Arsenal: The game of three halves


Good Morning Positive Arsenal fans,

A bit grey and blustery up on the Norfolk coast this morning, the Autumn beckons.

Our two stiff opening games are complete and I am satisfied with the performances. I had no complaints about the City defeat but I am a little disappointed that yesterday, after investing so much in the match, we did not collect the point we deserved.

Of the game itself it was the classic three halfer, or possibly more. The first phase saw Chels tear us smoothly into strips and what opportunities we created we squandered. At 2-0 it looked as through a dreadful afternoon was on the cards. Then phase two and finally we hit the target and broke our PL scoring duck, which caused the home side to wobble and we tore into them. The home crowd were silenced for the only time in the afternoon. Finally a second half where we wee pushed back and pushed back, to CFC’s credit s they were pretty good. We resisted stoutly, but the addition of Hazard gave them just that little extra spark as we were tiring. At 3-2 we had another, final chance of redemption, but Laca  could just not pick up the rebound as Kepa spilled Ramsey’s shot – fine margins, fine margins.

Of our good performances I was massively impressed yet again with Matteo. He has  earned his starting place and his energy and willingness to be involved in everything is exactly what we need. I thought Nacho had a good game too considering it is ages since he kicked a ball, Torreira too and Cech pulled off a string of important saves. Hector ran and ran and ran. I offer the young Spaniard an encouraging arm around the shoulder.

Of mild controversy  during the game on social media, I thought Emry’s substitutions were spot on. To have gone to 10 men would have been terminal, and the baying Stamford Bridge mob were all over Xhaka. I cannot recall Ozil being withdrawn for tactical reasons but we needed more physical presence so Aaron’s arrival was right and referring back to my “fine margins” chance at the end the Welshman could, on another day, have been decisive.

What is gone is gone however and the important work this week will be toward sharpening out goal scoring weapons for the arrival of the ‘Ammers  on Saturday. If our opening two games have been fixtures we anticipated might yield few if any points (well I did anyway) Pelligrini’s misfiring rabble must be the Premier League meat we feed on and build our  strength.

There is always work to do. Enjoy Sunday.

268 comments on “Arsenal: The game of three halves

  1. You B****** Rich – I’m going to have you for that !!


  2. I have no problem with people arguing, as it would be a little like the pot and the kettle. I am not having threats issued and personal abuse. We are better than that, and Positively Arsenal is better than that.

    There are subjects upon which two reasonable men/women can hold opposing views, discuss and promote those views, but at the end of the conversation accept that their opponent’s view is valid, albeit still ‘wrong’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If anyone issues threats of violence on Positively Arsenal, I’ll kick their fucking heads in.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. anicoll

    What could I do? Smiley faces are banned and I’m not a ‘lol’ sort of person.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How’s everyone planning to follow action Saturday by the way?

    3-o-clock kick off isn’t it?

    Got impression there’s been a big clamp down on streams and I never had much luck with them anyway.

    When I was a kid, I’d often manage to avoid scores till match of the day but in recent times always crack early, have a look, then another, another, maybe pace the garden a bit…

    Believe a lot of countries allow to watch all prem games live- America at least- so enjoy all who can do that.

    I find non-top-six games tend to be radically different from facing the best sides so don’t feel the two games so far are that much of a guide for the weekend’s game.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mentioned on here couple of weeks back I looked at a Le Grove blog and was surprised how mediocre it was (for someone who garnered a big following)

    One of the points that caught my eye was him going on about Guendouzi’s excellent burst of speed, or something like that. For all he’s impressed me, I wasn’t convinced on that front, and thought his running style looked quite languid.

    Well, results are in, look away Le Grove! Xhaka edged him in speed tests, and Elneny and Torreira while he was at it.

    Slightly concerningly, the four centre mids were bottom of the tests.

    Results are all quite interesting. Sokratis a bit faster than I thought (more like what I’d thought in first place). Danny sensibly holding back a bit from full sprint.

    Mustafi, Lichteiner, Torreira fitting with my image of them as 100% sort of characters.

    Also fits with my impression we need an extra speed merchant or two in team- offensively and defensively. Would’ve been good to see how Nelson, Smith-Rowe and Eddie did if taking part. Ainsley we can be sure would have pushed for a high spot.


    Liked by 3 people

  7. Surprisingly our central defenders were quite highly placed.
    I think that the reason Le Grove has so many followers is because he (Pedro) doesn’t monitor his comments section thorouly enough and allows them to troll each other as they feel fit. It’s all about hits with him. Shame, as it can be quite a witty read sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. thoroughly

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Abandoned legrove long time ago
    Follow PA and UA only.

    Firmly believe LGroan is an anti Arsenal blog with the sole objective to decimate Arsenal and Wenger and spew negativity about the club.

    I guess it will turn against Unai Emery as well sooner than later . A bunch of spoiled kids.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m sure you’re right (rolling eyes smiley)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rich
    Le Groan of Usmanov knows even less about the footy then Phil Neville!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. If you look up the word “cretin” in the Oxfoed dictionary you get a reference to that lame scribbler/parasite in far right rags that people wouldn’t pay money to read (we all have our ambitions I suppose…).

    Nothing more then an earlier iteration of the clickbait model that was followed by AFTV and the other blaggers.

    You’ve all read AI code that have had more wit and insight on the Football.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anyone here ever thought about starting “positively Arsenal tv”? At first bite its sounds wonk, but why not?
    Podcasts are interesting, but it could be a way of countering the cheesy memes that the Wobsters create that seems to get into peoples minds like:
    Özil is lazy
    George Graham was a real man and Wenger wasnt!
    hes a dinosaur!
    spend some &%$§!’*ß money!
    the specialist in failure!
    Every AFC player was kack except the Invincibles.
    Must win at all costs..

    etc etc etc.

    A: you do it Dave we are too busy.

    A: but I have more of a radio face…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. fins

    Fear not, knew long ago he wasn’t my cuppa.

    My surprise was more how ordinary it seemed. Not much different to your average know-it-all, slightly deranged, ‘dictator!’, woe-is-Arsenal type.

    I thought there’s have to be something extra there to get the bigger audience and a paying gig. Maybe the missing thing was the big man to have a go at.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dave

    Think one of the problems would be that at the heart of what a lot of us think here is a healthy dose of ‘[after expounding for a while or a long while]…but what do I know?’ , or at least an admittance that there are things we don’t know, can’t know, shouldn’t know, and that they could easily be important (though we don’t know by how much!)

    In tv terms I think that’s almost always a distinct disadvantage, or at least in any debate type format.

    Also think there’s an again healthy quantity of e.g. ‘but it really is early’, ‘it’s one game’, ‘got to try separate performance from result’, ‘finances dammit, look at the finances’

    Though I think (‘I think’? That’d have to go- ‘I know, I know’, though the words don’t need to be included) all that sort of stuff is sensible, and a big draw for this place, even I worry about how it translates to the big screen/platform.

    I’ve thought plenty in past about how my sort of politician ought to talk like that a lot, admitting uncertainty honestly and often, their own limitations and so forth… but how that good intention must come under so much pressure with the need to convince, combatting the enemies with their generally more appealing and strong-seeming certitude.

    Maybe I’m a bad person to ask though as I can only imagine myself botching things in front of a camera, losing my cool and mental faculties quickly if someone antagonised me…whereas with writing I feel there’s more of a chance of saying what I mean.

    Hail to the blog and comments section!!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Great post Rich. Some very interesting points.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. afcstuff@afcstuff
    4h4 hours ago

    Emery on Koscielny’s return: “It’s difficult to know. You look at him this morning, he’s running, he’s working on the pitch. The progress is very good progress.” #afchttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/DlSiPvjX0AALItO.jpg

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Team news from Arsenal’s medical team.
    Laurent Koscielny: “Right Achilles tendon repair. Aiming to return to training in November.”
    Carl Jenkinson: “Significant sprain to right ankle. Aiming to return to training in November.”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Team news from Arsenal’s medical team.
    Sead Kolasinac: “Left knee injury. Aiming to return to training in October.”
    Ainsley Maitland-Niles: “Small fracture to left fibula. Aiming to return to training in November.”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Klopp on all the continued digs coming the way of Mesut Ozil from Germany (and Bayen Munich).
    “Normally, intelligent people tend to hold back because it is not easy to say the right thing. All those who have no idea are very loud in these conversations.”

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Every word of Emery’s West Ham press conference
    Rob Kelly 23 Aug 2018

    Unai Emery was asked about a range of topics when he sat down with the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of the West Ham United match.

    Our head coach was asked about the style of play he is trying to implement, the team’s form and Jack Wilshere’s return to Emirates Stadium.

    Here is a complete transcript of what he said:

    on how different West ham will be…
    In our process, we are going 38 matches [in total] against all the teams. Whether you are playing against Manchester City, it’s the same as if you’re playing against West Ham on Saturday. There are three points on this game. It’s clear that every game demands different things tactically. After the first two matches, we have two defeats and we need to win this match against West Ham. The difficulty is in this game because West Ham are a good team with good players and a good coach. They know the Premier League very well and they have a lot of new players. We are thinking in our way and about our work to create our ideas and our system on Saturday with our supporters at the Emirates. I think it’s very important to show them a better performance than in the two first matches. We are preparing well, I am feeling well when I look at the players in training every day.

    on Iwobi’s goal summing up the way he wants his team to play…
    We want to go forward and score. Maybe we can do it directly with one long pass or by progressing with the passes, controlling possession to [help us] win the games. We can find a goal like on Saturday against Chelsea, or with less passes on the pitch. For me what’s important is that all the players know how to [use] the ball in each match and that they use the [ball in] the best moment or the best way to attack against the opponents.

    on if Koscielny is ahead of schedule…
    He’s working very hard. First he was in France. He came back to us last Sunday. We are happy to have him here with us, because he’s our captain and he’s showing us his spirit to stay with us. We need to be patient with him because the injury was an important injury. It’s clear that it’s very important to stay with us, working here and showing us that he wants to help us.

    on when he could play…
    It’s difficult to know. You look at this morning, he’s running, he’s working on the pitch. The progress is very good progress.

    on if he’s happy to change his style based on the opponent…
    My idea is first control, but the opposition want the same. With this control, you can be near to win and then know when you need to change the rhythm. I know we need intensity in every moment in the games. This control is to not let the opposition play. For example in the two first matches, we didn’t have the control [enough – only in some moments, but not like what we need to find to win. Saturday is another match, tactically it will be different. It will be demanding and I want to have more control to find the win in this match.

    on if he will change his formation…
    We are working on different situations tactically. In the first we are playing with four at the back, then we have two and one, and one and two. With two and one, it is like a 4-2-3-1 and one, two, is for a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-3-3. We have players who train in this system. The moment on the pitch is different. If we need to improve in this mobility, the quality is very important, but also how the player is moving on the pitch. I think with two systems, we can continue to progress and think about winning the next match.

    on if he could play with two up front on Saturday…
    At the moment, no. At the moment, I think we need to have the control with the possession, with the positioning on the pitch, with more players inside. And after this possession, to do the attacking moments and defending moments with this balance. But, it is one possibility to continue in our progress and in one moment to try also to play with two scorers. In the last match of the pre-season, against Lazio, I did it with Lacazette and Nketiah. But also, this position also for the players, they know that in one moment we can do that. But at the moment, no.

    on Jack Wilshere returning…
    I spoke with him for 15 minutes here in Colney before he left. The first thing for me is I have respect for his career here. And then, he chooses what the best was for him in his future. It’s for that, on Saturday, I know that here, the supporters like him and have this respect also. I think there is a good reception for him here. Then we are going to play and we are going to think after that, for us to win. But, I [hope] the best for his career.

    on Aubameyang and his form in training…
    The first is to create chances, situations and attacking moments where the player arrive in the box and with the balance to use the small space the opposition gives us. And then, I am sure they are going to score if we create a lot of chances in the game. The first idea for us on Saturday is to create these chances and then the players’ confidence for starting to arrive in the box, to score. Maybe the players can not score three good chances in one match and on another day, I am sure they are going to do maybe the same chances in one match and score three. For that, Aubameyang is a player who, in his career, has scored a lot and he is going to do that here also.

    Copyright 2018 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Thats a sharp one from Klopp, sums it up nicely! Except some wont be happy about being called out…

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Lopez, Greenwood and Hein sign as scholars
    Arsenal Media 23 Aug 2018

    Joel Lopez, Sam Greenwood and Karl Hein have signed as first year scholars.

    Joel joined us from Barcelona earlier this year. The 16-year-old left-back is a product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy, where he played a key part in the under-16 side before leaving the club.

    Sam has joined us from Sunderland, where he featured as a striker in both the under-16 and under-18 sides. The 16-year-old England international scored six goals and provided six assists for Sunderland’s under-18 side in the league last season.

    Karl has signed from FC Nomme United. The 16-year-old goalkeeper plays for the Estonian national team at under-17 level.

    We would like to congratulate Joel, Sam and Karl on their contracts.

    Copyright 2018 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Angry fans mad I dared mention that their point of view was miss aligned ,
    Why because Pep ‘Stone clod said so!’ Guardiola told them their opinion,
    I am accused of being a straw man or I have a chip on my sholuder
    Make your minds up.
    Or Pep has not given you your thoughts yet


  25. Is there no place free from petty arguing and bickering these days?

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Can anyone explain to me why the team that finished 4th in last year’s league isn’t having to play a qualifier for the Champions league? I am sure we had to do that whenever we came 4th.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Wwwb

    Is English not your first language? I don’t ask that with disrespect. I’m just seeking to make sense of how you can so consistently fail to understand what someone else is saying. (Straw man, but maybe you really think it’s about Pep?)

    I also think you’re way too quick to take disrespect even when it isn’t meant, and then don’t hold back from lashing out. (Chip on your shoulder) Maybe you can explain that one, but it just seems like you’re making a mountain out of a molehill and choosing to die on it, if I may be allowed to mix metaphors.

    Actually, thinking back on your arguments, maybe you just think things have to be one way or another. That Arteta MUST be a bad choice just because he’s not a GREAT choice. As I recall, you talked about testing apps. I find that sometimes intelligent and scientific/empirical oriented people struggle to deal with uncertainty outside their models. (Difference between theory and practice)

    So, accepting that Arteta has no experience of managing, and accepting that it is a risk, do you think it is entirely impossible that given his experience and the opinions of his teammates and of top managers he could do well?

    In any case, your answer isn’t important. The conclusion here is unknown and unknowable.(and a moot point) What is important that the uncertainty is accounted for and acknowledged as represented by the different opinions.

    The rest, I don’t know why you are so angry all the time, and after all this time. But my annoyance towards you stemmed from your seemingly intentional misrepresentation of the arguments against your conclusion, in favour of playing a martyr without cause.

    PS. Just to clarify. This is an olive branch. Peace.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Another change of rules to favour the big clubs FH – the broadcasters need to ensure as many well supported clubs from countries with large viewing populations get into the group stage.


  29. FH. Uefa changed the rules, two years ago I think. Or maybe it was further back than that. But it’s automatic qualification now. No qualifiers from the major leagues. I think they increased the number of qualifiers from smaller countries as a means to get the vote through, but don’t remember the process exactly.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Thanks for clearing that up. So 4th really is like a trophy nowadays.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. How dare the PL mess with my Saturday mid afternoon routine & put tomorrow’s relegation battle on at 3pm. I’m not even sure if my streaming service does these matches, so it looks like I’ll have to do a ‘likely lads’ & wait for MOD.
    Enjoy the game however you watch it.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. John Wall Street is reporting #Arsenal have agreed a five-year $385m contract with Adidas ($77m per year) that will be effective from next season. It is the 3rd highest in the kit manufacturing industry, just behind Barca’s Nike & MUFC’s Adidas.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. That’s interesting news Ed – and slightly chimes with the comments made by Gary Neville the other evening when he suggested that Emery was trying to build a side and a style that would challenge for major honours. If Arsenal are really the busted flush that some are trying to suggest then I doubt Adidas would be that interested – nor that Neville would take such a stance. I feel sure that once the season gets into a rhythm of pretty much two games a week his team will start to make real progress and we will all become more familiar with the Arsenal playing the Emery way.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Ivan’s parting gift? Or did Sanhelli do the heavy lifting?

    Good deal, though as always it’s cyclical. We’re the 3rd highest. By the time we’re up for renewal other teams would have overtaken us. But that’s how it works I guess.

    I think we really need to make the CL, just to regain that prestige (and money) which will allow us to compete at/near the top again.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Its often a strange time the beginning of the season:firstly everyone’s been starved of their club during the summer and are really glad to be back, a place to touch base, with friends and less than friends alike. Then summer season analysis seems to be so in depth that every blade of grass is looked at. And the sun is still shining, and will do for a bit, then once we get deeper into October things change a bit.
    Im not a betting person, but I wouldnt bet on anyone at this point of the calendar. No matter what Mr. Merson says.
    I like Emery, the way he wants to build on what AW did, and then add a bit himself, I think he wants a slightly tougher side. The secret game v Crystal Palace proved that ( did that really happen?). I like the way that even when Auba missed the sitter he still applauded and encouraged him to get at it. Thats the moment when players need the manger (but even more so the fans)to help them, to keep the anger and shame at bay , and get hungry again and stay focussed.
    Lets face it with the talent weve got, and its in all positions, if this side clicks then everyone needs to watch out, as they could steam roller the kack out of everyone-just a case of getting the psychology right and then the machine rolling. Not an easy thing, but…
    I think Pep-mint and Kloppa-castle are keeping an eye on Unai and the Gunners, as ManUre and Chelsea are too much floating around incircles in their own camps, Im sure they sense AFC are the unknown true quantity?

    Quote of the day from West Ham fan t v today:

    ” the only problem with coming over to Arsenal is that you have to come through Tottenham”.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Glint of hope for Nwakali getting a work permit next year- called up to full Nigeria squad today, as was Semi Ajayi!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I see Jose is going off his head again – marvellous

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Wilshere (bless his bandy little legs) says that: ‘It’s down to me to prove that Arsenal were wrong to get rid of me.’
    Did we?
    I thought he left of his own accord at the end of his contract on a Bosman.
    I’ll be pleased to see him though & hope he has a good season (not starting tomorrow) and gets his England spot back.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Rich wasn’t there talk that the Nwakali deal had a buy option in it


  40. Arsenal U23’s to face West Ham U23’s away,
    Olowu, Pleguezuelo, Ballard, Bola,
    Gilmour, Willock,
    Smith Rowe, Amaechi, Nelson,
    Subs: Hein, Medley, Olayinka, Saka, John-Jules

    Liked by 1 person

  41. live stream for the u23 game on west ham twitter

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, 1-0 to the Arsenal

    Liked by 2 people

  43. captain fantastic Pleguezuelo makes it 2-0 after 33 minutes

    Liked by 1 person

  44. disgraceful tackle on Eddie Nketiah, and west ham no.2 lucky to only get a yellow

    Liked by 1 person

  45. HT: West Ham U23’s 0-2 Arsenal U23’s

    Nketiah and Pleguezuelo with the goals. AFC solid at the back and on top in midfield and attack so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. early second half goal for WHU, to cut the lead to 2-1

    Liked by 1 person

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