I don’t know about you but after a season-defining loss I always feel like taking a bit of distance from Arsenal, blogging etc. Not that I am extremely unhappy or even depressed as some seem to be; it is just good to reflect on things and thus allow time to get over the seasonal deception.
Yet I did look forward to seeing Arsenal play again yesterday, and maybe this was based on simply having no expectation and just wanting to watch our boys play a game of football. We often forget that this is what it is all about and that 95% of all football supporters do it week in week out. The joy of watching your team play a game of football without continuously looking at where your team are and where they should be in the table. I spoke to an ex-colleague recently – a Manure fan – and he said to me how he is often jealous of some of his mates who support a non-top team and just enjoy every game with their focus just on the football on display. Enjoying football in the moment we Gooners seem to have unlearned.
Last night I sat back and let the game come to me. No expectations, especially not after I saw the lineup. In a way, I have never come as close to being like Fat Sam as I did then. 😀 It was wonderful. No stress, no swearing at the TV, no finger-pointing at players… just enjoying the ball being played round the pitch. Even the abysmal referee did not spoil my Zen-TV moment.
And I enjoyed it.
I saw a great performance by the biggest talent Arsenal have produced since Cesc Fabregas. Bukayo can play everywhere and how silky were his moves, how sharp his crosses and passes into the box and how efficient is he at everything he does?! 19 years old and being the best Arsenal player on the pitch, WOW.
I saw ESR score a lovely goal and him being the team’s glue again, running between the lines and linking everything and everybody up with purposeful runs and passes. Another great talent who has come of age in no time and just keeps growing.
I saw a wonder goal by Nicolas Pepe. We all knew what he was going to do and for once there was a bit of space to do it in. These are the sort of goals one scores when one is bored and the mind goes wandering. We can watch it twenty times on repeat and celebrate it every time with the same passion.
I saw a surprisingly effective midfield duo of Elneny and Ceballos. As low as my expectations were, they both played a great midfield game especially after we scored the first goal. It was surprisingly effective and I hope that Mikel goes back permanently to two central deeper-laying midfielders. Okay they were partly at fault for the West Brom goal – especially Ceballos was left wanting – but Pereira – with Saka the two outstanding players on the pitch – produced a great run and he scored a fine goal that we just have to applaud. Pereira was in top form and I hope that Arteta took notice of this 25 year old top talent (10 PL goals this season for…. West Brom..).
I saw the most despised Willian score a peach of free-kick, his first goal of the season. The goal was fab but what was really nice to see is how his fellow players were so happy for him. To all those Willian haters: look at how his players value him and how much the goal meant to him. He is only human after all. Yes Willian did not deliver on our expectations but next season could see a big change. I have not given up on him yet.
I also saw two classical central defensive performances by Holdingho and Big Gab and thought: we are fine for CBs next season.
All in all, I saw four fantastic goals in an entertaining win and so enjoyed my evening. Bliss.
Oh and Happy Birthday Dennis! It is time you come and join the coaching staff.
49 thoughts on “The Joy of Watching Bukayo and Emile | Happy Birthday Dennis Bergkamp”
Well done Total, you pretty much summed up yesterday’s game.
I wonder what changes will be made for our next game vs Chelsea?
Does Tierney and Lacazette start?
Does Willian keep his place?
ESR has a bit of a hamstring so will Odegaard come in for him?
Will Partey start and will Balogun get on the bench?
It is my son’s birthday today and I am always grateful that he shares if with the icon
The best possible date of birth for your son, Matt! Proficiat!
Thanks Kevski, I have not got a clue who will play on Wednesday but I am looking forward to it.
How is the taxi doing these days?
Morning all, I thought that I would miss the game yesterday as I celebrating mothers day with my wife, children and grandchildren (remotely) but as things turned out I was able to watch most of the game before cooking dinner for my wife.
Like TA I thoroughly enjoyed watching our future players and they did not disappoint. Frankly I feel that next season will be a new beginning for Arsenal as we most certainly have the core of our team already – few clever additions to the squad may be all we need.
The Chelsea game may be a different kettle of fish but it will show Arteta just where the gaps are in the squad.
Here are the results of last weekends competition:-
For the week:-
1st GN5 with 5/6 plus 4 bonus points.
2nd Kev with 3/6
3rd Eris, Total, PB and NJK with 2/6
For the season:-
1st Kev with 129.33
2nd Eris with 124.66
3rd GN5 with 106.33
4th PB with 99.66
5th Total with 88.99
6th JWL with 77.66
7th LeGall with 27.33
8th NJK with 10.00
Yeah, I agree with you entirely about those two youngsters, especially Saka. He makes you wonder what his best position really should be.
Maybe the standard and outcome of this game should instruct the coach to allow the players more freedom on the pitch? Could it be that too much regimentation may be hampering their performances?
Here are the choices for next weekend:-
Southampton v Fulham
Brighton v West Ham
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Tottenham v Wolverhampton
Chelsea v Leicester (FA Cup Final & correct score game)
Monchengladbach v Stuttgart
Two extra points for the correct score between Chelsea and Leicester.
Very slow Total but better than sitting at home, idle hands etc.
Hopefully things will open up a bit more this month when things are further relaxed and people rediscover the joys of social interaction and going out.
Hey GN5 are you coming up on the rails? 😄
I didn’t think I’d done as well and I expected bruvver Eris to zip past me.
It’s still all up for grabs. 😃
Glad you got to watch the game in the end, GN5. Football as it should be.
Good to see you woken up, Corporate! 😉
Yeah it is such a fine balance to build a team around a vision and instructions and yet allow the players to express themselves. That is what ESR and Saka are doing so well, and for me the same goes for Tierney, Xhaka, Partey (not always), Luiz, Holding, Laca and a few others.
Well done GN5, a whopping nine points for you this week. Keep it up and you may still be victorious at the end!
I hope so for you and all of us, Kev. Soon you will be hugging your customers again! 🙂
I just got lucky Kev there’s little to no chance of me overtaking the bro’s.
Totally agree with you TA, I find these games enjoyable to watch. Just to see our youngsters like saka, ESR, Marteneli etc grow and try different things. So for me these games are as interesting as others. I also think that we should be hungry to get as many points as possible. League games are always like that each game gives an opportunity to get points and move up the table. So if someone says these games are meaningless it’s not true and I hope players don’t see it like that.
Hey I once played a season of league cricket losing all matches and got relegated but each game was an opportunity to win a game which in a horrendous season is Gold.
Well said, Madhu, and great personal example.
What did you make of Martinelli’s performance?
TA, Well Martenneli could do better. He had a really bad game. Considering that this was his first as central striker he still needs time. Arsenal as a team hardly creates anything from the central position and that where Marteneli is more deadly. We seem to create only from flanks and he needs to get adjusted to play accordingly. So it will take time and I wish to see h here more time at the centre may not be against Chelsea but the last two games atleast.
Cheers Madhu, he indeed needs time, but i think I know more now why Mikel hasn’t played him much this season. Clearly he is a work in progress.
Ha! Total as Fat Sam. What a giggle. Love the DB10 quote. How about this one, “In my Fathers house there are many mansions”. In the big worldwide Arsenal House, you offer us a fine mansion, Total. Thanks.
TA I would have enjoyed the game more if I hadn’t been constantly asking why Arteta hadn’t played Saka at LB against Villareal as I had hoped he would. Still, we can’t look back…
Martinelli was anonymous for a lot of the match but, I don’t blame him for it. It’s the way we are playing. In most matches this season we have created very few chances for whoever has been playing up front and last night wasn’t any different. How many balls were played to him or into positions where he could run onto them? Not, many. Arteta has done a reasonable job of addressing some of our defensive frailties (although why did our defenders all back of Pereira to give him a clear run on goal but, as others have said on here, it does seem to be at the expense of our attack.
I was very pleased to see ESR, Willian and Pepe score and to see the reaction of the rest of the team, especially for Willian.
Interesting to see Dani starting, I wonder if Arteta still wants to buy him? I like him going forward but defensively he can be a bit of a nightmare even though he tries his best so, I would prefer to see Willock and AMN back in the squad and given their chance next season.
Here is a fantastic article on the nature and limitations of a ‘win at all cost’ approach to sport, business etc
Good to hear from you again, Stuart, and thank you for the kind words. 🙂
Lovely quote as well. I think Bergkamp gave us a mansion and it stands still strong and proud.
OX10, I thought that Martinelli got great service into the box by the likes of Saka and ESR, but he did not seem on the same wavelength. How many great balls went untaken? I also felt that Martinelli was struggling to play combination football with his fellow players and that may well be the main reason he was so ineffective. There is a good player in Martinelli but next season he will have to step it up big style.
I thought Pereira’s goal was caused by two CBs not having played together for a while and two DMs who did not have the legs to put him under pressure before he took his shot. Nevertheless, it was a fine run and finish by the Brazillian.
Regarding Marteneli and his performance as center forward will be ongoing debate. Can Mikel do a Thierry on him? It’s good to romanticise but Thierry is an exception. Marteneli scored double figures in his first season playing on the left and sometimes center. In those teams we created a lot down the center. In this team center forwards chances are from crosses and cut backs from flanks. Marteneli has cored some good headers in his first season. So it’s there but he needs more playing time to get adjusted to this setup.
TA, Thierry took around 10 games to hit the ground running moving from left to center. So Marteneli needs more game time in the center for Mikel to figure out if he can do a job in the center. This cannot be understood by keeping him on bench. My worry is some other club may come and promise him more time and turn his head. Hope that doesn’t happen.
Madhu, Thierry was a superb player of course. I am not going to have such expectations of Martinelli. But yes of course he needs more game time which he has to earn in training…
A fine article, Total. Thanks for recommending it. During the trophy less period between 2006 and 2015 Arsene gave us some of the most wonderful football memories. He collected some of the best number 10’s in the game and melded them into teams, Fabregas, Hleb, Rosicky, Carzola, Wilshere, Arshavin… Who can forget Jacks goal v Norwich? I often commented to mates during those years, “who needs trophies when we can watch football like this”. Therein lay success… the beautiful, beautiful game.
Well said, Sir Stuart. When your focus is on beauty you are quickly a winner.
Southampton v Fulham – D
Brighton v West Ham – A
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa – H
Tottenham v Wolverhampton – A
Chelsea v Leicester (FA Cup Final & correct score game) – 3:4 Leicester win it at the death
Monchengladbach v Stuttgart – A
The thing is that we had not played well for a long time. Total football had transformed into lots of back passes, and only against lower opposition that we managed to get past holes. If we face good and organised opposition we are dead. We will get smashed as we were not able to venture forward and find holes in the defense.
Bring back Bergkamp, Henry, and Patrick to team up with Mikel to beef up the coaching positions.
TA, not much attention is being accorded to how little we create down the middle. For a center forward and more.so like a Martenelli is so important. In the days of Wenger we used to complain that we don’t use wingers much. Wenger even came up with this logic that Emirates pitch is wide and he would now use more of wingers. But now we have completely gone the other way. We don’t create anything at all from the middle of the pitch. For any center forward it is difficult to get proper service. I would argue our style of play now is actually good for some one like Nketia who stays in the box and a poacher. Martenelli iam afraid may not fit in as center forward in the way we play. He may be better off as a wide forward. So let’s see how things pans out.
The middle is so much better defended these days, Madhu, and football has moved on significantly from the early Wenger days. If the likes of ESR, Ode and Partey cannot find passes through the middle then I imagine it really has become so much harder. I get your point, though.
Southampton vs Fulham…. Home
Brighton vs West Ham……. Away
C.Palace vs Aston Villa….. Draw
Tottenham vs Wolves……. Home
Chelsea vs Leicester…….. Home (3-1)
Borussia vs Stuttgart…….. Draw
Southampton v Fulham: draw
Brighton v West Ham: home
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa: away
Tottenham v Wolverhampton: home
Chelsea v Leicester (FA Cup Final & correct score game): 1-3
Monchengladbach v Stuttgart: home
Just a special mention for Callum Chambers. Throughout the season this team has bored me senseless with their mind blowing passes across the back line. Around about the 7th minute of the game, Callum Chambers sort of said sod this and galloped upfield with ball. You could almost see he other players saying , “ you can’t do that it’s not allowed.” Certainly lifted my mood. Not sure he actually beat anyone, but he pretty much ran the length of the field.
Well done Callum keep up the good work.
Southampton v Fulham: A
Brighton v West Ham: A
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa: A
Tottenham v Wolverhampton: H
Chelsea v Leicester (FA Cup Final & correct score game): H (2-1)
Monchengladbach v Stuttgart: H
Saka’s assist for Emile Smith Rowe’s opening goal was his 19th for Arsenal since making his debut in November 2018, more than any other player at the club.
A shame you get so little out of our football these days, Retsub.
Calum is like Elneny, solid back up players.
Hi Total – new post in your in-box.
T A its probably a lot to do with Dodgy health, but having supported Arsenal for around 55 years, when
we needed a late goal we threw the kitchen sink at then opposition .Sure we didn’t always win , but in the last ten minutes or so we would normally be hitting the bar/ post having efforts cleared off the line and great saves by the keeper. in other words excitement.
Now i here commentators say with 30 minutes or so to go “hopefully Arsenal will be able to fashion one more chance.” if thats entertainmentI I give up.
retsub, I agree that backwards, sideways passing continually looking for an opening creates boring football, but is that the cause of our boredom or is it the double decker defenses?
I also yearn for the wonderful football under the early days of Wengers regime but I’ve also witnessed far worse than we watch today.
Keep your chin up – it may all change in 2021/22.
Cheers GN5,, Seeing Geordie Armstong in full flight, Radford, Kennedy and Stroller, Charlie George, even Bobby Gould with his ill timed shoulder charges and Peter Story kicking lumps out of the opposition was entertaining. The most boring footballer ever in opinion was was Butch Wilkins who had he been an American footballer would probably`bly have a 0 yard statistic against his name. its seems to be the norm nowadays.
| like ESR Saka, Tierney , David Luis and one or to others I cant wait to see Gabielli and Balogun unleashed. but yearn for an Aaron Ramsey type player once more or even better the
sorry rant over.
We appear to be on the same page retsub. I go back as far as 1947 watching Arsenal and I’ve seen all they could offer over the years and obviously today’s brand of football is not very high on my list – but it’s far from the worst.
Where’s that young whippersnapper Kev? He is at least a week younger than me.
Where is that young whippersnapper Kev? He is a least 7 days younger than me
TA, pretty much well summed up and some fine comments from posters here. Also, a belated birthday wish to the legend that is Dennis.
It is impossible for me to post now using my preferred device (iPad) so, I shall post my predictions from my phone. The “Leave a reply” boxes just fail to expand to keep my comments visible (I type blind, as the box is constricted for some reason). May have to do with my device though, or WordPress did something to my entries. I also need to sign in each comment. ,
Southampton v Fulham H
Brighton v West Ham. A
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa H
Tottenham v Wolverhampton D
Chelsea v Leicester A, (1-2)
Monchengladbach v Stuttgart D
Hi Retsub, yeah GN5 I do chuckle when some Arsenal fans says this is the worst Arsenal team they’ve ever seen, which might be true in their case due to their age, but I can remember some absolutely awful Arsenal teams where the chance of them reaching a semi final was like a dream at the time.
What do you guys think about Arsenal hiring a headhunter company to go and find some scouts!
I’m not really sure what to think about that?
NEW POST 🙂