Poor Game, Great Start!




A hard fought 1-0 win has us leaving our first away game with all 3 points and a clean sheet. I know, A CLEAN SHEET, imagine that?

Given how many of our better players were unavailable ,for one reason or another, and given our poor away form in recent years, that was a very good result.

I have watched the game twice now and I have to say that no one had a bad game, and some had quite a good game. Of course the usual suspects (at least in Mustafi’s absence) Xhaka and Mkhitaryan came in for their customary stick on twitter, but I thought that although Xhaka looked a little loose in the initial 20 minutes, he was top notch in the rest of the game. Also Mkhitaryan did some really good stuff, but having done it he mostly messed up the final ball. For me this indicates that he is either short on confidence,or he is trying to hard, perhaps fearing for his place in the team,or at the club even.It’s a shame, because he is a very talented player.

The problem is, that given no one had bad games, and the opposition were poor, why were we not much better as a team.? Normally it’s a struggle because some of the players are having an off day, but no one did, and our team play was turgid.

I think the young lads all did ok, none of them did enough to make me think they will force their way into our best 11, but they don’t have to do that, all they have to do is let no one down when they come in, and they didn’t let themselves or anyone else down.

The team will look altogether different when Lacazette, Ozil, Pepe and Luiz are in it, so there is much to look forward to.

It would be rude to not acknowledge that Emery got a result with a much depleted squad, so well done him.


Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

98 comments on “Poor Game, Great Start!

  1. Arsenal Academy
    Goal for @Rovers
    . Mols races behind our defence before slotting the ball into the corner.

    (27) | #PL2


  2. Arsenal Academy
    GET IN THERE! @FBalogun67
    ‘s penalty is saved… but he makes no mistake with the rebound

    (30) | #PL2


  3. Arsenal Academy
    HALF-TIME: @Rovers
    1-1 #AFCU23

    We’re level at the break thanks to @FBalogun67
    ’s penalty


  4. Edu Although it’s a YouTube compilations, what I’ve seen of fikayo balogun is frightening. He’s maybe the brightest striker to have come out of our academy. Although you can’t be too certain how his senior career will be.


  5. With you foreveheady, that was a decent away performance in poor conditions on the first day of the season, Emerys job is to get as many points as possible this year and qualify for the ECL if he wants to stay beyond the season, he doesn’t have the luxury of building that Wenger had pretty much until the end of his career here, and in that context, a job well done.
    He has played some of the kids, and bought in flair players, who will take a while to bed in, but will hopefully bring us some very decent football.
    Values are a transient thing in something like football, the club has always had an air of class about it, the excellent Arsenal foundation, emphasis on the women’s game and inclusivity- supporting Pride etc is there, but cannot help but thinking some references to latter day values are references to wengers admirable opinions on the game rather than anything the club are going to hold onto . George Graham had a different set of values, very strong work ethic and discipline, but was also a naughty boy , and one more steeped in the defensive side of the game, which he used to bring is success. Emery , Raul, Edu, Josh for all I know might see the world and the game very differently to the previous regime, but that often comes with the passage of time, and the desire to be back in the CL!
    But looking forward to seeing what our players can do on the pitch, what Raul may or may not concoct off it, that’s not the fault or responsibility of Chambers, Willock or Nelson, they and their teammates deserve our full support, as does Guendouzi for his performance last Sat, seems Adrian Clarke was very impressed!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Smith-Rowe taken off at half time, and Rob Holding taken off 63 minutes in, both pre planned moves


  7. Arsenal Academy
    PENALTY TO #AFCU23! @FBalogun67
    races through on goal and forces the keeper into a foul. @FBalogun67
    to take…

    (83) | #PL2

    Cool as you like, @FBalogun67


    (84) | #PL2


  8. Arsenal Academy


    (90) | #PL2


  9. Arsenal Academy
    Victory in our opening fixture of the 2019/20 #PL2 season

    Start as you mean to go on – right?


  10. Foreverheady

    Nice post


  11. Glad to see my hunch Balogun may struggle to match u18 feats at u23 level appears way off!

    Probably based it heavily on John-Jules being pushed on quicker and ahead of him in England pecking order as well. Plus what were odds of another top striking prospect to add it Nketiah and John-Jules?

    Some of his u18 goals were pretty sensational with their combination of lightening speed and clean finishing, so if he’s bringing that up to u23’s he’s yet another to add to the top prospect list.

    Positive night all round by the sounds of it with Holding getting more minutes and return of Smith Rowe.


  12. Former Arsenal youth Stephy Mavididi is on the verge of a permanent move to Serie B side Benevento with talks ongoing between the two clubs.


  13. Uh-ooh…

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thing is, to get a true idea of how ‘bad’ it is being forced wide in their half as we were some info needed on how other teams fare in same scenario- ie deep defence, in this case with three cb’s and three big cm’s in front of them mostly sitting.

    The whole point of their formation, as with many other teams, and thanks to Clark’s breakdown I realise that also included us this week to a degree, is to block up the middle and try force opponents wide.

    Only team I can picture being first rate at still making things happen through middle when faced with that is City, and even then it’s not so much through middle for the penetration part as balls slid down side of cb’s.

    Counters are different, you can get right through middle there, because of space, but they largely depend on opposition to have taken risks at some point.

    Worth looking, anecdotally, at some of top 6 rivals goals this weekend. City first was from wide. 3 of Pool’s four were crosses, with the other down edge of box. Spurs all central, 1st after a cross, but slightly different scenario as they broke Villa’s resistance through intense pressure 2nd half. Utd’s pen was, I think, from turnover/counter, but Chelsea were notably not sitting to defend, and on this occasion heavily punished for their openness. All subsequent goals counters/turnovers into space I think.


  15. Interestingly, get our first look of season this weekend at how we fare with full bus (or full, full bus, total bussball).

    Normally it’s only home games you get the full version, or at least feels like that in my mind, after so many games watching us tasked with breaking through deep defensive walls against teams who, for long periods, are completely prepared to defend, defend, defend, and maybe try a break every now and then if available.

    Think our ability has dipped there with the loss of the Ozil Sanchez link up, option of Giroud, and Ramsey’s late runs.

    Ceballos could be a real help, especially if he and Ozil click. He was excellent as Spain utterly destroyed the previously proud Polish bus at u21 Euro’s (but they had a wonderfully mobile skilful team, with virtually all players able to move and connect with each other adroitly)

    Pepe too, you’d hope. Then the other side of it- dealing with counters when they materialise. Until Bellerin and Tierney come in I’m not sure there’ll be much improvement there, unless coaches have come up with something through Summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Rich

    Newcastle played Hayden at RM and we’ve seen him play well at CB alongside Chambers.

    That was straight out of the Mourinho handbook.

    Then again Mourinho had Ozil as the highest pressing footballer on the pitch in two classicos.

    Even Mourinho never surrendered the centre ground to such a consistent degree. Quantifiably: not.

    Every Gunner knows the advantage in having the best range for your artillery right?

    Last season Ozil blew the tyres on the Burnley bus when it arrived in north London, twice! Somehow inspite of the tactics.

    Once with the kind of mazy dribble past several defenders the likes of which Pepe would’ve noted for sure. Ozil might not be fully fit for this weekends game (hopefully he’s been able to train).

    Burnley will be tougher then the unsettled Newcastle (who could sink into a relegation fight) this early in the season.

    But the performance from the younger players away from home was very exciting, simply because we know they’ll be finding even more gears at home. That is where the excitement is for me ATM not in the patterns of play or lack of as explained in George’s headline but in the individual development of the players.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fins, by surrender the centre ground are you mostly talking about in final third?

    Think you’ve gotta be so damn good to make things happen in those crowded central areas when teams sit like that. Even mighty Germany couldn’t do it, despite having a long-standing coach of some repute, with a good well-established positive philosophy, against Mexico, Sweden and Korea

    I’m just after context and accuracy when likes of those heat maps are held up as evidence of scale of deficiencies. Guess I could go hunting for what good not abandoning central areas attacking play should look like against those tactics, but I’m a lazy fucker on that front.

    Couldn’t be clearer we over-relied on full/wing back width last year, despite not having great wide play (nor anything like Giroud quality heading options); that it was neither enjoyable to watch nor effective at some crucial times, and ultimately proved massively costly.

    I’m just keen to try establish how tough a challenge modern deep defences pose to central play, and also, admittedly, want to treat new season as a fresh start and keep my optimism levels up (at least until this cruel world/game beats it down!)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Must stress, no problem * with people seeing it differently from me. That’s natural and would be boring if we all felt the same here.

    *well, that’s a slight lie, as there can be some chagrin initially at least, but no doubt it’s the exact same thing if I post something which challenges someone else’s opinion etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. On those youngsters, the phrase popped into my head a few times in last couple of years that they are ‘more Arsenal than Arsenal [first team]

    The difficulty level is very different, of course, but some of the attacking play of recent youth teams has been superb, all movement, skill, speed, creativity, teamwork, etc.

    There’ve been intimations that to see the best of any one of them regularly may require two or three of them playing together in the same areas.

    Adds a little to the sadness of Iwobi exit but can still dream of combo’s of Willock, Saka, Nelson, Smith-Rowe and Eddie at present.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Rich

    For Germany Ozil started in the left of a three and wandered where he liked behind Muller and the CF.

    I previously asked/wondered if we’d ever see AW copy that with a flatter midfield three after we lost the Cazorla-Ozil combo (plus Rambo) from midfield to the forward areas.

    When those two were not available Ozil would sometimes start in the centre as their striker.

    Lowe never surrendered the centre and never aimed his attacks towards he corner flags.

    the comparison with Germany only highlights the severe dogma we’ve witnessed at AFC over the last 12 months. Especially as Low’s midfield General was a Cazorla-esque former forward, a Teutonic Cazorla on his last legs at that time after which they’ve struggled to build as strong a midfield for sure but there are other factors behind that such as Kroos & others egos unchecked after Lahm Schwiny and Mertesacker retired.

    We’ve watched for a decade teams with various attacking bias in the final third against teams that park the bus, including Donald Trump’s dad Phil “I love hard work love” Orange and all the rest too.
    Sometimes with over 50% of all attacks down the left, sometimes the right, etc.

    Never did they vacate the centre. Surrender the centre ground. And I can’t pretend that they did out of some notion of fairness towards tactics that no one can d by: not even Mourinho failed to exploit Ozil in the centre of his attack, even if it was just to press (Ozil can press, if the coach knows that they are doing).

    That’s not an opinion it’s the record.
    And the reason why George wrote his headline.

    Poor Football, with some very good Football players.

    I’ve been singing Auba’s praises before it became obvious he is the fastest scoring player in the club’s history, and wow what a great striker he is. Fortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Short version of the above post would be a data list of shots on target for various AFC squads per 90 over the last 15 years (bearing in mind some of those squads had teenage midfields to offset the slightly higher standards of players we see just one decade later).

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Rich

    fins imo very accurately and deliberately uses the word surrender. It’s certainly not easy against a packed defense, and teams, even the best of them, do go wide (ManCity do this a lot) But they do not ‘surrender’ the middle. The may lose it sometimes. But they keep trying. Arsenal under Emery actively forego the middle of the pitch. I’m sure some of his backers will say it’s the players’ fault, but when you have Ozil, Ramsey, and even Willock and ESR, and decide to get Denis Suarez instead and STILL don’t do it, then it’s not the players.

    I just think Emery does it because he’s primarily a defensive minded coach. To him losing possession in the middle of the park is the worst thing that can happen because it opens up space/options on the counter, and he can’t organise a defense (Seriously, he cannot. He’s even made us worse on set pieces it seems to me). So he chickens out and uses the touchline as the extra defender WHILE ATTACKING, and also keeps 2 DMs back (if not 3).

    Bellerin and Tierney will help carry the attack. Pepe will add volatility and dribbling to it. Auba and Laca hopefully will keep up their finishing. Mesut will always find space and the pass if it’s available. But we’ll never be a good footballing side. Merely players carrying a coach.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. “Xhaka is a Key Player for Arsenal” say Shotta and Blackburn George in the latest edition of the weekly UnCensored Podcast. Link available at the blog:

    Liked by 2 people

  24. You can also link directly to the pod at https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18802793 OR on Souncloud, Itunes an Google podcast. Search for UncensoredArsenal.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Shard

    City started the first league game last season against the Arsenal with both Sterling and Mahrez hugging the touchlines on the famously wide pitch at the Emirates.

    Before Sterling cut in for that incredible finish to kill the contest.

    Fortunately for AMN he picked up an injury as he was in all kinds of trouble at LB against a player of Mahrez’s quality with a notional starting position of hugging the touchline.

    Nowt wrong with wide forwards hugging the touchline. When they know they’re not attacking the corner flags.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hey Positives. There is no secret what George and I are trying to achieve in our weekly podcasts. We are a little molehill resisting the mountain of Arsenal bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers who are thriving on negativity adding further instability to our club at a time of transition. Please give the podcast your support.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Final comment: If you are on Twitter please RT links to the podcast, spread the word on various social media platforms and by word of mouth. Finally, become a Subscriber. The latter is important in gaining what they call Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Trust me the Negativistas are hundreds of miles ahead of us and are so bold they are now monetizing the trash they sell to Arsenal fans.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Can’t believe the can of worms they are considering opening with VAR and offsides. Only using it for ‘clear and obvious error’, as with most other VAR adjudications.

    Seems bonkers. Prospect of goals being allowed or disallowed which are then shown to be erroneous calls, but not by enough of a margin.

    The injustice you’d feel if you lost out that way would be beyond anything possible without VAR


  29. ‘Only using it for ‘clear and obvious error’. Bizarre in that you would think that was the moment when VAR wasnt needed?


  30. afcstuff
    Eddie Nketiah played 78 minutes & scored the opening goal of the game on his Leeds debut as they beat Salford City in the Carabao Cup first round. Get in, @EddieNketiah9
    ! #afc

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Nketiah scores on debut for Leeds.

    Credit where it is due, could be a good loan move following up on Nelson’s last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. “Tierney, I think he’s a young Monreal. Same kind of profile, a reliable boy who looks a great character, looks a great personality, looks a little bit like he’s from a previous generation with his way of behaving. I like his profile.”

    – Mourinho

    Liked by 1 person

  33. afcstuff
    Adidas Product Designer for Licensed Apparel James Webb has confirmed that Adidas will be releasing an Arsenal fourth kit for the 2019/20 season. [@Footy_Headlines
    ] #afc


  34. Lyon have confirmed that Arsenal have a matching clause for Reine-Adelaide, so they could sign him for the fee Lyon have agreed with Angers.


  35. Premier League football returns to Emirates Stadium this Saturday as we face Burnley.

    Here’s our latest team news ahead of the visit of the Clarets:

    Granit Xhaka
    Bruising to lower back and leg. Being assessed ahead of Saturday.

    Rob Holding
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation and now participating in full training with the first team.

    Hector Bellerin
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

    Kieran Tierney
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

    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.


  36. Emery says Kolasinac and Ozil are available for the Burnley game on Saturday

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Looks like Mezut and Sead are back as well

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I know that looks like four players back but I just didn’t see Ed’s post

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Arsenal have confirmed that Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Matt Macey and Eddie Nketiah are part of the first-team squad.
    However, winger Gabriel Martinelli, who joined from Ituano this summer, is in the U23 squad.

    Martinelli, who made his competitive debut against Newcastle United last weekend, has been given the number 35 shirt for this season.

    It is anticipated that the Brazilian will still be heavily involved with the first-team this season.

    Willock and Nelson both started against Newcastle, while Macey and Smith Rowe have also been promoted along with Nketiah, who is on loan at Leeds United.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Emery doing the Mesut was sick yesterday, we will see thing. No chance he’ll play in my opinion

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Dear Member

    1) IMPROVING THE MATCHDAY EXPERIENCE AT THE EMIRATES STADIUM – This season AISA will be carrying out an audit of supporters’ experiences at every home match, the results of which we will then be discussing with the club. For Saturday’s game against Burnley we ask you to send in your comments to [null]campaigns@aisa.org – preferably under the following headings:

    Access and egress to the Stadium (including safety & security, signage, presence & helpfulness of stewards, time taken to enter and leave etc)

    Services inside the Stadium (including catering – price, quality & service, lifts, toilets, general comfort/space etc)

    The environment before, during and at the end of the match (stewarding & policing, sightlines, pre-match & half-time entertainment, audibility etc)

    Any other issues

    If there was one thing you could do to improve your matchday experience what would it be (off-field issues only please!)

    You don’t need to answer each section if you don’t want to. Please send your replies to campaigns@aisa.org


  42. ShardGooner has done a sobering preview for ARSvBUR at Uncensored Arsenal noting that “Old Habits Die Hard”. Give it a read and fell free to leave a comment . https://uncensoredarsenal.com/index.php/arsenal-v-burnley-old-habits-die-hard/#comment-246

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Get French Football News
    · 12m
    William Saliba has undergone an operation following an adductor muscle injury, in agreement with parent club Arsenal. He will be out of action for at least 6 weeks for St Étienne.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith joins Salisbury on loan and immediately wins man of the match award

    2 Votes

    Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith joined Salisbury FC this week on an initial one-month work experience loan deal.

    The 17-year-old has headed to England’s seventh tier to gain his first experience of first-team football and help Salisbury ease their goalkeeping crisis.

    Smith was on the bench for Arsenal U23s against Blackburn Rovers on Monday but just a day later was featuring for Salisbury, keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory against Gosport Borough and being named man of the match.

    Last season Smith impressed as Arsenal U18s were crowned southern section champions.

    The Hale End product was recommended to Salisbury by his Arsenal team-mate and fellow goalkeeper James Hillson, who had a productive loan spell at the Southern League Premier Division South team last season when he was a Reading player.

    With Arthur Okonkwo out injured and Deyan Iliev on loan at Sered, Hillson is the current first-choice goalkeeper for Arsenal at U23 level.

    Karl Hein, who played for the U18s against Chelsea last weekend, could be on the bench for the U23s while Smith is away.

    Alternatively, Matt Macey may still play some games for the second-string despite being part of the first-team squad.


  45. Did I imagine it or did website list Smith-Rowe among injured players and say hoped to train in 1-2 weeks?

    Hope not as he only returned to u23 action this week, and I don’t like idea of this same injury dragging on from before he went on loan spell.

    They play again tonight so fingers crossed he’s involved. As big a hope as Nelson and Willock for me and i really want to see him back on track and getting some minutes.

    Mavropanos meanwhile- I’ve long since lost track of when these injury troubles started for him but seems very long time now since he’s been available for any period of time.

    Bloody injuries.


Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: