Sticky Against The Toffees.




Good morning positive gooners.

Well that was good, bad  but never ugly. It was a great game of football involving two teams both trying to win the game. Much credit should also go to Everton, who also had both good and bad moments.

Let’s start with the bad and get it out of the way. We conceded two goals from set pieces with some old fashioned Arsenal defending. Much has been made of the set up for the first, specifically  the gap left between Mustafi and Luiz, but for me, if Sead hadn’t been sucked into dropping back as the kick was about to be taken, all the Everton players would have been offside. For the second, there was a bit of panic from players trying to clear the ball, and Leno didn’t cover himself in glory, but I think he was also unlucky, he tried to make himself big, but the shot became a scuff that dribbled under him. He would likely have saved a decent strike.

Another bad was Saka and his last half hour performance. He lost the ball frequently in dangerous positions. We shouldn’t forget that Arteta had left him out because he was gassed, he came on and for almost an hour he was magnificent, so it should be no surprise that he was the one that appeared to suffer most physically. I feel that there were a lot of players running out of gas, but he just, at his young age, suffered the most.

The good though, much outweighs the bad. Although Everton will feel, and rightly so, that they did enough to get something from the game, the way we held on was fantastic. We got three points because when almost every player was dead on their feet, they dug deeper and deeper , and gave every drop of everything.

Then there’s Leno, having made a bit of a gaff on the stroke of halftime, he was unbelievable in that final quarter.

Having gone a goal down in under a minute, we wrestled control and were well on top for the next hour. To a man, all of them played well. Again we saw Ozil benefit from two technical players , Ceballos and Xhaka, being with him and around him, all three were impressive, but Ozil stood out. Personally I though we lost a lot when he came off, but we have to accept his gifts might be less important when it’s a back to the walls situation, all be it that it becomes more “backs to the wall” when he goes off.

Aubameyang was given MOTM, for his two great finishes and his tireless running, he was great, but Eddy and Pepe played their part as well.

For many reasons it was an Arsenal performance that we can be proud of. After three games in a week, to play an in form team that has had two weeks to prepare, suffer two setbacks and still out play them for a good hour, then come away with the points? Great stuff!

26 comments on “Sticky Against The Toffees.

  1. Thanks George: a very fair reflection on a game that left me mentally exhausted! I wonder with the mistake by Sead K how much that was down to not having played for a some time and therefore not being as drilled as he otherwise might have been. Poor chap looks as if he won’t play for a while again now. As it happened Saka coming on made an immediate difference – but you could almost pinpoint the exact moment early in the second half when his thinking became scrambled and he forgot the essence of his defensive role. What a piece of brilliance though for the opening goal, and the pictures doing the rounds of the airborne Nketiah tucking it away emphasise what a prospect he is too.
    I saw a clip somewhere of an interview with Arteta (might it have been a BBC one? in which the interviewer was full of praise for the work that our brilliant manager is doing. Perhaps someone with the requisite skills could find and post it here?

    More than anything MIkel Arteta has given the club a sense of pride again – and for that he deserves every plaudit that comes his way.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good write up for a good game. Was enthralling stuff. Heck of a workout for the nerves and emotions last 30 mins.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Foreverheady

    Agree, it was pretty dramatic the way tiredness seemed to hit Saka. He did rally at times and keep on going though. Given various factors, it posed conundrum of whether he should have carried on, last 20-30 mins, trying to make his normal advanced runs or conserve what energy he had for defensive duties. Also put a spotlight on him in purely defensive situations that wouldn’t typically be there. Arteta seemed to cover it all well in interview afterwards.

    Frustrating that Kola will be out and Tierney not ready. Believe Soares can also play left but he’s likely at least few weeks off as well. Could be a case of Xhaka, me lad, how about left back for a game. Or Ainsley. Couldn’t really have got a clearer message Saka does need a break soon and must be in that red zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For me Mustafi was MOTM he was immense, despite being exposed in the second half with neither Hector or Pepe covering him and the whole team keeping a high line even though Everton were playing the ball over the top.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just saw Everton playing pretty much all the big teams in next 6 games, including Utd and Spurs. Looked very capable of beating those two. Be a fool to bet against Utd getting help again though.

    22 pens for 7 against for Utd this year and last. Plus 15. Think they hadn’t had many last year until Solskjaer took over so his record might be something nuts like 50 games 20 pens.

    We are 7 for 13 against in that time (last season and this one so far). minus 6 for a swing of 21 pens between the two of us. They haven’t even been a good team in that time..

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Their latest pen was one I was ready to let go as a modern pen, (nearly) always given. It being them I’ve no doubt every last pundit et al called it a stonewaller.

    Watched the replay slowed down though and it’s a classic of the leg collapsing variety. Before the keeper makes contact, he’s well on his way to horizontal, legs bent with only tippy toes touching ground and feet almost vertical. Get as much of legs as close to ground as possible, ensure the touch from the keeper’s arms which are low to ground.

    In other words, it’s not real. Not the way people fall. But that’s where the game is. Have a feeling though that should we do the same there’d be no guarantee at all we’d get it and, from nowhere, pundits would discover ability to analyse it as I have done above.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Watching our game in real time on UK Sky TV two things were noticeable. The incident where Saka was through and tackled/fouled merited one brief reply and a quick comment that it was no penalty – and the yellow card incident saw an even briefer replay and comment that it was definitely not a red. I just can’t believe that it would have been like that the other way round.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. just a very impressive win really, and much needed.
    They seem to be really playing for Arteta, some almost reborn.
    Just hoping Arteta and Edu can turn things around, and right a few wrongs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. FFS , can’t anyone find a way of doing Liverpool? Scousers are the worst winners on the planet, especially Carragher, they will never let the world forget this season!
    They are good, but not that good and they are lucky, and so often, PGMOL assisted, but they are made to look better than they are by how abject opponents are. city, Utd, Chelsea, us, Spurs, have had absolute shockers, rare a team has things so much their own way, and yes, that is the complete fault of Liverpool’s would be rivals.
    When our boys went Invincible, just look at what they were up against, no such opposition for Liverpool this year. Oddly, they do not look so far ahead of some of their European opponents this year
    West Ham a little unlucky not to get a draw, Liverpool did as expected create a lot of chances but West Ham had one or two of their own, shame Bowen didn’t hold his nerve.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Booger. They, unsurprisingly, want that unbeaten season and invincible record bad it seems. Very noticeable how they shot up through gears of intensity once behind, and also how they started doing all they could to try get a penalty.

    Counted six different pen claims in the 20 mins after. Some half-hearted – falling over, putting arms up, then, realising had no chance, forgotten instantly. Others where efforts were more concerted, including Salah’s reversion to type.

    Pathetic to see but it is probably the norm among our rivals when in spot of bother. Spurs have been worst at it in recent years. Utd would match them if could get in box enough. Liverpool proved themselves no better.

    Oh well, at least the goals didn’t come from that avenue. Oh lukasz. Still, I think pressure would have led to goal from somewhere anyway if not for that. Prefer to think that’s case, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Did some of my obsessive digging earlier, in light of ours and Utd’s pen stats. Crazy how similar some key stats are since start of last season.

    65 games. 107 points apiece. We have scored 112 goals in that time to their 106, and conceded 86 to their 83. Our respective goal difference are therefore 26 plus for us, 23 for them.

    Same points. 6 difference on goals scored. 3 on conceded. 21 difference on pens received or conceded, in their favour. You could say it’s lucky for us that in non-penalty action we are doing significantly better than them, or we’d be in big trouble! Or wonder where the hell they’d be if they didn’t have those fantastic pen getting abilities.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thrilled with the result year day, to think just over 2 months ago it was difficult to conceive we’d ever win again ! The pieces are falling into place, the défense is stable, the offense is picking up. I am very optimistic about run in…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. some interesting comments by Arteta after the game, he said that we played for about 35 minutes with the exact type of football he wants played, he also pointed out that if Ozil is not affecting the game it does not mean its Ozil’s fault. We had idiots in the fan base who predicted that the first thing Arteta would do when appointed head coach was to ditch Ozil, I stated at the time that Arteta had been a team mate of Ozil and so knew exactly how good Mesut is, and he would find the way to get the best out of oru German star, and I’m delighted that it very much looks like Mikel is doing just that. I maintained that Ozil does very little differently in his best games than in his worst games, its just that his team mates do. The same goes for Xhaka, and I seen some stats this week showing that Xhaka’s numbers are almost exactly the same under Arteta as they were under Emery, so it seems Arteta has a system in place that makes use of Xhaka’s numbers, as it is with Ozil and lets not forget to mention Mustafi too

    Liked by 4 people

  14. What I am finding great is that the team now look like an Arsenal team again. Tiredness notwithstanding, I also felt that the players looked technically assured in the way they passed and received the ball.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Huddersfield beat Bristol City 2-1 tonight and going on reports Emile Smith-Rowe had an outstanding game, with him setting up former Gooner Chris Willock for the opening goal, and then winning a penalty that was scored to give them a 2-0 lead. Seemingly EMS was the best player on the pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. PEA has the same amount of league goals as Vardy.

    Out of interest, how many of those goals are penalties?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Very reluctant to consider Richard Keys an ally in any cause I care about- don’t think he’s trustworthy, nor of good character, and he’s bit of a plonker- but his big ole pgmol/Riley outburst does corroborate Scudamore being power behind the throne, which I figure almost certainly true.

    It wouldn’t make any sense for Riley to act as he does, making VAR et al policy decisions unilaterally, without heavyweight support.

    So what is it Scudamore, and the powers that must, in turn, support him, like about 1-in-2 Riley? It isn’t ‘clear and obvious’ in any normal sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Whatever I might think about Richard Keys, impressed with that blog.
    This guy must have some degree of knowledge, he is consistent in his assertion that Riley is a yes man, and not even very good at that, and should not be in his current employment.
    Interested his mention scudamore knew Riley was the wrong man, but appointed him anyway, what does that say about scudamore.
    And some damning stuff right at the end, where he clearly states refs are contacting him unhappy with Riley.
    Keys might have a grudge, he might be writing a load of crap, but what we see week in week out supports what he is saying
    That blog is damning on Riley should a fraction be true
    But if he is correct, sounds like change in VAR is coming, and that should make Riley’s position untenable. Not that I am,expecting much from anyone who follows him, the meet the new boss, same as the old boss maxim will undoubtably apply


  19. Mandy

    Yeah, I expect much of it to be true, and it’s some of the best- in terms of being from prominent, well-connected figure- support I’ve had for these theories and guesses which I’ve spent so much time thinking about (ah, I just wish it was from a better person than Keys!).

    Funny to think that in world where Keys and Gray didn’t get caught out, they would probably still be in Sky employ and, almost certainly, doing nothing to rock the boat.

    Goes some way to illustrating, or pointing towards, manner in which anyone directly involved in the big show, including journalists, ex players etc, is almost guaranteed not to go near sort of thing Keys is saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Reckon any journalists- think it was that Darren something plonker from Mirror- would ask Jose, or Poch before him, if Kane et al deserved to win trophies, ie should leave to get them?

    Anyway, mr do no wrong at minute Mikel. answered it perfectly.


  21. Thanks George

    Great comments too.
    Hugely appreciate the stats from Rich.

    Arteta knows. Many things.
    He knows the league. And his squad by the looks of it. Interesting times. COYG.


  22. I believe Arteta commented on referees affecting players/matches at one point over the last week. Not as a complaint but a simple passing assessment.

    It is reasonable to reflect on the lack of any media discussion about the specific peculiarity of the pgMOB’s VAR journey, the small pool of officials etc.


  23. Cheers Fins. Was looking at something else earlier. Some premier league stats from start to now. Don’t tend to make much of them as such a long period, different eras, was a kid when started, etc, but a few stand out.

    Yellow cards : Us 1641 ; Utd 1554 ; Pool 1363

    Double yellows : Us 44 ; Utd 30; Pool 30

    Straight reds : Us 47 ; Utd 35 ; Pool 28

    I only feel really confident talking about last 10 years or so, but I’m fairly confident about the rest, especially the Wenger years. Those stats do not reflect the reality on the field concerning foul play in that time, no chance. Us with 91 reds to Pool’s 58 in that time? Complete bullshit.


  24. Really wouldn’t mind seeing stats concerning Riley years only. With Utd/us for instance think things were relatively normal in first years of prem, worsened with pgmol after first guy, who wanted to follow laws closely, got the boot, then got ridiculous with Riley.

    My guess is that lots of Utd cards, reds, pens were in the earlier period, and then after Ferguson went. Think stats from in between would be outrageous.

    By way our pen difference over whole prem history is + 19, to Utd’s +79 (!!), Pool +61, and that’s with the early years being relatively normal/halcyon, I think.


  25. ** Arsenal v West Ham **

    Arsenal host West Ham United at the Emirates in a Premier League clash this afternoon; with both sides needing three points for wholly different reasons.

    The Gunners, of course, are five points off fifth-placed Man United with a game in hand, while the Hammers are just above the drop zone on goal difference.

    Since the turn of the year Arsenal lost just one of their 12 matches in all competitions. However, that one defeat sticks out like a sore thumb because it resulted in us getting knocked out of the Europa and along with it perhaps our best route into next season’s Champions League. Now with 11 league games to go Mikel Arteta knows that he has to prioritise if we are to edge closer to the European qualifying spots.

    Be that is it may, there’s still much to be done but there are also lots to be excited about; particularly if you look at the attention to long-term development with a number of our young’uns now proper first-team players. This gives one real anticipation of what’s to come during Arteta’s reign.

    We go into this game on the back of a 2-0 win at Portsmouth to advance to the FA Cup last-eight. Arteta made nine changes to play a Pompey side that hasn’t lost at their own patch all season, and the performance the boys put has helped a lot to ease most of the trauma suffered from the loss vs Olympiakos. It also keep hope alive for the Spaniard to win silverware in his maiden season. That is something no doubt at the back of his mind…however, at the forefront will be the three points on offer this afternoon.

    David Moyes’ West Ham side are 16th on the table, but with just two points above 19th-placed Aston Villa are in a real bind.

    They have lost each of their last five away matches and won just three on the road all season. With games against Wolves, Spurs and Chelsea following today’s, they could be in a real spot of bother as far as the battle for survival is concerned.

    It’s not like they’re gutless though. A fortnight ago they put in a plucky display against Liverpool at Anfield; was leading 2-1 with 20 or so minutes to go, but just couldn’t hold on as the Reds scored the winning goal in the last 10 minutes. They followed that up with a more controlled performance at home to Southampton to run out 3-1 winners – their first win since New Year’s Day. And it’s on the back of that they’re coming to the Emirates.

    Arsenal are unbeaten in their last seven league matches at home and have beaten the Hammers in eight of their previous nine league encounters. So whether that win against the Saints will give Moyes’ side enough of a bounce will be telling this afternoon.

    Team news

    Arsenal’s win at Pompey came at a cost of Lucas Torreira suffering a fractured ankle; meaning he is not expected back anytime soon.

    Kieran Tierney is back fit and will be assessed ahead the match.

    January loan-signing Pablo Mari was imposing at Fratton Park and could be handed his first league start.


    West Ham’s result last weekend brought some welcome-relief for the London Stadium faithful but it’s on their travels they’re suffering. And while they may give Arsenal a good run for their money today, I just can’t see them doing enough to put an end to the Gunners’ unbeaten league run in 2020.

    — @LaboGoon



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