Author Archives: keenosafc

Match Report: Arsenal 1 – 1 Sheffield United

Arsenal (1) 1 Sheffield United (0) 1
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Saturday, 18th January 2020. Kick-off time: 3.00pm
(4-3-1-2) Bernd Leno; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Bukayo Saka; Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Nicolas Pépé; Mesut Özil; Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette.
Substitutes: Hector Bellerin, Dani Ceballos, Rob Holding, Emiliano Martínez, Joe Willock, Mattéo Guendouzi, Eddie Nketiah.
Scorers: Gabriel Martinelli (45 mins)
Yellow Cards: Granit Xhaka
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 61%
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 60,310
A very interesting team selection for the visit of The Blades today; bearing in mind that this is the first match of three that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang becomes unavailable for selection due to the red card he received in the match against Crystal Palace a week ago, Mikel Arteta is shuffling the pack, both on the pitch and on the bench also. Always good to see both Nicolas Pépé and Gabriel Martinelli in the starting eleven, but the real excitement here are this afternoon’s substitutes, in the form of young striker Eddie Nketiah, back after an unhappy loan period at Leeds United and the welcome return of the injured Hector Bellerin, who has not played since he was injured in the pre-match warm up at The London Stadium before the 3-1 victory against West Ham United on 9th December.
Anyway, a slow start for us as per usual, which of course led to the visitors chancing their arm on several occasions in the first ten minutes or so. Talk about lulling them into a false sence of security, as we woke up when Alexandre Lacazette slipped an inch-perfect ball into the path of speedy Nicolas Pépé, who quickly crossed the ball to Gabriel Martinelli, who blasted it wide, just to give the Sheffield United defence notice that he was around and about today, and would be bothering them constantly over the course of the match. Ten minutes later, our man Gabriel Martinelli was even sharper, when again, Nicolas Pépé was the provider for him to test the Blades’ goalkeeper again with a superb effort that went just wide of the post. The visitors started to get themselves together somewhat in the midfield area which saw them being first to a few balls here and there, but overall, apart from a few half-hearted chances on Bernd Leno’s goal that never really troubled either him nor our defence unduly, the match appeared to turn in our favour at this point. Our confidence was moving upwards like warm mercury in a thermometer, and the link-up play between Mesut Özil and our forwards became a joy to behold. Then, almost out of mowhere, just before the break, a clever cross from Bukayo Saka bounced off a defender into the six-yard box beyond the helpless reach of goalkeeper Dean Henderson into the path of deadly striker Gabriel Martinelli who made no mistake from point-blank range to give us the lead with only a couple of minutes’ injury time of the first half to play.
The opposition defenders started to target Bukayo Saka a couple of times at the start of the second half, so much so that George Baldock found himself booked for a clumsy tackle on the Arsenal man for his trouble. Sheffield United started to apply pressure on our goal looking for the equaliser, and on the hour, Granit Xhaka managed somehow to clear an Oli McBurnie header off the line which beat Bernd Leno from close range. Despite some worrying moves by the opposition, we managed to counter-attack quickly, and with twenty minutes left on the clock, Nicolas Pépé was scythed down in the Blades’ penalty area by Jack O’Connell; a surefire penalty which was not only waved away by referee Mike Dean, but confirmed by the Stockley Park Mafia masquerading as the VAR judge, jury and executioner, which of course led to the obligatory catcalls ringing around the stadium. Ridiculous. However, on the seventy-fifth minute, Alexandre Lacazette was substituted for Eddie Nketiah, who has not been seen in an Arsenal shirt for nearly a year; our supporters exploded with elation at the return of such a popular prodigal son. Unfortunately, despite our joy, this emotion was brief. On the eighty-third minute, midfielder John Fleck equalised via a bounce and a deflection that went beyond the reach of Bernd Leno. This, of course simply fired up the visitors to attack and try to grab a late winner. Thankfully, despite four minutes injury time which included a Blades’ free-kick which was cleared, and a late Arsenal corner that went nowhere we hung on to claim a draw. It was a mercy that the final whistle went when it did; had this match carried on another five or ten minutes more, we may well have lost this game. To be fair this was two points dropped by us, an opportunity lost, with all the frustrations and angst that comes with a result such as this today.
Such a disappointment overall. Under no circumstances should we lose a lead at The Emirates, but sadly, it has to be said, that some of these players are just not good enough to compete at the most highest level of the Premiership, let alone European competition. We have to be logical and realise that not only is this season more or less written off, but it truly is going to be a long haul for Mikel Arteta to turn this team (and club) around. We are now eighteen days into the January transfer window with no obvious signs of signings; it’s looking like what we have we hold, and if that is the case, then it is going to be a long, long journey from now until the end of the season. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, 21st January at 8.15pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

Arsenal’s top 4 hopes begin or end today

16 games; 48 points.

That is what is left in the 2019/20.

Every year each season seems to go quicker. Just as you are thinking the season is getting going, you are already into the business end, the closing stages.

It has been a tough one for Arsenal. A season that has never really got going. 6 wins from 22 games. I have never known it so bad.

But our road to redemption has started under Mikel Arteta, albeit slowly.

4 games played, 1 win, 2 draws, 1 defeat.

That one defeat came at home to Chelsea when Arsenal were the better team, ran out of steam and were on the negative end of a poor referring decision at 1-0 up.

Whilst the wins might not have came from Arteta’s opening games, there is plenty of room for optimism.

Arsenal have become harder to break down, players are showing a greater desire to win the ball back, and it is only a matter of time until the train is back on the right tracks.

A Champions League spot is still not out of the question. Those above us – Chelsea, Man U, Tottenham – have not exactly opened up a huge gap in our time of crisis. Like Arsenal, they are just as likely to not win for 3 or 4 games as they are to win 3 or 4 in a row.

The next 5 games are key for Arsenal, starting today with Sheffield United.

If we are to maintain our dreams of getting back into the Champions League and a return of the £75million revenue that we are missing, we have to beat the likes of Sheffield United at home.

Sheffield United have been fantastic this season.

Chris Wilder has got his team working hard for each other. Organised, not conceding many. Real workman like with no ego, no superstar individuals. They have already beaten Arsenal once this season.

But they are a team Arsenal should beat if they want to show they have improved under Arteta.

Looking beyond Sheffield United, it is then a trip to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. This is a 6 pointer.

Had Arsenal held on to the 1-0 lead, we would only be 5 points off of 4th place. We lost and we are 11 points adrift. A 14 point gap with 14 games to go will probably be too much.

Victory for Arsenal would see the gap reduce to single figures.

Following hosting Arsenal, Chelsea face a tricky run of Leicester City (A), Man U (H) & Tottenham (H). Arsenal’s games are Burnley (A), Newcastle (H) and Everton (H).

The next 5 games could see a 7 or 8 point swing towards Arsenal and put us straight back into the race for the top 4. And it all starts today with a victory over Sheffield United.


Deloitte Money League shows just how far Arsenal have fallen

On Monday Deloitte published their Football Money League for the 23rd time:

The revenue figures show just how Arsenal have stood still in the last decade whilst other clubs have moved ahead.

On paper, the 11th highest revenue in football does not seem disastrous, but we have now moved behind Tottenham and have the 6th highest revenue in the Premier League.

TV Money is the big swinger, with Arsenal earning £78million less than Tottenham. This difference is almost all accounted for from Champions League football and shows just how damaging to the finances missing out on top 4 is. If TV money was reversed, Arsenal would have revenue £90million ahead of Tottenham.

On a side note, Daniel Levy must be worried about how he is going to pay off the stadium debt if they fall out of the top 4. They are already struggling to finance new players with Champions League football.

Arsenal are still heavily reliant on match day revenue – 25% of our income relies on gate receipts. No other club in the top 20 is as reliant on match day revenue as Arsenal.

Where Arsenal are falling behind is when it comes to commercial revenue.

£111million came in from commercial deals in 2018/19, which leaves Arsenal in 13th. The fact Spurs have overtaken Arsenal in terms of commercial revenue is worrying – especially as they have not sold naming rights to their stadium.

These figures were prior to the new Adidas deal, however it should be taken into account that some of those above us also have new deals.

Arsenal earn £75million less from commercial revenue than Liverpool. Add in a further £78million in broadcasting and it is easy to see the reason why Arsenal have fallen so far behind the European Champions. That is a combined £153million less Arsenal earn from broadcasting and commercial deals.

Liverpool are becoming the standard-bearer for a well run club.

They do not have the sugar daddy of Chelsea, PSG or Manchester City pumping in billions, yet they have created a side that is the best in the world at the moment. They have done this through pushing themselves to do better on and off the pitch. Both sides of the club working as one to become successful. They have not sat happy with what they have.

It was only a few years ago that they were scrapping around for 7th or 8th in the league. More years out of the Champions League than in. They turned it around and now are a force to be reckoned with.

Arsenal have no excuses for what is happening. It is just simply not good enough.

Vinai Venkatesham has been overseeing the commercial side of the club for nearly a decade. In that time we have seen a downward slide. We have sat still whilst other clubs have moved ahead.

That is not to blame everything on Vinai or call for his head, but Arsenal need to stop getting excited about mediocre deals.

What is clear from the Deloitte Money League is just how much work Vinai and Raul Sanllehi need to do at Arsenal to turn the ship around.

You can not build a successful football without successful finances. At the moment every team in the top 6 is generating more than Arsenal, and therefore has more to spend. Until that turns around we will struggle to return to the top 4.


For a superb analysis on the Deloitte Football Money League, read the fabulous below thread from Swiss Ramble