94 Comments

Seagulls At The Seaside.

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Arsenal will hope to put the defeat up north at Manchester City behind them with a trip down south to the Amex Stadium for a Premier League clash against Brighton & Hove Albion; a side still without a win this calendar year.
Good day one an all.
Mikel Arteta’s return to the familiar surroundings of the Etihad did not go t all well, with the crushing 3-0 loss also putting an end to our unbeaten 2020 league run.
We always knew facing the reigning champions in our first game post-lockdown was going to be bit of a challenge… but to then lose Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari to injuries early on and having an error-strewn David Luiz sent off just made an already bad evening even worse. But you know, we just have to pick ourselves up.
The Gunners go into this match 9th-placed in the league table, eight points off the top-four. If we want to keep hope alive of a European spot, we simply cannot afford any more of those faux pas like at the Etihad. Our failure to stay switched-on has always been more of a problem than anything else.
Brighton have become sort of a bogey team to Arsenal since their return to the top-flight in 2017/18. They lost the initial encounter 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium and went unbeaten in the next four. Two of those games ended in wins, the last by 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in December.
However, their travails since may give us a chance to exact revenge. Being the only PL club yet to win a game in 2020, has left them embroiled in a fight for survival. And with games to follow against Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd. and Leicester in their run-in, the future looks pretty gloomy for Graham Potter’s side.
It wasn’t always this grim for the Seagulls. They got home wins against Totnum and Everton, and on New Years Day held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in front of a packed Amex. But with games being played in empty stadiums for the foreseeable future, it could be a struggle to rise to the occasion once more to maintain their good run against the Gunners.
Team news
With centerback Mari ruled out for the rest of the season, Sokratis still short of fitness and David Luiz suspended for our next two games, Rob Holding is expected to come into the fold to provide defensive cover.
Xhaka’s injury and Lucas Torreira only just returning to training after a fractured ankle, will cause Mikel a selection dilemma. But it also provides an opening for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to play in his preferred central midfield position.
That said; with the relentless nature of the revised schedule and five-sub rule, we are likely to see more rotation than usual. So the young’uns that started against City could all make way for their more seasoned counterparts.
Prediction
The league resumption may have gotten off to a foul start for Arsenal but Brighton certainly got their share of bother. So while both sides are desperate to get back to winning ways… the Gunners may just edge this to help nudge the Seagulls back to the Championship. COYG!
— Labo

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94 comments on “Seagulls At The Seaside.

  1. Ceballos ties in neatly with my thinking of it not being about best players per se with us, (far more so than that is normally the case, as always is to degree), but about best players for us.

    To even get to that, though, there needs to be that picture of what we are. As mentioned, in this diabolical frame of mind of mine, I truly think best or only way, bar beloved billionaire friend/owner, is fighting back directly, hit for hit, with on field ferocity matched in boardroom, media dealings etc.

    In that instance a player like Kalvin Phillips of Leeds would likely be a far better fit than Ceballos, though switch the other way, and put former in that Spain u21 team and, most likely, a lower skill level than teammates would stick out and hinder team.

    No doubt this is all evil pie in the sky from me, but I believe in it completely, and equally so think it will take a not-too-minor miracle for Mikel to get us flying the other way/s, and we are destined for number of seasons like our recent ones, or worse, without drastic action.

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  2. Ceballos ties in neatly with my thinking of it not being about best players per se with us, f(ar more so than that is normally the case, as always is to degree), but about best players for us.

    To even get to that, though, there needs to be that picture of what we are. As mentioned, in this diabolical frame of mind of mine, I truly think best or only way, bar beloved billionaire friend/owner, is fighting back directly, hit for hit, with on field ferocity matched in boardroom, media dealings etc.

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  3. In that instance a player like Kalvin Phillips of Leeds would likely be a far better fit than Ceballos, though switch the other way, and put former in that Spain u21 team and, most likely, a lower skill level than teammates would stick out and hinder team.

    No doubt this is all evil pie in the sky from me, but I believe in it completely, and equally so think it will take a not-too-minor miracle for Mikel to get us flying the other way/s, and we are destined for number of seasons like our recent ones, or worse, without drastic action.

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  4. 7
    @drinsanchez
    21% win rate when Xhaka isn’t on the pitch

    73% win rate when Xhaka is on the pitch

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  5. well rich I think we would see better from Ceballos if he had ozil and Xhaka in the team with him, but then we tend to see better from many players when we have ozil and xhaka in the team

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  6. Yeah, probably only real chance for him to play at his best is with those two, most likely in a home fixture. I’m not arguing for us retaining him by way. Natural home definitely Spain I think, and not at one of big two there, in team with plenty of very good passers and clever players.

    Just frustrates me that we are effectively denied fair chance to see what he could truly be as player, as we are with all our players to varying degrees, especially those with a lot of creativity and skill.

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  7. ‘Never suspected you meant to hurt him. Just doing what players are more or less told to do, and almost never with such consequences for level of foul in question. My anger’s elsewhere, really, and only what it is because of all the other bad injuries to our players from fouls.’

    What you reckon as reply to mr Maupay? Too nice? Calibrated so as to not trigger defences but hit hard in the old conscience if it reaches it.

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  8. Ed, wondering what you really make of my fire and brimstone betrayal of best principles line of thinking.

    Think you agree in part, but then mention of Xhaka and, especially Ozil, makes me think you’re prob more keen on us finding more noble solutions, or, more to point, that they are properly feasible.

    One difficulty in considering it is the timeframes and aims are necessarily a bit jumbled, as I can’t make argument this meaner, uglier approach gives us better chance than current one, (itself largely of a piece with and a continuation of the sea change we made 25 years ago) of success, as defined by good league position (or admirable beautiful style). It might not work at all for years, would bring great dangers and risks.

    But…still, still, I see it as only way. We need something resembling a reset on how we are viewed and treated, otherwise our attempts to rebuild and move on seem doomed to result in the sort of things we have seen in recent seasons. I think peak freshness Arsene would have a difficult job, if magically parachuted in now, from current situation, and there can’t be anyone better out there than peak Arsene in terms of trying to do it, the right way at least.

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  9. Ed, wondering what you really make of my fire and brimstone betrayal of best principles line of thinking.

    Think you agree in part, but then mention of Xhaka and, especially Ozil, makes me think you’re prob more keen on us finding more noble solutions, or, more to point, that they are properly feasible.

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  10. One difficulty in considering it is the timeframes and aims are necessarily a bit jumbled, as I can’t make argument this meaner, uglier approach gives us better chance than current one, (itself largely of a piece with and a continuation of the sea change we made 25 years ago) of success, as defined by good league position (or admirable beautiful style). It might not work at all for years, would bring great dangers and risks.

    But…still, still, I see it as only way. We need something resembling a reset on how we are viewed and treated, otherwise our attempts to rebuild and move on seem doomed to result in the sort of things we have seen in recent seasons. I think peak freshness Arsene would have a difficult job, if magically parachuted in now, from current situation, and there can’t be anyone better out there than peak Arsene in terms of trying to do it the right way.

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  11. Too many followers on a team that has the PGMOL against it, owners that aren’t passionate enough and are not winners.

    The balance of the team needs readdressing.
    A new CB, RB, DM, CM, and AM.
    All strong, formidable and ready to get stuck in.
    With at least 2 natural leaders among them. Our younger players just need some gritty leadership to follow.

    If we have to sell Auba to get this done, so be it. We have to rebuild.

    I wouldn’t sign Mari. He’s too slow.
    Bellerin and Holding are still not back to their physical best and should be 2nd string or for sale.
    Luiz cannot be re-signed.
    Torreira might not be more than 3nd string as well but we definitely need a specialist DM.
    Mesut stays for his final hurrah but needs a proper replacement or 2.
    Willock, Nelson and Smith-Rowe have too much to learn to be considered more than 2nd/3rd string. Eddie as well.
    Kolasinac too is expendable but like Tierney would probably excel with more gladiators beside him.

    No need to be in Europe next season.
    Too many issues to address.

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  12. rich there is room for xhaka and ozil and to have fire and brimstone, in fact xhaka when in Germany used to take matters into his own hands when opponents got nasty.

    I tuned into the very dying moments of the bournemouth v palace game, just in time to see VAR check for violent contact, when an AFCB player threw an elbow into the throat of a palace player, “no violent conduct”, then hear the co commentator say that the difference in size made a difference, too right it did, if the place player was shorter it would have been his jaw or his cheek bone or eye socket that got hit and not his throat. Fucking PGMOL and pundit bullshit

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  13. can i just say that I fully believe Maupay when he says he did not want what happened to Leno to happen, but I will say that he certainly meant to leave one on him, a softner, one to make him have doubts when next going for a high ball, its nasty and pgmol are a disgrace, the much tougher and physical game of Rugby would have yellow carded a player for that sort of challenge, but not our great PGMOL

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  14. Ed.
    Rio, amongst all his bullshit post match, unintentionally told truth with his use of phrase more than once of it being ‘something you do to get an advantage’.

    He’s no doubt referring to aggression around the line of foul play and, frequently, over it. You do it to try get either an advantage in the moment or with the aim of it being useful to your chances in the whole of the match, or, sometimes, just for the heck of it. Refs are there to police (Atkinson an ex copper, by way) it all, with aim of ensuring you don’t get that advantage, and the clean team compensated when you try.

    In his mind, as with many other Utd players, seems the confusion may be authentic. They don’t understand that what they were allowed to do, and no doubt heavily coached to do, is not what you are allowed to do within laws of game; they don’t understand that although it was good for them, it is not a good.

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  15. I totally don’t believe Maupay’s defence, if you take a player out in the air you know the chances are he will get hurt and it if why it is banned in rugby. It’s like shooting a gun and saying you don’t know what might happen. It’s a pathetic excuse and there is no place for it in modern football.
    The fact he is allowed to do get away with this is down to the officials who very rarely protect our players.
    Tactically today I thought we got it right and I believe the ref cost us the game. It’s really not worth analysing it any further than that.
    A5 said on here many times if we believe the refs are crooked, biased or even incompetent then it’s not worth watching football any more. At the time I thought I would never come to a point where I couldn’t enjoy football because of the officiating. Yes I’ve been frustrated many times down the years but for the first time in over 50 years I am getting fed up with football and it’s not because we’re not very good because I’ve seen that many times before and it’s not because of violence at grounds or the plastic commercialness of the PL but simply the officiating.
    Three times in the first eight minutes Brighton players made bad fouls and got away with it. As the half went on the ref got worse letting the Brighton players go right through the back of our players and he took no action. Then there was the off the ball incidents where our players would go down and miraculously none of the officials and VAR spotted it apart from once in the second half when the ref saw it but waved play on even though the Brighton player was running with both arms away from his body it was a definite sending off.
    The way the game was officiated had a direct impact on the Leno incident, there is no way maupay would have attacked Leno if he thought a strict ref would send him off.
    If the Police are not efficient in an area the criminals will take advantage and it’s the same in football.
    The PLGMO is allowed to get away with this in turn because of the pundits and press. The clown keown gave MOTM to a player who fouled all the way through the match and shouldn’t of finished the game and he thought maupay had the right to go for the ball even though he was still on the ground when Leno had the ball in his hands.
    The attitude of pundits having no respect for their fellow professionals is disgusting and by defending the refs they are putting them at risk literally and insults to injuries.
    I believe we would of won comfortably today if it wasn’t for the ref and it is becoming impossible to counteract the influence of the officials so forget about analysis of conceding goals or not scoring enough goals because without a level playing field it’s just not worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ian

    Firmly in same boat. Easily closest I’ve been to having had enough. Believed I was before but this seems different, especially as last three months proved I can get by ok without it.

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  17. So Wirral ref Mike Dean to referee the Merseyside Derby tomorrow.
    Like they often choose Anthony Taylor to do the Manchester Derby.
    It stinks, but no questions asked.
    Do Italy , these days post corruption scandal have Milan refs doing inter vs AC…perhaps they do, just asking the question, but I would be amazed.
    I suspect the key league positions are now determined. I suspect we will not come out well. A Liverpool title and Utd in the CL.
    Arsene, not sure what your current role entails exactly , but please do Something to Mike Riley
    And Kroenkes, FFS, look at what is being done to your investment?

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  18. Eduardo, was just saying Guen had potential in the dark arts, rather than the finished article, he is very raw, white belt level. .
    Looks like he will cop a ban for his little touch on Maupay throat , the media will make sure of that, It yes, he should have channeled the spirit of players past and left something serious on him in some sort attempted tackle rather than a silly petulant gesture for the camera.
    Yet another player who won’t be available for a game or two.
    But I still do t understand why the club are so passive to the treatment and refereeing the players get, and probably never will. I cannot see any other top club putting up with that , or just any club for that matter

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Guendouzi is an idiot,it will do us a favour if he is banned for the rest of the season.
    Oh and a coward too,if only he could have shown the same aggression during the actual game.
    Atkinson must be the worst, blatantly anti Arsenal ref,others (Michael Oliver is one) at least pretend to be fair,then proceed to shaft us.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. essex i think michael oliver was the VAR yesterday, so no surprise he seen nothing in the off the ball arm into the face of saka to stop him

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  21. we have southampton away next, I seen them outplay norwich the other day and we will need much more energy and skill to our play if we are to win this one.

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  22. the last time we won a game without xhaka starting was way back in August v Burnley, by the way, also the last game(only game) Ceballos was really good in

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  23. where is our next win coming from

    Southampton v Arsenal

    Sheffield United v Arsenal FA Cup

    Arsenal v Norwich

    Wolves v Arsenal

    Arsenal v Leicester

    Tottenham v Arsenal

    Arsenal v Liverpool

    Aston Villa v Arsenal

    Arsenal v Watford

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  24. former PGMOL Referee described the performance of Atkinson and Var’s Oliver as “Textbook Refereeing”, and that Maupays needless barge on Leno as nothing more than a normal collision

    it would be laughable if it was not so serious a problem

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  25. Just read we have had Atkinson as ref in 25% of our games this season, with his VAR work, stands at 30%
    This is a ref who has consistently been a health and safety hazard to our players.
    Some thought the refereeing situation might improve with their arch critic Wenger gone, if anything, things have got worse.
    It seems to me the powers that be ( the PGMOL might have their historical bias, but are only the footsoldiers in the scheme of things) want to put Arsenal into mid table, and ensure they are kept there, and god knows, the club are helping them. Some will have their own choices for the top places for the prizes, Europe, and even the European super league one day. Not hard to spot the favoured teams.
    Seems to me like our ownership and execs are either oblivious to what is going on, which I would find utterly incredible, feel powerless to do anything, which again I would find baffling with the evidence available, or are too caught up in their own agendas or other things. Perhaps fully engaged individuals might be contacting their lawyers if they Really want this club to compete.
    We really need a Wenger or someone who would care equally upstairs,but Raul won’t allow that unfortunately

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  26. Jeez, Ed, thought I was well over worst of annoyance but hearing it put down as normal collision by pgmol rep is extremely aggravating.

    Nothing like as obviously outrageous as some of their efforts, but a thing to make you despair when properly considered. With ample time to think it over, and in context of serious injury as a result of a very clear, deliberate foul, they opt to describe it like that; to lie and deny the reality of it being a foul.

    Those in charge of refereeing, those who have a giant impact on every game we play and every game in the league. It feels like a completely hopeless situation

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  27. It’s funny how much dancing the wankers will make to argue their case.

    Their problem is that playing the man and not the ball has been a foul in association football for over one hundred years.

    The “debate” over the foul on Leno is not a debate at all. Therefore it is fascinating to see the depths the broadcasters and the plundits are plumbing whilst lying to their gullible audience.

    In spite of the weak aspersions of our critics it is easily possible to hate this farce and still love the football. Otherwise how did, say, AW stay in the game for so long after Marseille? Or R.
    Baggio play on for so long after the big Italian clubs tried to ostracise him?

    Such critics are the stupid people who refuse to understand why England’s only ever success in this sport was at home, a long time ago, with the aid of a dodgy linesman and someone taking Pele out in the earlier rounds. It’s not a sport for them. Just entertainment.

    In no contact sport is it acceptable to make a cowards attack from behind. Rio Ferdinand trued to excuse the foul on Leno.

    i’d pay money to watch him even and any twat who agrees with him just attempt to make such a foul on Hackney downs/marshes whilst not wearing body armour. I’m ready to pay!

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  28. well rich its not just us that excuses are made for pgmol in, seen a bournemouth player jab his elbow into the throat of a crystal palace player and var decided no violent conduct and commentator actually said that it only looked bad cos the palace player was so much taller than the afcb player, but if he had been smaller it would have been an elbow jabbed into his face, now isn’t that so much better

    Liked by 1 person

  29. This season is a write-off, so there is no point getting agitated about any or all of the results. I would like to view what’s left as preparation for Arteta’s longer-term project.

    The problems with this perspective are:

    – The alterations he will need to make to the squad will be exceedingly difficult.
    – The uneven field maintained by the match officials et al is not going away and makes an exceedingly difficult task virtually undoable.

    Someone, please convince me otherwise….

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Agree with every word there 900ft. Way too early to judge Arteta, he will have to sort out issues not of his own making whatever they may be, on less money than some other teams. It wasn’t Arteta who let of our best players go for nothing last summer.
    This season , the way it has planned out, the wretched luck they are experiencing, and the bent/ biased officials, nobody could solve that in a hurry, it convinced he is the man to get things right, if he is given time and backing

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Still believe he is a very good appointment, probably the best we could have made. Which isn’t to say I’m feeling at all optimistic.

    One glimmer for me is that we are at least in position of Arteta being both an unknown quantity in some sense and experienced in British game in another.

    A combination that wasn’t there for many years with Wenger (we knew that whatever he thought about pgmol, and had tried to improve situation, there were certain options he would never take), and wasn’t either with Emery (who was I’m sure hit totally cold by pgmol and, if believing there couldn’t possibly be anything amiss and it was only a matter of adapting to how it went in league, well, it would be perplexing, and he sure looked like a man who was perplexed as time went on)

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  32. What does Arteta intend to do to deal with it, alongside assistants who are also familiar with British game, and likely have British mentality? Reputedly he played a big role in City increasing their use of tactical fouls, and while that won’t be enough and can’t work in same way for us, maybe it points to him being willing to get down and dirty?

    If the persistent Partey talk is actually true, it’s a big pointer towards him believing the first priority is to increase our physical capacities to, literally, battle. Bringing in a tall centre back may also indicate that.

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  33. for the Southampton v Arsenal game on Thursday, Graham Scott has been appointed as the Referee

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  34. I am pretty sure emery was perplexed at the PGMOL whatever he said in public. What did he make of getting Atkinson, Dean or Taylor virtually every week? The players must be perplexed as well.
    I went to the 2-2 game against Southampton this season, never seen such a biased performance, this time from atwell. They were time wasting , kicking our players, yet we ended up with half a dozen bookings , they got about three. Emery’s job was firmly in the line. Lacca equalised right at the end, the press said he didn’t celebrate as he wanted emery out, some of us behind the goal realised he didn’t immediately celebrate as he and the whole team were looking at the ref , I would guess they were convinced he would find a way to disallow the goal after his performance.
    We all know what marginal gains do in sport and life in general. The PGMOL are depriving us of any marginal gains, and then some. Until the club take this on, I fear any manager is going to struggle. Are the Kroenkes the types to take this on?

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  35. But I can think of one thing that will really help this team immediately, getting Xhaka back in the pitch

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  36. well Rich as a player Arteta knew how to tactical foul, and he has explained his after game comments about us not competing v Brighton, he was referring to once we took the lead we did not do the things needed to stop them coming back at us. For me that was his round about way of saying we did not tactical foul. A few games into his reign he explained why he seen Xhaka as important to us, he said Xhaka understood the game,(tactical fouling), you know the needless fouls the idiots in our fanbase complain about him making.

    on a different point, I see the bloggers and the great and good on twitter coming out with lists of players they would dump from AFC, the usual suspects on nearly every one of the lists, Xhaka, Ozil, Mustafi, Lacazette and Bellerin, just some of those the idiots want gone. The first 3 there have been very good under Arteta, but that is totally ignored by these muppets, also why should Ozil or Mustafi leave for what would almost certainly be far lower wages elsewhere, both have one year left on their contracts, so would be stupid to do themselves out of millions of pounds.
    Imagine the mess we would be in if we sold those five players this summer,
    David Luiz is out of contract in ten days, Mari nor Soares have been signed up full time yet, Chambers not back form injury, and Holding has struggled to get back from injury, now Leno looks like a long term injury, Aubameyang has not signed a new deal either, and more worryingly neither has Saka. Ceballos loan is up at seasons end too. Rumor has it Torreira wants back to Italy.
    We are going to need some mighty Bosman signings this summer by the looks of it.

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  37. Louis Akindele@Louis_Akindele
    So after 30 games of this PL season Arsenal have the most yellow cards (65). The most red cards (4). While being only 14th in number of tackles made (477).

    Would love the pundits to figure out how we are such a ‘soft’ team but yet punished so heavily by referees.

    OT✊🏿@OTbutInTweets
    ·3h
    9th in the league for fouls commited

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  38. Reports that Guen might be looking at a three match ban for his little show of handbags. Like they would do that to any other team
    That won’t improve Artetas mood after that very costly game

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  39. Apparently 3 of our players missed training for most of week before City after one tested positive for Covid and other two had been in close enough contact to mean they had to self-isolate also.

    Club suspected result incorrect so did own tests which came back negative. However, as was in house testing it was not approved by prem, they had to wait until next official round of testing on Monday before game. negative so they were then able to train again on Tuesday, day before game.

    Not a lot going our way right now.

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  40. Along with the fact these thug players know the likes of Atkinson will allow their thuggery, they also know that they will be defended by the pundits and the scumbags in the English press. Complete impunity. I fear for our players every time they take the field.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. rich I wonder was Ozil one of the 3

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  42. Ed. I either wasn’t paying attention or have forgotten but I can’t remember any talk of such and such player not being in training photos.

    Reckon it might have been flagged by someone if Ozil wasn’t training. Luiz absence would maybe be a bit less noticeable. imagine that was the week he’d had before the game!

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  43. A new low perhaps?, the deliberate false positive test? Would not put it past them.

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