MU 3 – 1 Arsenal | 8 Observations: Awesome Midfield, So much Talent in Attack, Painful Lesson

Eight Observations:

  1. If you play like the big boys, you can get beaten like them. Arsenal are seasons ahead of MU. They want to play football like us, dominate like us, pass like us. But they can’t. Instead they have to play counter football. We were outdone by a few well executed moves to which we lacked pace and positioning. But this is exactly the risk our style of football carries within it; the same happens occasionally to City and Pool. It was a painful but excellent lesson for the team.
  2. When you play high press total football, you have to score at least half of your chances. We had plenty and we did score two. One was cruelly taken away by the farce of VAR. In a game like this it is clear we miss another experienced attacker. Martinelli and Saka and Odegaard are making leaps forward, and Bukayo did score, but I think Jesus was the only one not bothered by nerves during such a tough away fixture. We should have scored a couple before we finally did.
  3. Still, I also want to stress what great talents we have in Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard and they are learning so fast from experiences like this and outperformed their home side counterparts. They are worth their weight in diamonds, and the ly shine like them.
  4. Our midfield was awesome and we hardly missed Partey. I thought that Sambi played with confidence and he positioned well, and Granit and Martin bossed proceedings.
  5. The gap between our high line and Ramsdale was too big. I wonder whether Aaron was not fully fit for this one as he decided to not come out and put off the attackers on the key moments. Rashford had too much space and time to put his shots away.
  6. Vieira and ESR brought something to the game straightaway and that was encouraging, especially from the young Portuguese sensation. It was nice to finally see him play.
  7. A question: when we play a very high line are White and Zinchenko our best full back options/ are they quick enough?
  8. Of course it is now important to learn a few lessons and move on swiftly. Win the next game and we are still TotL. A draw between City and Spuds will see us three points clear then; a win for one of them will see us create a four point gap with the loser. We played fabulous football and should have won but for an awful VAR intervention and some lack of confidence when we could have scored. The Big picture is extremely bright. Bring on the Toffees (but first we go to Zurich)!

By TotalArsenal

Arsenal v Manchester United Preview/Lineup: Great Opportunity for a Statement

Arsenal are going to Old Trafford with the unbelievable luxury that after six games, whatever the result tomorrow, we will remain TotL. Yes we have struggled there often in the last fifteen years but this time we are going there without the usual pressure of needing a result. No pressure.

It’s the home side that need a result and have to make up ground on us this time round, and this has been more often the case in recent years. They will be worried to get beaten and outplayed and that their fragile momentum, much needed after two early losses, will be shattered again.

So win, draw or lose, Arsenal will be fine. Key is of course that Arsenal play well, show character and resilience and fight till the end. No shrinking, ill-discipline or flippancy please. Just play with a high tempo, pass the ball round, make them work and take our chances when they come our way. Key is for the boys to start with focus and without too many nerves. It’s normal to be a bit nervous there, especially for such a young team, but we go there as league leaders because we are beating teams whom our competitors struggled against. So let’s go for it boys and give those Ten Hags a proper game.

The Guardian’s predicted lineups

The Guardian’s lineups are usually close to the actual ones. They have the Ode and Aaron as doubts; the same goes for Zinchenko. It would be great if two out of three could start but the replacements – ESR, Turner and Tierney – are all capable of rising to the occasion, although Turner may find this a really big challenge if he were to start.

Emile is due a start anyway, and he will relish it. Lokonga will face a big test against this very attacking midfield but he has two great defenders – White and Saliba – behind him. No doubt, Bukayo will also help out defensively.

The two attacking Gabis will have to play really well on the left, and Granit will be key again. He needs to stay focused and avoid provocation. The new Granit should be able to do that. The same goes for Big Gab and Ramsdale, if he starts.

I am looking forward to this game at OT, which I cannot say has often been the case. A real challenge to judge our progress in a game we could afford to lose. Of course we don’t want to do that. 3-1 to the good guys. Bring it on!

By TotalArsenal

Arsenal v Villa Preview/ Lineup: Forced Change in Midfield, Eddie and GJ9, Tomiyasu Start?

The Villains are coming to THOF and Arsenal have a great opportunity to make it 5/5 wins and stay TotL.

It looks like Stevie Gerrard’s time as Villa manager is nearly up, but the Scouser is a fighter and he will not go down without a fight. Villa are both a physical and technical team and they have some fine players. Yet they are not growing under the former Mr Liverpool and some are even saying they may well be in for a relegation fight this season.

I expect a hard match and I hope the ref will be on top of things from the start. Ings, Watkins, Coutinho and Buendia are of course good footballers who can score all sorts of goals, but it is the lack of cohesion in the Villa team that makes the team less than the sum of its parts. They got beaten by Bournemouth, Palace and the Hammers and the only win came at home against the sorry Toffees.

The big question for us is whether to play the current first choices or to rotate again. It looks like Partey is still out and Zinchenko is a doubt. There are rumours that Elneny is also injured, but I am not sure what to make of that.

I expect and in a way hope that Mikel goes for the strongest team and worries about the MU game later. Three points tomorrow please.

So the lineup is likely to be:

Ramsdale

White, Sal, Gab, Tiern

Elneny/AMN-GX

Saka, Ode, Marti

GJ9

Part of me would like to see the squad used v Villa but with some continuity:

Ramsdale

Tomi, Hold, Gab, Tierney

AMN, GX

Saka, ESR, GJ9

Eddie

What is your preferred starting eleven?

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal

What To Do With this Beast of an Arsenal CB: Play, Loan, Sell, Squad Player?

 I have supported Arsenal for in excess of 50 years and during that time I have had the pleasure of seeing a fair number of shall we say not top-quality centre backs.  In fact when some of them played they were referred to as Centre halfs.  This list would include such legends as Ian Ure, Andy Linighan, Igor Stepanovs, Gus Caesar, Sebastian Squillaci and Pascal Cygan. 

On the flip side, I have also had the pleasure of seeing some truly great Centre Backs.  My personal list would include.

Frank McLintock.  Purchased as a midfielder in 1964 for £80,000 which at the time was a club record.  His initial time at Highbury was not particularly successful, but although only 5 foot 10′ he was converted to centre back where he proved a great success and went on to captain the team to their first double in 1971.  Particularly satisfying was the fact that the League was won at White Hart Lane.

McLintock was partnered by Peter Simpson who was signed as an apprentice in 1961.  For those not familiar with the term apprentice it involved cleaning the senior players boots and living in guest houses normally with other young apprentices.  Simpson worked his way through the Youth team and Reserves before finally breaking into the first team.  In total he was an Arsenal player for around 14 years and was a great servant to the club.  How he never played for England I will never understand, a very underrated player in my opinion.

David O’Leary was another product of the Arsenal youth scheme.  He signed for Arsenal in 1973 and made his full debut in 1975.  O’Leary was a classy defender very comfortable on the ball.  He went on to make 722 appearances for Arsenal, surpassing George Armstrong’s record, during a very successful career.

Tony Adams, Mr Arsenal.  One of the true Arsenal Greats, Adams spent 19 Years at Highbury having come through the youth set up and in my view was the greatest captain I have had the pleasure of watching, despite well publicised drinking problems and a spell at Her Majesties pleasure.  He played in excess of 500 times for Arsenal and won the 1st Division title four times, 3 of these uniquely in different decades.  A true Arsenal Great he has a statue outside the Emirates stadium in recognition of this.

Martin Keown.  Keown was another to have come through the Arsenal youth programme.  Having finally achieved first team status, Keown was sold to Aston Villa for £200,000 and then to Everton before returning to Highbury 7 years after he left and costing £2 million, 10 times more than for what they had sold him for.  Keown was a hard as nails centre back who took no prisoners.  He is fondly remembered by many Arsenal fans for jumping on Ruud Van Nistelrooy who had just missed a penalty against us.

Steve Bould . Bouldy joined Arsenal from Stoke City for 390,000 in 1988 and formed one of the truly great Arsenal defenders along With Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams and Lee Dixon (also stolen from Stoke). He played nearly 300 games for Arsenal, scoring 5 goals one of which was Arsenal’s first ever Premiership goal.

Sol Campbell.  Much to the delight of Arsenal fans and the hatred of Spurs supporters, Sol Campbell was stolen from Spurs on a free transfer in 2001.  In nine years at Spurs he had won one League Cup winners medal.  In the following five seasons at Arsenal he won two League titles and two F A cup winners medals, encompassing a double.  He was part of the famous Invincibles team.  He also scored a headed goal in the Champions League Final against Barcelona where a 10-man Arsenal held out until the last 10 minutes before two late Barcelona goals won them the trophy.

Kolo Toure. Toure was signed from the Mimosa club in the Ivory Coast for the princely sum of £150,000.  A hugely energetic player, Kolo played in a number of positions before settling in at centre back alongside Sol Campbell.  He went on to play 225 games for Arsenal and was part of the Invincibles team.  In 2009 he was sold to Manchester City for £14 million (how’s that for a return on investment.) and went on to join an elite number of players who have won the Premiership with more than one team.

Apologies to anyone I may have missed.  What’s interesting is many of these players came through the youth system or were purchased at relatively low transfer fees.   Two of these players who came through the youth scheme stand out in my mind.  Adams and O’Leary.  I remember both these players looking a little undernourished when they broke into the side, but both displaying a calmness and self-belief which left me in no doubt they were great players in the making.

I can honestly say I have not seen a young centre back display these attributes until a few seasons ago, when a certain young Rob Holding made his full debut against Liverpool.  Due to injuries and players being unavailable, Holding was paired with another inexperienced centre back Callum Chambers.  Unsurprisingly, Arsenal were beaten 4 -3 at the Emirates with the loss of three points, which would prove crucial later in the season.   The previous season Arsenal were playing away at Swansea with Chambers playing at right back.  Leading one nil. Swansea bought Montero on as a substitute left winger.   It soon became apparent that Chambers couldn’t cope with Montero and he was ripped to shreds with Swansea  winning 2 – 1, with Montero playing a key part.  Personally, I blamed Wenger for not providing Chambers with sufficient support.   To my mind Chambers was never the same player after that and always looked nervous.

Although we conceded four goals to Liverpool that day, having gone  1 – 0 up shortly before half time.  l am sure I saw glimmers of that same quality I had seen in Adams and O’Leary.  When he was eventually put in the first team squad late in the season, Holding was a revelation.  He played fantastically well in all those games demonstrating a confidence way beyond his youth.  Rob Holding cost the princely sum of £2 million, although with add ons I understand this was to rise to £10 million.  Either way, what a fantastic piece of business.  As well as displaying great defending and calmness on the ball, he won the heart of many a Gooner with his tough tacking on Arnoutovic, a player who had effectively ended Matthieu Debuchy’s  Arsenal Career by needlessly pushing him off the pitch.  This was further enhanced when he crunched Diego Costa in the Cup Final and expressed concerns about his mental state.  Costa being a player who had so often bullied Arsenal defenders in the past.

When you consider Manchester City played around £50 million for John Stones.  Rob Holding represents fabulous value for money.  I was convinced that if he remained robust and injury-free we would be looking at a future Arsenal legend and possibly a future England Captain. 

But, although Rob is still at Arsenal he seems to be missing out on the role and importance I had in mind for him. I still believe he has it all but whether this will come to fruition at Arsenal remains to be seen. I am curious what his next step will be:

  1. Fight for a place in the first team;
  2. Become an Elneny-like squad player;
  3. Go out on-loan and play a large number of games this season;
  4. Move on from Arsenal for definite.

What do you think?

By Retsub.

Mesut with Attitude, Versatile Bukayo, Cup Fighter Mentality: 8 Observations

Arsenal 2 – 1 Fulham

You’ve gotta fight for your right to party!

Eight very quick observations from our hardest win of the season so far:

  1. Our defenders almost had a perfect game v the beast of the Cottagers. Mitrovic was very impressive in terms of how he tries to make space for himself and others. Our team controlled him well but for a moment of indecision by Big Gab. Was it the fear factor or just a blip in concentration? These sort of goals we will concede a few times this season; it’s almost inevitable. I am glad for Gabriel that he could undo his mistake`and that will have made him sleep much better.
  2. The Ode is playing out of his skin at the moment. He danses around the pitch but with the vision of an albatross. His passes and crosses were at times from a different dimension. Martin is Mesut with attitude.
  3. Ramsdale to the rescue. It was good to see Bernd in the Fulham goal and I thought he did well. But the outstanding saves of the game were made by Aaron. He was quietly one of our best players.
  4. All our attackers lacked a bit of final composure yesterday. Saka missed a half decent chance but also Martinelli and Jesus, who simply have a bit more fan credit at the moment, were below par in terms of their execution. But I also want to stress that Fulham defended very well.
  5. Saka is just such a useful player. He can play almost anywhere and I saw him having spells in all four corners. His dribble and pass let to our equaliser and he was continously involved. Bukayo may not be at his sharpest but even then he is one of our best players.
  6. Elneny started brightly with very good positioning and tidy passes. Like Partey does a lot, he did seem to be less involved towards the final third of the game. Still I thought Mo stepped in well for Thomas.
  7. Kieran was a bit rusty and maybe a bit nervous too, but I am glad he had a start and I hope he will start again on Wednesday. I don’t think Zinchenko is really injured but that he and Thomas are spared for the game at the Old Toilet Bowl. They may both play the last thirty minutes v Villa but I don’t think they will start.
  8. The last fifteen minutes were awesome. The pressure on Fulham was unbelievable and it all paid off. Every game is a cup game right now, it seems. Only by giving everything for ninety minutes can we win. These boys know and live this, and Arteta has done so well to get them to this stage.

By TotalArsenal

Arsenal v Fulham Preview: Aaron v Bernd, Jesus v Mitrovic, Arteta v Silva

Arsenal welcome the Cottagers to the Home of Football who will also be playing their second London Derby of the season today – they will play four in their first five matches, with Spuddies and Chavs to come.

Silva’s men have started brightly with a well earned draw against last season’s runners-up, a draw away to Wolves and a narrow 3-2 home win v Brentford.

They play with both discipline and freedom and Silva clearly is a good manager. They will come to us with confidence and a nothing to lose attitude, and Arsenal are in for a battle. Anyone who has already banked the three points for this game should think again. This will be a good tactical battle and Arteta and Silva will relish it.

Mikel’s first task is to get rid of any complacency; this is a potential banana skin. Silva has a nice combo of attackers with Mitrovic a classical CF in the mould of Shearer, and the beautifully named De Cordova-Reid a more mobile, dribbler type of player. It will be good to see how Mitrovic l, three PL goals already, and Jesus, the King of goals/assists, will play in attack today.

In midfield there is also a good skill set with the likes of Palhinha, Reed, Carney and Pereira. I don’t think they will come to park the bus but will want to play passing football. Yes they will concede most likely, but they know they can score goals too. So I am expecting an open, proper modern football game tonight. Those who prefer ‘real men’ football may want to watch some old tapes instead 😅

This is of course also the battle of the goalkeepers, and Bernd should get a great welcome by the fans. Oh boy will he be up for this, and I am worried about him playing a worldy against us today.

Lineup….

Are we going to see any changes is the big question? No new injuries and they all had a week’s rest, so my money is on the same starting eleven.

We may see subs being made earlier, so the subs-police may be a bit happier today. We have another PL game midweek, so we should see more players being used this week. Maybe Arteta has a ‘squad-three-matches’ plan and will rest a few ‘first team’ players, today. White, Zinchenko, Martinelli and the Ode could for example be rested to start on Wednesday v Villa, with then Saliba, Xhaka, ESR and Eddie getting a rest. Let’s see how Mikel will approach this and the other two games in the coming weeks.

The Guardian’s predicted lineups:

Of course it is also OGAAT as the only thing Mikel can influence directly today is the game v the Cottagers.

My first ever Arsenal home game was v Fulham at Highbury. I had to watch it in the away section – the only way to get a ticket. They scored early on and were delighted for a couple of minutes… Then they realised they had poked a wasp nest; I could sense the fear. The game ended 4-1 with goals by TH, PV and Lauren. I will never forget the speed and athleticism of the Gunners that day, something you will notice so much more when you are live at a game.

Anyway, enjoy the game. CoyrrGs!

By TotalArsenal

Arsenal’s European Adventure takes us to the Mountains and Pancake Land

Arsenal have drawn a Norwegian, Dutch and Swiss team in the UEFA League, and that sounds like a nice set of matches to come.

I am especially looking forward to the encounters with PSV.

The draw in full

Group A: Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Bodo/Glimt, Zurich

Group B: Dynamo Kyiv, Rennes, Fenerbahce, AEK Larnaca

Group C: Ludogorets, Real Betis, HJK Helsinki

Group D: Braga, Malmo, Union berlin, Union Saint-Gilloise

Group E: Manchester United, Real Sociedad, FC Sheriff, Omonoia

Group F: Lazio, Feyenoord, Midtjylland, Sturm Graz

Group G: Olympiakos, Qarabag, Freiburg, Nantes

Group H: Red Star Belgrade, Monaco, Ferencvaros, Trabzonspor

A lot was made of Arsenal just missing out on CL football last season, but our developing team really will benefit from playing these sort of components and, hopefully, better ones in the next few rounds, this season.

So our next European adventure takes us to the Norwegian and Swiss mountains and pancake land. Bring it on.

By TotalArsenal

What is Your Best Arsenal Game Ever? Here’s GN5’s

Arsenals Top Seasons 1947-48

1947 was a milestone year in the life of GunnerN5, I spent endless hour’s playing football with my mates on Avenell Road we kicked a rag football (made by my mum) about using the main gate into Highbury as our goal. We were in awe of all the supporters as they streamed in and out of Highbury on Saturday afternoon’s wishing we could be inside with them. The Oh’s and Ah’s coming from the ground always left us wondering what was happening  but we knew when the Gunners had scored as that caused the biggest roar of all.

My maternal Grandfather changed my life when he gave me the best birthday present I’d  received – for my birthday he took me to my very first Arsenal game – it was November 22nd 1947 Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town and we won 2-0. That game was the start my life long journey of supporting the Arsenal and it was capped off with us winning the League Championship.

WW11 was over but our ground in Highbury had not been spared from war damage; the North Stand had been extensively damaged by fire causing the roof to collapse plus the South Stand terracing was badly damaged and in need of repair.  The debts from the construction of the ground and the costs of repairing the war damage were a heavy financial burden, and Arsenal struggled when competitive football resumed. The war had also cut short the careers of many of the club’s star players, including Cliff Bastin and Ted Drake and sadly nine of the pre-WW11 players lost their lives during the war.

The Football League resumed for the 1946-47 season and Arsenal finished a disappointing 13th. After close to forty years with the Arsenal George Allison retired at the end of the season, and was replaced by his assistant Tom Whittaker, who had been the clubs trainer under Herbert Chapman, with Joe Shaw joining him from Chelsea.

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Arsenal kicked off the1947/48 season with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Highbury, an ideal start for the new management team. Leslie Compton, the previous club Captain (who had been playing cricket for Middlesex Cricket Club), returned to Arsenal and they won their next six games.  Joe Mercer had been Arsenal’s Captain in Compton’s absence but Whittaker felt that now Compton was back he should, once again, lead the team but Compton felt differently and persuaded Whittaker to keep Joe on as the clubs Captain.

They remained unbeaten in the first 17 games of the season, winning 12 and drawing 5 before they lost 0-1 away to Derby County in the 18th game. Arsenal were the dominant team of the season and were ahead of the other final top teams from the 2nd game of the season onward – as shown in the following table.

The Arsenal 1948/48 team consisted on many of the era great players –

Walley Barnes – (WAL) Full back    

 Denis Compton – (ENG) Outside Left     

 Les Compton – (ENG) Centre half   

 Alf Fields – Centre half    

 Alex Forbes – (SCO) Wing half    

 Bryn Jones – (WAL) Inside forward    

 Reg Lewis – (ENG) Centre forward     

 Jimmy Logie – (SCO) Inside forward   

 Archie MacAulay – (SCO) Inside Forward/Wing half    

 George Male – (ENG) Full back    

 Ian McPherson – (SCO) Winger     

 Joe Mercer – (ENG) Wing half    

 Ronnie Rooke – (ENG) Centre forward 

 Don Roper – (ENG) Winger     

 Laurie Scott – (ENG) Full back    

 Paddy Sloan – (NIR) Wing half     

 Lionel Smith – (ENG) Full back     

 George Swindin – (ENG) Goalkeeper    

 Joe Wade – (ENG) Full back     

 Ted Platt – Goalkeeper

Two of their most well known players were the Compton brothers.

Denis Compton CBE was born in Hendon on 23 May 1918.  He played in 78 Test Matches and played for Middlesex – his home county.  He was a slow left arm bowler, and cricket reports call him one of England’s most remarkable batsmen.   He scored 123 centuries in first-class cricket.   A stand at Lord’s is named in his honour. He started his football career at Nunhead in 1934/5 before moving to Arsenal, where he made his début in 1936.  He also played for England was of 38 years and 64 days; the oldest post-war England debutante and the oldest ever outfield player to début.

Leslie Compton was born in Woodford on 12 September 1912.  Like his brother he played cricket for Middlesex, but it was at football that he excelled. He came to Arsenal straight from Middlesex Schools, and played as an amateur in 1930 playing his first first-team game on 24 April 1932 against Aston Villa, just after turning pro. He started as a right back, but then when George Male took that place Denis went back into the reserves. His first medal came with the Charity Shield in 1938.  During the war he continued to play for Arsenal and, being converted to centre forward he apparently scored ten goals in one game against Leyton Orient. After the war however he moved into the centre of defence.  He missed a few games in 1947/8 because of his commitments to Middlesex (which must mean that Arsenal and Middlesex had a deal as to when he was available) he played for the rest of the season as Arsenal won the First Division title and both Comptons got their league winner’s medals.

The Compton’s are the only brothers ever to have won the League and County titles in football and cricket.

In the final Arsenal matchday programme of the 1947/48 League Championship winning season, ‘Marksman’ (aka Harry Homer), the programme editor of the day, wrote: “…my mind seeks an apt quotation with which to close this season which has been such a glorious one for Tom Whittaker, Joe Mercer and all connected with The Gunners. Shall we turn for once to Latin? ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’. Translation: ‘Victory grows out of harmony.’”

Two seasons later and Arsenal unveiled its new crest which incorporated Marksman’s Latin maxim. Tom Whittaker explained in the 1949/50 handbook (which also included the new crest) that the Club had been impressed by Marksman’s motto and it had now been officially adopted by the Club. The new crest also featured ‘Arsenal’ in a gothic style typeface, the westward facing cannon, the Borough of Islington’s coat of arms and ermine. (courtesy of Arsenal.com)

GunnerN5

A Flying Start by Arsenal – Five Areas of Improvement

Three games gone and all is looking rosy for the boys in red and white. Of course it is early days but what nobody can take away is that we started very, very well. This is not just about the nine points from three games and being the sole TotL team right now, but a general sense of improvement in a number of key areas.

Arsenal areas of improvement:

  1. The obvious one is the quality of our squad-depth. More than decent back up in defence and midfield, and we are almost there in attack. Rumours remain strong that Arsenal are after a left winger and they would allow Martinelli to play more regularly as our CF. I have said before that with Jesus we are effectively getting two CFs/attackers, as Martinelli is clearly growing under the tutelage of his ‘older brother’. Getting GJ9 was just such a clever move. I still believe Gakpo will come our way but any of the alternatives mentioned in the papers would also be an improvement.
  2. Our currently ‘first-choice’ full backs may not be pure, classic ones but they are so effective in Arteta’s system. They can squeeze into midfield and form a wall with Xhaka and Partey. They can also get forward and interchange with the central midfielders, making it hard for opponents to pick any of them up. White and Zinchenko are no-nonsense defenders when it comes to it, with the only potential weakness of not being able to block out speedy wingers. Yet Xhaka and Partey are happy to help out then by doubling up. This is still a work in progress as especially on our left we have been porous a few times, as Leicester’s Maddison showed us last week. I really like the way Big Ben is developing his passing and crossing skills and he is getting better at this every week. With Tierney and Tomiyasu we have great back up and competition, allowing Mikel to rest and interchange players. It would not surprise me if Arteta will put either or both of White and Zinchenko in central midfield at times.
  3. The central defence duo of Tequila and Big Gab is even stronger than the Big Ben/Big Gab one. Early days of course and sterner test will no doubt follow, but Saliba really is looking very calm, composed and decisive when it matters. This goes well with Big Gab who is by nature more explosive and extrovert. With Big Ben and Holdingho as back up we really cannot complain about our cover in central defence.
  4. Our pressing has been so much better since the start of pre-season. Not only do we do it more, it is now also leading to dominance in the opposition half/box, and with three goals per game scored we are starting to see real payback from our concerted efforts. This is where Gab Jesus, and Xhaka’s presence higher up the pitch, really make a difference. Granit, Gabriel, Martinelli, Saka and especially the Ode are awesome pressers, helped very much by the likes of White, Partey and Zinchenko keeping it tight behind them. I thought Laca always gave his all when we were pressing but it did often result in what looked to me like fatigue when it came to taking his chances. With GJ9 we have a player who can press, dribble and take his chances for (best part of) 90 minutes. The man is simply electric – a turbo boost to the whole attack.
  5. Goals and assists are coming from everywhere. Of course I would like GJ9 to become top scorer this season, but it is also important we don’t become over-reliant on him. We have goals by GJ (2), Martinelli (2), Saliba, Xhaka, Ode (2) and an OG (forced by Saka). We have assists by GJ (3), Xhaka (2), Zinch (1). This is just great. We have not even had any goals or assists by Saka and ESR yet, our two top scorers of last season, so there is more in the tank, much more. On top of that we have Eddie waiting in the wings who clearly knows how to find the net if given a chance.

I am fully aware that we will face some really tough challenges this season. The way Liverpool, MU and Chelsea have dropped points already against teams they should have beaten tells us this is going to be a tough season in which, on the day, any team can beat any team. That is why I believe so strongly in the OGAAT – One Game at a Time – approach. Remain humble and totally focused, see games out till the last minute, work as a unit and for each other, and celebrate every win as a huge one.

By TotalArsenal.

Oh What a Day! Bournemouth 0 – 3 Arsenal

There’s a kind of hush all over the world tonight. All over the world you can hear the sound of Gooners in love…

Bournemouth is a beautiful town with a magnificent beach and some very friendly folk. Driving down from Taunton early gave me the opportunity for a visit to the towns best kept secret: the hidden gem of the Russell-Cotes Museum and Gallery, a walk on the pier and a swim in the sea, before making my way to the edge of town where stands the Vitality Stadium, the smallest in the Premier League hosting just 11,500 on a match day.

I had won a ballot for a seat in the Ted MacDougall (the original Supermac) stand, unfortunately amongst the Cherries fans, but close enough to the away section to appreciate and join with our red and white army who were in vociferous and feisty form. Songs new and old cascaded lovingly down the terrace flooding the ground with renditions of “O Rocky, Rocky”, The Viera song with “Senegal” changed to “Portugal” in honour of new boy Fabio, “Your only here to see The Arsenal” and, best of all, the new Saliba song, all winning the game off the pitch. GN5, I joined the chants on your behalf, mate, channelling my inner Cyril.

As for our boys on the pitch, a really dominant performance with some hugely impressive moments; Our captains two fine finishes. Jesus’ mesmerising Messiesque control and dribble leading to the first goal and drawing gasps of appreciation from even the Bournemouth fans. Saliba’s goal, so expertly laid on by Xhaka. The interesting positional interplay between Granite and Zinchenko, how are KT and Tomi going to earn their starting roles back with the form of our Ukrainian and Ben White? Nine points from our first three games. The last time we did that was in 2004. Dum, dum, dum. Hush now my beating heart.

By Stuart