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.


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98 comments on “Poor Game, Great Start!

  1. First, remember those days.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. These days you could be first and last with the same post Ian.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. You didn’t mention Torreira, Holding, Bellerin, Teirney and Sead.
    The squad looks good in Quality especially when you consider the amount of youngsters we have who are knocking on the door. We do look a little light in some areas if we get a number of injuries.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Agree 90%
    10% : Young guns ‘none of them did enough to make me think they will force their way into our best 11″ Maitland Niles did enough to make me wonder… He’s an incredible asset, I simply wonder where he should play.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes Ian, but for me only Hector makes our best 11 from the ones you mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So why is it a poor game if as most people say no one did bad? 3 points a clean sheet in first game of season and first away game for that matter? great game!


  7. Great result TS, but the standard of play was poor. Newcastle were awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. But TS, that’s my point, why was the team play poor when none of the players were.? Answers on a postcard.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I didn’t watch so cant answer was just trying to understand that myself… Guess it is about the players not having been a team for long… people take the idea of a team building up over a period for granted.. It does take some time and work for a team to become more than its individual parts… so I guess we have to be happy with hopefully good results of 1 nil to the arsenal as that process unfolds…

    Of course the likes of Ozil coming back into the team would add value… Plus Laca.. so they can only get better going forward

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Good recap George. With so many new players added to the team it will take a while for the players to adapt to each other and for group cohesion to develop. In the meantime, hard work and keeping it fairly simple would be wise. With Liverpool away in 2 weeks the boys have their work cut out.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Good analysis.
    Everything you say is spot on i think everyone put in a shift.
    Miki as you say was decent but his final ball let him down. Young players did fine but nothing spectacular.

    Thing is people always rave about super kids but its just a fact of life that so few young players make the step up to top level.

    How many Arsenal academy kids have really made the grade with us in the last 10 years?

    Recently Iwobi did very well but still got pelters off some because he wasnt Messi.

    If 1 out of 3 that played today makes it as a regular at Arsenal & perhaps another as a decent back up/ squad player that imo would be amazing.


  12. I didn’t see much from our new signings. Willock and nelson did well before they were out of gas. The team lost initiative when they were subbed off. I didn’t see anything special in ceballos either. Just good control and tidy passes, nothing great like he is suppose to be an upgrade on Ramsey as we have not had a world class box to box midfielder like him since Vieira. That is according to the pundits. And justifying 20m for one season. If he doesn’t give what Ramsey gives , this people must take back their words.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. First game out the way with a patchy side, 3 points at that is basically what we asked for. Tick.

    Emery will have another week in the workshop with the guys before the next game. To echo BG’s words; Lacazette, Pépé, Ceballos, Luiz and Özil coming into this side will change the dynamic greatly, meaning following next weeks game vs Burnley we should have a better idea where we stand as far as readiness in concerned, especially having Liverpool and Spurs thereafter.

    Sometimes getting a really good initial result, like 4-1, 4-0, 5-0 or whatever can give one a really false sense. Were you really that good or are the other side, considering it’s their first game, just further behind in their preparation. Next week will be telling for so many sides.

    Rolling on…


  14. Meanwhile the guy brought in to replace pepe at Lille scored a brace on his debut. They paid just 12m for him. I wonder how much we’ll be willing to pay for him next season. The celebration over there says a lot about how they got the better deal. Like we say in naija, we must have sence.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Really good result for us.

    Interesting commentary moment for me was on stroke of half time when one of them suggested Newcastle manager would be the more content, because they had done a good job of ‘containment’.

    New manager, in his dream job, 1st game of season, at home, and we’re not exactly City. Comment ,and how they played it, said much about how many teams approach prem life these days. Long, long way from Keegan’s entertainers for the Newc fans.

    Another one that caught my eye was highly-fancied Wolves and Leicester drawing 0-0 with three shots on target between them. Fits my belief of what should happen often when countering teams meet each other.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Nature of game made it extra galling for me that Atkinson refused to apply laws when Willock was twice cynically fouled after engineering a break into space.

    2nd time was abysmal. Looked like the defender nearly choked him with the monitor thing players wear. Anyway, they were both text book examples of why it’s for good of game especially when teams sit deep and aren’t ambitious to penalise those cyncial fouls when a player has managed, through ingenuity or skill, to find a way past the first lines and break dangerously. Also took a kick from behind 2nd half while in process of turning marker.

    One thing a team sitting as Newc did affords is a good look at how you will try construct moves and attempt to break teams down. Willock’s skillset effectively offers a new way. Reiss,too, showed a little promise on that front.

    Other than that, not a huge amount of encouragement, though it did remind me, in its absence, that one touch passing is one of the best ways to speed it up and try upset balance of defensive sides. Ceballos will surely bring some of that.

    Performance ok, result great, I’m going with

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Two academy players in the starting eleven was the highlight for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. TS

    I could be wrong here but the footy was not so great because the Arsenal vacated the centre of the pitch. One problem a coach might have if he sets his team up in such an obviously unbalanced way is that:

    The opponent’s goal is in the centre of the pitch.

    Not on the sides.

    This is why the shots on goals/XG/WTF stats were so poor last season.
    but fortunately Arsenal currently have the fastest scoring footballer in the club’s history on the pitch.

    hopefully this Pepe signing will help a little with the old Football.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. People at the blogosphere thinking we have done brilliantly at the TW sigingng Pepe Luiz and Cabelos and get riding of Ramsey Mustafi and Iwobi etc will soon find out that we are weaker than last year.
    A weakened Chelsea and a stagnant Manu may give us a chance to get into top4 but people prausing the management for doing good biz will soon be dumbfounded.
    Letting Ramsey go alone will prove fatal for Arsenal forrunes this year.
    The idiots at Arseblog Aftv Legroan etc who think Raul and Emery can outsmart AW at TW and the touchline will fail miserably as they failed last year as I predicted at numerous occasions on this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This always happens to me. I’m going to just copy paste my comment from the last article.

    I can’t remember if it was before or after the goal, but the shot of our executive trio was funny because Edu was looking like death. But why is a contract negotiator getting the limelight? Weird as fuck.

    Anyway, game. Clean sheet is good. Newcastle barely threatened because our best CB pairing of pre-season did a good job, and Xhaka was a solid, calm influence on the game. But the most pleasing aspect, apart from the fact that we won, was that our academy graduates looked like they belonged. AMN was my man of the match, Willock looked good even in the face of some hard knocks and a ref unwilling to protect our players. More to come from him and Nelson.

    Miki had a poor first half, but as ianspace (?) pointed out, he was constantly involved. He may not always be the most efficient, but I suspect he’ll play an important part this season. Auba took his chance well after AMN pounced on Newcastle’s error. Pepe, Ceballos and Martinelli made their debuts. All good.

    Or was it? That was once again a dull game of football, and I don’t see that our coach has provided the players any real direction and vision. We struggle to get the ball forward, which with the talent we have, is a travesty. I mentioned Edu looking like death, but even Freddie looked bemused with what was going on. I wonder how long the boot room will stay quiet before they boot up and start booting some booty.

    Still, first game, first win. Away at that. We take it and hope for better days ahead

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Liked by 2 people

  22. Interesting how intensely they pressed Pepe when he came on, and that he looked able to deal with it pretty easily, either with hold-up play or skill. Still thinking that he won’t be super productive right away, but signs are that he’s going to make a lot more space for the rest of the team.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Have a look again at the ball Mhki floats in at around 31 mins, if Auba had smashed it in, everyone would have been taking their trousers off over their heads in joy. Thats one magic ball he puts in. For me the best ball of the game. Beautiful physics.
    Happy for Ainsley too, touch of the Hectors with his interception, and the bs of the own goal in pre-season is quite rightly forgotten.
    Whole team is still lacking a sold unity and confidence. But yesterday must have really helped to changing that.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Mills

    The arse-experts who told us last season that Unai was a gegenpressing confirmation bias satisfying wet dream completely ignored the excellent volleyed pass from Miki to Ozil to help set Auba’s wonder goal in that pre-season game against Barca whilst focusing on AMN blunder.

    Because they’d then have to acknowledge that modern good teams do indeed look to play with two or more playmakers on the pitch as opposed to the concepts from their childhood that they project onto the modern game.
    Or that ignoring all playmaking in favour of attacking the corner flags doesn’t produce the best football…

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hopefully Pepe’s shins turn out to be as strong as Alexis when receiving the pgMOB treatment (even that wasn’t strong enough! He was pushed him into a pit…)

    Failing that the Billy Big Blaggers favourite sexy beast (& sponsor?) Raul Montana can just send some his scooter boyz to Uxbridge.
    fingers crossed.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. finsburyp

    I tried Google translate on some of your comments but I still can’t decipher most of them (banned smiley emoticon)

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Can you believe they are still taking photos outside Mesut’s home. Two or three different stories on it now, accompanied by photos. Yesterday it was of guard at the gate, today showing dogs being used.

    I thought club or police would have forced them to stop or, naively, even they might realise what they did previously was wrong and could have added to danger.

    Total shitbags

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Got a little excited when first saw latest tweet from Richard Keys.

    He made it look like Pierluigi Collina had spoken directly in response to prem action this weekend to insist pitchside monitors must be used.

    Quote was ‘VAR must be no more than an assistant to match day ref’ and rest is, I think, Keys own view :

    ‘Pierluigi Collina, Head of Referees at FIFA. ‘VAR must be no more than an ASSISTANT to the match day ref’. PL refs MUST use the pitch side monitor. You can’t ref from an office. I’m told Marriner would’ve given Wolves goal had he seen it.’

    Anyway, truth should emerge soon enough if FIFA don’t accept way we are using it here. We might not be too bothered now, but if it was, say, Xhaka making the tackle done on him yesterday, and VAR assistant instructed red, sure we would be

    Liked by 2 people

  29. “Failing that the Billy Big Blaggers favourite sexy beast (& sponsor?) Raul Montana can just send some his scooter boyz to Uxbridge.
    fingers crossed.”

    “Or that ignoring all playmaking in favour of attacking the corner flags doesn’t produce the best football…”

    LOL!!!!!!!!! Laughed out loud with these!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Pleased to say Baba Grumpy this season will do a deep dive into each PL game for Uncensored. I think it will be a good complement to George’s excellent post-game summaries. Please give him a read: https://uncensoredarsenal.com/index.php/three-away-points-hello/

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I get that a number of people remain really unhappy with the absence of AW and the seemingly values-free direction of the club. I also understand the sadness when favourite players leave, and the temptation to scorn those both bought and brought to replace them. I get that Emery is not everyone’s most favourite coach. I also share the frustration that starting the season with so many key players missing was passed off with a shrug, whereas under AW it would have been hjeld up as gross and shambolic mismanagement.
    But, notwithstanding (top crossword clue: how the legless man tires, all the same.) all of that, we have an emergent Arsenal to follow. We have exciting academy players making their way, we have the likes of Chambers, Holding, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Lacazette and Aubameyang to provide continuity from the previous regime, and we have shiny new signings, some of whom might do well, some who probably won’t.
    Yesterday’s result was excellent, and at times the play hinted at joined-upness. I am not sure many of our current players have the skill set to play in the kind of Arsenal way that AW spoilt us with (it seems watching City that they have all the players who are that skillful these days), but I could see signs of them trying to find a way that was more than just predictable: I really liked the way Nelson and Willock were trying to play nicely, for instance. I think there are definite grounds for optimism, even if I am mentally preparing myself for Ozil’s departure given the current security situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Having a preference for a football team to not be set up to attack the corner flags has nothing to do with AW.


    Liked by 2 people

  33. It’s not about Wenger, but one thing is true. If you keep telling players they aren’t good enough to be more, they never will be. But a lot of managers have good careers and success playing that way. For that, their system needs to be effective and tactics clearly communicated, with players buying in. From what I have seen I doubt Emery can even do the latter part, let alone bring out talents players themselves may not know and believe they have. Which, if we’re aiming to be a club which builds from the academy, we need.

    All our players played well yesterday. Even Miki who made a few mistakes, but was active and did his job. The most exciting players were those who came up from Hale End and were trained in Wengerball. It’s not the players, it’s the system, or what passes for it.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Yes Luiz is an improvement over a player who should not have been asked to hobble about for more then ten league games last season let alone this. Fortunately Koscielny and his agent showed Raul who wears the trousers same as with Rambo and Ozil, and he left. We got lucky there.

    However. Watching a football team set up to play like this:

    Is very boring. For me.

    Look at that black hole!

    It’s a singularity.

    A break in the continuity that can’t really be ignored, unless you’re a Billy Big Blagger.

    How is this related to the previous coach?
    It is not.

    Chameleon or Coward, no matter how you see it this squad should come top four this season.

    If they manage to attack the goal. Enough.

    prayer beads are or for Auba’s fitness lasting!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Chelsea and ManU game was helter skelter, but with both teams, even the humiliated Chelsea, you could tell what their identity is. I think Emery most enjoys playing with his tactics like on a chessboard, and gets frustrated when they interact with the real world. Except that it gives him the opportunity to go back and play with his board again. He’d make a good American football coach drawing up plays and executing them down to the second.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. << Chambers though eh.

    Decent enough. Against most opponents. Same as with AMN at RB (you all saw his struggles against first choice forwards for top teams in pre-season and last year).

    The decision, the calamitous call to send Chambers on loan last season and replace with an expensive and useless loanee:

    Had nothing to do with AW.

    But it did cost the club a point at least last season.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Where is that graphic from, fins? I mean.. wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Me is dumb.. It says on the picture

    Liked by 2 people

  39. fins, you could imagine some WW1 General barking at the men re your corner flag attack posts:
    ” you men, go over top and attack those corner flags”…
    “but Sir our objective is the goal, straight in front”
    “well little man do as I say or I’ll put you on a charge and have you transferred out of here, now go over the top and think of your demise”.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Mills,
    I greatly appreciated Captain Laurent Koscielny’s nod/homage towards Captain Edmund Blackadder.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Always a hero. Till the very end.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. < till the Journey's End.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. till the journeys end: classic fins! Did you ever see Aces High, they whipped Sherrifs play and changed it around a bit. Both the play and AH are really sad. What a waste.

    I was going to add the bit about “Im right behind you” and Blackadder says ” yes about thirty five miles behind you”.

    Blackadder goes Forth was like your jokes today, really funny but when you showed the heat map we see how sad it is, exactly as the last episode was. And the whole of that war. And all wars.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Three points at Newcastle is not to be sniffed at – very fine margins at 1-0 in this match so credit to the players involved just the same as with the infamous “1-1 at Newcastle”
    result which was overseen by two players who’d been trained and invested in to be two of Arsenal’s current CM (Southgate’s nominated eight Chambo, and Rambo…).

    The margins in this league are so tight. Which is why questioning the sanity of people sending good players on loan in order to sign expensive useless loanees as on multiple occasions last season is a fair and reasonable critique.

    And not relative to the previous coach/manager/etc

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Aces High added to my reading list thanks Mills


  46. Awful news about Dan Carter.


  47. A positive last season was the extension of Nelson’s contract and also his loan move. Credit where it is due!

    Not an easy return to the PL at Newcastle.

    I had fun watching the efforts of all the academy players on the pitch.
    The contest between former Gunners Hayden, Shelvey and rookies Willock & Guendouzi in midfield and also Nelson was the most enjoyable part of the match for me along with the goal! And the coach replaced them at the right time as they tired opposite the older graduates.
    Xhaka’s performance I took for granted hehe.
    in spite of the Blaggers desire Xhaka played lots of minutes in pre season as the coach wanted him revved up for the start of the season.

    Along with that goal where Auba almost makes a straight run just to the left of the centre there were a few chances that came from play through the middle.

    I’m hopeful of more of that as some of the senior players on the bench get fit.

    Would be nice for the shiny new signing to break Burnley’s bubble with a dribble through their defence.
    Ozil was the key in the corresponding fixture last season hopefully he’ll be back too.


  48. Forever Heady
    Good points. Depicts my feelings post AW. It has been really difficult to see another person in charge after the glorious, reign of AW for 2 decades.
    With all the highs and lows of AW period the attacking football style remain the true hallmark which became Arsenal identity posr 2000+ the Emirates stadium move.
    With UE arrival I had an initial feeling that he may continue with the clubs philosophy of playing attacking football but we saw a dull defemsive playing style with inconsistent line-ups depriving us of the beautiful game we were so fond of watching.

    His continuous berating of Ozil and Ramsey cost us points at low ranked oppositions which ultimately cost us the coveted 4th place.
    Surprisingly the idiot Wobs who mocked Wenger for finishing in Top4 for 2 decades suddenly lowered their bar from winning the Epl and CL to a much maligned top4 spot.
    Wih no improvement om the defensive side of the game as we conceeded the same number of goals and had it been not the goal scoring prowess of Auba and Laca we couldn’t have scored 70 goals with this negative playing style.

    On the management front the departure of Ramsey for me is a complete failure. Siging of aeging Sokratis and Luiz for big bucks seems poor decisions. Had such decisions were done by AW he would have been crucified then and there.
    I dont see Pepe and Cabelos as outstanding signings as well.

    Compare AW sigings with UE. AW stands out surely.

    From Henry to Anelka ,From Viera to Cesc, From Rosicky to Ozil, From Nasri to Arshavin, From Cech to Scezney we sae a blend of youth and experience hand in hand with the little magician Cazorla to our Golden boy Aron Ramsey AW glorious reign has filled our world with joy and happiness .

    Let’s see how this season pans out.


  49. Jeorge Bird
    Arsenal U23 v Blackburn: Hillson; Swanson, Clarke, Holding, Bola; Burton, Olayinka; Coyle, Smith Rowe, Tormey; Balogun.

    Substitutes: T. Smith, Olowu, Omole, McEneff, John-Jules.


  50. The idiot mob who thinks the club is progressing are a dumb lot as the club has lost it’s playing style it’s values and morals after selling Ramsey and Koscielny 2 great and loyal players of the decade.


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