Happy Days Are Here Again




That was fun, what a great result, performance and effort. Players that only yesterday were deadwood, left by Wenger, put on a show of great attacking skill, commitment and heart. Odd that?

Until Lacazette and Aubameyang teamed up to score a sensational goal, we were very much under the cosh, one nil down and it could easily have been worse. But that goal turned the tide. The opposition took a body blow and we had a surge of confidence. The rest of the game was a different story. Valencia continued to play well, but we also were playing well now. Then Lacazette, in  a tight space, deftly moved the ball two paces to his left ,turned and curled it into the keepers left. Another fine goal.

That put us comfortable and left them needing 3 more ,without repy, to win. It never looked like happening. Even when they got their second, we looked unflustered and AMN flashed a ball into Aubameyang to turn in. The final goal was also a good effort when Aubameyang played a one two with his old hunting partner, the much maligned Mikhitaryan, who’s perfectly weighted deft touch allowed Aubameyang to run onto it and smash it in top bins.

This was the football we crave. Our best players playing in their best positions.

There were of course some problems, AMN struggled defensively most of the night. I felt he was left exposed ( mainly by Torreira) and it was Aubameyang with is relentless effort that helped him out the most.

And then there was Ozil, substituted on 60 minutes and he didn’t look best pleased to be hooked. Now this is interesting because I went back and watched the game again, and concentrated on Ozil. Now what I saw doesn’t mean is what happened, because I am far from an expert on the game, but here is my opinion.

When he was on the ball he was very tidy and effective. But he wasn’t on the ball that much. Most of the time he was doing exactly what makes him a special player, drifting into space. He finds and creates time and space like no one else. His genius(like Dennis before him) is delivering a ball that opens up the game. That ball might not be a goal, an assist or even a pre-assist, but it is the ball that opens up the game, But to do this, when he himself has found his own space and time, he needs to be given the ball. If he is standing in space and does not receive the ball, he becomes a passenger. He isn’t occupying any opposition players and so they are free to make life more difficult for our other players on the ball.

Of course in and around the box it’s different. He does make runs, pulls players out of position, the opposition surround him and that opens up space for others, who he frequently find despite being swarmed all over.  But in the area before we get into the box he has to be given the ball in the space he has found. If we can’t do that, it becomes a problem for the team. There are two simple answers, don’t play him if we can’t get the ball to him, or find a way of getting it to him more often and utilizing the space and time he has found. He is the most creative in the league, we pay him £350k per week, so we should use him to his best advantage.

Ok, that’s it from me for today.

What a great end to the season we might still have. GET IN.

43 comments on “Happy Days Are Here Again

  1. well Arsenal have reached their 6th European Final in their History, looking for a 3rd win, and yet some, oddly those that hate him, can’t stop talking about a manger who left a year ago, its very odd behavior

    Liked by 1 person

  2. on to the game, a slow start, goal down, under the cosh, but once we drew level we were in command, the crowd went quiet, the valencia team clearly lost faith that they could win through.
    Aubameyang had his best game for us, got his first hattrick, Lacazette was top notch too, I thought Ozil was very efficient and I was very surprised when he was taken off.
    Maitland-Niles had a very tough night defending, but was much happier attacking, it was his attacking that led to their first goal, he was 90 yards from our goal when their attack began, but he was 90 yards from our goal when he set up PEA for his second goal too. I thought Sokratis and Monreal really struggled, but Koscielny held us together at the back.

    Its CFC we face in the final, its not till the 29th, so for me I see no reason why anyone needs resting for our final game of the BPL season on Sunday away to Burnley.


  3. Blistering barnacles is good to have the happy days back again! Thanks George.

    Ed, Im worried that Burnley will try to nobble our players this weekend, like Leeds did Derby all those years ago, hopefully its just my jelly nerves that think that way?

    What a great night after a weird olde week!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amongst many good things, I loved that assist from Ainsley.

    It was a cracking piece of play. Must admit there are times when i think he seems surprisingly reluctant to take someone on for someone who did much of his development on the wing.

    Overall, though, I think it goes down as a decent season of development for him. Has now played dead on same amount of games as last year -28- and had some good performances in that.

    22 in Aug. Surprised me slightly as thought he was roughly a year younger. Another year of improvement next time at the same or slightly higher rate than this and he will be in a very good place for us.

    With the uplift of last night I was suddenly thinking- Ainsley, Hector, iwobi- not bad to have three of our own with the experience each has under their belt, with a very good chance Nelson is next in line to get decent number of games. Smith-Rowe also with a chance (think he may well go on loan again though). Then maybe Willock and Nketiah (if no loan), and of course plenty of talent beneath, especially Saka. *

    In other words…life looks a lot better after a good win!!

    * Pretty close to decision time for a few of the older ones I like : Ballard, Gilmour, Sheaf (in that order) and of course Bielik. I’m prepared for disappointment with any of them- could be out of our control to large degree as well- but I’d be miffed if Ballard doesn’t get some sort of shot. I like him as a defensive type, and would also like to see reward for the perseverance he showed and for the continuous improvement.


  5. Last night we saw both the good and bad of Emery and his team. The Good: Whenever his back is against the wall he goes for it trusting his attacking players. In the 1st half in particular we were willing to trust Wenger’s deadwood and take control of the game, ending up with a 1-2 lead. The Bad: By the 60th minute the manager goes conservative and subs his most gifted player technically whom by that time was starved of the ball as George explains. Inevitably the game gets very stretched but this time around the deadwood keep putting on the pressure and score two more goals. We know from experience how easy it could have slipped out of control if those goals weren’t scored.
    So yes I am very happy for the result but I am not getting carried away save to say Emery has proven he is an excellent Europa League coach.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thought ozil had a lot of nice touches. Think what counts against him is that in periods when we are coming under sustained pressure he is less able to drop back and make a three in centre mid, for purely defensive work, than someone like Ramsey who is very well equipped to if stationed in more advanced position. Mkhi less equipped than Ramsey but bit more than Mesut.

    Also makes sense to me what you are saying about players needing to find him going in the other direction when he finds space. I think of Torreira and Xhaka as good passers, but they are not, for instance, Cazorla good passers.

    Saw someone say the other day Ozil excels at connective play (or some term like that), and it stood out as a rare instance of fancy terminology sounding right to me. A connector: so needs people on wavelength , suppling him ball and being in position to receive from him or exchange passes.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Marvellous G! That was finger licking yummy. Couldn’t have asked for more from the boys. I especially love that part on Özil. Blows my mind that his detractors are blind to the nuances in the game.

    When I’m critical of Emery it is because I see this potential in this team, and when we don’t deliver such performances it at times is because of employing negative tactics, thinking about the next game.

    I love an Arsenal team that live and play in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks George

    Especially the description of how a playmaker works in the footy, you need to give them the ball in order for them to play! This is heavy stuff for the average clickbaiting ****ker running a blog and indulging in the Brexit vibes towards Ozil for a few extra clicks.

    I’m grateful that you’ve just blown all the gibberish ever written about Ozil out the water in a simple graceful and elegant paragraph!

    Some coaches have their playmakers as forwards in front of two or three midfielders, like Ozil for Germany.
    Some coaches like to have more then one playmaker in their eleven, as most attacking clubs and the best coaches like to do these days no matter the monies (Ajax?).

    It’s a simple game…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ozil was tracking back too and actually made a couple of tackles/interceptions. I think he is trying to adapt his game.


  10. Really does show what the team is capable of and also that the refs allow many players to get away with a lot of rubbish against Arsenal?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. quote
    Emery has proven he is an excellent Europa League coach

    its a bit like saying Neil Warnock has proven he is an excellent promotion to the Premier League coach or that Sam Allardyce has proven he is an excellent avoid relegation coach

    its great for what it is, but it may not mean they are elite coaches.


  12. Özil’s agent: “Mesut will be staying until at least 2021, and the fans need not to worry about the gossip that may come this summer. He has found a place he feels welcome and believes he has a lot more to give. He bleeds #AFC and respecting his contract is a certainty.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dominique Bloodworth and Sari van Veenendaal will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

    Dominique will be leaving north London to join Frauen-Bundesliga side, Wolfsburg, while Sari’s contract will come to an end this summer.

    Dominique joined us from SGS Essen in July 2015 and has since made 99 appearances for the club. If she features against Manchester City on Saturday then she’ll have made a century of appearances.

    The versatile midfielder has scored 14 goals, and helped us to win the FA WSL Continental Cup in 2015 and 2018, the 2016 Women’s FA Cup, and the 2019 Women’s Super League title.

    Sari joined us in July 2015 from FC Twente and has since made 71 appearances in Arsenal colours.

    Our Dutch shot-stopper has won two Continental Cups, one Women’s FA Cup and one Women’s Super League title during her time at the club.

    She also made a crucial penalty save in this season’s Continental Cup quarter-final win over Birmingham City, in addition to keeping seven clean sheets over the course of the campaign.

    Everyone at Arsenal would like to thank Dominique and Sari for their contribution to the team’s success, in addition to their exceptional professionalism and commitment throughout.

    We wish them the very best with their future.

    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.


  14. 20 year old midfielder Charlie Gilmour has announced he is leaving Arsenal this summer.


  15. Uefa have explained that they are only giving AFC and CFC 6000 tickets each cos Baku was the totally wrong venue for the EL final cos they don’t have the facilities or airport to cope with an influx of foreign fans,


  16. 2pm : ‘Pretty close to decision time for a few of the older ones I like : Ballard, Gilmour, Sheaf (in that order) and of course Bielik’

    7pm : Ed informs me Gilmour is off.

    Well, all I know if he has been a vital ingredient for Freddie’s u23’s this year, looking very good in his role.

    Maybe it’s one of those where if he was gonna break through with us would have done for already, and for Scot u21’s perhaps. I don’t know. Guess i liked him enough to want to see a few games to see how he adjusted to the big step up.

    Most won’t get that chance, I know. Good luck to him anyway.

    Just don’t do same to me with Ballard now ,Arsenal!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Hmm. Do Azerbaijan have a dictator type in charge by any chance?

    *checks* Aye, kind of. Wouldn’t surprise me if there was a nice bung in there, given the suitability issues.

    Read earlier today about this disgusting incident, where an Ajerbaijani military officer murdered a sleeping Armenian lieutenant with an axe at a Nato event in Budapest. Extradited home after a few years, he was immediately pardoned, made a national hero and given back pay for the time spent in prison.


    If the stuff in it is accurate, then Mkhi should on no account go there.

    Nice one, UEFA.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Big gap between Sunday’s game and Europa final isn’t it.

    29th May, so over a fortnight. Wonder what that means for preparation for game. Warm up match maybe behind closed doors?

    I’m very twitchy now about lineup for Burnley. We want to give those bums a chance to wreck our chances through injuring a key player?

    Think i’d like Laca and Auba to sit that one out. Know it means we’d be struggling, with only Nketiah as striker, so maybe have them on bench and see if Burnley are behaving or being *****.


  19. I think Ozil adapted his game to the PL a few years ago.

    That’s why this season his “tracking back” had been consistently better then Miki and perhaps understandably except to one it twice coaches (?) also better then the rookie GuendouzI.

    Season high six ball recoveries in the first half very recently, I think it was during the away game in napoli.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Shotta,
    hard to imagine Sarri will repeat his error from the home game in the league.

    Chelsea will have better finishers then Napoli or Valencia on the pitch (though I’m hoping Sarri goes for the hair-kiri and starts zero strikers) & the Gunners are going to require a top game in the defence and also have some luck in order to see them off.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thursday night did confirm what everyone here on PA already understands and appreciates:

    That Sokratis and Torreira were good signings to replace or upgrade on Gabriel and Coquelin, alongside Leno. It’s just that it took so long to bring in their replacements…!

    AW did ok with that previous squad, with Gabby and Coquelin, against a stronger Chelsea squad then their current one, so I have hope for the final! Losing Rudiger must be a blow for the Gas Guzzlers, so hopefully that’ll balance out the loss of Rambo a little. The official won’t be “making it up” as he goes along and will be conducting themselves like some kind of referee, I’m optimistic!


  22. foreverheady on May 10, 2019 at 8:33 am
    “All this season has proved to me is that if sides are allowed to foul at will Arsenal struggle to play, especially away from home, but if games are refereed properly then Arsenal remain a pretty decent side.”

    I wrote to Shotta that this was obvious after the Stoke Away performance last season.
    We previously had only seen such a level of hardcore cheating when AFC were pushing for a top four berth during the Xmas crunches, usually easy to predict when and where it would start every season. That trip to Stoke marked a serious escalation in the level of cheating, and I wrote to Shotta to tell him there was zero hope of top four after such an escalation in the first away game. Not even the after all not even the Invincibles could win a game of football on a tilted pitch. You all saw it.

    So the PGMO reps have been brazenly cheating from the start of the season as opposed to mid season the last two seasons home and away. Given the levels and consistency of cheating in all Arsenal games from the officials these past two seasons I commend both coaches for the awesome home records. There’s honestly not a huge deal that either coach could do with such extreme tilting of the pitch and the indulgence the opponent’s Home support. It is what it is and you’ve all witnessed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You are right Finsbury, our coaches can’t or couldn’t do anything about the PGMOL, we know one was silenced, Emery most likely told not to go there, although we gradually saw signs of his frustration with the officials as the season went on.
    But the club can do something. Our rivals wouldn’t put up with these refs, Taylor every five and a bit league games- why do we? Ivan headed or sat on every committee going, but in contrast to David Devin, on this subject, he clearly did very little ( those last five words some would say are a fitting epitaph for his time Arsenal, but for another day)
    Raul undoubtedly knows what goes on, as an ex Barca exec would have to , but he clearly does nothing.
    Can only conclude that either the club are unaware there is anything amiss, which would be beyond staggering, they fear damage for speaking out, even though damage has already been caused, or they don’t want to rock the boat for some other reason?, I have long suspected Stan wants to join a big Euro football party at all costs, and with noises from people like Juves owner and others, that could be closer than we think. Maybe a political move afoot, put up with a load of shite, let things go on for a seat at this table if, or when it happens?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. the Europa Cup final will be Arsenal’s 5th cup final in 6 years

    Liked by 1 person

  25. mandy didn’t one our our execs get an £8000 fine from the FA for his comments to a ref at half time in the tunnel during our home game v crystal palace


  26. seemingly Francis Cagigao is being promoted to replace the already departed Mislintat


  27. Think you are right, was the Ops director or something Eduardo.
    But I am referring more to words behind the scenes in the corridors of power rather than confronting refs at the ground, however tempting that clearly is.
    As for Francis Cagigao, sounds like a decent club man who has scouted some pretty impressive players from the little I know about him.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Just read Francis C was involved in bringing Santi Cazorla.
    Give him the job, now.


  29. With Mkhi not going to Baku shouldn’t Ramsey be available – seeing that it would be 5 or 6 weeks since his injury?


  30. Plenty of us wondering about Ramsey hamstrings, then.

    I’m not good at taking my Arsenal hat off, but in this case don’t think it would be fair to him to play if he’s in a sort of touch and go situation. A lot to ask with move of his life coming up and one where it would be bad news for him to turn up injured.

    Had a look because I remember something about Iniesta playing a final with a dodgy hamstring, then, i think, being out injured for quite a while afterwards.

    Found something on it but without mention of what happened next



  31. Found something else- 105 days Iniesta was out for afterwards.


  32. Positives: Today, at UniteForVAR, I ask the question “Is Mike Dean Referee Of The Year”? https://uniteforvar.com/?p=2000


  33. Shotta, I tried to reply on there but not sure it will have it. probably not.

    So, i’ll post here, but may not show either (fecking wordpress!)

    Expect I’ll be back for another comment on this intriguing piece. Lot to think about.

    First,though, want to point to a stand out moment of refereeing in the liverpool Barca game.

    Once again in that contest the ref proved he is one of the best in the business. It was a rare game where I could see extra aggression being a massive factor in a big performance, yet with a ref who handled it well, applied laws correctly, and showed marvellous understanding and judgement of game.

    First up were some early instances where Pool flew into challenges, got a touch of ball and then crashed hard into opponent. He booked at least one of these and gave free kicks on other occasions. Spot on- touching the ball does not matter at all if other criteria means it is a foul or a booking.

    My favourite piece of refereeing of all however was when he decide against playing advantage when Henderson barged into a player who had laid back to a teammate around halfway line. The message was simple : ‘I saw that, it counts on totting up, watch it!’. It meant slowing the game down marginally, maybe, but those few seconds are not worth allowing a player to go around making deliberate fouls scott free. I was immensely pleased to see that free kick given. It should be every time, and only very rarely would be in prem.

    You could allege prem refs do the same thing when they allow those fouls- pushes, little kicks, bigger kicks- to go, in favour of playing advantage in non dangerous areas of pitch, when there is zero imminent danger for defensive side and no immediate gain for attacking side. You could claim they are still noting the fouls, totting them up, and even that they communicate this to players.

    You could only honesty claim that if you have barely watched the premier league or not understood whatever amount you have watched. It would be completely incorrect anyway.

    On the day, Liverpool’s aggression worked incredibly well. Fabinho, for instance, just about managed to resist fouling Messi whenever chasing him once on his deserved early booking.

    On other days, playing the same, with that standard of officiating, it would not work as well. Arguably it will only work well less than half the time, maybe significantly less, such are the risks you should be running when playing right on the line or just over it in terms of aggression.

    Liverpool were right to risk it because their need was great and it was the key to victory. In the prem, teams are right to play that way because the odds are far too often not what they should be of falling foul of the ref for over aggression and excessive foul play


  34. Hi Rich. Yes I too observed that in both champions league games the refs did not abuse the advantage rule. If a team did not obtain a real advantage they brought play right back to the original foul for a restart. I remember a case of an Spuds player going in hard on an Ajax player and the ref not only bring it back but flashed a yellow card for the offence; Sissoko I think it is, who tried to throw his weight around until he was yellowed. All this added to the spectacle at the end, when the Ajax goalie engaged in time wasting and got carded. He was then forced to punt a weak goal kick which Spurs eventually recovered and the rest is history.

    PS: Please try again with trying to make a comment at UFV,


  35. They play on to avoid booking our clogging opponents it’s so obvious iit’s a joke. Michael Oliver was particularly bad in the game he sent off AMN the cheat.


  36. Emma Mitchell scored a stunning winner in the 88th minute today as our womens team who were crowned champions after the last game, finished off the season in style by beating nearest rivals Man City 1-0, which was City’s first league defeat of the season.


  37. So proud of the ladies… glad they have fought back to the top after a few years of man city and Chelsea….

    Come on men… be inspired by the ladies


  38. “Saw someone say the other day Ozil excels at connective play (or some term like that), and it stood out as a rare instance of fancy terminology sounding right to me. A connector: so needs people on wavelength , supplying him ball and being in position to receive from him or exchange passes.”

    Which is why the best we have played this season is when Ozil and Ramsey are on the pitch together. The other player with whom Ozil ‘connects’ is Iwobi, but generally UE seems to see them as an either/or, rather than complementary pairing.


  39. Arsenal Women
    ‏Verified account @ArsenalWFC
    3h3 hours ago

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    Liked by 1 person

  40. two of the women’s team are leaving the club, one of the stars of the season Dominique Bloodworth who played her 100th game for the team today, and former first choice keeper Sarri van Veenendaal go out on a very high note.

    I must say that the Women winning the league was a massive achievement, not only did they battle past the mega bucks sides of Man City and Chelsea, but they like the mens team had to battle past the refs, who at times let them be kicked around the place without the yellows or reds being handed out. Kim Little was out for about 3 months with a broken leg, several others missed large chunks of the season, Jordan Nobbs was heading for player of the season till she suffered a season ending knee injury less than half way through the season. The injury crisis was so bad at times that the entire subs list in some games was made up of teenagers.

    Man City whinged and bitched about how they deserved to actually win the league cos up till today they were unbeaten in all domestic competitions this season. Well I’m delighted that our women beat them today.

    The teams star striker Miedema won PFA player of the year, but unbelievably the football writers gave it to Man Citys England striker Parris despite her scoring less and assisting way less.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Welbeck was back in full training today

    Liked by 1 person

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