Arteta delivered an almost perfect overture to his brilliant imminent Arsenal Opera

Imagine you are Arteta and in your head is a great opera that you want your musicians to perform? You have got the funding and trust of the Opera house owners. You know it is going to be epic but also that it will take a lot of ups and downs, sweat and tears and change of players to get there.

And then you see your team, for once from the enforced privacy of your own home, perform such a great overture, the orchestral piece at the beginning of your great opera to come!

What a joy this must have given him. To see his team put that of his former master under such constant pressure, to play with such bravura and hear his sweet melody in the performances, hear the spectators purr over his team’s clever and silky movements and interludes.

He has had eggs thrown at him, been pelted with derision and raw, unfiltered anger, but Mikel persevered. Some musicians didn’t want to play to his tunes, others simply couldn’t; but those who wanted to and could do it stuck with him and he stuck with them and made them believe in themselves.

Yesterday, they delivered a great Mendelssohn-esque overture to him and the loyal supporters; one that went still flat at the end but offered so many delights and so much promise!

All players were so in tune for almost the entire performance.

Xhaka got punished for a moment of over-eagerness, instinctively knowing that a goal would be scored if he didn’t try to make a last gasp intervention. He got VARed.

Big Gab’s passion was cruelly doubly punished by an unforgiving referee.

Youthfulness/singlemindedness made the fabulously talented Martinelli not see his better positioned fellow players at the heat of a few crucial moments.

So there are lessons to be learnt and compositional tweaks to be made to produce the perfect overture to the grand Opera that will surely play and play at THOF and in venues across Britain and Europe for years to come.

Upwards and onwards fellow Gooners and never forget those lovely overture tunes from yesterday: the day that conductor Arteta, albeit away from the scene, truly announced himself to the World.

TotalArsenal.

81 thoughts on “Arteta delivered an almost perfect overture to his brilliant imminent Arsenal Opera

  • Thanks for that Total, football supporters aren’t as stupid as the media likes to think, they know when something good is brewing, they usually know it long before the media and the media then pretend that they knew also, but the media just follow. The reaction of the fans in the stadium said it all to me, they stayed until the end and cheered our players off the pitch. The chant of 2-1 to the referee said it all.

    Maybe the answer is foreign referees, not Australians but the top refs from across the world, scrap the PGMOL, sack Mike Riley and set up an elite group of referees to officiate in the Premier League?

    I turned off MotD as soon as the ‘experts’ in the studio tried to justify the first non penalty, I’m not interested in listening to their party line, the BBC are like a bunch of Soviets trying to cover up. Nobody can sully the great Premier League moneytrain and if you do you’ll get shut out so get on board.

    BT were far more critical which was surprising even if their studio guests were a tad more vacuous but then we had the ever contradicting Peter Walton trying to explain and justify the inexplainable. What a utter fraud that man is!

    Our season is going to be framed in our next four matches, it’s going to be an onerous task at WHL and Anfield to get positive results with the type of officiating we’ve come to expect and the City Ground has banana skin written all over it so we have to take care.

    For me top four is still very much in our crosshairs despite the late goals of Tottenham, Man City and West Ham allied to the good fortune of Man U. Maybe an Edu signing or two is just what we need to settle our nerves – or more to the point my nerves.

    Nice post Total.

  • So true about the media and refs, Kev.

    Shearer is such a follower and tries to present it as his unique opinion. He was so hubristic about the Chavs winning the league easily this season, at the start of the season… 🤣😁😅😂

  • The reason we lost were unforced individual errors. Both Gabriel and Xhaka made stupid decisions and were punished. It is that simple and is not worth defending as it is not the first time either has done it.
    We cannot give the refs the opportunities to make these decisions. We are a young and still naive team but that excuse has unfortunately worn thin already.
    The first half was near perfect and if we were more clinical we could have won the game before the Red card. The best thing about the game is the fact that we are all annoyed about it as opposed to just accepting that we will lose to the big boys. If we can beat spurs then all will be forgotten but sadly kane has started scoring and they seem to be on the way back up.

  • Talking heads Total, they’re just talking heads, play the game, follow the party line, skim over our atrocious officials, focus on Arsenal’s red cards instead of properly analysing it and asking if Arsenal are indisciplined or treated unfairly, why not ask why Rodri sliding towards the Arsenal fans after scoring and screaming ‘you fu*king c*nts’ hasn’t been pulled up by the FA, are they still terrified of the City lawyers.

    I’m afraid that English domestic football has been corrupted by the ‘über rich’ and we’re not getting it back anytime soon. I’d be interested to know how and who finances the PGMOL, I have heard that a certain guy who goes by the name of Roman is a serious contributor.

    It’s up to properly run clubs like Liverpool, Arsenal and even the Spuds to hold back the barbarians who are at our gates.

    Nothing is what it seems anymore…

  • Having said all of that I am happy with what we seem to be building and are not as far from top 4 as it seemed we would be this season.
    We only need a top striker to replace laca/auba and a top centre mid to replace xhaka/elneny.
    I like alot of xhaka qualities but he is just not capable of playing 3 games in a row without doing something stupid. It is like he gets bored and switches off, then has to make up for it by body checking or tugging back or sliding in. It is something that will be never leave his game. I know that I will be told that I don’t understand what he brings or that I don’t watch him properly but I really do think I get him.

  • We are completely in tune Total, I have been wishing and hoping to witness this quality of football from our beloved Arsenal since the wonderful days of Wengerball – so should we crown it ArtetaBall?

    How long , if ever, has it been since an Arsenal team was clapped at the end of a losing game. The crowd realized that they were watching the arrival of a team playing in tune, it was a joy to watch and only spoiled by some very iffy VAR decisions.

    We can now see the path to the future, there may be bumps along the way but clearly we have a team and manager who are destined for a great future – and we are here to see it start.

  • Wedge, I am glad you see the bigger picture including Xhaka’s wider contribution. Granit knew there was danger and he did what he could to stop it. Yes he had hold of the shirt but this happens constantly in the box and soooo many get away with it. There was a dive and the referee saw that, so he said play on, but VAR did him in.

    Do you expect players to be perfect all the time? I don’t and cannot be angry with Xhaka. He played an otherwise solid game and his partnership with the much improved (since Granits return) Partey is pivotal to the success of the team. So totally forget about Mikel replacing him; it ain’t going to happen. It ain’t going to happen!

  • Hah Kev, those Barbarians are scary. The refereeing is inconsistent and that is a real downer at the moment. Everyone knew that Odegaard was fouled and it was a pen instinctively…. But it still wasn’t deemed clear and obvious…. 😕😕

  • After watching the entire match (end at 1030 pm Malaysian time), I was very furious with the biased ref and inconsistent VAR. I analysed many times the videos of both penalty shouts and the video of Gab’s second yellow card. It was clear that Ederson kicked the feet of OG a fraction before he slightly got the ball – clear penalty. Xhaka pulled the shirt of Silva when Silva was already diving (no contact yet) – should not be a penalty call due to these actions but probably for Xhaka’s body partially impeding Silva. The clear contention here is that VAR called ref to the screen for one penalty shout and not another. Even ex ref Halsey questions this inconsistency. The sense of injustice overwhelmed the immature Gab to commit 2 silly fouls. Yet the second yellow was very harsh because other more severe fouls were not carded like Rodri two footed flying and charging to Marti’s legs. The ref could have just verbally warned Gab to control his emotions and thats what a good ref can control and do to a game (I have seen some of the better refs do that). I agree with TA that the ref is unforgiving. He is also card happy against Arsenal (which was said by a neutral observer Gabby Agbonlahor) – notice he gave a card to Saka just for highlighting a foul. To sum it, I think we were robbed off 3 points by the ref and VAR although Xhaka and Gab are to be blamed for their silliness. All these very poor officiating which affects the game and our enjoyment will keep on repeating unless the rules are spelt out consistently which should not be difficult but is not resolved which shows something is very wrong with PGMOL. I think the managers should come together to demand some quick changes.

  • Yes Total, I think that Xhaka is one of those players who referees treat differently from say the Harry Kane’s or the guy who stamped on Tomiyasu’s face (VAR that day? Stuart Attwell) so please don’t tell me that it balances out in the end because it simply doesn’t. Man City got away with a succession of fouls with many not even penalised with a free kick, I’m afraid that the referees in this country do not officiate according to the incident but they officiate according to a player’s reputation, just ask David Luiz.

  • Hi Elisha, fine comment and all agreed, especially regarding Big Gab’s second yellow. This would not have happened to a City defender in my opinion.

  • Just so you are aware Total Xhaka lost 7 duels and had the less touches of the ball than Ramsdale. Partey bossed the midfield and was the best player on the pitch in spite of xhaka, not because of him. Xhaka has all the qualities to be a world class midfielder, his range of passing and wand of a left foot are exceptional and his reading of the game can be fantastic. His big weakness is his concentration and decision making which at his age will never change.

  • The best way of looking at it is this.
    Does Xhaka change enough games in a positive way to make up for the way he changes games in a negative way.

    Viera used to get sent of for silly challenges and hot headed moments but we loved him anyway. He made up for these mistakes by winning games on his own and he will always be remembered as a legend of the club.

    I think we could get a better player than xhaka at the end of the season as I don’t think January is the best time to buy players. He will do for now and will also do as back up next year.

  • Partey was poor until Xhaka rejoined the team and since then he and the team have done much better. Our midfield controlled one of the best midfields in Europe, and I don’t need a few stats to convince me that Xhaka did not play a key part in this.

    Let’s agree to disagree, Wedge and move on., 🙂

  • Total you are incredibly blinkered when discussing Xhaka comes up. This will be the last comment I make about him or that game. I really enjoy being part of this positive and usually uplifting community and don’t want to sound so negative.

    I also don’t blame him for that match in general as the ref was the main villain. I was just trying to get my point across.

  • Chelsea vs Liverpool has ro be the best first half of football I have seen this season. Incredible goals and energy by both teams.

    Both mane and Mount were lucky to be on the pitch but I suppose the refs don’t know who the big team bias should really help today.

    I think Mane is the player I hate the most in the whole league.

  • When it comes to Xhaka I have disagreed with many before. Left midfield was my natural position when I played football and I can spot a good player there. But you can call it blinkered, Wedge. No worries and I like your contributions to the blog.

  • Not worked since the 29th Total, but it’s slowed down a lot thanks to the lockdown lite due to the new variant, prudent or an over reaction, i’ll leave that to the individual on here and their conscience, but the majority of Christmas parties were cancelled and the optimism so prevalent before the changes soon switched to a kind of depression, people I suspect are close to despair.

    I do know actually at least 10 people with the new variant and they’re all absolutely fine, hardly affected at all and from my perspective that’s excellent news because hopefully this nightmare is finally working itself out, which of course won’t suit the control freaks in government or the harbingers of doom in the media but what do I know, I’m just a cynic.

    My Christmas was wonderful, my New Year quiet by choice and tomorrow I’m back in the saddle, it’ll be interesting to see how people reflect on this period in 5 or 10 years time and how our politicians are viewed as well as our scurrilous media?

  • Yes, Mane has a mean streak. But Xhaka though makes rash fouls does not have a mean streak – we can only hope that he minimises that because on his day, he gives great passes and shielding. Having said all about the officiating, I am really optimistic that we have a team (being young and very talented) that can win titles in the next season. I have always believed that Arteta is the right coach – very intelligent and meticulous although lacking experience. That first half was probably the best performance since Wenger’s exit – there was verve and venom in attack. We made MC quite ordinary.

  • Brilliant write-up, TA and puts it all in perspectives that even PB will have to be in agreement. 😉. Arteta has sure had a few with eggs in their faces entering the new year in 4th Place; that was never on the cards given the start to the season we had. Pulling this off is an amazing feat, given the circumstances. Making us play the way we have been doing lately, is even more impressive and shows Arteta is an elite manager.

    We were let down by some inconsistent refereeing and a string of poor decisions by a combination of Tierney (should have been touch tight to Mahrez to prevent his through ball to Bernardo Silva; he backed off instead making the pass easier), Xhaka (needless shirt tug as Bernardo was on his way down), Gabriel (silly first yellow; second was deserved but did he need to put a clothesline on Jesus?) and Ben White (should have done more to prevent Rodri’s second bite at the ball for the winner). My expectation is we will learn from these mistakes and get better.

    Upwards and Onwards, for sure!

  • I had to listen to the first half on Talksport, they too thought that Ederson fouled Ode and we should have had a penalty but, it was far from the most contentious issue in that match. Many fouls by the Oilers went unpunished including a blatant forearm smash on the back of Gabriel’s head by Cancelo just outside their penalty area and the two footed tackles from the likes of Rodri. Silva was already diving like a dying swan when Xhaka grabbed his shirt (which was a stupid thing to do) and Silva should have been booked. Xhaka does his share of daft things but no more than others from other teams who do not receive the treatment from the refs that he does. Until the PGMOL eradicate their inconsistencies there will be many fans who will be convinced that they are biased or worse.

  • Morning all, here are the results of last weekends competition:

    1st Kev with 4/6 plus 1 correct score and share of most correct predictions = 8 points
    2nd OX10 with 4/6 and share of most correct scores = 6 points
    3rd Total with 3/6 and i correct score = 5 points
    4th Eris with 3/6 = 3 points
    5th Madhu with 2/6 = 2 point
    6th GN5 with a pitiful 1/6 = 1 point
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Season to date :-

    1st Eris 95.79
    2nd OX10 94.46
    3rd Madhu 82.66
    4th Total 82.46
    5th GN5 75.13
    6th Kev 72.33
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • Here are the results of last weekends competition:

    1st Kev with 4/6 plus 1 correct score and share of most correct predictions = 8 points
    2nd OX10 with 4/6 and share of most correct scores = 6 points
    3rd Total with 3/6 and i correct score = 5 points
    4th Eris with 3/6 = 3 points
    5th Madhu with 2/6 = 2 point
    6th GN5 with a pitiful 1/6 = 1 point
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Season to date :-

    1st Eris 95.79
    2nd OX10 94.46
    3rd Madhu 82.66
    4th Total 82.46
    5th GN5 75.13
    6th Kev 72.33
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • Leicester City v Watford
    West Brom v Brighton *
    Hull City v Everton
    Cardiff v Preston
    Notts Forest v Arsenal *
    Villarreal v Atletico Madrid *

    Put a “P” alongside any two game you feel might be cancelled you get two points for each correct prediction.

  • All agreed, Eris. Mistakes will happen during such a game and MC made a few themselves but got away with it. C’est le jouer de foot ⚽ ⚽ ⚽ ⚽

  • I must say that I am not following the local scene but there are supporters here whom I bump into and there is Arsenal FC Supporters club Malaysia which was launched in 1999. It has later evolved to Arsenal Malaysia, registered in Malaysia and officially recognised by Arsenal FC.

  • I’m actually ok Total 😀
    It was my passengers who were losing the will to live 😕, many of them have had a belly full of working from home and they were loving socialising again, which of course was great both in terms of their mental health and my business.

    I guess some people just prefer being miserable, locking themselves up indoors away from everyone else and most of them work for the BBC… 😄

  • Thanks for the updates, GN5, our Games Master General!

    How am I still top after that round? 😓. What a round by Kev and OX10. TA, you just have a knack for some correct scores, every now and then. Good job, guys. Let’s see how the next round goes.

  • With the serious fouls that our players are receiving without refs protection or action, like Tom’s face being stomped, Saka serially kicked front and back or Marti getting flying kick, many times I am worried for the safety and health of our players. Seems they need to learn the art of evading these dangers if possible. Fortunately in recent years our players did not get serious injuries like the sickening leg breaks of Ed, Diaby and Ramsey, which I think adversely affected their future performances.

  • Did anyone watch the Mancs v Wolves game? Wolves played the good passing football and the home team were dire football wise. Loads of fire power upfront but only Greenwood can play football. Our only remaining double to play v Wolves will be big games, and I am glad we did not play them last week.

  • Yes Total I am fine thanks and I hope that you and yours are well and thriving up there in the freezing north of Nicky New Land 😉…

    Off topic I know, but when we play Nottingham Forest, who have as a matter of fact lost their last two matches, we’ll be facing a team that’s had 10 days clear to prepare due to postponements. So I’d expect them to come out firing like dervishes just as they did a few seasons ago. If we aren’t ‘on it’ we’ll get caught cold again and that’s a distinct danger as Arteta is bound to heavily rotate in between the Liverpool ties. I wonder also if Leno will play the next three games?

  • The Athletic is reporting that we’ve agreed to let Roma take Ainsley on loan until the end of the season.

  • Looks like the Carabao cup game vs Liverpool is under threat of postponement as gleaned from the club website which wrote:

    Following a request from Liverpool FC, the English Football League (EFL) is currently considering whether our Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg match on Thursday (6 January) can go ahead.

    Liverpool have reported an outbreak of COVID-19 and the Football League is now assessing the situation.

    We will update our supporters with any further information as soon as we have it.

  • Liverpool’s plea to have their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Arsenal postponed due to their Covid-19 outbreak has led to calls of double standards.

    The request was submitted after the latest round of testing found more cases within the first-team bubble, days after manager Jurgen Klopp and three players – Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip – were forced to miss Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea after testing positive.

    The first leg is due to take place at the Emirates on Thursday.

    (From the Birmingham Mail)

    A year ago Aston Villa’s 1st team was ravaged by Covid but they were forced to field a team full of U23 and U18 players in an FACup tie, which Liverpool won 4-1.

  • That’s the precedent to follow, right there, then. I recall that game too. I want my fix of the Arsenal footie and I am zoned in for a Thursday night dose.

  • My prediction for next set of games.
    Leicester City v Watford H
    West Brom v Brighton * 0-2
    Hull City v Everton A
    Cardiff v Preston H
    Notts Forest v Arsenal * 0-3
    Villarreal v Atletico Madrid * 0-1

  • Leicester City v Watford D
    West Brom v Brighton * 2-1
    Hull City v Everton A
    Cardiff v Preston H
    Notts Forest v Arsenal * 0-8
    Villarreal v Atletico Madrid * 1-1

  • Liverpool have got their way. According to the Guardian, “The first leg of the tie will be played at Anfield next Thursday, when the second leg was due to take place, and the return the following Thursday.” Playing at home after going to Anfield may be better for us although the prospect of playing their U21s would have had some attractions too!

  • AFC.com:
    We are disappointed to confirm that our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool on Thursday 6 January has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Liverpool squad and staff.

    As a result of the postponement, the order of the matches has been changed.

    The first of the two legs will now be played at Anfield on 13 January at 7.45pm.

    The return leg will now be at Emirates Stadium on Thursday 20 January at 7.45pm.

  • Leicester v Watford……… H
    West Brom v Brighton….. A (1-2)
    Hull City v Everton………. A
    Cardiff City v Preston…… H
    NottmForest v Arsenal…. A (0-5)
    Villarreal v Atletico M…… D (1-1)

  • Leicester City v Watford A
    West Brom v Brighton * A 1-3 (P)
    Hull City v Everton A (P)
    Cardiff v Preston A
    Notts Forest v Arsenal * A 0-4
    Villarreal v Atletico Madrid * H 2-1

  • Eris, brother, thanks for keeping me in your memory.
    Unfortunately my last 2 comments have been repelled/dismissed, so I don’t have to be in agreement with anything any more.
    Have a great year, as well as the team!

  • Leicester City v Watford H
    West Brom v Brighton * A (1-2)
    Hull City v Everton A (P)
    Cardiff v Preston H (P)
    Notts Forest v Arsenal * A (0-4)
    Villarreal v Atletico Madrid * A (1-2)

  • Always great to read from you, PB; whether in agreement or contrary. Have a progressive year 2022 ahead. Don’t be a stranger, mate.

  • Leicester City v Watford H
    West Brom v Brighton * A 2-4
    Hull City v Everton A (P)
    Cardiff v Preston H (P)
    Notts Forest v Arsenal * A 0-3
    Villarreal v Atletico Madrid * D 2-2

  • AFCON hasn’t started yet but Auba is making headlines already. Apparently, he was out partying in Dubai and then tested positive for Covid upon arrival in Cameroon. You can just imagine how high Arteta’s eyebrows went when he heard that news!

  • OX10, I will not have surprised Mikel one iota. Auba clearly has a lack of professionalism problem and it does not suit Arteta’s way of working at all.

  • I saw some brief highlights of AC Milan beating Roma 3-1, it’s always enjoyable watching Mourinho lose, but what struck me was how we missed a trick by not pushing harder for Tammy Abraham because he looked so good and would have been perfect for the role of leading the line in our young Arsenal team.

    When I think of some of the old duffers we’ve signed from Chelsea in recent years the one chance to sign a young emerging talent from them we messed up and it’s going to cost us a major wedge to fill that spot when we could have got Tammy for a sensible fee…

  • With Niles on the point of leaving, a strange decision given the dearth of midfield alternatives currently at the club, I can only suspect that we’ll be signing a replacement over the next few days, who that is is a mystery to me despite the links to Lyons m/f Bruno? Why not negotiate now to sign Bissouma for when he returns from Africa, he’s got all the tools to do the job and is settled in the Premier League.

    I can’t think of the last defensive midfielder to come out of the Arsenal academy, it’s been a real blind spot for our scouts at youth level and continues to be so. Fabrice Muamba is the only one who springs to mind…

  • Agreed, Kev. I was rubbing my hands with glee, hoping Chelsea would oblige and allow Abraham’s transfer to us. He would have been tearing it up by now. I won’t put it down to us messing it up; I rather think the Chavs thought better of strengthening a direct rival, especially as the competition was one of their most successful managers. I may be wrong, though.

    Isaac Hayden and Oğuzhan Özyakup seem to be the only ones from our academy doing well as DM, at the moment, in my memory. Emmanuel Frimpong showed promise but quickly disappeared from the scene and game.

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