Chambers Rocks, Luiz’s Best Performance, Marti Impresses, Unai Poor: Arsenal Player Reviews

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Bernd Leno – 6,5

After the last couple of seasons it must sound ridiculous, but our defence is so solid that our goalkeepers have limited opportunities to shine. Leno managed to deal with those 2 shots that came on target, and forced Wilson out wide when he was through on goal. He couldn’t have done much more. He kept his 2nd clean sheet, and his passing/distribution has improved a bit.

Calum chambers – 8,0 (MotM)

I’m starting to worry that TA will stop posting my ratings after I nominate a full back as Man of the Match 3rd time in a row. But Chambers was great again defensively (4 tackles, 4 clearances) as well as offensively (key pass, dribble, 3 shots). He made 2 last second interventions, that should count as assists. He is the prime example that if you have the proper footballing intelligence, then a couple of loan spells even for a weaker team can unlock the experience to become the real deal.

Sokratis – 6,5

Had some uncertain moments early on in the game, but Chambers helped him out. He was lucky that his mistakes didn’t cost Arsenal, but Sok grew into the match as it went on. His passing is not his strong suit (but we knew that), and his sometimes slow decisions make him our most vulnerable defender when it comes to pressing by the opponent. Still, he is far from being a liability, but I’m looking forward to seeing a Luiz-Holding CB partnership.

David Luiz – 7,5

The Brazilian finally delivered the performance Emery and the fans were expecting. His composure and passing skills are critical for a team that prefers to play out from the back. Luiz scored with a fine header that should contribute to his (and Pepe’s) confidence in the upcoming weeks/months. He was assured as our main centre back, and he looked impressive as well.

Sead Kolasinac – 6,5

He suffers from the Arsenal-syndrome, as – defying all odds – he was solid defensively, but couldn’t contribute to the attacks as much as expected. Tierney’s crosses set the bar high, and even though we all know that Sead can deliver, this time he was more eager to attack than efficient: his positioning was excellent, but his final balls let him down. Nevertheless, he remained composed in difficult situations, and stepped up as and when it was required.

Granit Xhaka – 6,5

Emery’s tactical adjustment reinvented Xhaka, and forces incompetent pundits to reinvent themselves, as he made team-high 5 clearances and his 2 tackles are the (joint) highest for all 6+2 midfielders on the pitch. However, I’m not particularly satisfied with this change, as Granit was most of the game far too deep to utilize his creativity and passing accuracy, but he often orchestrated the counter-attacks after receiving the ball from Leno. No yellow card for Xhaka, and he wasn’t a liability against Bournemouth either.

Dani Ceballos – 6,0

This game was created for the Spaniard: playing in front of 60.000 supporters against a weak opponent, having all of Özil licenses (to shoot, pass, dribble) without the pressure to defend. Yet he couldn’t produce the goods in a consistent basis. He couldn’t really link the midfield and the attack, and generally struggled to make an impact. He wasn’t bad either, maybe I’m just unfair to hold him responsible for such a boring game. But who else should I have? Nutmegs are cool indeed, but Ozil would have created more chances.

Matteo Guendouzi – 6,5

Matteo was at his busy self, full of energy, full of enthusiasm, a lot of running, some defensive and offensive contributions, but at the end of the day he didn’t do anything productive besides a vital clearance in the 89th minute. He is not a big guy, but still he goes to ground during challenges too easily for my taste. When it came to passing Guendouzi often played safe than trying to split the defence or supporting our wingers running behind the defenders.

Bukayo Saka – 6,5

He had a decent game. He pressed the defenders relentlessly, and always wanted to do something active with the ball. The 18-year-old didn’t manage much, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. Saka’s energy shone trough his inexperience, and he prevented many counterattacks by blocking and tackling. It was a nice performance from a teenager, but if/when Pepe delivers the same, he gets heavily criticized.

Nicolas Pepe – 6,5

His assist (and David Luiz’s) header made the difference in the game, but I don’t know how much credit is due to his vision and how much can be attributed to luck. He was the dribble king alright, but only 1 key pass is not enough from him. Arsenal looked the better side in the first half, primary thanks to Pepe. As he decided (or was instructed) to be more reactive in the second half the team similarly lost its edge. His dribble in the box could have been awarded with a penalty, but it wasn’t that clear fault either.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 6,0

Quiet performance from the Gabonese hitman. He wasn’t flooded with through balls, so he had to create the chances himself. Auba was sharp, but isolated without much service. He worked hard and made defence-confusing runs, but he clearly missed his partnership with Lacazette. Maybe there was too much pressure around him, yet apparently the rest of the team is not particularly strong in scoring and creating chances. Nobody should be disappointed that his shot came out from the post, as VAR would have ruled it out for offside anyway.


Gabriel Martinelli – 7,0

The only positive performance beside the maturity of the back 4. The young Brazilian was tied to team-high 4 tackles in his 33 minutes (with Chambers, but he got 97), and his lob to Aubameyang was an admirable attempt showing his genuine joy of playing football. His half hour on the pitch was not Arsenal’s finest as we lost control (and desire to play) already. Yet he tried to make things happen with lively runs. His excess energy could make the difference in a situation when the team actually wants to score.

Joe Willock, Lucas Torreira – N/A

He had too little time on the pitch to record a proper rating.

Unai Emery – 3

While the key statistics show balanced possession (52% vs 48%) with similar off-target (5 vs 6) and on-target shots (1 vs 2) Arsenal never looked like this game can be lost. Yet the player quality and the home turf materialized only in confidence, but never in performance. I don’t remember when I waited the final whistle so badly, and not because I was afraid that Bournemouth could equalize, but rather because it was painful to watch this mid-table Championship level football delivered by my favourite team. The 1 shot on goal stat is a disgrace, and I might even say that our goal was a bit lucky, as it wasn’t the case that our superior attack convincingly overpowered their inferior defence. If you see the ratings above, no one was playing poor, but I expect a lot more from a team than this miserable statement.

Regarding the season so far: collecting 15 points from 8 games is not particularly good, but it’s seems alright because the PL is so balanced that now it is enough for the 3rd place. But taking our draw and our performance into consideration it is a different picture. Yes: we played against 3 out of the Top 5 teams (and grabbed pitiable 2 points), but we played against bottom-table opponents like AVL, Newcastle and Watford. Until we play against Leicester, West Ham or Crystal Palace it will be hard to assess our true capabilities. But the most worrying aspect – that was demonstrated against Bournemouth and drives the low score of the manager’s rating – is that despite 4 wins (3 draws) and 1 loss we have a pathetic +2 goal difference. While Manchester City, who has only 1 point more has a +18 GD; and Leicester City who has 1 point less (with 4 wins and 2 losses) also have +7. This is not a football that is fun to watch, and not very effective either.

By Pbarany.

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Guendouzi for Torreira and Ceballos for Ozil Says It All About Emery

Yippee we won! And I never take three points for granted, so also not these from the Cherries!

The boys really worked hard for the shirt and maybe even for Emery, and that fighting spirit goes a long way. But Emery-‘ball’ is hard on the eye-ball and becoming a formidable cure for insomnia. Some say the boredom will go away soon: ‘wait till Emery has Holding, Tierney and Bellerin fully fit and available and the show will truly begin’. Yeah right. We have some fabulous wingbacks and they will make a difference, but it is not going to be a football show! Not without proper midfield – no way!

Emery has not got a clue how to set up our midfield; I even reckon he does not really believe in midfield football: they are either there to support the defence or the attack. Now, have we ever started a game well without Torriera in midfield? I cannot remember a single one. Is Ceballos much more than a frantic hard worker, hovering all over the pitch in search of the ball? Yes he IS more than that but he is no Mesut Ozil. Never in a million years.

Everybody on BK knows I am a fan of Xhaka but he will only show his best with a proper, defence-minded midfielder next to him. Xhaka needs Torreira, and vice versa. I will not bore anybody about this anymore. Torreira needs to play in all our key games. Why isn’t he? You tell me, but I reckon that Emery doesn’t see eye to eye with him, and the Uruguayan is only still placed on the bench because the Spaniard knows he simply cannot afford to give him the Ozil/Mustafi treatment. Playing Guendouzi instead of Torreira is a crime against organised midfield football. For that reason alone I want to see the back of Emery. Nothing against Guendouzi, but he doesn’t belong in the DM pivot.

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We said it all about Mesut Ozil here on BK. Emery has been out to name and shame him, indicating that he does not work hard enough to deserve a place in the team – even the ‘practice’ Cup-games for our second string team are not deemed good enough for MO10. If the game can no longer accommodate one of the best midfielders these shores have ever witnessed, it is pretty much dead. Without Mesut, Arsenal look pretty much done and dusted.

I get that it is about hard work on and off the pitch and respect that this is Emery’s main ethos for the team. Guendouzi and Ceballos run their socks off and their enthusiasm is infectious, but there is more to football than that.

Emery, be a man.  Your football is starting to stink and your man-management skills are from the previous millennium- Mourinho-esque even! Embrace Lucas and Mesut and make them a core part of the team. Some run hard, others think hard, but unless you want us to be like Pulis’ Stoke or Fat Sam’s Bolton – but with a world class attack – you need to act before it is too late. We want our good football back and you have the squad to deliver it.

By TotalArsenal.

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Arsenal v Bournemouth Preview/ Line-Up: Ozil to Silver-service Auba and Marti!

Arsenal v Bournemouth – October 6th, 2019

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The 2019–20 AFC Bournemouth season is the club’s fifth consecutive season in the top flight of English football and their 130th year in existence. The club is currently owned by Maxim Demin, a Russian multi-millionaire involved in the petrochemicals trading industry.

Bournemouth play their home matches at Dean Court, which has a capacity of 11,329 and is the smallest stadium in the Premier League. The club’s badge has Bournemouth’s red and black stripes and also a footballer heading a ball.

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Bournemouth are managed by Eddie Howe who was a defender before retirement and spent much of his career at Bournemouth, he was the youngest manager in the Football League when appointed Bournemouth manager in January 2009. He rescued Bournemouth from relegation out of the Football League in his first season in charge, after the club started the season on minus 17 points, and then led them to promotion the next. After a brief spell as manager at Burnley, Howe returned to Bournemouth and led them to two further promotions in three seasons resulting in the club playing in the top flight of English football for the first time in their history. Howe’s successes with Bournemouth resulted in him being given the inaugural Football League Manager of the Decade Award in 2015.

Re-appointed on Oct 12th, 2012 Eddie Howe has the distinction of having managed his current club longer than any other Premier League manager.

Bournemouth is currently 8th in the Premier League with a record of W3, D2, L2, GF13, GA12. 

Arsenal v Bournemouth EPL Home Record
Date W D L GF GA
28-Dec-15 1     2 0
27-Nov-16 1     3 1
09-Sep-17 1     3 0
27-Feb-19 1     5 1
Total 4 0 0 13 2

We own a 100% winning home record against Bournemouth and I see no reason for that to change.



TA’s preferred (rather than predicted) starting 11:

I am hoping that Emery will continue with playing a ‘horizontally focussed’ midfield that forms a wall in front of the defence and from which we can spring attacks. I love the potential and mix of skillsets of Xhaka-Tor-Willock but Guendouzi deserves to be played for his passionate contributions on Monday. Up-front, I would of course play Ozil and in-form Martinelli and Auba, but Saka also deserves a start, and I would imagine that Emery will continue with Pepe and probably give Saka another start too.


⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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Best FB Debut Ever, Nelson Steps Up, Mustafi Clearance Master, Martinelli Magic: Full Player Ratings

Youth players are maintaining momentum

Supertalent betovert Arsenal na afwijzing door Manchester United

Emi Martinez – 6,5

He made a single misjudgement in the form of an air-punch after a corner but was not punished as Bellerin bailed him out. Otherwise he saved everything he was expected to. And with the ball at his feet he was calmness personified. While the Standard Liege pressing was below standard, he always picked the right choice to pass the pall. He hasn’t conceded a single goal this season so far.

Hector Bellerin – 6,5

Captain on his first start, he was solid in defence and provided attacking threat as well. It was a joy seeing his pace returned. And he had a great opportunity to crown his performance with a nice goal. The moderate rating is due to his unnecessarily booking. I honestly think that he is a way too nice guy to be an effective team captain (PEA as well), and maybe he was overcompensating it in the hustle following the fault on Martinelli.

Shkodran Mustafi – 7,5

Another competent performance from the German. He not only neutralized every attempt coming his way (6 clearances out of the 11 from Arsenal outfield players), but he managed to support the attacks as well, including a beautiful long pass in the build-up to the first goal. Arsenal hasn’t conceded a single goal this season so far, when Mustafi was playing in defence. What would have been the odds for that?

Rob Holding – 7,0

He was so good and so calm, that I don’t remember hearing his name more than a handful of occasions. While this is a critique for midfielders and attackers, quite a praise for defenders. It was not his fault that he couldn’t demonstrate his argument (alright, my claim) that he is the best defender for Arsenal. Maybe against a tougher opponent…

Kieran Tierney – 9,0 (MotM)

I have to keep reminding myself that it happened against a weak Belgian side, but I don’t remember if I have ever seen a better (debut) full back performance. He tackled like Koscielny, intercepted like Mertesacker and scattered key passes as they were cookies. He should have had five assists, but Willock, Ceballos and Martinelli – while they had a great game – couldn’t apply the final touch at times. And the best thing that Tierney made his crosses look so easy, that reminds me of Bergkamp’s hattrick against Leicester and assist-hattrick against Everton.

Lucas Torreira – 7,0

He resumed his box-to-box role from the game against Nottingham. He ran a lot and blocked a few shots. While his contribution didn’t look too crucial or tangible, he provided the midfield pressing almost on his own. Thanks to Torreira our 3-man midfield looked superior to Standard Liege’s 5-man midfield, and that has to be something. Didn’t seem tired after 90 minutes, even though he was the only player kept from the starting XI against Manchester United.

Dani Ceballos – 8,0

He was sharp from the beginning. He provided more in attack than in defence, but he played against a surprisingly poor opponent. He played a deeper (#8, not in Ozil’s #10) role, but similarly had his eye and skills for the occasional killer pass. He well deserved to play 90 minutes and to score his first Arsenal goal. I’m looking forward to seeing him playing along with Xhaka and Torreira in the PL.

Joe Willock – 7,0

His stats don’t give him justice, as he is not a natural blocker/clearer, nor will he become the next assist king (0 key passes), but he has great positioning skills, both defensively and offensively. Joe has the instinct to pop up at the right place and time, especially in and around the box. He missed a few sitters as well as a great chance to pre-assist Bellerin, but he was athletic, dynamic, determined and took his  goal very well.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6,0

He didn’t have a bad game either, but the only loser of the night (besides Kolasinac), as he couldn’t support his claim that his future lies at right wing. He didn’t impact the game, and his partnership with Bellerin (his RB competitor) was discoloured by the amazing Tierney-Nelson tandem on the left flank. He is a great and versatile squad player though, but not (yet) first team material.

Reiss Nelson – 7,5

He had a lot to prove, as – especially in the absence of Lacazette – he should make his claim to start alongside Pepe and Auba. And while he had some weak appearances in September, he delivered his message with aplomb. The 4 shots, 3 key passes, 2 successful dribbles were his answers to the Saka-threat. He bullied Vojvoda all night long, that I almost felt sorry for the bloke. Nelson finally found the golden mean between his signature fast runs/dribbles and creating chances.

Gabriel Martinelly – 9

It’s good to be a Gooner when we have a 5th choice midfielder like Willock and a stand-in striker like Martinelli. His 4 goals (and an assist) in 180 minutes is nothing short of stunning. And he is not the clinical poacher type as Nketiah. His 2 headers would make even Giroud proud. He was both a confident finisher and an intelligent creator. The only reason he didn’t end up as my MotM, because he could have scored a couple more easily.


Nicolas Pepe – 6,0

Just like AMN, Nicolas wasn’t objectively bad either, but not yet on the same level as the expectations. I feel his constant dilemma is: should he try to show how good his really is, or should he be cooperative and let others shine. Still he tries to dribble and shoot too often to my taste, but his skills are undeniable. Maybe if he started ahead of Ainsley, he would have made a bigger impact…

Matteo Guendouzi – 6,0

I don’t fully understand his inclusion, as transition was not a key issue against this hopeless Belgian midfield. In his 20 minutes he didn’t have any attacking contribution, thus received the lowest WhoScored rating of the team.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – N/A

He had too little time on the pitch to record a proper rating. But it’s nevertheless an important gesture from Emery, that Martinelli could test himself in his natural left winger role. for a quarter of an hour.

Unai Emery – 8

Let’s put the Ozil decision aside, as the Europa League group stage games are indeed for the youngsters. He fielded a potent XI on the pitch, gave Bellerin and Tierney 90-90 minutes, gave a chance to Mustafi to prove himself.

I don’t agree with Torreira’s role and inclusion, but it worked like magic. Again, let’s not get carried away and demand the youngsters to start against Manchester City, but they are not far behind the first team – at least not as far as the EL opponents are behind the average Premier League teams.

By PBarany

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Arsenal v Standard Liege Preview/ Line-Up: LT behind 2 Fab Youngsters, Ozil to Feed Martinelli/Pepe

Arsenal v Standard Liege – October 3rd, 2019

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In September 1898, the pupils of Collège Saint-Servais in Liège started a football club, which they called Standard of Liège in reference to Standard Athletic Club of Paris. Standard, whose official name is Royal Standard Club of Liège, was based in Cointe and Grivegnée before settling permanently in 1909 in Sclessin, an industrial neighbourhood in Liège. Standard initially joined the Belgian First League in 1909 before returning to the lower leagues a few years later. The club then gained promotion back to the top division in 1921 and has never been relegated since.

Shortly after World War II, Roger Petit, a former player and team captain, became general secretary of the club. Petit worked alongside President Henrard Paul to establish Standard among the elite of Belgian football. In 1954, Standard won their first club trophy, the Belgian Cup, which was soon followed by a first national title in 1957–58.

At European level, in the 1960s, the club reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1961–62, falling to beaten finalists Real Madrid 0–6 on aggregate; and at the same stage of the Cup Winners’ Cup in the year 1966–67, losing to eventual champions Bayern Munich. The 1960s and early 1970s brought much success to the club, as Standard won six Belgian First Division titles, two Belgian Cups and a League Cup.

Standard Liege Domestic Honours


ALL Standard Liege European Games
EC/CL 23 6 17 76 54
CWC 19 5 12 68 49
Europa 30 18 22 99 88
Intertoto 8 10 2 25 16
Total 80 39 53 268 207


Belgian Pro League Standings
  Team P GD PTS
1 Club Brugge 8 18 20
2 Standard Liege 9 14 19
3 Gent 8 12 17
4 Royal Antwerp 8 8 16
5 Royal Excel Mouscron 9 3 16
6 Genk 9 3 14
7 Mechelen 9 -2 14
8 Zulte Waregem 9 0 13
9 Charleroi 8 1 12
10 Sint-Truiden 9 -3 12
11 KV Oostende 9 -5 11
12 Kortrijk 9 -3 8
13 Anderlecht 9 -5 6
14 Eupen 9 -14 6
15 Waasland-Beveren 9 -14 4
16 Cercle Brugge 9 -13 3


Liege Top Goal Scorers 2019/20
Player GP GS
Maxime Lestienne 8 5
Renaud Emond 8 4
Konstantinos Laifis 8 2
Aleksandar Boljevic 8 2
Selim Amallah 7 2
Paul-José Mpoku 7 2

Our home record is perfect wins 2 wins and no goals against.

Arsenal v Standard Liege Home European Games
    W D L GF GA
CWP 20-Oct-93 1 0 0 3 0
CL 24-Nov-09 1 0 0 2 0
Total 2 0 0 5 0

Lets hope that Tierney plays – Emery seems to indicate that he can play tomorrow in his press conference today.

This is a very winnable game and one where our youngsters should be allowed to show off their skills and make a statement for inclusion in the first team. Emery needs to get a lot more out of Pepe and this could be a good opportunity for him to score a few goals and boost his confidence.


TA’s preferred line-up

The Belgian teams are doing really well in Europe at the moment and we should expect Standard to give us a proper game tomorrow. They have nothing to lose and will come to play their heart out. But we should rotate and use the squad well, and Emery can put out a very decent team as per above.

Torreira to organise the midfield and Willock and AMN to bomb forward as well as help Lucas to keep it tidy in midfield (and protect the defence). I just want to see Ozil play again, and he should of course have started at Old Toilet on Monday, so let’s hope we will see him tomorrow AND then at the weekend too. Up-front we can give Pepe another chance to gain confidence and I am really excited to see Martinelli again. Nelson and Saka should also get half an hour or so, but I would start them on the bench (for different reasons).

At the back we should hopefully see starts for our young and eager wing-backs, Bells and Tierney, and CB-pair Holding and Mustafi.


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A Star is Born, Auba Is a Gunner, Emery Infuriates, Leno is Nr1 GK: Eight Observations.

Man United 1 – 1 Arsenal: A great away point or two precious ones dropped?!

We may get player ratings from Pb later this week, so let me do the usual eight observations. A draw is of course not a bad result away at Old Toilet but we cannot help but feel we could have had our first PL win in 13 years and 13 days there today.

Arsenal bezorgt ManU historisch slechte start ondanks beauty en arbitrale flater

Eight initial observations:

  1. Saka and Pepe: one plays with no weight on his shoulders and the other carries bags with £72m pound coins on them, and it shows. Saka was a joy to watch and crowned his fine performance with that bit of quality that was missing in much of the game: a quick and well placed ball for Auba to finish. I love his physical strength and his cool head with and without the ball: a star is born!! Pepe on the other hand is living in a nightmare; poor passes, poor shooting, poor set-pieces. Still we lost something when he was substituted.
  2. Auba is just quality and has to be our MOTM for taking his one big chance so well. His in-game football is not the best in the world, and that is why he is not at one of the top-top European clubs, but his effort was great and when that chance comes he will take it more often than not. Auba is a Gunner! Love him.
  3. Guendouzi, Torreira and Xhaka had the midfield covered. The only thing that was missing is the link up with the attackers; even though Torreira and Guendouzi worked their socks off to make that connection, it was clear we missed Mesut who could have easily played instead of Pepe tonight.
  4. And then Emery did something that was just so infuriating: he broke up the nicely purring midfield by taking Torreira (out of favour?) off and putting Ceballos (part of Emery’s ‘signature’?) on. Yes we needed an Ozil/Ceballos, but not instead of Torreira. Soon afterwards he took off both the wingers, so why not do that a bit earlier and keep Torreira on? I reckon it was Unai punishing Torreira for missing a big chance just before the substitution, because that is the sort of guy he is… But Torreira is a not an attacking midfielder and at least he was in the box to take on the opportunity! See also observation 7…
  5. Leno was absolute class and what a safe at the end from that late free-kick!! I also thought that Luiz and Big Sok had a great game, combining both a never-say-die attitude with full concentration for 90 minutes. The Central Defence did us proud today – much, much better than in previous games.
  6. I thought the full backs had a good game, also working their socks off and really adding attitude to their performances. Having said that, I reckon with a bit more quality in the final ball into the box we could have won it; and if there is one reason why Tierney and Bellerin will soon become our nr1s there, it’s for that reason (especially without a natural nr.10 in our formation).
  7. Emery’s subs… what can I say other than what I already said above? Even though we scored soon after the first substitution, this really had nothing to do with it. What exactly did Ceballos and Nelson add to our game? Virtually nothing. Ceballos or Martinelli for Pepe was on the cards, but imho Emery gave the win away with his subs in the second half.
  8. But even though we did not win, and we may not get a better chance to win there for a while, this is still an important draw for Arsenal. We are fourth and have played Pool (away), Mancs (away) and Spuds (home of football) already in just seven PL games. This hard-fought draw condemns the Mancs to their worst League start in 30 years and provides Arsenal with a platform to push on now. Whether Emery has the ability to get the best out of this team continues to be THE question but at least they gave their all for the shirt and that is something to be proud of.

By TotalArsenal.


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MU v Arsenal Preview/ Line-Up: Emery’s Big Chance to End 13 Years of No PL Win at Old Trafford

Arsenal v Manchester United Away – September 30, 2019

Manchester United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) depot at Newton Heath. The team initially played games against other departments and railway companies, but on 20 November 1880 they competed in their first recorded match; wearing the colours of the railway company – green and gold – they were defeated 6–0 by Bolton Wanderers’ reserve team. By 1888, the club had become a founding member of The Combination, a regional football league. Following the league’s dissolution after only one season, Newton Heath joined the newly formed Football Alliance, which ran for three seasons before being merged with The Football League. This resulted in the club starting the 1892–93 season in the First Division, by which time it had become independent of the railway company and dropped the “LYR” from its name. After two seasons, the club was relegated to the Second Division.

In January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £280,000 in 2019 – the club was served with a winding-up order. Captain Harry Stafford found four local businessmen, including John Henry Davies (who became club president), each willing to invest £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club and who subsequently changed the name; on 24 April 1902, Manchester United was officially born. Under Ernest Mangnall, who assumed managerial duties in 1903, the team finished as Second Division runners-up in 1906 and secured promotion to the First Division, which they won in 1908 – the club’s first league title. The following season began with victory in the first ever Charity Shield and ended with the club’s first FA Cup title. Manchester United won the First Division for the second time in 1911, but at the end of the following season, Mangnall left the club to join Manchester City.

In 1922, three years after the resumption of football following the First World War, the club was relegated to the Second Division, where it remained until regaining promotion in 1925. Relegated again in 1931, Manchester United became a yo-yo club, achieving its all-time lowest position of 20th place in the Second Division in 1934. Following the death of principal benefactor John Henry Davies in October 1927, the club’s finances deteriorated to the extent that Manchester United would likely have gone bankrupt had it not been for James W. Gibson, who, in December 1931, invested £2,000 and assumed control of the club. In the 1938–39 season, the last year of football before the Second World War, the club finished 14th in the First Division.………………………………………………………………………………………………

Arsenal v Manchester United

The first game between the two world famous clubs took place away at North Road, Manchester. It was played on Saturday October 13th 1894 and the game ended in a 3-3 draw. Both teams were in League Division 2 and at the time – United were known as Newton Heath and Arsenal as Woolwich Arsenal.

Here’s a look back at some memorable games between the two clubs.

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal
2011 FA Cup – Quarter-Final

Neither side came into this clash high on confidence with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United having lost their previous two matches against Chelsea and Liverpool, while Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal had recently lost a League Cup final to Birmingham and been dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona. Despite Ferguson naming an extraordinarily defensive side on paper, with seven defenders and Darron Gibson accompanying Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, it was United who ran out 2-0 winners. Fabio da Silva opened the scoring and Rooney sealed it with a second soon after the break. The joy was short-lived however as United were beaten by rivals Manchester City in their Wembley semi-final.

Arsenal 0-0 (5-4 pens) Manchester United
2005 FA Cup – Final

History was made in Cardiff when the FA Cup final was decided on penalties for the first time with Arsenal beating Manchester United 5-4 on spot-kicks after a goalless draw. United had enjoyed by far the better of the game itself with Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy each hitting the woodwork and when Jose Antonio Reyes was sent off in the final moments of extra-time their dominance was confirmed in numbers as well as chances. But the Gunners showed extraordinary resilience and were blemish-free from 12 yards, while Paul Scholes saw his penalty saved by Jens Lehmann. The winning kick was taken by Captain Patrick Vieira in what was to prove his final game for the club.

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
2004 FA Cup – Semi-Final

Arsenal had won the FA Cup in each of the previous two seasons and the Invincibles were en route to going unbeaten throughout an entire Premier League season when the sides met at Villa Park in April 2004. However, it was Manchester United who progressed to the final against lower-league Millwall thanks to a 1-0 win. Edu and Patrick Vieira both hit the woodwork for the Gunners but with Thierry Henry omitted from the starting line-up and Ruud van Nistelrooy injured for the Red Devils, it was left to Paul Scholes to provide the incision, firing home from close range just after the half-hour mark. United held on to end Arsenal’s 18-game unbeaten run in the competition and claimed the trophy when they defeated Millwall 3-0 the following month.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
1999 FA Cup – Semi Final

This famous FA Cup meeting between the two clubs had enough drama for five classics. David Beckham opened the scoring by curling into the far corner – the first goal Arsenal had conceded in over seven hours. But Dennis Bergkamp equalised midway through the second half with a great turn and shot and the Gunners could’ve gone ahead when Nicolas Anelka had a goal disallowed for offside. When Roy Keane was sent off shortly afterwards, Arsenal were in the ascendancy and looked set to win it when Phil Neville conceded a last-minute penalty by bringing down Ray Parlour. But Peter Schmeichel saved brilliantly from Bergkamp and when Patrick Vieira surrendered possession to substitute Ryan Giggs, the Welshman scored one of the great solo goals. “The luckiest team won” said Arsene Wenger.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
1983 FA Cup – Semi Final

The 1983 FA Cup semi-final was the second domestic cup competition in which the two teams had faced off that season, with Ron Atkinson’s United already 6-3 aggregate winners over two legs of the League Cup. England international Tony Woodcock gave the Gunners the lead at Villa Park but Bryan Robson came up with an equaliser just before half-time. A 17-year-old Norman Whiteside was the hero for United when he thumped in the winner. “It was a great moment,” Robson told the official Manchester United website recently. “To have won the semi-final and be on the way to Wembley was fantastic.” It was to get better for Atkinson’s team when they beat Brighton at the second attempt to lift the trophy with both Robson and Whiteside among the scorers.

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United
1979 FA Cup – Final

The old cliché about never being more vulnerable than when you’ve scored a goal ought to have been written for this game as Alan Sunderland ensured United’s comeback counted for nothing. The Gunners had gone ahead through Brian Talbot before Frank Stapleton doubled the lead just before half-time with Liam Brady once again the architect. But Gordon McQueen pulled one back from a set-piece with just five minutes remaining and a late equaliser by Sammy McIlroy, wriggling free from his markers, seemed to complete the comeback. However, just as the momentum seemed to be with Dave Sexton’s side, Sunderland popped up at the far post to turn in Graham Rix’s cross and win it for Arsenal. No wonder it was dubbed the ‘Five Minute Final’.

Overall away game record

Arsenal v Man U All Away Games
GP League W D L GF GA
10 Division 2 1 3 6 8 24
63 Division 1 12 17 34 61 120
27 Premier 3 8 16 18 45
100 Totals 16 28 56 87 189

Premier League away game record

Arsenal v Man U EPL Away Games
1 March 24, 1993   1   0 0
2 September 19, 1993     1 0 1
3 March 22, 1995     1 0 3
4 March 20, 1996     1 0 1
5 November 16, 1996     1 0 1
6 March 14, 1998 1     1 0
7 February 17, 1999   1   1 1
8 January 24, 2000   1   1 1
9 February 25, 2001     1 1 6
10 May 8, 2002 1     1 0
11 December 7, 2002     1 0 2
12 September 21, 2003   1   0 0
13 October 24, 2004     1 0 2
14 April 9, 2006     1 0 2
15 September 17, 2006 1     1 0
16 April 13, 2008     1 1 2
17 May 16, 2009   1   0 0
18 August 29, 2009     1 1 2
19 December 13, 2010     1 0 1
20 August 28, 2011     1 2 8
21 November 3, 2012     1 1 2
22 November 10, 2013     1 0 1
23 May 17, 2015   1   1 1
24 February 28, 2016     1 2 3
25 November 19, 2016   1   1 1
26 April 28, 2018     1 1 2
27 December 5, 2018   1   2 2
Totals 3 8 16 18 45

I acknowledge that stats don’t count for anything on game day but they show that it takes a brave person to be confident of a win at Old Trafford – the writer is one of the brave but I once read that a coward dies a thousand deaths while a brave man only dies once, oh boy – am I prepared to die for the cause……………??


TotalArsenal’s Favourite Line-Up to Slay the Mancs:

This is unlikely to be Emery’s line-up, but one can only hope.


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