We Have A Semi Coming – Oh Ah Mrs.




Good morning you happy lot.

Arsenal progressed to the semi final of the FA Cup via Sheffield, where we have the dubious pleasure of being passed to death by Pep’s City. More on that nearer the time, let’s enjoy getting there first.

A late late winner is always a thing of joy, somehow it just lifts the spirits more. It also makes you forget the game, which quality wise, is a good thing. It wasn’t that we played badly, it was just a poor game , neither side providing much in terms of fluency or skill, but the effort was there from both teams. It’s changed days I suppose, where we now celebrate effort and endeavour because there is little else on show. But at least it is now on show.

So lets, in he spirit of the blog, look at the positives.

We won.

Only one minor injury to Luiz.

Xhaka yet again demonstrated that he is, by a distance, our most important player, goodness knows what we would look like without him, although when he doesn’t play trough injury, we do know. We can’t buy a result without him.

Tierney demonstrated how well he plays when fit, some people had him as MOTM, he was good, but I can’t remember one of his crosses finding an Arsenal player, so MOTM might be a stretch.

Young Saka again showed his class and versatility, what a player he wil be, let’s just hope it’s for us?

Pepe also did well, he took a fine penalty and was heavily involved in the winning goal having the good sense to leave the ball for Ceballos to take it off his toe and score. That was a nice finish too. In my opinion having the composure to take good penalties gives an indication of how composed a player is likely to be given a decent chance, and I think Pepe will have no problem turning chances into goals.

I was also impressed by AMN, I hope he sees sense and declares a willingness to play as wing back, if he gets more game time it might see him given a shot in his favoured CM position, you never know.

There was another good performance for Mustafi, another player that has turned his fortunes around under Mikel. On that, there is a decision to be made about Shkodran, it’s reached the point on his contract, where we either stick or twist. We have to really sell him or extend him (if he is willing to stay), his performances deserve a new deal, but the memory  of his horrible gaffs in the past, loom large in the fanbase. That’s a tricky one, but given his resale value will be modest, I’d tend to favour an extension, it’s unlikely he will be  first choice, but with no fee involved, he could be useful going forward.

Finally, I though Martinez was excellent, he has waited a long time for this chance and he appears to be making the most of it. I just hope that if he proves to be as good as he has looked, we might struggle to keep him as a 2nd choice. If Bayern want Leno then perhaps…………………………………..no lets not go there today.

So there we are, quite a few positives today. However, I have to say that we were outplayed in the entirety of the second half by a very average team. In the dying minutes Billy Sharp could well have scored and we would likely have been dumped out, but we would have played exactly the same game, we would then have been really unhappy with the performance we are today, happy with. Many fans are fooled by a result, but then again, many fans are just fools.

Thanks for coming and reading, see you soon

Pedantic George.

31 comments on “We Have A Semi Coming – Oh Ah Mrs.

  1. Given the parlous state of finances at most football clubs I’d be surprised if many are released from the AFC squad. Hence the ‘surprise’ re-signing of the oft misfiring but uber-experienced Luiz.

    I still rate Mustafi and you’re dead right, he’s improved massively under Arteta and I see little gain in losing him. If they can get good numbers for Gwen and Auba, I’d expect them to be gone (sadly). Whilst they will be unlikely to generate an Alonso-scale windfall, if player values are suppressed in general, then these could be really be useful sums, as the Arteta evolution gets fully under way.

    I don’t hold out limitless reservoirs of optimism for the semi-final, as City are playing well and always appear to have excess gears available to them, should they be required. That said, literally everyone (including, shamefully, some of our own ‘supporters’) has written off AFC as a laughing stock, so the potential for an ‘upset’ is definitely there.

    Certainly a semi to look forward to, but brace for a hard rain, just in case.


  2. Good one George. You found a few positives to shout about. But let us not fool ourselves; the gap between us and the Blades did not look wide on the field as they may have seemed as paper. I was struck by how rarely our forwards got behind the Sheffield defenders into point blank scoring positions. Tierney having to make several hopeful crosses into the box with zero chances created leaves me concerned. As you stress results can be truly deceptive.


  3. Its been a hard time for everyone connected with football. We’d begun to find our way out of the Emery mess but Arteta’s illness, followed quickly by Lockdown, must have taken its toll. We didn’t really compete against City, but neither did we down tools. We were bullied by Brighton thanks to the connivance of the referee, but began to turn it round against Southampton. I thought we did well yesterday, and I sense a confidence growing. Its not perfect and its nothing like the riches on show under AW (even in the last few years of his time) but these are young players and I suspect they may improve quite significantly. The crowded fixture list and the uncertainty and surealness of it all will lead to some strange results – but the rest of the season may prove to have a really important role in the development of our young guns.
    And to be honest a semi is about as good as I can hope for these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This team have the handbrake firmly on, but there are a few promising green shoots. Some of the young players, shows of character, if not brilliance in the last two games. As mentioned, Arteta improving players who suffered under emery, including our true captain ( no offence Auba).
    The City game will be tough, we have a poor record against them in recent years ( apart from a memorable cup semi). They seem to hit us for three goals at will then are able to coast . But you never know, especially in these strange times.
    As glad as I was to beat Sheff, it was delightful to see supposedly neutral pundits so pissed off. Sheff Utd and their manager deserve credit for their rise up the leagues, their league position, their team spirit and all that, but when I watch them, I can only see something direct, and agricultural, ie Stoke, or perhaps a speeded up ver of Stoke, or is that just against us?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not having watched the game, I cannot comment on it.

    However, until such time as Ozil is returned to the side, we will continue to be toothless upfront.

    We have no one else who has the vision and ability to pass the ball in the last third in way that it hurts the opposing defence.

    I appreciate that MA is concentrating on finding a defensive rhythm that works, which is not helped by repeated injuries to our defenders.

    The time must come, however, if he is interested in the improvement of our league position when he has to start thinking about the attack as well.


  6. Ornstein reporting that our 18 year old striker Folarin Balogun, who has had a very impressive season with our U23’s has refused our offer of a new contract and so with one year remaining on his contract AFC are willing to sell him this summer, and not let him go for free next summer.

    That brings us to the point raised in the above article, we have a whole host of players who have one year left on their AFC contracts

    for starters it seems with David Luiz signing a new one year deal, he joins other CB’s with one year to go, Mustafi and Sokratis. Then we have Aubameyang and Ozil,
    the biggest one for me is Saka, and we also have now second choice keeper Macey with one year left.

    guys with 2 years left are

    Lacazette, Guendouzi, Martinez, Nketiah, Kolasinac, Chambers

    we were told by the new regime, Raul, Edu, Fahmy, Josh, that we would no longer allow players to go by 2 years left on their contracts, that we would sell them, unless they were near the end of their playing days and whose value was not such that it would be a major loss to let them run down their deals. So who of the 13 above can we afford to run down their contracts to bosman or to one year left.


  7. for me if we really are stuck for money, then we really need to be selling the likes of Sokratis,
    PEA if he won’t sign a new deal,
    Lacazette if he won’t sign a new deal, or if we do see Eddie as the better choice, Guendouzi if he won’t sign a new deal or if he as reported wants out,
    Torreira if as reported he wants out,
    Kolasinac if Tierney can be relied upon to be fit for a season.
    might be worth considering selling Bellerin too, Soares signed a four year contract, does Arteta see him as first choice, maybe.
    AMN is another that a decision has to be made, is he willing to play fullback/wingback, is he good enough to get in our midfield, is he willing to stay if not a starter.

    Mavropanos and Osei-Tutu, along with Sheaf and Olayinka are all out on loan, do we cash in on them. Which brings us to Smith-Rowe, is he ready for our first team squad now.


  8. some reports saying Ozil missed the Sheff game with a back injury. Some might believe that, others might choose not to


  9. Mandy Arsenal reported that Ozil missed the game cos he had missed training on Saturday with a slight back injury


  10. I mentioned that David Ornstein reports that Arsenal are willing to sell Folarin Balogun this summer, after the lad turned down an offer of a new contract. I’m sure some of you never knew of the lad till this point, so you might be surprised, or maybe not, that many on Arsenal blog world and twitterland have decided that its all the clubs fault, that he is the next world start, that in 2 years time he will be a £100M player, that he is already way better than Eddie Nketiah, Martinelli and of course Lacazette. Never mind Tyreece John-Jules who is similar age and ahead of him in his development.
    We are being told by these scouting experts that whatever Arsenal offered it was not enough, that we are a mess, that we should offer the lad whatever it takes, (might I suggest £350K a week), then oddly enough for such a world beater, send him out on loan so that he can become good enough for our first team, wait, what, this is very confusing. Anyway he is the next Sancho, or Pogba, or Malen, or Gnarbry, or anyone of a small handful of players who left a big club in their teens and went on to become top talented players. I wouldn’t dare suggest that Folarin Balogun might turn out to be the next Chuba Akpom, Chucks Aneke, Sanchez Watt, Emmanuel-Thomas or Rhys Murphy, that would not fit with bashing the club


  11. “We have to bear in mond that we played four away games. I think we’re the only team that has done that.” All within 12 days after a 3-month layoff. I, for one, am not surprised at the ragged look.


  12. well 900ft I’m not surprised at the lack of flow in our play what with Xhaka going off after 8 minutes of the first game, then missing the second game, and with Ozil not at the fitness levels Arteta requires, it has meant we haven’t had our two main passers out of the team, add in that David Luiz was not up to speed for the return and then got a two game ban and so our next passer was also out of the team.
    Guendouzi causes confusion to our opponents with his marauding style, sadly he also causes confusion to us.

    Pepe has the ability to be a match winner, he just needs to find a way to make himself more involved in our play and also become less of a one man show.


  13. David Ornstein reports that with Arsenal’s Chris Morgan joining Liverpool, the club have identified PSG’s head of physiotherapy Bruno Mazziotti as his replacement, with the Brazilian expected to join Arsenal at the end of the season


  14. its reported that 42-year-old Mazziotti is a close friend of Arsenal technical director Edu


  15. Perhaps Balogan has been tapped by Man$ity or Chel$ki or one of the others who do that sort f thing.

    Another youngster who has no patience.

    Like so many others who have chosen more money for better training and patient development.

    Let us see where he is in 2 years time.


  16. Mustafi is playing well but I don’t think he’ll be good going forward George, maybe at corners yeah but running down the wing or attacking defenders like Eddie I just can’t see it (as much as I’d like to). I can’t see much difference since Mikel joined he’s always been a 89 minute player, consistent for 89 minutes and then the mistake which he is still doing.


  17. Yes, that’s my point Eduardo, in that some might believe and print/ post all kinds of things, he is being forced out, has fallen foul of discipline, spends too much time playing Fortnite , Arteta resents him reportedly not taking a wage cut etc etc when As far as we know, there was a simple injury explanation to his absence. He is known to have back problems
    Of course if could all be a whitewash, but way too many people making guesses about Ozil.
    Personally, Just look forward to seeing him back, we need him


  18. On the subject of Folarin Balogun possibly leaving Arsenal this summer, A year ago Xavier Amaechi(19) turned down a contract extension at Arsenal to go to Hamburg in Bundesliga 2 to further his career, and he has been on the bench for them 21 times this season, where they just failed to gain promotion, but he has only played a total of 32 minutes all season


  19. well Mandy if reports are to be believed, the new head physio joining from PSG is a miracle worker, especially where back injuries are concerned, so maybe we could see a revived Ozil next season, make all the numpthies look the fools they are. Of course they would say he is only playing well to get himself a new contract blah blah blah


  20. I will give you another name who the whinge bags claimed we really fucked up “letting go”, when he turned down a contract extension, Chris Willock, brother of Joe, who left us for Benfica, on a five year deal, well 3 years on and Chris can now be found with a bit part role at Huddersfield Town, he is there on loan, he is now 22.


  21. If we are looking at players to go then I would definitely take money for Auba. As an all round player big Oli was better and shot to goal ratio I think both Eddie and Martinelli will end up better. Auba’s best attributes are anticipation and movement which enable him to arrive in the ideal position to score goals but I don’t consider him a team player.
    Sead’s another player who I love his personality but he just defend and maybe it’s time for him to go. It was good to see him Xhaka and Martinez having a real combative discussion about the goal after the game, even though we had just won.
    I thought we played well against its a in patches very well and once again the second half we conceded territory and possession on purpose. Utd only really having joy from long kicks and throws.
    I agree with talkshite if they were saying the ref played badly because after a good start he let the blades cut us to pieces and again let professional fouls go unpunished when we were on the break. We also had another Leno moment when he allowed them to take us out in the air. Mcbernie fouled and pushed his way through the whole game and should of been sent off especially for foul on Sead which by the way the lino was looking straight at and was only two yards away.


  22. ian the foul on kolasinac was not even given as a foul, they got a throw in for it, took it while he was still down injured.

    One thing that you see and have seen for years from the PGMOL game managers is that the big useless lump who does nothing but push, shuve and barge players all game long, will be allowed to do it, as somehow they see it as it being a case of, well its not his fault, he really aint good enough to do anything else, so it would be unfair to punish him for trying his best. Its all part of the Arsenal don’t like it if you get in their faces, thing. Well we all know that means we know AFC don’t like it when they get kicked. Oddly enough I’ve never seen a team anywhere who actually like getting kicked, and I often notice that the biggest whingers when kicked are the teams that like to kick other teams.


  23. Loan report – Olayinka features as Northampton win League Two play-off final
    by jeorge bird

    James Olayinka concluded his loan spell at Northampton Town by featuring as a substitute in their League Two play-off final success.

    Northampton ran out 4-0 winners against Exeter at Wembley, with Olayinka being brought on in the 74th minute.

    Olayinka made just four appearances during his loan spell, with an injury not helping his cause, but he finishes the season with the highlight of his career so far.

    It will be intriguing to see what lies in store for Olayinka next season, with the youngster yet to make his competitive debut for Arsenal.


  24. Please find the latest team news update from our medical team ahead our match against Norwich City:

    Cedric Soares
    Back in full training and available for selection following facial injury.

    Lucas Torreira
    Back in full training and being assessed ahead of Norwich City (h) on Wednesday.

    Mesut Ozil
    Being assessed ahead of Norwich City (h) on Wednesday, following back soreness.

    David Luiz
    Right knee. Being assessed ahead of Norwich City (h) on Wednesday.

    Bernd Leno
    Right knee. Sustained moderate ligament sprain during Brighton & Hove (a) on June 20. Aiming to return to full training in approximately four weeks.

    Pablo Mari
    Left ankle. Sustained significant sprain to ankle ligaments during Manchester City (a). Has had a successful procedure to the injury this week. Aiming to return to full training in two to three months.

    Gabriel Martinelli
    Left knee. Sustained injury during training on June 21. Successful arthroscopic procedure undertaken to repair a lesion in the cartilage of the left knee. Will not be available for the current schedule of remaining 2019/20 matches.

    Calum Chambers
    Left knee. Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during Chelsea (h) on December 29. Rehabilitation post-surgical repair continuing and currently progressing well with running and gym work. Will not be available for the current schedule of remaining 2019/20 matches.

    As part of Premier League protocol, all members of our first team squad and support staff continue to be regularly tested for COVID-19.

    Copyright 2020 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.


  25. phil . i . am
    In the 27 seasons from 1992-93 Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd have been in a combined 28 FA Cup finals, winning 20 of them. All 3 are in this year’s semi-finals.


  26. Mikel Arteta was back on a Zoom call with the media on Tuesday as he looked ahead to our clash against Norwich.

    Our head coach discussed returning to Emirates Stadium, Matteo Guendouzi, Mesut Ozil, William Saliba and more.

    Read on for a full transcript:

    on the mood and confidence in the group…
    After winning it’s always much more positive and happier, obviously. We had a really difficult start in terms of the fixtures – playing four games away from home – so it was always going to be a challenge. We’re happy to win the last ones and the mood around the camp is much better.

    on how the players are dealing with the physical challenges posed by the regularity of games…
    The calendar that we have been given from the Premier League is pretty hectic. We’re playing every three days, we’re having less recovery than other teams but the players are trying their best and we’re trying to give them everything we can – in terms of recovery – to have them in the best possible conditions for every game. They are trying their best, so hopefully they will be fine tomorrow again.

    on being at the Emirates for our first home game since March…
    Well, we really want to play at home. That’s where we enjoy more, but obviously not having the fans within is a tremendous disadvantage. We want to give them happy moments and enjoyment and at the moment we cannot do that just by seeing them as they have been watching on TV. But it’s what we have at the moment.

    on if this game is a must-win game to catch up to the top five teams…
    I think every game is going to be a must-win game from now, because we have a few teams ahead of us. So the margin for error is minimal and as well, at home, we have to be very strong if we want any chance of finishing in the European places.

    on David Luiz’s injury and how serious it is…
    We don’t know. He was in pain the other day when he had to leave the pitch. He’s not a player that normally does that, so he was uncomfortable. We assessed him yesterday and he was a bit better, but we don’t know. He had a scan this morning as well to see how bad it is and he’s very willing. He wants to play but he’s always like that. We will have to see how he is.

    on Kieran Tierney’s performances and his supermarket carrier bag…
    He’s been one of the positive things since I joined. Just to get to know him a little bit and his character and the way he trains and the way he pushes himself, it’s exactly what we need. He’s the kind of player that I love and I am really, really happy with him. He’s had some really tough moments since he joined the club but now he’s much happier and he’s settled. But about the Tesco bag… that’s Kieran! He’s a very humble and normal guy. He does what he feels is right.

    on whether Guendouzi and Ozil still have a part to play in the remaining games…
    I said that everybody that I have in the squad, my job is to get the maximum out of them and to try to help them and support them. And if they are willing, everybody is welcome.

    on whether they are both willing…
    I always hope that the players want to give their best.

    on whether Saliba will begin training here or if he will stay for the cup final with Saint-Etienne…
    I think he needs to stay there. We’ve got an agreement with Saint-Etienne and he’s been over there all year. He has earned his right to play that final if their manager wants to do that. So I think we have to give him the opportunity to do that, to enjoy that and we can have him after that.

    on what he expects from Norwich…
    A team that is fighting for relegation always has an extra edge. They know the difference between playing in the Championship and the Premier League, and they fought really hard to be where they are. I’m expecting a fully committed team and they are really brave with the way they play. They cause you problems and I’m expecting again a very honest team that is going to fight for their lives to try to give them a better chance to stay in the league.

    on whether Norwich’s positive performance against United…
    I will show them (the players) what they are able to do when you give them time to play and it’s a very tricky team with the way they play. I will make sure that we recover first and we’re ready tomorrow to go again.

    on whether he’s done anything to prepare his players for being back at the Emirates…
    Well, we had two friendlies before we started the Premier League at home and it was a really strange feeling, but hopefully they’re used to it now and we know what we expect with all the protocols that we could to make sure that the players know exactly what they have to do, and hopefully they can enjoy tomorrow again playing in our stadium.

    on whether we need some luck with our injuries…
    We just try to make the most out of it. It’s been a great learning process for myself and the staff about the situation and the context that we are in. A lot of unexpected things have happened since I joined. We tried to resolve the situations in the best possible way to help the players and the club to keep going in the right direction, and that’s it. Some things we can’t control and the ones we can control, we just try to make as many good decisions as possible.

    on Guardiola’s praise of his time at Arsenal so far…
    We have spoken a few times in recent weeks and about facing them again in the semi-final, it’s a tricky one, but look at the level of the teams who are involved in the competition. If you want to win a title then you have to face the best teams, and if we want to do that then we’re going to have to beat City.

    on whether he’s sought advice from Guardiola…
    He’s a person that I have huge respect and admiration for and we talk about a lot of things. When I want advice, to listen to him or support, he’s always there and he’s always willing to help me. It’s great to have someone like him around.

    on on Aubameyang’s contract situation…
    I don’t have any updates, sorry.

    on his ambitions for the season…
    Honestly, just win tomorrow and prepare the team as well as I can. Go again, play better, keep improving our performances and win football matches. From there I want to convince them, get some momentum and see what happens in the next three or four games with where we are and what we can achieve, but this is my mindset at the moment.

    on whether Guendouzi has made the most of opportunities at Arsenal…
    I don’t know. When Arsenal picked him to come here it’s because they could obviously see the potential and the qualities that Matteo has. He’s a really young player and he’s still in development. When you are developing, the curve is not normally so much straightforward, you have to have some bumps and you have to adapt to it. Then in the process, you have to find the things you’ve done right and the things you’ve done wrong, like any other player.

    on whether Ozil could’ve kicked on more…
    The players want to play as well as possible, train as well as possible and then it’s a tricky game. You have momentum, you have your team-mates to help you as well and you need confidence. It’s not just one factor but I never doubt that the players want to do their best.

    on Lacazette struggling with confidence…
    He’s like any player, the strikers even more regarding the goals that they score, but the other day he contributed, he won the penalty for us, he worked very hard and his link-up play was really good. I was really happy with his performance.

    on how close Lucas Torreira is to being available for selection…
    I think he’s close. He needs to get another scan to make sure that the bone is completely healed before we expose him to the next level. But he’s been training really well, he’s been doing some parts with us and Lucas is so willing, has put in all the effort and more in every training session. Hopefully we can use him very soon.

    on what Cedric can add to the team…
    He’s a different quality in the full-back area than what we have. He’s a gifted, technical player and is probably the best we have in the final third to make the right decision and attack the box as well. He can play in a four or a five, he’s a really good player with experience in the Premier League that can help us.

    on whether he’s worried that we can’t hold on to young players…
    I am not worried because I know that the club is doing their best to try to keep them [Bukayo and Folarin Balogun]. Hopefully we can have some good news about them very soon. They know my opinion on them and how much I like working on them, the intention that I have in the future with them. I see them really committed and hopefully we can find the right agreement for both parties and move on, because I think there’s a great future ahead of us with these kids.

    on whether he’s talking generally or about Saka and Balogun…
    I am talking generally.

    on whether he’s spoken to Saliba…
    Yeah I spoke with him a few times, he’s been around here a few times as well. We’ve been following him this season and as a young player, he had a really difficult season with injuries that he’s had. But again, it’s part of his progress. I know how high the expectations are of him for next year but we have to bear in mind the age that he’s at and what he’s done in the past. I’ll make sure that we create the right environment for him so that he can keep growing as a player.

    on whether his midfielders need to improve their goal/assist output…
    Absolutely. If we talk about playing with two attacking midfielders, even more. They have to be a threat constantly, a threat in the box and the final third, assisting, getting chances to score and provide. It’s one of the big jobs that they have.

    on whether he feels he’s found a balance with three at the back…
    We’ve found a balance in relation to how the opponent plays, how we believe that we can hurt them and make it difficult, how we can find the right balance as well for us to attack better, to control transitions better as well. It depends on the players we have available. At the end of the day we have to put all the players in the right positions, where they feel more confident. Sometimes we’ll be with five, sometimes with four, in a diamond… it all depends.

    on whether he’d been keen to keep Dani Ceballos beyond his loan…
    I am really happy with the way Dani’s progressing. I know how tough it is to come from Spain and join this league. As well, he had a really tricky injury while I was joining the club but I used him in different positions and his attitude is top. He loves football, he breathes for football and you can see that with every reaction on the pitch. Every time we score a goal, you look at him and it’s like he’s been here for six years, the way he feels about winning a football game and I love that about him.

    Copyright 2020 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.


  27. AS Roma English

    We’ve agreed a deal that will see @HenrikhMkh
    stay until the end of the current season, with a preliminary agreement for the 2020-21 campaign too!



  28. seems no agreement could be found between Arsenal and St Etienne for William Saliba to extend his stay for the French Cup final, reports suggest that Arsenal were willing to let him extend his loan to play in the final, but only if ST Etienne agreed to wave the clause in his loan that would have seen Arsenal actually pay them £2.5M if he played in the cup final, as it would have triggered a number of games bonus clause.


  29. Mikel Arteta on Özil: “I know him really well because I played with him. Mesut has unique qualities. He is a very special player for the position he plays, how specific he is in the qualities that he has & what he can bring to the team. I don’t think much has changed.”


  30. Where did you see that quote Eddy?


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