Arsenal: Our battle is more full of names


@LaboGoon opens the road to Manchester this morning

Good morning one and all…

Old Trafford provide the backdrop as Arsène Wenger and José Mourinho will take to the field to shake hands for the very last time in a Premier League match.

It’s not often that we go into an Arsenal vs Manchester United fixture where the result doesn’t offer anything for both teams as far as PL ambitions are concerned, and with their respective priorities lying elsewhere. But here we are, making it pretty hard to gauge how they will approach this particular encounter.

Both sides come into the game off of the back of some good form, having loss just once in their respective previous five games in all competitions. Manutd of course will be very buoyant following their incredible come-from-behind victory over Spurs to book a spot in the FA Cup final.

Arsenal’s season overall has been an oddity. If you critique them on ‘home form’ alone you could easily be accused of being a bunny boiler because that table tells us we are right up there with the league’s best. The ‘away form’ however… by not being as attentive on our travels as we had been at the Ems, we have let ourselves down greatly.

So with Arsenal away to a Manutd team having their tails up, I’ll be quoting our friend @anicoll5, “who wants to be a manager?”

On team news: besides Elneny and Santi the boss said everyone else is available for selection. But of course with Europa our one and only priority, it’s certain there will rotation. Risking players after an energy sapping encounter with Atletico Madrid won’t be doing us any favours for the 2nd leg, as we too are a win away from reaching a cup final.

Old Trafford will today bid farewell to a football icon so in closing I’ll quote José from his pre-match presser:

“Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of the Sir Alex era. I’m pretty sure we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves.”



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142 comments on “Arsenal: Our battle is more full of names

  1. chances are that if we get a super star manager, he will only be interested in bringing in expensive superstars and will not care about our new crop of really good youngsters,


  2. jjgsol,
    hope we don’t get a super star manager then.
    I’d take Monaco’s Jardim over short term gloss all day …
    I like Enrique BUT we are not Etihad, Chelski, Cataloanya, PSG or Real Magreed.
    We are The Arsenal.
    We do things the right way.


  3. Wenger after game comments – from football.london, – looks like we might have paid a big penalty injury wise

    On the result/performance
    We had a very young team. Overall, the performance was positive. The players are destroyed in the dressing room because they gave everything and were caught in the final minute of the game.
    There were many question marks before the game. Would we be strong enough to fight with Manchester United today? And I must say the quality of our game were good, the spirit was good, individually many players stood up to what was requested.

    I felt in the final 20 minutes we tired a bit and lost some balls that we didn’t lose in the first 70 minutes. We were a bit more under pressure and lacked maybe a bit of experience and calm as well. That’s why we were a bit more under pressure in the final minutes.
    It was negative result but a positive performance. Unfortunately that happens.

    Can you enjoy days like today?
    It’s just a match. I am programmed to try to win games, that doesn’t change.

    So overall I am disappointed because we lost the game.
    I am thankful to Manchester United because they gave a nice gesture before the game. It was very classy from them. It’s the first time I get a trophy before the game, that’s new.

    Do you hope you will be a rival of Mourinho again?
    I don’t know. First of all, he will be at United next season and I don’t know where I will be.
    I have worked at the top level for 35 years without any interruption. I think I am the only one in the world who has done that.
    At the moment I am a bit in unknown territory. I don’t know where I will go from there. Will I take a break? I would be surprised if I meet him next year.

    On the award before the game. What was on it?
    I don’t know, I haven’t looked at it because I haven’t had time. It was just before the kick-off. I will look at it now.
    I want to go and have a glass of red win with Sir Alex because he always has good wine.

    On the reception from the United fans
    Yes, that shows you that once you are not a danger anymore people love you.

    On Maitland-Niles and Mavropanos
    Maitland-Niles slowly gets to the player I think he can be in defensive midfield. He can create as well.

    Mavropanos in training has shown top quality. But then you always have a question mark as long as you don’t see that under pressure in big games. Can he show that in a big game? You never know.

    Th big players do better in competition than in training. They make a career. We have many players at our level who do less well in the competition than in training
    So that was the question mark before the game and I think he did well. He surprised everyone by his quality today.

    On his successor having good youngsters available to him
    My successor will watch this game today. Hopefully he will come to positive conclusions of the players. Can they be part of the future for Arsenal football club? I think some of them have shown today yes, 100 per cent.

    What will be your abiding memory of Old Trafford
    It’s too quick for me to think about. Certainly when we won the league here. Unfortunately in my job you remember much more defeats than victories and so I have as well some painful memories here.

    On injuries to any players
    Mkhitatryan I took off because he had a little knock on his knee again, the same thing, just looking at him in the dressing room.

    Ospina has a rib problem and Alex Iwobi has a hamstring problem.
    We’ll see how everyone recovers because Thursday will come around very quickly.

    Are any of them definitely out of Thursday night?
    Definitely at the moment no.
    But we will have to monitor them in the next 48 hours. We will know more on Tuesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I mentioned how I felt Ospina should have done better on the winning goal, well AW says he has a rib injury, I assume that happened about ten minutes from the end when Fellaini barged into him, of course without a booking. We at the time had Cech warm up but decided to bring on Willock as our last sub instead. It might have cost us the game.

    bad news that Mkhitaryan got a knock on the same place on his knee as his recent injury and may be out of Thursday’s big game

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I doubt if a “super star” manager will come if he is not given an enormous budget, which he will not get here, so I hope.

    I think we may need accept that we are on the downward side of a wave and may have to wait a bit before we are going up again.

    Perhaps, the money bags will decide they have spent enough and move away, so we can get back to the even ground again.

    As it is, we simply cannot compete.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. it seems the akers out banners worked, reports today that he is leaving AFC this summer


  7. Squawka Football
    ‏Verified account @Squawka
    3h3 hours ago

    Konstantinos Mavropanos’ Premier League debut by numbers vs. Man Utd:

    92% pass accuracy
    49 touches
    37 passes
    4 clearances
    3 interceptions
    2 blocked shots
    1 tackle won
    0 fouls committed

    Solid start. 🇬🇷

    Liked by 2 people

  8. do should AMN keep his place in the team on Thursday, after his man of the match performance today, would you pick him instead of Wilshere.


  9. i see Napoli have undone all their good work, after beating Juve away last week to close the gap to 1pt they lost 3-0 away to Fiorentina today, its back to 4pts now, with 3 games to play

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Barcelona won Laliga today, they remain unbeaten too

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Martin Keown getting his bonus payments from the rags before Wenger leaves, what a muppet


  12. I haven’t seen the game but apparently the refereeing was as biased/incompetent as usual? Whats new?

    The new manager will hardly have a budget anywhere close the size of United, City or Chelsea’s and without VAR to put a hold on these biased/incompetent referees. Yet he will be expected to walk on water and turn water into wine. Thank heavens i stopped believing in miracles a very long time ago.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Arsenal this season have given game time to young players (u21) – Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Nketiah, Willock, Sheaf, DaSilva, Macey and Mavrapanos, not forgetting Osei-Tutu has been unused sub too.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. shotta Nelson was fouled in the build up to the first goal, AMN denied a penalty, and utd got corner in build up to winner that went out off Young. No utd players booked.

    it was Riley type performance from Friend

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Jarsène Benger
    ‏ @gunnerpunner
    50s50 seconds ago

    Ainsley Maitland-Niles, a 20-year-old English midfielder, won Man of the Match today in a game that featured Aubameyang, Pogba, Lukaku & Alexis. Zero mention on MOTD. Imagine if that was a player from any other club. There’d be an hour-long tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. so did Wenger basically say Arsenal already have his replacement lined up, with his comment – “My successor certainly will have watched this game today”

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Considering some were predicting/fearing a pasting, a 2 – 1 defeat that was moments away from being a 1 – 1 draw is not too bad. Great to see some youngsters having a successful outing and I hope the next manager continues to give youth a chance since there is little prospect of a bottomless pot of money suddenly making an appearance. This is an important part of the legacy that he is leaving for the next man. I just hope the latter has the courage and vision to build on it.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. MOTD didn’t show much on the in the box foul type thing, nor the rotational fouling, as they wouldn’t with a limited slot
    Really hope Mikhi plays against Madrid, he makes a big difference, not the same player,but maybe in the way Cazorla did
    Sometimes self inflicted, sometimes inflicted by others. But we really are not a lucky team these days, apparently,we used to be known as lucky Arsenal in days gone by.


  19. Eddy @ 11:06 pm – Any wonder why the PGMOL is in no hurry to introduce VAR. It is well known that, unlike Germany where VAR is operated from a central location by an independent referee, the PGMOL wants to have VAR on the field of play allowing them to manage the decisions. Imagine a prosecutor being the Judge as well. The whole thing stinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Souness thinks Xhaka should have been sent off today,

    what you think

    Liked by 1 person

  21. shotta as you know I’ve been saying for some time that VAR might improve the game for some teams, but it won’t for Arsenal, as it will be just another couple of PGMOL guys helping the on field PGMOL guys to screw us over.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. so our remaining fixtures are

    Atletico Madrid – away on Thursday 3rd
    Burnley – home on Sunday 6th
    Leicester – away on Wednesday 9th
    Huddersfield – away on Sunday 13th
    Europa League Final if we reach it is – on Wednesday 16th

    a packed schedule that should mean lots of game time for the fringe players and the youth, I hope DaSilva, Osei-Tutu and Smith-Rowe all make their BPL debuts, would love it if Wenger is the one to give them their debut in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Shotts- could you tell me where you get your information on what the PMGO want on VAR and don’t want on VAR – I have been looking for some time for accurate information but cannot find any?

    There are various second hand sources that provide contradictory information- for example their preference for or reluctance toward pitch side monitors – but nothing I have read that is clear.


  24. Can imagine the likes of Dean retired from the pitch in some studio reviewing incidents for VAR.
    If Mike Riley is still in charge of refs, I wouldn’t trust anything in place unless audited by impartial observers from abroad not tainted by “English” type refereeing

    Liked by 3 people

  25. just had a long twitter to and fro with a guy who seems to think Arsenal did not spend much from 2002 – 2012 for the heck of it.
    You know Wenger failed to adapt to the changing times, and has been left behind, but despite claiming this he also claims he backs AW for sticking to his beliefs(Im not sure he knows what standing with AW means), as it was right thing to do.

    So fully understands the changing landscape with CFC and City, but cos AFC sold players for big bucks then this means we had that money to replace them with. and it was this that showed Wenger “failed to adapt”. So clear now, Wenger should have just outspent CFC when they arrived, and City now, after all we are Arsenal, we aint paupers, I really liked his point about how we started to win trophies again when we started to spend on the likes of ozil, alexis and cazorla.

    What I don’t understand is why didn’t Wenger just adapt by printing his own money, then we could have outspent all comers, fuck this refusing to spend for the sake of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Andy: Are you telling me the PGMO and the PL didn’t vote against introducing VAR in the 18-19 season? Never read the PGMO advocating for its earliest introduction. I may have missed that disclosure.

    As for management if VAR, most of the models being implemented (Bundesliga and MajorLeague) have an off the field referee and a team of assistants making the call. But England’s finest have been testing a model where the on-field ref runs over to the sideline and makes the call from an on-field TV set up. To use a legal analogy, the trial judge is his own judge on appeal. What a travesty of natural justice, a tradition that English people are so proud.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. shotta

    I don’t have a problem with the referee assessing the incident himself, though it seems a waste of time to me. It also seems strange that the PGMOL would not want more referees to have a job. But whatever. Italy has the ref running over to a screen. Their VAR chief has said that because there can sometimes be confusion, the VAR decisions that are changed will be shown on screen at the stadium.

    What is missing is some level of transparency though. In NBA, the refs go over to the screen and look at it. The replay center is managed by a central body, and after the decision is made, a ref/official from the replay centre will also appear on TV and explain why that call was made. Same in rugby where you can hear the ref tell the players why he made that decision.

    It’s simple enough. The football refs are already miked up. They also, surreptitiously, use someone from TV to tell them what to do (Thanks Jon ‘misguided’ Moss) But this information is too sensitive for us mere mortals to hear.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I am proud of the efforts by the young players yesterday. I enjoyed that game. I thought the young Greek played exactly how I thought he would, like a younger Koscielny, and for me, his partnership with Chambers is potentially like the Kos-Per partnership.

    I know people hate on Xhaka, and we support him here. But honestly, I don’t think he had a good game. Not a poor game, but definitely a rough game defensively. His defensive awareness is poor and he seems to try to make up for it by lunging into a tackle sometimes.

    A worry for me in this game was our weakness from an inswinging cross to the far post. Both goals came from it, as well as that offside goal from Rashford. I don’t know if that was only down to personnel, but Atletico will have been watching and will look to exploit it too.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Positivistas,
    what do you think of Michael Laudrup succeeding AW?

    Is he good enough?
    Is he passionate enough about managing?
    Its said he’s said @54 he’d be open to ONE more job.
    He’s never managed a big club but he could be tempted by the Arsenal ethos.
    He’d give us 4-5 years of intelligent Wengeresqueball after which any of the likes of Vieira, Arteta or Bergkamp could take over.

    Your thoughts??



  30. Napoli got an early red card to Koulibaly for DOGSO.. He was slightly unfortunate but probably the right decision. They lost 3-0 with all three goals scored by Diego Simeone’s son, Giovanni.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Oh no. Bad news guys.

    Brendan Rodgers is not interested in the Arsenal job.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Aman.

    A big no to Laudrup from me. Not just because of his lack of motivation, or his time away from the European game where he was never elite anyway.

    But for me, to move on from Wenger there are only two ways. You either appoint a young manager and build from there, or you appoint an elite manager and hope to jumpstart the team. I prefer the first option and think it more likely. Laudrup is somewhere between the two and I think that will not help us at all.

    Think about it for a moment. Arsenal replace Wenger with Laudrup. Why not just continue with Wenger? Where’s the upside?

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Chambers really good yesterday. Plus the debutant. Very encouraging.

    AW blooding the kids for next season and the new manager. Top class as always.

    looks like there isn’t going to be a half a billion pound spending spree when the new gaffer gets the nod. Who could’ve predicted that!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Shotta, anicol

    Having a look through old bookmarks but haven’t found the bits and bobs about VAR I expected yet. There’s an oldie here which talks through a lot of general detail about VAR.

    About 90% sure the model everywhere, including when used in uk so far, is to have VAR official/s watching in studio and pitchside setup for on-field ref to look at if advised or he deems necessary himself.

    May have read article wrong but think that applies in Germany,too.

    Something that stands out is that Germany went all in on it immediately. Appears they set up something purpose-built for VAR

    ‘Hawk-Eye and Evertz, the two companies that help run the technology, have set up four VAR boxes next to each other with big screens to follow the action.’


    Our trial set up is, I’m pretty sure, not as advanced. We have been borrowing facilities from some company that does the premier league worldwide broadcasts.

    At least it’s not being done-so far- from the studios in Salford pgmol -Dermot Gallagher specifically- currently use to review matches live, in order to provide support to media partners,etc. They share those studios with Motd so it’s all very cosy there.


    Liked by 1 person

  35. This is a good little bit on VAR, from FIFA head honcho. Doesn’t really need comment but it underlines how pathetic the discussion of VAR has been here, and how much better it would be if there was just a reasonable amount of intelligence and fair-mindedness to it.

    Deliberately or not, the public has been failed badly in the coverage and debate over VAR


    In an interview published in this month’s edition of the Fifa magazine, the governing body’s president, Gianni Infantino, said he was braced for VAR controversies in Russia.

    “I am sure that soon we will reach a stage in which VARs are part and parcel of the game and its flow,” he said.

    “Right now, while technology is still a novelty in football, every single incident draws attention and is dissected like an anomaly – unlike the many seconds that we have grown used to wasting, say, in between free-kicks or throw-ins.

    “Will there still be mistakes? Absolutely. Unavoidable ones. An important component of football refereeing is subjective, and for that we will always have to count on human judgement, which is fallible by nature – even more so when under enormous pressure.

    “However, we have an obligation to provide match officials with all of the tools they need to help them take decisions as accurately as possible.

    “And, yes, we will be ready for controversy. Whenever people care about something as much as they do about football, there will always be discussion.

    “Football could either expose itself to a brand new controversy – arising from a willingness to improve the game – or settle for an existing, inert one. I am happy we chose the former.”

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Shard

    Very promising debut from Mavropanos and Chambers looked good alongside him.

    Had me thinking about our discussion of taller cbs when a ball drifted to back post yesterday and had the look of one their player would get to- before Mavropanos, straining and jumping backwards, got his head to it.

    Could be confirmation bias or the like but it felt like one where that little bit of extra height made the difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. New post up

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Shard

    There’s a proven model for VARs used in England, in the national Hockey League. Refs miked up for the crowds and viewers. Witnessed at the Olympic Stadium*, alongside other witchcraft and sacrificial cockerels – but hey, those clucking birds, adimirable eh, at least they put the pressure on! Unlike some leaderless bottlers and their three cups in four years.

    *Also known by it’s other name: The Big Boris Johnson of a Stadium)

    Why it would anyone wanting to support the officials on the field of play ignore that? And have a series of news reports being nothing but critical of systems that have been used in sports for thirty years now? Beats me! Ha. Ha. Ha.

    “Game management”

    Mwah my darlings! No need to be so critical when we’re all so Luvvied up.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Shard,
    Fair enough. I like your take on it.
    But based on what I saw him do at Swansea, do you not think Laudrup would win La Liga if he was handed the same Barca squad Pep & Enrique were handed?
    Names like Enrique & Mourinho built their CVs on their management of big rich clubs with great players.(Even AVB got the opportunity)
    With Laudrup’s class & intelligence and with strong support from ownership, I can’t accept he’d be that much worse than Enrique or Mourinho @ any of the “big” teams.

    But I guess from a PR, instant gratification, spotlight-on-CV perspective he’d be deemed unworthy…oh well.


  40. Aman

    I don’t think AFC would go near Laudrup, not unless the Kronkes (the Crankees?) change the way they are running the club. Which is the big unknown for now though the team selection yesteray is a strong signal of intent from The Arsenal.


    Liked by 1 person

  41. fins,
    “He brought a freedom to his players that initially flourished, but he could not arrest the slide when it began. As far as Swansea City were concerned, all that glitters was not gold for the man who delivered silverware.”

    Cold be said about AW.
    Too similar to risk I guess…
    Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Not a reasonable comparison Aman.

    During AWs “slide”, as you quote, he brought home three Fa cups in four years becoming the record Fa cup winning manager.

    That is: Gold. That glitters.

    Also. Laudraup fell out because his Agent and the club had some kind of disagreement.
    A manager with an agent is the inverse opposite of an Arsene Wenger.

    Not the right reference. Not for AFC.
    A realistic suggestion would be Manuel Pellegrini. There are others.

    Laudrup won’t even make the shortlist given that his agent fell out with a club that has a vaguely similar model to The Arsenal.

    Never going to happen. You can bet your bottom bet365 dollar on that one my good friend.

    On that note I learnt this week that Swansea legend Leon Britton was not let go by AFC as a youth player but chose to leave and move to West Ham. Think he would’ve had competition against the likes of Fabregas so maybe a wise move but he himself said in hindsight it was the wrong move. However he’s another good footballer who has had a good career starting at the Arsenal.


    Liked by 2 people

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