Red Sky at Night, Arsenal bite


Good Morning Positive Arsenal fans,

The game was  billed a “pivotal” and “season defining” in some quarters for the club and if that was the reality then it was a test passed.  And we passed in the way that I want an Arsenal team to win a  local derby, playing football, scoring goals  and in displaying 90+ minutes of concentration and energy.

A roaring first 15 minutes saw us overwhelm Chelsea. Slow starters ? Not us, not last night. Whether the Blues had in the back of their mind that a draw would “do” I don’t know but during that opening they found it difficult to get out of their half. Our tackles were crisp, interceptions tidy and when we moved he ball it zipped across the turf. Kepa was busy, the Blues were rattled. Our opener came from a dead ball move, after staying  on his feet when most strikers would have hit the grass, rifled his shot into the top right hand corner. Another excellent finish from Alexander. Unstoppable.

We then had a short phase of panic as Chelsea surged forward.  It was not pretty to watch as for two/three minutes our defence wasn’t up to speed mentally. When the system clicked into place the panic subsided. Good players take charge, and Kosc is a very good player. Sokratis was all over Hazard like a swarm of angry bees. With Torreira/Hector on one side and Guen/Xhaka/Sead on  the other we forced Chelsea back and away from the danger area.

The second goal from what was out third free header on Kepa’s goal brought a gasp of relief from the tense home crowd (well me anyway). The decisive moment of the match, as it turned out. We went in at 2-0, it could have been more.

Second half ? They came at us but were held back by a screen of defenders, who were organised. We smothered them. One shot on target all night ? What we did to Chelsea clubs have done to us in the past, with them passing the ball on the final third but never quite getting into a position in the box to score. Good defending is not spectacular to watch, but if you have to  then an evening of observing  Hazard, Willian and Pedro run time after time into a wall of Arsenal defenders and never testing Leno is a good episode in the box set  to start on.

I see Sarri launched into his players last night;

“This defeat was due to our mentality more than anything else, our mental approach. We played against a team more determined than we were. And I can’t accept that.”

 He is right. We were more “determined”. 

Congratulations to the Emirates home crowd yesterday for reducing Oli to an emotional wreck before he even set foot on the pitch. He really was welling up. Much better than booing him. A favourite with Arsenal fans  and with Chelsea fans, and he barely got a kick in the half hour he was on.

Hector? Sigh – it is a bad ‘un. I have no idea what sort of bad but his reaction was immediate. The only blemish on a good evening. We will find out tomorrow.

I pondered the MotM this week;  Kosc ? Laca ? Ramsey ? Guendouzi ? Torreira ? On another day the performance each put in would have earned the prize.

In the end it had to be Sead Kolasinac though. His body check on Pedro was a thing of beauty, and a job forever.


Enjoy Sunday.

175 comments on “Red Sky at Night, Arsenal bite

  1. Merson will criticise us whatever we do. If Ozil had gone, he’d have criticised that. If Ramsey had signed on, he’d probably be questioning that. If Guendouzi, Torreira, Sokratis were with other clubs, he’d like them more and say they were the sort of signings we should have made.

    Probably just a combo of him having no love for the club, having a good idea what his paymasters want from him, and not being a particularly bright or nice guy.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. the first team squad and coaching staff was paintballing yesterday

    Liked by 2 people

  3. eduardo792 at 7.20pm.
    I think they are out to hunt Merson down!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. reports from Spain suggest that Arsenal’s move for Denis Suarez has broken down, some suggestion that its over wanting a compulsory purchase clause, where AFC want it to be just an option. Other reports say that Barcelona need Suarez to sign a contract extension before they will allow his loan move, as to keep his value if AFC don’t sign him.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor Hector – he looks sad. Chin up young man.

    Denis Suarez ? Sign, don’t sign, I could not give a monkeys.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to join Championship strugglers Reading on loan

    He had requested that Arsenal allow him to leave on a short term deal
    Leeds had been tracking the keeper before signing Real Madrid’s Kiko Casilla
    Martinez has been third choice behind Petr Cech and Bernd Leno this season

    By Adam Crafton for MailOnline

    Published: 22:38, 22 January 2019 | Updated: 22:43, 22 January 2019

    Reading are on the brink of signing Arsenal’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on loan until the end of the season.

    The 26-year-old, who was an alternative for Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa before settling on Real Madrid’s Kiko Casilla, had requested that Arsenal allow him to leave on a short term deal after being third choice behind Petr Cech and Bernd Leno at the club this season.

    Martinez was persuaded by Unai Emery to stay at Arsenal for the club’s pre-season tour of Singapore but he has played only once this season.
    Reading aArsenal’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on loan until the end of the season

    Reading aArsenal’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on loan until the end of the season
    The 26-year-old requested that Arsenal allow him to leave on a short term deal in January

    The 26-year-old requested that Arsenal allow him to leave on a short term deal in January

    Arsenal are understood to still consider the player a part of their future plans and he may be promoted to back-up next season following the retirement of Cech.

    The 36-year-old goalkeeper has announced that he will hang up his gloves at the end of the season.

    Reading are 22nd in the Championship and battling against relegation.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So looks like Danny DeVito is a gooner. Great stuff. Absolutely love his work in one of my favourite shows. Knew he was a good ‘un.

    Seems like he was met with silence and even some boos when he randomly started talking about us and finished with a ‘go Arsenal’ at some British television awards show.

    Can’t help thinking it might have been cheers if he’s said Utd or Liverpool.

    Fuck ’em.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. The last messages from Sala are pretty heart-breaking. One of those events that when you look at it all it just makes you feel sick to the stomach.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pop quiz

    Which team is compiling a ‘dossier’ on pens they haven’t been awarded and getting press to run a story about it?

    The one who in last 5 seasons, before this, has record of 23 for 26 against (-3) or the one whose record is 40 for 12 against (+28) ?

    Don’t know stats for this year, but guess we’re about -3 and they’re plus 3 or 4.


    Liked by 2 people

  10. Just to remind everyone on here Mersin comes from a long line of chelski supporters his only affiliation with ARSENAL is his time playing with us. He likes drinking gambling and pretending he’s a cockney, which he’s not, but it’s chelski in his heart not ARSENAL

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Emi Martinez’s agency confirming on their Instagram story that the Argentine keeper will be joining Reading FC on loan until the end of the season

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Arsenal goalkeeper Daniel Barden signs for Norwich City

    Rate This


    Arsenal goalkeeper Daniel Barden has signed for Norwich City.

    Barden, who signed scholarship terms with Arsenal in 2017, hasn’t played for the Gunners all season and featured for Norwich U18s as a trialist earlier in the campaign in a 7-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

    Last night Barden was in goal as Norwich were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 loss against Preston North End.

    A deal was done for the 18-year-old in November and he has a player profile on the Canaries’ official website, while he has been given the squad number 81.

    Barden was named on the bench for Arsenal U18s as a schoolboy and made seven appearances at that level, while he was a substitute for both legs of the FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea last season.

    The Hale End product also made the bench for the U23s but the continued development of Arthur Okonkwo and the arrival of Karl Hein pushed him further down the pecking order.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Eduardo,

    I have always felt a lot of sympathy for young GKs, as the relative paucity of positions available in the team mean that the coaches make some hard choices right from when they are young, and at each stage of the selection process they get through, there is another one lurking around the corner.

    It seems that, Martinez, at a time he must have thought he was in with a chance of becoming the permanent first team GK, he is, instead on the ‘loan skids’, and will not make it at Arsenal — for myself, I have always thought he had the makings of a very good keeper, and I am not convinced that Leno is better than him.

    Still, what do I know? [walks off shaking head]

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I see Daniel Barden play an U15 game a few years back during Freddies first spell and thought he was a very good keeper. However we seem to have a production line of very good young keepers so I pleased he has found himself a club and wish him all the best for he’s future.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Emery on Man United, Bellerin, Sala: every word
    Rob Kelly 23 Jan 2019

    Unai Emery was in relaxed mood at London Colney as he faced the media ahead of our Emirates FA Cup fourth-round clash with Manchester United.

    Our head coach discussed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s impact, Laurent Koscielny and the latest on the transfer window.

    Read on for a full transcript of his press conference:

    on what he’s expecting from Solskjaer’s United…
    Good afternoon. It’s a different team. It’s the same players but they’re playing with a big performance now. I was watching their last matches and and each player has a lot of confidence, with big performances, and now they are very dangerous. For us, it’s good because it’s a very big test for us in this competition. Manchester United and us have played 20 finals in the FA Cup, and we’ve won 13 and they’ve won 12. For this competition, it’s the best match to play. We are looking forward to playing this match on Friday because it’s at our stadium, the Emirates, in front of our supporters. We feel very well in front of them and we want to create a new atmosphere over 90 minutes on Friday, together with our supporters.

    on Laurent Koscielny’s performances…
    In the last matches, I think we are looking at a Koscielny with a big performance like he is used to producing. After these injuries, it’s also necessary to take matches, to take confidence again and then physically, for him to be well enough to play with this level of performance. I think in the last two matches, at West Ham and against Chelsea, I think this year and after his injuries, they are the performances we want.

    on Emiliano Sala and his reaction…
    The first reaction is that it’s terrible. It’s terrible. We are with his family and with also the supporters of Nantes and from Cardiff. If we have a small chance to find him alive, we are waiting for that news. But it’s terrible to know of this accident.

    on what type of player he is…
    He’s a striker who fights for each ball and fights with each action in the duels and a very humble player. But he’s a player who can make big performances and this year was giving the best performances in his career. That meant he signed for Cardiff and I want to play against him, if there is a small chance that we can see him alive.

    on transfers…
    The club continues to work on that. It’s difficult, you know, but I am working with our players and I think we need – and we can – sign some players to help after our injuries like Rob Holding, like Welbeck, like Hector Bellerin. But we can play with the players we have now and the same message is to you and every supporter, we only want to sign one or two players who can really help us with good performances. The club is working. They know our intentions, our possibilities for signing players that can help us, but they work and also with communication to us.

    on Denis Suarez being left out of Barcelona’s squad…
    I don’t want to speak about each player. I know the club is working with different players.

    on which type of player he’s looking for…
    The idea is firstly to find the quality and this quality can help us. We need, if he can come here, a winger for the right or left or some players also at centre back. But now, Dinos Mavropanos is coming back after his injuries and I think I can use him in the next matches.

    on whether Sven Mislintat’s departure affects our January plans…
    It’s a very short time that I worked with him but I worked well and pleasantly with him. I think he has big experience in Germany and here, and it’s one issue in the club and the club is working on that. I can only say to you that my experience with him is positive and is good.

    on whether there were any disputes between the two of them…

    on Monchi…
    Now, I can only say to you that he’s working in Roma. I worked very well with him in Sevilla for three and a half years, and very well too. My relationship with him is good but this work is for the club and the issue is the club’s responsibility. I can say to you only that he is a good person and a good professional.

    on the importance of making quick appointments…
    But maybe if you do this recruitment very quickly, maybe you can make a mistake. I think it’s better to do without that, being calm and also finding the best possible person to do this job like we want. I think the club is working on that. It’s not my issue. I can say the same: if the club decided to sign one Sporting Director, then I will agree with them.

    on Koscielny saying that United have more freedom…
    I don’t know.

    on picking up a clean sheet against Chelsea…
    Yes, it was very important. It’s our challenge in every match. But I think against West Ham we can work better defensively also and we conceded one goal but we still didn’t concede a lot of chances. The last two matches I think we have been better defensively. Against Manchester United against big and great players, we do the same work. We can be defensively strong and I think we need every player to defend, not only the defensive players, the attacking players can help us too. Defensively in the last match against Chelsea every player worked hard offensively and defensively with good spirit. We pressed against them and I think we can do the same on Friday and our objective on Friday is to keep another clean sheet against Manchester United.

    on Hector and his determination…
    Yes, we were sad and we are sad now after his injury. I think this year is very difficult for big injuries like Hector, Rob Holding and Welbeck. But football is like that. We need to treat these injuries like a normality in football, but we are very sad for that. Hector Bellerin is very mature and I think he received this injury like a football professional can take and he is already preparing to come back stronger than before.

    Copyright 2019 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

  16. Thinking about it the deceased Sala’s debut would have been against us on Tuesday night. I see the girlfriend says he was done in. I presume there will be the standard minute silence.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Morning Andy. There was some rumour of it to being cancelled but Cardiff FC say they will not be cancelling the game.I didnt click on the links to the ex girlfriends theories. Some weird posts on twitter saying that flares have been seen coming from Burhou Island near Alderney. Its odd, Im sure its bs, but even so as a human you have that element in you that want them to have survived.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Old Poch really not keen on VAR ey!

    Forget whether you hold the opinion- and I sure do- that they are a very dirty team who have gotten away with a hell of a lot in recent years, he has actually stated more than once that he sees nothing wrong with dark arts, including diving, and sees them as part of the game.

    His stance is particularly extraordinary given he is asking for us to be at least 3 years behind other big leagues in using VAR.

    I’ve no idea if there’s any truth in his claims that, in the leagues where it is used, nobody likes it, nobody wants it,etc. I’m sure there are plenty of complaints, but that’s not the same thing.

    That’s something you’d hope our press could be trusted to inform us about, but I’ve seen little or no mention of it and don’t trust them anyway.

    What is clear just from watching the occasional game from France and Germany, plus a couple of the highlights shows in recent weeks, is that VAR is being used very frequently in those leagues and will inevitably change the game itself over time. So it’s hardly even feasible to have one league holding out while the rest get on with it, improving as they go along.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Poor old Poch is talking out of his arse – Levy voted for its introduction, as did every other owner, and it will start in August in the PL.

    Undoubtedly there will be teething problems as no technology is perfect, referees will still make errors and undoubtedly players will continue to cheat. However the really big, glaring IN YOUR FACE OH MY GAWD HOW DID HE NOT SEE THAT errors will be much reduced and perhaps erased. No self respecting sports professional, or fan, should have a problem with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Funny enough ,Andy, one of the issues I’ve noticed in recent weeks in France is how much it seems to matter, on any VAR call, what has already happened in a match, especially if there have been previous VAR decisions.

    I suppose I could have and may have predicated that somewhat, but there’s nothing like seeing it in action.

    As someone who never thought for one second it could be a panacea nor that there wouldn’t be new uniquely VAR problems to replace the old, it doesn’t dismay me, but it sure is interesting.

    An example is that say they have used VAR to award a pen or send someone off, and not for one of those rare 100% decisions, they will then be that bit less likely to use VAR if there’s another incident against same team, and a little more likely if it’s against the other team.

    In essence it replicates the normal human pressures in that regard from non-VAR football.

    It’s also true- to me at least- that the use of it can be jarring and strange, interrupt the flow and, potentially, leave a referee with a mind more stressed and scrambled than had VAR not been in use.

    That’s what it looked like to me in a game at the weekend in France. Through little or no fault of his own, but simply because VAR had been used on a couple of big calls, and this had impacted on players et al. Again, though, it more or less merely replicates what can happen in a non-VAR game with some big difficult calls

    But…I remain wholly in favour. I just think it can’t be underestimated how radical a change it is for the sport, and radical change will lead to all sorts of unexpected consequences.

    It needs time and- oh oh- grown-up attitudes.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Good Afternoon, Andy,

    VAR just has to be the way forward to eliminate not just the problems caused by the referee making a subjectively incorrect decision, as a result of only having a split second to decide what the facts are in a given situation, but also because his line of sight may have been impeded, or he was in the wrong position, not necessarily through any fault of his, to see clearly what had happened.

    Once the VAR system is universally used in all (most?) top professional leagues the technology will continue to evolve and improve over time. And that will be the case with the referees too, as they become more adept with a new experience.

    I am all for it — the incident where England scored a goal against Germany in the World Cup in South Africa, which was a yard over the line, but was not allowed because the referee did not see it, has been pretty much eliminated by Hawk-Eye goal line technology, which is now taken for granted in major competitions is a forerunner for VAR and has become routine in allowing/ruling out goals where there was millimetres in it.


  22. Absolutely right Rich. VAR will be a bit odd and disruptive until the refs, the players and the fans get used to it. Once the officials get into the groove though I would hope the process speeds up.

    In August though stand by for hysteria.

    I am not sure about the suggestion of a fortnight ago, that instead of having two Hawkeye officials scrutinising an incident and picking out the best angles to send t o the VAR official there should be 30 of them then at it, as apparently there was at the World Cup.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. August 2019?

    The only hysteria regarding VARs in June-July 2018 was in the funny papers. Specifically our funny papers.

    It was last summer when VARs made its debut in international tournament football at the highest, most watched/popular level of the sport.

    I think most footy fans enjoyed the initial run of VARs. So much so the PL and PGMO bought forward their plans to introduce it into the league.

    There you go!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Perhaps they could have a PL whip around to help out the refs as well as give Scudamore his bonus.

    What odds will I get on that?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Just like culture gets re-assessed by the lastest new wave of thinking perhaps VAR should re-assess games of the past.ie game 50……50 games undefeated? (banned smileys etc)

    Liked by 1 person

  26. who would have thought that Henry has the same ego as Jose – yeah I know most have, knowing what he as like as a player

    Get French Football News
    ‏ @GFFN
    3h3 hours ago

    Breaking | AS Monaco manager Thierry Henry announces that he has banished “too many to name” individuals from the 1st team to the reserves in a cull against “players who are only thinking about their own futures” in a bid to turn around the club’s situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Anyone interested in doing the MUFC preview?
    Front and center.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thierry does seem to have lost his mind in Monaco. Quite tricky this managing lark, more difficult than it looks.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Arsenal being linked in France with a loan move, with a buy option, for PSG’s 21 year old Christopher Nkunku, mainly a CM, but has also played RB and wide midfield.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Monaco were beaten in the French cup midweek 3-1 at home by a lower league side

    Liked by 1 person

  31. you want a laugh

    2h2 hours ago

    Paul Merson on Torreira:

    “Everyone was raving about Lucas Torreira, but he’s not that good. If you put him up for sale tomorrow then none of the top clubs in the Premier League would be interested.

    They should sign Doucoure at Watford. He’s a much better player.”🤡

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Ha! Ed- I saw that quote of Mersons today too, I was going to put it up-theres even more he said that was real guff. Colemanballs? Mersonballs!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Actually I like Doucoure – fine pair of shoulders

    Merson on the other hand is a total twat

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Mr Andy,

    I have been itching to join in with the conversation, but every time I submit a comment my arse falls off, and the comment disappears — then it takes me hours to get it back on – and my comment appears.

    You haven’t got a screwdriver you can lend me so that the arse and the comment become contemporaneous, please?

    Friday is an odd day/night for the Gunners v Manure FA Cup game to be played.
    Maybe their arses are falling off too — more screwdrivers needed?

    [Where’s Bentley — he will know how to smooth my puzzled brow] lol


  35. George. Giving the old preview a crack now. Will email it later

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Reckon that Nkunku may have been star man in a PSG team I saw play us years ago in Al Kass (?!) youth tournament in Qatar.

    Was a very good game. We had likes of Eddie, Hinds, Mavididi, Willock Snr, Marcus Mcguane and Da Silva in squad but they were probably a little better, with a number of players who won U17 Euros for France. Thought their right back could be next Lahm but he’s made no impression on senior football yet so I guess not.

    Got a feeling he was the flair guy in their team.

    Seen bits and bobs of him with PSG last couple of years but gotta say my vague impression is he’s no better than our best young prospects. In fact, given ages, I hope it’s our lot who are potentially better.

    But…if it’s a loan…no big deal…although it does feel like it will directly impact chances of our youngsters getting game time this year…so I guess if it does happen, I hope my vague impression of him is wide of the mark!

    Can’t remember if he played against us this pre-season. If so, he certainly didn’t leave a mark on my memory, whereas our youngsters did well if i remember right.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Jonathan Johnson
    ‏Verified account @Jon_LeGossip
    36m36 minutes ago

    PSG sporting director Antero Henrique to leave club with Arsene Wenger in frame — Sources – http://global.espn.com/soccer/paris-saint-germain/story/3758038/psg-sporting-director-antero-henrique-to-leave-clubarsene-wenger-in-frame-sources … – For @ESPNFC.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Monaco have suspended Theirry Henry from first team duties.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. What a pity Scholesy took the Oldham job – Monaco would have just suited him.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. laughably I see a number of Arsenal fans wishing for Henry to get a coaching role at AFC now, its as if he hasn’t flopped completely at Monaco at all. They can’t separate him as a player with him now.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Adrian Clarke
    ‏ @adrianjclarke
    24m24 minutes ago

    Oh dear. Penny for Kwame Ampadu’s thoughts. Gave up a terrific job at Arsenal to follow TH as No.2

    Liked by 2 people

  42. I don’t know if Arsenal ever appointed Ken Gillard as u18’s head coach, he stepped up to the role on a temporary basis, so maybe Kwame Ampadu will be brought back to the role

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Fair play to him, he gave it a go unlike the majority of the pundits who are too frightened, or disorganised, to take up a real football job. Like Neville he comes back a wiser and more humble man.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. it remains to be seen if he comes back any humbler, I doubt anything would make Henry humble.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Humble Henry? Yeah, that’s likely.

    Liked by 3 people

  46. Rich looks like Nkunku did play v AFC in preseason

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Not always as easy for one as gifted as Henry to coach mere mortals. Some such people can succeed, many cannot

    Liked by 1 person

  48. seems Jardim is heading back to Monaco

    Liked by 1 person

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