Arsenal have a New Bergkamp and 7 more Observations

Wolves 0 – 2 Arsenal: Give us a finger and we will take the whole hand!

Eight Observations:

  1. Pouncing on an opportunity to increase our lead is not something Arsenal have been particularly good at, but this time round the boys were professional and fought with the right spirit to increase our slender lead by 150%.
  2. I thought a few players were holding back a bit to avoid a WC-cancelling injury. Understandable but risky, as this was just too good an opportunity for us to finish on a high.
  3. The two guys who played like it was the most important game of the year were Big Gab and the Ode. They really were up for it and made the difference at the back and upfront. Saliba looked tired and made a few uncharacteristic mistakes but Gabriel came to the rescue each and every time. So glad he signed a new contract. Well done, Edu.
  4. Martin Odegaard is gradually growing into a true Gunner in the mould of Bergkamp and Cesc (the latter wanted to return but Wenger refused his prodigal son). I am so glad that we have a player of the Ode’s character and quality in our team. He lives football and in the moment, and his loyalty to Arteta and the club is second to none. You should watch the game again and just focus on Martin. The boy is so precious: the reincarnation of DB10.
  5. Would you swap GJ9 for any other CF right now? I wouldn’t. I know there is half moon face at Spuds and the Norwegian Berserker at MC, but I love CFs who carry a real goal threat and create mayhem and space for others as well. Jesus’s pre-assist for the Ode’s first goal was a thing of beauty. It cracked open a rather solid defensive position. GJ9 just never gives up and nobody gets a rest from him, yet he is not our centre of gravity in attack. All are responsible to score goals. Spuds and City have made themselves dependable on their CF to score most of their goals. They have the sort of CFs that will do this to a team, and when they have a bad day their teams could drop points. Jesus is perfect for us.
  6. Xhaka’s injury was a setback but Vieira deputised well. A different sort of player of course, but there is a real sense of creative genius. His assist was calculated and calm: the way he took a touch to force a move by the goalkeeper and delivered the ball gently to the danger zone, was special.
  7. The big thing again is how we controlled almost the entire game. Zinch was a great partner for Partey in midfield and Big Ben was also imperious. They make it look easy at times.
  8. We are five points ahead of the Oilers. To complete the first half of the season, Arsenal still need to play: Man City, Newcastle, Everton, West Ham and Brighton. Citeh have a slightly tougher final five games: Arsenal, Spuds, Chavs, Everton and Leeds. Arsenal also had eight away games and only six home games (Citeh 7/7). So the first half of the season gap could well be bigger than five points in the end. Of course, as the Ode so wisely said again on Saturday, we will need to remain humble. OGAAT, OGAAT, and who knows were we will end up by the end of the season?! In the meantime, Kev, Stu and Le Gall will keep singing their Gooners’ hearts out.

By TotalArsenal

49 thoughts on “Arsenal have a New Bergkamp and 7 more Observations

  • In the Guardian today:
    “Arsenal reaping the benefits of squad unity
    There was a moment in second-half stoppage time at Molineux on Saturday when, with the game long won and Wolves in a harmless position, three Arsenal players set about harrying Nathan Collins from different directions. On the sidelines, Mikel Arteta encouraged the press, and not for the first time. It was a snapshot of a team in a really good place. Arteta has said he will use the World Cup break to reflect on the strides his side have made but the togetherness in the table-topping squad seems priceless. “I think everyone can see the spirit of the team and the way we love each other,” Gabriel Jesus said. “The way we want to help each other on the pitch. That is what happens when you are in another family. We spend more time here [with Arsenal] than home. That is why it is working outside.”

  • TA, that’s high praise indeed for young Martin Odegaard, to be likened to one so great. I’d say he is certainly on his way there and must be glad he left Madrid for us. It is also instructive how Arteta (and the team, I imagine) had no qualms naming him captain of a team with more experienced players. If he can lead his national team, brimming with relative (to Ode) veterans, why not Arsenal, the youngest squad in the EPL?

    You are on the money too, with your assessment of the contributions of both Gabriel and Ode as the most committed pair on the pitch. Could it have to do with world cup call up (or some lethargy amongst footballers, with a coming break in mind)? Some players may be wary of injuries as the World Cup approaches. Then, again, Haaland won’t be at the mundial either; yet, see how anonymous he was against Brentford. Also see the commitment with which GJ9, Martinelli and even Saka played. You never know what fuels the players output.

  • LeG, I’ve seen a few toilets like that back in the old days when I travelled to away games, it certainly made one think about the facilities on the North Bank and that they weren’t that bad, not that I used them, or tried not to, how things have changed!

    Stu, your experience of writing sermons is putting me in the shade. 😉

  • Here are last weekends results:-

    For the weekend:-

    1st Eris with 4/6 plus the most correct predictions = 8 points
    2nd Stuart, Madhu & Kev with 3/6 plus 1 correct score = 5 points
    5th OX10 with 2/6 plus 1 correct score = 4 points
    6th Total & Le Gall with 3/6 = 3points
    Last GN5 with 2/6 = 2 points
    Season top date:-
    1st Kev – 60.80
    2nd OX10 – 58.80
    3rd Eris – 49.13
    4th Madhu – 46.80
    5th Stuart – 46.00
    6th Total -45.33
    7th GN5 – 35.33
    8th Le Gall – 34.80

  • Next weekends selections. It’s ladies weekend plus our first World Cup game.

    Everton v Manchester City Women
    Arsenal v Manchester United Women *
    Chelsea v Tottenham Women *
    Aston Villa v Reading Women
    Brighton v Liverpool Women
    Qatar v Ecuador *

  • An ode by GunnerN5

    Avenell Road was my abode
    My future passion just down the road

    During WW2 I became a Gooner
    If not for the war it would have been sooner

    The sounds from Highbury drew me in
    A life long passion about to begin

    Without a penny to my name
    Getting inside became a game

    Between my Dad’s legs I would squeeze
    Then under the turnstile on my knees

    Or over the wall I would try to jump
    Only to fall down on my rump

    Under the clock was where I stood
    Every time that I possibly could

    Not a thing could keep me away
    From watching my beloved Arsenal play

    I’ve seen good players go, and bad ones arrive
    At times it was all we could do to survive

    I’ve seen the best and I’ve seen the worst
    So many times I thought we were cursed

    How many times were we on the brink?
    Only to see our chances shrink

    Our injuries have become a farce
    And referees are a pain in the arse

    After 75 seasons I still gleam
    Every time I watch my team

    Nothing could possibly take away
    The amount of pride I feel today

    Defy the odds? – we just may
    Given the way the Arsenal play

  • I wrote that about several years ago, and still feel that way today,
    Win, lose or draw Arsenal have always been my joy.

    As the years have passed by I wondered if I would ever see another Arsenal side as good as the Wenger teams – Arteta has given me just that opportunity.

  • Thanks Eris. Yes good point about Ode already being the captain of Norway. There is something wonderfully old fashioned about Martin, an old soul in a young body. Such a great love for the game. These sort of players are rare.

  • Thanks for the update, GN5.

    I am going to have to bow out of the competition as I will be boycotting the WC totally.

    The blog will remain open but there will be no posts related to WC. According to the Guardian and Amnesty International, at least 6000 of workers have died whilst building the folly in the sandpit. No compensation has been paid or responsibility has been taken for this. I love the beautiful game and the World Cup is the summit of it, but human rights and dignity always go above pleasure. So no WC for me.

  • Total I fully respect your thoughts and concerns so I’m going to suspend the competition until after the World Cup, it will mean that we are all in the same position and nobody will have to leave the competition. Therefore this weekends selections are now canceled.

  • Berserker haha.
    I love the Guardian article. I notice moments like the one
    they describe of pressing and effort that show a hunger and togetherness that will help us over a long season..

    I’m pretty sure we get those efforts because Arteta has told these young players that they will benefit by not just getting the win, but by running up the score. Obviously goal differential is big when battling Man City. Also there the added personal benefit of getting more goals and assists to help their stats, and getting more tv highlights, which will, add up to more more money for them in the future.

  • Hi GN5, that is a nice gesture but I am fine with you guys continuing with the competition. It’s a big hit on the blog, do feel free to continue. I will rejoin at Boxing Day. 🙂

  • Great points, J. It’s indeed about having a high performance culture. It takes a certain kind of player, and Arteta is the right manager for it.

  • That was a brilliant poem, GN5. Did you say you wrote it several years ago? Something about the last few verses rings true today.

    Thanks for the predictions game update. Got to respect TA’s position on the WC and continuing the game. For that, I am all for suspending things, if others go along with it.

  • Thanks Total. Our skipper deserves the accolades. The embodiment of the modern number 10. His work rate, first touch, vision…

    Sad to see Ronaldo imploding.

    I remember seeing a fella peeing into a bottle, such was the squeeze on the North Bank. Move and you lost your place. Those loo’s were… functional.

    Lovely ode, GN5. A seven decade love affair. What year will be your 70th anniversary? I celebrated my 50th as a Gooner in 2020. A love supreme.

    Which leads us to the obvious choice for this weeks sound of the sixties… For you, Eris. The one and the only John Coltrane.

  • Speaking of the team’s hunger and togetherness, anyone else notice how Ramsdale gave Zinchenko an earful after he was dispossessed dwelling too long on the ball and nearly costing us the clean sheet? It was heart warming to see them make up after the final whistle. Ramsdale went up to him as Zinchenko held up his hand in apology and gave him a wink and a huge smile, plus a slight hug.

    I could not miss the spirit of that moment. If we can maintain this momentum at the resumption, these boys will win da ting!

  • Yes, I am for suspending the comp. Not the same without Frankieboy.

    I am also for drug testing Kev.

  • Ok, it’s a fair cop Stu, I’ll hold my hands up and admit to taking copious amounts of tea before I do my predictions.

    Top for Christmas, yea haw as they say in Texas and New York…

  • TA…..the end of the season will more or less depend on factors beyond AFC’s control:

    1) The officials remaining relatively fair minded and VAR working well,
    2) Key injuries once other teams start getting ferocious with our skilled players,
    3) This magical team chemistry remaining intact despite setbacks and injuries,
    4) Arteta’s genius keeping AFC on course and making the right decisions,
    5) Strengthening the team during the break,
    6) The WC not destroying any of our players.

  • OMG, all valid points and they are relevant to most teams, if not all of them.

    There is good cover at the back, midfield and attack could do with strengthening a bit. I think we are in a good place.

  • Er, that was me TA…

    It’ll be interesting to see whose in the squad for Dubai, Cirjan seems to be coming along nicely.

  • Not too bad, Kev. My Moeder is reaching the final stages fast and I’m visiting her again tomorrow. We’re hoping for a peaceful end. Tough times. 😔 Thanks for asking 🙂

  • Morning Total, thank you for your thoughts, however it appears that most BKers agree with suspending the competition – so it will suspended until after the World Cup.

    Given my love for football and the fact that the chosen country is not a decision made by the players or teams I will watch the games but keep silent about what I see.

  • That’s some way with words you have, GN – no wonder you’re such a fearsome scrabble player
    “as I walk down the street
    everyone that I meet
    gives me a friendly hello
    I guess I’m just a lucky so and so”
    must be the way every gooner feels at the moment
    Of course the usual suspects have already started chanting their “buybuybuy” mantra, but the truth is we are where we are with two of our most important players in MA’s favorite setup – Partey and Zinch – having been unavailable for more than a few games … not to mention the fact that Emile’s gonna be the best addition to any squad when the PL’s back. As for Reiss I don’t think there were that many Arsenal followers who expected him to perform at that level, so let’s keep our money for the next summer TW, with the Champions’ League in sight.
    Now, if Edu feels like bringing Joe W. home where he belongs, he wouldn’t find me up in arms against it

  • Good observations, as usual.
    I agree with about 6.5. 🙂

    Re Vieira (#6) I think he wasn’t as effective as Xhaka neither in offense or defense. With no key pass and defensive contribution he wasn’t having the best of games until popping up with a superb assist for Martin Odegaard’s first goal. Especially in the first half he struggled when came on as the game seemed to be passing him. But these were huge shoes (gloves?) to fit, and Xhaka had a tendency to look average at best before a moment of pure magic, so the comparison is somewhat apt.

    Regarding #8, I think the remaining fixtures depend heavily on our game against Manchester City. OK, we will host that crucial game, but apart from that I would rather play against Spuds, Chavs and Leeds than high flying Newcastle or our own boogeyman, Brighton.
    Assuming that the Everton game and our match against Man City would be scheduled before the next half starts (Jan 14) I would be more than satisfied with a 3-4 point cushion.

  • “For the second consecutive month, Granit Xhaka has been voted by our supporters as our men’s Player of the Month for October.

    The Swiss midfielder enjoyed another standout run of games, which was recognised by Gooners around the world as he picked up 42 per cent of the votes to follow up his September success.

    Thomas Partey – winner of our Goal of the Month award for his stunning strike against Spurs – came second with 35 per cent, while Bukayo Saka was third with 13 per cent.”….

  • Cheers PB,

    Vieira is still lightweight and indeed no match for Xhaka. But he does deliver the bread and butter stuff – goals and assists – already, and that was indeed a very composed assist.

    Spuds took six points from MC last season and the Chavs will certainly get better again, so I expect them to drop some points against them. I am worried about NU too but the rest is doable. Man City is of course a crucial game. Can’t wait for it!

  • TA and GN5 iam in support of suspending the comp so that I can bask in the glory of top 4 for the next 6 weeks 🤣. You deserve a well earned break of running the comp relentlessly. Iam sure there is a lot of work behind scenes to get the comp running. Your ode is beautiful as well.
    As regards to boycott of world cup we are down the slippery slope. I often think where will I draw the line and being from a young country which gained independence from a colonial power less than a century ago obviously I have my own biases. Not that the present elite rulers are any better in our own countries. I draw the lines at my personal behaviour and I cannot be bothered about something that I don’t have any control over. So I would watch the WC but only those imp games and fervently pray for Arsenal players to come back without injury. It’s only Arsenal for me and nothing else matters. WC is a just a distraction and one that I will have to compromise on.

  • Couldn’t find the highlights of the U21s game against Monaco, but yes, Kev, according to the most reliable of sources – the one and only Jeorge Bird – Cirjan seems to have been doing great lately.
    I’m not sure he’d be the first to get a first-team callup though.
    When I take a look at MA’s XI – the one we all know he’ll pick provided everyone’s fit:
    (in possession)
    White Saliba Gabriel
    Partey Zinchenko
    Saka Odegaard Xhaka Martinelli
    … no one in what’s left of the current first-team squad seems to be able to play the exact same part as Alex:
    Tomiyasu Holding Tierney
    Elneny ????
    Marquinhos Vieira SmithRowe Nelson
    Sambi sure can’t … but Cozier-Duberry could!! Just as Bukayo at the same age, the boy’s an amazing Swiss Army knife of a player … and started his career in that exact same position (LB – LWB), so if I had to bet on the name of the next promoted boy, Amario Cozier-Duberry it’d be

  • Interesting LeG, yes he seems to be a late bloomer at 19, it’s a shame Arteta can’t take Charlie Patino with the group to Dubai…

    And just in anyone missed it, L’Arsenal are the Leader de la Ligue.

  • Nice comments all.. we are on an unreal position this season and the whole team, even the youngsters and the women’s team are on top of their leagues.

    Having been long time Arsenal fans, we kept low profile, kept our heads and say: “one game at a time lads”

    Until I heard Mikel say: one day at a time, not one game at a time.

    That makes everything so surreal.. everything comes and goes in a cycle.. let us just take everything in it’s stride and strive for the best.


  • Pushing through the market square
    So many pundits sighing
    News had just come over
    Five-point-clear Arsenal left them all trailin’

    Spur guy wept and told us
    Earth was really dying
    Cried so much his face was wet
    Then I knew he was not lying

    We’re five points clear, what a surprise
    We’re five points clear, my brain hurts a lot
    Five points clear, up there on top

  • One of my very first vinyls

    I hadn’t listened to it in a very long time, and was overwhelmed by an “it’ll never age” feeling when I did
    And btw, thanks a lot for the “Trane” truly heavenly moment, mate

  • Ah, of course, LeG. Probably my most played album during the seventies.

    There’s a Starman playing in midfield
    He comes from planet Bergkamp
    And he surely blows our minds
    There’s a Starman wearing red and white
    He shows us that he loves us
    And we know its all worthwhile
    He shows us
    That we they can win it
    That we can win it
    Let all the Gooners boogie…

  • I don’t want to mess up TA’s plans for the World Cup from the blog posting point of view, but I was wondering if it would add value (if it would be of your interest) that while there are limited Arsenal-related news out there in the next few weeks (apart from the non-stop rumor mill) to discuss how the summer signings performed so far during the 37% of the campaign.

    OK, it was way more cryptic than I intended. What I offer for the next month and a half is to write 5 keynote posts – on 3 materialized and 2 postponed reinforcements – and analyze how did our guys (ST, LB, CB) perform compared to players bought by our competitors in the same window for the same position. For the roles we didn’t invest (LW/RW, CM) I would compare how did those guys perform so far who are constantly rumored to be signed. These would be data-driven posts based on statistics and ratings to stimulate discussion, but way shorter than my writings from a year ago.

    Unless of course TA has material in mind until the PL resumes.

  • What an album that was; I love these “Ronson” years …
    Watched the highlights, P.
    Bandeira missed a sitter but otherwise the boy keeps improving dramatically
    Ali seems to be doing a great job with Henry-Francis too. From what I saw of him last season (and even though I thought he was doing great as a DM), I didn’t think the boy had it in him to be so cool, calm, and collected in the box, but Ali has been playing him further up the pitch this season, and now it’s paying off.
    As for Matt Smith, I’m simply running out of words. His outside-of-the-foot assist for Cirjan (what a classy finish, too) was top-class – but for him, it’s just routine. He’s not been given one single second of playing time, either in the Carabao of in the ELeague, even though Sambi was just going through he motions, nothing more – and what a shame that is.
    I didn’t know that Monaco’s keeper was Lisandru Olmeta, the son of Marseilles’s and Lyon’s former keeper, Pascal Olmeta, one of the most spectacular GKs French football has ever known. The lad’s only 17, but already looks like he’s at least as fast and as brave as his father was.

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