North London Derby Live Blog. Emery Goes with the Big Guns

There’s nothing like a North London Derby and Unai Emery has pulled out the stops to try and restore the balance of power in this one.  Here are the line-ups:

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Subs: Martinez, Mkhitaryan, Ceballos, Ozil, Chambers, Nelson, Willock.

Spurs: Lloris, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose, Winks, Eriksen, Sissoko, Lamela, Son, Kane.

Subs: Gazzaniga, Lo Celso, Alli, Aurier, Moura, Skipp, Davies.

I’ll be attempting to describe what I see but I can use all the help I can get so please (PLEASE) chime in with what your hot takes.  My views on Emery’s Arsenal are not so rose-tinted, but I’m trying.  You should too…

Please join me in the comments section and don’t be shy.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

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197 Responses to North London Derby Live Blog. Emery Goes with the Big Guns

  1. Jnyc says:

    I really don’t like Auba on the wings, especially in big matches. It was a mistake in the Europa final.
    We need to play with a true wide midfielder against good teams. Today I would have kept Auba on the bench with lacazette up front, I like him starting today because he is a tough striker, and can withstand the kicking the thugs will bring as usual. I’m happy to see Lucas starting though.

  2. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well… A couple of folks popped up over on the previous thread so I’m hopeful for some company here this morning…

    And, I predicted Emery’s 11 (which actually frightens me… I have enough worries trying to live in my own head)… Finally, people get to see the PALs in action. IMO, I think we could use a creative midfielder in there too but the manager prefers to keep his lines intact, I guess. Formation folks, please tell me what we’re gonna see…

    For Spurs, both guys who are being heavily tapped up, Vertonghen and Eriksen, start. At right back it’s Davison Sanchez, I’m guessing…

    Lots of attacking power in both teams…but I’m betting both coaches will try and settle the atmosphere rather than go all out from the kickoff…

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Well, we have PAL up-front and probably Xhaka and Torreira in the DM pivot with Guendouzi in the hole… unless Seventeenho is right that Torreira will be playing in the hole… I really hope I am right though, as the Xhaka-Guendouzi axis does not work.

  4. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey JNYC, long time… All’s well with you I hope…

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey JNYC, long time no see. Hope you are keeping well. Let’s see how the three up front work today.

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    In the hole, TA?… No such thing with this new coach of ours…(from what I’ve witnessed)… In my view–and since we like to defend even when we have the ball (by playing it around, not out of, the back, it’s really lines of 4 and 5 (with some pathetic chasing up front by whichever forward happens to be nearest the cock on the ball)…

    I’ll be trying to watch, however, to see if anybody gets into that hole spot (and tries to pull some strings)…

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    The more I think about it, we probably play with a flat three in the middle with indeed (Seventeenho) no creative midfielder, or maybe Pepe will do some of it behind the attackers.

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    Everton hold on but needed that 2nd Richarlison goal… Bad second yellow right at the death and Wolves will play next time out w/o Willy Boly…

  9. Jnyc says:

    Thanks boys, let me also say this is a great opportunity to bury the spuds further while they’re already down. We had a similar opportunity late last season and didn’t do it.

  10. goonereris says:

    Good job with your predicted starting 11; and to think you didn’t give it a chance. Emery probably prefers quick transitions from defence to attack and felt we could sacrifice play-making role for some midfield solidity.
    I expect Torreira and Guendouzi to share the “playing in the hole” role, as the game dictates. Guendouzi May be the one suited for it in some way, but he is also best suited for our playing out the back mandate. Maybe, Xhaka in the hole, then. That will surprise a few, not the least of which is the Spuds.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice for Iwobi to score today. There are many Gooners out there who did not rate Alexis even though he was still young and finding his feet. Soon they will eat their own words.

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    From what I have seen (last season) Lacazette (playing the false nine) is as close as (this) Arsenal get to having a player in the hole. He’s pretty good, IMO, (in this role) but it’s a big ask against a team like Spurs…so I wouldn’t expect us getting more scoring chances than the opponent today (as per usual)…

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    I am hoping for a win, Johnnie… but I would settle for a draw tbh.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    I remain astonished that Guendouzi keeps players like Ozil and Mkhi (or even Ceballos) on the bench, but there you go. I predict that only if/when he gets replaced we will start seeing our strongest team… but it may be too late by then. Nothing against Guendouzi personally but I just don’t get it.

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    With that new fellow for Everton (Moise Kean) and Iwobi and Richarlison they’ve got some serious athleticism up front… Did Iwobi ever score (for Arsenal) with his head? I certainly can’t recall any headed goals of his…

    If Poch has kept Vertonghen and Eriksen–and their heads aren’t being turned with transfer talk–I don’t really see how Spurs are in such a bad way. Their line-up, to me, is very (very) strong…

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    The Spuds will sit back and keep if fecking impossible to penetrate them, so a player like Ozil is v necessary. I guess Emery will force the Spuds to come and attack us by making us sit deep… It might not be easy on the eye until a goal is scored. Prediction 0-0 or 1-1.

  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, those decisions (Guendo ahead of Ozil, Mkhi) I think are being made at the accountancy level of management. Reducing the (massive) salary outlay–if we can still get the result–MUST be the priority.

    In my opinion, of course…

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Absolutely, Seventeenho. This is a strong Spuds team and they will fancy this game today.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Hah, maybe Seventeenho. But isn’t also clear that Emery doesn’t rate these players? That makes it a lot easier for the beancounters to put up the for sale signs…

  20. SY4 says:

    Not happy with a Luiz in a back 4 or Kola at LB. Not happy with the lack of creativity in midfield. Think we’ve handed Spurs a boast with the defence & midfield selection. No options on the bench either – 👏👏👏 Emery selection again. Please start with a better starting 11 next time

  21. Gino92 says:

    Boy oh boy! I was just saying yesterday on the last thread how nice it would to see the PALs play together although I doubt it would happen so soon, and there goes Unai again with his ever-present surprise. My only concern about the lineup is the need to always play his favorite player, Guendouzi (when we have Ozil, Ceballos, and Mkhitaryan). Maybe Unai really does see something else on the training ground with Guendouzi that we don’t get to see. My guess is he will play in the AM position and try to feed the PALs.😬😬😬🤞🤞🤞🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
    All I can say is do your best Guendouzi, make us all proud today!

    I still think we will win 4-2. (But I will gladly ANY score line win).

    Go Gunners!!!

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    “We have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget,” said Josh Kroenke. If I were manager, I would read that as “Freeze out Ozil and Mkhi, please…”

    The game almost feels irrelevant… If Spurs keep AND PLAY their guys who can command the money, but we lose (or freeze out) our “luxury” players…what does it say about the balance of power in North London?…

    Of course, the game ISN’T irrelevant, but I agree that it (already) needs a goal… 😀

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Gino… Are you on the high seas today? Please refresh me/us with your story… Memory ain’t what it used to be under (what’s left of) the grey hair…

  24. goonereris says:

    Guendouzi has got to be Emery’s love child in France. However, the kid hasn’t been as much a weak spot this season as he was, the last.

    I don’t take the Spuds for granted; they will raise their game for this and give us as much as they get. With 3 centre backs in the side, is Pochettino looking to surprise Emery with a 3 at the back with flying wing backs in Aurier and Rose? Son and Moura (when he comes on) will be dangerous and need to be watched.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    The only thing to say is that Guendouzi is less of a bad influence when he is the only young one on the pitch. He is good at walking through the lines with the ball and as long as he is kept away from defending it will be okay. Guendouzi is Emery’s signature and we just have to get used to it.

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to kill the discussion with my cynicism about Arsenal’s money-ball approach. Clearly we’ve spent in the transfer market (that front group = 150M pounds in fees, no?) but it’s the salaries that seem to get people riled…

    Big match, and between atmosphere and talent level it’s hard not to see goals in it, even if the coaches might prefer clean sheets…

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Eris, you also predicted the PALs to start, so well done. Are you in Canada or Nigeria at the moment, or neither?

  28. goonereris says:

    Beautiful goodbye message by Nacho Monreal. It is being said he will be in the stadium for the NLD before leaving the country for his new club; thanks to the international break coming up.

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    No worries 17. Here is hoping for a glorious win.


  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    I have to pull an espresso for the Mrs…

    …but, before I do, I like the love-child and signature descriptions of Guendouzi… Maybe today he’ll get his first Arsenal (league?) goal (or has he drawn the bagel in all comps?)…

  31. Pony Eye says:

    This looks like Klopp’s system with Laca as Firmino (false 9 @ HT), perhaps. Interesting. Eris you sensed the PALs rightly.

  32. jw1 says:

    Not expecting Christian Ericksen to be too sharp– after his lack of minutes thus far. Thinking the guy who needs to be kept quiet– aren’t the front 3 for Spurs– but Eric Lamela. When’s good he’s… yadda yadda.

    Time to Lock ‘n Load Gunners.

  33. goonereris says:

    Hey TA. I am in Nigeria at the moment. It’s now up to Guendouzi to make us proud. Xhaka must desist from making those misplaced passes. He may be nervous with being captain, you know.

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey PE and J-Dub…

    I think if Eriksen just keeps the ball moving…like Guendo does, sometimes, he’ll be doing his job… The trouble is, IMO, they both do their jobs in our half… 😮

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Well he is wearing the shirt so I will support him. Analysis over – gut support taking over.

    Maybe we are playing 4-1-2-3… Xhaka deep and Tor and Guendouzi being our Xavi and Iniesta…

    Glad to see Sol in the studio, even though he is surrounded by Mooman and Sounness…

  36. goonereris says:

    My bad. Aurier isn’t starting so, it is 4 at the back for Poch. VAR has to watch Vertonghen closely. He holds like mad.

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    We have kickoff… Davison Sanchez at RB, it appears…

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Okay cheers Eris. Nice to be home at the weekend!

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ball’s in their half and, after some head tennis, Kola gets off down the line on a PEA back-heel and finds Laca…Well struck but high and wide with his chocolate (left) foot…

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    End to end early with Guendo kinda/sorta working a 1-2 that looked like something…

    Eriksen goes down but no whistle…so more play in their half…with Kola rampaging on Davison and winning a corner…

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Okay, good intensity at the start. AMN close to a net-burster.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe curls in a decent corner which is cleared to AMN whose good volley is blocked out by Kane… it was both well struck and headed at the post…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    Funky clearance by Leno keeps Spurs in our half…but they’ve yet to have any settled possession…

  44. jw1 says:

    Divey Harry… dives.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Better start than against the Nivea boys last week

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kane (I think) tried to shield off Sok (I think) and goes down but no whistle…

    A bit of quick ball movement near the top of their box but we’re rebuffed and have to build again…

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Guendo gives but gets back and seems our leader in touches early on…

    Luiz boots one but PEA can’t bring it down. Lloris kicks out weakly and Xhaka gets it to Laca but again he mishits…

    Oh No… Leno…

  48. goonereris says:

    We’ve started well but from out of nothing, we’ve conceded an easy goal. But, we just have to keep going. 0-1. Leno should be doing better there though.

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    David Luiz goes for a ball that he cannot reach, leaving Lamela to run in for an angled shot… Leno has it (easily, I thought…) but spills it and the Real Madrid/PSG guy (Eriksen) taps it in…


  50. jw1 says:

    Papa with a poor decision to challenge for the header at midfield clears the path for Spurs.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Poor defending all round. Spuds love it when you come and attack them and we forgot our shape..

  52. goonereris says:

    Kolasinac stumbles at the wrong time when we looked like we had the numbers to hurt them in their area.

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Now we chase…and Spurs, after another good drive, are back into their shell…

    Kola driving diagonally at Sanchez looks a happy place…though he fell over (a shadow) there…

  54. goonereris says:

    Seen the replay again. That was down to Papa committing to a headed challenge he didn’t win. That left one man free.

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Looked like Sok almost used Xhaka as a ladder and neither got close to Kane’s good header down to Lamela…on the goal…

    Eriksen tries a curler from distance after they dance through our MF (LT11 looks winded already)…Straight to Leno and this one he holds…

    Divey Harry wins a FK from 45…

  56. Jnyc says:

    Long way to go

  57. Jnyc says:

    We were wide open again. Great save.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Pfffff super safe by Leno but we are living v dangerously. Spuds love playing the way Emery wants US to play.

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    Leno off his line grabs and rolls it out but the break fizzles…

    We’re pressuring Spurs in their half… AMN pulls back but Laca and Pepe can’t fashion a shot…Other end, Leno atones with a save as good as his early drop was bad…

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    And grabs the resulting corner…

    Spurs now happy to stroke a few around the back…

    Xhaka almost curls one through to Pepe…Didn’t see the defender?…

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Guendouzi does the Giroud hand shaking and we have a freekick.

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    Guendouzi gets the whistle this time…wide and far away but it’s something…

  63. Jnyc says:

    Yes T, exactly. I fault the coach for the lack of discipline and wide open results. But still not giving up.

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    I miss Ollie…and maybe that’s why we take the FK short… Winks and Sissoko aren’t the best sitting duo I’ve seen Spurs put out there… but I wonder about our group playing through the lines…

    Now that was nice… Auba finds Pepe for a header. It’s a tough angle and saved… From the corner, LT volleys the clearance but it’s not (nearly) as good as AMN’s…

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    No reason to give up Johnnie. It is a battle and the fans in the majority are wearing red and white..

    Pepe close there..

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    opportunity for Luiz to become instantly immortal…

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Luiz boots from the center line and we try to press on the bouncy ball…

    Eriksen, Son and Kane almost break through our masses but we have it and Laca, pushed over by Alderweireld wins us a FK, it’s long but central…

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Pepe instead and it goes wide…

  69. Admir says:

    We have to expose their full-backs somehow. Neither Rose nor Sanchez are a Top 4 level. Getting Rose sent off wouldn’t be a bad game plan either.

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe takes it and it looked better from the side view… more around the wall (and goal) than over it…

    Another FK coming as Rose follows his own touch but is late over a jumping LT11 (I think)…

  71. Jnyc says:

    Pepe is so talented

  72. jw1 says:

    Interesting stat:
    Arsenal shots 6/0 on target
    Tottenham shots 4/4 on target

  73. goonereris says:

    Pepe shouldn’t be taking free kicks in such a promising area, so soon at the club unless he was known for such precision. I’m not sure I know him as a free kick specialist. That had Xhaka or David Luiz written all over it that time.

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    That was a teaser from Pepe but Kane outjumps…and out for a corner…

    And another…Pepe sends them to good spots….

  75. AB says:

    Listening on radio BKers. Not feeling optimistic I confess. Selection doesn’t inspire me much. Some changes needed. But long way to go.

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    We are too frantic for that, Admir. We just want to force the ball in at the moment..

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    I dunno, Eris, on this one (who takes the FKs) I (actually) trust the coaches… Pepe must be doing OK in practice and I like the looks of them today…

  78. goonereris says:

    That shots on target stat doesn’t consider the weak shots from Laca and Pepe. Had Kane not been on the goal line, AM-N had one that was a sure goal bound shot blocked.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey AB, a bit unlucky to be behind, but no reason to be pessimistic as yet.

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed with the discussion above by Admir and TA…Also agreed with AB… 😦

    Pepe works hard in the corner and we have another corner while Spurs get a yellow for going to ground too easily (Lamela)…

  81. jw1 says:

    Chuckled just a bit Eris. No sir, the stats don’t take consideration. 😉

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    The game being played like a cup final. All or nothing. I really do miss the calm/intelligence of Mesut though.

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    Can we force one in? (Before we get burned on the break?…) That becomes the question…

    Laca, the false 9, finds PEA on the right but his cross can’t get to where Pepe needs it… Three strong athletes but a technician at the center of things also seems needed…

  84. goonereris says:

    Oh well. Usually, at a new club, you look for other routes to hero status, not a route as a central free kick. Unless you are adept at it by reputation.. That’s my view anyway.

    The Spuds already engaging in mind games and time wasting.

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    No playing it around the back today and Leno’s weak left footed booter comes back at us, with Kane forcing another spilled save but we intervene (Guendo calmly in the box I think) before it hurts us…

  86. AB says:

    Laca often manages to make something out of nothing. We don’t seem to have a real edge at the moment. Would be great to have Pepe open his account. Spuds seem to be defending solidly at present – no surprise there. Loris may be their weak spot perhaps.

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    Leno needs a bit more steel in those wrists.

    Must admit taht was poor by Xhaka.

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    Laca, coming back to help on D, gets a cheap whistle in a bad spot… Lamela to take the left-footer, I’m guessing…

    Gotta say I disagree (again) with you Eris… Spurs look more comfy minute over minute and eager for a 2nd…

    Eriksen, the right footer takes it… but the curler is watched well by Leno…

    Oh No…Xhaka takes down Son… Penalty…

  89. goonereris says:

    Lacazette is costing us some goal bound opportunities as he insists on holding on to the ball to create space for himself, ignoring teammates who may be in position.
    Now Erikson with a chance for the free kick.

    From the resultant save by Leno, the ref calls for a penalty against us. It gets worse. Xhaka on Son. Looks like Harry Kane always gets a chance for a penalty in the derby.

  90. Jnyc says:

    Well we can’t argue that penalty.

  91. 17highburyterrace says:

    So late it was almost tomorrow, says my commentary guy…

    Kane makes it 2-nil…

  92. goonereris says:

    This wasn’t the outlook for this game. It’s not working out as we search for some balance in transition.

  93. AB says:

    Yup, 2 down. Familiar defensive frailty.

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    And, me, already with my espresso quotient already in me… 😦

    Changes at half-time, I’m guessing…

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    Another 4-2 then…

  96. jw1 says:

    Shall we start a pool now…
    Changes or no changes at half?

  97. jw1 says:

    OK, got HT down for ‘changes’

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    Emery makes us play more English than many a manager before him at Arsenal. Thing is the game has changed here a long time ago. This is easy for Pochetino.

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    That was better… Guendo spreads it for AMN who makes a good pull back to Pepe for a quick shot but it’s a little too on-target and Lloris both saves and holds…

    Other end, AMN gives up a corner… taken short but Sissoko has an open shot but sends it Row Z…

    Down our way, PEA wins a FK near the corner of the box… Better play there… Who will be the right footer?…

  100. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice FK from Laca but Lloris saves… Crowd wants a handball…


  101. TotalArsenal says:

    By sheer force we will mash the Spuddies.. 🙂 YES

  102. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe gets the assist but what a move and finish from Laca!!!

  103. goonereris says:

    Lacazette thumped that one in, like he’s been wanting to do all evening. 1-2 now and it’s half time.

  104. AB says:

    Good to get late goal our way for once. But we need to do something in the midfield or we will concede more in the second half. Laca the man for us again in big games.

    Not sure what’s up with the site – I seem to have to log in every time I want to post a comment?

  105. njk84sg says:

    We do not have a player that can take on the defenders incisively in midfield.
    Look at how much our individual errors cost us 2 goals.

  106. jw1 says:

    For TA!

  107. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow, that late goal is almost like a latte goal (for me, holding all the milk)… One goal down, switch out one of our sitting DMs (Xhaka maybe after the idiot tackle–did he get a yellow for that one or was it so late that it wasn’t dangerous?…) and we’re in with a chance…

    If it were me, I’d take off BOTH Xhaka and Guendo and bring in the moneymen (Ozil and Mkhi)…We do still need a goal, after all…

  108. 17highburyterrace says:

    I dunno about these GIFs of yours, J-dub… They always make me a bit woozy…

    The more I see from Pepe the more I like him… Maybe it’s time for that extra coffee…

  109. jw1 says:

    GIFs and overuse of super-concentrated caffeines?
    Yeah. I can see woozy in that. 🙂

  110. Admir says:

    Xhaka & Guendouzi out, Ceballos & Özil in for the second half. Let’s play some football for a change.

    As for Emery, if we lose, he shouldn’t be in our dugout after the international break and if Inter still have their “Let’s save whales from Premier League” program running, we might send them Xhaka to rejoin Alexis.

  111. goonereris says:

    The intensity of the game suggests there may be good reason to keep out Ozil/Ceballos for the 1st half. We may see one in the second when we can have a bit more control; at the moment, we are hurried in our actions but for good reason. We are home and the instruction must have been to put them in the back foot early. Pepe has acquitted himself well in this game and only needs some luck to get on the scoresheet.

    Our midfielders have held their own so, it may be from one of the front 3 we get an early change. We may then see Mkhi or Ceballos/Ozil on for one of Torreira or Guendouzi. The Emirates will be banging if we can get a second within 7 minutes of the start.

  112. TotalArsenal says:

    loving the GIF, JW1!! 🙂

  113. Jnyc says:

    A positive end to a disappointing half. I’m gonna say that although I loved the hire of Emery, I am starting to have some doubts about his style for the premier league. Of course we can’t blame him for the penalty, but the tactics are not what we need in games like this. Even Torreira, who is a pitbull shielding for Uruguay, is being used differently, told to get forward. Leno is doing great considering. But I’m not giving up today because we’re loaded with talent.

  114. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m going back to the cafe Pepe…

    Admir, I pretty much agree with all your observations about football…except making managerial changes based on single results…

    Gotta respect the passion, however…

  115. Pony Eye says:

    It’s a poor midfield 3 plus a wing back. Without the ball we are loose. Agáin the MF lacks creativity.

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    AB, sorry you are having problems with the site… Maybe it is getting used to you again! 😀

  117. TotalArsenal says:

    PE, the midfield is doing nothing right. Three nutters running their balls off.

  118. 17highburyterrace says:

    Frankly, I’m rather amazed by Emery’s tactics today…even if they rather have played into Spurs hands… Instead of super-cowardly football and inviting them forward we let them lure us…

    Whoever got the first goal was gonna have a huge advantage…and it was some aggro defending high but really an individual error (Leno’s spilled ball) and Eriksen’s sharpness (wink at JW, eh)… who also forced something from Leno that led to the second one…

    I’ve got a feeling VAR might play a role in this 2nd period…

    Here come the players… Any changes?…

  119. Gino92 says:

    Defensive mistakes our undoing once again. You’ve got Sokratis going for a header he had absolutely no chance to win when we already had Xhaka going up for the same damned ball. And the f@&k was Xhaka doing with a tackle like that in the box? My former British college coach would have gone completely berserk and subbed me out had I done something that stupid. He always preached intelligence when defending in the box. One of his pet peeves! What Xhaka did was pure madness! Sung didn’t even shape up to shoot. Xhaka only needed to stay on his feet and close down. Basic defending, for f$@k’s sake!

    Anyway, besides being all over the place defensively, I actually didn’t think we were that bad. The Spurs didn’t really show me a whole lot except for Sung (who seems to be a constant menace and must be tamed). This game is ours to take so let’s go get it.

    Cracking second half coming up! Ozil to make a difference.

  120. 17highburyterrace says:

    LT11 playing in the Ozil space is about all I see… Not a bad opening attack, but Spurs look comfortable enough defending it…

    Leno booting it looks almost as bad as Guendo forcing Xhaka into a(nother) sliding touch… Down their end, they’ve got their own confusion playing out of the back but we can’t quite pounce on it….

    Corner for Totts…

  121. TotalArsenal says:

    Really good that no changes were made at half time. it breaks players when that happens… After sixty minutes, though..

  122. TotalArsenal says:

    Gino, it was poor by Xhaka and very disappointing.

  123. 17highburyterrace says:

    Leno grabs it and tries to get Pepe going on the break… Laca in the false nine goes wide for Kola but his lifted pull back only finds LT11 back to goal but he can’t bring it down… End to end early here in the 2nd…

  124. 17highburyterrace says:

    I think you make a good point, TA… I guess I wanted the changes at zero minutes… 😉

  125. 17highburyterrace says:

    Lamela backs down Luiz then pulls back for Son but his left footer is deflected wide and Spurs only get a corner…

    Which we clear and try to break from… Kola can’t bring down a high one but we keep it in their area… Welcome to Engerland says Danny Rose wrestling Pepe off the ball and out for a GK…

  126. AB says:

    Total flip of the dice from here! Either side could get 3!

  127. TotalArsenal says:

    And you made a good point about Laca earlier… wanting to hold on to the ball too long in front of the Spuds’ ‘D’

  128. Jnyc says:

    Pepe is a monster talent. Wait till he starts scoring.

  129. AB says:

    Indeed TA – the site is treating me with great suspicion! What sort of game is this? No brains involved from our side at least; not a lot in theirs either, but just enough for them thus far.

  130. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe is leggy but that left foot looks tasty… We’re pressing hard to keep them in their half… I fear for how that might turn out if they break our lines…

    Some fellows playing with a lot of energy knowing that subs are coming?…

    With a bit of ponderous play we get it into their half… Our static attack, however, is just that… Until Guendo almost scores…nice layoff from LT11… And we almost score from the corner Laca heading to the far post but Kola (and PEA) aren’t quite there to put it home…

  131. TotalArsenal says:

    Getting close now. Good efforts by Guendouzi and Laca/Kola. Keep mashing boys.

  132. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed JNYC… Pepe needs his first Arsenal goal…(but I’d’ve taken Guendo’s too…)

    Changes coming, and Poch ain’t closing up shop, prepping Dele, Emery waiting to make his…

    HUGE LETOFF as Kane is a millimeter to the left and the ball bounces straight back off the post…

    Dele for Lamela…

  133. TotalArsenal says:

    Frantic madness this game. 2-2 or 1-3, next goal is mahuusive

  134. 17highburyterrace says:

    Short corner routine but Eriksen chooses to shoot with his weaker left foot…and weak it is…Leno waiting for it before we set off down their end…

    PEA pulls one back after good work down the left but nothing doing… And he can’t get on a high one either…and goes to ground after a coming together with Davison…No call considered…

    Game’s stretching out now…but PEA wins a corner…taken by Pepe…good curl but eludes everybody… Totts try to break and Laca fouls to stop it…

    Our first change LT out, Ceballos in…

  135. AB says:

    Tor off – really?!

  136. TotalArsenal says:

    Ceballos for Torreira.. It is a joke.

  137. goonereris says:

    Ceballos came on for Torreira and straightway peppers Lloris’ palm.

  138. 17highburyterrace says:

    Mahussive?… Is that (from the) dutch?

    True dat, as we say…

    Ceballos controls with a turn of three touches…and again, before taking a shot from distance and forcing a fine save from Lloris… I think that was bending down under the bar…

  139. jw1 says:

    Perhaps for Torreira. But that movement and shot are exactly what needed to be brought on.

  140. 17highburyterrace says:

    His right footed corner is (much) easier for Lloris, however…

    Next goal wins, as they say in the playground…

  141. goonereris says:

    What is VAR for in the EPL? Please, drop it if we can’t even use it for obvious fouls as that one with Vertonghen holding down Sokratis in the box.

    Laca has a problem and has asked to come off. Mkhi on for him.

  142. jw1 says:

    Lacazette had signalled to the sideline when Ceballos came on– that he needed to come off.

  143. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow, our lines are broken easily and Son drives into the box… Sideshow, cool as a turned off curling iron, sticks in a perfect toe and it’s back with us…

    Mkhi in for Laca is our 2nd change…

  144. goonereris says:

    Auba heads away from goal after a cross from Kola, off a turnover . Kola likes to pass on responsibility unnecessarily doesn’t he?

  145. 17highburyterrace says:

    VAR only used when the ref sees (calls) something, I think, Eris…

  146. jw1 says:

    How sweet was that?!

  147. goonereris says:

    Guendouzi!!!! You beauty!!

  148. 17highburyterrace says:

    Davison, playing right block like an octagon fighter, pushes Mkhi off the ball, but we come again…

    Xhaka switches sides to Pepe and it comes back again for Kola and a throw…


  149. TotalArsenal says:

    2-2… 4-2 finish on the cards. 🙂

    Super ball by Guendouzi and fine finish by Auba. Crazy this game.

  150. goonereris says:

    Okay, so Auba got a touch. But that was all Guendouzi taking a chance there. It is a deserved one, by the way.

    Now, VAR checked our goal. It’s a farce, the way the EPL uses it.

  151. 17highburyterrace says:


    But PEA certainly looks happier as an off the shoulder #9…

  152. jw1 says:

    Howsa’ about another one Auba?

  153. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, Eris, taking a chance into an open space… What’s wrong with VAR checking the goal? It all happened w/o stopping the action, I thought…

  154. jw1 says:

    Occurs to me after that brief tangling on the opposite sideline–
    that Matteo is the perfect foil: The Anti Dele 😉

  155. TotalArsenal says:

    And we keep mashing mashing mashing

  156. 17highburyterrace says:

    Whoa, Xhaka bends one from distance but Lloris tracks it… We’re asking all the questions at the moment…

    Kola crosses one and it’s cleared to Mkhi but his touch is heavy… We’re keeping it in their half, however…

  157. 17highburyterrace says:

    Guendo wins a corner… Ceballos outswinger coming…

  158. goonereris says:

    The Spuds are rattled now and we just have to stay calm to ensure we get the winner. Can not afford to let up.

  159. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ceballos, lots of touches along the right side of the box wins another corner…

    And does better with the delivery…It’s cleared to Pepe but he rushes his half volley (crowd wanting it badly) and it’s closer to the corner flag…

    Ceballos, wins a yellow off Davison by putting his face on on arm…

    Lo Celso on for ?…

  160. TotalArsenal says:

    We will We will Mash You Mash You. Oooh so close!

  161. jw1 says:

    Double the fouls and 4x the YCs for Spuds.

  162. goonereris says:

    We scored, rather bundled it in, but ref raised his flag for offside. But Kola was offside.

  163. 17highburyterrace says:

    THERE IT IS…Nope, flag is up… Short FK routine…but Kola who made the decisive cross was offsides by a fraction…

  164. goonereris says:

    We can not afford to give them a sniff or a breather.

  165. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sissoko, dribbling in circles, wins a FK from a wide spot…

  166. goonereris says:

    Soft free kick there for them, seeing as Xhaka really had no where to go there.

  167. 17highburyterrace says:

    It was a breather but not a sniff as Eriksen fails to clear the one man wall. Lo Celso falls over Xhaka and Spurs have another…

    This one too close to Leno…

  168. TotalArsenal says:

    pepe to score the winner?

  169. goonereris says:

    Pepe isn’t getting his range right, just yet. He will score a few every season.

  170. TotalArsenal says:

    mkhi’s first touch lets him down so often. Pepe close again.

  171. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ceballos long for Mkhi who backheels to Kola but his cross is to no one…

    More good work but PEA well placed can’t turn and shoot without the ball being blocked…

    Spurs send one our way after Ceballos fouls…

    Getting niggly and a draw might be good for both teams…

    Mkhi dawdles but it’s cleared only to Xhaka who passes wide for Pepe but his shot is wrong side of the near post…

  172. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sok and Lo Celso wrestle on the touch-line… That new Spurs guy seems well schooled in the dark arts…

  173. goonereris says:

    Sokratis getting into a bit of handbags with Winks who is on a yellow, so I am guessing there won’t be cards shown. No. Sokratis gets it and Winks gets nothing.

  174. TotalArsenal says:

    Bring on Nelson for Kola. We can win the game on the left.

  175. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe’s first goal can’t come soon enough… He’s likely never played in this sort of cauldron…

  176. goonereris says:

    These boys have put in a shift here, it must be said. We get away with one there but they have a corner. Tense.

  177. 17highburyterrace says:

    Pepe doesn’t look tired and plays in a pretty good shot-cross… Nobody on the end of it, however…

    Other end, Eriksen and Kane combine but Luiz blocks behind for a Spurs corner…

  178. 17highburyterrace says:

    Winks, not Lo Celso? (wrestling with Sok…) If so, sorry I got that wrong, Eris… They all look the same to me…

    Uh oh, AMN blocked by Sissoko on the touch line and they break…the slid pass to Kane in well read by Leno… Other end, More Mkhi, more clearances…

    Xhaka gets his yellow… as the 2nd of the 5 extra passes…

  179. jw1 says:

    How is that Xhaka’s first YC?

  180. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kola clears one with his head and we look to break… It’s stopped and Spurs come our way, Kane trying to use his body to win a pen off Sok… Plenty of contact but ref Atkinson reminds Harry that we’re still in England and he should get on with it…

  181. jw1 says:

    F^cking cheating Harry Kane.

  182. 17highburyterrace says:

    Final push is ours, Pepe blocked at the point and again, actually setting Spurs off for the final (final push)… It comes to Sissoko but he blasts high and wide but it stays in and we take it down their end…for the final, final (final) push…

    And (finally) we get the whistle… and a point…wow…

  183. njk84sg says:

    The ref is a spud.

  184. Jnyc says:

    As Total said, a point is acceptable. But im not thrilled how we got there. The big question for me is, how did this garbage team end up in the champions league final?

  185. njk84sg says:

    Jnyc, by diving.

  186. TotalArsenal says:

    Because they are good at counter football, Johnnie. Nothing spectacular but with a bit of luck they can get far sometimes.

    I take 2-2 after going behind. We could have easily won it or lost it in the end. Mad game!!

  187. TotalArsenal says:

    The referee was excellent.

  188. 17highburyterrace says:

    Great result from the position we were in…

    And, I think, we actually played to win the game, both early and late, even if we’re self-shackling by not using Ozil… The new generation of “midfielders” (and I use the term somewhat sarcastically…Guendo, LT, Ceballos and even Pepe, who is able to move the ball onto his left foot) present some brightness as the older guys (Xhaka, Mkhi, Ozil’s bony butt on the bench) look more trouble than their paychecks… Still, our goals only come from the sublime instincts of our pair of strikers…

    Leno gave (but also saved) and I think we should save some praise for the post…If Kane’s strike goes in, we finish this one feeling quite different…

  189. TotalArsenal says:

    186 comments from a variety of BK bloggers, Seventeenho. Well done!!

  190. 17highburyterrace says:

    I agree about the ref (and VAR)… the end to end element of English football remains intact and I didn’t see anything too egregiously missed nor the big calls blown…

    Mostly, I’m amazed that we (Emery) started with his big guns up front. So what if (using) midfield(ers) is dead?… At least we didn’t faff about with the playing it around the back… I want to see the time in their half (which I believe we won)…and we gives me a measure of hope that we are (still) an attacking team…

  191. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, this was fun (though I fear what it might’ve become had Kane’s shot been a hair to the right…) I think you can come up with some good observations to restore the optimism over the break…

    7 points had to be the target for these first four matches and we got them… Now, if only we can purge the Germans (Ozil and Mustafi)…and many will add in the Swiss fellow (but at least we got rid of his teammate from Basel, Elneny)…

    Ch, ch, ch, changes = happiness…and at least we don’t have to live with the change being Spurs beating us at our ground…

  192. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, I gotta get on the road. (I’ll likely be a bit quiet over the next little bit, or at least all thumbs, trying to read and comment with only a cell-phone) but this was fun, and like I say, if I can drop some of my sentimentality, I smell (at least a whiff of) hope in the air…Thanks to all of those who posted today…

  193. jw1 says:

    Qualifying my Kane comment upthread.
    Laca, in similar circumstances? Would have tried to create a goal there– no matter what.
    Despicable Kane, a talented striker in his own right? Immediately resorts to deception– cheating.
    Antithetic of winning the right way.


  194. jw1 says:

    Great job HT! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    This was great fun– thanks!


  195. Gino92 says:

    Really should have won this game but oh well, a draw isn’t so bad after all, being down 2-nil (2 gifted goals). If we can just sort out our defense this season and minimize (if not eliminate) silly mistakes, we can actually challenge for something this season, I think.

    Guendouzi was fantastic today, I must say. Pepe was great too. Sokratis tried his best impersonation of Mustafi (for the Spurs first goal). Mkhitaryan came on and contributed not much at all when compared to Ceballos. Asides from those two mistakes, we dominated the game and could have even won it if Kolasinac had just delayed his run by a fraction of a second. Such is the margin of error! Great job fighting back to get a draw. Credit to the whole team. Now we have to wait two freaking weeks for the next game.

  196. jw1 says:

    Was wondering too, and thinking after TA’s in-match suggestion (of Nelson on for Kola)? Maybe Reiss instead of Mkhi? Might have converted something from any of those first-touches that Mkhi hacky-sacked about? Probably 4-5 balls that came in over Sanchez– that a deft touch might have given the rabbit-Reiss some room to motor.


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