Shkodran Is the Ideal Squad Player; Let’s Show him the Arsenal Love He Deserves

“There are two things that must be rooted out in human beings- arrogant opinion and mistrust. Arrogant opinion expects that there is nothing further needed, and mistrust assumes that under the torrent of circumstance there can be no happiness.” Epictetus.

There is a lot of arrogant opinion and mistrust of our very own Gunner, Shkodran Mustafi, out there. It looks like all the unhappiness that the whole team and manager created over the last twelve months is being almost solely projected at the 2014 World Cup Champion from Germany. Yes Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka also get their share of vitriol from the fanbase (which, surprisingly, also include a not to be underestimated number of reasonably intelligent supporters) but the abuse on line and elsewhere for Shkodran is getting out of proportion. We once were a classy club and supported everyone who wore the shirt with pride and gave his all, even if they were not really that good, but these days are over it seems.

I think GoonerEris summed it up best on the blog last night:

“Lastly, it’s going to be hard, but I wish the fans can step down the Mustafi-hate while he is turning out for us. The man can’t put up a tweet or instagram story without some trolls hurling abuse at him. He was booed at some stage in a pre-season friendly (vs Colorado), for Pete’s sake. That was awful and can affect the mentality of any one. It’s a surprise for me that he’s chosen to stay instead of taking a walk; it cannot be for just the money. He must like it at the club and the country. Let’s encourage him as we should the rest of the team and see if we don’t surprise a few.”


Yes GoonerEris is right. Mustafi is a fighter and always gives his all, and he did go to the States whilst our captain decided to go on strike… I know that he makes mistakes, mistakes that have cost us in the past. These mistakes stand out and his good stuff is forgotten. Mustafi scores high on Whoscored every season; he is usually in the Arsenal players top-three by the end of the season. But all fans seem to notice are his few mistakes.

I like a player who gives his all and wears the shirt with pride – don’t we all?! Maybe it is time for Emery to move Mustafi away from the last line of defence and play him to his strengths. His drive, energy, tackling and interception abilities, strength in the air and crisp passing make him pretty ideal for playing somewhere in the four of Emery’s 3-4-3 system. He could be back up for both Torreira and Bellerin and prove to be a great squad player for us.

Whatever Emery does with him this season, just back off a bit and support Shkodran instead. He is one of us in the end… Victory Through Harmony.

By TotalArsenal.

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108 Responses to Shkodran Is the Ideal Squad Player; Let’s Show him the Arsenal Love He Deserves

  1. Pony Eye says:

    TA, … Thank you so much. My heart has been bleeding because of the size of insult being heaped on Mustafi. I don’t want to mention names but his errors leading to goals is not the worst in our team. He’s been made the scape goat for our frustrstion with the state of our team. It happens that he leads the team in tackles and he’s our best in the air. I think it’s the high expectation of him because of his purchase value that has turned to hunt him. He obviously wears the badge with pride.

    Despite his macho style Mustafi is psychologically very fragile. I remember one error against United that led to goal how he immediately asked to be replaced feigning, I believe, an injury. He was completely devastated.

    I wish am in a position to start a strong campaign of support for him. Well done TA for your initiative.

  2. njk84sg says:

    TA, Mustafi looks better playing at the wings rather than Centre Back.
    Sometimes, the flack that Ozil had received and how he showed his reply via his foot is what Mustafi needs to do.

    I know sometimes that I have gone overboard with Iwobi and Mustafi’s criticisms, and I know that they are trying their best (while some of the players around them aren’t at the same wavelength).
    The squad togetherness is what that’s lacking at the moment, and when good players come in and make the team gel better with intelligent runs and quicker tracking back to help each other out we will be ok as a team with or without them.

    Other than that great post TA.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks PE, yes Mustafi is emotionally fragile and who isn’t during such moments. I think he works hard but his head is not always as cool as you would want from a CB. Yet his stats tell us he does a hell of a lot of key defending for the team. It was 17HT who suggested to play him away from the last line of the defence I think, so why not do just that?!f Personally, I love to see him play in front of the defence…

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers 84, yes Mustafi would do a good job on the wings, especially in a 3-4-3. If we can play AMN there, we certainly can play Shkodran there..

  5. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, back from some travels… I’ve been following but was actually without a keyboard for quite a bit… I think I thumb-typed something on that post about Ozil that stayed up for a while…

    This post is interesting…

    First off, I AGREE and I (completely) believe the idea that Gooners should support their own players, but, if you have to say it, it probably indicates that that bird has (long ago) flown the coop. In the same comment where I was probably saying that I thought Emery did well using Mustafi as a right back (or as far away from our own box as possible) I think I was also saying that the Arsenal supporters should sing something like, “You Will ALWAYS Walk Alone.”

    Having spent time at the real Highbury Library (actually closer to the new stadium than the old…) I believe the situation (fueled by the internet where Arsenal has always taken the lead…) it’s WORSE than Gooners just sitting on their hands. And everybody who has any sense (or maybe just not that much to lose…) wants off this (sinking) ship. Captain Kos, for example…

    In that same comment (or maybe series of comments, which I think could be my approach this morning) I suggested that our team song should be (the lip sync-ers) Milli Vanilli”s “Blame It on the Rain.” TA liked that one, but I haven’t heard back from (Josh?…) Kroenke… 😉

    Back in my day nobody knew the lyrics to this one, but the music is (once-in-a-generation) catchy and it expresses the view of Gooners to a tee…

    Here we are now, entertain us…

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    Continuing to the specifics…

    What sort of a defensive line-up can we play?

    I know that folks who like midfields…and particularly, creative midfields, will stump for a back four because, you know, you get that extra MF in there… Does Emery think that way? Not from what I’ve seen, BUT, I’ve watched zero pre-season and I couldn’t bring myself to watch all that much of our (woeful? shameful? just plain awful?) run in last year…

    So, with Kos quitting on Emery, I think he pretty much has no choice but to try (and protect a our goal and a draw) and play 3 VERY incomplete CBs when we kick off at Newcastle in just 19 days: Nacho, Sok and Shkodran…

    Or has anybody else emerged who might do a job?…

    Three in the box (maybe) allows Mustafi a bit less time in there to make his mistakes and give up goals and/or pens, but it really doesn’t help all that much. What could help, I think, is VAR. If Mustafi puts up the good stats, maybe he could also be vindicated (once or twice) by video. Just because it LOOKS stupid (to the fans…) doesn’t mean it’s a foul…

  7. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hmmm….Nobody up at this early hour?…

    To come back full circle, if we’re playing not to lose (Gooners know that we’ve already got zero chance at winning any trophies this season, right?… so it’s about scrounging enough points to somehow get up for CL football…not easy with the Thursday-Sunday scheduling, etc., etc., our other top 6 rivals already being good and/or willing to spend, etc., etc…) then isn’t it really all about having somebody to blame?

    Mustafi cost a lot of money (same as Xhaka, they tell me)…and was (they both were…) bought by Wenger, the guy who REALLY is to blame…

    I blame ownership and (to a lesser extent–for bungling almost sure-thing CL football AND making it unwatchable…) the current manager…

    But, in truth ,it gives me no satisfaction. I want to be part of something bigger than myself, where we walk together (not alone…) and move toward something special and good… Alas, it’s too late to feck off and support Pool or Spurs… And, as much as I might get behind Mexico’s #9, I can’t support Wolves… That assist to win the Gold Cup, was cheeky but not so bad, eh?…

    Not to make this too political but I know what I probably need to do…

    Go back from whence I came…(and fix the problems I see when I look in the mirror or at least blame THAT fellow)…

    In the meantime, I REALLY need a new avatar guy… (Is Elneny still with the club? Did he travel to the States?…)

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Seventeenho, some fine west-coast morning comments and all agreed. Not sure whether Elneny joined. I will watch a bit of the Bayern Munich game now (as Germans don’t really do friendlies, so that was a decent result). Catch you later (and will really email soon). 🙂

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Ozil has a new hairstyle so he could be your new avatar… some even say he looks a bit like Megan Rapinoe… 🙂

  10. jw1 says:

    All due respect to the badge, the club– even to the intangible concept of class.

    Here, I’ll accept the yoke of arrogance that TA has flung admonishingly. But. I’ll counter that what TA has perceived as arrogance– is frustration, long-held. For assessing correctly years ago what has become, in fact, the case. I’ve laid out the reasoning. I’ve offered the numbers. Yet, for several years those ideas have been brushed off– with nonchalance.

    My point: The club had a window to divest themselves– and failed to do so. Arsenal have let winners walk. Yet the one who should walk remains. I’ll contend he does not, because– when he does– it will be the last time he’ll live and play in a place like London making the salary he does.

    So? Though my more recent expressions of derision toward the player have devolved into churlish terms– it’s also an acceptance of sorts that he’s here to stay. Mostly because he’s indestructible– and others aren’t.

    Admonishment is fine. But I’ve not been incorrect.

    As for class and being an Arsenal fan? That was diluted when the longer-term perspective– for the good of the club was made secondary. Done when bouncing the club’s ‘beacon of class’ out the side door– like an unwanted patron. In the unnecessary rush to indict– we are now stuck with another one-man decision-maker. One who may or may not have the wherewithal to steer the club back toward the top.

    All that said? I’ll apologize TA. Having offended, on your site.

    And, will close with my own found quote (with bearing):
    “No one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.
    ~ Blaise Pascal

    A number of ways to interpret. Applicable in all.


  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey JW, great comment and rest assured the post was not aimed at you but at the great many blogs and bloggers out there who love to ridicule our German CB. Yes you have been critical of him too but mostly in a dignified way – and we all are frustrated about his costly mistakes when they happen. Love the Pascal quote by the way. 🙂

  12. goonereris says:

    Timely article, TA, as it is very likely Mustafi remains with us for the season. He needs to feel some love and he will learn the calmness required (that seems to be the thing with him: eager to fight every fire with same force) to deliver some error-free performances. Right now, with the flak he gets, it is impossible for any one to feel confident and play their game. So, on that note, maybe a change of roles will help him and I buy into the idea of a defensive midfielder (we already know he is a decent full back), whose business will be to intercept, dispossess, Harry opposition playmakers, make aerial clearances and just be a nuisance for the opposition. When he does that aspect well, it may just be the lease of life he needs to come back to the player we recruited… who presided over a long run undefeated alongside Koscielny.

    Say what you will about Shkodran Mustafi, he is one of our most passionate players!

  13. goonereris says:

    Hi, jw1. You’ve spoken well, but I am certain the reference to fans’ treatment of Mustafi had no bearing to the observations made on this blog; at least, that’s not what I intended in my posts on the subject. I feel it is more directed at the generality of what you read as main articles on blogs and papers, leading to very unfair comments beneath the articles. Every article about him, every tweet or Instagram entry results in “leave my club” posts and these aren’t nice, nor fair to the man. He didn’t recruit himself and certainly hasn’t been asked to leave. On the contrary, I think the managers understand what he brings and are willing to have him around as a squad player, at the least.

    It’s okay to point out his errors during the game, but what I am concerned with are the non-stop personal insults he gets online. It’s damaging to the club (player valuation, in the event we want to sell) and him.

  14. goonereris says:

    Hey, 17ht. Great to have you back. And as usual, you’ve packed so much into your posts (including the cheeky “political” dig at the Donald; yeah, saw what you did there). It sure looks like our fans prefer to have our players “walk alone”; never helps.
    On the defensive line up, Koscielny bailing on Emery has sure given him a headache; may be the reason we have Holding already training (hope he isn’t being rushed back). It’s said the club is looking to bring in a CB since the Saliba signing is more of a 2020/2021 season outlook. If we fail to bring in anyone reliable, we still have Sok, Monreal and Chambers (even Musti), to play in a four at the back till sorted or Mustafi regains trust (of the fans).

    Elneny is still with us, obviously. There’s paper speculation about him joining West ham, or some other EPL side but, until he returns from holidays, who knows where all that goes? He is one player who needs to leave Arsenal to be appreciated.

    The Gold cup finals had a lot riding on it for both sides. The USWNT had just won the Women’s World Cup so the pressure was on, even as DJT kept up his “Mexico don’t send their best” rhetoric. So, the cute back-heel assist by Raul Jimenez was a thing of beauty and a great way to get the deserved win by the Mexicans.

  15. geoffchase says:


    Was a big Shkodran fan, then watched him deteriorate under pressure. Very disappointing to see what’s there vs what what was possible coming in. Which was imo huge. When he was signed I was more stoked about him than Sok… Yet, how has it turned.

    My take, he needs a system and coach that limits his role. Keep it simple, find success, and then build from there. The question is though is that an Arsenal starter? A big game player at a top team. Very hard but no.

    So, is it Cup games? Defense is teamwork, systems, reliability / confidence between teammates. That to me all equals one word, consistency in who plays there. Thus, it’s tough to play him enough, yet given costs, needs, and potential tough not to..

    My 2p — jgc

  16. jw1 says:

    Perhaps not Eris–
    But do feel you are being charitable. It was my flippant post-script remark (last post) that tossed accelerant on the fire– likely resulting in the topic of this post.

    That? Was uncharitable of me– among this audience.

    Here in the US in the NBA– there’s a term for when someone is able to compete– but not capable of handling pressure or opposition strategies of the playoffs. The player is– ‘unplayable’. Conceptually, he may have been fine versus lesser teams in the regular season– but against teams that will take advantage repeatedly? The coach has to try another strategy– or another player. Either way, it reduces chances of success.

    On your other note– I’ll agree with you that Mustafi could very well succeed as a DM. Making many of his decisions less-fateful. Funny. How both AW and UE have put players into positions that are more difficult than their normal ones– were the obvious, seemingly more-natural ideas were/are overlooked. 🙂


  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    Excellent comment JW…I’m pretty sure, given that I read it twice, once on either side of my (2nd) espresso of the morning. Your style is pithy (in the extreme) but (with the caffeine) I think I got (most) of what you’re saying…

    It’s all very interesting (to me, this morning) because I’m actually working on some (fairly) complicated communication with my brother (the bass-player…) about the family house (and other even more complicated family finance stuff) and I want to be both clear and not too long-winded. Never easy…for me…

    And, Eris, now that you’ve been long-quoted in a post, (and you’re taking the time to respond to comments…) it could be time to write a whole one… 😀

    I’ll repeat myself (but try to spin it anew)… I think a terrible (terrible) thing that has happened at Arsenal was the hiring of a manager who both needs results AND feels the need to break with the past. I can’t say it enough but the handling of Wenger’s final contract (given two years when some planning might’ve sent him packing in Spring 2017, but then eased out after one season). Unless the planets line up for our guy Unai, it’s Freddy by February (I fear)…(Which makes Arteta in August–2018–look not so bad, by contrast…) But hindsight is only so satisfying. What’s the plan now? Maybe we’re “re-Arsenalizing” (or something) by bringing in Edu (and Freddy) after Sven followed Ivan out the door. I appreciate y’all who keep looking forward, but I’m telling ya… This is what a sinking ship looks like…

    So then maybe it IS up to the fans, esp. the non-paying ones (we get off cheap with our streams and TV contracts–and can jump off most anytime we just can’t take it)… And the I care do you pound sign thingee makes a certain amount of sense… IF you support any and all who wear the shirt. If you don’t, I recommend that looking in the mirror business I suggested above.

    Finally, I’d ask folks to remember that players are people, not just assets to be moved around in some form of chess game (which is how I picture Football Manager and other fantasy team-building vehicles. We should remember that Arsenal’s “big” problem is also our competitive advantage: As a club (relative to the other mid-table teams…) we can afford “significant” expenditures on players, both in fees and salaries, (but salaries, for proven–fitness and stats-wise–players is BY FAR the better way to go). These moves don’t always work out, of course, and then you’re (stuck) with guys. We don’t seem to mind if they’re out due to injury (another form of “unplayable…”) but dennis forbid, they cost us a point or three… Remember, football (the actual game, not the fantasy versions) is about working hard and rarely (very rarely, and becoming more rare) getting your rewards in the form of trophies, wins, goals and even just something that looks like you know what you’re doing. If Gooners could get back into that mode of thinking…

    ….well, maybe there’s a place for Skhodran after all…

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, that wasn’t quite my final thought…

    The BEST thing about both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Skhodran (Mustafi) is that the k is before the h in the (all three…) spellings of their names. Unfortunately they both seem like khigh priced mistakhes from the Arsenal scouting and contract folkhs…

    We should probably thank dennis that his name wasn’t Bergkhamp…or that the guy from Monaco wasn’t named Tkhierry Khenry…

    Etc., etc…


  19. jw1 says:

    Tkhi, not Titi? 😉
    (You’re off the hook HT!)


  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Good comment, Profski. I think it is also important who Shkodran is paired up with. Keown needed calm and controlled Adams to shine; Toure needed Campbell. Shkodran needs someone who leads and controls whilst he gets stuck in. But I still would play him in the Torreira role, or in the Bellerin role in 3-4-3..

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to have a decent amount of comments and I agree with 17ho that Eris should write his first BK post if he is up to it. 🙂

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Will anybody be watching the game tonight?

  23. jw1 says:

    Yep. Live, free (ESPN) here at 6pm our time.


  24. TotalArsenal says:

    lucky you, JW1. Here we have to pay an obscure channel for all the preseason friendlies… If you have the time, it would be good if you could post us player ratings and a few lines to go with it… I will then post it as a new post. But only if that works for you.. no pressure. 🙂

  25. goonereris says:

    17ht, that last part about the K before the H was hilarious and, to be honest, I didn’t even notice that with Mustafi. I just let my spell checker auto-correct it. Thanks for that one.

    As for a post from me, I am pacing myself…. 🤞

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just about kick-off here, 4 pm where I am… That’s tea time but it also 5 o’clock just one time zone over… Decisions, decisions…

    Pacing yourself, Eris… Yeah, me too… 😉

  27. jw1 says:

    Odd lineup:

    Chambers Papa Kola
    Mkhi Willock Xhaka Ozil AMN
    Auba Laca


  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    I think there’s supposed to be a question mark in there (after “Eris”)… I have a question mark about Jenkinson watching two giveaways in the first couple of minutes, the 2nd one calling for a committed block from Sok to avoid an early RM goal…

    Kola kicked by the RM Nacho… They’re talking about a sending off but it was only a glancing blow… Ozil actually tests Navas rather than trying for an assist…

    Am I seeing a bit of pressing from the front?

    (Their) Nacho again…handball and a pen… Looked another potential sending off… And he is… sent off… RM down to 10…

    And Laca converts the pen (barely)… Wow 1-nil and a up a man. Laca very sheepish about using every inch of the goal (and both posts)…

  29. jw1 says:

    Red for Real’s Nacho. Deliberate hand ball on a sure goal by Laca who had beaten Navas who left his line.

    Laca converts from the spot 1-nil to The Arsenal.


  30. jw1 says:

    BTW–that lineup changed prior to kickoff
    Jenks Chambers Papa Kola
    Willock Xhaka
    Auba Ozil Mkhi

    No idea why Auba is on the right.


  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey J-Dub… It looks to me like a flat back four (and Jenks in for AMN)…

    And maybe Chambers (paired at CB with Sok) is the man to make Mustafi surplus to needs. Madrid players not really warming to the task, though they did win the game’s first corrner…and now they’ve tried some diving but the ref ain’t buying even if Stuart Robson says Xhaka stepped across and blocked Carvajal and should’ve been censored…

    AUBA!! Makes it 2-nil….Nice flick on from Laca…

  32. jw1 says:

    So now I know.

    Auba on a sweet backheel pass from Laca– again with Navas off his line goes round him to score on a diagonal shot deflecting off Ramos leg on a last gasp lunge.

    2-nil to the Good Guys!


  33. jw1 says:

    YC to Carvahal for pulling Ozil’s shirt on a sure next-pass breakaway for Kola.


  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    At this point I’d like to see lots of subs…

    Mkhi offsides, but still conspires to shoot wide…

    Jenks gets a cross in…sort of…

  35. jw1 says:

    Modric with an ambitious long-range drive from 30– well over everything.


  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to read the comments, American Gooners! It is midnight here but for Edinburgh standards it is sweltering even with a kilt… so I cannae sleep as yet..

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’ll have to do a bit of research/reading to catch up on the Zidane quit and return saga at RM. They look very out of sorts though there’s obviously some quality individuals in their squad… We’ve seen very little of the young forward (Jovic) thus far… Hazard too… Down to 10 is tougher, I guess…

    Bouncy ball near our goal from a RM FK… Martinez has size if not decisiveness… Looks like he also borrowed (the bottom of) Ozil’s peroxide bottle.

    Better defending–or a worse FK after a Xhaka handball…

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    A better cross from Jenks but again too close to Navas… Laca has a ball in a good spot but the controlling touch isn’t quite right and the shot is too quick and way over…

    TA, is it a silk kilt? Those are my favorites… 😉

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sok is sent off! 2nd yellow… after more of a shove than was necessary…

    More inneresting now? Maybe?…

  40. jw1 says:

    Papa takes his second YC in as many minutes.
    Now 10-a-side at the 40 minute mark.

  41. jw1 says:

    So– not sure–but I’m guessing Xhaka has dropped into a CB position.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Harris Tweet, Seventeenho. Scratchy but stylish….. 😉

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    RM (and all their fans…) look (and sound) revived after the sending off… But Kroos long shot hits his own man…

    Martinez is Route One-ing it straight to RM now… But also easily grabs a corner…and this time we have moment of possession before Jenks misplaces a pass… Earlier he was quick on a Carvajal knock down across the 6 yard…

    Wowsa…let-off as Benz heads a free one down at point-blank but off the wrong side of the post…

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    well done Papa the philosopher. A friendly needs equal team numbers to be slightly meaningful.

  45. jw1 says:

    Martinez saves a sure goal by pouncing on a 1-touch cross about 5yds out.
    Another parry point-blank on a header from Benzema.

  46. jw1 says:

    Half 2-nil Arsenal.

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    I just watched the entire Bayern v Arsenal game and was impressed by both keepers. Are Willock and Xhaka playing relatively deep again with Ozil coming deep too to get the ball regularly? I liked that set up and was very impressed with WIllock (and Xhaka and ozil of course)..

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    I was thinking Victoria’s Tweed-cret… 😀

    Or something to Tart(tan) thing up a bit…

    Half-time arrives… It ended rather intense what with so many players surrounding the ref at the sending off(s)… Will it continue in a similar vein or will folks mellow out… Maybe they’re following the (partisan) pulse there in Washington…

    By the way, TA, maybe the heat you’re feeling is the air blowing up from London and the new PM… Is BoJo the man to get y’all out of Europe?…

  49. jw1 says:

    Not so concerned playing even numbers in a friendly.
    These are rare situations where you can drill situationally versus a quality opponent.
    Possibly more valuable than 11v11– except for the 2 guys who likely won’t play now. 🙂

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    What is this? Carmelo Anthony and Rob Holding talking about injuries?… Hoodie talk? Catch me up, J-Dub…

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    It was inevitable, Seventeenho, and who knows what this nutcase will do to this country? The chances of Scottish independence have no doubt increased, I reckon.

  52. jw1 says:

    Melo’s ego was bruised last season. Not much else.
    Though Holding was looking good in some drill footage. No hitch in his motion. One shot from the spot– was solid. Whether or not he’s being ‘rushed back’? Hard to tell. Probably fitness at this point.

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    I guess RM will want to save some face in the second halve but will we allow them to do so?

  54. jw1 says:

    Who would have thought ‘Idiocracy’ would end up being a documentary?

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Big shake up in the NBA this summer…with Houston looking VERY interesting…

    TA, I think playing on the break “should” get easier with 10 v 10… Next goal will be critical…

  56. jw1 says:

    Xhaka down. Modric with a reckless lunge. No foul called.

  57. jw1 says:

    You would not have believed the howling locally when Westbrook was traded-for.
    The locals (my NBA blog-bros)– went torches and pitchforks.
    I’m good with it.

  58. jw1 says:

    Martinez not trusting his defenders to work out from the back.
    Holding onto the ball far too long– then Route 1.

  59. jw1 says:

    Wholesale changes for Real. Bale, just on has scored 2-1.
    Acensio has kicks the ball from Martinez’s hands leaving it at Bale’s feet just a few yards from goal.

  60. jw1 says:

    Monreal on– the only change for Arsenal thus far.

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooh… Martinez can’t quite hold a ball and the former spud puts it in… Nice work by RM, Isco in particular… 2-1

  62. jw1 says:

    Ascensio from a chipped cross from Marcelo from 8yds. 2-2

  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    2-2 from Asencio… Marcelo did will to assist…

    New game now… No trust in the depth to try and/or too much desire to secure a famous win?…

  64. jw1 says:

    Ascencio down and chewing on a mouthful of his jersey.
    Does not look good.

  65. jw1 says:

    Stretcher coming on.
    Hate to see this– in a game like this.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Bale trying to impress his boyhood club? Would we have him, guys?!

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Was it accidental?

  68. jw1 says:

    Yes. Auba driving at the goal from left wing– and Ascensio tries to use his body to wedge himself in and dispossess Auba. Twisted a knee ligament if I had to guess. Severity– hard to tell.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds indeed painful and lets hope it is not too bad. Should indeed not happen in friendlies.

  70. jw1 says:

    Zidane has played 20 from his roster of 27.
    Emery has subbed on– only Monreal.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    I like that, jw1. too many changes is silly imv. I reckon he will bring on a few youngsters during the last ten minutes. Is the loan deal for the RM midfielders done and dusted?

  72. jw1 says:

    Monreal with a header from a corner that mildly surprised Courtois– but his length was enough to reach it.

    Kola tries to shoulder a cross back to Martinez– and nearly OGs.

  73. jw1 says:

    Eddie on for Laca.

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    It looked just like a running injury, a bit as I remember Bellerin going down with his…

    Afterwards, there have been some real chances… Bale with a quick shot but Martinez got down smartly for it… And Cortois off his line well as Mkhi tried to play across to PEA on the break…

    We’re doing a bit better but RM must be the fresher side… Is Emery really not going to use his subs? Maybe this game is too important for our brand… Our biggest match against non-English competition for the entire season?

    But the season hasn’t even begun… Smells of some stinkin’ thinkin…

    Kola chests behind but from the corner Marcelo can only boot over…

  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, clearly I disagree (with TA, about the subs) but now we’ve got a few new fellas on… Eddie, Saka, Nelson and Burton…

    And we almost score, Bale scrambling away a shot from a corner…

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    OK, crazy subbing has now taken place..

  77. jw1 says:

    I’m playing catch-up from 75th minute as Dog was adamant about me opening the front door.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Well Laca and Auba have found the net today, and that was important for us. If a youngster scores the winner that would also be nice. 🙂

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nelson, trying to lead the break can’t quite find the best option (back to his right)… Bale tries to place one with the outside of his foot… Anybody’s game now, but I bet both sides will be fine if it ends in a draw…

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    oh battery is dying and the lead is far away… enjoy the rest of your day!

  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not so bad on the break from Eddie to get it to Nelson out wide… RM got back to defend the cross, however…

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    It sounds like my people are fading on me… Who is this little Burton guy?

    Ooooohhh… Eddie… 1 v 1 but Cortois wins the showdown…

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    And Eddie again…fails to get his head to a blistering (yet well placed cross) by Nelson… Those were winners…

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Full 90 have been played… 4 extras coming…

  85. jw1 says:

    Then PKs!

  86. 17highburyterrace says:

    End to end with both teams still giving it a go…A Xhaka right footer probably wasn’t the end product that was needed…

    Ends 2-2… Will go to pens?…

  87. jw1 says:

    2pts for winner 1pt for loser of PKs

  88. jw1 says:

    International Champions Cup.
    May not be silver– but it never hurts to get another setting of china.

  89. jw1 says:

    Nelson – G

  90. jw1 says:

    Bale – Martinez save

  91. jw1 says:

    Xhaka – Courtois save

  92. jw1 says:

    Isco – G

  93. jw1 says:

    Saka – G

  94. jw1 says:

    Varane – G

  95. jw1 says:

    Monreal – Miss off post

  96. jw1 says:

    Vincius – G (Martinez dove over the shot)

  97. jw1 says:

    Burton – Miss over bar

    Real win 3-2

  98. jw1 says:

    Ascencio’s injury aside– a very good exercise tonight.

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    Too bad… Xhaka saved, Nacho off the post and Burton well over…

    We’re not supposed to worry about the result…but…our position was pretty strong and I’d have liked to see some earlier subs (the late ones seemed good)…

    Over to you J-Dub for the player ratings and match report… 😉

  100. jw1 says:

    Not likely. Have some freelance work to address– that I spent 2 hours not doing. 🙂
    Simply? It was an enjoyable match 10v10. Open game. Saw good passing– both teams near 90%.
    Saw a lot of good-enough things against mostly top-tier players for Real.
    No gripes from me. I was entertained.

    Diego Costa just drew a yellow Atletico vs Guadalajara. The more things change…

  101. jw1 says:

    Atleti reduced to 10-men on a RC breakaway foul.

  102. goonereris says:

    Nice going, lads. Didn’t realize there was a live blog on here; in any case, had to go do some medicals on appointment and barely saw the last few minutes of the game.

    Good work out for both sides.

  103. jw1 says:

    Atleti manager Diego Simone shown a yellow in the 64th minute of a still goalless match.
    The announcers have made the game more exciting than it seems.

  104. njk84sg says:

    Our first proper match and i felt that we have historically lost our structure and mentality after we were down to 10 man.

    Pity about the draw and the resulting penalty loss, but normally if we need to make a comeback after a man down we need to have a strong team with a strong formation.

  105. goonereris says:

    Reading that Asensio’s injury last night may affect the speed of the Ceballos deal. What are the odds?

  106. jw1 says:

    Though also read (today) Eris–
    That Ceballos is in London today for the medical.


  107. TotalArsenal says:

    But do we need Ceballos if nobody else is leaving?!

    Anyways.. New Post! 🙂

  108. goonereris says:

    Thanks, jw1. Not been able to catch up on current news status.

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