Extend his Contract, Sign him Up, A Duo for MOTM, the New Sol: Eight Observations

Ooh to, Ooh to Be, Ooh to BEE eh Gooner! Arsenal 2 – 1 Spuds.

Ooh To Be A Gooner Song – YouTube

I don’t think many of us were expecting an Arsenal win, but we got it. If anybody still has any doubt about Arteta and his mission to ‘Bang’ football, I guess you are not going to be cured from your antipathy of the man. This was only the third game Mourinho – the chief-looking-up-at-the-table-rat – lost to an Arsenal team, and Mikel achieved it in only his second year as a manager. Extend his contract, Arsenal!

See the source image

Eight observations:

  1. Tactically this was so much better than the last time we played the Spuddies. We were invited to attack as the crumb-collectors sat back to play us on the break, with half-moon face Kane and Son eagerly awaiting the ball over the top and into space. Mikel did attack but he did not allow his team to over-commit and he kept it tidy around those two top-rats. They were starved for almost the entire game, and Son did his hammy early on so that was a welcome Aufwiedersehn. Our full backs pushed up and kept the Spuds well into their own half and we managed to get behind the Spuddies’ defence with some fine combination football from the flanks. And this made all the difference on the day.
  2. Arsenal also once again made good use of the space that was left behind in the middle of the pitch by the Spuds because of our almost continuous focus on the wings. Partey still has not find his shooting boots but sooner or later he will get one in the net, but it was Emile with a beauty of an effort through the middle that almost crept below the bar for his first PL goal. Our boys were able to open that JM defence and midfield up so much more than in previous games, it really was fantastic to watch.
  3. Key to it all were three things: a rock hard, no nonsense central midfield duo; extremely mobile attackers and full backs with good passing ability and no fear to keep hold of the ball, and; a solid defence. Our midfielders Partey and Xhaka made sure that the Spuds could not break out and collect the ball in midfield which is so pivotal to their game. These boys were immense which was epitomised by that crunching but fair tackle by Xhaka late on. Together they are my MOTM. The Swiss’ positioning was fabulous and he made many interceptions at the right moment, and so was his ability to be at the right place at the right time. At times it looked like the ball was seeking him out rather than the other way around… This is the bit that not everybody notices about him and it is absolutely key for the success of a midfielder. But Granit needs support and he got that from the equally impressive and towering Thomas the Tank Engine. Partey has that athletic, physical presence which he combines with great on-field intelligence. He knows where he needs to be, where the action will be next and how he should destroy any opportunity to advance by the opponent. He also is great at pushing up at the right time and thus creating momentum in our attacking efforts. Thomas is still not 100% and this almost cost us the game late on, but Arteta knew that he just could not take him off; it would have hurt us both tactically and psychologically.
  4. The mobility within the team was just great. With allowing three to four players to attack a flank at any time we had the numbers and inventiveness to get through the Spuds. We mashed them, we chewed them, we forked them, we swallowed them whole: what a feast we had below the table. Arteta’s inclusion of both Odegaard and ESR is a masterstroke: the combination of these two super talents adds a whole extra dimension to our football. One is not enough as the Spuds would have had a man on them, but two did the trick. On top of this we had Saka who was clearly targeted to get some rough treatment. Yet Bukayo was not intimidated and helped a lot with keeping the ball moving and being an attacking threat.
  5. Our new MO11 had a very good game. I was not sure whether including him was the right idea, given the much needed individual intensity for these sorts of Derby encounters. But Martin was a like a fox among the rats and reveled in his role all game long. He really helped Granit and Thomas to keep it tight in midfield and made himself available constantly. Of course he also scored the all important equaliser and for this alone he should be offered a long term contract!
  6. And then there was Laca who was like a cat among the rats below the table. Alex never gave the defence and midfield any peace and this added to our mobility and unpredictability. It paid off big time when Laca was found with a super sharp pass by Pepe in the box which led to the penalty. The Spuds were Lacaed.
  7. The defence was strong and especially Big Gab and Luiz deserve praise for their concentration, positioning, clearances and interceptions. Gabriel offers us that same combination of presence, intelligence and athleticism that Sol used to have. What an extrovert and force on the pitch, which was highlighted by that fine goalmouth safe with his head at the most crucial defensive moment of the game.
  8. After Lamela, the vilest of Spuds-rats, was sent off, Arsenal were given an ideal gift to see out the game with ease. Yet we were not able to make the difference count; in fact we imploded and allowed the Spuds to attack us far too much. And it almost cost us. For me this was mainly due to fatigue in midfield and especially Partey suffered from this. Arteta should have brought on Elneny sooner imo, but he will have had his reasons not to do so. Laca mentioned after the game that the ability to see out a game is still a work in progress. Yet in the end it was a Derby and this was bound to happen: our legs were tired and the Spuddies’ legs were fueled by that desire of just not wanting to lose. But lose they did.

By TotalArsenal.

43 thoughts on “Extend his Contract, Sign him Up, A Duo for MOTM, the New Sol: Eight Observations

  • TA super post and thoroughly enjoyed the victory. Match ended midnight in India and stayed up to watch the post match and the drivel the so called experts pouted. After the match was so buzzng coudn’t sleep till late in might.
    Xhaka was immense and did you notice that he grabbed Gabriel and kissed him on his head after his headed block in the goal mouth. Loved the reaction. Thankfully he kept himspef.in check when lamella tried to wind him up.
    Morinhios team are always so dirty. His RM team with pepe as his henchman is one of the reasons that I hate this guy. Surprisingly he was complimentary of the Arsenal team and scathing of his own team. Either ways can’t find anything likeable abut this man. Love you Arteta for tactically defeating Mourinhio.

  • @pbarany, from the last post, I do get the bias about Arsenes team.noy having any Englishman for a period of time. I mean that was the theme during those years and every press ran that story. But I thought now it should change because we probably have the cream of English talent to contribute for the national team. Dare I say there could as much as 6 Arsenal academy players in England team.
    Anyways I was listening to Owen in disbelief when he was supporting lamellas extended arm slap to Tierneys throat and invoking Gaza of all the players.

  • Cheers Madhu, I have that too when I watch a game late. Just cannot sleep due to happy testosterone!

    I did not see that X on Big Gab’s forehead. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • Just working my way through your fine post Total, when a thought popped into my cranium and it goes;
    I wonder if the selection yesterday of Soares is the clearest indication yet that Hector Bellerin’s time is drawing to a close as a 1st choice pick and at Arsenal in general?

  • Great post, yes the Gabriel goal line clearance brought back to me many happy memories of my old favourite Nigel Winterburn chasing back and making last ditch clearances off of the line, Gabriel, like Tierney, like Soares are possibly in the early stages of showing us that Arteta is gathering together a title winning defence, like a complex puzzle the pieces are slowly fitting together and the more they play as a group the better the will become.

    Tottenham played very similarly to how they approached the 1st game at the Middlesex Toilet Bowl, when we lost Partey and Son killed us, how things change…

    They lost Son and with him any real pace up front, Kane was going around dishing out his usual process of shoves and other assorted fouls that he gets away with, even so an offside goal and a shot onto the post shows that despite his protection from referees he remains a major threat. We did well to contain him.

    Bale and Moura were ineffective and it was only a combination of Arsenal nerves and Tottenham desperation that saw us suffer that late flurry of Spud pressure. If I’m honest I was expecting a last gasp equaliser from them, a classic Mourinho kick in the goolies, but it didn’t come so maybe, just maybe (whisper it) the Septic Ones spell has been broken?

  • It is interesting to compare it with the “first leg” when we lost by 2:0 at New White Hart Lane.
    There were a lot of similarities beyond that Spurs had made 3 key passes during each game. We dominated both games and conceded a goal from an unstoppable strike of an individual moment of brilliance, however we conceded another just before half time due to an unattended Thomas Partey injury. And the major difference was that we couldn’t translate our ball possession into chances, and the chances into shots on target. (Arsenal created 6 key passes in December and 11 yesterday.)

    I cannot help to imagine that Mourinho had no tactics for the game, just something like “let them execute their own undoing”. Which didn’t turn out too well for them. And while one (Spurs fan) may argue that we scored by a deflected shot and a controversial (yet correct) penalty, I would swiftly point out our shots hitting the post and the bar as well as some missed major opportunities, so José’s plan wouldn’t have qualified for a 0:0 or a 1:1 draw either.

    By the way – a bit off-topic – don’t you feel that Arsenal playing too disciplined nowadays? It is hard to recall when the lads surprised us with “an individual moment of brilliance”, apart from a few long-range goals which was also almost non-existent before the Olympiacos game. The last scene popping to my mind is Tierney’s crazy opener against WBA from the 2nd day of the calendar year. But (too) generally the boys do what is expected of them at the very moment (apart from the concentration mistakes): pass when they are supposed to pass, shoot when they should shoot, etc. That makes us a bit predictable and less exciting to watch.

  • Hey Kev, I prefer Soares to Hector, especially in these sort of games. Is it a sign? Hard to say with three games every week, Arteta will rotate where he can but he must not have felt that Hector was a must starter, other than the likes of Luiz, Thomas and Granit.

  • I was also expecting the late equaliser but it did not come due to the bounce of the ball going our way. We did deserve it given the lack of luck in the first half – although our goal had an element of luck too – but we still need that bounce to go our way and it did.

  • PB, i Think you undermine your own statement by the recent examples that you have highlighted. We need to be disciplined to reach the top again but within that discipline there is freedom of expression… hence the goals by Ode and Elneny, the great shot by ESR, the quick thinking and fine ball by Pepe to Laca etc, etc.

  • You’ve got a point, TA, but can you imagine an Arsenal player trying a rabona from the box? And we have 4 Brazilians in the squad. 🙂
    Long shots are also pretty rare, and when given a try they are not performed by passionate South-Americans or virtuosos from France or Spain, but rather supercalm guys from Scotland, Norway and Egypt. 🙂

  • Interesting point PB because even at their best Man City have this machine like quality, Liverpool used to have it as well, I guess it comes down to detailed coaching on the training ground and repetition to such a degree that you play the pass, you make the run, you receive the ball and you pass, rinse and repeat, until it becomes robotic.

    Of course as Total said inside that framework you have super talents who can do the robotics but also pull a rabbit out of their hat when needed.

    Ozil couldn’t or wouldn’t do the robotics nor would Guendouzi and that’s why they’re post Gunners.

  • We need a Dutchman for this, PB. I think Memphis Depay is the guy to do a rabona for Arsenal. He is set to join Barcelona unfortunately, but what an addition he would be to Arsenal.

  • Morning all,

    To me there is no greater win than a win over the Spuds, it brightens just about everything around the lives of us Arsenal supporters and when one realizes that they have only two game away to us in the Premiership era it makes it even better.

    Thank you for the post TA, once again you have done us proud with your observations and insight.

  • This one’s for you Kev.

    Doug Lishman: 1948-1956.

    Doug appeared in 244 games over an 8 year period and scored 137 goals.

    Born in Birmingham, Doug first played as a centre forward for non-league Paget Rangers, before signing as a professional for Third Division South Walsall in August 1946. In two seasons with the Saddlers, Lishman scored 26 goals in 59 league appearances.

    He was signed by Arsenal in the summer of 1948 for £10,500, as backup for Reg Lewis, who was only 28 but was injured frequently, Doug made his debut against Sheffield United on September 4, 1948, but after a promising first season (scoring 13 goals in 25 appearances), and his 1949-50 and 1950-51 seasons were marred by injuries. He was passed over for the 1950 FA Cup final (which Arsenal won 2-0), in favour of Lewis and Peter Goring, and then just as he came back into the Arsenal first team, he broke his leg playing against Stoke City in December 1950.

    However, he recovered to become Arsenal’s top scorer in 1950-51, and the next season hit 30 goals, including three hat-tricks in three successive home matches; Arsenal finished third that season. The following season (1951-52) they reached the FA Cup final, only to lose to Newcastle United; a series of injuries meant only eight fit players finished the match (no substitutes were allowed in those days). Doug came close for Arsenal with a header, which clipped the crossbar, but Arsenal lost 1-0.

    His disappointment was soon forgotten, as Arsenal won the League Championship in 1952-53. He was again Arsenal’s top scorer, this time with 26, and with every goal proving vital, Arsenal won the title on goal average above Preston North End. His form was good enough for him to be picked for an England B match against Scotland B in March 1953, although he was never capped for the full national side.

    Doug was top scorer for another two seasons after that, making it five successive seasons as the club’s top scorer in total. He scored 137 goals in 244 appearances, making him the club’s tenth-highest goal scorer of all time. However with younger men like Derek Tapscott and David Herd taking over goal scoring duties for Arsenal, Doug was dropped from the first team in 1955-56.

    In March 1956 he was sold to Second Division Nottingham Forest. He scored a hat-trick in the match that got Forest promoted (a 4-0 win over Sheffield United) to Division One in 1956-57, but decided to retire in the summer of 1957. He left the game entirely after retiring. He joined his father-in law in business (furniture retail) in Stoke on Trent, later taking over the business himself.

    He continued to live in Stoke on Trent until his death in 1994.


  • Great performance by the team , if only they could provide the magic “consistancy.

    Once again we were putting in a lot of crosses and The Spurs defence are much more comfortable when the ball was in the air. Interesting that both our goals and some of our best chances came with the ball coming in much lower.

    I thought the Pen was a no brainier, had Laca made a better connection and put the ball out of play, they could have argued that the ball was dead, but it was certainly still alive when Laca got clattered

    As usual we nearly contrived to throw it away in the last ten minutes. It seemed to me that Spurs suddenly discovered that Kane had the beating of out defence on the air and started throwing crosses in. This wasn’t helped by the number of free kicks we gave away.

    My Men of the match Keiron Tierney and ESR. They ripped the Spurs right side defence apart.

  • Thanks GN5…

    Yes Total, our Partey animal is the main man in our midriff but Neeskens was a bit special, probably my biggest disappointment regarding the transfer that never was alongside Mike Channon.

  • Here are the 1.00results of last weekends competition:-
    For the weekend:-
    Ist Kev & PB with 4/6 and 2 bonus points each
    3rd Total & GN5 with 3/6
    5th Gooneris with 2/6
    Season to date results:-
    1st Gooneris with 96.33
    2nd Kev with 91.00
    3rd PB with 83.66
    4th JW1 with 77.66
    5th GN5 with 76.33
    6th Total with 65.66
    It’s getting tight at the top with Kev only 5.33 points behind Gooneris, and PB is lurking not far behind with 83.66.

  • Cheers GN5, it is indeed good to see the top three fighting it out right now. Still a long way to go so there is hope for you and me! 😉

    JW, give us a shout. Are you and family okay?

  • Here are my choices for next weekend. We have a mixture of FA Cup, EPL and La Liga games.
    Brighton v Newcastle (EPL)
    Bournemouth v Southampton (FAC)
    Everton v Manchester City (FAC)
    West Ham v Arsenal (EPL)
    Leicester V Manchester United (FAC)
    Real Sociedad v Barcelona (La Liga)

  • Yes Total I hope all is well with JW – we have not had any predictions from him for the last two weeks.

  • Brighton v Newcastle (EPL): Home
    Bournemouth v Southampton (FAC): Home
    Everton v Manchester City (FAC): Home
    West Ham v Arsenal (EPL): Draw
    Leicester V Manchester United (FAC): Away
    Real Sociedad v Barcelona (La Liga): Away

  • “But, lose it they did”. Love it, Total. Great write up. It was a 5.30 am kick off here on the Celtic fringe, and (you had to see it to believe it) the sun peeked over the horizon just as Laca sent Loris the wrong way for the winner.
    “I’ll tell you how the sun rose, —
    A ribbon at a time.
    The steeples swam in amethyst,
    The news like squirrels ran.”
    Emily always has words for the occasion.

    Yes, Kev, the great Johann Neeskens would even have made the Invincibles team. Imagine him alongside Bally in that early/mid seventies team. I do remember rumours of the even greater Johann coming to Arsenal before he went to Barcelona. His sponsors had a big say in his decision. Mike Channon would have been great up front. We did get SuperMac, but no one could have matched Cruyff.

    Hugely enjoying the MO11 contribution. A touch of the Zidane about his seemingly effortless fluency and control of the ball.

  • Brighton v Newcastle (EPL): Draw
    Bournemouth v Southampton (FAC): Away
    Everton v Manchester City (FAC): Away
    West Ham v Arsenal (EPL): Away
    Leicester V Manchester United (FAC): Home
    Real Sociedad v Barcelona (La Liga): Away

  • I agree, TA, that we need a Dutchman. And while Depay is no longer on the table, he is a bit short (and somewhat old) to my taste. Nevertheless I am absolutely satisfied with our defender situation – maybe will write a post some day on what a short-sighted transfer failure would it be to sign Konaté, as we already have the perfect RCB at Arsenal – and believe that we are properly equipped at the wings and up front, so I would look at the Dutch market only for midfielders. You know my affection towards Koopmeiners, and Gravenberch (despite being 18 years old) is already on his way to become one of the best central midfielders of the world, so I would appreciate such Dutch blood infusion to the team.

  • Grsvenberch is indeed a great prospect. Could be a replacement for Xhaka over time.

    Depay would fit into Arsenal really well, but I respect your views.

  • Depay is a great player, no doubt about that. And he is having a great season with Lyon this year. I really like his chance creation attitude (leading the assist chart), but the few occasion I saw him play he wasn’t too keen on pressing, so I’m not sure he would be a clear improvement over Lacazette for the role CFs play in Arsenal – apart from him being 3 years younger. But I’m sure Barcelona will make him a great asset, however they also have to trim the squad (probably selling Dembele and Braithwaite – assuming Messi stays).

  • Ah Depay is more like a Bergkamp than a Laca. Not as good but he is the perfect mix between a nr 9 and nr 10. He makes things happen out of nothing and is very tidy with the ball. He has changed his attitude a lot since his Manure days.

  • Interesting to see that the Scottish Football League are discussing and seriously considering expending SFL Division 2 by four more clubs, two from the Highland League whilst the other two could be a Glasgow Rangers B and a Glasgow Celtic B made up of U21 players…

    Both Glasgow B teams will be allowed to be promoted to SFL Division 1 but no further…
    I’m not sure if the B teams will be allowed to enter the Scottish FA Cup or SFL Cup, probably not.

  • Well yeah, you must have read about up your way Total, I wonder if Hibernian and Hearts could go down the same avenue?

  • I’ve just caught up reading the comments of the past couple days. Great takes from everyone, not too much more to add except the fact that I was so frustrated in the first half that we squandered our dominance by putting in high crosses one after another. A total waste of possession every time. I don’t have the numbers but it was infuriating to watch. At one point Saka took a pass from Cedric just outside their box, with no defender for yards, and instead of taking the ball into the box, to take on an eventual defender or dribble/shoot , he pulled up and launched another cross to nobody. Guys like Saka and Pepe need to get into the box and they will get more than their share of penalties.

    That also reminds me that the play of the game for me was the Pepe pass to Lacazette that got us the penalty. It was a brilliant ball. I also thought Gabriel was great despite the lack of stats. I think he was locking them down enough for Kane to take that dirty shot at him. But that dirty Harry doesn’t need a reason for his cheap shots at opponents.

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