.

One of my favourite players, since he joined us for diddly-squat from Bolton, while Man City were paying a sultan’s ransom for Stones, is Rob Holding. An integral part of the Mertesacker FA Cup win, he has always given everything to the cause. He’s not fast, he doesn’t read the game brilliantly in open play, his distribution can be iffy. But if you want backs-to-the-wall defending deep in your area and deep in the game, I certainly always feel comfortable when Arteta sends him on, and he holds up five fingers to indicate the strategy. Moreover, he seems totally happy with his role as back-up penalty box specialist. If he is required he’s always ready and reliable. From what one sees in training videos, he’s popular and influential.

On the same level, and all of the above, is Mo Elneny. He also lacks speed. He can be a bit lightweight in one-on-ones. But he rarely gives the ball away, has good control and reasonable vision, and also never seems to complain or sulk at his lack of minutes on the pitch.

I guess I should include Eddie Nketiah, simply because if everyone’s fit he’s unlikely to start. But really, I do believe he’s now first team quality. The way he took his goal against West Ham – well, actually, I think it was better than GJ himself might have done! The main reason for adding him is the patience and mentality he has shown, waiting for his chance – and the way he has seized it when required.

I also think Cedric Soares has been underrated, but only because of the huge drop-off from our magnificent Tomiyasu, White, Tierney and Zinchenko. Notwithstanding, he is utterly reliable, and another who is always ready to be patient and then do a job when called upon. It seems he might be leaving, which is a shame, but a couple of youngsters in the shape of Sousa and Walters are emerging to push him further down the pecking order.

Matt Turner showed in the World Cup, firstly why Arsenal were keen to buy him, and secondly, how exponentially he has improved since he joined us. He’s still a notch down from the charismatic Ramsdale, but not so much that I’d be fretting if he has to play. Another who bides his time patiently.

I only perceive one player in the entire squad who is letting the side down: Sambi Lokonga. If he survives the January window, I can see him being off-loaded in the summer. He has loads of skill and physical attributes, but his mentality has been lost. The result is that when he is given time in a game, he fails to fulfil his potential. It’s a shame, but he’s the epitome of attitude defeating talent. I believe there will be plenty of suitors on the continent, and he will flourish in the right environment.

I have no doubt that in the coming months we will need our yeoman back-ups, and I’m certainly content to see Elneny’s Nketia’s Turner’s and Holding’s name on the team sheet (and Cedric’s, should he still be at the club after January).



December 27, 2022

Come on. We’re all at it now. “Of course, I know Arsenal has no chance of actually winning the League this season”, while thinking, “Ohmigod, I can’t help believing they’re going to do it!”

And it’s all Mikel Arteta’s fault – not to mention Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketia, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, Oleg Zinchenko, Gabriel Magalaes, William Saliba, Benjamin White, Aaron Ramsdale. If I leave out ESR, Tomi, Jesus, it’s only that they’re not available at the moment.

Firstly, they’re winning. This is what every supporter desires of their team, but so few of us experience on a sustained basis.

But more. They are playing with such brio, such confidence, such pace, such touch, such control, one feels swept along on this tide of belief.

They go 0-1 down to a soft penalty. No longer do we feel doom and gloom. We are happy that they will solve the problem. And we are proved correct.

A couple of favourite moments from the West Ham encounter: foremost has to be when Saka bullied Declan Rice off the ball, then grabbed it from Odegaard’s toes to instigate the move that led to Martinelli’s goal; another involving Rice, when Martinelli forced a corner off Dawson, and the camera showed a desperate and exhausted Rice trudging back into his penalty area, looking round hopelessly at his inept teammates; everything that Ben White did – this guy is just so cool, so sublime, who one dreamed of being in the school playground, who exudes not giving a shit; everything that Martin Odegaard does, with his eye for a crucial pass and his twinkle toes and his non-stop effort; Gaby terrorising defenders; Eddie’s superb roll of Kehrer and unstoppable shot.

Wow. Torn between ecstasy and waiting for the dream to crash. Is it going to be like this till May? I’m over seventy now, and not sure my heart can keep up, but still I hope so.


Jesus out until March…Nketiah’s time? Nah…we need to get a striker in the transfer window but are the options?

December 6, 2022

First thing first…I think England will win against France, unfortunately for me…but England has the better team and we have some outstanding players so…

So Jesus got injured on his only start in the WC…What bad luck! Anyways, we hope he can come back stronger and soon…

Now we need a hard working striker but who?

  • J. David or Buchanan from Canada?
  • Osimhen from Nigeria?
  • Michail Antonio?
  • Raphael Borre from Columbia?
  • Tammy Abraham from England?
  • Lucas Holer from Germany?
  • Ben Yedder or Neal Maupay from France?
  • Osihmen from Nigeria?

So the search is on but really, we are gonna miss G. Jesus

Five Points Clear

November 12, 2022

So would you still accept top four, really? You know what I mean, how long ago was it that you would have accepted that trifle, that mere bauble, at the beginning of the season, after the Tottenham win, after the Liverpool win, after the Chelsea win or in my case today after the City loss and our fine win against a well drilled Wolves side? Top four, pah, I want the whole cake now with icing and cherries on the top. 

Ramsdale: if you do your job properly which he did, and keep a clean sheet, which he did and the team win, which we did, why isn’t that a perfect performance worthy of the highest score? 10

Zinchenko: our Ukrainian clearly has a larger than life personality and it occurred to me that his play reflects that, there were moments today when I thought that that was a hindrance, slightly less bling and a bit more precision. Still a superb signing, love him. 7   

Gabriel: unusually looked like the more commanding central defender today, a very solid performance. 8

Saliba: it was quite a shock to see that he is human and capable of making mistakes, which he did in the first half, but obviously had a large gulp of Mikel’s magic half time juice and came out for the second and played to his usual commanding best. 7

White: the thing I don’t understand is why doesn’t Arteta encourage Benny Blanco to come inside, the same way he clearly does with Zinchenko? White is obviously capable of playing in different positions and taking on different roles, if he were encouraged to play a bit more centrally he could be the answer to the nightmare scenario of TP getting injured. Defensively as sound as ever but not quite as effective going forward but I think that had more to do with Saka being off the pace. 7

Partey: and onto the nightmare scenario of a TP injury, well my nightmare is that without him, we are a top sixish team fighting for a Europa place. The man is world class and a joy to watch, I wonder if he has a brother? 8

Odegaard: I just found out that Norway didn’t qualify for the World Cup, resuuuult, go find a quite beach Martin, have a long rest and come back and play as well as you did today. MOTM 9

Xhaka: stomach issues, get well soon Granit, you were missed.

Martinelli: a bit quiet today by his standards but was still key in both goals (love the contradiction) has Martinelli got his own song? Should have. 7

Jesus: we need a 25 goal a season striker, no we don’t, we need a player who is going to help us win more games than anyone else this season, and this guy is delivering, worked tirelessly. 8

Saka: was well marked but that doesn’t usually stop him, not his usual effective self. 6

Sub. Vieira: he has been poor recently; I think most have wondered if that has been down to playing with lesser talents in games in the Europa and the League Cup? Well today was his chance to play with the A team for the best part of ninety minutes and show that his superb Brentford performance was not a one off. In my opinion he did this, he did enough to reassure that he has a bright future with us this was underlined by his perfect chip for Odegaard to score our first goal. 7