Tag Archives: Liverpool

At some point games against Liverpool need to stop being a “shot to nothing”

“It was a shot to nothing”

“Didn’t expect a result anyway”

That was the common consensus from the majority. And they are right.

But it is also important that we learn from the defeat against Liverpool. And Manchester City. And Chelsea.

At some point we need to move up to the next level. Away from calling it a project; that we are a team in development.

For now, it is fine. We are a team whose target was to compete for top 4. We are in the race.

But if we want to transition from top 4 contenders to title contenders, we need to begin getting results against City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Those teams comes to Arsenal and do not see it as a “shot to nothing”. They see it as 3 points. Anything less is a failure.

The change won’t happen this season.

Considering how poor we have been and for how long, turning the good ship Arsenal around was always going to take some time.

It feels like we are on the right road. Just at some point we need to find a new gear if we wish to be title challengers.

At the moment we have one of the youngest teams in the league. They were due a capitulation and in the second half at Liverpool it was heads gone.

The game is easy in hindsight.

Mikel Arteta should have probably gone with Kieran Tierney over the inexperienced Nuno Tavares – especially against Mo Salah who is probably the best player on the world right now.

Likewise we probably should have flooded the midfield. Played Ainsley Maitland-Niles ahead Alex Lacazette matching up Liverpool’s midfield 3; with Maitland-Niles also providing extra cover in that wide position against Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

As it was Tavares was exposed on the left and we were over run in midfield. Thomas Partey and Albert Sambi-Lokonga provided no cover and no out ball.

But then had we made those changes and lost Arteta would have been criticised for changing a winning team.

We move on with Newcastle at home up next before trips to Everton and Manchester United.

Whilst a trip to Liverpool at the moment is a shot to nothing, we need to be returning to the north-west expecting wins in the coming weeks.

5th in the table after 13 games. I am happy. We dust ourselves down and move on.



Arsenal should use Liverpool rather than Manchester City for inspiration


I am not quite sure what people expected from the game against Liverpool on Monday.

Some of the criticism of Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal players is a bit over the top.

It ignores the fact that Liverpool are reigning champions, a side that finished 18 points ahead of 2nd place last season, and 43 points ahead of Arsenal.

They have not lost a Premier League home game since April 2017 – a run of 3 seasons unbeaten and 61 games. Of those 61 games, they have won 50.

Liverpool should be what we aspire to.

They have had no owner investment on the playing side, and have got to where they are through good coaching and good recruitment.

Jurgen Klopp is now in his 6th season with Liverpool. He did not turn them around over night.

They finished 8th in his first season, like Arteta’s Arsenal. And then 2 consecutive 4th place finishes. Only Sean Dyche has been at a Premier League club longer.

Anyone that thought Edu and Arteta would turn us into title challengers overnight is deluded.

As Liverpool have shown, building greatness (without throwing hundreds of millions at it) takes time.


The “new” handball rule has caused a lot of controversy over the weekend. I put “” around the word new as the rule is not actually new.

FIFA introduced a new rule for handball last year. The FA made the decision not to implement it. This year they have.

The only thing new about the handball rule is that IFAB have changed where the ball needs to hit a player on the arm for it to be an offence.

It is now only handball if the ball his you below the sleeve line on the arm, where as previously it was anywhere on the arm.

So the new handball rule will actually see less offences given, as the area on your arm that is counted has been narrowed.

Like whenever a new rule comes out, we will see a spike in offence given before players adapt how they play and things settle down.

We saw this when VAR was introduced, and it led to a lot of penalties given for tugs and hugs at corners. Players quickly adapted how they defend corners and now you rarely see a defender with his hands all over a striker.

The Bundesliga introduced the current handball rule back in 2018/19. This led to a spike of offence, and then last year a reduction as things settled down.

Last season, we saw Italy and Spain adopt the rule which saw penalties for handball increase. It will be interesting to track the data this year to see if offences now reduce.

It is all well and good Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher talking about “natural position” but the position of the arms has only become natural because it has been coached into players.

From a young age as a defender you were told to “make yourself big”. To stick your arms out which makes it harder for an attacker to run around you.

Defenders will quickly learn to keep their arms by their body, or not to jump with their hands above their head.

Eric Dier might have had his back to Andy Carroll at the weekend, but he had no reason for his hands to be away from his body, and above his head.

The defence of “he was not in control of his limbs” is not really a defence. It is Dier’s job to be in control of his limbs, his body.

It will take a few weeks for players, pundits and fans to adjust, and in that time we will see a spike of handball offences. But once players have learned what they can and can not do, we will see that number reduce.

Instead of “experts” demanding the rule be changed, they should take their time explaining the rule and what players can do to combat the offence being given.

Man City Defenders

Ruben Dias £65m
Nathan Ake £40m
Philippe Sandler £2.25m
Aymeric Laporte £57m
John Stones £47.5m
Nicolás Otamendi £32m
Eliaquim Mangala £40m
Martín Demichelis £3.5m
Matija Nastasic £12m
Stefan Savic £6m
Jerome Boateng £11m
Kolo Toure £16m
Joleon Lescott £22m

Since the signing of Vincent Kompany for £6.7m, Manchester City have spent £355million on central defenders.

It reminds me of the England cricket team.

Since Andrew Strauss retired, England have struggled to find a partner for Alistair Cook. And now Cook has retired we have struggled in our quest to find 2 decent openers.

Manchester City are the same with central defenders.

Firstly they spent millions to buy Kompany a partner, and now spending millions to buy him a replacement. Irony is after Kompany, Martin Demichelis was probably their next best defender.

By the time you add in full backs, Manchester City have spent nearly £600m on defenders in 12 years. An incredible amount

Under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal improved defensively without buying a player.

Maybe City’s problem, like Arsenal under Unai Emery, is more to do with coaching rather than personnel?

Match Report: Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool (Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties)

Arsenal (1) 1 Liverpool (0) 1

(Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties)

FA Community Shield

Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London HA9 0WS

Saturday, 29th August 2020. Kick-off time: 4.30pm

(4-2-3-1) Emiliano Martínez; Rob Holding, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin; Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Bernd Leno, William Saliba, Cédric Soares, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Sead Kolašinac, Emile Smith-Rowe, Tyreece John-Jules, James Olayinka.

Scorers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (12 mins)

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 40%

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).

Assistant Referees: Mark Scholes (Berks and Bucks) and Marc Perry (Birmingham)

Fourth Official: Andrew Madley (West Riding)

Reserve Assistant Referee: Dan Robathan (Norfolk)

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR David Coote (Nottinghamshire); AVAR Dan Cook (Hampshire)

Attendance: A maximum of 300 attendees due to UK government coronavirus restructions

This is going to be such a strange start to the new season. A mere six days after the Champions League Final, and a fortnight before a ball is kicked in anger at any Premiership match, the curtain opener formerly known as the Charity Shield is upon us, just twenty-nine days after our superb victory in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea in this very stadium. Still, it is what it is (to paraphrase popular parlance) and for our fourth appearance in this oft-derided competition against Liverpool, (the Premiership champions of course), we welcome back Mohamed Elneny, who spent last season on loan at Besiktas in Turkey. Unfortunately, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian nor Nicolas Pépé are available for selection today, however William Saliba is listed as one of the substitutes, so it is possible that he could make his debut for the club at some point during the proceedings.

The opening minutes of the match were fairly pedestrian, which as expected, saw both sides test each other in order to exploit any possible weaknesses; despite Liverpool getting the ball in our net (which was quite rightly cancelled out by the VAR team for offside), it was us that opened the scoring with a superb goal in the twelfth minute. Collecting a superb pass up on the left wing from Bukayo Saka, our top striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slotted an inch perfect shot past Alisson from outside of the penalty area with his right foot. A few mintues later, we almost scored a second, when Bukayo Saka passed unselfishly to Eddie Nketiah, whose low twenty yard short was pushed around the post by the Liverpool goalkeeper. Despite Liverpool coming back at us, we held our shape extremely well under pressure, and the defence were doing a sterling job in neutralising our opponents’ strikers and midfield players. Although the ball appeared to be in our half for most of the first half, in the minutes before the break, we created more chances for ourselves, and we went into the break deservedly leading the match by a goal.

The game started to open up in the second half, and although both sides had their chances, it was Arsenal who looked more organised and controlled. Excitingly, nine minutes after the restart, the magnificent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang simply took the ball from Virgil van Dijk and ran forty yards before slotting the ball to Bukayo Saka, who let the ball run away from him, which was a good chance missed. Hector Bellerin made way for Cédric Soares just after the hour, and the lads carried on as usual, with the same shape and direction. Bukayo Saka was unlucky not to score when a superb pass from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found him again unmarked on the right, and sadly a couple of minutes later, a mix-up in the six-yard box led to Takumi Minamino equalising for Liverpool from close range with eighteen minutes of the game remaining. Liverpool fancied their chances now, and applied considerable pressure on us, which we were able to withstand very well, but with eight minutes of the game left, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Sead Kolasinac replaced Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Kieran Tierney, just to get some fresh legs on the pitch. Joe Willock went wide with a glancing header, and despite all this and more, penalties were destined to settle this match. We are well versed enough to understand that in the wonderful world of English football, the equation is simple: nervous footballer + penalty kick = heartbreak. But not this time for us. All five of our penalty takers (Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Cédric Soares, David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) were cool, calm and extremely collected, and on sheer nerves of steel alone, these men ensured that our captain lifted the trophy for the sixteenth time in ninety years. And funnily enough, we have now won more trophies this month than our dear “friends” at N17 have won in over twenty years!

Well, just how good was that! We have now all seen a glimpse of the future under Mikel Arteta, and if everything falls into place as we hope it does, then we can surely look forward to a bright and successful future. Obviously we all hope that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signs his contract, and that Ainsley Maitland-Niles stays as well; it is becoming patently obvious that Mikel Arteta is creating a team in his own image, and with the confidence that winning trophies can bring, the forthcoming season should be an interesting one indeed. 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: Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, 12th September at 3.00pm (Premier League). 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.