It’s The Hope That Kills.

A few weeks ago, Daniel,  my 15 year old son, rushed out of his room, and full of excitement told me that while it obviously wouldn’t happen The Arsenal were linked with Martin Ødergaard. I listened attentively, and while not wanting to kill his enthusiasm, also wanted to warn against the inevitable disappointment when yet again a transfer rumour proved to be just that: a rumour, written to generate website clicks. While it is also true that most of the players he tells me we are about to sign I have never heard of, this one intrigued me for I had a distant memory of the name – and a sense that we’d been linked with him before.

And so we had, back several years ago now when the footballing world was suddenly full of the new latest wunderkind, the ‘hardly old enough to tie his own bootlaces’ Norwegian Messi. Martin Ødergaard. With, of course, the best ‘knower’ of new talent, Arsene Wenger instrumental in inviting all 15 years old of him, to spend a couple of days at Colney. Money talks of course, especially if you are keen to cash in on a yet to be proved player, and so predictably enough he went on to sign for Real Madrid. But however talented they may be, teenagers by and large don’t cut the mustard in senior football, and so Ødergaard disappeared from view, needing  to do his apprenticeship, an apprenticeship of course involving loans to clubs perhaps less well suited to nurturing prodigious, yet fragile, talent (think Gnabry and Pulis). But the fact that Wenger had seen something, and that six year later Arteta was seemingly interested, was enough to get me thinking.

Enough to get me thinking? That, if not a lie, is criminally economical with the truth. This 63-year-old, recently invited for his first Covid jab due to a ‘pre-existing’ condition, was straight on to YouTube, consuming all the Ødergaard videos and chat it was possible to find. And then he did sign (just a loan, but who knows?). That it also coincided with an upturn in The Arsenal’s results even saw a re-reading (about the 7th, if the truth be known) of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. Suddenly we were back, the sunlit uplands beckoning, League, Cup and European glory only a matter of time. Arsene knew. And he made sure Arteta knew too. In my dreams I was shuffling back to the tube station, carried along on waves of song and the scent and smells and banter of match day, full of the 4-0 schooling we’d just handed to the lot down the road, a victory orchestrated by Ødergaard, Saka and Smith-Rowe. My dreams are so sad these days!

Well as night follows day, Ødergaard didn’t really feature at all to begin with: we were dumped out of the Cup, and then met with horribly predictable reversals in the Midlands, first thrown to the  Wolves’, then scrappily at the hands of a Villa side unreally favoured by Fortune. Ødergaard merely an ineffectual bit-player. Of course there was a reason why Real let him go, of course Tierney and Partey were injured, of course the Refs were never going to help us, of course the lot of the football fan is to be permanently disappointed.  And of course a bit of me was deep down pleased: supporting a team, unless you are a shifting glory hunter, is not just about the shitness of everything, but it’s the active revelling in it.

And yet. And yet. And yet. 

Just when you think it is all so bad it’s time to walk away, to stop going, to stop accessing the websites, to deactivate Twitter, Arteta only goes and starts Aubameyang up front, with Smith-Rowe, Saka and Ødergaard just behind him, and another great Wenger signing  (Xhaka) playing alongside another tiki-taka Real reject (Ceballos) at the heart of the midfield against everybody’s flavour of the month, Leeds. And before you know it, it’s 4-O to the Arsenal and the side’s oozing Wengerean unction. Little twiddly midfielders everywhere, Wengerball incarnate, ‘walking-the-ball-in’ the clear ambition.

As I once read, Arteta was Arsene’s translator on the pitch. Could it just be that the DNA is reasserting itself? Might there be glory days ahead? Is it safe to dream again? And if it isn’t, if dreams aren’t allowed, then what after all is the point of anything?

Tim Head@foreverheady

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75 comments on “It’s The Hope That Kills.

  1. Just the job Tim. “if dreams aren’t allowed, then what after all is the point of anything?”
    Dreams of a mainly Hale End team are as good as anything , if we accept buying success is out of the question.


  2. Excellent read Tim.

    No one is denying that we were a bit rubbish during the first half of the season, but things steadily improved. Even vs Wolves and Villa we didn’t shamed ourselves as far as performances are concerned.

    With it now looking like Arteta is starting to find his feet, eg not doubting the belief that Wenger have in his potential, nor the ability of this team, as perhaps he did earlier, the hope, of course, is that recent team selection and astute planning are a harbinger of what’s to come.

    As always…. it’s all about the journey.


  3. Good stuff Tim. Enjoyed that.

    I’m excited about Benfica game. Feel there’s a good chance that man Saka will have a stormer (hopefully be helped by stricter reffing of cynical fouls on him).

    Think we got one of the big dogs of ref world, Turkish guy whose name I can’t spell off top of my head. Mightily upset Ferguson that time by sending off Rafael.


  4. That was excellent Tim, the modern “I have a dream” speech if you will.


  5. Interesting article, full of hopes and dreams.

    Did you, therefore, miss the 2nd half against Leeds?

    I am sorry to be such a killjoy, but I simply cannot accept that our current positive playing style is anything other than despite Arteta, not because of him.

    Cellabos, being one Real Madrid reject, was always wishy-washy and not much to write home about. I certainly would want us to pay to buy him.

    I hope Odegard is not the same. The people at Real are not stupid. If they no longer see potential in him, then that is a clear warning sign.

    I suppose, to those who believe that Arteta as a great coach and master tactician (see Gunnerstown yesterday), then he could very well do what Real, the team who have won more Champions Leagues than many people have had hot dinners, can’t and turn him into a world-beater (an Ozil perhaps?).

    Please continue to hope and dream, but, perhaps, with your feet firmly placed on terra firma and don’t hold your breath.


  6. I did indeed watch the second half: saw us hit the woodwork twice, and also ease off rather sloppily when prematurly thinking the game was done and dusted. 6-2 would have been a fair reflection maybe! Jjgsol I am sure you are right, but watching The Arsenal, and choosing to believe that wonderful things may happen, is my deliberate escape from reality. I can do bleak as well as any, especially so when it comes to sport, but forgive me for reverting to childhood with regard to this lot.


  7. Rome was a welcome change of scenery for Mikel Arteta’s pre-match press conference on Wednesday evening.

    Our manager hosted his media session from our team hotel ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Benfica, with Kieran Tierney, Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard on the agenda.

    Here’s every word from the boss:

    on Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey…
    Thomas didn’t travel. He’s not there yet, he’s still training individually. Kieran has had one session with us and is part of the squad.

    on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s tattoo…
    Whatever we do with our players, we keep it internal. It’s true that a lot of the members of our squad have extended families at home and if a player does something that is not within the regulations obviously, the club acts immediately but always privately.

    on playing at two neutral venues…
    Well, it’s very unusual but we have to try to maintain the integrity of the competition as much as we can. The only way to do that at the moment is to play at different venues, but at least it’s played over two legs with away goals always present.

    on if the Europa League is the best way into the Champions League…
    It’s one of the ways. There’s still a lot of games to play in the Premier League too but obviously, we are very excited with this competition. We’ve been on a really strong run this season in the Europa League and tomorrow we have a good opportunity to make another step [forward].

    on Nicolas Pepe…
    Yes, the fact that we have the Europa League gave the opportunity to almost everyone in the squad to be fit and available and compete for their place. He’s had some really good matches and scored some important goals as well and I think that has helped him for the Premier League form and the recent form that he’s shown.

    on seeing signs of Nicolas Pepe’s development…
    I’ve seen a lot of things, in his mentality, the way he approaches every training session, in his understanding of the game as well. It’s true that he has patches where he’s played more than at other times. He has had the opportunity over the last couple of months that probably every player has been seeking to have but I think overall there is a lot of progress with Nico.

    on if he thinks about lifting the trophy…
    Victory is always in the back of my mind. Why were are here is to win trophies for this club and this is a competition that we want to be linked to as well because we are participating. The Champions League has been massive for this club but at the moment we are not in it. The best way to get back to that is by winning this competition.

    on Willian…
    What he’s doing at the moment, the way he’s training, the way he’s working, the way he’s willing to give everything to the team is what I demand. Whether he’s more successful or less successful in the game is another matter, it will come with the quality that he has but this is what I demand to every player. A full commitment and to put the passion and everything they have in every training session and when they have the opportunity to play and so far Willian has done that every single day.

    on if the criticism of Willian is unfair…
    I don’t say it’s unfair because with Willy the expectation is really high in terms of the goals he can score. The assists he can create, you expect him to be in the starting lineup as well so it’s normal that people write things about him. We have to protect him, we have to support him as much as we can becuase he deserves it from the way he handles his profession and the way he is with us.

    on whether Willian could be involved against Benfica…
    Well, he’s part of the squad so he’s got a good chance.

    on our defeat against Olympiacos last season…
    I thought it was very cruel with the way we got knocked out of the competition. The tie was in our hands and we scored a goal, but then we conceded in the last minute of extra time. We still had a massive chance with Auba to go through, but the big lesson there is that you have to play every single minute of the competition with a high focus. Every detail matters and every situation has to be handled, and it’s about being able to manage the game in the way it’s required because it’s over two legs. The goal difference is very important and that has to be in the back of your mind, and you have to be able to control your emotions and as well be able to change the game when you need to, to take it to your territory when the tie is in your hands.

    on whether we can use that game as motivation…
    I hope so. I think it was a really tough experience for all of us with the way it happened because I think we deserved to go through, but as well I think that created more hunger for this season to go and do more and we have to use that thing that we have still there, that we haven’t gone through yet to put more energy, more passion and more commitment into this competition.

    on whether he’s confident that Aubameyang didn’t breach protocols…
    We tried to advise every player and make sure that they know all the rules and that we have to stick to those rules all the time. If someone doesn’t do it, obviously we have to act immediately, so again, I cannot tell you who every player lives with, but we do and when somebody does something you shouldn’t be doing, obviously it’s going to get found out from us and there will be consequences. And if not, there won’t be.

    on whether Aubameyang has travelled for the game…
    Yes, he’s here.

    on whether he spoke to Guardiola about Odegaard during his time at Manchester City…
    I can recall when he was playing a game or two we made a comment about it, but not about the story you’re telling me.

    on whether he can make Odegaard one of the best players in the world…
    Well, he’s got the potential. I followed him very closely when he was at Real Sociedad and he had a lot of opportunities and he was really impressive over there for long periods. He had a really successful season over there and that’s one of the reasons why I was so convinced that he’s a player for us. He’s a player that I really like and as you say, still has huge potential to become even better.

    on what he’s made of Odegaard so far…
    All positive from my first conversations with him. He’s a really focused and humble boy that was really keen to join, but he just wants to play football in the right way and then he said some really good things. He’s a really nice guy, the players like him, the staff like him, he’s easy going, a really hard worker, and I’ve been very impressed with his leadership. He looks a little bit calm but on the pitch he’s got something about him. I’ve been really impressed with him. It’s how he talks to his teammates and how he, for example, commands the high press. Then the personality that he brings and shows every time the opponent comes towards him he still wants the ball in the right areas. His decision making is really good and he’s a really intelligent player.

    on whether Odegaard has a bigger character than he expected…
    Yes and when I talk about leadership as well, it’s how he talks to his team-mates, how he commands the high press and then the personality he shows. Every time the opponent comes after him, he still shows for the ball in the right areas. His decision making is really good and he’s a really intelligent player.

    on Benfica’s strengths and weaknesses…
    What I can say is that they’re a really competitive team, a really high-rhythm team. They have a really high press and they are dominant when you allow them to be. They have very aggressive attacking players too. When they have the space to attack and they are close to the final third, they are really dangerous. Their manager has a huge history in football and some of our players know him really well as well. There’s a big respect there and they’re going to be a difficult opponent.

    on Benfica’s best player…
    I would not like to mention just one player. I think it’s a really strong team.

    on whether he expects Benfica to play 4-4-2 or 3-4-3…
    I am expecting them in both. The preparations of the games are always in response to the possible formations they can use, so we prepared for both with the alterations they have, depending on the players they play, as well within the formation. Regarding the players you mentioned [Cedric and David Luiz], of course I am always interested to find out about the history, how they get coached, the coach of the team. It’s always useful to have opinions of players who know the league and the team so well.

    on how we can nullify Benfica…
    They will propose different problems in relation to what you said about the build-up phase. They can do that in many different ways and we have to be prepared for that and try to nullify that as much as possible, which is the same thing they will try to do with us. The amount of goals we concede in the competition is huge because [away] goals become crucial in these stages, so it’s obviously something we’ll have to bear in mind all the time.

    Copyright 2021 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.


  8. reports that bournemouth have both theirry henry and patrick vieira on their 3 man shortlist for the manager’s job, former huddersfield manager Wagner also on the list


  9. Supporting football is all about dreaming.
    Remember our long sleep ending in a European trophy and even after that only dreamers would have seen us following it up with the double in 71. What about second division Sunderland beating all conquering Leeds in The F.A. cup final or Southampton winning the cup against a star studded manure side.
    Then we had Villa winning the league and the European cup with just 16 players in the league season followed by Nottingham Forest winning the League past mighty Liverpool and then bringing home the European cup twice and only denied a third by a reffing bribing scandal that wasn’t uncovered until years later.
    ARSENAL fans then got to dream about winning the league at the home of the champions by two clear goals in the last minutes of the last game of the season.
    Who would of thought tiny Blackburn would win the PL and then a dreamer of a manager telling everyone his tray would go the whole season unbeaten and then doing it.
    This was then followed by a team just managing to avoid relegation going on to win the league.
    I remember the 22 years of Tottenham fans, at the start of the season, telling me that they would finish above us oh the dreamers.
    So yes football fandom is not really about reality it’s all about the outside possibility and that’s what our top six chances are but you never know.
    Good job Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. FT: Everton 1-3 Man City

    City go 10pts clear at the top of the league, we play them on Sunday


  11. Aguero and Debruyne back as well what good timing.


  12. Given our luck I’m fully expecting Eusebio to line up this evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There are Beasts like Peter Risdale and Raul Sanlehhi in this meek world that feast like wraiths upon the dreams of football lovers child and adult alike. They’ve left a trail of tears and broken clubs in their wake (please refer to the club formerly known as Barcelona). But their bosses never thought they were “wasting” money on crap transfers#


    Let’s hope new MO will buck the trend of their recent signings, 300M worth of scrubbing I mean signings.
    I suspect the young Scandinavian will enjoy the PL over la Liga as per the pattern with such players over the decades.

    he’s not on…Saka’s level IMO but if he can help rest Saka is has played the most outfield minutes this season.

    Arteta’s calls in the 1st half of the season dropping ozil etc have had a incrementally negative impact on other players and squad fitness – Tiernay, Partey, Saka. It’s desperation and he’s struggling in this area, managing fitness.


  14. Only realised couple days ago that group stage of u21 Euros taking place in a month’s time. 3 games in 7 days for England between 25th and 31st March. Fingers crossed eejits don’t flog Smith-Rowe in those games.

    Been pleased that he has held up well so far given injury history last few years but that’s a schedule that is bound to get a few players unless managers show sense.

    Taking it for granted he’ll be selected, despite not playing for them before, due to his form. Eddie should be a cert. Willock hasn’t been in recent squads but couple of good Newc performances should get him in. Nelson’s place could well be in trouble.

    As well as those four in contention, no doubt Da Silva will be there. Just shows what an excellent group that was which won PL2 a few years ago.


  15. Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Cedric, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang.

    Subs: Ryan, Hein, Tierney, Lacazette, Willian, Holding, Pepe, Chambers, Mari, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli

    Benfica: Leite, Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Goncalves, Taarabt, Weigl, Pizzi, Grimaldo, Waldschmidt, Nunez.

    Subs: Svilar, Vlachodimos, Gilberto, Everton, Gabriel, Cervi, Seferovic, Silva, Pedrinho, Tavares, Ferreira


  16. same starting 11 as v Leeds, so all those bloggers and twitteratti claiming on Sunday that Arteta was rested the likes of Holding, Pepe and Lacazette for this game have been proven to be wrong as usual.


  17. Same team as Leeds that’s seems strange especially with city coming up but maybe that’s a game we have already lost in the managers eyes.
    Two away games in Europe is hard enough but two top league opponents as well in our next four games means the squad will be tested technically as well as physically tonight however I fancy our chances COYG.


  18. Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venaktesham:

    “You really can’t underestimate the impact abuse has on individuals. We have to take this opportunity as a wake-up call. Increasingly this type of abuse towards black players is becoming normalised. I think this a moment in time.”

    Venkatesham: “How do you explain to a black footballer that pirated content is taken down in minutes but not racist abuse?”


  19. man utd and spurs both with clear wins in their away legs, look secured for next round of the EL


  20. Aubameyang missed an open goal from six yards out after Bellerin pass puts him in, an awful miss


  21. xhaka should have been booked for that late tackle


  22. HT: Benfica 0-0 Arsenal

    in almost complete control, but not created many clear chances, but PEA did miss the best chance of the game when he missed an open goal from six yards out after good work from Bellerin. We are getting caught offside a lot too. If we can up the tempo a little I think we could rip them apart


  23. penalty to Benfica for a handball by ESR,

    1-0 to benfica, leno went the right way but it just beat him,

    a game we really should have been 2 up in, and now we are behind.


  24. Sakaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 1-1, he taps in a cedric pass after odegaard played him in


  25. Tierney on for Cedric, about 30 minutes left


  26. pepe and martinelli on for PEA and ESR


  27. we’ve got worse with the subs


  28. elneny on for ceballos, 90th minute


  29. willian on too, not sure who went off, maybe odegaard


  30. 4 minutes of stoppage time to be played


  31. FT: Benfica 1-1 Arsenal

    Saka with our goal, a game we really should have won by 2 or 3 goals, but it really died a death as we just seemed to run out of ideas for the last 20 minutes after playing some good football earlier, without creating that many clear chances


  32. Very harsh pen….again
    The PGMOL must have a European branch


  33. Arsenal were caught offside 10 times against Benfica, more times than they had shots (7). [@Squawka]


  34. Great performance, I suppose, although I did not watch the game, but I am so proud that we managed as many as 2 shots on target.

    That is fantastic, one shot every 45 minutes.

    What a great coach and master tactician (as stated emphatically by a blogger on Gunnerstown). Aren’t we lucky to have him?


  35. Aubameyang with 4 great chances and go no shot on target


  36. A Hat trick on Sunday but three golden chances spurned for him today. So it goes. Thought it was one of those games where all our passes were just a fraction off which slowed everything down (hence the offsides I guess). Frustrating.


  37. Couldn’t watch but a milestone moment for Saka, that’s a huge goal for him individually. And hopefully for the Gunners in this tie. Thanks to Cedric’s left foot!

    Maybe not as many shots on target as required, but there were some encouraging half chances and given what we saw earlier in the season: it’s better. People are no longer pretending to watch the games*
    An earlier swap for the tiring Aubameyang and ESR would’ve interested me. And warmed up players who didn’t play this week but might on the weekend.

    The selections of MO with ESR have been interesting and the team for City will also be interesting. I believe the City game is the logical moment to give Saka a breather. I could be wrong. What will Arteta do?

    *the Arsenal are playing? Safe to speculate that the homes of Arsenal fans never looked better/cleaner then in the winter of 2020…*


  38. Leeds game already seems a long time ago, as I reminded people after that game Auba hasn’t turned a corner and he was awful again today.
    We played some good football in the first half and some of the interplay was excellent to watch. Second half Benfica pressed higher and tighter and it stopped our flow.
    I see Mikel did his best to get Keiran reinjured and all the subs were wrong tonight really. The man most likely to get a late goal is Eddie and to leave him on the bench was frustrating but nice to see Mikel making sure Mo and Willian get their appearance money bringing them on in the 90th minute making, by then, a boring game even worse.
    In the end the ref needs to give himself a long hard look in the mirror for not stopping the game after 70 minutes so we could all get to bed.


  39. Ian I think Eddie is finished here, he is not getting a look in these days, hasn’t since Martinelli came back, he won’t be in the match day squad on Sunday unless one of the other forwards is out with an injury. Same goes for Nelson. Arteta is intent on giving Willian game time in the hope he can somehow turn around his time here at AFC.

    fins if we rest Saka on Sunday then it will be a clear indication that we are not serious about the game, as you don’t leave out your star performer in the big games.


  40. I would definitely rest Saka for Man City. Got us crucial goal but I didn’t think at electric best tonight and to me looked tired.

    Europa League our only shot at CL and trophy, City game one we are extremely unlikely to win whatever team we put out, and Saka obviously needs minutes managed yet every game that rationale is there of ‘very important game, need best players’. Would it be better to rest him in some much less difficult, though still plenty difficult, as they all are, game?

    Anyway, I’m sure he will play. To date, Arteta has shown no inclination to rest important players at any point (turned out the 4 in cup were all down to injury/fitness/other issues).

    Tonight he mentioned importance of managing Saka minutes but he was the guy still out there at full time after 5 subs.


  41. And, aye, I’m a bit grumpy tonight. Partly I think as built it up in head as a game I really fancied us to play well in, with Saka in particular tearing them apart.

    Way it went I’m a lot less confident of chances in Europa. Tie feels about 55:45 in our favour, even though I’m sure squad more than that better than theirs, and I’m sure there’s quite a few teams better than Benfica in it.

    Quite possible I was just a grumpy overcritical git tonight but from moment Auba missed gilt edged chance 1st half didn’t feel good about the game. There were some nice Odegaard passes and bits and pieces elsewhere but lots of frustration, too, opportunities missed, slack bits of play, wrong decisions.

    Also got nasty sense Tierney still not right and near inevitability to be injured again soon.

    Well, things can change quick, hopefully be in much better spirits after 2nd leg.


  42. I always find it a bit odd that so much is spoken about resting players in this or that game, when for me the much simpler way to rest a player is give him a training session or two off, surely leaving someone out of the starting 11, or for the full 90 minutes, will not recharge their energy levels as much as giving them a couple of days off training, after all from Arteta’s comments he is very demanding of players in training, and I would suggest that some coaches focus far too much on training sessions, by that i mean the importance of training sessions, as in micro managing the players and the tactics, something that i would expect is very much Arteta’s process.
    Paul McGrath barely trained for several years, cos he had chronic knee problems, so he would save himself for games, I see this as no different to resting a fatigued player, and instead of resting him on match day why not let him rest on one or two of the training days instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Think to really protect important players, especially youngsters, it’s about accepting pain of doing so, weakening your chances on the day to look after player and the teams chances on more days.

    I’m sure it’s a really hard thing to do when you are pretty much desperate to win games, with every one of them in the important category.

    Don’t know if I mentioned it here but was a sickener to read earlier this week Bielik did his ACL a 2nd time recently. Struck me as crazy that after November return from previous one, Derby were playing him every minute in gruelling championship schedule. About 14 games in a row. Big guy as well, whose playing style involves tremendous amount of action in middle of park. So that’s him, 23, two ACL’s. Would very likely have got a move this summer as well.


  44. I know what you mean Rich, as the game went on it just felt we were never going to hit them hard, we were the better team, but just that little bit off, that we got caught offside 10 times was revealing for me, there was a bit of carelessness from us, as if the players were expecting it to be a bit easier. Their goal was totally avoidable too, we gave away a needless corner, again for me this was from casual play.

    As for Tierney, I got the feeling he was only brought on to give him game time before he starts v Man City on Sunday, that Arteta did not want him to start Sunday without getting in some game time first. Cedric was doing very well, so did not see the need for Tierney other than to just give him game time.
    Would say not one of the subs helped our performance tonight, we got worse with each sub. Not sure why we did not see at least one of Lacazette or Nketiah brought on, but then when Arteta said yesterday that he would keep trying to get Willian playing well through game time, as he is training well, then it was no surprise to see him brought on once again instead of lacca and eddie.


  45. Arsenal U23’s play Man City U23’s on Friday evening, probably will see Nelson and Balogun start the game


  46. Doesn’t help me that I build up European games as a sort of heavenly release refereeing wise from hell of pgmol control!

    Didn’t quite materialise like that, mainly because it didn’t go as I expected, with our attackers flying past people, drawing fouls, cards, etc, and then a pen which, though not unfair by European standards, where they stick rigidly to idea of unnatural position of arms, was still a nasty kick in the balls.

    I try not to swing too wildly with victory or whatnot but the better stuff of Leeds game must have got into my head, as I felt unusually confident we might produce the goods tonight. Instead was left feeling we may be some way off being a really good team.

    With Martinelli sub, maybe idea was to try use pace to try get him into positions behind defence Auba had missed chances from but, maybe because other elements of team changed with subs, didn’t come close to getting in behind again


  47. In football, you get no points for artistic impression.

    In order to get points and succeed, you need to score goals. Nothing more and nothing less.

    So, the only measure of how a team is doing is by the number of chances created, the number of shots on target and the number of goals they bring.

    Nothing else matters.

    57% or so possession and 2 shots on target is a miserable failure and we seem to do that more often than not.

    Frankly, I am not interested in how well a player trains, as you do not get league points from training well, whatever that means anyway.

    Not only are we on our way to mediocrity, but it also seems that we have already arrived.


  48. Heard the last podcast spread over 2 days. George pinning hopes on Arteta to succeed looks like a futile excersise now. The episodes since Arteta took over have more negatives than positives. It still lools a 50/50 call if Arteta is capable to take us among top 4 agaim soon.
    But 1 thing i am 100% certain about that the idiot fans and bloggers who said that any young modern manager can replace Arsene Wenger have lost their case. It is time that they should say sorry to Arsene Wenger and us as well.

    Let me say that again loudly



  49. The problem starts with just feeling a little bit confident again before a game. If recent history has taught us anything it is that this is bound to end in disappointment and reassessment.
    I still feel that Auba doesn’t offer us enough and shouldn’t be the captain.
    The icing on the cake was Martin Keown stating that a successful season for Arsenal this year would be to win the Europa Cup. A somewhat aspirational target, realistically staying in the top half of the table might be good.
    We just have to keep plugging away and also remember that this season is like no other. I mean gaining an away goal advantage in Rome then travelling to Athens for the home game.
    I now go into Sunday’s game with no expectation, as we were then.


  50. For those fans who are satisfied with what Arteta is doing and with what one can anticipate from him then I feel you are really aiming your expectations low.

    Rosicky I agree with you entirely.

    Having watched us with such dynamic managers as Don Howe, Terry Neil and Billy Wright, Wenger was more than simply a breath of fresh air

    He was a revolution that changed our whole understanding and appreciation of the game.

    Now that we have become used to driving around in a Rolls Royce it is hard to get used to the Mini Minor again.

    We cannot live in the past, but by the same token we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that our Mini Minor is actually a Rolls Royce.

    Let us call a spade a spade.

    We have a manager who seems only to value how a player trains, whatever that means, but not how a player plays

    If he is the besr we can do, then so be it, but please do it expect me to sit back and not only like it but delude myself into thinking it is anything that it is not.

    It is rubbish and will, unfortunately continue to be rubbish for the foreseeable future because that is what the powers that be want and what a majority of the fans will accept.

    Please dream, but one has to wake up sometime.


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