Arsenal Middleman masters Milan


Good morning Positives,

What a good result! A 5-1 aggregate score and two legs in which we comfortably ended the games in  control is a rarity in European competitions at this stage where the ‘better’ clubs are coming face to face.

Of the game itself I thought we started a bit jittery and out of sorts, not helped by Kosc’s injury. The Frenchman immediately looked uncomfortable after going up for a corner, and not able to run so I was surprise it took 4-5  minutes to take him off.

With Laurent gone the teams traded possession for the next 30 minutes with neither side showing really testing the keeper or creating a clear goalscoring opening. Milan’s final ball was poor, as it had been to the San Siro, and our attacks ran went to the edge of the visitors’ box  before running out of ideas.

The goal from Calhanoglu on 36 minutes was entirely unexpected, for me as much as Ospina. Good goal, 30 yards, corner of the net. Could the Colombian have been more alert and at least got a hand to it? Could Bellerin and/or Mustafi have shut the striker down quicker as their shouting match after the goal went in hinted at ? We shall never know.

There was a bit of a groan around me I admit but the goal was exactly what the tie needed and we responded immediately. We  surged forward and within a minute it seemed Danny went down in a heap. Even from the other end it looked soft  as the referee and the 5th official eyed each other up coyly. The Swedish referee nevertheless pointed spot-ward and Milan players went beserk, as I suspect any group of players would do in similar circumstances. Nessun sente da che parte preme la scarpa, se non chi se la calza. For all the fuss Danny stepped up and despatched the generous gift left and Donnarumma dived right. A collective sigh of relief was heard as far away as Hampstead Heath as we knew it was not going to be one of ‘those’ nights. Referee Eriksson compounded his guilt a few moments later by denying Milan a penalty when Callum Chambers arm was up but  that  would have been harsh.

The rest of the game I admit is a bit of a blur although as I did not get home until 2 this morning is a bit fuzzy anyway. The main recollection however is of Arsenal largely controlling the game.  The pivot of that control last night being our Swiss midfielder, though whom it seemed most ball was channeled from back to front, and against Granit wall the RossoNeri battered to little effect as he covered ground and space, nicked the ball away and put a sly foot in as required. A really professional performance and capped by the killer second goal as far as Milan were concerned, a shocking cock up by a keeper who up until then in the tie had been excellent. Man of the match Xhaka. Enjoy your moment, you have worked hard for it. Merit points for Aaron, Jack, Mustafi, Callum and Danny.

Of the atmosphere 90% of Milan fans in the ground and singing an hour before kick off ! By Kick off + 5 I could see only a few empty seats in the upper tiers in the East and West Stands at the sides but it looked full to me. Plenty of noise throughout and lots of fans stayed after the final whistle to applaud all the players on both teams off the pitch. Arsenal fan next to me left immediately Donnarumma fumbled the second goal into his net – he’d seen enough.


At midday UK time we shall discover who the next opponents are in the Europa League and the hoopla will start again.

Enjoy Friday and the international break.

270 comments on “Arsenal Middleman masters Milan

  1. Afternoon Positivistas.
    glad to see MoNeny’s re-upped for a few more seasons. Still just 25. A world beater in a few years, me hopes.

    Random Q for you: what happens if we get all the way to the Europa final, play and lose Atletico Madrid who end up 2nd in La Liga. Do we still qualify for the CL? And at the expense of the PL’s 4th place team?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. corr: play and lose to Atletico Madrid who end up 2nd in La Liga


  3. No Aman I don’t think we do. I think we’d just have to lump it.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. it seems the rule that stops Aubameyang playing in the EL for us this season is to be scrapped from next season.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alexandre Lacazette is back in full training again and nearing a first-team return – but why does the boss often take him off in the second half of games?

    Arsene Wenger sat down with us to discuss the use of stats to determine players’ physical conditions – and revealed how he manages the France international.

    “We know the players’ physical qualities and who we expect to drop in the second half or not,” the boss told the Arsenal Magazine. “Nobody’s tired enough at half time to be substituted for that, but in the second half you’ll see that sometimes this player will drop in the last 20 minutes.

    “We have a fatigue factor coming in at different levels for everybody and we know the players who drop more in the second half than others. Some remain completely consistent and some even push upwards in the second half.

    “There are players who drop up to 15 per cent in the second half, so you have to consider that in your substitutions. Even if you do make substitutions, you always try to keep one free because you know this guy could need to be substituted as well so you need to keep a place for him.

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/how-boss-uses-stats-make-changes#sr0VZruHgCy7ZYkR.99

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/how-boss-uses-stats-make-changes#qTH1P2WdBUMMaDwR.99

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mohamed Elneny
    I had cause to notice him before he came to Arsenal and was enthused when he joined the club. He does not have the greatest foot speed , he has good football intelligence, a high technical level, superb engine, durable, happy to be a squad player at a big club and since Christmas has visibly grown into to a leader in the group. During some of the most difficult times in recent months he has dug deep to help the team and lead the charge of defending the group. During this time the best qualities of his game of really come out. At 25 he is still learning the game , he has the heart to wear the shirt he is proud to play for Arsenal, he provides that glue that binds a great squad together.
    He is a pivitol building block.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I must say I am excited by the some of the players that make sense that Arsenal have been linked with. The whole restructuring is happening that the Arsenal detractors can hardly notice it (Strange) All the checks and balances that fans have asked for have been put in place but have largely been ignored.

    As some people might remember I thought the manager was not putting himself 1st enough, by putting faith into certain players who did not have the drive and the discipline to match him. But what has been made clear in the last few weeks Mr Wenger was not sleeping, there must have been a wholesale clear-out plan. Fan favourite Jack Wilshere a player I have championed since he was 14 years old, the shinning light for English football, has had the light of the new reality that is Arsenal F.C shone in his eyes and quite frankly he had to put his hand up to shade his eyes,as just squinting wasn’t working. Still family, but more big man, rather than young man handling. Jack has had some sort of offer he thinks he’s worth more and I would not be suprised if he gets a much better financial offer elsewhere, if that is what he wants.

    Jack Wilshere with the ball at his always makes me smile

    Been saying that since his was 14 years old , I stopped sometime ago believing he would be able to develope into the player we all thought he could be at 18. Injuries and time out of the game have taken that opportunity from him being that player. Every so often he does something which hints at what might have been. I would love him to keep me smiling in an Arsenal shirt.
    Exciting times , now the boss is not ‘playing with a guy’ he looks energised for next season.
    Come on Big Weng

    Liked by 1 person

  8. seems Jack Wilshere is the only injury doubt we have at the moment, Ramsey, Lacazette and Monreal all back in training

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aman, if AFC win the EL, and LFC win the CL but finish 5th and 6th, then the 4th place BPL team would go into the EL, and not the CL. Nice if that was to happen if spurs was the 4th placed team

    Liked by 1 person

  10. it seems pundits in other sports are much like those in soccer.

    here are quote from one of the best managers in GAA Football, Tyrone boss Mickey Harte on GAA pundits

    “Sometimes people jump to conclusions too early, whether it be good or bad, and sometimes they have you as a world beater when you’re not in a position to accept that term,” he states in The Irish News.

    “Other times they have you as a no-hoper when that’s not right either, so I think more balance is required when people are reporting and viewing things.

    “And when that balance is there, then people should be able to interpret what’s a work-in-progress, and what’s a team that’s struggling. And I think that should help people to take a deep breath before they come out with a very definitive analysis of where any team is at.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Progress is going to be so slow and painful with VAR on these shores.

    The detractors tonight, including ex refs like Halsey, are outraged that it was not clear and obvious enough to overturn the call, and claim it’s an example of re-refereeing the game, which VAR isn’t supposed to do.

    They all seem to be under the impression that the ref is judging the same thing before and after, as though he saw the contact first time and thought it was no pen, then saw different images of it and decided pen.

    Seems pretty fucking obvious that in this instance what presumably happened is he didn’t see the contact first time, the VAR officials did, asked him to look at it, he concurred. Effectively he is looking at something different, something his eyes did not pick up on in real time. He can’t be blamed for that. Human capacities are what they are.

    Until they grasp that very simple concept- that it can give them new information, and it’s not re-refereeing the same thing, but realising something happened which they didn’t see- progress will be much slower than it should be.

    Worryingly, if Halsey, and other ex-officials in the ‘We are the ref’ team, misunderstand the nature of it…will our active refs be any better? Shearer and co ultimately don’t matter at all so long as the current refs get it.

    Noticeable that none of the critics focus on whether it was the right decision, only on whether the replays are strong enough to overturn the original decision, whether it is the dreaded re-referring, whether it is an example- oh no, worst there is none- of the on-pitch ref ceding cherished control.

    I follow a couple of these gits on twitter and, amusingly, one of them, prominent ex-linesman until couple of years ago, is an absolute die-hard Liverpool fan, loving the good times at the moment, retweeting dozens of positive tweets a week.

    Naughty boy presumably didn’t declare it though as he did plenty of their games.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Good call by the VAR official Rich – It was not just contact but the Englishman stood on Chiesa’s foot. No referee could have seen that in real time because of the position of players and the sped at which it happened so the VAT* system intervened and the correct penalty award made.

    The high point of the incident was Kyle Walker abusing the Italian as he lay on the ground, on the assumption that no penalty had been given, only to find the ball on the spot 30 second later. He has always been stupid has Kyle, and his time in Manchester seems to have added another layer to his thickness.

    * I’m on fire this morning

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Shit VAT the government really are taxing everything now

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Anicoll

    Missed the Walker detail, but, boy, I would have enjoyed that.

    Really amazes me that so many don’t get that (a) it’s completely natural to miss crucial details in real time and (b) VAR can help remedy this.

    The Shearers’ seem to think if a ref was looking in the right general area first time that means it should stand, and that he saw everything he needed to first time around.

    Quite easily in that situation in future, a ref could think there may be a pen and ask or just wait for the assistants to look into it. Would be the more sensible way to play it if balls out of play, rather than pointing to spot and increasing tension etc while waiting for review.

    I guess I should know better by now than to analyse the Shearer mind. Only annoyance lies that way.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Good morning George – how is it hanging ?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Shearer (amongst others) Says what the backroom twunts put on his auto cue, thoughts of his own unlikely

    Liked by 2 people

  17. well its clear from the reactions of ex refs like Halsey, and the pundits that they do not want the correct decision to be reached. Why is something only they can answer. For me the way the PGMOL are putting obstacles in the way of VAR also suggests they are like Halsey and the pundits.
    For me every goal scored should be reviewed by VAR, all penalties given should also be reviewed. The technology is there so that it can be done withing 20-30 seconds.

    shouldn’t VAR be all about getting as many calls correct as possible. but PGMOL are hung up on it as they are seemingly petrified that it will show Refs and officials got calls wrong or missed things first time round. Is the ego of the refs so big that they would rather try and bury mistakes than get to the correct decision

    For me in the BPL the VAR should like in Rugby, be shown on the big screens, it would keep the crowd involved, also important that the TV audience, again like in Rugby, get to hear the exchange between the Ref and the VAR.

    I think it was anicol who said last week that you don’t hear rugby pundits slaughter the ref for his decisions, and for me the main reason for that is that he is miked up, even camera upped, we all get to see and hear what he says, and when it comes to his use of VAR, we get to hear exactly what he thinks he saw and what he wants confirmed or disproven, we often get either the ref of more commonly the VAR state the actual rule that either means the initial Ref decision proven or why its been ruled out.
    I watched a Rugby game at the weekend, where I was supporting the Munster team, there was a lot of use of the VAR, and many decisions went against Munster, but it was so easy to take as Ref and VAR clearly explained exactly why the reached the decision they did, as said above, even the actual rule on one incident was quoted by the VAR(something I seen before, even seen a Ref once admit that he did not know the rule and the VAR quoted the full rule and the Ref just said, Ok if you say so, no try, no ego and whats more, no fuss by the commentators or the pundits, as it was shown to be right decision reached)
    Also in Rugby the VAR can notify the ref of foul or dangerous play that has been missed, again something that the PGMOL are totally against allowing the VAR in football to have.

    I would suggest that the PGMOL are hindering the use of VAR as they are afraid it will show that their stats of getting over 98% of decisions correct is bull and that they have been lying about it for years.

    there are currently 4 officials at a game and for some reason one of them can not inform the ref or the linesmen of anything he sees happen on the pitch, only what the managers or subs have done or said. We will be adding at least 2 more officials with VAR, and again the likes of the PGMOL want their input massively limited. Why is not everything being done to make sure the correct decisions are reached, why would any ref, or Refs governing body not be all for this. Its crazy

    Liked by 3 people

  18. he’s an actor. In a, and please don’t shoot the messanger here for simply quoting these luvvie darlings upon their, and I quote: “Misguided” “Theatre”

    How long before any of the BT/Team Sky/Aunty Bleeb plundits make the humble yet simple observation that IFAB is ignoring tried and trusted process for VARs in all sister sports. For some irrational and inexplicable reasoning akin to their thirty year delay in adopting and copying the rest of the sporting world in the first place. Yes. If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck, then you should have no trouble in spotting and steppin around those little duckie droppings.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Granit Xhaka captained Switzerland to their second international break win & scored a penalty as they recorded a 6-0 win vs Panama

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I;m in good form Andy, having exposed my hypocrisy by doing a podcast, I’ve recovered well.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Multi channel George – its the future

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Eds anyone who can count past ten can easily understand and appreciate why this 98% figure is beyond bogus and cannot bear any relation to the standardised (by FUFA) metrics that are used for assessing and training refs around the world. Unless that is you believe that only the pgMOB train their officials, whilst not allowing any officials from the part of the country that contains the most clubs, players, and referees too! It sounds and reads farcical, because it is a farcical figure.

    If that figure was based upon such metrics as used to assess and train refs then you wouldn’t need VARs in the first place with such a high figure.
    Not when you have such Ubermen like Riley running the show ooops I mean “Theatre”, my lovely luvvie darlings, sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. https://www.theblizzard.co.uk/article/empire-and-entitlement

    Hunter will love this article!
    Haven’t read all of it myself yet.


  24. Nine and a half, nine and three quarters, nine and seven eighths …….

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I’ve been staring at fractals for most of the day too.

    The real mathemeticians tell me that there is usually a formula that can help with such calculations.
    Some chap or lady back in the middle ages even managed to pull diffrential analysis on the back of some cow skin and build domes like in Agra or Florence. To be fair those structures are still standing.

    Happy to stretch my neck on the executioner’s block of BS and speculate that I doubt the pgMOB Ltd company will last that long.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I see that the ACB have banned some cheating players.

    Yet this entire episode has been less damging to this association then the association’s support for a cheating official (Don’t want to ruin the party party for anyone but it does happen!)

    Which is just one of many reasons why people like Michael Vaughen and many others have been loving the news this week. Heh.


  27. Matt Spiro
    ‏Verified account @mattspiro
    1h1 hour ago

    Koscielny tells RMC he has found solution to persistent ankle problems: took up yoga in January and has been feeling great since

    Liked by 3 people

  28. I could tell Laurent was at absolutely top physical form when he went off injured after 9 minutes against Milan

    Who posts this odd ‘yoga’ stuff eddy ?

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Shotts,

    Isco. He’s been developed by club and country for a few seasons now to be Spain and Madrid’s tennish player.

    I guess that few athletes are as precocious as the Mesut Ozil’s of this world? as England discovered way back in 2010. Even Zidane followed a normal career curve in football (yes that does mean his development was closer to the Mean development curve, that I haven’t plotted. I apologise for using such obfuscated terminology).

    I still have hope for Xhaka and Mustafi.
    As I said the other week/month, given their ages and non-PL experience they were therefore long term signings and a strong signal that the post Arteta/Cazorla/BFG squad was in a serious transitional phase.

    I did not expect the same people who described that legendary multiple record FA cup winning trio* as, and I quote ‘Panic Signings’ to therefore have acknowledged the above at any time or that an unsettled dressing room turned this transitional season into a transitional season on steroids (double sorry). I can see how an unsettled squad affected the champions in a cup final, so I can therefore understand that…

    *it was our good friend Duke who we hardly ever agreed with made that legendary comment about ‘three musketeers’ being a minimum requirement to lift a squad to greatness.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. anicol the yoga stuff comes from an interview kosciellny gave while back in France on international duty. And he went off v Milan with a back injury, after getting a knock, he talked about how yoga has helped lessen his problems with his achilles

    Liked by 1 person

  31. fins the problem for xhaka, mustafi and I would say Iowbi, is that sadly for them a section of the fan base has charged them, judged them, and found them guilty, and regardless of how they play there will be turning in opinion. Much like how Wilshere’s actual performance has little to no bearing on how he is rated, but in the opposite way.
    Look a section of our fan base still don’t rate Ramsey, so what hope for mere mortals like xhaka, mustafi and iwobi etc etc etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. just watching a football programme on ITV4, – Football’s Foreign legion – its about when in 78 or so how clubs in England were allowed sign two foreign players

    the PFA totally against it, and some managers also real little englanders,

    found it funny how some at the time used the same language to down play the chances of the foreign players succeeding in the english game was exactly the same terms they used as reasons why black players were not in the english games, – lots of skill but not suited to the rough and tumble of the english game, won’t be able to do it on the bad pitches or during an english winter.

    Just a thought, it was a pity Arsenal did not add in a couple of foreign players to our team at the time, a little bit more quality to that AFC team of 78-80 and it could have been special.
    I know Arsenal did try to sign a number of dutch players, a young Ruud Guillit, and the world star Johnny Rep were just two of those that we went for.
    later on we did sign Vladimir petrovic but sadly did not stick with him and just when it looked like he was coming into form we sold him.
    Arsenal around that time tried for both Maradona and Platini

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Are we really going to have to learn to spell this guys name – Çağlar Söyüncü

    Liked by 2 people

  34. some of the young AFC players visiting Whittington Health NHS to give easter eggs to patients

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Man City struggling to sell out their Champions League clash against Liverpool with tickets still on sale


  36. I have really underestimated Stan Kroenke the business man, as according to the ASB he has somehow managed to get a near $5BN loan to build the LA Rams new stadium off the back of Arsenal having £200M in the bank. so either he is one hell of a sweet talker and business man, or I have totally miscalculated the currency conversion rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Wowsers. For a little look into football’s dark underbelly (though that may be understating it) have a read up on the claims against Derby’s former chief executive by the club.

    At same time Tom Ince, son of Paul, was transferring to club, a commitment to pay 700,000 grand to player’s mum, Paul’s wife, was signed, for ‘scouting services’

    In the crook in questions defence he says the payment was/is (two instalments still due) to Paul Ince, who he basically says watched some Derby and other games with a view to finding players for the club. Two duff players are named that he recommended.

    Lord knows what else this guy got up to but there another 2 million in fees alone for scouting which the club says produced nothing.

    Real scouts meanwhile, bar a small number at bigger clubs, often have to chase up petrol money.

    Anyway, if that’s what the amateurs get up to, you can only guess what the big dogs get away with. Most likely, a vast number of players, including a significant number of the good ones, are ruled out for us simply because we don’t play those games.

    A betting man shouldn’t put anything on any of the Mendes stable ever ending up at Arsenal anyway.


    Liked by 2 people

  38. I’d guess it’s another reason why we are likely to look to Germany for a lot of players. I’d bet regulations and practices much cleaner there than most places.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Rich did you see where WBA are in a total financial mess, even struggling to pay wages, after some seriously terrible deals done, agent fees, big wages, transfer flops etc

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Another two Arsenal shares sold yesterday for £37,000 each


  41. eduardo792
    Çağlar Söyüncü is a spelling handful. but the boy is a very good young talent .
    Lets see if it goes as high as £30 million.
    Alongside Tanguy Ndombele

    Interesting tounge twisting times.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. eduardo792
    I suspect you are being a bit ironic but to be clear owning Arsenal helps when getting backing and partners to get that loan. Plus one of the largest ranches in some of the best land in Texas, also some 30 years in sports management with 40 years in real estate developement .
    Every little helps

    Liked by 1 person

  43. thing is WwwB he don’t own Arsenal, he has 67% of shares, that are worth about £1.2BN, by the way he is worth about $8BN and his wife is worth many times that, but ASB and WOB spout this shite about AFC having money in the bank so that he can get loans to buy ranches and build the Rams stadium. It pure hogwash

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Near disaster to a well worked goal


  45. eduardo792
    It doesen’t matter how much Kronke is worth on the Rams deal as he is not underwriting the deal.
    To paraprashe Make that shit on my name alone


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