Arsenal: Lisbon Legs Eleven


Good evening POSITIVE Arsenal fans,

A very pleasant early evening selection served up by our lads. By no means a faultless performance but a comfortable win, the six changes led to no serious loss of performance, and not too physically taxing. Forget the arithmetic, we have successfully negotiated the Europa League group stage and we are in the next round. And it is still not the end of October. The draw is on the 17th December. Tune in.

Of the detail a patchy first half from us. On a couple of occasions, the home side threatened Bernd’s goal without ever forcing a proper save out of him. They had a run of corners that needed our full concentration. We had the majority of possession but did not open up Sporting and their keeper had just two serious stops to make.

As happens so often this season after half time we came out like a team with half a yard more pace and duly cut our hosts open, twice from  Auba and once Danny rampant in three minutes, only or Ribeiro (good keeper) to thwart is twice and the heel of a defender to foil the Welbeast. The momentum of the game had been seized by us however and we dominated the whole of the second half. Leno had almost nothing to do. In contrast to our busy first half Holding and Sokratis had no work in the second 45. The Lisbon side barely crossed he half way line. I have no idea what the possession statistics said but it much have been 70/30.

I could tell Sporting were in trouble then first their keeper then Acuna ( another decent player I thought) collapsed to the turf for 2-3 minute injury breaks following the most innocuous of touches. Come on lads, it is 0-0 – you are at home, give it a bit of a go ffs.

The goal, when it finally arrived, was the result of an error by Coates but he had been under pressure all night and eventually he snapped. A professional finish from Danny. Mild irritation on my part, perfectionist that I am,  that we did not add another just to make it 100% but hey ho, game won, qualification assured.


Man of the Match ?? Oooohh – ummm – sucks teeth —- oh give it to Lichsteiner. I enjoy his combination of footballing talent and roguish cynicism.

Lively atmosphere in the stadium – a bit difficult to believe these are the same fans who stormed the training ground and threatened the players over the Summer. As for the statistic that Sporting had not lost at home since September 2017 and in 36 games ? Now that is a surprise.

On we go to the round dozen – Enjoy Thursday, Friday and Saturday.






46 comments on “Arsenal: Lisbon Legs Eleven

  1. Yep, that sums it all up.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Still can’t rustle up huge enthusiasm for European games, I think it’s the rampant cynicism of so many Euro sides and the never-ending supply of referees willing to buy it all. I mean, Welbeck’s disallowed goal, for heavens sake.

    But this could so easily have been our first defeat in eleven, but in taking our first ever victory on Portuguese soil, we passed another test, laid down another marker, added yet more momentum and, dare I say it, a sense, almost, of expectation.

    No idea what they are smoking up at Colney but something is definitely happening.

    Nice write up, as well, perfectly summarised, as ever.

    Okay, onwards and, er, onwards we go!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It felt like a lower key version of some of the very efficient Champion League away games that AW used to manage to perfection. What a useful guy dat Danny is to have around.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Alexander Hleb is 37 years old, and still a very good player. Oh for what might have been.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hleb was missed… one of those that i dont get why he left…. still rememebr that midfield of him cesc and Rosicky… hmnn… with Eduardo and adebayor up font… that time was really nice….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m going to stick my neck out and say Hleb, Rosicky Fabregas and Framini was the best MF we have had.What a joy to watch that was.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A fantastic result and a clean sheet. And we get away with some skullduggery as well when Sokratis was at his cynical best. It seems what we’ve been missing is a few players not shy of the dark arts step forward The Greek and Lich.
    Danny was excellent hard working and an excellent goal. Would have liked to see Emile come in as Ramsey was under par.
    Best moment was Auba tracking back and putting in a sliding tackle as the game was petering away.
    Lich for man of the match I’ll take that.
    Jay Leno though we finally have a goal keeper that feels the void left by Chezny!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. george
    i’ve only been following arsenal since 1998. for you to say that about hleb cesc rosicky and flamini? then i’m happy i havnt missed much! hleb is certainly the best dribbler i’ve seen at arsenal.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/26/arsenal-star-mesut-ozil-rubbishes-arsene-wengers-concerns-about-his-motivation-8076233/

    Apart from the mindless and inaccurate legacy trashing nature of this article, interested to note Mesut gets ” aggressive and pissed during training”
    Maybe we really have got our Arsenal back, that sounds very old school

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yeah PG… Forgot to add my guy Flamini to that mix….very crucial part.

    Hleb, Cesc, Rosicky, Flamin….Hmmn… All missed

    we have had versions of them… but that class of 08, that was cut shot by injuries to Eduardo and Rosicky…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks Andy

    I’ve been scolded for making one or two predictions such as the one from the Summer about Germany entering an obvious and easy to predict funk for an unknown period after the exhibition of self-harm, but you are right in my opinion, progress through to the next stage confirmed for the Arsenal is as obvious as Germany or any football team at any level struggling with no spirit in the camp (not really a result of their manager’s actions either…).

    Three points in the toughest fixture of the Group stage?
    Clean sheet away from home?
    One nil to the Arsenal?


    Liked by 2 people

  12. So glad the team is marching on… victory to victory… way to go… 1 – Nil to the Arsenal all the way to end of season… will take it all the way!

    A few sprinklings of 3 or 4 NILs will be cheery on the cake

    Liked by 2 people

  13. TFL

    That may be true from the last two seasons but prior to that we had Arteta who was so good, never putting a hair out of place, a different style to Litchsteiner’s shouty method that many Arsenal fans, esteemed blaggers and all, couldn’t spot his gamesmanship.
    Friends I watch footy with affectionately called the artful midfield general and trophy doubt ending captain the Dark Prince and it was a fitting nickname for such a top player.

    Which leads us nicely towards Torreira. Fantastic signing for what I refer to with affection as Ivan’s Team. People have been critical of AW getting gazumped on Kante by Chelsea, for not being able to snag such a top talent in that position during the austerity years (we can only charitaby conclude that such people have had a lobotomy?) but even in today’s money £20M for an unknown from Sampdoria (not the same as signing a known player like Salah from Roma) is serious money on a rare talent.

    And Torreira is only just settling in. Like the rest of team under the new gaffer.

    The team/squad which is adapting to the huge massive change of playing with two regular CMs as opposed to just occasionaly (I know! Evolution over Revolution. Who could imagine a proven manager and self-declared student of the old gaffer/guru like our new gaffer Emery being so smart? Not your average blagger with a Narrative that they’ve been flogging to death for several years it appears…)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ‘drought ending’ > ‘doubt ending’ though as an accidental typo/autocorrect it has some meaning too.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A 2-0 or 3-0 result last night would have been a fair measure of the gap between the teams.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I like the look of this Leno too, TFL. For all of Petr Cech’s obvious ability and experience, it never felt quite right to me to have him in our side, though he has more than done us proud on occasions. I think Leno has a touch of madness about him, and I can sense him growing as this side grows: I really want him to do well and I hope he gets in enough good games before he makes the invevitable mistakes that eventually all keepers will.

    Yesterday evening was interesting and showed to me how much we have come to rely on both Bellerin and Monreal as attacking forces. Guendouzi is seemingly very central to the team – he seems always to be at the heart of the celebrations and when he came on in the Leicester match it was noticable how much he added in terms of urgency. He found it harder yesterday without the big guns round him, but still kept showing and prompting. He is much better than I thought he was going to be and it will be interestng to see how he progresses.

    And good old Danny Welbeck, hustling and bustling as ever, despite running with all the pride and wobbliness of a young giraffe on newly discovered legs, though crucially posied and balanced when it mattered. What a well taken goal but heaven alone knows what must go through the mind of a United supporter when comparing that to the current tribulations of Lukaku.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Poised, not posied, though he deserved any garlands coming his way…

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Got to believe there’s a key detail or three missing from what we’re told of the Ramsey situation.

    As always, I suspect the agent.

    The latest quote I just glanced over from Ramsey repeats that the offer was there, he expected to sign it, and then ‘something’ happened, but he doesn’t know what.

    I don’t buy it. Withdrawing the offer without explaining why would be outrageous behaviour towards any player let alone one of Ramsey’s standing, and surely it would leave said player utterly furious with club, which he doesn’t appear to be.

    If it is mr whatever per cent (Can’s boys apparently got an incredible 16 mill for his move to Juve!!!) who pulled some manoeuvre late on which led to things breaking down, I still figure Ramsey would demand an explanation from him and/or the club as to what happened, mind.

    Doesn’t make sense as the story stands. You’d demand to know, wouldn’t you, if you wanted to sign and believed it was about to happen, surely?

    Not me having a go at Ramsey, though I am always suspicious of agents.

    Does anyone disagree and think it’s plausible that the club simply changed their mind about what they were willing to offer, withdrew it, without letting agent and client know their exact thinking, and then client/Ramsey said, ‘oh well, damn, gutted,etc, but that’s football, c’est la vie’, without insisting on knowing why and where it had broken down?

    It’s a lot easier for agent and player to talk in this situation than it is club, in fact I’d say it’s pretty impossible for the club to say anything much about it.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. While I would be only too happy to point the finger at the agent sometimes, despite both sides acting in good faith and keen to get a deal done, it just won’t go over the line. My suspicion has always been there was a date on the offer, and it lapsed.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Do I have a shred of evidence to support that explanation? I do not.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Anyone any idea on Danny’s contract situation? Know it runs out soon.
    He has been doing well for the team

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Arsenal FC
    ‏Verified account @Arsenal
    54m54 minutes ago

    🔜 #AFCU23 are back in #PL2 action tonight

    📝 Here’s how we line up against @SwansOfficial

    Starting XI: Iliev, Pleguezuelo (C), Ballard, Medley, Thompson, Smith, Gilmour, Maitland-Niles, Olayinka, Coyle, Nketiah

    Subs: Okonkwo, Sheaf, Bramall, Tormey, Saka

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Swansea City AFC
    ‏Verified account @SwansOfficial
    1m1 minute ago

    41′ | GREAT HEADER!!! 👏

    @BrandCooper heads #SwansU23s in front from @tylerreid47’s cross!

    💻 Watch LIVE! 👉 http://bit.ly/2DZ621f

    ⚪️ 1 – 0 🔴 | #PL2


  24. Swansea City AFC
    ‏Verified account @SwansOfficial
    46s47 seconds ago

    78′ | Goal…

    @Arsenal equalise as Gilmour’s shot deflects past Benda.

    💻 Watch LIVE! 👉 http://bit.ly/2DZ621f

    ⚪️ 1 – 1 🔴 | #PL2

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I think both views are correct that Ramsey knows why the contract was withdrawn (if he genuinely doesn’t then he needs another agent) and that a time limit was on the table for him to sign. He didn’t the club called his (or his agents bluff) and clearly he wasn’t expecting that.
    If this is to be revived then I doubt he will get what was on offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Swansea City AFC
    ‏Verified account @SwansOfficial
    14m14 minutes ago

    There goes the final whistle…

    #SwansU23s 1 – 1 @Arsenal U23s | #PL2

    Liked by 1 person

  27. A matter of hours after getting home from our win in Lisbon, Unai Emery was back at the training ground to prepare the players for our next test – a Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.

    Our head coach took a training session and then made his way to the media facilities to face the cameras and reporters.

    Read on for a full transcript of Unai’s pre-match briefing.

    on whether our run has taken him by surprise…
    Maybe it’s one process but we need to be very demanding of ourselves to improve and also when we are winning, we need to look at where we can improve tactically to progress individually and collectively. We do this with tactical things and by taking a lot of confidence, by taking a lot of responsibility and showing a lot of ambition to keep our demands very high in order to improve. It’s true that we’ve won the last matches, but each match is very important for us and very difficult for us. It’s important that we don’t stop and that we continue to work every day and keep up our concentration for each match, to do that with high intensity.

    on what he thought the squad needed most when he first arrived…
    I think the first thing we spoke about when I arrived here was to improve our competitiveness, both individually and collectively as a team. We are doing that. Step by step, I think the team is more competitive and we are not giving the opposition a lot of chances to score easy goals. At the moment, we are conceding a lot more than we want to but in the last matches, we are learning to control games better, little by little. Also, we are not losing. The most important thing is that these players and this team, like over the last few years, have this combination of quality and competitiveness. Then we can finish with a lot of players in the opposition box. This is the balance between being more competitive and not losing our identity and style. We also need to keep that identity in this team.

    on whether Palace are a better side than their results have shown…
    When I was in France and in Spain, I would sometimes watch the Premier League and Crystal Palace is a team that doesn’t have a lot of big names in it, like the best teams in the Premier League. But they have very good players and produce very good performances. You watch it and say, ‘These players are very good and they have a very big level to play against the best teams’. Now I am here and I am watching, and I know that Crystal Palace is a very good team with very good players, with a very good coach and a lot of experience in the Premier League. For us, the respect is very big. I think they deserve more points in the Premier League and they deserve to be higher in the table, and for us it’s about having the respect and then preparing well for this match if we are to beat them.

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    Five of our best goals away at Crystal Palace

    on this being the kind of opposition to prove ourselves against…
    We want to think about the next matches and our improvement comes from not resting in our analysis after we win games. Also, our demands are very high and every day our players work to these demands. We need to continue doing that with a high intensity. We can win if we produce the best performances.

    on Iwobi saying that he can try things again even if he makes a mistake…
    I think for himself and for our other players, we need to work on things every day. We can’t just stop at one mistake. The mistake is to learn and to attempt another action. The confidence is giving them the possibility to do the things well and also, when they make a mistake, it makes them want to do better on the next attempt. I think my idea with the players is to give them confidence every day by working hard in every session, in the video analysis, with the videos we give them. We give them the opportunity to watch their action first, their good actions, their bad actions, and this is the way for them to take a lot of confidence or learn how to improve. They think, ‘How can I improve?’ or ‘How can I do better in a different situation within the game?’

    on if we are title challengers…
    Each match is our focus. Our focus is Sunday. If you win or lose on Sunday, it’s a very different moment after. When we started with the losses in the first two matches, maybe a lot of people were thinking it could be a difficult way for the club this season. Now, when we are winning, maybe the same people are thinking we are on the way to arrive in the top four. Also, for me, it’s the balance when we are winning or losing, when we are doing our process with the balance in the middle. We aren’t the best team now and when we lost, we weren’t the worst team. We’re a good team who need to improve a lot of things and take more confidence, responsibility and ambition to improve. We have a very big spirit to work together with a very big demand.

    on Ozil and if he’s benefiting from not playing for Germany…
    I want his commitment, his behaviour, with very consistent actions every day in training and with the team. For us, he’s a very important player because of his quality. He’s showing us that we need his quality. It’s the consistency every day in training and in matches, also his mentality to improve more in his work every day. He can [do that]. He stopped with his national team and his focus is on us in each moment in each match. I want him to continue to continue with his commitment, his behaviour, playing and thinking he can improve more. Each match is a good opportunity for him and the team to continue doing the things better.

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    Watch the very best of Mesut Ozil against Leicester

    on Ramsey’s contract situation…
    I’ve spoken two or three times individually for how we can to do this way together. My focus and his focus I want on the team. It’s true that each player has individual contractual situations to speak with the club, but we need, separately, two things. For me it’s, and with Aaron it’s, very clear – our conversations. And also yesterday he played with this commitment, with this behaviour, with the focus to help the team. I am very happy with how he played against Sporting, individually and collectively. I want the same from Sunday and for these matches. Focus on the team and focus on being together in this situation and then we’ll see. Aaron and the club can speak and he can think for his individual contract with the club and with his thinking maybe of the possibility that he won’t continue here but, for me, for us and for the team, it’s about being together and getting better and in each training for us.

    on if he understands Ramsey’s frustration…
    I don’t know if he’s frustrated but [in my conversation] with him, we spoke two days ago, and he’s continuing with the focus and with his commitment with us, thinking for Arsenal.

    on if he enjoys wins before thinking of the next game…
    Yesterday’s match against Sporting has finished and now my focus is Sunday, only Sunday and preparing the best performance for us. I’m also thinking with every player how we are after this match, to be the best individual players to start in the first XI and help us in the 90 minutes.

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    Sporting CP (a) – Bitesize

    on how frustrating it is things haven’t clicked in first half of games…
    Every coach works a lot of prepare the team and to analyse the opposition. For me also I’m very demanding to prepare for each match knowing the best possible position. Then, [what’s important] is the analysis for us to be in the best position for our performance when we play against Crystal Palace on Sunday, for example. How can we improve? One is to be more consistent in the first half, controlling the game and imposing our ideas. For the 90 minutes, we have a good balance but our ideas is also in the first half to do better in each match.

    on whether he’s excited about the team getting the first half right…
    What is normal is that each team, each player at the beginning of matches, they are very excited and in the best moment physically, and they have concentration. The most important is to have passion progressing in the match, continuing with the concentration very high and continue physically and keeping the good moment for the 90 minutes. One reason is this.

    on what he wants from his captains…
    The most important thing is that they are an example for other players and they are the captain, [whether it’s] Petr Cech, or Aaron, or Mesut, or Xhaka or another player, the most important thing is to be a big example for all; for the players, the club and the supporters. These players, when they are like a captain, have a big responsibility to help us in this position.

    on the one message he gives to his players…
    I have a different message for each match, but one is ‘work’. The message is work and the feeling together and our thing every day is the football. Every player has family, they have life after football, but the football is 70 per cent for our thinking every day and our focus, preparing for each training session and preparing for each match. The players’ careers are very short and maybe they can have 10, 12, 15 years in their career, and they need to have the focus on football and with their football.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I would say the most likely thing about the Ramsey contract withdrawal is that Gazidis was the one who offered it, and when Raul took over from him he decided it was too much and that was that.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Good AL article on Torreira in today’s Guardian, saying how much he loves his chant (among other things).

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Anyone watch u23 game yesterday then? Only saw late on it was on Swans website so didn’t bother.

    Notice Willock still absent, went off injured for Eng u20 in international break so hope nothing much as he’d been doing very well.

    Ballard off half time so, again, hope not injured. Bola out. Wonder if he was revenge fouled by Everton after they made a big fuss about him injuring one of theirs last year. talk of broken leg for Everton player but don’t think it turned out to be that

    Good to see Sheaf, Ainsley and Bramall back.

    Looked at stats- 20 fouls to our 4. 3 bookings to our none. Can vouch it was a cold, windy, rainy night in Swansea so imagine it was a tough evening all around.

    Swans one of those teams who use u23 differently to us and keep plenty of older players- 20,21,22- at club for those fixtures.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. On This Day in 2015: Alex Iwobi made his senior Arsenal debut

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Bournemouth got themselves a Vardy-style penalty winner in Wilson. Got at least one of them against us and has tried for a few more.

    Site I used to get pen stats from no longer about but I reckon that’s about 5 for them this year

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Leicester City’s owners helicopter has crashed near the ground just after takeoff after the match, not known of the owner was on board

    Liked by 2 people

  34. The Leicester owner helicopter has crashed outside stadium

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Arsenal to end practice of running down players’ contracts
    • Ramsey, Welbeck and Cech free to leave next summer
    • ‘A player’s contract should never go to last year’ – Raúl Sanllehí

    Amy Lawrence

    Sat 27 Oct 2018 22.30 BST

    Raúl Sanllehí, Arsenal’s new director of football, insists he wants to end the practice of running down players’ contracts, which means experienced figures such as Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and Petr Cech are free to leave the club in the summer.

    “I do believe that a player’s contract should never go to the last year, as a policy,” he says. “But I don’t think I am inventing the wheel. Anybody could agree on that. Normally the contracts of the players are for five years. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do with that player when he is in the third year, at the latest.”

    The situation with Ramsey, now aged 27, has been a complicated one. The Welshman was close to agreeing a new deal but the club withdrew their offer recently, leaving the option of a sale in January if they can find a buyer, or the midfielder departing for nothing at the end of the season.

    “I would like to say that all the decisions that we take, in general on the club and specifically on the first-team squad, they are always the consequence of a thorough debate in which we analyse the pros and cons of every decision.

    “At the end there is one criterion: is this good or bad for the club? Is this going to make us stronger or not? We don’t take decisions overnight, on a quick reflection,” says Sanllehí. “A lot of people are involved. People in which we have a high trust. When we reach a decision, it’s for a reason.”

    Arsenal revealed that there has been a shake-up of their executive structure since the departure of their outgoing chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, was announced.

    One of the key promotions is that of Per Mertesacker, the new head of the Arsenal academy, who is now very much a part of key decision discussions, as the new managing director, Vinai Venkatesham, explains: “One of the things that we have been doing is actually increasing the level of football representation on that group.

    “Per Mertesacker is also now on our executive team. We really are getting a new level of expertise and a new energy in our executive team. Having someone like Per, his record goes without saying. The club captain from last season, hugely respected by everyone in the game. I think that will really add something.”

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Per Mertesacker, the club’s former captain, has been promoted to the club’s executive team. It marks the latest step in a remarkably swift rise through the ranks for the German, who took over as academy manager following his retirement from playing in the summer.

    He has been joined on the executive team by Huss Fahmy, the former Team Sky legal and commercial expert who has been promoted to director of football operations, as the club look to increase the “football representation” at decision-making levels.

    Mertesacker and Fahmy are joined by Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat, the head of recruitment, as the four footballing representatives on the 15-man executive team, which managing director Vinai Venkatesham said “encompasses everything that we do as an organisation”.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Raul is smoother than an otter in a velvet jacket – aren’t they all though ?

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Congratulations Per, a man who will go far at this club I am sure, not that he hasn’t already.
    On another note, why were the club allowing contracts to run down? (not the only club doing this btw )

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Per can fuck off, he did the opposite of backing Ozil.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Per will certainly have to learn empathy with players who have different situations or experiences than his own if he is to do well in the academy or in the executive team.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. This is strange I’m in the states right now and my last comment has come up as four hours in front of the US instead of the normal five. I’d forgotten the clocks go back a week earlier at home than out here, all very weird.
    I need to get my timings right for tomorrow’s (well today’s) game COYG.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Is the moderaters of this blog MIA.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. George allows the mod off for a few hours on a Saturday evening, every Saturday evening as he is that kind of diamond governor, to visit his family Labo.

    New post up

    Liked by 1 person

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