Arsenal’s Attack Bails Out Their Defence

Online Editorial: Shares spoiled in eventful North London Derby

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Sokratis in typical pose

Very early on in yesterday’s derby match, an announcement came over the PA system – “Will the stadium manager please report to box 20 to 24”. That’s almost certainly code for “there’s a punch up in hospitality – all hands on deck”. Booze on tap, away team supporting guests. Do the maths. Frank McLintock used to be in the corporate box ring on occasion, and I recall being told that at one previous North London Derby he got involved in the exchange of punches in the expensive seats himself. Ah, to have a bit more of that spirit in the side these days. However, I digress. I’ve decided to break down my thoughts on yesterday’s game to 10 points….

  1. It’s time to admit we’ve bought a pup in Granit Xhaka.
    Granted there were a few actual measured passes after the interval, but once again, as against Brighton last season, Xhaka’s stupidity in and around his own penalty box knows no bounds. That’s now five penalties he has conceded in an Arsenal shirt – and he’s not even a defender. Quite simply, he is a liability and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the first team, let alone wear the captain’s armband. God alone knows what first Arsene Wenger and now Unai Emery see in him. My heart sunk when he re-appeared after the interval, so poor was his first half display.
  2. Give the armband to Alexandre Lacazette.
    You want spirit and attitude in your captain, and someone good enough to lead by example. Laca scored less goals than Aubameyang but still won player of the season in 2018-19. The reason for that was exemplified in his determination today before being taken off due to injury.
  3. A comedy of errors.
    Spurs’ opening goal was down to errors by Sokratis, David Luiz and finally Bernd Leno. Two centre backs and the keeper not up to the job in hand. That is seriously worrying.
  4. Better attacks will make mincemeat of Arsenal’s defence.
    Spurs could have had numerous second half goals on the counter attack, but conspired to blow all their chances. Manchester City and Liverpool are not going to be so generous at the Emirates. Perhaps the return of Bellerin and Holding, and the integration of Tierney might improve things. I wouldn’t bet on it though.
  5. Nicholas Pepe can’t shoot.
    Exciting build-up player, no doubt about that. But sadly, on the evidence of his shooting against Liverpool and Spurs… well, for £72 million, you simply expect better than that. I hope he proves me wrong, but I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a return of below 10 Premier League goals a season, which given the number of opportunities he looks set to enjoy, isn’t suggesting a great conversion ratio.
  6. Dani Ceballos once again looked very tasty.
    It’s a shame the Spaniard did not perform too well at Anfield last weekend, perhaps too easily contained given the relative lack of support around him. Yesterday was a much different story, although I will grant you he benefited from entering the fray from the bench as Spurs were starting to flag a bit.
  7. Arsenal play too much Russian Roulette football.
    Hence the number of breaks Spurs enjoyed. That’s presumably down to tactics rather than personnel, so one for the head coach to ponder.
  8. The Gunners’ spirit to come back from two goals down was heartwarming.
    Granted, they shouldn’t have got themselves into that position in the first instance, but the reaction led to near total domination after the interval, and of course salvaged a point. Arsenal could and perhaps should have won this game in the end, given the multitude of second half chances.
  9. Sokratis could start a fight in an empty bar.
    Now I think we all like the no-nonsense approach to his game demonstrated by the Greek centre back, but it would be nice if he were a little clever with it. What exactly was the point of that bust up with Harry Winks over a throw-in? More to the point, what the hell was Sokratis doing playing right wing-back at the time?
  10. Aubameyang continues scoring.
    A lovely stretched touch on the ball to score the equaliser against Spurs, one suspects he will pass last season’s 22 Premier League goal haul.

Conclusion
Given Arsenal were 2-0 down, most would accept that result if offered it before Lacazette’s goal. The only counter to that is that the Gunners were so utterly dominant in the second half, you felt they could have scored three. Still, at least Spurs fans won’t be crowing about a rare win at Arsenal. So we’ll take it. However, when all is said and done, the defensive errors that led to Spurs taking a two goal lead would have surprised nobody who watched Emery’s team last season, and in truth it is the reason that the club probably need to start looking around at who is going to succeed him next summer, even if he does manage to make the top four. I hope the return of the injured players proves me wrong, and that the issue is with the personnel being used at the moment. But my gut feeling is that the club cannot push on with Emery as long as they are shooting themselves in the foot in defence. David Luiz was made to look like a mug at Anfield leading to Mo Salah’s goal. So it was with Tottenham’s opener yesterday. I hate to say it, but I’m far from convinced the centre-back options have been significantly improved. Let’s see whether or not the return of Rob Holding can make a difference there as something needs to change. Arsenal have seven points from their first four games, and tellingly, one from their two against top six rivals. At least now, there is a run of theoretically ‘easier’ matches. Let’s see how these pan out…

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73
comments

  1. markymark

    Sep 7, 2019, 11:11 #114831

    Cyril what was your day? It all sounds a bit back in the old days. If you take a period say early 1980’s. Arsenal were limited and pretty dull. The football was pretty dull. England were using Carlton Palmer. Carlton Pogba jokes aside. The football is better now than then imo . Whether we like the change or not also have to say that football is being played to 90%+ capacity in stadia across the Prem and probably Championship. Back in the 80’s it was 50-90% with only UTD and Liverpool really filling their ground each week. So why would more people want to see worse football ?

  2. Cyril

    Sep 5, 2019, 19:27 #114822

    There is a difference. You would have seen the same goals in the past but you had a bobble here and an elbow there that stopped you from bending the top corner. It was harder to find glory then as it was a real physical game which included the chance to find a way to make magic. Being a gifted athlete didn’t make you a player in my day. Are you seeing better footy players now-REALLY !

  3. Radfordkennedy

    Sep 4, 2019, 17:03 #114813

    Never played indoors at the Sobell Centre, I did however have the grave misfortune to play football at both Finsbury and Clissold parks on the dreaded cinder pitches, but nothing was as dangerous as playing cricket on the coconut matting which some mentally unstable person decided was perfectly safe, how we didn't all end up in the Royal Northern on a regular basis I don't know,thank God sports facilities for both young and old have improved so much,mind you it was fun having a pint in the Robinson Crusoe comparing wounds after a game

  4. Bard

    Sep 4, 2019, 16:17 #114812

    Its more entertainment than sport these days, that seems to be the biggest change. Also you needed heart to play back in the day you dont now. You can have a whole career without making a single tackle. Watching Ron Harris try to kick the shite out of Bestie is one of the great contests. Its become a non contact sport. Some great posts and some wonderful memories of old players. For the life of me I cant see the enthusiasm for the current regime, we look a million miles from competing properly.

  5. Colonel Blimp

    Sep 4, 2019, 13:27 #114811

    My tuppence worth; 70's football; awful pitches, beanpole players, lots of room to play in, slower pace than today but it still seemed like100 mph headless chicken football for a lot of it, backpass rule meant the ball spent a lot of time up in the air but still the good players could play. 00's football; too lightweight, better pitches, less room to play in but a bit more skilful though the standard has declinded in the last 10 years or so. Before last years world cup I looked on past World Cup and European tournaments and even in 1972 you can see England playing different to everyone else.

  6. markymark

    Sep 4, 2019, 13:09 #114810

    Gooner Ron - can’t argue that, a great post. I think the old / against new will run and run. Just to help it along lol! 1: Is the distaste or maybe cynicism for the modern game been affected by the long internal saga of Wengo? If we were pulling off Liverpool style performances now would the disconnect be as great? 2: Further, did Wenger’s 4th is a trophy and I’d happily finish 2nd for the next 20 years cause the Sport (Arsenal) the image of applying every effort to be blown apart? So creating an image of it just being entertainment? 3: A thought I’ve had is that the rise of players asset value and salary has probably had an impact on physicality. Can any team afford a Lionel Messi to suffer a leg fracture? I agree there’s good and bad but we have to accept overall it’s now different

  7. TonyEvans

    Sep 4, 2019, 11:30 #114809

    GoonerRon - good post that. As you say comparing different eras is very difficult and what is seen as better for some, for others it's far worse. You pays your money and makes your choice! For me personally the 'Wenger Groundhog Days' finally drove me to stop giving up so much of my time for football and to find something better to do!. I still keep an interest in Arsenal obviously as you can't just consign nearly 50 years of your life to the dustbin just like that, but on a completely different level now which works for me.

  8. CORNISH GOONER

    Sep 4, 2019, 10:20 #114808

    Ah, the good old days. Bring back the 18th Century where the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogster could recline on the benches of the Commons without rebuke. Jumpers for goalposts - now that I do remember! I also remember watching loads of rubbish football on pitches which would have been better served producing crops for the Nation. It's different times, the new guys are proper athletes these days, overpaid? You bet. But we on here would be the first to complain if a good old fashioned "full blooded" English tackle put one of our exciting front trio out for the season. Personally I enjoy moments of outrageous skill far more than watching some neanderthal sliding in, maybe studs showing, to "take one for the team". But I do wish the entertainment/sports industry over here hadn't been Americanised. Some cracking trips down memory lane here though - must be yet another meaningless INTERLULL.

  9. itsRonagain2

    Sep 4, 2019, 09:28 #114807

    GR - Good post as ever. I can feel you trying yr damnedest, stretching every sinew to draw a line under the debate. Good effort mate. There are some terrific posters on here. Arsenal have always had a very eclectic fan base. Its both our strength and weakness.

  10. itsRonagain2

    Sep 4, 2019, 09:23 #114806

    I basically think the very art of playing football has gone both in terms of the defensive arts and particularly the midfield play. The rules have all been distorted to create goal fests. Its been devoured and subsumed by the paraphernalia, the merchandising, the marketing, the yank style razzmatazz and the drive for the greater rewards all greedily being pursued by everybody in it, owners and players alike. Yes, time moves on Marky of course, but theres no cast iron rule that says time improves football per se. You're watching a very plastic version of it today in my view and one where cheats are rife and actually prosper from it. Its a site about Arsenal as you say, but theres only so much that posters can say about them that hasn't been rolled out before this last dozen years. This has been a good debate. I can feel Cyril's pain and so can many others. I have a few mates who still go and tolerate it and say the same as he does. The' day out' wins it for them though. The result is almost an aside as they exercise their role as 'customers'. PS Cyril - i used to park on the Sobell until i stopped going to the games back in 12/13. Used to squeeze in between coaches and got away with it for quite some years!

  11. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 4, 2019, 09:10 #114805

    GR- i think you just about covered everything there perfectly , now what we gonna talk about ... What have the Romans actually done for us .......Apart from

  12. GoonerRon

    Sep 4, 2019, 09:02 #114804

    Comparing generations is impossible - there are too many variables to do it fairly, plus as humans we are naturally subjective when it comes to remembering enjoyable times from our personal memory banks and comparing them to others. There are many pros and cons to football of yesteryear versus today, in terms of the game itself and as a supporter experience. It used to cost much less (relatively) to watch football in the past which meant it was accessible to more people and generated a better atmosphere. That said, having a padded seat with decent leg room is preferable to a wooden seat with little leg room, and for some is preferable to potentially getting partially crushed against a railing during the game. Introducing the back pass rule made the game more fluid and prevented teams from time wasting. Pitches today are better which gives teams the opportunity to play more, quicker passes. That said, I loved playing on quagmire pitches but it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Other than a goal nothing gets a supporter more excited than winning a big tackle, and these were far more prevalent in days gone by as the game becomes more sanitised in the modern era. That said, removing reckless tackles that have a higher propensity to injure a player could be seen as a forward step. 24-7 availability of football and stats is massive overkill for some, for others it fuels an obsession for a game they love and provision of stats are aligned with the data driven world in which we live today. You could go on and on. How people watch football, when they watch it, how much they pay to watch it, how much time they spend talking about it, how they talk about it, who they talk about it with, how annoyed they get about it has all changed, but the fact is football was great then and it is great now - it’s just different.

  13. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 4, 2019, 08:09 #114803

    I think it is far to easy for people to say now , that the players are better today than in previous years as they are fitter and have all the benefits of modern science etc . The players of previous generations would of survived today as they would of trained the same ! You could possibly say they would be even better . As for Molby being to static watch some of the games on you tube mate , players with ability create time on the ball , i might be all misty eyed but football was pretty frantic in that era , dont think players had more time to spray passes around before they were clattered but as Ron often says its all about opinions .

  14. markymark

    Sep 4, 2019, 05:56 #114802

    Exiled in Pt - Agree 100% Walcott had no footballing brain , relied on instinct . However not seen many accuse Bale of not having a football brain . Same vintage same youth teams. Is it nature or nurture with Walcott? . Would a Freddie early on at Arsenal sorted out Walcott? Willock loves Freddie for his input as an example . Not sure Walcott ‘s lack of sporting cunning can be extrapolated to modern footballers in general . Sancho is another who the Germans rave about.

  15. markymark

    Sep 4, 2019, 05:50 #114801

    Exiled in PT - Molby skilful or not would not survive in the modern game , far to static and this is the point. I personally think Xhaka is not up to it . Xhaka against Molby playing at the same time , who knows? Xhaka actually has good stats. That’s why I assume Unai persists with him ( wish he’d burn the stats personally ) but the game has changed, particularly the Prem. There’s good and bad with today, but some of the “skillful” players of the past would simply not be allowed to play their silky game due to the constant press of the modern game. Cyril - you need to make a choice then, as there are a few on here who constantly write the longest obituary to Arsenal. It’s your choice but there are more productive routes out there. You write you’ve had enough , another writes he’s weaning himself off. Just very strange imo. Particularly when Raul and Vinai and probably Unai are culling the under performing Wengo boys /staff one by one. Anyway each to their own.

  16. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 4, 2019, 00:52 #114800

    Sorry Mark, Molby might of carried some timber but he had more football ability than Xhaka will ever have. You can have all the speed in the world ie Walcott but it will never compensate for a football brain. The players of yesteryear were as good as todays players. You can't tell me you don't see players today with hands on hips taking a breather. Crikey we rave about so called free kick specialists with a modern ball now that is like kicking a plastic beach ball about. Look at players of yesteryear hitting a ball that was nearer to a medicine ball. Bloody hell they design boots to help with the spin and swerve you can put on the ball. Watch Mark Hughes do it back in the 80s and 90s with the outside of his foot and no fancy gimmick boots just skill. Progress is progress but not always for the better. One thing I hate about modern football is the gamesmanship or in English the cheating. Players now days falling on the floor holding there faces or rolling around like they been shot. The sad thing is now you see kids doing it every weekend. So maybe it has all gone to hell in a handcart

  17. Cyril

    Sep 3, 2019, 22:30 #114799

    It’s not what I’m trying to explain to you. When I played footy, and I should have played very high level- you took the shakes and the tricky tackles- you stood up and you looked and you passed and you ran your heart out. You played amazing balls with bend on it and you scored great goals. You defended and you took your punishment running backwards. It came from all angles. I came off the pitch in practice at the Sobell (5 a side) with blood everywhere. We went at it. The pitch was shut down. The point I’m making is - it was a contact sport in my day- I had groin strains constantly and I had skill. I had groin issues as I put the foot in constantly. It came with the territory. You won and lost doing skilful stuff and putting a shift in. This new world of football is not what is was in the beginning. You are denying the masculinity of this game. Being powerful was always an important element of football. I was more finesse but realised you had to add some power to survive in the game. It’s just not the game I played when I was young. It’s a charade. It’s all bullshit and I’m rapidly growing tired of it all. It’s all turning into a version of Kabaddi, where they all tap each other on the shoulder and then run away. I can’t do this anymore!

  18. markymark

    Sep 3, 2019, 21:31 #114798

    Ron2 - my first game was in 1976 so it’s not like I’ve only watched from the 1990’s. I’d highly suggest watching You Tube to catch play from different periods. Just snap shots perhaps but it does show good comparisons. By the way my memory of players from the 70’s were on the skinny side by modern standards. Fitness standards tend to be higher now. Plenty of match of the day from back in the day showing players hand on hips panting. You wouldn’t get away with it now. Just as Jan Molby (a big guy ) couldn’t play now he’d just be a big poorer Xhaka. The football is going to hell in a handcart argument is just a constant negative and odd for a site that is about Arsenal on an ongoing basis. We need to make an allowance for people who still have an interest. It is an Arsenal site for today as well as the past. Personally Im not overly bothered if football has changed . I liked my dads old Vauxhall Viscount but it’s a modern car for me. Life moves on.

  19. itsRonagain2

    Sep 3, 2019, 21:11 #114797

    Marky. It’s all just opinions. A great many of us on here don’t need to watch you tube clips etc. We saw the real thing for donkeys fucking years. 27 years of watching football live games in my own case pre 1992. Yes. I saw Ronnie Harris many times. He could kick. He was a useful defender too. They used to say Norman Hunter was a a kicker too. He wasn’t. He was a great player. Tommy smith too. A great player and leader. They said the same of Frank McLintock. Frank cd put a foot in. Great player too. Brave and skilful. Many others. By the way the two best internat sides I saw and I saw both live was Holland in mid 70s and Brazil in 1970. Wonderful highly skilled technical sides with tough players too. With all due respect it’s fans of VTR age who I actually pity attending these soulless stadiums today with no heroes. No players with any affinity to the clubs. Just mercenaries passing through kissing badges to kid you into thinking they care about the badge. There’s little passion in football today. It’s about money. Most of them top clubs inc Arsenal could go set up in China and still play asvrhey do now and they wouldn’t give a flying fook about the fans here who are daft enough to cough up to see their little preening prima donnas play. Footie today has all its special conditions and benefits and technical knowledge about fitness. What it doesn’t have is any emotion heart and lungs. That’s why it’s dead.

  20. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 3, 2019, 19:47 #114796

    The problem is Marky when you start comparing players from one era to another. You can bring up plenty of journeymen and donkeys along with the quality from then and now. Xhaka or Stevie Williams, Torreira or Ray Parlour! David Rocastle and Mickey Thomas or, Nelson & Willock. Maybe players look more gifted now as they don't get clumped of the ball anymore.. Its impossible to compare really...

  21. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 3, 2019, 19:40 #114795

    The famous kop sway, it wasnt because of the numbers it was every other dirty scouser shaking his leg....

  22. markymark

    Sep 3, 2019, 19:12 #114794

    Cyril sometimes you sound like you’re 102 years of age. I also played football poorly in the 80’s and 90’s whilst trying to handle a wild 90’s social life . Boy oh boy lashed up and going to work . Not even allowed alcohol on my breath these days , no boozy lunches and now I have a coffee addiction instead ! Are you really saying you prefer Carlton Palmer , Steve Hodge , Kerry ‘flasher’ Dixon , Alvin Martin et al ? to present England squad and the limited mid 80’s Arsenal team , to Emile Smith Rowe , Aubameyang, Lacazette Torreira? Cmon !

  23. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 3, 2019, 18:49 #114793

    @Cyril, given the hugely increased speed of the game it would be dangerous to permit the kind of physicality that used to exist. Football back then was tougher in the physical sense but that in turn necessarily limits how much the capacity for finesse could develop. There is still great defending even in far less physical leagues like La Liga and from teams like City and Liverpool and others across Europe so the art of defending isn't dead by virtue of the rule changes. Goalkeepers get much better protection than they used to, by the way, which really favours defenders.

  24. markymark

    Sep 3, 2019, 18:02 #114792

    This word checker of mine does my nut in. Meant to say Chopper Harris crazed lunges - came out as Lunches! Dear God !

  25. markymark

    Sep 3, 2019, 17:57 #114791

    I think one point we have to look upon in terms of general development is that younger generational English players are being grabbed left right and centre for the bundesliga which would be unheard of 10 years ago. Sometimes systemic change works and one of those things is FA coaching badges. Another thing is that my 6 year has just joined a mini team . Just like his dad he doesn’t run much and likes the odd sly foul. What he gets from the coaches is pure enthusiasm, high fives and fun. When I was that age I still remember the old scout master bellowing at us. Horrible git and guess what later on I heard he was a suspected ( you know what ). We may not have iron hard discipline, might have players with far to much entitlement ( don’t we all moan about the youth?) but what we do have is a generation of technically gifted players . Rather that than Carlton Palmer !

  26. markymark

    Sep 3, 2019, 17:48 #114790

    Ron2 - They myth that every defender kicked lumps out of forwards - your punishment is to watch Chopper Harris’s crazed lunches at Georgie Best on repeat . YouTube has plenty of clips. Not much of a punishment really just sit back pour yourself a large drink and enjoy. Ps I heard Mr Harris admit that he tried to batter Stanley Mathews on one of his last games as a 50 year old. He wasn’t in the slightest bit repentent . What a git!

  27. Cyril

    Sep 3, 2019, 17:46 #114789

    AM- I do not agree at all . Players are not allowed to defend the goal anymore with any basic physicality. Attacking players are all over the defence as any touch and they are down faster than Joe Frazier in a match up with Foreman. I would have loved to have played with this mob on a carpet with a pair of slippers on. I played in the eighties and that was tough . Try playing in earlier generations. It’s still supposed to be a sport that allows reasonable contact. It was designed and part of the mechanics when this great game was invented. Or shall the criterion be how good you can breakdance around a defender to get a shot on goal or how good, a defender came up with a breakdance move without touching the player and clearing the ball. Maybe he or she can blow him a kiss at the same time. I won’t be watching this excuse for football for much longer. Good luck to you if this stuff floats your boat.

  28. markymark

    Sep 3, 2019, 17:43 #114788

    Ha Exiled in PT - meant pissed on I.e rain ! But my dad swore he knew a bloke who was pissed on whilst on the KOP. I’m wondering if my dearly departed old man heard an urban myth? Or maybe it was flowing with piss urrgghh . I also heard a tale of a bar in Sydney covered floor to ceiling in tiles (during their extremely restricted drinking hour laws) obviously they then washed down the piss and vomit from the crazed with drink Aussies. Perhaps another myth!

  29. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 3, 2019, 16:34 #114787

    But speaking in general, the more variables change the harder it becomes to make comparisons, so it's hard to speak systematically about such things.

  30. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 3, 2019, 16:30 #114786

    @Exiled, well I have always rated Maradona above Messi with that very much in mind.

  31. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 3, 2019, 16:26 #114785

    Does that make the world class players of yesteryear even better than today's seeing it was so much more difficult then??

  32. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 3, 2019, 16:17 #114784

    *Just to clarify, there was some great finesse in the 70s/80s and you can see it was the reason for some great teams/players' success, I'm just saying that all the variables made it much harder to maximise that artistry over pragmatism.

  33. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 3, 2019, 16:13 #114783

    Not sure how widespread that 'myth' about pre-92 is amongst my generation, Ron (I'm aged 27). People still respect the history of different clubs (it's been a stick to beat Chelsea with for years!). It's pretty clear looking at Youtube, where you can watch full matches from the 70s/80s or clips, that the whole paradigm for football was far more pragmatic than about finesse in that era, for the all the reasons myself and Mark listed. Sure, you had great teams, great players and tactics, but the standard of offensive play is far better now and it's harder for teams to just bludgeon their way to victory.

  34. itsRonagain2

    Sep 3, 2019, 15:58 #114782

    This new light touch, pc, non contact, equality of gender football culture will soon see such as the Chelsea women's coach (Emma is it?) taking over a league, maybe even a PL club. Shes the woman SKY are nudging forward and promoting on any prog they can, whenever the can wheel the big lump into a studio. That ll give the preening modern day celeb superstar some thing to think of when she comes wobbling across the training pitch, double chins swinging and thighs pounding telling them they're dropped for Saturdays 'home' game in Los Angeles because their fitness stats arent up to scratch. The old days arent hankered for AM in all of the poast game's respects, but this modern day fraudulent superficial culture of football certainly isnt wanted by many. Many sports have improved immeasurably by modernism - cricket, cycling, swimming, rugby to name but 4. Football certainly hasnt. The money and its corrupting influence and effect has fooked it over big time.

  35. itsRonagain2

    Sep 3, 2019, 15:43 #114781

    Hi Marky - nobody wants glue pot pitches back i wouldn't have thought and yr assumption of all that being pissed on etc is another myth generated post 1992. Of course stadia weren't what they are today and needed a massive re vamp. The touble with the post 1992 type fan is they have no benchmark with which to gauge todays 'game'. They myth that every defender kicked lumps out of forwards and that the forwards couldn't run and that full backs were fat and lazy and that teams didnt play structured football is all total bollocks that SKY et al and the clubs today too want you to quaff down yr throat and take it as as gospel bla bla bla

  36. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 3, 2019, 15:18 #114780

    Stood on the clockend and the north bank , never had anyone piss down my legs , that was more of a problem in the kop if remember rightly !! I would have those days back anytime over sitting in the soulless concrete bowl , watching the 88/89 or 90/91 team which was every bit as good as the invincibles ... Good teams still do not concede goals like we do , scousers and City together still conceded less than us and out scored us for fun . So some teams are still coached to defend as will as entertain

  37. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 3, 2019, 14:00 #114779

    I'm with you there, Mark. Add in that list lighter shin pads, far superior diets and training and you've gone a long way to explaining the major changes in the game. I know many on here long for the old days, but the game back then was really clunky - I wouldn't assume that those old footballers could make it in the modern game (and vice versa) as they're two very different entities. I'm all for there being more finesse in the game and welcome the protection given to players etc., but what annoys me is this poor setup of teams, the sheer overlooking of defensive basics. If you watch La Liga, even ordinary teams are far better than the EPL's. I watched City vs West Ham in August, for eg, and couldn't believe that there was no conception in the Hammers team of tracking simple runs or defending compactly. That's what annoys me personally in terms of the culture of football right now.

  38. markymark

    Sep 3, 2019, 13:22 #114778

    I think sometimes we get a bit carried away on some conspiracy to rid the world of defenders by possibly the Koch Industry Robber Barron’s ( though one is now pushing up the daisies) Developments in football were always going to go the way of forwards . Better pitches , less career ending tackles , lighter balls , lighter boots and less physicality. Good luck bringing soggy pitches back and be honest how many of the hell in the handcart mob would actually now stand on an open Clockend Being pissed on in a dour November day? Unai couldn’t defend in Spain , he through away a 4 goal lead in the champs league with PSG and he can’t defend with Arsenal. Not saying Dyche would be a Messiah but our defence would improve. However you pay your money and take your choice. Dyche ain’t coming anywhere near the Emirates . So it’s back to exciting Football taking us to 4th Spot.

  39. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 3, 2019, 13:17 #114777

    Redshirts & Ron - spot on again , it comes to something when i actually prefer to watch the games via American and Canadian channels than put up with the twats from Sky or BT sport (Ian Darke , his a shit boxing commentator even worse at football) as for that other wanker Alan Parry ............. Its all fucked

  40. itsRonagain2

    Sep 3, 2019, 12:51 #114776

    Hi Redshirts - dead on as always mate. Tyler, the self appointed oracle of all things football. The timbre of his voice alone is enough to make me switch off the pontificating, smug, condescending muppet. It makes us wonder when the trough will run dry, but it surely wlll. A large proportion of these self styled, great and class players, such those 3 pilgrims you mention wouldn't have got close to getting a game with the better teams, even 15 years ago and certainly not 25 to 30 years ago in my view.

  41. Redshrtswhitesleeves

    Sep 3, 2019, 11:31 #114775

    Ron- I have to turn the sound off if Tyler is commentating. His smugness and awful habit of constantly referencing Man Yoo is nauseating, That and his absolute drivel about how utterly amazing the premier league is and how lucky us cretins are that Sky are allowing us to bear witness to it! Do me a favour, it’s a sh*t league with money the deciding factor and w*nkers like Kane and Ali diving all over the place and snowflakes like Ozil stealing a fortune week in week out for doing nothing. It couldn’t be further from the game I grew up loving but there are so many pigs with their noses in the trough that the culture of greed and disregard for the fans will never end I fear

  42. Don Howe

    Sep 3, 2019, 08:47 #114774

    One thing that has changed is that we are all excited again at the possibility of success. Xhaka is known to be a waste of space. Dick can't avoid the comment on this non brainer. He has learned with Ozil and he can with Xhaka. Sokratis at error for Goal 1. Just clueless not to folllow in. So two goals down. We have to cut the stupidity out of our game. Do that and we will be going somewhere. As for VAR, the lino chalked off our third goal before vAR did. More worrying is that the Ref's have got together to nullify the beneficial effects of vAR viz sorting out their scerw ups. They are too important to be contradicted. Has to change.

  43. Cyril

    Sep 3, 2019, 07:45 #114773

    The thoughts on defence are so sadly accurate. Can I take you back to 1999. The year we should have won the double. Arsenal had conceded 5 league goals from January to the match up on semi final day. And we still came second. Just let that sink in.

  44. itsRonagain2

    Sep 3, 2019, 06:53 #114772

    Meant Tyler , not Tyldesley. Mr , asaaandd itsss liiive’. What a W———r he is.

  45. itsRonagain2

    Sep 3, 2019, 06:39 #114771

    Exiled. Hi mate. Interesting you say that as my Step Son also ditched football fairly quickly In his life for all of what he soon deduced as it’s shallowness and the TV frenzy over it. Unlike us long in the tooth football fans young people have no reason to think that football can be anything different to what it’s become now do they. Many of them can’t be doing with it and it’s probably why most of the grounds are full of middle aged , middle class ‘ customers’. Yes, it certainly sold out and in truth, TV now hires and fires the managers doesn’t it. Couple of losses and they start the debate of who’s job s on the line and even set the narrative of who ll get the hapless victims job next! The silly pundits all feign the sentiment of giving him time, when really they mean the opposite in that they want to see a big sacking so the next big ‘ breaking news’ is on tap to sensationalise. All of these TV interviews forced on coaches are a total joke. What they are really are the coaches offering their heads for the TV guillotine until the executioner eventually severs them. TV now sets the agenda , the trends, the narrative and even the rules of the game. This VAR crap is all about tele wanting a new gimmick to chew over and sensationalise isn’t it. I’m sure when you speak to fans you hear them trotting out what SKY fed them to believe as reality that day like brain dead lemmings. Sickens me to think that a game we once loved is now the toy of utter c—-ts like Jim White , Tyldesley and Co.

  46. TonyEvans

    Sep 3, 2019, 06:24 #114770

    Hi Ron - reckon you are right about Emery being virtually a Wenger double brought in to continue his legacy of gung go ‘exciting’ football. Football though that will win you f all! Arsenal these days are all spin with no substance; anyone with half a football brain could see that a more pragmatic manager was required when Wenger finally left, but no we get someone almost equally as defensively useless. Like your comments also on that awful PC world that is now BBC football! I couldn’t agree more.

  47. Colonel Blimp

    Sep 3, 2019, 06:23 #114769

    Regarding the comments about defending and the ongoing Americanisation of football which has been going on for years. We have now a "product" which can be marketed worldwide and it's basically the "soccer" version of the NFL. I like American Football but the similarities between the promotion of the two sports are uncanny. Quarterbacks passing for 400+ yards every game, scores of 44-38 are not uncommon. Whoever would have thought our own football would have a rating for "completed passes" I shake my head in disbelief. Pundits love a 3-3 draw; to me that is two poor teams playing each other. Fans of a certain age may remember Doncaster 7 Reading 5 in 1982-83 season (Trevor Senior scored 4 for Reading)......both sides were relegated that year. We did of course have our own 7-5 vs Reading not too long ago.

  48. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 2, 2019, 23:50 #114768

    You're right, Ron re: the worrying demise of defence. The saddest thing and indeed stupidest thing is the lack of recognition that quality defence and attack are inextricably intertwined. The way a team defends actually dictates the parameters for how, and, ironically, how artfully, they can attack: the 98 double side and Invincibles sat compact and deep, which gave space for Henry, Pires and Bergkamp et al to use their finesse/pace at high tempo. Guardiola's Barca high pressed better than any team before that I've seen in my 27 years, so they had tons of players forward ready to join the attack. Self-imposed idiocy as with Wenger's later years and coaches like Andre Villas-Boas is where we seem to be heading. That Wenger/AVB 5-3 tie at Stamford Bridge was just each team camped in the other half. It took little skill to get goals, which is the great irony in all this, as I said. Worst of all, this philistine's approach is mislabeled as ''philosophy". As you've said before, all the best teams were BUILT ON solid defences.

  49. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 2, 2019, 23:33 #114767

    It's Ron - utterly beautiful sum up of the Americanisation of our game. Hey thanks to Thatcher and the scousers football sold its soul to Murdock.. I must be getting old it just doesn't mean as much anymore and the real sad thing for me is my son knocked it on the head before I did.....

  50. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 2, 2019, 23:32 #114766

    Quite true, Mark - Emery has made some bad tactical decisions, especially at Anfield. Laca, as you point out, has really suffered - he even complained in interview about being subbed after 70 mins so often last season. Despite that he STILL stays professional. Emery has available to him a perfectly good formula for instant success right now, so shouldn't need to tinker: Holding and Chambers at CB and Luiz at DM, with the full-backs not bombing on, Guendouzi sat deep and Ceballos feeding the front three; balanced possession play at home with an eye on breaking transitions and mid-low block defence away from home with fast counters.

  51. itsRonagain2

    Sep 2, 2019, 22:07 #114765

    Worrying trends in football. We all drone on about defence but the reality is nobody in football really gives 2 fooks about it. It’s a game that’s becoming basketball and the trend has been there for years. They ll only be happy when they see scores of 198-172 in their touch free football played on hard pitches by quasi ballet dancers and fucking silly VAR in the background as the in game entertainment. As that unfolds you ll see the ending of coaches. Committee type set ups will choose players and as part of that you ll see women involved. Let’s face it, the tokenism and PC movement might as well make Alex Scott the next head selector, she’s on everything else bar the university challenge and I m sure that’s heading her way once they find a way to help the dumb bint oust Paxman. Arsenal are a club who ll draw ion their history as innovators to be ‘ firsts’ in playing the new you score/ we score football. Probably be the first to play a few home games in LA, NY and Chicago too. As for Dick bucking the trend, check his performance defence wise at his other clubs. Dire.

  52. markymark

    Sep 2, 2019, 22:03 #114764

    ArsenalMagna - that’s a good point in my mind again it goes back to the continual self harm that Unai has a habit of inflicting. Very easy for me from the comfort of my arm chair but he seems so obsessed about nullifying the opposition he sets our team up in a confused fashion , shifting from one set up to another , one midfield to another , Lacazette the constant fall guy. It’d be a terrible shame if the one the best Forward Pairings in Europe end up plotless under him. Both are at peak age. Yes we could easily be top 3 but this man seems determined to complicate everything. Still maybe with Tierney and Bellerin he’ll finally hit the winning formula.

  53. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 2, 2019, 21:00 #114763

    In terms of whether Emery is the right man to take us forward, it's worth remembering that we're not actually that far off being comfortably the third best team in this league - albeit that is largely due to our rivals' weaknesses, but still. Yes, we need a proper DM, which Luiz could do really well for a couple of years, we need a top CB or two, and we need to buy Ceballos next year, plus an experienced GK as backup for Leno. Hard to say on full-backs as I think they need time to be honed defensively. But all that isn't a huge ask. Emery has got the team playing with passion and intensity, and he is integrating youth so that's great. Our success this year and in the ones after, is based on how BALANCED our play is. We've got a world class pair of strikers in Auba and Laca, maybe Pepe eventually too: you just need to keep it tighter at the back with more players behind and give them a few good chances, as they'll take them. Emery's job is therefore pretty straightforward. In every game but the NLD, our football has been very balanced, so we can't say he's Wenger mark II (I went over in my first post why the NLD was an understandable exception). My worry is that he'll persist with DL in the wrong position, and keep Socratis, Torreira and Xhaka as regulars, and if he does that it could well be his downfall. He has the tools this season to get 3rd or 4th and in the next few years to consolidate 3rd place. I'm only confident in Mourinho as an alternative because he is one of the few coaches who cares about defence it seems.

  54. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 2, 2019, 20:43 #114762

    Let me just throw a name in the hat for coach as I said a long time back Freddy would move up the ranks as he has done and as temporary cover I think Mark your right he would slot in. On a permanent fixture I would put money on Silvinho before PV. Probably 100% wrong I usually am but with Edu now in place it could be a Brazilian combination and I think Silvinho may will do as he is told. I do not see PV being a yes man.. Just my opinion.

  55. itsRonagain2

    Sep 2, 2019, 20:28 #114761

    Alas, Tony. That’s why Emery is there I think. His similarities to Wengo. Let’s not forget, Wengo wd still be there had it been entirely Kroenke s own preference that he followed. Setting AW free was a sop. He wasn’t sacked. He went by agreement. He agreed to be a sacrificial lamb. Emery s gone there as some sort of a seamless continuity figure.

  56. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 2, 2019, 20:19 #114760

    Dick D- not giving Monreal a hard time he was an average player for us, is all iam saying, not worthy of being classed in the Ray Parlour mould. Scoring a goal against City in a semi final hardly makes him world class does it. Your be telling me next he was as good as Winterburn or cashley ... Average player no more than what we have become accustomed to at Arsenal.... Wish him luck at Sociedad at least he left the club with dignity..

  57. markymark

    Sep 2, 2019, 20:16 #114759

    CG - Who indeed! That is obviously a sensible question . The general trend appears to be that clubs are risking it in younger generational managers. I’d guess that this is because rather than being more showbiz football is actually becoming more corporate . There is no need for the wheeler dealer manager anymore. It’s moved on. In fact is there a need for the real character manager anymore? Too dangerous in the corporate world. So I think the answer is maybe someone on the up, from either Germany or France or UK. If there was a shock dismissal absolutely Freddy would be transitional boss. If Paddy does well in France then it’s a two way battle between him and Arteta ( if he’s not totally pissed with Arsenal ) On the news about Mitty I’m sure Italy will suit its half pace compared to the Prem. I always thought the boy couldn’t hack the Prem. Mourinho did warn everybody didn’t he!

  58. CORNISH GOONER

    Sep 2, 2019, 18:53 #114758

    Marky, I do understand but still have faith in that CV of Dick's & he did inherit a major shit show. The end of last season was a major black mark though - it felt like he pulled the same stroke as he had earlier in his Spanish reign, sacrificing the league for an EPL trophy but this time the gamble failed. But didn't the Emirates rock yesterday & who on earth would replace him from the current list of runners & riders? It would have to be a surprise appointment of an, as yet, unknown newcomer surely? Agree re Xhaka but he was one of Arthur's"best buys" wasn't he? Doesn't excuse Dick for retaining faith in him of course.

  59. RobG

    Sep 2, 2019, 18:52 #114757

    Confirmed - Miktaryan gone to Roma. Season long loan and Roma pay all his wages. Have to say that that is for the best. Good luck to him there. But he certainly didn't inspire in the EPL.

  60. TonyEvans

    Sep 2, 2019, 18:49 #114756

    Emery is too much like the old French fraud - defensively hopeless, strange team selections, undroppable favourites that beggar belief, and tactically naive for me. Great game for entertainment but sometimes I just yearn for a good old solid 1-0 to The Arsenal! Don’t see many of them now and unlikely to with Emery at the helm.

  61. markymark

    Sep 2, 2019, 18:15 #114755

    CG - there’s a little bit of a Pépé bash going on but I wouldn’t worry too much about that . If Denis had been playing during the social media frenzy he’d have been absolutely roasted . Those happier days eh! Sometimes I wish we didn’t have 24/7 comms capacity. Anyway what we are seeing a lot of again is that Unai is going to do it! as the rivals will fall away again. The trouble is we all believed this last year and after the dreadful insipid Palace and Brighton games we then thought it was his destiny in Europa. Only then to serve up an embarrassment even Wengo would be proud off. Personally I’d rather have faith in a manager succeeding rather than rivals failing. I’ve already had my fill of him. Needs to go in my opinion. No style , random selections, failing to play to Arsenal’s strengths and the continuing playing of the disaster Xhaka. Been an experiment , hasn’t worked out. Can’t beat the top 6, needs to move on.

  62. Dick Dastardly

    Sep 2, 2019, 18:15 #114754

    Wow you're giving Nacho a hard time. Remind me who it was who got the equalizer against Citeh in that semi final we were supposed to have no chance in? NM was a good solid pro for us.

  63. CORNISH GOONER

    Sep 2, 2019, 18:13 #114753

    I seem to be one of very few who enjoyed the game!! Unlike others I think our Greek bruiser was very lucky to avoid a penalty & a sending off. What is it with him - like the attitude but overall gives the impression of one of those guys who gets a bit stroppy after consuming too much drink on a mediterranean holiday. Has to be replaced by the end of the season. Like the idea of Chambers coming in & DL replacing Xhaka. Latest daft read elsewhere "Pepe can't shoot" ( after 2 starts?) - seems to have done OK last season.

  64. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 2, 2019, 14:07 #114751

    One bit of promising news Miki in Italy to sort a loan deal with Roma that would be one more waste of space out the way , if only he had taken Xhaka with him .

  65. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 2, 2019, 14:03 #114750

    David Luis would be the perfect DM with Chambers and Sokratis for now behind him . Guendouzi and Ceballos or Wilock in front of him . Beyond me how Xahka gets in the side and as for that stat , i think DL stats last year are as good as Xhaka if not better for his passing. Still does not really matter as Dick will not be reading what we have all said and taking it into consideration . We have the possibility of top 3 as the other so called big 3 all look as prone to fucking up like us . Monreal has been a average player for us cannot agree with comparing him to the Romford Pele ....More like Andy Linighan or Steve Morrow but both of them like Ray scored goals in cup finals ....

  66. itsRonagain2

    Sep 2, 2019, 12:11 #114749

    Nos89 - I still think Poch gone for Xmas, probably to Man U. Tottenham look shambolic. I like yr point about Luiz. Hes never really been a centre defender has he. Might do ok as a short term DM as you say. Agree Leno too. Hes ok. Maybe the best since Lehmann, but thats not saying much i know. Hes not top quality though but there are far worse out there.

  67. itsRonagain2

    Sep 2, 2019, 12:00 #114748

    Agreed Rob re Monreal. Hes been a very good servant. Hes lost what pace he did have now though so i suppose hes gone for that. Personally i d have kept him. Saw the game now on the match thing on Sky, What a shoot out! Shambles in many/most areas but they gave it a real go for once. Pity we dont see the same application away from home. I went for the draw. decent result. Could have won but seemed they could too. GR is dead on with his view. Totally unclear as to what Arsenal are as a team or what they're trying to do? You sum us up defensively matey - 'we miss Holding'. Its sums us up if hes the erstwhile defensive saviour doesn't it. Spurs dont look very good for much either though do they. PS Kane - what a diving cheat he is! (or should i respectfully call him 'Harry'? ) Have to smile how the 'experts' on the dreadful SKY are very guarded with their words about him and his conning, same as they used to be about Rooney and Gerrad. All divers, all con artists, all cheats for so much of their careers.

  68. Nos89

    Sep 2, 2019, 11:47 #114747

    What has Chambers done wrong? One game one clean sheet. David Luiz is still settling in, and he hasn't scored the obligatory own goal defenders new to the team tend to do in first 10 games. As he said himself he had to hold back on challenging salah as he was on a yellow card, had we had a faster LB, and CB they would have caught him. Luiz did have Kante in front of him, now he has Xhaka. Either play him as a libero in a back three, or move him to DM, taking Xhaka out the team. Luiz is a much better footballer than Xhaka. This is a game we should have won, just on the second half performance alone. Leno will concede at least 5-6 goals a season by parrying the ball out. Great keepers keep hold of those ones, good ones parry. Nigel Martyn springs to mind as he had the same trait. We had 26 attempts on goal against a team that is supposedly third favourites to win the league. We will finish comfortably in the top 4. People seem to forget spurs lost 13 games last season. They have been found out, simply got away with it by only drawing 3 games, and they've drawn two already this season. Positives Guendouzi, brilliant play, learning with experience. The front 3, Lacazette and Auba are both scoring, Pepe scored 22 goals last season and like Luiz is finding his feet, essentially he has added to the attack and not destabalised Auba and Lacazette's partnership. Callebos, in the big games ease him like Pires was. He'll learn from watching. At Anfield he was totally overrun. On Emery, he looks and sounds like a man under pressure. Can he handle the job he's been given at The Arsenal?? It seems the board have finally decided to step up and put a bit of pressure on the manager to deliver. Something they haven't done for the last 15 years.

  69. Colonel Blimp

    Sep 2, 2019, 10:35 #114746

    Yes, also sad to see Monreal leave - a gentleman and a professional.

  70. RobG

    Sep 2, 2019, 10:00 #114745

    Disappointed that we only got a point. But I would have grabbed that - as would everyone else - when Kane smacked in that penalty. The presence of the culprit for that, plus Miktaryan (why did Emery not bring on Willock ???) who strikes me as not being prone to overt stupidity like Xhaka but instead seems 'a ghost of player', so little does he contribute, shows we're still dealing with the squad imbalances from Wenger's days. That fact will continue into next season whether we like it of not. We still miss Holding as well as both our full backs so I think (hope) there is more to come from us defensively. Third or fourth remains the aim and I've seen nothing to suggest we can't do it. Finally - Applause and farewell for Nacho Monreal. Sad to see him go. Unquestionably one of Wenger's good - very good - later buys. Bit of a latter day Ray Parlour - A true Gooner !

  71. CORNISH GOONER

    Sep 2, 2019, 09:56 #114744

    Well I thought it was a cracking game, full of passion & atmosphere - & mistakes! We are clearly in transition & I hope by the end of the season there will be no Xhaka & Socrates as regular starters because our talented youngsters will have stepped up. Luis should only be a midfield option for me. I doubt any of the crowd left feeling they hadn't had their moneys worth. But to read many of the online comments on other sites you would think our Club was in crisis instead of the prospect of real progress this season. Even Pepe being dissed this early in his AFC career. Unbelievable! People seem to forget that because of the Wigmeister's regime, we have been either shopping smartly or, in the case of our "defence", in the bargain basement. Le Poch's post match interview was conducted very much in Dick style - pretty incomprehensible!

  72. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 2, 2019, 09:35 #114743

    Agree with all your points Kev but just to add a few things: 1) The reason Wenger/Emery love Xhaka so much is because of his passing ability: SkySports ran an article last year where they showed that in terms of completed passes into the final third, Xhaka is up there amongst the very top players in the EPL like De Bruyne. He describes himself as a 'False 10'. It's not even for coaches that he provides a body in defence whilst contributing to attacks, it's that he can build the attacks faster/more precisely which they love. Personally, I don't see that that counts for much when you consider how awful he is defensively. He should be a backup only, and sold/loaned out if anyone will take him. 2) Socratis and Torreira get nowhere near enough criticism. The former is at fault with pretty much the majority of goals we concede yet no one calls him out. Torreira did well for most of last season but has trailed off since then: he is miles away from the back four when we lose possession and jogs back - seems he wants to be an attacking mid now. Plus, he's clearly too diminutive. Kante can be a DM at 5ft6 because he's strong, agile and fast, which Torreira is not. He does better tackling players who have their backs to our goal - not so good on breaking up counters or protecting a deep sat back four. 3) In terms of the team overall, only Auba, Laca, Guendouzi, Ceballos and Leno are 100% right for us. Leno did well yesterday and is a great keeper - yes his mistake was awful but he has shown a lot of quality in general and is improving. Really sad that Real are in turmoil as they'll probably keep Ceballos. I do think all the younger players like M-N, Martinez et al look really promising too, though. If Bellerin and Tierney are coached to defend well and we put Chambers and Holding in CB slots till new arrivals come, and if David Luiz is made a DM, I actually think we have enough to get top 4 comfortably, even if it takes Pepe a while to adapt (most players do need a year to adapt to the EPL). 4) Hard to say on Emery: I'd take Mourinho today as we obviously need to be grinding out results and defending well. BUT Emery has had us play balanced football in pre-season and up to before yesterday. I can understand why it was abandoned yesterday: there was the expectation that we should win the game as we were so strong at home last year, we are good enough to dominate Spurs at home (and did btw, all their chances came virtually exclusively from our unforced errors) and NLDs are just so intense that calmness and sound tactics seem to be forgotten by most of the players, regardless of what coaches say. The real test will be how committed we stay to playing balanced football across the season. My concern is that Emery will panic if we start falling behind the pack in terms of points and that we revert to gung ho. Also that we play gung ho vs the top 6 at home because we know we can dominate teams at the Emirates. That would be ironic as our attacking play at home is best supported by keeping sound precautions against counterattack.

  73. GoonerRon

    Sep 2, 2019, 09:16 #114742

    The good, the bad and the ugly from Arsenal yesterday. Guendouzi excellent, Lacazette superb, the whole team showing fight and heart to dominate the second half was great to see and the Emirates rocking (especially in the half hour after HT) so kudos to the supporters too. At some point we have to learn from our seemingly constant stream of individual errors or swap the individuals. Re: Xhaka - with Guendouzi, Ceballos and Willock playing encouragingly well, and with Torreira giving us something completely different, it’s surely a matter of time before he loses his place you’d hope. I also think with Holding nearly back to fitness I hope Emery starts to pick CB’s on merit. I like Sokratis’ wholehearted nature but he isn’t good enough to be an automatic pick for us either. I wouldn’t have taken a point before the match but in the end it didn’t feel too disappointing given the shape of the match. Still not quite sure what to make of us as a team though. We’re almost a polar opposite of Wenger’s Arsenal that had a very specific style but little heart on display, now we’re displaying heart but the style is missing.