Arsenal: Points of honest endeavour


Good Morning this Sunday morning Positives fans worldwide,

The best game of football that I have watched for a long time yesterday evening. Both sides played quality football and had footballers in very position who were comfortable with the ball and had confidence in controlling and using it, despite the press of the opponent. A word of praise too for almost all the players who approached the contest in the right way yesterday. There was very little whining to the referee and diving and no serious foul play that I saw. The only player who let himself down was Mane whose dishonest efforts were correctly ignored by Andre Marriner from early in the first half.

Of the game itself ? I admit I was a little tense at kick-off to see how our defenders would stand up to the quicksilver Scouse front three in open play. For about ten first half minutes there was an early wobble but once the tremor had passed I need have had no worries. With Sead returned, though a little rusty, our back line played with full  concentration for the full 95 minutes. Tackles were clean and decisive. When the ball needed clearing it was hoofed. Every attacking Liverpool thrust was met by coverage of at least two defenders. The opposition clearly had a  few sights of goals but never the defence-splitting-racing-in-1:1-on- Leno of my nightmares. Praise too for Mhki, Auba and later Alex Iwobi for putting in the defensive yards to disrupt and harry the visitors’ work on the flanks. Our only weak spot on the night was on Liverpool corners from which Van Dijk appeared to  have the run of the six yard box. A bit of work required on that one from Unai.

Apparently there may have been an offside goal ? No idea, collective sigh of relief around me and a shrug. I saw on the BBC website when Klopp was asked if the referee/lino had made a mistake with the incident he answered ” I don’t know, but he did not make as many mistakes as we did today”. Good response.

With the defensive platform in place we had the opportunity to play football going forward, with Lucas, Granit and Mesut playing intelligent football. My impression was Granit played a lot more simple, short balls yesterday. Possession was rarely wasted and we gradually began to open up gaps in the Liverpool defence, for Auba and Laca to exploit.

After our best first half of the season, even though we were still at 0-0, I was not sure what would come next. During the first 15 minutes we were definitely on top, and looked the more likely to score, so it was a kick to the collective North Bank bollocks to see the goal from Milner go in.

Within seconds of the disappointment though the crowd, and from the way the Arsenal players went straight back back to kick off them too,  were back on the front foot straight away. No heads dropped and with half an hour to go the game was still wide open.

The substitutions ? Odd sequence considering we were 0-1 down but that is what head coaches do – shake the dice. Great calls when they work, and last night they did perfectly with Iwobi offering a trickiness and energy  that Mhki had not against a tiring defence.

Beautiful and deserved goal from Alex Lacazette. His celebration, (caught by the Arsenal photoman Stuart McFarlane above) absolutely wild.

And with the score 1-1 I sensed both teams slipped slightly down a gear, although Hector could have capped a sparkling evening with a winner in the 88th minute.

Man of the Match ? An impossible choice but in line with my comments about the foundation being in place it is a split decision between Hector and Rob Holding, neither of whom put  foot wrong all evening.

Enjoy Sunday.



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139 comments on “Arsenal: Points of honest endeavour

  1. And the sad thing is , the governing bodies will do sweet FA about City’s little financial arrangements Rich.
    Not sure if this club were extremely naive in placing such faith in FFP or they knew all along, but it suited their self sustaining business model

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mandy FFP or no, Arsenal would have been run exactly the same way as it was, and is, Self Sustaining, of course it hoped that FFP would stop financial doping at a couple of clubs.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mandy

    I fully expected there to be no mention or question even of City being held to account and most outlets to ignore allegations completely.

    Slowly a few articles, BBC first, I think, have popped up, and today there’s some talk of prem clubs wanting it looked into

    I still see no chance of anything coming from it. These things always seem to take some outside body pushing very hard- as the FBI did with FIFA- and there’s no one to do that in this case.

    Have also seen it floated that if it’s case the data was obtained illegally that will preclude any action being taken against them

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a bit dubious about these FFP revelations. Not in relation to there almost certainly being back channels to provide owners the opportunity to top up funds at their businesses, but that UEFA ever cared about the problem in the first place. FFP was not set up to stop v wealthy clubs dominating football and winning all the trophies. It was set up to stop plutocrats buying up clubs, taking on unsustainable debts by reason of their personally wealth, and then buggering off when they got bored, and leaving a trail of destroyed clubs and bad debts all over the Europe. It was designed to ensure that smaller clubs developed on solid financial strength rather than sudden, and short term injections of wealth.

    “There are large differences between the wealth of different clubs and countries, which predate and are irrespective of financial fair play. The aim of financial fair play is not to make all clubs equal in size and wealth, but to encourage clubs to build for success rather than continually seeking a ‘quick fix’. Football clubs need an improved environment where investing in the future is better rewarded so that more clubs can be credible long-term investment prospects.

    By favouring investments in youth and stadium infrastructure and by setting the acceptable deficits in absolute million € terms and not relative percentage terms, the break-even assessment has been structured to be less restrictive to smaller and medium-sized clubs. In time, more smaller and medium-sized clubs will have potential to grow.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another view:

    ‘Had football gone along as before, the Manchester City project could have developed gradually, built over time, as football clubs do. It was this new ruling that created the imperative to fast-track the investment in the business, and also the need to be creative with numbers.

    UEFA always suspected the sponsorships from Abu Dhabi were inflated and City were fined £50m — as were Paris Saint-Germain, who are backed by Qatar. These allegations claim to show the greater extent of that inflation, but it is hard to get too bothered by the successful rise of a club that has been very good for the English game: particularly now we know the alternatives.’

    That’s Martin Samuel. Bit slower than I expected- there was a football writer’s dinner to attend though- as I thought he’d have something out the day after there was a suggestion City had been up to no good.

    He has two or three articles a year from what I’ve seen defending City’s ambition et al and slamming FFP

    Liked by 1 person

  6. His ‘alternative’ is Italy and Germany, where he puts the domination of Juventus and Bayern down to owners being barred from investing to try catch up.

    Unfortunately, as is characteristic of almost the entirety of his profession, including those writing about bigger things, he is selective in his argument and misrepresents or omits the stronger points of alternative views to his own.

    Fo instance, no mention of how many of the ambitious past owners, in Italy at least, accumulated vast debts and indulged in all kinds of chicanery, before the eventual collapse. Fiorentina, Lazio, Parma, the Milan’s and many others included in that.


    Something else absent from the debate, of vital importance to me all along, is the media’s denial or playing down of how much is spent, and how important that spending is in shaping outcomes.

    The double blow therefore of your own club’s chances being so badly hit, for a very long time, and until eventually it could become structural, while your own club is constantly judged as though this is not the case and never happened.

    The vast majority of criticism and abuse levelled at Wenger for a decade or more hinged on that very issue. So I’m pretty sore about it.

    Had the media take been, e.g : ‘they are spending incredible amounts of money; it has transformed them from also-rans among the elite to a force which is very hard to stop unless they make huge mistakes with their spending, continuously, but this is good or we are neutral about it anyway. However, as is only fair all notions of success for them and others must be grounded in this context and reality’ , well, they would have been performing their supposed duty, have credibility, and it would be a different world.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Abu Dhabui and Qatar bought these clubs to grow them organically, except evil FFP forced them to spend all their money.. (Some of it even found its way into my pocket) So blame FFP, not City.

    – Unnamed, but completely honest, journalist.

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  8. Given that FFP was introduced after Abramovich started doping Chelsea we can understand its conception. I’m sure blind eyes were turned to City’s spending on the pitch because of their spending off the pitch to upgrade a run down area of Manchester.
    Both Chelsea and City were probably also seen as counter balances to the two dominant clubs at the time, United and ourselves.
    I’m inordinately proud that our Club stuck to their self sustaining strategy and have achieved what we have (not least a ‘fully paid for’ stadium) in the right way and within the spirit of FFP..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I shall say it again – FFP was not introduced with Abramovich in mind or to create some mythical level playing field for football clubs to compete. FFP was introduced in 2009 to combat spiralling club debt and the collapse of clubs involved in UEFA competitions (ie top clubs in each country) as a result of unsustainable spending. In that primary aim it has been successful.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. FFP was meant to ensure clubs’ survival yes. It also realised that the reason clubs were going bankrupt was unlimited competition. Clubs themselves realised that it was not in their interest to have a never ending arms race so to speak. FFP sought to protect clubs but realised that to do so, it also needed to ensure that the impact of external money was moderated. No other reason to put the need for sponsorships to be at fair market value. The failure to adhere to this in spirit and seemingly, in letter, puts the whole thing at risk.

    The funny thing is, I think it is also paving the way for Uefa’s own demise as the biggest clubs, once they realise they cannot trust in Uefa’s rule, ie it won’t limit/protect them, will decide they don’t need Uefa sharing a piece of their pie anyway, and will form their own super league. (FFP is dead said Arsene Wenger. The SL is inevitable said Arsene Wenger)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. reports now that Gilles Grimandi is set to join the AC Milan set up

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Had no plans to look in on Red Star Liverpool in early game as it looked so easy for Pool in home leg.

    2-0 down 30 mins in after couple of goals for big Serbian striker. 2nd one a good long-range strike. Enjoyable!

    I should know by now how different teams can be in front of own fans, remarkably so.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. On that Super League, may be conflating my own opinion on it with likelihood of it happening but I really don’t see it coming to pass, and think it’s a rubbish idea.

    The history, the rivalries, the anchoring in your local area and local league which has been present in all successful leagues since football began, the end of promotion and relegation, end of playing a variety of clubs- big, middle, small- throughout season, end of any novelty playing big European clubs, etc,etc. Would any of the clubs risk that for the unknown, if it were actually feasible?

    Can imagine some heavy Middle Eastern backing to try get it started though, as it would be a small step once set up to add a few teams from the region.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Stuart Attwell has been appointed as the referee for Sundays home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can’t believe the Totties will fuck this up against PSV but, fair play to them, they are managing to embrace footballing calamity so far. #FOYS

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “He has two or three articles a year from what I’ve seen defending City’s ambition et al and slamming FFP”

    Just making sure he earns his keep – I’m sure city think it’s well worth the investment, while the sheep lap it up ‘overspending good and sexy, living within your means, old school and dull’. Bling is best!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Anyone who fancies bringing friends and family to watch the Arsenal I’ve just bought 4 behind the Clock End goal for Qarabag – only £15.50 each so an absolute steal – loads still on offer

    Liked by 1 person

  18. anicoll

    Was looking inevitable first half they’d get back in it, but hopes rising a little now…

    That git Lamela seems to have been doing better than I like recently and he just came on

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Krystian Bielik scored as Charlton beat Walsall 2-0

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Laurent Koscielny: “I am getting better everyday. My fitness & sharpness is coming back. I don’t want to rush anything but it is a great feeling to take part in training sessions with the squad again.”

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Rich. I totally get where you are coming from about the SL. I don’t claim to be any authority on the matter. But I am cynical enough to believe that money always wins out. A closed league with the best players in the world. Why wouldn’t it work? Most fans across the world support teams for whom relegation is never an issue, local rivalries are just notional concepts, while bragging rights are best conferred among competitive rivalries.

    As for the locals/old fashioned fans. They can demand their (insert club) back but it hasn’t stopped the formation ofthe PL, influx of foreigners, higher ticket prices, and a change in ownership.

    All these owners coming in would welcome a US sports type league as long as they were sure they could get the money. The ICC pre season tournament is a test for it. The PL wanted the 39th game. La Liga had agreed to play games in the US. Juventus are pushing openly for a SL. At some point in the not too distant future, it is bound to happen, and while there will be initial resistance, the public will definitely be interested in it.

    The only thing that will be a barrier is clubs trusting each other enough to form an effective and fair body to run the league. But online rights will make that almost a certainty for the biggest clubs to earn big money. Even the local leagues could be persuaded with payments, regular invitations, and promise of greater transfer fees, plus continued involvement of youth teams etc. And would it really be any more distasteful than today’s PL is? Personally, I don’t think so. I would be interested in seeing where Arsenal would stack up in a league of top European clubs.

    There would also be the added potential of creating a World Champions League once the top clubs in the Middle East, China and India, MLS, Africa and South America also start to attract more ‘investment’.

    Too much potential for it to not happen at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I would suggest that a ESL with no relegation would for the most part see expansive football all the way down, or possible more of it from bottom half teams with no relegation pressure to worry about there would be no need to resort to grinding out results. it could if done that way be the next logical step in football entertainment

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Welbeck being linked with a £10M move to Crystal Palace in January


  24. AW says his links to AC be fake news.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. For myself, I would like to see Welbeck start games like Palace Away, not to move there and play for Palace.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. A gritty performance by the Arsenal youngsters like Nelson* in Belgrade last year with a few seniors conjuring a magical goal to win the game.

    Klopp’s wondering what happened to his team’s mojo. They might have left it on the turf in n5. I can’t deny that I would enjoy the Arsenal returning the favour for the title crushing 2-2 draw at Anfield (late equaliser for Liverpool that day) in 2016.

    * AW & Ivan offered him a carrot with these selections and fortunately the promising kid and his family were willing to commit in return for the oppertunities provided

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Memory of that late draw for Liverpool just two years ago at Anfield leads me safely past, tip-toeing over the latest droppings offered by our gallent, selfless Experts. Who are not clickbaiters. Nope Not at all.

    The latest gem that they have carefully chiselled had me spitting cornflakes with great amusement this morning:

    “Arsenal are the team who are playing out from the back the most this season in the PL” No sh8t sherlock…
    “for the first time Emery got his press working”

    These people were and still are completely ignoring the football on the pitch during pre-season! The intent & commitment to playing out from the back shown in the very first game against those minnows Manchester City, too much on that day but it was early doors for the players, not forgetting with Cech as the starting keeper. It’s: quite funny when you think about it. The confirmation bias continuously exhibited in the memes and narratives that ignores that Arsenal chose to press when they say, spanked Chelsea or Utd at home in recent seasons, or that Arsenal under Wenger or Emery don’t choose to press hard (for over half the game) in every contest although of course the new gaffer has been wanting to see starts like those Home starts against Utd for example (not including last season when the chances just wouldn’t fly in that day), what this congealed gibberish being laid down thick and hard tells us is that:

    These people are still fixated on their running down of the old gaffer so much so that their content on the new gaffer is completely misleading and nonsensical. And that is why it it is worth highlighting their bitter and misleading stupidity.

    My advice? Swerve and avoid like Carzola skipping past Fernandinhio and stick to Clarkie.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Don’t know if anybody’s interested in this, but it’s an opportunity to vote for some Arsenal people.


  29. Outside looking in, really hope we are not selling Danny in Jan, we will need him

    Liked by 2 people

  30. ha ha ha, after all his big talk, Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has said he will turn his attentions away from Arsenal and buy another football club, if Stan Kroenke makes it clear he will not sell to him

    Liked by 1 person

  31. https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11661/11547147/premier-league-happy-with-decision-to-appoint-anthony-taylor-as-manchester-derby-referee

    Really think this is a bad idea. Not suggesting Mr Taylor will do anything other than a professional job in this game, expect a fairly comfortable win for the FFP dodgers anyway, but it just doesnt look good, and if things go wrong, leaves them open to all kinds of claims.
    Just reinforces the fact the ref pool is, for whatever reason too small, there are certainly not enough elite refs they trust for these type of games, and there seems to be a poor geographical distribution. Sort it Riley.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Sort it Riley might just as well be a classic tragi-comedy series where a part corrupt, part bumbling, part haughty and part sniveling administrator is told to sort things out only making them worse, but keeping his bosses happy so that there can be a new episode every week.

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  33. Happy Diwali everyone

    Liked by 2 people

  34. If we do well this season in all competitions then we need all the numbers we can get as the fixture list looks extremely busy. Worse than usual.

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  35. Our under-23s played some thrilling attacking football at Meadow Park on Saturday – but individual errors cost us all three points as we lost 5-4 to Chelsea.

    There was a mix-up between Zech Medley and Deyan Iliev that allowed the visitors to open their account, before going on to concede twice more just four minutes later. Bukayo Saka, Daniel Ballard and Eddie Nketiah (2) all found the back of the net, but their goals ultimately counted for nothing.

    We spoke to Freddie Ljungberg after the final whistle – and this is what he said:

    on losing our lead and conceding five…
    We need to take more pride in winning games and not just playing good football. Fortunately I won’t try to say much, but we kind of created their goals. We made mistakes and they pounced on it, but with our goals we had to work really hard in scoring them and playing good football, so the lesson is that if you do mistakes then you’ll get punished.

    on the mistakes…
    In the first half we played tremendous football and I said that if we didn’t make mistakes then we’d be 3-0 up at half-time, but there were some fundamental mistakes and Chelsea are very tactical, they wait for you and they look for those mistakes. It’s a good test and that’s what we have to try and get out of our game. It’s an important part because it doesn’t matter how well you play, if you make mistakes then you’re not going to win football games.

    on how Chelsea were able to trouble us…
    It’s been the same in the week and today we played some good football, but we’ve not concentrated. We’ll take that in house and try to sort that out, but it’s something that the boys need to take more care of. In the first half we played really well and then they changed system in the second half to what we thought they would start the game with and then we became impatient. Then they sat in a 5-3-2 and they sit and wait for you and I was like don’t force it, and then we started to panic and hit it at them for no reason and they countered. That’s what we talked about yesterday because thats’s their gameplay and we need to be more savvy and not play to their gameplay.

    on some encouraging performances in the final third…
    There were some players who played really well and it was just a sad thing that all that play that some of them did was not rewarded with a win, but that’s how it is. It’s a team sport and we’re all in it together and we’ll work on it. I think as a development maybe it’s a good thing that it’s happened in these two games because you need to, at the top level, cut out those mistakes. I’ve said it to them that in top football the transition is an important part. Playing a team off the park is not easy and often the goals are scored in transitions or by mistakes.

    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.

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  36. Our under-21s will be fighting for their place in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight when they face Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Arsenal are advertising for a new Head of Business Strategy
    The Job Advert states, “The Head of Business Strategy will support the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Team in developing business strategies by providing and utilising market intelligence/research and strategic analyses; challenging current thinking/methodologies; and devising solutions to existing and new business problems.”

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  38. Shkodran Mustafi arguably delivered one of his finest performances in an Arsenal shirt last weekend as we drew 1-1 with Liverpool.

    The World Cup winner was in imperious form, and he says he has learnt a great deal from working alongside legendary centre back Steve Bould.

    This is what Mustafi told the media ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash against Sporting CP:

    on Steve Bould’s influence…
    Steve is always there, always giving us a hand. With his experience, when he tells you something he sees in training, you listen very carefully. With his experience, you have to listen to him. I don’t feel that he’s now trying to create something new. He looks carefully at what we do, especially when things are wrong. When things are going good, it’s easy to not look at the small mistakes but he still looks at everything and when he sees something where we can improve, he’s always there to try and give us a hand.

    on what Emery has added…
    For me personally, the biggest thing was that he’s someone who really knows what he wants from each player. He tells you exactly what he wants you to do, but gives you freedom to expose your talent. When we don’t have the ball, he tells you where to stand and how to get it back, when we have it, he gives you options you can use. You can decide which option you choose. For me it’s a good mix between freedom and discipline, and having the same plan in the whole team. I think that’s what we saw against Liverpool. That was the first game where I felt like we came out from the first minute and were everywhere until the 90th minute. I feel like there’s a good mix between discipline and freedom.

    on if the team is more defensively solid this season…
    I think that we are very good [when] attacking, and that makes the defensive work a bit easier. When you attack well, and even when we lose the ball, we press straight away to win the ball back high up the pitch. That makes it easier for us to defend because you don’t always have to go back 60 or 70 yards back to win it in your own box. We are very good at attacking but with that, we still prepare being in the right position to recover when we lose the ball as quickly as possible.

    on the balance of the side…
    I think the midfield players are defensively minded when they have to be. When we have the ball, the players try to create something up front. We try to work as a team, building up from the back. We play forward from the back. When we don’t have it, we press and defend from the front. When we have the ball, we are all offensive players. When we lose the ball, we are all defensive players.

    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.

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  39. New post up

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