Arsenal v PSV Lineup and Preview

I remember speaking to some unfamiliar Manure supporters in a pub in Stockport a few decades ago about the merits of Ruud van Nistelrooy. At the time Arsenal were also interested but the shaving equipment dodger chose for Red Nose and the rest is history. They asked me whether he would be a good signing. I said he would fit the Manchester team but that I am not sad at all he would not become a Gunner.

PSV and MU are as similar in terms of playing style as Ajax and Arsenal have been since the arrival of Wenger at the North-London team.

The first lot love to play on the rebound and counter (and love space to run into above anything else) and the teams of the national capitals love to play high intensity pressing and passing football (they love to have the ball above anything else). RvN was a perfect match for Fergie-ball and the MU fans still love him as much as we love Thierry.

PSV are a good team but lack belief in themselves when it comes to Europe. Losing out to an inferior team like Rangers for CL football demonstrated this recently. The draw at home against Bodo/Glimt was further proof of this. Yet RvN seems to be making progress with PSV and they will relish a proper Europa League test against us tomorrow and next week Thursday.

PSV have always had technically gifted footballers and in Gakpo and Xavi Simons they have currently two very fine attackers indeed. The rest of the team is OK, with players who can shine one game and wilt away the next one.



White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney

Lokonga, Xhaka

Saka, Ode, GJ9


If Zinch is fit then Xhaka should be rested, but it doesn’t sound like he is. Martinelli seems to miss out too, so why not play both Eddie and Jesus?!

Anyway, I expect a very strong starting eleven as a win will see us through and most likely win the group too.

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners.

By TotalArsenal

Tornado upfront, Wall of PartAka in midfield, and the Four Bigs in defence: Arsenal Lineup/ Preview

Arsenal are playing the Whites of Leeds today and it promises to be a veritable feast of football for the eye and soul. Shame it’s not on TV.

Marsch’s team, just like Bielse’s before him, like to play intense, attacking football. It is the sort of football that is the opposite of what grim reaper, Conte, likes to serve up to the World.

Since the CL football years around the change of millenniums, Leeds have had a long road to get back to regular PL football. Bielse seemed to be untouchable at Elland Road and at the basis of the club’s strategy to remain in the PL and gradually move upwards in the table. The man with the iron knees who preferred to watch the game at the height of most four-legged creatures really seemed to fit the essence of the Whites. But he got sacked anyway and Marsch is quietly doing a decent job…. And the footie has remained a joy to watch.

Arsenal can make it a phenomenal 9/10 wins in the PL or 11/12 in all competitions. The team is on fire but will now face four away games out of five remaining PL fixtures before the disgraceful folly in the sandpit takes place.



BigB, BigW, BigG, BigT

Wall of PartAka

Buka, Ode, Marti

The Tornado (Eddie if unfit)

There is doubt about GJ9’s fitness but most other key players are available, so that is good news. Knowing how motivated Gabriel is I reckon he will start and perform his unrelenting tornado-ball 🌪 ⚽ at Elland Road. His younger soul-brother, Martinelli, and brilliant Bukayo will also create mayhem and despair in Leeds’defence.

We need the Ode to strut his finest stuff behind them and the Wall of PartAka to hold firm and press Leeds right back into their own half.

Our defence will be tested especially if the excellent Bamford will indeed be fit to start.

It will be lively and hopefully Arsenal come out on top. The media is only salivating over the Pool-Citeh game this weekend, with little or no respect to the League leaders. Well, let them have it. Arsenal just keep going and a win today will make the outcome at Anfield a trifle for us. Let’s stay TotL.

By TotalArsenal

Arsenal v Bodo/Glimt lineup and Preview: Nelson and Saka, the Wall of PartAka, Strong Defence?

I think we saw enough of Bodo/Glimt (BG) last week to know that they will be hard to beat at their own plastic turf at the Arctic Circle. Just ask the self-adoring one who got beat there 6-1 with his current bunch of followers of the Eternal City, recently.

Allezkev described BG as a physical team that tries to play FOOTIE. Arsenal cannot afford to lose this game with still two games against PSV to come. Therefore, I don’t think Arteta will opt to make too many changes from our fine victory against Liverpool. The confidence needs to be high and a win give us a very firm grip on qualifying in the group. So Arteta will go for safe, I think.

It’s hard to predict the line up but I am expect something like the following starting eleven:


Soares, William, Rob, Tierney

Partey, Granit

Saka, Ode, Nelsoni


The likes of Sambi, Tomi, Marquinos, Vieira and maybe a Hale End Academic are likely to get between 10-30 minutes, I reckon.

Looking forward to this one!

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners 🌋 🌋 🌋

By TotalArsenal

Eight Arsenal v Pool Observations: Martinelli Has Arrived, Outrageous William, Tomi the Tank Engine

I am Starting to Believe in the Title.

No Monday morning blues for me, today. Max, the Dennis Bergkamp of F1 racing, became World Champion and Arsenal made a huge PL statement by finally beating Pool again on Sunday. Driving through Embra this morning, the City was draped in Venetian sunlight, everybody was polite and beautiful, every traffic light was on green and the music on radio three was heavenly (even the occasional stress jazz song)! Yes, an Arsenal win like the one on Sunday makes you walk on sunshine.

Eight short observations before I will watch the game again:

  1. Gabriel Teodoro Martinelli Silva, I salute you. What a game he’s had. A peach of an assist and a very well taken goal. But the hunger and desire were something else all together. There was not a single right full back in the country who slept gently last night. I have had my doubts about Martinelli’s effectiveness, but no more. Gabriel M has arrived.
  2. The shoulder charge of Saliba on Diaz was outrageous! See link in comments. Nobody will bully us anymore is what William was saying! I loved it.
  3. There is not a left full back left in the country who doesn’t have Bukayo nightmares. Saka is less dynamic than Martinelli but equally dangerous and always effective. And what a nerve to take and convert the penalty. Beyond his years!
  4. Tomiyasu as our bully right back was a brilliant move by Mikel. Did Mo Salah turn once effectively inside on to his left foot?! And how many of TAA’s typical diagonal crosses did we see? Indeed, not many. Tomi the Tank Engine, what a move by Arteta!
  5. Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard have so much in common. They will do the dirty work all day long, and yet, when they shine it is with Bergkampesque radiance. These two move mountains for Arsenal, without them we are nothing. Oh, and what a throughball for our first goal by the Ode.
  6. Then there is the So Solid Crew: Saliba, White, Ramsdale, Gabriel, Xhaka and Partey. All are rocks in tumultuous seas. Big Gab is still a bit jittery at times but in general there is a lot of calm solidity in our team.
  7. The home support really were special once again. Thank you from all those who could not be there.
  8. Arsenal are TOTL whilst having played MU away and Spuds and Pool at home in their first nine games. Citeh only played MU at home of last season’s top six. I am starting to believe my friends.

By TotalArsenal

Arsenal v Liverpool Preview/ Lineup. The Teeth v The Hair

Liverpool are coming to THOF with only one desire, which is to restart their season by beating us. Their recent results against Arsenal have been good, and they like playing us because we dare to press high and play our game. The space that will become available as a result, is highly priced by the Scousers.

So, just as with the Spuds, I am nervous about this game. Pool, despite their current low position in the league, are a better team than our North-London eell-mashed rivals, so let’s be very focused.

Having said all that, we now have a team of 11 fighters and the sort of attackers that will take their chances when they come to us at home. Saka and Martinelli, for example, both scored under high pressure at Manchester United, even though Marti’s goal was so harshly VARed out. GJ9 will relish this game a hundred times more than Aubameyang ever did. This season, XhakA and Partey are taking their chances when they come, and Arsenal also have a few defenders who can rise to the occasion.

I am writing all this to focus on an important, big difference with last season: Arsenal do now take their chances quicker, also in the big games. And if Arteta decides to go out and attack Pool by pushing up, we really need to take our chances as soon as they arrive.

It will be a big test because expectations are high and the pressure is on us. But the Teeth and his players also have a lot of pressure on them. Losing today will mean a huge gap between the top three and them with not even ten games played. Their PL season could be written off if Arsenal beat them fair and square.

So there’s a lot to consider for this game, and weighing on it, and I cannot wait for it.

Line up

I don’t expect many surprises in our starting eleven and will go with the Guardian’s lineup:

We may see Tierney starting ahead of Zinchenko, and the Ukrainian may even start in Granit’s place. Kieran offers more defensive qualities to Zinch and Granit has played an awful lot of high tension games lately… But I still expect us to start as per the Guardian’s lineup.

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!


Arsenal v Bodo/Glimt Review: Great Game – Only One Disappointment

Glimt of Bodo, my first midweek game of the season, I do enjoy a night game under the floodlights it just seems to be a more dramatic occasion.

Arteta made some changes, not as many as some might have hoped but 8 changes is a lot, and it did have an effect on how Arsenal played. Some of those rotated in certainly had some rust in them their boots, but they needed minutes, and we have a lot of games pending, so needs must.

Turner, Tomiyasu, Tierney, Holding, Vieira, Lokonga, Nketiah and Marquinhos all made their second successive European starts aided by 1st team regulars Xhaka, Gabriel and Martinelli.

Glimt were tall, strong, physical, organised and skillful, they came to play and they were brave, and a credit to their manager and coaching staff. Tonight was no walkover believe me, Arteta was right not to underestimate the Norwegians. The return game on their plastic pitch will be fraught with banana skins, Arsenal will need to be at their best to win in Norway.

Arsenal despite the challenge from the Norsemen pretty much dominated and controlled the 1st 45. Turner didn’t have a save to make and our defence had the Norge pretty much in their pockets despite some slick approach work from the Vikings. Eddie followed up a Tierney shot to settle our nerves with a sharp finish, and then Super Rob Holding headed our second following good work from Vieira.

The 2nd 45 didn’t turnout the same, I don’t know what the Glimt manager said to his players at halftime but it certainly worked, and any hopes of a comfortable conclusion to this tie with one or two youngsters getting a run out disappeared as Glimt put Arsenal under a lot of pressure with some smart approach play and an appetite for a strong challenge that knocked any complacency out of the Gunners. We had to fight for the result for sure.

Arteta despite sending out Matt Smith and Cirjan to warm up had to err on the side of caution, with the lead being only two goals, and went with the more experienced subs, the job needed to be done. As some legs began to wane Arteta brought on Jesus, Saka and Odegaard for Xhaka, Marquinhos and Martinelli. Arteta followed that up with White for Tierney and finally Nelson for Eddie after Nketiah spurned the chance to get his second and secure the tie.

A brilliant mazy run by Jesus and a finish by Vieira sealed the game but I was a tad disappointed that that third goal hadn’t been found earlier as we might have seen Smith and/or Cirjan make their debuts, but a professional job was concluded and we move on to the next challenge.

I was pleased to see Turner make some good saves in the 2nd 45. It’s so difficult for a goalkeeper to find some form when they play so little, so it was encouraging to see him silence some of his doubters – for now anyway.

By Allezkev.

Eight Observations v Spuds: Structure v Chaos, Saliba the Swan, Is there a MOTM?

Till at least half January we can call ourselves the Kings of North London. The boys did us proud with a fine win. Whilst Arsenal played the game beautifully, our neighbours were accused of playing football that resembles a nr2 in the toilet department. As per Allezkev’s excellent post, the atmosphere at Ashburton Grove was phenomenal and the team has fully reconnected with the supporters.

Eight Observations:

  1. Way back when Partey was interviewed by Arsenal, he apparently said he felt he could form a great duo with Xhaka. Arteta has found a way to get the very best out of both, and seeing them together thanking the supporters after the match was a fine thing to behold. Both scored unforgettable goals to take the win, but more than that they bossed the midfield. Fingers crossed they stay fit and play many key games together this season.
  2. Chaos v structure – how we cracked Conte’s wall of potatoes! Whereas Granit and Thomas mainly bring structure to our game, the likes of Martinelli, Jesus, Saka and Ode bring organised chaos, which, I admit is almost an oxymoron (just like a handsome or inspiring Spud is one). The energy of these four players is amazing and they never leave the opponents alone. They give them no time to settle and organise themselves. Arteta wanted this from Auba and Laca and did not get it enough, especially from the former. The Big difference is also that the awesome foursome do not just create pressure and chaos collectively, they also deliver the bacon, with a goal for Jesus, an assist for Martinelli and a shot by Saka that led to the all important second goal.
  3. I cannot pick a MOTM. XhakA deserved it but they all played fabulously. It was a true team performance and I thought that Martinelli most epitomised the spirit of this new team with a relentless and high quality performance. So if I had to choose I would give it to our young Gabby.
  4. Seeing a defender slide across the field like William Saliba is a joy to behold. It all seems effortlessly like a swan on Ashburton lake. Let’s hope this calm rubs off on Big Gab who still needs to overcome his unforced panicky moments in the big games. I think Big Gab is suffering a bit from Xhaka playing much higher up the pitch, though, and his team working with Zinchenko is a work in progress.
  5. The small yet big differences: Ramsdale makes a crucial safe from a hopeful poke by Richarlison yet Lloris fumbles Saka’s shot and GJ9 pounces and scores. That’s all about focus and concentration and our boys had it in spades. The Spuds were simply not at the races all over the field.
  6. I love our full backs White and Zinchenko. Are they wingback? Possibly, but they do not overly commit to attacking. Instead, they like to squeeze in and help out midfield regularly. They also want to own their entire flank, wherever the action is, and they make it look easy.
  7. Some have criticised that we don’t push on to score five or more. It is clear that when we make subs we lose some of our focus and intensity, and that is an area for improvement. Yet, if and when possible, Arteta simply needs to make changes to keep our key players fit with so many games to be played before the start of the World Cup. Arteta knew when the game was won and changes could be made. It’s about preserving resources right now and we may have to wait for big wins a while longer.
  8. There’s still work to do this week before Arsenal play Pool. The Spuds final ball in attack was poor and a slicker team would have caused more difficulties in our defence. The Scousers will be a step up on Sunday, so Arteta and the team should still find some important lessons from analysing the game. Especially when Partey was pushed up high we looked vulnerable on the counter attack, and on our left flank we seemed to miss Tierneys speed at times.

By TotalArsenal

Oh, Such a Perfect Day! Arsenal v Spuds – A Supporter’s Experience

Getting tickets to the Emirates this season is like trying to find hens teeth, impossible, fortunately my son’s best mate had another engagement on NLD day and as I’m 1st on the subs bench I got my first run-out of the season.

An early kick-off and train strike in the U.K. meant I was at the railway station at the ungodly hour, for me, of 9.30am with my son who was already showing signs of pre-match tension, me being an old hand just let it pass me by, well a bit.

Liverpool St Stn and then into one of London’s finest licensed cabbies to Holloway Road and straight into the Rocket (North London University Bar) for a few early pints, me, well I got myself a cup of tea and a sausage roll being an old hand, I wanted to embrace the day, soak it up, remember it all.

The buzz going to the ground was electric, it usually is on NLD day but this one felt a little more tingly than usual, both the Gunners and the other mob were having good seasons, the other mob were unbeaten in the Premier League and had shown the capacity to earn points from games where they had been clearly outplayed, their attack is as good as it gets anywhere and the rest of their team is a regimented block in front of their goal.

Inside the stadium in the concourses the atmosphere was raucous, loud and exciting, I joined in with the songs, had a beer and prepared for the battle ahead, funnily enough I felt confident and calm, this Arsenal team is truly amazing, and I believe that we’re on the cusp of some momentous times. I’ve seen some great Arsenal teams developing in the past and the journey can be stupendous, and I honestly get that feeling with this group.

Walking down to my seat (we all stand and I love it) the crowd was energised, motivated and 100% focused on giving the good guys that edge and  the other mob the bird.

Arsenal took the game to the other mob as we knew they would, but the Italian defensive web in front of their goal held firm, worryingly when they turned the ball over we looked a little exposed particularly on the flanks, the other mob probably should have opened the scoring but both the England capt and referee’s assistant Harry Kane and the irritating Richarlison miskicked in front of goal and Ramsdale did the rest. It was a timely reminder that we were playing a team as dangerous as a viper.

Gradually our possession began to work some spaces and a series of cross field passes led to Saka receiving the ball on the right, he turned this way and that whilst closed down by two opponents eventually laying a pass inside for the impressive Ben White who in turn moved the ball sideway to Thomas Partey in a modicum of space, we were right behind him at the other end and saw perfectly the trajectory as his pinpoint shot bent out and then inside the post with Lloris grasping at air, the stadium exploded.

Arsenal deserved it for taking the initiative but this game wasn’t finished, the sparing continued with Arsenal pressing and the other mob defending then hitting us on the break. Son fortunately was having a bum game but Harry Kane was always dangerous, well potentially but both Gabriel and Saliba were in control.

Then it happened, a rare other mob attack, some sloppy defending by the good guys, Ramsdale went charging out to stop Richarlison, we should have cleared it, Xhaka miscues a clearance and lost the ball, Gabriel dives in to stop Richarlison but missed the ball, penalty and you know that the man with the perfect diction will score and he did.

That’s where our fantastic crowd comes in, no moaning at Xhaka (what a change), no brickbats for the players but right back behind the team, I loved it and I was still calm and confident – well calm’ish…

Arteta needed to tweak a few things at half time and he showed just how he is developing because he proved against a top top coach that he can live with them.

Arsenal emerged revitalised and more in control, I’m not sure what Arteta tweaked but we began to dominate the midfield more, the turnovers became less and the other mob began to show signs of stress. A mix up in the goal area and a mishandle by Lloris as Jesus burst between two static defenders to poke us back in front, cue pandemonium and this old pensioner almost getting knocked over but it was flipping brilliant lads, made me feel 17 again.

The game had already turned in our favour and the other mob were losing control then Emerson dived in with a completely unnecessary studs down the Achilles lunge at Martinelli, it’s the kind of tackle that leaves you needing months out and an operation but thankfully Gabby is a tough hombre. Referees are usually soft on these dangerous offences but referee Taylor was straight to his top pocket and out came the red card. The other mob were obviously used to escaping sanction for this kind of Serie A foul but their luck had run out and Conte ran out of ideas. Down to 10 men the good guys swarmed all over the other mob and moments later the ball found its way to Xhaka the ‘New Hero of North London’ who switched the ball to his left peg and pinged it past the despairing Lloris.

Party time at the Emirates as the crowd went bananas, we all knew we had broken the other mob, even Capt Mumble couldn’t save their bacon as we celebrated like it was 1999.

From then on a succession of Conte substitutions and a few thoughtful ones from Mikel failed to change the dynamic of visitors holding on for dear life and the good guys dominating, my only gripe is we probably left a goal or even two out on the pitch.
5-1 would have been nice.

It’s great seeing the players celebrate, Xhaka pulling a face at the crowd after embarrassing one of the other mob and winning a corner, the connection between fans and players is absolutely wonderful and partly down to Arteta continually including us in his process, you can see how the players are embracing it and Xhaka must wonder if he’s dreaming, but he deserves it, the players all deserve the adulation and Arteta and his coaches deserve all the credit they are currently enjoying.

A quick pint after the game with some friends, a promise that I’ve got the Man City ticket from a mate then a cab back to Liverpool St and the last but one train home before the trains stopped at 5.30pm, a perfect day was concluded spending the evening with the grandkids and a Ruby Murray – get in….

By Allezkev

Arsenal v Spuds: Preview and Lineup. It’s Time for Eddie.

Tomorrow morning the Spuddies will knuckle-drag themselves to the Home of football. It is the first NLD of the season and also an encounter between league leaders and those in bronze position.

A game after an international break is seldom straightforward. Managers have little time to assess the fitness of their players and to prepare. It really makes a difference then to play home rather than to have to travel and face very loud, obnoxious home fans.

Spurs play a calculated, treacherous kind of Italian football that reminds me of Italian teams in the nineties. Mourinho may not have lasted long at our NL rivals but Conte’s football is a continuation of the Portuguese schemer.

The Spuds are double-hard on the eye. They sit back and absorb pressure and when they win the ball they pump it to half-moon face Kane for a lay-off to his scurrying mates. Other than that they like set pieces. They like other teams to play the attacking and entertaining football and for them to play the lazy, pouncing sort of football. And they are good at it.

I must admit this makes me a bit nervous. We like to play a high line and attack in numbers in the opponents half…. So we have to play with discipline and don’t give the Spuds midfield and attack any space and time on the ball. We should have learnt from our loss in Manchester a few weeks ago.

Las season Arsenal bamboozled the Spuds and took almost every chance that came our way. They didn’t have a chance, especially in the first half. We even managed to do that with an apathetic Auba as our CF. But that was when Spuds had a manager in Santo who wanted to play footie against us and we scored two goals on the break.

I just don’t think Arteta will play a more conservative game. He will want to attack with high pressure and scintillating passing footie. It’s the only way for us and I love it, but boys please put those early chances away. Then they will have to come and we will get the space and we can give them a hiding.


Injury news is still unclear. Are Partey, Tierney and Zinchenko fit to play? How is Granit after two hard fought wins with Switzerland against Spain and Switzerland?

The good news is Mikel had a good bunch of players at his disposal over the last two weeks, especially our attackers and defenders. Saka will fit in easily too. Saliba’s fitness and form may be key tomorrow.

My hoped for lineup is:


Big Ben, Big Will, Big Gab, Big Tier

The Wall of PartAka

Bukayo, the Ode, GJ9


By TotalArsenal

Great Start by Arsenal and Next Seven PL Games Will Tell us How Far We Can Go This Season

Seven games in and so far, so good. Getting all points at difficult away grounds such as Palace and Brentford, was especially pleasing. Yet we need to stay ‘humble’, as Mikel would say, and continue to live by the principle of OGAAT -One Game at a Time.

I rewatched our game v the Mancs at Old Toilet and it was really good to see again how well the boys played for most of the game. We were a bit naive in our defending in the second half and we paid an unfair price for it, but the boys will learn from this. It was criminal to leave sooo much space between our back line, and Ramsdale and the MU attackers could not believe their luck to escape our press and score two relatively easy goals.

But this is the price to pay for making progress. Coming to Manchester and playing such daring, controlling football for almost the entire game is something to behold. Playing this sort of football away is naturally not without risk and MU have always craved space and re-bound/counter football. Key is to take more of our chances in these sort of games. It will come.

The next seven PL games are tough ones. Spuds, Pool, Leeds, Southampton, Forest, Chelsea and Wolves. Three home and four away games, and two of those home games are v Spuds and Pool (other one is Forest). This will be big tests and after those seven games we will know how good this team really is.

We need Partey to be fit for these games, especially now that Elneny is out for a long time. We need Granit to stay fit. But our defence is looking good and our attack has much improved, and that goes a long way.

I think we could do with a little boost, and I am hoping that the likes of Eddie, Marquinos, ESR and Vieira will provide it.

Let’s push on on an OGAAT basis. I cannot wait for the restart.

How are you feeling about the next seven games before the World Cup?

By TotalArsenal