Arsenal v Sheffield United Preview/ Lineup: Ideal Three at the Back, XhakElneny in Midfield, WAL up-front

Arsenal v Sheffield United – October 4th, 2020

This is from GN5’s archives.

I thought it would interesting to go back to our roots and take a look at the various grounds that we have played on from our inception in 1887 to the present day.

Plumstead

Let’s start with our very first games which were played on Plumstead Common –

Plumbstead Common

From January 8th, 1887 to June 30th, 1887

(No League games were played)

The Royal Artillery exercised their horses on the common which left the playing surface badly rutted and almost unplayable. The changing rooms were located in several local Pubs and the teams goal posts were stored in a neighbouring back garden and had to be erected for every game. They only played 5 games on the common before looking for another location.

Sportman’s Ground

From September 30th, 1887 to February 12th, 1888

(No League games were played)

The Sportman’s ground was located close to Manor Field and was previously a pig farm. The ground was also located on the edges of Plumstead Marshes and was constantly water logged. Arsenal was beginning to attract hundred if not thousands of fans and that created a problem due to the soggy grounds and inadequate facilities.

Manor Field

From August 1st, 1888 to June 30th, 1889

(No League games were played)

This was another ground that did not fit the team’s needs, they used the Railway Tavern as a dressing room and they borrowed wagons, to create elevation, for the fans to stand on. It became obvious that they had to move when an estimated 10,000 fans turned up for the London Charity Cup final.

Invicta Ground

From September 1st, 1890 to May 31st, 1893

(No League games were played)

This ground was perhaps the best in Southern England as it had a grandstand and a half decent pitch. Although they were shunned by other Southern clubs they went ahead and applied for membership in the league and their application proved to be successful.

In 1891 Arsenal became the first Southern club to turn professional. When the landlord of the Invicta Ground decided to increase the rent Arsenal took the opportunity to move on and they made the decision to purchase Manor Field. Their final game at Invicta was a 0-1 loss to Stoke City on April 29th, 1893.

Manor Field

From August 1st, 1893 to April 27th, 1913

(343 League games were played)

10, 000 fans were in attendance at the first game played here; it was against Newcastle United on September 2nd, 1893 and ended in a 2-2 draw. Their highest attendance was 32,850 against Aston Villa on October 8th, 1904. Their biggest win at Manor Field (which was also their highest all time league victory) was 12-0 against Loughborough on March 12th, 1900; it was also proved to be their lowest crowd when only 600 fans showed up.

In 1893 the club now known as Woolwich Arsenal FC was elected into the Football League Division 2. Due to a crowd disturbance against Burton Wanderers the ground at Manor Field was closed for 5 games; during this period Arsenal played 1 game at Priestfield Stadium and 1 game at Lyttleton Ground.

Sir Henry Norris purchased a plot of land 10 miles away in Islington and Arsenal started to build Highbury Stadium.

Highbury

From September 6th, 1913 to May 7th, 2006

(1,691 League games were played)

The first match at Highbury was 2-1 victory against Leicester Fosse and was watched by a crowd of 20,000. The final match against Wigan Athletic resulted in a 4-2 win and 38,359 people were in attendance.

The highest attendance at Highbury was when 73,295 watched a 0-0 draw against Sunderland on March 9th, 1935. The lowest attendance was when only 4,554 watched Arsenal lose 0-3 to Leeds United on May 5th, 1966.

The biggest home win was a 9-1 victory against Grimsby Town before 15,751 people on January 28th, 1931. The biggest defeat was a 2-6 loss watched by 30,000 against Sheffield United on March 26th, 1921.

Emirates Stadium

From August 19th, 2006 to  –

(League games played TBD )

The move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium enabled the club to increase the capacity from 38,419 attendees at Highbury to 60,432 at the Emirates. The increased revenue was needed to allow Arsenal to become more competitive in the transfer market. 

The first league goal at the Emirates Stadium was scored by Olof Mellburg of Aston Villa the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Emirates story is in progress and will not be completed for many more seasons.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Compliments of Arsenal.com here are some famous home and away Firsts…

First competitive match (as Woolwich Arsenal):
v Newcastle Utd (h) – Manor Ground Plumstead 2 Sept 1893 – League (Second Divison) Drew 2-2 (W Shaw, A Elliott)

First competitive match at Highbury (as Woolwich Arsenal):
v Leicester Fosse 6 Sept 1913 – League (Second Division) Won 2-1 (Jobey, Devine pen)

First competitive match as Arsenal:
v Bristol City (h) 4 April 1914 – League drew 1-1 (Winship)

First league match at ‘home’:
v Newcastle Utd (h) – Manor Ground Plumstead 2 Sept 1893 – League (Second Divison) Drew 2-2 (W Shaw, A Elliott)

First league match away:
v Notts County (a) 9 Sept 1893 Lost 2-3 (A Elliott, W Shaw)

First Premier League match:
v Norwich City (h)15 Aug 1992 Lost 2-4 (Bould, Campbell)

First FA Cup match (Played at Manor Ground, Plumstead):
v Ashford United (h) 14 Oct 1893 – FA Cup (1)) Won 12-0 (Elliott 3, Henderson 3, Booth 2, Heath 2, Crawford, Powell)

First League Cup match:
v Gillingham (h) 13 Sept 1966 (Round 2) drew 1-1 (Baldwin)

First home match in European competition:
v Staevnet (Denmark) 22 Oct 1963 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Lost 2-3 (Skirton, Barnwell)

First away match in European competition:
v Staevnet (Denmark) 25 Sept 1963 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Won 7-1 (Strong 3, Baker 3, MacLeod)

First match in UEFA Champions League:
v RC Lens (a) 16 Sept 1998 Drew 1-1 (Overmars)

First match in Charity/Community Shield:
v Sheff Wed at Stamford Bridge. Oct 8 1931, Won 2-1 (Joe Hulme, David Jack)

First match at Emirates Stadium:
v Ajax (Dennis Bergkamp Testimonial) 22 July 2006. Arsenal 2 (Henry 55, Kanu 80) Ajax 1 (Huntelaar 37)

First competitive match at Emirates Stadium:
v Aston Villa 19 August 2006. Arsenal 1 (Gilberto 83) Aston Villa 1 (Mellberg 54)

First player to be sent off at Emirates Stadium:
Ivan Campo (Bolton) (2 yellows) 14 April 2007 (Lge) (won 2-1)

First Arsenal player to be sent off at Emirates Stadium:
Philippe Senderos (v Portsmouth (Lge) 2 Sept 2007 won 3-1)

(Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source 8 Jul 2008)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The last time Sheffield Untied won an away game at Arsenal was on August 24th, 1971, over 49 years ago and they have never beaten us during the EPL era.

Arsenal v Sheffield United – EPL Home Games
 WDLGFGA
1993-01-09 1 11
1993-12-291  30
2006-09-231  30
2020-01-18 1 11
2020-10-04     
Total:22082
Arsenal v Sheffield United – All EPL Home Games
 WDLGFGA
Division I287910649
Premier22082
Total:309911451

Right now, Sheffield United lie in nineteenth position in the Premier League after losing their opening three games so with their away record at Arsenal it’s pretty straight forward to predict an Arsenal victory.

GunnerN5

TA’s Predicted Line-Up:

I just cannot wait to see the trio of Gab-Luiz-Hol to play at the back and I expect it to happen tomorrow. Let’s keep it tidy in midfield and bring on Ceballos in second half if required. A more forward position of Tierney would be great and I am hoping that Hector will step it up a bit on the right wing. The front three pick themselves at the moment, especially when the ‘back ups’ all had a game on Thursday. Saka, Pepe and Eddie should get some time later on to bring us fresh legs and initiatives. COYRRGs!

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64 Responses to Arsenal v Sheffield United Preview/ Lineup: Ideal Three at the Back, XhakElneny in Midfield, WAL up-front

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Good read, GN5. Thanks!

    I dont like it that about 100 years ago we had our worst Highbury home defeat by…. Sheffield United. Here is hoping for a reversed score line!

    It will be a tough game tomorrow and SU will be up for this. What have they got to lose? We need to be focused from the start and meet their energy levels. Our quality should then see us through but it will not be easy, of that I am convinced.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/54399999

    Arsene sounds a bit sad, I think. Not sure why the club has not invited Wenger onto the Board yet..

  3. allezkev says:

    I’ve just glanced at the post GN5 and it looks the kind of work I need to take my time over so I shall return and enjoy it later.

    The older you get Total the more you have to look back on – well that’s my excuse. 😉

    I see that Lyon are saying that Aouar is no longer for sale so that’s that….
    I then read some of the comments on Arseblog News and some on there seemed to be erring on the suicidal, I mean ffs get a grip, he wasn’t going to turn us into world beaters…

    The most important signing was Aubameyang and it’s been made, we’ve got Gabriel and he is top top class, Willian might turn out ok but we’ll see, Martinelli is close to a return to light training, Saka is flying, there’s a pandemic going on and the game is haemorrhaging money, a bit of balance please….

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    So true, Kevin the Nostalgic. I only want a quality back-up player for Xhaka. Elneny and Ceballos can fight for the other central midfield role, but Granit needs a replacement and healthy competition, I relcon. If we want to play somebody in the hole position, we have great options right, left and centre, so the Aouar rumours never got me very excited. Partey would be very welcome though.

  5. pbarany says:

    Nice work, GN5 & TA,

    By the way, Wee Beastie is Kolasinac (our Bosnian beast), or Kieran (wee – as the little Scot)?

    My plan to unite during the Vienna game (after the travel restrictions and the stadium bans are lifted) is ruined, as the match will take place in the first round, in 19 days from now.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Wee means small, PB, and you cannot say that about the e Bosnian Hulk.. 👍

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Shame you can’t go to Vienna..

  8. Jnyc says:

    That’s a hell of a preview N5. Thanks. I’m a little disappointed by our chance creation so far. I hope we can get something going tomorrow.

    Obviously we need to wait until the window is shut. I havent asked for any particular players to come in, never here have i said we need a certain player or quality of player. I’m keeping it general, and I usually get behind whomever we bring in.

    But I’ll say it again. In it’s totality, our midfield is one of the weakest in the league. It’s so shallow in depth, and lacking in creativity. We have nobody playing who can move forward with the ball and break the shape of stubborn defenses. We have a great distributor from deep in Xhaka and I appreciate him in every game. But he’s a holding midfielder and we’re playing a super limited dm next to him. We wonder why we seem stagnant.

    Ceballos for me has been our most impressive player in the whole team. But he’s not our player, and I don’t even know if there’s an option to buy him. When he’s not on the pitch, we get no penetration and don’t see a single incisive pass. All this, and we have the best striker in the league and probably the strongest group of strikers also, being starved of chances. I hope we go out and score 5 tomorrow, but I can’t say that would change what I’m observing about our deficiencies.

    We all know that we need to back our manager, and we’ll know in a couple days if the club is doing that.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    We just need a man in the hole, J, if you want a chance creator. Box to box creators leave too many holes behind. I believe in pushing up and creating chances through quick passing rather than trying to find magic throughballs time and again.

  10. Jnyc says:

    Who do you think should be that guy T? We’ve thrown around some names here, but I don’t see any indication that Arteta is going to try something like that. In general, I can’t find hardly any fault from what I see out of Ceballos. He’s done what Arteta asks defensively and then some, showing a little Spanish nastiness like Mikel. He’s winning balls and tackling in midfield, and I see him as the only man in midfield moving us forward and threatening opposing lines of defense. Who else has put sharp passes through the middle lately ? The hustle is there, so he has bought into the managers program as far as earning playing time.

    It’s frustrating to watch us try and play the whole game from out wide and through the wings, especially when Ceballos isn’t on the pitch. It wastes Aubameyang and it doesn’t really help Pepe or Laca to not have anyone feeding them from midfield. It doesn’t even maximize Willian , because we’re so one dimensional it makes everything easier for defenses.

    I understood the lineup vs Liverpool, but I think tomorrow will be interesting to see if these formations and tactics produce some chances against a team like Sheffield.

    By the way, I’d start by getting Tierney out of the back 3, so we can get his good passing further forward with those crosses. But I’d also consider Eddie on left wing with Auba through the middle to make us a little more quick and dangerous.

  11. LE GALL says:

    2 goals in 2 games for chuba akpom at middlesbrough
    resilience’s his middle name
    so happy for the lad

  12. Jnyc says:

    Also forgot to add, If we got a true midfielder who can move and pass, I bet Ceballos can be a good 10, and would add another hard worker in the lineup with Xhaka and someone else.
    Also I noticed I said Eddie on left wing earlier, meant Saka. Got the talented youngsters mixed up.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    I will get back to you tomorrow, J. Keep truckin’! 🙂

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    j, have another look at the highlights of the game v Pool on Thursday and check out Ceballos involvement in the key Pool chances. You will note that he caused a few of those big opportunities and was absent in the others. I dont think he can defend well positionally but under Arteta he is improving in this respect. His strength is indeed in going forward with the ball and he does something of added value to our game. Also this is a work in progress as he seldom produces an assist but this will surely come. So I like him but are perhaps less seduced by a few nice moves; I was equally critical of Guendouzi and i see them as similar players.

    A good nr.10? Well, there is potential but I reckon Willian, Saka or of course Ozil, would be the stronger options right now. IF Arteta were to play with that position again, and I hope he can do it, let’s try those others first imho.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    If you look at Pool, they don’t have a proper b2b ball carrier, but rely on:
    1. Pushing up high
    2. Strong positional discipline
    3. Quick passing and lots of clever movement
    4. Strong emphasis on wing-play: penetration through passing and vicious balls to the other side of the box (where there is space and runs into the box take place)
    5. Penetration through the middle if they cannot get through the wings of the opponent

    I think that is what Arteta wants to do.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    This timeless piece by Gustav Mahler will help with waking up and getting ready for the game slowly…

  17. allezkev says:

    Just read the post and really enjoyed it GN5. Wasn’t the Leicester Fosse 1913 game when an injured player had to be removed on a milk float? How times have changed…

  18. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all, it’s game day!!!

    Thank you for your comments I enjoyed doing the research on our old grounds, I had pictures of all of the grounds some of which were just remnants, but unfortunately with my new system I was not smart enough to add more the one image (of Plumstead) to the post. Thankfully Total came to my rescue and added a few more.

  19. oz gunner says:

    Amazing G5. Very good read!!!

    I agree with JNYC. I think when the Spaniard doesn’t play we look a bit impotent. He helps because the bridge between back and auba without really being a box to box. Similar to how arsene used his Spaniards – arteta, cesc, and santi.

    I do find it funny when the transfer window is open. A team is linked with someone forever and if it doesn’t happen the fans melt down. The reality is 99.9% probably never knew he existed prior to the link and are basing it off of a few youtibe videos. I do hope we can trim the fat off a bit – deals for kola and mini luiz. Maybe even a loan deal for nelson and saliba.

  20. jw1 says:

    So maybe– the grind-it-out win versus West Ham was more of an accomplishment that many gave the team credit for? Hammers MF are controlling play against Leicester. Soucek, Rice and Bowen have been stout– Fornals with a goal. Might have had a brace just now.

  21. LE GALL says:

    4-2-3-1 it’ll be … or so it seems
    leno
    bellerin-luiz-gabriel-rierney
    elneny-ceballos
    willian-saka-aubameyang
    nketiah
    subs: rünarsson-holding-mniles-willock-xhaka-pépé-lacazette
    we’ll see ;
    i like this setup, but …
    – playing without granit i’m not sure
    – so far, samba will hasn’t convinced me
    – not picking laca doesn’t seem fair to me: he scored three in three, what more can you ask from a goalscorer? not playing against a side who are not at their best at the moment might hurt his stats, he’ll have that on his mind
    – on the other hand, bukayo playmaker i like a lot
    – battling eddie will do the job, of course
    COYG

  22. jw1 says:

    Interesting choices by Arteta:

    Leno
    Bellerin-Luiz-Gabriel-Tierney
    Ceballos-Elneny
    Saka
    Willian-Nketiah-Aubameyang

    Without Holding it looks a departure from a 3-4-3.

    jw1

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting team selection indeed. XhakA will play big international games in the next fortnight, so a break is probably wise. Still makes me nervous though.

    This could even be 4-1-2-3, with Elneny in front of defence and Saka and Ceballos in the Iniesta/Xavi positions… 👍

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Indeed impressive by West Ham, JW.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz, the difference is that Cesc and Arteta could actually defend. Today is a good test for Ceballos and I hope he has a blinder. COYRRGs

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Enjoy the game. Catch you at half time. :))

  27. Jnyc says:

    Total, very good point about the system Liverpool use. It’s strange not seeing the iron man Xhaka.

  28. goonereris says:

    Xhaka, we can understand, but not starting our current highest goal scorer in the EPL for a young Nketiah is not my idea of the team to make it easy against Sheffield united. I am not sure what Willian does in training but going by his last game, should he be ahead of any other wing player?

    Arteta’s love for Nketiah is obvious but if it is at the expense of a good result, I am not sure.
    Again, Auba need to be scoring more goals in these games, and not be satisfied with the one goal here and there….

    Look forward to the win, still.

  29. pbarany says:

    According to LiveScore (which is known to make errors in the past) it is the regular 3-4-3
    ––––––––––Leno––––––––––
    ––Gabriel–––Luiz––Tierney––
    Bellerin–Elneny–Ceballos–Saka
    ––Willian–––Nketiah–––Auba––

    Strange seeing Gabriel as RCB, and I don’t remember seeing a PL startup without Xhaka, but Arteta knows…

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Tempo too low and too few overloads of our players to force a breakthrough. Kind of expected this but had hoped for a different first half. Hopefully better second half. UTA ⚽ ⚽ ⚽

  31. allezkev says:

    West Ham we’re really good JW…

    I thought we’d lost Aubameyang for a few weeks, red card all day for me.
    Sheffield United play steelworks football.

  32. LE GALL says:

    well, well, well …
    feels like a cold shower doesn’t it?
    tell me about gloomy autumn sunday afternoons, ghost football in a ghost stadium
    kieran and bukayo are trying, otherwise …
    mo plays too deep, willian is the ghost of his chelsea self, dani needs to make things simpler (and play further up the pitch), eddie’s first touches were poor, auba loooked unconcerned/unconvinced until he almost saved us, hector looks very predictable to me, i guess he does for the sheffield boys too …
    well, mick might shuffle things around, like:
    leno
    bellerin-luiz-gabriel-tierney
    willock-xhaka
    saka-ceballlos-aubameyang
    lacazette
    but sheffield are now 45 minutes away from (at least) a draw at the emirates, they’ll be in fort alamo mood, and nothing will come easy
    COYG

  33. Jnyc says:

    Eddie not showing a great first touch, and not great overall, but both he and PEA are going to struggle if we don’t start creating chances. I keep thinking, get the ball to Saka. Some attacking inspiration needed.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    We need to push up right to their box and force the mistakes. Much too easy for them at the moment.

  35. makayah says:

    Finally an earlier sub and Auba for the first time under Mikel up top.

  36. makayah says:

    Immediate payoff

  37. makayah says:

    great work from Elneny and Bells in that move good run by Mo.

  38. makayah says:

    Wow Pepe what an impact what a goal!!

  39. Jnyc says:

    That’s the burst of speed I’ve wanted to see from Pepe. You see it a lot in his pre Arsenal videos. The skills are there.

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Predictable Hector 😍

    Two assists for the mustachiod Spaniard!

  41. makayah says:

    Im loving how well Gabriel passes the ball including great short and quick passing with both feet.

  42. makayah says:

    oh boy lets not botch this defensive midfield went missing there

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Well that was hard work, but the boys did it again. Great goals and we are joined second in the league.

  44. LE GALL says:

    mick looks very happy … so iguess i am too
    at least this might be remembered as the day when nicolas made his mark (and provided solutions for hector …)
    otherwise … not even a clean sheet against this soulless S.U., laca getting the unai treatment … 3 points is good, the rest i’ll forget asap

  45. Jnyc says:

    I loved all the subs again from Arteta. For their goal, we were not caught out of position really, but we weren’t defending as urgently as we could have. The moment we had a 2 goal lead we let up. No offense to their goal scorer, but he’s not Arjen Robben. Unlike previous managers, I don’t think Arteta will gloss over that, and will bring it up to the squad, that even though we won, it should have been a clean sheet.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    LeG, I won’t forget those goals quickly Mon Homme. Six players involved in the Saka goal… Beautiful. But yes, a shame we let them back into the game. Positionally very poor, and Luiz did not look great in that move that led to their goal..

  47. all says:

    Two fantastically constructed goals, the first was more classic and traditional Arsenal the second was right out of the Lille copybook and then I’m thinking it’s 3 or 4 here, but we’ve not got that Man City ruthlessness yet, there’s still a bit of the over-casual hangover from late Arsene and a few great opportunities went begging.

    Sheffield actually looked really dangerous towards the end and made you wonder how things might have gone if they’d been more ambitious to start with.

    They actually looked like a team made up of ‘bouncers’ you can just imagine them moonlighting outside some Sheffield nightclubs after the get home.

  48. goonereris says:

    David Luis was jittery in that initial back 4 formation; Arteta may have noticed and positioned Elneny on the right side of midfield to double as a third CB, which calmed things down for Luis. Couple of times, Gabriel had to run across to cover for his lack of recovery pace.

    I thought Bellerin was to predictable too. It may be that the ShU full back spent time studying him and just forced him backwards. The changes worked a treat and we got two goals. I thought this was a game where we should have scored a good number of goals, but I guess 3 points is more important at this time.

  49. LE GALL says:

    Yes, TA, we scored two great goals
    But …
    Against as depressed a side as I’ve ever seen, we had (I think – it should be checked out) 2 shots in the second half – TWO; and I won’t say another word about the 1st half.
    So I wasn’t thrilled to say the least, but between our injured players, and the ones who are neither in, nor out (kola, lucas, matteo, mesut, big sok, laca maybe … which would account for his presence on the bench the whole time), as well as the mood of youngsters like reiss, who must wonder what is it he has done so wrong, when he sees willian play, the end of the week must have been weird at colney.
    Looking forward to the end of this transfer madness, and to our next PL game. At least we’ll be past this transfer madness, then.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Fair enough, LeG. SU are a tough nut to crack and they defended with discipline. We are a work in progress and it wasn’t pretty but the goals at least were no insult to the eye 🤩🤩

  51. jw1 says:

    Downright hypnotic for 60 minutes. Nearly dozed.
    Guess no one wanted to turn with a pass for fear of getting a mouthful of shoulder.
    Chris Wilder uses four CBs– 2 in attack. Those guys are big. Not slow either. The MFs look just like ’em. Fortunately, their strikers score about as often as a CB.

    Last season, David McGoldrick– who scored for Sheffield today– scored 2 goals total in the PL. Both with a brace vs Chelsea in July. Apparently McGoldrick had set some sort of mark with Opta for futility to that point. Having taken 36 shots without netting one (with xG of 6.2). So– of course he bags one today. 🙄

    Always take a win with open arms– no matter what they look like.

    jw1

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    He took his chance v well, JW. Luckily, they didn’t get a second.

  53. pbarany says:

    The positives:
    For quite some while this was the first game when Arteta didn’t substitute “like for like”. The Nketiah-Pepe swap was a real game-changer, and moving Willian to the left left the Sheffield defense confused.
    Gabriel is showing, that his first few performances were not mere luck, as he proves to become a reliable CB with aerial presence and good feet. He can really play from the back.
    We are showing that our right side could be just as dangerous as our – properly feared – left flank.
    Whoever played at least 13 passes (practically everybody bar Eddie and the subs) were managed at least a 84% completion rate, so we were not wasteful in possession. Gabriel, Tierney, Elneny and Ceballos were all above 90%.
    Bellerin gave a striking response with his MOM performance to those who wrote him off and demanded to get rid of him.
    Some of the quick one-touch passing (in the second half) reminded me of Wengerball. Too bad we didn’t see more of it. This could be the key against teams with big, physical but less technical defenders.
    I’m not sure if Pepe was always that good, or the competition brought these performances out of him from Thursday and today, but as long as he keeps doing that I don’t really care.
    Machester United is having their asses handed to them in the Old Trafford. OK, it is from Tottenham, but it is enjoyable to see Arsenal having 3 times as many points than United after 4 rounds. (And Solskjaer’s subs prove that despite MU’s seemingly unlimited ambitions and funding, he is the worst coach/manager in the PL.)

    The negatives
    After losing the “key pass mini-game” against West Ham (by 6:9, result 2:1 win), Leicester (by 13:4, result 2:0 win) and Liverpool (by 13:5, result 1:1 Arsenal won by penalties), we finally managed to win the mini-game of key passes by 6:4 in a fairly boring and uninspiring 2:1 home win against one of the weakest team in the PL. It is good to have the ability to win ugly, but that should be the contingency plan, yet we exercise it too often.
    Where are our 4:0 or 6:1 wins? Our goal difference is a petty +3 after 3 wins (including our 0:3 at Fulham), while Leicester City still has +5, even after surprisingly losing at home by 0:3. We indeed concede less goals, but our attacking flows are getting dried up.
    There is not too much creativity in midfield. With Ceballos substituted there remained even less. Even Dani seemed often devoid of ideas, and was hesitant with the ball – just like everybody else. We desperately need a Fabregas-like midfielder who is capable to defend, to assist and to score as well.
    I don’t really know why we need a back 3 against such a passive opponent. (It is up to discussion, but it seems we played in the good old 3-4-3 formation, with Tierney as LCB supporting the attacks time to time, but he wasn’t playing LWB. Saka was.)
    We couldn’t keep the sheet clean, even though only 2 Sheffield attempts reached the target. OK, that shot was really well struck, and that could happen even against the run of play. But spending the last 6+4 minutes with our back against our own net is not a sight I’m happy to see.
    Arteta became a proper Arsene Wenger padawan especially when it comes to bullshit on press conference after questionable performances. His “we attacked with more purpose” must have made the old master proud.
    Sky Sports believes that if somebody should have been sent off was David Luiz, not Sander Berge. Screw those wankers!

  54. Jnyc says:

    We clearly took a lot out of Liverpool this past week!

  55. GunnerN5 says:

    Here we go guys – this weeks competition results –

    1st with 5 out of 6 correct is Gooneris – so he gets five point for his correct predictions plus four bonus points for a total of nine points.
    2nd place is a tie between Kev, LEGALL and PB – they each made four out of six correct predictions
    5th goes to Total with three out of six
    And bring up the rear we have JWL and GN5 with two out of six
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    The overall leader is Gooneris with 22 points
    2nd is Kev with 15 points
    3rd is PB with 12.33 points
    4th is LEGALL with 11.33 points
    5th is JWL with 10.33 points
    6th is Total with 8 points
    7th is GN5 with 7 points.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha J, it just shows you that playing three games in a week is hard on a team and the management. Villa are buzzing with confidence right now and this is great to see.

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers GN5, great stuff. Eris is running away with it. Lucky this is a marathon! 😉

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers PB. Chance creation is a big focus for you and you have a point.

  59. allezkev says:

    Well, today is why I love football, because it’s just so unpredictable, I mean who in their wildest dreams could have seen Man Utd losing at home to Tottenham by 6-1..?

    Look at Leicester, last time out they beat Man City 5-2 and now they’ve been beaten comprehensively by West Ham and we also see Aston Villa leading Liverpool 4-1 at half time in a game that they could still lose, it’s fabulous.

  60. pbarany says:

    This Watkins lad was a good purchase. First half hattrick against Liverpool in his 3rd PL game… that is something.

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    So true, Kevinski. The PL is just way above the other competitions for entertainment and surprise.

  62. goonereris says:

    Fabulous summary there, PB. I can tell you that Pepe has confounded me with his reduced influence in games since coming to the EPL. He is actually that good but, for some reason, he’s not been able to get his groove going in the EPL. I feel the odd summer footballers have had owing to the coved-19 pandemic did not allow him (as with other 2019/20 newbies) to do a proper pre-season and show the improvements usually associated with a second season. Hopefully, we see the best of him as we make progress in the season.

    It is concerning for me too that we appear to lack creativity and aren’t ruthless enough with the weaker sides. I even joked we would probably win 3-2, at best, at Old Trafford, given the same situation Spurs faced. Arteta needs to increase the hunger for more goals in the forwards; maybe, he wants them to get used to being defensively secure before that next jump. I do think it was a back 4, with the full backs given license to bomb forward, one at a time, initially, and with Elneny sitting back as cover for Bellerin.

    The commentary and the pundits are a disgrace, at times. That’s all I’d say about that.

  63. goonereris says:

    Thanks, GN5.(takes a bow). I did believe Spurs would beat United by a good margin. And I hate Spurs, of course; also despise Mourinho, so you can see how painful that prediction was. That red card just took away some of the shine from the win.

    Amazing scoreline at the Villa Park. Thats what you want to see with our team. Fearlessness and hunger for more. No mercy!

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